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In deadly hate the one against the other:
And, if king Edward be as true and just,3
As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,

This day should Clarence closely be mew'd up;
About a prophecy, which says-that G

Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.

Dive, thoughts, down to my soul! here Clarence comes. Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and BRAKENBURY. Brother, good day: What means this armed guard, That waits upon your grace?


His majesty,
Tendering my person's safety, hath appointed
This conduct to convey me to the Tower.
Glo. Upon what cause?


Because my name is-George.
Glo. Alack, my lord, that fault is none of yours;
He should, for that, commit your godfathers:-
O, belike, his majesty hath some intent,

That you shall be new christen'd in the Tower.
But what's the matter, Clarence? may I know?
Clar. Yea, Richard, when I know; for, I protest,
As yet I do not: But, as I can learn,

He hearkens after prophecies, and dreams;4
And from the cross-row plucks the letter G,
And says-a wizard told him, that by G
His issue disinherited should be;

And, for my name of George begins with G,5


Edward be as true and just,] The meaning is, if Edward keeps his word. Johnson.

May not this mean—If Edward hold his natural disposition and be true to that? M. Mason.

4 He hearkens after prophecies, and dreams;] From Holinsbed: "Some have reported that the cause of this nobleman's death rose of a foolish prophesie, which was, that after king Edward should raign one whose first letter of his name should be a G; wherewith the king and the queene were sore troubled, and began to conceive a grievous grudge against this duke, and could not be in quiet till they had brought him to his end." Philip de Comines, a contemporary historian, says that the English at that time were never unfurnished with some prophecy or other, by which they accounted for every event. Malone.

5 And, for my name of George begins with G, &c.] So, in Nichols's Tragical Life and Death of Richard III:

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It follows in his thought, that I am he:
These, as I learn, and such like toys as these,

Have mov'd his highness to commit me now.

Glo. Why, this it is, when men are rul'd by women: 'Tis not the king, that sends you to the Tower; My lady Grey his wife, Clarence, 'tis she, That tempers him to this extremity.7*



Was it not she, and that good man of worship,
Antony Woodeville, her brother there,
That made him send lord Hastings to the Tower;
From whence this present day he is deliver❜d?
We are not safe, Clarence, we are not safe.

Clar. By heaven, I think, there is no man secure,
But the queen's kindred, and night-walking heralds
That trudge betwixt the king and mistress Shore.
Heard you not, what an humble suppliant
Lord Hastings was to her for his delivery?
Glo. Humbly complaining to her deity
Got my lord chamberlain his liberty.
I'll tell you what,-I think, it is our way,
If we will keep in favour with the king,
To be her men, and wear her livery:
The jealous o'er-worn widow, and herself,1

"By that blind riddle of the letter G,

"George lost his life; it took effect in me." Steevens. toys] Fancies, freaks of imagination. Johnson. So, in Hamlet, Act I, sc. iv:


"The very place puts toys of desperation,

"Without more motive, into every brain." Reed.

7 That tempers him to this extremity.] I have collated the original quarto published in 1597, verbatim with that of 1598. In the first copy this line stands thus:

"That tempers him to this extremity."

and so undoubtedly we should read. To temper is to mould, to fashion. So, in Titus Andronicus:

"Now will I to that old Andronicus;

"And temper him, with all the art I have,

"To pluck proud Lucius from the warlike Goths." Malone. * To temper is not to mold or to fashion, but to harden, to soften, to molify, any thing to suit the purpose for which it is intended. Am. Ed.

8 Humbly complaining &c.] I think these two lines might be better given to Clarence. Johnson.

9 The jealous o'er-worn widow, and herself,] That is, the Queen and Shore. Johnson.

Since that our brother dubb'd them gentlewomen,
Are mighty gossips in this monarchy.

Brak. I beseech your graces both to pardon me;
His majesty hath straitly given in charge,
That no man shall have private conference,
Of what degree so ever, with his brother.

Glo. Even so? an please your worship, Brakenbury, You may partake of any thing we say:

We speak no treason, man;-We say, the king
Is wise, and virtuous; and his noble queen
Well struck in years; 2 fair, and not jealous :—
We say, that Shore's wife bath a pretty foot,
A cherry lip,

A bonny eye, a passing pleasing tongue;

And the queen's kindred2 are made gentlefolks:
How say you, sir? can you deny all this?

Brak. With this, my lord, myself have nought to do. Glo. Naught to do with mistress Shore? I tell thee, fellow,

He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
Were best to do it secretly, alone.3

1 Well struck in years;] This odd expression in our language was preceded by others as uncouth though of a similar kind. Thus, in Arthur Hall's translation of the first Book of Homer's Iliad, 1581:


"In Grea's forme, the good handmaid, nowe wel ystept in yeares."

