Page images

Prince. I thank you, good my lord ;--and thank you all.

[Exeunt Mayor, &c. I thought, my mother, and my brother York, Would long ere this have met us on the way :Fy, what a slug is Hastings! that he comes not To tell us, whether they will come, or no.

Enter HASTINGS. Buck. And, in good time, here comes the sweating

lord. Prince. Welcome, my lord: What, will our mother

Hast. On what occasion, God he knows, not I,
The queen your mother, and your brother York,
Have taken sanctuary: The tender prince
Would fain have come with me to meet your grace,
But by his mother was perforce withheld.

Buck. Fy! what an indirect and peevish course
Is this of hers ?-Lord cardinal, will your grace
Persuade the queen to send the duke of York
Unto his princely brother presently?
If she deny, lord Hastings, go with him,
And from her jealous arms pluck him perforce.

Card. My lord of Buckingham, if my weak oratory
Can from his mother win the duke of York,
Anon expect him here:1 But if she be obdurate
To mild entreaties, God in heaven forbid
We should infringe the holy privilege
Of blessed sanctuary! not for all this land,
Would I be guilty of so deep a sin.

Buck. You are too senseless-obstinate, my lord,
Too ceremonious, and traditional :2
Weigh it but with the grossness of this age, 3

9- in good time,] De bonne heure. Fr. Steevens.

i Anon expect him here: &c.] The word-anon, may safely be omitted. It only serves to vitiate the measure. Steevens.

2 Too ceremonious, and traditional:] Ceremonious for superstitious; traditional for adherent to old customs. Warburton.

3 Weigh it but with the grossness of this age,] But the more gross, that is, the more superstitious the age was, the stronger would be the imputation of violated sanctuary. The question, we see by what follows, is whether sanctuary could be claimed by an infant. The speaker resolves it in the negative, because it could

You break not sanctuary in seizing him.
The benefit thereof is always granted
To those whose dealings have desery'd the place,
And those who have the wit to claim the place:
This prince hath neither claim'd it, nor deserv'd it;
And therefore, in mine opinion, cannot have it:
Then, taking him from thence, that is not there,
You break no privilege nor charter there.
Oft have I heard of sanctuary men;
But sanctuary children, ne'er till now.

Card. My lord, you shall o'er-rule my mind for once. Come on, lord Hastings, will you go with me?

Hast. I go, my lord. Prince. Good lords, make all the speedy haste you may.

[Exeunt Card. and HAST. Say, uncle Gloster, if our brother come, Where shall we sojourn till our coronation?

Glo. Where it seems best unto your roval self.

be claimed by those only whose actions necessitated them to fly thither; or by those who had an understanding to demand it; nei. ther of which could be an infant's case: It is plain then, the first line, which introduces this reasoning, should be read thus:

Weigh it but with the greenness of his age, i.e. the young Duke of York's, whom his mother had fed with to sanctuary. The corrupted reading of the old quarto is some. thing nearer the true:

the greatness of his age. Warburton. This emendation is received by Hanmer, and is very plausible ; yet the common reading may stand:

Weigh it but with the grossness of this age,

You break not sanctuary, That is, compare the act of seizing him with the gross and li. centious practices of these times, it will not be considered as a violation of sanctuary, for you may give such reasons as men are now used to admit. Fohnson.

The truth is, the quarto 1598, and the two subsequent quartos, as well as the folio, all read-grossness. Greatness is the corrupt reading of a late quarto of no authority, printed in 1622. Malone.

4 Oft have I heard of sanctuary nen; &c.) These arguments against the privilege of sanctuary are taken from Sir Thomas More's Life of King Edward the Fifth, published by Stowe: “ And verily, I have heard of sanctuary men, but I never heard earst of sanctuary children," &c. Steevens.

More's Life of King Edward V was published also by Hall and Holinshed, and in the Chronicle of Holinshed Shakspeare found this argument. Malone.

If I may counsel you, some day, or two,
Your highness shall repose you at the Tower:
Then where you please, and shall be thought most fit
For your best health and recreation.

Prince. I do not like the Tower, of any place:
Did Julius Cæsar build that place, my lord ?

Glo. He did, my gracious lord, begin that place; Which, since, succeeding ages have re-edify’d.5

Prince. Is it upon record ? or else reported Successively from age to age, he built it?

Buck. Upon record, my gracious lord.

Prince. But say, my lord, it were not register'd; Methinks, the truth should live from age to age, As 'twere retail'd to all posterity, 6 Even to the general all-ending day. Glo. So wise so young, they say, do ne'er live long."


5 He did &c.] I suppose, this and the following line, (the use. less epithetmgracious, omitted,) should be read thus:

He did, my lord, begin that place; which, since,

Succeeding ages have re-edifyd. Steevens. 6 As 'twere retail'd to all posterity,] And so it is; and, by that means, like most other retaild things, became adulterated. We should read:

intail'd to all posterity; which is finely and sensibly expressed, as if truth was the natural inheritance of our children: which it is impiety to deprive them of. Warburton.

Retailed may signify diffused, dispersed. Fohnson.

Retailed means handed down from one to another.-Goods retailed, are those which pass from one purchaser to another. Richard uses the word retailed in the same sense in the fourth Act, where speaking to the Queen of her daughter, he says

« To whom I will retail my conquests won.” M Mason. Minsheu in his Dictionary, 1617, besides the verb retail in the mercantile sense, has the verb “to retaile or retell, G. renombrer, a Lat. renumerare;" and in that sense, I conceive, it is employed here. Malone. 7 So wise so young, they say, do ne'er live long.]

