« ZurückWeiter »
Hath, by instinct, knowledge from others' eyes, That what he fear'd is chanced. Yet speak, Morton; Tell thou thy earl, his divination lies;
And I will take it as a fweet difgrace,
And make thee rich for doing me fuch wrong.
MOR. You are too great to be by me gainfaid; Your spirit is too true, your fears too certain.
NORTH. Yet, for all this, fay not that Percy's dead,3
I fee a ftrange confeffion in thine eye:
Thou shak'st thy head; and hold'st it fear, or fin,+
2 Your Spirit-] The impreffion upon your mind, by which you conceive the death of your fon.
3 Yet, for all this, fay not &c.] The contradiction, in the firft part of this fpeech might be imputed to the diftraction of Northumberland's mind; but the calmnefs of the reflection, contained in the last lines, feems not much to countenance fuch a fuppofition. I will venture to diftribute this paffage in a manner which will, I hope, feem more commodious; but do not with the reader to forget, that the most commodious is not always the true reading:
Bard. Yet, for all this, fay not that Percy's dead.
Mor. Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news
Remember'd knolling a departing friend.
Here is a natural interpofition of Bardolph at the beginning, who is not pleased to hear his news confuted, and a proper preparation of Morton for the tale which he is unwilling to tell.
4 -hold' ft it fear, or fin,] Fear for danger.
To speak a truth. If he be flain, say so:5
BARD. I cannot think, my lord, your fon is dead.
wearied and out
5 If he le fain, fay fo:] The words fay fo are in the firft folio, but not in the quarto: they are neceffary to the verse, but the fenfe proceeds as well without them. JOHNSON.
Sounds ever after as a fullen bell,
Remember'd knolling a departing friend.] So, in our author's 71ft Sonnet :
-you shall hear the furly fullen bell
"Give warning to the world that I am fled." This fignificant epithet has been adopted by Milton: "I hear the far-off curfew found, "Over fome wide water'd shore "Swinging flow with fullen roar."
Departing, I believe, is here used for departed. MALONE.
I cannot concur in this fuppofition. The bell, anciently, was rung before expiration, and thence was called the paffing bell, i. e. the bell that solicited prayers for the foul passing into another world. STEEVENS.
I am inclined to think that this bell might have been originally ufed to drive away demons who were watching to take poffeffion of the foul of the deceafed. In the cuts to fome of the old fervice books which contain the Vigilia mortuorum, feveral devils are waiting for this purpose in the chamber of a dying man, to whom the priest is administering extreme unction. DOUCE.
7-faint quittance,] Quittance is return. By faint
To Harry Monmouth; whofe fwift wrath beat down
From whence with life he never more fprung up.
quittance is meant a faint return of blows. So, in King Henry V:
"We shall forget the office of our hand,
3 For from his metal was his party Steel'd;
Which once in him abated,] Abated is not here put for the general idea of diminished, nor for the notion of blunted, as applied to a fingle edge. Abated means reduced to a lower temper, or, as the workmen call it, let down. JOHNSON.
'Gan vail his ftomach,] Began to fall his courage, to let his fpirits fink under his fortune. JOHNSON.
From avaller, Fr. to caft down, or to let fall down.
This phrafe has already appeared in The Taming of the Shrew, Vol. IX. p. 194:
Of thofe that turn'd their backs; and, in his flight,
And Weftmoreland: this is the news at full.
In poison there is phyfick; and these news, Having been well, that would have made me fick,' Being fick, have in fome measure made me well: And as the wretch, whose fever-weaken'd joints, Like ftrengthlefs hinges, buckle under life, Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire
Out of his keeper's arms; even fo my limbs, Weaken'd with grief, being now enrag'd with grief, Are thrice themselves: 3 hence therefore, thou nice 4
"Then vail your ftomachs, for it is no boot;
"And place your hands below your husbands' foot."
Thus, to vail the bonnet is to pull it off. So, in The Pinner of Wakefield, 1599:
"And make the king vail bonnet to us both."
To vail a staff, is to let it fall in token of respect. Thus, in the fame play:
"And for the ancient custom of vail-ftaff,
"Keep it ftill; claim thou privilege from me ;
"Say, English Edward vail'd his fiaff to you."
See Vol. VII. p. 235, n. 1. STEEvens.
I Having been well, that would have made me fick,] i. e. that would, had I been well, have made me fick. MALONE.
buckle-] Bend; yield to preffure. JOHNSON.
- even fo my limbs,
Weaken'd with grief, being now enrag'd with grief,
Are thrice themselves:] As Northumberland is here comparing himself to a perfon, who, though his joints are weakened.
A fcaly gauntlet now, with joints of steel, Muft glove this hand and hence, thou fickly quoif;
Thou art a guard too wanton for the head,
Which princes, flesh'd with conqueft, aim to hit.
by a bodily disorder, derives strength from the distemper of the mind, I formerly proposed to read-" Weakened with age," or, "Weakened with pain."
When a word is repeated, without propriety, in the fame or two fucceeding lines, there is great reafon to fufpect fome corruption. Thus, in this fcene, in the first folio, we have "able heels," inftead of "armed heels," in confequence of the word able having occurred in the preceding line. So, in Hamlet: "Thy news fhall be the news," &c. inftead of "Thy news fhall be the fruit." Again, in Macbeth, inftead of " Whom we, to gain our place," &c. we find―
"Whom we, to gain our peace, have fent to peace."
In this conjecture I had once fome confidence; but it is much diminished by the subsequent note, and by my having lately obferved that Shakspeare elsewhere ufes grief for bodily pain. Falftaff, in King Henry IV. Part I. p. 406, speaks of "the grief of a wound." Grief, in the latter part of this line, is ufed in its prefent fenfe, for forrow; in the former part for bodily pain. MALONE.
Grief, in ancient language, fignifies bodily pain, as well as forrow. So, in A Treatife of fundrie Difeafes, &c. by T. T. 1591: "he being at that time griped fore, and having grief in his lower bellie." Dolor ventris is, by our old writers, frequently tranflated "grief of the guts." I perceive no need of alteration. STEEVENS.
nice-] i. e. trifling. So, in Julius Cæfar:
it is not meet
"That every nice offence fhould bear his comments.” STEEVENS.
5 The ragged'ft hour-] Mr. Theobald and the fubfequent editors read-The rugged ft. But change is unneceffary, the expreffion in the text being used more than once by our author. In As you like it, Amiens fays, his voice is ragged; and rag is employed as a term of reproach in The Merry Wives of Windfor,