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As doth the blushing discontented sun
From out the firy 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.
Yet looks he like a king; behold, his eye,
As bright as is the eagle's, lightens forth
Controlling majesty ; Alack, alack, for woe,
That any harm should stain so fair a show!
K. Rich. We are amaz'd; and thus long have

we stood
To watch the fearful bending of thy knee,

(To NORTHUMBERLAND. Because we thought ourself thy lawful king : And if we be, how dare thy joints forget To pay their awful duty to our presence ? If we be not, show us the hand of God That hath dismiss'd us from our stewardship; For well we know, no hand of blood and bone Can gripe the sacred handle of our scepter, Unless he do profane, steal, or usurp. And though you think, that all, as you have done, Have torn their souls, by turning them from us, And we are barren, and bereft of friends ;Yet know,—my master, God omnipotent, Is must'ring in his clouds, on our behalf, Armies of pestilence; and they shall strike Your children yet unborn, and unbegot, That lift your vassal hands against my head, And threat the glory of my precious crown. Tell Bolingbroke, (for yond, methinks, he is,) That every stride he makes upon my land, Is dangerous treason: He is come to ope The purple testament of bleeding war?;

. The purple testament of bleeding war;] I believe our author uses the word testament in its legal sense. Bolingbroke is come to open the testament of war, that he may peruse what is decreed


But ere the crown he looks for live in peace,
Ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers' sons
Shall ill become the flower of England's face ;
Change the complexion of her maid-pale peace
To scarlet indignation, and bedew
Her pastures' grass' with faithful English blood.

North. The king of heaven forbid, ourlord the king
Should so with civil and uncivil arms
Be rush'd upon! Thy thrice-noble cousin,

there in his favour. Purple is an epithet referring to the future effusion of blood. STEEVENS.

Mr. Steevens is certainly right in his interpretation of this passage.

See Julius Cæsar :
• Now, while your purpled hands do reek and smoke,

“Fulfil your pleasure." Malone.
8 But ere the crown he looks for live in peace,
Ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers' sons

Shall ill become the fower of England's face ;] By “the Power of England's face" is meant 'the choicest youths of England, who shall be slaughtered in this quarrel, or have bloody crowns.' “ The flower of England's face," to design her choicest youth, is a fine and noble expression. Pericles, by a similar thought, said “that the destruction of the Athenian youth was a fatality like cutting off the spring from the year." WARBURTON.

Dr. Warburton reads—“light in peace,” but “live in peace" is more suitable to Richard's intention, which is to tell him, that though he should get the crown by rebellion, it will be long before it will live in peace, be so settled as to be firm. “ The flower of England's face,” is very happily explained. Johnson.

"The flower of England's face," I believe, means 'England's flowery face, the flowery surface of England's soil. The same kind of expression is used in Sidney's Arcadia, p. 2: “ – opening the cherry of her lips," i. e. her cherry lips. Again, p. 240, edit. 1633 : “- the sweet and beautiful flower of her face." Again, Drayton, in Mortimer's Epistle to Queen Isabell:

“ And in the field advance our plumy crest,
And march upon fair England's flow'ry breast."

We have a similar image in the first speech of Henry IV. Part I.:

No more the thirsty entrance of this soil,
“Shall daub her lips with her own children's blood."

BosweLL. 9 Her PASTURES' grass —] Old copies-pastors. Corrected by Mr. Theobald. Malone.

Harry Bolingbroke, doth humbly kiss thy hand;
And by the honourable tomb he swears,
That stands upon your royal grandsire's bones;
And by the royalties of both your bloods,
Currents that spring from one most gracious head;
And by the buried hand of warlike Gaunt';
And by the worth and honour of himself,
Comprising all that may be sworn or said, -
His coming hither hath no further scope,
Than for his lineal royalties, and to beg
Enfranchisement immediate on his knees :
Which on thy royal party granted once,
His glittering arms he will commend ’ to rust,
His barbed steeds to stables, and his heart
To faithful service of your majesty.

* And by the BURIED hand of WARLIKE Gaunt;] Dr. Warburton would read

“And by the warlike hand of buried Gaunt;" and this, no doubt, was Shakspeare's meaning, though he has affectedly misplaced the epithets. Thus, in King John, we have :

“ There is no malice in this burning coal," instead of

“ There is no malice burning in this coal." Again, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream :

“But earthlier happy," instead of earthly happier." Again, in King Henry VI. Part II. :

“ These hands are free from guiltless bloodshedding," instead of

“ These guiltless hands are free from bloodshedding." Again, ibid. in Part III. :

"Until my misshap'd trunk that bears this head," instead of * Until

my head that this misshap'd trunk bears." Again, in Antony and Cleopatra :

“We cannot call her winds and waters, sighs and tears," instead of

“ We cannot call her sighs and tears, winds and waters." and in the same play we have proof of harness, for harness of proof; as elsewhere, miserable most, for most miserable ; desperately mortal, for mortally desperate; action of precept, for precept of action;" &c. Ritson. commend —] i. e. commit. See Minsheu's Dict. in v.


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This swears he, as he is a prince, is just;
And, as I am a gentleman, I credit him.
K. Rich. Northumberland, say,—thus the king

returns ;
His noble cousin is right welcome hither;
And all the number of his fair demands
Shall be accomplish'd without contradiction :
With all the gracious utterance thou hast,
Speak to his gentle hearing kind commends.“
We do debase ourself, cousin, do we not,

[To Aumerle.
To look so poorly, and to speak so fair ?
Shall we call back Northumberland, and send
Defiance to the traitor, and so die ?
Aum. No, good my lord; let's fight with gentle

words, Till time lend friends, and friends their helpful

swords. K. Rich. O God! O God! that e'er this tongue

of mine, That laid the sentence of dread banishment On yon proud man, should take it off again With words of sooth! O, that I were as great As is my grief, or lesser than my name ! Or that I could forget what I have been ! Or not remember what I must be now ! Swell’st thou, proud heart? I'll give thee scope to

beat, Since foes have scope to beat both thee and me. Aum. Northumberland comes back from Boling

broke. K. Rich. What must the king do now ? Must he

submit? The king shall do it. Must he be depos'd ?

3 With words of sooth!] Sooth is sweet as well as true. In this place sooth means sweetness or softness, a signification yet retained in the verb to sooth. Johnson.

The king shall be contented : Must he lose
The name of king ? o' God's name, let it go :
I'll give my jewels, for a set of beads;
My gorgeous palace, for a hermitage;
My gay apparel*, for an alms-man's gown;
My figur'd goblets, for a dish of wood;
My scepter, for a palmer's walking-staff;
My subjects, for a pair of carved saints ;
And my large kingdom for a little grave,
A little little grave, an obscure grave :-
Or I'll be buried in the king's highway,
Some way of common trade', where subjects' feet
May hourly trample on their sovereign's head:
For on my heart they tread, now whilst I live ;
And, buried once, why not upon my head ?

4. My gay apparel, &c.) Dr. Grey observes, “ that King Richard's expence in regard to dress, was very extraordinary.” Holinshed has the same remark; and adds, that he had “one cote which he caused to be made for him of gold and stone, valued at 30,000 marks.” Steevens.

Stowe, in his Sur ey, says, “to the value of three thousand markes." So, also, in Vita Ricardi Secundi, published by T. Hearne, p. 156.

It is much to be wished that historians would never use Arabick numerals; they are the source of innumerable errors. Malone. s Or I'll be buried in the king's highway,

Some way of common Trade,] So, in Lord Surrey's translation of the second book of Virgil's Æneid :

A postern with a blind wicket there was,
A common trade, to pass through Priam's house."
Limen erat, cæcæque fores, et pervius usus,

Tectorum inter se PriamiThe phrase is still used by common people. When they speak of a road much frequented, they say, “it is a road of much traffick.Shakspeare uses the word in the same sense in King Henry VIII. : “ Stand in the gap and trade of more preferments."

Steevens. on their sovereign's head :) Shakspeare is very apt to deviate from the pathetick to the ridiculous. Had the speech of Richard ended at this line, it had exhibited the natural language of submissive misery, conforming its intention to the present fortune, and calmly ending its purposes in death. Johnson.


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