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And, for our coffers ? —with too great a court,
K. Rich. Where lies he ?
7 - for our coffers —] i. e. because. So, at the beginning of this scene :
And, for my heart disdained that my tongue,” &c. Again, in Othello:
Haply, for I am black ;" Steevens.
Gaunt on a Couch; the Duke of Yorks, and
Others standing by him. GAUNT. Will the king come ? that I may breathe
In wholesome counsel to his unstaied youth.
8 _ the Duke of York,] Edmond Duke of York was the fifth son of Edward the Third, and was born in 1441, at Langley, near St. Alban's, in Hertford, froin whence he had his surname. This prince, as Bishop Lowth has observed, (Life of William of Wykeham, 8vo. 1777, p. 205,) “was of an indolent disposition, a lover of pleasure, and averse to business ; easily prevailed upon to lie still, and consult his own quiet, and never acting with spirit upon any occasion." That such was his disposition and character is ascertained by the following graphical description, given by Harding (a contemporary) in his Chronicle :
“ 'That Edmonde hight of Langley, of good chere
“ The kynge than made the Duke of Yorke be name
Gaunt. O, but they say, the tongues of dying
Enforce attention like deep harmony:
1 V D ']
A H FO Si
For they breathe truth that breathe their words in
pain. He, that no more must say, is listen'd more, Than they whom youth and ease have taught to
at the close,] This I suppose to be a musical term. So, in Lingua, 1607 :
“ I dare engage my ears, the close will jar." Steevens. 1 Lascivious METRES ;] 'The old copies have-meeters; but I believe we should read metres for verses. Thus the folio spells the word metre in The First Part of King Henry IV.:
one of these same meeter ballade mongers.” Venom sound agrees well with lascivious ditties, but not so commodiously with one who meets another; in which sense the word appears to have been generally received. STEVENS.
Report of fashions in proud Italy ;] Our author, who gives to all nations the customs of England, and to all ages the manners of his own, has charged the times of Richard with a folly not perhaps known then, but very frequent in Shakspeare's time, and much lamented by the wisest and best of our ancestors.
Whose manners still our tardy apish nation
GAUNT. Methinks, I am a prophet new inspir’d;
3 Where will doth mutiny with wit's regard.] Where the will rebels against the notices of the understanding. Johnson.
-whose way himself will choose;} Do not attempt to guide
“ Like aconitum, or rash gunpowder.” MALONE.
In Allot's England's Parnassus, 1600, this passage is quoted :
Against intestion," &c. Perhaps the word might be in festion,
This happy breed of men, this little world
For the substitution of the word infestion, which was suggested by Dr. Farmer, and differs from the original word but by a single letter, I am answerable.
Since the year 1665, this happy island has been entirely free from the plague; and if ever we should be again molested by that fatal malady, it will unquestionably arise from infection communicated from foreign parts. A poet therefore of the present day, in speaking of Great Britain, might naturally mention its being, by its insular situation, exempt from that contagion to which the natives of the continent are exposed; and also from the hostile incursions of its enemies. But in our poet's time there was in London every year an indigenous plague, if I may use the expression, from May till October ; and a considerable number of the inhabitants were annually destroyed by this malignant disease. Shakspeare, therefore, I conceive, would never mention the circumstance of our being secured, by our insular situation, from foreign infection, as a fortunate circunistance, knowing that such security availed nothing; since, notwithstanding our being possessed of a fortress built by nature for herself, our own native pestilence was annually extremely destructive. I think, therefore, that in both parts of this line, he had only one circumstance in his thoughts, our not being exposed to foreign hostile incursions; and the copulative and seems to countenance this supposition. I may add, that the preceding verse strongly supports this notion ; for a natural fortress, such as is here described, is opposed properly and immediately to the open hostile attacks of an enemy, and not to the lurking infection of the plague, which seems here entirely out of place.
Though I have not met with an example of the use of the word infestion, in the sense of infestation, similar abbreviations occur in other places in our author's plays: thus we have probal for probable in Othello, and captious for capacious in All's Well That Ends Well. In like manner, Bishop Hall, in his Cases of Conscience, 8vo. p. 202, edit. 1651, uses acception for acceptation : “ Against infestion, and the hand of warriors ; against the infesting or assailing force of an enemy." I shall only add, that Bacon employs the word infestation in the same “ Touching the infestation of pirates he hath been careful, and is." Speech in the Star-chamber, 1617. Works, iv, 278, Mallet's edition. MALONE.