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Act. iii. sc. 3. Bolingbroke's speech:
Go to the rude ribs of that ancient castle, &c. Observe the fine struggle of a haughty sense of power and ambition in Bolingbroke with the necessity for dissimulation.
Ib. sc. t. See here the skill and judgment of our poet in giving reality and individual life, by the introduction of accidents in his historic plays, and thereby making them dramas, and not histories. How beautiful an islet of repose-a melancholy repose, indeed—is this scene with the Gardener and his Servant. And how truly affecting and realizing is the incident of the very horse Barbary, in the scene with the Groom in the last act!Groom. I was a poor groom of thy stable, King,
When thou wert King; who, travelling towards
That lorse, that I so carefully bave dress'd!
Bolingbroke's character, in general, is an instance how Shakspeare makes one play introductory to another ; for it is evidently a preparation for Henry IV., as Gloster in the third part of Henry VI. is for Richard III.
I would once more remark upon the exalted idea of the only true loyalty developed in this noble and impressive play. We have neither the rants of Beaumont and Fletcher, nor the sneers of Vassinger the vast importance of the personal character of the sovereign is distinctly enounced, whilst, at the same time, the genuine sanctity which surrounds him is attributed to, and grounded on, the position in which he stands as the
and exponent of the life and power of the state.
The great end of the body politic appears to be to humanize, and assist in the progressiveness of, the animal man ;—but the problem is so complicated with contingencies as to render it nearly impossible to lay down rules for the formation of a state. And should we be able to form a system of government, which should so balance its different powers as to form a check upon each, and so continually remedy and correct itself, it would, nevertheless, defeat its own aim ;—for man is destined to be guided by higher principles, by universal views, which can never be fulfilled in this state of existence,—by a spirit of progressiveness which can never be accomplished, for then it would cease to be. Plato's Republic is like Bunyan's Town of Man-Soul, -a description of an individual, all of whose faculties are in their proper subordination and inter-dependence ; and this it is assumed may be the prototype of the state as one great individual. But there is this sophism in it, that it is forgotten that the hu
man faculties, indeed, are parts and not separate things; but that you could never get chiefs who were wholly reason, ministers who were wholly understanding, soldiers all wrath, labourers all concupiscence, and so on through the rest. Each of these partakes of, and interferes with, all the others.
HENRY IV. PART I.
Act I. sc. 1. King Henry's speech:
No more the thirsty entrance of this soil
MOST obscure passage : but I think Theo
· thirsty entrance' means the dry penetrability, or bibulous drought, of the soil. The obscurity of this passage is of the Shakspearian sort.
Ib. sc. 2. In this, the first introduction of Falstaff, observe the consciousness and the intentionality of his wit, so that when it does not flow of its own accord, its absence is felt, and an effort visibly made to recall it. Note also throughout how Falstaff's pride is gratified in the power of influencing a prince of the blood, the heir apparent, by means of it. Hence his dislike to Prince John of Lancaster, and his mortification when he finds his wit fail on him:
P. John. Fare you well, Falstaff : I, in my condition,
Shall better speak of you than you deserve.
Fal. I would you had but the wit; 'twere better than your dukedom.-Good faith, this same young sober-blooded boy doth not love me ;-nor a man cannot make bim laugh. Act ii. sc. 1. Second Carrier's speech :
.... breeds feas like a loach. Perhaps it is a misprint, or a provincial pronunciation, for • leach,' that is, blood-suckers. Had it been gnats, instead of feas, there might have been some sense, though small probability, in Warburton's suggestion of the Scottish · loch.' Possibly • loach,' or “lutch, may be some lost word for dovecote, or poultry-lodge, notorious for breeding tieas. In Stevens's or my reading, it should properly be' lo:rches, or • leeches,' in the plural; except that I think I have heard anglers speak of trouts like a salmon.
Act iii. sc. 1.
Glend. Nay, if you melt, then will she run mad. This ' nay' so to be dwelt on in speaking, as to be equivalent to a dissyllable-u, is characteristic of the solemn Glendower ; but the imperfect line
She bids you
Upon the wanton rushes lay you down, &c. is one of those fine hair-strokes of exquisite judgment peculiar to Shakspeare ;—thus detaching the Lady's speech, and giving it the individuality and entireness of a little poem, while he draws attention
HENRY IV. PART II.
Act II. sc. 2.
Puge. Vone, my lord, but old mistress Quickly, and mistress Doll Tear-sheet.
P. Hen. This Doll Tear-sheet should be some road.
A.VI sonietimes disposed to think that this re
spectable young lady's name is a very old corruption for Tear-street-street-walker, tevere stido tam (rinm.) Does not the Prince's question rather show this ?
• This Doll Tear-street should be some road ?'
Act iii. sc. 1. King IIenry's speech :
..... Then, happy low, lie down;
Ib. sc. 2. Shallow's speech :-
That Beaumont. and Fletcher have more than once been guilty of sneering at their great master,