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Q. Eliz. Ah, cut my lace asunder!
Anne. Despiteful tidings! O unpleasing news!
Stan. Full of wise care is this your counsel, madam :-
Duch. O ill-dispersing wind of misery!
Stan. Come, madam, come; I in all haste was sent.
Anne. And I with all unwillingness will go -
1 Nor mother, wife, &c.] See p. 39. Steevens. 2 A cockatrice Whose unavoided eye is murderous'] So, in Romeo and Juliet:
the death-darting eye of cockatrice The cockatrice is a serpent supposed to originate from a cock's egg. Steevens.
3 Were red-hot steel, to sear me to the brain!] She seems to al. lude to the ancient mode of punishing a regicide, or any other egregious criminal, viz. by placing a crown of iron, heated reslo hot, upon his head. See Respublica et Status Hungariæ, ex offic. Elziv. 1634, p. 136. In the tragedy of Hoffman, 1631, this punishment is also introduced :
“ Fix on thy master's head my burning crown."
And die, ere men can say—God save the queen!
Q. Eliz. Go, go, poor soul, I envy not thy glory; To feed my humour, wish thyself no harm.
Anne. No! why?-When he, that is my husband now, Came to me, as I follow'd Henry's corse; When scarce the blood was well wash'd from his hands, Which issu'd from my other angel husband, And that dead saint which then I weeping follow'd; 0, when, I say, I look'd on Richard's face, This was my wish,—Be thou, quoth I, accurs'd, L'or making me, so young, so old a widow ! And, when thou wed'st, let sorrow haunt thy bed; Ind be thy wife (if any be so mad) More miserable by the life of thee, Than thou hast made me by my dear lord's death! Lb, ere I can repeat this curse again, Even in so short a space, my woman's heart
" And wear his crown made hot with flaming fire.
Bring forth the burning crown there." Again, in Looke about you, a comedy, 1600:
“Ere on thy head I set a burning crowne,
“Of red hot yron, that shall seare thy braines.” In some of the monkish accounts of a place of future torment, a burning crown is likewise appropriated to those who deprived any lawful monarch of his kingdom. Steevens. So Marlowe, in his King Edward II:
if proud Mortimer do wear this crown, “ Heaven turn it to a blaze of quenchless fire." Malone. Marlowe's allusion is to the fatal crown which Creusa received, as a nuptial gift, from Medea;
Χρυσές μεν αμφί κρατο κειμενος πγόκος, «« Θαυμας τον τίει νάμα παμφάγου πυρος.”
Euripidis Medea, v. 1195. Steevens. John, the son of Vaivode Stephen, having defeated the army of Hungarian peasants, called Croisadoes, in 1514, caused their general, “ called George, to be stript naked, upon whose head the executioner set a crown of hot burning iron.” Goulart's Admirable and Memorable Histories, 1607. This is the fact to which Goldsmith alludes:
“ Luke's iron crown, and Damien's bed of steel.” Though it was George, and not his brother Luke, who was so punished: but George's would not suit the poet's metre. The Earl of Atholl, who was executed on account of the murder of James I, King of Scots, was, previous to his death, “crowned with a hot viton." See Holinshed. Ritson.
Grossly grew captive to his honey words,
Q. Eliz. Poor heart, adieu; I pity thy complaining.
[To Dor. Go thou to Richard, and good angels tend thee!
[To ANNE Go thou to sanctuary, and good thoughts possess thee!
TT. Q. Eliz. I to my grave, where peace and rest lie with me! Eighty odd years of sorrow have I seen, And each hour's joy wreck'd with a week of teen.7 Q. Eliz. Stay yet;8 look back, with me, unto the
4 For never yet one hour in his bed -] Hour is here, as in many other places, used by Shakspeare as a dissyllable. Malone.
5 But with his timorous dreams -] 'Tis recorded by Polydore Virgil, that Richard was frequently disturbed by terrible dreams: this is therefore no fiction. Fohnson.
Perhaps the narratives of Polydore Virgil, like those of Hector Boethius, are of slight authority. Such at least, respecting the former of these writers, was the opinion of Owen, our epigrammatist:
“ Virgili duo sunt; alter Maro; tu, Polydore,
“ Alter; tu mendax, ille poeta fuit." Stecvens. 6 Eighty odd years &c.] Shakspeare has here, I believe, spoken at random. The present scene is in 1483 Richard, Duke of York, the husband of this lady, had he been then living, would have been but seventy-three years old, and we may reasonably suppose that bis Duchess was younger than he was.
Nor did she go speedily to her grave. She lived till 1495. Malone. 7 And each bour's joy wreck'd with a week of teen.] Teen is sor
So, in Romeo and Juliet:
“ And yet to my teen be it spoken,” &c. Steevens. 8 Stay yet; &c.] This speech is not in the quarto. Malone.
Pity, you ancient stones, those tender babes,
foolish sorrow bids your stones farewel." [Exeunt.
A Room of State in the Palace.
Flourish of Trumpets. RICHARD, as King upon his Throne;
BUCKINGHAM, CATESBY, a Page, and Others.
Buck. Still live they, and for ever let them last !
K. Rich. Ah, Buckingham, now do I play the touch,2 To try if thou be current gold, indeedia
9 Rude ragged nurse! old sullen play-fellow - ] To call the Tower nurse and play-fellow is very harsh : perhaps part of this speech is addressed to the Tower, and part to the Lieutenant. Johnson. The last line of this speech
So foolish sorrow bids your stones farewel, proves that the whole of it is addressed to the Tower, and apo. logizes for the absurdity of that address, by attributing it to sor
M. Mason. 1 So foolish sorrow bids your stones farewel.] Hither the third Act should be extended, and here it very properly ends with a pause of action. Johnson. The folio has--sorrows. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. Malone.
now do I play the touch,] To play the touch is to represent the touchstone. So, in the 16th Song of Drayton's Polyolbion:
“With alab::ster, tuch, and porphyrv adorn'd." Again, in the epistle of Mary the French Queen to Charles Brahdon, by Drayton :
" Before mine eye, like touch, thy shape did prove." Again, in Spen-er's Fairy Queen, B. I, ċ ji: Though true as touch, though daughter of a king."
Young Edward lives; Think now what I would speak.
Buck. Say on, my loving lord.
O bitter consequence,
Buck. Your grace may do your pleasure.
K. Rich. Tut, tut, thou art all ice, thy kindness freezes: Say, have I thy consent, that they shall die? Buck. Give me some breath, some little pause, de
lord, Before I positively speak in this: I will resolve your grace immediately. [Exit Buck. Cates. The king is angry; see, he gnaws his lip.3
[Aside. K. Rich. I will converse with iron-witted fools,
[Descends from his Throne. And unrespective boys;4 none are for me, That look into me with considerate High-reaching Buckingham grows circumspect.-Bov, —
Page. My lord.
K. Rich. Know'st thou not any, whom corrupting gold Would tempt unto a close exploits of death?
he gnaws his lip.] Several of our ancient historians observe, that this was an accustomed action of Richard, whether he was pensive or angry. Steevens.
4 And unrespective boys ;] Unrespective is inattentive to consequences, inconsiderate. So, in Daniel's Cleopatra, 1599:
“ When dissolute impiety possess'd
“ The unrespective minds of prince and people.” Steevens. Unrespective is, devoid of cautious and prudential consideration.
Malone. See note on the following passage in the Rape of Lucrece, edit. 1790, p. 102:
“ Respect and reason wait on wrinkled age.” Stcevens.