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This Percy was the man nearest my soul;
1-But which of you was by, &c.] He refers to King Richard II. Act IV. Sc. II. But whether the king's or the author's memory fails him, so it was, that Warwick was not present at that conversation. Johnson.
Neither was the King himself present, so that he must have received information of what passed from Northumberland. His memory, indeed, is singularly treacherous, as, at the time of which he is now speaking, he had actually ascended the throne.
Ritson. 2 – cousin Nevil,] Shakspeare has mistaken the name of the present nobleman. The earldom of Warwick was, at this time, in the family of Beauchamp, and did not come into that of the Nevils till many years after, in the latter end of the reign of King Henry VI, when it descended to Anne Beauchamp, (the daughter of the earl here introduced,) who was married to Richard Nevil, Earl of Salisbury. Steevens.
Anne Beauchamp was the wife of that Richard Nevil, (in her right,) Earl of Warwick, and son to Richard Earl of Salisbury, who makes so conspicuous a figure in our author's Second and Third Parts of King Henry VI. He succeeded to the latter title on his father's death, in 1460, but is never distinguished by it.
“ In God's name, I'll ascend the regal throne.” Malone.
That I and greatness were compell’d to kiss :-
War. There is a history in all men's lives,
K. Hen. Are these things then necessities"?
4 And, by the necessary form of this] I think we might better read :
“ the necessary form of things." The word this has no very evident antecedent. Johnson. If any change were wanting, I would read:
“ And, by the necessary form of these," i. e, the things mentioned in the preceding line. Steevens.
“ And, by the necessary form of this," is, I apprehend, to be understood this history of the times deceased. Henley.
5 Are these THINGS THEN necessities?] I suspect that things then are interpolated words. They corrupt the measure, do not improve the sense, and the anticipation of then diminishes the force of the same adverb in the following line. STEEVENS.
6 Then let us meet them like necessities :) I am inclined to read :
“ Then let us meet them like necessity." That is, with the resistless violence of necessity; then comes more aptly the following line :
“ And that same word even now cries out on us.” That is, the word necessity. Johnson.
And that same word even now cries out on us;
It cannot be, my lord ;
I will take your counsel:
That is, let us meet them with that patience and quiet temper with which men of fortitude meet those events which they know to be inevitable. I cannot approve of Johnson's explanation.
M. Mason. 7 that GLENDOWER is dead.] Glendower did not die till after King Henry IV.
Shakspeare was led into this error by Holinshed, who places Owen Glendower's death in the tenth year of Henry's reign. See vol. xvi. p. 310, n. 5. Malone.
8 - unto the Holy Land.] This play, like the former, proceeds in one unbroken tenor through the first edition, and there is therefore no evidence that the division of the Acts was made by the author. Since, then, every editor has the same right to mark the intervals of action as the players, who made the present distribution, I should propose that this scene may be added to the foregoing Act, and the remove from London to Gloucestershire be made in the intermediate time, but that it would shorten the next Act too much, which has not, even now, its due proportion to the rest. Johnson.
Court before Justice SHALLOW's House in Glouces.
Enter SHALLOJ and SILENCE, meeting ; Mouldy,
SHADOW, WART, FEEBLE, BULL-CALF, and Servants, behind.
SHAL. Come on, come on, come on; give me your hand, sir, give me your hand, sir : an early stirrer, by the rood'. And how doth my good cousin Silence ?
9 — Justice Shallow's House in Gloucestershire.] From the following passage in The Return from Parnassus, 1606, we may conclude that Kempe was original Justice Shallow.—Burbage and Kempe are introduced, instructing some Cambridge students to act. Burbage makes one of the students repeat some lines of Hieronymo and King Richard III. Kempe says to another, “Now for you,-methinks you belong to my tuition ; and your face methinks would be good for a foolish Mayor, or a foolish Justice of Peace."-And again : “ Thou wilt do well in time if thou wilt be ruled by thy betters, that is, by myselfe, and such grave aldermen of the play-house as I am.” It appears from Nashe's Apologie of Pierce Penniless, 1593, that he likewise played the Clown : “ What can be made of a rope-maker more
merriment one of these dayes." Malone.
1- by the Rood.) i. e. the cross. Pope.
word cross, observes, that although the cross and the rood are commonly taken for the same, yet the rood properly signified formerly the image of Christ on the cross; so as to represent both the cross and figure of our blessed Saviour, as he suffered upon it. The roods that were in churches and chapels were placed in shrines that were called rood lofts. “Roodloft, (saith Blount,) is a shrine whereon was placed the cross of Christ. The rood was an image of Christ on the cross, made generally of wood, and erected in a loft for that purpose, just over the passage out of the church into the chancel. Reed.
Bullokar, however, is a better authority than any of these, being contemporary with Shakspeare. In his English Expositor,
Sil. Good morrow, good cousin Shallow.
SHAL. And how doth my cousin, your bedfellow ? and your fairest daughter, and mine, my goddaughter Ellen ?
Sil. Alas, a black ouzel, cousin Shallow.
Shal. By yea and nay, sir, I dare say, my cousin William is become a good scholar : He is at Oxford, still, is he not ?
Sir. Indeed, sir ; to my cost.
Shal. He must then to the inns of court shortly: I was once of Clement’s-inn; where, I think, they will talk of mad Shallow yet.
SIL. You were called- lusty Shallow, then, cousin.
Shal. By the mass, I was called any thing; and I would have done any thing, indeed, and roundly too. There was I, and little John Doit of Staffordshire, and black George Bare, and Francis Pickbone, and Will Squele a Cotswold man '--you had
8vo. 1616, he defines roode thus : “ In land it signifies a quarter of an acre. It is sometimes taken for the picture of our Saviour upon the cross,” Malone.
2 Sil.] The oldest copy of this play was published in 1600. It must however have been acted somewhat earlier, as in Ben Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour, which was performed in 1599, is the following reference to it: “ No, lady, this is a kinsman to Justice Silence." STEEVENS.
3- Will Squele a Cotswold man,] The games at Cotswold were, in the time of our author, very famous. Of these I have seen accounts in several old pamphlets; and Shallow, by distinguishing Will Squele, as a Cotswold man, meant to have him understood as one who was well versed in manly exercises, and consequently of a daring spirit, and an athletic constitution.
STEEVENS. The games of Cotswold, I believe, did not commence till the reign of James I. I have never seen any pamphlet that mentions them as having existed in the time of Elizabeth. Randolph speaks of their revival in the time of Charles I.; and from Dover's book they appear to have been revived in 1636. But this does not prove that they were exhibited in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, They certainly were in that of King James, and were probably