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K. Rich. Thou, now a dying, fay'ít, thou flatter'st
Gaunt. Oh! no, thou dy'st, though I the sicker be.
Gaunt. Now, he that made me knows, I see thee ill:
Thy state of law is bond-Nave to the law;] State of law, i.e. legal fou'reignty. But the Oxford editor alters it to state o'er law, i.e. absolute fou'reignty. A
A doctrine, which, if our poet ever learnt at all, he learnt not in the reign when this play was written, queen Elizabeth's, but in the reign after it, king James's
. By bond-slave to the law, the poet means his being innaved to his favorite subjects.
WARBURTON. This sentiment, whatever it be, is obscurely expressed. I understand it differently from the learned commentator, being perhaps not quite so zealous for Shakespeare's political reputation. The reasoning of Gaunt, I think, is this: By setting by royalties to farm thou haft reduced thyself to a frate below for This tongue,
K. Rich. Thou, a lunatic lean-witted foob, Presuming on an ague's privilege, Dar'ft with a frozen admonition Make pale our cheek; chasing the royal blood With fury from his native residence. Now by my seat's right-royal majesty, Wert thou not brother to great Edward's son,
that runs so roundly in thy head, Should run thy head from thy unreverend shoulders.
Gaunt. Oh, fpare me not, my brother Edward's son, For that I was his father Edward's son. That blood already, like the pelican, Hast thou tap'd out, and drunkenly carows'd. My brother Gloster, plain well-meaning soul (Whom fair befal in heaven ʼmongst happy fouls !) May be a precedent and witness good, That thou respectft not spilling Edward's blood. Join with the present sickness that I have;
And thy unkindness be like crooked age, To crop at once a too-long wither'd flower.
vereignty, thou art now no longer king but landlord of England, subject to the same restraint and limitations as other landlords; by making thy condition a state of law, a condition upon which the common rules of law can operate, thou art become a bond-slave to the law; thou hast made thyself amenable to laws from which thou wert originally exempt.
Whether this interpretation be true or no, it is plain that Dr. Warburton's explanation of bond-slave to the law, is not true. JOHNSON.
And thy unkindness be like crooked age, To crop at once a too-long wither'd Rower.] Thus stand these lines in all the copies, but ì think there is an error. Why should Gaunt, already old, call on any thing like age to end him? How can age be faid to crop at once? How is the idea of crookedness connected with that of cropping? I suppose the poet dictated thus :
And thy unkindness be time's crooked edge
To crop at once
Edge was easily confounded by the ear with age, and one mistake once admitted made way for another. JOHNSON.
Live in thy shame, but die not shame with thee!
[Exit, borne out. K. Rich. And let thern die, that age and sullens have; For both hast thou, and both become the grave.
York. I do beseech your majesty, impute
K. Rich. Right, you fay true: as Hereford's love,
As theirs, so mine; and all be, as it is.
York. Be York the next, that must be bankrupt so! Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe.
K. Rich. The ripest fruit first falls, and so doth he; His time is spent, our pilgrimage must be: So much for that. Now for our Irish wars : We must supplant those rough rug-headed kerns, Which live like venom, where no venom else 3, But only they, hath privilege to live. And, for these great affairs do ask some charge, Towards our assistance, we do seize to us,
Shakespeare, I believe, took this idea from the figure of Time, who is armed with a scythe, which (from its form) was anciently called a crook. Crooked may mean armed with a crook. Steev. * Love they] That is, let them love. JOHNSON.
where no venom else,] This alludes to the tradition that St. Patrick freed the kingdom of Ireland from venomous reptiles every
kind. STEEVENS. Vol. Y.
The plate, coin, revenues, and moveables,
York. How long shall I be patient? Oh, how long
K. Rich. Why, uncle, what's the matter?
York. O my liege,
About bis marriage, &c.) When the duke of Hereford, after his banishment, went into France, he was honourably entertained at that court, and would have obtained in marriage the only daughter of the duke of Berry, uncle to the French king, had not Richard prevented the match, STEEVENS,
Did not the one deserve to have an heir ?
York. I'll not be by the while: my liege, farewell: What will ensue hereof, there's none can tell ; But by bad courses may be understood, That their events can never fall out good. [Exit.
K. Rich. Go, Bushy, to the earl of Wiltfhire straight, Bid him repair to us to Ely-house, To see this business. To-morrow next We will for Ireland ; and 'tis time, I trow; And we create, in absence of ourself, Our uncle York lord-governor of England, For he is just, and always lov'd us well.Come on, our queen : to-morrow must we part ; Be merry, for our time of stay is short. [Flourish.
[Exeunt king, queen, &c. North. Well, lords, the duke of Lancaster is dead, Ross. And living too; for now his son is duke.
deny bis offer'd homage,] That is, refuse to admit the bemege, by which he is to hold his lands. JOHNSON.