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And good my lord of Somerset, unite
[Flourill. Exeunt King HENRY, Glo. Som.
WIN. SUF. and Basset. WAR. My lord of York, I promise you, the king Prettily, methought, did play the orator.
York. And so he did; but yet I like it not, In that he wears the badge of Somerset.
War. Tush! that was but his fancy, blame him not; I dare presume, sweet prince, he thought no harm.
York. And, if I wist, he did, : _But let it rest; Other affairs must now be managed.
[Exeunt York, Warwick, and Vernon.
& And, if I wilt, he did,] In former editions :
And, if I wish, he did By the pointing reform’d, and a single letter expung'd, I have restored the text to its purity :
And, if I wis, he did Warwick had said, the king meant no harm in wearing Somerset's rose: York testily replies, “ Nay, if I know any thing, he did think harm." THEOBALD.
This is followed by the succeeding editors, and is indeed plausible enough; but perhaps this speech may become sufficiently intelligible without any change, only supposing it broken:
And if I wish he did or, perhaps :
And if he did — I wish Johnson. I read, I wijt, the pret. of the old obsolete verb I wis, which is used by Shakspeare in The Merchant of Venice :
• There be fools alive, I wis,
Exe. Well didst thou, Richard, to suppress thy
voice: For, had the passions of thy heart burst out, I fear, we should have seen decipher'd there More rancorous spite, more furious raging broils, Than yet can be imagin’d or suppos’d. But howsoe'er, no simple man that sees This jarring discord of nobility, This should’ring of each other in the court, This factious bandying of their favourites, But that it doth presage some ill event. 'Tis much, when scepters are in children's hands; But more, when envy breeds unkind division ; 3 There comes the ruin, there begins confusion. [Exit.
York says, he is not pleased that the king should prefer the red rose, the badge of Somerset, his enemy; Warwick desires him not to be offended at it, as he dares say the king meant no harm. To which York, yet unsatisfied, haftily adds, in a menacing tone, If I thought he did;—but he instantly checks his threat with, let it reft. It is an example of a rhetorical figure, which our author has elsewhere used. Thus, in Coriolanus :
« An 'twere to give again-But 'tis no matter." Mr. Steevens is too familiar with Virgil, not to recollect his
Quos egon sed motos præftat componere flu&us. The author of the Revisal understood this passage in the same manner. Ritson.
9 it doth presage fome ill event.] That is, it doth presage te him that fees this discord, &c. that some ill event will happen.
MALONE. 2 'Tis much,] In our author's time, this phrase meant—'Tis ftrange, or wonderful. See, As you like it, Vol. VI. p. 136, n. 3. This meaning being included in the word much, the word strange is perhaps understood in the next line : “ But more strange," &c. The construction however may be, But 'tis much more, when, &c.
MALONE. 'Tis much, is a colloquial phrase, and the meaning of it, in many instances, can be gathered only from the tenor of the speech in which it occurs. On the present occasion, I believe, it signifies 'Tis an alarming circumstance, a thing of great consequence, or of much weight. STEEVENS.
3 when envy breeds unkind divijion;] Envy in old English
Enter Talbot, with his Forces.
Trumpet founds a parley. Enter, on the walls, the
General of the French Forces, and Others.
English John Talbot, captains, calls you forth,
writers frequently means enmity. Unkind is unnatural. See Vol. V. p. 555, l. 12; and Vol. VI. p. 70, n. 3. MALONE.
5 Lean famine, quartering fleel, and climbing fire;] The author of this play followed Hall's Chronicle: “ The Goddesse of warre, called Bellona-hath these three hand-maides ever of necessitie attendyng on her; Bloud, Fyre, and Famine; whiche thre damosels be of that force and Itrength that every one of them alone is able and sufficient to torment and afflict a proud prince; and they all joyned together are of puissance to destroy the most populous countrey and most richest region of the world.” MALONE.
It may as probably be asserted that our author followed Holinshed, from whom I have already quoted a part of this passage in a note on the first Chorus to King Henry V. See Holinshed, p. 567.
If you forsake the offer of their love.
Gen. Thou ominous and fearful owl of death,
the offer of their love.] Thus the old editions. Sir T. Hanmer altered it to our. Johnson.
“ Their love" may mean, the peaceable demeanour of my three attendants; their forbearing to injure you. But the expression is harsh. MALONE. There is much such another line in King Henry VIII:
“ If you omit the offer of the time.” I believe, the reading of Sir T. Hanmer should be adopted.
STEEVENS. " To rive their dangerous artillery-] I do not understand the phrase-to rive artillery ; perhaps it might be to drive; we say to drive a blow, and to drive at a man, when we mean to express furious assault. JOHNSON.
To rive seems to be used, with some deviation from its common meaning, in Antony and Cleopatra, Act IV. sc. ii : “ The soul and body rive not more at parting."
STEEVENS, Rive their artillery seems to mean charge their artillery so much as to endanger their bursting. So, in Troilus and Creida, Ajax bids the trumpeter blow so loud, as to crack his lungs and split his . brazen pipe. "TOLLET.
To rive their artillery means only to fire their artillery.—To rive is to burst; and a cannon, when fired, has so much the appearance
Upon no christian soul but English Talbot.
[Drum afar off.
[Exeunt General, &c. from the walls. TAL. He fables not, I hear the enemy;
of bursting, that, in the language of poetry, it may be well said to burst. We say, a cloud bursts, when it thunders.
M. Mason. 8 - due thee withal;] To due is to endue, to deck, to grace.
JOHNSON. Johnson says in his Dictionary, that to due is to pay as due; and quotes this passage as an example. Possibly that may be the true meaning of it. M. Mason.
It means, I think, to honour by giving thee thy due, thy merited elogium. Due was substituted for dew, the reading of the old copy, by Mr. Theobald. Dew was sometimes the old spelling of due, as Hew was of Hugh. Malone.
The old copy reads-dew thee withal; and perhaps rightly. The dew of praise is an expression I have met with in other poets. Shakspeare uses the same verb in Macbeth :
• To dew the sov’reign flow'r, and drown the weeds."
give me thy hand,
STEEVENS. 9 He fables not,] This expression Milton has borrowed in his Masque at Ludlow Castle:
“ She fables not, I feel that I do fear - " It occurs again in The Pinner of Wakefield, 1599:
“ good father, fable not with him." STEEVENS.