Page images
PDF
EPUB

Out of the speech of peace, that bears such grace,
Into the harsh and boist'rous tongue of war ?
Turning your books to graves ', your ink to blood,

[blocks in formation]

8- graves,] For graves Dr. Warburton very plausibly reads glaives, and is followed by Sir Thomas Hanmer. Johnson.

We might perhaps as plausibly read greaves, i. e. armour for the legs, a kind of boots. In one of The Discourses on the Art Military, written by Sir John Smythe, Knight, 1586, greaves are mentioned as necessary to be worn; and Ben Jonson employs the same word in his Hymenæi :

- upon their legs they wore silver greaves." Again, in The Four Prentices of London, 1615 :

“Arm'd with their greaves and maces." Again, in the second Canto of The Barons Wars, by Drayton :

“ Marching in greaves, a helmet on her head.”. Warner, in his Albion's England, 1602, b. xii. ch. Ixix. spells the word as it is found in the old copies of Shakspeare: “ The taishes, cushes, and the graves, staff, pensell, baises,

all.” I know not whether it be worth adding, that the ideal metamorphosis of leathern covers of books into greaves, i. e. boots, seems to be more apposite than the conversion of them into instruments of war.

Mr. M. Mason, however, adduces a quotation (from the next scene) which seems to support Dr. Warburton's conjecture :

“ Turning the word to sword, and life to death.” STEEVENS The emendation, or rather interpretation, proposed by Mr. Steevens, appears to me extremely probable; yet a following line, in which the Archbishop's again addressed, may be urged in favour of glaives, i. e. swords:

“ Chearing a rout of rebels with your drum,

Turning the word to sword, and life to death.” The latter part of the second of these lines, however, may be adduced in support of graves in its ordinary sense. Mr. Steevens, observes, that “ the metamorphosis of the leathern covers books into greaves, i. e. boots, seems to be more apposite than the conversion of them into such instruments of war as glaives ; but surely Shakspeare did not mean, if he wrote either greaves or glaives, that they actually made boots or swords of their books, any more than that they made lances of their pens. The passage already quoted, “ turning the word to sword,” sufficiently proves that he had no such meaning. Malone.

I am afraid that the expression “ turning the word to sword, will be found but a feeble support for “ glaives," if it be considered as a mere jeu de mots. Douce.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

these

Your pens to lances; and your tongue divine
To a loud trumpet, and a point of war?
ARCH, Wherefore do I this ?--So the question

stands.
Briefly to this end :-We are all diseas'd;
And, with our surfeiting, and wanton hours,
Have brought ourselves into a burning fever,
And we must bleed for it: of which disease
Our late king, Richard, being infected, died.
But, my most noble lord of Westmoreland,
I take not on me here as a physician ;
Nor do I, as an enemy to peace,
Troop in the throngs of military men;
But, rather, show a while like fearful war,
To diet rank minds, sick of happiness;
And purge the obstructions, which begin to stop
Our very veins of life. Hear me more plainly.
I have in equal balance justly weigh'd
What wrongs our arms may do, what wrongs we

suffer,
And find our griefs 'heavier than our offences.
We see which way the stream of time doth run,
And are enforc'd from our most quiet sphere

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

9 -Our GRIEFS--] i. e. our grievances. See vol. xvi. p. 374, n.2. Malons.

And are enforc'd from our most quiet SPHERE~] In former
editions :

“ And are enforc'd from our most quiet there."
This is said in answer to Westmoreland's upbraiding the Arch-
bishop for engaging in a course which so ill became his profes-
sion;

“ you, my lord archbishop,

“ Whose see is by a civil peace maintain'd,” &c.
So that the reply must be this :
"And are enforc'd from our most quiet sphere."

WARBURTON.
The alteration of Dr. Warburton destroys the sense of the
passage. There refers to the new channel which the rapidity of
the flood from the stream of time would force itself into.

Henley.

By the rough torrent of occasion:
And have the summary of all our griefs,
When time shall serve, to show in articles ;
Which, long ere this, we offer'd to the king,
And might by no suit gain our audience :
When we are wrong'd, and would unfold our griefs,
We are denied access ? unto his person
Even by those men that most have done us wrong.
The dangers of the days but newly gone,
(Whose memory is written on the earth
With yet-appearing blood,) and the examples
Of every minute's instance, (present now,)
Have put us in these ill-beseeming arms :
Not to break peace“, or any branch of it;
But to establish here a peace indeed,
Concurring both in name and quality.

WEST. When ever yet was your appeal denied ?
Wherein you have been galled by the king ?
What peer hath been suborn'd to grate on you ?
That you should seal this lawless bloody book

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

2 We are denied access -] The Archbishop says, in Holinshed: “Where he and his companie were in armes, it was for feare of the king, to whom he could have no free accesse, by reason of such a multitude of flatterers, as were about him.”

