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Queen. Of sorrow, or of joy'?
Queen. Of neither, girl :
1 Lady. Madam, I'll sing.
QUEEN. 'Tis well, that thou hast cause ; But thou should'st please me better, would'st thou
weep. 1 Lady. I could weep, madam, would it do you
good. Queen. And I could weep’, would weeping do
Enter a Gardener, and Two Servants.
[Queen and Ladies retire.
Of sorrow, or of Joy?] All the old copies concur in reading :
“ Of sorrow, or of grief?” Mr. Pope made the necessary alteration. Steevens. ? — complain.] See p. 20, n. 1. Steevens.
3. And I could weep,] The old copies read~" And I could sing.” Steevens.
Mr. Pope made the emendation. Malone
4 Against a change: Woe is forerun with woe.] The poet, according to the common doctrine of prognostication, supposes dejection to forerun calamity, and a kingdom to be filled with rumours of sorrow when any great disaster is impending. The sense is, that publick evils are always presignified by publick pensiveness, and plaintive conversation. Johnson.
GARD. Go, bind thou up yon' dangling apricocks,
Hold thy peace:
s-Our firm estate?] How could he say our, when he immediately subjoins, that it was infirm? We should read :
“- a firm state." WARBURTON. The servant says our, meaning the state of the garden in which they are at work. The state of the metaphorical garden was indeed unfirm, and therefore his reasoning is very naturally induced. Why (says he,) should we be careful to preserve order in the narrow cincture of this our state when the great state of the kingdom is in disorder ? I have replaced the old reading which * Dr. Warburton would have discontinued in favour of his own conjecture. Steevens.
6 Her Knots disorder'd,] Knots are figures planted in box, the lines of which frequently intersect each other. So, Milton :
“ Flowers, worthy Paradise, which not nice art
The weeds, that his broad-spreading leavés did
1 SERV, What, are they dead ?
They are ; and Bolingbroke Hath seiz'd the wasteful king.-Oh! What pity is it, That he had not so trimm'd and dress'd his land, As we this garden! We at time of year? Do wound the bark, the skin of our fruit-trees; Lest, being over-proud with sap and blood, With too much riches it confound itself: Had he done so to great and growing men, They might have liv'd to bear, and he to taste Their fruits of duty. All superfluous branches 8 We lop away, that bearing boughs may live : Had he done so, himself had borne the crown, Which waste of idle hours hath quite thrown down. 1 Serv. What, think you then, the king shall be
depos'd ? GARD. Depress'd he is already; and depos'd, 'Tis doubt, he will be o: Letters came last night
' We at time of year -] The word We is not in the old copies. The context shows that some word was omitted at the press; and the subsequent lines
“ superfluous branches
* We lop away ," render it highly probable that this was the word. MALONE.
8 - ALL superfluous branches - Thus the second folio. The first omits the wordmall, and thereby hurts the metre; for superfluous is never accented on the third syllable. Steevens.
9 -- 'Tis DOUBT, he will be :) We have already had an instance of this uncommon phraseology in the present play:
“He is our cousin, cousin ; but 'tis doubt,
“When time shall call him home," &c. Doubt is the reading of the quarto, 1.597. The folio readsdoubted. I have found reason to believe that some alteration even in that valuable copy was made arbitrarily by the editor.
To a dear friend of the good duke of York's,
of speaking?! Thou, old Adam's likeness, [Coming from her con
cealment.] set to dress this garden". How dares thy harsh-rude tongue sound this un
pleasing news®? What Eve, what serpent hath suggested thee To make a second fall of cursed man ? Why dost thou say, king Richard is depos'd ? Dar'st thou, thou little better thing than earth, Divine his downfal ? Say, where, when, and how, Cam'st thou by these ill tidings ? speak, thou
wretch. GARD. Pardon me, madam : little joy have I, To breathe this news; yet, what I say, is true. King Richard, he is in the mighty hold Of Bolingbroke; their fortunes both are weigh'd : In your lord's scale is nothing but himself, And some few vanities that make him light;
10, I am press'd to death, Through want of speaking !] The poet alludes to the ancient legal punishment, called peine forte et dure, which was inflicted on those persons, who, being arraigned, refused to plead, remaining obstinately silent. They were pressed to death by a heavy weight laid upon their stomach. Malone.
2 -- to dress this garden,] This was the technical language of Shakspeare's time. So, in Holy Writ: “ — and put him into the garden of Eden, to dress it, and to keep it.” Gen. ii. 15.
MALONE. 3how dares Thy harsh-rude tongue, &c.] So, in Hamlet :
" What have I done, that thou dar'st wag thy tongue
“ In noise so rude against me?” I have quoted this passage only to justify the restoration of the word rude, which has been rejected in some modern editions.
A line in King John may add support to the restoration here made from the old copy : “ To whom he sung in rude harsh-sounding rhymes.”
he last, breast.
But in the balance of great Bolingbroke,
Exeunt Queen and Ladies.
4 I would, the plants, &c.] This execration of the Queen is somewhat ludicrous, and unsuitable to her condition: the gardener's reflection is better adapted to the state both of his mind and his fortune. Mr. Pope, who has been throughout this play very diligent to reject what he did not like, bas yet, I know not why, spared the last lines of this Act. Johnson.
"I would, the plants thou graft'st, may never grow.” So, in The Rape of Lucrece : ** This bastard graft shall never come to growth.”
MALONE. 5 - fall a tear,–] Thus the quarto, 1597. So, in Othello:
“Each tear she falls would prove a crocodile." The folio, following the quarto 1608, reads:
“ Here did she drop a tear." MALONE. The quarto 1598 also reads drop. Boswell.