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5 S8 

Vol. IV. 

• 3 i 

London : Printed by William Clowu and Som, Stamfoxd Street. 





" It is a thing scarcely believable how much, and how boldly, as well the 
common writers that from time to time have copied out his works, as also 
certain that have thought themselves liable to control and emend all men's 
doings, have taken upon them in this author ; who ought with all reverence 
to have been handled of them, and with all fear to have been preserved from 
altering, depraving, or corrupting." 

Udall't Preface to Erasmu^s Apophthegms (applied there to Plutarch), 






-2_ / O ^ 


Vol. IV. 


Sicilian lords. 

Leontes, King of Sicilia. 

Mamillius, his son. 





Another Sicilian lord. 

Rogero, a Sicilian gentleman. 

An Attendant on the young Prince Mamillius. 

Officers of a Court of Judicature. 

PoLiXENES, King of Bohemia. 

Florizel, his son. 

Archidamus, a Bohemian lord. 

A Mariner. 


An old Shepherd, reputed father of Perdita. 

Clown, his son. 

Servant to the old Shepherd. 

AuTOLYCus, a rogue. 

Time, as Chorus. 

Hermione, Queen to Leontes. 

Perdita, daughter to Leontes a7id Hermione. 

Paulina, wife to Antigonus. 

Emilia, a lady, 

Two other ladies, 

MOPSA, 1 J. I J 

> shepherdesses. 

,.' } attending the Queen, 
■les, j ^ 


Lords, Ladies, and Attendants ; Satyrs for a Dance ; 
Shepherds, Shepherdesses, Guards, 8^c. 

SCENE, — sometimes in Sicilia, sometimes in Bohemia. 

[Julio Romano.] 



We have no edition of the ' Winter's Tale ' prior to that of the folio 
of 1623 ; nor was it entered upon the registers of the Stationers' 
Company previous to the entry by the proprietors of the folio. The 
original text, which is divided into acts and scenes, is remarkably 
correct ; and although the involved construction which is peculiar 
to Shakspere's later writings, and the freedom of versification which 
contrasts with the regularity of his earlier works, have occasionally 
tempted the commentators to try their hands at emendation, the or- 
dinary text is upon the whole pretty accurate. We have endeavoured, 
as in all other instances, completely to restore the original text, 
wherever possible. 

Chalmers has assigned the 'Winter's Tale' to 1601. The play 
contains this passage : — 

" If I could find example 

Of thousands that had struck anointed kings 

And flourish'd after, I 'd not do 't : but since 

Nor brass, nor stone, nor parchment, bears not one, 

Let villainy itself forswear 't." 

B 2 


" These lines," says Chalmers, " were called forth by the occasion 
of the conspiracy of Essex." " No," says Mai one, " these lines 
could never have been intended for the ear of her who had deprived 
the Queen of Scots of her life. To the son of Mary they could not 
but have been agreeable." Upon this ground he assigned the 
comedy to 1604. There is a third critic, of much higher acuteness 
than the greater number of those who have given us speculations on 
the chronology of Shakspere's plays,— we mean Horace Walpole, 
whose conjecture is so ingenious and amusing that we copy it with- 
out abridgment : — 

" The 'Winter's Tale' maybe ranked among the historic plays of Shakspere, 
though not one of his numerous critics and commentators have discovered the drift 
of it. It was certainly intended (in compliment to Queen Elizabeth) as an indirect 
apology for her mother, Anne Boleyn. The address of the poet appears nowhere to 
more advantage. The subject was too delicate to be exhibited on the stage without 
a veil ; and it was too recent, and touched the queen too nearly, for the bard to 
have ventured so home an allusion on any other ground than compliment. The 
unreasonable jealousy of Leontes, and his violent conduct in consequence, form a 
true portrait of Henry VIII., who generally made the law the engine of his bois- 
terous passions. Not only the general plan of the story is most applicable, but 
several passages are so marked that they touch the real history nearer than the fable. 
Hermione, on her trial, says, 

' For honour, 

'T is a derivative from me to mine, 

And only that I stand for.' 

" This seems to be taken from the very letter of Aime Boleyn to the king before her 
execution, where she pleads for the infant princess his daughter. Mamillius, the 
young prince, an unnecessary character, dies in his infancy ; but it confirms the 
allusion, as Queen Anne, before Elizabeth, bore a still-bom son. But the most 
striking passage, and which had nothing to do in the tragedy but as it pictured 
Elizabeth, is where Paulina, describing the new-born princess, and her likeness to 
her father, says, ' She has the very trick of his frown.' There is one sentence, indeed, 
so applicable both to Elizabeth and her father, that I should suspect the poet 
inserted it after her death. Paulina, speaking of the child, tells the king — 

* 'T is yours ; 
And might we lay the old proverb to your charge, 
So like you, 't is the worse.' 

The ' Winter's Tale ' was therefore in reality a Second Part of * Henry VIII.' " 

Plausible as this may appear, the conjecture falls to the ground 
when we consider that Shakspere adopted all that part of the plot of 
this comedy which relates to the " unreasonable jealousy of Leontes" 
from a novel of which we have an edition as early as 1 588. Robert 
Greene, the author of ' Pandosto,' could scarcely have intended his 
story as " a compliment to Queen Elizabeth " and a " true por- 
trait of Henry VHI., " for he makes the jealous king of his novel 
terminate his career with suicide. In truth, as we have already 


inferred, questions such as this are very pretty conundrums, and 
worthy to be cherished as the amusement of elderly gentlemen who 
have outlived their relish for early sports, and leave to others who 
are less careful of their dignity to 

" Play at push-pin with the boys." 

Beyond this they are for the most part worthless. 

In the absence of any satisfactory internal evidence of the date of 
this comedy, beyond that furnished by the general character of the 
language and versification, it was at length pointed out by Malone 
that an entry in the office-book of Sir Henry Herbert, Master of the 
Revels in 1623, mentions "an old play called 'Winter's Tale,' for- 
merly allowed of by Sir George Bucke and likewise by me." Sir 
George Bucke first exercised the office of Master of the Revels in 
1610. The play, therefore, could not have been earlier than this 
year ; and Mr. Collier has produced conclusive evidence that it was 
acted in 1611. In our Introductory Notice to 'Richard II.' mention 
will be found of " a book of plays, and notes thereof, for common 
policy" kept by Dr. Symon Forman, and discovered some few years 
ago in the Bodleian Library. Forman saw the 'Winter's Tale ' 
acted on the 15th of May, 1611, at Shakspere's theatre, the Globe. 
It was most probably then a new play ; for he is very minute in his 
description of the plot. 

" Observe there how Leontes, King of Sicilia, was overcome with jealousy of his 
wife with the King of Bohemia, his friend that came to see him ; and how he con- 
trived his death, and would have had his cupbearer to have poisoned him, who gave 
the King of Bohemia warning thereof, and fled with him to Bohemia. 

" Remember, also, how he sent to the oracle of Apollo, and the answer of Apollo 
that she was guiltless, and that the king w£is jealous, &c., and how, except tlie child 
was found again that was lost, the king should die without issue ; for the child was 
carried into Bohemia, and there laid in a forest, and brought up by a shepherd. 
And the King of Bohemia's son married that wench, and how they fled into Sicilia 
to Leontes ; and the shepherd having showed the letter of the nobleman whom 
Leontes sent, it was that child, and by the jewels found about her she was known to 
be Leontes' daugiiter, and was then sixteen years old. 

" Remember, also, the rogue that came in all tattered, like Coll Pipin, and how 
he feigned him sick and to have been robbed- of all he had, and how he cozened the 
poor man of all his money, and after came to the sheep-shear with a pedlar's pack, 
and there cozened them again of all their money. And how he changed apparel 
with the King of Bohemia's son, and then how he turned courtier, &c. 

" Beware of trusting feigned beggars or fawning fellows."'* 

* New Particulars, p. 20. 



The novel of Robert Greene, called ' Pandosto,' and 'The History 
of Dorastus and Fawnia,' which Shakspere undoubtedly followed, 
with very few important deviations, in the construction of the plot 
of his ' Winter's Tale,' is a small book, occupying fifty-nine pages 
in the reprint lately published, with an Introductory Notice by 
Mr. Collier.* It was a work of extraordinary popularity, there 
being fourteen editions known to exist. Of the nature of Shak- 
epere's obligations to this work, Mr. Collier thus justly speaks : — 

" Robert Greene was a man who possessed all the advantages of education : he 
was a graduate of both Universities — he was skilled in ancient learning and in mo- 
dern languages — he had, besides, a prolific imagination, a lively and elegant fancy, 
and a grace of expression rarely exceeded ; yet, let any person well acquainted with 
the 'Winter's Tale' read the novel of' Pandosto,' upon which it was founded, and 
he will be struck at once with the vast pre-eminence of Shakespeare, and with the 
admirable manner in which he has converted materials supplied by another to his 
own use. The bare outline of the story (with the exception of Shakespeare's mira- 
culous conclusion) is nearly tlie same in both; but this is all they have in common, 
and Shakes])eare may be said to have scarcely ailopted a single hhit for his descrip- 
tions, or a line for his dialogue; while in |x)int of jjassion and sentiment Greene is 
cold, formal, and artificial — the very opposite of everything in Shakesjjeare." 

Without wearying the reader with any very extensive compari- 
sons of the novel and tlie drama, we shall run through the produc- 
tion of Greene, to which our great poet has incidentally imparted a 
real interest ; and in doing so we shall take occasion so to analyse 
the action and characterisation of the ' Winter's Tale' as to super- 
sede the necessity for a Supplementary Notice. 

" In the country of Bohemia," says the novel, " there reigned a 
king called Pandosto." The ' Leontes' of Shakspere is the ' Pan- 
dosto' of Greene. The Polixenes of the play is Egistus in the 
novel : — 

" It so happened that Egistus, King of Sicilia, who in his youth had been brought 
up with Pandosto, desirous to show that neither tract of time nor distance of place 
could diminish their former friendship, provided a navy of ships, and sailed into 
Bohemia to visit his old friend and companion.'' 

Here, then, we have the scene of the action reversed. The jealous 
king is of Bohemia, — ^his injured friend of Sicilia. But the visitor 
sails into Bohemia. We have noticed this point under the head 
Costume, and shall be content to refer the reader to what we have 
there said. The wife of Pandosto is Bellaria ; and they have a 
young son called Garinter. Pandosto becomes jealous, slowly, and 
• Shake8])eare'8 Library, Part I. 


by degrees ; and there is at least some want of caution in the queen 
to justify it : — 

" Bellaria noting in Egistus a princely and bountiful mind, adorned with sundry 
and excellent qualities, and Egistus finding in her a virtuous and courteous disposi- 
tion, there grew such a secret uniting of their afiections, that the one could not well 
be without the company of the other," 

The great author of ' Othello ' would not deal with jealousy after 
this fashion. He had already produced that immortal portrait 

" Of one, not easily jealous, but, being wrought, 
Perplex'd in the extreme." 

He had now to exhibit the distractions of a mind to which jealousy 
was native ; to depict the terrible access of passion, uprooting in a 
moment all deliberation, all reason, all gentleness. The instant the 
idea enters the mind of Leontes the passion is at its height : — 

" I have tremor cordis on me : — my heart dances." 

Very different is the jealous king of Greene : — 

" These and such-like doubtful thoughts, a long time smothering in his stomach, 
began at last to kindle in his mind a secret mistrust, which, increased by suspicion, 
grew at last to a flaming jetdousy that so tormented him as he could take no rest." 

Coleridge has described the jealousy of Leontes with incomparable 
truth of analysis : — 

" The idea of this delightful drama is a genuine jealousy of disposition, and it 
should be immediately followed by the perusal of ' Othello,' which is the direct con- 
trast of it in every particular. For jealousy is a vice of the mind, a culpable tend- 
ency of the temper, having certain well-known and well-defined effects and conco- 
mitants, all of which are visible in Leontes, and, I boldly say, not one of which 
marks its presence in Othello ; — such as, first, an excitability by the most inade- 
quate causes, and an eagerness to snatch at proofs ; secondly, a grossness of concep- 
tion, and a disposition to degrade the object of the passion by sensual fancies and 
images ; thirdly, a sense of shame of his own feelings exhibited in a solitary moodi- 
ness of humour, and yet, from the violence of the jiassion, forced to utter itself, and 
therefore catching occasions to ease the mind by ambiguities, equivoques, by talking 
to those who cannot, and who are known not to be able to, understand what is said 
to them, — in short, by soliloquy iu the form of dialogue, and hence a confused, 
broken, and fragmentary manner ; fourthly, a dread of vulgar ridicule, as distinct 
from a high sense of honour, or a mistaken sense of duty ; and lastly, and imme- 
diately consequent on this, a spirit of selfish vindictiveness."* 

The action of the novel and that of the drama continue in a pretty 
equal course. Pandosto tampers with his cupbearer, Franion, to 
poison Egistus ; and the cupbearer, terrified at the fearful commis- 
sion, reveals the design to the object of his master's hatred. Event- 
ually they escape together : — 

* literary Remains, vol. ii. 


" Egirtiw, feoriiig that delay might breed danger, and willing that the graw 
should not be cut from under hii feet, taking bag and baggage, by the help of 
Franion conveyed himself and his men out at a postern gate of the city, so secretly 
and speedily, that without any suspicion they got to the sea-shore ; where, with 
many a bitter curse taking their leave of Bohemia, they went aboard." 

Bellaria is committed to prison, where she gives birth to a daughter. 
The guard 

" carried the child to the king, who, quite devoid of pity, commanded that without 
delay it should be put in the boat, having neitlier sail nor rudder to guide it, and 
so to be carried into the midst of the sea, and there left to the wind and wave as the 
destinies please to appoint." 

The queen appeals to the oracle of Apollo; and certain lords are 
sent to Delphos, where they receive this decree : — 


EoisTus blameless: fbanion a true subject; pandosto tbeacheeous: his 


On their return, upon an appointed day, the queen was " brought 
in before the judgment-seat," Shakspere has followed a part of the 
tragical ending of this scene ; but he preserves his injured Hermione, 
to be reunited to her daughter after years of solitude and suflfering. 

" Bellaria had no sooner said but the king commanded that one of his dukes 
should read the contents of the scroll, which, after the commons had heard, they 
gave a great shout, rejoicing and clapping their hands that the queen was clear of 
that false accusation. But the king, whose conscience was a witness against him of 
his witless fury and false suspected jealousy, was so ashamed of his rash folly that 
he entreated his nobles to persuade Bellaria to forgive and forget these injuries ; 
promising not only to show himself a loyal and lovuig husband, but also to recon- 
cile himself to Egistus and Franion ; revealing then before them all the cause of 
their secret flight, and how treacherously he thought to have practised his death, if 
the good mind of his cupbearer had not prevented his purpose. As thus he was 
relating the whole matter, there was word brought him that his young son Garinter 
was suddenly dead, which news so soon as Bellaria heard, surcharged before with 
extreme joy and now sup])rc8sed with heavy sorrow, her vital spirits were so 8topi)ed 
that she fell down presently dead, and could never be revived." 

Greene mentions only the existence and the death of the king's 
son. The dramatic exhibition of Mamillius by Shakspere is 
amongst the most charming of his sketches. The affection of the 
father for his boy in the midst of his distraction, and the tender- 
ness of the poor child, to whom his father's ravings are unintelli- 
gible — 

" 1 am like you, they say," — 
are touches of nature such as only one man has produced. How 


must he have studied the inmost character of childhood to have 
given us the delicious little scene of the second act ! — 

" Her. What wisdom stirs amongst you ? Come, sir, now, 
I am for you again : Pray you, sit by us, 
And tell 's a tale. 

Mam. Merry, or sad, shall "t be ? 

Her. As merry as you will. 

Mam. A sad tale 's best for winter : 

I have one of sprites and goblins. . 

Her. Let 's have that, good sir. 

Come on, sit down : — Come on, and do your best 
To fright me with your sprites : you 're powerful at it. 

Mam. There was a man, — 

Her. Nay, come, sit down ; then on. 

Mam. Dwelt by a churchyard ; — I will tell it softly; 
Yon crickets shall not hear it. 

Her. Come on then, 

And give 't me in mine ear." 

It requires the subsequent charm of a Perdita to put that poor boy 
out of our thoughts. 

The story of the preservation of the deserted infant is prettily 
told in the novel : — 

" It fortuned a poor mercenary shepherd that dwelt in Sicilia, who got his living 
by other men's flocks, missed one of his sheep, and, thinking it had strayed into the 
covert that was hard by, sought very diligently to find that which he could not see, 
fearing either that the w olves or eagles had undone him (for he was so poor as a 
sheep was half his substance), wandered down towards the sea-cliffs to see if i)er- 
chance the sheep was browsing on the sea-ivy, whereon they greatly do feed ; but 
not finding her there, as he was ready to return to his flock he heard a child cry, 
but, knowing there was no house near, he thought he had mistaken the sound, and 
that it was the bleating of his sheep. Wherefore looking more narrowly, as he cast 
his eye to the sea he spied a little boat, from whence, as he attentively listened, he 
might hear the cry to come. Standing a good while in amaze, at last he went to 
the shore, and, wading to the boat, as he looked in he saw the little babe lying all 
alone ready to die for hunger and cold, wrapped in a mantle of scarlet richly em- 
broidered with gold, and having a chain about the neck." 

Although the circumstances of the child's exposure are different, 
Shakspere adopts the shepherd's discovery pretty literally. He 
even makes him about to seek his sheep by the sea-side, " browsing 
on the sea-ivy." The infant in the novel is taken to the shepherd's 
home, and is brought up by his wife and himself under the name 
of Fawnia. In a narrative the lapse of sixteen years may occur 
without any violation of propriety. The shepherd of Greene, every 
night at his coming home, would sing to the child and dance it on 
his knee ; then, a few lines onward, the little Fawnia is seven years 
old; and, very shortly. 


" when she came to the age of sixteen years she so increased with exquisite jwrfec- 
tion both of body atid mind, as her natural disjwsition did bewray that she was born 
of some high parentage." 

These changes, we see, are gradual. But in a drama whose action 
depends upon a manifest lapse of time, there must be a sudden 
transition. Shakspere is perfectly aware of the difficulty ; and he 
diminishes it by the introduction of Time as a Chorus : — 

" Impute it not a crime 
To me, or my swift passage, that I slide 
O'er sixteen years, and leave the growth untried 
Of that wide gap ; since it is in my power 
To o'erthrow law, and in one self-born hour 
To plant and o'erwhelm custom." 

Lyly, without such an apology, gives us a lapse of forty years in 
his ' Endymion.' Dryden and Pope depreciated the ' Winter's 
Tale ;' and no doubt this violation of the unity of time was one of 
the causes which blinded them to its exquisite beauties. But Dr. 
Johnson, without any special notice of the case before us, has made 
a triumphant defence against the French critics of Shakspere's 
general disregard of the unities of time and place : — 

" By supposition, as place is introduced, time may be extended ; the time required 
by the fable elapses for the most part between the acts ; for, of so much of the action 
as is represented, the real and poetical duration is the same. If, in the first act, 
preparations for war against Mithridates are repieseiited to be made in Rome, the 
event of the war may, without absurdity, be represented in the catastrophe as hap- 
pening in Pontus. We know that there is neither war nor preparation for war ; we 
know that we are neither in Rome nor Pontus — that neither Mithridates nor Lu- 
cuUus are before us. The drama exhibits successive imitations of successive actions, 
and why may not the second imitation represent an action that happened years after 
the first, if it be so connected with it that nothing but time can be supposed to inter- 
vene ? Time is, of all modes of existence, most obsequious to the imagination ; a 
lapse of years is as easily conceived as a passage of hours. In contemplation we 
easily contract the time of real actions, and therefore willingly permit it to be con- 
tracted when we only see their imitation."* 

Shakspere has exhibited his consummate art in opening the fourth 
act with Polixenes and Camillo, of whom we have lost sight since 
the end of the first. Had it been otherwise, — had he brought 
Autolycus, and Florizel, and Perdita, at once upon the scene, — 
the continuity of action would have been destroyed ; and the com- 
mencement of the fourth act would have appeared as the com- 
mencement of a new play. Shakspere made the difficulties of his 
plot bend to his art; instead of wanting art, as Ben Jonson says. 
Autolycus and the Clown prepare us for Perdita ; and when the 

* Preface to his edition of 17C5. 


third scene opens, what a beautiful vision lights upon this earth ! 
There perhaps never was such a union of perfect simplicity and 
perfect grace as in the character of Perdita. What an exquisite 
idea of her mere personal appearance is presented in Florizel's 
rapturous exclamation, — 

" When you do dance, I wish you 
A wave o' the sea, that you might ever do 
Nothing but that!" 

Greene, in describing the beauties of his shepherdess, deals only in 
generalities : — 

" It happened not long after this that tliere was a meeting of all the farmers' 
daughters in SicUia, whither Fawnia was also bidden as the mistress of the feast, 
who, having attired herself in her best garments, went among the rest of her com- 
panions to the merry meeting, there spending the day in such homely pastimes as 
shepherds use. As the evening grew on and their sports ceased, each taking their 
leave at other, Fawnia, desiring one of her companions to bear her company, went 
home by the flock to see if they were well folded ; and, as they returned, it fortuned 
that Dorastus (who all that day had been hawking, and killed store of game) 
encountered by the way these two maids, and, casting his eye suddenly on Fawnia, 
he was half afraid, fearing that with Acteon he had seen Diana, for he thought such 
exquisite perfection could not be found in any mortal creature. As thus he stood 
in amaze, one of his pages told him that the maid with the garland on her head was 
Fawnia, the fair shepherd whose beauty was so much talked of in the court. Do- 
rastus, desirous to see if nature had adorned her mind with any inward qualities, as 
she had decked her body with outward shape, began to question with her whose 
daughter she was, of what age, and how she had been trained up ? who answered 
him with such modest reverence and sharpness of wit, that Dorastus thought her 
outward beauty was but a counterfeit to darken her inward qualities, wondering 
how so courtly behaviour could be found in so simple a cottage, and cursing fortune 
that had shadowed wit and beauty with such hard fortune." 

But Greene was unequal to conceive the grace of mind which dis- 
tinguishes Perdita : — 

" Sir, my gracious lord, 
To chide at your extremes it not becomes me ; 
O, pardon, that I name them : your high self. 
The gracious mark o' the land, you have obscur'd 
With a swain's wearhig ; and me, poor lowly maid, 
Most goddess-like prank'd up." 

Contrast this with Greene : — 

*♦ Fawnia, poor soul, was no less joyful that, being a shepherd, fortune had 
favoured her so as to reward her with the love of a prince, hoping in time to be 
advariced from the daughter of a poor farmer to be the wife of a rich king." 

Here we see a vulgar ambition, rather than a deep affection. Fawnia, 
in the hour of discovery and danger, was quite incapable of exhibit- 
ing the feminine dignity of Perdita :-*— 


•* I waa not much afeard : for once, or twice, 
I was about to speak; and tell him plainly, 
The self-same sun that shines upon his court 
Hides not his visage from our cottage, but 
Looks ou alike. — Will 't please you, sir, be gone? 

[to Florizel. 
I told you what would come of this : 'Beseech you, 
Of your own state take care : this dream of mine. 
Being now awake, I '11 queen it no inch farther, 
But milk my ewes, and weep." 

This is something higher than the sentiment of a " queen of curds 
and cream." 

In the novel we have no trace of the interruption by the father 
of the princely lover in the disguise of a guest at the shepherd's 
cottage. Dorastus and Fawnia flee from the country without the 
knowledge of the king. The ship in which they embark is thrown 
by a storm upon the coast of Bohemia. Messengers are despatched 
in search of the lovers ; and they arrive in Bohemia with the re- 
quest of Egistus that the companions in the flight of Dorastus shall 
be put to death. The secret of Fawnia's birth is discovered by the 
shepherd; and her father recognises her. But the previous cir- 
cumstances exhibit as much grossness of conception on the part of 
the novelist, as the different management of the catastrophe shows 
the matchless skill and taste of the dramatist. We forgive Leontes 
for his early folly and wickedness; for during sixteen years has 
his remorse been bitter and his afi'ection constant. The pathos of 
the following passage is truly Shaksperian : — 

" Leon. Whilst I remember 

Her, and her virtues, I cannot forget 
My blemishes in them ; and so still think of 
The wrong I did myself: which was so much. 
That heirless it hath made my kingdom ; and 
Destroy 'd the sweet'st companion that e'er man 
Bred his hopes out of. 

Paul. True, too true, my lord : 

If, one by one, you wedded all the world, 
Or, from the all that are took something good, 
To make a perfect woman, she, you kill'd. 
Would be unparallel'd. 

Leon. I think so. Kill'd f 

She I kill'd! I did so : but thou strik'st me 
Sorely, to say I did ; it is as bitter 
Upon thy tongue as in my thought. Now, good now, 
Say so but seldom." 

The appropriateness of the title of the ' Winter's Tale ' has been 
prettily illustrated by Ulrici : — 


" From the point of view taken in this drama, life appears like a sing^ar and 
serene, even while terrifying, winter's tale, related by the flickering light of the fire 
in a rough boisterous night, in still and homelike trustiness, by an old grandmother 
to a listening circle of children and grandchildren, while the warm, secure, and 
happy feeling of the assembly mixes itself with a sense of the fear and the dread of 
the related adventures and the cold wretched night without. But this arises only 
through the secret veil which lies over the power of chance, and which is here spread 
over the whole. It appears serene, because everywhere glimmers through this veil 
the bright joyful light of a futurity leading all to good ; because we continually 
feel that the unhealthy darkness of the present will be again thro\vn off even through 
an equally obscure inward necessity."' 


This comedy is so thoroughly taken out of the region of the literal 
that it would be worse than idle to talk of its costume. When the 
stage-manager shall be able to reconcile the contradictions, chro- 
nological and geographical, with which it abounds, he may decide 
whether the characters should wear the dress of the ancient or the 
modern world, and whether the architectural scenes should partake 
most of the Grecian style of the times of the Delphic oracle, or of 
the Italian in the more familiar days of Julio Romano. We can- 
not assist him in this difficulty. It may be sufficient for the reader 
of this delicious play to know that he is purposely taken out of the 
empire of the real ; — ^to wander in some poetical sphere where 
Bohemia is but a name for a wild country upon the sea, and the 
oracular voices of the pagan world are heard amidst the merriment 
of " Whitsun pastorals " and the solemnities of " Christian burial ;" 
where the " Emperor of Russia " represents some dim conception 
of a mighty monarch of far-off lands ; and " that rare Italian master, 
Julio Romano," stands as the abstract personification of excellence 
in art. It is quite impossible to imagine that he who, when it was 
necessary to be precise, as in the Roman plays, has painted manners 
with a truth and exactness which have left at an immeasurable dis- 
tance such imitations of ancient manners as the learned Ben Jonson 
has produced, — ^that he should have perplexed this play with such 
anomalies through ignorance or even carelessness. There can be 
no doubt that the most accomplished scholars amongst our early 
dramatists, when dealing with the legendary and the romantic, 
purposely committed these anachronisms. Greene, as we have 
shown, of whose scholarship his friends boasted, makes a ship sail 
from Bohemia in the way that Shakspere makes a ship wrecked 
upon a Bohemian coast. When Jonson, therefore, in his celebrated 


conversation with Drummond of Hawthomden, said, " Shakspere 
wanted art, and sometimes sense, for in one of his plays he brought 
in a number of men saying they had suffered shipwreck in Bohemia, 
where is no sea near by a hundred miles," he committed the un- 
fairness of imputing to Shakspere the fault, if fault it be, which he 
knew to be the common property of the romantic drama. Gifford, 
in a note upon this passage in his ' Life of Jonson,' says, " No one 
ever read the play without noticing the ' absurdity,' as Dr. Johnson 
calls it ; yet for this simple truism, for this casual remark in the 
freedom of conversation, Jonson is held up to the indignation of 
the world, as if the blunder was invisible to all but himself." We 
take no part in the stupid attempt of Shakspere's commentators to 
show that Jonson treated his great contemporary with a paltry 
jealousy ; but we object to Jonson, in the instance before us, talk- 
ing of Shakspere wanting " sense," as we object to Gifford speaking 
of the anachronism as a " blunder." It is absurd to imagine that 
Shakspere did not know better. Mr. Collier has quoted a passage 
from Taylor, the water-poet, who published his ' Journey to Prague,' 
in which the honest waterman laughs at an alderman who " catches 
me by the goll, demanding if Bohemia be a great town, whether 
there be any meat in it, and whether the last fleet of ships be arrived 
there." Mr. Collier infers that Taylor " ridicules a vulgar error 
of the kind " committed by Shakspere. We rather think that he 
meant to ridicule very gross ignorance generally ; and we leave 
our readers to take their choice of placing Greene and Shakspere 
in the same class with Taylor's " Gregory Gandergoose, an Alder- 
man of Gotham," or of believing that a confusion of time and 
place was considered (whether justly is not here the question) a 
proper characteristic of the legendary drama — such as ' A Winter's 

Scene I.] 



I' .III <^.f-» /, .x\ 


SCENE I. — Slcilia. An Antechamber in Leontes' Palace. 

Enter Camillo and Archidamus, 

Arch. If you shall chance, Camillo, to visit Bohemia, on 
the like occasion whereon my services are now on foot, you 
shall see, as I have said, great difference betwixt our Bo- 
hemia and your Sicilia. 

Cam. I think, this coming summer, the king of Sicilia 
means to pay Bohemia the visitation which he justly owes 


Arch. Wherein our entertainment shall shame us we will 
be justified in our loves : for, indeed, — 

Cam. 'Beseech you, — 

Arch. Verily, I speak it in the freedom of my knowledge : 
we cannot with such magnificence — in so rare — I know not 
what to say. — We will give you sleepy drinks, that your 
senses, unintelligent of our insufficience, may, though they 
cannot praise us, as little accuse us. 

Cam. You pay a great deal too dear for what's given 

Arch. Believe me, I speak as my understanding instructs 
me, and as mine honesty puts it to utterance. 

Cam. Sicilia cannot show himself over-kind to Bohemia. 
They were trained together in their childhoods ; and there 
rooted betwixt them then such an affection which cannot 
choose but branch now. Since their more mature dignities, 
and royal necessities, made separation of their society, their 
encounters, though not personal, have been royally attor- 
neyed, with interchange of gifts, letters, loving embassies ; 
that they have seemed to be together, though absent ; shook 
hands, as over a vast ; * and embraced, as it were, from the 
ends of opposed winds. The heavens continue their loves ! 

Arch. I think there is not in the world either malice, or 
matter, to alter it. You have an unspeakable comfort of 
your young prince Mamillius ; it is a gentleman of the 
greatest promise that ever came into my note. 

Cam. I very well agree with you in the hopes of him: It 
is a gallant child; one that, indeed, physics the subject, 
makes old hearts frc?h ; they that went on crutches ere he 
was bom, desire yet their life to see him a man. 

Arch. Would they else be content to die? 

Cam. Yes ; if there were no other excuse why they should 
desire to live. 

Arch. If the king had no son they would desire to live on 
crutches till he had one. [Exeunt. 

» Fatt. So the folio of 1623. That of 1632 reads vast sea. In Pericles we have 
the line, 

" Thou God of this great vast, rebuke the surjjes." 
In the text vast probably has the meaning of great space. 

Scene 1 1. J A WINTER'S TALK. 17 

SCENE II. — The same. A Room of State in the Palace. 

Enter Leontes, Polixenes, Hermione, Mamillius, Ca- 
MiLLO, and Attendants. 

Pol. Nine changes of the wat'ry star have been 
The shepherd's note, since we have left our throne 
Without a burthen : time as long again 
Would be fill'd up, my brother, with our thanks ; 
And yet we should, for perpetuity. 
Go hence in debt : And therefore, like a cipher 
Yet standing in rich place, I multiply. 
With one we-thank-you, many thousands more 
That go before it. 

Leon. Stay your thanks awhile ; 

And pay them when you part. 

Pol. Sir, that 's to-morrow. 

I am question'd by my fears, of what may chance. 
Or breed upon our absence : That may blow 
No sneaping winds at home, to make us say, 
" This is put forth too truly ! " * Besides, I have stay'd 
To tire your royalty. 

Leon. We are tougher, brother. 

Than you can put us to 't. 

Pol. No longer stay. 

Leon. One seven-night longer. 

Pol. Very sooth, to-morrow. 

Leon. We '11 part the time between 's then : and in that 
\ I '11 no gainsaying. 

Pol. Press me not, 'beseech you, so ; 

There is no tongue that moves, none, none i' the world. 
So soon as yours, could win me : so it should now. 
Were there necessity in your request, although 
'T were needful I denied it. My affairs 
Do even drag me homeward : which to hinder 
Were, in your love, a whip to me ; my stay, 

" The construction of this passage is somewhat involved ; but the meaning is, O 
that no sneaping (ruffling) winds at home may blow, to make us say my presages 
were too true. 

Vol. IV. C 


To you a charge and trouble : to save both. 
Farewell, our brother. 

Leon. Tongue-tied, our queen ? speak you. 

Her. I had thought, sir, to have held my peace, until 
You had drawn oaths from him, not to stay. You, sir. 
Charge him too coldly : Tell him, you are sure 
All in Bohemia 's well : this satisfaction 
The by -gone day proclaim'd ; say this to him. 
He 's beat from his best ward. 

Leon. Well said, Hermione. 

Her. To tell he longs to see his son, were strong : 
But let him say so then, and let him go ; 
But let him swear so, and he shall not stay. 
We '11 thwack him hence with distaffs. — 
Yet of your royal presence [to Polixenes] I'll adventure 
The borrow of a week. When at Bohemia 
You take my lord, I '11 give him my commission. 
To let ' him there a month, behind the gest ^ 
Prefix'd for 's parting : yet, good deed,*= Leontes, 
I love thee not a jar o' the clock ^ behind 
What lady she her lord. — You '11 stay ? 

Pol. No, madam. 

Her. Nay, but you will? 

Pol. I may not, verily. 

Her. Verily ! 
You put me off with limber vows : But I, 
Though you would seek to unsphere the stars with oaths. 
Should yet say, " Sir, no going." Verily, 
You shall not go ; a lady's verily is 
As potent as a lord's. Will you go yet? 
Force me to keep you as a prisoner, 

• To let is to hinder : and it is probably here used as a reflective verb — to stay 

'' Gest is literally a lodging ; and the houses or towns where a prince had assigned 
to stop in his progress, and of which a list was prepared with dates, were so called. 
We have the expression in Webster sufficiently clear : — 
" Like the gesse in the progress; 
You know where you sliall find me." 
<= Good deed — indeed. 
^ Jar of the clock — the ticking of the pendulum. 

Scene II.] A WINTER'S TALE. 19 

Not like a guest ; so you shall pay your fees. 
When you depart, and save your thanks. How say you ? 
My prisoner? or my guest? by your dread verily. 
One of them you shall be. 

Pol. Your guest then, madam : 

To be your prisoner should import offending ; 
Which is for me less easy to commit. 
Than you to punish. 

Her. Not your gaoler then. 

But your kind hostess. Come, I '11 question you 
Of my lord's tricks, and yours, Avhen you were boys ; 
You were pretty lordings then. 

Pol. We were, fair queen. 

Two lads, that thought there was no more behind 
But such a day to-morrow as to-day. 
And to be boy eternal. 

Her. Was not my lord the verier wag o' the two ? 

Pol. We were as twinn'd lambs, that did frisk i' the sun. 
And bleat the one at the other : What we chang'd 
Was innocence for innocence ; we knew not 
The doctrine of ill-doing, nor dream'd 
That any did : Had we pursued that life. 
And our weak spirits ne'er been higher rear'd 
With stronger blood, we should have answer'd heaven 
Boldly, " Not guilty ;" the imposition clear'd. 
Hereditary ours. 

Her. By this we gather. 

You have tripp'd since. 

Pol. O my most sacred lady. 

Temptations have since then been born to us : for 
In those unfledg'd days was my wife a girl ; 
Your precious self had then not cross'd the eyes 
Of my young playfellow. 

Her. Grace to boot ! 

Of this make no conclusion ; lest you say 
Your queen and I are devils : Yet, go on ; 
The offences we have made you do we '11 answer ; 
If you first sinn'd with us, and that with us 

C 2 


20 A WINTER'S TALE. [Act I. 

You did continue fault, and that you slipp'd not 
With any but with us. 

Leon. Is he won yet ? 

Her. He *11 stay, my lord. 

Leon. At my request, he would not. 

Hermione, my dearest, thou never spok'st 
To better purpose. 

Her. Never ? 

Leon. Never, but once. 

Her. What ? have I twice said well ? when was 't before? 
I prithee, tell me : Cram us with praise, and make us 
As fat as tame things : One good deed dying tongueless 
Slaughters a thousand, waiting upon that. 
Our praises are our wages : You may ride us. 
With one soft kiss, a thousand furlongs, ere. 
With spur we heat an acre. But to the goal ; — 
My last good deed * was to entreat his stay ; 
What was my first? it has an elder sister. 
Or I mistake you : O, would her name were Grace ! 
But once before I spoke to the purpose : When ? 
Nay, let me have 't ; I long. 

Leon. Why, that was when 

Three crabbed months had sour'd themselves to death. 
Ere I could make thee open thy white hand. 
And clap thyself my love '^ then didst thou utter, 
'* I am yours for ever." 

Her. It is Grace, indeed. — 

Why, lo you now, I have spoke to the purpose twice ; 
The one for ever earn'd a royal husband ; 
The other, for some while a friend. [Giving her hand to Pol. 

Leon. Too hot, too hot : \Aside. 

To mingle friendship far, is mingling bloods. 

■ Good deed. All the modem editions have contrived to leave out the word deed, 
without authority and without explanation. 

^ This was part of the troth-plight. So in ' King John :' — 

" It likes us well ; young princes, close your hands." 
And in ' Henry V. :' — 

" And so, clap handi, and a bargain." 

Scene II.] A WINTER'S TALE. 21 

I have tremor cordis on me : — my heart dances ; 
But not for joy, — not joy. — This entertainment 
May a free face put on ; derive a liberty 
From heartiness, from bounty, fertile bosom. 
And well become the agent : it may, I grant : 
But to be paddling palms, and pinching fingers. 
As now they are ; and making practis'd smiles. 
As in a looking-glass ; — and then to sigh, as 't weije 
The mort o' the deer ; * O, that is entertainment V 
My bosom likes not, nor my brows. — Mamillius, A 
Art thou my boy? 

Mam. Kj, my good lord. 

Leon. V fecks? 

Why, that 's my bawcock. What, hast smutch'd thy nose ?- 
They say it 's a copy out of mine. Come, captain. 
We must be neat ; not neat, but cleanly, captain : 
And yet the steer, the heifer, and the calf. 
Are all call'd neat. — Still virginalling 

[Observing Polixenes and Hermione. 
Upon his palm ? ^ — How now, you wanton calf? 
Art thou my calf? 

Mam. Yes, if you will, my lord. 

Leon. Thou want'st a rough pash,"^ and the shoots that I 
To be full like me f — yet, they say we are 
Almost as like as eggs ; women say so. 
That will say anything : But were they false 
As o'er-died blacks,*^ as wind, as waters ; false 
As dice are to be wish'd, by one that fixes 
No bourn 'twixt his and mine ; yet were it true 
To say this boy were like me. — Come, sir page, 

■ The mort o' the deer — the prolonged note of the hunter's hom at the death of the 

^ Pash. Jamieson explains the word as used in Scotland to be head; as a bare 
pash, a bare head. But in the midland counties the tuft of hair between the horns 
of a bull is called the pash. The correct application of the local word is evident 
when we observe that Leontes has just said, " Art thou my calf?" 

" Full like me — quite like me. 

■* O'er-died blacks — cloths died black a second time, or cloths originally of another 
colour died black ; and so, false, because impaired in quality. 

22 A WINTER'S TALE. [Act I. 

Look on me with your welkin eye : ' Sweet villain ! 

Most dear'st ! my collop '.— Can thy dam?— may 't be? 

Affection ! thy intention ^ stabs the centre : 

Thou dost make possible things not so held, 

Communicat'st with dreams; — (How can this be?) — 

With what 's unreal thou coactive art. 

And fellow'st nothing : Then, 't is very credent," 

Thou mayst co-join with something ; and thou dost ; 

(And that beyond commission ; and I find it,) 

And that to the infection of my brains. 

And hardening of my brows. 

Pol. What means Sicilia? 

Her. He something seems unsettled. 

Pol. How ! my lord ! 

Leon. What cheer? how is't with you, best brother?'* 

Her. You look 

As if you held a brow of much distraction : 
Are you mov'd, my lord ? 

Leon. No, in good earnest. — 

How sometimes nature will betray its folly. 
Its tenderness, and make itself a pastime 
To harder bosoms ! Looking on the lines 
Of my boy's face, my thoughts I did recoil^ 
Twenty-three years ; and saw myself unbreech'd, 

* fVelAin eye — ^blue eye. 

'' Affection is imagination ; itttention, eagerness of attention. 

^ Credent — credible. 

^ We restore this line to Leontes, according to the original. On the authority of 
Hanmer and Steevens, the passage is now invariably printed as follows: — 
" Pol. How, my lord ? 

What cheer? how is't wifh you, best brother?" 
It is impossible, we think, for any alteration to be more tasteless than this, and more 
destructive of the spirit of the autlior. Leontes, even in his moody reverie, has his 
eye fixed upon his queen and Polixenes; and when he is addressed by the latter 
with "How, my lord?" he replies, with a forced gaiety, 

" What cheer? how is't with you?" 
The addition of " best brother " is, we apprehend, meant to be uttered in a tone of 
bitter irony. All this is destroyed by making the line merely a prolongation of the 
inquiry of Polixenes. 

« This is usually printed " methoughts, I did recoil." The original has " me 
thoughts " as two words, without a comma following. Five lines lower we have 
" me thought," as a parenthesis. We have no doubt that me is a misprint for my, 
and that recoil is used as an active verb — " I did put back my thoughts." 



In my green velvet coat ; my dagger muzzled. 
Lest it should bite its master, and so prove. 
As ornaments oft do, too dangerous. 
How like, metliouglit, I tlien was to this kernel. 
This quash, this gentleman : — Mine honest friend. 
Will you take eggs for money ?* 

Mam. No, my lord, I '11 fight. 

Leon. You will? why, happy man be his dole!* — My 
Are you so fond of your young prince, as we 
Do seem to be of ours ? 

Pol. If at home, sir. 

He 's all my exercise, my mirth, my matter : 
Now my sworn friend, and then mine enemy ; 
My parasite, my soldier, statesman, all : 
He makes a July's day short as December ; 
And, with his varying childness, cures in me 
Thoughts that would thick my blood. 

Leon. So stands this squire 

Offic'd with me : We two will walk, my lord. 
And leave yovi to your graver steps. — Hermione, 
How thou lov'st us, show in our brother's welcome ; 
Let what is dear in Sicily be cheap : 
Next to thyself, and my young rover, he 's 
Apparent to my heart. ^ 

■* A proverbial expression ; meaning, may his lot (dole) be happy. 

'' We have been favoured with the following note by Mr. Richardson, the author 
of ' A New Dictionary of the English Language :' — "Johnson thinks ' apparent to 
my heart ' means ' heir apparent.'' But why is he ' whose right of inheritance is 
indefeasible provided he outlives his ancestor ' (Blackstone) called heir apparent ? 
Surely because he is something more than apparently heir. The heir presumptive 
is that. The heir apparent is evidently so near the ancestor that no one can at any 
time intervene or become nearer. And in Cotgrave we find not only apparent 
(appearing), but ' apparaite, m., eef., of kin, or near kinsman unto.' In Richard- 
son's Dictionary the old word paravaunt, used several times by Spenser, and 
adopted from the Fr. paravant, is explained by — ' Advance, in the van or front, 
before ; before in succession, next in succession, as heir paraunt, i, e. apparent.'' 
And this latter interpretation is supported by a quotation from Fabian : ' By 
auctoryte of the same Parliament, Syr Roger Mortymer, Erie of, &c., was pro- 
claymed heyer paraiint vnto Xhe crowne of Englonde:' anno 1386. In Lacomte 
and Roquefort pai-avant is explained — ' Devant, auparavant.' The contraction of 
auparavant into auparant, apparant, and thence, by ignorance, into apparente, is 
intelligible enough. ' Apparetit to my heart,' then, is ' Next to my heart.' " 

24 A WINTER'S TALE. [Act I. 

Her. If you would seek us. 

We are yours i' the garden ; Shall 's attend you there ? 

Leon. To your own bents dispose you : you '11 be found. 
Be you beneath the sky : — I am angling now. 
Though you perceive me not how I give line. 
Go to, go to ! [Aside. Observing Polix. and Herm. 

How she holds up the neb, the bill to him ! 
And arms her with the boldness of a wife 
To her allowing husband ! Gone already ; 
Inch-thick, knee-deep, o'er head and ears a fork'd one. 

[Exeunt Polixenes, Hermione, and Attendants. 
Go, play, boy, play ; — thy mother plays, and I 
Play too ; but so disgrac'd a part, whose issue 
Will hiss me to my grave ; contempt and clamour 
Will be my knell. — Go, play, boy, play ; — There have been. 
Or I am much deceiv'd, cuckolds ere now ; 
And many a man there is, even at this present. 
Now, while I speak this, holds his wife by the arm. 
That little thinks she has been sluic'd in his absence. 
And his pond fish'd by his next neighbour, by 
Sir Smile, his neighbour : nay, there 's comfort in 't. 
Whiles other men have gates, and those gates open'd. 
As mine, against their will : Should all despair 
That have revolted wives, the tenth of mankind 
Would hang themselves. Physic for 't there 's none ; 
It is a bawdy planet, that will strike 
Where 't is predominant ; and 't is powerful, think it. 
From east, west, north, and south : Be it concluded. 
No barricade for a belly ; know it ; 
It will let in and out the enemy. 
With bag and baggage : many thousand of us 
Have the disease, and feel 't not. — How now, boy ? 

Mam. I am like you, they say. 

Leon. Why, that 's some comfort. — 

What! Camillo, there? 

Cam. Ay, my good lord. 

Leon. Go play, Mamillius ; thou 'rt an honest man. — 

[Exit Mamillius. 
Camillo, this great sir will yet stay longer. 

Scene II.] A WINTER'S TALE. 25 

Cam.. You had mucli ado to make his anchor hold : 
When you cast out, it still came home. 

Leon. Didst note it? 

Cam. He would not stay at your petitions ; made 
His business more material. 

Leon. Didst perceive it? — 

They 're here with me already ; whispering, rounding," 
" Sicilia is a — so-forth :" 'T is far gone. 
When I shall gust it last. — How came 't, Camillo, 
That he did stay? 

Cam. At the good queen's entreaty. 

Leon. At the queen's, be 't : good, should be pertinent : 
But so it is, it is not. Was this taken 
By any understanding pate but thine? 
For thy conceit is soaking, will draw in 
More than the common blocks : — Not noted, is 't. 
But of the finer natures ? by some severals 
Of head-piece extraordinary ? lower messes ' 
Perchance are to this business purblind ? say. 

Cam. Business, my lord ? I think, most understand 
Bohemia stays here longer. 

Leon. Ha ! 

Cam. Stays here longer. 

Leon. Ay, but why? 

Cam. To satisfy your highness, and the entreaties 
Of our most gracious mistress. 

Leon. Satisfy 

The entreaties of your mistress? satisfy? — 

Let that suffice. I have trusted thee, Camillo, 
With all the nearest things to my heart, as well 
My chamber-councils : wherein, priest-like, thou 
Hast cleans'd my bosom ; I from thee departed 
Thy penitent reform'd : but we have been 
Deceiv'd in thy integrity, deceiv'd 
In that which seems so. 

Cam. Be it forbid, my lord ! 

Leon. To bide upon't; — Thou art not honest: or. 
If thou inclin'st that way, thou art a coward ; 

• Rounding — telling secretly. 

26 A WINTER'S TALE. [Act I. 

Whicli hoxes ' honesty behind, restraining 

From course requir'd : Or else thou must be counted 

A servant grafted in my serious trust. 

And therein negligent : or else a fool. 

That seest a game play'd home, the rich stake drawn. 

And tak'st it all for jest. 

Cam. My gracious lord, 

I may be negligent, foolish, and fearful ; 
In every one of these no man is free. 
But that his negligence, his folly, fear. 
Among the infinite doings of the world. 
Sometimes puts forth : In your affairs, my lord. 
If ever I were wilful-negligent. 
It was my folly ; if industriously 
I play'd the fool, it was my negligence. 
Not weighing well the end ; if ever fearful 
To do a thing, where I the issue doubted. 
Whereof the execution did cry out 
Against the non-performance, 't was a fear 
Which oft infects the wisest : these, my lord. 
Are such allow'd infirmities, that honesty 
Is never free of. But, 'beseech your grace. 
Be plainer with me : let me know my trespass 
By its own visage : if I then deny it, 
'T is none of mine. 

Leon. Have not you seen, Camillo, 

(But that 's past doubt — you have ; or your eye-glass 
Is thicker than a cuckold's horn,) or heard, 
(For, to a vision so apparent, rumour 
Cannot be mute,) or thought, (for cogitation 
Resides not in that man that does not think,'') 

" Hoxes. To hox is to hamstring — to hough. 

^ We print this as in the original. Theobald defends his well-known line of 
" None but himself can be his parallel " 
by this example ; and Pope — perhaps to rob Theobald of his authority — reads, 

" for cogitation 
Resides not in that man that does not think «V." 
Malone justly shows that the addition of it is unnecessary ; that this is not an 
abstract proposition; and that the words "my wife is slippery," though disjoined 
from "think" by the parenthesis, are evidently to be received in construction with 
that verb. 

Scene 11] A WINTER'S TALE. 27 

My wife is slippery ? If thou wilt confess, 

(Or else be impudently negative. 

To have nor eyes, nor ears, nor thought,) then say. 

My wife 's a hobbyhorse ; deserves a name 

As rank as any flax-wench, that puts to 

Before her troth-plight : say it, and justify it. 

Cam. I would not be a stander-by, to hear 
My sovereign mistress clouded so, without 
My present vengeance taken : 'Shrew my heart. 
You never spoke what did become you less 
Than this ; which to reiterate, were sin 
As deep as that, though true. 

Leon. Is whispering nothing? 

Is leaning cheek to cheek ? is meeting noses ? 
Kissing with inside lip ? stopping the career 
Of laughter with a sigh ? (a note infallible 
Of breaking honesty :) horsing foot on foot ? 
Skulking in corners ? wishing clocks more swift ? 
Hours, minutes ? noon, midnight ? and all eyes 
Blind with the pin and web,* but theirs, theirs only. 
That would unseen be wicked ? is this nothing ? 
Why, then the world, and all that 's in 't, is nothing ; 
The covering sky is nothing ; Bohemia nothing ; 
My wife is nothing ; nor nothing have these nothings. 
If this be nothing. 

Cam. Good my lord, be cur'd 

Of this diseas'd opinion, and betimes ; 
For 't is most dangerous. 

Leon. Say, it be ; 't is true. 

Cam. No, no, my lord. 

Leon. It is ; you lie, you lie : 

I say, thou liest, Camillo, and I hate thee ; 
Pronounce thee a gross lout, a mindless slave ; 
Or else a hovering temporizer, that 
Canst with thine eyes at once sec good and evil. 
Inclining to them both : Were my wife's liver 
Infected as her life, she would not live 
The running of one glass. 

" See ' King Lear,' Act IIL, Scene 4. 

28 A WINTER'S TALE. [Act I. 

Ckim. Who does infect her? 

Leon. Why, he that wears her like her medal, hanging 
About his neck, Bohemia : Who — if I 
Had servants true about me, that bare eyes 
To see alike mine honour as their profits. 
Their own particular thrifts, — they would do that 
Which should undo more doing : Ay, and thou. 
His cupbearer, — whom I from meaner form 
Have bench'd and rear'd to worship; who mayst see 
Plainly, as heaven sees earth, and earth sees heaven. 
How I am galled, — mightst bespice a cup. 
To give mine enemy a lasting wink ; 
Which draught to me were cordial. 

Cam. Sir, my lord, 

I could do this ; and that with no rash potion. 
But with a ling'ring dram, that should not work 
Maliciously like poison : But I cannot 
Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress. 
So sovereignly being honourable. 
I have lov'd thee, 

Leon. Make that thy question, and go rot !* 

Dost think, I am so muddy, so unsettled. 
To appoint myself in this vexation ? sully 
The purity and whiteness of my sheets. 
Which to preserve is sleep ; which being spotted. 
Is goads, thorns, nettles, tails of wasps ? 
Give scandal to the blood o' the prince my son. 
Who I do think is mine, and love as mine ; 
Without ripe moving to 't ? — Would I do this ? 
Could man so blench? 

Cam. I must believe you, sir ; 

I do ; and will fetch off Bohemia for 't : 
Provided, that when he 's remov'd, your highness 
Will take again your queen, as yours at first ; 
Even for your son's sake ; and, thereby, for sealing 
The injury of tongues, in courts and kingdoms 
Known and allied to yours. 

* Disregarding Camillo's " I have lov"d thee," Leontes is enraged at his making 
a (question of the alleged dishonour of his " dread mistress." 

Scene II.] A WINTER'S TALE. 29 

Leon. Thou dost advise me. 

Even so as I mine own course have set down : 
I '11 give no blemish to her honour, none. 

Cam. My lord. 
Go then ; and with a countenance as clear 
As friendship wears at feasts, keep with Bohemia, 
And with your queen : I am his cupbearer ; 
If from me he have wholesome beverage. 
Account me not your servant. 

Leon. This is all : 

Do 't, and thou hast the one half of my heart ; 
Do 't not, thou splitt'st thine own. 

Cam. I '11 do 't, my lord. 

Leon. I will seem friendly, as thou hast advis'd me. \_Exit. 

Cam. O miserable lady ! — But, for me. 
What case stand I in ? I must be the poisoner 
Of good Polixenes : and my ground to do 't 
Is the obedience to a master ; one. 
Who, in rebellion with himself, will have 
All that are his so too. — To do this deed. 
Promotion follows : If I could find example 
Of thousands that had struck anointed kings 
And flourish'd after, I 'd not do 't : but since 
Nor brass, nor stone, nor parchment, bears not one. 
Let villainy itself forswear 't. I must 
Forsake the court : to do 't, or no, is certain 
To me a break -neck. Happy star, reign now ! 
Here comes Bohemia. 

Enter Polixenes. 

Pol. This is strange ! methinks. 

My favour here begins to warp. Not speak? — 
Good day, Camillo. 

Cam. Hail, most royal sir ! 

Pol. What is the news i' the court ? 

Cam. None rare, my lord. 

Pol. The king hath on him such a countenance 
As he had lost some province, and a region 
Lov'd as he loves himself: even now I met him 

30 A WINTER'S TALE. [Act I. 

With customary compliment ; when he, 
Wafting his eyes to the contrary, and falling 
A lip of much contempt, speeds from me ; and 
So leaves me, to consider what is breeding 
That changes thus his manners. 

Cam. I dare not know, my lord. 

Pol. How ! dare not ? do not ? Do you know, and dare not 
Be intelligent to me.* 'T is thereabouts ; 
For, to yourself, what you do know you must ; 
And cannot say, you dare not. Good Camillo, 
Your chang'd complexions are to me a mirror. 
Which shows me mine chang'd too : for I must be 
A party in this alteration, finding 
Myself thus alter'd with it. 

Cam. There is a sickness 

Which puts some of us in distemper ; but 
I cannot name the disease ; and it is caught 
Of you that yet are well. 

Pol. How caught of me ? 

Make me not sighted like the basilisk : 
I have look'd on thousands who have sped the better 
By my regard, but kill'd none so. Camillo — 
As you are certainly a gentleman ; thereto 
Clerk -like, experienc'd, which no less adorns 
Our gentry, than our parents' noble names. 
In whose success ^ we are gentle, — I beseech you. 
If you know aught which does behove my knowledge 
Thereof to be inform'd, imprison it not 
In ignorant concealment. 

Cam. I may not answer. 

Pol. A sickness caught of me, and yet I well ! 
I must be answer'd. — Dost thou hear, Camillo ? 
I conjure thee, by all the parts of man 
Which honour does acknowledge, — whereof the least 
Is not this suit of mine, — that thou declare 

* We point this as in the original. The general reading is, 
" Do you know, and dare not 
Be intelligent to me ?" 
*• Succest — succession. 

Scene II.] A WINTERS TALE. 31 

What incidency tliou dost guess of harm 

Is creeping toward me ; how far off, how near j 

Which way to be prevented, if to be ; 

If not, how best to bear it. 

Cam. Sir, I will tell yon ; 

Since I am charg'd in honour, and by him 
That I think honourable ; Therefore, mark my counsel ; 
Which must be even as swiftly foUow'd as 
I mean to utter it ; or both yourself and me 
Cry "lost," and so good night. 

Pol. On, good Camillo. 

Cam. I am appointed him to murther you. 

Pol. By whom, Camillo ? 

Cam. By the king. 

Pol. For what? 

Cam. He thinks, nay, with all confidence, he swears. 
As he had seen 't or been an instrument 
To vice you to 't, — that you have touch'd his queen 

Pol. O, then my best blood turn 

To an infected jelly ; and my name 
Be yok'd with his that did betray the Best ! * 
Turn then my freshest reputation to 
A savour that may strike the dullest nostril 
Where I arrive ; and my approach be shunn'd. 
Nay, hated too, worse than the great'st infection 
That e'er was heard, or read ! 

Cam. Swear his thought over^ 

By each particular star in heaven, and 
By all their influences, you may as well 
Forbid the sea for to obey the moon. 
As, or by oath, remove, or counsel, shake 
The fabric of his folly ; whose foundation 
Is pil'd upon his faith, and will continue 
The standing of his body. 

* We print Best with a capital as in the folio. The allusion is to Judas. The 
sentence against excommunicated persons contains a clause that they should have 
part with that betrayer. 

'^ Over-swear his thought. 

32 A WINTER'S TALE. [Act I. 

Pol. How should this grow? 

Cam. 1 know not : but, I am sure, 't is safer to 
Avoid what 's grown than question how 't is born. 
If therefore you dare trust my honesty, — 
That lies enclosed in this trunk, which you 
Shall bear along impawn'd, — away to-night. 
Your followers I will whisper to the business : 
And will, by twos, and threes, at several posterns. 
Clear them o' the city : For myself, I '11 put 
My fortunes to your service, which are here 
By this discovery lost. Be not uncertain ; 
For, by the honour of my parents, I 
Have utter'd truth : which, if you seek to prove, 
I dare not stand by ; nor shall you be safer 
Than one condemn'd by the king's own mouth, thereon 
His execution sworn. 

Pol. I do believe thee ; 

I saw his heart in his face. Give me thy hand ; 
Be pilot to me, and thy places " shall 
Still neighbour mine : My ships are ready, and 
My people did expect my hence departure 
Two days ago. — This jealousy 
Is for a precious creature : as she 's rare. 
Must it be great j and, as his person 's mighty. 
Must it be violent : and as he does conceive 
He is dishonour'd by a man which ever 
Profess'd to him, why, his revenges must 
In that be made more bitter. Fear o'ershades me : 
Good expedition be my friend, and comfort 
The gracious queen, part of his theme, but nothing . ^ 
Of his ill-ta'en suspicion ! Come, Camillo ; J> jl* 

I will respect thee as a father, if \7\)\^^ 

Thou bear'st my life off hence : Let us avoid. / * 

Cam. It is in mine authority to command 
The keys of all the posterns : Please your highness 
To take the urgent hour : come, sir, away. \Rxeunt. 

* Placet — honours. 



[" Still virginalling."] 


' Scene II. — " Still virginalling 

Upon his pa/m ? " 

Nares, in his ' Glossary,' rightly explains the verb to virginal, here used, as " to 
play with the fingers as on a virginal ; "' but he adds, " apparently intended as a 
word coined in contempt or indignation." It appears to us that Shakspere meant 
simply to convey the notion of a rapid movement with the fingers; just in the same 
way that Cowper, describing his tame hare, says, " He would invite me to the garden 
by drumming upon my knee." The virginal was a sort of rectangular spinnet, with 
one wire to each note ; and Nares suggests that the name was derived from their 
" being used by young girls." The idea which Shakspere has conveyed in the pas- 
sage before us is elaborated in the Hundred and Twenty-eighth Sonnet : — 
" How oft, when thou, my music, music play'st, 

Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds 

With thy sweet fingers, when thou gently sway'st 

The wiry concord that mine ear confounds, 

Do 1 envy those jacks, that nimble leap 

To kiss the tender inward of thy hand, 

Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap, 

At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand ! 

To be so tickled, they would change their state 

And situation with those dancing chips. 

O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait. 

Making dead wood more bless'd than Ijving lips. 
Since saucy jacks so happy are in this, 
Give them thy fingers, me thy lips, to kiss.'' 

* Scene II. — " Will you take eggs for money?'''' 

The answer of Mamillius shows that this quaint proverbial expression was fami- 
liar enough even to a boy : — 

" No, my lord, I'll fight." 
Vol. IV. D 


The meaning is pretty evident, — Will you truckle, submit to injustice, be bullied, 
cheated ? Reed says that Leontes " seems only to ask his sun if he would fly from 
an enemy ;"' and he quotes the following passage in support of his opinion : — 

" The French infantry skirmislieth bravely afar off, and cavalry gives a furious 
onset at the first charge; but after the first heat they will take eggt for their money.'' — 
(' Relations of the Most Famous Kingdoms,' &c., 1630.) This, it appears to us, is 
a special application of a general meaning. It was part of the defence of the Earl 
of Kildare, in answer to Wolsey's charge against him that he had not been suflB- 
ciently active to take the rebellious Earl of Desmond, that " my good brotlier of 
Ossory, notwithstanding his high promises, liaving also the king's power, is glad to 
take eggs for his money, and bring him in at leisure." 

" Scene II. — " Lower messes.'''' 

A mess was a company of four persons, dining together with an apportioned pro- 
vision, such as we see in this day in the halls of the Inns of Court. The lou)er 
messes are therefore the inferior servants, or retainers ; those who sat below the salt. 
The setting out of the provisions apportioned to each mess was a great duty in the 
old establishments of the nobility. In the ' Northumberland Household Book * we 
find that the clerks of the kitchen are to be with the cooks at the " striking out of 
the messes ;" and in the same curious picture of ancient manners there are the most 
minute directions for serving delicacies to my lord's own mess; but bacon and other 
pieces de resistance to the Lord Chamberlain's and Steward's messes. 

Scene I.] A WINTER'S TALE. 35 


SCENE l.—Sicilia—The Palace. 
Enter Hermione, Mamillius, and Ladies. 

Her. Take the boy to you : he so troubles me 
'T is past enduring. 

1 Lady. Come, my gracious lord. 

Shall I be your playfellow ? 

Mam. No, I '11 none of you. 

1 Lady. Why, my sweet lord ? 

Mam. You 11 kiss me hard ; and speak to me as if 
I were a baby still. — I love you better. 

2 Lady. And why so, my lord ? * 

Mam. 'Not for because 

Your brows are blacker ; yet black brows, they say. 
Become some women best ; so that there be not 
Too much hair there, but in a semicircle. 
Or a half-moon made with a pen. 

2 Lady. Who taught you this? 

Mam. I learn'd it out of women's faces : pray now 
What colour are your eyebrows ? 

1 Lady. Blue, my lord. 
Mam. Nay, that's a mock : I have seen a lady's nose 

That has been blue, but not her eyebrows. 

2 Lady. Hark ye : 
The queen, your mother, rounds apace : we shall 
Present our services to a fine new prince. 

One of these days ; and then you 'd wanton with us. 
If we would have you. 

* The general reading is, my good lord. Some thirty lines lower down we find 
" let 's have that, good sir." In this passage good is left out in the modern editions. 
The reason which Steevens gives for thus corrupting the text is singularly amus- 
ing : — " The epithet good, which is wantuig iu the old copies, is transplanted {for 
the sake of metre^ from a redundant speech iu the following page." 



1 Lady. Slie is spread of late 

Into a goodly bulk : Good time encounter her ! 

Her. What -wisdom stirs amongst you ? Come, sir, now 
I am for you again : Pray you, sit by us. 
And tell 's a tale. 

Mam. Merry, or sad, sliall 't be ? 

Her. As merry as you will. 

Mam. A sad tale 's best for winter : 

I have one of sprites and goblins. 

Her. Let 's have that, good sir. 

Come on, sit down : — Come on, and do your best 
To fright me with your sprites : you 're powerful at it. 

Mam. There was a man, — 

Her. Nay, come, sit down ; then on . 

Mam. Dwelt by a churchyard ; — I will tell it softly ; 
Yon crickets shall not hear it. 

Her. Come on then. 

And give 't me in mine ear. 

Enter Leontes, Antigonus, Lords, and others. 

Leon. Was he met there ? his train ? Camillo with him ? 

1 Lord. Behind the tuft of pines I met them ; never 
Saw I men scour so on their way ; I ey'd them 
Even to their ships, 

Leon. How bless'd am I 

In my just censure ! — in my true opinion ! — 
Alack, for lesser knowledge ! — How accurs'd 
In being so bless'd ! — There may be in the cup 
A spider steep'd,* and one may drink ; depart. 
And yet partake no venom ; for his knowledge 
Is not infected : but if one present 
The abhorr'd ingredient to his eye, make known 
How he hath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides. 
With violent hefts :^ — I have drunk, and seen the spider. 

■ There was a popular notion that spiders were poisonous. One of the witnesses 
against the Countess of Somerset, in the affair of Sir Thomas Overbury, says, — 
" The Countess wished me to get the strongest poison I could, &c. Accordingly I 
bought seven great spiders and cantharides." 

b Hefts — hearings. 

Scene I.] A WINTER'S TALE. 37 

Camillo was his help in this, his pander : — 

There is a plot against my life, my crown ; 

All 's true that is mistrusted : — that false villain. 

Whom I employ'd, was pre-employ'd by him : 

He has discover'd my design, and I 

Remain a pinch'd thing ; * yea, a very trick 

For them to play at will : — How came the posterns 

So easily open? 

1 Lord. By his great authority ; 

Which often hath no less prevail'd than so. 
On your command. 

Leon. I know 't too well. — 

Give me the boy ; I am glad you did not nurse him : 
Though he does bear some signs of me, yet you 
Have too much blood in him. 

Her. What is this ? sport ? 

Leon. Bear the boy hence, he shall not come about her; 
Away with him : — and let her sport herself 
With that she 's big with ; for 't is Polixenes 
Has made thee swell thus. 

Her. But I 'd say, he had not. 

And, I '11 be sworn, you would believe my saying, 
Howe'er you lean to the nayward. 

Leon. You, my lords. 

Look on her, mark her well ; be but about 
To say " she is a goodly lady," and 
The justice of your hearts will thereto add, 
" 'T is pity she 's not honest, honourable :" 
Praise her but for this her without-door form, 
(Which, on my faith, deserves high speech,) and straight 
The shrug, the hum, or ha ; these petty brands 
That calumny doth use : — O, I am out. 
That mercy does ; for calumny will sear 
Virtue itself: these shrugs, these hums, and ha's. 
When you have said she 's goodly, come between, 

" A pinch'd thing. Heath explains this as " A mere child's baby, a thing pinched 
out of clouts.'' This is surely a forced interpretation ; although pincKd may con- 
vey the meaning of one made petty and contemptible, shrunk up, pinched, as we 
gay, by poverty or hunger. 

11 7nQ7 


Ere you can say she 's honest : But be 't known. 
From him that has most cause to grieve it should be. 
She 's an adultress. 

Her. Should a villain say so. 

The most replenish'd villain in the world. 
He were as much more villain : you, my lord. 
Do but mistake. 

Leon. You have mistook, my lady, 

Polixenes for Leontes : O thou thing. 
Which I '11 not call a creature of thy place. 
Lest barbarism, making me the precedent. 
Should a like language use to all degrees. 
And mannerly distinguishment leave out 
Betwixt the prince and beggar ! — I have said. 
She 's an adultress ; I have said, with whom : 
More, she 's a traitor ; and Camillo is 
A federary * with her ; and one that knows 
What she should shame to know herself^ 
But with her most vile principal, that she 's 
A bed-swerver, even as bad as those 
That vulgars give bold'st ^ titles ; ay, and privy 
To this their late escape. 

Her. No, by my life. 

Privy to none of this : How will this grieve you 
When you shall come to clearer knowledge, that 
You thus have publish'd me ! Gentle my lord. 
You scarce can right me throughly then, to say 
You did mistake. 

Leon. No;"^ if I mistake 

In those foundations which I build upon. 
The centre is not big enough to bear 
A schoolboy's top. — Away with her to prison : 
He who shall speak for her is afar oflf*^ guilty. 
But that he speaks. 

" Federary — confederate ; the same as feodary. 
*" Bold'tt. Steevens has minced this into bold. 

* No. The emphatic no, witli a pause such as a judicious actor would supply, 
is turned in all modern editions into tio, no. 
'' Afar off — in a remote degri-i-. 

Scene I.] A WINTER'S TALE. 39 

Her. There 's some ill planet reigns : 

I must be patient, till the heavens look 
With an aspect more favourable. — Good my lords, 
I am not prone to weeping, as our sex 
Commonly are ; the want of which vain dew. 
Perchance, shall dry your pities : but I have 
That honourable grief lodg'd here, which burns 
Worse than tears drown : 'Beseech you all, my lords. 
With thoughts so qualified as your charities 
Shall best instruct you, measure me ; — and so 
The king's will be perform'd ! 

Leon. Shall I be heard? [To the Guards. 

Her. Who is 't that goes with me ? — 'Beseech your high- 
My women may be with me ; for, you see. 
My plight requires it. Do not weep, good fools ; 
There is no cause : when you shall know your mistress 
Has deserv'd prison, then abound in tears. 
As I come out : this action I now go on 
Is for my better grace. — Adieu, my lord ; 
I never wish'd to see you sorry ; now, 
I trust, I shall. — My women, come ; you have leave. 

Leon. Go, do our bidding ; hence. 

l^Exeunt Queen and Ladies. 

1 Lord. 'Beseech your highness, call the queen again. 

Ant. Be certain what you do, sir ; lest your justice 
Prove violence : in the which three great ones suffer. 
Yourself, your queen, your son. 

1 Lord. For her, my lord, 

I dare my life lay doAvn, and will do 't, sir. 
Please you t' accept it, that the queen is spotless 
r the eyes of heaven, and to you ; I mean. 
In this which you accuse her. 

Ant. If it prove 

She 's otherwise, I '11 keep my stables where 
I lodge my wife ; I '11 go in couples with her ; 
Than* when I feel and see her, no further trust her ; 

" Than was formerly 8i)elt theri ; and we have to choose in this passage between 


For every inch of woman in the world. 
Ay, every dram of woman's flesh, is false. 
If she be. 

Leon. Hold your peaces. 

1 Lord. Good my lord, — 

u4nt. It is for you we speak, not for ourselves : 
You are abus'd, and by some putter-on. 
That will be damn'd for 't ; 'would I knew the villain, 
I would land-damn' him : Be she honour-flaw'd — 
I have three daughters ; the eldest is eleven ; 
The second, and the third, nine, and some five ; ^ 
If this prqve true, they '11 pay for 't : by mine honour, 
I '11 geld them all : fourteen they shall not see. 
To bring false generations : they are co-heirs ; 
And I had rather glib myself than they 
Should not produce fair issue. 

Leon. Cease ; no more. 

You smell this business with a sense as cold 
As is a dead man's nose : but I do see 't," and feel 't. 
As you feel doing thus ; and see withal 
The instruments that feel.*^ 

Ant. If it be so. 

We need no grave to bury honesty ; 
There 's not a grain of it, the face to sweeten 
Of the whole dungy earth. 

Leon. What! lack I credit? 

1 Lord. I had rather you did lack than I, my lord. 
Upon this ground : and more it would content me 
To have her honour true, than your suspicion ; 
Be blam'd for 't how you might. 

Leon. Why, what need we 

than and thtn. Malone prefers then ; but we think the sentence is comparative : I 
will trust her no farther than I see her. 

* Land-damn. We are unable to explain this ; and it is scarcely necessary to 
trouble our readers with the notes of the commentators, some of which are not of 
the most delicate nature. Farmer's conjecture, that it meant laudanum him — poison 
him with laudanum — is, we suppose, intended for a joke. 

** The word nine refers to the second, and some Jive to the third. 

' But I do tee '/. This is frittered down by Steevens to / see 't. 

^ Some action must accompany this passage, as that of Leontes seizing hold of 
the arm of Antigonus. 

Scene I.] A WINTER'S TALE. 41 

Commune with you of this ? but rather follow 

Our forceful instigation ? Our prerogative 

Calls not your counsels ; but our natural goodness 

Imparts this: which — if you (or stupified. 

Or seeming so in skill) cannot, or will not, 

Relish a truth* like us ; inform yourselves. 

We need no more of your advice : the matter. 

The loss, the gain, the ordering on 't, is all 

Properly ours. 

Ant. And I wish, my liege. 

You had only in your silent judgment tried it, 
^Without more overture. 
» Leon. How could that be ? 

Either thou art most ignorant by age. 

Or thou wert born a fool. Camillo's flight. 

Added to their familiarity 

(Which was as gross as ever touch'd conjecture. 

That lack'd sight only, nought for approbation,** 

But only seeing,'^ all other circumstances 

Made up to the deed), doth push on this proceedin g. 

Yet, for a greater confirmation 

(For, in an act of this importance, 't were 

Most piteous to be wild), I have despatch'd in post. 

To sacred Delphos, to Apollo's temple, 

Cleomenes and Dion, whom you know 

Of stuff 'd sufficiency : Now, from the oracle 

They will bring all ; whose spiritual counsel had 

Shall stop, or spur me. Have I done well ? 
1 Lord. Well done, my lord. 
Leon. Though I am satisfied, and need no more 

Than what I know, yet shall the oracle 

Give rest to the minds of others ; such as he 

Whose ignorant credulity will not 

Come up to the truth : So have we thought it good. 

From our free person she should be confin'd ; 

Lest that the treachery of the two, fled hence, 

» A truth. So the original. Rowe changed it to a» truth. 
•• Approbation — proof. 
•= Seeing — used as a uoun. 

: I >(,•*' 

42 'V^ 1^^ A WINTER'S TALE. [Act II. 

Be left her to perform. Come, follow us ; 
We are to speak in public ; for this business 
Will raise us all. 

Ant. [Aside.] To laughter, as I take it. 
If the good truth were known. [Exeunt. 

SCENE II. — The same. The outer Room of a Prison. 

Enter Paulina and Attendants. 

Paul. The keeper of the prison, — call to him ; 

[Exit an Attendant. 
Let him have knowledge who I am. — Good lady ! 
No court in Europe is too good for thee. 
What dost thou then in prison ? — Now, good sir. 

Re-enter Attendant, with the Keeper. 

You know me, do you not ? 

Keep. For a worthy lady. 

And one whom much I honour. 

Paul. Pray you then. 

Conduct me to the queen. 

Keep. I may not, madam ; to the contrary 
I have express commandment. 

Paul. Here 's ado. 

To lock up honesty and honour from 
The access of gentle visitors ! — Is 't lawful, pray you. 
To see her women ? any of them ? Emilia ? 

Keep. So please you, madam. 
To put apart these your attendants, I 
Shall bring Emilia forth. 

Paul. I pray now, call her. 

Withdraw yourselves." [Exeunt Attendants. 

Keep. And, madam, 

I must be present at your conference. 

Paul. Well, be it so, prithee. [Exit Keeper. 

Here 's such ado to make no stain a stain. 
As passes colouring. 

* In these speeches we follow the metrical arrangement of the original, which is 
certainly not improved by the botching which we find in all modem editions. 

Scene II.] A WINTER'S TALE. 43 

Re-enter Keeper, with Emilia. 

Dear gentlewoman. 
How fares our gracious lady ? 

Emil. As well as one so great, and so forlorn. 
May hold together: on her frights, and griefs, 
(Which never tender lady hath borne greater,) 
She is, something before her time, deliver'd. 

Paul. A boy ? 

Emil. A daughter ; and a goodly babe. 

Lusty, and like to live : the queen receives 
Much comfort in 't : says, " My poor prisoner, 
I am innocent as you." 

Paul. I dare be sworn : — 

These dangerous unsafe lunes i' the king ! beshrew them ! 
He must be told on 't, and he shall : the office 
Becomes a woman best ; I '11 take 't upon me : 
If I prove honey-mouth'd, let my tongue blister ; 
And never to my red-look'd anger be 
The trumpet any more : — Pray you, Emilia, 
Commend my best obedience to the queen ; 
If she dares trust me with her little babe, 
I '11 show 't the king, and undertake to be 
Her advocate to th' loudest : We do not know 
How he may soften at the sight o' the child ; 
The silence often of pure innocence 
Persuades, when speaking fails. 

Emil. Most worthy madam. 

Your honour, and your goodness, is so evident. 
That your free undertaking cannot miss 
A thriving issue ; there is no lady living 
So meet for this great errand : Please your ladyship 
To visit the next room, I '11 presently 
Acquaint the queen of your most noble offer ; 
Who, but to-day, hammer'd of this design ; 
But durst not tempt a minister of honour. 
Lest she should be denied. 

Paul. Tell her, Emilia, 

I'll use that tongue I have: if wit flow from it. 


As boldness from my bosom, let it not be doubted 
I shall do good. 

Emil. Now be you bless'd for it ! 

I '11 to the queen : Please you, come something nearer. 

Keep. Madam, if 't please the queen to send the babe, 
I know not what I shall incur, to pass it. 
Having no warrant. 

Paul. You need not fear it, sir : 
This child was prisoner to the womb ; and is. 
By law and process of great nature, thence 
Freed and enfranchis'd : not a party to 
The anger of the king ; nor guilty of. 
If any be, the trespass of the queen. 

Keep. I do believe it. 

Paul. Do not you fear ; upon mine honour, I 
Will stand betwixt you and danger. [Exeunt. 

SCENE III. — The same. A Room in the Palace. 

Enter Leontes, Antigonus, Lords, and other Attendants. 

Leon. Nor night nor day, no rest : It is but weakness 
To bear the matter thus ; mere weakness, if 
The cause were not in being ; — ^part o' the cause. 
She, the adultress j for the harlot king 
Is quite beyond mine arm, out of the blank 
And level of my brain, plot-proof: but she 
I can hook to me : Say, that she were gone. 
Given to the fire, a moiety of my rest 
Might come to me again. — ^Who 's there ? 

I Attend. My lord ! [Advancing. 

Leon. How does the boy ? 

1 Attend. He took good rest to-night ; 

*T is hop'd his sickness is discharg'd. 

Leon. To see his nobleness ! 
Conceiving the dishonour of his mother. 
He straight declin'd, droop'd, took it deeply ; 
Fasten'd and fix'd the shame on 't in himself; 
Threw oiF his spirit, his appetite, his sleep, 
And downright languish'd. — Leave me solely : — go. 

