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Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence ?
Brak. No marvel, lord, though it affrighted you;
Clar. O, Brakenbury, I have done these things,
8 with bright hair
Dabbled in blood;] Lee has transplanted this image into his Mithridates, Act IV, sc. i:
“ I slept; but oh, a dream so full of terror,
“With her bright tresses, dabbled in her blood.” Steevena. 9— fleeting, perjur'd Clarence,] Fleeting is the same as changing sides. Johnson. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
“ — now the fleeting moon
“ No planet is of mine." Clarence broke his oath with the Earl of Warwick, and joined the army of his brother King Edward IV. See Vol. X, p. 406.
Steevens. 1_ a legion of foul fiends
Environd me, &c.] Milton seems to have thought on this passage where he is describing the midnight sufferings of Our Saviour, in the 4th Book of Paradise Regaind:
“ nor yet stay'd the terror there,
shriek'd -.” Steevens. 20 God! if my deep prayers &c.] The four following lines have been added since the first edition. Pupe. They are found in the folio, but not in the quarto. Malone.
But thou wilt be aveng'd on my misdeeds,
rest! - CLAR. reposes himself on a Chair.
Enter the Two Murderers 1 Murd. Ho! who 's here? Brak. What would'st thou, fellow ? and how camist
my guiltless wife,] The wife of Clarence died before he " was apprehended and confined in the Tower. See p. 47, n. 8.
Malone. 4 1 pray thee, gentle keeper, &c.] So the quarto, 1998. The folio reads :
“Keeper, I pr’ythee, sit by me a while.” Malone. 5 Sorrow breaks seasons, &c.] In the common editions, the Keeper is made to hold the dialogue with Clarence till this line. And here Brakenbury enters, pronouncing these words; which seem to me a reflection naturally resulting from the foregoing conversation, and therefore continued to be spoken by the same person, as it is accordingly in the first edition. Pope.
The keeper, introduced in the quarto, 1598, was, in fact, Brakenbury, who was Lieutenant of the Tower. There can be no doubt therefore that the text, which is regulated according to the quarto, is right. Malone. o Princes have but their titles for their glorics,
An outward honour for an inward toil;? The first line may be understood in this sense, The glories of princes are nothing more than empty titles: but it would more impress the purpose of the speaker, and correspond better with the following lines, if it were read:
Princes have but their titles for their troubles. Fohnson. 7_ for unfelt imaginations,
Theň often feel a world of restless cares :) They often suffer read mniseries for imaginary and unreal gratifications. Fohnson..
1 Murd. I would speak with Clarence, and I came hither on my legs.
Brak. What, so brief?
2 Murd. O, sir, 'tis better to be brief, than tedious:Let him see our commission; talk no more.8
(A Paper is delivered to BRAK. who reads it.
1 Murd. You may, sir; 'tis a point of wisdom: Fare you well.
Lū 2Â§Â§Â?2 ?Â2 2 Murd. What, shall we stab him as he sleeps ?
1 Murd. No; he 'll say, 'twas done cowardly, when he wakes.
2 Murd. When he wakes! why, fool, he shall never wake until the great rudgment day.
I Murd. Why, then he 'll say, we stabb’d him sleeping.
2 Murd. The urging of that word, judgment, hath bred a kind of remorse in me.
1 Murd. What? art thou afraid?
2 Murd. Not to kill him, having a warrant for it; but to be damn’d for killing him, from the which no wafrant can defend me.
I Murd. I thought, thou hadst been resolute. 2 Murd. So I am, to let him live.
1 Murd. I'll back to the duke of Gloster, and tell him so.
2 Murd. Nay, I prythee, stay a little: I hope, this holy humour of minel will change; it was wont to hold me but while one would tell twenty.
