« PreviousContinue »
'Tis well done.
Mowb. Thus do the hopes we have in him touch ground, And dash themselves to pieces.
Enter a Messenger.
Now, what news?
Mowb. The just proportion that we gave them out.
Arch. What well-appointed 2 leader fronts us here?
Arch. Say on, my Lord of Westmoreland, in peace,
1 To sway was sometimes used for a rushing, hasty movement. Thus Holinshed: “The left side of the enemy was compelled to sway a good way back and give ground.”
2 Well-appointed is the same as well-furnished, or well-equipped.
Then, my lord, Unto your Grace do I in chief address The substance of my speech. If that rebellion Came like itself, in base and abject routs, Led on by heady youth, guarded with rags, And countenanced by boys and beggary,I say, if damn'd commotion so appear'd, In his true, native, and most proper shape, You, reverend father, and these noble lords, Had not been here, to dress the ugly form Of bare and bloody insurrection With your fair honours. You, Lord Archbishop,Whose see is by a civil peace maintain’d; Whose beard the silver hand of peace hath touch'd; Whose learning and good letters peace hath tutor'd; Whose white investments 4 figure innocence, The dove and very blessed spirit of peace, Wherefore do you so ill translate yourself Out of the speech of peace, that bears such grace, Into the harsh and boisterous tongue of war; Turning your books to greaves, your ink to blood, Your pens to lances, and your tongue divine To a loud trumpet and a point of war ? 6
3 Guarded is a term of dress; to guard being to ornament with guards or facings. See vol. iv. page 165, note 31.
4 Formerly all bishops wore white, even when they travelled. This white investment was the episcopal rochet.
5 Greaves were leg-armour, and were sometimes made of leather; and, as books were covered with leather, the figure of turning mind-armour into leg-armour was natural and apt.
6 A point of war is a warlike strain of music. So in Greene's Orlando Furioso : "To play him hunt’s-up with a point of war.” And in Peele's Edward the First, 1593: "Sound proudly here a perfect point of war." Also, Scott, in Waverly, Chap. xlvi. : “The trumpets and kettle-drums of the cavalry were next heard to perform the beautiful and wild point of war appropriated as a signal for that piece of nocturnal duty."
Arch. Wherefore do I this ? so the question stands.
veins of life. Hear me more plainly.
7 " Examples of every minute's instance" probably means examples which every minute supplies or instances,
Not to break peace, or any branch of it,
West. When ever yet was your appeal denied ;
hath been suborn’d to grate on you;
Arch. My burden general is the commonwealth ;
West. There is no need of any such redress;
Mowb. Why not to him in part, and to us all
O, my good Lord Mowbray,
8 Here burden general of course refers to the public grievances which the speaker has just been recounting, and for the redress of which he claims to be in arms. Then, besides this, he has a private or particular cause of quarrel in the wounding of his household affections by the cruelty inflicted on his own brother. So, in the preceding play, i. 3, we have Worcester speaking of the Archbishop as “ bearing hard his brother's death at Bristol, the Lord Scroop.” See Critical Notes.
Your noble and right-well-remember'd father's ?
Mowb. What thing, in honour, had my father lost, That need to be revived and breathed in me? The King, that loved him, as the State stood then Was, force perforce,9 compell’d to banish him : And when that Henry Bolingbroke and he Being mounted and both roused in their seats, Their neighing coursers daring of the spur, Their armed staves in charge, 10 their beavers down,11 Their eyes of fire sparkling through sights of steel,12 And the loud trumpet blowing them together; Then, then, when there was nothing could have stay'd My father from the breast of Bolingbroke, O, when the King did throw his warder down,13 His own life hung upon the staff he threw : Then threw he down himself, and all their lives That by indictment and by dint of sword Have since miscarried under Bolingbroke. West. You speak, Lord Mowbray, now you know not
9 Force perforce was a reduplicate way of intensifying an expression of necessity; like the French force forcée. The Poet has it repeatedly thus. So in 2 King Henry VI., i. 1: "And, force perforce, I'll make him yield the crown." See, also, vol. x. page 47, note 10.
10 That is, their lances being fixed in rest for the encounter.
11 The beaver was a movable part of the helmet, covering the face in fight, but lifted up when the wearer chose. See page 103, note 20.
12 The holes in their helmets, through which they could see to direct their aim.
13 This refers to the act of Richard in arresting the duel between Bolingbroke and the Duke of Norfolk, and ordering them both into exile. The matter is represented at length in the third scene of King Richard II.
14 This is a mistake; he was Duke of Hereford.