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You have no children, butchers! if you had,
The thought of them would have stirr'd up remorse :
But if you ever chance to have a child,
Look in his youth to have him so cut off

As, deathsmen, you have rid this sweet young prince!
K. Edw. Away with her! go, bear her hence perforce.
Q. Mar. Nay, never bear me hence, dispatch me here:


Here sheathe thy sword, I'll pardon thee my death. 70
What! wilt thou not? then, Clarence, do it thou.

Clar. By heaven, I will not do thee so much ease.
Q. Mar. Good Clarence, do; sweet Clarence, do thou do it.
Clar. Didst thou not hear me swear I would not do it?
Q. Mar. Ay, but thou usest to forswear thyself:
'Twas sin before, but now 'tis charity.

What! wilt thou not? Where is that devil's butcher,
Hard-favour'd Richard? Richard, where art thou?
Thou art not here: murder is thy alms-deed;
Petitioners for blood thou ne'er put'st back.



K. Edw. Away, I say! I charge ye, bear her hence.

Q. Mar. So come to you and yours, as to this prince! [Exit. K. Edw. Where's Richard gone?

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63-67. You... butchers . . . would . . . But . . . chance . . . child . . . deathsmen Deuils prince] 94-98. You.. stopt your rage, But hope sonne. Traitors 68-72. Away perforce death. What


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not ease] 99-104. Awaie, and beare her hence. Queen. Nay nere Wilt Clarence, doe thou doe it? would not. ease Q. Good do thou Didst.. do it... charity] 105-108. Good me too. Cla. Didst .. charity Q. 77-80. What . Where is that Thou art .. thy thou... put'st back] 109-112. Whears the . He is

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So... prince] 113,

114. Awaie I saie and take her hence perforce. Queen. So . 83-85. Where's post; and... Tower] 115-117. Clarence, gone? Cla. Marrie my Lord to London, and . . . Tower Q.

former epoch-making play. For the sentiment, see again in Richard II. v. ii. 51. Probably as old as poetry. Boas notices the parallels here. See earlier in Faerie Queene, II. i. 41: "fiers fate did crop the blossome of his age."

63. You have no children, butchers] Similarly in Macbeth, Iv. iii. 216, Macduff says: "He has no children. All my pretty ones? Did you say all?" Blackstone pointed out this parallel.

67. deathsmen] executioners. See 2 Henry VI. III. ii. 217; Lear, Iv. vi. 263; Lucrece, 1001. A favourite word of Greene's and not known before he used it. One of the casus belli perhaps.

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Clar. To London, all in post; and, as I guess,

To make a bloody supper in the Tower.
K. Edw. He's sudden if a thing comes in his head.
Now march we hence: discharge the common sort
With pay and thanks, and let's away to London
And see our gentle queen how well she fares:
By this, I hope, she hath a son for me.




The Tower.

SCENE VI.-London.

Enter King HENRY and GLOUCESTER, with the Lieutenant, on

Glou. Good day, my lord.

the walls.

What! at your book so hard? K. Hen. Ay, my good lord: my lord, I should say rather; 'Tis sin to flatter; good was little better: Good Gloucester and good devil were alike, And both preposterous; therefore, not good lord. Glou. Sirrah, leave us to ourselves: we must confer.


[Exit Lieutenant.

K. Hen. So flies the reckless shepherd from the wolf;
So first the harmless sheep doth yield his fleece,

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86-90. He's head... sort With pay... let's ... And see how By this.. me] 118-122. He is comes... head. Well, discharge souldiers with paie now let us towards London, To see vs. Exeunt Omnes Q.

doth fare, For by this

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Ff.; Enter 1-4. Good day, my lord alike] 5-9. And both butcher's knife]

Enter .] Enter Henry the sixt and Richard, with
Gloster to King Henry in the Tower Q.
I-4. Good day Lord... all alike Q.
omitted Q.


84. all in post] in post haste.


in the Tower of London, spoyled of his

86. sudden] impulsive, prompt. Fre- life, and all worldly felicitie, by Richard quent in Shakespeare.


