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Out of the speech of peace, that bears such grace,
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.
Your pens to lances; and your tongue divine
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
“ And are enforc'd from our most quiet there."
“ you, my lord archbishop,
“ Whose see is by a civil peace maintain'd,” &c.
By the rough torrent of occasion:
WEST. When ever yet was your appeal denied ?
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,
Arch. My brother general, the commonwealth,
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, ".
“ The vessel of their united blood.” Malone.
I make my quarrel in particular.] The sense is this
In the first folio the second line is omitted, yet that reading,
“My quarrel general, the commonwealth,
“ I make my quarrel in particular."
“ The Archbishop who bears hard
West. There is no need of any such redress;
MowB. Why not to him, in part; and to us all,
O my good lord Mowbray’,
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