Scene III.] A WINTER'S TALE. 45 

See how lie fares. [Exit Attend.] — Fie, fie ! no thought of 

The very thought of my revenges that way 
Recoil upon me : in himself too mighty : 
And in his parties, his alliance, — Let him be. 
Until a time may serve : for present vengeance. 
Take it on her. Camillo and Polixenes 
Laugh at me ; make their pastime at my sorrow : 
They should not laugh if I could reach them ; nor 
Shall she, within my power. 

Enter Paulina, with a Child. 

1 Lord. You must not enter. 

Paul. Nay, rather, good my lords, be second to me : 
Fear you his tyrannous passion more, alas. 
Than the queen's life ? a gracious innocent soul ; 
More free than he is jealous. 

Ant. That 's enough. 

1 Attend. Madam, he hath not slept to-night ; commanded 
None should come at him. 

Paul. Not so hot, good sir ; 

I come to bring him sleep. 'T is such as you, — 
That creep like shadows by him, and do sigh 
At each his needless heavings, — such as you 
Nourish the cause of his awaking : I 
Do come with words as medicinal as true ; 
Honest as either ; to purge him of that humour 
That presses him from sleep. 

Leon. What" noise there, ho? 

Paul. No noise, my lord ; but needful conference. 
About some gossips for your highness. 

Leon. How? — 

Away with that audacious lady : Antigonus, 
I charg'd thee that she should not come about me ; 
I knew she would. 

Ant. I told her so, my lord. 

On your displeasure's peril, and on mine. 
She should not visit you. 

° What. The original reads who, evidently a misiirinf. 


Leon. What, canst not rule her? 

Paul. From all dishonesty he can : in this, 
(Unless he take the course that you have done. 
Commit me, for committing honour,) trust it. 
He shall not rule me. 

Ant. La* you now ; you hear ! 

When she will talce the rein, I let her run ; 
But she '11 not stumble. 

Paul. Good my liege, I come, — 

And, I beseech you, hear me, who professes 
Myself your loyal servant, your physician. 
Your most obedient counsellor ; yet that dares 
Less appear so, in comforting^ your evils. 
Than such as most seem yours, — I say, I come 
From your good queen. 

Leon. Good queen ! 

Paul. Good queen, my lord, good queen : I say, good 
queen ; 
And would by combat make her good, so were I 
A man, the worst about you. 

Leon. Force her hence. 

Paul. Let him that makes but trifles of his eyes 
First hand me : on mine own accord, I '11 off; 
But, first, I '11 do my errand. — The good queen. 
For she is good, hath brought you forth a daughter ; 
Here 't is ; commends it to your blessing. 

^Laying down the Child. 

Leon. Out ! 

A mankind*^ witch ! Hence with her, out o' door : 
A most intelligencing bawd ! 

Paul. Not so : 

I am as ignorant in that, as you 
In so entitling me : and no less honest 

* La. This is commonly printed lo. The words each mean look you; but la is 
used affectedly, or ironically, as in this case. 

*" Comforting — encouraging. We have still " comforting and abetting," in legal 

*= Mankind — masculine. Jonson has an example of this use of the word : — 
" Pallas, now thee I call on, mankind maid." 

Scene III.] A WINTER'S TALE. 47 

Than you are mad ; which is enough, I '11 warrant. 
As this world goes, to pass I'or honest. 

Leon. Traitors ! 

Will you not push her out ? Give her the bastard — 
Thou dotard, \to Antigonus] thou art woman-tired," un- 

By thy dame Partlet here, — take up the bastard ; 
Take 't up, I say ; give 't to thy crone. 

Paul. For ever 

Un venerable be thy hands, if thou 
Tak'st up the princess, by that forced baseness 
Which he has put upon 't ! 

Leon. He dreads his wife. 

Paul. So I would you did ; then 't Avere past all doubt 
You 'd call your children yours. 

Leon. A nest of traitors ! 

Ant. I am none, by this good light. 

Paul. Nor I ; nor any. 

But one, that 's here ; and that 's himself: for he 
The sacred honour of himself, his queen's. 
His hopeful son's, his babe's, betrays to slander. 
Whose sting is sharper than the sword's ; and will not 
(For, as the case now stands, it is a curse 
He cannot be compell'd to 't) once remove 
The root of his opinion, which is rotten. 
As ever oak, or stone, was sound. 

Leon. A callat. 

Of boundless tongue ; who late hath beat her husband. 
And now baits me ! — This brat is none of mine ; 
It is the issue of Polixenes : 
Hence with it ; and, together with the dam. 
Commit them to the fire. 

Paul. It is yours ; 

And, might we lay the old proverb to your charge, 

» Woman-tired. This is equivalent to our hen-pecked. To tire is to tear, as a 
bird of prey does his meat : — 

-" And like an empty eagle, 

Tire on the flesh of me and of my son." 

('Henry VI., Part III.') 


So like you, 't is the worse. — Behold, my lords. 

Although the print be little, the whole matter 

And copy of the father : eye, nose, lip. 

The trick of his frown, his forehead ; nay, the valley. 

The pretty dimples of his chin and cheek ; his smiles ; 

The very mould and frame of hand, nail, finger : — 

And thou, good goddess Nature, which hast made it 

So like to him that got it, if thou hast 

The ordering of the mind too, 'mongst all colours 

No yellow in 't j lest she suspect, as he does. 

Her children not her husband's ! 

Leon. A gross hag ! — 

And, lozel,* thou art worthy to be hang'd. 
That wilt not stay her tongue. 

Ant. Hang all the husbands 

That cannot do that feat, you '11 leave yourself 
Hardly one subject. 

Leon. Once more, take her hence. 

Paul. A most unworthy and unnatural lord 
Can do no more. 

Leon. I '11 have thee burn'd. 

Paul. I care not : 

It is an heretic that makes the fire. 
Not she which burns in 't. I '11 not call you tyrant ; 
But this most cruel usage of your queen 
(Not able to produce more accusation 
Than your own weak-hing'd fancy) something savours 
Of tyranny, and will ignoble make you. 
Yea, scandalous to the world. 

Leon. On your allegiance. 

Out of the chamber with her. Were I a tyrant. 
Where were her life ? she durst not call me so. 
If she did know me one. Away with her. 

Paul. I pray you, do not push me ; I '11 be gone. 
Look to your babe, my lord ; 't is yours : Jove send her 
A better guiding spirit ! — What need these hands ? — 

■ Lozel. Verstegan explains this as " one that hath lost, neglected, or cast off, 
his own good and welfare, and so is become lewd and careless of credit and 

Scene III.] A WINTER'S TALE. 49 

You, that are thus so tender o'er his follies. 

Will never do him good, not one of you. 

So, so : — 'Farewell ; we are gone. [Exit. 

Leon. Thou, traitor, hast set on thy wife to this. — 
My child ! away with 't ! — even thou, that hast 
A heart so tender o'er it, take it hence. 
And see it instantly consum'd with fire ; 
Even thou, and none but thou. Take it up straight : 
Within this hour bring me word 't is done, 
(And by good testimony,) or I '11 seize thy life. 
With what thou else call'st thine : If thou refuse. 
And wilt encounter with my wrath, say so ; 
The bastard brains with these my proper hands 
Shall I dash out. Go, take it to the fire ; 
For thou sett'st on thy wife. 

Ant. I did not, sir : 

These lords, my noble fellows, if they please. 
Can clear me in 't. 

1 Lord. We can, my royal liege. 

He is not guilty of her coming hither. 

Leon. You are liars all. 

1 Lord. 'Beseech your highness, give us better credit; 
We have always truly serv'd you ; and beseech 
So to esteem of us : And on our knees we beg, 
(As recompense of our dear services. 
Past, and to come,) that you do change this purpose ; 
Which, being so horrible, so bloody, must 
Lead on to some foul issue : We all kneel. 

Leon. I am a feather for each wind that blows : — 
Shall I live on, to see this bastard kneel 
And call me father ? Better burn it now. 
Than curse it then. But, be it ; let it live : 
It shall not neither. You, sir, come you hither ; [to Ant. 
You, that have been so tenderly officious 
With lady Margery, your midwife, there. 
To save this bastard's life : for 't is a bastard. 
So sure as this beard 's grey," — what will you adventure 
To save this brat's life ? 

* Leontes here probably points to the beard of Antigonus. 
Vol. IV. E 


Ant. Anything, my lord. 

That my ability may undergo, 
And nobleness impose : at least, thus much, — 
I '11 pawn the little blood which I have left 
To save the innocent : anything possible. 

Leon. It shall be possible : Swear by this sword. 
Thou wilt perform my bidding. 

Ant. I will, my lord. 

Leon. Mark, and perform it ; (seest thou ?) for the fail 
Of any point in 't shall not only be 
Death to thyself, but to thy lewd-tongued wife ; 
Wliom, for this time, we pardon. We enjoin thee. 
As thou art liegeman to us, that thou carry 
This female bastard hence ; and that thou bear it 
To some remote and desert place, quite out 
Of our dominions ; and that there thou leave it. 
Without more mercy, to its own protection. 
And favour of the climate. As by strange fortune 
It came to us, I do in justice charge thee, — 
On thy soul's peril, and thy body's torture, — 
That thou commend it strangely to some place 
Where chance may nurse, or end it : Take it up. 

Ant. I swear to do this, though a present death 
Had been more merciful. — Come on, poor babe : 
Some powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens 
To be thy nurses ! Wolves and bears, they say. 
Casting their savageness aside, have done 
Like offices of pity. — Sir, be prosperous 
In more than this deed does require ! and blessing. 
Against this cruelty, fight on thy side. 
Poor thing, condemn'd to loss ! * [Exit, with the Child. 

Leon. No, I '11 not rear 

Another's issue. 

• Loss. We have the word repeated in the third act: — 

" Poor wretch, 
That, for thy mother's fault, art thus exjjos'd 
To loss, and what may follow !"' 
This passage shows that loss does not here mean destruction — a final calamity; for 
something may follow. It probably means exposure. 

Scene III.] A WINTER'S TALE. 51 

1 Attend. Please your highness, posts. 
From those you sent to the oracle, are come 
An hour since : Cleomenes and Dion, 
Being well arriv'd from Delphos, are both landed. 
Hasting to the court. 

1 Lord. So please you, sir, their speed 

Hath been beyond account. 

Leon. Twenty-three days 

They have been absent : 't is good speed ; foretells 
The great Apollo suddenly will have 
The truth of this appear. Prepare you, lords ; 
Summon a session, that we may arraign 
Our most disloyal lady : for, as she hath 
Been publicly accus'd, so shall she have 
A just and open trial. While she lives. 
My heart will be a burthen to me. Leave me ; 
And think upon my bidding. [Exeunt. 

E 2 



SCENE I.— Sicilia. A Street. 
Enter Cleomenes and Dion. 

Cleo. The climate 's delicate : the air most sweet ; 
Fertile the isle j the temple much surpassing 
The common praise it bears. 

Dion. I shall report. 

For most it caught me, the celestial habits, 
(Methinks I so should term them,) and the reverence 
Of the grave wearers. O, the sacrifice ! 
How ceremonious, solemn, and unearthly 
It was i' the offering ! 

Cleo. But, of all, the burst 

And the ear-deafening voice o' the oracle. 
Kin to Jove's thunder, so surpris'd my sense. 
That I was nothing. 

Dion. If the event o' the journey 

Prove as successful to the queen, — O, be 't so ! — - 
As it hath been to us rare, pleasant, speedy. 
The time is worth the use on 't. 

Cleo. Great Apollo, 

Turn all to the best ! These proclamations. 
So forcing faults upon Hermione, 
I little like. 

Dion. The violent carriage of it 
Will clear, or end, the business : When the oracle 
(Thus by Apollo's great divine seal'd up) 
Shall the contents discover, something rare 
Even then will rush to knowledge. — Go, — fresh horses; — 
And gracious be the issue ! [Exeunt. 

Scene II.] A WINTER'S TALE. 53 

SCENE II. — The same. A Court of Justice. 

Leontes, Lords, and Officers, appear properly seated. 

Leon. This sessions (to our great grief, we pronounce) 
Even pushes 'gainst our heart : The party tried. 
The daughter of a king ; our wife ; and one 
Of us too much belov'd. — Let us be clear'd 
Of being tyrannous, since we so openly 
Proceed in justice ; which shall have due course. 
Even * to the guilt, or the purgation. , 

Produce the prisoner. \,-fir***** f 

Offi,. It is his highness' pleasure that the queen^^ ' • f*»*^ * 
Appear in person here in court. — Silence ! — z>^ .J p f\^ ^ 

Hermione is brought in, guarded ; Paulina and Ladies, 

Leon. Read the indictment. 

Offi,. "Hermione, queen to the worthy Leontes, king of 
Sicilia, thou art here accused and arraigned of high treason, 
in committing adultery with Polixenes, king of Bohemia ; 
and conspiring with Camillo to take away the life of our 
sovereign lord the king, thy royal husband : the pretence ^ 
thereof being by circumstances partly laid open, thou, 
Hermione, contrary to the faith and allegiance of a true sub- 
ject, didst counsel and aid them, for their better safety, to fly 
away by night." 

Her. Since what I am to say must be but that 
Which contradicts my accusation, and 
The testimony on my part no other 
But what comes from myself, it shall scarce boot me 
To say, " Not guilty ;" mine integrity. 
Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it. 
Be so receiv'd. But thus, — If powers divine 
Behold our human actions, as they do, 
I doubt not then but innocence shall make 
False accusation blush, and tyranny 
Tremble at patience. — You, my lord, best know, 

* Even — equal, indifferent. * Pretence — design. 


(Who least Avill seem to do so,) my past life 

Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true. 

As I am now unhappy ; which is more 

Than history can pattern, though devis'd. 

And play'd, to take spectators : For behold me, — ■ 

A fellow of the royal bed, which owe 

A moiety of the throne, a great king's daughter. 

The mother to a hopeful prince, — here standing. 

To prate and talk for life and honour 'fore 

Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it. 

As I weigh grief, which I would spare : for honour, 

'T is a derivative from me to mine. 

And only that I stand for. I appeal 

To your own conscience, sir, before Polixenes 

Came to your court, how I was in your grace. 

How merited to be so ; since he came. 

With what encounter so uncurrent I 

Have strain'd,* to appear thus : if one jot beyond 

The bound of honour ; or, in act or will. 

That way inclining ; harden'd be the hearts 

Of all that hear me, and my near'st of kin 

Cry Fie ! upon my grave ! 

Leon. I ne'er heard yet. 

That any of these bolder vices wanted 
Less impudence to gainsay what they did. 
Than to perform it first. 

Her. That 's true enough ; 

Though 't is a saying, sir, not due to me. 

Leon. You will not own it. 

Her. More than mistress of. 

Which comes to me in name of fault, I must not 
At all acknowledge. For Polixenes, 
(With whom I am accus'd,) I do confess, 
I lov'd him, as in honour he requir'd. 
With such a kind of love as might become 
A lady like me ; with a love, even such. 
So, and no other, as yourself commanded : 

■ The metaphor appears to be taken from an encounter of chivalry, in which one 
swerving from the accustomed course would be uncurrent. 

Scene II.] A WINTER'S TALE. 55 

Which not to have done, I think, had been in me 

Both disobedience and ingratitude. 

To you, and toAvard your friend ; whose love had spoke. 

Even since it could speak, from an infant, freely. 

That it was yours. Now, for conspiracy, 

I know not how it tastes ; though it be dish'd 

For me to try how : all I know of it 

Is, that Camillo was an honest man ; 

And, why he left your court, the gods themselves. 

Wotting no more than I, are ignorant. 

Leon. You knew of his departure, as you know 
What you have underta'en to do in his absence. . ^^ *" -»'»-'*' *^ 

Her. Sir, 'z / -_ ., \ ^^ 

You speak a language that I understand not : -/ '^ ^ / (^^ ^ . 

My life stands in the level of your dreams," -^ ri ' ) 
Which I '11 lay down. 

Leon. Your actions are my dreams ; 

You had a bastard by Polixenes, 
And I but dream'd it : — As you were past all shame, 
(Those of your fact are so,) so past all truth : 
Which to deny, concerns more than avails : For as 
Thy brat hath been cast out, like to itself^ 
No father owning it, (which is, indeed. 
More criminal in thee, than it,) so thou 
Shalt feel our justice ; in whose easiest passage. 
Look for no less than death. 

Her. Sir, spare your threats ; 

The bug which you would fright me with I seek. 
To me can life be no commodity : 
The crown and comfort of my life, your favour, 
I I do give lost ; for I do feel it gone, 
^ But know not how it went : My second joy. 
And first-fruits of my body, from his presence 
I am barr'd, like one infectious : My third comfort, 
Starr'd most unluckily, is from my breast. 
The innocent milk in its most innocent mouth. 
Haled out to murther : Myself on every post 

» Your dreams afford tlie lex^el, tlie aim, of this accusation; and my life therefore 
stands within the range of the attack you direct agahist it. 



Proclaim'd a strumpet ; with immodest hatred. 
The childbed privilege denied, which 'longs 
K To women of all fashion : — Lastly, hurried 
Here to this place, i' the open air, before 
I have got strength of limit. Now, my liege. 
Tell me what blessings I have here alive. 
That I should fear to die ? Therefore, proceed. 
But yet hear this ; mistake me not ; — 'No life, 
I prize it not a straw : — but for mine honour, 
(Which I would free,) if I shall be condemn'd 
Upon surmises ; all proofs sleeping else. 
But what your jealousies awake ; I tell you 
'T is rigour, and not law. — Your honours all, 
I do refer me to the oracle ; 
Apollo be my judge. 

1 Lord. This your request 

Is altogether just : therefore, bring forth. 
And in Apollo's name, his oracle. \^Exeunt certain Officers. 

Her. The emperor of Russia was my father : 
O, that he were alive, and here beholding 
His daughter's trial ! that he did but see 
The flatness of my misery ; yet with eyes 
Of pity, not revenge ! 

Re-enter Officers, with Cleomenes and Dion. 

Offi,. You here shall swear upon this sword of justice. 
That you, Cleomenes and Dion, have 
Been both at Delphos ; and from thence have brought 
This seal'd-up oracle, by the hand deliver'd 
Of great Apollo's priest ; and that, since then. 
You have not dar'd to break the holy seal. 
Nor read the secrets in 't. 

Cleo., Dion. All this we swear. 

Leon. Break up the seals, and read. 
\ Offi,. [Reads.] " Hermione is chaste, Polixenes blameless, 

Camillo a true subject, Leontes a jealous tyrant, his innocent 
babe truly begotten; and the king shall live without an 
heir, if that which is lost be not found." 

Lords. Now blessed be the great Apollo ! 

Scene II.] A WINTER'S TALE. 57 

Her. Prais'd ! 

Leo7i. Hast thou read truth? 

Offi,. Ay, my lord ; even so 

As it is liere set down. 

Leon. There is no truth at all i' the oracle : 
The sessions shall proceed : this is mere falsehood. 

Enter a Servant, hastily. 

Scrv. My lord the king, the king ! 

Leon. What is the business? 

Serv. O sir, I shall be hated to report it : 
The prince your son, with mere conceit and fear 
Of the queen's speed,* is gone. 

Leon. How ! gone ? 

Serv. Is dead. 

Leon. Apollo's angry; and the heavens themselves 
Do strike at my injustice. [HERMiONEya^j^j".] How now 
there ? 

Paul. This news is mortal to the queen : — Look down. 
And see what death is doing. 

Leon. Take her hence : 

Her heart is but o'ercharg'd ; she will recover. — 
I have too much believ'd mine own suspicion : — 
'Beseech you, tenderly apply to her 
Some remedies for life. — Apollo, pardon 

\_Exeunt Paulina and Ladies, with Herm. 
My great profaneness 'gainst thine oracle ! — 
I '11 reconcile me to Polixenes ; 
New woo my queen ; recall the good Camillo, 
Whom I proclaim a man of truth, of mercy : 
For, being transported by my jealousies 
To bloody thoughts and to revenge, I chose 
Camillo for the minister, to poison 
My friend Polixenes : which had been done. 
But that the good mind of Camillo tardicd 
My swift command, though I with death, and with 
Reward, did threaten and encourage him. 
Not doing it, and being done ; he, most humane, 

' Of how the queen may $peed — of the issue of this charge. 


And fill'd with honour, to ray kingly guest 
Unclasp'd my practice ; quit his fortunes here. 
Which you knew great ; and to the hazard 
Of all incertainties himself commended. 
No richer than his honour : — How he glisters 
Thorough my rust ! and how his piety 
Does my deeds make the blacker ! 

Re-enter Paulina. 

Paul. Woe the while ! 

O, cut my lace ; lest my heart, cracking it. 
Break too ! 

1 Lord. What fit is this, good lady ? 

Paul. What studied torments, tyrant, hast for me ? 
What wheels? racks? fires? What flaying? boiling. 
In leads, or oils? what old or newer torture 
Must I receive ; whose every word deserves 
To taste of thy most worst ? Thy tyranny 
Together working with thy jealousies, — 
Fancies too weak for boys, too green and idle 
For girls of nine ! — O, think what they have done. 
And then run mad, indeed ; stark mad ! for all 
Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it. 
That thou betray 'dst Polixenes, 't was nothing ; 
That did but show thee, of a fool, inconstant. 
And damnable ingrateful : nor was 't much. 
Thou wouldst have poison'd good Camillo's honour. 
To have him kill a king ; poor trespasses. 
More monstrous standing by : whereof I reckon 
The casting forth to crows thy baby daughter. 
To be or none, or little ; though a devil 
Would have shed water out of fire, ere done 't : 
Nor is 't directly laid to thee, the death 
Of the young prince ; whose honourable thoughts 
(Thoughts high for one so tender) cleft the heart 
That could conceive a gross and foolish sire 
Blemish'd his gracious dam : this is not, no. 
Laid to thy answer : But the last, — O, lords. 
When I have said, cry Woe ! — the queen, the queen. 

Scene II.] A WINTER'S TALE. 59 

The sweetest, dearest creature 's dead ; and vengeance for 't 

Not dropp'd down yet. 

1 Lord. The higher powers forbid ! 

p^'TaM/. I say, she 's dead : I '11 swear 't : if word, nor oath, 
/ Prevail not, go and see : if you can bring 
I Tincture, or lustre, in her lip, her eye, 
' Heat outwardly, or breath within, I '11 serve you 

As I would do the gods. — But, O thou tyrant! 

Do not repent these things ; for they are heavier 

Than all thy woes can stir : therefore betake thee 

To nothing but despair. A thousand knees. 

Ten thousand years together, naked, fasting. 

Upon a barren mountain, and still winter 

In storm perpetual, could not move the gods 

To look that way thou wert. 

Leon. Go on, go on : 

Thou canst not speak too much ; I have deserv'd 

All tongues to talk their bitterest. 

1 Lord. Say no more ; 

Howe'er the business goes, you have made fault 

r the boldness of your speech. 

Paul. I am sorry for 't ; 

All faults I make, when I shall come to know them, 

I do repent : Alas, I have show'd too much 

The rashness of a woman : he is touch'd 

To the noble heart. — ^What 's gone, and what 's past help. 

Should be past grief: Do not receive affliction 

At my petition, I beseech you ; rather 

Let me be punish'd, that have minded you 

Of what you should forget. Now, good my liege. 

Sir, royal sir, forgive a foolish woman : 

The love I bore your queen, — lo, fool, again ! — 

I '11 speak of her no more, nor of your children ; 

I '11 not remember you of my own lord. 

Who is lost too : Take your patience to you. 

And I '11 say nothing. 

Leon. Thou didst speak but well. 

When most the truth ; which I receive much better 

Than to be pitied of thee. Prithee, bring me 


To tlie dead bodies of my queen, and son : 

One grave shall be for both ; upon them shall 

The causes of their death appear, unto 

Our shame perpetual : Once a day I '11 visit 

The chapel where they lie ; (^a^^teai^i_jJi£d_diere, 

Shall be my recreation^ So long as Nature 

Will bear up with this exercise, so long 

I daily vow to use it. Come, and lead me 

To these sorrows.* [Exeunt. 

SCENE III. — Bohemia. A desert Country near the Sea. 

Enter Antigonus, with the Child ; and a Mariner. 

Ant. Thou art perfect'' then, our ship hath touch'd upon 
The deserts of Bohemia ? 

Mar. Ay, my lord ; and fear 

We have landed in ill time : the skies look grimly. 
And threaten present blusters. In my conscience. 
The heavens with that we have in hand are angry. 
And frown upon us. 

Ajit. Their sacred wills be done ! — Go, get aboard ; 
Look to thy bark ; I '11 not be long before 
I call upon thee. 

Mar. Make your best haste ; and go not 
Too far i' the land : 't is like to be loud weather ; 

* We follow the metrical arrangement of the origuial. In all the modem editions 
the lines are distorted as follows : — 

" Shall be my recreation : so long as 

Nature will bear up with this exercise, 

Si) lotig I daily vow to use it. Come, 

And lead me to these sorrows." 
We claim no merit for having first pointed out these abominable corruptions of the 
text ; but we do most earnestly exhort those who reprint Shakspere — and the very 
act of reprinting is in some sort a tribute to him — not to continue to present him in 
this mangled shape. If the freedom and variety of his versification were offensive 
to those who had been trained in tiie school of Pope, let it be remembered that we 
have now come back to the proper estimation of a nobler rhythm ; and that Shak- 
spere, of all the great dramatists, appears to have held the true mean, between a 
syllabic monotony on the one hand, and a licence running into prose on the other. 
•> Perfect — assured. 

Scene III.] A WINTER'S TALE, 61 

Besides, this place is famous for the creatures 
Of prey, that keep upon 't. 

Ant. Go thou away : 

I '11 follow instantly. 

Mar. I am glad at heart 

To be so rid o' the business. [Exit. 

Ant. Come, poor babe : — 

I have heard, (but not believ'd,) the spirits of the dead 
May walk again : if such thing be, thy mother 
Appear'd to me last night ; for ne'er was dream 
So like a waking. To me comes a creature. 
Sometimes her head on one side, some another ; 
I never saw a vessel of like sorrow. 
So fill'd, and so becoming : in pure white robes. 
Like very sanctity, she did approach 
My cabin where I lay : thrice bow'd before me ; 
And, gasping to begin some speech, her eyes 
Became two spouts : the fury spent, anon 
Did this break from her : " Good Antigonus, 
Since fate, against thy better disposition. 
Hath made thy person for the thrower-out 
Of my poor babe, according to thine oath. 
Places remote enough are in Bohemia, 
There weep, and leave it crying ; and, for the babe 
Is counted lost for ever, Perdita, 
I prithee, call 't : for this ungentle business. 
Put on thee by my lord, thou ne'er shalt see 
Thy wife Paulina more :" — and so, with shrieks. 
She melted into air. Aifrighted much, 
I did in time collect myself; and thought 
This was so, and no slumber. Dreams are toys ; 
Yet, for this once, yea, superstitiously, 
I will be squar'd by this. I do believe 
Hermione hath sufFer'd death; and that 
Apollo would, this being indeed the issue 
Of king Polixcnes, it should here be laid. 
Either for life, or death, upon the earth 
Of its right father. Blossom, speed thee well ! 

[Laying down the Child. 


There lie ; and there thy character : * there these ; 

[^Laying down a bundle. 
Which may, if fortune please, both breed thee pretty. 
And still rest thine. — The storm begins : — Poor wretch. 
That, for thy mother's fault, art thus expos'd 
To loss, and what may follow ! — ^Weep I cannot. 
But my heart bleeds : and most accurs'd am I, 
To be by oath enjoin'd to this. — Farewell ! 
The day frowns more and more — thou 'rt like to have 
A lullaby too rough : I never saw 
The heavens so dim by day. A savage clamour ! — 
Well may I get aboard ! — This is the chace ; 
I am gone for ever. \^Exit, pursued by a Bear. 

Enter an old Shepherd. 

Shep. I would there was no age between ten and three- 
and-twenty ; or that youth would sleep out the rest : for 
there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with 
child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting. — Hark you 
now ! — Would any but these boiled brains of nineteen and 
two-and-twenty hunt this weather? They have scared 
away two of my best sheep ; which, I fear, the wolf will 
sooner find than the master ; if anywhere I have them, 't is 
by the sea-side, browzing of ivy. Good luck, an 't be thy 
will! what have we here? [Taking up the Child.'] Mercy 
on 's, a barne ; ^ a very pretty barne ! A boy, or a child,'' I 
wonder ? A pretty one ; a very pretty one : Sure, some 
scape : though I am not bookish, yet I can read waiting-gen- 
tlewoman in the scape. This has been some stair-work, 

* Charade}- — description — the writing which describes thee. 

^ Barne —the Scotch bairn ; a chihi baren, or born. 

' A chilli. Steeveus says that he is told " that, in some of our inland counties, a 
female infant, in contradistinction to a male one, is still termed among the peasantry 
— a child." This use of the word was clearly the meaning of Shakspere; but in 
none of the provincial glossaries can we find any authority for such an application. 
On the contrary, in all the ancient writers childe means a boy, a young man, and 
generally in some association with chivalry. Byron, in his preface to ' Childe 
Harold,' says, — " It is almost superfluous to mention that the appellation ' Childe,' 
as ' Childe Waters,' ' Childe Childers,' &c., is used as more consonant with the old 
structure of versification which I have adopted." Nares observes upon the passage 
before us that the expression child " may perhaps be rather referred to the simplicity 
of the shepherd, reversing the common practice, than taken as an authority for it." 

Scene III.] A WINTER'S TALE. 63 

some trunk- work, some behind-door-work : they were warmer 
that got this than the poor thing is here. I '11 take it up 
for pity : yet I '11 tarry till my son come ; he hollaed but 
even now. Whoa, ho lioa ! 

Enter Clown. 

Clo. Hilloa, loa ! 

Shep. What, art so near? If thou 'It sec a thing to talk 
on when thou art dead and rotten, come hither. What 
ailest thou, man ? 

Clo. I have seen two such sights, by sea, and by land ; — 
but I am not to say, it is a sea, for it is now the sky ; be- 
twixt the firmament and it you cannot thrust a bodkin's 

Shep. Why, boy, how is it? 

Clo. I would you did but see how it chafes, how it rages, 
how it takes up the shore ! but that 's not to the point ! O, 
the most piteous cry of the poor souls ! sometimes to see 'em, 
and not to see 'em : now the ship boring the moon with her 
main-mast; and anon swallowed with yest and froth, as 
you 'd thrust a cork into a hogshead. And then for the 
land-service, — To see how the bear tore out his shoulder- 
bone ; how he cried to me for help, and said his name was 
Antigonus, a nobleman : — But to make an end of the ship : — 
to see how the sea flap-dragoned it : * — but, first, how the 
poor souls roared, and the sea mocked them ; — and how the 
poor gentleman roared, and the bear mocked him, both roar- 
ing louder than the sea, or weather. 

Shep. Name of mercy, when was this, boy ? 

Clo. Now, now ; I have not winked since I saw these 
sights : the men are not yet cold under water, nor the bear 
half dined on the gentleman ; he 's at it now. 

Shep. Would I had been by, to have helped the old man ! 

■ Flap-dragoned it. In 'Love's Labour's Lost' we have, — "Thou art easier 
swallowed than a flap-dragon." This was some inflammable substance floating on a 
goblet, to be gulped down in the wildness of the toper's revels. FalstafT says of 
Prince Henry that he " drinks off candle-ends for flap-dragons." The practice, 
however, was not always safe, if we may judge from the assertion of the captain in 
Rowley's 'Match at Midnight,' who says that his "corporal was lately choked at 
Delf by swallowing a flap-dragon." 


Clo. I would you had been by the ship side, to have 
helped her ; there your charity would have lacked footing. 

Shep. Heavy matters ! heavy matters ! but look thee here, 
boy. Now bless thyself ; thou mett'st with things dying, I 
with things new born. Here 's a sight for thee ; look thee, 
a bearing cloth ' for a squire's child ! look thee here ! take 
up, take up, boy ; open 't. So, let 's see. It was told me, I 
should be rich by the fairies ; this is some changeling : '' — 
open 't : What 's within, boy ? 

Clo. You 're a made •= old man ; if the sins of your youth. 
are forgiven you, you 're well to live. Gold ! all gold ! 

Shep. This is fairy gold, boy, and 't will prove so : up 
with it, keep it close ; home, home, the next way. We are 
lucky, boy, and to be so still requires nothing but secrecy. — 
Let my sheep go : — Come, good boy, the next way home. 

Clo. Go you the next way with your findings ; I '11 go 
see if the bear be gone from the gentleman, and how much 
he hath eaten : they are never curst,* but when they are 
hungry : if there be any of him left, I '11 bury it. 

Shep. That 's a good deed : If thou mayst discern, by that 
which is left of him, what he is, fetch me to the sight of 

Clo. Marry, will I -, and you shall help to put him i' the 

Shep. 'T is a lucky day, boy ; and we '11 do good deeds 
on 't. [Exeunt. 

■ Bearing-cloth. Percy explains this as " the fine mantle or cloth with which a 
child is usually covered when it is carried to the church to be baptized." 

•> Changrling — a child changed. The allusion is here to the superstition that 
children were sometimes changed by fairies. So in 'A Midsummer Night's 
Dream,' — 

" A lovely boy, stol'n from an Indian king ; 
She never had so sweet a changeling.'" 
* Made. In the original, mad. The correction is by Theobald. 
^ Curtt — mischievous. 



Enter Time, as Chorus. 

Time. I, that please some, try all, — both joy and terror 
Of good and bad, — that make, and unfold error, — 
Now take upon me, in the name of Time, 
To use my wings. Impute it not a crime 
To me, or my swift passage, that I slide 
O'er sixteen years, and leave the growth untried 
Of that wide gap ; since it is in my power 
To o'erthrow law, and in one self-born hour 
To plant and o'erwhelm custom : Let me pass 
The same I am, ere ancient'st order was. 
Or what is now receiv'd : I witness to 
The times that brought them in : so shall I do 
To the freshest things now reigning ; and make stale 
The glistering of this present, as my tale 
Now seems to it. Your patience this allowing, 
I turn my glass ; and give my scene such growing 
As you had slept between. Leontes leaving 
The effects of his fond jealousies ; so grieving. 
That he shuts up himself; imagine me. 
Gentle spectators, that I now may be 
In fair Bohemia ; and remember well, 
I mentioned a son o' the king's, which Florizel 
I now name to you ; and with speed so pace 
To speak of Perdita, now grown in grace 
Equal with wondering : What of her ensues 
I list not prophesy ; but let Time's news 
Be known when 't is brought forth : — a shepherd's daughter. 
And what to her adheres, which follows after. 
Is the argument of time : Of this allow,' 
If ever you have spent time worse ere now ; 

* ^Ihw — approve. 
Vol. IV. F 


If never yet, that Time himself doth say. 

He wishes earnestly you never may. [Exit. 

SCENE I. — Bohemia. A Room in the Palace o/" Polixenes. 

Enter Polixenes and Camillo. 

Pol. I pray thee, good Camillo, be no more importunate : 
'tis a sickness denying thee anything; a death to grant 

Cam. It is fifteen years since I saw my country. Though 
I have, for the most part, been aired abroad, I desire to lay 
my bones there. Besides, the penitent king, my master, 
hath sent for me : to whose feeling sorrows I might be some 
allay, or I o'erween to think so; which is another spur to 
my departure. 

Pol. As thou lovest me, Camillo, wipe not out the rest of 
thy services, by leaving me now : the need I have of thee 
thine own goodness hath made ; better not to have had thee 
than thus to want thee : thou, having made me businesses 
which none without thee can sufficiently manage, must 
either stay to execute them thyself, or take away with thee 
the very services thou hast done : which if I have not 
enough considered, (as too much I cannot,) to be more 
thankful to thee shall be my study ; and my profit therein, 
the heaping friendships. Of that fatal country, Sicilia, 
prithee speak no more : whose very naming punishes me 
with the remembrance of that penitent, as thou callest him, 
and reconciled king, my brother; whose loss of his most 
precious queen and children are even now to be afresh 
lamented. Say to me, when sawest thou the prince Florizel 
my son ? Kings are no less unhappy, their issue not being 
gracious, than they are in losing them when they have 
approved their virtues. 

Cam. Sir, it is three days since I saw the prince : What 
his happier affairs may be are to me unknown : but I have, 
missingly," noted he is of late much retired from court ; and 

" Missingly. Steevens explains this, — " I have observed him at intervals.^' But 
is it not rather — missing him, I have noted he is of late much retired from court I 

Scene II.] A WINTER'S TALE. 67 

is less frequent to his princely exercises than formerly he 
hath appeared. 

Pol. I have considered so much, Camillo, and with some 
care ; so far, that I have eyes under my service which look 
upon his removedness, from whom I have this intelligence : 
That he is seldom from the house of a most homely shep- 
herd ; a man, they say, that from very nothing, and beyond 
the imagination of his neighbours, is grown into an unspeak- 
able estate. 

Cam. I have heard, sir, of such a man, who hath a 
daughter of most rare note : the report of her is extended 
more than can be thought to begin from such a cottage. 

Pol. That 's likewise part of my intelligence. But I fear 
the angle that plucks our son thither. Thou shalt accom- 
pany us to the place : where we will, not appearing what 
we are, have some question with the shepherd ; from whose 
simplicity I think it not uneasy to get the cause of my son's 
resort thither. Prithee, be my present partner in this 
business, and lay aside the thoughts of Sicilia. 

Cam. I willingly obey your command. 

Pol. My best Camillo ! — We must disguise ourselves. 


SCENE II. — The same. A Road near the Shepherd'* 

Enter Autolycus, singing. 

When dafTodiU begin to peer, 

With heigh ! the doxy over the dale, 
Why then comes in the sweet o' the year ; 

For tlie red blood reigns in the winter's pale. ■ 
The white sheet bleaching on the hedge, 

With heigh! the sweet birds, O, how they sing; 
Doth set my pugging •" tooth on <= edge ; 

For a quart of ale is a dish for a king. 

" The winters pale. Farmer explains this, — "the red, the spring blood, now 
reigns o'er the parts lately under the dominion of winter." Daffodils, as Perdita 
tells us, " come before the swallow dares.' The spring which Autolycus describes 
is the early spring, when winter still holds a partial reign, and the pale — boundary — 
which divides it from spring is not yet broken up. 

^ Pugging. This appears a ilasb word which the commentators cannot explain. 
A puggard is a thief. 

' On. The original has an. It is not clear to us that the article, and not the 
prepoflition, is not the proper form of this idiom. 



The lark that tirra-lirra chants, 

With heigh ! with hey ! * the thrash and the jay : 

Are summer songs for me and my aunts, 
While we lie tumbling in the hay. 

I have served prince Florizel, and, in my time, wore three- 
pile ;'' but now I am out of service : 

But shall I go mourn for that, my dear ? 

The pale moon shines by night : 
And when I wander here and there, 

I then do most go right. 
If tinkers may have leave to live, 

And bear the sow-skin bowget; 
Then my account I well may give, 

And in the stocks avouch it. 

My traffic is sheets ; when the kite builds, look to lesser 
linen.*' My father named me Autolycus; who, being as I 
am, littered under Mercury, was likewise a snapper up of 
unconsidered trifles : With die, and drab, I purchased this 
caparison ; and my revenue is the silly cheat : Gallows, and 
knock, are too powerful on the highway : beating, and hang- 
ing, are terrors to me ; for the life to come, I sleep out the 
thought of it. — A prize ! a prize ! 

Enter Clown. 

Clo. Let me see : — Every 'leven wether — tods ; ' every tod 
yields — pound and odd shilling : fifteen hundred shorn, — 
What comes the wool to? 

Aut. If the springe hold, the cock 's mine. [Aside. 

Clo. I cannot do 't without counters. — Let me see ; what 
am I to buy for our sheep-shearing feast ? " Three pound 

of sugar ; five pound of currants ; rice " What will this 

sister of mine do with rice ? But my father hath made her 
mistress of the feast, and she lays it on. She hath made me 
four-and-twenty nosegays for the shearers : three-man song- 
men all,* and very good ones ; but they are most of them 
means and bases : * but one Puritan amongst them, and he 
sings psalms to hornpipes.* I must have saffron, to colour 

• The second folio introduces " with heyV The first has only ''with heigh. ''^ 
'*' Three-pile — rich velvet. 

* Autolycus has his eye upon the " white sheets." The kites may take the 
smaller linen for their nests. 

Scene II.] A WINTERS TALE. 69 

the warden pies ; * mace, — dates, — ^none ; that 's out of my 
note : nutmegs, seven ; a race or two of ginger ; but that I 
may beg ; — four pound of prunes, and as many of raisins o' 
the sun. 

Aut. O, that ever I was born ! [Grovelling on the ground. 

Clo. V the name of me, 

Aut. O, help me, help me ! pluck but off these rags ; and 
then, death, death ! 

Clo. Alack, poor soul ! thou hast need of more rags to lay 
on thee, rather than have these off. 

Aut. O, sir, the loathsomeness of them offends me more 
than the stripes I have received ; which are mighty ones, 
and millions. 

Clo. Alas, poor man ! a million of beating may come to a 
great matter. 

Aut. I am robbed, sir, and beaten ; my money and apparel 
ta'en from me, and these detestable things put upon me. 

Clo. What, by a horse-man, or a foot-man ? 

Aut. A foot-man, sweet sir, a foot-man? 

Clo. Indeed, he should be a foot-man, by the garments he 
hath left with thee ; if this be a horse-man's coat, it hath 
seen very hot service. Lend me thy hand, I '11 help thee : 
come, lend me thy hand. [Helping him. 

Aut. O ! good sir, tenderly, oh ! 

Clo. Alas, poor soul ! 

Aut. O, good sir, softly, good sir : I fear, sir, my shoulder- 
blade is out. 

Clo. How now ? canst stand ? 

Aut. Softly, dear sir ; [picks his pocket^ good sir, softly; 
you ha' done me a charitable office. 

Clo. Dost lack any money ? I have a little money for 

Aut. No, good sweet sir ; no, I beseech you, sir : I have a 
kinsman not past three-quarters of a mile hence, unto whom 
I was going ; I shall there have money, or anything I want : 
Offer me no money, I pray you ; that kills my heart. 

Clo. What manner of fellow was he that robbed you ? 

Aut. A fellow, sir, that I have known to go about with 

* Warden pies. Warden was the name of a pear. 


trol-my -dames : ' I knew him once a servant of the prince ; 
I cannot tell, good sir, for which of his virtues it was, but 
he was certainly whipped out of the court. 

Clo. His vices, you would say ; there 's no virtue whipped 
out of the court : they cherish it, to make it stay there ; and 
yet it will no more but abide." 

Aut. Vices, I would say, sir. I know this man well : he 
hath been since an ape-bearer ; ' then a process-server, a 
bailiff; then he compassed a motion of the prodigal son," and 
married a tinker's wife within a mile where my land and 
living lies; and, having flown over many knavish profes- 
sions, he settled only in rogue : some call him Autolycus. 

Clo. Out upon him ! Prig, for my life, prig : he haunts 
wakes, fairs, and bear-baitings. 

Aut. Very true, sir ; he, sir, he ; that 's the rogue that 
put me into this apparel. 

Clo. Not a more cowardly rogue in all Bohemia ; if you 
had but looked big, and spit at him, he 'd have run. 

Aut. I must confess to you, sir, I am no fighter ; I am 
false of heart that way ; and that he knew, I warrant him. 

Clo. How do you now ? 

Aut. Sweet sir, much better than I was ; I can stand, and 
walk : I will even take my leave of you^ and pace softly to- 
wards my kinsman's. 

Clo. Shall I bring thee on the way ? 

Aut. No, good -faced sir ; no, sweet sir. 

Clo. Then fare thee well ; I must go buy spices for our 

Aut. Prosper you, sweet sir ! — [Exit Clown.] — Your purse 
is not hot enough to purchase your spice. I '11 be with you 
at your sheep-shearing too : If I make not this cheat bring 
out another, and the shearers prove sheep, let me be unrolled, 
and my name put in the book of virtue ! 

Jog on, jog on, the foot-pafh way,^ 

And merrily hent '^ the stile-a : 
A merry heart goes all the day, 

Your sad tires in a mile-a. \ Exit 

■ Abide — sojourn. 
^ Hent— take hold of. 


SCENE lU.—The same. A Shepherd'* Cottage. 

Enter Florizel and Perdita. 

Flo. These your unusual weeds to each part of you 
Do give a life : no shepherdess ; but Flora, 
Peering in April's front. This your sheep-shearing 
Is as a meeting of the petty gods. 
And you the queen on 't. 

Per. Sir, my gracious lord. 

To chide at your extremes it not becomes me ; 
O, pardon, that I name them : your high self. 
The gracious mark o' the land, you have obscur'd 
With a swain's wearing ; and me, poor lowly maid. 
Most goddess-like prank'd up : * But that our feasts 
In every mess have folly, and the feeders 
Digest it with a custom, I should blush 
To see you so attir'd ; sworn, I think. 
To show myself a glass. 

Flo. I bless the time. 

When my good falcon made her flight across 
Thy father's ground. 

Per. Now Jove aiford you cause ! 

To me, the difference forges dread ; your greatness 
Hath not been us'd to fear. Even now I tremble 
To think, your father, by some accident. 
Should pass this way, as you did : O, the fates ! 
How would he look, to see his work, so noble. 
Vilely bound up ? What would he say ? Or how 
Should I, in these my borrow'd flaunts, behold 
The sternness of his presence ? 

Flo. Apprehend 

Nothing but jollity. The gods themselves. 
Humbling their deities to love, have taken 
The shapes of beasts upon them : Jupiter 
Became a bull, and bellow 'd ; the green Neptune 
A ram, and bleated ; and the firc-rob'd god. 
Golden Apollo, a poor humble swain, 

* Prank'd uf. — dressed splendidly — decorated. 


As I seem now : Their transformations 
Were never for a piece of beauty rarer ; 
Nor in a way so chaste : since my desires 
Run not before mine honour ; nor my lusts 
Burn hotter than my faith. 

Per. O but, sir. 

Your resolution cannot hold, when 't is 
Oppos'd, as it must be, by the power o' the king ; 
One of these two must be necessities. 

Which then will speak ; that you must change this purpose. 
Or I my life. 

Flo. Thou dearest Perdita, 

With these forc'd thoughts, I prithee, darken not 
The mirth o' the feast : Or I '11 be thine, my fair. 
Or not my father's : for I cannot be 
Mine own, nor anything to any, if 
I be not thine : to this I am most constant. 
Though destiny say No. Be merry, gentle ; 
Strangle such thoughts as these, with anything 
That you behold the while. Your guests are coming : 
Lift up your countenance ; as it were the day 
Of celebration of that nuptial, which 
We two have sworn shall come. 

Per. O lady fortune. 

Stand you auspicious ! 

Enter Shepherd, ivith Polixenes and Camillo disguised ; 
Clown, MopsA, Dorcas, and others. 

Flo. See, your guests approach : 

Address yourself to entertain them sprightly. 
And let 's be red with mirth. 

Shep. Fie, daughter ! when my old wife liv'd, upon 
This day she was both pantler, butler, cook ; 
Both dame and servant : welcom'd all : serv'd all : 
Would sing her song, and dance her turn ; now here. 
At upper end o' the table, now, i' tlie middle ; 
On his shoulder, and his : her face o' fire 
With labour ; and the thing she took to quench it. 


She would to each one sip : You are retir'd 
As if you were a feasted one, and not 
The hostess of the meeting : Pray you, bid 
These unknown friends to us welcome : for it is 
A way to make us better friends, more known. 
Come, quench your blushes ; and present yourself 
That which you are, mistress o' the feast : Come on. 
And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing. 
As your good flock shall prosper. 

Per. Sir, welcome ! * [To Pol. 

It is my father's will I should take on me 
The hostess-ship o' the day : — You 're welcome, sir ! 

[To Camillo. 
Give me those flowers there, Dorcas. — Reverend sirs. 
For you there 's rosemary, and rue ; these keep 
Seeming, and savour, all the winter long : 
Grace, and remembrance, be to you both. 
And welcome to our shearing ! 

Pol. Shepherdess, 

(A fair one are you,) well you fit our ages 
With flowers of winter. 

Per. Sir, the year growing ancient, — 

Not yet on summer's death, nor on the birth 
Of trembling winter, — the fairest flowers o' the season 
Are our carnations, and streak'd gilly'vors,'' 
Which some call nature's bastards : of that kind 
Our rustic garden 's barren ; and I care not 
To get slips of them. 

Pol. Wherefore, gentle maiden. 

Do you neglect them ? 

Per. For I have heard it said. 

There is an art which, in their piedness, shares 
With great creating nature. 

Pol. Say, there be ; 

Yet nature is made better by no mean, 

' The modem reading is, H'elcome, sir, 

*> Gilb/'vors. We print this word as it is twice printed in the original. Some of 
the old authors write ^j7/^0K»er, some ^i/fo/r*. Gilly'vor is perhajw a contraction 
of gillyflower. 


But nature makes that mean : so, over that art. 

Which, you say, adds to nature, is an art 

That nature makes. You see, sweet maid, we marry 

A gentler scion to the wildest stock ; 

And make conceive a bark of baser kind 

By bud of nobler race : This is an art 

Which does mend nature, — change it rather : but 

The art itself is nature. 

Per. So it is. 

Pol. Then make your garden rich in gilly'vors. 
And do not call them bastards. 

Per. I '11 not put 

The dibble in earth to set one slip of them : 
No more than, were I painted, I would wish 
This youth should say, 't were well ; and only therefore 
Desire to breed by me. — Here 's flowers for you ; 
Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram ; 
The marigold, that goes to bed with the sun. 
And with him rises weeping ; these are flowers 
Of middle summer, and, I think, they are given 
To men of middle age : You are very welcome. 

Cam. I should leave grazing, were I of your flock. 
And only live by gazing. 

Per. Out, alas ! 

You 'd be so lean, that blasts of January 
Would blow you through and through. — Now, my fairest 

I would I had some flowers o' the spring, that might 
Become your time of day ; and yours, and yours ; 
That wear upon your virgin branches yet 
Your maidenheads growing : — O, Proserpina,' 
For the flowers now, that, frighted, thou lett'st fall 
From Dis's waggon ! daffodils. 
That come before the swallow dares, and take 
The winds of March with beauty ; violets, dim. 
But sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes. 
Or Cytherea's breath ; pale primroses. 
That die unmarried, ere they can behold 
Bright Phoebus in his strength, a malady 

Scene III.] A WINTER'S TALE. 75 

Most incident to maids ; bold oxlips, and 
The crown-imperial ; lilies of all kinds. 
The flower-de-luce being one ! O ! these I lack. 
To make you garlands of; and, my sweet friend. 
To strew him o'er and o'er. 

Flo. What ! like a corse ? 

Per. No, like a bank, for love to lie and play on ; 
Not like a corse : or if, — not to be buried. 
But quick, and in mine arms. Come, take your flowers : 
Methinks, I play as I have seen them do. 
In Whitsun' pastorals : sure, this robe of mine 
Does change my disposition. 

Flo. What you do 

Still betters what is done. When you speak, sweet, 
I 'd have you do it ever : when you sing, 
I 'd have you buy and sell so ; so give alms ; 
Pray so ; and, for the ordering your affairs. 
To sing them too : When you do dance, I wish you 
A wave o' the sea, that you might ever do 
Nothing but that ; move still, still so. 
And own no other function : Each your doing. 
So singular in each particular. 
Crowns what you are doing in the present deeds. 
That all your acts are queens. 

Per. O Doricles, 

Your praises are too large : but that your youth. 
And the true blood which peeps fairly through 't. 
Do plainly give you out an unstain'd shepherd. 
With wisdom I might fear, my Doricles, 
You woo'd me the false way. 

Flo. I think, you have 

As little skill to fear, as I have purpose 
To put you to 't. — But, come ; our dance, I pray : 
Your hand, my Perdita : so turtles pair. 
That never mean to part. 

Per. I '11 swear for 'em. 

Pol. This is the prettiest low-born lass that ever 
Ran on the green sward : nothing she does or seems. 


But smacks of something greater than herself; 
Too noble for this place. 

Cam. He tells her something 
That makes her blood look out:* Good sooth, she is 
The queen of curds and cream. 

Clo. Come on, strike up. 

Dor. Mopsa must be your mistress : marry, garlic. 
To mend her kissing with. 

Mop. Now, in good time ! 

Clo. Not a word, a word ; we stand upon our manners. — 
Come, strike up. [Music. 

Here a dance ©/"Shepherds and Shepherdesses. 

Pol. Pray, good shepherd, what fair swain is this 
Which dances with your daughter ? 

Shep. They call him Doricles ; and boasts himself 
To have a worthy feeding:^ but I have it 
Upon his own report, and I believe it ; 
He looks like sooth : •= He says, he loves my daughter ; 
I think so too : for never gaz'd the moon 
Upon the water, as he '11 stand, and read. 
As 't were, my daughter's eyes : and, to be plain, 
I think there is not half a kiss to choose 
Who loves another best. 

Pol. She dances featly. 

Shep. So she does anything ; though I report it. 
That should be silent : if young Doricles 
Do light upon her, she shall bring him that 
Which he not dreams of. 

Enter a Servant. 

Serv. O master, if you did but hear the pedlar at the door, 
you would never dance again after a tabor and pipe ; no, the 

* Look out. The original has look on 7. We are not quite sure that Theobald's 
correction is necessary. The idea reminds one of the fine lines in Donne : — 

" Her pure and eloquent blood 
Spoke in her veins, and such expression wrought, 
You might have almost said her body thought."' 
^ Feeding — pasture. 
<: Soo/A— trutli. 


bagpipe could not move you : he sings several tunes faster 
than you '11 tell money ; he utters them as he had eaten 
ballads, and all men's ears grew to his tunes. 

Clo. He could never come better : he shall come in : I 
love a ballad but even too well; if it be doleful matter, 
merrily set down, or a very pleasant thing indeed, and sung 

Serv. He hath songs, for man, or woman, of all sizes ; no 
milliner can so fit his customers with gloves : he has the 
prettiest love-songs for maids; so without bawdry, which 
is strange ; with such delicate burthens of " dildos and 
fadings:"'" "jump her and thump her;" and where some 
stretch-mouth'd rascal would, as it were, mean mischief, 
and break a foul gap into the matter, he makes the maid to 
answer, " Whoop, do me no harm, good man ;" puts him off, 
slights him, with " Whoop, do me no harm, good man." 

Pol. This is a brave fellow. 

Clo. Believe me, thou talkest of an admirable-conceited 
fellow. Has he any unbraided wares ? 

Serv. He hath ribands of all the colours i' the rainbow ; 
points, more than all the lawyers in Bohemia can learnedly 
handle, though they come to him by the gross ; inkles, cad- 
disses, cambrics, lawns ; why, he sings them over, as they 
were gods or goddesses ; you would think a smock were a 
she-angel : he so chants to the sleeve-hand, and the work 
about the square on 't. 

Clo. Prithee, bring him in; and let him approach sing- 

Per. Forewarn him, that he use no scurrilous words in 
his tunes. 

Clo. You have of these pedlars, that have more in them 
than you 'd think, sister. 

Per. Ay, good brother, or go about to think. 

Enter Autolycus, singing. 

Lawn, as white as driven snow ; 
Cyprus, black as e'er was crow ; 
Gloves, as sweet as damask roses ; 
Masks for faces, and for noses; 
Bugle bracelet, necklace-amber, 
Perfume for a lady's chamber : 


Golden quoifs, and stotnacbera, 

For my lada to give their dears ; 

Pins, and poking-sticks of steel,'* 

What maids lack from head to heel : 
Come, buy of me, come ; come buy, come buy ; 
Buy, lads, or else your lasses cry : Come, buy, 

Clo. If I were not in love with Mopsa, thou shouldst take 
no money of me ; but being enthralled as I am, it will also 
be the bondage of certain ribands and gloves. 

Mop. I was promised them against the feast ; but they 
come not too late now. 

Dor. He hath promised you more than that, or there be 

Mop. He hath paid you all he promised you ; may be, he 
has paid you more ; which will shame you to give him again. 

Clo. Is there no manners left among maids? will they 
wear their plackets, where they should bear their faces ? Is 
there not milking-time, when you are going to bed, or kiln- 
hole, to whistle of' these secrets ; but you must be tittle- 
tattling before all our guests ? 'T is well they are whisper- 
ing : Clamour your tongues,'^ and not a word more. 

Mop. I have done. Come, you promised me a tawdry 
lace, and a pair of sweet gloves.'* 

Clo. Have I not told thee how I was cozened by the way, 
and lost all my money ? 

Aut. And, indeed, sir, there are cozeners abroad ; there- 
fore it behoves men to be wary. 

Clo. Fear not thou, man, thou shalt lose nothing here. 

Aut. I hope so, sir j for I have about me many parcels of 

Clo. What hast here ? ballads ? 

' Whistle of. So the original. The modem editions rpad whistle off. 

^ Clamour your tongues. Gifibrd maintains that this is a misprint for charm your 
tongues. We have in ' Henry VI., Part III.,' 

*' Peace, wilful boy, or I will charm your tongue.'' 
But the word charm in the text before us was not likely to be mistaken for clamour. 
Nares says the " expression is taken from bell-ringing ; it is now contracted to clam, 
and in that form is common among ringers. The bells are said to be clamed, when, 
after a course of rounds or changes, they are all pulled off at once, and give a 
general crash or clam, by which the peal is concluded. This is also caUedJirinff, 
and is frequently practised on rejoicing days. As this clam is succeeded by a 
silence, it exactly suits tlie sense of the passage in which the unabbreviated word 

Scene III.] A WINTER'S TALE. 79 

Mop. Pray now, buy some : I love a ballad in print, 
a' -life ; for then we are sure they are true. 

Aut. Here 's one to a very doleful tune. How a usurer's 
wife was brought to bed of twenty money-bags at a burthen ; 
and how she longed to cat adders' heads, and toads carbo- 

Mop. Is it true, think you ? 

Aut. Very true ; and but a month old. 

Dor. Bless me from marrying a usurer ! 

Aut. Here 's the midwife's name to 't, one mistress Tale- 
porter ; and five or six honest wives that were present : 
Why should I carry lies abroad ? 

Mop. 'Pray you now, buy it. 

do. Come on, lay it by : And let 's fi,rst see more ballads ; 
we '11 buy the other things anon. 

Aut. Here 's another ballad. Of a fish, that appeared upon 
the coast, on Wednesday the fourscore of April, forty thou- 
sand fathom above water, and sung this ballad against the 
hard hearts of maids : it was thought she was a woman, 
and was turned into a cold fish, for she would not exchange 
flesh with one that loved her : The ballad is very pitiful, 
and as true. 

Dor. Is it true too, think you ? 

Aut. Five justices' hands at it ; and witnesses, more than 
my pack will hold. 

Clo. Lay it by too : Another. 

Aut. This is a merry ballad ; but a very pretty one. 

Mop. Let 's have some merry ones. 

Aut. Why, this is a passing merry one : and goes to the 
tune of ' Two maids wooing a man :' there 's scarce a maid 
westward, but she sings it ; 't is in request, I can tell you. 

Mop. We can both sing it j if thou 'It bear a part, thou 
shalt hear ; 't is in three parts. 

Dor. We had the tune on 't a month ago. 

Aut. I can bear my part ; you must know, 't is my occu- 
pation : have at it with you. 

A. Get you hence, for I must go ; 
Where it (its not you to know. 


D. Whither? 

M. O, whither ? 

D. Whither? 

M. It becomes thy oath full well, 

Thou to me thy secrets tell : 
D. Me too, let me go thither. 

M. Or thou go'st to the grange, or mill : 
D. If to either, thou dost ill. 
A. Neither. 
D. What, neither ? 
A. Neither. 

D. Thou hast sworn my love to be ; 
M. Thou hast sworn it more to me : 
Then, whither go'st? say, whither? 

Clo. We'll have this song out anon by ourselves: My 
father and the gentlemen are in sad talk, and we '11 not 
trouble them : Come, bring away thy pack after me. 
Wenches, I '11 buy for you both : — Pedlar, let 's have the 
first choice. — Follow me, girls. 

Aut. And you shall pay well for 'em. [Aside, 

Will you buy any tape, 

Or lace for your cape. 
My dainty duck, my dear-a? 

Any silk, any thread, 

Any toys for your head. 
Of the new'st, and fin'st, fin'st wear-a ? 

Come to the pedlar ; 

Money 's a medler. 
That doth utter all men's ware-a. 

[Exeunt Clown, Autolycus, Dorcas, and Mopsa. 

Enter a Servant. 

Serv, Master, there is three carters, three shepherds, 
three neatherds, three swineherds, that have made them- 
selves all men of hair ;'* they call themselves saltiers : and 
they have a dance which the wenches say is a gallimaufry" 
of gambols, because they are not in 't ; but they themselves 
are o' the mind, (if it be not too rough for some, that know 
little but bowling,) it will please plentifully. 

Shep. kyjdiy \ we '11 none on 't ; here has been too much 
homely foolery already : — I know, sir, we weary you. 

Pol. You weary those that refresh us : Pray, let 's see 
these four threes of herdsmen. 

" Gallimaufry — a confused heap of things. 

Scene III.] A WINTER'S TALE. 8i 

Serv, One three of them, by their own report, sir, hath 
danced before the king ; and not the worst of the three but 
jumps twelve foot and a half by the squire.* 

Shep. Leave your prating : since these good men are 
pleased, let them come in ; but quickly now. 

Serv. Why, they stay at door, sir. [Exit. 

Re-enter Servant, with Twelve Rustics, habited like Satyrs. 
They dance, and then exeunt. 

Pol. O, father, you '11 know more of that hereafter. — ^ 
Is it not too far gone? — 'Tis time to part them. — 
He 's simple and tells much. [Aside.] — How now, fair shep- 
herd ? 
Your heart is full of something that does take 
Your mind from feasting. Sooth, when I was young. 
And handed love as you do, I was wont 
To load my she with knacks : I would have ransack'd 
The pedlar's silken treasury, and have pour'd it 
To her acceptance ; you have let him go. 
And nothing marted with him : If your lass 
Interpretation should abuse, and call this 
Your lack of love or bounty, you were straited 
For a reply, at least, if you make a care 
Of happy holding her. 

Flo. Old sir, I know 

She prizes not such trifles as these are : 
The gifts she looks from me are pack'd and lock'd 
Up in my heart ; which I have given already. 
But not deliver'd. — O, hear me breathe my life 
Before this ancient sir, who, it should seem. 
Hath sometime lov'd : I take thy hand ; this hand. 
As soft as dove's down, and as white as it ; 
Or Ethiopian's tooth, or the fann'd snow. 
That 's bolted by the northern blasts twice o'er. 

Pol. What follows this?— 

' Squire — foot-rule. 

*> During the dance Polixenes and the Shepherd have been conversing apart, and 
this is a continuation of their supposed dialogue. 

Vol. IV. G 


How prettily the young swain seems to wasli 
The hand was fair before ! — I have put you out : — 
But to your protestation ; let me hear 
What you profess. 

F/o. Do, and be witness to 't. 

Pol. And this my neighbour too? 

Flo And he, and more 

Than he, and men ; the earth, the heavens, and all : 
That, were I crown'd the most imperial monarch. 
Thereof most worthy ; were I the fairest youth 
That ever made eye swerve ; had force, and knowledge. 
More than was ever man's, I would not prize them. 
Without her love : for her, employ them all ; 
Commend them, and condemn them, to her service. 
Or to their own perdition. 

Pol. Fairly offer'd. 

! Cam. This shows a sound affection. 

Shep. But, my daughter. 

Say you the like to him ? 

Per. I cannot speak 

So well, nothing so well ; no, nor mean better : 
By the pattern of mine own thoughts I cut out 
The purity of his. 

Shep. Take hands, a bargain ; — 

And, friends unknown, you shall bear witness to 't : 
I give my daughter to him, and will make 
Her portion equal his. 

Flo. O, that must be 

r the virtue of your daughter: one being dead, 
I shall have more than you can dream of yet ; 
Enough then for your wonder : But, come on. 
Contract us 'fore these witnesses. 

Shep. Come, your hand ; 

And, daughter, yours. 

Pol. Soft, swain, awhile, 'beseech you ; 

Have you a father? 

Flo. I have : But what of him? 

Pol. Knows he of this ? 

Flo. He neither does, nor shall. 

Scene III.] A WINTER'S TALE. 88 

Pol. Methinks, a father 
Is, at the nuptial of his son, a guest 
That best becomes the table. Pray you, once more ; 
Is not your father grown incapable 
Of reasonable affairs ? is he not stupid 
With age, and altering rheums? Can he speak? hear? 
Know man from man ? dispute his own estate ? 
Lies he not bed-rid ? and again does nothing. 
But what he did being childish ? 

Flo. No, good sir ; 

He has his health, and ampler strength, indeed. 
Than most have of his age. 

Pol. By my white beard. 

You offer him, if this be so, a wrong 
Something unfilial : Reason, my son 
Should choose himself a wife ; but as good reason. 
The father (all whose joy is nothing else 
But fair posterity) should hold some counsel 
In such a business. 

Flo. I yield all this ; 

But, for some other reasons, my grave sir. 
Which 't is not fit you know, I not acquaint 
My father of this business. 

Pol. Let him know 't. 

Flo. He shall not. 

Pol. Prithee, let him. 

Flo. No, he must not. 

Shep. Let him, my son ; he shall not need to grieve 
At knowing of thy choice. 

Flo. Come, come, he must not : — 

Mark our contract. 

Pol. Mark your divorce, young sir, 

[^Discovering himself. 
Whom son I dare not call ; thou art too base 
To be acknowledg'd : Thou a sceptre's heir. 
That thus affect'st a sheephook ! — Thou old traitor, 
I am sorry, that, by hanging thee^ I can 
But shorten thy life one week. — And thou, fresh piece 

G 2 


Of excellent witchcraft, who, of force, must know 
The royal food thou cop'st with ; — 

Shep. O, my heart ! 

Pol. I '11 have thy beauty scratch'd with briars, and 
More homely than thy state. — For thee, fond boy. 
If I may ever know thou dost but sigh 
That thou no more shalt never see ' this knack, (as never 
I mean thou shalt,) we '11 bar thee from succession ; 
Not hold thee of our blood, no, not our kin. 
Far than Deucalion off. — Mark thou my words ; 
Follow us to the court. — Thou churl, for this time. 
Though full of our displeasure, yet we free thee 
From the dead blow of it. — And you, enchantment. 
Worthy enough a herdsman ; yea, him too. 
That makes himself, but for our honour therein. 
Unworthy thee, — if ever, henceforth, thou 
These rural latches to his entrance open. 
Or hoop his body more with thy embraces, 
I will devise a death as cruel for thee 
As thou art tender to 't. [Exit. 

Per. Even here undone ! 

I was not much afeard : for once, or twice, 
I was about to speak ; and tell him plainly. 
The self-same sun that shines upon his court 
Hides not his visage from our cottage, but 
Looks on alike. — Will 't please you, sir, be gone ? [to Flo. 
I told you what would come of this : 'Beseech you. 
Of your own state take care : this dream of mine. 
Being now awake, I '11 queen it no inch farther. 
But milk my ewes, and weep. 

Cam. Why, how now, father ! 

Speak, ere thou diest. 

Shep. I cannot speak, nor think. 

Nor dare to know that which I know. — O, sir, [to Flo. 

You have undone a man of fourscore three, 

■ The double negative, which is characteristic of Shakspere's time, is corrected 
in modem editions by the omission of never. 

Scene III.] A WINTER'S TALE. 85 

That tliought to fill his grave in quiet ; yea. 

To die upon the bed my father died. 

To lie close by his honest bones : but now 

Some hangman must put on my shroud, and lay me 

Where no priest shovels in dust. — O cursed wretch ! 

[to Perdita. 
That knew'st this was the prince, and wouldst adventure 
To mingle faith with him. — Undone ! undone ! 
If I might die within this hour, I have liv'd 
To die when I desire. [Exif. 

Flo. Why look you so upon me? 

I am but sorry, not afeard ; delay 'd. 
But nothing altered : What I was, I am : 
More straining on, for plucking back ; not following 
My leash unwillingly. 

Cam. Gracious my lord. 

You know your father's temper : at this time 
He will allow no speech, — which, I do guess. 
You do not purpose to him ; — and as hardly 
Will he endure your sight as yet, I fear : 
Then, till the fury of his highness settle. 
Come not before him. * 

Flo. I not purpose it. 

I think, Camillo. 

Cam. Even he, my lord. 

Per. How often have I told you 't would be thus ? 
How often said, my dignity would last 
But till 't were known ? 

Flo. It cannot fail, but by 

The violation of my faith : And then 
Let nature crush the sides o' the earth together. 
And mar the seeds within ! Lift up thy looks : 
From my succession wipe me, father ! I 
Am heir to my affection. 

Cam. Be advised. 

Flo. I am ; and by my fancy : ■ if my reason 
Will thereto be obedient, I have reason ; 

* Fancy — love. 



If not, my senses, better pleas'd with madness. 
Do bid it welcome. 

Cam. This is desperate, sir. 

Flo. So call it : but it does fulfil my vow ; 
I needs must think it honesty. Camillo, 
Not for Bohemia, nor the pomp that may 
Be thereat glean'd ; for all the sun sees, or 
The close earth wombs, or the profound seas hide 
In unknown fathoms, will I break my oath 
To this my fair belov'd : Therefore, I pray you. 
As you have ever been my father's honour'd friend. 
When he shall miss me, (as, in faith, I mean not 
To see him any more,) cast your good counsels 
Upon his passion : Let myself and fortune 
Tug for the time to come. This you may know. 
And so deliver, — I am put to sea 
With her, whom here I cannot hold on shore ; 
And, most opportune to her * need, I have 
A vessel rides fast by, but not prepar'd 
For this design. What course I mean to hold 
Shall nothing benefit your knowledge, nor 
Concern me the reporting. 

Cam. O, my lord, 

I would your spirit were easier for advice. 
Or stronger for your need. 

Flo. Hark, Perdita. [Takes her aside. 

I '11 hear you by and by. \to Camillo. 

Cam. He 's irremoveable, 

Resolv'd for flight : now were I happy, if 
His going I could frame to serve my turn ; 
Save him from danger, do him love and honour ; 
Purchase the sight again of dear Sicilia, 
And that unhappy king, my master, whom 
I so much thirst to see. 

Flo. Now, good Camillo, 

I am so fraught with curious business, that 
I leave out ceremony. \Going. 

Cam. Sir, I think, 

■ Her. So the original, but usually our. Her need is the need we liave of her. 

Scene III.] A WINTER'S TALE. 87 

You have heard of my poor services, i' the love 
That I have borne your father ? 

Flo. Very nobly 

Have you deserv'd : it is my father's music. 
To speak your deeds ; not little of his care 
To have them recompens'd as thought on. 

Cam. Well, my lord. 

If you may please to think I love the king. 
And, through him, what is nearest to him, which is 
Your gracious self, embrace but my direction, 
(If your more ponderous and settled project 
May suffer alteration,) on mine honour 
I '11 point you where you shall have such receiving 
As shall become your highness ; where you may 
Enjoy your mistress ; (from the whom, I see, 
There 's no disjunction to be made, but by. 
As heavens forfend ! your ruin :) marry her ; 
And (with my best endeavours, in your absence) 
Your discontenting father strive to qualify. 
And bring him up to liking. 

Flo. How, Camillo, 

May this, almost a miracle, be done ? 
That I may call thee something more than man. 
And, after that, trust to thee. 

Cam. Have you thought on 

A place, whereto you '11 go ? 

Flo. Not any yet : 

But as the unthought-on accident is guilty 
To what we wildly do, so we profess 
Ourselves to be the slaves of chance, and flies 
Of every wind that blows. 

Cam. Then list to me : 

This follows, — if you will not change your purpose. 
But undergo this flight, — make for Sicilia ; 
And there present yourself, and your fair princess, 
(For so, I see, she must be,) 'fore Leontes ; 
She shall be habited as it becomes 
The partner of your bed. Methinks, I see 
Leontes, opening his free arms, and weeping 


His welcomes forth : asks thee, the ' son, forgiveness. 
As 't were i' the father's person : kisses the hands 
Of your fresh princess : o'er and o'er divides him 
'Twixt his unkindness and his kindness ; the one 
He chides to hell, and bids the other grow 
Faster than thought or time. 

Flo. Worthy Camillo, 

What colour for my visitation shall I 
Hold up before him ? 

Cam. Sent by the king your father 

To greet him, and to give him comforts. Sir, 
The manner of your bearing towards him, with 
What you, as from your father, shall deliver. 
Things known betwixt us three, I '11 write you down : 
The which shall point you forth at every sitting 
What you must say ; that he shall not perceive. 
But that you have your father's bosom there. 
And speak his very heart. 

Flo. I am bound to you : 

There is some sap in this. 

Cam. A course more promising 

Than a wild dedication of yourselves 
To unpath'd waters, undream'd shores ; most certain. 
To miseries enough : no hope to help you : 
But, as you shake off one, to take another : 
Nothing so certain as your anchors ; who 
Do their best ofl&ce, if they can but stay you 
Where you '11 be loth to be : Besides, you know. 
Prosperity 's the very bond of love ; 
Whose fresh complexion and whose heart together 
Affliction alters. 

Per. One of these is true : 

I think affliction may subdue the cheek. 
But not take in the mind. 

Cam. Yea, say you so ? 

There shall not, at your father's house, these seven years. 
Be born another such. 

Flo. My good Camillo, 

" The. Ill (he original, there, , 


She is as forward of her breeding, as 
She is i' the rear of our birth.* 

Cam. I cannot say, 't is pity 

She lacks instructions ; for she seems a mistress 
To most that teach. 

Per. Your pardon, sir, for this : 

1 11 blush you thanks. 

Flo. My prettiest Perdita ! — 
But, O, the thorns we stand upon ! — Camillo, — 
Preserver of my father, now of me ; 
The medicine of our house ! — how shall we do ? 
We are not furnish'd like Bohemia's son ; 
Nor shall appear in Sicilia 

Cam. My lord. 

Fear none of this : I think you know my fortunes 
Do all lie there : it shall be so my care 
To hav« you royally appointed, as if 
The scene you play were mine. For instance, sir. 
That you may know you shall not want, — one word. 

[They talk aside. 

Enter Autolycus. 

Aut. Ha, ha ! what a fool honesty is ! and trust, his sworn 
brother, a very simple gentleman ! I have sold all my trum- 
pery ; not a counterfeit stone, not a riband, glass, pomander,'* 
brooch, table-book, ballad, knife, tape, glove, shoe-tie, brace- 
let, horn-ring, to keep my pack from fasting; they throng 
who should buy first, as if my trinkets had been hallowed^ 
and brought a benediction to the buyer : by which means I 
saw whose purse was best in picture; and what I saw, to 
my good use I remembered. My clown (who wants but 
something to be a reasonable man) grew so in love with the 
wenches' song, that he would not stir his pettitoes till he 
had both tune and words ; which so drew the rest of the herd 
to me, that all their other senses stuck in ears : you might 

» The original reads — 

" She is i' th' reere 'our birth." 
The ajjogtropfaes indicate the sense ; but Steeveiis, sacrificing everything to uni- 
formity of metre, has simply j' th' rear of birth, omitting die is, and substituting of 
for our. 


have pinched a placket, it was senseless ; 't was nothing to 
geld a codpiece of a purse ; I would have filed keys off that 
hung in chains : no hearing, no feeling, but my sir's song, 
and admiring the nothing of it. So that, in this time of 
lethargy, I picked and cut most of their festival purses : and 
had not the old man come in with a whoobub against his 
daughter and the king's son, and scared my choughs from 
the chaff, I had not left a purse alive in the whole army. 

[Cam., Flo., and Per. come forward. 

Cam. Nay, but my letters by this means being there 
So soon as you arrive, shall clear that doubt. 

Flo. And those that you '11 procure from king Leontes — 

Cam. Shall satisfy your father. 

Per. Happy be you ! 

All that you speak shows fair. 

Cam. Who have we here? — 

[Seeing Aut^jlycus. 
We '11 make an instrument of this ; omit 
Nothing may give us aid. 

Aut. If they have overheard me now, why, hanging. 


Cam. How now, good fellow ? why shakest thou so ? Fear 
not, man ; here 's no harm intended to thee. 

Aut. I am a poor fellow, sir. 

Cam. Why, be so still ; here 's nobody will steal that from 
thee : Yet, for the outside of thy poverty we must make an 
exchange : therefore, disease thee instantly, (thou must think 
there 's a necessity in 't,) and change garments with this gen- 
tleman : Though the pennyworth, on his side, be the worst, 
yet hold thee, there 's some boot. 

Aut. I am a poor fellow, sir : — I know ye well enough. 


Cam. Nay, prithee, despatch : the gentleman is half flay'd 

Aut. Are you in earnest, sir ? — I smell the trick on 't. — ■ 


Flo. Despatch, I prithee. 

Aut. Indeed, I have had earnest ; but I cannot with con- 
science take it. 


Cam. Unbuckle, unbuckle. — 

[Flo. and Autol. exchange garments. 
Fortunate mistress, — ^let my prophecy 
Come home to you ! — you must retire yourself 
Into some covert : take your sweetheart's hat. 
And pluck it o'er your brows ; muffle your face ; 
Dismantle you ; and, as you can, dislikeu 
The truth of your own seeming ; that you may 
(For I do fear eyes over you*) to shipboard 
Get undescried. 

Per. I see the play so lies 

That I must bear a part. 

Cam. No remedy. — 

Have you done there ? 

Flo. Should I now meet my father. 

He would not call me son. 

Cam. Nay, you shall have no hat : 

Come, lady, come. — ^Farewell, my friend. 

Aut. Adieu, sir. 

Flo. O Perdita, what have we twain forgot ! 
Pray you, a word. [They converse apart. 

Cam. What I do next shall be, to tell the king [Aside. 
Of this escape, and whither they are bound ; 
Wherein, my hope is, I shall so prevail 
To force him after ; in whose company 
I shall review Sicilia ; for whose sight 
I have a woman's longing, 

Flo. Fortune speed us ! — 

Thus we set on, Camillo, to the sea-side. 

Cam. The swifter speed the better. 

[Exeunt Florizel, Perdita, and Camillo. 

Aut. I understand the business, I hear it : To have an 
open ear, a quick eye, and a nimble hand, is necessary for a 
cutpurse ; a good nose is requisite also, to smell out work for 
the other senses. I see this is the time that the unjust man 
doth thrive. What an exchange had this been, without 
boot ! what a boot is here, with this exchange ! Sure, the 
gods do this year connive at us, and we may do anything 

* Yuu, which was wanting in the original, was added by Rowe. 


extempore. The prince himself is about a piece of iniquity ; 
stealing away from his father, with his clog at his heels : If 
I thought it were a piece of honesty to acquaint the king 
withal, I would not do 't : I hold it the more knavery to 
conceal it : and therein am I constant to my profession. 

Enter Clown and Shepherd. 

Aside, aside ; — here is more matter for a hot brain : Every 
lane's end, every shop, church, session, hanging, yields a 
careful man work. 

Clo. See, see ; what a man you are now ! there is no other 
way but to tell the king she 's a changeling, and none of 
your flesh and blood. 

Shep. Nay, but hear me. 

Clo. Nay, but hear me. 

Shep. Go to then. 