8 Let himn see our commission; &c.) Thus the second folio. Other copies, with measure evidently defective
“Show him our commission, talk no more.” Steevens. 9 Here are the keys ; &c.] So the quarto, 1598. The folio reads:
" There lies the duke asleep, and there the keys.” Malone. 1_ this holy humour of mine -] Thus the early quarto. The folio bas--this passionate humour of mine, for which the modern editors have substituted compassionate, unnecessarily. Passionate,
1 Murd. How dost thou feel thyself now?
2 Murd. 'Faith, some certain dregs of conscience are. vet within me.
I Murd. Remember our reward, when the deed's done.
2 Murd. In the duke of Gloster's purse. , Murd. So, when he opens his purse to give us our reward, thy conscience flies out.
2 Murd. 'Tis no matter; let it go; there's few, or none, will entertain it.
1. Murd. What, if it come to thee again?
2 Murd. I'll not meddle with it, it is a dangerous thing, it' makes a man a coward; a man cannot steal, but it accuseth him : a man cannot swear, but it checks him; a man cannot lie with his neighbour's wife, but it detects him: 'Tis a blushing shame-faced spirit, that mutinies
in a man's bosom; it fills one full of obstacles : it made : nie once restore a purse of gold, that hy chance I found; it beggars any man that keeps it: it is turned out of all 'towns and cities for a dangerous thing; and every man, that means to live well, endeavours to trust to himself, and live without it.
I Murd. 'Zounds, it is even now at my elbow, persuading me not to kill the duke.
2 Murd. Take the devil in thy mind, and believe him not: he would insinuate with thee, but to make thee sigh.2
though not so good an epithet as that which is furnished by the quarto, is sufficiently intelligible. See Vol. VII, p. 330, n. 3.
The second murderer's next speech proves that holy was the author's word. The player editors probably changed it, as they did many others, on account of the Statute, 3 Jac. I, c. 21. A little lower, they, from the same apprehension, omitted the word, 'faith. Malone.
2 Take the devil in thy mind, and believe him not : he would insinuate with thee, &c.] One villain says, Conscience is at his elbows, persuading him not to kill the duke. The other says, take the devil into thy nearer acquaintance, into thy mind, who will be a match for thy conscience, and believe it not, &c. It is plain then, that him in both places in the text should be it, namely, conscience.
Warburton. Shakspeare so frequently uses both these pronouns indiscrimi. nately, that no correction is necessary. Steevens.
In The Merchant of Venice we have a long dialogue between Launcelot, his Conscience, and the Devil. But though conscience
1 Murd. I am strong-fram'd, 3 he cannot prevail with me.
2 Murd. Spoke like a tall fellow, that respects his reputation. Come, shall we fall to work?
1 Murd. Take him over the costards with the hilts of thy sword, and then throw him into the malmsey-butt, in the next room.
2 Murd. O excellent device! and make a sop of him. 1 Murd. Soft! he wakes. 2 Murd. Strike. 1 Murd. No, we 'll reason with him. . Clar. Where art thou, keeper? give me a cup of wine. 1 Murd. You shall have wine enough, my lord, anon. Clar. In God's name, what art thou ? 1 Murd. A man, as you are. Clar. But not, as I am, royal. - 1 Murd. Nor you, as we are, loyal. Clar. Thy voice is thunder, but thy looks are humble.
1 Murd. My voice is now the king's, my looks mine own.
Clar. How darkly, and how deadly dost thou speak!
Both Murd. To, to, to,
were not here personified, Shakspeare would have used him instead of it. He does so in almost every page of these plays.
Malone. 31 am strong-fram’d,] Thus the folio. The quarto reads- I am strong in fraud Malone.
4 Spoke like a tall fellow,] The meaning of tall, in old English, is stout, daring, fearless, and strong. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor :
“_ good soldiers, and tall fellows." Steevens. 5 the costard -] i. e. the head; a name adopted from an apple shaped like a man's head. So, in Arden of Feversham, 1592:
“One and two rounds at his costard.” Hence likewise the term-costar-monger. See Vol. IV, p. 44,1. 3, and p. 47, n. 8. Steevens.
6- we'll reason ] We'll talk. Johnson. So, in The Merchant of Venice i “I reason'd with a Frenchman yesterday.” Steedens. ;