I, 2. Gloucester . . . K. Hen.] This scene, the murder of Henry, bears the historic date May 21 or May 22, 1471. That puts it at a fortnight later than Tewkesbury (May 4), in which interval King Edward quelled the bastard Falconbridge's rising of Kentishmen under the pretence of freeing Henry, but in reality to kill and spoil. When this was performed: "Poore Kyng Henry the sixte, a little before depriued of his realme and Imperiall Crowne, was now,

duke of Gloucester (as the constant
fame ran) which, to thintent that Kyng
Edward his brother should be clere out
of all secret suspicion of sodain in-
uasion murthered the said king with a
dagger" (Hall, p. 303). Polydore Vergil
says a sword. Halliwell quotes from
Warkworth and other contemporaries,
with the remark: "the account (in
True Tragedie) of Henry's murder is
not in all probability far from the truth."
One writer asserted Henry died of pure
displeasure and melancholy.
7-9. shepherd.. wolf sheep
butcher's knife] Poor Henry at

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And next his throat unto the butcher's knife.
What scene of death hath Roscius now to act?
Glou. Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind;
The thief doth fear each bush an officer.
K. Hen. The bird that hath been limed in a bush,
With trembling wings misdoubteth every bush ;
And I, the hapless male to one sweet bird,
Have now the fatal object in my eye



Where my poor young was limed, was caught, and killed. Glou. Why, what a peevish fool was that of Crete,

That taught his son the office of a fowl!
And yet, for all his wings, the fool was drown'd.

K. Hen. I, Dædalus; my poor boy, Icarus ;

Thy father, Minos, that denied our course;
The sun that sear'd the wings of my sweet boy,
Thy brother Edward, and thyself the sea
Whose envious gulf did swallow up his life.
Ah! kill me with thy weapon, not with words.

10, II. What .. the guilty mind] 5, 6. What ..


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once limde doth feare the fatall bush, And I. &kild Q. 18-20. Why

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a guiltie

mind Q. 12. The thief. officer] omitted Q. 13-17. The bird . .. bush, and killed] 7-10. The birde poore... mine eie, where peevish fool fowl... for all. drown'd] II-14. Why • foole... birde, and yet for all that the poore Fowle was drownde Q. 21-28. I, Dædalus; boy ... course; . thy dagger's history] 15-20. I Dedalus . course, Thy brother Edward, the sunne that searde his wings, And thou the enuious gulfe that swallowed him. Oh better can my brest abide thy daggers . . . historie Q.


once pours out his Biblical similes; his book was likely enough the Book, as the Bible was usually called.

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10. Roscius] The great Roman actor (died 62 B.C.), referred to again in Hamlet, II. ii. 410. "Roscius.. the best Histrien or buffon that was in his dayes to be found" (Puttenham's Arte of English Poesie (Arber, 48)). He usually played comedy. Burbage, the Elizabethan actor, was known as Roscius, and many allusions to the fact are to be found a little later. Halliwell says here: "It would, perhaps, he going out of the way to conjecture that Burbage played this part, and was called Roscius Richard' on that account." See Collier's Memoirs of Alleyn (Shakespeare Soc. p. 13). Greene often refers to Roscius. And Nashe. See Introduction.

12. The thief. bush an officer] Compare Nashe, The Unfortunate Traveller (Grosart, v. 173), 1594: "A theefe they say mistakes euerie bush for a true man.' "A true man was an

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honest man, and “ they say "is the usual cognizance of a proverb, which, from the speaker, was to be expected. See again Times Whistle, Sat. 7, 1. 3485 (1615): “takes every bush to be a constable."

13. limed.. bush] See note at 2 Henry VI. 1. iii. 87. Shakespeare loved birds in or out of a cage-as he loved flowers in or out of a garden. Compare Kyd, Spanish Tragedy (111. iv. 41, 42, Boas):

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My breast can better brook thy dagger's point

Than can my ears that tragic history.

But wherefore dost thou come? is 't for my life?


Glou. Think'st thou I am an executioner?

K. Hen. A persecutor, I am sure, thou art :
If murdering innocents be executing,
Why, then thou art an executioner.

Glou. Thy son I kill'd for his presumption.

K. Hen. Hadst thou been kill'd when first thou didst



Thou hadst not liv'd to kill a son of mine.

And thus I prophesy: that many a thousand,

Which now mistrust no parcel of my fear,

And many an old man's sigh, and many a widow's,

And many an orphan's water-standing eye,
Men for their sons', wives for their husbands',



And orphans for their parents' timeless death,
Shall rue the hour that ever thou wast born.
The owl shriek'd at thy birth, an evil sign;
The night-crow cried, aboding luckless time;

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presumption Q.

29. But ... life?] omitted Q. 30-34. Think'st thou I... art: If. executing, Why, then thou... presumption] 21-25. Why doest thou thinke I art, And if executions, Then I know thou 35-37. Hadst thou been ... prophesy: that many] 26-293. Hadst thou bin prophesie of thee. That manie Q. 37-39. a thousand... sigh] omitted Q. 39-41. and many a widow's orphan's .. husbands'] 2931. a Widdow for her husbands death, And their husbands, children for their fathers, Q. Shall curse the time that euer thou wert borne Q. 44-52. The owl shriek'd goodly tree] 33-41. The owle shrikt . goodly tree Q. (reading tune for time: tempests: discord: undigest created for indigested and deformed).