Clo. She being none of your flesh and blood, your flesh 
and blood has not offended the king ; and, so, your flesh and 
blood is not to be punished by him. Show those things you 
found about her ; those secret things, all but what she has 
with her : This being done, let the law go whistle ; I war- 
rant you. 

Shep. I will tell the king all, every word ; yea, and his 
son's pranks too ; who, I may say, is no honest man neither 
to his father, nor to me, to go about to make me the king's 

Clo. Indeed, brother-in-law was the farthest off" you could 
have been to him ; and then your blood had been the dearer, 
by I know how much an ounce. 

Aut. Very wisely ; puppies ! [Aside. 

Shep. Well; let us to the king- there is that in this 
fardel will make him scratch his beard. 

Aut. I know not what impediment this complaint may be 
to the flight of my master. 

Clo. 'Pray heartily he be at palace. 

Aut. Though I am not naturally honest, I am so some- 
times by chance : — Let me pocket up my pedlar's excre- 
ment. — [Takes off his false beard.'] How now, rustics? 
whither are you bound ? 

Shep. To the palace, an it like your worship. 

Scene III.] A WINTER'S TALE. 93 

Aut. Your affairs there ; what ; with whom ; the condi- 
tion of that fardel ; the place of your dwelling ; your names ; 
your ages ; of what having,* breeding ; and anything that is 
fitting to be known, discover. 

Clo. We are but plain fellows, sir. 

Aut. A lie ; you are rough and hairy : Let me have no 
lying ; it becomes none but tradesmen, and they often give 
us soldiers the lie : but we pay them for it with stamped 
coin, not stabbing steel ; therefore they do not give us the lie.'' 

Clo. Your worship had like to have given us one, if you 
had not taken yourself with the manner.'^ 

Shep. Are you a courtier, an 't like you, sir ? 

Aut. Whether it like me, or no, I am a courtier. See'st 
thou not the air of the court in these enfoldings ? hath not 
my gait in it the measure of the court? receives not thy 
nose court-odour from me? reflect I not on thy baseness, 
court-contempt ? Think'st thou, for that I insinuate, or toze 
from thee thy business, I am therefore no courtier ? I am 
courtier cap-a-p6 ; and one that will either push on or pluck 
back thy business there : whereupon I command thee to open 
thy affair. 

Shep. My business, sir, is to the king. 

Aut. What advocate hast thou to him? 

Shep. I know not, an 't like you. 

Clo. Advocate 's the court -word for a pheasant ; say, you 
have none. 

Shep. None, sir ; I have no pheasant, cock nor hen. 

Aut. How bless'd are we that are not simple men ! 
Yet nature might have made me as these are. 
Therefore I '11 not disdain. 

Clo. This cannot be but a great courtier. 

Shep. His garments are rich, but he wears them not hand- 

Clo. He seems to be the more noble in being fantastical : a 
great man, I '11 warrant ; I know by the picking on 's teeth. 

Aut. The fardel there ? what 's i' the fardel ? 
Wherefore that box ? 

* Having — estate. '' As they are paid for lying, they do not^rive us the lie, 
" fVith the tnanrtfr — in the fact. 


Shep. Sir, there lies such secrets in this fardel and box, 
which none must know but the king ; and which he shall 
know within this hour, if I may come to the speech of him. 

Aut. Age, thou hast lost thy labour. 

Shep. Why, sir ? 

Aut. The king is not at the palace : he is gone aboard a 
new ship to purge melancholy, and air himself: For if thou 
be'st capable of things serious, thou must know the king is 
full of grief. 

Shep. So 'tis said, sir, about his son, that should have 
married a shepherd's daughter. 

Aut. If that shepherd be not in hand-fast, let him fly ; the 
curses he shall have, the tortures he shall feel, will break the 
back of man, the heart of monster. 

Clo. Think you so, sir ? 

Aut. Not he alone shall suiFer what wit can make heavy, 
and vengeance bitter; but those that are germane to him, 
though removed fifty times, shall all come under the hang- 
man : which though it be great pity, yet it is necessary. An 
old sheep-whistling rogue, a ram-tender, to offer to have his 
daughter come into grace ! Some say, he shall be stoned ; 
but that death is too soft for him, say I : Draw our throne 
into a sheep-cote ! all deaths are too few, the sharpest too easy. 

Clo. Has the old man e'er a son, sir, do you hear, an 't like 
you, sir? 

Aut. He has a son, who shall be flayed alive ; then, 'nointed 
over with honey, set on the head of a wasp's nest ; then stand, 
till he be three quarters and a dram dead ; then recovered 
again with aqua-vitae, or some other hot infusion ; then, raw 
as he is, and in the hottest day prognostication proclaims, 
shall he be set against a brick wall, the sun looking with a 
southward eye upon him, where he is to behold him with flies 
blown to death. But what talk we of these traitorly rascals, 
whose miseries are to be smiled at, their offences being so ca- 
pital ? Tell me (for you seem to be honest plain men) what 
you have to the king : being something gently considered, 
I '11 bring you where he is aboard, tender your persons to his 
presence, whisper him in your behalfs ; and, if it be in man, 
besides the king, to effect your suits, here is man shall do it. 

Scene UI.] A WINTER'S TALE. 95 

Clo. He seems to be of great authority : close with him, 
give him gold ; and though authority be a stubborn bear, yet 
he is oft led by the nose with gold : show the inside of your 
purse to the outside of his hand, and no more ado : Remem- 
ber, stoned and flayed alive ! 

Shep. An 't please you, sir, to undertake the business for 
us, here is that gold I have : I '11 make it as much more ; and 
leave this young man in pawn till I bring it you. 

Aut. After I have done what I promised ? 

Shep. Ay, sir. 

Aut. Well, give me the moiety : — Are you a party in this 
business ? 

Clo. In some sort, sir : but though my case be a pitiful one, 
I hope I shall not be flayed out of it. 

Aut. O, that 's the case of the shepherd's son : — Hang him, 
he '11 be made an example. 

Clo. Comfort, good comfort : we must to the king, and 
show our strange sights : he must know, 't is none of your 
daughter, nor my sister ; we are gone else. Sir, I will give 
you as much as this old man does, when the business is per- 
formed ; and remain, as he says, your pawn, till it be brought 

Aut. I will trust you. Walk before toward the sea-side; 
go on the right hand ; I will but look upon the hedge, and 
follow you. 

Clo. We are blessed in this man, as I may say, even 

Shep. Let 's before, as he bids us : he was provided to do 
us good. \^Exeunt Shepherd and Clown. 

Aut. If I had a mind to be honest, I see fortune would not 
sufier me; she drops booties in my mouth. I am courted 
now with a double occasion ; gold, and a means to do the 
prince my master good ; which, who knows how that may 
turn back to my advancement ? I will bring these two moles, 
these blind ones, aboard him : if he think it fit to shore them 
again, and that the complaint they have to the king concerns 
him nothing, let him call me rogue for being so far oflicious ; 
for I am proof against that title, and what shame else belongs 
to 't : To him will I present them ; there may be matter in it. 






' Scene II. — " Every ''leven wether — todsj'^ 

Shakspere has here brought his agricultural knowledge to bear. We have every 
reason to believe that he was a practical farmer ; for, after he had bought his estate 
in Stratford Fields, in 1602, we find him suing one Philip Rogers for a debt of 35 
shillings and 10 pence, for com delivered ; and in 1605 he purchased a moiety of 
the tithes of Stratford, which he probably had to collect in kind. When he puts 
this speech, therefore, in the mouth of the Clown, we may reasonably conclude that 
he knew, of his own experience, that the average produce of eleven wethers was a 
tod of wool ; and that the value of a tod was a " pound and odd shilling." Ritson 
says, " It appears from Stafford's ' Breefe Conceipte of English Pollicye,' 1581, 
that the price of a tod of wool was at that period twenty or two-and-twenty shillings ; 
80 that the medium price was exactly ' pound and odd shilling.' " 

* Scene II. — " Three-man song-men all."' 

Singers of three-part songs, i. e. songs for three voices. And in some old plays 
we find the term three-men s songs. In ' The Turnament of Tottenham,' an ancient 
ballad (see Percy's ' Reliques,' ii. 15) ascribed to Gilbert Pilkington, and sup- 
posed to have been written before the time of Edward III., a sir-men's song is thus 
mentioned : — 

•' In every corner of the house 
Was melody delicious, 
For to hear precious. 
Of six-men's song." 

^ Scene II. — " Means and bases.''' 
Means are tenors — intermediate voices, between the treble and bass. 



* Scene II. — " Sings psalms to hornpipes''' 

In the early days of psalmody it was not unusual to adapt the popular secular 
tunes to versions of the psalms, the rage for which originated in France. (See War- 
ton's * History of Poetry,' sec. xlv.) 

' Scene II. — " Trol-my-dames.^ 

Farmer quotes an old treatise on Buxton baths, in which, describing the amuse- 
ments of the place, the writer says, " The ladies, gentlewomen, wives, maids, if the 
weather be not agreeable, may have in the end of a bench eleven holes made, into 
the which to troule pummits, either violent or soft, after their own discretion : the 
pastime troule in madame is termed." This is evidently the same game as our 
bagatelle, with the only difference that there £ire eleven holes instead of nine. In 
the bagatelle-board the balls are sometimes driven through the arches of a bridge 
which crosses it ; and for this reason the game was anciently called Pigeon-holes, as 
well as Trou-madame. In Rowley's ' New Wonder' we have — 

" I am sure you cannot but hear what quicksands he finds out; as dice, cards, pij^on. 

• Scene II. — " An ape-bearer." 

This personage was always a favourite with the English. We have representa- 
tions of him in manuscripts as old as the thirteenth century ; and in Shakspere's 
time he had lost none of his popularity. Jonson, in his Induction to * Bartholo. 
mew Fair,' says, " He has ne'er a sword-and-buckler man in his fair ; nor a juggler 
with a well-educated ape to come over the chain for the king of England, and back 
again for the prince." 

7 Scene II. — " ^ motion 0/ the prodigal son,'^ 

The puppet-show was anciently called a motion ; and the subjects which were 
chosen for these exhibitions were mostly scriptural. In Jonson's humorous play 
which we have just quoted, the puppet-show professor says, " O the motions that 
I, Lanthorn Leatherhead, have given light to, in my time, since my master 

Vol. IV. H 



Pod died ! Jerusalem was a stately thing, and so was Nineveh, and the City of 
Norwich." The ' Spectator,' No. 14, speaking of Powell the puppet-show man, says, 
" There cannot be too great encouragement given to his skill in motions, provided he 
is under proper restrictions." Even in the days of Anne, these successors of the old 
Mysteries still presented scriptural subjects. Strutt, in his ' Sports and Pastimes,' 
has printed a Bartholomew Fair bill of that time, from wtiich the following is an 
extract : — 

" At Crawley's booth, over against the Crown tavern in Smithfield, during the 
time of Bartholomew Fair, will be presented a little opera, called ' The Old Crea- 
tion of the World,' yet newly revived ; with the addition of Noah's Flood ; also 
several fountains playing water during the time of the play. — The last scene does 
present Noah and his family coming out of the ark, witli all the beasts two and two, 
and all the fowls of the air seen in a prospect sitting upon trees ; likewise over the 
ark is seen the sun rising in a most glorious manner : moreover, a multitude of 
angels will be seen in a double rank, which presents a double prospect, one for the 
sun, the other for a palace, where will be seen six angels ringing of bells." 

' SICENE II. — " Jog on, jog on, the foot-path joay." 

This is the first of three stanzas of a song which we do not meet with in print till 
1661, when it appeared in ' The Antidote against Melancholy,' a collection of 
ballads, &c. We are told that it was set as a round for three voices by John Hil- 
ton, and so published in the Jlrtt edition of his ' Catch that catch can,' an edition 
80 rare that we have never been able to obtain a sight of it. The melody, however, 
is given in * The Dancing-Master' of 1650, under the title of ' Jog on, my honey,' 
and is as follows, a base and accompaniment being now added to it, and the mea- 
sure changed from six-crotchet time to six-quaver : — 


/ 1 ^ 

on, jog on the 


foot - path way, And 
• — -i- 


y— •- 

ler - ri - ly hent the stile, O ; A mer - ry heart goes 





all the day, Your sad tires in a tnile, O. 




» Scene III.—" 0, Proterpinar 

The pamage in the Fifth Book of Ovid's * Metamorphoses' is thus translated by 
Golding, 1587 :— 

" While in this garden Proserpine was taking her pastime. 
In gathering either violets blue, or lilies white as lime; 
Dis spied her, lov'd her, caught her up, and all at once well near. — 
The lady with a wailing voice affright did often call 

Her mother 

And as she from the upper part her garm.ent would have rent. 
By chance she let her lap slip down, and out her flowers went." 

i<* Scene III.—" Fading»r 

The fadings was a darice. Malone quotes a song from ' Sportive Wit,' 1666, 
which implies that it was a rustic dance : — 

" The courtiers scorn ns country cIowtis, 
We country clowns do scorn the court ; 
We can be as merry upon the downs 
As yon at midnight with all your sport. 
With K fading, with & fading.'' 

It would appear also, from a letter appended to Boswell's edition of Malone, that it 
was an Irish dance, and that it was practised upon rejoicing occasions as recently 
as 1803, the date of the letter. 

" The dance is called Riuca Fada, and means, literally, ' the long dance.' 
Though yaerf is a reed, the name of the dance is not borrowed from it ; 'fada is the 
adjective, long, and rinca the substantive, dance.' In Irish the adjective follows the 
substantive, differing from the English construction ; hence rinca fada : faeden is 
the diminutive, and means little reed ; faeden is the first person of the verb to 
whistle, either with the lips or with a reed ; i. «. I whistle. 

" This dance is still practised on rejoicing occasions in many parts of Ireland. 
A king and queen are chosen from amongst the young persons who are the best 
dancers ; the queen carries a garland composed of two hoops placed at right angles, 
and fastened to a handle ; the hoops are covered with flowers and ribbons ; you 
have seen it, I dare say, with the May-maids. Frequently in the course of the 
dance the king and queen lift up their joined hands as high as they can, she still 
holding the garland in the other. The most remote couple from the king and 
queen first pass under ; all the rest of the line linked together follow in succession : 
when the last has passed, the king and queen suddenly face about and front their 
companions ; this is often repeated during the dance, and the various undulations 
are pretty enough, resembling the movements of a serpent. The dancers on the first 



of May visit guch newly wedded pairs of a certain rank as have been married since 
last May-day in the neighbourhood, who commonly bestow on them a stuffed ball 
richly decked with gold and silver lace, (this I never heard of before,) and accom- 
panied with a present in money, to regale themselves after the dance. This dance 
is practised when the bonfires are lighted up, the queen hailing the return of summer 
in a popular Irish song, beginning, — 

' Thuga mair sein lu soure ving.' 

' We lead on summer — see ! she follows in our train.' " 

'* Scene III. — " Poking-sticks of steel."' 

Stow tells us that " about the sixteenth year of the queen (Elizabeth) began the 
making of steel poking-sticks, and until that time all laundresses used setting-sticks 
made of wood or bone." The ruff itself, in the setting of which the poking-stick 
was used, (that of steel having the advantage of being heated,) is thus described by 
Stubbes, with bis accustomed bitterness against the luxuries of his time : — 

" The women use great ruffs, and neckerchers of holland, lawn, cambric, and 
such cloth as the g^-eatest thread shall not be so big as the least hair that is ; and 
lest they should fall down, they are smeared and starched in the devil's liquor, I 
mean starch ; after that dried with great diligence, streaked, patted, and rubbed 
very nicely, and so applied to their goodly necks, and, withal, under-propped, with 
supporters (as I told you before), the stately arches of pride ; beyond all this, they 
have a further fetch, nothing inferior to the rest, as namely, three or four degrees of 
minor ruffs, placed gradatim, one beneath another, and all under the master-devil 
ruff : the skirts then of these great ruffs are long and side every way plaited, and 
crested full curiously, God wot. Then, last of all, they are either clogged with 
gold, silver, or silk lace of stately price, wrought all over with needlework, speckled 
and sparkled here and there with the sun, the moon, the stars, and many other 
antiques, strange to behold. Some are wrought with open work down to the midst 
of the ruff and further ; some with close work, some with purled lace so clogged, 
and other gewgaws so pestered, as the ruff is the least part of itself. Sometimes 
they are pinned up to their ears, sometimes they are suffered to hang over their 
shoulders, like windmill-sails fluttering in the wind, and thus every one pleaseth 
herself in her own foolish devices." 

1* Scene III. — " A pair of sweet gloves.'^ 
Autolycus has offered for sale 

" Gloves as sweet as damask roses." 
Howes, who continues Stow's Chronicle, thus describes the introduction of per- 
fumed gloves in the eaxly part of the reign of Elizabeth : — 

" Milliners or haberdashers had not then any gloves embroidered, or trimmed 
with gold or silk, neither gold nor embroidered girdles and hangers ; neither could 
they make any costly wash or perfume until, about the fourteenth or fifteenth year 
of the queen, the right honourable Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, came from 
Italy, and brought with him gloves, sweet bags, a perfumed leather jerkin, and 
other pleasant things ; and that year the queen had a pair of perfumed gloves 
trimmed only with four tufts or roses of coloured silk. The queen took such 
pleasure in those gloves, that she was pictured with those gloves upon her hands, and 
for many years after it was called the Earl of Oxford's perfume." 

" Scene III. — " Made themselves alltnen of hair.'" 

The original stage-direction suflSciently explains this : " Here a dance of twelve 
fatyrs." We find, from a book of songs composed by Thomas Ravenscroft and 


others, in the time of Shakspere, that in this popular entertaiumeiit the satyrs had 
an appropriate roundel : — 

" Round a round, a rounda, keep your ring; 
To the glorious sun we sing ; 

Ho, ho ! 

He that wears the flaming rays. 
And the imperial crown of bays. 
Him, with him, with shouts and songs we praise ; 
Ho, ho ! 

That in Iiis bounty would vouchsafe to grace 
The humble sylvans and their shaggy race." 

The satyrs' dance was not confined to England ; and it has been rendered memorable 
by the fearful accident with which it was accompanied at the court of France in 
1392. The description by Froissart of this calamity is so graphic that we are sure 
our readers will not regret the space which it occupies. We give it from Lord 
Bemers' fine old translation : — 

" It fortuned that, soon after the retaining of the foresaid knight, a marriage was 
made in the king's house between a young knight of Vermandois and one of the 
queen's gentlewomen ; and because they were both of the king's house, the king's 
uncles and other lords, ladies, and damoiselles, made great triumph : there was the 
Dukes of Orleans, Berry, and Bourgogne, and their wives, dancing and making 
great joy. The king made a great supper to the lords and ladies, and the queen 
kept her estate, desiring every man to be merry : and there was a squire of Nor- 
mandy, called Hogreymen Gensay, he advised to make some pastime. The day of 
the marriage, which was on a Tuesday before Candlemas, he provided for a mum- 
mery against night : he devised six coats made of linen cloth, covered with pitch, 
and thereon flax-like hair, and had them ready in a chamber. The king put on one 
of them, and the Earl of Jouy, a young lusty knight, another, and Sir Charles of 
Poitiers the third, who was son to the Earl of Valentenois, and Sir Juan of Foix 
another, and the son of the Lord Nanthorillet had on the fifth, and the squire him- 
self had on the sixth; and when they were thus arrayed in these sad coats, and 
sewed fast in them, they seemed like wild woodhouses,* full of hair from the top 
of the head to the sole of the foot. This device pleased well the French king, and 
was well content with the squire for it. They were appjurelled in these coats secretly 
in a chamber that no man knew thereof but such as helped them. When Sir Juan 
of Foix had well devised these coats, he said to the king, — ' Sir, command straightly 
that no man approach near us with any torch or fire, for if the fire fasten in any of 
these coats, we shall all be burnt without remedy.' The king answered and said, — 
' Juan, ye speak well and wisely ; it shall be done as ye have devised ;' and incon- 
tinent sent for an usher of his chamber, commanding him to go into the chamber 
where the ladies danced, and to command all the varlets holding torches to stand 
up by the walls, and none of them to approach near to the woodhouses that should 
come thither to dance. The usher did the king's commandment, which was ful- 
filled. Soon after the Duke of Orleans entered into the hall, accompanied with 
four knights and six torches, and knew nothing of the king's commandment for the 
torches, nor of the mummery that was coming thither, but thought to behold the 
dancing, and began himself to dance. Therewith the king with the five other came 
in ; they were so disguised in flax that no man knew them : five of them were fast- 
ened one to another ; the king was loose, and went before and led the device. 

" When they entered into the hall every man took so great heed to them that 
they forgot the torches: the king departed from his company and went to the ladies 

* Savages. 


to sport with them, as youth required, and so passed by the queen and came to the 
Duchess of Berry, who took and held him by the arm to know what he was, but 
the king would not show his name. Then the duchess said, Ye shall not escape me 
till I know your name. In this mean season great mischief fell on the other, and 
by reason of the Duke of Orleans ; howbeit, it was by ignorance, and against his 
will, for if he had considered before the mischief that fell, he would not have done 
as he did for all the good in the world ; but he was so desirous to know what per- 
sonages the five were that danced, he put one of the torches that his servant held so 
near, that the heat of the fire entered into the flax (wherein if fire take there is no 
remedy), and suddenly was on a bright flame, and so each of tliem set fire on other; 
the pitch was so fastened to the linen cloth, and their shirts so dry and fine, and so 
joining to their flesh, that they began to bum and to cry for help : none durst come 
near them ; they that did burnt their hands by reason of the heat of the pitch : one 
of them called Nanthorillet advised him how the botry was thereby ; he fled thither, 
and cast himself into a vessel full of water, wherein they rinsed pots, which saved 
him, or else be had been dead as the other were ; yet he was sore hurt with the fire. 
When the queen heard the cry that they made, she doubted her of the king, for she 
knew well that he should be one of the six ; therewith she fell into a swoon, and 
knights and ladies came and comforted her. A piteous noise there was in the hall. 
The Duchess of Berry delivered the king from that peril, for she did cast over him 
the train of her gown, and covered him from the fire. The king would have gone 
from her. Whither will ye go? quoth she; ye see well how your company burns. 
What are ye ? I am the king, quoth he. Haste ye, quoth she, and get you into 
Other apparel, and come to the queen. And the Duchess of Berry had somewhat 
comforted her, and had showed her how she should see the king shortly. There- 
with the king came to the queen, and as soon as she saw him, for joy she embraced 
him and fell in a swoon ; then she was borne to her chamber, and the king went 
with her. And the bastard of Foix, who was all on a fire, cried ever with a loud 
voice. Save the king, save the king ! Thus was the king saved. It was happy for 
him that he went from his company, for else he had been dead without remedy. 
This great mischief fell thus about midnight in the hall of Saint Powle in Paris, 
where there was two burnt to death in the place, and other two, the bastard of Foix 
and the Earl of Jouy, borne to their lodgings, and died within two days after in 
great misery and pain." 

The illuminated Froissart in the British Museum supplies us with a representa- 
tion of this tragical event. It would appear from a passage in Melvil's ' Memoirs' 
that the French brought this species of mummery to the court of Mary Queen of 
Scots : — 

" During their abode (that of the ambassadors who assembled to congratulate 
Mary Queen of Scots on the birth of her son) at Stirling, there was daily banquet- 
ing, dancing, and triumph. And at the principal banquet there fell out a great 
grudge among the Englishmen ; for a Frenchman, called Bastian, devised a number 
of men formed like satyrs, with long tails, and whips in their bands, running before 
the meat, whhch was brought through the great hall upon a machine or engine, 
marching as appeared alone, with musicians clothed like maids, singing, and play- 
ing upon all sorts of instruments. But the satyrs were not content only to make 
way or room, but put their hands behind them to their tails, which they wagged 
with their hands in such sort as the Englishmen supposed it had been devised and 
done in derision of them, weakly apprehending that which they should not have 
appeared to understand. For Mr. Hatton, Mr. Lignish, and the most part of the 
gentlemen, desired to sup before the queen and great banquet, that they might see 
the better the order and ceremonies of the triumph : but so soon as they perceived 



the gatyrs wagging their tails, they all sat down upon the bare floor behind the back 
of the table, that they might not see themselves derided, as they thought. Mr. 
Hatton said unto me, if it were not in the queen's presence, he would put a dagger 
to the heart of that French knave Bastian, who, he alleged, had done it out of 
despite that the queen made more of them than of the Frenchmen." 

'* Scene III. — '• PomatuUr." 

We have a passage in Cavendish's ' Life of Wolsey ' in which the great cardinal 
is described coming after mass into his privy chamber, " holding in his hand a very 
fair orange, whereof the meat or substance within was taken out, and filled up again 
with the part of a sponge, wherein was vinegar and other confections against the 
pestilent airs ; the which he most commonly smelt unto, passing among the press, 
or else when he was pestered with many suitors." This was a pomander. It 
appears from a passage in Mr. Burgon's valuable ' Life of Sir Thomas Gresham ' 
that the supposed orange held in the hand in several ancient portraits, amongst 
others in those of Lord Berners and Gresham, was in truth a pomander. 

104 A WINTER'S TALE. [Act V. 


SCENE I. — Sicilia. A Room in the Palace o/'Leontes. 

Enter Leontes, Cleomenes, Dion, Paulina, and others. 

Cleo. Sir, you have done enough, and have perform'd 
A saint-like sorrow : no fault could you make 
Which you have not redeem'd ; indeed, paid down 
More penitence, than done trespass : At the last 
Do, as the heavens have done ; forget your evil ; 
With them, forgive yourself 

Leon. Whilst I remember 

Her, and her virtues, I cannot forget 
My blemishes in them ; and so still think of 
The wrong I did myself: which was so much, 
That heirless it hath made my kingdom j and 
Destroy'd the sweet'st companion that e'er man 
Bred his hopes out of 

Paul. True, too true, my lord : 

If, one by one, you wedded aU the world. 
Or, from the all that are took something good. 
To make a perfect woman, she, you kill'd. 
Would be unparallel'd. 

Leon. I think so. Kill'd ! 

She I kill'd ! I did so : but thou strik'st me 
Sorely, to say I did ; it is as bitter 
Upon thy tongue as in my thought. Now, good now. 
Say so but seldom. 

Cleo. Not at all, good lady ; 

You might have spoken a thousand things that would 
Have done the time more benefit, and grac'd 
Your kindness better. 

Paul. You are one of those 

Would have him wed again. 

Dion. If you would not so. 

Scene I.] A WINTER'S TALE. 105 

You pity not the state, nor the remembrance 
Of his most sovereign name ; consider little. 
What dangers, by his highness' fail of issue. 
May drop upon his kingdom, and devour 
Incertain lookers-on. What were more holy 
Than to rejoice the former queen is well ? ■ 
What holier than, — for royalty's repair. 
For present comfort and for future good, — 
To bless the bed of majesty again 
With a sweet fellow to 't ? 

Paul. There is none worthy. 

Respecting her that 's gone. Besides, the gods 
Will have fulfill'd their secret purposes : 
For has not the divine Apollo said. 
Is 't not the tenor of his oracle. 
That king Leontes shall not have an heir 
Till his lost child be found ? which, that it shall. 
Is all as monstrous to our human reason. 
As my Antigonus to break his grave. 
And come again to me ; who, on my life. 
Did perish with the infant. 'T is your counsel 
My lord should to the heavens be contrary. 
Oppose against their wills. — Care not for issue -, [To Leon. 
The crown will find an heir : Great Alexander 
Left his to the worthiest ; so his successor 
Was like to be the best. 

Leon. Good Paulina, — 
Who hast the memory of Hermione, 
I know, in honour, — O, that ever I 
Had squar'd me to thy counsel ! then, even now, 
I might have look'd upon my queen's full eyes ; 
Have taken treasure from her lips, 

Paul. And left them 

More rich, for what they yielded. 

Leon. Thou speak'st truth. 

No more such wives ; therefore, no wife : one worse. 
And better us'd, would make her sainted spirit 

" In ' Antony and Cleopatra ' we have an explanation of the text : — 
" We use to say, the dead are well." 

106 A WINTER S TALE. [Act V. 

Again possess her cjorps ; and, on this stage, 
(Where we offenders now,) appear,' soul-vex'd. 
And begin, " Why to me ? " 

Paul. Had she such power. 

She had just cause.'' 

Leon. She had ; and would incense me 

To murther her I married. 

Paul. I should so : 

Were I the ghost that walk'd, I 'd bid you mark 
Her eye ; and tell me, for what dull part in 't 
You chose her : then I 'd shriek, that even your ears 
Should rift to hear me ; and the words that follow 'd 
Should be, " Remember mine ! " 

Leon. Stars, stars,'' 

And all eyes else dead coals ! — fear thou no wife, 
I '11 have no wife, Paidina. 

Paul. Will you swear 

Never to marry, but by my free leave ? 

Leon. Never, Paulina: so be bless'd my spirit ! 

Paul. Then, good my lords, bear witness to his oath,— r- 

Cleo. You tempt him over-much. 

Paul. Unless another. 

As like Hermione as is her picture. 
Affront his eye ; — '^ 

Cleo. Good madam, I have done. 

Paul. Yet, if my lord will marry, — if you will. 
No remedy but you will ; give me the office 

■ The original reads — 

(Where we offenders now appear.) 
We bare shifted the place of the parenthesis, making " her sainted spirit " the DOjcai- 
native case to " appear." By this arrangement, " where we offenders now " are must 
be understood. By any other construction we lose the force of the word " apjjear," 
as applied to " sainted spirit." Malone proposed to read, — 
" Again possess her corps, (and on this stage 
Where we offenders now appear soul-vex'd,) 
And begin, Why to me ?" 
*" Jutt cause. In the original jui/ such cause. In modem editions uch is omitted, 
following the authority of the third folio. 

" Stars, stars. So the original, but diluted by Haumer into stars, very stars. 
* The vehemence of Paulina overbears the interruption of Cleomenes, and he 
says " I have done." The modern editors give " I have done" to Paulina; when 
she is evidently going on, perfectly regardless of any opposition. 

Scene I.] A WINTER'S TALE. 107 

To choose you a queen ; she shall not be so young 
As was your former ; but she shall be such 
As, walk'd your first queen's ghost, it should take joy 
To see her in your arms. 

Leon. My true Paulina, 

We shall not marry till thou bidd'st us. 

Paul. That 

Shall be, when your first queen 's again in breath ; 
Never till then. 

Enter a Gentleman. 

Gent. One that gives out himself prince Florizel, 
Son of Polixenes, with his princess, (she 
The fairest I have yet beheld,) desires access 
To your high presence. 

Leon. What with him ? he comes not 

Like to his father's greatness : his approach. 
So out of circumstance and sudden, tells us 
'T is not a visitation fram'd, but forc'd 
By need and accident. What train ? 

Gent. But few. 

And those but mean. 

Leon. His princess, say you, with him? 

Gent. Aj, the most peerless piece of earth, I think. 
That e'er the sun shone bright on. 

Paul. O Hermione, 

As every present time doth boast itself 
Above a better, gone, so must thy grave 
Give way to what 's seen now. Sir, you yourself 
Have said, and writ so, (but your writing now 
Is colder than that theme,) " She had not been. 
Nor was not to be equall'd ;" — ^thus your verse 
Flow'd with her beauty once ; 't is shrewdly ebb'd. 
To say you have seen a better. 

Gent. Pardon, madam ; 

The one I have almost forgot ; (your pardon,) 
The other, when she has obtain'd your eye. 
Will have your tongue too. This is a creature,' 
Would she begin a sect^ might quench the zeal 

• So the original. The modern editors read "such a creature." 

108 A WINTER'S TALE. [Act V. 

Of all professors else ; make proselytes 
Of who she but bid follow. 

Paul. How ? not women ? 

Gent. Women will love her, that she is a woman. 
More worth than any man ; men, that she is 
The rarest of all women. 

Leon. Go, Cleomenes ; 

Yourself, assisted with your honour'd friends. 
Bring them to our embracement. — Still 't is strange, 

[Exeunt Cleomenes, Lords, and Gentleman. 
He thus should steal upon us. 

Paul. Had our prince 

(Jewel of children) seen this hour, he had pair'd 
Well with this lord ; there was not full a month 
Between their births. 

Leon. Prithee, no more ; cease ;' thou know'st. 

He dies to me again, when talk'd of: sure. 
When I shall see this gentleman, thy speeches 
Will bring me to consider that which may 
Unfurnish me of reason. — They are come. — 

Re-enter Cleomenes, with Florizel, Perdita, and At- 

Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince ; 
For she did print your royal father off. 
Conceiving you : Were I but twenty-one. 
Your father's image is so hit in you. 
His very air, that I should call you brother. 
As I did him ; and speak of something, wildly 
By us perform'd before. Most dearly welcome ! 
And your fair princess, goddess ! — O, alas ! 
I lost a couple, that 'twixt heaven and earth 
Might thus have stood, begetting wonder, as 
You, gracious couple, do ! and then I lost 
(All mine own folly) the society. 
Amity too, of your brave father ; whom. 
Though bearing misery, I desire my life 
Once more to look on him. 

• Ceate is omitted by Steevens, for the iake of metre. 

Scene I.] A WINTER'S TALE. 109 

Flo. By his command 

Have I here touch'd Sicilia : and from him 
Give you all greetings, that a king, at friend. 
Can send his brother : and, but infirmity 
(Which waits upon worn times) hath something seiz'd 
His wish'd ability, he had himself 
The lands and waters 'twixt your throne and his 
Measur'd to look upon you ; whom he loves 
(He bade me say so) more than all the sceptres. 
And those that bear them, living. 

Leon. O, my brother, 

(Good gentleman !) the wrongs I have done thee stir 
Afresh within me ; and these thy offices. 
So rarely kind, are as interpreters 
Of my behind-hand slackness ! — Welcome hither. 
As is the spring to the earth. And hath he too 
Expos'd this paragon to the fearful usage . 
(At least, ungentle) of the dreadful Neptune, 
To greet a man not worth her pains ; much less 
The adventure of her person ? 

Flo. Good my lord. 

She came from Libya. 

Leon. Where the warlike Smalus, 

That noble honour'd lord, is fear'd and lov'd ? 

Flo. Most royal sir, from thence ; from him, whose 
His tears proclaim'd his, parting with her : thence 
(A prosperous south-wind friendly) we have cross'd. 
To execute the charge my father gave me. 
For visiting your highness : My best train 
I have from your Sicilian shores dismiss'd ; 
Who for Bohemia bend, to signify 
Not only my success in Libya, sir. 
But my arrival, and my wife's, in safety 
Here, where we are. 

Leon. The blessed gods 

Purge all infection from our air, whilst you 
Do climate here ! You have a holy father, 
A graceful gentleman ; against whose person. 

110 A WINTERS TALK. [Act V. 

So sacred as it is, I have done sin : 
For which the heavens, taking angry note. 
Have left me issueless ; and your father 's bless'd 
(As he from heaven merits it) with you. 
Worthy his goodness. What might I have been. 
Might I a son and daughter now have look'd on. 
Such goodly things as you ! 

Enter a Lord. 

Lord. Most noble sir. 

That which I shall report will bear no credit. 
Were not the proof so nigh. Please you, great sir, 
Bohemia greets you from himself by me : 
Desires you to attach his son ; who has 
(His dignity and duty both cast off) 
Fled from his father, from his hopes, and with 
A shepherd's daughter. 

Leon. Where 's Bohemia ? speak. 

Lord. Here in your ■ city ; I now came from him : 
I speak amazedly ; and it becomes 
My marvel, and my message. To your court 
Whiles he was hast'ning, (in the chase, it seems. 
Of this fair couple,) meets he on the way 
The father of this seeming lady, and 
Her brother, having both their country quitted 
With this young prince. 

Flo. Camillo has betray'd me ; 

Whose honour, and whose honesty, till now, 
Endur'd all weathers. 

Lord. h&j 't so to his charge; 

He 's with the king your father. 

Leon. Who? Camillo? 

Lord. Camillo, sir ; I spake with him ; who now 
Has these poor men in question. Never saw I 
Wretches so quake : they kneel, they kiss the earth ; 
Forswear themselves as often as they speak : 
Bohemia stops his ears, and threatens them 
With divers deaths in death. 

■ Your. This is changed to the, in modern editioiu, without explanation. 

Scene I.] A WINTER'S TALE. 1 1 1 

Per. O, my poor father ! — 

The heaven sets spies upon us, will not have 
Our contract celebrated. 

Leon. You are married? 

Flo. We are not, sir, nor are we like to be ; 
The stars, I see, will kiss the valleys first : — 
The odds for high and low 's alike. 

Leon. My lord. 

Is this the daughter of a king ? 

Flo. She is. 

When once she is my wife. 

Leon. That once, I see, by your good father's speed. 
Will come on very slowly. I am sorry. 
Most sorry, you have broken from his liking. 
Where you were tied in duty : and as sorry. 
Your choice is not so rich in worth as beauty. 
That you might well enjoy her. 

Flo. Dear, look up : 

Though fortune, visible an enemy. 
Should chase us, with my father, power no jot 
Hath she to change our loves. — 'Beseech you, sir. 
Remember since you ow'd no more to time 
Than I do now : with thought of such affections. 
Step forth mine advocate ; at your request. 
My father will grant precious things as trifles. 

Leon. Would he do so, I 'd beg your precious mistress. 
Which he counts but a trifle. 

Paul. Sir, my liege. 

Your eye hath too much youth in 't : not a month 
'Fore your queen died, she was more worth such gazes 
Than what you look on now. 

Leon. I thought of her. 

Even in these looks I made. — But your petition [To Flo. 
Is yet unanswer'd : I will to your father ; 
Your honour not o'erthrown by your desires, 
I am friend to them, and you : upon which errand 
I now go toward him ; therefore follow me. 
And mark what way I make : Come, good my lord. [Exeunt. 

1 12 A WINTER'S TALE. [Act V. 

SCENE IL— The same. Before the Palace. 

Enter Autolycus and a Gentleman. 

Aut. 'Beseech you, sir, were you present at this relation ? 

1 Gent. I was by at the opening of the fardel ; heard the 
old shepherd deliver the manner how he found it : where- 
upon, after a little amazedness, we were all commanded out 
of the chamber ; only this, methought I heard the shepherd 
say, he found the child. 

Aut. I would most gladly know the issue of it. 

1 Gent. I make a broken delivery of the business : — But 
the changes I perceived in the king and Camillo were very 
notes of admiration : they seemed almost, with staring on 
one another, to tear the cases of their eyes ; there was speech 
in their dumbness, language in their very gesture ; they 
looked as they had heard of a world ransomed, or one de- 
stroyed : A notable passion of wonder appeared in them : 
but the wisest beholder, that knew no more but seeing, could 
not say if the importance * were joy or sorrow ; but in the 
extremity of the one it must needs be. 

Enter another Gentleman. 

Here comes a gentleman, that, happily, knows more : The 
news, Rogero? 

2 Gent. Nothing but bonfires : The oracle is fulfilled ; the 
king's daughter is found : such a deal of wonder is broken 
out within this hour, that ballad-makers cannot be able to 
express it. 

Enter a third Gentleman. 

Here comes the lady Paulina's steward ; he can deliver you 
more. — How goes it now, sir ? this news, which is called true, 
is so like an old tale, that the verity of it is in strong suspi- 
cion : Has the king found his heir ? 

3 Gent. Most true ; if ever truth were pregnant by cir- 
cumstance ; that which you hear you '11 swear you see, there 
is such unity in the proofs. The mantle of queen Hermione : 

• Importance — import. 


— her jewel about the neck of it : — the letters of Antigonus, 
found with it, which they know to be his character : — the 
majesty of the creature, in resemblance of the mother ; — the 
affection of nobleness, which nature shows above her breed- 
ing, — and many other evidences, proclaim her, with all cer- 
tainty, to be the king's daughter. Did you see the meeting 
of the two kings ? 

2 Gent. No. 

3 Gent. Then have you lost a sight, which was to be seen, 
cannot be spoken of. There might you have beheld one joy 
crown another ; so, and in such manner, that it seemed sor- 
row wept to take leave of them ; for their joy waded in tears. 
There was casting iip of eyes, holding up of hands ; with 
countenance of such distraction, that they were to be known 
by garment, not by favour. Our king, being ready to leap 
out of himself for joy of his found daughter ; as if that joy 
were now become a loss, cries, " O, thy mother, thy mother !" 
then asks Bohemia forgiveness ; then embraces his son-in- 
law ; then again worries he his daughter, with clipping her ; 
now he thanks the old shepherd, which stands by, like a 
weather-bitten conduit ' of many kings' reigns. I never 
heard of such another encounter, which lames report to follow 
it, and undoes description to do it. 

2 Gent. What, pray you, became of Antigonus, that car- 
ried hence the child? 

3 Gent. Like an old tale still; which will have matter to 
rehearse, though credit be asleep, and not an ear open : He 
was torn to pieces with a bear : this avouches the shepherd's 
son ; who has not only his innocence (which seems much) to 
justify him, but a handkerchief, and rings, of his, that Pau- 
lina knows. 

1 Gent. What became of his bark, and his followers ? 

3 Gent. Wracked, the same instant of their master's death ; 
and in the view of the shepherd : so that all the instruments, 
which aided to expose the child, were even then lost, when 
it was found. But, O, the noble combat that, 'twixt joy and 
sorrow, was fought in Paulina ! She had one eye declined 
for the loss of her husband ; another elevated that the oracle 
was fulfilled : She lifted the princess from the earth ; and so 

Vol. IV. I 

114. A WINTER'S TALE. [Act V. 

locks her in embracing, as if she would pin her to her heart, 
that she might no more be in danger of losing. 

1 Gent. The dignity of this act was worth the audience 
of kings and princes ; for by such was it acted. 

3 Gent. One of the prettiest touches of all, and that which 
angled for mine eyes (caught the water, though not the 
fish), was, when at the relation of the queen's death, with the 
manner how she came to it, (bravely confessed, and lamented 
by the king,) how attentiveness wounded his daughter ; till, 
from one sign of dolour to another, she did, with an " alas !" 
I would fain say, bleed tears ; for, I am sure, my heart wept 
blood. Who was most marble there changed colour ; some 
swooned, all sorrowed : if all the world could have seen it, 
the woe had been universal. 

1 Gent. Are they returned to the court? 

3 Gent. No: the princess hearing of her mother's statue, 
which is in the keeping of Paulina, — a piece many years in 
doing, and now newly performed by that rare Italian master, 
Julio Romano ; who, had he himself eternity, and could put 
breath into his work, would beguile nature of her custom, so 
perfectly he is her ape : he so near to Hermione hath done 
Hermione, that they say, one would speak to her, and stand 
in hope of answer : thither, with all greediness of affection, 
are they gone ; and there they intend to sup. 

2 Gent, I thought she had some great matter there in 
hand; for she hath privately, twice or thrice a day, ever 
since the death of Hermione, visited that removed house. 
Shall we thither, and with our company piece the rejoicing ? 

1 Gent. Who would be thence that has the benefit of 
access ? every wink of an eye, some new grace will be born : 
our absence makes us unthrifty to our knowledge. Let 's 
along, [Exeunt Gentlemen. 

Aut, Now, had I not the dash of my former life in me, 
would preferment drop on my head. I brought the old 
man and his son aboard the prince ; told him, I heard them 
talk of a fardel, and I know not what ; but he at that time, 
overfond of the shepherd's daughter, (so he then took her 
to be,) who began to be much sea-sick, and himself little 
better, extremity of weather continuing, this mystery re- 

Scene II.] A WINTER'S TALE, 115 

mained undiscovered. But 't is all one to me ; for had I 
been the finder out of this secret, it would not have relished 
among my other discredits- 

Enter Shepherd and Clown- 
Here come those I have done good to against my will, and 
already appearing in the blossoms of their fortune. 

Shep. Come, boy ; I am past more children, but thy sons 
and daughters will be all gentlemen borm 

do. You are well met, sir : You denied to fight with me 
this other day, because I was no gentleman born : See you 
these clothes? say, you see them not, and think me still no 
gentleman born : you were best say these robes are not gen- 
tlemen born. Give me the lie ; do ; and try whether I am 
not now a gentleman born. 

Aut. I know you are now, sir, a gentleman born. 

Clo. Ay, and have been so any time these four hours. 

Shep. And so have I, boy. 

Clo. So you have : — but I was a gentleman born before 
my father: for the king's son took me by the hand, and 
called me, brother ; and then the two kings called my father, 
brother ; and then the prince, my brother, and the princess, 
my sister, called my father, father; and so we wept: and 
there was the first gentlemanlike tears that ever we shed. 

Shep. We may live, son, to shed many more. 

Clo. kj ; or else 't were hard luck ; being in so prepos- 
terous estate as we are. 

Aut. I humbly beseech you, sir, to pardon me all the 
faults I have committed to your worship, and to give me 
your good report to the prince my master. 

Shep. Prithee, son, do ; for we must be gentle, now we 
are gentlemen. 

Clo. Thou wilt amend thy life ? 

Aut. Ay, an it like your good worship. 

Clo. Give me thy hand : I will swear to the prince, thou 
art as honest a true fellow as any is in Bohemia. 

Shep. You may say it, but not swear it. 

Clo. Not swear it, now I am a gentleman ? Let boors and 
franklins say it, I '11 swear it. 

I 3 

116 A WINTER'S TALE. [Act V. 

Shep. How if it be false, son ? 

Clo. If it be ne'er so false, a true gentleman may swear 
it, in the behalf of his friend : — And I '11 swear to the 
prince, thou art a tall fellow of thy hands, and that thou 
wilt not be drunk ; but I know, thou art no tall fellow of 
thy hands, and that thou wilt be drunk ; but I '11 swear it : 
and I would thou wouldst be a tall fellow of thy hands. 

Aut. I will prove so, sir, to my power. 

do. Ay, by any means prove a tall fellow : If I do not 
wonder how thou darest venture to be drunk, not being a tall 
fellow, trust me not. — Hark ! the kings and the princes, our 
kindred, are going to see the queen's picture. Come, follow 
us : we '11 be thy good masters. \^Exeunt. 

SCENE III. — The same, A Room in Paulina'* House. 

Enter Leontes, Polixenes, Florizel, Perdita, Camillo, 
Paulina, Lords, and Attendants. 

Leon. O grave and good Paulina, the great comfort 
That I have had of thee ! 

Paul. What, sovereign sir, 

I did not well, I meant well: All my services 
You have paid home : but that you have vouchsaPd, 
With your crown'd brother, and these your contracted 
Heirs of your kingdoms, my poor house to visit ; 
It is a surplus of your grace, which never 
My life may last to answer. 

Leon. O Paulina, 

We honour you with trouble ; But we came 
To see the statue of our queen : your gallery 
Have we pass'd through, not without much content 
In many singularities ; but we saw not 
That which my daughter came to look upon. 
The statue of her mother. 

Paul. As she liv'd peerless. 

So her dead likeness, I do well believe. 
Excels whatever yet you look'd upon. 
Or hand of man hath done ; therefore I keep it 
Lonely, apart : But here it is : prepare 

Scene III.] A WINTER'S TALE. 1 1 7 

To see the life as lively mock'd, as ever 

Still sleep mock'd death : behold ; and say, 't is well. 

[Paulina undraws a curtain, and discovers a statue. 
I like your silence, it the more shows oflf 
Your wonder : But yet speak j — first, you, my liege. 
Comes it not something near ? 

Leon. Her natural posture ! — 

Chide me, dear stone ; that I may say, indeed. 
Thou art Hermione : or, rather, thou art she. 
In thy not chiding ; for she was as tender 
As infancy, and grace. — But yet, Paulina, 
Hermione was not so much wrinkled ; nothing 
So aged, as this seems. 

Pol. O, not by much. 

Paul. So much the more our carver's excellence ; 
Which lets go by some sixteen years, and makes her 
As she liv'd now. 

Leon. As now she might have done. 

So much to my good comfort, as it is 
Now piercing to my soul. O, thus she stood. 
Even with such life of majesty, (warm life. 
As now it coldly stands,) when first I woo'd her ! 
I am asham'd : Does not the stone rebuke me. 
For being more stone than it ? — O, royal piece. 
There 's magic in thy majesty, which has 
My evils conjur'd to remembrance ; and 
From thy admiring daughter took the spirits. 
Standing like stone with thee ! 

Per. And give me leave ; 

And do not say t' is superstition, that 
I kneel, and then implore her blessing. — Lady, 
Dear queen, that ended when I but began. 
Give me that hand of yours to kiss. 

Paul. O, patience : 

The statue is but newly fix'd, the colour 's 
Not dry. 

Cam. My lord, your sorrow was too sore laid on ; 
Which sixteen winters cannot blow away. 
So many summers dry : scarce any joy 

118 A WINTER'S TALE. [Act V. 

Did ever so long live ; no sorrow. 
But kill'd itself much sooner. 

Pol. Dear my brother. 

Let him that was the cause of this have power 
To take off so much grief from you, as he 
Will piece up in himself. 

Paul. Indeed, my lord. 

If I had thought the sight of my poor image 
Would thus have wrought you (for the stone is mine), 
I 'd not have show'd it. 

Leon. Do not draw the curtain. 

Paul. No longer shall you gaze on 't ; lest your fancy 
May think anon it moves. 

Leon. Let be, let be. 

Would I were dead, but that, methinks, already ' — ■ 
What was he that did make it ? — See, my lord. 
Would you not deem it breath'd ? and that those veins 
Did verily bear blood? 

Pol. Masterly done : 

The very life seems warm upon her lip. 

Leon. The fixure of her eye has motion in *t. 
As we are mock'd with art. 

Paul. I '11 draw the curtain ; 

My lord 's almost so far transported that 
He '11 think anon it lives. 

Leon. O sweet Paulina, 

Make me to think so twenty years together ; 
No settled senses of the world can match 
The pleasure of that madness. Let 't alone. 

Paul. I am sorry, sir, I have thus far stirr'd you : but 
I could afflict you further. 

Leon. Do, Paulina; 

For this affliction has a taste as sweet 
As any cordial comfort. — Still, methinks, 

' Tieck understands this—" Would I were dead," if that could reanimate Her- 
mione — " but that — methinks — already " — the sculptor has done it — made her 
breathe— given her motion — '* what was he that did make it?" It is scarcely neces- 
sary to conjecture how Leontes would have closed the sentence ; for the abrupt 
breaking off is one of those touches of nature with which Shakspere knew how to 
give passion an eloquence beyond words. 

SckneIII.] a WINTER'S tale. 119 

There is an air comes from her : What fine chisel 
Could ever yet cut breath ? Let no man mock me. 
For I will kiss her. 

Paul. Good my lord, forbear : 

The ruddiness upon her lip is wet ; * 
You '11 mar it, if you kiss it ; stain your own 
With oily painting : Shall I draw the curtain ? 

Leon. No, not these twenty years. 

Per. So long could I 

Stand by, a looker-on. 

Paul. Either forbear. 

Quit presently the chapel ; or resolve you 
For more amazement. If you can behold it, 
I '11 make the statue move indeed ; descend. 
And take you by the hand : but then you '11 think, 
(Which I protest against,) I am assisted 
By wicked powers. 

Leon. What you can make her do, 

I am content to look on : what to speak, 
I am content to hear ; for 't is as easy 
To make her speak, as move. 

Paul. It is requir'd 

You do awake your faith': Then, all stand still : 
On : * Those that think it is unlawful business 
I am about, let them depart. 

Leon. Proceed; 

No foot shall stir. 

Paul. Music ; awake her : strike. — [Music. 

'T is time ; descend ; be stone no more : approach ; 
Strike all that look upon with marvel. Come ; 
I '11 fill your grave up : stir ; nay, come away ; 
Bequeath to death your numbness, for from him 
Dear life redeems you. — You perceive she stirs ; 

[Hermione comes down from the pedestal. 
Start not : her actions shall be holy, as. 
You hear, my spell is lawful : do not shun her, 

» On. We understand this as, let us go on. The king immediately adds "pro- 
ceed," This emphatic on has been changed into or: — 

" Or those that think it is anlawful business.'' 

120 A WINTER'S TALE. [Act V. 

Until you see her die again ; for then 
You kill her double : Nay, present your hand : 
When she was young you woo'd her ; now, in age. 
Is she become the suitor ! 

Leon. O, she 's warm ! [Embracing her. 

If this be magic, let it be an art 
Lawful as eating. 

Pol. She embraces him. 

Cam. She hangs about his neck ; 
If she pertain to life, let her speak too. 

Pol. Ay, and make 't manifest where she has liv'd. 
Or, how stol'n from the dead ! 

Paul. That she is living. 

Were it but told you, should be hooted at 
Like an old tale ; but it appears she lives. 
Though yet she speak not. Mark a little while. — 
Please you to interpose, fair madam ; kneel. 
And pray your mother's blessing. — Turn, good lady ; 
Our Perdita is found. [Prese7iting Per., who kneels to Her. 

Her. You gods, look down. 

And from your sacred vials pour your graces 
Upon my daughter s head ! — Tell me, mine own. 
Where hast thou been preserv'd ? where liv'd ? how found 
Thy father's court ? for thou shalt hear, that I, — 
Knowing by Paulina, that the oracle 
Gave hope thou wast in being, — have preserv'd 
Myself, to see the issue. 

Paul. There 's time enough for that ; 

Lest they desire, upon this push, to trouble 
Your joys with like relation. — Go together. 
You precious winners all ; your exultation 
Partake to every one. I, an old turtle. 
Will wing me to some wither'd bough, and there 
My mate, that 's never to be found again. 
Lament till I am lost. 

Leon. O peace, Paulina; 

Thou shouldst a husband take by my consent. 
As I by thine, a wife : this is a match. 
And made between 's by vows. Thou hast found mine ; 

Scene III.] A WINTER'S TALE. 121 

But how, is to be question'd : for I saw her. 

As I thought, dead ; and have, in vain, said many 

A prayer upon her grave : I '11 not seek far 

(For him, I partly know his mind) to find thee 

An honourable husband : — Come, Camillo^ 

And take her by the hand : whose worth, and honesty. 

Is riclily noted ; and here justified 

By us, a pair of kings. — Let 's from this place. — 

What ? — Look upon my brother : — both your pardons. 

That e'er I put between your holy looks 

My ill suspicion. This your son-in-law. 

And son unto the king, (whom heavens directing,) 

Is troth-plight to your daughter. — Good Paulina, 

Lead us from hence ; where we may leisurely 

Each one demand, and answer to his part 

Perform'd in this wide gap of time, since first^ 

We were dissever'd : Hastily lead away. [Exeuni^. 




' Scene II. — " fVeather-bilten conduit.'' 

The old stone conduits were in Shakspere's time very numerous in London, and 
allusions to them are frequent in the dramatists. We give a representation of the 
" Little Conduit" in Westcheap, built in 1442. 

* Scene III. — " The ruddinett upon her lip t» wet." 

We have shown in a note to ' The Two Gentlemen of Verona ' that the words 
statue and picture were often used without distinction. In the peissage before us we 
have the mention of "oily painting;'' and the Clown talks of going to see "the 
queen's picture." But it is clear from other passages that a statue, in the modern 
sense of the word, was intended. Leontes says, 

" Does not the stone rebuke me, 
For being more stone than it ?" 

It is clear, therefore, from all the context, that the statue must have been painted. 
Sir Henry Wotton calls this practice an English barbarism ; but it is well known 
that the ancients had painted statues. The mention of Julio Romano is generally 
designated as " a strange absurdity." We have touched upon this in the Introduc- 
tory Notice. 



Alonso, King of Naples. 

Sebastian, his brother. 

Prospero, the right Duke of Milan. 

Antonio, his brother, the usurping Duke of Milan 

Ferdinand, son to the King of Naples. 

GoNZALO, an honest old counsellor of Naples. 

Adrian, ] 

> lords. 
Francisco, J 

Caliban, a savage and deformed slave. 

Trinculo, a jester. 

^TEPHANO, a drunken butler. 

Master of a ship. Boatswain, and Mariners. 

Miranda, daughter to Prospero. 

Ariel, an airy spirit. 



Juno, ) sjnrits. 



SCENE, — The sea, with a ship ; afterwards an 

• This is one of the few lists of the •• Names of the Actors " which appear in the 
])lay8 first printed in flie folio of 1623. 

[" The still vex'd Bermoothes."] 



This comedy stands the first in the folio collection of 1623, in 
which edition it was originally printed. In the entry upon the 
Stationers' registers of November the 8th, 1623, claiming for Blount 
and Jaggard such plays of Shakspere as were not formerly entered 
to other men, it also is the first in order. The original text is 
printed with singular correctness ; and if, with the exception of one 
or two obvious typographical errors, it had continued to be reprinted 
without any change, the world would have possessed a copy with the 
mint-mark of the poet upon it, instead of the clipped and scoured 
impression that bears the name of Steevens. Fortunately, however, 
in consequence of this remarkable correctness of the original, the 
commentators have been unable to do much in the way of what they 
call emendation; but what they have done is done as badly as 

Until within the last year or so the general opinion of the readers 
of Shakspere had settled into the belief that ' The Tempest' was the 

126 Introductory notice. 

last of his works. We are inclined to think that this belief was 
rather a matter of feeling than of judgment. Mr. Campbell has 
put the feeling very elegantly : — " ' The Tempest ' has a sort of 
sacredness as the last work of a mighty workman. Shakspeare, as if 
conscious that it would be his last, and as if inspired to typify him- 
self, has made his hero a natural, a dignified, and benevolent magi- 
cian, who could conjure up spirits from the vasty deep, and com- 
mand supernatural agency by the most seemingly natural and sim- 
ple means. And this final play of our poet has magic indeed ; for, 
what can be simpler in language than the courtship of Ferdinand 
and Miranda, and yet what can be more magical than the sympathy 
with which it subdues us ? Here Shakspeare himself is Prospero, or 
rather the superior genius who commands both Prospero and Ariel. 
But the time was approaching when the potent sorcerer was to 
break his staff, and to bury it fathoms in the ocean, 

' Deeper than did ever plummet sound.' 

That staff has never been, and never will be, recovered." But this 
feeling, pretty and fanciful as it is, is certainly somewhat deceptive. 
It is not borne out by the internal evidence of the play itself. Shak- 
spere never could have contemplated, in health and intellectual 
vigour, any abandonment of that occupation which constituted his 
happiness and glory. "We have no doubt that he wrote on till the 
hour of his last illness. His later plays are unquestionably those in 
which the mighty intellect is more tasked than the unbounded 
fancy. His later plays, as we believe, present the philosophical and 
historical aspect of human affairs rather than the passionate and the 
imaginative. The Roman historical plays are, as it appears to us, 
at the end of his career, as the English historical plays are at the 
beginning. Nothing can be more different than the principle of 
art upon which the * Henry VI.' and the ' Antony and Cleopatra' are 
constructed. The Roman plays denote, we think, the growth of an 
intellect during five-and-twenty years. 'The Tempest' does not 
present the characteristics of the latest plays. It has the playfulness 
and beauty of the comedies, mingled with the higher notes of pas- 
sionate and solemn thought which distinguish the great tragedies. 
It is essentially, too, written wholly with reference to the stage, at 
a period when an Ariel' could be presented to an imaginative 
audience without the prosaic encumbrance of wings. The later 
plays, such as ' Troilus and Cressida,' and the three Roman subjects, 
are certainly written without any very strong regard to dramatic 
effect. They are noble acting plays, especially * Julius Caesar' and 


' Coriolanus ;' but even in these the poet appears to have poured 
himself forth with a philosophical mastery of the great principles by 
which men are held in the social state, without being very solicitous 
as to the favourable reception of his opinions by the mixed audiences 
of the days of James I. The ' Antony and Cleopatra' is still more 
remarkable for its surpassing historical truth — not the mere truth 
of chronological exactness, but that truth which is evolved out of 
the power of making the past present and real, through the marvel- 
lous felicity of knowing and representing how individuals and 
masses of men must have acted under circumstances which are only 
assimilated to the circumstances of modem times by the fact that all 
the great principles and motives of human action are essentially the 
same in every age and in every condition of civilization. The 
plays that we have mentioned must have been the result of 
very profound thought and very accurate investigation. The cha- 
racters of the ' Troilus and Cressida ' are purposely Gothicised. 
An episode of " the tale of Troy divine " is seized upon, to be di- 
vested of its romantic attributes, and to be presented with all the 
bold colouring of a master regardless of minute proprieties of cos- 
tume, but producing the most powerful and harmonious effect 
through the universal truth of his delineations. On the contrary, 
the Roman plays are perfect in costume. We do not believe that 
there are any productions of the human mind in existence, ancient 
or modern, which can give us so complete a notion of what Roman 
life was under its great general aspects. This was the effect, not 
only of his instinctive wisdom, but of that leisure for profound in- 
quiry and extensive investigation which Shakspere possessed in the 
latter years of his life. We cannot bring ourselves to believe that 
' The Tempest ' belonged to the latest period. - Ulrici has said 
" ' The Tempest ' is the completing companion-piece of the ' Win- 
ter's Tale' and ' A Midsummer-Night's Dream.' " The ^jMidsum- 
mer-Night's Dream' was printed in 1600; — it was proba»w written 
some five or six years previous. The ' Winter's Tale'\was acted 
in 1611. From the 'Extracts from the Accounts of the 'Revels at 
Court,' recently edited by Mr. Peter Cunningham, we learn that on 
Hallowmas Night (November 1), 1611, "was presented at White- 
hall, before the King's Majesty, a play called ' The Tempest.' " Four 
nights afterwards the ' Winter's Tale ' was also presented. The 
' Winter's Tale' appears to us to bear marks of a later composition 
than ' The Tempest.' But we are not disposed to separate them by 
any very wide interval : more especially we cannot agree with 
Mr. Hunter, who has brought great learning to an investigation 


of all the points connected with 'The Tempest,' that this play, 
" instead of being the latest work of this great master, is in reality 
one of the earliest, nearly the first in time, as the first in place, of 
the dramas which are wholly his." The difficulty of settling the 
chronology of some of Shakspere's plays by internal evidence is 
very much increased by the circumstance that some of them must 
be regarded as early performances that have come down to us with 
the large additions and corrections of maturer years. For ex- 
ample: ' Pericles' was, it is probable, produced as a novelty in 1608, 
or not long before. There are portions of that play which we think 
no one could have written but the mature Shakspere ; mixed up 
with other portions which indicate, not so much immature powers 
as the treatment of a story in the spirit of the oldest dramas. So it 
is with ' Cymbeline ;' and, to a certain extent, with the ' Winter's 
Tale.' The probability is, that these plays were produced in their 
present form soon after the period of Shakspere's quitting the stage 
about 1603; and perhaps before the production of 'Macbeth,' 
'Troilus and Cressida,' 'Henry VIII.,' and the Roman plays. 'The 
Tempest' appears to us to belong to the same cycle. The opinion 
which we here express is not inconsistent with a belief that Mr. 
Hunter has brought forward several curious facts to render it 
highly probable that it was produced in 1596. But the aggregate 
evidence, as we think, outweighs these curious facts. 

' The Tempest ' is not included by name in the list of plays 
ascribed to Shakspere by Francis Meres in 1599. Mr. Hunter 
says that it was included, under the name of ' Lovers Labour Woti.' 
We have endeavoured to show, in the Introductory Notice to ' All 's 
Well that Ends Well,' not only that the comedy bearing that name 
had the highest pretension to the title of ' Love's Labour Won,' 
but that ' The Tempest ' had no such pretension. The Love 
Labours of ' The Tempest,' according to Mr. Hunter, are the 
labours of Ferdinand under the harsh commands of Prospero, and 
the title given to ' The Tempest ' by Meres is derived from this 
incident. To this argument we have answered, — " We venture to 
say that our belief in the significancy of Shakspere's titles would 
be at an end, if even a main incident were to suggest a name, in- 
stead of the general course of the thought or action. In this case 
there are really no Love Labours at all. The lady is not won by 
the piling of the logs ; the audience know that both Ferdinand and 
Miranda are under the influence of Prospero's spells, and the 
magician has explained to them why he enforces these harsh 
labours." We do not agree that the comedy called ' The Tem- 


pest,' when it was first printed, bore the title, either as a leading 
or secondary title, when Meres published his list in 1599, of ' Love 
Labour 's Won.' We believe that it was always called ' The Tem- 
pest;' and that, looking at its striking fable, and its beauty of 
characterization and language, it would undoubtedly have been 
mentioned by Meres if it had existed in 1 599. 

The ' Bartholomew Fair' of Ben Jonson was produced at the 
Hope Theatre in 1614; and it was performed by "the Lady 
Elizabeth's servants." It is stated by Malone that "it appears 
from MSS. of Mr. Vertue that ' The Tempest ' was acted by John 
Heminge and the rest of the King's company, before Prince 
Charles, the Lady Elizabeth, and the Prince Palatine Elector, in 
the beginning of the year 1613." This circumstance gives some 
warrant to the belief of the commentators that a passage in the 
Induction to ' Bartholomew ' is a sarcasm upon Shakspere : — 
" If there be never a servant-monster in the fair, who can help it, 
he says, nor a nest of antiques ? He is loth to make nature afraid 
in his plays, like those that beget tales, tempests, and such-like 
drolleries." GifFord has contended, arguing against the disposition 
of the commentators to charge Jonson with malignity, that the 
expressions servant-monster, and tales, tempests, and such-like 
drolleries, had reference to the popular puppet-shows which were 
especially called drolleries. The passage, however, still looks to 
us like a sly, though not ill-natured, allusion to Shakspere's 
Caliban, and his ' Winter's Tale,' and ' Tempest,' which were then 
popular acting plays. Mr. Hunter believes that in this passage 
Jonson does pointedly direct his satire against ' The Tempest ;' but 
he also maintains that Jonson does, in the same way, satirize ' The 
Tempest' in 1596, in the Prologue to 'Every Man in his Hu- 
mour :' — 

" He rather prays you will be pleas'd to see 
One such to-day, as other plays should be; 
Where ueither chorus wafts you o'er the seas, 
Nor creaking throne comes down the boys to please ; 
Nor nimble squib is seen to make afeard 
The gentlewomen ; nor roU'd bullet heard, 
To say, it thunders : nor tempestuous drum 
Rumbles, to tell you when the storm doth come." 

It is scarcely probable, if Jonson had meant to allude to 'The 
Tempest,' either in the Prologue or the Induction, that he would 
have been so wanting in materials for his dislike of the romantic 
drama in general as to select the same play for attack in works 
separated by an interval of eighteen years. The " creaking throne" 
Vol. IV. K 


ia, according to Mr. Hunter, the throne of Juno as she descends, in 
the mask ; the " nimble squib" is the lightning, and the " tem- 
pestuous drum" the thunder, of the first scene. Mr. Hunter adds 
that the last line of the Prologue, — 

" Vou that have so grac'd monsters may like men," — 
must allude to Caliban. Surely the term monsters, as opposed to 
men, must be a general designation of what Jonson believed to be 
unnatural in the romantic drama, as contrasted with the " image 
of the times " in comedy. But, if we must have real monsters, 
there were plenty to be found in the older plays. Gosson, in 1581, 
thus writes : — " Sometimes you shall see nothing but the adventures 
of an amorous knight, passing from country to country for the love 
of his lady, encountering many a terrible monster, made of brown 
paper, and at his return is so wonderfully changed that he cannot 
be known but by some posy in his tablet, or by a broken ring, or 
a handkerchief, or a piece of a cockle-shell." Sir Philip Sidney 
ridicules the appearance of ^^ & hideous monster with fire and smoke." 
Much older theatres than the Globe were furnished with their 
thunder and lightning. In 1572 John Izarde, according to an 
entry in the accounts of the revels at court, was paid for a device 
for " counterfeiting thunder and lightning."* It is as likely that 
thrones descended in other plays besides ' The Tempest,' as it is 
certain that in 'The Tempest' Juno descended with a classical 
fitness of which Jonson has given us many similar examples in his 
own masks. We can see nothing in these circumstances to connect 
the date of ' The Tempest ' with that of Ben Jonson's ' Every Man 
in his Humour.' 

The third point upon which Mr. Hunter relies for fixing the 
date of ' The Tempest ' as of 1 596 is deduced from the passage in 
the third act where Gonzalo laughs at the stories of " men whose 
heads stood in their breasts." Raleigh told this story, in his account 
of his voyage to Guiana, in 1595. (See Illustrations of ' Othello,' 
Act I.) To mention the matter here very briefly, Sliakspere makes 
Othello, not in a boasting or lying spirit, but wiUi the confiding 
belief that belonged to his own high nature, tell Desdemona of 

" The Anthropophagi, and men whose heads 
Do grow beneath their shoulders." 

Would Mr. Hunter contend that this second notice of " men whose 
heads do grow beneath their shoulders " fixes the date of ' Othello,^ 
as well as that of ' The Tempest,' in 1596? Such circumstances 

* Collier, < Annals of the Stage/ vol. iii., p. 370. 


are, as we have always contended, of the very slightest value. The 
argument may be put ingeniously and learnedly, as Mr. Hunter 
puts it ; or it may be rendered ludicrous, as Chalmers renders it. 
What, for example, can be more absurd than Chalmers'.s attempt to 
make us believe that, because the King of Naples is inconsolable 
for the supposed loss of Ferdinand, there is an allusion to the death 
of Prince Henry in 1612 ; that the line 

" Like poison given to work a great time after" 
plainly refers to the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury in the same 
year; and that a great storm which happened in January, 1613, 
" gave the appropriate name to this admirable drama" ? 

In the Illustrations of Act II. the reader will find an extract 
from the ' Essays' of Montaigne, as translated by Florio, which 
establishes beyond all possible doubt that the lines of Gonzalo, — 

" I' the commonwealth I would by contraries 
Execute all things," &c. — 

were founded upon this passage in Montaigne, and upon Florio's 
translation. That translation was not published before 1603. But 
portions of it had been seen in manuscript, says Mr. Hunter. Sir 
William Cornwallis mentions in his ' Essays ' that " divers of his 
pieces I have seen translated," and he describes Florio as the trans- 
lator. The 'Essays' of Cornwallis were not printed till 1600; but 
they, also, had been seen in manuscript ; and so Cornwallis might 
have written about "divers parts" of Florio's 'Montaigne' before 
1 596 ; and Shakspere might have read this identical part of Florio's 
'Montaigne' before 1596; and thus the dates both of Cornwallis's 
and Florio's books go for nothing in this inquiry. Is this evi- 
dence ? 

The date of Shakspere's ' Tempest ' has been a fertile subject for 
the exercise of critical conjecture. Malone writes a pamphlet of 
sixty pages upon it ; Chalmers another pamphlet somewhat longer. 
The first has been reprinted in Boswell's edition ; the other costs 
as much as a manuscript in the days before printing. It is worth 
the money, however, for a quiet laugh. The two critics differ very 
slightly in their opinions as to the date of the comedy ; but their 
proofs are essentially different. Malone contends for 1611, holding 
that " the storm by which Sir George Sommers was shipwrecked 
on the island of Bermuda, in 1609, unquestionably gave rise to 
Shakspeare's ' Tempest,' and suggested to him the title, as well as 
some incidents." The whole relation is contained in the additions 
to Stow's ' Annals' by Howes : — 

" In the year 1609 the Adventurers and Company of Virginia sent from I^AndoiA 

K 2 



a fleet of eight ships, with people to supply and make strong the colony in Virginia; 
Sir Thomas Gates being general, in a ship of 300 tons : in this ship was also Sir 
George Sommers, who was admiral, and Captain Newport, vice-admiral, and with 
them about 160 persons. '1 his ship was • Admiral,' and kept comjjany with the 
rest of the fleet to the height of 30 degrees ; and being then assembled to consult 
touching divers matters, they were surprised with a most extreme violent storm, 
which scattered the whole fleet, yet all the rest of the fleet bent their course for Vir- 
ginia, where, by God's special favour, they arrived safely; but this great ship, 
though new, and far stronger than any of the rest, fell into a great leak, so as 
mariners and passengers were forced, for three days' space, to do their utmost to save 
themselves from sudden sinking : but notwithstanding their incessant pumping, and 
casting out of water by buckets and all other means, yet the water covered all the 
goods within the hold, and all men were utterly tired, and s))ent in strength, and 
overcome with labour ; and hopeless of any succour, most of them were gone to 
sleep, yielding themselves to the mercy of the sea, being all very desirous to die 
upon any shore wheresoever. Sir George Sommers, silting at the stern, seeing the 
ship desperate of relief, looking every minute when the ship would sink, he espied 
land, which, according to his and Captain Newport's opinion, they judged it should 
be that dreadful coast of the Bermudas, which islands were, of all nations, said and 
supposed to be enchanted, and inhabited with witches and devils, which grew by 
reason of accustomed monstrous thunder-storm and temjjest near unto those islands; 
also fur that the wliole coast is so wonderous dangerous of rocks that few can approach 
them but with unspeakable hazard of shipwreck. Sir George Sommers, Sir Thomas 
Gates, Captain Newport, and the rest, suddenly agreed of two evils to choose the 
least, and so, in a kind of desperate resolution, directed the ship mainly for these 
islands, which, by God's divine providence, at a high water ran right between two 
strong rocks, where it stuck fast without breaking, which gave leisure and good 
opportunity for them to hoist out their boat, and to land all their people, as well 
sailors as soldiers and others, in good safety ; and being come ashore they were soon 
refreshed and cheered, the soil and air being most sweet and delicate." 

Here we have a storm, a wreck, the Bermudas, and an enchanted 
island ; and, in other descriptions of the same event, we have men- 
tion of a sea-monster. " Nothing can be more conclusive then," 
says Malone, " that the date of the play is fixed, with uncommon 
precision, between the end of the year 1610 and the autumn of 
1611." No, says Chalmers, the shipwreck of Sir George Sommers 
did suggest the incidents ; but Malone himself had admitted that 
there was a great tempest at home in 1612 j — "the author availed 
himself of a circumstance then fresh in the minds of his audience, 
by affixing a title to it which was more likely to excite curiosity 
than any other that he could have chosen, while, at the same time, 
it was sufficiently justified by the subject of the drama." " Now 
this tempest," says Chalmers, " happened at Christmas 1612; and 
80 the play could not have been written in the summer of 
1612." Surely all this is admirable fooling, which it is scarcely ne- 
cessary to say is put an end to by the certainty that the play existed 
in 1611. In such minute inquiries, all assuming that poetry is to be 
4ealt with by the same laws as chronology, or geography, or any 



other exact branch of knowledge, there can be nothing but perpetual 
mistake, and contradiction, and false inference. Chalmers, in some 
respects acute enough, has, through the indulgence of these propen- 
sities for making poetry literal, fallen into the mistake of imagining 
that Bermuda was the scene of 'The Tempest.' Mr. Hunter says, 
" No editor of Shakspeare has ever gone so far as to represent the 
island of Bermuda as actually the scene of this play ;" but he adds, 
" Chalmers has given some encouragement to this very prevalent 
mistake." Encouragement? He says, in his ' Apology,' and repeats 
the passage in his rare tract,* " Our maker showed great judgment 
in causing, by enchantment, the king's ship to he wrecked on the 
still-vex' d Bermoothes." Again, " Stephano became king of the 
still -vex'd Bermoothes." Lastly, in the ' Another Account,' — "If 
it be asked what circumstance it was which induced our dramatist 
to think of Bermudas, in 1613, as the scene of his comedy, the an- 
swer must be that the Bermudas, which had been considered, ever 
since the publication, in 1596, of Sir Walter Raleigh's description 
of Guiana, as a ' hellish sea for thunder, lightning, and storms,' was 
first planted, in 1612, by a ship called the Plough, from the 
Thames, which carried out a colony of a hundred and sixty per- 
sons." The nonsense of this notion is self-evident. If the Bermu- 
das were the scene, Ariel must have outdone himself to convey " the 
rest of the fleet" over the Atlantic, to place them " upon the Medi- 
terranean flote;" and, on the contrary, he would have been a mere 
human carrier if he had been called up from one " deep nook" of the 
island " to fetch dew" from some other part. This will not quite 
fit. And so we must resort to another geographical system. Mr. 
Hunter has discovered "another island," which he thus intro- 
duces : — " I must do the old critics the justice to say that, till this 
discovery (such I may call it), no island, as far as I know, had a 
better claim to be regarded as the island of Prospero than Ber- 
muda." That island is Lampedusa. " Did we not know," he con- 
tinues, " how much still remains to be done in the criticism of these 
plays, it would be scarcely credible that no one seems to have 
thought of tracing the line of Alonso's track, or of speculating, 
with the map before him, on the island on which Prospero and Mi- 
randa may be supposed to have been cast." Lampedusa is the 
island : " It lies midway between Malta and the African coast ;" — 
" in its dimensions Lampedusa is what we may imagine Prospero's 
island to have been ; in circuit thirteen miles and a half;" — it is 
" situated in a stormy sea ;" — it is " a deserted island;" it has the 
* ' Another Account of the Incidents,' &c.. 1815. 


reputation of " being enchanted." Can anything be more deci- 
sive ? " What I contend for is the absolute claim of Lampedusa to 
have been the island in the poet's mind when he drew the scenes of 
this drama." The matter, according to Mr. Hunter, is beyond all 
doubt. " In the rocks of Lampedusa there are hollows ;" — Caliban 
is stied in the "hard rock:" in Lampedusa there was a hermit's 
cell — " this cell is surely the origin of the cell of Prospero :" Cali- 
ban's employment was collecting firewood ; — " Malta is supplied 
with firewood from Lampedusa." Mr. Hunter asks his friend 
" whether you would think me presumptuous in requiring that in 
future editions of these plays there should be, in the accustomed 
place, at the foot of the dramatis personee, the words 

'Scene, Lampedusa.'" 

We have not so determined the scene. We believe that the poet 
had no locality whatever in his mind, just as he had no notion of 
any particular storm. Tempests and enchanted islands are of the 
oldest materials of poetry. Mr. Hunter says Shakspere had Ari- 
osto's description of a storm in his mind. Who, we may ask, sug- 
gested to Ariosto his description ? Has any one fixed the date of 
Ariosto's storm ? Has not the poet described the poet's office ? — 

" The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, 
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven, 
And, as imagination bodies forth 
The form* of thingt unknown, the poet's pen 
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing 
A local habitation and a name." 

Franz Horn asks whether Prospero left Caliban to govern the 
island ? We believe the island sunk into the sea, and was no more 
seen, after Prospero broke his staff and drowned his book. 


There is a very curious story told by Warton, of poor Collins in- 
forming him, during his mental aberration, that he had seen a 
romance which contained the story of 'The Tempest.' — 

" I was informed by the late Mr. Collins, of Chichester, that Shakspeare's ' Tem- 
pest,' for which no origin is yet assigned, was founded on a romance called ' Amelia 
and Isabella,' printed in Italian, Sjianish, French, and English, in 1588. But though 
this information has not proved true on examination, a useful conclusion may be 
drawn from it, that Shakspeare's story is somewhere to be found in an Italian novel ; 
at least, that the story preceded Sbakspeare. Mr. Collins had searched tliis subject 
with no less fidelity than judgment and industry ; but his memory failing in his 
last calamitous indisposition, he probably gave me the name of one novel for 



another. I remember he added a circumstance which may lead to a discovery, that 
the principal character of the romance answering to Shakspeare's ' Prospero ' was a 
chemical necromancer, who had bound a spirit like Ariel to obey his call and per- 
form his services.'' 