"Well shot in years he seem'd," &c.

Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. V, c. vi. The meaning of neither is very obvious; but as Mr. Warton has observed in his essay on The Fairy Queen, by an imperceptible progression from one kindred sense to another, words at length obtain a meaning entirely foreign to their original etymology.


2 And the queen's kindred-] The old copies harshly and unnecessarily read


And that the queen's &c. Steevens.

- alone.] Surely the adjective-alone, is an interpolation, as what the Duke is talking of, is seldom undertaken before witnesses. Besides, this word deranges the metre, which, without it, would be regular:-for instance:

Were best to do it secretly.

My lord?

What one,

Her husband, knave:-Would'st thou betray me?


Brak. What one, my lord?

Glo. Her husband, knave :-Would'st thou betray me? Brak. I beseech your grace to pardon me; and, withal, Forbear your conference with the noble duke.

Clar. We know thy charge, Brakenbury, and will obey. Glo. We are the queen's abjects,4 and must obey. Brother, farewel: I will unto the king;

And whatsce'er you will employ me in,-
Were it, to call king Edward's widow-sister,5-
I will perform it, to enfranchise you.

Mean time, this deep disgrace in brotherhood,
Touches me deeper than you can imagine.


Clar. I know, it pleaseth neither of us well.

the queen's abjects,] That is, not the queen's subjects whom she might protect, but her abjects whom she drives away. Johnson. So, in The Case is altered. How? Ask Dalio and Milo, 1604:

"This ougly object, or rather abject of nature." Henderson. I cannot approve of Johnson's explanation. Gloster forms a substantive from the adjective abject, and uses it to express a lower degree of submission than is implied by the word subject, which otherwise he would naturally have made use of. The Queen's abjects, means the most servile of her subjects, who must of course obey all her commands; which would not be the case of those whom she had driven away from her.

In a preceding page Gloster had said of Shore's wife66 I think, it is our way,

"If we will keep in favour with the king,

"To be her men, and wear her livery."

The idea is the same in both places, though the expression dif fers. In Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour, Puntarvolo says to Swift:

"I'll make thee stoop, thou abject!" M. Mason.

This substantive was not of Shakspeare's formation. We meet with it in Psalm xxxv, 15: "—yea the very abjects came together against me unawares, making mouths at me, and ceased not."


5 Were it to call King Edward's widow-sister,] This is a very covert and subtle manner of insinuating treason. The natural expression would have been, were it to call king Edward's wife, sister. I will solicit for you, though it should be at the expence of so much degradation and constraint, as to own the low-born wife of King Edward for a sister. But by slipping, as it were casually, widow, into the place of wife, he tempts Clarence with an oblique proposal to kill the King. Johnson.

King Edward's widow is, I believe, only an expression of contempt, meaning the widow Grey, whom Edward had chosen for his queen. Gloster has already called her, the jealous o'er-worn widow.


Glo. Well, your imprisonment shall not be long; I will deliver you, or else lie for you:6

Mean time, have patience.


I must perforce; farewel. [Exeunt CLAR. BRAK. and Guard.

Glo. Go, tread the path that thou shalt neʼer return, Simple, plain Clarence!-I do love thee so, That I will shortly send thy soul to heaven, If heaven will take the present at our hands. But who comes here? the new-deliver❜d Hastings? Enter HASTINGS.

Hast. Good time of day unto my gracious lord! Glo. As much unto my good lord chamberlain! Well are you welcome to this open air. How hath your lordship brook'd imprisonment? Hast. With patience, noble lord, as prisoners must: But I shall live, my lord, to give them thanks, That were the cause of my imprisonment.

Glo. No doubt, no doubt; and so shall Clarence too; For they, that were your enemies, are his,

And have prevail'd as much on him, as you.

Hast. More pity, that the eagle should be mew'd,o While kites and buzzards prey at liberty.

Glo. What news abroad?

Hast. No news so bad abroad, as this at home ;

The king is sickly, weak, and melancholy,

And his physicians fear him mightily.

Glo. Now, by saint Paul, this news is bad indeed. O, he hath kept an evil diet1 long,

And over-much consum'd his royal person;


lie for you:] He means to be imprisoned in your stead. To lie was anciently to reside, as appears by many instances in these volumes. Reed.

7 I must perforce;] Alluding to the proverb, "Patience perforce, is a medicine for a mad dog." Steevens.


· should be mew'd,] A mew was the place of confinement where a hawk was kept till he had moulted. So, in Albumazar': "Stand forth, transform'd Antonio, fully mew'd

"From brown soar feathers of dull yeomanry,
"To the glorious bloom of gentry." Steevens.

9 Now, by saint Paul,] The folio reads:


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Now, by saint John,
an evil diet-] i. e. a bad regimen. Steevens.

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