« VorigeDoorgaan »
that can be regarded as to be preferred. The sea is some defence against pestilential infections: it is also a defence against moral infections, which probably were intended.
The passage is quoted in England's Parnassus, 1600, where the word is printed "intestion;" and this misprint has been the origin of the corruption in this place of Shakespeare's
The following passage in the Dedication of The Running Register to Sir Julius Cæsar, by Lewis Owen, 1626, may be brought in support of the probability that moral not natural infection was what Shakespeare meant.
Having in my many years travell in forain countries seene with mine eyes, and by conference with others learned, the state of the colleges, seminaries, and cloisters which our English Fugitives have in all those forraine parts, together with some part of their practices, impostures, cozenage, and deceits, their whole drifte being to alienate the hearts of his Majesty's subjects from their allegiance, and to possess them with the filthy dregs of Spanish infection and Popish superstition.
II. 1. NORTHUMBERLAND.
[The son of Richard Earl of Arundel,]
That late broke from the Duke of Exeter.
This line is supplied by Mr. Malone, there being nothing correspondent to it in any of the old copies.
That a line expressing what is here expressed is necessary, and must once have existed, unless we are to suppose that the poet wrote with most unwonted carelessness, appears from these two considerations: (1) that without it the line,
His brother, archbishop late of Canterbury,
would refer to a brother of the Duke of Exeter, or less probably of Lord Cobham or the Earl of Hereford, while it is certain that none of these noblemen had a brother who was Archbishop of Canterbury, and that Archbishop Arundel of the time was brother of the Earl of Arundel. (2) When Shakespeare wrote this speech of the Earl of Northumber
land he had Hollinshead open before him, and there we read, "About the same time the Earl of Arundel's son, named Thomas, which was kept in the Duke of Exeter's house, escaped out of the realm by means of one William Scot," &c.
It is observed by Mr. Malone that in the second scene of the fifth act there is another line dropped out at the press in the First Folio,
Ill may'st thou thrive if thou grant any grace;
and that it is recovered from the Quarto. But certainly no such line is found in that scene as printed in Boswell's Malone; nor do I find it in Steevens' reprint of the Quarto.
III. 2. K. RICHARD.
For, within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a King
Keeps Death his court; and there the ANTICK sits,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be feared, and kill with looks;
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,—
As if this flesh which walls about our life
Were brass impregnable; and, humour'd thus,
Bores through his castle wall, and-farewell king!
We have already had a passage in Much Ado in which the word antic is used, meaning one of those figures rudely drawn on the walls of churches or other antient edifices according to the taste of our ancestors. How they came to be called antics, and the connection of this word with the word antique, I have attempted to explain at large in an article on this word inserted in Boucher's Glossary, 1832. Death was a frequent subject of such paintings, and especially his triumph over men of all estates. This Dance of Death, such was the somewhat inappropriate name given to it, was
painted in the church of St. Paul's, where it may have been frequently in the eye of Shakespeare, if he had not had in his youth opportunities of contemplating the same subject in the chapel at Stratford. The whole is familiar to the public by the engravings after (supposed) Holbein; and it can hardly be doubted by any one who observes the position of Death in the picture of the Emperor, that Shakespeare had these designs in his mind when he wrote this splendid passage:
Seated on a throne, and holding in his hand the sword of state, he is attentively listening to an advocate pleading in a soothing tone against an unfortunate peasant, who trembling waits in the most suppliant posture the decree that is to determine his fate. Death at this moment displays all his power; he proudly takes possession of the bottom of the throne, and is carelessly leaning his arm on the Monarch's crown. -THE DANCE OF DEATH, 4to. 1803, p. 18.
Marlowe alludes to the same paintings :
To make his monks and abbots stand like apes,
And point like Antiques at his triple crown.-DOCTOR FAUSTUS.
V. 1. QUEEN.
This is the way the King will come; this is the way
To Julius Cæsar's ill-erected tower,
To whose flint bosom my condemned lord
Is doomed a prisoner by proud Bolinbroke.
My fair rose wither: Yet, look up, behold;
It is to the latter part of this broken speech that my remarks are chiefly to be addressed. All the commentators appear to agree that the lines
Ah! thou, the model where old Troy did stand, &c.
are addressed to King Richard, whose ruined majesty it is supposed is compared to the desolated waste where Troy once stood. It appears to me that these words are not addressed to King Richard but to the Tower: that the speech resembles the address of the Lords in King Richard the Third to the Castle of Pontefract: that by old Troy the Queen meant London, or rather antient London, the Troynovant of early Chroniclers, the model or seat of which was supposed to be at or near where the Tower stands, a building of the antiquity of which the people of Shakespeare's time entertained the most extravagant conceptions. "Thou map of honour" is at least not more harsh if applied to the Tower than if applied to King Richard. "Thou King Richard's tomb," suits far better with the Tower than with the King himself. "Thou most beauteous inn" is far more suitable as addressed to the Tower than as addressed to the King.
The only objection to this explanation which I can perceive lies in the expression "and not King Richard;" but, though it might be said that there was a beauty in the term "Thou King Richard's tomb," as applied to one whose greatness (soul) was departed, and that the body only remained which had inclosed the spirit that was gone, yet I own it appears to me too harsh to be beautiful; and I cannot but think that had Shakespeare contemplated this idea he would have brought it out more clearly and beautifully than in the words as they now stand. I have indeed little doubt that Shakespeare wrote,
Thou King Richard's tomb,
meaning that the Queen should express herself in sad presagement of what might be his fate. However, the reader must judge.
When Shakespeare calls the Tower of London "Julius
Cæsar's ill-erected tower," he wrote conformably to the popular notions, and did not trouble himself to inquire whether they were well-grounded or no. Stowe very properly shews the absurdity in his Survay of London, published about the time when this play first appeared, p. 45. We can much more easily excuse Shakespeare than we can a later bard, who can have been driven by nothing but the necessity of his verse to commit the line,
Ye towers of Julius, London's lasting shame!
for when he wrote the popular notion respecting them had exploded and passed away.
V. 5. K. RICHARD.
Love to Richard
Is a strange BROOCH in this all-hating world.
The commentators regard brooch as being the ornament of the dress so called. I cannot see the appropriateness, and regard brooch as broach, a thing broached or uttered. In this all-hating world the "broach" or promulgation of such a sentiment as love to Richard is strange. Shakespeare not unfrequently turns verbs into substantives thus: as in For the fail
Of any point in't shall not only be
Death to thyself.—Winter's Tale, Act II. s. 3.
V. 3. BOLINBroke.
Can no one tell me of my unthrifty son?
This is the first introduction of Prince Henry to dramatic life, in which he is afterwards so prominent, and the words were probably intended to connect the historical plays together, to prepare the audiences for his early appearance in the plays of King Henry the Fourth in his character of unthriftiness and riot.
As a dramatic character Prince Henry is one of the most splendid of the creations of Shakespeare, who exhibits him