Mr. Thorns, in a very interesting paper on the ' Early English 
and German Dramas,'* has given, from Tieck, an account of certain 
early productions of English dramatists which were translated into 
German about the year 1600. We cannot here enter into the very 
curious question whether an English company performed English 
plays in Germany at that period ; but it is quite certain that some 
of our earliest dramas were either translated or adapted for the 
German stage at this early period. Jacob Ayrer, a notary of Nu- 
remburg, was the author of thirty dramas, in the beginning of the 
seventeenth century. Some are clearly derived from English 
models ; and Mr. Thoms thinks that an old play, on which Shak- 
spere founded ' The Tempest,' is translated in Ayrer's works, pub- 
lished in 1618. 

" ' The origin of the plot of " The Tempest" is for the present a Shakspearian 
mystery,' are the words of our friend Mr. Hunter, in his learned and interesting dissert- 
ation upon that play. That mystery, however, I consider as solved, — Tieck appears 
to entertain no doubt upon the subject, — and I hope to bring the matter before you 
in such a manner as will satisfy you of the correctness of Tieck's views in this 
respect. But to the point. Shakspeare unquestionably derived his idea of ' The 
Tempest' from an earlier drama, now not known to exist, but of which a German 
version is preserved in Ayrer's play, entitled 'Die Schone Sidea' (The Beautiful 
Sidea); and the proof of this fact is to be found in the points of resemblance 
between the two plays, which are far too striking and peculiar to be the result of 

" It is true that the scene in which Ayrer's play is laid, and the names of the per- 
sonages, differ from those of * The Tempest;' but the main incidents of the two 
plays are all but identically the same. For instance, in the Grerman drama, Prince 
Ltidolph and Prince Leudegast supply the places of Prospero and Alonso. Lu- 
dolph, like Prospero, is a magician, and like him has an only daughter, Sidea — the 
Miranda of 'The Tempest' — and an attendant spirit, Runcifal, who, though not 
strictly resembling either Ariel or Caliban, may well be considered as the primary 
type which suggested to the nimble fancy of our great dramatist those strongly yet 
admirably contrasted beings. Shortly after the commencement of the play, Lu- 
dolph, having been vanquished by his rival, and with his daughter Sidea driven into 
a forest, rebukes her for complaining of their change of fortune, and then summons 
his spirit Runcifal to learn from him their future destiny, and prospects of revenge. 
Runcifal, who is, like Ariel, somewhat ' moody,' announces to Ludolph that the son 
of his enemy will shortly become his prisoner. After a comic episode, most proba- 
bly introduced by the German, we see Prince Leudegast, with his son Engelbrecht 
— the Ferdinand of 'The Tempest' — and the councillors, hunting in the same forest; 
when Engelbrecht and his companion Famulus, having separated from their asso- 
ciates, are suddenly encountered by Ludolph and his daughter. He commands 

"' New Monthly Magazine, January 1, ISil. 


them to yield themselves prisoners — they refuse, and try to draw their swords, when, 
as Prospero tells Ferdinand, 

' I can here disarm thee with this stick, 
And make thy weapon drop,' 
so Ludolph, with his wand, keeps their swords in their scabbards, paralyses Engel- 
brecht, and makes him confess his 

' Nerves are in their infancy again, 
And have no vigour in tliem,' 
and, when he has done so, gives him over as a slave to Sidea, to carry logs for her. 

" Tlie resemblance between this scene and the parallel scene in ' The Tempest' is 
rendered sHll more striking in a late part of the play, when Sidea, moved by pity 
for the labours of Engelbrecht, in carryhig logs, declares to him, 

' I am your wife, if you will marry me,' 
an event which, in the end, is happily brought about, and leads to the reconcilia- 
tion of their parents, the rival princes." 

This is a subject so curious in itself that we shall have to inves- 
tigate it fully on some future occasion. In the mean time it 
appears not the least extraordinary circumstance in this extraordi- 
nary question of literary history, that Ayrer did not translate some 
of Shakspere's own works, particularly those which existed in 
printed copies. Shakspere, according to Eschenburg, was not 
known in Germany, as far as can be collected from any mention in 
books, till nearly the close of the 17th century. — 

" The first German author who has given a thought to Shakspere is perhaps 
Morhof, whose 'Instructions in the German Language' was first printed in 1682. 
Towards the end of the fourth chapter, ' On the Poetry of the English,' he is merely 
named, and Morhof acknowledges that he had himself seen nothing of his, or of 
Beaumont and Fletcher's. Not very long afterwards, Benthem, our poet, mentions 
him in his ' State of the English Schools and Churches,' in chap, xix., among the 
leading literary characters of England. But all he says of him, and that perhaps 
only for the first time, in the second edition, is the following, which is droll enough : 
'William Shakspeare was bom at Stratford in Warwickshire; his learning was very 
little, and therefore it is the more a matter of wonder that he should be a vwy 
excellent poet. He had an ingenious and witty mind, full of fun; and was so suc- 
cessful both in tragedy and cuinedy, that he could move a Heraclitus to laughter, 
and a Democritus to tears.' "" * 

The action of this play gives us no hint as to a period in which it 
may be imagined to have occurred. The King of Naples and a 
tributary Duke of Milan are returning from Tunis, whither they 
have been to celebrate a marriage between " the (Neapolitan) 
king's fair daughter Claribel " and the King of Tunis. They are 

* Johan Joachim Eschenburg, ilber W. Shakspeare, new edit., Zurich, 1806, 
p. 497. 



wrecked at the command of Prospero, by the agency of Ariel, who, 
however, informs his master that there is " on their sustaining gar- 
ments not a blemish, but fresher than before." By this ingenious 
contrivance the usual stage absurdity of persons who have been 
immersed in either salt or fresh water appearing with their gar- 
ments as bright and dry as if just out of a tailor's shop is avoided, 
and the remark of Gonzalo, that their " garments, being, as they 
were, drenched in the sea, hold, notwithstanding, their freshness 
and glosses; being rather new dyed than stained with salt water," 
is rationally accounted for. That these garments should also be 
magnificent state dresses is pointed out by the next speech of Gon- 
zalo, who therein describes them as having been first put on " in 
Afric, at the marriage of the king's fair daughter" aforesaid. With 
these hints we leave the artist to select any Italian costume he may 
consider most picturesque previous to the commencement of the 
nth century : but we should recommend a glance at that given in 
our notice prefixed to ' The Two Gentlemen of Verona.' 

'^i^c^^^J^^f^^ ^-^^^^^^^W". 



[Act I. 

[" On the bat's back."] 


SCENE I. — On a Ship at Sea. A Storm, with Thunder and 


Enter a Ship-master and a Boatswain. 

Master. Boatswain, — ' 
Boats. Here, masted : What cheer ? 

Master. Good : Speak to the mariners : fall to 't yarely," 
or we run ourselves aground : bestir, bestir. [^Exit. 

Enter Mariners. 

Boats. Heigh, my hearts ; cheerly, cheerly, my hearts ; 
yare, yare : Take in the topsail : Tend to the master's whis- 
tle. — Blow till thou burst thy wind,** if room enough ! 

» Yarely, the adverb of yare, quick, ready. Yare is used several times by Shak- 
spere as a sea-term (which it was), but not exclusively so. 
* Steevens would read, " Blow till «hou burst thee, wind." 

Scene!.] THE TEMPEST. 139 

Enter Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Ferdinand, Gon- 
ZALO, and others. 

Alon. Good boats^wain, have care. Where 's the master ? 
Play the men.* 

Boats. I pray now, keep below. 

Ant. Where is the master, boson ? ^ 

Boats. Do you not hear him ? You mar our labour : Keep 
your cabins: You do assist the storm. 

Gon. Nay, good, be patient. 
- Boats. When the sea is. Hence ! What care these roarers 
for the name of king ? To cabin : silence ; trouble us not. 

Gon. Good ; yet remember whom thou hast aboard. 

Boats. None that I more love than myself. You are a 
counsellor; if you can command these elements to silence, 
and work the peace of the present, we will not hand a rope 
more ; use your authority. If you cannot, give thanks you 
have lived so long, and make yourself ready in your cabin 
for the mischance of the hour, if it so hap. — Cheerly, good 
hearts. — Out of our way, I say. \_Exit. 

Gon. I have great comfort from this fellow : methinks he 
hath no drowning mark upon him ; his complexion is perfect 
gallows. Stand fast, good fate, to his hanging ! make the 
rope of his destiny our cable, for our own doth little advan- 
tage ! If he be not bom to be hanged our case is miserable. 

Re-enter Boatswain. 

Boats. Down with the topmast ; * yare ; lower, lower ; bring 
her to try with main-course. [A cry within.^ A plague 
upon this howling ! they are louder than the weather, or our *^ 
office. — 

* Behave like men. So in our translation of the Bible, 2 Sam. x. 12, " Let us 
play the men for our people." 

** In the first edition (1623) Antonio here uses the sailor's word boson, instead of 
the more correct " boatswain," which is put in the mouth of the King of Naples. 
The modem editors have made no distinction ; although the language of the king, 
throughout the play, is grave and dignified, and that of the usurping duke, for the 
most part, flippant and familiar. The variation in the first edition could scarcely 
be accidental. 

*= Or ottr. Steevens changes this into to your. He would make the boatswain 

140 THE TEMPEST. [Act 1. 

Re-enter Sebastian, Antonio, and Gonzalo. 

Yet again ? what do you here ? Shall we give o'er and drown ? 
Have you a mind to sink ? 

aS^6. a pox o' your throat ! you bawling, blasphemous, in 
charitable dog ! 

Boats. Work you, then. 

Aht. Hang, cur, hang! you whoreson, insolent noise- 
liiaker, we are less afraid to be drowned than thou art. 

Gon. I '11 warrant him for' drowning; though the ship 
were no stronger than a nut-shell, and as leaky as an un- 
stanched wench. 

Boats. Lay her a-hold, a-hold : set her two courses ; ^ off 
to sea again ; lay her off. • 

Enter Mariners, wet. 

Mar. All lost! to prayers, to prayers ! all lost ! [Exeimt. 

Boats. What, must our mouths be cold? 

Gon. The king and prince at prayers ! let us assist them. 
For our case is as theirs. 

Seb. I am out of patience. 

Ant. We are merely •= cheated of our lives by drunkards. — 
This wide-chopp'd rascal ; — 'Would thou mightst lie drown- 
The washing of ten tides ! 

Gon. He '11 be hang'd yet ; 

Though every drop of water swear against it, 
And gape at wid'st to glut** him. 

[A confused noise within. "l — Mercy on us! 
We split, we split ! — Farewell, my wife and children ! 
Farewell, brother I We split, we split, we split I — • 

say to your office, as if this were nautical language. Our office is here used in the 
sense of our business, which was essentially noisy. 

* For. Steevens reads yVo»j. For drowning is on account of drowning. 

*" We follow the punctuation of Lord Mulgrave. Steevens has, tet her two course* 
off. Captain Glascock also objects to this ordinary punctuation ; and explains 
" that the ship's head is to be put leeward, and that the vessel is to be drawn off the 
land under that canvass nautically denominated the two courses." 

* Merely — absolutely. 

^ To glut — to swallow. 

* These varioiu exclamation^ which are given to Gonxalo, should be considered, 

Scene II.] THE TEMPEST. 141 

Ant. Let 's all sink- with the king. [Exit. 

Seb. Let 's take leave of him. [Exit. 

Gon. Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an 
acre of barren ground ; long heath, brown furze/ anything : 
The wills above be done ! but I would fain die a dry death. 


SCENE ll.~The Island: before the Cell o/Prospero. 
Enter Prospero and Miranda. 

Mira. If by your art, my dearest father, you have 
Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them : 
The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch. 
But that the sea, mounting to the welkin's cheek. 
Dashes the fire out. O, I have suffer'd 
With those that I saw suffer ! a brave vessel. 
Who had no doubt some noble creature ^ in her, 
Dash'd all to pieces. O, the cry did knock 
Against my very heart ! Poor souls ! they perish'd. 
Had I been any god of power, I would 
Have sunk the sea within the earth, or e'er *= 
It should the good ship so have swallow 'd, and 
The fraughting ^ souls within her. 

Pro. Be collected ; 

No more amazement : tell your piteous heart. 
There 's no harm done. 

Mira. O, woe the day ! 

according to Johnson, to be spoken by no determinate characters. They form part 
of the " confused noise within." 

» Hanmer reads, " ling, heath, broom, furze." So in Harrison's ' Description of 
Britain,' prefixed to Holinshed, we find, •' Brome, heth, firze, brakes, whinnes, ling," 
— all characteristics of "barren ground." But " long heath '' and " brown furze " 
are quite intelligible, and are much more natural than an enumeration of many 
various wild plants. 

^ Creature. So the original ; but Theobald reads creatures, which is invariably 
followed. Miranda means to say that, in addition to those she saw suffer, — the 
" poor souls " that perished, — the common sailors, — there was no doubt some supe- 
rior person on board, — some nMe creature. 

" Or e'er — before — sooner than. So in Ecclesiastes, " Or ever the silver cord be 
loosed, or the golden bowl be broken." 

<■ Fj-aughting — constituting the fraught, or freight. The common reading is 

142 THE TEMPEST. [Act I. 

fVo. . No harm. 

I have done nothing but in care of thee, 
(Of thee, my dear one ! thee, my daughter !) who 
Art ignorant of what thou art, nought knowing 
Of whence I am ; nor that I am more better 
Than Prospero, master of a full poor cell. 
And thy no greater father. 

Mira. More to know 

Did never meddle with my thoughts. 

Pro. 'T is time 

I should inform thee farther. Lend thy hand. 
And pluck my magic garment from me. — So ; 

[Lays down his mantle. 
Lie there my art. — Wipe thou thine eyes ; have comfort. 
The direful spectacle of the wrack, which touch'd 
The very virtue of compassion in thee, 
I have with such provision in mine art 
So safely order'd, that there is no soul — 
No, not so much perdition as an hair. 
Betid to any creature in the vessel 
Which thou heard'st cry, which thou saw'st sink. Sit 

For thou must now know farther. 

Mira. You have often 

Begun to tell me what I am ; but stopp'd 
And left me to a bootless inquisition ; 
Concluding, " Stay, not yet." — 

IVo. The hour 's now come ; 

The very minute bids thee ope thine ear ; 
Obey, and be attentive. Canst thou remember 
A time before we came unto this cell ? 
I do not think thou canst ; for then thou wast not 
Out three years old.' 

Mira. Certainly, sir, I can. 

Pro. By what ? by any other house, or person ? 
Of anything the image tell me that 
Hath kept with thy remembrance. 

Mira. 'T is far oif ; 

* Quite three yeart old. 

Scene II.] , THE TEMPEST. 143 

And rather like a dream than an assurance 
That my remembrance warrants : Had I not 
Four or five women once that tended me ? 

Pro. Thou hadst, and more, Miranda : But how is it 
That this lives in thy mind ? What see'st thou else 
In the dark backward and abysm of time ? 
If thou remember'st aught ere thou cam'st here. 
How thou cam'st here thou mayst. 

Mira. But that I do not. 

Pro. Twelve year since, Miranda, twelve year ' since. 
Thy father was the duke of Milan, and 
A prince of power. 

Mira. Sir, are not you my father ? 

Pro. Thy mother was a piece of virtue, and 
She said thou wast my daughter ; and thy father 
Was duke of Milan ; and his only heir 
And princess no worse issued. '^ 

Mira. O, the heavens ! 

What foul play had we, that we came from thence ? 
Or blessed was 't we did ? 

Pro. Both, both, my girl ; 

By foul play, as thou say'st, were we heav'd thence ; 
But blessedly holp hither. 

Mira. O, my heart bleeds 

To think o' the teen "^ that I have tum'd you to. 
Which is from my remembrance ! Please you, farther. 

Pro. My brother, and thy uncle, call'd Antonio/ — 

" Twehe year — the reading of the folio ; not twelve years. 
'' The ordinary reading is, — 

« Thy father 
Was duke of Milan ; and his only heir 
A princess ; no worse issued." 
Without changing the original from and to a, our punctuation gives the meaning 
with suflBcient clearness. The semicolon, which is in the original, has produced 
the ambiguity. 
^ Teen — sorrow. 

^ Antonio. Mr. Hunter in his * Disquisition on the Tempest' says, " This is 
another instance of a slight deterioration of Shakespeare's exquisite melody by a 
useless alteration. A nice ear will be sensible at once that something is lost. 

' My brother, and thy uncle, call'd Anthonio.'' " 
Something is certainly lost — the h is lost. Throughout the play we have the spelling 
of .4nthonio ; but are we to understand that, in an age when the Italian language 

144 THE TEMPEST. [Act I. 

I pray thee mark me that a brother should 

Be so perfidious ; ' — he whom, next thyself. 

Of all the world I lov'd, and to him put 

The manage of my state, as, at that time. 

Through all the signiories it was the first. 

And Prosper© the prime duke, being so reputed 

In dignity ; and for the liberal arts 

Without a parallel : ^ those being all my study. 

The government I cast upon my brother. 

And to my state grew stranger, being transported. 

And rapt in secret studies. Thy false uncle — 

Dost thou attend me ? 

Mira. Sir, most heedfully. 

Pro. Being once perfected how to grant suits. 
How to deny them ; whom to advance, and whom 
To trash "^ for overtopping ; new created 

was as familiar as French is now, Shakspere meant the A to be pronounced f In 
< Anthony and Cleopatra,' indeed, the Latin name is Anglicised ; and it may be 
reasonably questioned whether the rhythm is not injured by the invariable modem 
use of Antony : but nevertheless are we to pronounce the A in the following line of 
the original edition, — 

" Is Caesar with Anthoniut priz'd so slight?" 
» This is ordinarily pointed, — 

" I pray thee mark me — that a brother should 
Be so perfidious !" 
•The reader will observe with what admirable skill such interjectional expressions as 
" Dost thou attend me?" — " Thou attend'st not," — "I pray thee, mark me," — are 
subsequently introduced, to break the long continuity of Prospero's narrative. But 
here, in the very beginning of his story, for Prospero to use a similar interruption 
quite unnecessarily is not an evidence of the same dramatic skill. He simply 
means here to say, — and the original punctuation warrants us in believing so, — I pray 
thee note how a brother could be so perfidious. 

^ The easy conversational flow of this narrative is amongst the finest things in the 
play. One idea grows out of the other without any very strict logical arrangement ; 
for Prospero speaks out of the fulness of his heart. We follow the punctuation of 
the original. Mr. Hunter would regulate the passage as follows : — 

" As, at that time, 
Though [of] all the seigiiories it was the first; 
And Pro8j)ero the prime duke ; (being so reputed 
In dignity;) and for the liberal arts 
Without a parallel." 
Though is the reading of the second folio. 

<= " A trath is a term still in use among hunters, to denote a piece of leather, 
couples, or any other weight, fastened round the neck of a dog, when his speed is 

Scene II.] THE TEMPEST. 145 

The creatures that were mine, I say, or chang'd them. 

Or else new form'd them ; having both the key 

Of officer and office, set all hearts i' th' state * 

To what tune pleas'd his ear ; that now he was 

The ivy which had hid my princely trunk. 

And suck'd my verdure out on 't. — Thou attend'st not. 

Mira. O good sir, I do. 

Pro. I pray thee, mark me. 

I thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated'' 
To closeness, and the bettering of my mind 
With that, which, but by being so retir'd, 
O'er-priz'd all popular rate, in my false brother 
Awak'd an evil jiature : and my trust. 
Like a good parent, did beget of him 
A falsehood, in its contrary as great 
As my trust was ; which had, indeed, no limit, 
A confidence sans bound. He being thus lorded. 
Not only with what my revenue yielded. 
But what my power might else exact, — ^like one 
Who having unto truth, by telling of it. 
Made such a sinner of his memory. 
To credit his own lie,*' — he did believe 
He was indeed ^ the duke ; out of the substitution. 
And executing the outward face of royalty. 
With all prerogative : — Hence his ambition growing, — 
Dost thou ® hear ? 

Mira. Your tale, sir, would cure deafness. 

Pro. To have no screen between this part he play'd. 
And him he play'd it for, he needs will be 

superior to the rest of the pack ; «'. e. when he overtops them, when he hunts too 
quick." This is a note, having the initial C, in Boswell's edition. Mr. Hunter 
gives us the same information. 

" /' tK state. Steevens omits these words of the original, being " redundant in 
regard to metre ;" and he asks, with a most knowing flippancy, " What hearts except 
such as were in the state could Antonio incline to his purpose ?" 

*> Dedicated. So the original ; the modem reading is dedicate. 

" This is an involved sentence ; but the meaning is perfectly clear — who having 
made such a sinner unto truth of his memory as to credit his own lie by telling 
of it. 

•' All modem editors, except Malone, omit indeed. 

« Thou is omitted in all modem editions. 

Vol. IV. L 




[Act I. 


Absolute Milan : Me, poor man ! my library 
Was dukedom large enough ; of temporal royalties 
He thinks me now incapable : confederates 
(So dry he was for sway) with the ' king of Naples, 
To give him annual tribute, do him homage ; 
Subject his coronet to his crown, and bend 
The dukedom, yet unbow'd, (alas, poor Milan !) 
To most ignoble stooping."^ 

Mira. O the heavens ! 

Pro. Mark his condition, and the event ; then tell me. 
If this might be a brother. 

Mira. I should sin 

To think but nobly of my grandmother : 
Good wombs have borne bad sons. 

Pro. Now the condition. 

This king of Naples, being an enemy 
To me inveterate, hearkens my brother's suit ; 
Which was, that he, in lieu <^ o' the premises 
Of homage,^ and I know not how much tribute. 
Should presently extirpate me and mine 
Out of the dukedom j and confer fair Milan, 
With all the honours, on my brother : Whereon, 
A treacherous army levied, one midnight 
Fated to the purpose, did Antonio open 
The gates of Milan ; and, i' the dead of darkness. 
The ministers for the purpose hurried thence 
Me, and thy crying self. 

' Mira. Alack, for pity ! 

I, not rememb'ring how I cried out then. 
Will cry it o'er again : it is a hint. 
That wrings mine eyes to 't.® 

Pro. Hear a little further. 

And then I '11 bring thee to the present business 

* The is omitted in the original. 

'' Mr. Hunter says " mott is an unauthorize<l substitution for much, the reading 
of the old copies." This is a mistake. Mott is the reading of the first folio ; much 
of the second. 

' In lieu — in consideration of — in exchange for. 

<* The premites of homage, &c. — the circumstances of homage premised. 

' To 'I is omitted in all popular editions. 

Scene II.] THE TEMPEST. 147 

Which now 's upon us ; without the which, this story 
Were most impertinent. 

Mira. Wherefore did they not 

That hour destroy us ? 

Pro. Well demanded, wench ; 

My tale provokes that question. Dear, they durst not 
(So dear the love my people bore me) nor set; 
A mark so bloody on the business ; but 
With colours fairer painted their foul ends. 
In few, they hurried us aboard a bark ; 
Bore us some leagues to sea ; where they prepar'd 
A rotten carcase of a butt,* not rigg'd. 
Nor tackle, sail, nor mast ; the very rats 
Instinctively have quit it : there they hoist us. 
To cry to the sea that roar'd to us ; to sigh 
To the winds, whose pity, sighing back again. 
Did us but loving wrong. 

Mira. Alack ! what trouble 

Was I then to you ! 

Pro. O ! a cherubim 

Thou wast that did preserve me ! Thou didst smile. 
Infused with a fortitude from heaven. 
When I have deckM ^ the sea with drops full salt ; 
Under my burthen groan'd ; which rais'd in me 
An undergoing stomach, to bear up 
Against what should ensue. 

Mira. How came we ashore ? 

Pro. By Providence divine," 
Some food we had, and some fresh water, that 

" Butt is the reading of the original copies. It is clear that we are not justified 
in adopting the modem substitution of boat. Whether the idea of a wine-butt was 
literally meant to be conveyed may be questionable ; but the word, as it stands in 
the original, gives us the notion of a vessel even more insecure than the most rotten 
boat. Mr. Hunter would adopt Butt, (which is the word of the first and second folios, 
and with a capital) upon "tlie great critical canon of the " Durior Lectio prceferenda.'''' 

^ Deck'd. In the glossary of the Craven dialect we find that to (leg is to sprinkle. 
Ray, in his catalogue of north-country words, refers us from deg to leek, which is 
interpreted "pour on." We cannot certainly receive deck'd in the usual sense of 
adorned. Its other meaning of covered still gives us a forced idea. 

' To Miranda's question of " How came we ashore ?" the modern editors make 
Prospero answer " By Providence divine;" but his entire narrative is the answer. 


148 THE TEMPEST. [Act I. 

A noble Neapolitan, Gonzalo, 

Out of his charity (who being then appointed 

Master of this design) did give us ; with 

Rich garments, linens, stuffs, and necessaries. 

Which since have steaded much ; so, of his gentleness. 

Knowing I lov'd my books, he fumish'd me. 

From mine own library, with volumes that 

I prize above my dukedom. 

Mira. 'Would I might 

But ever see that man ! 

/Vo. Now I arise : — 

Sit still, and hear the last of our sea-sorrow. 
Here in this island we arriv'd ; and here 
Have I, thy schoolmaster, made thee more profit 
Than other princess ' can, that have more time 
For vainer hours, and tutors not so careful. 

Mira. Heavens thank you for 't ! And now, I pray you, sir, 
(For still 't is beating in my mind,) your reason 
For raising this sea-storm? 

Pro. Know thus far forth. 

By accident most strange, bountiful Fortune, 
Now my dear lady,'' hath mine enemies 
Brought to this shore : and by my prescience 
I find my zenith doth depend upon 
A most auspicious star \ whose influence 
If now I court not, but omit, my fortunes 
Will ever after droop. — Here cease more questions ; 
Thou art inclin'd to sleep ; 't is a good dulness. 
And give it way ; — I know thou canst not choose. 

[Miranda sleeps. 
Come away, servant, come : I am ready now ; 
Approach, my Ariel ; come. 

Enter Ariel. 

.^477. All hail, great master ! grave sir, hail ! I come 
To answer thy best pleasure ; be 't to fly, 

• Princess. This is the reading of the original — " princesse." 
•> Now my dear lady. The antecedent is Fortune, now Prospero's bountiful 

Scene II.] THE TEMPEST. 149 

To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride 

On the curl'd clouds ; to thy strong bidding task 

Ariel, and all his quality. 

Pro. Hast thou, spirit, 

Perform'd to point the tempest that I bade thee ? 

Ari. To every article. 
I boarded the king's ship : now on the beak, 
,Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin, 
I flam'd amazement : Sometime I 'd divide 
And bum in many places ; on the topmast. 
The yards, and bowsprit, would I flame distinctly. 
Then meet, and join : Jove's lightnings, the precursors 
O' the dreadful thunder-claps, more momentary 
And sight-outrunning were not : The fire, and cracks 
Of sulphurous roaring, the most mighty Neptune 
Seem" to besiege, and make his bold waves tremble. 
Yea, his dread trident shake. 

Pro. My brave spirit ! 

Who was so firm, so constant, that this coil 
Would not infect his reason ? 

Ari. Not a soul 

But felt a fever of the mad, and play'd 
Some tricks of desperation : All but mariners 
Plung'd in the foaming brine, and quit the vessel. 
Then all a-fire with me : the king's son, Ferdinand, 
With hair up-staring, (then like reeds, not hair,) 
Was the first man that leap'd ; cried, " Hell is empty. 
And all the devils are here." 

Pro. Why, that 's my spirit ! 

But was not this nigh shore ? 

Ari. Close by, my master. 

Pro. But are they, Ariel, safe ? 

Ari. Not a hair perish'd ; 

On their sustaining garments not a blemish. 
But fresher than before : and, as thou bad'st me. 
In troops I have dispers'd them 'bout the isle : 

* Seem. So the original — in modem editions seem'd. Mr. Hunter observes that 
Shakspere's intention to realize the scene, by making the past present, is thus defeated 
by the intermeddling of hijudicious editors. 



The king's son have I landed by himself; 
Whom I left cooling of the air with sighs. 
In an odd angle of the isle, and sitting. 
His arms in this sad knot. 

Pro. Of the king's ship. 

The mariners, say, how thou hast dispos'd. 
And all the rest o' the fleet. 

Ari. Safely in harbour 

Is the king's ship ; in the deep nook, where once 
Thou call'dst me up at midnight to fetch dew 
From the still-vex'd Bermoothes, there she 's hid : 
The mariners all under hatches stow'd ; 
Whom, with a charm join'd to their suffer'd labour, 
I have left asleep : and for the rest o' the fleet. 
Which I dispers'd, they all have met again ; 
And are upon the Mediterranean flote. 
Bound sadly home for Naples ; 
Supposing that they saw the king's ship wrack'd. 
And his great person perish. 

iVo. Ariel, thy charge 

Exactly is perform'd ; but there 's more work : 
What is the time o' the day ? 

Ari. Past the mid season. 

Pro. At least two glasses : The time 'twixt six and now 
Must by us both be spent most preciously. 

Ari. Is there more toil ? Since thou dost give me pains. 
Let me remember thee what thou hast promis'd. 
Which is not yet perform'd me. 

Pro. How now ? moody ? 

What is 't thou canst demand ? 

Ari. My liberty. 

Pro. Before the time be out ? no more.* 

Ari. I prithee 

Remember, I have done thee worthy service ; 
Told thee no lies, made thee*" no mistakings, serv'd 
Without or grudge, or grumblings : thou didst promise 
To bate me a full year. 

" No more. We understand this, — say no more. 
'' Thee is omitted by Steeveiu. 

Scene II.] THE TEMPEST. 151 

Pro. Dost thou forget 

From what a torment I did free thee ? 

Ari. No. 

Pro. Thou dost ; and think'st it much to tread the ooze 
Of the salt deep ; 

To run upon the sharp wind of the north ; 
To do me business in the veins o' the earth. 
When it is bak'd with frost. 

Ari. I do not, sir. 

Pro. Thou liest, malignant thing ! Hast thou forgot 
The foul witch Sycorax, who, with age and envy. 
Was grown into a hoop ? hast thou forgot her ? 

Ari. No, sir. 

Pro. Thou hast : Where was she bom ? speak ; tell me. 

Ari. Sir, in Argier. 

Pro. O, was she so? I must. 

Once in a month, recount what thou hast been. 
Which thou forgett'st. This damn'd witch, Sycorax, 
For mischiefs manifold, and sorceries terrible 
To enter human hearing, from Argier, 
Thou know'st, was banish'd ; for one thing she did 
They would not take her life : Is not this true ? 

Ari. Ay, sir. 

Pro. This blue-eyed hag was hither brought with child. 
And here was left by the sailors : Thou, my slave. 
As thou report'st thyself, wast then her servant : 
And, for thou wast a spirit too delicate 
To act her earthy and abhorr'd commands. 
Refusing her grand bests, she did confine thee. 
By help of her more potent ministers. 
And in her most unmitigable rage. 
Into a cloven pine ; within which rift 
Imprison'd, thou didst painfully remain 
A dozen years, within which space she died. 
And left thee there ; where thou didst vent thy groans. 
As fast as mill-wheels strike : Then was this island 
(Save for the son that she did litter here, 
A freckled whelp, hag-bom) not honour'd with 
A human shape. 

152 THE TEMPEST. [Act I. 

Ari. Yes ; Caliban her son. 

Pro. Dull thing, I say so ; he, that Caliban, 
Whom now I keep in service. Thou best know'st 
What torment I did find thee in : thy groans 
Did make wolves howl, and penetrate the breasts 
Of ever-angry bears : it was a torment 
To lay upon the damn'd, which Sycorax 
Could not again undo ; it was mine art. 
When I arriv'd, and heard thee, that made gape 
The pine, and let thee out. 

Ari. I thank thee, master. 

Pro. If thou more murmur'st, I will rend an oak. 
And peg thee in his knotty entrails, till 
Thou hast howl'd away twelve winters. 
■ Ari. Pardon, master : 

I will be correspondent to command. 
And do my spriting gently. 

JVo. Do so ; and after two days 

I will discharge thee. 

Ari. That 's my noble master ! 

What shall I do ? say what : what shall I do ? 

Pro. Go make thyself like a nymph o' the sea ; * 
Be subject to no sight but thine and mine ; ^ invisible 
To every eyeball else. Go, take this shape. 
And hither come in 't : go, hence, with diligence. [Exit Ari. 
Awake, dear heart, awake ! thou hast slept well ; 
Awake ! 

Mira. The strangeness of your story put 
Heaviness in me. 

JV-o. Shake it off: Come on ; 

We '11 visit Caliban, my slave, who never 
Yields us kind answer. 

Mira. 'T is a villain, sir, 

I do not love to look on. 

Pro. But, as 't is. 

We cannot miss him : he does make our fire. 
Fetch in our wood, and serves in offices 

■ The second folio reads " to a nymph of the sea." 
*■ Steevens omits thine and. 


Scene II.] THE TEMPEST. 153 

That profit us. What ho ! slave ! Caliban ! 
Thou earth, thou ! speak. 

Cal. [Within.] There 's wood enough within. 

Pro. Come forth, I say ; there 's other business for thee : 
Come, thou tortoise ! when ! " 

Re-enter Ariel, like a water-nymph. 

Fine apparition ! My quaint Ariel, 
Hark in thine ear. 

Ari. My lord, it shall be done. [Exit. 

Pro. Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself 
Upon thy wicked dam, come forth ! 

Enter Caliban. 

Cal. As wicked dew as e'er my mother brush'd 
With raven's feather from unwholesome fen. 
Drop on you both ! a south-west blow on ye. 
And blister you all o'er. 

Pro. For this, be sure, to-night thou shalt have cramps. 
Side-stitches that shall pen thy breath up ; urchins 
Shall, for that vast of night ^ that they may work. 
All exercise on thee : thou shalt be pinch'd 
As thick as honeycomb, each pinch more stinging 
Than bees that made them. 

Cal. I must eat my dinner. 

This island '^s mine, by Sycorax my mother. 
Which thou tak'st from me. When thou camest first. 
Thou strok'dst me, and mad'st much of me ; wouldst give me 
Water with berries in 't ; and teach me how 
To name the bigger light, and how the less. 
That burn by day and night : and then I lov'd thee. 
And show'd thee all the qualities o' the isle. 
The fresh springs, brine-pits, barren place, and fertile j 
Cursed be I that did so ! — All the charms 
Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you ! 

* When — an expression of great impatience. 
^ Fast of night. In ' Hamlet' we have 

" In the dead waste and middle of the night." 
The quarto edition of ' Hamlet,' 1603, reads dead vast. 

154 THE TEMPEST. [Act I. 

For I am all the subjects that you have. 
Which first was mine own king ; and here you sty me 
In this hard rock, whiles you do keep from me 
The rest of the island. 

Pro. Thou most lying slave. 

Whom stripes may move, not kindness : I have us'd thee. 
Filth as thou art, with human care ; and lodg'd thee 
In mine own cell, till thou didst seek to violate 
The honour of my child. 

Cal. O ho, O ho! — 'would it had been done! 
Thou didst prevent me ; I had peopled else 
This isle with Calibans. 

Pro. Abhorred slave ; 

Which any print of goodness will not take. 
Being capable of all ill ! I pitied thee. 
Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour 
One thing or other ; when thou didst not, savage. 
Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like 
A thing most brutish, I endow'd thy purposes 
With words that made them known : But thy vile race. 
Though thou didst learn, had that in 't which good natures 
Could not abide to be with ; therefore wast thou 
Deservedly confin'd into this rock. 
Who hadst deserv'd more than a prison. 

Cal. You taught me language ; and my profit on 't 
Is, I know how to curse : the red plague rid you. 
For learning me your language ! 

Pro. Hag-seed, hence ! 

Fetch us in fuel ; and be quick, thou wert best. 
To answer other business. Shrugg'st thou, malice ? 
If thou neglect'st, or dost unwillingly 
What I command, I '11 rack thee with old cramps ; 
Fill all thy bones with aches ; make thee roar 
That beasts shall tremble at thy din. 

Cal. No, pray thee ! — 

I must obey : his art is of such power, [Aside. 

It would control my dam's god, Setebos, 
And make a vassal of him. 

Pro. So, slave ; hence ! [Exit Cal. 

Scene II.] THE TEMPEST. 155 

Re-enter Ariel invisible, playing and dnging ; Ferdinand 
following him. 

Ariel's Song. 

Come unto these yellow sands. 

And then take hands : 
Courtsied when you have, and kiss'd 

The wild waves whist, 
Foot it featly here and there ; * 

And, sweet sprites, the burthen bear. 
But. Hark, hark ! Bowgh, wowgh. 

The watch- dogs bark : 
Bowgh, wowgh. [dispersed^/. 

Art. Hark, hark! I hear 

The strain of strutting chanticleer 
Cry, Cock-a-doodle-doo.'» 

Fer. Where should this music be ? i' the air, or the earth ? 
It sounds no more : — and sure it waits upon 
Some god of the island. Sitting on a bank. 
Weeping again the king my father's wrack. 
This music crept by me upon the waters ; 
Allaying both their fury, and my passion. 
With its sweet air ; thence I have follow'd it. 
Or it hath drawn me rather : — But 't is gone. 
No, it begins again. 

Ariel sings. 

Full fathom five thy father lies ; 

Of his bones are coral made ; 
Those are pearls that were his eyes : 

Nothing of him that doth fade. 

* We follow the punctuation of the original. In all modem editions the passage 
stands thus : — 

" Courtsied when you have, and kiss'd, 
(The wild waves whist) 
Foot it featly here and there." 
Steevens explains the line in parenthesis as the wild waves being silent. But the 
original punctuation may allow us to interpret the passage thus : When you have 
courtesied to the wild waves, and kissed them into silence, 
" Foot it featly here and there," 
^ We print the burden, also, as in the original. The modem editors, contrary to 
this, give the first " Hark, hark !" to Ariel ; and there make his song terminate : 
whereas the three last lines give us again the voice of the delicate spirit. 

156 THE TEMPEST. [Act I. 

But doth suffer a sea-chatige 
Into something rich and strange. 
Sea-nymphs hotirly ring bis knell : 

[^Burthen, ding-dong. 
Hark ! now I bear them, — ding-dong, bell.* 

Fer. The ditty does remember my drown'd father : — 
This is no mortal business, nor no sound 
That the earth owes : — I hear it now above me. 

Pro. The fringed curtains of thine eye advance. 
And say, what thou seest yond'. 

Mir a. What is 't? a spirit ? 

Lord, how it looks about ! Believe me, sir. 
It carries a brave form : — But 't is a spirit. 

Pro. No, wench ; it eats, and sleeps, and hath such senses 
As we have, such : This gallant, which thou seest. 
Was in the wrack ; and but he 's something stain'd 
With grief, that 's beauty's canker, thou mightst call him 
A goodly person : he hath lost his fellows. 
And strays about to find them. 

Mira. I might call him 

A thing divine ; for nothing natural 
I ever saw so noble. 

Pro. It goes on, I see, [Aside. 

As my soul prompts it : — Spirit, fine spirit ! I '11 free thee 
Within two days for this. 

Fer. Most sure, the goddess 

On whom these airs attend ! — Vouchsafe my prayer 
May know if you remain upon this island ; 
And that you will some good instruction give. 
How I may bear me here : My prime request. 
Which I do last pronounce, is, O you wonder ! 
If you be maid '' or no ? 

' We bave here an absurd corruption of the text by the modem editors. When 
Ariel sings 

" Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell," 

the burden comes in " ding-dong;" and then Ariel again sings 
" Hark ! now I hear them,^-ding-dong, bell." 
The modem editors transpose the lines, and make the burden a mere chorus to 
Ariel's song. 

•• Maid. The fourth folio substituted made, which has since kept its place in 
many editions, amidst endless controversy. We follow the reading of the original. 

Scene II.] THE TEMPEST. 157 

Mira. No wonder, sir ; 

But certainly a maid. 

Fer. My language ! heavens ! — 

I am the best of them that speak this speech. 
Were I but where 't is spoken. 

Pro. How ! the best ? 

What wert thou, if the king of Naples heard thee ? 

Fer. A single thing, as I am now, that wonders 
To hear thee speak of Naples : He does hear me ; 
And that he does I weep : myself am Naples ; 
Who with mine eyes, never since at ebb, beheld 
The king my father wrack'd. 

Mira. Alack, for mercy ! 

Fer. Yes, faith, and all his lords -, the duke of Milan, 
And his brave son, being twain. 

Pro. The duke of Milan, 

And his more braver daughter, could control thee. 
If now 't were fit to do 't : — At the first sight [Aside. 

They have chang'd eyes : — Delicate Ariel, 
I '11 set thee free for this ! — A word, good sir ; 
I fear you have done yourself some wrong : a word. 

Mira. Why speaks my father so ungently ? This 
Is the third man that e'er I saw ; the first 
That e'er I sigh'd for : pity move my father 
To be inclin'd my way ! 

Fer. O, if a virgin. 

And your afiection not gone forth, I '11 make you 
The queen of Naples. 

Pro. Soft, sir! one word more. — 

They are both in cither's powers ; but this swift business 
I must uneasy make, lest too light winning [Aside. 

Make the prize light. — One word more ; I charge thee. 
That thou attend me : thou dost here usurp 
The name thou ow'st not ; and hast put thyself 
Upon this island, as a spy, to win it 
From me, the lord on 't. 

Fer. No, as I am a man. 

Mira. There 's nothing ill can dwell in such a temple : 

158 THE TEMPEST. [Act I. 

If the ill spirit have so fair a house. 
Good things will strive to dwell with 't. 

Pro. Follow me. — [To Ferd. 

Speak not you for him ; he 's a traitor. — Come. 
I '11 manacle thy neck and feet together :» 
Sea-water shalt thou drink, thy food shall be 
The fresh-brook muscles, wither'd roots, and husks 
Wherein the acorn cradled : Follow. 

Fer. No; 

I will resist such entertainment, till 
Mine enemy has more power. 

[He draws, and is charmed from moving ^ 

Mira. O dear father. 

Make not too rash a trial of him, for 
He 's gentle,** and not fearful. 

Pro. What, I say. 

My foot my tutor! Put thy sword up, traitor; 
Who mak'st a show, but dar'st not strike, thy conscience 
Is so possess'd with guilt : come from thy ward ; 
For I can here disarm thee with this stick. 
And make thy weapon drop. 

Mira. Beseech you, father ! 

Pro. Hence ; hang not on my garments. 

Mira. Sir, have pity ; 

I '11 be his surety. 

Pro. Silence ! one word more 

Shall make me chide thee, if not hate thee. What ! 
An advocate for an impostor ! hu^h ! 
Thou think'st there are no more such shapes as he. 
Having seen but him and Caliban : Foolish wench ! 
To the most of men this is a Caliban, 
And they to him are angels. 

Mira. . My affections 

Are then most humble ; I have no ambition 
To see a goodlier man. 

" This is the original siage-direction. 

^ Smollett suggested that gentle has here the sense of high-boni, noble ; aud 
therefore courageous. 

Scene II.] THE TEMPEST. 159 

Pro. Come on; obey: .\To Ferd. 

Thy nerves are in their infancy again. 
And have no vigour in them. 

Fer. So they are: 

My spirits, as in a dream, are all bound up. 
My father's loss, the weakness which I feel. 
The wrack of all my friends, or this man's threats. 
To whom I am subdued, are but light to me. 
Might I but through my prison once a day 
Behold this maid : all corners else o' the earth 
Let liberty make use of; space enough 
Have I in such a prison. 

Pro. It works : — Come on. — 

Thou hast done well, fine Ariel ! — Follow me. — 

[To Ferd. and Mir. 
Hark, what thou else shalt do me. [To Ariel. 

Mira. Be of comfort; 

My father 's of a better nature, sir. 
Than he appears by speech ; this is unwonted. 
Which now came from him. 

Pro. Thou shalt be as free 

As mountain winds : but then exactly do 
All points of my command. 

Ari. To the syllable. 

Pro. Come, follow : speak not for him. [Exeunt. 




* Scene L — " Boatswain,'' &c. 

Upon this scene Dr. Johnson has the following remark : — " In this naval dialogue, 
perhaps the first example of sailors' language exhibited on the stage, there are, as I 
have been told by a skilful navigator, some inaccuracies and contradictory orders." 
Malone, in reply to this, very properly pointed out that the orders should be consi- 
dered as given not at once, but successively, as the emergency required. In Bos- 
well's edition we have a highly valuable communication from the second Lord 
Mulgrave, showing most conclusively that Shakspere's technical knowledge of 
seamanship must have been the result of the most accurate personal observation, or, 
what is perhaps more difficult, of the power of combining and applying the inform- 
ation derived from others. Lord Mulgrave supposes Shakspere must have acquired 
this technical knowledge "by conversation with some of the most skilful seamen of 
that time." He adds, " no books had then been published on the subject." Lord 
Mulgrave then exhibits the ship in five positions, showing how strictly the words of 
the dialogue represent these. We transcribe tlie general observations by which these 
technical illustrations are Introduced : — 

" The succession of events is strictly observed In the natural progress of the dis- 
tress described ; the expedients adopted are the most proper that could have been 
devised for a chance of safety ; and it is neither to the want of skill of the seamen 
nor the bad qualities of the ship, but solely to the power of Prospero, that the ship- 
wreck is to be attributed. 

" The words of command are not only strictly proper, but are only such as point 
the object to be attained, and no superfluous ones of detail. Shakspeare's ship was 
too well manned to make it necessary to tell the seamen how they were to do it, as 
well as what they were to do. 

" He hat shown a knowledge of the new improvements, as well as tlie doubtful 


poiuts of seamanship : one of the latter he has hitroduced under the only circum- 
stauces in which it was indisputable,'' 

Mr. Campbell gives the testimony of Captain Glascock, R.N., to the correctness 
of Shakspere in nautical matters : — " The Boatswain in ' The Tempest ' delivers 
himself in the true vernacular style of the forecastle." 

* Scene I. — " Down with the topmast.'''' 

Lord Mulgrave has the following note on this direction : — " The striking the top- 
masts was a new invention in Shaksjieare's time, which he here very properly intro- 
duces. Sir Henry Manwaring says, ' It is not yet agreed amongst all seamen whe- 
ther it is better for a ship to hull with her topmast up or down.' In the Postscript 
to the Dictionary he afterwards gives his own opinion : — ' If you have sea-room it 
is never good to strike the topmast.' Shakspeare has placed his ship in the situation 
in which it was indisputably right to strike tlie topmast — where he had not sea- 

* Scene II. — /'// manacle thy neck and feet together. '" 

We have given an engraving at the head of these Illustrations which explains this 
threat better than any description. 

Vol. IV. M 

162 THE TEMPEST. [Act II. 


SCENE I. — Another part of the Island. 

Enter Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo, Adrian, 
Francisco, and others. 

Gon. 'Beseech you, sir, be merry : you have cause 
(So have we all) of joy ; for our escape 
Is much beyond our loss : Our hint of woe 
Is common; every day, some sailor's wife. 
The masters of some merchant," and the merchant. 
Have just our theme of woe : but for the miracle, 
I mean our preservation, few in millions 
Can speak like us : then wisely, good sir, weigh 
Our sorrow with our comfort. 

Alon. Prithee, peace. 

Seb. He receives comfort like cold porridge. 

Ant. The visitor will not give him o'er so. 

Seb. Look, he 's winding up the watch of his wit ; 
By and by it will strike. 

Gon. Sir, — 

Seb. One:— Tell. 

Gon. When every grief is entertain'd that 's oflfer'd. 
Comes to the entertainer — 

Seb. A dollar. 

Gon. Dolour comes to him, indeed; you have spoken 
truer than you purposed. 

Seb. You have taken it wiselier than I meant you should. 

Gon. Therefore, my lord, — 

Ant. Fie, what a spendthrift is he of his tongue ! 

Alon. I prithee spare. 

■ Merchant is here used for merchant-vessel — merchantman. Dryden employs it 
in a similar way : " As convoy ships either accompany or should accomjmny their 
merchaiitt.'" The " masters of some merchant" signifies, therefore, the owners of 
some trading vessel ; but in the second instance the " merchant " must mean the 
trader, whose goods are ventured in the merchantman. 

Scene I.] THE TEMPEST. 163 

Gon. Well, I have done : But yet — 

Seb. He will be talking. 

Ant. Whicli, of* he, or Adrian, for a good wager, first 
begins to crow ? 

Seb. The old cock. 

Ant. The cockrel. 

Seb. Done : the wager ? 

Ant. A laughter. 

Seb. A match. 

Adr. Though this island seem to be desert, — 

Seb. Ha, ha, ha ! 

Ant. So, you 're paid.** 

Adr. Uninhabitable, and almost inaccessible, — 

Seb. Yet, 

Adr. Yet,— 

Ant. He could not miss it. 

Adr. It must needs be of subtle, tender, and delicate 

Ant. Temperance was a delicate wench. 

Seb. Ay, and a subtle ; as he most learnedly delivered. 

Adr. The air breathes upon us here most sweetly. 

Seb. As if it had lungs, and rotten ones. 

Ant. Or as 't were perfumed by a fen. 

Gon. Here is everything advantageous to life. 

Ant. True ; save means to live. 

Seb. Of that there 's none, or little. 

Gon. How lush*^ and lusty the grass looks ! how green ! 

Ant. The ground, indeed, is tawny. 

Seb. With an eye of green in 't.** 

Ant. He misses not much. 

Seb. No ; he doth but mistake the truth totally. 

" The ordinary reading is which of them. The present form is quaint, but intel- 
ligible. . 

^ These words, we think, belong to Sebastian. The wager is a laughter. Antonio 
bets that "the cockrel" will crow first. Adrian, the young man, does crow ; upon 
which Sebastian laughs loudly, exclaiming " So yoM are paid." Steevens proposes 
to read "yow't'e paid," giving the words to Antonio, as in the original. We leave 
the text as we find it. 

" Lush is aflBrmed by Henley to mean rank ; by Malone, juicy. We have still 
the low word lushy, as applied to a drunkard. 

<* Eye of green — tinge — shade. 


164 THE TEMPEST. [Act II. 

Gon. But the rarity of it is (which is indeed almost 
beyond credit) — 

Seb. As many vouched rarities are. 

Gon. That our garments, being, as they were, drenched 
in the sea, hold, notwithstanding, their freshness, and 
glosses; being rather new dyed than stained with salt 

Ant. If but one of his pockets could speak, would it not 
say, he lies ? 

Seb. Ay, or very falsely pocket up his report. 

Gon. Methinks, our garments are now as fresh as when 
we put them on first in Afric, at the marriage of the king's 
fair daughter Claribel to the king of Tunis. 

Seb. 'T was a sweet marriage, and we prosper well in our 

Adr. Tunis was never graced before with such a paragon 
to their queen. 

Gon. Not since widow Dido's time. 

Ant. Widow ? a pox o' that ! How came that widow in ? 
Widow Dido ! 

Seb. What if he had said, widower iEneas too ? good lord, 
how you take it ! 

Adr. Widow Dido, said you ? you make me study of that : 
She was of Carthage, not of Tunis. 

Gon. This Tunis, sir, was Carthage. 

Adr. Carthage ? 

Gon. I assure you, Carthage. 

Ant. His word is more than the miraculous harp. 

Seb. He hath rais'd the wall, and houses too. 

Ant. What impossible matter will he make easy next? 

Seb. I think he will carry this island home in his pocket, 
and give it his son for an apple. 

Ant. And, sowing the kernels of it in the sea, bring forth 
more islands. 

Gon. Ay. 

Ant. Why, in good time. 

Gon. Sir, we were talking that our garments seem now as 
fresh as when we were at Tunis at the marriage of your 
daughter, who is now queen. 

Scene I.] THE TEMPEST. 165 

Ant. And the rarest that e'er came there. 

Seb. 'Bate, I beseech you, widow Dido. 

Ant. O, widow Dido; ay, widow Dido. 

Gon. Is not, sir, my doublet as fresh as the first day I 
wore it ? I mean, in a sort. 

Ant. That sort was well fish'd for. 

Gon. When I wore it at your daughter's marriage ? 

Alon. You cram these words into mine ears, against 
The stomach of my sense : 'Would I had never 
Married my daughter there ! for, coming thence. 
My son is lost ; and, in my rate, she too. 
Who is so far from Italy removed, 
I ne'er again shall see her. O thou mine heir 
Of Naples and of Milan, what strange fish 
Hath made his meal on thee ! 

Fran. Sir, he may live j 

I saw him beat the surges under him. 
And ride upon their backs ; he trod the water. 
Whose enmity he flung aside, and breasted 
The surge most swoln that met him ; his bold head 
'Bove the contentious waves he kept, and oar'd 
Himself with his good arms in lusty stroke 
To the shore, that o'er his wave-worn basis bow'd. 
As stooping to relieve him ; I not doubt. 
He came alive to land. 

Alon. No, no, he 's gone. 

Seb. Sir, you may thank yourself for this great loss. 
That would not bless our Europe with your daughter. 
But rather lose her to an African ; 
Where she, at least, is banish'd from your eye. 
Who hath cause to wet the grief on 't. 

Alon. Prithee, peace. 

Seb. You were kneel'd to, and importun'd otherwise. 
By all of us ; and the fair soul herself 
Weigh'd, between lothness and obedience, at 
Which end o' the beam she 'd bow. We have lost your son, 
I fear, for ever : Milan and Naples have 
More widows in them of this business' making. 

166 THE TEMPEST. [Act II. 

Than we bring men to comfort them : the fault 's 
Your own, 

Alon. So is the dearest of the loss. 

Gon. My lord Sebastian, 

The truth you speak doth lack some gentleness. 
And time to speak it in; you rub the sore. 
When you should bring the plaster. 

Seb. ' Very well. 

Ant. And most chirurgeonly. 

Gon. It is foul weather in us all, good sir. 
When you are cloudy. 

Seb. Foul weather? 

Ant. Very foul. 

Gon. Had I plantation of this isle, my lord, — 

Ant. He 'd sow 't with nettle-seed. 

Seb. Or docks, or mallows. 

Gon. And were the king of it. What would I do ? 

Seb. 'Scape being drunk, for want of wine. 

Gon. V the commonwealth I would by contraries 
Execute all things ; for no kind of traflGlc 
Would I admit ; no name of magistrate j 
Letters should not be known : riches, poverty. 
And use of service, none ; contract, succession. 
Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none :* 
No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil : 
No occupation ; all men idle, all ; 
And women too ; but innocent and pure : 
No sovereignty : — • 

Seb. Yet he would be king on 't. 

Ant. The latter end of his commonwealth forgets the 

■ We have given in an illustration a passage from Florio's ' Montaigne,' which 
Shakspere unquestionably had before him when he wrote tliese lines. Malone and 
Steevens tell us the metre is here defective ; and by a most ridiculous editorial 
licence Steevens sets about mending it upon the following principle : — " The words 
quoted from Florio's translation instruct us to regulate our author's metre as it is 
exhibited in my text." And this is the exhibition ! — 

" Letters should not be known ; no use of service, 
Of riches or of poverty; no contracts, 
Succession, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none." 

Scene I.] THE TEMPEST. 167 

Gon. All things in common nature should produce 
Without sweat or endeavour : treason, felony. 
Sword, pike, knife, gun, or need of any engine. 
Would I not have ; but nature should bring forth. 
Of its own kind, all foizon,* all abundance. 
To feed my innocent people. 

Seb. No marrying 'mong his subjects ? 

Ant. None, man ; all idle ; whores and knaves. 

Gon. I would with such perfection govern, sir. 
To excel the golden age. 

Seb. 'Save his majesty ! 

Ant. Long live Gonzalo ! 

Gon. And, do you mark me, sir ? — 

Alon. Prithee, no more : thou dost talk nothing to me. 

Gon. I do well believe your highness ; and did it to mi- 
nister occasion to these gentlemen, who are of such sensible 
and nimble lungs that they always use to laugh at nothing. 

Ant. 'T was you we laugh'd at. 

Gon. Who, in this kind of merry fooling, am nothing to 
you : so you may continue, and laugh at nothing still. 

Ant. What a blow was there given! 

Seb. An it had not fallen flat-long. 

Gon. You are gentlemen of brave mettle ; you would lift 
the moon out of her sphere, if she would continue in it five 
weeks without changing. 

Enter Ariel invisible, playing solemn music. 

Seb. We would so, and then go a bat-fowling. 

Ant. Nay, good my lord, be not angry. 

Gon. No, I warrant you ; I will not adventure my dis- 
cretion so weakly. Will you laugh me asleep, for I am very 
heavy ? 

Ant. Go sleep, and hear us. 

[All sleep but Alon., Seb., and Ant. 

Alon. What, all so soon asleep ! I wish mine eyes 
Would, with themselves, shut up my thoughts : I find 
They are inclin'd to do so. 

Seb. Please you^ sir, 

• Foizon — plenty. 

168 THE TEMPEST. [Act II. 

Do not omit the heavy offer of it : 
It seldom visits sorrow ; when it doth. 
It is a comforter. 

Ant. We two, my lord. 

Will guard your person while you take your rest. 
And watch your safety. 

Alon. Thank you : wondrous heavy. 

[Alon. sleeps. Exit Ariel, 

Seb. What a strange drowsiness possesses them ! 

Ant. It is the quality o' the climate. 

Seb. Why 

Doth it not then our eyelids sink ? I find not 
Myself dispos'd to sleep. 

Ant. Nor I ; my spirits are nimble. 

They fell together all, as by consent ; 
They dropp'd, as by a thunder-stroke. What might. 
Worthy Sebastian ? — O, what might ? — No more : — 
And yet, methinks, I see it in thy face^ 
What thou shouldst be : the occasion speaks thee ; and 
My strong imagination sees a crown 
Dropping upon thy head. 

Seb. What, art thou waking ? 

Ant. Do you not hear me speak ? 

Seb. I do ; and, surely. 

It is a sleepy language ; and thou speak'st 
Out of thy sleep : What is it thou didst say ? 
This is a strange repose, to be asleep 
With eyes wide open ; standing, speaking, moving. 
And yet so fast asleep. 

Ant. Noble Sebastian, 

Thou lett'st thy fortune sleep, die rather ; wink'st 
Whiles thou art waking. 

Seb. Thou dost snore distinctly ; 

There 's meaning in thy snores. 

Ant. I am more serious than my custom : you 
Must be so too, if heed me ; which to do 
Trebles thee o'er. 

Seb. Well, I am standing water. 

Ant. I '11 teach you how to flow. 


Scene!.] THE TEMPEST. 160 

Seb. Do so : to ebb. 

Hereditary sloth instructs me. 

4nt. O, 

If you but knew how you the purpose cherish 
Whiles thus you mock it ! how, in stripping it. 
You more invest it ! Ebbing men, indeed. 
Most often do so near the bottom run. 
By their own fear, or sloth. 

Seb. Prithee say on r 

The setting of thine eye, and cheek, proclaim 
A matter from thee ; and a birth, indeed. 
Which throes thee much to yield. 

Ant. Thus, sir : 

Although this lord of weak remembrance, this 
(Who shall be of as little memory. 
When he is earth'd) hath here almost persuaded 
■(For he 's a spirit of persuasion, only 
Professes to persuade *) the king his son 's alive, — 
'T is as impossible that he 's undrown'd. 
As he that sleeps here, swims. 

iSeb. I have no hope 

That he 's undrown'd. 

Ant. O, out of that no hope. 

What great hope have you ! no hope, that way, is 
Another way so high a hope, that even 
Ambition cannot pierce a wink beyond. 
But doubts discovery there. Will you grant with me. 
That Ferdinand is drown'd ? 

Seb. He 's gone. 

Ant. Then, tell me. 

Who 's the next heir of Naples ? 

Seb. Claribel. 

Ant. She that is queen of Tunis : she that dwells 
Ten leagues beyond man's life ; she that from Naples 
Can have no note, unless the sun were post, 
(The man i' the moon 's too slow,) till new-bom china 
Be rough and razorable ; she,** from whom 

* Steevens, without any compunction, omits " professes to persuade.'''' 
^ The original reads " she ihat from whom." 

170 THE TEMPEST. [Act II. 

We all were sea-swallow'd, though some cast again ; 
And by that destiny to perform an act. 
Whereof what 's past is prologue ; what to come. 
In yours and my discharge. 

Seb. What stuff is this ? — How say you ? 

'T is true, my brother's daughter 's queen of Tunis : 
So is she heir of Naples ; 'twixt which regions 
There is some space. . 

Ant. A space whose every cubit 

Seems to cry out, " How shall that Claribel 
Measure us back to Naples ?" — Keep in Tunis, 
And let Sebastian wake ! — Say, this were death 
That now hath seiz'd them ; why, they were no worse 
Than now they are : There be that can rule Naples 
As well as he that sleeps ; lords that can prate 
As amply and unnecessarily 
As this Gonzalo ; I myself could make 
A chough of as deep chat. O, that you bore 
The mind that I do ! what a sleep were this 
For your advancement ! Do you understand me ? 

Seb. Methinks I do. 

Ant. And how does your content 

Tender your own good fortune ? 

Seb. I remember. 

You did supplant your brother Prospero. 

Ant. True : 

And look how well my garments sit upon me j 
Much feater than before : My brother's servants 
Were then my fellows, now they are my men. 

Seb. But, for your conscience — 

Ant. Ay, sir ; where lies that ? if 't were a kybe, 
'T would put me to my slipper : But I feel not 
This deity in my bosom ; twenty consciences. 
That stand 'twixt me and Milan, candied be they, 
And melt, ere they molest ! Here lies your brother. 
No better than the earth he lies upon. 
If he were that which now he 's like, that 'b dead ; ' 

» In the same way Steevens omits " Ihal '» dead." What he omits, arid what he 
iiuertt, would be unwortKy notice, if hie text were not that of nearly every reprint. 

Scene I.] THE TEMPEST. 171 

Whom I, with this obedient steel, three inches of it. 
Can lay to bed for ever : whiles you, doing thus. 
To the perpetual wink for aye might put 
This ancient morsel, this sir Prudence, who 
Should not upbraid our course. For all the rest. 
They '11 take suggestion, as a cat laps milk ; 
They '11 tell the clock to any business that 
We say befits the hour. 

Seb. Thy case, dear friend. 

Shall be my precedent ; as thou gott'st Milan, 
I '11 come by Naples. Draw thy sword : one stroke 
Shall free thee from the tribute which thou pay'st ; 
And I the king shall love thee. 

Ant. Draw together : 

An d when I rear m y hand^. do you the like. 
To fall it on Gonzalo. 

Seb. O, but one word. [They converse apart. 

\ Music. Re-enter Ariel, invisible. 

Ari. My master through his art foresees the danger 
That you, his friend," are in j and sends me forth, 
(For else his project dies,) to keep them living. 

[Sings in Gonzalo'* ear. 

While you here do snoring lie. 
Open-eyed Conspiracy 
His time doth take : 
^^ >iK ) If of life you keep a care, 
^^J V^' / Shake off slumber, and beware : 
' v " I Awake! Awake! 

Ant. Then ifet us both be sudden. 

Gon. Now, good angels, preserve the king ! [They, awake. 

Alon. Why, how now, ho ! awake ! Why are you drawn ? 
Wherefore this ghastly looking ? 

Gon. What 's the matter ? 

Seb. Whiles we stood here securing your repose. 
Even now, we heard a hollow burst of bellowing 

In doing these bold things with the present play Steevens almost inrariably in- 
vokes Dr. Farmer to liis aid. 

" This is the reading of the original. " These, his friends,'^ is found in modem 

172 THE TEMPEST. [Act II. 

Like bulls, or rather lions ; did it not wake you ? 
It struck mine ear most terribly. 

Alon. I heard nothing. 

Ant. O, 'twas a din to fright a monster's ear; 
To make an earthquake ! sure it was the roar 
Of a whole herd of lions. 

Alon. Heard you this, Gonzalo ? 

Gon. Upon mine honour, sir, I heard a humming. 
And that a strange one too, which did awake me : 
I shak'd you, sir, and cried ; as mine eyes open'd, 
I saw their weapons drawn : — there was a noise. 
That 's verity : * 'T is best we stand upon our guard ; 
Or that we quit this place : let 's draw our weapons. 

Alon. Lead off this ground ; and let 's make further search 
For my poor son. 

Gon. Heavens keep him from these beasts ! 

For he is, sure, i' the island. 

Alon. Lead away. 

Ari. Prospero my lord shall know what I have done : [Aside. 
So, king, go safely on to seek thy son. [Exeunt. 

SCENE n. — Another part of the Island. 

Enter Caliban, with a burthen of wood. 

A noise of thunder heard. 

Ckil. All the infections that the sun sucks up 
From bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper fall, and make him 
By inch-meal a disease ! His spirits hear me. 
And yet I needs must curse. But they '11 nor pinch. 
Fright me with urchin shows, pitch me i' the mire. 
Nor lead me, like a firebrand, in the dark 
Out of my way, unless he bid them ; but 
For every trifle are they set upon me : 
Sometime like apes, that moe and chatter at me. 
And after, bite me ; then like hedgehogs, which 
Lie tumbling in my barefoot way, and mount 
Their pricks at my footfall ; sometime am I 

" Vaittf. The original has vtrilfi. 

Scene II.] THE TEMPEST. 173 

All wound* with adders, who, with cloven tongues. 
Do hiss me into madness : — Lo ! now ! lo ! 

Enter Trinculo. 

Here comes a spirit of his ; and to torment me. 
For bringing wood in slowly : I '11 fall flat ; 
Perchance, he will not mind me. 

Trin. Here 's neither bush nor shrub, to bear oiF any- 
weather at all, and another storm brewing ; I hear it sing 
i' the wind : yond' same black cloud, yond' huge one, looks 
like a foul bumbard that would shed his liquor. If it should 
thunder as it did before, I know not where to hide my head : 
yond' same cloud cannot choose but fall by pailfuls. — What 
have we here ? a man or a fish ? Dead or alive ? A fish : 
he smells like a fish ; a very ancient and fish-like smell ; a 
kind of, not of the newest, Poor-John. A strange fish ! 
Were I in England now,* (as once I was,) and had but this 
fish painted, not a holiday fool there but would give a piece 
of silver : there would this monster make a man ; any strange 
beast there makes a man : when they will not give a doit to 
relieve a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead 
Indian. Legged like a man ! and his fins like arms ! Warm, 
o' my troth ! I do now let loose my opinion, hold it no 
longer ; this is no fish, but an islander, that hath lately suf- 
fered by a thunder-bolt. [Thunder. 1 Alas! the storm is 
come again : my best way is to creep under his gaberdine ; 
there is no other shelter hereabout : Misery acquaints a man 
with strange bedfellows. I will here shroud till the dregs 
of the storm be past. 

Enter Stephano, singing ; a bottle in his hand. 

Ste. I shall no more to sea, to sea. 

Here shall I die ashore ; — 

This is a very scurvy tune to sing at a man's funeral : Well, 
here 's m^ comfort. [Drinks. 

The master, the swabber, the boatswain, and I, 
The gunner, and his mate, 

" Wound — twisted round. 

174 Z' THE TEMPEST. [Act II. 

Lov'd Mall, Meg, and Marian, and Margery, 

But none of us car'd for Kate : 

For she had a tongue with a tang, 

Would cry to a sailor, " Go hang :" 
She lov'«l not the savour of tar nor of pitch, 
Yet a tailor might scratch her where'er she did itch : 

Then to sea, boys, and let her go hang. 

This is a ecurvy tune too : But here 's my comfort. [Thinks. 

Cal. Do not torment me : O ! 

Ste. What *s the matter ? Have we devils here ? Do you 
put tricks upon us with salvages, and men of Inde ? Ha ! 
I have not 'scaped drowning, to be afeard now of your four 
legs ; for it hath been said. As proper a man as ever went on 
four legs cannot make him give ground : and it shall be said 
so again, while Stephano breathes at nostrils. 

Cal. The spirit torments me : O ! 

Ste. This is some monster of the isle, with four legs ; who 
hath got, as I take it, an ague : Where the devil should he 
learn our language ? I will give him some relief, if it be 
but for that : If I can recover him and keep him tame, and 
get to Naples with him, he 's a present for any emperor that 
ever trod on neat's-leather. 

Cal. Do not torment me, prithee ; I '11 bring my wood 
home faster. 

Ste. He 's in his fit now ; and does not talk after the wisest. 
He shall taste of my bottle : if he have never drunk wine 
afore, it will go near to remove his fit : if I can recover him, 
and keep him tame, I will not take too much for him : he 
shall pay for him that hath him, and that soundly. 

Cal. Thou dost me yet but little hurt ; thou wilt anon, I 
know it by thy trembling : Now Prosper works upon thee. 

Ste. Come on your ways ; open your mouth : here is that 
which will give language to you, cat ; open your mouth : 
this will shake your shaking, I can tell you, and that soundly : 
you cannot tell who 's your friend : open your chaps again. 

Trin. I should know that voice : It should be — But he is 
drowned ; and these are devils : O ! defend me ! — 

Ste. Four legs, and two voices ; a most delicate monster ! 
His forward voice now is to speak well of his friend ; his 
backward voice is to utter foul speeches, and to detract. If 

Scene II.] THE TEMPEST. 175 

all the wine in my bottle will recover him, I will help his 
ague : Come — Amen ! I will pour some in thy other 
mouth. ^ 

Trin. Stephano, — 

Ste. Doth thy other mouth call me ? Mercy ! mercy ! 
This is a devil, and no monster : I will leave him ; I have 
no long spoon. 

Trin. Stephano ! — if thou beest Stephano, touch me, and 
speak to me ; for I am Trinculo ; — be not afeard, — thy good 
friend Trinculo. 

Ste. If thou beest Trinculo, come forth ; I '11 pull thee by 
the lesser legs : if any be Trinculo's legs, these are they. 
Thou art very Trinculo, indeed : How camest thou to be the 
siege of this moon-calf? Can he vent Trinculos ? 

Trin. I took him to be killed with a thunder-stroke : — 
But art thou not drowned, Stephano ? I hope now, thou art 
not drowned. Is the storm overblown ? I hid me under the 
dead moon-calf's gaberdine, for fear of the storm : And art 
thou living, Stephano ? O Stephano, two Neapolitans 
'scaped ! 

Ste. Prithee, do not turn me about j my stomach is not 

Cal. These be fine things, an if they be not sprites. 
That 's a brave god, and bears celestial liquor : 
I will kneel to him. 

Ste. How didst thou 'scape ? How camest thou hither ? 
swear by this bottle, how thou camest hither. I escaped 
upon a butt of sack, which the sailors heaved overboard, by 
this bottle ! which I made of the bark of a tree, with mine 
own hands, since I was cast ashore. 

Cal. I '11 swear, upon that bottle, to be thy true subject ; 
for the liquor is not earthly. 

Ste. Here ; swear then how thou escapedst. 

Trin. Swam ashore, man, like a duck ; I can swim like a 
duck, I '11 be sworn. 

Ste. Here, kiss the book : Though thou canst swim like a 
duck, thou art made like a goose. 

Trin. O Stephano, hast any more of this ? 

176 THE TEMPEST. [Act II. 

Ste. The whole butt, man ; my cellar is in a rock by tlie 
sea-side, where my wine is hid. How now, moon-calf? how 
does thine ague ? , 

Cal. Hast thou not dropped from heaven ? 

Ste. Out o' the moon, I do assure thee : I was the man in 
the moon, when time was. 

Cal. I have seen thee in her, and I do adore thee ; 
My mistress show'd me thee, and thy dog and bush. 

Ste. Come, swear to that ; kiss the book : I will furnish 
it anon with new contents : swear. 

Trin. By this good light, this is a very shallow monster : — 
I afeard of him ! a very weak monster : — The man i' the 
moon ! — a most poor credulous monster : Well drawn, monster, 
in good sooth. 

Cal. I '11 show thee every fertile inch o' the island ; 
And I will kiss thy foot : I prithee, be my god. 

Trin. By this light, a most perfidious and drunken mon- 
ster ; when his god 's asleep he '11 rob his bottle. 

Cal. I '11 kiss thy foot : I '11 swear myself thy subject. 

Ste. Come on then ; down and swear. 

Trin. I shall laugh myself to death at this puppy-headed 
monster : a most scurvy monster ! I could find in my heart 
to beat him, — 

Ste. Come, kiss. 

Trin. — but that the poor monster 's in drink ; An abomi- 
nable monster! 

Cal. I '11 show thee the best springs ; I '11 pluck thee 
berries ; 
I '11 fish for thee, and get thee wood enough. 
A plague upon the tyrant that I serve ! 
I '11 bear him no more sticks, but follow thee. 
Thou wondrous man. 

Trin. A most ridiciilous monster! to make a wonder of a 
poor drunkard. 

Cal. I prithee let me bring thee where crabs grow. 
And I with my long nails will dig thee pig-nuts ; 
Sliow thee a jay's nest, and instruct thee how 
To snare the nimble marmozet ; I '11 bring thee 

Scene II.] THE TEMPEST. 177 

To clust'ring filberds, and sometimes I '11 get thee 
Young scamels ' from the rock : Wilt thou go with me ? 

Ste. I prithee now, lead the way, without any more talk- 
ing. — Trinculo, the king and all our company else being 
drowned, we will inherit here. — Here ; bear my bottle. Fel- 
low Trinculo, we '11 fill him by and by again. 

Cal. Farewell, master : farewell, fareweU. [Sings (Irunkenly. 

Trin. A howling monster ; a drunken monster. 

Kjal. No more dams I '11 make for fish; 

Nor fetch in firing 
At requiring, 
Nor scrape trenchering, nor wash dish ; 

'Ban, 'Ban, Ca — Caliban, / ' ' -. 

Has a new master — Get a new man. \. 1 

Freedom, hey-day ! hey-day, freedom ! freedom, hVy-day, 
freedom ! 
Ste. O brave monster ! lead the way. \FiXeunt. 

» ScameU. This is the word of the original ; and we leave it as we find it. The 
word has been changed into sea-melU, which the commentators tell us is a species of 
gull. We believe there is no such word as sea-mell, or sea-mall, although there is 
tea-maw or sea-mew. Mr. Hunter very judiciously observes that the rhythm is 
destroyed by substituting for scamels a word whose first syllable is long. 

Vol. IV. N 



' Scene I. — " No kind of traffic,'' S^c. 

OvK readers are aware that there is in the British Museum a copy of the ' Essays of 
Montaigne' translated by Florio, having the autograph Wiu.M Shakspehe. We 
subjoin a passage from that volume which shows how familiar Shakspere was with 
its contents. It is an extract from the thirtieth chapter of the first book, describing 
an imaginary nation of cannibals : — 

" Me seemeth that what in those nations we see by experience doth not only 
exceed all the pictures wherewitli licentious poesy hath proudly embellished the 
golden age, and all her quaint inventions to fain a happy condition of man, but 
also the conception and desire of philosophy. They could not imagine a genuitie 
so pure and simple as we see it by experience ; nor ever believe our society might 
be maintained with so little art and human combination. It is a nation, would I 
answer Plato, that hath no kind of traflBc, no knowledge of letters, no intelligence 
of numbers, no name of magistrate, nor of politic superiority; no use of service, of 
riches, or of poverty ; no contracts, no successions, no dividences ; no occupation, 
but idle ; no respect of kindred, but common ; no apparel, but natural ; no manur- 
ing of lands; no use of wine, com, or metal. The very words that import lying, 
falsehood, treason, dissimulation, covetousness, envy, detraction, and pardon, were 
never heard amongst them. How dissonant would he find his imaguiary common- 
wealth from this perfection !" 

• Scene II. — " fVere I in England now," 8fc. 
It was usual for the Master of the Revels to license all public shows ; and in 
1632 there is an entry in the office-book of Sir Henry Herbert, " to James Scale to 
show a strange Jish for half a year." The engraving below represents a show of the 
same period. 

Scene I.] THE TEMPEST. 179 


SCENE I.— Before Prospero'* Cell. 

Enter Ferdinand, bearing a log. 

Fer. There be some sports are painful ; and* their labour 
Delight in them sets off: some kinds of baseness 
Are nobly undergone -, and most poor matters 
Point to rich ends. This my mean task 
Would be as heavy to me as odious ; but'' 
The mistress which I serve quickens what 's dead. 
And makes my labours pleasures : O, she is 
Ten times more gentle than her father 's crabbed ; 
And he 's compos'd of harshness. I must remove 
Some thousands of these logs, and pile them up. 
Upon a sore injunction : My sweet mistress 
Weeps when she sees me work ; and says such baseness 
Had never like executor. I forget : 
But these sweet thoughts do even refresh my labours ; 
Most busy -less '^ when I do it. 

Enter Miranda, and Prospero at a distance. 

Mira. Alas, now ! pray you. 

Work not so hard ; I would the lightning had 
Burnt up those logs that you are enjoin'd to pile ! 
Pray set it down, and rest you : when this burns, 
'T will weep for having wearied you : My father 
Is hard at study ; pray now rest yourself ; 
He 's safe for these three hours. 

Fer. O most dear mistress. 

The sun will set before I shall discharge 
What I must strive to do. 

» And. So the original ; the common reading is but. 

^ This is the metrical arrangement of the original. Steevens changes it by the 
insertion of V is. 

<^ Busy-less. This is the reading of Theobald. The original has busy lest. 

N 2 


Mira. If you '11 sit down 

I '11 bear your logs the while : Pray give me that ; 
I '11 carry it to the pile. 

Fer. No, precious creature : 

I had rather crack my sinews, break my back. 
Than you should such dishonour undergo. 
While I sit lazy by. 

Mira. It would become me 

As well as it does you : and I should do it 
With much more ease ; for my good will is to it. 
And yours it is against.* 

Pro. Poor worm ! thou art infected ; 

This visitation shows it. 

Mira. You look wearily. 

Fer. No, noble mistress ; 't is fresh morning with me. 
When you are by at night. I do beseech you, 
(Chiefly, that I might set it in my prayers,) 
What is your name ? 

Mira. Miranda : — O my father, 

I have broke your hest to say so ! 

Fer. Admir'd Miranda ! 

Indeed the top of admiration ;•» worth 
What 's dearest to the world ! Full many a lady 
I have eyed with best regard ; and many a time 
The harmony of their tongues hath into bondage 
Brought my too diligent ear : for several virtues 
Have I lik'd several women ; never any 
With so full soul, but some defect in her 
Did quarrel with the noblest grace she ow'd, 
And put it to the foil : But you, O you. 
So perfect, and so peerless, are created 
Of every creature's best. 

Mira. I do not know 

» Steevens destroys the force of this passage by the omission of it is : " They 
would have rendered the hemistich too long to join with its successor in making a 
regular verse." 

•> We follow the punctuation of the original, which appears to us to render the 
passage much more elegant than it appears in modem editions : — 

" Admir'd Miranda 
Indeed, the top of admiration." 

Scene I.] THE TEMPEST. 181 

One of my sex ; no woman's face remember. 
Save, from my glass, mine own ; nor have I seen 
More that I may call men, than you, good friend. 
And my dear father : how features are abroad, 
I am skill -less of; but, by my modesty, 
(The jewel in my dower,) I would not wish 
Any companion in the world but you ; 
Nor can imagination form a shape. 
Beside yourself, to like of: But I prattle 
Something too wildly, and my father's precepts 
I therein do forget.* 

Fer. I am, in my condition, 

A prince, Miranda ; I do think, a king ; 
(I would not so !) and would no more endure 
This wooden slavery, than to suffer 
The flesh-fly blow my mouth. — 'Hear my soul speak : — 
The very instant that I saw you, did 
My heart fly to your service ; there resides. 
To make me slave to it ; and for your sake j 

Am I this patient log-man. / 

Mir a. Do you love me ? 

