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THE LIFE AND DEATH OF
KING RICHARD II.
ACT I. SCENE I.
5. “ Against the duke of Norfolk, Thomas
The metre in this play is in general pretty well preserved, and where it is imperfect there is good reason to suspect corruption. In the present instance, I suppose, we should read :
“ Against the duke of Norfolk ?" G. “ I have, my liege."
Or else, dismissing a superfluous part of the King's next speech“ Against the duke of Norfolk, Thomas
- Appeal each other."6 Appeal" seenis here to be used substantively, for “ to make the subject of appeal,” as we say, to summons, to subpæna.
My ingenious friend, Mr. Strutt, says it should be " appeach ;" but there is evidence sufficient of “ appeal” being used, in the present sense, by the old writers; and it is not a little remarkable, that it is so applied in the account of this very quarrel between Hereford and Norfolk, in Warner's Albion's England: “ The other saying little, then, immediately
reueales “ The secrete, and before the king his foe-made
friend appeales.” “ Each day still better other's happiness.”
It would be better written—" th' other's happiness.” “ As well appeareth by the cause you come.”
The expression here is imperfect, and the sense not very obvious. “ By the cause,” seems to mean, “ from the nature of the cause;" but then the construction would require “ by the cause you come in,” or “ with :” but “ by the cause,” may quaintly signify, “ by reason that,” or “because.”
- A traitor,
Your name and rank give too much dignity to the character of a traitor, and your wickedness is too great to admit of your further existence.
7.“ Were I tied to run a-foot.”
Were I obligated to run, &c. 10. “Which blood, like sacrificing Abel's, cries, “ E'en from the tongueless caverns of the
earth.” This thought, somewhat differently expressed, occurs in Hamlet : “For murder, tho’ it have no tongue, will speak “ With most miraculous organ.” 12. " But my fuir name, “ (Despite of death, that lives upon my
grave.") Dr. Johnson has rightly expressed the meaning of this passage ; but the construction is false, and might easily have been corrected : " That lives, despite of death, upon my grave.” 14. " - Impeach my height
“ Before this outdar'd dastard ?” Disparage my dignity. This outdared dastard may mean—this dastard that has been dared out by me to combat: but I rather think it is put for outdaring – intemperately boastful. We often find, in these works, the passive participle used for the active.
15. “ Your exclaims,”
Exclaims, as a noun, occurs elsewhere. " IVho, when he sees the hours ripe on earth."
As "hours” is here, so presently we find "fire,” a dissyllable:
« () who can hold a fire in his hand ?”
But these words were formerly so written “ fier," “ howers." 16. “Some of those branches by the destinies
cut." And again, a little lower: “One flourishing branch of his most royal root.”
This is an exuberance of the metre, which, not too often recurring, is a grace rather than a blemish to the verse. Milton makes more frequent and happier use of it than any other of our poets. 18. “ For sorrow ends not when it seemeth
done." i. e. The language of sorrow is not finished when it pauses. 19. “ Desolate, desolate, will I hence, and die.”
This line is inharmonious, and, without a redundant termination, comprises eleven syllables : yet the fault is not hypermetrical; for the addition of another syllable at the beginning would render it unexceptionable : “ And désolate, désolate, will I hence, and die.”
22. “ Depose him in the justice of his cause."
Examine him, according to the solemn and established ceremonies, on his oath. Thus a
person, under similar circumstances, is called, in law language, a deponent. 25.“ Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant
and live.” Unless we suppose this line was designedly an Alexandrine, it is a foot too long. We should, perhaps, read : “ Rouse up thy youthful blood, be strong and
live.” Gaunt would hardly have expressed a doubt of his son's valour, howsoever he might urge him to put forth his strength.
“ Never did captive with a freer heart
“ Yet stay,” &c. 27. “ Draw near,”
I suppose the remainder of this line has been lost :-perhaps some words like these :
“Draw near, ye fell incensed adversaries.” “To wake our peace, which in our country's
cradle “ Draws the sweet infant breath of gentle
sleep; “ Which so rouz'd up“ Might fright fair peace,” &c.