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when Henry said nothing, the first speech might be as properly given to Warwick as to any other. JOHNSON. Line 683. my meed hath got me fame:] Meed signifies reward. We should read-my deed; i. e. my manners, conduct in the administration. WARBURTON.
This word signifies merit, both as a verb and a substantive: that it is used as a verb, is clear from the following foolish couplet which I remember to have read:
"Deem if I meed,
"Dear madam, read."
A Specimen of Verses that read the same way back-
Shout within. A Lancaster!] Surely the shouts that ushered king Edward should be, A York! A York! I suppose the author did not write the marginal directions, and the players confounded the characters. JOHNSON. We may suppose the shouts to have come from some of Henry's guard, on the appearance of Edward. MALONE.
Line 708. And, lords, towards Coventry bend we our course, Where peremptory Warwick now remains:] Warwick, as Mr. M. Mason has observed, has but just left the stage, declaring his intention to go to Coventry. How then could Edward know of that intention?
Some of our old writers seem to have thought, that all the persons of the drama must know whatever was known to the writers themselves, or to the audience. MALONE.
ACT V. SCENE I.
Line 60. The king was slily finger'd from the deck!] A pack of cards was formerly called a deck of cards.
so blunt,] Stupid, insensible of paternal fondJOHNSON. -passing traitor,] Eminent, egregious; traitorous beyond the common track of treason. JOHNSON.
ACT V. SCENE II.
Line 145. -a bug that fear'd us all.] Bug is a bugbear, a terrifick being.
Line 170. My parks, &c.]
Cedes coemptis saltibus, et domo,
This mention of his parks and manors diminishes the pathetick effect of the foregoing lines. JOHNSON.
and, of all my lands,
Is nothing left me, but my body's length !]
"Quantula sint hominum corpuscula." Juv.
Camden mentions in his Remains, that Constantine, in order to dissuade a person from covetousness, drew out with his lance the length and breadth of a man's grave, adding, "this is all thou shalt have when thou art dead, if thou canst happily get so much." MALONE.
ACT V. SCENE IV.
Line 308. K. Edw. Brave followers, &c.] This scene is illcontrived, in which the king and queen appear at once on the stage at the head of opposite armies. It had been easy to make one retire before the other entered. JOHNSON.
ACT V. SCENE V.
Line 330. -to Hammes' castle-] A castle in Picardy, where Oxford was confined for many years.
MALONE. Line 362. Let Esop &c.] The prince calls Richard, for his crookedness, Æsop; and the poet, following nature, makes Richard highly incensed at the reproach. JOHNSON, Line 380. -the likeness of this railer here. &c.] That thou resemblest thy railing mother. JOHNSON. Line 417. -you have rid this sweet young prince.] The condition of this warlike queen would move compassion, could it be forgotten that she gave York, to wipe his eyes in his captivity, a handkerchief stained with his young child's blood. JOHNSON. Line 431. 'Twas sin before,] She alludes to the desertion of Clarence. JOHNSON.
Where is that devil's butcher,
Hard-favour'd Richard?] Devil's butcher, is a butcher set on by the devil.
Line 464. What scene of death hath Roscius now to act?] Roscius was certainly put for Richard by some simple conceited player who had heard of Roscius and of Rome; but did not know that he was an actor in comedy, not in tragedy. WARBURTON.
Shakspeare had occasion to compare Richard to some player about to represent a scene of murder, and took the first or only name of antiquity that occurred to him, without being very scrupulous about its propriety. STEEVENS. Line 474. peevish fool-] As peevishness is the quality of children, peevish seems to signify childish, and by consequence silly. Peevish is explained by childish, in a former note of Dr. Warburton. JOHNSON. Line 496. Which now mistrust no parcel of my fear;] Who suspect no part of what my fears presage. JOHNSON.
The raven rook'd her-] To rook means to squat
Line 507. down.
END OF THE ANNOTATIONS ON THE THIRD PART OF KING HENRY VI.
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF
KING RICHARD III.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Line 2. -this sun of York;] ALLUDING to the cognizance of Edward IV. which was a sun, in memory of the three suns which are said to have appeared at the battle which he gained over the Lancastrians at Mortimer's Cross. STEEVENS.
Line 7. Our stern alarums chang'd to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures. Grim-visag'd war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front; And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds, &c.] It is not improbable that Shakspeare was indebted on this occasion to the following lines in The tragical Life and Death of King Richard the Third, which is one of the metrical monologues in a collection entitled, The Mirrour of Magistrates, the preface to which is dated 1586.
-the battles fought in fields before
"The war-god's thundring cannons dreadful rore,
"God Mars laid by his launce, and tooke his lute, "And turn'd his rugged frownes to smiling lookes; "Instead of crimson fields, war's fatal fruit, "He bath'd his limbs in Cypris warbling brookes, "And set his thoughts upon her wanton lookes.” STEEV. Line 10. barbed steeds] Are steeds adorned with military trappings. I. Haywarde, in his Life and Raigne of Henry IV. 1599, says,—“The duke of Hereford came to the barriers, "mounted upon a white courser, barbed with blue and green "velvet," &c. STEEVENS.
Line 12. He capers-] War capers. This is poetical, though a little harsh; if it be York that capers, the antecedent is at such a distance, that it is almost forgotten. JOHNSON.
Line 19. Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,] By dissembling is not meant hypocritical nature, that pretends one thing and does another; but nature that puts together things of a dissimilar kind, as a brave soul and a deformed body. WARB. Dissembling is here put very licentiously for fraudful, deceitful. JOHNSON. Feature is used here, as in other pieces of the same age, for beauty in general. MALONE.
Line 28. And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,] Shakspeare very diligently inculcates, that the wickedness of Richard proceeded from his deformity, from the envy that rose at the comparison of his own person with others, and which incited him to disturb the pleasures that he could not partake. JOHNSON. Line 31. And hate the idle pleasures-] Perhaps we might read,
And bate the idle pleasures
Line 32. inductions dangerous,] Preparations for mischief. The induction is preparatory to the action of the play.
Line 36. —Edward be as true and just,] The meaning is, if Edward keeps his word.
JOHNSON. Line 64. -toys-] Fancies, freaks of imagination. JOHNS. -81. Humbly complaining, &c.] I think these two lines might be better given to Clarence.