Fer. O heaven, O earth, bear witness to this sound. 
And crown what I profess with kind event. 
If I speak true ; if hollowly, invert 
What best is boded me, to mischief! I, 
Beyond all limit of what else i' the world. 
Do love, prize, honour you. 

Mira. I am a fool. 

To weep at what I am glad of. 

Pro. Fair encounter 

Of two most rare affections ! Heavens rain grace 
On that which breeds between them ! 

Fer. Wherefore weep you ? 

Mira. At mine unworthiness, that dare not offer 
What I desire to give ; and much less take 
What I shall die to want : But this is trifling ; 
And all the more it seeks to hide itself, 

* So the original. We have the passage now frittered down to therein forget. 

^182 THE TEMPEST. [Act IH. 

The bigger bulk it shows. Hence, bashful cunning ! 

And prompt me, plain and holy innocence ! 

I am your wife, if you will marry me ; 

If not I '11 die your maid : to be your fellow 

You may deny me ; but I '11 be your servant, 

JWhether you will or no. 

• Fer. My mistress, dearest. 

And I thus humble ever. 

Mira. My husband then? 

Fer. Ay, with a heart as willing 
As bondage e'er of freedom : here 's my hand. 

Mira. And mine, with my heart in 't : And now farewell,' 
Till half an hour hence. 

Fer. A thousand ! thousand ! 

[Exeunt Fer. and Mir. 

Pro. So glad of this as they I cannot be. 
Who are surpris'd with all ; but my rejoicing 
At nothing can be more. I '11 to my book ; 
For yet, ere supper-time, must I perform 
Much business appertaining. [Exit. 

SCENE U.— Another part of the Island. 

Enter Stephano and Trinculo ; Caiabkv following with a 


Ste. Tell not me; — when the butt is out we will drink 
water ; not a drop before : therefore bear up, and board 'em : 
Servant-monster, drink to me. 

Trin. Servant-monster ? the folly of this island ! They 
say there 's but five upon this isle : we are three of them ; if 
the other two be brained like us, the state totters. 

Ste. Drink, servant-monster, when I bid thee ; thy eyes are 
almost set in thy head, 

Trin. Where should they be set else? he were a brave 
monster indeed, if they were set in his tail. 

Ste. My man-monster hath drowned his tongue in sack : 
for my part, the sea cannot drown me : I swam, ere I could 
recover the shore, five-and-thirty leagues, ofi" and on. By 

Scene II.] THE TEMPEST. 183 

this light,* thou shalt be my lieutenant, monster, or my 

Trin. Your lieutenant, if you list ; he 's no standard. 

Ste. We '11 not run, monsieur monster. 

Trin. Nor go neither : but you '11 lie, like dogs ; and yet 
say nothing neither. 

Ste. Moon-calf, speak once in thy life, if thou beest a good 

Cal. How does thy honour ? Let me lick thy shoe : 
I '11 not serve him, he is not valiant. 

Trin. Thou liest, most ignorant monster ; I am in case to 
justle a constable : why, thou deboshed fish thou, was there 
ever man a coward that hath drunk so much sack as I to-day ? 
Wilt thou tell a monstrous lie, being but half a fish, and half 
a monster ? 

Cal. Lo, how he mocks me ! wilt thou let him, my lord ? ^ 

Trin. Lord, quoth he ! — that a monster should be such a 
natural ! 

Cal. Lo, lo, again ! bite him to death, I prithee. 

Ste. Trinculo, keep a good tongue in your head ; if you 
prove a mutineer, the next tree — The poor monster 's my 
subject, and he shall not suffer indignity. 

Cal. I thank my noble lord. Wilt thou be pleas'd 
To hearken once again to the suit I made to thee? 

Ste. Marry will I : kneel and repeat it ; I will stand, and 
so shall Trinculo. 

Enter Ariel, invisible. 

Cal. As I told thee before, I am subject to a tyrant ; 
A sorcerer, that by his cunning hath cheated me 
Of the island. 

Ari. Thou liest. 

Cal. Thou liest, thou jesting monkey, thou ; 

* We here follow the punctuation of the original. The modem reading is off 
ami on, hij this light. 

^ The reader will observe that Caliban always speaks metrically. Some of his 
lines in this scene are usually printed as prose ; but they very readily shape them- 
selves into free blank verse. Steevens receives them as metre ; but he lops then* 
after bis own finger-counting fashion. 


I would my valiant master would destroy thee : 
I do not lie. 

Ste. Trinculo, if you trouble him any more in his tale, by 
this hand, I will supplant some of your teeth. 

Trin. Why, I said nothing. 

Ste. Mum then, and no more. — [To Caliban.] Proceed. 

Cal. I say, by sorcery he got this isle ; 
From me he got it. If thy greatness will 
Revenge it on him — for, I know, thou dar'st; 
But this thing dare not. 

Ste. That 's most certain. 

Cal. Thou shalt be lord of it, and I '11 serve thee. 

Ste. How now shall this be compassed ? Canst thou bring 
me to the party ? 

Cal. Yea, yea, my lord ; I '11 yield him thee asleep. 
Where thou mayst knock a nail into his head. 

Ari. Thou liest, thou canst not. 

Cal. What a pied ninny 's this ! Thou scurvy patch ! — 
I do beseech thy greatness, give him blows. 
And take his bottle from him : when that 's gone. 
He shall drink nought but brine ; for I '11 not show him 
Where the quick freshes are. 

Ste. Trinculo, run into no further danger : interrupt the 
monster one word further, and, by this hand, I '11 turn my 
mercy out of doors, and make a stockfish of thee. 

Trin. Why, what did I ? I did nothing ; I '11 go further off. 

Ste. Didst thou not say he lied ? 

Ari. Thou liest. 

Ste. Do I so ? take thou that. [Strikes him.] As you like 
this, give me the lie another time. 

Trin. I did not give the lie : — Out o' your wits, and hear- 
ing too ? A pox o' your bottle ! this can sack and drink- 
ing do. — A murrain on your monster, and the devil take your 
fingers ! 

Cal. Ha, ha, ha ! 

Ste. Now, forward with your tale. Prithee stand further 

Cal. Beat him enough : after a little time, 
I '11 beat him too. 

Scene II.] THE TEMPEST. 185 

Ste. Stand further. — Come, proceed. 

Cal. Why, as I told thee, 't is a custom with him 
r the afternoon to sleep : there thou mayst brain him. 
Having first seiz'd his books ; or with a log 
Batter his skull, or paunch him with a stake. 
Or cut his wezand with thy knife : Remember, 
First to possess his books ; for without them 
He 's but a sot, as I am, nor hath not 
One spirit to command : They all do hate him. 
As rootedly as I : Burn but his books ; 
He has brave utensils, (for so he calls them,) 
Which, when he has a house, he 11 deck withal. 
And that most deeply to consider, is 
The beauty of his daughter ; he himself 
Calls her a nonpareil : I ne'er saw woman. 
But only Sycorax my dam, and she ; 
But she as far surpasseth Sycorax, 
As greatest does least. 

Ste. Is it so brave a lass ? 

Cal. Ay, lord ; she will become thy bed, I warrant. 
And bring thee forth brave brood. 

Ste. Monster, I will kill this man : his daughter and I 
will be king and queen ; (save our graces !) and Trinculo 
and thyself shall be viceroys : — Dost thou like the plot, Trin- 

Trin. Excellent. 

Ste. Give me thy hand ; I am sorry I beat thee : but, 
while thou livest, keep a good tongue in thy head. 

Cal. Within this half-hour will he be asleep ; 
Wilt thou destroy him then ? 

Ste. Ay, on mine honour. 

Art. This will I tell my master. 

Cal. Thou mak'st me merry : I am full of pleasure ; 
Let us be jocund : Will you troll the catch 
You taught me but while-ere ? 

Ste. At thy request, monster, I will do reason, any reason : 
Come on, Trinculo, let us sing. [Sinffs. 

Flout 'em, and cout 'em ; and skout 'em, and flout 'em ; 
Thought is free. 


Ckil. That 's not the tune. 

[Ariel j^/ffy* the tune on a tabor and pipe. 

Ste. What is this same ? 

.Trin. This is the tune of our catch, played by the picture 
of Nobody.^ 

Ste. If thou beest a man, show thyself in thy likeness : if 
thou beest a devil, take 't as thou list. 

Trin. O, forgive me my sins ! 

Ste. He that dies pays all debts : I defy thee : — Mercy 
upon us ! 

Cal. Art thou afeard ? 

Ste. No, monster, not I. 

CaL Be not afeard ; the isle is full of noises. 
Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not. 
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments 
Will hum about mine ears ; and sometime voices. 
That, if I then had wak'd after long sleep. 
Will make me sleep again : and then, in dreaming. 
The clouds, methought, would open and show riches 
Ready to drop upon me ; that when I wak'd 
I cried to dream again. 

Ste. This will prove a brave kingdom to me, where I shall 
have my music for nothing. 

Cal. When Prospero is destroyed. 

Ste. That shall be by and by : I remember the story. 

Trin. The sound is going away : let 's follow it, and after 
do our work. 

Ste. Lead, monster ; we '11 follow. — I would I could see 
this taborer : he lays it on. 

Trin. Wilt come ? I '11 follow Stephano. [Exeunt. 

SCENE III.— Another part of the Island. 

Enter Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Gonzalo, Adrian, 
Francisco, and others. 

Gon. By 'r lakin, I can go no further, sir ; 
My old bones ache : here 's a maze trod, indeed. 
Through forth-rights and meanders !' by your patience, 
I needs must rest me. 


Scene III.] THE TEMPEST. 187 

Alon. Old lord, I cannot blame thee. 

Who am myself attach'd with -weariness. 
To the dulling of my spirits : sit down and rest. 
Even here I will put off my hope, and keep it 
No longer for my flatterer : he is drown'd 
Whom thus we stray to find ; and the sea mocks 
Our frustrate search on land : Well, let him go. 

Ant. I am right glad that he 's so out of hope. 

[Aside to Sebastian. 
Do not, for one repulse, forego the purpose 
That you resolv'd to effect. 

Seb. The next advantage 

Will we take thoroughly. 

Ant. Let it be to-night ; 

For, now they are oppress'd with travel, they 
Will not, nor cannot, use such vigilance. 
As when they are fresh. 

Seb. I say, to-night : no more. 

Solemn and strange music ; and Prospero above, invisible. 
Enter several strange Shapes, bringing in a banquet ; they 
dance about it with gentle actions of salutation ; and, in- 
viting the King, ^c, to eat, they depart. 

Alon. What harmony is this ? my good friends, hark ! 

Gon. Marvellous sweet music ! 

Alon. Give us kind keepers, heavens ! What were these ? 

Seb. A living drollery : Now I will believe 
That there are unicorns ; that in Arabia 
There is one tree, the phoenix' throne ', one phoenix 
At this hour reigning there. 

Ant. I '11 believe both ; 

And what does else want credit, come to me. 
And I '11 be sworn 't is true : Travellers ne'er did lie. 
Though fools at home condemn them. 

Gon. If in Naples 

I should report this now, would they believe me ? 
If I should say I saw such islanders," 
(For, certes, these are people of the island,) 

* Islanders. The original has islands. 


Who, thougli they are of monstrous shape, yet, note. 
Their manners are more gentle, kind, than of 
Our human generation you shall find 
Many, nay, almost any. 

Pro. Honest lord. 

Thou hast said well ; for some of you there present 
Are worse than devils. [Aside. 

Alon. I cannot too much muse 

Such shapes, such gesture, and such sound, expressing 
(Although they want the use of tongue) a kind 
Of excellent dumb discourse. 

/Vo. Praise in departing. [Aside. 

Fran. They vanish'd strangely. 

Seb. No matter, since 

They have left their viands behind ; for we have stomachs. — 
Will 't please you taste of what is here ? 

Alon. Not I. 

Gon. Faith, sir, you need not fear : When we were boys. 
Who would believe that there were mountaineers 
Dew-lapp'd like bulls,* whose throats had hanging at them 
Wallets of flesh ? or that there were such men 
Whose heads stood in their breasts ? which now we find. 
Each putter-out of five for one ' will bring us 
Good warrant of. 

Alon. I will stand to, and feed. 

Although my last : no matter, since I feel 
The best is past : — Brother, my lord the duke. 
Stand to, and do as we. 

Thunder and lightning. Enter Ariel like a harpy ;* claps 
his wings upon the table, and, with a quaint device, the 
banquet vanishes. 
Ari. You are three men of sin, whom destiny 

(That hath to instrument this lower world, 

* This is the reading of the original — of Jive for one. Malone reads, of one to 
five I Steevens, on five to one. The putter-out is he who, being about to encounter 
the dangers of travel, deposits a sum of money to receive a larger sum if he returns 
in safety. Five for one appears to have been the rate for a very distant voyage. 
Five for one was therefore the technical term applied to a putter-out. He puts out 
at the rate of five for one. 

Scene III.] THE TEMPEST. 189 

And what is in 't) the never-surfeited sea 
Hath caus'd to belch up you/ and on this island 
Where man doth not inhabit ; you 'mongst men 
Being most unfit to live. I have made you mad ; 

[^Seeing Alon., Seb., ^-c, draw their swords. 
And even with such-like valour, men hang and drown 
Their proper selves. You fools ! I and my fellows 
Are ministers of fate ; the elements. 
Of whom your swords are temper'd, may as well 
Wound the loud winds, or with bemock'd-at stabs 
Kill the still-closing waters, as diminish 
One dowle ^ that 's in my plume ; my fellow-ministers 
Are like invulnerable : if you could hurt. 
Your swords are now too massy for your strengths. 
And will not be uplifted : But, remember, 
(For that 's my business to you,) that you three 
From Milan did supplant good Prospero ; 
Expos'd unto the sea, which hath requit it. 
Him and his innocent child : for which foul deed 
The powers, delaying, not forgetting, have 
Incens'd the seas and shores, yea, all the creatures. 
Against your peace : Thee, of thy son, Alonso, 
They have bereft ; and do pronounce, by me, 
Ling'ring perdition (worse than any death 
Can be at once) shall step by step attend 
You, and your ways ; whose wraths to guard you from 
(Which here, in this most desolate isle, else falls 
Upon your heads) is nothing, but heart's sorrow. 
And a clear life ensuing. 

He vanishes in thunder : then, to soft music, enter the Shapes 
again, and dance with mops'' and mowes, and carry out the 

Pro. Bravely the figure of this harpy hast thou 
Perform'd, my Ariel ; a grace it had, devouring : 
Of my instruction hast thou nothing 'bated, 

* You is omitted in all modern editions. 
•» Dowle — a feather — a particle of down. 
''Mops. lu the original, ?MocA«, 


In what thou hadst to say : so, with good life,' 

And observation strange, my meaner ministers 

Their several kinds have done : my high charms work. 

And these, mine enemies, are all knit up 

In their distractions : they now are in my power ; 

And in these fits I leave them, while I visit 

Young Ferdinand, (whom they suppose is drown'd,) 

And his and my lov'd darling. [Exit Pro. from above. 

Gon. V the name of something holy, sir, why stand you 
In this strange stare ? 

Alon. O, it is monstrous ! monstrous ! 

Methought the billows spoke, and told me of it ; 
The winds did sing it to me ; and the thunder. 
That deep and dreadful organ-pipe, pronounc'd 
The name of Prosper ; it did bass my trespass. 
Therefore my son i' the ooze is bedded j and 
I '11 seek him deeper than e'er plummet sounded. 
And with him there lie mudded. [Exit, 

Seb. But one fiend at a time, 

I '11 fight their legions o'er. 

jint. I '11 be thy second. 

[Exeunt Seb. and Ant. 

Gon. All three of them are desperate ; their great guilt. 
Like poison given to work a great time after. 
Now 'gins to bite the spirits : — I do beseech you. 
That are of suppler joints, follow them swiftly. 
And hinder them from what this ecstacy 
May now provoke them to. 

Adr. Follow, I pray you. [Exeunt. 

• Good life — alacrity — energy — spirit. 


' Scene II. — " The picture of Nobody.''' 

Nobody was a gentleman who figured on ancient signs ; and, in the anonymous 
comedy of 'Nobody and Somebody,' printed before 1600, he is represented as 

* Scene III. — " Here 's a maze trod, indeed, 

Through forth-right s and meanders .'" 

Mr. Hunter says that ybr/A-ri^A/« here evidently means no more than straight lines. 
The passage is explained by the fact of the allusion being to an artificial maze, 
sometimes constructed of straight lines (forth-rights), sometimes of circles (mean- 
ders). The engraving exhibits a maze of forth-rights. 



' Scene III. — " Mountaineers 

Dew-lapp'd like bulls." 

The engraving above exhibits a sketch recently made from a T3rrole8e peasant. 
It is not strange that such an extraordinary appearance of the got Ire should in Shak- 
spere's time be considered as a marvel to be reckoned with the phenix and the uni- 
corn, and with "men whose heads stood in their breasts." 

* Scene III. — " Ejiter Ariel like a harpy" 

This circumstance is of course taken from the ^neid of Virgil. Those who 
maintain that Shaksperc could not read the original send him to Phaer's transla- 
tion : — 

" Fast to meate we fall. 
But sodenly from down the hills with grisly fall to syght. 
The harpies come, and beating wings with great noys out thei shright, 
And at our meate they snatch, and with their clawes," &c. 

Scene I.] THE TEMPEST. 193 


SCENE L— Before Prospero V Cell. 

Enter Prospero, Ferdinand, and Miranda. 

Pro. If I have too austerely punisli'd you. 
Your compensation makes amends ; for I 
Have given you here a thread ' of mine own life. 
Or that for which I live ; whom once again 
I tender to thy hand : all thy vexations 
Were but my trials of thy love, and thou 
Hast strangely stood the test : here, afore Heaven, 
I ratify this my rich gift. O Ferdinand, 
Do not smile at me that I boast her off. 
For thou shalt find she will outstrip all praise. 
And make it halt behind her. 

Fer. I do believe it. 

Against an oracle. 

Pro. Then, as my gift,'' and thine own acquisition 
Worthily purchas'd, take my daughter : But 
If thou dost break her virgin knot before 
All sanctimonious ceremonies may 
With full and holy rite be minister' d. 
No sweet aspersion •= shall the heavens let fall 
To make this contract grow : but barren hate, 

» Thread. This is spelt third in the original edition ; in which manner ihrid, in 
the meaning of thread, was sometimes spelt. Hawkins states that in the comedy of 
' Mucedorus,' 1619, the word is spelt third in the following passage : — 
" Long mayst thou live, and when the sisters shall decree 
To cut in twain the twisted third of life, 
Then let him die." 
The edition of 1668 is before us, and there we find that third has become thred. 

^ Gift. This stands guest in the original, and was corrected by Rowe to gift. It 
is easy to see that gm»t is a mere typographical error. Five lines above, gift is 
spelt guift ; and // and st in ancient writing and printing were scarcely to be dis- 

" Aspersion — sprinkling. This is one of the many examples of the use of Latin 
words by Shakspere in their original sense. 

Vol. IV. O 



Sour-ey'd disdain, and discord, shall bestrew 
The union of your bed with weeds so loathly. 
That you shall hate it both : therefore take heed. 
As Hymen's lamps shall light you. 

Fer. As I hope 

For quiet days, fair issue, and long life. 
With such love as 't is now, the murkiest den. 
The most opportune place, the strong'st suggestion 
Our worser genius can, shall never melt 
Mine honour into lust ; to take away 
The edge of that day's celebration. 
When I shall think, or Phoebus' steeds are founder'd. 
Or night kept chain'd below. 

Pro. Fairly spoke : 

Sit then, and talk with her, she is thine own. — 
What, Ariel ; my industrious servant, Ariel ! 

Enter Ariel. 

Ari. What would my potent master ? here I am. 

Pro. Thou and thy meaner fellows your last service 
Did worthily perform ; and I must use you 
In such another trick : go, bring the rabble. 
O'er whom I give thee power, here, to this place : 
Incite them to quick motion ; for I must 
Bestow upon the eyes of this young couple 
Some vanity of mine art ; it is my promise. 
And they expect it from me. 

Ari. Presently ? 

Pro. Ay, with a twink. 

Ari. Before you can say. Come, and Go, 
And breathe twice ; and cry. So, so ; 
Each one, tripping on his toe. 
Will be here with mop and mowe ; 
Do you love me, master ? no. 

Pro. Dearly, my delicate Ariel : Do not approach 
Till thou dost hear me call. 

Ari. Well, I conceive. [Exit. 

Pro. Look thou be true : do not give dalliance 
Too much the rein : the strongest oaths are straw 

Scene I.] THE TEMPEST. 195 

To the fire i' the blood : be more abstemious. 
Or else good night your vow ! 

F^r. I warrant you, sir. 

The white cold virgin snow upon my heart 
Abates the ardour of my liver. 

Pro. Well.— 

Now come, my Ariel : bring a corollary," 
Rather than want a spirit : appear, and pertly. — 
No tongue ; all eyes \ be silent. [*So/if music. 

A Masque. Winter Iris. 

Ins. Ceres, most bounteous lady, thy rich leas^ ^ 
Of wheat, rye, barley, vetches, oats, and pease ; / 

Thy turfy mountains, where live nibbling sheep, ^ 
And flat meads thatch'd with stover, them to keep ; 
Thy banks with pioned and twilled brims,^ ^ 

Which spongy April at thy hest betrims, C^ 

■ Corollary — a 8uri)lu8 number. 

*> Pioned and twilled. This is the reading of the original ; and a consideration of 
the whole passage must, we think, determine its adoption, in preference to the ordi- 
nary reading of 

" Thy banks with peonied and lilted brims." 
These are banks clothed with peonies and lilies. 
Milton, in the ' Arcades,' has the line — 

" By sandy Ladon's lilied beinks ;" 
and Warton observes that " here is an authority for reading lilied instead of twilled, 
in a very controverted verse of ' The Tempest.' " He adds, " lilied seems to have been 
no uncommon epithet for the banks of a river." Henley was the first to ask, as we 
thitik very sensibly, whether the banks of a river were meant at all, whether peonies 
grow on river-banks, and whether peonies and lilies come before April ? To this 
Steevens answers that Sbakspere was no naturalist, — an assertion utterly without 
foundation. It is manifest that the banks of a river are not meant. The address 
is to Ceres. Her rich leas, her turfy mountains, her flat meads, precede the men- 
tion of her banks. The banks are the artificial mounds by which the flat meads and 
the rich leas are divided ; or they are the natural ridges in grove and grass-plot, 
which Shakspere hais himself described as the home of the wild thyme and the 
violet. Spongy April betrims these banks at the command of Ceres ; not with 
peonies and lilies, — not with the flowers of the garden and the flowers of the valley, 
mingled together without regard to season or character, — but with her own pretty 
hedge-flowers. The poet himself has described what flowers April scatters : — 
" When daisies pied, and violets blue, 
And lady-smocks all silver white, 
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue, 

Do paint the meadows with delight," What 




To make cold nymphs chaste crowns; and thy broom 

Whose shadow the dismissed bachelor loves. 
Being lass-lom ; thy pole-clipp'd vineyard ; 
And thy sea-marge, steril, and rocky -hard. 
Where thou thyself dost air : The queen o' the sky. 
Whose watery arch, and messenger, am I, 
Bids thee leave these ; and with her sovereign grace. 
Here on this grass-plot, in this very place. 
To come and sport : her peacocks fly amain : * 
Approach, rich Ceres, her to entertain. 

Enter Ceres. 

Cer. Hail, many-colour'd messenger, that ne'er 
Dost disobey the wife of Jupiter ; 
Who, with thy saffron wings, upon my flowers 
=^^ Diffusest honey -drops, refreshing showers ; 

■^ And with each end of thy blue bow dost crown 

.^ My bosky acres, and my unshrubb'd down, 

-^5^ Rich scarf to my proud earth : Why hath thy queen 

A,^^ Summon'd me hither, to this short-grass'd green ? 

^ Iris. A' contract of true love to celebrate; 

And some donation freely to estate 
On the bless'd lovers. 

Cer. Tell me, heavenly bow. 

If Venus, or her son, as thou dost know. 
Do now attend the queen? Since they did plot 
The means that dusky Dis my daughter got. 
Her and her blind boy's scandal'd company 
I have forsworn. 

What banks doe« April betrim at the best of Ceres ? pioned banks, — that is banks 
dug, thrown up. A pioneer, or pioner, is a digger. The brim of the bank is thus 
especially pioned. Henley says, " Twilled is obviously formed from the participle 
of the French verb touilter, which Cotgrave interprets ' filthily to mix or mingle ; 
confound or shuffle together; bedirt; begrime; besmear.'" Any one who has 
seen the operation of banking and ditching in the early spring, so essential to the 
proper drainage of land, must recognise tl»e propriety of Shakspere's epithets. He 
was a practical farmer ; he saw the poetry even of the humblest works of hus- 

• We have here the stage-direction in (be original, "Juno detcendt."' Her pei- 
cocks is, in the original, " here peacocks." 

Scene I.] THE TEMPEST. 1^7 

Iris. Of her society 

Be not afraid ; I met her deity 
Cutting the clouds towards Paphos ; and her son 
Dove-drawn with her : here thought they to have done 
Some wanton charm upon this man and maid. 
Whose vows are that no bed-rite shall be paid 
Till Hymen's torch be lighted : but in vain ; 
Mars's hot minion is return'd again; 
Her waspish-headed son has broke his arrows. 
Swears he will shoot no more, but play with sparrows. 
And be a boy right out. 

Cer. Highest queen of state. 

Great Juno comes : I know her by her gait. 

Enter Juno. 
\ Jun. How does my bounteous sister ? Go with mo. 
To bless this twain, that they may prosperous be. 
And honour'd in their issue. 


Jun. Honour, riches, marriage blessing, 

^ Long continuance, and Increasing, 

i Hourly joys be still upon you! 

Juno sings her blessings on you. 

v/CT. Earth's Increase, folson plenty, 

Bams and gamers never empty ; 
Vines, with clust'ring bunches growing ; 
Plants with goodly burthen bowing ; 
Spring come to you, at the farthest, 
In the very end of harvest ! 
Scarcity and want shall shun you ; 
Ceres' blessing so is on you. 

Fer. This is a most majestic vision, and 
Harmonious charmingly : May I be bold 
To think these spirits? 

Pro. Spirits, which by mine art 

I have from their confines call'd to enact 
My present fancies. 

Fer. Let me live here ever ; 

So rare a wonder'd father, and a wife. 
Make this place Paradise. 

[Juno and Ceres whisper, and send Iris on employment. 

198 THE TEMPEST. [Act IV. 

Pro. Sweet now, silence ; 

Juno and Ceres whisper seriously ; 
There 's something else to do : hush, and be mute. 
Or else our spell is marr'd. 

Iris. You nymphs call'd Naiads, of the windering' brooks. 
With your sedg'd crowns, and ever harmless looks. 
Leave your crisp channels, and on this green land 
Answer your summons : Juno does command : 
Come, temperate nymphs, and help to celebrate 
A contract of true love ; be not too late. 

Enter certain Nymphs. 

You sun-burn'd sicklemen, of August weary^ 
Come hither from the furrow, and be merry ; 
Make holiday : your rye-straw hats put on. 
And these fresh nymphs encounter every one 
In country footing. 

Enter certain Reapers, properly habited; they join with 
the Nymphs in a graceful dance ; towards Hie end whereof 
Prospero starts suddenly, and speaks ; after which, to a 
strange, hollow, and confused noise, they heavily vanish. 

Pro- [Aside-I I had forgot that foul conspiracy 
Of the beast Caliban, and his confederates. 
Against my life ; the minute of their plot 
Is almost come. — [To the Spirits.] Well done; — avoid; — 
no more. 

Fer. This is strange : your father 's in some passion 
That works him strongly. 

Mira. Never till this day. 

Saw I him touch'd with anger so distemper'd. 

Pro. You do look, my son, in a mov'd sort. 
As if you were dismay 'd : be cheerful, sir : 
Our revels now are ended : these our actors. 
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and 
Are melted into air, into thin air : 
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, 

* fVindering. This reading of the original has been turned into uiantifrin^. The 
epithet, of course, has the meaning of winding . 

Scene I.] THE TEMPEST. 199 

The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces. 

The solemn temples, the gr eat g lobe itself. 

Yea, all which it inherit, shall alssolve ; 

And, like this insubstantial pageant laded. 

Leave not a rack * behind : We are such stuff 

As dreams are made on, and our littl§ life ^^ iJ^juyiAUi^^^ ^H^ 

Is rounded with a sleep.'' — Sir, I am vex'd; -^; / • --^^tteM^ 

Bear with my weakness ; my old brain is troubled. 

Be not disturb'd with my infirmity : 

If you be pleas'd, retire into my cell. 

And there repose \ a turn or two I '11 walk. 

To still my beating mind. 

Fer., Mira. We wish your peace. [Exeunt. 

Pro. Come with a thought : — I thank thee : — Ariel, come. 

Enter Ariel. 

Ari. Thy thoughts I cleave to : What 's thy pleasure ? 

Pro. Spirit, 

We must prepare to meet with Caliban. 

Ari. Ay, my commander ; when I presented Ceres, 
I thought to have told thee of it ; but I fear'd 
Lest I might anger thee. 

* Rack. So the original. This word is now generally received as the true text. 
The rack, as'explained by Bacon, means the highest clouds : " The winds, which 
wave the clouds above, which we call the rack, and are not perceived below, pass 
without noise. ' We may take then rack in the sense of the smallest feathery cloud, 
— the cirrus of modem science. Mr. Hunter has expressed his belief that the word 
rack is never used with the indefinite article ; and he adds, " If it should turn out 
that to say a rack would be as improper as to say a welkin, we should be thrown 
back on the word wrack, which would not give a very bad sense, though, perhaps, 
one not so elegant as that which is afforded by the rarer word, rack.'" Tooke has 
not noticed this point ; but the reading is otherwise fully discussed in the * Diver- 
sions of Purley.' 

** We have been asked the meaning of this passage, it being supposed that rowm&d 
was used in the sense of terminated ; and that one sleep was the end of life. This 
was not Shaksperes philosophy ; nor would he have introduced an idea totally dis- 
connected with the preceding description. Rounded is used in the sense of encom- 
passed. The " insubstantial pageant " had been presented ; its actors had " melted 
into thin air;" it was an unreality. In the same way, life itself is but a dream. It 
is surrounded with the sleep which is the parent of dreams. Here we have the sha- 
dowing out of the doctrine of Berkeley ; and we have no doubt that Shakspere, to 
whom all philosophical speculation was familiar, may have entertained the theory 
that our senses are impressed by the Creator with the images of things, which form 
our material world, — a world of idea8,^-<>f dream-like unrealities. 

200 THE TEMPEST. [Act IV. 

JVo. Say again, where didst thou leave these varlets ? 

Art. I told you, sir, they were red-hot with drinking : 
So full of valour that they smote the air 
For breathing in their faces ; beat the ground 
For kissing of their feet ; yet always bending 
Towards their project : Then I beat my tabor. 
At which, like unback'd colts, they prick'd their ears, 
Advanc'd their eyelids, lifted up their noses. 
As they smelt music ; so I charm 'd their ears. 
That, calf-like, they my lowing follow'd, through 
Tooth'd briers, sharp furzes, pricking goss, and thorns. 
Which enter'd their frail shins : at last I left them 
r the filthy mantled pool beyond your cell, 
There dancing up to the chins, that the foul lake 
O'erstunk their feet. 

Pro. This was well done, my bird ; 

Thy shape invisible retain thou still : 
The trumpery in my house, go, bring it hither. 
For stale to catch these thieves. 

Ari. I go, I go. [Exit. 

Pro. A devil, a bom devil, on whose nature 
Nurture can never stick ; on whom my pains. 
Humanely taken, all, all lost, quite lost : 
And as, with age, his body uglier grows. 
So his mind cankers : I will plague them all. 

Re-enter Ariel, leaden with glistering apparel, ^c. 

Even to roaring : — Come, hang them on this line.' 

Prospero and Ariel remain invisible. Enter Caliban, 
Stephano, and Trinculo, all wet. 

Cal. Pray you, tread softly, that the blind mole may not 
Hear a foot fall : we now are near his cell. 

Ste. Monster, your fairy, which you say is a harmless 
fairy, has done little better than played the Jack with us. 

Trin. Monster, I do smell all horse-piss ; at which my 
nose is in great indignation. 

Ste. So is mine. Do you hear, monster ? If I should take 
a displeasure against you ; look you, — 

Scene I.] THE TEMPEST. 201 

Trin. Thou wert but a lost monster. 

Cal. Good my lord, give me thy favour still : 
Be patient, for the prize I '11 bring thee to 
Shall hoodwink this mischance : therefore speak softly. 
All 's hush'd as midnight yet. 

Trin. Kj, but to lose our bottles in the popl, — 

Ste. There is not only disgrace and dishonour in that, 
monster, but an infinite loss. 

Trin. That 's more to me than my wetting : yet this is 
your harmless fairy, monster. 

Ste. I will fetch off my bottle, though I be o'er ears for 
my labour. 

Cal. Prithee, my king, be quiet : See'st thou here. 
This is the mouth o' the cell : no noise, and enter. 
Do that good mischief, which may make this island 
Thine own for ever, and I, thy Caliban, 
For aye thy foot-licker. 

Ste. Give me thy hand: I do begin to have bloody 

Trin. O king Stephano ! O peer ! O worthy Stephano ! 
look, what a wardrobe here is for thee ! 

Cat. Let it alone, thou fool ; it is but trash. 

Trin. O, ho, monster ; we know what belongs to a frip- 
pery : — O king Stephano ! 

Ste. Put off that gown, Trinculo ; by this hand, I '11 have 
that gown. 

Trin. Thy grace shall have it. 

Cal. The dropsy drown this fool ! what do you mean. 
To dote thus on such luggage ? Let 's alone," 
And do the murther first : if he awake. 
From toe to crown he '11 fill our skins with pinches ; 
Make us strange stuff. 

Ste. Be you quiet, monster. — Mistress line, is not this my 
jerkin ? Now is the jerkin under the line : now, jerkin, you 
are like to lose your hair, and prove a bald jerkin. 

* Let '» alone. So the original. The ordinary reading is kt it alone ; which is 
good enough, and probable. Steevens has suggested that let 's ahne may mean — 
" Let you and I only go to commit the murder, leaving Trinculo, who is so soli- 
citous about the trash of dress, behind us." 

202 THE TEMPBST. [Act IV. 

Trin. Do, do : We steal by line and level, an 't like your 

Ste. I thank thee for that jest : here 's a garment for 't : 
wit shall not go unrewarded while I am king of this 
country : Steal by line and level, is an excellent pass of pate ; 
there 's another garment for 't. 

Trin. Monster, come, put some lime upon your fingers, 
and away Avith the rest. 

Col. I will have none on 't : we shall lose ouj time. 
And all be turn'd to barnacles, or to apes 
With forelieads villainous low. 

Ste. Monster, lay-to your fingers ; help to bear this away 
where my hogshead of wine is, or I '11 turn you out of my 
kingdom : go to, carry this. 

Trin. And this. 

Ste. Ay, and this. 

A noise of hunters heard. Enter divers Spirits, in shape of 
hounds, and hunt them about. Prospero and Ariel set- 
ting them on. 

Pro. Hey, Mountain, hey ! 

Ari. Silver ! there it goes. Silver ! 

Pro. Fury, Fury ! there. Tyrant, there ! hark, hark ! 

[Cal., Ste., and Trin. are driven out. 
Go, charge my goblins that they grind their joints 
With dry convulsions ; shorten up their sinews 
With aged cramps ; and more pinch-spotted make them. 
Than pard or cat o' mountain. 

Ari. Hark, they roar. 

Pro. Let them be hunted soundly : At this hour 
Lie at my mercy all mine enemies : 
Shortly shall all my labours end, and thou 
Shalt have the air of freedom : for a little. 
Follow, and do me service. [Exeunt. 



' Scene I. — " Come, hang them on this line.'''' 

Mr, Hunter, in his ' Disquisition on The Tempest,' has a special heading, " the line- 

graix.''' He invites the friend to whom he addresses the Disquisition to accompany 

him lo the " cell of Prospero, and to the grove or berry of line-trees by which it was 

enclosed or protected from the weather." He adds, " if you look for the very word 

line-grove in any verbal index to Shakespeare you will not find it ; for the modern 

editors, in their discretion, have chosen to alter the line in which it occurs, and we 

now read — 

• In the lime-gTO\e which weather-fends your cell.' " 

The editors, then, have substituted the more recent name of the tree for the more 
ancient : but the change had taken place earlier than the days of the commentators. 
In Dryden's alteration of ' The Tempest' (edit, of 1676) we have the above pas- 
sage, with lime-grove. The effect of the change, Mr. Hunter says, is this : — 

'' When Prospero says to Ariel, who comes in bringing the glittering apparel, 
* Come, hang them on this line,' he means on one of the line-trees near his cell, 
which could hardly have been mistaken if the word of the original copies, rtne-grove, 
had been allowed to keep its place. But the ear having long been familiar with 
lime-grove, the word suggested not the branches of a tree so called, but a cord-line, 
and accordingly, when the play is represented, such a line is actually drawn across 
the stage, and the glittering apparel is hung upon it. Anything more remote from 
poetry than this can scarcely be imagined.'' 

This, we admit, is exceedingly ingenious ; and we were at first disposed, with 
many others, to receive the theory with an implicit belief. A careful examination 
of the matter has, however, convinced us that the poet had no such intention of 
hanging the clothes on a line-tree ; that a clothes-line was destined to this oflSce ; 
and that the players are right in stretching up a clothes-line. Our reasons are as 
follow : — 

Ist. When Prospero says " hang them on this line,'" — when Stephano gives his 
jokes of " mistress line," and " now is the jerkin under the line," — the word 
" line " has no characteristic mode of printing, neither with a capital, nor in italics. 
On the contrary, the tree, in comiexion with a grove, is printed thus, — Line-grove. 

2nd. Mr. Hunter furnishes no example of the word line, as applied to a tree, 
being used without the adjunct of tree or grove — line-tree, line-grove. The quota- 
tion which he gives from Elisha Cole is clear in this matter : — " Line-tree (jilia), a 
tall tree, with broad leaves and fine flowers." The other quotation which he gives 
from Gerard would, if correctly printed, exhibit the same thing : — " The female 
line, says Gerard, or linden-tree, waxeth very great," &c. But Gerard wrote, " The 
female line or linden tree waxeth," &c. ; and the word tree as much belongs to line 
as to linden. 

3rd. Mr. Hunter quotes " some clumsy joking about the line, among the clowns 
as they steal through the line-grove with the murderous intent;" and he quotes as 
follows, omitting certain words, which we shall presently give : — 

" Ste. Mistress line, is not this my jerkin ? Now is the jerkin under the line. 
Trin. We steal by line and level," &c. 

Now the passage really stands thus : — 



" Ste. Mistren line, is not thia my jerkin ? Now it the Jerkin under the line : now, 
jerkin, you are like to lose your hair, and prove a bald jerkin. 
Trin. We steal by line and level," Jfcc. 

Is not the " clumsy joking " about lote your hair, and bald jerkin, of some import- 
ance in getting at tlie meaning ? Steevens has observed that " the lines on which 
clothes are hung are usually made of twisted horse-hair." But they were espe- 
cially so made in Shakspere's day. In a woodcut of twelve distinct figures of 
trades and callings of the time of James I. (see Smith's ' Cries of London/ p. 15), 
and of which there is a copy in the British Museum, we have the cry of " Buy a 
hair'Une ."^ The "clumsy joking" would be intelligible to an audience accus- 
tomed to a hair-line. It is not intelligible according to Mr. Hunter's assertion that 
the word suggested a " cord-iine."^ 

4th. Is it likely that Shakspere would have made these drunken fellows so know- 
ing in the peculiarities of trees as to distinguish a line-tree from an elm-tree, or a 
plane-tree f Is it conceivable that the trees in Prosj^ero's islaind were so young that 
clothes could be hung ujion their lower branches ? Are the branches of a line-tree 
of such a form as to hang clothes upon them, and to remove them easily f Had not 
the clowns a distinct image in their minds of an old-clothes shop? — 

" We know what belongs to ^frippery." 
Here is a pictiire of "a frippery," from a print dated 1587, with its clothes hung in 
"line and level." Is not the joke " we steal by line and level'^ applicable only to 
a stretched line ? — or is it meaningless ? It has the highest approbation of King 

Lastly, with reference to the chthet-line, when Mr. Hunter says " Anything more 
remote from poetry than this can scarcely be imagined," we answer that the entire 
scene was intended to be the antagonist of poetry. All the scenes in which Trin- 
culo and Stephano are tricked by Ariel are essentially ludicrous, and, to a certain 
extent, gross. The "pool " through which they were hunted had none of the poetical 
attributes about it. It was, compared with a fountain or a lake, as the hair-lint to 
the line-tree. Mr. Hunter contends that, " if the word of the original, line-grove, 
had been allowed to keep its place," the passages in the fourth act referring to line 
must have been associated with the line-grove of the fifth act. The poet, we are 
satisfied, had no such association in his mind. 

Scene I.] THE TEMPEST. 205 


SCENE I.— Before the Cell of Prosfero. 
Enter Prospero in his magic robes ; and Ariel. 

Pro. Now does my project gather to a head : 
My charms crack not ; my spirits obey ; and Time 
Goes upright with his carriage. How 's the day ? 

Ari. On the sixth hour ; at which time, my lord. 
You said our work should cease. 

Pro. I did say so. 

When first I rais'd the tempest. Say, my spirit. 
How fares the king and 's followers ? * 

Ari. Confin'd together 

In the same fashion as you gave in charge ; 
Just as you left them ; all prisoners, sir. 
In the line-grove which weather-fends your cell ; 
They cannot budge till your release. The king. 
His brother, and yours, abide all three distracted ; 
And the remainder mourning over them, 
BrimfuU of sorrow and dismay ; but chiefly 
Him that ^ you term'd, sir, " The good old lord, Gonzalo ;" 
His tears run down his beard, like winter's drops 
From eaves of reeds : your charm so strongly works them. 
That if you now beheld them your affections 
Would become tender. 

Pro. Dost thou think so, spirit? 

Ari. Mine would, sir, were I human. 

Pro. And mine shall. 

Hast thou, which art but air, a touch, a feeling 
Of their afflictions ? and shall not myself, 

* And '« followers. These words, says Steevens, spoil the metre without help to 
the sense; and so he prints " How fares the king and his." 

*> That. All the editors omit this word, by which omission they destroy the 
metrical ease of the line. 

206 THE TEMPEST. [Act V. 

One of their kind, that relish all as sharply. 

Passion as they, be kindlier mov'd than thou art ? 

Though with their high wrongs I am strook to the quick. 

Yet, with my nobler reason 'gainst my fury 

Do I take part : the rarer action is 

In virtue than in vengeance : they being penitent. 

The sole drift of my purpose doth extend 

Not a frown further : Go, release them, Ariel ; 

My charms I '11 break, their senses I '11 restore. 

And they shall be themselves. 

Ari. I '11 fetch them, sir. [Exit. 

Pro. Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves ; ' 
And ye that on the sands with printless foot 
Do chase the ebbing Neptune, and do fly him. 
When he comes back ; you demi-puppets that 
By moonshine do the green sour ringlets make,' 
Whereof the ewe not bites ; and you, whose pastime 
Is to make midnight-mushrooms ; that rejoice 
To hear the solemn curfew ; by whose aid 
(Weak masters though ye be) I have bedimm'd 
The noontide sun, call'd forth the mutinous winds. 
And 'twixt the green sea and the azur'd vault 
Set roaring war : to the dread rattling thunder 
Have I given fire, and rifted Jove's stout oak 
With his own bolt : the strong-bas'd promontory 
Have I m^e shake ; and by the spurs pluck'd up 
The pine and cedar : graves, at my command. 
Have wak'd their sleepers ; op'd, and let them forth 
By my so potent art : But this rough magic 
I here abjure : and, when I have requir'd 

• The modem editors all make here a compound epithet green-$oitr. Douce 
would read green sward. Mr. Hunter agrees with Douce in his objection to the 
hyphen, and proposes another reading, — 

" By moonshine on the green sour ringlets make." 
But where is the necessity for change at all ? Why cannot we be content to retain 
the double epithet of the folio ? We know that the ringlets are of the green sward, 
and on the green ; but the poet, by using the epithet green, marks the intensity of 
their colour. They are greener than the green about them. That they are tour he 
explains by " Whereof the ewe not bites." No description could be more accurate 
of what we still call fairy-rings. 

Scene I.] THE TEMPEST. 207 

Some heavenly music, (which even now I do,) 

To work mine end upon their senses that 

This airy charm is for, I '11 break my staff. 

Bury it certain fathoms in the earth. 

And, deeper than did ever plummet sound, 

I '11 drown my book. [Solemn music. 

Re-enter Ariel : after him, Alonso, with a frantic gesture, 
attended by Gonzalo ; Sebastian and Antonio in like 
manner, attended by Adrian and Francisco : they all 
enter the circle which Prospero had made, and there stand 
charmed ; which Prospero observing, speaks. 

A solemn air, and the best comforter 

To an unsettled fancy, cure thy brains. 

Now useless, boil'd * within thy skull ! There stand. 

For you are spell-stopp'd. 

Holy Gonzalo, honourable man. 

Mine eyes, even sociable to the show of thine. 

Fall fellowly drops. — The charm dissolves apace ; 

And as the morning steals upon the night. 

Melting the darkness, so their rising senses 

Begin to chase the ignorant fumes that mantle 

Their clearer reason. — O good Gonzalo, 

My true preserver, and a loyal sir 

To him thou follow'st, I will pay thy graces 

Home, both in word and deed. — Most cruelly 

Didst thou, Alonso, use me and my daughter : 

Thy brother was a furtherer in the act ; — 

Thou art pinch'd for 't now, Sebastian. — Flesh and blood. 

You brother mine, that entertain'd ambition, 

Expell'd remorse and nature ; who, with Sebastian, 

(Whose inward pinches therefore are most strong,) 

Would here have kill'd your king ; I do forgive thee. 

Unnatural though thou art ! — Their understanding 

Begins to swell ; and the approaching tide 

Will shortly fill the reasonable shores. 

That now lie foul and muddy. Not one of them 

That yet looks on me, or would know me : — Ariel, 

» BoiPd. In the original, boil. 

208 THE TEMPEST. • [Act V. 

Fetch me the nat and rapier in my cell; [Exit Ariel. 

I will disease me, and myself present, 

As I was sometime Milan : — quickly, spirit ; 

Thou shalt ere long be free. 

Ariel re-enters, singing, and helps to attire Prospero. 

An, Where the bee sucks, there suck I ; 

In a cowslip's bell I lie : 
There I couch when owls do cry. 
On the bat's back I do fly 
After summer merrily : 
Merrily, merrily, shall I live now, 
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.* 

Pro. Why, that 's my dainty Ariel : I shall miss thee ; 
But yet thou shalt have freedom : so, so, so. — 
To the king's ship, invisible as thou art : 
There shalt thou find the mariners asleep 
Under the hatches j the master, and the boatswain. 
Being awake, enforce them to this place ; 
And presently, I prithee. 

Ari. I drink the air before me, and return 
Or e'er your pulse twice beat. [Exit Ariel. 

Gon. All torment, trouble, wonder, and amazement 
Inhabits here : Some heavenly power guide us 
Out of this fearful country ! 

Pro. Behold, sir king. 

The wronged duke of Milan, Prospero : 
For more assurance that a living prince 
Does now speak to thee, I embrace thy body; 
And to thee, and thy company, I bid 
A hearty welcome. 

Alon. Whe'r thou beest he, or no. 

Or some enchanted trifle to abuse me. 
As late I have been, I not know : thy pulse 
Beats, as of flesh and blood ; and, since I saw thee. 
The affliction of my mind amends, with which, 
I fear, a madness held me : this must crave 
(An if this be at all) a most strange story. 
Thy dukedom I resign ; and do entreat 

Scene I.] THE TEMPEST. !209 

Thou pardon me my wrongs : — But how should Prospero 
Be living, and be here? 

Pro. First, noble friend. 

Let me embrace thine age ; whose honour cannot 
Be measvir'd, or confin'd. 

Gon. Whether this be. 

Or be not, I '11 not swear. 

Pro. You do yet taste 

Some subtilties o' the isle, that will not let you 
Believe things certain : — Welcome, my friends all : — 
But you, my btace of lords, were I so minded, 

[Aside to Sebas. and Ant. 
I here could pluck his highness' frown upon you. 
And justify you traitors ; at this time 
I '11 tell no tales. 

Seb. The devil speaks in him, [Aside. 

Pro. No :— 

For you, most wicked sir, whom to call brother 
Would even infect my mouth, I do forgive 
Thy rankest fault ; all of them ; and require 
My dukedom of thee, which, perforce, I know 
Thou must restore. 

Alon. • If thou beest Prospero, 

Give us particulars of thy preservation : 
How thou hast met us here, who three hours since 
Were wrack'd upon this shore ; where I have lost 
(How sharp the point of this remembrance is !) 
My dear son Ferdinand. 

Pro. I am woe for^t, sir. 

Alon. Irreparable is the loss ; and patience 
.Says it is past her cure. 

P'O. I rather think. 

You have not sought her help ; of whose soft grace 
For the like loss, I have her sovereign aid. 
And rest myself content. 

Alon. You the like loss ? 

Pro. As great to me, as late ; and supportable 

To make the dear loss, have I means much weaker 
Vol. IV. p 


210 THE TEMPEST. [Act V. 

Than you may call to comfort you ; for I 
Have lost my daughter. 

Alon. A daughter? 

heavens ! that they were living both in Naples, 
The king and queen there ! that they were, I wish 
Myself were mudded in that oozy bed 

Where my son lies. When did you lose your daughter? 

Pro. In this last tempest. I perceive these lords 
At this encounter do so m\ich admire. 
That they devour their reason ; and scarce think 
Their eyes do offices of truth, their words 
Are natural breath : but, howsoe'er you have 
Been justled from your senses, know for certain 
That I am Prospero, and that very duke 
Which was thrust forth of Milan ; who most strangely 
Upon this shore, where you were wrack'd, was landed. 
To be the lord on 't. No more yet of this ; 
For 't is a chronicle of day by day. 
Not a relation for a breakfast, nor 
Befitting this first meeting. Welcome, sir ; 
This cell 's my court : here have I few attendants. 
And subjects none abroad : pray you, look in. 
My dukedom since you have given me again, 

1 will requite you with as good a thing ; 

At least, bring forth a wonder to content ye. 
As much as me my dukedom. 

7%e entrance of the Cell opens, and discovers Ferdinand 
and Miranda playing at chess. 

Mira. Sweet lord, you play me false. 

Fer. No, my dearest love, 

I would not for the world. 

Mira. Yes, for a score of kingdoms you should wrangle. 
And I would call it fair play. 

Alon. If this prove 

A vision of the island, one dear son 
Shall I twice lose. 

Seb. A most high miracle 

Scene!.] THE TEMPEST. 211 

Fer. Though the seas threaten, they are merciful : 
I have curs'd them without cause. [Fer. kneels to Alon. 

Alon. Now all the blessings 

Of a glad father compass thee about ! 
Arise, and say how thou cam'st here> 

Mira. O \ wonder ! 

How many goodly creatures are there here ! 
How beauteous mankind is ! O brave new worlds 
That has sueh people in 't ! 

Pro. 'T is new to thee. 

Alon. What is this maid, with whom thou wast at play ? 
Your eldest acquaintance cannot be three hours : 
Is she the goddess that hath sever'd ua. 
And brought us thus together ? 

Fer. Sir, she is mortal; 

But, by immortal providence, she 's mine ; 
I chose her, when I could not ask my father 
For his advice ; nor thought I had one : she 
Is daughter to this famous duke of Milan, 
Of whom so often I have heard renown. 
But never saw before ; of whom I have 
Receiv'd a second life, and second father 
This lady makes him to me. 

Alon. I am hers '. 

But O, how oddly will it sound that I 
Must ask my child forgiveness ! 

Pro. There, sir, stop ; 

Let us not burthen our remembrances with 
A heaviness that 's gone. 

Gon. I have inly wept. 

Or should have spoke ere this. Look down, you gods. 
And on this couple drop a blessed crown ; 
For it is you that have ehalk'd forth the way 
Which brought us hither ! 

Alon. I say, amen, Gonzalo \ 

Gon. Was Milan thrust from Milan, that his issue 
Should become kings of Naples ? O, rejoice 
Beyond a common joy ; and set it down 
With gold on lasting pillars : In one voyage 

P l 

212 THE TEMPEST. [Act V. 

Did Claribel her husband find at Tunis ; 

And Ferdinand, her brother, found a wife 

Where he himself was lost j Prospero, his dukedom. 

In a poor isle ; and all of us, ourselves. 

When no man was his own. 

Alon. Give me your hands : [7b Feb. and Mir. 

Let grief and sorrow still embrace his heart 
That doth not wish you joy ! 

Gon. Be 't so ! Amen \ 

Re-enter Ariel, with the Master and Boatswain amazedly 

look, sir, look, sir ; here are more of us ! 

1 prophesied if a gallows were on land. 

This fellow could not drown : now, blasphemy. 
That swear's t grace o'erboard, not an oath on shore ? 
Hast thou no mouth by land ? What is the news ? 

Boats. The best news is that we have safely found 
Our king, and company : the next our ship, — 
Which, but three glasses since, we gave out split, — 
Is tight, and yare, and bravely rigg'd, as when 
We first put out to sea. 

Art. Sir, all this service] 

Have I done since I went. >Aside. 

Pro. My tricksy spirit ij 

Alon. These are not natural events ; they strengthen. 
From strange to stranger : — Say, how came you hither ? 

Boats. If I did think, sir, I were well awake, 
I 'd strive to tell you . We were dead of sleep. 
And (how, we know not) all clapp'd under hatches. 
Where, but even now, with strange and several noises 
Of roaring, shrieking, howling, gingling chains. 
And more diversity of sounds, all horrible. 
We were awak'd ; straightway, at liberty : 
Where we, in all our trim,' freshly beheld 
Our royal, good, and gallant ship ; our master 

■ Our trim. So the original. The ordinary rpiiding is her trim. Our trim 
expresses what Ariel had mentioned in the first act, — 

" On their sustaining garments not a blemish." 

Scene I.] THE TEMPEST. 213 


Capering to eye her : on a trice, so please you. 
Even in a dream, were we divided from them. 
And were brought moping hither. 

Ari. Was 't well done?] 

Pro. Bravely, my diligence. Thou shalt be free. 

Alon. This is as strange a maze as e'er men trod : 
And there is in this business more than nature 
Was ever conduct of: some oracle 
Must rectify our knowledge. 

Pro. Sir, my liege. 

Do not infest your mind with beating on 
The strangeness of this business : at pick'd leisure. 
Which shall be shortly, single I '11 resolve you 
(Which to you shall seem probable) of every 
These happen'd accidents : till when, be cheerful. 
And think of each thing well. — Come hither, spirit ; [Aside. 
Set Caliban and his companions free : 

Untie the spell. [Exit Ariel.] How fares my gracious sir? 
There are yet missing of your company 
Some few odd lads that you remember not. 

Re-enter Ariel, driving in Caliban, Stephano, and Trin- 
CULO, in their stolen Apparel. 

Ste. Every man shift for all the rest, and let no man take 
care for himself; for all is but fortune: — Coragio, bully- 
monster, Coragio ! 

Trin. If these be true spies which I wear in my head, 
here 's a goodly sight. 

Cal. O Setebos, these be brave spirits, indeed ! 
How fine my master is ! I am afraid 
He will chastise me. 

Seb. Ha, ha ! 

What things are these, my lord Antonio ? 
Will money buy them ? 

Ant. Very like ; one of them 

Is a plain fish, and, no doubt, marketable. 

Pro. Mark but the badges of these men, my lords. 
Then say if they be true : this mis-shapen knave, — 
His mother was a witch, and one so strong 

214 THE TEMPEST. [Act V. 

That could control the moon, make flows and ebbs. 
And deal in her command, without her power : 
These three have robb'd me : and this demi-devil 
(For he 's a bastard one) had plotted with them 
To take my life : two of these fellows you 
Must know, and own ; this thing of darkness I 
Acknowledge mine. 

Cal. I shall be pinch'd to death. 

Alon. Is not this Stephano, my drunken butler ? 

Seb. He is drunk now : where had he wine ? 

Alon. And Trinculo is reeling ripe ; Where should they 
Find this grand liquor that hath gilded them ? — 
How cam'st thou in this pickle ? 

Trtn. I have been in such a pickle, since I saw you last, 
that, I fear me, will never out of my bones : I shall not fear 

Seb. Why, .how now, Stephano ? 

Ste. O, touch me not ; I am not Stephano, but a cramp. 

Pro. You 'd be king o' the isle, sirrah ? 

Ste. I should have been a sore one then. 

Alon. This is as strange thing' as e'er I look'd on. 

[Pointing to Cal. 

Pro. He is as disproportion'd in his manners 
As in his shape : — Go, sirrah, to my cell ; 
Take with you your companions ; as you look 
To have my pardon, trim it handsomely. 

Cal. Ay, that I will ; and I '11 be wise hereafter. 
And seek for grace : What a thrice-double ass 
Was I, to take this drunkard for a god. 
And worship this dull foo- 

Pro. Go to ; away ! 

u^n. Hence, and bestow your luggage where you found 

Seb. Or stole it, rather. [Exeunt Cal., Ste., and Trin. 

Pro. Sir, I invite your highness, and your train. 
To my poor cell : where you shall take your rest 
For this one night j which (part of it) I '11 waste 

• Strange thing. So tJie original. The ordiimry reading is " strange a thing." 

Scene I.] THE TEMPEST. 215 

With such discourse, as, I not doubt, shall make it 
Go quick away : the story of my life. 
And the particular accidents gone by. 
Since I came to this isle : And in the morn 
I '11 bring you to your ship, and so to Naples, 
Where I have hope to see the nuptial 
Of these our dear-belov'd solemnized ; 
And thence retire me to my Milan, where 
Every third thought shall be my grave. 

Alon. I long 

To hear the story of your life, which must 
Take the ear strangely. 

Pro. I '11 deliver all ; 

And promise you calm seas, auspicious gales. 
And sail so expeditious, that shall catch 
Your royal fleet far off. — My Ariel ; — chick, — 
That is thy charge ; then to the elements 
Be free, and fare thou well ! — [aside^^ Please you, draw 
near. {Exeunt. 



, Spoken by Prospero. 

Now my charms are all o'erthrown, 
And what strength I have 's mine own ; 
Which is most faint : now 't is true, 
I must be here confin'd by you. 
Or sent to Naples : Let me not. 
Since I have my dukedom got. 
And pardon'd the deceiver, dwell 
In this bare island, by your spell ; 
But release me from my bands. 
With the help of your good hands. 
Gentle breath of yours my sails 
Must fill, or else my project fails. 
Which was to please : Now I want 
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant ; 
And my ending is despair. 
Unless I be reliev'd by prayer ; 
Which pierces so, that it assaults 
Mercy itself, and frees all faults. 
As you from crimes would pardon'd be. 
Let your indulgence set me free. 



* Scene I. — " Ye ekes o/hilh,'" 8fc. 

The invocation of Medea, in Ovid's * Metamorphoses,' was no doubt feimiliar to 
Shakspere when he wrote this passage, and he has used several expressions which we 
find in Golding's translation. We subjoin the passage from that translation, which 
Farmer quotes as one of his proofs that Shakspere did not know the original. The 
evidence in this as in every other case only goes to show that he knew the transla- 
tion : — 

" Ye airs and winds, ye elves of hills, of brooks, of woods alone. 
Of standing lakes, and of the night, approach ye every one. 
Through help of whom (the crooked banks much wondering at the thing) 
I have compelled streams to run clear backward to their spring. 
By charms I make the calm sea rough, and make the rough sea plain. 
And cover all the sky with clouds, and chase them thence again. 
By charms I raise and lay the winds, and burst the viper's jaw ; 
And from the bowels of the earth both stones and trees do draw. 
Whole woods and forests I remove, I make the mountains shake. 
And even the earth itself to groan and fearfully to quake. 
I call up dead men from their graves, and thee, O lightsome moon, 
I darken oft, though beaten brass abate thy peril soon. 
Our sorcery dims the morning fair, and darks the sun at noon. 
The flaming breath of fiery bulls ye quenched for my sake. 
And caused their unwieldy necks the bended yoke to take. 
Among tlie earth-bred brothers you a mortal war did set, 
And brought asleep the dragon fell, whose eyes were never shut." 

* Scene I. — " HTiere the bee rucks,'" 8fc. 
There are probably more persons familiar with this song in association with the 
music of Dr. Arne than as readers of Shakspere, The first line is invariably sung, 

" Where the bee sucks, there link I." 

It is perfectly clear that Uerk is not the word which Ariel would have used ; and it 
is equally clear that the poet meant to convey the notion of a being not wholly 
ethereal ; who required some aliment, although the purest and the most delicate : — 

" Where the bee sucks, there suck I." 

We trust that the music-sellers, such as Mr. Chappell, for example, who has shown 
such taste in his ' National English Airs,' will not continue to destroy the meaning 
of the poet. We point the third line as in the original: — 

" There I couch when owls do cry." 

Capell and Malone put a period after couch. This is making the verb little more 
than a repetition of the preceding verb He. The original has no stop whatever after 
couch, and it has only a comma after cry. Theobald changed the word summer into 
sunset. Warburton supports the old reading very ingeniously : — " The roughness 
of winter is represented by Shakspeare as disagreeable to fairies, and such-like delicate 
spirits, who, on this account, constantly follow summer. Was not this, then, the 
most agreeable circumstance of Ariel's new recovered liberty, that he could now 
avoid winter, and follow summer quite round the globe f" But here a new diffi- 


culty ariaes. Bats do not migrate, as swallows do, in search of summer. Steevens, 
with his own real ignorance, says that Shakspere might, through his ignorance of 
natural history', have supposed the bat to be a bird of passage. He inclines, bow- 
ever, to the opinion, not that Ariel jmrsuet summer on a bat's wing, but that a/Her 
summer is past he rides upon the warm down of a bat's back. Excellent naturalistf 
Why, the bat is torpid after summer. If this exquisite song, then, is to be subjected 
to this strict analysis, it is difficult to reduce all its images to the measure of fitness 
and propriety. We are unwilling to introduce into tlie text any conjectural 
emendation ; for the best interpretation must seem forced when it disturbs a long- 
established and familiar idea. We therefore follow the original exactly, leaving to 
our readers to form their own interpretation. Claiming the same liberty for our- 
selves, we believe the words of the song to be the same as the poet wrote them, but 
that the punctuation (to express his idea according to our modem notions of ])unc* 
tuatiun) ought to be as follows : — 

" Where the bee sucks, there suck I ; 
In a cowslip's bell I lie : 
There I couch when owls do cry 
On the bat's back. I do fly 
After summer merrily. 
Merrily, merrily, shall I live now 
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough." 

We have here all the conditions of Ariel's existence expressed in the most condensed 
form. In the day the fine spirit feeds with the bee, or reposes in a cowslip's bell. 
In the night, when owls do cry, he couches on the bat's back. The season here 
expressed is that of the latter spring, or summer, when the bee is busy, and the field- 
flowers are spreading their gay colours to the sun ; — when the owl hoots, as in the 
May-time of the ' Midsiunmer Night's Dream,' and the bat is abroad. But there 
are other seasons. After sttmmer Ariel still flies merrily. The spirit has here 
described his habitual enjoyments and occupations ; and then, biusting forth into a 
rapturous anticipation of the happiness of his freedom, be sees only one long spring 
of future pleasures, 

" Under the blossom that hangs on the bough." 

Mr. Hunter conjectures that Ariel had a particular blossom and a particular bough 
in view — " the pendulous blossoms of the line-tree;" — and that his favourite abode 
will be Prospero's " line-grove." We have not exactly the same opinion of Ariel's 
inhabitiveness, as the phrenologists express the love of home. His long confinement 
in the "cloven pine," during the reign of Sycorax, would make the island have 
somewhat of disagreeable associations when Prospero had quitted it. The " howl " of 
the " wolves " would still ring in his ears. We have no doubt that he would again 
make a trip to the "still vex'd Bermoothes." 



[" Where the bee sucks. "'J 


So much has been written on ' The Tempest,' and so unnecessary 
is it for us to analyse the plot or dwell on the charms of the poetry, 
that we shall here content ourselves with presenting our readers 
with some of the peculiar and original views of Franz Horn, trans- 
lated from his ' Shaksperes Schauspiele erlautert.' This very acute 
and lively critic sets out by observing that nothing was more com- 
mon in the early romantic literature than the imagination of adven- 
tures in a desert island, in a far distant ocean. This consideration 
alone, we think, is sufficient to make us little solicitous to localize 
the scene of Prospero's island, or to seek for any particular inci- 
dents that may have suggested to Shakspere a story with a storm 
and a shipwreck. Horn then proceeds thus : — 

" The beginning takes our fancy wholly a prisoner. We see a 
ship nearing the island, driving along in the greatest danger amid 
storm and tempest, and struggling as with a last effort against the 
fatal summons. Here, placed in immediate contact, are sovereigns 
and their heirs with rude boatswains, sailors, and jesters, the re- 


verend old man with the blooming youth, affright with wit, despera- 
tion with prayer. Nevertheless, the effect of this scene is not 
entirely tragic : we are too much occupied with the passing events, — 
we see how they develop the unannounced characters, — and the 
lightnings of wit flash so strongly between the lightnings of heaven 
as to give us no time to bestow on any particular individual a di- 
rectly tragical melancholy feeling ; for no sooner have we had this 
glance than two noble behigs immediately vouchsafe to speak to us, 
and quiet us as to the fate of the shipwrecked personages who have 
interested us so much. 

" These are the lord of the island and his daughter. In Pros- 
pero we have a delineation of peculiar profundity. He was, 
once, not altogether a just prince, not thoroughly a just man; 
but he had the disposition to be both. His soul thirsted after 
knowledge ; his mind, sincere in itself, after love ; and his fancy, 
after the secrets of nature : but he forgot, what a prince should 
least of all forget, that, upon this moving earth, superior ac- 
quirements, in order to stand firmly, must be exercised carefully ; 
that the world is full of enemies who can only be subdued by a 
watchful power and prudence, and that in certain situations the 
armour ought never to be put off. Thus it became easy for his 
nearest relation, his brother, with the help of a powerful neighbour- 
ing king who could not resist the offered but unjustifiable advantage, 
to depose him from his dukedom. But as the pure morals of the 
prince, although they were perhaps but lazily exercised in behalf 
of his subjects, had nevertheless acquired their love, and the usurper 
not daring to make an attack on the lives of the fallen, Prospero 
saved himself, his daughter, and a part of his magical books, upon 
a desert island. Here he becomes, what, in its highest sense, he 
had not yet been, a father and prince. His knowledge extends. 
Nature listens to him, perhaps because he learned to know and love 
her more inwardly. Zephyr-like spirits, full of a tender frolicsome 
humour, and rude earth-born gnomes, are compelled to serve him. 
The whole island is full of wonders, but only such as the fancy 
willingly receives, of sounds and songs, of merry helpers and co- 
mical tormentors; and Prospero shows his great human wisdom 
particularly in the manner with which he, as the spiritual centre, 
knows how to conduct his intercourse with friends and foes. First, 
with his daughter. Miranda is his highest, his one, his all ; never- 
theless there is visible a certain elevation, a solemnity, in his be- 
haviour towards her, — peculiarities which, even with the deepest 
love, the severely-tried and aged man easily assumes. Indeed, 


much as the pure sense of his daughter must have long cheered 
him, he deems it good to relate to her now for the first time the 
history of his earlier sufferings, when he has mastery over, and the 
power to punish, his adversaries. That his narration should have 
the effect of sending Miranda to sleep (at least his repeated inquiries 
as to whether she attends show that he fears it) has given occasion 
to many explanations, into the worth or worthlessness of which we 
shall not here inquire. Perhaps the following idea may give some 
light : — The wonderful acts occasionally like the music upon Jessica 
in the fifth act of ' The Merchant of Venice :' the external miracles of 
Nature scarcely affect Miranda upon an island where Nature herself 
has hecome a wonder, and the wonders become Nature. But for 
her, even on that account, there are only so many greater wonders 
in the heart and life of man. She has certainly seen untamed wild- 
ness and perverseness in Caliban ; but he appears to her not as a 
man, but only as a foolish swearing monster, whom she does not 
fear, because he is the bondslave of her powerful father, in whose 
quiet wisdom she continually confides. But the checkered course 
of the world, its wild passions, are to her wholly strange ; and the 
relation of such wonders might well affect her in the manner her 
father fears." * * * * 

" Towards Ariel, the airy spirit thirsting for freedom, Prospero 
is strict and friendly, praising and blaming at the proper time ; for 
a moment angry, but only when he thinks he perceives ingratitude. 
Towards Caliban he is a most complete Oriental despot ; and, know- 
ing that he has to do with a miscreated being, whom only ' stripes 
may move, not kindness,' he treats him accordingly." * * 

" Caliban, who, in spite of his imperfect, brutish, and half-human 
nature, as the son of a witch, is something marvellously exciting, 
and as pretender to the sovereignty of the island something ridi- 
culously sublime, has been considered by every one as an inimitable 
character of the most powerful poetic fancy ; and the more the cha- 
racter is investigated, the more is our attention rewarded. He is 
the son of a witch, Sycorax, who, though long since dead, continues 
to work even from the grave. * * * * In Caliban there is a 
curious mixture of devil, man, and beast, descending even to the 
fish species. He desires evil, not for the sake of evil, or from mere 
wickedness, but because it is piquant, and because he feels himself 
oppressed. He is convinced that gross injustice has been done him, 
and thus he does not rightly feel that what he desires may be 
wicked. He knows perfectly well how powerful Prospero is, 
whose art may perhaps even subdue his maternal god Setebos, and 


that he himself is unfortunately nothing but a slave. Neverthelesa, 
he cannot cease to curse, and certainly with the gusto of a virtuoso 
in this more than liberal art. Whatever he can find most base and 
disgusting he surrounds almost artistically with the most inharmo- 
nious murmuring and hissing words, and then wishes them to fall 
upon Prospero and his lovely daughter. He knows very well that 
all this will help him nothing, but that at night he will have 
♦ cramps,' and ' side-stitches,' and be ' pinched by urchins,' but still 
he continues to pour out new curses. He has acquired one fixed 
idea — that the island belonged to his mother, and, consequently, 
now to himself, the crown prince. The greatest horrors are plea- 
sant to him, for he feels them only as jests which break the mono- 
tony of his slavery. He laments that he had been prevented from 
completing a frightful sin, — ' would it had been done,' &c. ; and 
the thought of a murder gives him a real enjoyment, perhaps chiefly 
on account of the noise and confusion that it would produce. 

" Recognising all this, yet our feelings towards him never rise 
to a thorough hatred. We find him only laughably horrible, and 
as a marvellous tiiough at bottom a feeble monster highly in- 
teresting, for we foresee from the first that none of his threats will 
be fulfilled. Caliban could scarcely at any time have been made 
out more in detail, but we are well enabled to seize upon the idea 
of his inner physiognomy from the naked sketch of his external 
form. He is, with all his foolish rage and wickedness, not entirely 
vulgar ; and though he allows himself to be imposed upon, even by 
his miserable comrades, (perhaps only because they are men, and, if 
ugly, yet handsomer than himself,) he everywhere shows more pru- 
dence, which is only checked because he considers himself more 
powerful than he really is. Indeed, he stands far higher than Trin- 
culo and Stephano." * * * * 

" Opposed to him stands Ariel, by no means an ethereal, feature- 
less angel, but as a real airy and frolicsome spirit, agreeable and 
open, but also capricious, roguish, and, with his other qualities, 
somewhat mischievous. He is thankful to Prospero for his release 
from the most confined of all confined situations, but his gratitude 
is not a natural virtue (we might almost add not an airy virtue) ; 
therefore he must (like man) be sometimes reminded of his debt, 
and held in check. Only the promise of his freedom in two days 
restores him again to his amiability, and he then finds pleasure in 
executing the plans of his master with a delightful activity. 

" We noticed in passing ' the featureless angel,' and it requires 
no further indication where to find such beings ; for no one will 


deny that these immortal winged children (so charming in many 
old German pictures), with their somewhat dull immortal harps, 
and, if possible, their still more dull and immortal anthems, cause 
a not less immortal tediousness in the works of many poets. Shak- 
spere did not fall into this error, and it is in the highest degree 
attractive to observe the various and safe modes in which he ma- 
nages the marvellous. In the storm he achieves his object by the 
simplest means, while, as has been already indicated, he represents 
Nature herself, and certainly justly, as the greatest miracle. When 
he has once in his own gentle way led us to believe that Prospero, 
through his high art, is able to overrule Nature — and how willingly 
do we believe in these higher powers of man ! — how completely na- 
tural and, to a certain degree, only pleasant trifles, are all the wonders 
which we see playing around us ! These higher powers, also, are 
not confined to Prospero alone ; Ferdinand and Miranda have, with- 
out any enchanted wand or any prolix instruction, full superiority 
over the wonders of Nature, and they allow them to pass around 
them merely as a delightful drama ; for the highest wonder is in 
their own breasts, — love, the pure human, and even on that account 
holy, love. 

" Even the pure mind and the firm heart, as they axe shown in 
old Gonzalo, are armed with an almost similar power. With our 
poet, a truly moral man is always amiable, powerful, agreeable, 
and quietly wards off the snares laid for him. This old Gonzalo is 
so entirely occupied with his duty, in which alone he finds his plea- 
sure, that he scarcely notices the gnat-stings of wit with which his 
opponents persecute him ; or, if he observes, easily and firmly repels 
them. What wit indeed has he to fear, who, in a sinking ship, has 
power remaining to sustain himself and others with genuine hu- 
mour ? Shakspere seems scarcely to recognise a powerless virtue, 
and he depicts it only in cases of need ; so everything closes satis- 
factorily. The pure poetry of nature and genius inspires us ; and 
when we hear Prospero recite his far too modest epilogue, after 
laying down his enchanted wand, we have no wish to turn our 
minds to any frivolous thoughts, for the magic we have experienced 
was too charming and too mighty not to be enduring." 



Vol. IV. 

[The Comedies, and the Tragedies, of Shakspere may be advan- 
tageously read according to an arrangement which endeavours 
to place them in the order in which they may be supposed to 
have been written — the reader being aware that such an ar- 
rangement depends very much upon conjecture, though not 
wholly so. But it would be injurious to the interest of the 
Historical Plays if they were printed in such an order. The 
' Henry VI.' was undoubtedly written before the ' Henry IV.,' 
but it would naturally be read in the order of the events. We 
therefore commence this Series with the earliest play accord- 
ing to the historical era.] 


Q 2 


King John. 

Prince Henry, his son ; afterwards King Henry HI. 

Arthur, Duke of Bretagne, son of Geffrey, late Duke of 

Bretagne, the elder brother of King John. 
William Mareshall, Earl of Pembroke. 
Geffrey Fitz-Peter, Earl of Essex, chief Justiciary of 

William Longsword, Earl of Salisbury. 
Robert Bigot, Earl of Norfolk. 
Hubert de Burgh, Chamberlain to the King. 
Robert Faulconbridge, son of sir Robert Faulconbridge. 
Philip Faulconbridge, his half-brother, bastard son to 

King Ricbard I. 
James Gurney, servant to Lady Faulconbridge. 
Peter of Pomfret, a prophet. 
Philip, King of France. 
Lewis, the Dauphin. 
Archduke of Austria. 
Cardinal Pandulph, the Pope's legate. 
Melun, a French lord. 
Chatillon, ambassador from France to King John. 

Elinor, the widow of King Henry H,, and mother of King 

Constance, mother to Arthur. 
Blanch, daughter to Alphonso, King of Castile, and niece to 

King John. 
Lady Faulconbridge, mother to the Bastard and Robert 


Lords, Ladies, Citizens of Angiers, Sheriff, Heralds, Officers, 
Soldiers, Messengers, and other Attendants. 



The ' King John,' of Shakspere, was first printed in the folio col- 
lection of his plays, in 1623. We have followed the text of this 
edition almost literally ; and in nearly every case where we have 
found it necessary to deviate from that text (the exceptions being 
those passages which are undoubted corrections of merely typo- 
graphical errors) we have stated a reason for the deviation. Ma- 
lone has observed that " ' King John' is the only one of our poet's 
uncontested plays that is not entered in the books of the Stationers* 

' King John' is one of the plays of Shakspere enumerated by 
Francis Meres, in 1598. We have carefully considered the rea- 
sons which have led Malone to fix the date of its composition as 
1596, and Chalmers as 1598 ; and we cannot avoid regarding them 
as far from satisfactory. 

There can be no doubt, as we shall have to show in detail, that 
Shakspere's ' King John' is founded on a former play. That play, 
which consists of two Parts, is entitled ' The Troublesome Raigne of 
John King of England, with the Discoverie of King Richard Corde- 
lion's ba^e son, vulgarly named the Bastard Fauconbridge ; also the 
death of King John at Swinstead Abbey.' — This play was first printed 
in 1591. The first edition has no author's name in the title-page; — - 


the second, of 161 1, has, " Written by W. Sh. ;"— and the third, of 
1622, gives the name of "William Shakspeare." We think there 
can be little hesitation in affirming that the attempt to fix this play 
upon Shakspere was fraudulent; yet Steevens, in his valuable col- 
lection of "Twenty of the Plays" that were printed in quarto, 
says, "The author (meaning Shakspere) seems to have been so 
thoroughly dissatisfied with this play as to have written it almost 
entirely anew." Steevens afterwards receded from this opinion. 
Coleridge, too, in the classification which he attempted in 1802, 
speaks of the old ' King John' as one of Shakspere's " transition- 
works — not his, yet of him." The German critics agree in giving 
the original authorship to Shakspere. Tieck holds that the play 
first printed in the folio of 1G23 is amongst the poet's latest works — 
not produced before 1611; and that production, he considers, called 
forth a new edition of the older play, which he determines to have 
been one of the earliest works of Shakspere. Ulrici holds that 
' The Troublesome Reign of King John ' was written very soon 
after the defeat of the Spanish Armada, which is shown by its zeal 
against Catholicism, which he describes as fanatical, by its glowing 
patriotism and warlike feelings ; and he also assigns it for the most 
part to Shakspere. But he believes that the poet here wrought 
upon even an older production, or that it was written in companion- 
ship with some other dramatic author. In the comic scenes, parti- 
cularly those between Faulconbridge and the monks and nuns, he 
can discover little of Shakspere's " facetious grace," but can trace 
only rudeness and vulgarity. He suflFered, however, says Ulrici, 
the scenes to remain, because they suited the humour of the people. 
Ulrici perceives, further, a marked difi"erence in the style of this 
old play and the undoubted works of our poet. In the greater 
portion, he maintains, the language and characterisation are worthy 
of the great master. Still it is a youthful labour — imperfect, 
feeble, essentially crude. He considers that the notice of Meres 
applies to this elder performance. It is a transition to the ' Henry 
VI.,' in which Shakspere is more himself. Horn is more decided. 
In this old play Shakspere, in his opinion, manifested his knowledge 
of the relations between poetry and history, and in his youthful 
hand wielded the magic wand which was to become so potent in his 
riper years. We must, for our own parts, hold to the opinion that 
the old ' King John' was not either " his, or of him." Perhaps the 
undoubted ' King John,' and ' The Troublesome Reign,' had much 
in common with an older play— the ' Kynge Johan' of Bale, or one 
still nearer to the first days of the legitimate drama. The date. 


then, of this older play of ' King John,' 1591, and the mention of 
Shakspere's play, by Meres, in 1598, allow us a range of seven 
years for the period of the production of this, the first in the order 
of history of Shakspere's historical plays. 

