Abbildungen der Seite


Melancholy Stories.

In winter's tedious nights fit by the fire,
With good old folks, and let them tell thee tales
Of woeful ages long ago betid:

And ere thou bid good-night, to quit their grief,
Tell them the lamentable fall of me,

And send the hearers weeping to their beds.

SCENE III. A Defcription of Bolingbroke's and Richard's Entry into London.

Them, as I faid, the duke, great Bolingbroke,
(5) Mounted upon a hot and fiery steed,
Which his afpiring rider seem'd to know,

With flow, but ftately pace, kept on his courfe:
While all tongues cry'd, God fave thee, Bolingbroke!
You wou'd have thought the very windows fpoke,
So many greedy looks of young and old

Through cafements darted their defiring eyes
Upon his vifage; and that all the walls,
With painted imagʼry, had faid at once,
Jefu, preferve thee! welcome Bolingbroke!
Whilft he, from one fide to the other turning,
Bare-headed, lower than his proud fteed's neck,
Bespoke them thus; I thank you, countrymen ;
And this ftill doing, thus he pafs'd along.

Duch. Alas! poor Richard, where rides he the

York. As in a theatre the eyes of men,


(5) The king afterwards hearing of this horfe from his groom obferves,

So proud, that Bolingbroke was on his back!

The jade hath eat bread from my royal hand.

This hand hath made him proud with clapping him.
Wou'd he not stumble? &c.

After a well-grac'd actor leaves the stage,
Are idly bent on him that enters next,
Thinking his prattle to be tedious:

Ev'n fo, or with much more contempt, mens eyes
Did fcowl on Richard: no man cry'd, God fave him!
No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home;
But duft was thrown upon his facred head;
Which with fuch gentle forrow he shook off,
His face ftill combating with tears and smiles,
The badges of his grief and patience

That had not God, for fome strong purpose, steel'd
The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted;
And barbarifm itself have pitied him.

SCENE IV. Violets.

(6) Who are the violets now,

That strew the green lap of the new-come fpring?

SCENE X. King Richard's Soliloquy in Prifon.

I have been studying how to compare
This prifon where I live, unto the world;
And, for because the world is populous,
And here is not a creature but myself,
I cannot do it; yet I'll hammer on't.
My brain I'll prove the female to my foul,
My foul, the father: and these two beget
A generation of still-breeding thoughts.
And these fame thoughts people this little world,
In humour, like the people of this world,
For no thought is contented-

* * *


* * * * * * *



(6) Who, &c.] Milton doubtlefs had this paffage in his eye, when in his pretty fong, On May-morning, he wrote,

Now the bright morning-ftar, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowflip, and the pale primrose.

Thoughts tending to content, flatter themselves
That they are not the first of fortune's flaves,
And shall not be the laft: (like filly beggars,
Who, fitting in the stocks, refuge their fhame,
That many have, and others must fit there)
And in this thought they find a kind of ease,
Bearing their own misfortune-on the back
Of fuch as have before endur'd the like.
Thus play I, in one prifon, many people,
And none contented. Sometimes am I king,
Then treafon makes me wish myself a beggar;
And fo I am. Then crushing penury
Perfuades me, I was better when a king;.
Then am I king'd again; and by and by,
Think, that I am unking'd by Bolingbroke,
And ftrait am nothing-But whate'er I am,.
Nor I, nor any man, that but man is,
With nothing fhall be pleas'd, till he be eas'd
With being nothing.-

General Obfervation.

THIS play (fays Johnfon) is extracted from the Chronicle of Hongfhed, in which many paffages may be found which Shakespear has, with very little alteration, tranfplanted into his fcenes; particularly a fpeech of the bishop of Carlisle in defence of king Richard's unalienable right, and immunity from human jurisdiction.

fonfon who, in his Catiline and Sejanus, has inferted many fpeeches from the Roman hiftorians, was perhaps induced to that practice by the example of Shakespear, who had condefcended fometimes to copy more ignoble writers. But Shakespear had more of his own than Fonfon, and, if he fometimes was willing. to fpare his labour, fhewed by what he performed at other times, that his extracts were made by choice or idleness rather than neceffity.

This play is one of thofe which Shakespear has apparently revifed; but as fuccefs in works of invention is not always propor-tionate to labour, it is not finished at last with the happy force of fome other of his tragedies, nor can be faid much to affect the paflions, or enlarge the understanding.




Life and Death of King


Richard, on his own Deformity.

OW are our brows bound with victorious wreaths

Now are our brows hung up for monuments:

Our ftern alarums chang'd to merry meetings;
Our dreadful marches to delightful meafures.
Grim-vifag'd war hath fmooth'd his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mountain barbed steeds
To fright the fouls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber,
To the lafcivious pleafing of a lute.

(1) But I, that am not fhap'd for fportive tricks,
Nor made to court an am'rous looking-glafs,

I, that am rudely stampt, and want love's majefty,
To ftrut before a wanton, ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by diffembling nature,


(1) But, &c.] See Longinus on the Sublime, fect. 38. the latter end.

Deform'd, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, fcarce half made up,
And that fo lamely and unfashionably,

That dogs bark at me, as I halt by them :
Why I, (in this meek piping time of peace)
Have no delight to pafs away the time;
Unless to fpy my fhadow in the fun,
And defcant on my own deformity.
And therefore, fince I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair, well-fpoken days (2)
I am determined to prove a villain,
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.

SCENE II. Richard's Love for Lady Anne.

Thofe eyes of thine from mine hath drawn falt tears
Sham'd their afpects with store of childish drops:
These eyes, which never shed remorseful tear,
Not when my father York, and Edward wept,
To hear the piteous moan that Rutland made;
When black-fac'd Clifford shook his sword at him;
Nor when thy warlike-father, like a child,
Told the fad ftory of my father's death,
And twenty times made paufe to fob and weep,
That all the ftanders-by had wet their cheeks,
Like trees bedash'd with rain: in that sad time,
My manly eyes did fcorn an humble tear:
And what these forrows could not thence exhale,
Thy beauty hath, and made them blind with weeping.
I never fued to friend nor enemy:

My tongue could never learn sweet smoothing words;
But now thy beauty is propos'd my fee,

My proud heart fues, and prompts my tongue to fpeak.


(2) See Othello, p. 207, n. 3.

« ZurückWeiter »