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When on the gentle Severn's sedgy bank,
there were an Antony,
wound of Cæsar,” &c. Malone.
STEEVENS. 8-three times did they drink,] It is the property of wounds to excite the most impatient thirst. The poet therefore hath with exquisite propriety introduced this circumstance, which may serve to place in its proper light the dying kindness of Sir Philip Sydney; who, though suffering the extremity of thirst from the agony of his own wounds, yet, notwithstanding, gave up his own draught of water to a wounded soldier. Henley.
9 Who then, affrighted, &c.] This passage has been censured as sounding nonsense, which represents a stream of water as capable of fear. It is misunderstood. Severn is here not the flood, but the tutelary power of the flood, who was affrighted, and hid his head in the hollow bank. Johnson.
his CRISP head --] Crisp is curled. So, Beaumont and Fletcher, in The Maid of the Mill :
methinks the river,
“O beauteous Tyber, with thine easy streams,
* : they
Blood-stained with these valiant combatants.
“ Turn not thy crispy tides, like silver curls,
" Back to thy grass-green banks to welcome us?" Perhaps Shakspeare has bestowed an epithet, applicable only to the stream of water, on the genius of the stream. The following passage, however, in the sixth song of Drayton's Polyolbion, may seem to justify its propriety:
Your corses were dissolv'd into that chrystal stream; “ Your curls to curled waves, which plainly still appear
“ The same in water now that once in locks they were.” Beaumont and Fletcher have the same image with Shakspeare in The Loyal Subject :
the Volga trembled at his terror,
“ The rivers run as smoothed by his hand,
Only their heads are crisped by his stroke.”
2 Never did BARE and rotten policy -] All the quartos which I have seen read bare in this place. The first folio, and all the subsequent editions, have base. I believe bare is right : “Never did policy, lying open to detection, so colour its workings."
JOHNSON. The first quarto, 1598, reads bare; which means 'so thinly covered by art as to be easily seen through.' So, in Venus and Adonis :
“ What bare excuses mak’st thou to be gone!” MALONE. Since there is such good authority as Johnson informs us, for reading base, in this passage, instead of bare, the former word should certainly be adopted. Bare policy, that is, policy lying open to detection, is in truth no policy at all. The epithet base, also best agrees with rollen. M. Mason.
Art thou not · ashamed ? But, sirrah, henceforth
[Ereunt King Henry, Blunt, and Train.
pause awhile ; Here comes your uncle.
Speak of Mortimer?
[To WORCESTER. Wor. Who struck this heat up after I was gone ?
Hor. He will, forsooth, have all my prisoners ; And when I urg'd the ransom once again Of my wife's brother, then his cheek look'd pale ; And on my face he turn'd an eye of death",
2 Art not --] Old copies--" Art thou not.” Steevens.
3 -- an eye of death,] That is, an eye menacing death. Hotspur seems to describe the King as trembling with rage rather than fear. Johnson. So, in Marlowe's Tamburlaine, 1590 :
Trembling even at the name of Mortimer.
North. He was; I heard the proclamation: And then it was, when the unhappy king (Whose wrongs in us God pardon !) did set forth Upon his Irish expedition; From whence, he, intercepted, did return To be depos'd, and shortly, murdered. Wor. And for whose death, we, in the world's
wide mouth Live scandaliz'd, and foully spoken of.
“And wrapt in silence of his angry soul,
Upon his brows were pourtraid ugly death,
“ And in his eyes the furies of his heart.” Steevens. Johnson and Steevens seem to think that Hotspur meant to describe the King as trembling not with fear, but rage ; but surely they are mistaken. The King had no reason to be enraged at Mortimer, who had been taken prisoner in fighting against his enemy; but he had much reason to fear the man who had a better title to the crown than himself, which had been proclaimed by Richard II. ; and accordingly, when Hotspur is informed of that circumstance, he says:
Nay, then I cannot blame his cousin king
“ That wish'd him on the barren mountains starv'd.” And Worcester, in the very next line, says: “ He cannot blame him for trembling at the name of Mortimer, since Richard had proclaimed him next of lood.” M.
Lason. Mr. M. Mason's remark is, I think, in general just; but the King, as appears from this scene, had some reason to be enraged also at Mortimer, because he thought that Mortimer had not been taken prisoner by the efforts of his enemies, but had himself revolted. MALONE. 4 - Was he not proclaim'd,
By Richard that dead is, the next of blood ?] Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, who was born in 1371, was declared heir apparent to the crown in the 9th year of King Richard II. (1385.) See Grafton, p. 347. But he was killed in Ireland in 1398. The person who was proclaimed by Richard heir apparent to the crown, previous to his last voyage to Ireland, was Edmund Mortimer, (the son of Roger,) who was then but seven years old ; but he was not Percy's wife's brother, but her nephew. Malone.
Hor. But, soft, I pray you; Did king Richard
then Proclaim my brother Edmund Mortimer Heir to the crown?
s Heir to the crown?] Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, was the undoubted heir to the crown after the death of Richard, as appears from the following table ; in which the three younger children of King Edward III. are not included, as being immaterial to the subject before us :
Sandford, in his Genealogical History, says, that the last men. tioned Edmund, Earl of March, (the Mortimer of this play,) was married to Anne Stafford, daughter of Edmund, Earl of Stafford. Thomas Walsingham asserts that he married a daughter of Owen Glendower; and the subsequent historians copied him; but this is a very doubtful point, for the Welsh writers make no mention of it. Sandford says that this Earl of March was confined by the jealous Henry in the castle of Trim in Ireland, and that he died there, after an imprisonment of twenty years, on the 19th of January, 1424. But this is a mistake. There is no proof that he was confined a state-prisoner by King Henry the Fourth, and he was employed in many military services by his son Henry the Fifth. He died at his own castle at Trim in Ireland, at the time mentioned by Sandford, but not in a state of imprisonment. See note on King Henry VI. Part II. Act II. Sc. II.
Since the original note was written, I have learned that Owen Glendower's daughter was married to his antagonist Lord Grey of Ruthven. Holinshed led Shakspeare into the error of supposing her the wife of Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March. This nobleman, who is the Mortimer of the present play, was born in November, 1392, and consequently at the time when this play com