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He did; myself did hear it. Hot. Nay, then I cannot blame his cousin king, That wish'd him on the barren mountains starv'd. But shall it be, that you,—that set the crown Upon the head of this forgetful man; And, for his sake, wear the detested blot Of murd'rous subornation shall it be, That you a world of curses undergo; Being the agents, or base second means, The cords, the ladder, or the hangman rather ? O, pardon me, that I descend so low, To show the line, and the predicament, Wherein you range under this subtle king.“ Shall it, for shame, be spoken in these days, Or fill up chronicles in time to come, That men of your nobility and power, Did gage them both in an unjust behalf, As both of you, God pardon it! have done, To put down Richard, that sweet lovely rose, And plant this thorn, this canker, Bolingbroke 6 ? And shall it, in more shame, be further spoken, That you are fool'd, discarded, and shook off By him, for whom these shames ye underwent ? No; yet time serves, wherein you may redeem Your banish'd honours, and restore yourselves Into the good thoughts of the world again : Revenge the jeering, and disdain'd' contempt, Of this proud king; who studies, day and night, To answer all the debt he owes to you, Even with the bloody payment of your deaths. Therefore, I say, mences, was little more than ten years old. The Prince of Wales was not fifteen. Malone.
6 -- this CANKER, Bolingbroke?] The canker-rose is the dogrose, the flower of the Cynosbaton. So, in Much Ado About No. thing: “ I had rather be a canker in a hedge, than a rose in his grace." STEEVENS.
7- disdain'd ] For disdainful. Johnson.
Peace, cousin, say no more : And now I will unclasp a secret book, And to your quick-conceiving discontents I'll read you matter deep and dangerous ; As full of peril, and advent'rous spirit, As to o'er-walk a current, roaring loud, On the unsteadfast footing of a spear. Hor. If he fall in, good night!-or sink or
. swim':Send danger from the east unto the west, So honour cross it from the north to south, And let them grapple;-0! the blood more stirs, To rouse a lion, than to start a hare'.
North. Imagination of some great exploit Drives him beyond the bounds of patience.
Hot. By heaven, methinks, it were an easy leap, To pluck bright honour from the pale-fac'd moon”;
8 On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.] That is, of a spear laid across. WARBURTON.
9 —- sink or swim :) This is a very ancient proverbial expression. So, in The Knight's Tale of Chaucer, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 2399 :
“Ne recceth never, whether I sink or flete." Again, in The Longer Thou Livest the More Fool Thou Art, 1570 :
“He careth not who doth sink or swimme.” Steevens. 1- the blood more stirs,
To rouse a lion, than to start a hare.] This passage will remind the classical reader of young Ascanius's heroic feelings in the fourth Æneid :
pecora inter inertia votis
STEEVENS. 2 By heaven, methinks, it were an easy leap,
To pluck bright honour from the pale-fac'd moon ;] Though I am very far from condemning this speech with Gildon and Theobald, as absolute madness, yet I cannot find in it that profundity of reflection, and beauty of allegory, which Dr. Warburton endeavoured to display. This sally of Hotspur, may be, I think, soberly and rationally vindicated as the violent eruption of a mind inflated with ambition, and fired with resentment; as the boasted clamour of a man able to do much, and eager to do more ; as the
Or dive into the bottom of the deep,
hasty motion of turbulent desire; as the dark expression of indetermined thoughts. The passage from Euripides is surely not allegorical, yet it is produced, and properly, as parallel. :
JOHNSON. Euripides has put the very same sentiment into the mouth of Eteocles : “ I will not, madam, disguise my thoughts ; I would scale heaven, I would descend to the very entrails of the earth, if so be that by that price I could obtain a kingdom.” WARBURTON.
This is probably a passage from some bombast play; and afterwards used as a common burlesque phrase for attempting impossibilities. At least, that it was the last, might be concluded from its use in Cartwright's poem On Mr. Stokes his Book on the Art of Vaulting, edit. 1651, p. 212:
“ Then go thy ways, brave Will, for one ;
“ To pull bright honour from the moon.”
A passage somewhat resembling this, occurs in Archbishop Parker's Address to the Reader, prefixed to his Tract entitled A Brief Examination for the Tyme, &c.—" But trueth is to hye set, for you to pluck her out of heaven, to manifestlye knowen to be by your papers obscured, and surely stablished, to drowne her in the myrie lakes of your sophisticall writinges."
In The Knight of the Burning Pestle, Beaumont and Fletcher have put the foregoing rant of Hotspur, into the mouth of Ralph the apprentice, who, like Bottom, appears to have been fond of acting parts to tear a cat in. I suppose a ridicule on Shakspeare was designed. STEEVENS.
3 Where fathom-line could never touch the ground,] So, in The Tempest: “ I'll seek him deeper than e'er plummet sounded."
STEEVENS. 4 But out upon this HALF-PAC'D FELLOWSHIP!] A coat is said to be faced, when part of it, as the sleeves or bosom, is covered with something finer or more splendid than the main substance. The mantua-makers still use the word. “ Half-fac'd fellowship"
Wor. He apprehends a world of figures here", But not the form of what he should attend. Good cousin, give me audience for a while.
Hor. I cry you mercy. Wor.
Those same noble Scots, That are your prisoners -Нот.
I'll keep them all; By heaven, he shall not have a Scot of them: No, if a Scot would save his soul, he shall not: I'll keep them, by this hand.
is then partnership but half-adorned, partnership which yet wants half the show of dignities and honours.' Johnson.
So, in The Portraiture of Hypocrisie, &c. bl. 1. 1589: “A gentleman should have a gowne for the night, two for the daie, &c. one all furred, another half-faced."
Mr. M. Mason, however, observes, that the allusion may be to the half-faces on medals, where two persons are represented. “ The coins of Philip and Mary (says he) rendered this image sufficiently familiar to Shakspeare." STEEVENS.
I doubt whether the allusion was to dress. Half-fac'd seems to have meant paltry. The expression, which appears to have been a contemptuous one, I believe, had its rise from the meaner denominations of coin, on which, formerly, only a profile of the reigning prince was exhibited; whereas on the more valuable pieces a full face was represented. So, in King John :
• With that half-face would he have all my land,
“ A half-fac'd groat, five hundred pound a year!” But then, it will be said, “what becomes of fellowship? Where is the fellowship in a single face in profile ? The allusion must be to the coins of Philip and Mary, where two faces were in part exhibited.”—This squaring of our author's comparisons, and making them correspond precisely on every side, is in my apprehension the sourse of endless mistakes. Fellowship relates to Hotspur's “corrival” and himself, and I think to nothing more. I find the epithet here applied to it, in Nashe's Apologie of Pierce Pennilesse, 1593 : “- with all other ends of your half-faced English." Again, in Histriomastix, 1610;
“Whilst I behold yon half-fac'd minion ," MALONE. s-- a world of figures here,] Figure is here used equivocally. As it is applied to Hotspur's speech it is a rhetorical mode; as opposed to form, it means appearance or shape. Johnson.
Figures mean shapes created by Hotspur's imagination ; but not the form of what he should attend, viz. of what his uncle had to propose. EDWARDS.
You start away,
Nay, I will; that's flat:-
Hot. All studies here I solemnly defy",
6 He said, he would not ransom Mortimer;
But I will find him when he lies asleep,
And in his ear I'll holla-Mortimer !) So Marlowe, in his King Edward II. :
“ and if he will not ransome him, " I'll thunder such a peale into his eares,
" As never subject did unto his king.” Malone. 9 - I solemnly DeFY,] One of the ancient senses of the verb, to defy, was to refuse. So, in Romeo and Juliet :
“I do defy thy commiseration." Steevens. 8 And that same swORD-AND-BUCKLER prince of Wales,] A royster or turbulent fellow, that fought in taverns, or raised disorders in the streets, was called a Swash-buckler. In this sense sword-and-buckler is here used. Johnson.
Stowe will keep us to the precise meaning of the epithet here given to the prince.-" This field, commonly called West-Smithfield. was for many years called Ruffians Hall, by reason it was the usual place of frayes and common fighting, during the time that sword and bucklers were in use. When every serving-man. from the base to the best, carried a buckler at his back, which hung by the hilt or pomel of his sword." Henley.
I have now before me (to confirm the justice of this remark) a poem entitled “Sword and Buckler, or Serving Man's Defence," By William Bas, 1602. Steevens.