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42. timeless] untimely. See Part I. v. iv. 5 (note). It occurs in Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra, Part I. II. i. (1578): "To see Andrugio tymeles dye."

43. rue the hour] "Tamburlaine shall rue the day, the hour Wherein " etc. (Tamburlaine, Part I. IV. 3 (28, b)). Quoted before at "ignominious" (Part I. IV. i. 97).

44. The owl] See 1 Henry VI. IV. ii. 15; and "night-owl" above, II. i. 130. Cf. Halliwell's quotation from Chaucer

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infants eie, Widowes for 43. Shall rue.. born] 32.

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(Shakespeare Library, p. 99, The True Tragedie) :—

"The jilous swan, ayenst hys deth that singeth,

The owle eke, that of deth the bode bringeth."

See Vergil's Eneid, iv. 462.

45. night-crow] or night-raven, a bird of superstition incapable of exact identification, Nycticorax. In Spenser he is constantly night-raven (followed by Peele). In the description of Horror (Faerie Queene, II. vii. 23):

"And after him Owles and Nightravens flew,

The hatefull messengers of heauy things,

Of death and dolor telling sad tidings."

Pliny (translated by Holland, xviii. 1)

Dogs howl'd, and hideous tempest shook down trees;
The raven rook'd her on the chimney's top,

And chattering pies in dismal discords sung.

Thy mother felt more than a mother's pain,

And yet brought forth less than a mother's hope; 50
To wit, an indigested and deformed lump,

Not like the fruit of such a goodly tree.

Teeth hadst thou in thy head when thou wast born,

53-56. Teeth hadst thou

Thou camest] 42-45. Teeth hadst thou ... that
He stabs him Q.

I have heard, Thou camst into the world.


says: "Are not some men ... well and fitly compared to those cursed foules flying in the darke, which . . . bewray their spight and enuie euen to the night." And in the tenth Book, chap. xii. is devoted to "unluckie birds, and namely, the Crow, Raven and Scritch-owl." 'The worst token of illluck that they give (Ravens), is when in their crying they seeme to swallow in their voice as though they were choked. . The Scritch-owle alwaies betokeneth some heauie newes . he is the verie monster of the night." But Pliny says he knew these things were not always true.

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45. aboding] foreboding. "Abodement" has occurred above. Compare Henry VIII. 1. i. 92-94; and the "boding screech owl" in 2 Henry VI. III. ii. 327. 46. Dogs howl'd] Compare Golding's Ovid, xv. 895: "The doggs did howle, and every where appeered gastly sprights; And with an earthquake shaken was the towne." The screechowl appears here likewise, at the murder of Julius Cæsar. See note at 1 Henry VI. I. i. 55. And see Part II. 1. iv. 18, 19.

47. rook'd] Generally explained by the "north county word," "ruck," signifying to squat or settle down, to lurk in a place. Steevens quotes twice from Chaucer, from Stanyhurst's Vergil, from Warner's Albion's England, and from Golding's Ovid:

66 on the house did rucke A cursed Owle the messenger of yll successe and lucke " (vi. 555, 556). But it does not seem satisfactory. We want here a noise, a note, or a croak, such as Pliny describes: "I would croak like a raven; I would bode, I would bode," says Thersites.

48. chattering pies] The magpie is

an unlucky bird in all the northern folklore. Compare the Nymphs that are turned into Pies, "the scolds of woods" that are "chattering still" at the end of the Fifth Book of Golding's Ovid.

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51. an indigested and] So Folio 1. Capell altered to the Quarto reading, "undigest created." See Part II. v. i. 157: "indigested lump" (note). Compare Sonnet 114. "To wit" has been retained from Q by mistake. 53. Teeth hadst thou born] Halliwell confirmed this from Ross of Warwick: "exiens cum dentibus et capillis ad humeros." All Richard's characteristics are in Hall, p. 342-3: "Richard was litle of stature, euill featured of limmes, croke backed, the left shulder muche higher than the righte, harde fauoured of visage, such as in estates is called a warlike visage, and emonge commen persones a crabbed face. He was malicious, wrothfull, and enuious, and it is reported, his mother the duches had much a dooe in her trauaill, that she could not be deliuered of hym uncut, and that he came into the worlde the fete forwarde, as menne bee borne outward [out of the world, coffined?] and as the fame ranne, not untothed." For the "legs forward," see below, line 71. Pliny has a chapter (vii. 8) "of those that be called Agrippæ." "To be borne with the feet forward is unnatural and unkind.. if a man should say, Born hardly and with much adoe Agrippina hath left in writing, That her sonne Nero also . enemie to all mankind, was borne with his feet forward" (Holland). See Nashe's Anatomie of Absurditie (Grosart, i. 53): “preposterously borne with their feete forward" (evidently referring to Pliny, 1589).

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