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Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood
have but mistook me all this while:
Aum. My father hath a power, enquire of him,
task it is, to win our own.-
Scroop. Men judge by the complexion of the sky
? How can you say to me, I am a king ?] We follow here the regulation of all the old copies, quarto and folio, which is to be preferred to the modern arrangement, which only varies without curing the defect. Were we to adopt Capel's advice, we should insert like you twice over, in order to complete what he considered defective lines. The case might be different if there were any difference in the original editions. In the next line the folio, 1623, reads, “My lord, wise men ne'er wail their present woes," omitting the word “sit,” which is important, because from it we may, perhaps, gather, that in his despondency Richard had thrown himself upon the ground, where he remained until roused by the reproof of the Bishop, (whom Malone calls Bishop in one place and Carlisle in another,) and by the hope expressed by Aumerle, when Richard starts up with the exclamation, “ Thou chid'st me well.”
3 [And so your follies fight against yourself.] This line is omitted in the folios.
So may you by my dull and heavy eye,
My tongue hath but a heavier tale to say.
K. Rich. Thou hast said enough.-
Aum. My liege, one word.
He does me double wrong,
* Your uncle York is join'd-) So all the old copies: Malone reads “ hath joined.” Three lines lower the four early quartos read “party,” and the folio faction.
5 TO EAR the land that hath some hope to grow,] i. e. to cultivate that soil which promises to be productive. To “ear the land” meant to prepare it for seed by ploughing it. In “ Antony and Cleopatra,” Shakespeare speaks of “earing" or ploughing the sea :
“ Make the sea serve them, which they ear and wound
Wales. A Plain before Flint Castle.
Enter, with Drum and Colours, BOLINGBROKE and
Forces ; YORK, NORTHUMBERLAND, and Others.
North. The news is very fair and good, my lord :
York. It would beseem the lord Northumberland,
North. Your grace mistakes; only to be brief,
The time hath been,
Boling. Mistake not, uncle, farther than you should.
should, Lest you mistake: the heavens are o'er our heads”.
Boling. I know it, uncle; and oppose not myself Against their will.—But who comes here?
6 Have been so brief with you,] The words “ with you” are from the first folio. They improve the sense, and complete the metre.
7 – the heavens are o'er our heads.) So the quartos of 1597 and 1598. The folio has “o'er your head," an error easily explained, because the quartos of 1608 and 1615 read, “o'er your heads,” which being clearly wrong, the editor of the folio, 1623, made heads singular.
Percy. The castle royally is mann'd, my lord,
Yes, my good lord,
North. 0! belike it is the bishop of Carlisle.
8 That from the castle's TATTER'd battlements-] Tottered in the quartos of 1597 and 1598 : “ tattered” in the quartos of 1608, 1615, and the folios. Boswell suggested that tottered was put for tottering, but as has been stated in note 9, p. 94, of this volume, the oldest mode of spelling “ tattered ” was tottered : consequently," tattered battlements” merely means ragged battle10 Of his bright passage to the occident.] In every old edition, quarto and folio, this and the preceding five lines are given to Bolingbroke, and there is no sufficient reason for taking them from him, and giving them to York, as has been done by all the editors since the time of Warburton, some with and others without notice. It is not at all inconsistent with the character of Bolingbroke, and with what he has before said of Richard, that he should now so speak of him; and, as has been remarked, all the authorities are in favour of the restoration.
Our fair appointments may be well perus’d.
A parley sounded, and answered by a Trumpet within.
Flourish. Enter on the walls King RICHARD, the Bishop of Carlisle, AUMERLE, SCROOP, and SALIS
Boling. See, see, king Richard doth himself
appear, As doth the blushing discontented sun From out the fiery portal of the east, When he perceives the envious clouds are bent To dim his glory, and to stain the track Of his bright passage to the occident".
York. Yet looks he like a king: behold, his eye,
ments : if the battlements were tottering, they would have been no very good defence for the King. We may add one proof of what we have advanced from the old play of the “ Alarum for London,” 1602, which is peculiarly apposite :
“Whose streetes besmear'd with blood, whose blubber'd eyes,
Whose tottered walls, whose buildings overthrowne,” &c.
when their thundering shock] It stands “ thundering smoke" in the folio, and in three of the quartos, and some modern editors have expressed wonder whence “shock” was obtained ? The answer is very short-from the first quarto in 1597, which indisputably contains the best text of this play.
After he has so spoken, and after York's answer, we must suppose Bolingbroke to retire with York, and to leave the conduct of the interview to Northumberland, until he rejoins Bolingbroke just before Richard descends to the plain. Richard's observation to Northumberland, “ For yond', methinks, he stands,” shows that Bolingbroke was not out of sight.