Is cadit ante senem, qui sapit ante diem," a proverbial line. Steevens.

Bright, in his Treatise on Melancholy, 1586, p. 52, says "I have knowne children languishing of the splene, obstructed and altered in temper, talke with gravitie and wisdome, surpassing those tender yeares, and their judgement carrying a marvellous imitation of the wisdome of the ancient, having after a sorte attained that

Prince. What say you, uncle ?
Glo. I say, without characters, fame lives long.
Thus, like the formal vice, Iniquity,

Aside. I moralize two meanings in one word.8

by disease, which other have by course of yeares : whereon I take it, the proverbe ariseth, that they be of short life who are of wit so pregnant.Reed. 8 Thus, like the formal vice, Iniquity,

I moralize two meanings in one word.] By vice, the author means not a quality, but a person. There was hardly an old play, till the period of the Reformation, which had not in it a devil, and a droll character, a jester; (who was to play upon the devil;) and this buffoon went by the name of a Vice. This buffoon was at first accoutred with a long jerkin, a cap with a pair of ass's ears, and a wooden dagger, with which (like another Harlequin he was to make sport in belabouring the devil. This was the constant en. tertainment in the times of popery, whilst spirits, and witchcraft, and exorcising held their own. When the Reforination took place, the stage shook off some grossities, and encreased in refinements. The master-devil then was soon dismissed from the scene; and this buffoon was changed into a subordinate fiend, whose business was to range on earth, and seduce poor mortals into that personated vicious quality, which he occasionally supported; as, iniquity in general, hypocrisy, usury, vanity, prodigality, gluttony, &c. Now, as the fiend, (or vice) who personated Iniquity, (or Hypocrisy, for instance,) could never hope to play his game to the purpose but by hiding his cloven foot, and assuming a semblance quite different from his real character; he must certainly put on a formal demeanour, moralize and prevaricate in his words, and pretend a meaning directly opposite to his genuine and primitive intention. If this does not explain the passage in ques. tion, 'tis all that I can at present suggest upon it. Thcobald.

That the buffoon, or jester of the old English farces, was called the vice, is certain: and that, in their moral representations, it was common to bring in the deadly sins, is as true. Of these we have yet several remains. But that the vice used to assume the personages of those sins, is a fancy of Mr. Theobald's, who knew nothing of the matter. The truth is, the vice was always a fool or jester: and, (as the woman, in The Merchant of Venice, calls the Clown, alluding to the character,) a merry devil. Whereas these mortal sins were so many sad serious ones. But what mis. led our editor was the name, Iniquity, given to this vice: But it was only on account of his apbappy tricks and rogueries. That it was given to him, and for the reason I mention, appears from the following passage of Jonson's Staple of News, second intermeane:

“ M. How like you the vice i' the play?

T. Here is never a fiend to carry him away. Besides he has never a wooden dagger.

Prince. That Julius Cæsar was a famous man; With what his valour did enrich his wit,

M. That was the old wav, gossip, when Iniquity came in, like Hocas Pocas, in a jugler's jerkin, with false skirts, like the knave of clubs.”

And, in The Devil's an Ass, we see this old vice Iniquity, described more at large. ; - From all this, it may be gathered, that the text, where Richard compares himself to the formal vice, Iniquity, must be cor. rupt: and the interpolation of some foolish player. The vice, or iniquity being not a formal but a merry, buffoon character. Besides, Shakspeare could never make an exact speaker refer to this character, because the subject he is upon is tradition and antiquity, which have no relation to it; and because it appears from the turn of the passage, that he is apologizing for his equivocation by a reputable practice. To keep the reader no longer in suspence, my conjecture is, that Shakspeare wrote and pointed the lines in this manner:ntho,

Thus like the formal-wise Antiquity,

I moralize: Two meanings in one word. "Alluding to the mythologic learning of the ancients, of whom they are all here speaking. So that Richard's ironical apology is to this effect, You men of morals who so much extol your all-wise antiquity, in what am I inferior to it? which was but an equivocator as I am. And it is remarkable, that the Greeks themselves called their remote antiquity, Arxóuut , or the equivocator. So far as to the general sense; as to that which arises particularly out of the corrected expression, I shall now only observe, that form mal-wise is a compound epithet, an extreme fine one, and admi. rably fitted to the character of the speaker, who thought all wis. dom but formality. It must therefore be read for the future with a hyphen. My other observation is with regard to the pointing; the common reading

I moralize two meanings is nonsense: but reformed in this manner very sensible :

Thus like the formal-wise Antiquity so I noralize: Two meanings in one word. j.e. I moralize as the ancients did. And how was that? the haring two meanings to one word. A ridicule on the morality of the ancients, which he insinuates was no better than equivocating:

Warburton. This alteration Mr. Upton very justly censures. Dr. Warbur. ton has, in my opinion, done nothing but correct the punctuation, if indeed any alteration be really necessary. See the dissertation on the old vice at the end of this play.

To this long collection of notes may be added a question, to what equivocation Richard refers? The position immediately preceding, that fame lives long without characters, that is, without the help of letters, seems to have no ambiguity. He must allude to the former line:

« PreviousContinue »