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It follows in his thought, that I am he:
Glo. Why, this it is, when men are rul'd by women:-
Clar. By heaven, I think, there is no man secure,
"By that blind riddle of the letter G,
"George lost his life; it took effect in me."
toys] Fancies, freaks of imagination. Johnson.
So, in Hamlet, Act I, sc. iv: 2.
"The very place puts toys of desperation,
"Without more motive, into every brain." Reed.
7 That tempers him to this extremity.] I have collated the original quarto published in 1597, verbatim with that of 1598.
In the first copy this line stands thus:
"That tempers him to this extremity."
and so undoubtedly we should read
fashion. So, in Titus Andronicus:
To temper is to mould, to
"Now will I to that old Andronicus;
"And temper him, with all the art I have,
"To pluck proud Lucius from the warlike Goths." Malone. * To temper is not to mold or to fashion, but to harden, to soften, to molify, any thing to suit the purpose for which it is intended. Am. Ed.
8 Humbly complaining &c.] I think these two lines might be better given to Clarence. Johnson.
9 The jealous o'er-worn widow, and herself,] That is, the Queen and Shore. Johnson.
Since that our brother dubb'd them gentlewomen,
Brak. I beseech your graces both to pardon me ;
Glo. Even so? an please your worship, Brakenbury, You may partake of any thing we say:
We speak no treason, man;-We say, the king
A bonny eye, a passing pleasing tongue;
And the queen's kindred2 are made gentlefolks:
Brak. With this, my lord, myself have nought to do. Glo. Naught to do with mistress Shore? I tell thee, fellow,
He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
1 Well struck in years;] This odd expression in our language was preceded by others as uncouth though of a similar kind. Thus, in Arthur Hall's translation of the first Book of Homer's Iliad, 1581:
"In Grea's forme, the good handmaid, nowe wel ystept in yeares."
"Well shot in years he seem'd,” &c. Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. V, c. vi. The meaning of neither is very obvious; but as Mr. Warton has observed in his essay on The Fairy Queen, by an imperceptible progression from one kindred sense to another, words at length obtain a meaning entirely foreign to their original etymology.
2 And the queen's kindred —] The old copies harshly and unnecessarily read
And that the queen's &c. Steevens.
3 alone.] Surely the adjective-alone, is an interpolation, as what the Duke is talking of, is seldom undertaken before witBesides, this word deranges the metre, which, without it, would be regular:-for instance:
Were best to do it secretly.
Her husband, knave:-Would'st thou betray me?
Brak. What one, my lord?
Glo. Her husband, knave :-Would'st thou betray me? Brak. I beseech your grace to pardon me; and, withal, Forbear your conference with the noble duke.
Clar. We know thy charge, Brakenbury, and will obey.
And whatsoe'er you will employ me in,-
Mean time, this deep disgrace in brotherhood,
the queen's abjects,] That is, not the queen's subjects whom she might protect, but her abjects whom she drives away. Johnson.
So, in The Case is altered. How? Ask Dalio and Milo, 1604:
"This ougly object, or rather abject of nature." Henderson. I cannot approve of Johnson's explanation. Gloster forms a substantive from the adjective abject, and uses it to express a lower degree of submission than is implied by the word subject, which otherwise he would naturally have made use of. The Queen's abjects, means the most servile of her subjects, who must of course obey all her commands; which would not be the case of those whom she had driven away from her.
In a preceding page Gloster had said of Shore's wife66 I think, it is our way,
"If we will keep in favour with the king,
"To be her men, and wear her livery."
The idea is the same in both places, though the expression differs. In Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour, Puntarvolo says to Swift:
"I'll make thee stoop, thou abject!" M. Mason.
This substantive was not of Shakspeare's formation. We meet with it in Psalm xxxv, 15: "-yea the very abjects came together against me unawares, making mouths at me, and ceased not."
5 Were it to call King Edward's widow-sister,] This is a very covert and subtle manner of insinuating treason. The natural expression would have been, were it to call king Edward's wife, sister. I will solicit for you, though it should be at the expence of so much degradation and constraint, as to own the low-born wife of King Edward for a sister. But by slipping, as it were casually, widow, into the place of wife, he tempts Clarence with an oblique proposal to kill the King. Johnson.
King Edward's widow is, I believe, only an expression of contempt, meaning the widow Grey, whom Edward had chosen for his queen. Gloster has already called her, the jealous o'er-worn widow.
Glo. Well, your imprisonment shall not be long, I will deliver you, or else lie for you:6
Mean time, have patience.
I must perforce;7 farewel [Exeunt CLAR. BRAK. and Guard Glo. Go, tread the path that thou shalt ne'er return. Simple, plain Clarence!—I do love thee so, That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven, If heaven will take the present at our hands. But who comes here? the new-deliver'd Hastings? Enter HASTINGS.
Hast. Good time of day unto my gracious lord! Glo. As much unto my good lord chamberlain ! Well are you welcome to this open air. How hath your lordship brook'd imprisonment? Hast. With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must: But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks, That were the cause of my imprisonment.
Glo. No doubt, no doubt; and so shall Clarence too; For they, that were your enemies, are his, And have prevail'd as much on him, as you.
Hast. More pity, that the eagle should be mew'd,3 While kites and buzzards prey at liberty.
Glo. What news abroad?
Hast. No news so bad abroad, as this at home;The king is sickly, weak, and melancholy,
And his physicians fear him mightily.
Glo. Now, by saint Paul, this news is bad indeed. O, he hath kept an evil diet1 long,
And over-much consum'd his royal person;
lie for you:] He means to be imprisoned in your stead To lie was anciently to reside, as appears by many instances in these volumes. Reed.
7 I must perforce;] Alluding to the proverb, "Patience perforce, is a medicine for a mad dog." Steevens.
should be mew'd,] A mew was the place of confinement where a hawk was kept till he had moulted. So, in Albumazar: "Stand forth, transform'd Antonio, fully mew'd "From brown soar feathers of dull yeomanry, "To the glorious bloom of gentry." Steevens.
Now, by saint Paul,] The folio reads:
an evil diet i. e. a bad regimen. Steevens.
'Tis very grievous to be thought upon. What, is he in his bed?
Glo. Go you before, and I will follow you.
He cannot live, I hope; and must not die,
Which done, God take king Edward to his mercy,
For then I'll marry Warwick's youngest daughter :3
By marrying her, which I must reach unto.
Clarence still breathes; Edward still lives, and reigns;
The same. Another Street.
Enter the Corpse of King HENRY the Sixth, borne in an open Coffin, Gentlemen bearing Halberds, to guard it; and Lady ANNE as mourner.
Anne. Set down, set down your honourable load,If honour may be shrouded in a hearse,— Whilst I a while obsequiously lament The untimely fall of virtuous Lancaster.
2 He is.] Sir Thomas Hanmer very properly completes this broken verse, by reading
He is, my lord. Steevens.
obsequiously lament -] Obsequious, in this instance,
means funereal. So, in Hamlet, Act 1, sc. ii:
"To do obsequious sorrow." Steevens.