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Act I. SCENE V. (1. iii. 227–8.)
And pluck nights from me, but not lend a morrow. It is matter of very melancholy consideration, that all human advantages confer more power of doing evil than good. Act II. SCENE I. (11. i. 21.)
Report of fasbions in proud Italy. Our authour, who gives to all nations the customs of England, and to all
the manners of his own; has charged the times of Richard with a folly not perhaps known then, but very frequent in Shakespeare's time, and much lamented by the wisest and best of our ancestors.
Act III. SCENE ii. (111. ii. 56–7.)
The Deputy elected by the Lord. Here is the doctrine of indefeasible right expressed in the strongest terms, but our poet did not learn it in the reign of King James, to which it is now the practice of all writers, whose opinions are regulated by fashion or interest, to impute the original of every tenet which they have been taught to think false or foolish.
Act III. SCENE iv. (ıı. ii. 93.)
K. RICHARD. Mine ear is open, and my heart prepard.
It seems to be the design of the poet to raise Richard to esteem in his fall, and consequently to interest the reader in his favour. He gives him only passive fortitude, the virtue of a confessor rather than of a king. In his prosperity we saw him imperious and oppressive, but in his distress he is wise, patient, and pious.
Act III. SCENE IV. (m. ii. 153–4.)
That small model of the barren earth,
Which serves as paste and cover to our bones. A metaphor, not of the most sublime kind, taken from a pie. Act III. SCENE iv. (mu. ii. 207-8.) K. RICHARD. By bead'n, I'll bate him werlastingly,
That bids me be of comfort any more. This sentiment is drawn from nature. Nothing is more offensive to a mind convinced that his distress is without a remedy, and preparing to submit quietly to irresistible calamity, than these petty and conjectured comforts which unskilful officiousness thinks it virtue to administer. Act III. SCENE Vi. (ur. iii. 155–7.) K. RICHARD. Or I'll be buried in the King's bigb way,
Some way of common Trade, where Subjects' feet
May hourly trample on their Sovereign's bead. Shakespeare is very apt to deviate from the pathetick to the ridiculous. Had the speech of Richard ended at this line it had exhibited the natural language of submissive misery, conforming its intention to the present fortune, and calmly ending its purposes in death.
Act IV. SCENE i. (iv. i. 39-40.)
Where it was forged, with my rapier's point. Shakespeare deserts the manners of the age in which his drama is placed very often, without necessity or advantage. The edge of a sword had served his purpose as well as the point of a rapier, and he had then escaped the impropriety of giving the English nobles a weapon which was not seen in England till two centuries afterwards. Act IV. SCENE ï. (iv. i. 125-8.) CARLISLE. And shall the Figure of God's Majesty,
His Captain, Steward, Deputy elect,
Be judgʻd by subject and inferior breaib ? Here is another proof that our authour did not learn in King James's court his elevated notions of the right of kings. I know not any flatterer of the Stuarts who has expressed this doctrine in much stronger terms. . It must be observed that the Poet intends from the beginning to the end to exhibit this bishop as brave, pious, and venerable. Act IV. SCENE IV. (iv. i. 322–3.) CARLISLE.
The children yet unborn, Shall feel this day as sharp to them as thorn. This pathetick denunciation shews that Shakespeare intended to impress his auditors with dislike of the deposal of Richard. Act V. SCENE I. (v. i. 46.)
For wby? the senseless brands will sympathize. The poet should have ended this speech with the foregoing line, and have spared his childish prattle about the fire.
This play is extracted from the Chronicle of Hollingshead, in which many passages may be found which Shakespeare has, with very little alteration, transplanted into his scenes ; particularly a speech of the bishop of Carlisle in defence of King Richard's unalienable right, and immunity from human jurisdiction.
Johnson, who, in his Cataline and Sejanus, has inserted many speeches from the Roman historians, was, perhaps, induced to that practice by the example of Shakespeare, who had condescended sometimes to copy more ignoble writers. But Shakespeare had more of his own than Johnson, and, if he sometimes was willing to spare his labour, shewed by what he performed at other times, that his extracts were made by choice or idleness rather than necessity.
This play is one of those which Shakespeare has apparently revised; but as success in works of invention is not always proportionate to labour, it is not finished at last with the happy force of some other of his tragedies, nor can be said much to affect the passions, or enlarge the understanding.
THE FIRST PART OF KING HENRY IV.
Shakespeare has apparently designed a regular connection of these dramatick histories from Richard the second to Henry the fifth. King Henry, at the end of Richard the second, declares his purpose to visit the Holy Land, which he resumes in this speech. The complaint made by king Henry in the last act of Richard the second, of the wildness of his son, prepares the reader for the frolicks which are here to be recounted, and the characters which are now to be exhibited.
Act I. SCENE I. (1. i. 19.)
As far as to the sepulcbre of Christ. The lawfulness and justice of the holy wars have been much disputed ; but perhaps there is a principle on which the question may be easily determined. If it be part of the religion of the Mahometans, to
extirpate by the sword all other religions, it is, by the law of self defence, lawful for men of every other religion, and for Christians among others, to make war upon Mahometans, simply as Mahometans, as men obliged by their own principles to make war upon Christians, and only lying in wait till opportunity shall promise them success. Act I. SCENE ü. (1. č. 217–18.) PRINCE HENRY. I know you all, and will a wbile upbold
Tbe unyok'd bumour of your idleness. This speech is very artfully introduced to keep the Prince from appearing vile in the opinion of the audience; it prepares them for his future reformation, and, what is yet more valuable, exhibits a natural picture of a great mind offering excuses to itself, and palliating those follies which it can neither justify nor forsake.
Act I. SCENE iv. (1. üi. 201-2.)
To pluck bright bonour from the pale-fac d Moon. Tho' the expression be sublime and daring, yet the thought is the natural movement of an heroic mind. Euripides at least thought so, when he put the very same sentiment, in the same words, into the mouth of Eteocles“I will not, madam, disguise my thoughts ; I could scale beaven, I could descend to the very entrails of the earth, if so be that by that price I could obtain a kingdom.WARBURTON.
Though I am very far from condemning this speech with Gildon and Theobald as absolute madness, yet I cannot find in it that profundity of reflection and beauty of allegory which the learned commentator has endeavoured to display. This sally of Hotspur may be, I think, soberly and rationally vindicated as the violent eruption of a mind inflated with ambition and fired with resentment; as the boastful clamour