Abbildungen der Seite

Whofe arms gave shelter to the princely eagle;
Under whofe fhade the ramping lion flept;
Whose top-branch over-peer'd Jove's spreading tree;
And kept low fhrubs from winter's pow'rful wind.
Thefe eyes that now are dim'd with death's black veil,
Have been as piercing as the mid-day fun,
To fearch the fecret treasons of the world.
The wrinkles in my brow, now fill'd with blood,
Were lik'ned oft to kingly fepulchres :
For who liv'd king, but I could dig his grave?
And who durft fmile when Warwick bent his brow?
Lo! now my glory finear'd in duft and blood,
(11) My parks, my walks, my manors that I had,


the length of his branches: for his root was by great waters. 8. The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir-trees were not like his boughs, and the chefnut-trees were not like his branches; not any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty, &c. 12. And strangers, the terrible of the nations have cut him off, and have left him : upon the mountains, and in all the valleys his branches are fallen, and his boughs are broken by all the rivers of the land, and all the people of the earth are gone down from his shadow, and have left him. 13. Upon his ruin fhall all the fowls of the heaven remain, and all the beasts of the field shall be upon his branches, Sc. See the chapter.

The fcriptures, and more especially the prophets, abound with many fimilar paffages, fublime and exalted as this, which it would be endless to produce here.

(11) My parks, &c.] "I won't venture to affirm, fays” Mr. Theobald, 66 our author is imitating Horace here: but furely this paffage is very much of a caft with that which I am about to quote."

Linquenda tellus, & domus, & placens
Uxor: neque harum quas colis, arborum.
Te præter invifas cupreffos,

Ulla brevem dominum fequetur.

Thy fpacious fields, thy fplendid house,
Thy pleafing wife must thou forego,
Nor of thofe trees, thy hands have rais'd,

E 2

B. 2. ode 14


Ev'n now forfake me; and of all my lands
Is nothing left me but my body's length.

Queen Margaret's Speech before the Battle of Tewksbury.


Lords, Knights, and Gentlemen, what I fhou'd fay, My tears gainfay; for every word fpeak, Ye fee, I drink the water of my eye; Therefore no more but this: Henry, your Is prifoner to the foe, his ftate ufurp'd, His realm a flaughter-house, his subjects flain, His ftatutes cancell'd, and his treasure spent ; And yonder is the wolf that makes this fpoil;. You fight in juftice; then, in God's name, Lords, Be valiant, and give fignal to the battle.

SCENE VII. Omens on the Birth of Richard III.

(12) The owl fhriek'd at thy birth, an evil fign;
The night-crow cry'd, a boding luckless tune;
Dogs howl'd, and hideous tempefts shook down trees ;
The raven croak'd hoarfe on the chimney's top,
And chattering pyes in difmal difcords fung:
Thy mother felt more than a mother's pain,
And yet brought forth lefs than a mother's hope,
To wit, an indigefted, deform'd lump,
Not like the fruit of fuch a goodly tree.

Except the baleful cypress boughs,
Shall one attend their fhort-liv'd lord below.


Dryden has beautifully copied the laft line in his Antony and Cleopatra, where he makes the defponding hero, throwing himfelf on the ground, thus lament,

Lie there, the shadow of an emperor,

The place thou preffeft on thy mother earth

Is all thy empire now.

A. I.

(12) The owl, &c.] See an account of the prodigies on the birth of Glendower, p. 7. n. 6.

Teeth hadft thou in thy mouth when thou waft born,
To fignify, thou cam'it to bite the world:
And, if the rest be true which I have heard,
Thou cam'ft into the world with thy legs forward.

General Obfervations.

THE fcene of this play opens (fays Mrs. Lenox) juft after the battle of St. Albans, wherein the York faction was victorious, and clofes with the murder of King Henry the Sixth and the birth of Prince Edward, afterwards King Edward the Fifth; fo that this hiftory takes in the space of fixteen years. The facts are all extracted from Holing shed, and most of the incidents very clofely copied. The ftruggle between the two houfes of York and Lancaster for the crown being the fubject pursued in this drama, every fcene almost presents us with a new battle, a flying army, or the carnage of a bloody field; where the inhuman conquerors, unfated with the flaughters of the fight, facrifice their defenceless enemies to the fury of their revenge, and exult over them, when dying, with a cruelty truly diabolical.

For many of the murders which the followers of each party commit on thofe of the other in this play, Shakespear had no foundation in the hiftory; but that of the young Earl of Ruiland by Clifford, is copied with all its circumftances from Holingfbed. The character of King Henry the Sixth, whofe unfortunate reign makes the subject of these three plays, is drawn by Shakespear exactly conformable to that given him by the hiftorians. As to the manner of his death, feveral different opinions prevailed; but the poet, by making the Duke of Gloucefter murder him in the Tower, has followed that which was most probable and most generally believed.


E 3


[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]



O climb steep hills
Requires flow pace at first. Anger is like
A full-hot horfe, who, being allow'd his way,
Self mettle tires him.

[ocr errors]

SCENE IV. Action to be carried on with Re


If I'm traduc'd by tongues, which neither know
My faculties, nor perfon; yet will be
The chronicles of my doing: let me fay,
'Tis but the fate of place, and the rough brake
That virtue must go through: we must not stint
Our neceffary actions, in the fear,

To cope malicious cenfurers; which ever,


[ocr errors]

As rav'nous fishes, do a veffel follow

That is new trimm'd: but benefit no further
Than vainly longing. What we oft do best,
By fick interpreters, or weak ones, is
Not ours, or not allow'd: what worft, as oft
Hitting a groffer quality is cry'd up
For our best act: if we stand still, in fear,
Our motion will be mock'd or carped at,
We should take root here, where we fit; or fit
State-ftatues only.

SCENE VI. New Customs.

New customs,

Though they be never fo ridiculous,
Nay, let 'em be unmanly, yet are follow'd.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

The Duke of Buckingham's Prayer for the King.

-May he live Longer than I have time to tell his years! Ever belov'd, and loving may his rule be! And when old time fhall lead him to his end, Goodness, and he fill up one monument !

Dependents not to be too much trusted by great Men.

This from a dying man receive as certain:
Where you are lib'ral of your loves and counfels,
Beware you be not loofe; thofe you make friends,
And give your hearts to, when they once perceive
The leaft rub in your fortunes, fall away
Like water from ye, never found again
But where they mean to fink ye.

E 4


« ZurückWeiter »