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Duch. Why then, I will. Farewell, old Gaunt?
Gaunt. Sister, farewell : I must to Coventry:
where it falls,
? Why then, I will. Farewell, old Gaunt.] The measure of this line being clearly defective, why may we not read ?
" Why then I will. Now fare thee well, old Gaunt.” Or thus :
“Why then I will. Farewell, old John of Gaunt.” There can be nothing ludicrous in a title by which the King has already addressed him. Ritson.
Sir T. Hanmer completes the measure, by repeating the word --farewell, at the end of the line. Steevens.
3 A CAITIFF recreant --] Caitiff originally signified a prisoner; next a slave, from the condition of prisoners ; then a scoundrel, from the qualities of a slave :
Ημισυ της αρετής αποαίνυλαι δέλιον ήμαρ.
Johnson. This just sentiment is in Homer; but the learned commentator quoting, I suppose, from memory, has compressed a couplet into a single line:
αρετης αποαινυται ευρυοπα Ζευς Ανερος, ευτ’ αν μιν κατα δουλιον
ημάρ ελησιν. . Odyss. lib. xvii. v. 322. Holt White. I do not believe that caitiff in our language ever signified a prisoner. I take it to be derived, not from captiff, but from chetif, Fr. poor, miserable. TYRWHITT.
• To see
I take my leave before I have begun;
5 — unfurnish'd walls,] In our ancient castles the naked stone walls were only covered with tapestry, or arras, hung upon tenter hooks, from which it was easily taken down on every removal of the family. See the preface to The Household Book of the Fifth Earl of Northumberland, begun in 1512. Steevens.
and what shall good old York there see, But empty lodgings and unfurnish'd walls, Unpeopled offices, untrodden stones ?
And what cheer there for welcome, but my groans ?] Thus the first quarto, 1597; in those of 1598 and 1608, und in the folio, which appears
to have been printed from the last mentioned quarto, hear was substituted in the fourth line for cheer; an alteration which was adopted in all the subsequent copies, till the true reading was noticed in the Appendix to my former edition.
This passage furnishes an evident proof of the value of first editions; and also shows at how very early a period the revisers of Shakspeare's pieces began to tamper with his text, under the notion of improving it, or of correcting imaginary errors of the press ; of which kind of temerity the edition of his Lucrece in 1616 is a very remarkable instance.
Groans occurring in this passage, the reviser conceived that the word in the former part of the line where it is found, must have been hear, which gives a clear and plausible meaning; but certainly not that intended by Shakspeare.
Mr. Steevens has rightly interpreted, in a preceding note, the words--unfurnish'd walls; but neither he nor any other editor has taken any notice of the word offices in this passage, which requires to be particularly explained, because it is immediately connected with the word cheer, and shows that the original reading is the true one.
Therefore commend me; let him not come there,
The offices of our old English mansions, as I have already had occasion to mention, vol.xiii.p.305, n. 5, particularly denote the rooms designed for keeping the various stores of provisions, bread, wine, ale, &c. and for culinary purposes; that is, the butler's pantry, cellars, and kitchen; and they were always situated within the house, on the ground floor (for there were no subterraneous rooms till about the middle of the reign of Charles the First), and nearly adjoining to each other. When dinner had been set on the board by the sewers, the proper officers attended in each of these offices. Sometimes, on occasions of great festivity, these offices were all thrown open, and unlimited licence given to all comers to eat and drink at their pleasure. Thus, in Othello, where notice is given by a trumpeter, that, on account of the destruction of the Turkish Fleet, and in honour of the General's nuptials, every man was to put himself into triumph : “ All offices are opened, and there is full licence from the present hour of five, till the bell hath toll’d eleven!” So also, in Timon of Athens:
So the gods bless me,
“ And set mine eyes at flow.” The Duchess of Gloster, therefore, laments, that in consequence of the murder of her husband, all the hospitality of plenty is at an end ; " the walls are unfurnished, the lodging rooms empty, the courts untrodden, and the offices unpeopled; being now no longer filled by the proper officers, who attended daily to execute their several functions in her husband's life-time. All now (she adds,) is solitude and silence, and my groans are the only cheer that my guests can now expect.” Malone. 7 let him not come there,
To seek out sorrow that dwells every where :] Perhaps the pointing may be reformed without injury to the sense :
let him not come there
Gosford Green, near Coventry.
arm'd ? Aum. Yea, at all points; and longs to enter in. Mar. The duke of Norfolk, sprightfully and
bold, Stays but the summons of the appellant's trumpet.
Aum. Why then, the champions are prepar'd,
For nothing but his majesty's approach.
takes his seat on his Throne; GAUNT, and several
8 - Lard MARSHAL,] Shakspeare has here committed a slight mistake. The office of Lord Marshal was executed on this occasion by Thomas Holland, Duke of Surrey. Our author has inadvertently introduced that nobleman as a distinct person from the Marshal, in the present drama.
Mowbray Duke of Norfolk was Earl Marshal of England; but being himself one of the combatants, the Duke of Surrey officiated as Earl Marshal for the day. Malone.
9 – AUMERLE.] Edward Duke of Aumerle, so created by his cousin german, King Richard II. in 1397. He was the eldest son of Edward of Langley Duke of York, fifth son of King Edward the Third, and was killed in 1415, at the battle of Agincourt. He officiated at the lists of Coventry, as High Constable of England.
The cause of his arrival here in arms :
* As so defend thee heaven, and thy valour!] i. e. as you hope that heaven and your valour may defend you. Thus the original quarto, 1597, and the other ancient copies. Mr. Rowe and the subsequent editors read—And so, &c. MALONE.
? Norfolk.]' Mr. Edwards, in his MS. notes, observes, from Holinshed, that the Duke of Hereford, appellant, entered the lists first; and this, indeed, must have been the regular method of the combat; for the natural order of things requires, that the accuser or challenger should be at the place of appointment first.
STEEVENS. 3 — MY succeeding issue,] His is the reading of the first folio; other editions read-my issue. Mowbray's issue was, by this accusation, in danger of an attainder, and therefore he might come, among other reasons, for their sake: but the reading of the folio is more just and grammatical. Johnson.
The three oldest quartos read my, which Mr. M. Mason prefers, because, says he, Mowbray subjoins
“ To prove him, in defending of myself,
“A traitor to my God, my king, and me." Steevens. “ – and my succeeding issue." Thus the first quarto. The folio reads-his succeeding issue. The first quarto copy of this play, in 1597, being in general much more correct than the folio, and the quartos of° 1608 and 1615, from the latter of which the folio appears to have been printed, I have preferred the elder reading. MALONE,