STEEVENS, 3 Of every minute's instance,] The examples of an instance does not convey, to me at least, a very clear idea. The frequent corruptions that occur in the old copies in words of this kind, make me suspect that our author wrote:

“ Of every minute's instants ." i. e, the examples furnished not only every minute, but during the most minute division of a minute.- Instance, however, is elsewhere used by Snakspeare for example ; and he has similar pleonasms in other places. MALONE.

“Examples of every minute's instance" are, I believe, examples which every minute supplies, which every minute presses on our notice. STEEVENS.

4 Not to break peace,] “ He took nothing in hand against the king's peace, but that whatsoever he did, tended rather to advance the peace and quiet of the commonwealth.” Archbishop's speech in Holinshed. Steevens.

Of forg'd rebellion with a seal divine,
And consecrate commotion's bitter edge 5 ?

Arch. My brother general, the commonwealth,
To brother born an household cruelty,
I make my quarrel in particular.

nied:

s And consecrate commotion's BITTER EDGE ?] It was an old custom, continued from the time of the first croisades, for the Pope to consecrate the general's sword, which was employed in the service of the church. To this custom the line in question alludes. WARBURTON.

"- commotion's bitter edge?i. e. the edge of bitter strife and commotion; the sword of rebellion. So, in a subsequent scene :

“ That the united vessel of their blood, ".
instead of

“ The vessel of their united blood.” Malone.
This line is omitted in the folio. BoswELL,
Ó My brother general, &c.-

I make my quarrel in particular.] The sense is this
"My brother general, the commonwealth, which ought to dis-
tribute its benefits equally, is become an enemy to those of his
own house, to brothers born, by giving some to all, and others
none; and this (says he) I make my quarrel or grievance that
honours are unequally distributed;" the constant birth of male-
contents, and the source of civil commotions. WARBURTON..

In the first folio the second line is omitted, yet that reading,
unintelligible as it is, has been followed by Sir T. Hanmer. How
difficultly sense can be drawn from the best reading, the explica,
tion of Dr. Warburton may show. I believe there is an error in
the first line, which, perhaps, may be rectified thus : .

“My quarrel general, the commonwealth,
“ To brother born an household cruelty,

“ I make my quarrel in particular."
That is, my general cause of discontent is public mismanagement;
my particular cause, a domestick injury done to my natural bro-
ther, who had been beheaded by the king's order. Johnson.
This circumstance is mentioned in the First Part of the play:

“ The Archbishop who bears hard
“ His brother's death at Bristol, the lord Scroop.”

STEEVENS.
The meaning of the passage appears to me to be this—“My
brother-general (meaning Mowbray, the lord Marischal) makes
the misconduct of publick affairs, and the welfare of the commu-
nity, his cause of quarrel ; but my particular cause of quarrel, is
a family injury, the cruelty with which my real brother has been
treated; " meaning Lord Scroop. M. Mason.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

West. There is no need of any such redress;
Or, if there were, it not belongs to you.

MowB. Why not to him, in part; and to us all,
That feel the bruises of the days before ;
And suffer the condition of these times
To lay an heavy and unequal hand
Upon our honours ?
WEST.

O my good lord Mowbray’,
Construe the times to their necessities,

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Perhaps the meaning is—“My brother-general, who is joined here with me in command, makes the commonwealth his quarrel, i. e. has taken up arms on account of publick grievances ; a particular injury done to my own brother, is my ground of quarrel." I have, however, very little confidence in this interpretation. I have supposed the word general a substantive; but probably it is used as an adjective, and the meaning may be, I consider the wrongs done to the commonwealth, the common brother of us all, and the particular and domestick cruelty exercised against my natural brother, as a sufficient ground for taking up arms. If the former be the true interpretation, perhaps a semicolon should be placed after commonwealth. The word born in the subsequent line [“ To brother born"] seems strongly to countenance the supposition that general in the present line is an epithet applied to brother, and not a substantive.

In that which is apparently the first of the two quartos, the second line is found; but is omitted in the other, and the folio. I suspect that a line has been lost following the word commonwealth : the sense of which was—" is the general ground of our taking up arms."

This supposition renders the whole passage so clear, that I am now decidedly of opinion that a line has been lost. “My general brother, the commonwealth, is the general ground of our taking up arms; a wrong of a domestic nature, namely the cruelty shewn to my natural brother, is my particular ground for engaging in this war." Malone,

It is now become certain that there are three varieties of the quarto editions, 1600, of this play. They are all before me, and in two of them (only one of which contains the additional scene at the beginning of the third Act) the second line, pointed out by Mr. Malone, is wanting. Steevens.

It is wanting in Mr. Malone's copy of the quarto B. Boswell.

9 O my good lord Mowbray, &c.] The thirty-seven lines following are not in the quarto. MALONE.

& Construe the times to their necessities,] That is, -Judge of

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »