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[Exeunt.] This is one of the scenes which have been applauded by the criticks, and which will continue to be admired when prejudices shall cease, and bigotry give way to impartial examination. These are beauties that rise out of nature and of truth; the superficial reader cannot miss them, the profound can image nothing beyond them. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
The circumstance on which this scene is founded, is thus related by Hall in his Chronicle:-" But fortune would not that this flagitious person (the duke of Suffolk, who being impeached by the Commons was banished from England for five years,) shoulde so escape; for when he shipped in Suffolk, entendynge to be transported into France, he was encountered with a shippe of warre apperteinyng to the duke of Excester, the constable of the Towre of London, called The Nicholas of the Towre. The capitaine of the same bark with small fight entered into the duke's shyppe, and perceyving his person present, brought him to Dover rode, and there on the one syde of a cocke-bote, caused his head to be stryken of, and left his body with the head upon the sandes of Dover; which corse was there founde by a chapelayne of his, and conveyed to Wyngfielde college in Suffolke, and there buried." MALONE.
Line 1. The gaudy, blabbing, and remorseful day-] The epithet blabbing applied to the day by a man about to commit murder, is exquisitely beautiful. Guilt is afraid of light, considers darkness as a natural shelter, and makes night the confidante of those actions which cannot be trusted to the tell-tale day. JOHNS. Line 3. -the jades
That drag the tragick melancholy night;
Who with their drowsy, slow, and flagging wings
Clip dead men's graves,] The wings of the jades that drag night appears an unnatural image, till it is remembered that the chariot of the night is supposed, by Shakspeare, to be drawn by dragons. JOHNSON.
-a jaded groom.] Jaded groom may mean a groom whom all men treat with contempt; as worthless as the most paltry kind of horse.
Line 74. -abortive pride:] Pride that has had birth too soon, pride issuing before its time.
Line 90. Poole? Sir Poole? lord?] The dissonance of this broken line makes it almost certain that we should read with a kind of ludicrous climax:
Poole? Sir Poole? lord Poole?
He then plays upon the name Poole, kennel, puddle. JOHNSON. Line 122. -whose hopeful colours
Advance our half-fac'd sun,] "Edward III. bare for his device the rays of the sun dispersing themselves out of a cloud." Camden's Remaines. Line 134. Than Bargulus the strong Illyrian pirate.] Mr. Theobald says, "This wight I have not been able to trace, or discover from what legend our author derived his acquaintance with him." And yet he is to be met with in Tully's Offices; and the legend is the famous Theopompus's History. WARBURTON.
Line 169. Pompey the great:] The poet seems to have confounded the story of Pompey with some other.
Pompey being killed by Achilles and Septimius at the moment that the Egyptian fishing boat in which they were reached the coast, and his head being thrown into the sea, (a circumstance which Shakspeare found in North's translation of Plutarch,) his mistake does not appear more extraordinary than some others which have been remarked in his works. MALONE.
ACT IV. SCENE II.
Line 212. -a cade of herrings.] That is, a barrel of herrings. I suppose the word keg, which is now used, is cade corrupted.
Line 213. -our enemies shall fall before us,] He alludes to his name Cade, from cado, Lat. to fall. He has too much learning for his character.
Line 225. not able to travel with her furred pack,] A wallet or knapsack of skin with the hair outward. JOHNSON. Line 238. for his coat is of proof.] A quibble between two senses of the word; one as being able to resist, the other as being well-tried, that is, long worn. HANMER.
—there shall be no money;] To mend the world
by banishing money is an old contrivance of those who did not consider that the quarrels and mischiefs which arise from money, as the sign or ticket of riches, must, if money were to cease, arise immediately from riches themselves, and could never be at an end till every man was contented with his own share of the goods of life. JOHNSON.
Line 280. They use to write it on the top of letters;] i. e. Of letters missive, and such like publick acts. See Mabillon's Diplomata. WARBURTON.
-I pass not ;] I pay them no regard.
ACT IV. SCENE III.
Line 400. If we mean to thrive and do good, &c.] I think it should be read thus: If we mean to thrive, do good; break open the gaols, &c. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE IV.
Line 411. to the rebel's supplication?] "And to the entent that the cause of this glorious capitaynes comyng thither might be shadowed from the king and his counsayll, he sent to him an humble supplication,-affirmyng his commyng not to be against him, but against divers of his counsayl," &c. Hall, Henry VI. fol. 77. MALONE.
Line 421. Rul'd, like a wandering planet;] Predominated irresistibly over my passions, as the planets over the lives of those that are born under their influence. JOHNSON.
The old play led Shakspeare into this strange exhibition; a queen with the head of her murdered paramour on her bosom, in the presence of her husband! MALONE.
ACT IV. SCENE VI.
Line 508. -set London-bridge on fire;] At that time London-bridge was made of wood. "After that, (says Hall,) he entered London and cut the ropes of the draw-bridge." The houses on London-bridge were in this rebellion burnt, and many of the inhabitants perished. MALONE.
ACT IV. SCENE VII.
-Matthew Gough-] "A man of great wit and much experience in feats of chivalrie, the which in continuall warres had spent his time in serving of the king and his father." Holin shed, p. 635.
-one and twenty fifteens,] "This capteine (Cade) assured them-if either by force or policie they might get the king and queene into their hands, he would cause them to be honourably used, and take such order for the punishing and reforming of the misdemeanours of their bad councellours, that neither fifteens should hereafter be demanded, nor anie impositions or taxes be spoken of." Holinshed, Vol. II. p. 632. A fifteen was the fifteenth part of all the moveables or personal property of each subject. MALONE.
Line 536. thou say, thou serge, nay, thou buckram lord!] Say was the old word for silk; on this depends the series of degradation, from say to serge, from serge to buckram. JOHNSON. Line 540. -monsieur Basimecu,] Shakspeare probably wrote Baisermycu, or, by a designed corruption, Basemycu, in imitation of his original, where also we find a word half French, half English,-"Monsier Bussminecu.”
—printing to be used;] Shakspeare is a little too
early with this accusation.
-because they could not read, thou hast hanged them:] That is, they were hanged because they could not claim the benefit of clergy. Line 559. Thou dost ride on a foot-cloth,] A foot-cloth was a kind of housing which covered the body of the horse, and almost reached the ground. It was sometimes made of velvet, and bordered with gold lace. MALONE.
Line 562. to let thy horse wear a clouk,] This is a reproach truly characteristical. Nothing gives so much offence to the lower ranks of mankind, as the sight of superfluities merely
Line 609. and the help of a hatchet.] I suppose, to cut him down after he has been hanged, or perhaps to cut off his head.
Line 555. Let them kiss one another,] This is from The Mirrour for Magistrates, in the legend of Jack Cade:
"With these two heads I made a pretty play,
"For pight on poles I bore them through the strete,
ACT IV. SCENE VIII.
Line 717. Henry hath money,] Dr. Warburton reads-Henry hath mercy; but he does not seem to have attended to the speaker's drift, which is to lure them from their present design by the hope of French plunder. He bids them spare England, and go to France, and encourages them by telling them that all is ready for their expedition; that they have strength, and the king has money. JOHNSON.
Line 725. -my sword make way for me,] In the original play Cade employs a more vulgar weapon: "My staff shall make way through the midst of you, and so a pox take you
ACT IV. SCENE IX.
Line 769. Of Gallowglasses, and stout Kernes,] Two orders
of Irish infantry.
ACT IV. SCENE X.
Line 807. but for a sallet, my brain-pan, &c.] A sallet by corruption from cœlata, a helmet, (says Skinner,) quia galeæ cœlatæ fuerunt.
Line 819. Or gather wealth, I care not with what envy;] Or accumulate riches, without regarding the odium I may incur in the acquisition, however great that odium may be. Envy is often used in this sense by our author and his contemporaries. MALONE. Line 853. As for more words, whose greatness answers words, Let this my sword report what speech forbears.] Sir Thomas Hanmer, and after him, Dr. Warburton, read; As for more words, let this my sword report
(Whose greatess answers words) what speech forbears. It seems to be a poor praise of a sword, that its greatness answers words, whatever be the meaning of the expression. The old reading, though somewhat obscure, seems to me more capable of explanation. For more words, whose pomp and tumour may