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Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
GREEN, Bagot, Ross, and WILLOUGHBY.
. Queen. How fares our noble uncle, Lancaster ? K. Rich. What, comfort, man ! How is't with aged
Gaunt? Gaunt. O, how that name befits my composition ! Old Gaunt, indeed ; and gaunt in being old : Within me grief hath kept a tedious fast ; And who abstains from meat, that is not gaunt? For sleeping England long time have I watch'd ; Watching breeds leanness, leanness is all gaunt: The pleasure that some fathers feed upon Is my strict fast, I mean my children's looks; And therein fasting hast thou made me gaunt. Gaunt am I for the grave, gaunt as a grave, Whose hollow womb inherits nought but bones. K. Rich. Can sick men play so nicely with their
names? Gaunt. No; misery makes sport to mock itself: Since thou dost seek to kill my name in me, I mock my name, great king, to flatter thee. K. Rich. Should dying men flatter with those that
lives? Gaunt. No, no; men living flatter those that die. K. Rich. Thou, now a-dying, say’st—thou flatter’st me. Gaunt. O! no; thou diest, though I the sicker be.
8 — flatter with those that live ?] The folio omits the preposition. Farther on it reads, “I see thee ill :" the quartos, “and see thee ill."
K. Rich. I am in health, I breathe, and see thee ill.
Gaunt. Now, He that made me knows I see thee ill;
K. Rich. A lunatic lean-witted fool”,
. And yet, INCAGED in so small a verge,] The four early quartos have inraged: the error is corrected in the first folio.
| Landlord of England art thou now, not king :] In the old copies, this line is differently printed : in the quarto, 1597, thus :
“ Landlord of England art thou now not, not king ;" and so it is repeated in the quartos of 1598 and 1608 ; but that of 1615 substitutes nor for the last not. The folio, 1623, reads,
“ Landlord of England art thou, and not king ; ” which is much less forcible than our text, in which the repetition of the negative, injurious to the metre and to the sense of the passage, is omitted. None of the commentators have pointed out the variation. The allusion, of course, is to the manner in which Richard had let out his kingdom“ to farm.”
A lunatic lean-witted fool,] This is the reading of all the quarto editions : the folio gives it thus :
Rich. And thou a lunatic lean-witted fool,” &c.
Presuming on an ague's privilege,
Gaunt. O! spare me not, my brother Edward's son,
[Exit, borne out by his Attendants. K. Rich. And let them die, that age and sullens
have“, For both hast thou, and both become the grave.
York. I do beseech your majesty, impute his words To wayward sickliness and age in him :
CHASING the royal blood] So all the quartos: the folio, 1623, chafing. 4 And let them die, that age and sullens have,] This is the reading of all the old copies, and therefore to be adopted ; but it may be doubted whether it be correct. In a MS. common-place book of the time, already quoted, the couplet runs as follows, under the head of “ Age and Fulness,"
“ And let them die, that age and fulness have,
For both hast thou, and both become the grave.” “ Sullens ” might be easily misread by the compositor for fulness ; but, nevertheless, what York says seems to show, that the King meant to reproach Gaunt with ill-temper.
He loves you, on my life, and holds you dear
Enter NORTHUMBERLAND. North. My liege, old Gaunt commends him to your
North. Nay, nothing ; all is said.
York. Be York the next that must be bankrupt so! Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe.
K. Rich. The ripest fruit first falls, and so doth he: His time is spent; our pilgrimage must be. So much for that.-Now for our Irish wars. We must supplant those rough rug-headed kerns, Which live like venom, where no venom else, But only they, hath privilege to live: And for these great affairs do ask some charge, Towards our assistance we do seize to us The plate, coin, revenues, and moveables, Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess’d.
York. How long shall I be patient? Ah! how long Shall tender duty make me suffer wrong? Not Gloster's death, nor Hereford's banishment, Not Gaunt's rebukes, nor England's private wrongs, Nor the prevention of poor Bolingbroke About his marriage, nor my own disgrace, Have ever made me sour my patient cheek, Or bend one wrinkle on my sovereign's face. I am the last of noble Edward's sons, Of whom thy father, prince of Wales, was first : In war was never lion rag'd more fierce, In peace was never gentle lamb more mild,
Than was that young and princely gentleman.
K. Rich. Why, uncle, what's the matter?
O, my liege!
5 Accomplished with the number of thy hours ;] This is the correct reading of the folio : the quartos all have the indefinite for the definite article. 6 His LIVERY,]
“ On the death of every person (says Malone) who held by knight's service, the escheator of the court in which he died summoned a jury, who inquired what estate he died seized of, and of what age his next heir was. If he was under age, he became a ward of the king ; but if he was found to be of full age, he then had a right to sue out a writ of ouster le main, that is, his litery, that the king's hand might be taken off, and the land delivered to him.”