Shakspere's son, Hammet, died in August, 1596, at the age of 
twelve. Hence the inspiration, according to Malone, of the deep 
pathos of the grief of Constance on the probable death of Arthur. 
We doubt this. The dramatic poetry of Shakspere was built upon 
deeper and broader foundations than his own personal feelings and 
experiences. In the Sonnets, indeed, we have, in some particulars, 
a key to as much of the character as he chose to disclose of the one 
man, Shakspere ; but in the plays his sense of individuality is en- 
tirely swallowed up in the perfectly distinct individuality of the 
manifold characters which he has painted. From the first to the 
last of his plays, as far as we can discover, we have no " moods of 
his own mind," — nothing of that quality which gives so deep an in- 
terest to the poetry of Wordsworth and Byron, — and which Byron, 
with all his genius, could not throw aside in dramatic composition. 
We are, for this reason, not disposed to regard the opinion of Ma- 
lone upon this point as of much importance. The conjecture is, 
however, recommended by its accordance with our sympathies; 
and it stands, therefore, upon a different ground from that absurd 
notion that Shakspere drew Lear's " dog-hearted daughters" with 
such irresistible truth, because he himself had. felt the sharp sting 
of " filial ingratitude." 

If the domestic history of the poet will help us little in fixing a 
precise date for the composition of ' King John,' we apprehend that 
the public history of his times will not assist us in attaining this 
object much more conclusively. A great armament was sent 
against Spain in 1596, under the command of Essex and Lord 
Howard. " The fleet," says Southey,* " consisted of one hundred 
and fifty sail ; seventeen of these were of the navy royal, eighteen 
men of war, and six store-ships, supplied by the state ; the rest were 
pinnaces, victuallers, and transports : the force was, 1000 gentlemen 
volunteers, 6368 troops, and 6772 seamen, exclusive of the Dutch. 
There were no hired troops in any of the queen's ships ; all were 
gentlemen volunteers, chosen by the commanders." Essex, in a 
letter to Bacon, speaking of the difficulty of his command, with re- 
ference to the nature of his force, describes his followers as " the 
most tyrones, and almost all voluntaries." " In numbers and 

* Naval History, vol. iv., p. 39. 



strength," continues Southey, " the armament was superior to any 
that this country had sent forth since the introduction of cannon." 
This expedition was directed, as the reader of English history 
knows, against Cadiz. It left Plymouth on the 3rd of June, 1596 ; 
and returned on the 8th of August ; having eflfected its principal 
object, the destruction of the Spanish fleet. It is to this great 
armament that Malone thinks Shakspere alludes in the following 
lines in the second act, where Chatillon describes to King Philip 
the expected approach of King John : — 

" All the unsettled humours of the land — 
Rash, inconsiderate, fiery voluntaries, 
With ladies' faces, and fierce dragons' spleens, — 
Have sold their fortunes at their native homes, 
Bearing their birthrights proudly on their hacks, 
To make a hazard of new fortunes here. 
In brief, a braver choice of dauntless spirits. 
Than now the English bottoms have waft o'er. 
Did never float upon the swelling tide, 
To do offence and scath in Christendom." 

The supposed coincidence is, a great armament, principally com- 
posed of voluntaries. But does Shakspere speak of these volun- 
taries in a manner that would have been agreeable to an English 
audience; or that, however just it might be, was in accordance 
with the public recognition of the conduct of the army at Cadiz ? 
The "unsettled humours of the land" — the "rash, inconsiderate, 
fiery voluntaries " — the " birthrights on their backs " — the " oflfence 
and scath in Christendom," — are somewhat opposed to the senti- 
ment expressed in the public prayer of thanksgiving, written by 
Burleigh, in which the moderation of the troops in the hour of vic- 
tory was solemnly recognised. "War in those days," says Southey, 
" was conducted in such a spirit, that for the troops not to have 
committed, and with the sanction of their leaders, any outrage 
upon humanity, was deemed a point of special honour to the com- 
manders, and calling for an especial expression of gratitude to the 
Almighty." But the narrative of this expedition given in Hak- 
luyt's ' Voyages,' by Dr. Marbeck, who attended the Lord High 
Admiral, is not equally honourable to the " voluntaries," as regards 
their respect for property. He speaks of the " great pillage of the 
common soldiers " — " the goodly furniture that was debased by the 
baser people " — and " the intemperate disorder of some of the 
rasher sort." Shakspere might have known of this, — but would 
he go out of his way to reprobate it ? If he had written this play 
a few years later than 1596, he might have kept the expedition in 


his eye, and have described its " voluntaries," without offence to 
the popular or the courtly feeling. If he had written it earlier 
than 1596, he might have described " voluntaries " in general, from 
the many narratives of reckless military adventure with which he 
would be familiar. 

There is another allusion, according to Johnson, which fixes 
this date to 1596, or to the later date of 1605, which sets aside the 
evidence of Meres altogether, unless it be supposed that he assigned 
the old 'King John' to Shakspere. Pandulph thus denounces 
John : — 

" And meritorious shall that hand be call'd, 
Canonized, and worshipp'd as a saint, 
That takes away by any secret course 
Thy hateful life." 

The pope published a bull against Elizabeth in 1596; — and in 1605 
the perpetrators of the Gunpowder treason were canonized. We 
have, fortunately, a proof that Shakspere, in this case, abstained 
from any allusion to the history of his own times. In the old play 
of ' King John ' he found the following passage : — 

" I, Pandulph," &c., " pronounce thee accursed, discharging 
every of thy subjects of all duty and fealty that they do owe to 
thee, and pardon and forgiveness of sin to those or them what- 
soever which shall carry arms against thee, or murder thee." 

Chalmers carries the passion of mixing up Shakspere's incidents 
and expressions with passing events to a greater extent than Ma- 
lone or Johnson. According to him, the siege of Anglers is a type 
of the loss and recapture of Amiens in 1597; the altercations 
between the Bastard and Austria were to conduce to the unpopu- 
larity of the Archduke Albert ; and the concluding exhortation, — 

" Nought shall make us rue, 
If England to itself do rest but true," 

had allusion to the differences amongst the leading men of the 
Court of Elizabeth arising out of the ambition of Essex.* 

For the purpose of fixing an exact date for the composition of 
this play, we apprehend that our readers will agree with us that 
evidence such as this is not to be received with an implicit belief. 
Indeed, looking broadly at all which has been written upon the 
chronology of Shakspere's plays, with reference to this particular 
species of evidence, namely, the allusion to passing events, we fear 

* Supplemental Apology, p. 356. 


that, at the best, a great deal of labour has been bestowed for a 
very unsatisfactory result. Tlie attempt, however, has been praise- 
worthy ; and it has had the incidental good of evolving many cu- 
rious points connected with our history and manners, that present 
themselves more forcibly to the mind in an isolated shape than 
when forming a portion of any large historical narration. Yet we 
are anxious to guard against one misapprehension which may have 
presented itself to the minds of some of our readers, as it did to our 
own minds when we first bestowed attention upon the large collec- 
tion of facts, or conjectures, that have regard to the chronological 
order of our poet's plays. Properly to understand the principle 
upon which Shakspere worked, we must never for a moment suffer 
ourselves to believe that he was of that class of vulgar artists who 
are perpetually on the look-out for some temporary allusion (utterly 
worthless except in its relation to the excitement which is produced 
by passing events), for the mean purpose of endeavouring to " split 
the ears of the groundlings." If we should take literally what has 
been told us as regards this play, without examining the passages 
upon which such opinions are founded, — that it had allusions, for 
instance, to the expedition to Cadiz, to the bull of the pope against 
Elizabeth, and to the factions of Essex,' — we might believe that the 
great poet, who, in his " Histories," sought 

" To raise our ancient sovereigns from their hearse. 
Make kings his subjects, by exchanging verse; 
Eulive their pale trunks, that the present age 
Joys in their joys, and trembles at their rage,''* 

was one of those waiters upon events who seized upon a fleeting 
popularity, by presenting a mirror of the pas/ in which a distorted 
present might be seen. But, rightly considered, the allusions of 
Shakspere to the passages of his own times are so few and so 
obscure, that they are utterly insuflScient to abate one jot of his 
great merit, that "he was for all time." He was, indeed, in deal- 
ing with the spirit of the past, delighted, as Wordsworth has beau- 
tifully said in delineating his character of the poet, " to contemplate 
similar volitions and passions as manifested in the goings on of the 
universe, and habitually impelled to create them where he does not 
find them."t His past was, therefore, wherever it could be inter- 
fused with the permanent and universal, a reflex of the present. 

* On worthy Master Shakespeare aud his Poems, by J. M. S. From the folio 
uf 1632. 

f Observations prefixed to the second edition of Lyrical Ballads. 


Thus, in the age of Elizabeth, and in the age of Victoria, his 
patriotism is an abiding and unchanging feeling ; and has as little 
to do with the mutations of the world as any other of the great ele- 
ments of human thought with which he deals. When the Bastard 
exclaims, — 

" This England never did, nor never shall, 
Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror, 
But when it lirst did help to wound itself. 
Come the three corners of the world in arms, 
And we shall shock them," — 

we feel such lines had a peculiar propriety when they were uttered 
before an audience that might have been trembling at the present 
threats of a Spanish invasion, had they not been roused to defiance 
by the " lion-port" of their queen, and by the mightier power of 
that spirit of intellectual superiority which directed her councils, 
and, what was even more important, had entered into the spirit of 
her people's literature. But these noble lines were just as appro- 
priate, dramatically, four hundred years before they were written, 
as they are appropriate in their influence upon the spirit two hun- 
dred and fifty years after they were written. Frederick Schlegel 
has said of Shakspere, " The feeling by which he seems to have 
been most connected with ordinary men is that of nationality." 
It is true that the nationality of Shakspere is always hearty and 
genial ; and even in the nationality of prejudice there are to be 
found very many of the qualities that make up the nationality of 
reflection. For this reason, therefore, the nationality of Shakspere 
may constitute a link between him and " ordinary men," who have 
not yet come to understand, for example, his large toleration, which 
would seem, upon the surface, to be the antagonist principle of 
nationality. The time may arrive when true toleration and true 
nationality may shake hands. Coleridge has, in a few words, 
traced the real course which the nationality of Shakspere may 
assist in working out, by the reconciliation of these seeming oppo- 
sites : — " Patriotism is equal to the sense of individuality reflected 
from every other individual. There may come a higher virtue in 
both — ^just cosmopolitism. But this latter is not possible but by 
antecedence of the former." * 

There is one other point connected with Shakspere's supposed 
subservience to passing events which we cannot dismiss without an 
expression of something more than a simple dissent. In reading 

* Literary Remains, vol. ii., p. 101. 


the grand scene of the fourth act, between John and Hubert, where 
John says, — 

"It is the curse of kings to be attended 
By slaves, that take their humours for a warrant 
To break within the bloody house of life," — 

had we not a commentator at our elbow, we should see nothing but 
the exquisite skill of the poet in exhibiting the cowardly meanness 
of John in shrinking from his own " warrant " when its execution 
had proved to be dangerous. This, forsooth, according to War- 
burton, " plainly hints at Davison's case, in the affair of Mary 
Queen of Scots ;" and Malone thinks " it is extremely probable 
that our author meant to pay his court to Elizabeth by this covert 
apology for her conduct to Mary." Apology ? If Shakspere had 
been the idiot that these critics would represent him to have been, 
Elizabeth would very soon have told him to keep to his stage, and 
not meddle with matters out of his sphere ; — for, unquestionably, 
the excuse which John attempts to make, could it have been in- 
terpreted into an excuse for Elizabeth, would have had precisely 
the same effect with regard to Elizabeth which it produces with 
regard to John — it would have made men despise as well as hate 
the one as the other. As an example of the utter worthlessness of 
this sort of conjecture, we may add that Douce says, " May it not 
rather allude to the death of Essex ?" * Mr. Courtenay, in his 
* Shakspeare's Historical Plays considered Historically,' — which we 
have noticed in the Illustrations to Act I., — agrees with Warburton 
and Malone in their construction of this passage. Mr. Courtenay 
is not, however, a blind follower of the opinions of other critics, 
but has theories of his own upon such matters. One of these con- 
jectures upon Shakspere's omission of the event of the signature of 
Magna Charta is at least amusing : — " How shall we account for 
Shakspere's omission of an incident so essential in ' the life and 
reign of King John ?' It had occurred to me, especially when 
considering the omission of all reference to popular topics, that, as 
Shakspere was a decided courtier, he might not wish to remind 
Queen Elizabeth, who set Magna Charta at nought in its most 
interesting particular, of the solemn undertakings of her ancestors." 
Mr. Courtenay subsequently says that no great stress was laid upon 
Magna Charta, even by constitutional writers, before the days of 
Coke ; but that, nevertheless, " Magna Charta ought to haYC been 
the prominent feature of the play." He says this upon Coleridge's 

* Illustrations, i., 406. 


definition of an historical play, which is, at the best, not to under- 
stand Coleridge. Colley Gibber, in 1 744, altered ' King John,' 
and he says in his dedication that he endeavoured " to make his 
play more like one than what he found it in Shakspere." He gave 
us some magnificent scenes between John and the pope's nuncio, 
full of the most orthodox denunciations of Rome and the Pretender. 
He obtained room for these by the slight sacrifice of Constance and 
the Bastard. We have no doubt that, upon the same principle, an 
ingenious adapter, into whom the true spirit of ' Historical Plays 
considered historically' should be infused, might give us a new 
' King John,' founded upon Shakspere's, with Magna Charta at 
full length, — and if Arthur and Hubert were sacrificed for this 
end, as well as Constance and Faulconbridge, the lovers of poetry 
might still turn to the obsolete old dramatist, — but the student of 
history would be satisfied by dramatic evidence, as well as by the 
authority of his primer, that 

" Magna Charta we gain'd from John, 
Which Harry the Third put his seal upon." 

The end and object of the drama, and of the Shaksperian drama 
especially, is to maintain that " law of unity which has its founda- 
tions, not in the factitious necessity of custom, but in Nature itself 
— the unity of feeling." * In Shakspere's ' King John ' this object 
is attained as completely as in ' Macbeth.' The history at once 
directs and subserves the plot. We have shown this fully in our 
Supplementary Notice ; and we think, therefore, that the omission 
of Magna Charta in ' King John ' may find another solution than 
that which Mr. Courtenay's theory supplies. 


In the Historical Illustrations which we have subjoined to each 
act we have followed out the real course of events in the life of 
King John, as far as appeared to us necessary for exhibiting the 
dramatic truth of the poet, as sustained by, or as deviating from, 
the historic truth of the chroniclers. But to understand the Shak- 
sperian drama from this example, — to see the propriety of what it 
adopted, and what it laid aside, — we must look into less authentic 
materials of history than even those very imperfect materials which 
the poet found in the annalists with whom he was familiar. It is 

* Coleridge's Literary Remains, vol. ii., p. 77. 


upon the conventional "history" of the stage that Shakspere built 
his play. It is impossible now, except on very general principles, 
to determine why a poet, who had the authentic materials of history 
before him, and possessed beyond all men the power of moulding 
those materials, with reference to a dramatic action, into the most 
complete and beautiful forms, should have subjected himself, in 
the full vigour and maturity of his intellect, to a general adherence 
to the course of that conventional dramatic history. But so it is. The 
* King John ' of Shakspere is not the ' King John ' of the historians 
whom Shakspere had unquestionably studied ; it is not the ' King 
John' of his own imagination, casting off the trammels which a 
rigid adoption of the facts of those historians Would have imposed 
upon him ; but it is the ' King John,' in the conduct of the story, in 
the juxtaposition of the characters, and in the catastrophe, — in the 
historical truth, and in the historical error, — of the play which 
preceded him some few years. This, unquestionably, was not an 
accident. It was not what, in the vulgar sense of the word, is 
called a plagiarism. It was a submission of his own original 
powers of seizing upon the feelings and understanding of his 
audience, to the stronger power of habit in the same audience. 
The history of John had been familiar to them for almost half a 
century. The familiarity had grown out of the rudest days of the 
drama, and had been established in the period of its comparative 
refinement which immediately preceded Shakspere. The old play 
of ' The Troublesome Reign ' was, in all likelihood, a vigorous graft 
upon the trunk of an older play, which " occupies an intermediate 
place between moralities and historical plays," — that of ' Kynge 
Johan,' by John Bale, written probably in the reign of Edward VI. 
Shakspere, then, had to choose between forty years of stage tra- 
dition and the employment of new materials. He took, upon 
principle, what he found ready to his hand. But none of the trans- 
formations of classical or oriental fable, in which a new life is 
transfused into an old body, can equal tliis astonishing example of 
the life-conferring power of a genius such as Shakspere's. Who- 
ever really wishes thoroughly to understand the resources which 
Shakspere possessed, in the creation of characters, in the conduct of 
a story, and the employment of language, will do well, again and 
again, to compare the old play of ' The Troublesome Reign ' and 
the ' King John ' of our dramatist. 

Bale's "pageant" of ' Kynge Johan ' haa been published by the 
Camden Society, under the judicious editorship of Mr. J. P. Collier. 
This performance, which is in two Parts, has been printed from the 


original manuscript in the library of the Duke of Devonshire. 
Supposing it to be written about the middle of the sixteenth cen- 
tury, it presents a more remarkable example even than ' Howleglas,' 
or ' Hick Scorner ' (of which an account is given in Percy's agree- 
able ' Essay on the Origin of the English Stage'),* of the extremely 
low state of the drama only forty years before the time of Shak- 
spere. Here is a play written by a bishop; and yet the dirty 
ribaldry which is put into the mouths of some of the characters is 
beyond all description, and quite impossible to be exhibited by any 
example in these pages. We say nothing of the almost utter 
absence of any poetical feeling, — of the dull monotony of the ver- 
sification, — of the tediousness of the dialogue, — of the inartificial 
conduct of the story. These matters were not greatly amended till 
a very short period before Shakspere came to " reform them alto- 
gether." Our object in mentioning this play is to show that the 
' King John ' upon which Shakspere built was, in some degree, 
constructed upon the ' Kynge Johan ' of Bale ; and that a tradi- 
tionary ' King John ' had thus possessed the stage for nearly half a • 
century before the period when Shakspere wrote his ' King John.' 
There might, without injury to this theory, have been an interme- 
diate play. We avail ourselves of an extract from Mr. Collier's 
Introduction to the play of Bale : — 

" The design of the two plays of ' Kynge Johan ' was to promote 
and confirm the Reformation, of which, after his conversion, Bale 
was one of the most strenuous and unscrupulous supporters. This 
design he executed in a manner until then, I apprehend, unknown. 
He took some of the leading and popular events of the reign of 
King John, his disputes with the pope, the suffering of his kingdom 
under the interdict, his subsequent submission to Rome, and his 
imputed death by poison from the hands of a monk of Swinstead 
Abbey, and applied them to the circumstances of the country in 
the latter part of the reign of Henry VHI. * * * * This early 
application of historical events, of itself, is a singular circumstance, 
but it is the more remarkable when we recollect that we have no 
drama in our language of that date in which personages connected 
with, and engaged in, our public affairs are introduced. In 
' Kynge Johan ' we have not only the monarch himself, who figures 
very prominently until his death, but Pope Innocent, Cardinal 
Pandulphus, Stephen Langton, Simon of Swynsett (or Swinstead), 
and a monk called Raymundus; besides abstract impersonations, 
such as England, who is stated to be a widow. Imperial Majesty, 
who is supposed to take the reins of government after the death of 

* Reliques of English Poetry, vol. i. 


King John, Nobility, Clergy, Civil Order, Treason, Verity, and 
Sedition, who may be said to be the Vice, or Jester, of the piece. 
Thus we have many of the elements of historical plays, such as 
they were acted at our public theatres forty or fifty years after- 
wards, as well as some of the ordinary materials of the old moralities, 
which were gradually exploded by the introduction of real or ima- 
ginary characters on the scene. Bale's play, therefore, occupies an 
intermediate place between moralities and historical plays, and it is 
the only known existing specimen of that species of composition of 
so early a date." 

That the ' Kynge Johan' of the furious Protestant bishop was 
known to the writer of the 'King John' of 1591, we have little 
doubt Our space will not allow us to point out the internal evi- 
dences of this ; but one minute but remarkable similarity may be 
mentioned. When John arrives at Swinstead Abbey, the monks, in 
both plays, invite him to their treacherous repast by the cry of 
"Wassail." In the play of Bale we have no incidents whatever 
beyond the contests between John and the pope, — the surrender of 
the crown to Pandulph, — and the poisoning of John by a monk at 
Swinstead Abbey. The action goes on very haltingly ; — but not so 
the wordy war of the speakers. A vocabulary of choice terms of 
abuse, familiarly used in the times of the Reformation, might be 
constructed out of this curious performance. Here the play of 
1591 is wonderfully reformed ; — and we have a diversified action, 
in which the story of Arthur and Constance, and the wars and truces 
in Anjou, are brought to relieve the exhibition of papal domination 
and monkish treachery. The intolerance of Bale against the 
Romish church is the most fierce and rampant exhibition of passion 
that ever assumed the ill-assorted garb of religious zeal. In the 
John of 1591 we have none of this violence ; but the writer has ex- 
hibited a scene of ribaldry, in the incident of Faulconbridge hunting 
out the " angels " of the monks ; for he makes him find a nun con- 
cealed in a holy man's chest. This, no doubt, would be a popular 
scene. Shakspere has not a word of it. Mr. Campbell, to our sur- 
prise, thinks that Shakspere might have retained " that scene in the 
old play where Faulconbridge, in fulfilling King John's injunction 
to plunder religious houses, finds a young smooth-skinned nun in a 
chest where the abbot's treasures were supposed to be deposited." * 
When did ever Shakspere lend his authority to fix a stigma upon 
large classes of mankind, in deference to popular prejudice ? One 
of the most remarkable characteristics of Shakspere's ' John,' as 
opposed to the grossness of Bale and the ribaldry of his immediate 

* Remarks on Life and History of Shakspeare, prefixed to Moxon's edition, 1838. 



predecessor, is the utter absence of all invective or sarcasm against 
the Romish church, apart from the attempt of the pope to extort a 
base submission from the English king. Here, indeed, we have his 
nationality in full power ; — but how different is that from fostering 
hatreds between two classes of one people !* 

It may amuse such of our readers as have not access to the play of 
Bale, or to the ' King John' of 1591, to see an example of the differ- 
ent modes in which the two writers treat the same subject — the sur- 
render of the crown to Pandulph : — 

" P. This ontward remorse that ye show 

here evydent 
Ys a grett Ijkelyhood and token of amend- 
How say ye, Kynge Johan, can ye fynd now 

in yowr hart 
To obaye Holy Cliyrch and geve ower yowr 

froward part .' 
K. J. Were yt so possyble to hold the en- 

myes backe, 
That my swete Yngland perysh not in this 

P. Possyble quoth he ! yea, they shuld go 

bake in dede, 
And ther gret armyse to some other quarters 

Or elles they have not so many good bless- 

yngs now. 
But as many cursyngs they shall have, I 

make God avowe. 
I promyse yow, sur, ye shall have specyall 

Yf ye wyll submyt yowr sylfe to Holy Chyrch 


K. J. I have cast in my mynde the great 

displeasures of warre, 
The dayngers, the losses, the decayes, both 

nere and farre ; 
The burnynge of townes, the throwynge 

down of buyldynges, 
Destructyon of come and cattell with other 

thynges ; 
Defylynge of maydes, and shedynge of 

Christen blood, 
With such lyke outrages, neythar honest, 

true, nor good. 
These thynges consydered, I am compelled 

thys houre 
To resigne up here both crowne and regall 


K. J. Here I submyt me to Pope Innocent 
the thred, 
Dyssyering mercy of hys holy fatherhed. 
P. Geve up the crowne than, yt shal be 
the better for ye : 
He wyll unto yow the more favorable be." 

* This point will be more fully noticed iu ' William Shakspere : a Biography/ 

Vol. IV. li 

THE ' KIXG JOHN' OF 1591. 
" Pandulph. John, now I see thy hearty 
I rew and pitty thy distrest estate : 
One way is left to reconcile thy selfe. 
And onely one, which I shall shew to thee. 
Thou must surrender to the sea of Rome 
Thy crowne and diadem, then shall the pope 
Defend thee from th' invasion of thy foes. 
And where his holinesse hath kindled 

And set thy subiects hearts at warre with 

Then shall he curse thy foes, and beate them 

That seeke the discontentment of the king. 
John. From bad to worse, or I must loose 
my realme. 
Or giue my crowne for penance vnto Rome : 
A miserie more piercing than the darts 
That breake from burning exhalations power. 
What, shall 1 giue my crowne with this right 

hand ? 
No : with this hand defend thy crowne and 

What newes with thee ? 

K. J. How now, lord cardinal, what 's your 
best aduise i 
These mutinies must be allaid in time. 
By policy or headstrong rage at least. 
O John, these troubles tyre thy wearied soule. 
And like to Luna in a sad eclipse. 
So are thy thoughts and passions for this 

Well may it be, when kings are grieued so. 
The vulgar sort worke princes ouerthrowe. 
Card. K. John, for not effecting of thy 
plighted vow. 
This strange annoyance happens to thy land : 
But yet be reconciled vnto the cliurch. 
And nothing shall be grieuous to thy state." 



We would willingly furnish several similar parallels between the 
* King John' of 1591, and the ' King John' of Shakspere, if our 
space would permit, and if the general reader would not be likely 
to weary of such minute criticism. But we may, without risk, 
select two specimens. The first exhibits the different mode in 
which the two writers treat the character of the Bastard. In the 
play of 1591 he is a bold, mouthing bully, who talks in " Ercles' 
vein," and somewhat reminds one of " Ancient Pistol." There is 
not a particle in this character of the irrepressible gaiety — the happy 
mixture of fun and sarcasm — the laughing words accompanying 
the stem deeds — which distinguish the Bastard of Shakspere. We 
purposely have selected a short parallel extract ; but the passages 
furnish a key to the principle upon which a dull character is made 
brilliant. Our poet has let in the sunlight of prodigious animal 
spirits, without any great intellectual refinement, (how different 
from Mercutio !) upon the heavy clod that he found ready to his 
hand: — 

THE ' KING JOHN" OF 1591. 

" Lj/m. Me thinks that Kichaids pride and 

Richards fall 
Should be a president t' alTright you all. 
Bast. What words are these ? how do my 

sinew s shake ? 
My fathers foe clad in my fathers spoyle ! 
A thousand furies kindle with reuenge 
This heart that choller keepes a consistorie, 
Searing my inwards with a brand of hate: 
How dotli Alecto whisper in mine eares, — 
Delay not, Philip, kill the villaine straight; 
Disrobe him of the matchlesse monument 
Thy fathers triumph ore the sauages ! 
Base lieardgroom, coward, peasant, worse 

than a threshing slaue, 
What mak'st thou with the trophie of a 

king ? " 


" Aust. Peace ! 
Bast. Hear the crier. 

Aust. What the devil art thou ? 

Bast. One that will play the devil, sir, 
with you. 
An 'a may catch your hide and you alone. 
You are the hare of whom the proverb goes. 
Whose valour plucks dead lions by the beard. 
I'll smoke your skin-coat, an I catcli you 

right ; 
Sirrah, look to 't; i' faith, I will, i' faith. 
Blanch. O, well did he become that liou'a 
That did disrobe the lion of that robe ! 

Bast. It lies as sightly on the back of him, 
As great Alcides' shoes upon an ass : — 
But, ass, I'll take that burthen from your 

Or lay on that shall make your shoulders 

The second extract we shall make is for the purpose of exhibit- 
ing the modes in which a writer of ordinary powers, and one of 
surpassing grace and tenderness, as well as of matchless energy, has 
dealt with the same passion under the same circumstances. The 
situation in each play is where Arthur exhorts his mother to be con- 
tent, after the marriage between Lewis and Blanch, and the con- 
sequent peace between John and Philip : — 



THE « KING JOHN' OF 1591. 

" Art. Madam, good cheeie, these droop- 
ing languishments 
Adde no redress to salue our awkward haps : 
If heaiien haue concluded these clients, 
To small auaile is bitter pensiueness: 
Seasons will change, and so our present 

May change with them, and all to our releefe. 
Const. Ah boy, thy yeares I see are far too 

To look into the bottom of these cares : 
But I, who see tiie pojse that weigheth 

Tliy weale, my wish, and all tlie willing 

Wherewith thy fortune and thy fame should 

mount, — 
What ioy, wliat ease, what rest can lodge in 

With wliom all hope and hap doe disagree ? 
Art. Yet ladies teares, and cares, and so- 
lemn shewes, 
Rather than helpes, heape vp more worke 

for woes. 
Const. If any power w ill heare a widowes 

That from a wounded soule implores reuenge. 
Send fell contagion to infect this clime. 
This cursed countrey, where the traitors 

Whose periurie (as proud Briareus) 
Beleaguers all the skie with mis-beleefe. 
He promist, Artl\ur, and he sware it too. 
To fence thy right, and check thy fo-mans 

pride ; 
But now, black-spotted periure as he is. 
He takes a truce with Elinors damned brat. 
And marries Lewis to her louely neece. 
Sharing thy fortune, and thy birthdayes gift 
Between these louers : ill betide the match ! 
And as they shoulder thee from out thine 

And triumph in a widowes tearfull cares. 
So heauens crosse them with a thriftless 

course ! 
Is all the blood y spilt on either part, 
Closing the cranies of the thirstie earth, 
Growne to a loue-game and a bridall feast ? '' 


"Art. I do beseech you, madam, be con- 
Const. If thou, that bidd'st me be content, 
wert grim. 
Ugly, and sland'rous to thy mother's womb. 
Full of unpleasing blots and sightless stains. 
Lame, foolish, crooked, swart, prodigious, 
Patch'd with foul moles and eye-offending 

I would not care, I then would be content ; 
For then I should not love thee ; no, nor thou 
Become thy great birth, nor deserve a crown. 
But thou art fair ; and at thy birth, dear boy. 
Nature and fortune join'd to make thee 

great : 
Of Nature's gift thou mayst with lilies boast. 
And with the half-blown rose: but for- 
tune, Ot 
She is corrupted, chang'd, and won from thee ; 
She adulterates hourly with thy uncle John ; 
And with her golden hand hath pluck'd on 

To tread down fair respect of sovereignty. 
And made his majesty the bawd to theirs. 
France is a bawd to fortune, and king John ; 
That strumpet fortune, that usurping John : — 
Tell me, thou fellow, is not France forsworn f 
Envenom him with words ; or get thee gone. 
And leave those woes alone, which I alone 
Am bound to under-bear. 

Sal. Pardon me, madam, 

I may not go without you to the kings. 
Const. Thou mayst, thou shalt ; I w ill not 
go with thee : 
I will instruct my sorrows to he proud : 
For grief is proud, and makes his owner 

To me, and to the state of my great grief, 
Let kings zissemble ; for my grief's so great. 
That no supporter but the huge firm earth 
Can hold it up : here I and sorrows sit ; 
Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it." 


The authorities for the costume of the historical play of ' King 
John' are chiefly the monumental effigies and seals of the principal 
sovereigns and nobles therein mentioned. Illuminated MSS. of this 
exact period are unknown to us. All that we have seen of the 
twelfth and thirteenth centuries appear to be either of an earlier or 
later date than the reign of John. The nearest to his time, appa- 
rently, is one in the Sloane Collection, Brit. Mus., marked 1975. 




Fortunately, however, there are few personages in the play beneath 
the rank of those for whose habits we have the most unquestionable 
models in the authorities above alluded to, and written descriptions 
or allusions will furnish us with the most essential part of the inform- 
ation required. The enamelled cup said to have been presented 
by King John to the Corporation of Lynn, and from the figures on 
which the civil costume of his reign has hitherto been designed, is 
now, by a critical examination of those very figures, and a compa- 
rison of their dress with that depicted in MSS, of at least a century 
later, proved to be of the time of Edward II. or III, We subjoin a 
group in which the dress of the burghers and artificers is collected 
from the authorities nearest to the period. 

The efiigy of King John in Worcester cathedral, which, by the 
examination of the body of the monarch, was proved to present a 
fac-simile of the royal robes in which he was interred, affords us a 
fine specimen of the royal costume of the period. A full robe or 
super-tunic of crimson damask, embroidered with gold, and descend- 
ing to the mid leg, is girdled round the waist with a golden belt 
studded with jewels, having a long end pendent in front. An under- 
tunic of cloth of gold descends to the ankles, and a mantle of the 
same magnificent stuff, lined with green silk, depends from his 
shoulders ; the hose are red, the shoes black, over which are fastened 
gilt spurs by straps of silk, or cloth, of a light-blue colour, striped 
with green and yellow or gold. The collar and sleeves of the super- 
tunic have borders of gold studded with jewels. The backs of the 
gloves were also jewelled. 


A kneeling effigy of Philip Augustus, engraved in Montfaucon, 
shows the similarity of fashion existing at the same time in France 
and England. The nobles, when unarmed, appear to have been at- 
tired in the same manner, viz. in the tunic, super-tunic, and mantle, 
with hose, short boots, or shoes, of materials more or less rich ac- 
cording to the means or fancy of the wearer. Cloth, silk, velvet, 
and gold and silver tissues, with occasionally furs of considerable 
value, are mentioned in various documents of the period. A gar- 
ment called a bliaus (from whence probably the modem French 
blouse), appears to have been a sort of super-tunic or surcoat in 
vogue about this time ; and in winter it is said to have been lined 
with fur. The common Norman mantle used for travelling, or out- 
of-door exercise, had a capuchon to it, and was called the capa. A 
curious mistake has been made by Mr. Strutt respecting this gar- 
ment. In his ' Horda Angel Cynan,' vol. ii. p. 67, he states that, 
" when King John made Thomas Sturmey a knight, he sent a man- 
damus before to his sheriffs at Hantshire to make the following 
preparations : — " A scarlet robe, certain close garments of fine linen, 
and another robe of green, or burnet, with a cap and plume of 
featfiers, SfC.^ " The words in the mandamus are " capa ad pluua," a 
capa, or cloak, for rainy weather. (Vide ' Excerpta Historica.' 
London : Bentley, 1833. p. 393.) 

The capuchon, or hood, with which this garment was furnished, 
appears to have been the usual covering for the head : but hats and 
caps, the former of the shape of the classical Petasus, and the latter 
sometimes of the Phrygian form, and sometimes flat and round like 
the Scotch bonnet, are occasionally met with during the twelfth 
century. The beaux, however, during John's reign, curled and 
crisped their hair with irons, and bound only a slight fillet round 
the head, seldom wearing caps, in order that their locks might be 
seen and admired. The beard was closely shaven, but John and the 
nobles of his party are said to have worn both beard and moustache 
out of contempt for the discontented Barons. The fashion of gar- 
tering up the long hose, or Norman chausses, sandal-wise prevailed 
amongst all classes ; and when, on the legs of persons of rank, these 
bandages are seen of gold stufi", the effect is very gorgeous and 

The dress of the ladies may best be understood from an examina- 
tion of the effigies of Eleanor, Queen of Henry II., and of Isabella, 
Queen of King John, and the figure of Blanch of Castile on her 
great seal. Although these personages are represented in what may 
be called royal costume, the general dress differed nothing in form. 


however it might in material. It consisted of one long full robe or 
gown, girdled round the waist, and high in the neck, with long 
tight sleeves to the wrist (in the Sloane MS. above mentioned the 
hanging cuffs in fashion about forty years earlier appear upon one 
figure); tlie collar sometimes fastened with a brooch; the head 
bound by a band or fillet of jewels, and covered with the wimple 
or veil. To the girdle was appended, occasionally, a small pouch 
or aulmoniere. The capa was used in travelling, and in winter 
pelisses (pelices, pelisons) richly furred [whence the name] were 
worn under it. 

King John orders a grey pelisson with nine bars of fur to be 
made for the Queen. Short boots, as well as shoes, were worn by 
the ladies. The King orders four pair of women's boots, one of 
them to he fretatus de giris (embroidered with circles), but the robe, 
or gown, was worn so long that little more than the tips of the toes 
are seen in illuminations or effigies of the twelfth and thirteenth 
centuries, and the colour is generally black, though there can be no 
doubt they were occasionally of cloth of gold or silver richly em- 

Gloves do not appear to have been generally worn by females ; 
but, as marks of nobility, when they were worn they were jewelled 
on the back. 

The mantle and robe or tunic, of the effigy of Queen Eleanor, are 
embroidered all over with golden crescents. This may have been 
some family badge, as the crescent and star are seen on the great 
seal of Richard I., and that monarch is said to have possessed a 
mantle nearly covered with half-moons and orbs of shining silver. 

The armour of the time consisted of a hauberk and chausses made 
of leather, covered with iron rings set up edgewise in regular rows, 
and firmly stitched upon it, or with small overlapping scales of 
metal like the lorica squamata of the Romans. 

The hauberk had a capuchon attached to it, which could be pulled 
over the heeid or thrown back at pleasure. Under this was some- 
times worn a close iron skull-cap, and at others the hood itself was 
surmounted by a " chapel de fer," or a large cylindrical helmet, 
flattened at top, the face being defended by a perforated plate or 
grating, called the " aventaile" (avant taille), fastened by screws or 
hinges to the helmet. A variety of specimens of this early vizored 
head-piece may be seen on the seals of the Counts of Flanders in 
' Olivarius Vredius's History ;' and the seal of Prince Louis of 
France (one of the personages of this play) exhibits a large and most 
clumsy helmet of this description. The seal of King John presents 


us with a figure of the monarch wearing over his armour the mili- 
tary surcoat as yet undistinguished by armorial blazonry. On his 
head is either a cylindrical helmet, without the aventaile, or a cap of 
cloth or fur. It is difficult, from the state of the impressions, to 
decide which. He bears the knightly shield, assuming at this period 
the triangular or heater shape, but exceedingly curved or embowed, 
and emblazoned with the three lions, or leopards, passant regardant, 
in pale, which are first seen on the shield of his brother, Richard I. 

The spur worn at this period was the goad or pryck spur, without 
a rowel. The principal weapons of the knights were the lance, the 
sword, and the battle-axe. The shape of the sword may be best 
ascertained from the effigy of King John, who holds one in his 
hand; the pommel is diamond-shaped, and has an oval cavity in the 
centre for a jewel. 

The common soldiery fought with bills, long and cross-bows, 
slings, clubs, and a variety of rude but terrific weapons, such as 
scythes fastened to poles (the falcastrum), and a sort of spear, with 
a hook on one side, called the guisarme. The arbalast, or cross- 
bow, is said to have been invented in the previous reign, but Wace 
mentions it as having been known to the Normans before the Con- 
quest. Engines of war, called the mangonell and the petraria, for 
throwing heavy stones, are mentioned by Guliel. Britto in his 
' Phillippeis,' 1. 7 :— 

" Interea grossos petraria mittit ab intus 
Assldue lapides mangoneUusque miiiores." 

And in the close rolls of John is an order, dated 2nd April, 1208, to 
the Bailiff of Porchester, to cause machines for flinging stones, 
called petrarise and mangonelli, to be made for the King's service, 
and to let Drogo de Dieppe and his companions have iron and other 
things necessary for making of them. Philip sent to his son Louis 
a military engine, called the malvoisine (bad neighbour), to batter 
the walls of Dover Castle. 

The costume of the following personages of the drama will be 
found in their portraits, which are introduced into the Historical 
Illustration accompanying each act: — King John, Queen Elinor, 
King Philip, Prince Lewis, Blanch of Castile, Salisbury, Pembroke, 
Henry III. 



[Act I. 


SCENE I. — Northampton. A Room of State in the Palace. 

Enter King John, Queen Elinor, Pembroke, Essex, Salis- 
bury, and others, with Chatillon. 

Kivg John. Now saj, Chatillon, what would France with 

Chat. Thus, after greeting, speaks the king of France, 
In my behaviour," to the majesty. 
The borrow'd majesty of England here. 

* Behaviour, Haviour, behaviour, is the manner of having, the conduct. Where, 

Scene I.] KING JOHN. 249 

Eli. A strange beginning ; — ^borrow'd majesty ! 

K. John. Silence, good mother ; hear the embassy. 

Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf 
Of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son, 
Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim 
To this fair island, and the territories ; 
To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine: 
Desiring thee to lay aside the sword. 
Which sways usurpingly these several titles ; 
And put the same into young Arthur's hand. 
Thy nephew and right royal sovereign. 

K. John. What follows if we disallow of this? 

Chat. The proud control of fierce and bloody war. 
To enforce these rights so forcibly withheld. 

K. John. Here have we war for war, and blood for blood, 
Controlment for controlment : so answer France. 

Chat. Then take my king's defiance from my mouth. 
The farthest limit of my embassy. 

K. John. Bear mine to him, and so depart in peace : 
Be thou as lightning in the eyes of France ; 
For ere thou canst report I will be there. 
The thunder of my cannon shall be heard : ' 
So, hence ! Be thou the trumpet of our wrath. 
And sullen presage of your own decay. 
An honourable conduct let him have : — 
Pembroke, look to 't : Farewell, Chatillon. 

[Exeunt Chatillon and Pembroke. 

Eli. What now, my son ? have I not ever said. 
How that ambitious Constance would not cease. 
Till she had kindled France, and all the world. 
Upon the right and party of her son ? 
This might have been prevented, and made whole. 
With very easy arguments of love ; 

then, is the difficulty which this expression lias raised up? The king of France 
speaks, iu the conduct of his ambassador, to "the borrow'd majesty of England;"' — 
a necessary explanation of the speech of Chatillon, which John would have resented 
upon the speaker himself, had he not in his "behaviour" expressed the intentions of 
his sovereign. 

250 KING JOHN. [Act I. 

Which now the manage ■ of two kingdoms must 
With fearful bloody issue arbitrate. 

K. John. Our strong possession, and our right, for us. 

Eli, Your strong possession much more than your right ; 
Or else it must go wrong with you and me : 
So much my conscience whispers in your ear ; 
Which none but Heaven, and you, and I, shall hear. 

Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whispers Essex. 

Essex. My liege, here is the strangest controversy. 
Come from the country to be judg'd by you. 
That e'er I heard : Shall I produce the men ? 

K. John. Let them approach. [Exit Sheriff. 

Our abbeys, and our priories, shall pay 

Re-enter Sheriff, with Robert Faulconbridge, and Philip, 
his bastard Brother. 

This expedition's charge. — What men are you? 

Bast. Your faithful subject I, a gentleman. 
Born in Northamptonshire ; and eldest son. 
As I suppose, to Robert Faulconbridge ; 
A soldier, by the honour-giving hand 
Of Coeur-de-lion knighted in the field." 

K. John. What art thou ? 

Rob. The son and heir to that same Faulconbridge. 

K. John. Is that the elder, and art thou the heir ? 
You came not of one mother then, it seems. 

Bast. Most certain of one mother, mighty king, 
That is well known : and, as I think, one father : 
But, for the certain knowledge of that truth, 
I put you o'er to Heaven, and to my mother. 
Of that I doubt, as all men's children may. 

Eli. Out on thee, rude man ! thou dost shame thy mother. 
And wound her honour, with this difl&dencc. 

* Manage has, in Sbakspere, the same meaning as management and managery, — 
which, applied to a state, is equivalent to government. Prospero says of An- 
thonio : — 

" He whom next thyself 
Of all the world I lov'd, and to him [)ut 
The manage of my state." 

Scene I.] KING JOHN. 251 

Bast. 1, madam ? no, I have no reason for it ; 
That is my brother's plea, and none of mine ; 
The which if he can prove, 'a pops me out 
At least from fair five hundred pound a-year : 
Heaven guard my mother's honour, and my land ! 

K. John. A good blunt felloAV : — Why, being younger born. 
Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance ? 

Bast. I know not why, except to get the land. 
But once he slander'd me with bastardy : 
But wher ' I be as true begot, or no. 
That still I lay upon my mother's head ; 
But, that I am as well begot, my liege, 
(Fair fall the bones that took the pains for me !) 
Compare our faces, and be judge yourself. 
If old sir Robert did beget us both. 
And were our father, and this son, like him ; — 

old sir Robert, father, on my knee 

1 give Heaven thanks I was not like to thee. 

K. John. Why, what a madcap hath Heaven lent us here ! 

Eli. He hath a trick ^ of Coeur-de-lion's face ; 
The accent of his tongue affecteth him : 
Do you not read some tokens of my son 
In the large composition of this man ? 

K. John. Mine eye hath well examined his parts. 
And finds them perfect Richard. Sirrah, speak. 
What doth move you to claim your brother's land? 

Bast. Because he hath a half-face, like my father ; 

* Wher. This in the ox\gvaa\. \s where ; it is sometimes u;W. The word, how- 
ever spelt, has the meaning of whether, but does not appear to have been written as 
a contraction either by Shakspere or his contemporaries. 

'• Trick, here and elsewhere in Shakspere, means peculiarity. Gloster remembers 
the "trick" of Lear's voice ; — Helen, thinking of Bertram, speaks 

" Of every line and trick of his sweet favour;" — 

Falstaflf notes the "villanous trick" of the prince's eye. In all these cases /ricii 
seems to imply habitual manner. In this view it is not difficult to trace up the 
expression to the same common source as trick in its ordinary acceptation; as, ha- 
bitual manner, artificial habit, artifice, entanglement ; from tricare. Wordsworth 
has the Shaksperean use of " trick '' in ' The Excursion ' (book i.) : — 

" Her infant babe 
Had from its mother caught the trick of grief, 
And sigh'd among its playthings." 

252 KING JOHN. [Act I. 

With that half-face* would he have all my laud : 
A half-fac'd groat' five hundred pound a-year ! 

Rob. My gracious liege, when that my father liv'd, 
Your brother did employ my father much : — 

Bast. Well, sir, by this you cannot get my land : 
Your tale must be how he employ'd my mother. 

Rob. And once despatch'd him in an embassy 
To Germany, there, with the emperor. 
To treat of high affairs touching that time : 
Th' advantage of his absence took the king. 
And in the mean time sojourn'd at my father's ; 
Where how he did prevail, I shame to speak : 
But truth is truth ; large lengths of seas and shores 
Between my father and my mother lay, — 
As I have heard my father speak himself, — 
When this same lusty gentleman was got. 
Upon his death-bed he by will bequeath'd 
His lands to me ; and took it, on his death. 
That this, my mother's son, was none of his ; 
And, if he were, he came into the world 
Full fourteen weeks before the course of time. 
Then, good my liege, let me have what is mine. 
My father's land, as was my father's will. 

K. John. Sirrah, your brother is legitimate ; 
Your father's wife did after wedlock bear him : 
And, if she did play false, the fault was hers ; 
Which fault lies on the hazards of all husbands 
That marry wives. Tell me, how if my brother. 
Who, as you say, took pains to get this son. 
Had of your father claira'd this son for his? 
In sooth, good friend, your father might have kept 
This calf, bred from his cow, from all the world ; 
In sooth, he might : then, if he were my brother's. 
My brother might not claim him ; nor your father. 
Being none of his, refuse him : This concludes : 
My mother's son did get your father's heir ; 
Your father's heir must have your father's land. 

" That half-face is a correction by Theobald, wliich appears just, iLe first folio 
giving "half that face." For an explanation oi half -fact, see Illustrations. 

Scene I.] KING JOHN. 253 

Rob. Shall then my father's will be of no force. 
To dispossess that child which is not his ? 

Bast. Of no more force to dispossess me, sir. 
Than was his will to get me, as I think. 

Eli. Whether hadst thou rather be a Faulconbridge, 
And like thy brother, to enjoy thy land ; 
Or the reputed son of Coeur-de-lion, 
Lord of thy presence,* and no land beside ? 

Bast. Madam, an if my brother had my shape. 
And I had his, sir Robert his,^ like him ; 
And if my legs were two such riding-rods ; 
My arms such eel-skins stuff 'd; my face so thin. 
That in mine ear I durst not stick a rose. 
Lest men should say. Look, where three-farthings goes ; * 
And, to his shape,'^ were heir to all this land, 
'Would I might never stir from off this place, 
I would give it every foot to have this face ; 
It would not be sir Nob'* in any case. 

Eli. I like thee well : Wilt thou forsake thy fortune. 
Bequeath thy land to him, and follow me ? 
I am a soldier, and now bound to France. 

Bast. Brother, take you my land, I '11 take my chance : 
Your face hath got five hundred pound a-year ; 
Yet sell your face for five pence, and 't is dear. 
Madam, I '11 follow you unto the death. 

Eli. Nay, I would have you go before me thither. 

Bast. Our country manners give our betters way. 

' Presence may here mean " priority of place," preseance. As the son of Coeur- 
de-lion, Faulconbridge would take rank without his land. Warburton judged it 
meant "master of thyself." If this interpretation be correct, the passage may have 
suggested the lines in Sir Henry Wotton's song on a ' Happy Life,' — 
" Lord of himself, though not of lands, 
And, having nothing, yet hath all." 
We are inclined to receive it in the sense of the man's whole carriage and appear- 
ance — " a goodly presence." 

^ Sir Robert his. This is the old form of the genitive, such as all who have 
looked into a legal instrument know. Faulconbridge says, " If I had his shape — 
sir Robert's shape — as he has." 

^ To his shape — in addition to his shape. 

^ We have given the text of the folio — "/^ would not be sir Nob," — not"/ 
would not be." " This face," he says, " would not be sir Nob," Nob is now, and 
was in Shakspere's time, a cant word for the head. 

254 KING JOHN. [Act I. 

K. John. What is thy name? 

Bast. Philip, my liege ; so is my name begun ; 
Philip, good old sir Robert's wife's eldest son. 

K. John. From henceforth bear liis name whose form thou 
bearest : 
Kneel thou down Philip, but arise more great ; 
Arise sir Richard, and Plantagenct.' 

Bast. Brother, by the mother's side, give me your 
My father gave me honour, yours gave land : 
Now blessed be the hour, by night or day. 
When I was got, sir Robert was away. 

Eli. The very spirit of Plantagenet ! 
I am thy grandame, Richard ; call me so. 

Ba^t. Madam, by chance, but not by truth : What though? 
Something about, a little from the right. 

In at the window,* or else o'er the hatch ; 
Who dares not stir by day must walk by night; 

And have is have, however men do catch : 
Near or far off, well won is still well shot ; 
And I am I, howe'er I was begot. 

K. John. Go, Faulconbridge ; now hast thou thy desire, 
A landless knight makes thee a landed squire. — 
Come, madam, and come, Richard ; we must speed 
For France, for France ; for it is more than need. 

Bast. Brother, adieu ; Good fortune come to thee ! 
For thou wast got i' the way of honesty. 

[^Exeunt all but the Bastard. 
A foot of honour better than I was ; 
But many a many foot of land the worse. 
Well, now can I make any Joan a lady. 
Good den,** sir Richard, — God-a-mcrcy, fellow ; 
And if his name be George, I '11 call him Peter : 
For new-made honour doth forget men's names ; 
'T is too respective, and too sociable, 

■ In at the window, &c. These were proverbial expressions, which, by analogy 
with irregular modes of entering a house, had reference to cases such as that of 
Faulconbridge's, which he gently terms " a little from die right." 

•> Good den — good evening— ^root/ e'en. (Siee Note to ' Romeo and Juliet.') 

Scene I.] KING JOHN. 255 

For your conversion." Now your traveller. 
He and his toothpick' at my worship's mess. 
And when my knightly stomach is suffic'd. 
Why then I suck my teeth, and catechise 

My picked man of countries : ^ My dear sir, 

(Thus, leaning on my elbow, I begin,) 

I shall beseech you — That is question now ; 

And then comes answer like an Absey '' book : 

O, sir, says answer, at your best command ; 

At your employment ; at your service, sir : 

No, sir, says question, I, sweet sir, at yours : 

And so, ere answer knows what question would. 

Saving in dialogue of compliment ; 

And talking of the Alps and Apennines, 

The Pyrenean, and the river Po, 

It draws toward supper in conclusion so. 

But this is worshipful society. 

And fits the mounting spirit like myself: 

For he is but a bastard to the time. 

That doth not smack "^ of observation ; 

(And so am I, whether I smack, or no;) 

And not alone in habit and device. 

Exterior form, outward accoutrement ; 

But from the inward motion to deliver 

Sweet, sweet, sweet poison for the age's tooth : 

Which, though I will not practise to deceive. 

Yet to avoid deceit I mean to learn ; 

For it shall strew the footsteps of my rising. — 

* Conversion. This is the reading of the folio, but was altered, by Pope, to con- 
versing. The Bastard, whose " new-made honour " is a conversion, — a change of 
condition, — would say that to remember men's names (opposed, by implication, to 
forget) is too respective (punctilious, discriminating) and too sociable for one of his 
newly attained rank. 

'' Picked man of countries. " The travelled fool," " the pert, conceited, talking 
spark," of the modem fable, is the old " picked man of countries." "To pick'' 
is the same as " to trim." l§teeveus says it is a metaphor derived from the action 
of birds in picking their feathers. " He is too picked, too spruce, too affected," 
occurs in ' Love's Labour 's Lost,' Act V. 

•^ Absetj book, the common name for the first, or A, B, C, book. The Catechism 
was generally included in tliese books ; and thus the reference in the text to 
"question" and "answer." 

'' Smack. The original has smoke. 

256 KING JOHN. [Act I. 

But who comes in such haste, in riding robes ? 
What woman-post is this ? hath she no husband. 
That will take pains to blow a horn before her ? 

Enter Lady Faulconbridge and James Gurney. 

O me ! it is my mother : — How now, good lady ? 
What brings you here to court so hastily ? 

Lady F. Where is that slave, thy brother? where is he? 
That holds in chase mine honour up and down? 

Bast. My brother Robert ? old sir Robert's son ? 
Colbrand the giant,' that same mighty man? 
Is it sir Robert's son that you seek so? 

Lady F. Sir Robert's son ! Ay, thou unreverend »boy. 
Sir Robert's son : Why scorn'st thou at sir Robert ? 
He is sir Robert's son ; and so art thou. 

Bast. James Gurney, wilt thou give us leave a while ? 

Gur. Good leave, good Philip, 

Bast. Philip ? — sparrow ! " — James, 

There 's toys abroad ; anon I '11 tell thee more. [Exit Gurn. 
Madam, I was not old sir Robert's son ; 
Sir Robert might have eat his part in me 
Upon Good-Friday, and ne'er broke his fast : 
Sir Robert could do well ; Marry — to confess — 
Could he get me ? Sir Robert could not do it ; 
We know his handiwork : — Therefore, good mother. 
To whom am I beholden for these limbs ? 
Sir Robert never holp to make this leg. 

Lady F. Hast thou conspired with thy brother too. 
That for thine own gain shouldst defend mine honour? 
What means this scorn, thou most untoward knave ? 

Bast. Knight, knight, good mother, — Basilisco-like : ^ 

» Philip ?— sparrow ! The sparrow was called Philip, — perhaps from his note, 
out of which Cat.ullus, in his elegy on Lesbia's sparrow, formed a verb, pipiUibat. 
When Gurney calls the bastard " good Philip,'" the new " Sir Richard '' tosses off 
the name with contempt — " sparrow !"' He then puts aside James, with " anon I '11 
tell thee more.'' 

•> Basilisco-like. Basilisco is a character in a play of Shakspere's time, ' Soliman 
and Perseda,' from which Tyrwhitt quotes a passage which may have suggested the 
words of the Bastard. The oaths of Basilisco became proverbial. Basilisco is men- 
tioned by Nash, in 1596. 

•aM.v Stiijid 


aSivxp Am o; uoissajSsuBjj Am (noq;) 
aqs ?nq i uoiss3jSsui3jj jaq uopaBd o; ua. 

•0:!J ,.'8DtI3jgO IB3] 

•aSjBqo Aui o; uoissaj 
0} sjB9ddB qoiqii 'idoo pjo aq^ jo Sujp- 

: UTS nooq p-ei 

*:foS8q 9ra pi^qe 

f ui3[ iCtn ( 

jpAi !^ou :^spTp not 

j laq^jBj Xui lOJ £ 

'jaq^jota /to 'X 

a'pUBq S^pi'BIfOI'JJ tUC 

90I0J pgqo: 

— 'asodsip siq ;b q 
: ^{joj inoiC :^ou s'bai 
'qiji'Ba no aS; 

'UI'bS'B !^9S 0% J 919 

•90U9j9p Xin qs^d 


•paq sjju'Bqsnq 

p^Olipgg S'BA 
: I9qqBJ Ji\[% S-BAl UOT|-9p-ir 

•jTA9p 9q; h 

1 9SptiqiioopB^ -B JpsXqq 

^ laqqora ^qi s'bav ox| 

f laqq'Bj tCui aiou3[ e 

: 9uoS s 

f pu-B^ /in put 


•igppoqs ifiu uo qi 



' Scene I. — " The thunder of my cannon shall he heard.'''' 

We have the same anachronism in * Hamlet ' and in ' Macbeth,' It is scarcely 
necessary to tell our readers that gunpowder was invented about a century later 
than the time of John, and that the first battle-field in which cannon were Jised is 
commonly supposed to have been that of Cressy. And yet the dramatic poet could 
not have well avoided this literal violation of propriety, both here and in the second 
act, when he talks of " bullets wrapp'd in fire." He uses terms which were fami- 
liar to his audience, to present a particular image to their senses. Had he, instead 
of cannon, spoken of the mangonell and the petraria, — the stone-flinging machines 
of the time of John, — he would have addressed himself to the very few who might 
have appreciated his exactness ; but his words would have fallen dead upon the 
ears of the many. We have other anachronisms in this play, which we may aa 
well dismiss at once, in connexion with the assertion of the principle upon which 
they are to be defended. In Act I. we have the "half-faced groat" of Henry VII. 
and the " three-farthing rose " of Elizabeth. The mention of these coins conveys a 
peculiar image, which must have been rejected if the poet had been bound by the 
same rules that govern an antiquary. So in the fifth act, where the Dauphin says 
he has " the best cards for the game," the poet liad to choose between the adoption 
of an allusion full of spirit and perfectly intelligible, and the substitution of some 
prosaic and feeble form of speech that might have had the poor merit of not antici- 
pating the use of playing cards in Europe by about a century and a half. We are 
not aware of any other passage in this play which has afforded "the learned" an 
opportunity (which they have not lost in speaking of these passages) of propounding 
the necessity of constructing a work of art upon the same principles of exactness 
that go to produce a perfect Chronological Table. 

* Scene I. — " A soldier, by the honour-giving hand 

Of Cceur-de-lion knighted in the field" 

St. Palaye, in his * Memoirs of Chivalry,' says, " In warfare there was scarcely 
any important event which was not preceded or followed by a creation of knights. 
* * * * Knighthood was conferred, on such occasions, in a manner at once 
expeditious and military. The soldier presented his sword, either by the cross or 
the guard, to the prince or the general from whom he was to receive the accolade — 
this was all the ceremonial."* It was in this manner, — in the absence of those pro- 
cessions and banquets that accompanied the investiture of knightliood during peace, 
— that four hundred and sixty-seven French gentlemen were made knights at the 
battle of Rosbecq, in 1382 ; and five hundred before the battle of Azincour, in 
1415.t Our English chroniclers tell us that, m 1339, the armies of Edward III. 
and Philip of France, having approached near to each other, arranged themselves in 
order of battle, and fourteen gentlemen were knighted ; but the armies separated 
without coming to an engagement, and a hare happening to jmss between the two 
hosts, some merriment was ])roduced, and the knights were called the knights of the 

• St. Palaye, ed. Paris, 1759, vol. i. f Ibid. 



hare.* This is an example of the custom of knighting before a battle. At a later 
period we have an instance of knighting after a fight. Henry VIII., after the battle 
of Spurs, in 1514, made Sir John Pechye banneret and John Carr6 knight, both of 
them having done great service in the eiicounter.f When the "honour- giving 
hand " of the first Richard created Robert Faulconbridge a knight " in the field," 
we are not told by the poet whether it was for the encouragement of valour or for 
the reward of service. But in ' Cymbeliue' we have an example of the bestowing 
of the honour as the guerdon of bravery. The king, after the battle with the 
Romans, commands Belarius, Guiderius, and Arviragus, thus : — 

" Bow your knees : 
Arise my kniglits o' the battle ; I create you 
Companions to our person." 

^ Scene I.—" A half-facd groat:' 

The half-face is the profile ; — and the allusion had probably become proverbial, 
for it occurs also in a play, ' The Downfal of Robert Earl of Huntington,' 1601, — 

" You half-fac'd groat, you thick -cheek'd chitty-face." 

The profile of the sovereign is given in one or two of our early coins ; but 
Henry VII, was the first king who made an extensive issue of coins with the half- 
face. The following is a copy of the " half-faced groat" of Henry VII. 

* Scene I. — " Look, where three-farthings goes.'''' 

The three-farthing silver piece of Elizabeth was, as the value may import, 
extremely thin ; — and thus the allusion of Faulconbridge, " my face so thin." 
" It was once the fashion," says Burton (' Anatomy of Melancholy '), " to stick 
real flowers in the ear;" and thus the thin face and the rose in the ear, taken toge- 
ther, were to be avoided — 

" Lest men should say, Look, where three-farthings goes;" — 

for the three-farthing piece was not only thin, and therefore might be associated 
with the '• thin face," but it bore a rose which assimilated with the rose in the ear. 
This coin was called the " three-fartliing rose," and the following is a copy of 


* Baker's Chronicle. 

t Ibid. 



* Scene I. — " Ariutir Richard, and Plantagenet.'" 

Shaks])ere, with poetical propriety, confers upon the Bastard the surname by 
which the royal house of Anjou was popularly known. Plantagenet was not the 
family name of that house, though it had been bestowed u{)on an ancestor of John 
from the broom in his bonnet — the Planta genista, 

" Scene I. — " Now gour traveller, 

He and his toothpick.'''' 

One of the characterisfics of the "picked man of countries" was the use of a 
toothpick; while the Englishman who adhered to his own customs would "suck" 
his teeth. It is unnecessary to cite |)assages to show that the toothpick was con- 
sidered a foreign frivolity. Gascoigne, Ben Jotison, Overbury, and Shirley, have 
each allusions to the practice. 

? Scene I. — " Colbrand the giants 
In Drayton's ' Polyolbion,' the twelfth song, we have a long and sonorous descrip- 
tion of the great battle between Colbrand the Danish giant and Guy of Warwick ; 
of which the following extract will furnish an adequate notion : — 
" But after, wheu the Danes, who never wearied were, 
Came with intent to make a general conquest here, 
They brought with them a man deem'd of so wondrous might. 
As was not to be match 'd by any mortal wight : 
For one could scarcely bear his ax into the field ; 
Which as a little wand the Dane would lightly wield : 
And (to enforce that strength) of such a dauntless spirit, 
A man (in their conceit) of so exceeding merit. 
That to the English oft they offer'd him (in pride) 
The ending of the war by combat to decide. 

• ••••• 

Then Colebrond for the Danes came forth in ireful red; 

Before him (from the camp) an ensign first display'd 

Amidst a guard of gleaves : then sumptuously array'd 

Were twenty gallant youths, that to the warlike sound 

Of Danish brazen drums, with many a lofty bound. 

Come with their country's march, as they to Mars should dance. 

Thus, forward to the fight, both champions them advance : 

And each, without respect, doth resolutely choose 

The weapon that he brought, nor doth his foes refuse. 

The Dane prepares his ax, that pond'rous was to feel. 

Whose squares were laid with plates, and riveted with steel. 

And armed down along with pikes, whose hardcn'd points 

(Forc'd with the weapon's weight) had power to tear the joints 

Of cuirass or of mail, or whatsoe'er they took ; 

Which caus'd him at the knight disdainfully to look. 

• ••••• 

Tlien with such eager blows each other they pursue. 
As every offer made should threaten imminent death ; 
Until, through heat and toil both hardly drawing breath. 
They desperately do close. Look, how two boars, being set 
Together side to side, their threat'ning tusks do whet. 
And with their gnashing teeth their angry foam do bite, 
Whilst still they should'ring seek each other where to smite; 
Thus stood those ireful knights ; till, flying back, at length 
The palmer, of the two the first recovering strength. 
Upon the left arm lent great Colebrond such a wound, 
That whilst his weapon's point fell well-near to the ground. 
And slowly he it rais'd, the valiant Guy again 
Sent through his cloven scalp his blade into his brain. 
When downward went his head, and up his heels he threw, 
As wanting hands to bid his countrymen adieu." 


The legends of Sir Guy were well known in Shakspere's time; and the fierce 
encounter between this redoubted champion and " Colbrande," who fought 

" On foote, for horse might heave him none," 

had been recited round many a hearth, from the old " histories." A curious spe- 
cimen of the legends of Sir Guy and Sir Bevis, from a black-letter quarto of the 
middle of the sixteenth century, is given in Capell's 'School of Shakespeare.' 

^ Scene I. — " The awless lion could not wage the fight. 

Nor keep his princely heart from Richard's hand.''^ 

The reputation for indomitable courage, and prodigious physical strength, of 
Richard I,, transferred this slory from romance to history. Rastall gives it in his 
' Chronicle :' " It is sayd that a lyon was put to Kynge Richarde, beynge in prison, 
to have devoured him, and when the lyon was gapynge, he put his arme in his 
mouthe, and pulled the lyon by the harte so hard, that he slew the lyon, and there- 
fore some say he is called Rycharde Cure de Lyon ; but some say he is called 
Cure de Lyon because of his boldenesse and hardy stomake." Our readers may 
compare this with the following extract from the old metrical romance of ' Richard 
Coeur-de-Lion :* — 

" The poet tells us that Richard, in his return from the Holy Land, having 
been discovered in the habit of ' a palmer in Almayne,' and apprehended as a spy, 
was by the King thrown into prison. Wardrewe, the King's son, hearing of 
Richard's great strength, desires the jailor to let him have a sight of his prisoners. 
Richard being the foremost, Wardrewe asks him, ' if he dare stand a buffet from 
his liand?' and that on the morrow he shall return him another. Richard consents, 
and receives a blow that staggers him. On the morrow, having previously waxed 
his hands, he waited his antagonist's arrival. Wardrewe accordingly, proceeds the 
story, 'held forth as a trewe man,' and Richard gave him such a blow on the cheek, 
as broke his jaw-bone and killed him on the spot. The King, to revenge the death 
of his son, orders, by the advice of one Eldrede, that a lion kept purposely from 
food shall be turned loose upon Richard. But the King's daughter, having fallen 
in love with him, tells him of her father's resolution, and at his request procures 
him forty ells of white silk ' kerchers ;' and here the description of the combat 
begms : — 

■ The kever-chefes he toke on honde, 

And aboute his arme he wonde; 

And thought in that ylke while. 

To flee the lyon with some gyle : 

And syngle in a kyxtyll he stode, 

And abode the lyon fyers and wode. 

With that came the jaylere, 

And other men that wyth him were. 

And the lyon tliem amonge ; 

His pawes were stiffe and stionge. 

The chambre dore they undone. 

And the lyon to them is gone. 

Kycharde sayd, Helpe, Lorde Jesu ! 

The lyon made to him venu, 

And wolde hym have all to rente : 

Kynge Rycharde besyde hym glente. 

The lyon on the breste hym spurned. 

That aboute he tourned. 

The lyon was ongry and megre. 

And bette liis tayle to be egre ; 

Percy's ' Reliques,' vol. iii., Introduction. 



He loked aboute as he were madde ; 
Abrode he all his pawes spradde. 
He cryed lowde, and yaned wyde. 
Kynge Kycbarde bethought hym that tyde 
Wliat hym was beste, and to hym sterte. 
In at the throte his honde be gerte, 
And hente out the herte with his honde. 
Lounge, and all that he there fonde. 
Tlie lyon fell deed to the grounde : 
Rycharde felte no wera ne wounde. 
He fell on his knees on that place, 
And thanked Jesu of his grace.' " 

[King John.] 

It would appear scarcely necessary to entreat the reader to bear in mind, — before 
we place in apposition the events which these scenes bring before us, and the facts 
of history, properly so called, — that the 'Histories' of Shakspere are Dramatic 
Poems. And yet, unless this circumstance be watchfully regarded, we shall fall 
into the error of setting up one form of truth in contradiction to, and not in illus- 
tration of, another form of truth. It appears to us a worse than useless employment 
to be running parallels between the poet and the chronicler, for the purpose of 
showing that for the literal facts of history the poet is not so safe a teacher as the 
chronicler ; and yet we hare had offered to us a series of laborious essays, diat 
undertakes to solve these two problems, — " What were Shakspere's authorities 


for his history, and how far has he departed from them ? An'l whether the plays 
may be given to our youth as properly historical."* The writer of these essays 
decides the latter question in the negative, and maintains that these pieces are 
"quite unsuitable as a medium of instruction to the English youth;" and his great 
object is, therefore, to contradict, by a body of minute proofs, the assertion of A. 
W. Schlegel, with regard to these plays, that " the principal traits in every event, 
are given with so much correctness, their apparent causes and their secret motives 
are given with so much penetration, that we may therein study history, so to speak, 
after nature, without fearing that such lively images should ever be effaced from 
our minds." Schlegel appears to us to have hit the true cause why the youth of 
England have been said to take their history from Shakspere. The " lively images" 
of the poet present a general truth much more completely than the tedious narra- 
tives of the annalist. The ten English " histories " of Shakspere — ^"the magnificent 
draxn&tic epopee, of which the separate pieces are different cantos" — stand in the 
same relation to the contemporary historians of the events they deal with as a land- 
scape does to a map. Mr. Courtenay says, " Let it be well understood that, if in 
any case I derogate from Shakspere as an historian, it is as an historian only.'' Now, 
in the sense in which Mr. Courtenay uses the word "historian," — by which he 
means one who describes past events with the most accurate observances of time and 
place, and with the most diligent balancing of conflicting testimony — Shakspere 
ihas no pretensions to be regarded. The principle, therefore, of viewing Shakspere "s 
history through another medium than that of his art, and pronouncing, ujjon this 
view, that his historical plays cannot be given to our youth as ''properly historical," 
is nearly as absurd as it would be to derogate from the merits of Mr. Turner's 
beautiful drawings of coast scenery, by maintaining and proving that the draughts- 
man had not accurately laid down the relative positions of each bay and promon- 
tory. It would not be, to our minds, a greater mistake to confound the respective 
labours of the landscape-painter and the hydrographer, than to subject the poet to 
the same laws which should govern the chronicler. There may be, in the poet, a 
higher truth than the literal, evolved in spite of, or rather in combination with, his 
minute violations of accuracy ; we may in the poet better study history, " so to 
speak, after nature," than in the annalist, — because the poet masses and generalizes 
his facts, subjecting them, in the order in which he presents them to the mind, as 
well as in the elaboration which he bestows upon them, to the laws of his art, which 
has a clearer sense of fitness and proportion than the laws of a dry chronology. 
But, at any rate, the structure of an historical drama and of an historical narrative 
are so essentially difitrent, that the offices of the poet and the historian must never 
be confounded. It is not to derogate from the poet to say that he is not an his- 
torian ; — it will be to elevate Shakspere when we compare his poetical truth with 
the truth of history. We have no wish that he had been more exact and literal. 

The moving cause of the main action in the play of ' King John ' is put before us 
in the very first lines. Chatillon, the ambassador of France, thus demands of John 
the resignation of his crown : — 

•' Philip of France, in right and true behalf 
Of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son, 
Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim 
To this fair island, and the territories; 
To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine." 

In the year 1190, when Arthur was only two years old, his uncle, Richard Coeur- 
de-Lion, contracted him in marriage with the daughter of Tancred King of Sicily. 
The good-will of Richard towards Arthur, on this occasion, might be in part secured 

* Shakspeare's Historical Plays considered Historically. By the Right Hon. T. P. Courtenay. 



by a dowry of twenty thousand golden onde y/hich the Sicilian King paid in advance 
to him; but, at any rate, the infant Duke of Britanny was recognised in this deed, 
by Richard, as " our most dear nephew, and heir, if by chance we should die with- 
out issue."* When Richard did die, without issue, in 1 199, Arthur, and his mother 
Constance, who was really the duchess regnant of Brittany, were on friendly terms 
with him, although in 1197 Richard had wasted Brittany with fire and sword; but 
John produced a testament by which Richard gave him the crown. The adherents 
of John, however, did not rely upon this instrument; and, if we may credit Matthew 
Paris, John took the brightest gem of the house of Anjou, the crown of England, 
upon the principle of election. His claim was recognised also in Normandy. 
Maine, Touraine, and Anjou, on the other hand, declared for Arthur ; and at An- 
giers the young prince was proclaimed King of England. As Duke of Brittany 
Arthur held his dominion as a vassal of France ; — but Constance, who knew the 
value of a powerful protector for her son, ofl'ered to Philip Augustus of France that 
Arthur should do homage not only for Brittany, but also for Normandy, Maine, 
Anjou, Touraine, and Poitou. Philip encouraged the pretensions of Arthur to the 
provinces for which he had oflered homage, and he met his young vassal at Mans, 
where he received his oath, bestowed on him knighthood, and took him with him to 

We may assume this point of the history of Arthur as determining the period 
when Shakspere's play of ' King John ' commences. - 

The hostility of Elinor to Constance is manifested in the first scene : — 

" What now, my son ? have I not ever said, 
How that ambitious Constance would not cease. 
Till she had kindled France, and all the world, 
Upon the right and party of her son ?" 

[Queen Elinor."; 
S«e Darn, Histoire de Breta^e, tome i., p. 381. 


Holinshed assigns the reason for this enmity : — " Surely Queen Elinor, the King's 
mother, was sore against her nephew Arthur, rather moved thereto by envy con- 
ceived against his mother, than upon any just occasion given in the behalf of the 
child ; for that she saw if he were king how his mother Constance would look to 
bear most rule within the realm of England, till her son should come to lawful age 
to govern of himself." 

Philip the Bastard, whose character inftises so much life and spirit into these 
scenes, is thus noticed in Holinshed ; nor is there any other mention of him : — 
" The same year also (the first of John), Philip, bastard son to King Richard, to 
whom his father had given the castle and honour of Coynack, killed the Viscount 
of Lymoges, in revenge of his father's death, who was slain (as ye have heard) in 
besieging the castle of Chalus Cheverell." 

266 KING JOHN. [Act II. 


SCENE I. — France. Before the Walls o/* Anglers. 

Enter on one side, the Archduke of Austria, and Forces ; 
on the other, Philip, King 0/ France, and Forces; Lewis, 
Constance, Arthur, and Attendants. 

Lew. Before Anglers well met, brave Austria. 
Arthur, that great fore-runner of thy blood, 
Richard, that robb'd the Hon of his heart. 
And fought the holy wars In Palestine, 
By this brave duke came early to his grave : 
And, for amends to his posterity. 
At our Importance " hither is he come. 
To spread his colours, boy. In thy behalf; 
And to rebuke the usurpation 
Of thy unnatural uncle, English John ; 
Embrace him, love him, give him welcome hither. 

Arth. God shall forgive you Coeur-de-llon's death. 
The rather, that you give his oifsprlng life. 
Shadowing their right under your wings of war : 
I give you welcome with a powerless hand. 
But with a heart full of unstained love : 
Welcome before the gates of Anglers, duke. 

Lew. A noble boy ! Who would not do thee right ? 

Aust. Upon thy cheek lay I this zealous kiss, 
As seal to this indenture of my love ; 
That to my home I will no more return. 
Till Anglers, and the right thou hast in France, 
Together with that pale, that white-fac'd shore. 
Whose foot spurns back the ocean's roaring tides. 
And coops from other lands her Islanders, 
Even till that England, hedg'd in with the main, 

" Importance, iraportuuity. 

Scene I.] KING JOHN. 267 

That water-walled bulwark, still secure 
And confident from foreign purposes. 
Even till that utmost corner of the west 
Salute thee for her king : till then, fair boy. 
Will I not think of home, but follow arras. 

Const, O, take his mother's thanks, a widow's thanks. 
Till your strong hand shall help to give him strength. 
To make a more requital to your love. 

Aust. The peace of heaven is theirs that lift their swords 
In such a just and charitable war. 

K. Phi. Well then, to work ; our cannon shall be bent 
Against the brows of this resistinor town. 
Call for our chiefest men of discipline. 
To cull the plots of best advantages : 
We '11 lay before this town our royal bones. 
Wade to the market-place in Frenchmen's blood. 
But we will make it subject to this boy. 

Const. Stay for an answer to your embassy. 
Lest unadvis'd you stain your swords with blood : 
My lord Chatillon may from England bring 
That right in peace, which here we urge in war ; 
And then we shall repent each drop of blood 
That hot rash haste so indirectly shed. 

E?iter Chatillon. 

K. Phi. A wonder, lady ! — lo, upon thy wish. 
Our messenger Chatillon is arriv'd. — 
What England says, say briefly, gentle lord. 
We coldly pause for thee ; Chatillon, speak. 

Chat. Then turn your forces from this paltry siege. 
And stir them up against a mightier task. 
England, impatient of your just demands. 
Hath put himself in arms ; the adverse winds. 
Whose leisure I have stay'd, have given him time 
To land his legions all as soon as I : 
His marches are expedient * to this town, 

* Expedient. The word properly means, " that disengages itself from all entan- 
glements." To set at liberty the foot which was held fast is exped-ire. Shakspere 
always uses this word in strict accordance with its derivation ; as, in truth, he does 
most words that may be called learned. 

268 KING JOHN. [Act II. 

His forces strong, liis soldiers confident. 

With him along is come the mother-queen. 

An Ate, stirring him to blood and strife ; 

With her her niece, the lady Blanch of Spain ; 

With them a bastard of the king's deceas'd : 

And all the unsettled humours of the land, — 

Rash, inconsiderate, fiery voluntaries. 

With ladies' faces, and fierce dragons' spleens, — 

Have sold their fortunes at their native homes. 

Bearing their birthrights proudly on their backs. 

To make a hazard of new fortunes here. 

In brief, a braver choice of dauntless spirits. 

Than now the English bottoms ' have waft o'er. 

Did never float upon the swelling tide. 

To do oifence and scath in Christendom. 

The interruption of their churlish drums [Drums beat. 

Cuts off more circumstance : they are at hand 

To parley, or to fight ; therefore, prepare. 

