Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

:

security, and is shocking to the common sense of right and wrong. If he had been at all solicitous for the honour of the Church, he would have qualified and screened such a sentiment as this, or rather, he would have suppressed it altogether and that he has done neither the one nor the other, is a plain proof that he did not scruple to expose to the execration of the people the darkest parts of the system, and do his part to keep in mind that such extreme opinions might be cherished in the Church. If he himself secretly approved of them, which we cannot believe, he still would not have cared to expose them in all their native deformity. It should be remembered that something like encouragement was actually held out to take the life of Queen Elizabeth, or, at least, her ministers chose to have it thought so.

16

KING RICHARD THE SECOND.

I. 1. NORFOLK.

Which to maintain, I would allow him odds;

And meet him, were I tied to run a-foot

Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps,

Or any other ground INHABITABLE,

Where ever Englishman durst set his foot.

It seems superfluous to cite other authorities than those already adduced for "inhabitable" being used where we now write uninhabitable; but as the change which this word has undergone illustrates the little care that was taken to preserve the purity of the English language in the century which succeeded the time of Shakespeare, a few others may not uselessly be added.

Deserte forsaken or left inhabit.-PALsgrave.

For they were all drawn into the forest of Gedworth, the which was inhabitable.-LORD BERNERS' Translation of FROISSART, p. 38.

Former writers would have the Zones inhabitable; we find them by experience temperate.-FELTHAM'S RESOLVES, p. 27.

We now prefix a second negative particle, and speak of an uninhabited house, an uninhabitable country.

II. 1. GAUNT.

This fortress built by Nature for herself,
Against INFESTION, and the hand of war.

This is a most extraordinary interference with the genuine text of Shakespeare: for not only does the word "infection," which appears in all the editions quarto or folio, afford a sufficiently good sense, but it is supplanted by a word for which no authority can be produced that it was ever a word used in England, and which yields no sense, or at least none

that can be regarded as to be preferred. The sea is some defence against pestilential infections: it is also a defence against moral infections, which probably were intended.

The passage is quoted in England's Parnassus, 1600, where the word is printed "intestion ;" and this misprint has been the origin of the corruption in this place of Shakespeare's

text.

The following passage in the Dedication of The Running Register to Sir Julius Cæsar, by Lewis Owen, 1626, may be brought in support of the probability that moral not natural infection was what Shakespeare meant.

Having in my many years travell in forain countries seene with mine eyes, and by conference with others learned, the state of the colleges, seminaries, and cloisters which our English Fugitives have in all those forraine parts, together with some part of their practices, impostures, cozenage, and deceits, their whole drifte being to alienate the hearts of his Majesty's subjects from their allegiance, and to possess them with the filthy dregs of Spanish infection and Popish superstition.

II. 1. NORTHUMBERLAND.

[The son of Richard Earl of Arundel,]

That late broke from the Duke of Exeter.

This line is supplied by Mr. Malone, there being nothing correspondent to it in any of the old copies.

That a line expressing what is here expressed is necessary, and must once have existed, unless we are to suppose that the poet wrote with most unwonted carelessness, appears from these two considerations: (1) that without it the line,

His brother, archbishop late of Canterbury,

would refer to a brother of the Duke of Exeter, or less probably of Lord Cobham or the Earl of Hereford, while it is certain that none of these noblemen had a brother who was Archbishop of Canterbury, and that Archbishop Arundel of the time was brother of the Earl of Arundel. (2) When Shakespeare wrote this speech of the Earl of Northumber

land he had Hollinshead open before him, and there we read, "About the same time the Earl of Arundel's son, named Thomas, which was kept in the Duke of Exeter's house, escaped out of the realm by means of one William Scot," &c.

It is observed by Mr. Malone that in the second scene of the fifth act there is another line dropped out at the press in the First Folio,

Ill may'st thou thrive if thou grant any grace;

and that it is recovered from the Quarto. But certainly no such line is found in that scene as printed in Boswell's Malone; nor do I find it in Steevens' reprint of the Quarto.

III. 2. K. RICHARD.

For, within the hollow crown

That rounds the mortal temples of a King

Keeps Death his court; and there the ANTICK sits,
Scoffing his state, and grinning at his pomp ;

Allowing him a breath, a little scene,

To monarchize, be feared, and kill with looks;

Infusing him with self and vain conceit,—

As if this flesh which walls about our life

Were brass impregnable; and, humour'd thus,
Comes at the last, and with a little pin

Bores through his castle wall, and—farewell king!

We have already had a passage in Much Ado in which the word antic is used, meaning one of those figures rudely drawn on the walls of churches or other antient edifices according to the taste of our ancestors. How they came to be called antics, and the connection of this word with the word antique, I have attempted to explain at large in an article on this word inserted in Boucher's Glossary, 1832. Death was a frequent subject of such paintings, and especially his triumph over men of all estates. This Dance of Death, such was the somewhat inappropriate name given to it, was

painted in the church of St. Paul's, where it may have been frequently in the eye of Shakespeare, if he had not had in his youth opportunities of contemplating the same subject in the chapel at Stratford. The whole is familiar to the public by the engravings after (supposed) Holbein; and it can hardly be doubted by any one who observes the position of Death in the picture of the Emperor, that Shakespeare had these designs in his mind when he wrote this splendid passage:

Seated on a throne, and holding in his hand the sword of state, he is attentively listening to an advocate pleading in a soothing tone against an unfortunate peasant, who trembling waits in the most suppliant posture the decree that is to determine his fate. Death at this moment displays all his power; he proudly takes possession of the bottom of the throne, and is carelessly leaning his arm on the Monarch's crown. - THE DANCE OF DEATH, p. 18.

Marlowe alludes to the same paintings :

To make his monks and abbots stand like apes,

4to. 1803,

And point like Antiques at his triple crown.-DOCTOR FAUSTUS.

V. 1. QUEEN.

This is the way the King will come; this is the way

To Julius Cæsar's ill-erected tower,

To whose flint bosom my condemned lord

Is doomed a prisoner by proud Bolinbroke.
Here let me rest, if this rebellious earth
Have any resting for her true King's queen.
But soft, but see, or rather do not see

My fair rose wither: Yet, look up, behold;
That you in pity may dissolve to dew,
And wash him fresh again with true-love tears.-
Ah! thou, the model where old Troy did stand;
Thou map of honour; thou King Richard's tomb,
And not King Richard; thou most beauteous inn,
Why should hard-favour'd Grief be lodged in thee,
When Triumph is become an alehouse guest?

It is to the latter part of this broken speech that my remarks are chiefly to be addressed. All the commentators appear to agree that the lines

Ah! thou, the model where old Troy did stand, &c.

« EdellinenJatka »