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Enter King RICHARD.
K. Rich. Kind Tyrrel! am I happy in thy news?
3 O thus, quoth Dighton, lay the gentle babes,
Thus, thus, quoth Forrest, girdling one another
A book of prayers on their pillow lay;] These circumstances were probably adopted from the old song of The most cruel Murther of Edward V, &c. in The Golden Irland of Princely Delight. The thirteenth edition of this collection was published in 1690 :
“ When these sweet children thus were laid in bed,
« Each folded in the other's arms then lies.” It must be owned, however, that there is nothing to assist us in ascertaining the exact date of this and many other of our ancient ballads. Steevens.
Tyr. If to have done the thing you gave in charge
K. Rich. But didst thou see them dead ?
And buried, gentle Tyrrel? Tyr. The chaplain of the Tower hath buried them; But where, to say the truth, I do not know.
K. Rich. Come to me, Tyrrel, soon at after supper, When thou shalt tell the process of their death. Mean time, but think how I may do thee good, And be inheritor of thy desire. Farewel, till then. Tyr.
I humbly take my leave. [Erit. K. Rich. The son of Clarence have ! pen'd up close ; His daughter meanly have I match'd in marriage;5 The sons of Edward sleep in Abraham's bosom, And Anne my wife hath bid the world good night. Now, for I know the Bretagne Richmond6 aims At young Elizabeth, my brother's daughter, And, by that knot, looks proudly on the crown, To her go I, a jolly thriving wooer.
4 The son of Clarence have I pend up close ;) In Sheriff Hutton Castle, Yorkshire; where he remained 'till the coming of Henry VII, who immediately after the battle of Bosworth sent him to the Tower, and some few years after, most treacherously and barbarously put him to death; being, from a total want of edu. cation and commerce with mankind, so ignorant, that he could not, according to Hall, discern a goose from a capon. With this unfortunate young nobleman ended the male line of the illustrious house of Plantagenet. Ritson.
5 His daughter meanly have I match'd in marriage ;) To Sir Richard Pole, Knt. This lady, at seventy years of age, without any legal process, and for no crime but her relation to the crown, was beheaded in the Tower by that sanguinary tyrant Henry VIII. Her son, Lord Montague, had been put to death a few years before, in the same manner, and for the sanie crime ; and the famous Cardinal Pole, another of her children, only escaped the fate of his mother and brother, by keeping out of the butcher's reach.
Ritson. the Bretagne Richmond –] He thus denominates Richmond, because after the battle of Tewksbury he had taken refuge in the court of Francis II, Duke of Bretagne, where by the procurement of King Edward IV, he was kept a long time in a kind of honourable custody. See note on sc. iv. Malone.
K. Rich. Ely with Richmond troubles me more near, Than Buckingham and his rash-levied strength. Come.--I have learn’d, that fearful commenting Is leaden servitoi? to dull delay; Delay leads impotent and snail-pac'd beggary: Then fiery expeditions be my wing, Jove's Mercury, and herald for a king! Go, muster men: My counsel is my shield; We must be brief, when traitors brave the field.
Before the Palace.
Enter Queen MARGARET. Q. Mar. So, now prosperity begins to mellow, And drop into the rotten mouth of death. Here in these confines slily have I lurk’d, To watch the waning of mine enemies. A dire induction1 am I witness to, And will to France; hoping, the consequence Will prove as bitter, black, and tragical. Withdraw thee, wretched Margaret! who comes here?
- fearful commenting Is leaden servitor -] Timorous thought and cautious disquisition are the dull attendants on delay. Johnson. - fiery expedition - ] So, in Hamlet :
must send thee hence
-begins to mellow, &c.] The same thought occurs in Marston's Antonio and Mellida, 1602:
now is his fate grown mellow,
- dire induction - ] Induction is preface, introduction, first. part. It is so used by Sackville in our author's time. Fohnson.
Enter Queen ELIZABETH and the Duchess of YORK.
Q. Eliz. Ah! my poor princes! ah, my tender babes! My unblown flowers, new-appearing sweets! If yet your gentle souls fly in the air, And be not fix'd in doom perpetual, Hover about me with your airy wings, And hear your mother's lamentation !
Q. Mar. Hover about her; say, that right for right? Hath dimm'd your infant morn to aged night.
Duch. So many miseries have craz'd my voice, That my woe-wearied tongue is still and mute, Edward Plantagenet, why art thou dead?
Q. Mar. Plantagenet doth quit Plantagenet, Edward for Edward pays a dying debt.
Q. Eliz. Wilt thou, O God, fly from such gentle lambs, And throw them in the entrails of the wolf? When didst thou sleep, 3 when such a deed was done?
say, that right for right - ] This is one of those conceits which our author may be suspected of loving better than propriety. Right for right is justice answering to the claims of justice. So, in this play:
That forehead “ Where should be branded, if that right were right, —.”
Johnson. In the third scene of the first Act, Margaret was reproached with the murder of young Rutland, and the death of her husband and son were imputed to the divine vengeance roused by that wicked act: “So just is God to right the innocent." Margaret now perhaps means to say, The right of me, an injured mother, whose son was slain at Tewksbury, has now operated as powerfully as that right which the death of Rutland gave you to divine justice, and has destroyed your children in their turn. Malone.
3 When didst thou sleep, &c.] That is, When, before the present occasion, didst thou ever sleep during the commission of such an action? Thus the only authentick copies now extant; the quarto, 1598, and the first folio. The editor of the second folio changed When to Why, which has been adopted by all the subsequent edi. tors; though Margaret's answer evidently refers to the word found in the original copy. Malone.
I have admitted this reading, though I am not quite certain of its authenticity. The reply of Margaret might have been designed as an interrogatory echo to the last words of the Queen.
Steevens. This appears to be the true reading, as Margaret's next speech is an answer to that question that was not addressed to her.
Q. Mar. When holy Harry died, and my sweet son.
Duch. Dead life, blind sight, poor mortal-living ghost, Woe's scene, world's shame, grave's due by life usurp'd, Brief abstract and record of tedious days, Rest thy unrest on England's lawful earth,
[Sitting down. Unlawfully made drunk with innocent blood!
Q. Eliz. Ah, that thou would'st as soon afford a grave, As thou canst yield a melancholy seat; Then would I hide my bones, not rest them here! Ah, who hath any cause to mourn, but we?
[Sitting down by her. Q. Mar. If ancient sorrow be most reverent, Give mine the benefit of seniory, And let my griefs frown on the upper hand.5 If sorrow can admit society, [Sitting down with them. Tell o'er your woes again by viewing minę:I had an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him; I had a husband,6 till a Richard kill'd him: Thou badst an Edward, till a Richard killd him ; Thou hadst a Richard, till a Richard kill'd him.
Duch. I had a Richard too, and thou didst kill him;
seniory,] For seniority. Fohnson. So, in Stowe's Chronicle, edit. 1615, p. 149:
“- the son of Edmund, the son of Edward the seignior, the son of Alured,” &c. Steevens.
6 And let my griefs frown on the upper hand.] So, in our author's Rape of Lucrece:
“ By this starts Collatine as from a dream,
“ And bids Lucretius give his surrows place." Malone. Ó I had a husband, ] The quarto has—a Richard, which the edi. tor of the folio corrected by substituting-a husband. I believe Shakspeare wrote-I had a Henry. In a subsequent speech in this scene, p. 154,1 16: “ my brother” being printed in the quarto by mistake, instead of “thy brother," the editor of the folío corrected the wrong word, and printed-my husband. Malone.