K. Phi. How much unlook'd-for is this expedition ! 

Aust. By how much unexpected, by so much 
We must awake endeavour for defence ; 
For courage mounteth with occasion : 
Let them be welcome then, we are prepar'd. 

Enter King John, Elinor, Blanch, the Bastard, Pembroke, 
a7id Forces. 

K. John. Peace be to France ; if France in peace permit 
Our just and lineal entrance to our oWn ! 
If not, bleed France, and peace ascend to heaven ! 
Whiles we, God's wrathful agent, do correct 
Their proud contempt that beat his peace to heaven. 

K. Phi. Peace be to England ; if that war return 
From France to England, there to live in peace ! 
England we love ; and, for that England's sake. 
With burthen of our armour here we sweat : 
This toil of ours should be a work of thine ; 
But thou from loving England art so far. 
That thou hast under-wrought his lawful king. 
Cut off the sequence of posterity. 

Scene I.] KING JOHN. 269 

Outfaced infant state, and done a rape 
Upon the maiden virtue of the crown. 
Look here upon thy brother Geffrey's face ; — 
These eyes, these brows, were moulded out of his : 
This little abstract doth contain that large. 
Which died in Geffrey ; and the hand of time 
Shall draw this brief into as huge a volume. 
That Geffrey was thy elder brother born. 
And this his son ; England was Geffrey's right. 
And this is Geffrey's,* in the name of God. 
How comes it, then, that thou art call'd a king. 
When living blood doth in these temples beat. 
Which owe the crown that thou o'ermasterest ? 

K. John. From whom hast thou this great commission, 
To draw my answer from thy articles ? 

K. Phi. From that supernal judge that stirs good 
In any breast of strong authority. 
To look into the blots and stains of right. 
That judge hath made me guardian to this boy : 
Under whose warrant, I impeach thy wrong ; 
And, by whose help, I mean to chastise it. 

K. John. Alack, thou dost usurp authority. 

K. Phi. Excuse ; it is to beat usurping down. 

Eli. Who is it thou dost call usurper, France ? 

Const. Let me make answer ; — thy usurping son. 

Eli. Out, insolent ! thy bastard shall be king ; 
That thou mayst be a queen, and check the world ! 

Const. My bed was ever to thy son as true, 

» ^tul this is Geffrey's. We have restored the punctuation of the original, — 
" And this is Gefifrey's, in the name of Grod." 
Perhaps we should read, according to Monck Mason, " And his is Geffirey's." In 
either case, it appears to us that King Philip makes a solemn asseveration that this 
(Arthur) is Geffrey's son and successor, or that " Geffirey's right " is his (Arthur's) 
in the name of God ; asserting the principle of legitimacy, by divine ordinance. 
As the sentence is commonly given, 

" In the name of God, 
How comes it then," &c., 
Philip is only employing an unmeaning oath. 

270 KING JOHN. [Act II. 

As thine was to thy husband : and this boy 

Liker in feature to his father Geffrey, 

Than thou and John, in manners being as like 

As rain to water, or devil to his dam. 

My boy a bastard l By my soul, I think. 

His father never was so true begot ; 

It cannot be, an if thou wert his mother. 

Eli. There 's a good mother, boy, that biota thy father. 

Const. There's a good grandame, boy, that would blot 

Aust. Peace ! 

Bast. Hear the crier. 

Aust. What the devil art thou? 

Bast. One that will play the devil, sir, with you. 
An 'a may catch your hide and you alone. 
You are the hare of whom the proverb goes. 
Whose valour plucks dead lions by the beard. 
I '11 smoke your skin-coat, an I catch you right ; 
Sirrah, look to 't ; i' faith, I will, i' faith. 

Blanch. O, well did he become that lion's robe. 
That did disrobe the lion of that robe ! 

Bast. It lies as sightly on the back of him. 
As great Alcides' shoes * upon an ass : — 
But, ass, I '11 take that burthen from your back ; 
Or lay on that shall make your shoulders crack. 

Aust. What cracker is this same, that deafs our ears 
With this abundance of superfluous breath ? 
King, — Lewis,* determine what we shall do straight. 

Lew. Women and fools, break off your conference. 
King John, this is the very sum of all, — 
England and Ireland, Anjou, Touraine, Maine, 
In right of Arthur do I claim of thee : 
Wilt thou resign them, and lay down thy arms ? 

K. John. My life as soon : — I do defy thee, France. 
Arthur of Bretagne, yield thee to my hand ; 

' King, — Lewis. We have here restored the original reading. Austria is iinpa- 
tieiit of the " superfluous breatli " of the Bastard, and appeals to Philip and f he 
Dauphin — " King, — Lewis, determine.*' *' King" is usually omitted, and the line 
given to Philip. 

Scene I.J KING JOHN. 271 

And, out of my dear love, I '11 give thee more 
Than e'er the coward hand of France can win : 
Submit thee, boy. 

Eli. Come to thy grandame, child. 

Const. Do, child, go to it' grandame, child ; 
Give grandame kingdom, and it' grandame will 
Give it a plum, a cherry, and a fig : 
There 's a good grandame. 

Arth. Good my mother, peace ! 

I would that I were low laid in my grave ; 
I am not worth this coil that 's made for me. 

Eli. His mother shames him so, poor boy, he weeps. 

Const. Now shame upon you, wher she does, or no ! 
His grandame's wrongs, and not his mother's shames. 
Draw those heaven-moving pearls from his poor eyes. 
Which Heaven shall take in nature of a fee ; 
Ay, with these crystal beads Heaven shall be brib'd 
To do him justice, and revenge on you. 

Eli. Thou monstrous slanderer of heaven and earth ! 

Const. Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and earth ! 
Call not me slanderer ; thou, and thine, usurp 
The dominations, royalties, and rights 
Of this oppressed boy : This is thy eldest son's son, 
Infortunate in nothing but in thee ; 
Thy sins are visited in this poor child ; 
The canon of the law is laid on him. 
Being but the second generation 
Removed from thy sin-conceiving womb. 

K. John. Bedlam, have done. 

Const. I have but this to say, — • 

That he 's not only plagued for her sin. 
But God hath made her sin and her the plague 
On this removed issue, plagued for her. 
And with her plague, her sin ; his injury 
Her injury, — the beadle to her sin ; 
All punish'd in the person of this child. 
And all for her ; A plague upon her ! 

Eli. Thou unadvised scold, I can produce 
A will, that bars the title of thy son. 

272 KING JOHN. [AcTir. 

Const. Ay, who doubts that ? a will ! a wicked will ; 
A woman's will ; a canker'd grandame's will ! 

K. Phi. Peace, lady ; pause, or be more temperate : 
It ill beseems this presence, to cry aim' 
To these ill-tuned repetitions. 
Some trumpet summon hither to the walls 
These men of Angiers ; let us hear them speak. 
Whose title they admit, Arthur's or John's. 

Trumpet sounds. Enter Citizens upon the Walls. 

Cit. Who is it that hath warn'd us to the walls ? 

K. Phi. 'T is France for England. 

K. John. England, for itself: 

You men of Angiers, and my loving subjects ! 

K. Phi. You loving men of Angiers, Arthur's subjects. 
Our trumpet call'd you to this gentle parle — 

K. John. For our advantage ; — Therefore, hear us first. 
These flags of France, that are advanced here 
Before the eye and prospect of your town. 
Have hither march'd to your endamagement : 
The cannons have their bowels full of wrath ; 
And ready mounted are they, to spit forth 
Their iron indignation 'gainst your walls : 
All preparation for a bloody siege 
And merciless proceeding, by these French, 
Confronts ^ your city's eyes, your winking gates ; 
And but for our approach, those sleeping stones. 
That as a waist do girdle you about. 
By the compulsion of their ordnance 
By this time from their fixed beds of lime 
Had been dishabited, and wide havoc made 
For bloody power to rush upon your peace. 
But, on the sight of us, your lawful king. 
Who painfully, with much expedient march. 
Have brought a countercheck before your gates, 

* To cry aim. See note in ' Two Grentlemen of Verona,' Act III., Scene 1. 

* Confront* your city's eyes. The original edition has comfort your city's eyes, 
which is, in part, a misprint, although comfort might be used by John in irony. 
The later editions read confront, after Rowe. Preparation is here the nominative, 
and therefore we use confronts. 

Scene I.] KING JOHN. 273 

To save unscratcli'd your city's threaten'd cheeks, — 

Behold, the French, amaz'd, vouchsafe a parle : 

And now, instead of bullets wrapp'd in fire. 

To make a shaking fever in your walls. 

They shoot but calm words, folded up in smoke. 

To make a faithless error in your ears : 

Which trust accordingly, kind citizens. 

And let us in. Your king,* whose labour'd spirits 

Forwearied ^ in this action of swift speed. 

Craves harbourage within your city walls. 

K. Phi. When I have said, make answer to us both. 
Lo, in this right hand, whose protection 
Is most divinely vow'd upon the right 
Of him it holds, stands young Plantagenet, 
Son to the elder brother of this man. 
And king o'er him, and all that he enjoys : 
For this down-trodden equity, we tread 
In warlike march these greens before your town j 
Being no further enemy to you. 
Than the constraint of hospitable zeal, 
In the relief of this oppressed child. 
Religiously provokes. Be pleased then 
To pay that duty, which you truly owe. 
To him that owes '^ it, — namely, this young prince : 
And then our arms, like to a muzzled bear. 
Save in aspect, have all offence seal'd up ; 
Our cannons' malice vainly shall be spent 
Against th' invulnerable clouds of heaven ; 
And, with a blessed and unvex'd retire. 
With unhack'd swords, and helmets all unbruis'd. 
We will bear home that lusty blood again, 

* Your king, &c. We have here restored the old reading, in which " j'our king" 
is the nominative to " craves." In all the modern editions we read — 
" And let us in, your king ; whose labour'd spirits, 
Forwearied in this action of swift speed, 
Crave harbourage," &c. 
^ It is to be observed that "forweary" and "weary" are the same; and that 
"forwearied" may be used, not as a participle requiring an auxiliary verb, but as 
a verb neuter. "Our spirits wearied in this action" would be correct, even in 
modern construction. 
■^ Ckves — owns. 
Vol. IV. T 

274 KING JOHN. [Act II. 

Which here we came to spout against your town, 
And leave your children, wives, and you, in peace. 
But if you fondly pass our profFcr'd offer, 
'T is not the rounder ' of your old-fac'd walls 
Can hide you from our messengers of war. 
Though all these English, and their discipline. 
Were harbour'd in their rude circumference. 
Then, tell us, shall your city call us lord. 
In that behalf which we have challeng'd it ? 
Or shall we give the signal to our rage. 
And stalk in blood to our possession ? 

Cit. In brief, we are the king of England's subjects ; 
For him, and in his right, we hold this town. 

K. John. Acknowledge then the king, and let me in. 

Cit. That can we not : but he that proves the king. 
To him will we prove loyal ; till that time. 
Have we ramm'd up our gates against the world. 

K. John. Doth not the crown of England prove the king ? 
And if not that, I bring you witnesses. 
Twice fifteen thousand hearts of England's breed, — r 

Bast. Bastards, and else. 

K. John. To verify our title with their lives. 

K. Phi. As many, and as well-born bloods as those, — 

Bast. Some bastards too. 

K. Phi. Stand in his face, to contradict his claim. 

Cit. Till you compound whose right is worthiest. 
We, for the worthiest, hold the right from both. 

K. John. Then God forgive the sin of all those souls. 
That to their everlasting residence. 
Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet. 
In dreadful trial of our kingdom's king ! 

K. Phi. Amen, Amen ! — Mount, chevaliers ! to arms ! 

Bast. St. George,' that swindg'd the dragon, and e'er since 
Sits on his horseback ^ at mine hostess' door, 

» Rounder. This is the English of the original. The modem editions have 
turned the word into the French roundure. 

* Siti on his horseback. Shakspere might have found an example for the expres- 
sion in North's ' Plutarch,' — one of his favourite books : " He commanded his cap- 
tains to set out their bands to the field, and he himself took his horseback.'' 

Scene II.] KING JOHN. 275 

Teach us some fence ! — Sirrah, were I at home. 
At your den, sirrah, [to Austria] with your lioness, 
I 'd set an ox-head to your lion's hide. 
And make a monster of you. 

Aust. Peace ; no more. 

Bast. O, tremble ; for you hear the lion roar. 

K. John. Up higher to the plain ; where we '11 set forth. 
In best appointment, all our regiments. 

Bast. Speed then, to take advantage of the field. 

K. Phi. It shall be so ; — [to Lewis] and at the other hill 
Command the rest to stand. — God, and our right ! [Exeunt. 

SCENE II.— The same. 

Alarums and Excursions ; then a Retreat. Enter a French 
Herald, with Trumpets, to the Gates. 

F. Her. You men of Angiers, open wide your gates. 
And let young Arthur, duke of Bretagne, in ; 
Who, by the hand of France, this day hath made 
Much work for tears in many an English mother. 
Whose sons lie scatter'd on the bleeding ground ; 
Many a widow's husband groveling lies. 
Coldly embracing the discolour'd earth ; 
And victory, with little loss, doth play 
Upon the dancing banners of the French ; 
Who are at hand, triumphantly display'd. 
To enter conquerors, and to proclaim 
Arthur of Bretagne, England's king, and yours ! 

Enter an English Herald, with Trumpets. 

E. Her. Rejoice, you men of Angiers, ring your bells ; 
King John, your king and England's, doth approach. 
Commander of this hot malicious day ! 
Their armours, that march'd hence so silver-bright. 
Hither return all gilt with Frenchmen's blood ; 
There stuck no plume in any English crest. 
That is removed by a staif of France ; 
Our colours do return in those same hands 
That did display them when we first march'd forth ; 

T 2 

276 KING JOHN. [Act II. 

And, like a jolly troop of huntsmen,* come 
Our lusty English, all with purpled hands. 
Dyed in the dying slaughter of their foes : 
Open your gates, and give the victors way. 

Hubert.'^ Heralds, from off our towers we might behold. 
From first to last, the onset and retire 
Of both your armies ; whose equality 
Ey our best eyes cannot be censured : 
Blood hath bought blood, and blows have answer'd blows ; 
Strength match'd with strength, and power confronted power : 
Both are alike ; and both alike we like. 
One must prove greatest : while they weigh so even. 
We hold our town for neither ; yet for both. 

Enter, at one side, King John, with his Power, Elinor, 
Blanch, and the Bastard ; at the other. King Philip, 
Lewis, Austria, and Forces. 

K. John. France, hast thou yet more blood to cast away? 
Say, shall the current of our right roam on,** 
Whose passage, vex'd with thy impediment. 
Shall leave his native channel, and o'erswell 
With course disturb'd even thy confining shores. 
Unless thou let his silver water keep 
A peaceful progress to the ocean? 

K. Phi. England, thou hast not sav'd one drop of blood. 
In this hot trial, more than we of France ; 
Rather, lost more : And by this hand I swear, 

■ Hubert. Without any assigned reason the name of this speaker has been altered 
by the modem editors to Citizen. The folio distinctly gives this, and all the subse- 
quent speeches of the same person, to the end of tbe act, to Hubert. The proposi- 
tion to the kings to reconcile their differences by the marriage of Lewis and Blanch 
would appear necessarily to come from some person in authority ; and it would 
seem to have been Sliakspere's intention to make that person Hubert de Burgh, who 
occupies so conspicuous a place in the remainder of the play. In the third act 
John says to Hubert, 

" thy voluntary oath 
Lives in this bosom." 
It might be his " voluntary oath '' as a citizen of Angiers, to John, which called for 
this expression. We, tlierefore, retain the name as in the original. 

'' Roam on. The editor of the second folio substituted run, which reading has 
been continued. Neither the poetry nor the sense appear to have gained by the fan- 
cied improvement. 

Scene II.J KING JOHN. 277 

That sways the earth this climate overlooks. 

Before we will lay down our just-borne arms. 

We '11 put thee down, 'gainst whom these arms we bear. 

Or add a royal number to the dead ; 

Gracing the scroll, that tells of this war's loss. 

With slaughter coupled to the name of kings. 

Bast. Ha, majesty ! how high thy glory towers. 
When the rich blood of kings is set on fire ! 
O, now doth death line his dead chaps with steel ; 
The swords of soldiers are his teeth, his fangs ; 
And now he feasts, mousing* the flesh of men. 
In undetermin'd differences of kings. 
Why stand these royal fronts amazed thus? 
Cry, havoc, kings ! back to the stained field. 
You equal potents, fiery -kindled spirits ! 
Then let confusion of one part confirm 
The other's peace ; till then, bloAVS, blood, and death ! 

K. John. Whose party do the townsmen yet admit ? 

K. Phi. Speak, citizens, for England ; who 's your king ? 

Hubert. The king of England, when we know the king. 

K. Phi. Know him in us, that here hold up his right. 

K. John. In us, that are our own great deputy. 
And bear possession of our person here ; 
Lord of our presence, Angiers, and of you. 

Hubert. A greater power than we denies all this ; 
And, till it be undoubted, we do lock 
Our former scruple in our strong-barr'd gates. 
Kings, of our fear ; ^ until our fears, resolv'd. 
Be by some certain king purg'd and depos'd. 

* Mousing. This figurative and characteristic expression in the original was ren- 
dered by Pope into the prosaic mmtthing, which has ever since usurped its place. 
We restore the reading. 

'' Kings, of our fear. The change of this passage is amongst the most remarkable 
of the examples which this play furnishes of the unsatisfactory nature of conjectural 
emendation. Warburton and Johnson, disregarding the original, say, " Kings are 
our fears." Malone adopts Tyrwhitt's conjecture — " King'd of our fears ;" — and 
so the passage runs in all modem editions. If the safe rule of endeavouring to 
understand the existing text, in preference to guessing what the author ought to 
have written, had been adopted in this and hundreds of other cases, we should have 
been spared volumes of commentary. The two kings peremptorily demand the 

278 KING JOHN. [Act II. 

Bast. By heaven, these scroyles* of Angiers flout you, 
kings ; 
And stand securely on their battlements. 
As in a theatre, whence they gape and point 
At your industrious scenes and acts of death. 
Your royal presences be rul'd by me ; 
Do like the mutines of Jerusalem,' 
Be friends a while, and both conjointly bend 
Your sharpest deeds of malice on this town : 
By east and west let France and England mount 
Their battering cannon charged to the mouths ; 
Till their soul-fearing '' clamours have brawl'd down 

citizens of Angiers to acknowledge the respective rights of each, — England for him- 
self, France for Arthur. The citizens, by the mouth of Hubert, answer, 

" A greater power than we denies all (his." 
Their quarrel is undecided — the arbitrement of Heaven is wanting. 
" And, till it be undoubted, we do lock 
Our former scruple in our strong-barr'd gates, 
Kings, of our fear ;" — 
on account cf oiu fear, or through our fear, or hy our fear, we hold oar former scruple, 

" until our fears, resolv'd, 
Be by some certain king purg'd and depos'd." 
Through and by had the same meaning, for examples of which see Tooke's ' Diver- 
sions of Purley ' (vol. i. p. 379); and so had by and of — as, " he was tempted o/" the 
devil," in our translation of the Bible ; and as in Gower, — 
" But that arte couth thei not fynde 
Cy which Ulisses was deceived." 
• Scroyles; from Les Escrouelleg, the king's evil. 

•> Soul-fearing. To fear is often used by the old writers in the sense of to maAe 
afraid. Thus, in Sir Thomas Elyot's ' Governor,' " the good husband " setteth up 
" shailes to fear away birds." In North's 'Plutarch,' Pyrrhus, "thinking to fear" 
Fabricius, suddenly produces an elephant. Shakspere has several examples : An- 
tony says, 

" Thou canst not /ear us, Pompey, with thy sails." 

Angelo, in ' Measure for Measure,' would not 

" Make a scarecrow of the law. 
Setting it up to fear the birds of prey." 
But this active sense of the verbyirar is not its exclusive meaning in Shakapere; and 
in ' The Taming of the Shrew ' he exhibits its common use as well in the neuter as 
in the active acceptation : — 

" Pet. Now, for my life, Hortensio /ear* big widow. 
ffid. Then never trust me if I be afeard. 
Pet, You are very sensible, and yet you miss my sense : 
I meant Hortensio is afeard of you." 

Scene II.] KING JOHN. 279 

The flinty ribs of this contemptuous city : 

I 'd play incessantly upon these jades. 

Even till unfenced desolation 

Leave them as naked as the vulgar air. 

That done, dissever your united strengths. 

And part your mingled colours once again ; 

Turn face to face, and bloody point to point : 

Then, in a moment, fortune shall cull forth 

Out of one side her happy minion ; 

To whom in favour she shall give the day. 

And kiss him with a glorious victory. 

How like you this wild counsel, mighty states? 

Smacks it not something of the policy ? 

K. John. Now, by the sky that hangs above our heads, 
I like it well ; — France, shall we knit our powers. 
And lay this Angiers even with the ground ; 
Then, after, fight who shall be king of it? 

Bast. An if thou hast the mettle of a king. 
Being wrong' d, as we are, by this peevish town. 
Turn thou the mouth of thy artillery. 
As we will ours, against these saucy walls : 
And when that we have dash'd them to the ground. 
Why, then defy each other : and, pell-mell. 
Make work upon ourselves, for heaven, or hell, 

K. Phi. Let it be so : — Say, where will you assault ? 

K. John. We from the west will send destruction 
Into this city's bosom. 

Aust. I from the north. 

K. Phi. Our thunder from the south. 

Shall rain their drift of bullets on this town. 

Bast. O prudent discipline ! From north to south ; 
Austria and France shoot in each other's mouth : [Aside. 
I '11 stir them to it : — Come, away, away ! 

Hubert. Hear us, great kings : vouchsafe a while to stay. 
And I shall show you peace, and fair-fac'd league ; 
Win you this city without stroke or wound ; 
Rescue those breathing lives to die in beds. 
That here come sacrifices for the field : 
Persever not, but hear me, mighty kings. 

280 KING JOHN. [Act II. 

K. John. Speak on, with favour; we are bent to hear. 

Hubert. That daughter there of Spain, the lady Blanch, 
Is near to England ; Look upon the years 
Of Lewis the Dauphin, and that lovely maid : 
If lusty love should go in quest of beauty. 
Where should he find it fairer than in Blanch ? 
If zealous love should go in search of virtue. 
Where should he find it purer than in Blanch? 
If love ambitious sought a match of birth. 
Whose veins bound richer blood than lady Blanch ? 
Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth. 
Is the young Dauphin every way complete ; 
If not complete of,* say, he is not she ; 
And she again wants nothing, to name want. 
If want it be not, that she is not he : 
He is the half part of a blessed man. 
Left to be finished by such a ^ she ; 
And she a fair divided excellence. 
Whose fulness of perfection lies in him, 
O, two such silver currents, when they join. 
Do glorify the banks that bound them in : 
And two such shores to two such streams made one. 
Two such controlling bounds shall you be, kings. 
To these two princes, if you marry them. 
This union shall do more than battery can. 
To our fast-closed gates ; for, at this match. 
With swifter spleen than powder can enforce. 
The mouth of passage shall we fling wide ope, 
And give you entrance ; but, without this match. 
The sea enraged is not half so deaf. 
Lions more confident, mountains and rocks 
More free from motion, no, not death himself 
In mortal fury half so peremptory. 
As we to keep this city. 

■ Complete of. So the original. Hanlner changed this reading to, 
'* If not complete, O say, he is not she," 
which is to substitute the language of the eighteenth century for that of the six- 

I> A. The original reads a«^vidently a misprint. 

Scene II.] KING JOHN. 281 

Bast. Here 's a stay/ 

That shakes the rotten carcase of old death 
Out of his rags ! Here 's a large mouth, indeed. 
That spits forth death, and mountains, rocks, and seas ; 
Talks as familiarly of roaring lions. 
As maids of thirteen do of puppy-dogs ! 
What cannoneer begot this lusty blood ? 
He speaks plain cannon, fire, and smoke, and bounce ; 
He gives the bastinado with his tongue ; 
Our ears are cudgell'd ; not a word of his. 
But buffets better than a fist of France : 
Zounds ! I was never so bethump'd with words. 
Since I first call'd my brother'^s father, dad. 

Eli. Son, list to this conjunction, make this match ; 
Give with our niece a dowry large enough : 
For by this knot thou shalt so surely tie 
Thy now unsur'd assurance to the crown. 
That yon green boy shall have no sun to ripe 
The bloom that promiseth a mighty fruit. 
I see a yielding in the looks of France ; 
Mark, how they whisper : urge them, while their souls 
Are capable of this ambition ; 
Lest zeal, now melted,*' by the windy breath 
Of soft petitions, pity, and remorse. 
Cool and congeal again to what it was. 

^ Here '« a stay. This little word has produced large criticism. Johnson would 
Tea.djlaw; another emendator, Becket, would give us say. Malone and Steevens 
have two pages to prove, what requires no proof, that stay means interruption. 

^ Zeal, now melted. There is great confusion in what the commentators say on 
this image. Johnson thinks Shakspere means to represent zeal, in its highest degree, 
as congealed by a frost; Steevens thinks " the poet means to compare zeal to metal 
in a state of fusion, and not to dissolving ice ;" Malone afiSrms that " Shakspere 
does not say that zeal, when congealed, exerts its utmost power ; but, on the con- 
trary, that when it is congealed or frozen it ceases to exert itself at all." All this 
discordance appears to us to be produced by not limiting the image by the poet's 
own words. The "zeal" of the King of France and of Lewis is "now melted" — 
whether that melting represent metal in a state of fusion, or dissolving ice : it has 
lost its compactness, its cohesion ; but 

" the windy breath 
Of soft petitions,'' — 
the pleading of Constance and Arthur, — the pity and remorse of Philip for their 
lot, — may "cool and congeal " it "again to what it was;" — may make it again solid 
and entire. 

282 KING JOHN. [Act II. 

Hubert. Why answer not the double majesties 
This friendly treaty of our threaten'd town ? 

K. Phi. Speak England first, that hath been forward first 
To speak unto this city : What say you ? 

K. John. If that the Dauphin there, thy princely son. 
Can in this book of beauty read, I love. 
Her dowry shall weigh equal with a queen : 
For Anjou, and fair Touraine, Maine, Poictiers, 
And all that we upon this side the sea 
(Except this city now by us besieg'd) 
Find liable to our crown and dignity. 
Shall gild her bridal bed ; and make her rich 
In titles, honours, and promotions. 
As she in beauty, education, blood. 
Holds hand with any princess of the world. 

K. Phi. What sayst thou, boy? look in the lady's face. 

Lew. I do, my lord, and in her eye I find 
A wonder, or a wondrous miracle. 
The shadow of myself form'd in her eye ; 
Which, being but the shadow of your son. 
Becomes a sun, and makes your son a shadow : 
I do protest, I never lov'd myself. 
Till now infixed I beheld myself. 
Drawn in the flattering table of her eye. 

[Whispers with Blanch. 

Bast. Drawn in the flattering table of her eye ! — 

Hang'd in the frowning wrinkle of her brow ! — 
And quarter'd in her heart I — he doth espy 

Himself love's traitor : This is pity now. 
That hang'd, and drawn, and quarter'd, there should be. 
In such a love, so vile a lout as he. 

Blanch. My uncle's will, in this respect, is mine. 
If he see aught in you, that makes him like. 
That anything he sees, which moves his liking, 
I can with ease translate it to my will ; 
Or, if you will, to speak more properly, 
I will enforce it easily to my love. 
Further I will not flatter you, my lord. 
That "all I see in you is worthy love. 

Scene II.] KING JOHN. 283 

Than this, — that nothing do I see in you. 

Though churlish thoughts themselves should be your judge. 

That I can find should merit any hate. 

K. John. What say these young ones? What say you, 
my niece ? 

Blanch. That she is bound in honour still to do 
What you in wisdom still* vouchsafe to say, 

K. John. Speak then, prince Dauphin ; can you love this 

Lew. Nay, ask me if I can refrain from love ; 
For I do love her most unfeignedly. 

K. John. Then do I give Volquessen, Touraine, Maine, 
Poictiers, and Anjou, these five provinces. 
With her to thee ; and this addition more. 
Full thirty thousand marks of English coin. 
Philip of France, if thou be pleas'd withal. 
Command thy son and daughter to join hands. 

K. Phi. It likes us well. Young princes, close your hands. 

Aust. And your lips too ; for I am well assur'd 
That I did so, when I was first assur'd.^ 

K. Phi. Now, citizens of Anglers, ope your gates. 
Let in that amity which you have made ; 
For at saint Mary's chapel, presently. 
The rites of marriage shall be solemniz'd. 
Is not the lady Constance in this troop? 
I know she is not ; for this match, made up. 
Her presence would have interrupted much : 
Where is she and her son ? tell me, who knows. 

Lew. She is sad and passionate*^ at your highness' tent." 

K. Phi. And, by my faith, this league, that we have made. 
Will give her sadness very little cure. 
Brother of England, how may we content 
This widow lady ? In her right we came ; 
Which we, God knows, have turn'd another way. 
To our own vantage. 

* Still vouchsafe to say. This is the reading of the original. In modem editions 
we have shall instead of still, which reading is certainly not called for. 
^ First assur'd — aflSanced. 
' Passionate — given up to grief. • 

284 KING JOHN, [Act II. 

K. John. We will heal up all. 

For we '11 create young Arthur duke of Bretagne, 
And earl of Richmond ; and this rich fair town 
We' make him lord of. — Call the lady Constance ; 
Some speedy messenger bid her repair 
To our solemnity : — I trust we shall. 
If not fill up the measure of her will. 
Yet in some measure satisfy her so. 
That we shall stop her exclamation. 
Go we, as well as haste will suffer us. 
To this unlook'd-for, unprepared pomp. 

\^Exeunt all but the Bastard. — The Citizens retire 
from the walls. 

Bast. Mad world ! mad kings ! mad composition ! 
John, to stop Arthur's title in the whole. 
Hath willingly departed with a part : 
And France, whose armour conscience buckled on. 
Whom zeal and charity brought to the field 
As God's own soldier, rounded in the ear 
With that same purpose-changer, that sly devil ; 
That broker that still breaks the pate of faith ; 
That daily break-vow ; he that wins of all. 
Of kings, of beggars, old men, young men, maids, — 
Who having no external thing to lose 
But the word maid, cheats the poor maid of that ; 
That smooth-fac'd gentleman, tickling commodity,*" 
Commodity, the bias of the world ; '^ 
The world, who of itself is peised** well. 
Made to run even ; upon even ground ; 
Till this advantage, this vile drawing bias. 
This sway of motion, this commodity, 

' We. So the original. Some editions incorrectly read We 'II. 

* Commodity — interest. 

*= Bias of the world. The allusion to the bias in a bowl is very happily kept up. 
The world is of itself well-balanced — fit to run even; but the bias interest, the sway 
of motion, 

Makes it take head from all indifferency." 

In ' Cupid's Whirligig' (1607) we have, "O, the world is like a bias bowl, and it 
runs all on the rich men's sides." 
^ Peised — poised. 

Scene II.] KING JOHN. 285 

Makes it take head from all indiiferency. 

From all direction, purpose, course, intent : 

And this same bias, this commodity. 

This bawd, this broker, this all-changing word, 

Clapp'd on the outward eye of fickle France, 

Hath drawn him from his own determin'd aid. 

From a resolv'd and honourable war. 

To a most base and vile-concluded peace. — 

And why rail I on this commodity? 

But for because he hath not woo'd me yet : 

Not that I have the power to clutch my hand. 

When his fair angels would salute my palm ; 

But for my hand, as unattempted yet. 

Like a poor beggar, raileth on the rich. 

Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail. 

And say, — there is no sin but to be rich ; 

And being rich, my virtue then shall be. 

To say, — there is no vice but beggary : 

Since kings break faith upon commodity. 

Gain, be my lord ! for I will worship thee ! \_Exit. 


' Scene I. — " A braver choice of dauntlas tpirits. 

Than now the English bottoms have waft o^er. 
Did never float upon the swelling tide.'''' 

The troops of William the Conqueror are said to have been borne to the invasion 
of England upon several thousand barks. Henry II. embarked his forces for the 
conquest of Ireland in four hundred vessels. In both these periods the craft must 
have been mere boats. But when Richard carried his soldiers to the Holy Land, 
his armament consisted of many large ships. " The whole fleet set sail for Acre. 
As a rapid current carried it through the straits of Messina, it presented a beautiful 
and imposing appearance, that called forth the involuntary admiration of the people 
of either shore, — the Sicilians saying that so gallant an armament had never before 
been seen there, and never would be seen again. The size and beauty of the ships 
seem to have excited this admiration not less than their number. The flag of Eng- 
land floated over fifty-three galleys, thirteen dromones, ' mighty great ships with 
triple sails,' one hundred carikes or busses, and many smaller craft."* This bril- 
liant navy for the most ]}art consisted of merchant-vessels, collected from all the 
ports of the kingdom, each of which was bound, when required by the king, to fur- 
nish him with a certain number. John had a few galleys of his own. The first 
great naval victory of England, that of the Damme, or of the Sluys, was won in the 
reign of John, in 1213. 

* Scene I. — " At great Alcidei shoes upon an ass." 
The ass was to wear the shoes, and not to bear them upon his back, as Theobald 
supposed, and therefore would read shows. The "shoes of Hercules" were as com- 
monly alluded (o in our old poets as the ex pede Herculem was a familiar allusion 
of the learned. 

• Scene I. — " St. George, that tw'indg'd^'' &c. 
How exceedingly characteristic is this speech of the Bastard ! " Saint George " 
* Pictorial History of England, vol. i. p. 494. 


was the great war-cry of Richard ; — but the universal humorist lets down the dig- 
nity of the champion in a moment, by an sissociation with the hostess's sign. The 
author of ' Waverley ' employs this device precisely with the same poetical effect, 
when Galium Beg compares Waverley with his target to " the bra' Highlander tat 's 
painted on the board afore the mickle change-house they ca' Luckie Middlemass's." 
— We give a serious portrait of St. George, from an old illumination, that the painters 
may go right, in future, who desire to make the saint 

" Sit on his horseback at mine hostess' door." 

* Scene II. — " And, tike a jolly troop of huntsmen, come 
Our lusty English, all with purpled hands.'''' 
The old English custom of the principal men of the hunt " taking assay of the 
deer" furnished this image, and the correspondent one in ' Julius Caesar :' — 
" Pardon me, Julius : here wast thou bay'd, brave hart; 
Here didst thou fall, and here thy hunters stand, 
Sign'd in thy spoil, and crimson'd in thy lethe." 
Old Turberville gives us the details of this custom : " Our order is, that the 
prince, or chief, if so please them, do alight, and take assay of the deer, with a sharp 
knife, the which is done in this manner : — the deer being laid upon his back, the 
prince, chief, or such as they do appoint, comes to it, and the chief huntsman, 
kneeling if it be to a prince, doth hold the deer by the fore-foot, while the prince, 
or chief, do cut a slit drawn along the brisket of the deer." It would not be easy 
to effect this operation without the " purpled hands," and Johnson's suggestion that 
it was " one of the savage practices of the chase for all to stain their hands in the 
blood of the deer, as a trophy," is uncalled for. 

' Scene II. — " 7'^^ mutines o/'/erK«a&w2." 
The union of the various factions in Jerusalem, when besieged by Titus, is here 
alluded to. Malone gives a particular passage from the ' Latter Times of the Jews' 
Commonwealth,' translated from the Hebrew of Joseph Ben Gorion, which he thinks 
suggested the passage to our poet. 

• Scene II. — " She is sad and passionate at your highness' tent."' 
The following representation of tents is from illuminations in Royal MS. 16, 
G. 6, ' L'Histoire des Roys de France.' 


[I'hilip, King of France.] 


The events of nearly two years are crowded into the rapid movements of this act. 
And yet, except in one circumstance, the general historical truth is to be found in 
the poet. That circumstance is the bringing of Austria upon the scene, with the 
assertion that-=— 

" Richard, that robb'd tlie lion of his heart, 
And fought the holy wars in Palestine, 
By this brave duke came early to his grave." 

Leopold, the brutal and crafty gaoler of the Lion-heart, died some five years before 
Richard fell by a wound from a cross-bow, before the castle of the Viscount Ly- 
moges ; one of his vassals in Limousin — 

" An arblnster with a quarrel him shot, 
As he about the castell went to spie."* 

In the third act Constance exclaims, " O, Lymoges, O, Austria," making the two 
enemies of Richard as one. In the old play of ' King John ' we have the same con- 
fusion of dates and persons ; for there " the Bastard chaseth Lymoges the Austrich 
duke, and maketh him leave the lyon's skin." It was unquestionably a principle 
with Shakspere not to disturb the conventional opinions of his audience by greatly 
changing the plots with which they were familiar. He knew full well, from his 
chronicles, that the injuries which Austria had heaped upon Richard could no 
longer be revenged by Richard's son, — and that the quarrel of Faulconbridge was 
with a meaner enemy, the Viscount Lymoges. But he adopted the conduct of the 
story in the old play ; for he would have lost much by sacrificing the '• lion's skin " 
of the subtle Duke to an historical fact with which his audience was not familiar. 
We have adverted to this principle more at length in the Introductory Notice. 

• Ilardyng's Chronicle. 


With the exception, then, of this positive violation of accuracy, we have, in this act, 
a vivid dramatic picture ol" the general aspect of affairs in the contest between John 
and Philip. We have not, indeed, the exhibition of the slow course of those perpe- 
tually shifting manoeuvres which marked the policy of the wily King of France 
towards the unhappy boy whom he one day protected and another day abandoned ; 
we Imve the fair promises kept and broken in the space of a few hours. Let us, 
however, very briefly trace the real course of events. 

Philip of France had been twenty years upon the throne when John leapt into the 
dominion of Richard, to whom he had been a rebel and a traitor, when the hero of 
the Holy Land was waging the mistaken fight of chivalry and of Christendom. 
Philip was one of the most remarkable examples that history presents of the con- 
stant opposition that is carried on, and for the most part successfully, of cunning 
against force. Surrounded as Philip was by turbulent allies and fierce enemies, he 
perpetually reminds us, in his windings and doublings, of his even more crafty 
successor, Louis XI. Arthur was a puppet in the hands of Philip, to be set up or 
knocked down as Philip desired to bully or to cajole John out of the territories of 
the house of Anjou. In the possession of Arthur's person he had a hostage whom 
he might put forward as an ally, or degrade as a prisoner ;— and, in the same spirit, 
when he seized upon a fortress in the name of Arthur, he demolished it, that he 
might lose no opportunity of destroying a barrier to the extension of his own fron- 
tier. The peace which Shakspere represents, and correctly, as being established by 
the marriage of Blanch and Lewis, was one of several truces and treaties of amity 
that took place in the two or three first years of John's reign. The treaty of the 
22nd May, in the year 1200, between these two kings, agreed that, with the excep- 
tion of Blanch's dowry, John should remain in possession of all the dominions of his 
brother Richard ; — for Arthur was to hold even his own Brittany as a vassal of 
John. It is afi&rmed that by a secret article of this treaty Philip was to inherit the 
continental dominions thus confirmed to John, if he, John, died without children. 

At the time of the treaty of 1200, Constance, the mother of Arthur, was alive. 
As we have said, she was reigning Duchess of Brittany, in her own right. If we 
may judge of her character from the chroniclers, she was weak and selfish— deserting 
the bed of her second husband, and marrying the Lord Guy de Touars, at a time 
when the fortune, and perhaps the life, of her son, by Geffrey, depended upon the 
singleness of her affection for him. But it is exceedingly difficult to speak upon 
these points ; and there is, at any rate, little doubt that her second husband treated 
her with neglect and cruelty. 

The surpassing beauty of the maternal love of the Constance of Shakspere will, it 
is probable, destroy all other associations with the character of Constance. We have 
no record that Constance was not a most devoted mother to her eldest born ; and in 
that age, when divorces were as common amongst the royal and the noble as other 
breaches of faith, we are not entitled to believe that her third marriage was incom- 
patible with her passionate love for the heir of so many hopes, — her heartbreaking 
devotion to her betrayed and forsaken son, — and her natural belief that 

" Since the birth of Cain, the first male child. 
To him that did but yesterday suspire, 
There was not such a gracious creature born." 

The fate of Constance was not altogether inconsistent with Sbakspere's delineation 
of the heartbroken mother. She died in 1201. But Arthur was not then John's 
captive, — although all his high hopes were limited to Brittany. 

The treaty of marriage between Lewis and Blanch is thus described by Holiu- 
shed : — 

" So King John returned back (from York) and sailed again into Normandy, 
Vol. IV. U 



because the variance still depended between him and the King of France. Finally, 
upon the Ascension-day in tliis second year of his reign, they came eftsoons to a 
communication betwixt tlie towns of Vernon and Lisle Dandelie, where, finally, 
they concluded an agreement, with a marriage to be had betwixt Lewis, the son of 
King Philip, and the lady Blanch, daughter to Alfonso King of Castile, the eighth 
of that name, and niece to King John by bis sister Eleanor." 'i he terms of the 
treaty are, in several resj)ect8, accurately described by Shakspere — the dowry of 
tliirty thousand marks — the resignation by John of certain ]X)8session8 — the retention 
of Angiers — and the bestowal of Brittany and the earldom of Richmond ujxjn 
Arthur. — John, however, retained much of what the poet has recited as l)eing aban- 
doned by him. "The lady Blfinch" was not personally consenting to this treaty, 
for it was stipulated tliat " the foresaid Blanch should be conveyed into France to 
her husband witli all speed." 

[Blanch of Castile.] 

Scene I.] KING JOHN. 291 


SCENE \,— The same. The French King'* Tent. 

Enter Constance, Arthur, and Salisbury. 

Const. Gone to be married ! gone to swear a peace ! 
False blood to false blood join'd ! Gone to be friends ! 
Shall Lewis have Blanch ? and Blanch those provinces ? 
It is not so ; thou hast misspoke, misheard ; 
Be well advis'd, tell o'er thy tale again : 
It cannot be ; thou dost but say, 't is so : 
I trust I may not trust thee ; for thy word 
Is but the vain breath of a common man : 
Believe me, I do not believe thee, man ; 
I have a king's oath to the contrary. 
Thou shalt be punish'd for thus frighting me. 
For I am sick, and capable of fears ; 
Oppress'd with wrongs, and therefore full of fears ; 
A widow, husbandless, subject to fears ; 
A woman, naturally born to fears ; 
And though thou now confess thou didst but jest 
With my vex'd spirits, I cannot take a truce. 
But they will quake and tremble all this day. 
What dost thou mean by shaking of thy h ead? 
Why dost thou look so sadly on my son ? 
What means that hand upon that breast of thine ? 
Why holds thine eye that lamentable rheum. 
Like a proud river peering o'er his bounds ? 
Be these sad signs confirmers of thy words ? 
Then speak again ; not all thy former tale. 
But this one word, whether thy tale be true. 

Sal. As true, as, I believe, you think them false 
That give you cause to prove my saying true. 

Const. O, if thou teach me to believe this sorrow. 
Teach thou this sorrow how to make me die ; 

U 2 

292 KING JOHN. [Act III. 

And let belief and life encounter so, 

As doth the fury of two desperate men. 

Which, in the very meeting, fall, and die. — 

Lewis marry Blanch ! O, boy, then where art thou ? 

France friend with England ! what becomes of me ? — 

Fellow, be gone : I cannot brook thy sight ; 

This news hath made thee a most ugly man. 

Sal. What other harm have I, good lady, done. 
But spoke the harm that is by others done ? 

Const. Which harm within itself so heinous is. 
As it makes harmful all that speak of it. 

Arth. I do beseech you, madam, be content. 

Const. If thou, that bidd'st me be content, wert grim. 
Ugly, and sland'rous to thy mother's womb. 
Full of un pleasing blots and sightless ' stains. 
Lame, foolish, crooked, swart, prodigious,^ 
Patch'd with foul moles and eye-olFending marks, 
I would not care, I then would be content ; 
For then I should not love thee ; no, nor thou 
Become thy great birth, nor deserve a crown. 
But thou art fair ; and at thy birth, dear boy. 
Nature and Fortune join'd to make thee great : 
Of Nature's gifts thou mayst with lilies boast. 
And with the half-blown rose : but Fortune, O ! 
She is corrupted, chang'd, and won from thee ; 
She adulterates hourly with thy uncle John ; 
And with her golden hand hath pluck'd on France 
To tread down fair respect of sovereignty. 
And made his majesty the bawd to theirs. 
France is a bawd to Fortune, and king John ; 
That strumpet Fortune, that usurping John : — 
Tell me, thou fellow, is not France forsworn ? 
Envenom him with words ; or get thee gone. 
And leave those woes alone, which I alone 
Am bound to under-bear. 

Sal. Pardon me, madam, 

I may not go without you to the kings. 

■ SightUs* — the opposite of sightly. 
•' Prodigious. Preternatural. 

Scene I.] KING JOHN. 293 

Const. Thou mayst, thou shalt, I will not go with thee : 
I will instruct my sorrows to be proud : 
For grief is proud, and makes his owner stoop.* 
To me, and to the state of my great grief. 
Let kings assemble ; for my grief 's so great 
That no supporter but the huge firm earth 
Can hold it up : here I and sorrows sit ; 
Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it. 

\^She throws herself on the ground. 

Enter King John, King Philip, Lewis, Blanch, Elinor, 
Bastard, Austria, and Attendants. 

K. Phi. 'T is true, fair daughter ; and this blessed day 
Ever in France shall be kept festival : 
To solemnize this day, the glorious sun 
Stays in his course, and plays the alchymist ; 
Turning, with splendour of his precious eye. 
The meagre cloddy earth to glittering gold : 
The yearly course that brings this day about 
Shall never see it but a holiday. 

Const. A wicked day, and not a holyday ! — [Rising. 

What hath this day deserv'd ? what hath it done. 
That it in golden letters should be set. 
Among the high tides, in the kalendar ? 

* Stoop. What is called an " emendation" by Hanmer still holds its place in 
all the editions except Malone's : it is, 

" For grief is proud and makes his owner slout." 
The meaning of the passage appears to us briefly thus : Constance refuses to go with 
Salisbury to the kings — she will instruct her sorrows to be proud ; for grief is proud 
in spirit, even while it bows down the body of its owner. The commentators sub- 
stituted the ridiculous word " stout " because they received stoop in the sense of 
submission. Constance continues the fine image throughout her speech : — 
" To me, and to the state of my great grief, 
Let kings assemble ;" 
here grief is " proud." 

" Here I and sorrows sit ;" 
here grief " makes his owner stoop," and leaves the physical power " no supporter 
but the huge firm earth." A valued friend, for whose opinion we have the highest 
regard, has no doubt that stoop is the word, but that the meaning is, makes its 
owner stoop to it — to grief. He thinks that the and joins and assimilates the two 
clauses of the sentence, instead of contrasting and separating them. At any rate, we 
cannot but choose to abide by the restoration. 

294 KING JOHN. [Act III. 

Nay, rather, turn this day out of the week ; 
This clay of shame, oppression, perjury : 
Or, if it must stand still, let wives with child 
Pray that their burthens may not fall this day. 
Lest that their hopes prodigiously be cross'd : 
But on ' this day let seamen fear no wrack ; 
No bargains break, that arc not this day made : 
This day, all things begun come to ill end ; 
Yea, faith itself to hollow falsehood change ! 

K. Phi. By heaven, lady, you shall have no cause 
To curse the fair proceedings of this day. 
Have I not pawn'd to you my majesty ? 

Const. You have beguil'd me with a counterfeit. 
Resembling majesty ; which, being touch'd, and tried. 
Proves valueless : You are forsworn, forsworn ; 
You came in arms to spill mine enemies' blood. 
But now in arms you strengthen it with yours : 
The grappling vigour and rough frown of war 
Is cold, in amity and painted peace. 
And our oppression hath made up this league : — 
Arm, arm, you heavens, against these perjur'd kings ! 
A widow cries ; be husband to me, heavens ! 
Let not the hours of this ungodly day 
Wear out the day ^ in peace ; but, ere sunset. 
Set armed discord 'twixt these perjur'd kings ! 
Hear me, O, hear me ! 

Atist. Lady Constance, peace. 

Const. War ! war ! no peace ! peace is to me a war. 
O Lymoges ! O Austria ! thou dost shame 
That bloody spoil : Thou slave, thou wretch, thou coward ; 
Thou little valiant, great in villainy ! 
Thou ever strong upon the stronger side ! 
Thou Fortune's champion, that dost never fight 
But when her humorous ladyship is by 
To teach thee safety ! thou art perjur'd too. 
And sooth'st up greatness. What a fool art thou, 
A ramping fool ; to brag, and stamp, and swear, 

• But «« — except on. 
'' Day. The original has days. 

Scene I.] KING JOHN. 295 

Upon my party ! Thou cold-blooded slave. 
Hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side? 
Been sworn my soldier? Bidding me depend 
Upon thy stars, thy fortune, and thy strength ? 
And dost thou now fall over to my foes ? 
Thou wear a lion's hide ! doff it for shame. 
And hang a calf 's-skin on those recreant limbs. 

Aust. O, that a man should speak those words to me ! 

Bast. And hang a calf 's-skin on those recreant limbs. 

Aust. Thou dar'st not say so, villain, for thy life. 

Bast. And hang a calf 's-skin on those recreant limbs. 

K John. We like not this ; thou dost forget thyself. 

Enter Pandulph. 

K. Phi. Here comes the holy legate of the pope. 

Pand. Hail, you anointed deputies of heaven ! — 
To thee, king John, my holy errand is. 
I, Pandulph, of fair Milan cardinal. 
And from pope Innocent the legate here. 
Do, in his name, religiously demand. 
Why thou against the church, our holy mother. 
So wilfully dost spurn ; and, force perforce. 
Keep Stephen Langton, chosen archbishop 
Of Canterbury, from that holy see ? 
This, in our 'foresaid holy iather's name. 
Pope Innocent, I do demand of thee. 

K. John. What earthly * name to interrogatories 
Can task t\Q free breath of a sacred king ? 
Thou canst not, cardinal, devise a name 
So slight, unworthy, and ridiculous. 
To charge me to an answer, as the pope. 
Tell him this tale ', and from the mouth of England 
Add thus much more, — That no Italian priest 
Shall tithe or toll in our dominions ; 
But as we under heaven are supreme head. 
So, under him, that great supremacy. 
Where we do reign, we will alone uphold. 
Without the assistance of a mortal hand : 

* Earthly. In the original, earthy. 

296 KING JOHN. [Act III. 

So tell the pope ; all reverence set apart. 
To him, and his usurp'd authority. 

K. Phi. Brother of England, you blaspheme in this. 

K. John. Though you, and all the kings of Christendom, 
Are led so grossly by this meddling priest. 
Dreading the curse that money may buy out j 
And, by the merit of vile gold, dross, dust. 
Purchase corrupted pardon of a man. 
Who, in that sale, sells pardon from himself; 
Though you, and all the rest, so grossly led. 
This juggling witchcraft with revenue cherish ; 
Yet I, alone, alone do me oppose 
Against the pope, and count his friends my foes. 

Pand. Then by the lawful power that I have. 
Thou shalt stand curs'd, and excommunicate : 
And blessed shall he be that doth revolt 
From his allegiance to an heretic; 
And meritorious shall that hand be call'd. 
Canonized, and worshipp'd as a saint. 
That takes away by any secret course 
Thy hateful life. 

Const. O, lawful let it be. 

That I have room with Rome ■ to curse a while ! 
Good father cardinal, cry thou, amen, 
To my keen curses : for, without my wrong. 
There is no tongue hath power to curse him right. 

Pand. There 's law and warrant, lady, for my curse. 

Const. And for mine too ; when law can do no right. 
Let it be lawful that law bar no wrong ; 
Law cannot give my child his kingdom here ; 
For he that holds his kingdom holds the law : 
Therefore, since law itself is perfect wrong. 
How can the law forbid my tongue to curse ? 

Pand. Philip of France, on peril of a curse. 
Let go the hand of that arch-heretic ; 
And raise the power of France upon his head. 
Unless he do submit himself to Rome. 

■ Room with Rome. Rome was formerly pronounced room, — and Shakspere in- 
dulges in a play upon words, even when the utterer is strongly moved. 

Scene I.] KING JOHN. 297 

Eli. Look'st thou pale, France ? do not let go thy hand. 

Const. Look to that, devil ! lest that France repent. 
And, by disjoining hands, hell lose a soul. 

Aust. King Philip, listen to the cardinal. 

Bast. And hang a calf s-skin on his recreant limbs. 

Aust. Well, ruffian, I must pocket up these wrongs. 

Bast. Your breeches best may carry them. 

K. John. Philip, what say'st thou to the cardinal ? 

Const. What should he say, but as the cardinal ? 

Lew. Bethink you, father ; for the difference 
Is, purchase of a heavy curse from Rome, 
Or the light loss of England for a friend : 
Forego the easier. 

Blanch. That 's the curse of Rome. 

Const. O Lewis, stand fast ; the devil tempts thee here. 
In likeness of a new untrimmed bride. 

Blanch. The lady Constance speaks not from her faith. 
But from her need. 

Const. O, if thou grant my need. 

Which only lives but by the death of faith. 
That need must needs infer this principle, — 
That faith would live again by death of need ; 
O, then, tread down my need, and faith mounts up ; 
Keep my need up, and faith is trodden down. 

K. John. The king is mov'd, and answers not to this. 

Const. O, be remov'd from him, and answer well. 

Aust. Do so, king Philip ; hang no more in doubt. 

Bast. Hang nothing but a calf 's-skin, most sweet lout. 

K. Phi. I am perplex'd, and know not what to say. 

Pand. What canst thou say, but will perplex thee more. 
If thou stand excommunicate, and curs'd ? 

K. Phi. Good reverend father, make my person yours. 
And tell me how you would bestow yourself. 
This royal hand and mine are newly knit : 
And the conjunction of our inward souls 
Married in league, coupled and link'd together 
With all religious strength of sacred vows. 
The latest breath that gave the sound of words 

298 KING JOHN. [Act IU. 

Was deep-sworn faith, peace, amity, true love. 

Between our kingdoms, and our royal selves ; 

And even before this truce, but new before, — 

No longer than we well could wash our hands. 

To clap this royal bargain up of peace, — 

Heaven knows, they were besmear'd and overstain'd 

With slaughter's pencil ; where revenge did paint 

The fearful difference of incensed kings : 

And shall these hands, so lately purg'd of blood. 

So newly join'd in love, so strong in both. 

Unyoke this seizure, and this kind regreet ? 

Play fast and loose with faith ? so jest with heaven. 

Make such unconstant children of ourselves. 

As now again to snatch our palm from palm ; 

Unswear faith sworn ; and on the marriage-bed 

Of smiling peace to march a bloody host^ 

And make a riot on the gentle brow 

Of true sincerity ? O, holy sir. 

My reverend father, let it not be so : 

Out of your grace, devise, ordain, impose 

Some gentle order; and then we shall be bless'd 

To do your pleasure, and continue friends. 

Pand. All form is formless, order orderless. 
Save what is opposite to England's love. 
Therefore, to arms ! be champion of our church ! 
Or let the church, our mother, breathe her curse, 
A mother's curse, on her revolting son. 
France, thou mayst hold a serpent by the tongue, 
A chased lion * by the mortal paw, 

* A chased lion. We have ventured here upon a slight change. The original 
reads, " a cased lion," which is supposed to mean a lion in a cage. The image is, 
strictly taken, weakened, if not destroyed, by this epithet ; for the paw of a confined 
lion is often held with impunity. And yet cased may mean irritated by confine- 
ment. Some would read " chafed." The very pardonable insertion of an h pre- 
sents us a noble picture of a hunted lion at bay. The emendation, though proposed 
by one of the first editors, has not been adopted. It is enforced by Z. Jackson, who, 
in a volume entitled ' Shakspere's Genius Justified' (1819), has attempted to ex- 
plain and correct many doubtful passages, ujjon the principle that the greater num- 
ber of them were the results of typographical errors. The editor has been informed 
that Coleridge had a high opinion of tliis book, and considered that many of the 
conjectures were ingenious and went near to the true reading. We scarcely think 
tliis opinion is borne out, except by a few happy instances. 

Scene I.] KING JOHN. 299 

A fasting tiger safer by the tooth. 

Than keep in peace that hand which thou dost hold. 

K. Phi. I may disjoin my hand, but not my faith. 

Pand. So mak'st thou faith an enemy to faith j 
And, like a civil war, sett'st oath to oath. 
Thy tongue against thy tongue. O, let thy vow 
First made to heaven, first be to heaven perform'd ; 
That is, to be the champion of our church! 
What since thou swor'st is sworn against thyself. 
And may not be performed by thyself: 
For that which thou hast sworn to do amiss. 
Is not amiss when it is truly done ; 
And being not done, where doing tends to ill. 
The truth is then most done not doing it : 
The better act of purposes mistook 
Is, to mistake again; though indirect. 
Yet indirection thereby grows direct. 
And falsehood falsehood cures ; as fire cools fire. 
Within the scorched veins of one new burn'd. 
It is religion that doth make vows kept ; 
But thou hast sworn against religion 
By what thou swear'st against the thing thou swear'st ; 
And mak'st an oath the surety for thy truth 
Against an oath : The truth thou art unsure 
To swear, swears only * not to be forsworn ; 
Else, what a mockery should it be to swear ! 
But thou dost swear only to be forsworn ; 
And most forsworn, to keep what thou dost swear. 
Therefore, thy later vows, against thy firsts 
Is in thyself rebellion to thyself : 

* Swears only. The entire speech of Pandulph is full of verbal subtleties, which 
render the intricate reasoning more intricate. The poet unquestionably meant to 
produce this effect. We have restored the reading of one of the most difficult 

" The truth thou art unsure 
" To swear, swears only not to be forsworn." 
All the modem editions read swear. The meaning seems to be this ; — The truth — 
that is, tlie troth, for wViich you have made an oath the surety, against thy former 
oath to heaven — this troth, which it was unsure to swear — which you violate your 
surety in swearing — has only been sworn — swears only — not to be forsworn ; but it 
is sworn against a former oath, which is more binding, because it was an oath to 
religion — to the principle upon which all oaths are made. 

300 KING JOHN. [Act III. 

And better conquest never canst thou make. 
Than arm thy constant and thy nobler parts 
Against these giddy loose suggestions : 
Upon which better part our prayers come in. 
If thou vouchsafe them : but, if not, then know. 
The peril of our curses light on thee 
So heavy, as thou shalt not shake them off. 
But, in despair, die under their black weight. 

Aust. Rebellion, flat rebellion ! 

Bast. Will 't not be ? 

Will not a calfs-skin stop that mouth of thine ? 

Lew. Father, to arms ! 

Blanch. Upon thy wedding-day ? 

Against the blood that thou hast married ? 
What, shall our feast be kept with slaughter'd men ? 
Shall braying trumpets, and loud churlish drums. 
Clamours of hell, be measures ■ to our pomp ? 
O husband, hear me ! — ah, alack, how new 
Is husband in my mouth ! — even for that name. 
Which till this time my tongue did ne'er pronounce. 
Upon my knee I beg, go not to arms 
Against mine uncle. 

Const. O, upon my knee. 

Made hard with kneeling, I do pray to thee. 
Thou virtuous Dauphin, alter not the doom 
Fore-thought by heaven. 

Blanch. Now shall I see thy love. What motive may 
Be stronger with thee than the name of wife ? 

Const. That which upholdeth him that thee upholds. 
His honour : O, thine honour, Lewis, thine honour ! 

Lew. I muse your majesty doth seem so cold. 
When such profound respects do pull you on. 

Pand. I will denounce a curse upon his head. 

K. Phi. Thou shalt not need : — England, I will fall from 

Const. O fair return of banish'd majesty ! 

Eli. O foul revolt of French inconstancy ! 

K. John. France, thou shalt rue this hour within this 

■ Meaturtt — solemu dauces. 

Scene II.] KING JOHN. 301 

Bast. Old Time the clock-setter, that bald sexton. Time, 
Is it as he will ? well then, France shall rue. 

Blanch. The sun 's o'ercast with blood : Fair day adieu ! 
Which is the side that I must go withal ? 
I am with both : each army hath a hand j 
And, in their rage, I having hold of both. 
They whirl asunder, and dismember me. 
Husband, I cannot pray that thou mayst win ; 
Uncle, I needs must pray that thou mayst lose ; 
Father, I may not wish the fortune thine ; 
Grandame, I will not wish thy wishes thrive : 
Whoever wins, on that side shall I lose ; 
Assured loss, before the match be play'd. 

Lew. Lady, with me ; with me thy fortune lies. 

Blanch. There where my fortune lives, there my life dies. 

K. John. Cousin, go draw our puissance together. — 

[Exit Bastard. 
France, I am burn'd up with inflaming wrath ; 
A rage whose heat hath this condition. 
That nothing can allay, nothing but blood. 
The blood, and dearest-valued blood, of France. 

K. Phi. Thy rage shall burn thee up, and thou shalt turn 
To ashes, ere our blood shall quench that fire : 
Look to thyself, thou art in jeopardy. 

K. John. No more than he that threats. — To arms let 's 
hie ! [Exeunt. 

SCENE n. — The same. Plains near Angiers. 

Alarums ; Excursions. Enter the Bastard, with Austria'* 

Bast. Now, by my life, this day grows wondrous hot ; 
Some airy devil hovers in the sky. 
And pours down mischief. Austria's head, lie there ; 
While Philip breathes. 

Enter King John, Arthur, and Hubert. 

K. John. Hubert, keep this boy : — Philip, make up : 
My mother is assailed in our tent. 
And ta'en, I fear. 

302 KING JOHN. [Act III. 

Bast. My lord, I rescued her ; 

Her highness is in safety, fear you not : 
But on, my liege ; for very little pains 
Will bring this labour to a happy end. [Exeunt. 

SCENE 111.— The same. 

Alarums; Excursions; Retreat. jEwfer King John, Elinor, 
Arthur, the Bastard, Hubert, and Lords. 

K. John. So shall it be j your grace shall stay behind, 

[To Elinor. 
So strongly guarded. — Cousin, look not sad : [7b Arthur. 
Thy grandame loves thee ; and thy uncle will 
As dear be to thee as thy father was. 

Arth. O, this will make my mother die with grief. 

K. John. Cousin, [to the Bastard] away for England ; haste 
before : 
And, ere our coming, see thou shake the bags 
Of hoarding abbots ; imprisoned angels 
Set thou* at liberty : the fat ribs of peace 
Must by the hungry now be fed upon : 
Use our commission in his utmost force. 

Bast. Bell, book, and candle shall not drive me back," 
When gold and silver becks me to come on. 
I leave your highness : — Grandame, I will pray 
(If ever I remember to be holy) 
For your fair safety ; so I kiss your hand. 

Eli. Farewell, gentle cousin. 

K. John. Coz, farewell. [£a:e< Bastard. 

Eli. Come hither, little kinsman ; hark, a word. 

[She takes Arthur aside. 

K. John. Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle Hubert, 
We owe thee much j within this wall of flesh 
There is a soul counts thee her creditor. 
And with advantage means to pay thy love : 
And, my good friend, thy voluntary oath 
Lives in this bosom, dearly cherished. 
Give me thy hand. I had a thing to say, — 

" Thou 18 not ill the original. 

Scene III.] KING JOHN. 303 

But I will fit it with some better tune." 
By heaven, Hubert, I am almost asham'd 
To say what good respect I have of thee. 

Hub. I am much bounden to your majesty. 

K. John. Good friend, thou hast no cause to say so yet : 
But thou shalt have : and creep time ne'er so slow. 
Yet it shall come for me to do thee good. 
I had a thing to say, — But let it go : 
The sun is in the heaven, and the proud day. 
Attended with the pleasures of the world. 
Is all too wanton and too full of gawds. 
To give me audience : — If the midnight bell 
Did, with his iron tongue and brazen mouth, 
Sound on ^ into the drowsy race of night ; 
If this same were a churchyard where we stand. 
And thou possessed with a thousand wrongs ; 
Or if that surly spirit, melancholy. 
Had bak'd thy blood, and made it heavy, thick, 

» Better tune. The old copy reads tune. Pope corrected this to time. We are 
by 110 means sure that the change was called for. Tlie " tune " with which John 
expresses his willingness " to fit " the thing he had to say is a bribe ; — he now only 
gives flattery and a promise. " The time" for saying " the thing" is discussed in 
the subsequent portion of John's speech. 

^ Sound an. So the original. But on and one were often spelt alike ; and there- 
fore the passage must be determined by other principles than that of fidelity to the 
text. Which is the more poetical, 

" Sound on into the drowsy race of night," 
or " sound one ? " Shakspere, it appears to us, has made the idea of time precise 
enough by the " midnight bell ;" and the addition of " one " is either a contradic- 
tion or a pleonasm, to which form of words he was not given. " The midnight 
bell" sounding " on, into" (or unto, for the words were used convertibly) the 
drowsy march, race, of night, seems to us far more poetical than precisely determin- 
ing the hour, which was already determined by the word " midnight." But was 
the " midnight bell " the bell of a clock? Was it not rather the bell which called 
the monks to their " morning lauds," and wliich, according to the regulations of 
Dunstan, was ordinarily to be rung before every office? In Dunstan's ' Concord of 
Rules,' quoted by Fosbrooke, the hours for the first services of the day are thus stated : 
" Mattins and Lauds, midnight. 
Prime, 6 a.m."' 
It is added, " if the ofiice of Lauds be finished by daybreak, as is fit, let them begin 
Prime without ringing ; if not, let them wait for daylight, and, ringing the bell, 
assemble for Prime." It must, however, be noticed, that when Bernardo describes 
the appearance of the Gliost, in ' Hamlet,' he marks the time by " the bell then 
beating one." In this instance the word is spelt one (uot o«) both in the early quartos 
and in the folio of 1623. 

304 KING JOHN. [Act III. 

(Which, else, runs tickling up and down the veins. 
Making that idiot, laughter, keep men's eyes. 
And strain their cheeks to idle merriment, 
A passion hateful to my purposes ;) 
Or if that thou couldst see me without eyes. 
Hear me without thine ears, and make reply 
Without a tongue, using conceit alone. 
Without eyes, ears, and harmful sound of words ; 
Then, in despite of brooded watchful day, 
I would into thy bosom pour my thoughts : 
But ah, I will not : — Yet I love thee well ; 
And, by my troth, I think thou lov'st me well. 

Hub. So well, that what you bid me undertake. 
Though that my death were adjunct to my act. 
By heaven, I would do it. 

K. John. Do not I know thou wouldst? 

Good Hubert, Hubert, Hubert, throw thine eye 
On yon young boy : I '11 tell thee what, my friend. 
He is a very serpent in my way ; 
And wheresoe'er this foot of mine doth tread 
He lies before me : Dost thou understand me ? 
Thou art his keeper. 

Hub. And I '11 keep him so. 

That he shall not oifend your majesty. 

K. John. Death. 

Hub. My lord ? 

K. John. A grave. 

Hub. He shall not live. 

K. John. Enough. 

I could be merry now : Hubert, I love thee. 
Well, I '11 not say what I intend for thee : 

Remember. Madam, fare you well : 

I '11 send those powers o'er to your majesty. 

Eli. My blessing go with thee ! 

K. John. For England, cousin, go: 

Hubert shall be your man, attend on you 
With all true duty. — On toward Calais, ho ! [Exeunt. 

Scene IV.] KING JOHN. 30^ 

SCENE lY.—The same. The French KingV Tent. 

Enter King Philip, Lewis, Pandulph, and Attendants. 

K. Phi. So, bj a roaring tempest on the flood, 
A whole armado of convicted * sail 
Is scatter'd and disjoin'd from fellowship. 

Pand. Courage and comfort ! all shall yet go well. 

K. Phi. What can go well, when we have run so ill ? 
Are we not beaten? Is not Anglers lost? 
Arthur ta'en prisoner? divers dear friends slain? 
And bloody England into England gone, 
O'erbearing interruption, spite of France ? 

Lew. What he hath w^on that hath he fortified : 
So hot a speed with such advice dispos'd. 
Such temperate order in so fierce a cause. 
Doth want example : Who hath read, or heard. 
Of any kindred action like to this ? 

K. Phi. Well could I bear that England had this praise, - 
So we could find some pattern of our shame. 

Enter Constance. 

Look, who comes here ! a grave unto a soul ; 
Holding the eternal spirit, against her will. 
In the vile prison of afflicted breath : — 
I prithee, lady, go away with me. 

Const. Lo, now ! now see the issue of your peace ! 

K. Phi. Patience, good lady ! comfort, gentle Constance ! 

Const. No, I defy all counsel, all redress. 

But that which ends all counsel, true redress. 

Death, death, O amiable lovely death ! 

Thou odoriferous stench ! sound rottenness ! 

Arise forth from the couch of lasting night. 

Thou hate and terror to prosperity. 

And I will kiss thy detestable bones ; 

And put my eyeballs in thy vaulty brows ; 

And ring these fingers with thy household worms ; 

And stop this gap of breath with fulsome dust, 

* Convicted — overpowered. 
Vol. IV. X 

306 KING JOHN. [Act III. 

And be a carrion monster like thyself: 

Come, grin on me ; and I will think thou smil'st. 

And buss thee as thy wife ! Misery's love, 

O, come to me ! 

K. Phi. O fair affliction, peace ! 

Const. No, no, I will not, having breath to cry : — 
O, that my tongue were in the thunder's mouth ! 
Then with a passion would I shake the world ; 
And rouse from sleep that fell anatomy. 
Which cannot hear a lady's feeble voice. 
Which scorns a mother's ' invocation. 

Pand. Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow. 

Const. Thou art not ^ holy to belie me so ; 
I am not mad : this hair I tear is mine ; 
My name is Constance ; I was Geffrey's wife ; 
Young Arthur is my son, and he is lost : 
I am not mad ; — I would to heaven I were ! 
For then, 't is like I should forget myself: 
O, if I could, what grief should I forget ! — 
Preach some philosophy to make me mad. 
And thou shalt be canoniz'd, cardinal ; 
For, being not mad but sensible of grief. 
My reasonable part produces reason 
How I may be deliver'd of these woes. 
And teaches me to kill or hang myself: 
If I were mad, I should forget my son ; 
Or madly think a babe of clouts were he : 
I am not mad ; too well, too well I feel 
The different plague of each calamity. 

K. Phi. Bind up those tresses : O, what love I note 
In the fair multitude of those her hairs ! 
Where but by chance a silver drop hath fallen, 

* The reading of the original, which has been constantly followed, is modem — 
trite, common. Thus, in ' As You Like It,' — 

" Full of wise saws and modem instances." 
This is the only explanation we can give if we retain the word modern. But the 
sentence is weak, and a slight change would make it powerful. We may read ." a 
mother's invocation " with little violence to the text : moder't (the old spelling) 
might have been easily mistaken for modern. 

^ Not is wanting in the original. 

Scene IV.] KING JOHN. 307 

Even to that drop ten thousand wiry friends ■ 
Do glue themselves in sociable grief; 
Like true, inseparable, faithful loves. 
Sticking together in calamity. 
Const. To England, if you will. 
K. Phi. Bind up your hairs. 

Const. Yes, that I will ; And wherefore will I do it ? 
I tore them from their bonds ; and cried aloud, 
O that these hands could so redeem my son. 
As they have given these hairs their liberty ! 
But now I envy at their liberty. 
And will again commit them to their bonds 
Because my poor child is a prisoner. 
And, father cardinal, I have heard you say. 
That we shall see and know our friends in heaven : 
If that be true, I shall see my boy again; 
For, since the birth of Cain, the first male child. 
To him that did but yesterday suspire. 
There was not such a gracious creature bom. 
But now will canker sorrow eat my bud. 
And chase the native beauty from his cheek. 
And he will look as hollow as a ghost ; 
As dim and meagre as an ague's fit ; 
And so he '11 die ; and, rising so again. 
When I shall meet him in the court of heaven 
I shall not know him : therefore never, never 
Must I behold my pretty Arthur more. 

Pand. You hold too heinous a respect of grief. 
Const. He talks to me that never had a son. 
K. Phi. You are as fond of grief as of your child. 
Const. Grief fills the room up of my absent child. 

Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me. 

Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words. 

Remembers me of all his gracious parts, 

Stuifs out his vacant garments with his form ; 

Then, have I reason to be fond of grief. 

Fare you well : had you such a loss as I, 

I could give better comfort than you do. — 

" Friends. In the original, fiendt. 


308 KING JOHN. [Act III. 

I will not keep this form upon my head, 

[Tearing oj^ her head-dress. 
When there is such disorder in my wit. 
O Lord ! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son ! 
My life, my joy, my food, my all the world ! 
My widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure ! [Exit. 

K. Phi. I fear some outrage, and I '11 follow her. [Exit. 

Lew. There 's nothing in this world can make me joy : 
Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale. 
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man ; 
And bitter shame hath spoil'd the sweet world's taste,* 
That it yields nought but shame and bitterness. 

Pand. Before the curing of a strong disease. 
Even in the instant of repair and health. 
The fit is strongest ; evils, that take leave. 
On their departure most of all show evil : 
What have you lost by losing of this day ? 

Lew. All days of glory, joy, and happiness. 

Pand. If you had won it, certainly, you had. 
No, no ; when fortune means to men most good. 
She looks upon them with a threatening eye. 
'T is strange to think how much king John hath lost 
In this which he accounts so clearly won : 
Are not you griev'd that Arthur is his prisoner? 

Lew. As heartily as he is glad he hath him. 

Pand. Your mind is all as youthful as your blood. 
Now hear me speak, with a prophetic spirit ; 
For even the breath of what I mean to speak 
Shall blow each dust, each straw, each little rub. 
Out of the path which shall directly lead 
Thy foot to England's throne ; and, therefore, mark. 
John hath seiz'd Arthur ; and it cannot be. 
That, whiles warm life plays in that infant's veins. 
The misplac'd John should entertain an hour. 
One minute, nay, one quiet breath of rest : 
A sceptre, snatch'd with an unruly hand. 
Must be as boisterously maintain'd as gain'd : 

• Swtet world's tatte. Pope made thiB correction from the " sweet word's fasfe "' 
of (be original. 

Scene IV.] KING JOHN. 309 

And he that stands upon a slippery place 
Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him up : 
That John may stand then Arthur needs must fall ; 
So be it, for it cannot be but so. 

Lew. But what shall I gain by young Arthur's fall? 

Pand. You, in the right of lady Blanch your wife. 
May then make all the claim that Arthur did. 

Lew. And lose it, life and all, as Arthur did. 

Pand. How green you are, and fresh in this old world ! 
John lays you plots ; the times conspire with you : 
For he that steeps his safety in true blood 
Shall find but bloody safety, and untrue. 
This act, so evilly born, shall cool the hearts 
Of all his people, and freeze up their zeal. 
That none so small advantage shall step forth 
To check his reign, but they will cherish it ; 
No natural exhalation in the sky, 
No scope of nature,* no distemper'd day. 
No common wind, no customed event. 
But they will pluck away his natural cause. 
And call them meteors, prodigies, and signs. 
Abortives, presages, and tongues of heaven. 
Plainly denouncing vengeance upon John. 

Lew. May be, he will not touch young Arthur's life. 
But hold himself safe in his prisonment. 

Pand. O, sir, when he shall hear of your approach. 
If that young Arthur be not gone already. 
Even at that news he dies : and then the hearts 
Of all his people shall revolt from him. 
And kiss the lips of unacquainted change ; 
And pick strong matter of revolt, and wrath. 
Out of the bloody fingers' ends of John. 
Methinks, I see this hurly all on foot ; 
And, O, what better matter breeds for you, 

* No scope of nature. The modern editions all read, contrary to the original, 
scape (escape) of nature. The scope of nature — the ordinary course of nature — 
appears to us to convey the poet's meaning much better. An escape of nature is a 
prodigy ; — Shakspere says, the commonest things will be called " abortives." A 
scope is what is seen — according to its derivation — as a phenomenon is what appears. 
They are the same thing. 

310 KING JOHN. [Act III. 

Than I have nam'd ! — The bastard Faulconbridge 
Is now in England, ransacking the church. 
Offending charity : If but a dozen French 
Were there in arms, they would be as a call ' 
To train ten thousand English to their side ; 
Or, as a little snow, tumbled about. 
Anon becomes a mountain. O noble dauphin. 
Go with me to the king : 'T is wonderful 
What may be wrought out of their discontent. 
Now that their souls are topfull of offence. 
For England go ; I will whet on the king. 

Lew. Strong reasons make strange ** actions : Let us go ; 
If you say ay, the king will not say no. [Exeunt. 

• A call. The caged birds which lure the wild ones to the net are termed by 
fowlers " ca/Z-birds." The image in tlie text is more probably derived from a term 
of falconry. 

* Strange. So the reading of the first folio. It has been generally altered into 
strong. The old reading restored gives us a deep observation instead of an epigram- 
matic one. Strong reasons make — that is, justify — a large deviation from common 



' SIcENE III. — •' BeU, book, and candle shall not drive me back" 

[ The fonn of excommunication in the Romish church was familiar to Chaucer : — 

" For clerkes say we sliallin be fain 
For their livelod to sweve and swinke. 
And then right nought us geve again, 
Neither to eat ne yet to drinke ; 
Thei move by law, as that thei sain. 
Us curse and dampne to hellis brinke ; 
And thus thei puttin us to pain 
With candles queiut and bellis clinke." 

In another passage of the same poem, ' The Manciple's Tale,' we have the " clerkes," 

" Christis people proudly curse ' 
With brode boke and braying bell." 

But the most minute and altogether curious description of the ceremony of ex- 
communication is in Bishop Bale's * Kynge Johan,' which we have described in 
our Introductory Notice. In that " pageant " Pandulph denounces John in the 
following fashion : — 

«< For as moch as kyng Johan doth holy church so handle, 
Here I do curse hym wyth crosse, boke, bell, and candle. 
Lyke as this same roode turneth now from me his face. 
So God I requyre to sequester hym of his grace. 
As this boke doth speare by my worke mannuall, 
I wyll God to close uppe from hym his benefyttes all. 
As this burnyng flame goth from this candle in syght, 
I wyll God to put hym from his eternall lyght. 
I take hym from Crist, and after the sownd of this bell, 
Both body and sowle I geve hym to the devyll of hell. 
I take from hym baptym, with the other sacramentes 
And sufferages of the churche, bothe amber days and lentes. 
Here I take from hym bothe penonce and confessyon. 
Masse of the wondes, with sensyng and processyon. 
Here I take from hym holy water and holy brede. 
And never wyll them to stande hym in any sted." 

In Fox we have the ceremony of excommunication minutely detailed ; — the bishop, 
and clergy, and all the several sorts of friars in the cathedral, — the cross borne 
before them with three wax tapers lighted, and the eager populace assembled. A 
priest, all in white, mounts the pulpit, and then begins the denunciation. Those 
who are curious as to this formula may consult Fox or Strype ; and they will 
agree with Corporal Trim that the " soldiers in Flanders" swore nothing like this. 
The climax of the cursing was when each taper was extinguished, with the pious 
prayer that the souls of the " malefactors and schismatics'' might be given " over 
utterly to the power of the fiend, as this candle is now quenched and put out." 
Henry VIII., in 1533, abolished the General Sentence or Curse which was read in 
the churches four times a year. 



