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Q. Eliz. Harp on it still shall I, till heart-strings break. K. Rich. Now, by my george, my garter, and my
crown, Q. Eliz. Profan'd, dishonour'd, and the third usurp'd. K. Rich. I swear. Q. Eliz.
By nothing; for this is no oath.
K. Rich. Now by the world, —
'Tis full of thy foul wrongs. K. Rich. My father's death, Q. Eliz.
Thy life hath that dishonour'd. K. Rich. Then, by myself, Q. Eliz.
Thyself is self-mis-us'd. K. Rich. Why then, by God, Q. Eliz.
God's wrong is most of all. If thou had'st fear'd to break an oath by him,3 The unity, the king thy brother made, Had not been broken, nor my brother slain.
2 Thy george, profan'd, hath lost his holy honour ;
Thy garter, &c.] The quarto reads-The george, &c. The folio-Thy george; &c. and, afterwards,-lordly instead of-holy.
Steevens. 3 God's
wrong is most of all. If thou hadost fear'd to break an oath by him, &c.] I have followed the quarto, except that it reads in the preceding speech, Why then, by God - The editors of the folio, from the appre. hension of the penalty of the Statute, 3 Jac. I, c. 21, printed “Why then by heaven," -and the whole they absurdly exhibited thus :
“ Rich. Why then, by heaven.
“ Qu. Heaven's wrong is most of all.
“ The imperial metal,” &c. By their alteration in the first line of the Queen's speech, they made all that follows ungrammatical. The change in the prece. ding speech, not having that consequence, I have adopted it.
Malone. - the king thy brother made, Had not been broken, nor my brother slain.] The quarto, by
it thou had'st fear'd to break an oath by him,
By the time to come.
K. Rich. As I intend to prosper, and repent!
an error of the press, has—my brother, which the editor of the folio corrected thus :
The unity the king, my husband, made,
Thou hadst not broken, nor my brothers died. Malone. 5 Which now, two tender bed-fellows &c.] Mr. Roderick observes, that the word two is without any force, and would read:
Which now too tender &c. Steevens. Thus the folio. The quarto-two tender play-fellows. Malone. - a prey for worms.] So the quarto. Folio-the prey.
Malone. * By the time to come. ] So the quarto. By is not in the folio.
Malone, 8 — to wail it in their age:] So the quarto, 1598. The quarto, 1602, &c. and the folio, read with their age. Malone.
in my dangerous attempt -) So the quarto. Folio-dangerous affairs. Malone.
! Heaven, and fortune, bar me happy hours!) This line is found, only in the folio. Malone.
In her consists my happiness, and thine;
Q. Eliz. Shall I be tempted of the devil thus?
Q. Eliz. Shall I go win my daughter to thy will ?
Q. Eliz. I go. Write to me very shortly,
[Kissing her. Exit Q. ELIZ.
2 And be not peevish found -] Thus the folio-Peevish in our author's time signified foolish. So, in the second scene of this Act:
“When Richmond was a little peevish boy, -.' See also Minsheu's Dict. in v. The quarto reads--peevish fond, and I am not sure that it is not right. A compound epithet might have been intended, peevish-fond. So childish-foolish, senseless-obstinate, foolish-witty, &c. Malone.
I believe the present reading is the true one. So, in King Henry VIII:
have great care
in that nest of spicery, they shall breed - ] Alluding to the phænix. Steevens. So the quarto. The folio reads--they will breed. Malone.
shortly,] This adverb, in the present instance, is employed as a trisyllable. See Mr. Tyrwhitt's note, Vol. II, p. 160.
Relenting fool, and shallow, changing-woman!
Enter RatclIFF; CATESBY following.
Cates. Here, my good lord.
Catesby, fly to the duke. Cates. I will, my lord, with all convenient haste.
K. Rich. Ratcliff, come hither:7 Post to Salisbury; When thou com'st thither, Dull unmindful villain,
[T. CATES. Why stay’st thou here, and go'st not to the duke? Cates. First, mighty liege, tell me your highness'
pleasure, What from your grace I shall deliver to him.
K. Rich. O, true, good Catesby ;-Bid him levy straight The greatest strength and power he can make, And meet me suddenly at Salisbury. Cates. I go.
Erit. Rat. What, may it please you, shall I do at Salisbury ? K. Rich. Why, what would'st thou do there, before I
Rat. Your highness told me, I should post before.
5 Relenting fool, and shallow, changing-woman!] Such was the real character of this Queen dowager, who would have married her daughter to King Richard, and did all in her power to alienate the Marquis of Dorset, her son, from the Earl of Richmond.
Steevens. 6 Some light-foot friend post to the duke -) Richard's precipitistion and confusion is in this scene very happily represented by in. consistent orders, and sudden variations of opinion. Johnson.
7 Ratcliff, come hither:] The folio has--Catesb;', come hither. The words are not in the quarto. It is obvious that they are ad. dressed to Ratcliff. The correction was made by Mr. Rowe.
Malone: VOL. XI.
Enter STANLEY. K. Rich. My mind is chang'.-Stanley, what news
with you? Stan. None good, my liege, to please you with the
K. Rich. Heyday, a riddle! neither good nor bad!
Richmond is on the seas.
Stan. I know not, mighty sovereign, but by guess.
Stan. Stirr'd up by Dorset, Buckingham, and Morton, He makes for England, here to claim the crown.
K. Rich. Is the chair empty ? is the sword unsway'a ?
Stan. Unless for that, my liege, I cannot guess.
8 White-liver'd runagate,] This epithet, descriptive of cowardice, is not peculiar to Shakspeare. Stephen Gosson in his School of Abuse, 1579, speaking of the Helots, says: “ Leave those precepts to the white-livered Hylotes."
Steevens. 9 What heir of York -] i. e. What son of Richard Duke of York ? Ritson.
Richard asks this question in the plenitude of power, and no one dares to answer him. But they whom he addresses, had they not been intimidated, might have told him, that there was a male heir of the house of York alive, who had a better claim to the throne than he; Edward Earl of Warwick, the only son of the Usurper's elder brother, George Duke of Clarence; and Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of Edward IV, and all her sisters, had a better title than either of them. Malone.
The isstle of King Edward had been pronounced illegitimate, the Duke of Clarence attainted of high treason,—and the usurper declared “the undoubted heir of Richard duke of York,”_by act of parliament: so that, as far as such a proceeding can alter the con. stitution, and-legalize usurpation and murder, he is perfectly correct and unanswerable. Ritson.