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Hath caus'd his death: the which if wrongfully, Let heaven revenge; for I may never lift
An angry arm against his minifter.
DUCH. Where then, alas! may I complain my felf? 4
GAUNT. To heaven, the widow's champion and defence.
DUCH. Why then, I will. Farewell, old Gaunt. 5
Be Mowbray's fins fo heavy in his bosom,
4 may I complain myself?]
To complain is commonly a verb neuter, but it is here used as a verb active. Dryden employs the word in the fame fenfe in his Fables:
"Gaufride, who couldft fo well in rhyme complain
"The death of Richard with an arrow flain.
Complain myself (as Mr. M. Mafon obferves) is a literal translation of the French phrafe, me plaindre. STEEVENS.
5 Why then, I will. Farewell, old Gaunt.] The measure of this line being clearly defective, why may we not read?.
Why then I will.
Now fare thee well, old Gaunt."
"Why then I will. Farewell old John of Gaunt.
There can be nothing ludicrous in a title by which the King has already addreffed him.
Sir T. Hanmer completes the measure, by repeating the word— farewell, at the end of the line. STEEVENS.
A caitiff recreant-] Caitiff originally fignified a prisoners next a flave, from the condition of prifoners; then a fcoundrel, from the qualities of a flave.
Ἥμισυ τῆς ἀρετῆς ἀποαίνυται δόλιον ἦμαρ.
In this paffage it partakes of all thefe fignifications. JOHNSON.
Farewell, old Gaunt; thy fometimes brother's wife, With her companion grief muft end her life..
GAUNT. Sifter, farewell: I must to Coventry: As much good stay with thee, as go with me! DUCH. Yet one word more;-Grief boundeth where it falls,
Not with the empty hollownefs, but weight:
And what cheer there' for welcome, but my groans?
This jaft fentiment is in Homer; but the learned commentator quoting, 1 fuppofe from memory, has compreffed a couplet into a fingle line;
Ημισυ γάρ τ' αρετης αποαίνυται ευρύοπα Ζευς
Odyff. Lib. XVII. v. 322. HOLT WHITE. I do not believe that caitiff in our language ever fignified a prisoner. I take it to be derived, not from captif, but from chétif, Fr. poor, miferable. TYRWHITT.
unfurnish'd walls,] In our ancient caffles the naked ftone walls were only covered with tapestry, or arras, hung upon tenter hooks, from which it was cafily taken down on every removal of the family. See the preface to The Household Book of the Fifth Earl of Northumberland, begun in 1512. STEEVENS.
7 And what cheer there, &c.] I had followed the reading of the folio, [hear] but now rather incline to that of the firft quarto And what cheer, there, &c. In the quarto of 1608, chear was changed to hear, and the editor of the folio followed the latter copy. MALONE.
Therefore commend me; let him not come there,
Gosford-Green near Coventry.
Lifts fet out, and a throne. Heralds, &c. attending.
Enter the Lord Marfhal, and AUMERLE.2
MAR. My lord Aumerle, is Harry Hereford arm'd?
AUM. Yea, at all points; and longs to enter in. MAR. The duke of Norfolk, fprightfully and bold,
Stays but the fummons of the appellant's trumpet.
let him not come there,
To feek out forrow that dwells every where:] Perhaps the pointing might be reformed without injury to the fense:
let him not come there
To feek out forrow: that dwells every where.
Lord Marshal,] Shakspeare has here committed a flight miftake. The office of Lord Marshal was executed on this occafion by Thomas Holland, Duke of Surrey. Our author has inadvertently introduced that nobleman as a diftin& perfon from the Marshal, in the prefent draina.
Mowbray Duke of Norfolk was Earl Marshal of England; but being himself one of the combatants, the Duke of Surrey officiated as Earl Marfhal for the day. MALONE.
8 Aumerle, Edward Duke of Aumerle, fó created by his coufin german, King Richard II. in 1397. He was the eldeft fon of Edward of Langley Duke of York, fifth son of King Edward the Third, and was killed in 1415, at the battle of Agincourt. He officiated at the lifts of Coventry, as High Conftable of England.
AUM. Why then, the champions are prepar'd,
For nothing but his majefty's approach.
Flourish of trumpets.
Enter King RICHARD, who takes his feat on his throne; GAUNT, and feveral noblemen, who take their places. A trumpet is founded, and anfwered by another trumpet within. Then enter NORFOLK in armour, preceded by a
K. RICH. Marshal, demand of yonder champion The cause of his arrival here in arms: Afk him his name; and orderly proceed To fwear him in the juftice of his caufe. MAR. In God's name, and the king's, fay who thou art,
And why thou com'ft, thus knightly clad in arms: Against what man thou com'ft, and what thy quarrel:
Speak truly, on thy knighthood, and thy oath;
*NOR. My name is Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk;
Who hither come engaged by my oath,
(Which, heaven defend, a knight fhould violate!) Both to defend my loyalty and truth,
3 And fo-] The old copies read — As so ——.
Corrected by Mr. Rowe. MALONE.
4 Norfolk.] Mr. Edwards, in his MS. notes, obferves, from Holinfhed, that the Duke of Hereford, appellant, entered the lifts firft; and this, indeed muft have been the regular method of the combat; for the natural order of things requires, that the accufer or challenger should be at the place of appointment first.
To God, my king, and my fucceeding iffue,
[He takes his feat.
Trumpet founds. Enter BOLINGBROKE, in armour; preceded by a Herald.
K. RICH. Marshal, ask yonder knight in arms, Both who he is, and why he cometh hither Thus plated in habiliments of war; And formally according to our law Depofe him in the juftice of his caufe.
5 my fucceeding iffue,] His is the reading of the first folio; other editions read my iffue. Mowbray's issue, was by this accufation, in danger of an attainder, and therefore he might come, among other reasons, for their fake: but the reading of the folio is more just and grammatical. JOHNSON.
The three oldeft quartos read my, which Mr. M. Mason prefers, because, says he, Mowbray fubjoins
"To prove him, in defending of myself,
and my fucceeding iffue,] Thus the first quarto. The folio reads his fucceeding iffue. The first quarto copy of this play, in 1597, being in general much more corred than the folio, and the quartos of 1608, and 1615, from the latter of which the folio appears to have been printed, I have preferred the elder reading. MALONE.
6 Marshal, afk yonder knight in arms, ] Why not, as before? Marshal, demand of yonder knight in arms.
The player who varied the expreffion, was probably ignorant that he injured the metre. The infertion, however, of two little words would aufwer the fame purpose,
Marshal, go ask of yonder knight in arms. RITSON.