After the peace of 1200 Arthur remained under the care of King Philip, in fear, 
as it is said, of the treachery of John. But tlie peace was broken within two years. 
John, whose passions were ever his betrayers, seized upon the wife of the Count de 
la Marciie, Isabella of Angouleme, and married her, although his wife Avisa, to 
whom he had been married ten years, was living. The injured Count headed an 
insurrection in Aquitaine ; which Philip secretly encouraged. John was, however, 
courteously entertained by his crafty rival in Paris. But, upon his return to Eng- 
land, Piiilip openly succoured the insurgents ; once more brought tlie unhappy 
Arthur ujion tlie scene, and made him raise the banner of war against liis power- 
ful uncle. With a small force he marched against the town of Mirebeau, near 
Poictiers, where his grandmother Elinor was stationed, as " Regent of those j)arts." 
Some of the chroniclers affirm that Elinor was captured; but, says Holinshed, 
" others write far more truly, that she was not taken, but escaped into a tower, 
within the which she was straitly besieged." John, who was in Normandy, being 
apprised of the danger of his mother, " used such diligence that he was upon bis 
enemies' necks ere they could understand anything of his coming.'' On the night 
of the 31st July, 1202, John obtained possession of the town by treachery, and 
Arthur was taken in his bed. The Count de la Marche, and the other leaders, were 
captured, and were treated witli extreme cruelty and indignity. Arthur was con- 
veyed to the castle of Falaise. Tlie interdict of John, by Rome, for refusing to 
admit Stephen Langton to the arclibishopric of Canterbury, did not take place till 
five years after these events. 

[Cwtle of Falaise.] 

Scene I.] KING JOHN. 313 


SCENE I. — Northampton, A Room in the Castle. 

Enter Hubert and Two Attendants. 

Hub. Heat me these irons hot ; and look thou stand 
Within the arras : when I strike mj foot 
Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth. 
And bind the boy, which you shall find with me. 
Fast to the chair : be heedfid : hence, and watch. 

1 Attend. I hope your warrant will bear out the deed. 

Hub. Uncleanly scruples ! Fear not you : look to 't. — 

\^Exeunt Attendants. 
Young lad, come forth ; I have to say with you. 

Enter Arthur. 

Arth. Good morrow, Hubert. 

Hub. Good morrow, little prince. 

Arth. As little prince (having so great a title 
To be more prince) as may be. — You are sad. 

Hub. Indeed, I have been merrier. 

Arth. Mercy on me ! 

Methinks, nobody should be sad but I : 
Yet, I remember, when I was in France, 
Young gentlemen would be as sad as night. 
Only for wantonness. By my Christendom," 
So I were out of prison, and kept sheep, 
I should be as merry as the day is long ; 
And so I would be here, but that I doubt 

* Christendom. Arthur prettily asseverates by the baptismal office — by his christ- 
ening. The word is used in this sense in ' All's Well that Ends Well;' and it ia 
found in Gower : — 

" A light, as though it was a sonne 
From heaven, into the place come, 
Where that he toke his christendome.''' 

314 KING JOHN. [Act IV. 

My uncle practises more harm to me : 

He is afraid of me, and I of him : 

Is it my fault that I was Geffrey's son ? 

No, indeed is 't not ; And I would to heaven 

I were your son, so you would love me, Hubert. 

Hub. If I talk to him, with his innocent prate 
He will awake my mercy, which lies dead : 
Therefore I will be sudden, and despatch. [Aside. 

Artk. Are you sick, Hubert ? you look pale to-day : 
In sooth, I would you were a little sick. 
That I might sit all night, and watch with you : 
I warrant I love you more than you do me. 

Hub. His words do take possession of my bosom. — 
Read here, young Arthur. [Showing a paper.] How now, 
foolish rheum ! [Aside. 

Turning dispiteous torture out of door ! 
I must be brief; lest resolution drop 
Out at mine eyes, in tender womanish tears. 
Can you not read it ? is it not fair writ ? 

Artk. Too fairly, Hubert, for so foul effect: 
Must you with hot irons burn out both mine eyes ? 

Hub. Young boy, I must. 

Arth. And will you ? 

Hub. And I will. 

Arth. Have you the heart? When your head did but ache, 
I knit my hand-kercher about your brows," 
(The best I had, a princess wrought it me,) 
And I did never ask it you again : 
And with my hand at midnight held your head ; 
And, like the watchful minutes to the hour. 
Still and anon cheer'd up the heavy time ; 
Saying, What lack you ? and. Where lies your grief? 
Or, What good love may I perform for' you ? 
Many a poor man's son would have lain still. 
And ne'er have spoke a loving word to you ; 
But you at your sick service had a prince. 

» Hand-kercher. The spelling of the original is thas. In 'Othello' we have 
handkerchiefe in the folio of 1623 ; but handkercher in the quarto. The words were 
used indifferently in Shakspere's day. 

Scene I.] KING JOHN. 315 

Nay, you may think my love was crafty love. 

And call it cunning ; do, an if you will : 

If heaven be pleas'd that you must use me ill. 

Why, then you must. — Will you put out mine eyes ? 

These eyes, that never did, nor never shall. 

So much as frown on you ? 

Hub. I have sworn to do it ; 

And with hot irons must I burn them out. 

Arth. Ah, none, but in this iron age, would do it ! 
The iron of itself, though heat * red-hot. 
Approaching near these eyes, would drink my tears. 
And quench his fiery indignation. 
Even in the matter of mine innocence ; 
Nay, after that, consume away in rust. 
But for containing fire to harm mine eye. 
Are you more stubborn-hard than hammer'd iron ? 
An if an angel should have come to me. 
And told me, Hubert should put out mine eyes, 
I would not have belie v'd him.'* No tongue but Hubert's — 

Hub. Come forth. [Stamps. 

Re-enter Attendants, with Cords, Irons, &c. 

Do as I bid you do. 

Arth. O, save me, Hubert, save me ! my eyes are out. 
Even with the fierce looks of these bloody men. 

Hub. Give me the iron, I say, and bind him here. 

Arth. Alas, what need you be so boist'rous-rough ? 
I will not struggle, I will stand stone-still. 

■ Heat, used as a participle, as in our translation of the Bible : " He commanded 
that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heat." 
— (Daniel.) 

^ I would not have heliev'd him. So the reading of the original. In all the modem 
editions we have 

" I would not have heliev'd no tongue but Hubert's." 

The double negative is quite justifiable here ; but the rejection of him weakens the 
line; and, as usual, may be traced to the ear of Steevens, which regarded what he 
called a redundant syllable as a foul weed in the garden of poetry. Shakspere 
made abundant work for his unsparing hoe. As we have pointed the passage, 
Arthur begins a fresh sentence, which is interrupted by Hubert stamping. He is 
about to say, " No tongue but Hubert's" would have made me believe it. 

316 KING JOHN. [Act IV. 

For heaven sake, Hubert, let me not be bound ! 

Nay, hear me, Hubert ! drive these men away. 

And I will sit as quiet as a lamb ; 

I will not stir, nor wince, nor speak a word. 

Nor look upon the iron angerly : 

Thrust but these men away, and I '11 forgive you. 

Whatever torment you do put me to. 

Hub. Go, stand within ; let me alone with him. 

I Attend. I am best pleas'd to be from such a deed. 

\^Exeunt Attendants. 

Arth. Alas ! I then have chid away my friend ; 
He hath a stern look, but a gentle heart : — 
Let him come back, that his compassion may 
Give life to yours. 

Hub. Come, boy, prepare yourself. 

Arth. Is there no remedy ? 

Hub. None, but to lose your eyes. 

Arth. O heaven ! — that there were but a mote in yours, 
A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wandering hair. 
Any annoyance in that precious sense ! 
Then, feeling what small things are boist'rous there. 
Your vile intent must needs seem horrible. 

Hub. Is this your promise ? go to, hold your tongue. 

Arth. Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues 
Must needs want pleading for a pair of eyes : 
Let me not hold my tongue ; let me not, Hubert ! 
Or, Hubert, if you will, cut out my tongue. 
So I may keep mine eyes. O, spare mine eyes ; 
Though to no use, but still to look on you ! 
Lo, by my troth, the instrument is cold. 
And would not harm me. 

Hub. I can heat it, boy. 

Arth. No, in good sooth ; the fire is dead with grief. 
Being create for comfort, to be us'd 
In undeserv'd extremes : See else yourself; 
There is no malice in this burning coal ; ' 

• In this burning coal. Dr. Grey, whose remarks are generally just as well as 
learned, would read 

" There is no malice burniag in this coal." 

Scene II.] KING JOHN. 317 

The breath of heaven hath blown his spirit out. 
And strew'd repentant ashes on his head. 

Hub. But with my breath I can revive it, boy. 

Arth. And if you do, you will but make it blush. 
And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hubert : 
Nay, it, perchance, will sparkle in your eyes ; 
And, like a dog that is compell'd to fight. 
Snatch at his master that doth tarre " him on. 
All things that you should use to do me wrong 
Deny their office : only you do lack 
That mercy which fierce fire and iron extends. 
Creatures of note for mercy -lacking uses. 

Hub. Well, see to live ; I will not touch thine eyes 
For all the treasure that thine uncle owes : 
Yet am I sworn, and I did purpose, boy. 
With this same very iron to burn them out. 

Arth. O, now you look like Hubert ! all this while 
You were disguised. 

Hub. Peace : no more. Adieu ; 

Your uncle must not know but you are dead : 
I '11 fill these dogged spies with false reports. 
And, pretty child, sleep doubtless, and secure. 
That Hubert, for the wealth of all the world. 
Will not ofiend thee. 

Arth. O heaven ! — I thank you, Hubert. 

Hub. Silence ; no more : Go closely in with me. 
Much danger do I undergo for thee. [Exeunt. 

SCENE n. — The same. A Room of State in the Palace. 

Enter King John, crowned; Pembroke, Salisbury, and 
other Lords. The King takes his State. 

K. John. Here once again we sit, once again crown'd. 
And look'd upon, I hope, with cheerful ejQS. 

Pern. This once again, but that your highness pleas'd. 
Was once superfluous : you were crown'd before. 
And that high royalty was ne'er pluck'd off; 

" Tarrt, Tooke derives this from a Saxon word, meaning to exasperate. 
Others think that it hai only reference to the custom of exciting terriers— /arner*. 

318 KING JOHN. [Act IV. 

The faiths of men ne'er stained with revolt ; 
Fresh expectation troubled not the land. 
With any long'd-for change, or better state. 

Sal. Therefore, to be possess'd with double pomp. 
To guard a title ' that was rich before. 
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily. 
To throw a perfume on the violet. 
To smooth the ice, or add another hue 
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light 
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish. 
Is wasteful, and ridiculous excess. 

Pern. But that your royal pleasure must be done. 
This act is as an ancient tale new told ; 
And, in the last repeating, troublesome. 
Being urged at a time unseasonable. 

Sal. In this, the antique and well-noted face 
Of plain old form is much disfigured ; 
And, like a shifted wind unto a sail. 
It makes the course of thoughts to fetch about ; 
Startles and frights consideration ; 
Makes sound opinion sick, and truth suspected. 
For putting on so new a fashion'd robe. 

Pern. When workmen strive to do better than well. 
They do confound their skill in covetousness : 
And, oftentimes, excusing of a fault 
Doth make the fault the worse by the excuse ; 
As patches, set upon a little breach. 
Discredit more in hiding of the fault. 
Than did the fault before it was so patch'd. 

Sal. To this effect, before you were new-crown'd. 
We breath'd our counsel : but it pleas'd your highness 
To overbear it ; and we are all well pleas'd, 

• Guard a title. The guard is the border or edging of a garment — the boundary 
— the defence against injury. The manner in which Shakspere uses the word in 
Ijove's Labour 's Lost ' explains it here : — 

" Oh, rhymes are guards on wanton Cupid's hose." 
The edgings were generally ornamented, and became smart trimmings. In the pas- 
sage before us the same meaning is preserved : — 

" To guard a title that was rich before." 

Scene II.] KING JOHN. 319 

Since all and every part of what we would, 
Dotli make a stand at what your highness will. 

K. John. Some reasons of this double coronation 
I have possess'd you withj and think them strong ; 
And more, more strong (when lesser is my fear"), 
I shall indue you with : Meantime, but ask 
What you would have reform'd that is not well. 
And well shall you perceive how willingly 
I will both hear and grant you your requests. 

Pern. Then I, (as one that am the tongue of these. 
To sound the purposes of all their hearts,) 
Both for myself and them, (but, chief of all. 
Your safety, for the which myself and them 
Bend their best studies,) heartily request 
Th' enfranchisement of Arthur ; whose restraint 
Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent 
To break into this dangerous argument, — 
If what in rest you have "^ in right you hold. 
Why, then, your fears (which, as they say, attend 
The steps of wrong) should move you to mew up 
Your tender kinsman, and to choke his days 
With barbarous ignorance, and deny his youth 
The rich advantage of good exercise ? 
That the time's enemies may not have this 
To grace occasions, let it be our suit, 

* When lesser is my /ear. The folio reads, "then lesser is my fear." 
^ If what in rest you have. Steevens would read lores/, — violence. This is pure 
nonsense. But neither does rest mean quiet, as Malone, Douce, and others agree. 
The whole scene shows that John did not hold his power in perfect tranquillity. 
Hest is, we take it, here employed to mean a fixed position. To "set up a rest" is 
a term with which every reader of our old dramatic poets must be familiar. Some 
have thought that the expression was derived from the manner of fixing the harque- 
buss — a gun so heavy that the soldier, taking up his position, fixed a rest in the 
ground to enable him to level his piece. But, from a number of examples given by 
Reed in his edition of Dodsley"s ' Old Plays,' we find the same expression constantly 
used in the game of Primero, in which game, as far as we may judge, the term 
seems to imply that the player, at a particular point of the game, makes a decided 
stand upon the chances he fancies he has secured. In a tale told of Henry VIII. 
(quoted by Reed), we have " The King, 55 eldest hand, sets up all rests, and dis- 
carded flush." The King was satisfied with his position, and " threw his 55 on the 
board open, with great laughter, supposing the game (as it was) in a manner sure." 
The analogy in the speech of Pembroke is pretty close : — 

" If what in }-est you have in right you hold." 

320 KING JOHN. [Act IV. 

That you have bid us ask his liberty ; 
Which for our goods we do no further ask. 
Than whereupon our weal, on you depending. 
Counts it your weal he have his liberty. 

K. John. Let it be so ; I do commit his youth 
Enter Hubert. 
To your direction. — Hubert, what news with you ? 

Pern. This is the man should do the bloody deed ; 
He show'd his warrant to a friend of mine : 
The image of a wicked heinous fault 
Lives in his eye ; that close aspect of his 
Does show the mood of a much-troubled breast ; 
And I do fearfully believe 't is done 
What we so fear'd he had a charge to do. 

Sal. The colour of the king doth come and go 
Between his purpose and his conscience. 
Like heralds 'twixt two dreadful battles set : 
His passion is so ripe it needs must break. 

Pern. And, when it breaks, I fear will issue thence 
The foul corruption of a sweet child's death. 

K. John. We cannot hold mortality's strong hand : — 
Good lords, although my will to give is living. 
The suit which you demand is gone and dead : 
He tells us, Arthur is deceas'd to-night. 

Sal. Indeed we fear'd his sickness was past cure. 

Pern. Indeed we heard how near his death he was. 
Before the child himself felt he was sick : 
This must be answer'd, either here, or hence. 

K. John. Why do you bend such solemn brows on me ? 
Think you I bear the shears of destiny ? 
Have I commandment on the pulse of life ? 

Sal. ' It is apparent foul-play ; and 't is shame 
That greatness should so grossly offer it : 
So thrive it in your game ! and so farewell. 

Pern. Stay yet, lord Salisbury ; I '11 go with thee. 
And find the inheritance of this poor child. 
His little kingdom of a forced grave. 
That blood, which ow'd the breadth of all this isle. 
Three foot of it doth hold. Bad world the while ! 

Scene II.] KING JOHN. 321 

This must not be thus borne : this will break out 

To all our sorrows, and ere long, I doubt. [Exeunt Lords. 

K. John. They burn in indignation. I repent. 
There is no sure foundation set on blood ; 
No certain life achiev'd by others' death. 

Enter a Messenger. 

A fearful eye thou hast. Where is that blood. 

That I have seen inhabit in those cheeks ? 

So foul a sky clears not without a storm : 

Pour down thy weather : — How goes all in France ? 

Mess. From France to England. — Never such a power. 
For any foreign preparation. 
Was levied in the body of a land ! 
The copy of your speed is learn'd by them ; 
For, when you should be told they do prepare. 
The tidings come, that they are all arriv'd. 

K. John. O, where hath our intelligence been drunk ? 
Where hath it slept ? Where is my mother's care. 
That such an army could be drawn in France, 
And she not hear of it ? 

Mess. My liege, her ear 

Is stopp'd with dust ; the first of April, died 
Your noble mother : And, as I hear, my lord. 
The lady Constance in a frenzy died 
Three days before : but this from rumour's tongue 
I idly heard ; if true, or false, I know not. 

K. John. Withhold thy speed, dreadful occasion ! 
O, make a league with me, till I have pleas'd 
My discontented peers ! — What ! mother dead ? 
How wildly then walks my estate in France ! — 
Under whose conduct came those powers of France, 
That thou for truth giv'st out are landed here ? 

Mess. Under the dauphin. 

Enter the Bastard and Peter ©/"Pomfret. 
K. John. Thou hast made me giddy 

With these ill tidings. — Now, what says the world 
To your proceedings ? do not seek to stuff 

My head with more ill news, for it is full. 
Vol. IV. Y 

322 KING JOHN. [Act IV. 

Bast. But, if you be afeard to hear the worst. 
Then let the worst, unheard, fall on your head. 

K. John. Bear with me, cousin ; for I was amaz'd 
Under tlie tide : but now I breathe again 
Aloft the flood ; and can give audience 
To any tongue, speak it of what it will. 

Bast. How I have sped among the clergymen. 
The sums I have collected shall express. 
But, as I travell'd hither through the land, 
I find the people strangely fantasied ; 
Possess'd with rumours, full of idle dreams; 
Not knowing what they fear, but full of fear : 
And here 's a prophet, that I brought with me 
From forth the streets of Pomfret, whom I found 
With many hundreds treading on his heels ; 
To whom he sung, in rude harsh-sounding rhymes. 
That, ere the next Ascension-day at noon. 
Your highness should deliver up your crown. 

K. John. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst thou so ? 

Peter. Foreknowing that the truth will fall out so. 

K. John. Hubert, away with him ; imprison him ; 
And on that day at noon, whereon, he says, 
I shall yield up my crown, let him be hang'd : 
Deliver him to safety, and return. 
For I must use thee. — O my gentle cousin, 

[Exit Hubert, tcith Peter. 
Hear'st thou the news abroad, who are arriv'd ? 

Bast. The French, my lord ; men's mouths are full of it : 
Besides, I met lord Bigot, and lord Salisbury, 
(With eyes as red as new-enkindled fire,) 
And others more, going to seek the grave 
Of Arthur, who, they say, is kill'd to-night 
On your suggestion. 

K. John. Gentle kinsman, go. 

And thrust thyself into their companies : 
I have a way to win their loves again ; 
Bring them before me. 

Bast. I will seek them out. 

K. John. Nay, but make haste : the better foot before. 

Scene II.] KING JOHN. 323 

O, let me have no subject enemies. 

When adverse foreigners affright my towns 

With dreadful pomp of stout invasion ! 

Be Mercury, set feathers to thy heels ; 

And fly, like thought, from them to me again. 

Bast. The spirit of the time shall teach me speed. [Exit. 

K. John. Spoke like a spriteful noble gentleman. 
Go after him ; for he, perhaps, shall need 
Some messenger betwixt me and the peers ; 
And be thou he. 

Mess. With all my heart, my liege. [Exit. 

K. John. My mother dead ! 

Re-enter Hubert. 

Hub. My lord, they say five moons were seen to-night : 
Four fixed ; and the fifth did whirl about 
The other four, in wondrous motion. 

K. John. Five moons? 

Hub. Old men, and beldams, in the streets 

Do prophesy upon it dangerously : 
Young Arthur's death is common in their mouths : 
And when they talk of him, they shake their heads. 
And whisper one another in the ear ; 
And he that speaks doth gripe the hearer's wrist ; 
Whilst he that hears makes fearful action. 
With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes. 
I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus. 
The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool. 
With open mouth swallowing a tailor's news ; 
Who, with his shears and measure in his hand. 
Standing on slippers, (which his nimble haste 
Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet,)* 

* Contrary feet . In ' The Two Gentlemen of Verona' we have given a short note 
on the right and left shoe. The fashion of Shakspere's time is now well understood 
through a similar fashion in our own ; — but half a century ago this passage was 
adjudged to be one of the many proofs of Shakspere's ignorance or carelessness. 
Johnson says, with ludicrous solemnity, " Shakspere seems to have confounded the 
man's shoes with his gloves. He that is frighted or hurried may put his hand into 
the wrong glove, but either shoe will equally admit either foot. The author seems 
to be disturbed by the disorder which he describes." 


324 KING JOHN. [Act IV. 

Told of a many thousand warlike French, 
That were embatteled and rank'd in Kent : 
Another lean unwash'd artificer 
Cuts off his tale, and talks of Arthur's death. 

K.John. Why seek'st thou to possess me with these fears ? 
Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death? 
Thy hand hath murther'd him : I had a mighty cause 
To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill him. 

Hub. None had," my lord! why, did you not provoke 

K. John. It is the curse of kings to be attended 
By slaves that take their humours for a warrant 
To break within the bloody house of life ; 
And, on the winking of authority. 
To understand a law ; to know the meaning 
Of dangerous majesty, when, perchance, it frowns 
More upon humour than advis'd respect. 

Hub. Here is your hand and seal for what I did. 

K. John. O, when the last account 'twixt heaven and earth 
Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal 
Witness against us to damnation ! 
How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds 
Makes ill deeds done ! ^ Hadst not thou been by, 
A felloAv by the hand of nature mark'd. 
Quoted, and sign'd, to do a deed of shame. 
This murther had not come into my mind : 
But, taking note of thy abhorr'd aspect. 
Finding thee fit for blcfody villainy. 
Apt, liable, to be employ'd in danger, 
I faintly broke with thee of Arthur's death ; 
And thou, to be endeared to a king. 
Made it no conscience to destroy a prince. 

Hub. My lord, — 

K. John. Hadst thou but shook thy head, or made a pause. 
When I spake darkly what I purposed. 
Or turn'd an eye of doubt upon my face, 

" None had. The original gives no had. The contirnon reading is had none. 
'• We have ventured upon a transposition. The original is " makes deeds ill 
done;" — but this might apply to good deeds unsiiilfuliy performed. 

Scene II.] KING JOHN. 325 

As bid * me tell my tale in express words. 

Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break off. 

And those thy fears might have wrought fears in me ; 

But thou didst understand me by my signs. 

And didst in signs again parley with sin ; 

Yea, without stop, didst let thy heart consent. 

And, consequently, thy rude hand to act 

The deed, which both our tongues held vile to name. 

Out of my sight, and never see me more ! 

My nobles leave me ; and my state is brav'd. 

Even at my gates, with ranks of foreign powers : 

Nay, in the body of this fleshly land. 

This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath. 

Hostility and civil tumult reigns 

Between my conscience and my cousin's death. 

Hub. Arm you against your other enemies, 
I '11 make a peace between your soul and you. 
Young Arthur is alive : This hand of mine 
Is yet a maiden and an innocent hand. 
Not painted with the crimson spots of blood. 
Within this bosom never enter'd yet 
The dreadful motion of a murtherous thought ; 
And you have slander'd nature in my form. 
Which, howsoever rude exteriorly. 
Is yet the cover of a fairer mind 
Than to be butcher of an innocent child. 

K. John. Doth Arthur live ? O, haste thee to the peers. 
Throw this report on their incensed rage. 
And make them tame to their obedience ! 
Forgive the comment that my passion made 
Upon thy feature ; for my rage was blind. 
And foul imaginary eyes of blood 
Presented thee more hideous than thou art. 
O, answer not ; but to my closet bring 
The angry lords, with all expedient haste : 
I conjure thee but slowly ; run more fast. [Exeunt. 

" As bid — elliptically for as to bid. 

326 KING JOHN. [Act IV. 

SCENE III.— The same. Before the Castle. 

Enter Arthur, on the Walls. 

Arth. The wall is high ; and yet will I leap down : — 
Good ground, be pitiful, and hurt me not ! — 
There 's few, or none, do know me ; if they did. 
This ship-boy's semblance hath disguis'd me quite. 
I am afraid ; and yet I '11 venture it. 
If I get down, and do not break my limbs, 
I '11 find a thousand shifts to get away : 

As good to die and go, as die and stay. [^Leaps down. 

O me ! my uncle's spirit is in these stones : — 
Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones ! [Dies. 

Enter Pembroke, Salisbury, and Bigot. 

Sal. Lords, I will meet him at Saint Edmund's-Bury ; 
It is our safety, and we must embrace 
This gentle offer of the perilous time. 

Pern. Who brought that letter from the cardinal ? 

Sal. The count Melun, a noble lord of France ; 
Whose private with me, of the dauphin's love. 
Is much more general than these lines import. 

Big. To-morrow morning let us meet him then. 

Sal. Or rather then set forward : for 't will be 
Two long days' journey, lords, or e'er we meet.' 

Enter the Bastard. 

Bast. Once more to-day well met, distemper'd lords ! 
The king, by me, requests your presence straight. 

Sal. The king hath dispossess'd himself of us . 
We will not line his thin bestained cloak 
With our pure honours, nor attend the foot 
That leaves the print of blood where'er it walks : 
Return, and tell him so ; we know the worst. 

Ba^t. Whate'er you think, good words, I think, were 

" Or e'er we meet — before we meet. So in Ecclesiastes, " or ever the silver cord 
be loosed." 

Scene III.] KING JOHN. 327 

Sal. Our griefs, and not our manners, reason now. 

Bast. But there is little reason in your grief; 
Therefore, 't were reason you had manners now. 

Pern. Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege. 

Bast. 'T is true ; to hurt his master, no man's else.* 

Sal. This is the prison : What is he lies here ? 

[Seeing Arthur. 

Pern. O death, made proud with pure and princely 
beauty ! 
The earth had not a hole to hide this deed. 

Sal. Murther, as hating what himself hath done. 
Doth lay it open, to urge on revenge. 

Big. Or, when he doom'd this beauty to a grave. 
Found it too precious-princely for a grave. 

Sal. Sir Richard, what think you ? You have beheld,^ 
Or have you read, or heard ? or could you think ? 
Or do you almost think, although you see. 
That you do see ? could thought, without this object. 
Form such another? This is the very top. 
The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest. 
Of murther's arms : this is the bloodiest shame. 
The wildest savagery, the vilest stroke. 
That ever wall-ey'd wrath, or staring rage. 
Presented to the tears of soft remorse. 

Pern. All murthers past do stand excus'd in this : 
And this so sole, and so unmatchable. 
Shall give a holiness, a purity. 
To the yet-unbegotten sin of times ; 
And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest, 
Exampled by this heinous spectacle. 

Bast. It is a damned and a bloody work ; 
The graceless action of a heavy hand. 
If that it be the work of any hand. 

Sal. If that it be the work of any hand ? — 

» No mans else. So the origioal. The modem reading is tw man else. 

^ You have beheld. The third folio gives the reading which is generally adopted, 
of " Have you beheld?"' We retain that of the original, which appears to mean — 
You see — or have you only read, or heard? Your senses must be so startled that 
you may doubt " you have beheld."' 

328 KING JOHN. [Act IV. 

We had a kind of light what would ensue : 
It is the shameful work of Hubert's hand ; 
The practice, and the purpose, of the king : — 
From whose obedience I forbid my soul. 
Kneeling before this ruin of sweet life. 
And breathing to his breathless excellence 
The incense of a vow, a holy vow. 
Never to taste the pleasures of the world. 
Never to be infected with delight. 
Nor conversant with ease and idleness. 
Till I have set a glory to this hand. 
By giving it the worship of revenge. 

Pem., Big. Our souls religiously confirm thy words. 

Enter Hubert. 

Hub. Lords, I am hot with haste in seeking you : 
Arthur doth live ; the king hath sent for you. 

Sal. O, he is bold, and blushes not at death : — 
Avaunt, thou hateful villain, get thee gone ! 

Hub. I am no villain. 

Sal. Must I rob the law ? [Drawing his sword. 

Bast. Your sword is bright, sir ; put it up again. 

Sal. Not till I sheathe it in a murtherer's skin. 

Hub. Stand back, lord Salisbury, stand back, I say ; 
By heaven, I think, my sword 's as sharp as yours : 
I would not have you, lord, forget yourself. 
Nor tempt the danger of my true defence ; 
Lest I, by marking of your rage, forget 
Your worth, your greatness, and nobility. 

Big. Out, dunghill ! dar'st thou brave a nobleman ? 

Hub. Not for my life : but yet I dare defend 
My innocent life against an emperor. 

Sal. Thou art a murtherer. 

Hub. Do not prove me so ; 

Yet, I am none : Whose tongue soe'er speaks false. 
Not truly speaks ; who speaks not truly, lies. 

Pem. Cut him to pieces. 

Bast. Keep the peace, I say. 

Sal. Stand by, or I shall gall you, Faulconbridge. 


Bast. Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury : 
If thou but frown on me, or stir thy foot. 
Or teach thy hasty spleen to do me shame, 
I '11 strike thee dead. Put up thy sword betime ; 
Or I '11 so maul you and your toasting-iron. 
That you shall think the devil is come from hell. 

Big. What wilt thou do, renowned Faulconbridge ? 
Second a villain and a murtherer ? 

Hub. Lord Bigot, I am none. 

Big. Who kill'd this prince ? 

Hub. 'T is not an hour since I left him well : 
I honour'd him, I lov'd him ; and will weep 
My date of life out, for his sweet life's loss. 

Sal. Trust not those cunning waters of his eyes. 
For villainy is not without such rheum ; 
And he, long traded in it, makes it seem 
Like rivers of remorse and innocency. 
Away, with me, all you whose souls abhor 
Th' uncleanly savours of a slaughter-house ; 
For I am stifled with this smell of sin. 

Big. Away, toward Bury, to the dauphin there ! 

Pern. There, tell the king, he may inquire us out. 

[Exeunt Lords. 

Bast. Here 's a good world ! — Knew you of this fair 
Beyond the infinite and boundless reach 
Of mercy, if thou didst this deed of death. 
Art thou damn'd, Hubert. 

Hub. Do but hear me, sir. 

Bast. Ha ! I '11 tell thee what ; 
Thou 'rt damn'd as black — nay, nothing is so black ; 
Thou art more deep damn'd than prince Lucifer : 
There is not yet so ugly a fiend of hell 
As thou shalt be, if thou didst kill this child. 

Hub. Upon my soul, — 

Bast. If thou didst but consent 

To this most cruel act, do but despair. 
And, if thou want'st a cord, the smallest thread 
That ever spider twisted from her womb 

330 KING JOHN. [Act IV. 

Will serve to strangle thee ; a rush will be 

A beam to hang thee on ; or^ wouldst thou drown thyself. 

Put but a little water in a spoon. 

And it shall be, as all the ocean. 

Enough to stifle such a villain up. — 

I do suspect thee very grievously. 

Hub. If I in act, consent, or sin of thought. 
Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath 
Which was embounded in this beauteous clay. 
Let hell want pains enough to torture me ! 
I left him well. 

Bast. Go, bear him in thine arms. — 

I am amaz'd, methinks ; and lose my way 
Among the thorns and dangers of this world. — 
How easy dost thou take all England up ! 
From forth this morsel of dead royalty. 
The life, the right, and truth of all this realm 
Is fled to heaven ; and England now is left 
To tug and scamble, and to part by the teeth 
The unow'd interest of proud-swelling state. 
Now, for the bare-pick'd bone of majesty 
Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest. 
And snarleth in the gentle eyes of peace : 
Now powers from home, and discontents at home. 
Meet in one line ; and vast confusion waits. 
As doth a raven on a sick-fallen beast. 
The imminent decay of wrested pomp. 
Now happy he whose cloak and cincture can 
Hold out this tempest. Bear away that child. 
And follow me with speed ; I '11 to the king : 
A thousand businesses are brief in hand, 
And heaven itself doth frown upon the land. [Exeunt. 




It is unquestionably to be deplored that the greatest writers of imagination have 
sometimes embodied events not only unsupported by the facts of history, but utterly 
opposed to them. We are not speaking of those deviations from the actual suc- 
cession of events, — those omissions of minor particulars, — those groupings of cha- 
racters who were really never brought together, — which the poet knowingly aban- 
dons himself to, that he may accomplish the great purposes of his art, the first of 
which, in a drama especially, is unity of action. Such a licence has Shakspere 
taken in ' King John,' and who can doubt that, poetically, he was right? But there 
is a limit even to the mastery of the poet, when he is dealing with the broad truths 
of history ; for the poetical truth would be destroyed if the historical truth were 
utterly disregarded. For example, if the grand scenes in tliis act, between Arthur 
and Hubert, and between Hubert and John, were entirely contradicted by the truth 
of history, there would be an abatement even of the irresistible power of these 
matchless scenes. Had the proper historians led us to believe that no attempt was 
made to deprive Arthur of his sight — that his death was not the result of the dark 
suspicions and cowardly fears of his uncle — that the manner of his death was so 
clear that he who held him captive was absolved from all suspicion of treachery, — 
then the poet would indeed have left an impression on the mind which even the 
historical truth could with diflSculty have overcome, but he would not have left 
that complete and overwhelming impression of the reality of his scenes — he could 
not have produced our implicit belief in the sad story, as he tells it, of Arthur of 
Brittany — he could not have rendered it impossible for amy one to recur to that 
story who has read this act of ' King John,' and not think of the dark prison where 
the iron was hot and the executioner ready, but where nature, speaking in words 
such as none but the greatest poet of nature could have furnished, made the fire and 
the iron " deny their office," and the executioner leave the poor boy, for a while, 
to " sleep doubtless and secure." Fortunate is it that we have no records to hold 
up which should say that Shakspere built this immortal scene upon a rotten founda- 
tion. The story, as told by Holinshed, is deeply interesting ; and we cannot read it 
without feeling how skilfully the poet has followed it : — 

" It is said that King John caused his nephew Arthur to be brought before him 
at Falaise, and there went about to persuade him all that he could to forsake his 
friendship and alliance with the French king, and to lean and stick to liim his 
natural uncle. But Arthur, like one that wanted good counsel, and abounding 
too much in his own wilful opinion, made a presumptuous answer, not only deny- 
ing so to do, but also commanding King John to restore unto him the realms of 
England, with all those other lands and possessions which King Richard had in his 
hand at the hour of his death. For sith the same appertaineth to him by right of 
inheritance, he assured him, except restitution were made the sooner, he should not 
long continue quiet. King John, being sore moved by such words thus uttered by 
his nephew, appointed (as before is said) that he should be straitly kept in prison, 
as first in Falaise, and after at Roan, within the new castle there. 

" Shortly after King John coming over into England caused himself to be crowned 
again at Canterbury, by the hands of Hubert, the archbishop there, on the fourteenth 


of April, aiid then went back again into Normandy, where, itntnediately upon his 
arrival, a rumour waa spread through all France of the death of his nephew Arthur. 
True it is that great suit was made to have Arthur set at liberty, as well by the 
French King as by William de Miches, a valiant baron of Poitou, and divers other 
noblemen of the Britains, who, when they could not prevail in their suit, they 
banded themselves together, and joining in confederacy with Robert Earl of Alan- 
son, the Viscount Beaumont, William de Fulgiers, and other, they began to levy 
sharp wars against King John in divers places, insomuch (as it was thought) that 
so long as Arthur lived there would be no quiet in those parts : whereupon it waa 
reported that King John, tlirough persuasion of his counsellors, appointed certain 
persons to go into Falaise, where Arthur was kept in prison, under the charge of 
Hubert de Burgh, and there to put out the young gentleman's eyes. 

" But through such resistance as he made against one of the tormentors that 
came to execute the king's command (for the other rather forsook their prince and 
country than they would consent to obey the king's authority therein), and such 
lamentable words as he uttered, Hubert de Burgh did preserve him from that injury, 
not doubting but rather to have thanks than displeasure at the king's hands, for 
delivering him of such infamy as would have redounded unto his highness if the 
young gentleman had been so cruelly dealt withal. For he considered that King 
John had resolved upon this point only in his heat and fury (which moveth men to 
undertake many an inconvenient enterprise, unbeseeming the person of a common 
man, much more reproachful to a prince, all men in that mood being more foolish 
and furious, and prone to accomplish the perverse conceits of their ill-possessed 
hearts; as one saith right well, — 

pronus in iram 

Stultorum est animus, facile excandescit et audet 
Omne scelus, quoties concepta bile tumescit), 

and that afterwards, upon better advisement, he would both repent himself so to 
have commanded, and give them small thank that should see it put in execution. 
Howbeit, to satisfy his mind for the time, and to stay the rage of the Britains, he 
caused it to be bruited abroad through the country that the king's commandment 
was fulfilled, and that Arthur also, through sorrow and grief, was departed out of 
this life. For the space of fifteen days this rumour incessantly ran through both 
the realms of England and France, and there was ringing for him through towns and 
villages as it had been for his funerals. It was also bruited that his body was 
buried in the monastery of Saint Andrew's of the Cisteaux order. 

" But when the Britains were nothing pacified, but rather kindled more vehe- 
mently to work all the mischief they could devise, in revenge of their sovereign's 
death, there was no remedy but to signify abroad again that Arthur was as yet 
living, and in health. Now, when the King heard the truth of all this matter, he 
was nothing displeased for that his commandment was not executed, sith there were 
divers of his captains which uttered in plain words that he should not find knights 
to keep his castles if he dealt so cruelly with his nephew. For if it chanced any of 
them to be taken by the King of France, or other their adversaries, they should be 
sure to taste of the like cup. But now, touching the manner in very deed of the 
end of this Arthur, writers make sundry reports. Nevertheless certain it is, that in 
the year next ensuing he was removed from Falaise unto the castle or tower of 
Roan, out of the which there was not any that would confess that ever he saw him 
go alive. Some have written, that, as he assayed to have escaped out of prison, and 
proving to climb over the walls of the castle, he fell iiito the river of Seine, and so 
was drowned. Olher write that through very grief and languor he pined away 
and died of natural sickness. But some aiBrm that King John secretly caused him 



to be murdered and made away, so as it is not thoroughly agreed upon in what 
sort he finished his days ; but verily King John was had in great suspicion, whether 
worthily or not the Lord knoweth." 

Wisely has the old chronicler said, " Verily King John was had in great suspi- 
cion, whether worthily or not the Lord knoweth;"' and wisely has Shakspere taken 
the least offensive mode of Arthur's death which was to be found noticed in the 
obscure records of those times. It is, all things considered, most probable that 
Arthur perished at Rouen. The darkest of the stories connected with his death is 
that which makes him, on the night of the 3rd April, 1203, awakened from his 
sleep, and led to the foot of the castle of Rouen, which the Seine washed. There, 
say the French historians, he entered a boat, in which sate John, and Peter de 
Maulac, his esquire. Terror took possession of the unhappy boy, and he threw 
himself at his uncle's feet; — but John came to do or to witness a deed of horror, 
and with his own hand he slew his nephew, and the deep waters of the river received 
the body of his victim. 

[Castle of Rouen.j 

In Act III. the dramatic action exhibits to us the "holy legate of the pope" 
breaking the peace between John and Philip, demanding of Joint 

" Why thou against the church, our holy mother, 
So wilfully dost spurn ; and, force perforce, 
Keep Stephen Langton, chosen archbishop 
Of Canterbury, from that holy see .-" 

The great quarrel between John and the Pope, with reference to the election of Ste- 
phen Langton, did not take place till 1207, about six years after Arthur was taken 
prisoner at Mirebeau. Pandulph was not sent into France " to practise with the 
French king " against John till 121 1 ; and tlie invasion of England by the Dauphin 
(which is suggested by Pandulph as likely to be supported by the indignation of 



the English on the death of Arthur) did not take place till 1216, the year of John's 
death. The poet has leaped over all those barriers of time which would have im- 
peded the direct march of his own poetical history. Coleridge has well explained 
the principle of this : — " The history of our ancient kings, — the events of their 
reigns I mean,— are like stars in the sky; — whatever the real interspaces may be, 
and however great, they seem close to each other. The stars — the evenU — strike us 
and remain in our eye, little modified by the difference of dates. An historic drama 
is, therefore, a collection of events borrowed from history, but connected together, in 
respect of cause and time, poetically and by dramatic fiction." Again : " The 
events themselves are immaterial, otherwise than as tiie clothing and manifestation 
of the spirit that is working within. In this mode, the unity resulting from succes- 
sion is destroyed, but is supplied by a unity of a higher order, which connects the 
events by reference to the workers, gives a reason for them in the motives, and pre- 
Bents men in their causative character."* 

The reader may, perhaps, be pleased with an example of the manner in which 
Shakspere follows the chronicles when the historical and the poetical truth are in 
unison. We will give him the story of Peter of Pomfret, and the incident of the 
five moons, from Holinshed : — 

" There was in this season (1213, An. Reg. 15) an hermit whose name was Peter, 
dwelling about York, a man in great reputation with the common people, because 
that, either inspired with some spirit of prophecy, as the people^believed, or else hav- 
ing some notable skill in art magic, he was accustomed to tell what should follow 
after. * * * * Xlijg Peter, about the first of January last past, had told the 
King that at the feast of the Ascension it should come to pass that he should be 
cast out of his kingdom. And he offered himself to suffer death for it, if his words 
should not prove true. Hereupon being committed to prison within the castle of 

[Pomfret Castle.] 
* Literary Remains, vol, ii. pp. 160, 161. 



Corfe, when the day by him prefixed came, without any other notable damage unto 
King John, he was, by the King's commandment, drawn from the said castle unto 
the town of Warham, and there hanged, together with his son. * * * * Some 
thought that he had much wrong to die, because the matter fell out even as he had 
prophesied ; for the day before Ascension-day King John had resigned the supe- 
riority of his kingdom (as they took the matter) unto the Pope, and had done to 
him homage, so that he was no absolute king indeed, as authors affirm. One cause, 
and that not the least which moved King John the sooner to agree with the Pope, 
rose through the words of the said hermit, that did put such a fear of some great 
mishap in his heart, which should grow through the disloyalty of his people, that it 
made him yield the sooner." 

" About the month of December there were seen in the province of York five 
moons, one in the east, the second in the west, the third in the north, the fourth in 
the south, and the fifth, as it were, set in the middest of the other, having many 
stars about it, and went five or six times encompassing the other, as it were the 
space of one hour, and shortly after vanished away." 

We subjoin the portraits of two of the "angry lords" who figure in this act. 
Salisbury and Pembroke are especially mentioned by Holinshed as having revolted 
from John, and joined Lewis. The portrait of William Longespee, Earl of Salis- 
bury — the son of Henry II. by Rosamond de Clifford — is from his effigy in Salis- 
bury Cathedral: that of William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke — the ^^ Rector regis 
et regni" in the next reign — is from his effigy in the Temple church. 

[Earl of Salisbury.] 

[Earl of Pembroke.] 

336 KING JOHN. [Act V. 


SCENE I. — The same. A Room in the Palace. 

Enter King John, Pandulph with the Crown, and Attend- 

K. John. Thus have I yielded up into your hand 
The circle of my glory. 

Pand. Take again [Giving John the crown. 

From this my hand, as holding of the pope. 
Your sovereign greatness and authority. 

K. John. Now keep your holy word : go meet the French ; 
And from his holiness use all your power 
To stop their marches, 'fore we are inflam'd. 
Our discontented counties * do revolt ; 
Our people quarrel with obedience ; 
Swearing allegiance, and the love of soul. 
To stranger blood, to foreign royalty. 
This inundation of mistemper'd humour 
Rests by you only to be qualified. 
Then pause not ; for the present time 's so sick. 
That present medicine must be minister'd. 
Or overthrow incurable ensues. 

Pand. It was my breath that blew this tempest up. 
Upon your stubborn usage of the pope ; 
But, since you are a gentle convertite,^ 
My tongue shall hush again this storm of war. 
And make fair weather in your blustering land. 
On this Ascension-day, remember well. 
Upon your oath of service to the pope. 
Go I to make the French lay down their arms. [Exit. 

K. John. Is this Ascension-day ? Did not the prophet 

■ Counties — nobles. The reader will remember the County Paris, in * Romeo 
and Juliet;' and County Guy, in Sir Walter Scott's ballad. 

*> Converlite — convert ; — reclaimed to the authority of "holy church." 

Scene I.] KING JOHN. 337 

Say, that before Ascension-day at noon. 
My crown I should give off? Even so I have : 
I did suppose it should be on constraint ; 
But, heaven be thank'd, it is but voluntary. 

Enter the Bastard. 

Bast. All Kent hath yielded ; nothing there holds out 
But Dover castle : London hath receiv'd. 
Like a kind host, the dauphin and his powers : 
Your nobles will not hear you, but are gone 
To offer service to your enemy ; 
And wild amazement hurries up and down 
The little number of your doubtful friends. 

K. John. Would not my lords return to me again. 
After they heard young Arthur was alive ? 

Bast. They found him dead, and cast into the streets ; 
An empty casket, where the jewel of life 
By some damn'd hand was robb'd and ta'en away. 

K. John. That villain Hubert told me he did live. 

Bast. So, on my soul, he did, for aught he knew. 
But wherefore do you droop ? why look you sad ? 
Be great in act, as you have been in thought ; 
Let not the world see fear, and sad distrust. 
Govern the motion of a kingly eye : 
Be stirring as the time ; be fire with fire ; 
Threaten the threat'ner, and outface the brow 
Of bragging horror : so shall inferior eyes. 
That borrow their behaviours from the great. 
Grow great by your example, and put on 
The dauntless spirit of resolution. 
Away ; and glister like the god of war. 
When he intendeth to become the field : 
Show boldness and aspiring confidence. 
What, shall they seek the lion in his den. 
And fright him there ? and make him tremble there ? 
O, let it not be said ! — Forage, and run 
To meet displeasure further from the doors ; 
And grapple with him, ere he come so nigh. 

K. John. The legate of the pope hath been with me. 

Vol. IV. Z 

338 KING JOHN. [Act V. 

And I have made a happy peace with him ; 
And he hath promis'd to dismiss the powers 
Led by the dauphin. 

Bast. O inglorious league ! 

Shall we, upon the footing of our land. 
Send fair-play orders, and make compromise. 
Insinuation, parley, and base truce. 
To arms invasive ? shall a beardless boy, 
A cocker'd silken wanton, brave our fields. 
And flesh his spirit in a warlike soil. 
Mocking the air with colours idly spread. 
And find no check ? Let us, my liege, to arms : 
Perchance, the cardinal cannot make your peace ; 
Or if he do, let it at least be said. 
They saw we had a purpose of defence. 

K. John. Have thou the ordering of this present time. 

Bast. Away then, with good courage ; yet I know. 
Our party may well meet a prouder foe. [Exeunt. 

SCENE IL— ^ Plaiti, near St. Edmund's-Bury. 

Enter in arms, Lewis, Salisbury, Melun, Pembroke, 
Bigot, and Soldiers. 

Lew. My lord Melun, let this be copied out. 
And keep it safe for our remembrance : 
Return the precedent to these lords again ; 
That, having our fair order written down. 
Both they^ and we, perusing o'er these notes. 
May know wherefore we took the sacrament. 
And keep our faiths firm and inviolable. 

Sal. Upon our sides it never shall be broken. 
And, noble dauphin, albeit we swear 
A voluntary zeal, and unurg'd faith. 
To your proceedings ; yet, believe me, prince, 
I am not glad that such a sore of time 
Should seek a plaster by contemn'd revolt. 
And heal the inveterate canker of <sih.e wound 
By making many. O, it grieves my soul. 
That I must draw this metal from my side 

Scene II.] KING JOHN. '339 

To be a widow-maker ; O, and there. 

Where honourable rescue, and defence, 

Cries out upon the name of Salisbury : 

But such is the infection of the time. 

That, for the health and physic of our right. 

We cannot deal but with the very hand 

Of stern injustice and confused wrong. — 

And is 't not pity, O my grieved friends. 

That we, the sons and children of this isle. 

Were born to see so sad an hour as this : 

Wherein we step after a stranger,* march 

Upon her gentle bosom, and fill up 

Her enemies' ranks, (I must withdraw and weep 

Upon the spot of this enforced cause,) 

To grace the gentry of a land remote. 

And follow unacquainted colours here ? 

What, here ? — O nation, that thou couldst remove ! 

That Neptune's arms, who clippeth thee about. 

Would bear thee from the knowledge of thyself. 

And grapple thee "^ unto a pagan shore ; 

Where these two christian armies might combine 

The blood of malice in a vein of league. 

And not to-spend •= it so unneighbourly ! 

Lew. A noble temper dost thou show in this ; 
And great affections, wrestling in thy bosom. 
Do make an earthquake of nobility. 
O, what a noble combat hast thou * fought 
Between compulsion and a brave respect ! 
Let me wipe off this honourable dew. 
That silverly doth progress on thy cheeks: 

■ After a ttranger. We give the punctuation of the original. The modem edi- 
tions read 

" Wherein we step after a stranger march 
Upon her gentle bosom," 
making ttranger an adjective. 

*" Grapple thee. The original reads "cn)>/)/e /Aee." 

' To-»pend. To, in the original, stands as the sign of the infinitive. Steevens 
thinks it a prefix, in combination with tpend ; as in * The Merry Wives of 
Windsor,' — 

" And fairy-like, to-pinch the unclean knight." 
^ Thou is wanting in the original. 


340 KING JOHN. [Act V 

My heart hath melted at a lady's tears. 

Being an ordinary inundation ; 

But this effusion of such manly drops, 

This shower, blown up by tempest of the soul. 

Startles mine eyes, and makes me more amaz'd 

Than had I seen the vaulty top of heaven 

Figur'd quite o'er with burning meteors. 

Lift up thy brow, renowned Salisbury, 

And with a great heart heave away this storm : 

Commend these waters to those baby eyes 

That never saw the giant world enrag'd ; 

Nor met with fortune other than at feasts. 

Full warm of blood, of mirth, of gossiping. 

Come, come ; for thou shalt thrust thy hand as deep 

Into the purse of rich prosperity 

As Lewis himself: — so, nobles, shall you all. 

That knit your sinews to the strength of mine. 

Enter Pandulph, attended. 

And even there, methinks, an angel spake : 
Look, where the holy legate comes apace. 
To give us warrant from the hand of heaven ; 
And on our actions set the name of right. 
With holy breath. 

Pand. Hail, noble prince of France ! 

The next is this, — king John hath reconcil'd 
Himself to Rome ; his spirit is come in. 
That so stood out against the holy church. 
The great metropolis and see of Rome : 
Therefore thy threat'ning colours now wind up. 
And tame the savage spirit of wild war ; 
That, like a lion foster'd up at hand. 
It may lie gently at the foot of peace. 
And be no further harmful than in show. 

Lew. Your grace shall pardon me, I will not back ; 
I am too high-born to be propertied. 
To be a secondary at control. 
Or useful serving-man, and instrument. 
To any sovereign state throughout the world. 

Scene II.] KING JOHN. 341 

Your breath first kindled the dead coal of wars 

Between this chastis'd kingdom and myself. 

And brought in matter that should feed this fire ; 

And now 't is far too huge to be blown out 

With that same weak wind which enkindled it 

You taught me how to know the face of right. 

Acquainted me with interest to this land. 

Yea, thrust this enterprise into my heart; 

And come you now to tell me, John hath made 

His peace with Rome ? What is that peace to me ? 

I, by the honour of my marriage-bed. 

After young Arthur, claim this land for mine ; 

And, now it is half-conquer'd, must I back 

Because that John hath made his peace with Rome ? 

Am I Rome's slave ? What penny hath Rome borne. 

What men provided, what munition sent. 

To underprop this action ? is 't not I 

That undergo this charge ? who else but I, 

And such as to my claim are liable. 

Sweat in this business, and maintain this war ? 

Have I not heard these islanders shout out, 

Vive le roy ! as I have bank'd their towns ? * 

Have I not here the best cards for the game,' 

To win this easy match play'd for a crown? 

And shall I now give o'er the yielded set ? 

No, no, on my soul, it never shall be said. 

Pand. You look but on the outside of this work. 

Lew. Outside or inside, I will not return 
Till my attempt so much be glorified 
As to my ample hope was promised 
Before I drew this gallant head of war. 
And cuU'd these fiery spirits from the world. 
To outlook conquest, and to win renown 
Even in the jaws of danger and of death. — [ Trumpet sounds. 
What lusty trumpet thus doth summon us ? 

" Bank'd their toum*. — Probably sail'd along their baaks. A passage in the old 
' King John ' appears to have suggested this — 

" from the hollow holes of Thamesis 
Echo apace replied Five k roi." 

342 KING JOHN. [Act V. 

Enter the Bastard, attended. 

Bast. According to the fair play of tlie world. 

Let me have audience. I am sent to speak : 

My holy lord of Milan, from the king 

I come, to learn how you have dealt for him ; 

And, as you answer, I do know the scope 

And warrant limited unto my tongue. 

Pand. The dauphin is too wilful opposite. 

And will not temporize with my entreaties ; 

He flatly says he '11 not lay down his arms. 

BaA't. By all the blood that ever fury breath'd. 

The youth says well : — Now hear our English king ; 

For thus his royalty doth speak in me. 

He is prepar'd ; and reason too, he should : 

This apish and unmannerly approach. 

This harness'd masque, and unadvised revel. 

This unhair'd " sauciness, and boyish troops. 

The king doth smile at ; and is well prepar'd 

To whip this dwarfish war, these pigmy arms. 

From out the circle of his territories. 

That hand, which had the strength, even at your door. 

To cudgel you, and make you take the hatch ; 

To dive, like buckets, in concealed wells ; 

To crouch in litter of your stable planks ; 

To lie, like pawns, lock'd up in chests and trunks ; 

To hug with swine ; to seek sweet safety out 

In vaults and prisons ; and to thrill, and shake. 

Even at the crying of your nation's crow. 

Thinking this voice an armed Englishman ; — ■ 

Shall that victorious hand be feebled here. 

That in your chambers gave you chastisement ? 

No : Know, the gallant monarch is in arms ; 

And like an eagle o'er his aiery towers. 

To souse annoyance that comes near his nest. — 

And you degenerate, you ingrate revolts. 

You bloody Neros, ripping up the womb 

Of your dear mother England, blush for shame : 

' Unhair'd— unheiudcd. 

Scene III.] KING JOHN. 343 

For your own ladies, and pale-visag'd maids. 
Like Amazons, come tripping after drums ; 
Their thimbles into armed gauntlets change. 
Their neelds to lances, and their gentle hearts 
To fierce and bloody inclination. 

Lew. There end thy brave," and turn thy face in peace ; 
We grant thou canst outscold us : fare thee well ; 
We hold our time too precious to be spent 
With such a brabbler. 

Pand. Give me leave to speak. 

Bast. No, I will speak. 

Lew. We will attend to neither : — 

Strike up the drums ; and let the tongue of war 
Plead for our interest, and our being here. 

Bast. Indeed, your drums, being beaten, will cry out ; 
And so shall you, being beaten : Do but start 
An echo with the clamour of thy drum. 
And even at hand a drum is ready brac'd. 
That shall reverberate all as loud as thine ; 
Sound but another, and another shall. 
As loud as thine, rattle the welkin's ear. 
And mock the deep-mouth'd thunder : for at hand 
(Not trusting to this halting legate here. 
Whom he hath us'd rather for sport than need) 
Is warlike John ; and in his forehead sits 
A bare-ribb'd death, whose office is this day 
To feast upon whole thousands of the French. 

Lew. Strike up our drums, to find this danger out. 

Bast. And thou shalt find it, dauphin, do not doubt. 


SCENE III.— The same. A Field of Battle. 

Alarums. Enter King John and Hubert. 

K. John. How goes the day with us? O, tell me, Hubert. 
Hub. Badly, I fear : How fares your majesty ? 

» Brave — bravado. 

344 KING JOHN. [ActV. 

K. John. This fever, that hath troubled me so long, 
Lies heavy on me ; O, my heart is sick ! 

Enter a Messenger. 

Mess. My lord, your valiant kinsman, Faulconbridge, 
Desires your majesty to leave the field. 
And send him word by me which way you go. 

K. John. Tell him, toward Swinstead, to the abbey there. 

Mess. Be of good comfort ; for the great supply. 
That was expected by the dauphin here. 
Are wrack'd three nights ago on Goodwin sands. 
This news was brought to Richard but even now : 
The French fight coldly, and retire themselves. 

K. John. Ah me ! this tyrant fever burns me up. 
And will not let me welcome this good news. 
Set on 'toward Swinstead : to my litter straight ; * 
Weakness possesseth me, and I am faint. [Exeunt. 

SCENE IV.^ — The same. Another part of the same. 

Enter Salisbury, Pembroke, Bigot, and others. 

Sal. I did not think the king so stor'd with friends. 

Pern. Up once again ; put spirit in the French : 
If they miscarry, we miscarry too. 

Sal. That misbegotten devil, Faulconbridge, 
In spite of spite, alone upholds the day. 

Pern. They say, king John, sore sick, hath left the field. 

Enter Melun, wounded, and led by Soldiers. 

Mel. Lead me to the revolts of England here. 
Sal. When we were happy we had other names. 
Pern. It is the count Melun. 
Sal. Wounded to death. 

Mel. Fly, noble English, you are bought and sold ; 
Unthread the rude eye * of rebellion, 

" Unthread the rude eye, Theobald corrupted this passage into " untread the 
rude way;" he turned, by an easy process, the poetry into prose. Malone, who 
agrees in the restoration of the passage, says Shakspere " was evidently thinking of 
the eye of a needle," and he calls this, therefore, an humble metaphor. Nothing, it 

Scene IV.] KING JOHN. 345 

And welcome home again discarded faith. 
Seek out king John, and fall before his feet ; 
For, if the French be lords of this loud day. 
He means to recompense the pains you take 
By cutting off your heads : Thus hath he sworn. 
And I with him, and many more with me. 
Upon the altar at Saint Edmund's-Bury ; 
Even on that altar where we swore to you 
Dear amity and everlasting love. 

Sal. May this be possible? may this be true? 

Mel. Have I not hideous death within my view. 
Retaining but a quantity of life 
Which bleeds away, even as a form of wax 
Resolveth from his figure 'gainst the fire ? 
What in the world should make me now deceive. 
Since I must lose the use of all deceit ? 
Why should I then be false ; since it is true 
That I must die here, and live hence by truth ? 
I say again, if Lewis do win the day. 
He is forsworn if e'er those eyes of yours 
jBehold another day break in the east : 
But even this night, — whose black contagious breath 
Already smokes about the burning crest 
Of the old, feeble, and day -wearied sun, — 
Even this ill night, your breathing shall expire ; 
Paying the fine of rated treachery. 
Even with a treacherous fine of all your lives. 
If Lewis by your assistance win the day. 
Commend me to one Hubert, with your king ; 
The love of him, — and this respect besides. 
For that my grandsire was an Englishman, — 
Awakes my conscience to confess all this. 

appears to us, is humble in poetry that conveys an image forcibly and distinctly ; 
and "the eye of a needle" by the application of the poet may become dignified. 
But the word thread, perhaps metaphorically, is used to convey the meaning of 
passing through anything intricate, narrow, difScult. 

" They would not thread the gates," 
in * Coriolanus," and 

" One gains the thickets and one thrids the brake," 
in Dryden, have each the same meaning. The " rude eye " in the line before tis is 
the rough and dangerous passage of " rebellion." 

346 KING JOHN. [Act V. 

In lieu whereof, I pray you, bear me hence 
From forth the noise and rumour of the field ; 
Where I may think the remnant of my thoughts 
In peace, and part this body and my soul 
With contemplation and devout desires. 

Sal. We do believe thee, — And beshrew my soul 
But I do love the favour and the form 
Of this most fair occasion, by the which 
We will untread the steps of damned flight ; 
And, like a bated and retired flood. 
Leaving our rankness and irregular course. 
Stoop low within those bounds we have o'erlook'd. 
And calmly run on in obedience. 
Even to our ocean, to our great king John. 
My arm shall give thee help to bear thee hence ; 
For I do see the cruel pangs of death 
Right in thine eye. — Away, my friends ! New flight ; 
And happiy^ newness, that intends old right. 

[Exeunt, leading o^Melun. 

SCENE Y.—Tke same. The French Chmp. 

Enter Lewis and his Train. 

Lew. The sun of heaven, methought, was loth to set. 
But stay'd, and made the western welkin blush. 
When the English measur'd* backward their own ground. 
In faint retire : O, bravely came we off" 
When with a volley of our needless shot. 
After such bloody toil, we bid good night ; 
And wound our tottering '^ colours clearly up. 
Last in the field, and almost lords of it ! 

Enter a Messenger. 

Mess. Where is my prince, the dauphin ? 

Lew. Here : — What news ? 

* The original has measure, and omits the article before English. 

^ Tottering. Steevens reads tattered — Malone tattering. The original tottering 
was the same as tattering, of which Capell gives an example in his ' School of 
Shakspeare,' p. 54. But tottering, in our present meaning of unsteady, may be 
received without difficulty. 

Scene VI.] KING JOHN. 347 

Mess. The count Melun is slain ; the English lords. 
By his persuasion, are again fallen off: 
And your supply, which you have wish'd so long. 
Are cast away, and sunk, on Goodwin sands. 

Lew. Ah, foul shrewd news ! — Beshrew thy very heart ! 
I did not think to be so sad to-night 
As this hath made me. — Who was he that said. 
King John did fly, an hour or two before 
The stumbling night did part our weary powers ? 

Mess. Whoever spoke it, it is true, my lord. 

Lew. Well ; keep good quarter and good care to-night ; 
The day shall not be up so soon as I, 
To try the fair adventure of to-morrow. [Exeunt. 

SCENE VI. — An open Place in the Neighbourhood of Swin- 
stead Abbey. 

Enter the Bastard and Hubert, meeting. 

Hub. Who's there? speak, ho! speak quickly, or I shoot. 

Bast. A friend. — What art thou ? 

Hub. Of the part of England. 

Bast. Whither dost thou go? 

Hub. What 's that to thee? 

Why may I not demand of thine afiairs. 
As well as thou of mine ? 

Bast. Hubert, I think. 

Hub. Thou hast a perfect thought : 
I will, upon all hazards, well believe 
Thou art my friend, that know'st my tongue so well : 
Who art thou ? 

Bast. Who thou wilt : an if thou please. 

Thou mayst befriend me so much as to think 
I come one way of the Plantagenets. 

Hub. Unkind remembrance ! thou, and eyeless night," 
Have done me shame : — Brave soldier, pardon me, 

^ Eyeki* night. The original reads endless. Sbakspere has, in other passages, 
applied the epithet endless to night, but using night metaphorically. Here, where 
the meaning is literal, eyektt may be preferred. The emendation was made by 

348 KING JOHN. [Act V. 

That any accent, breaking from thy tongue. 
Should 'scape the true acquaintance of mine ear. 

Bast. Come, come ; sans compliment, what news abroad ? 

Hub. Why, here walk I, in the black brow of night. 
To find you out. 

Bast. Brief, then ; and what 's the news ? 

Hub. O, my sweet sir, news fitting to the night. 
Black, fearful, comfortless, and horrible. 

Bast. Show me the very wound of this ill news ; 
I am no woman, I '11 not swoon at it. 

Hub. The king, I fear, is poison'd by a monk : 
I left him almost speechless, and broke out 
To acquaint you with this evil ; that you might 
The better arm you to the sudden time. 
Than if you had at leisure known of this. 

Bast. How did he take it? who did taste to him? 

Hub. A monk, I tell you ; a resolved villain. 
Whose bowels suddenly burst out : the king 
Yet speaks, and, peradventure, may recover. 

Bast. Who didst thou leave to tend his majesty ? 

Hub. Why, know you not ? the lords are all come back. 
And brought prince Henry in their company ; 
At whose request the king hath pardon'd them. 
And they are all about his majesty. 

Bast. Withhold thine indignation, mighty heaven. 
And tempt us not to bear above our power ! 
I '11 tell thee, Hubert, half my power this night. 
Passing these flats, are taken by the tide. 
These Lincoln washes have devoured them ; 
Myself, well mounted, hardly have escap'd. 
Away, before ! conduct me to the king ; 
I doubt he will be dead, or e'er I come, [Exeunt. 

SCENE YIL—The Orchard of Swinstead Abbey. 

Enter Prince Henry, Salisbury, and Bigot 

P. Hen. It is too late ; the life of all his blood 
Is touch'd corruptibly ; and his pure brain 
(Which some suppose the soul's frail dwelling-house) 

Scene VII.] KING JOHN. 349 

Doth, by the idle comments that it makes. 
Foretell the ending of mortality. 

Enter Pembroke. 

Pern. His highness yet doth speak ; and holds belief. 
That being brought into the open air 
It would allay the burning quality 
Of that fell poison which assaileth him. 

P. Hen. Let him be brought into the orchard here. — 
Doth he still rage ? [Exit Bigot. 

Pern. He is more patient 

Than when you left him ; even now he sung. 

P. Hen. O vanity of sickness ! fierce extremes. 
In their continuance, will not feel themselves. 
Death, having prey'd upon the outward parts. 
Leaves them invisible;' and his siege is now 
Against the mind, the which he pricks and wounds 
With many legions of strange fantasies ; 
Which, in their throng and press to that last hold. 
Confound themselves. 'T is strange, that death should sing. 
I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan. 
Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death ; 
And, from the organ-pipe of frailty, sings 
His soul and body to their lasting rest. 

Sal. Be of good comfort, prince ; for you are born 
To set a form upon that indigest,** 
Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude. 

Re-enter Bigot and Attendants, who bring in King John 
in a Chair. 

K. John. Ay, marry, now my soul hath elbow-room ; 
It would not out at windows, nor at doors. 

° Invisible. So the original. The modern editors read insenaible. The question 
occupies four pages of discussion in the commentators. The meaning of invisibk is, 
we take it, unlocked at, disregarded. 

*• Indigest — disordered, indigested, state of affairs. The word is more commonly 
used as an adjective, as in the Sonnets : — 

" To make of monsters and things indigest. 
Such cherubins as your sweet self resemble." 

350 KING JOflN. [Act V. 

There is so hot a summer in my bosom. 
That all my bowels crumble up to dust ; 
I am a scribbled form, drawn with a pen 
Upon a parchment ; and against this fire 
Do I shrink up, 

P. Hen. How fares your majesty? 

K. John. Poison'd, — ill fare ; — dead, forsook, cast off: 
And none of you will bid t^e winter come. 
To thrust his icy fingers in my maw ; 
Nor let my kingdom's rivers take their course 
Through my bum'd bosom ; nor entreat the north 
To make his bleak winds kiss my parched lips. 
And comfort me with cold : — I do not ask you much, 
I beg cold comfort ; and you are so strait. 
And so ingrateful, you deny me that. 

P. Hen. O, that there were some virtue in my tears. 
That might relieve you ! 

K. John. The salt in them is hot. 

Within me is a hell ; and there the poison 
Is, as a fiend, confin'd to tyrannize 
On unreprievable condemned blood. 

Enter the Bastard. 

Bast. O, I am scalded with my violent motion. 
And spleen of speed to see your majesty. 

K. John. O cousin, thou art come to set mine eye ; 
The tackle of my heart is crack'd and burnt ; 
And all the shrouds, wherewith my life should sail. 
Are turned to one thread, one little hair : 
My heart hath one poor string to stay it by. 
Which holds but till thy news be uttered ; 
And then all this thou seest is but a clod. 
And module of confounded royalty. 

Bast. The dauphin is preparing hitherward ; 
Where, heaven he knows how we shall answer him : 
For, in a night, the best part of my power. 
As I upon advantage did remove. 
Were in the washes, all unwarily. 
Devoured by the unexpected flood. [The King dies. 

Scene VII.] KING JOHN. 351 

Sal. You breathe these dead news in as dead an ear. — 
My liege ! my lord ! — But now a king, — now thus. 

P. Hen. Even so must I run on, and even so stop. 
What surety of the world, what hope, what stay. 
When this was now a king, and now is clay ! 

Bast. Art thou gone so ? I do but stay behind 
To do the office for thee of revenge ; 
And then my soul shall wait on thee to heaven. 
As it on earth hath been thy servant still. 
Now, now, you stars, that move in your right spheres. 
Where be your powers ? Show now your mended faiths ; 
And instantly return with me again. 
To push destruction, and perpetual shame. 
Out of the weak door of our fainting land : 
Straight let us seek, or straight we shall be sought ; 
The dauphin rages at our very heels. 

Sal. It seems you know not then so much as we : 
The cardinal Pandulph is within at rest. 
Who half an hour since came from the dauphin ; 
And brings from him such offers of our peace * 

As we with honour and respect may take. 
With purpose presently to leave this war. 

Bast. He will the rather do it, when he sees 
Ourselves well sinewed to our defence. 

Sal. Nay, it is in a manner done already ; 
For many carriages ' he hath despatch'd 
To the sea-side, and put his cause and quarrel 
To the disposing of the cardinal. 
With whom yourself, myself, and other lords. 
If you think meet, this afternoon will post 
To consummate this business happily. 

Bast. Let it be so : — And you, my noble prince. 
With other princes that may best be spar'd. 
Shall wait upon your father's funeral. 

P. Hen. At Worcester must his body be interr'd ; 
For so he will'd it. 

Bast. Thither shall it then. 

And happily may your sweet self put on 
The lineal state and glory of the land ! 



[Act V, 

To whom, with all submission, on my knee, 
I do bequeath my faithful services 
And true subjection everlastingly. 

Sal. And the like tender of our love we make. 
To rest without a spot for evermore. 

P. Hen. I have a kind soul, that would give you thanks. 
And knows not how to do it, but with tears. 

Bast. O, let us pay the time but needful woe. 
Since it hath been beforehand with our griefs. — 
This England never did, nor never shall. 
Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror. 
But when it first did help to wound itself. 
Now these her princes are come home again. 
Come the three corners of the world in arms. 
And we shall shock them : Nought shall make us rue. 
If England to itself do rest but true. [Exevnt. 

[Monument of King .Tohn at Worcester.] 




' Scene II. — " Have I not here the best cardtfor the game ?" 

There is a general notion that cards were invented for the amusement of Charles VI. 
of France, who suffered an almost constant depression of spirits, nearly allied to 
insanity. This opinion was derived from an entry in an account-book of the trea- 
surer to that unhappy king, about 1393, in which we find " fifty-six sols of Paris 
given to Jacquemin Gringonneur, painter, for three packs of cards, gilt and coloured, 
and of different sorts, for the diversion of his majesty." From a passage discovered 
in an old manuscript copy of the romance of ' Renard le Contrefait,' it appears that 
cards were known in France about 1340 ; and there is no doubt that they were 
commonly used in France and Spain about the end of the fourteenth century. 
The earliest printed cards known are those engraved by the celebrated artist known 
as " the Master of 1466 ;" and parts of a pack, in most beautiful preservation, are 
in the possession of Mr. Tiffin, of the Strand, who has kindly permitted us to copy 
the following specimens : — 

* Scene III. — " To my litter straight:' 

Holinshed relates, after Matthew Paris, that the King "was not able lo ride, but 
was fain to be carried in a litter, presently made of twigs, with a couch of straw 
under him, without any bed or pillow." Matthew of Westminster informs us that 
John was conveyed from the abbey of Swineshead, " in leclic4 equestri,"' — the horse- 
litter. The following representation of one form of this litter is from a drawing in 
the MS. ' History of the Kings of France ' (Royal, 16 G. 6), written at the com- 
mencement of the fourteenth century. In the original the drawing appears to 

Vol. IV. 2 A 



represent Queen Crotilde, who in her last illness was carried to Tours, where she 

' Scene VIL — " Many carriages." 

In vol. XX. of the ' Archaeologia' there is a history of can-iages in England, by Mr. 
Markland, illustrated by engravings — among which is the principal figure of the 
following engi'aving, copied from a very valuable MS. formerly in the Roxburgh 
Library, entitled ' Le Roman du Roy Meliadus,' written at the close of the four- 
teenth century. The elegant form of the wheel of this carriage (similar to what, in 
architecture, is called a Catherine wheel) deserves particular notice. The vehicles 
in the background are taken from a curious Saxon MS. in the British Museum 
(Cottonian Lib. Claudius B. 4), in which many varieties of wheel-carriages are 

The four-whoeied car in which the standard is erected is copied from a drawing 
in an early ' MS. History of the Kings of France' (Royal MS. 16 G. 6, Brit. Mus.). 



The standard there represented is of great size, indeed so large that only some con- 
trivance similar to that adopted could have rendered it available in the field. 

The famous Battle of the Standard, fought 1138, derived its name from one of 
these remarkable standards being erected by the English army ; from the ceir of 
which the Bishop of Durham, previous to the battle, read the prayer of absolution. 

[Henry III.] 

It is uuuecessary for us to do more than refer our readers to Holinshed for an 
account of the long-protracted dispute between the Pope and John, which ended in 
the mean submission which Shakspere has so strikingly recorded in the first scene 
of this act. The chronicler also details the attempt which the Pope made to dis- 
suade the French king from the invasion of England, and the determination of the 
Dauphin to assert what he called his right to the throne. These narratives are too 
long, and have too little of dramatic interest, to be here given as illustrations of the 
poet. We subjoin, however, Holinahed's account, which he gives on the authority 
of Matthew Paris, of the disclosures of Melun, which determined the revolted lord* 
to return to their obedience to John. But the story is very apocryphal : — 

" About the s^me time (1216, An. Reg. 18), or rather in the year last past as 
some hold, it fortuned that the Viscount of Melune, a Frenchman, fell sick at Lon- 
don, and, perceiving that death was at hand, he called unto him certain of the 
English barons, which remained in the city, upon safeguard thereof, and to them 
made this protestation : ' I lament (saith he) your destruction and desolation at 

2A 2 



hand, because you are ignorant of tlie perils lianging over your heads. For this 
understand, that Lewis, and with him sixteen earls and barons of France, have 
secretly sworn (if it shall fortune him to conquer this realm of England, and be 
crowned king) that he will kill, banish, and confine all those of the English nobility 
(which now do sers'e under him, and persecute their own kuig) as traitors and rebels, 
and furtliermore will dispossess all their lineage of such inheritance as they now 
hold in England. And because (saith he) you shall not have doubt hereof, I, 
which lie here at the point of death, do now affirm unto you, and take it on the 
peril of my soul, that I am one of those sixteen that have sworn to perform this 
thing. Wherefore I advise you to provide for your own safeties, and your realm's 
which you now destroy, and keep this thing secret which I have uttered unto you.' 
After this speech was uttered he straiglitways died."' 

The " Plain near St. Edmunds-Bury," which is the locality of the second scene 
and of the subsequent battle, is not mentioned in the chronicles, nor is this locality 
defined in the original edition of this play. The modern editors have introduced it, 
most probably from the circumstance of tlie Barons and the Dauphin having inter- 
changeably swoni 

" Upon the altar at St. Edmund'sBury." 
We subjoin an old view of the town : — 

Matthew Paris, and Matthew of Westminster, liave minutely described the route 
taken by the king previous to his death. " The country being wasted on each 
hand, the king passeth forward till he came to Wellestreme Sands, where, in passing 
the washes, he lost a great jiart of liis army, with horses and carriages." * * * * 
" Yet the king himself, and a few others, escaped the violence of the waters, by 
following a good guide." The Long Wash, between Lynn and Boston, was formerly 
a morass, intersected by roads of Roman construction. The memory of the precise 
spot wliere John lost his baggage is still preserved in the name of a comer of a bank 
between Cross Keys Wash and Lynn, called King's Corner. The poet, having 
another dramatic purpose in view, did not take that version of the king's death 



which ascribed his last illness to be the result of anguish of mind occasioned 
by this loss ; but he supposes the accident to have befallen the forces under the 
Bastard: — 

" Myself, well mounted, hardly have escaped." 

The death of John, by poison administered by a monk, is thus described by 
Holinshed, upon the authority of Caxton : — 

" — There be which have written that after he had lost his army he came to the 
abbey of Swineshead, in Lincolnshire, and there, understanding the cheapness and 
plenty of com, showed himself greatly displeased therewith ; as he, that for the 
hatred which he bare to the English people, tliat had so traitorously revolted from 
him unto his adversary Lewis, wished all misery to light upon them, and tliere- 
upon said in his anger tliat he would cause all kind of grain to be at a far higher 
price ere many days should pass. Whereupon a monk that heard him speak such 
words, being moved with zeal for the oppression of his country, gave the king 
poison in a cup of ale, whereof he first took the assay, to cause the king not to 
suspect ihe matter, and so they both died in manner at one time." 

The attempt of Lewis to possess himself of the English throne was maintained 
for two years ; and the country was not freed from • the French till after " peace 
was concluded on the eleventh day of September (1218), not far from Stanes.' 

We have given, at the head of this Illustration, the portrait of Heiury III. from 
his great seal ; and we subjoin that of the Dauphin, from his seal engraved in the 
' Archaeologia.' 

[Lewis, Danphin of France.] 



Dr. Johnson, in his preface to Shakspere, speaking of the division, 
by the players, of our author's works into comedies, histories, and 
tragedies, thus defines what, he says, was the notion of a dramatic 
history in those times : " History was a series of actions, with no 
other than chronological succession, independent on each other, and 
without any tendency to introduce and regulate the conclusion." 
Again, speaking of the unities of the critics, he says of Shakspere — 
" His histories, being neither tragedies nor comedies, are not sub- 
ject to any of their laws ; nothing more is necessary to all the praise 
which they expect, than that the changes of action be so prepared 
as to be understood, that the incidents be various and aflfecting, and 
the characters consistent, natural, and distinct. No other unity is 
intended, and, therefore, none is to be sought. In his other works 
he has well enough preserved the unity of action." Taking these 
observations together, as a general definition of the character of 
Shakspere's histories, we are constrained to say that no opinion can 
be farther removed from the truth. So far from the " unity of 
action " not being regarded in Shakspere's histories, and being sub- 
servient to the " chronological succession," it rides over that suc- 
cession whenever the demands of the scene require " a unity of 
a higher order, which connects the events by reference to the 
workers, gives a reason for them in the motives, and presents men 
in their causative character."* It is this principle which in Shak- 
spere has given offence, as we have shown, to those who have not 
formed a higher notion of an historical play than that the series of 
actions should be the transcript of a chronicle, somewhat elevated, 
and somewhat modified, by the poetical form, but " without any 
tendency to introduce and regulate the conclusion." 

The great connecting link that binds together all the series of 
actions in the ' King John ' of Shakspere, — which does not hold 
any actions, or series of actions, which arise out of other causes, — 
is the fate of Arthur. From the first to the last scene, the hard 
struggles and the cruel end of the young Duke of Brittany either 

* Coleridge's Literary Remains, vol. ii. p. 160. 


lead to the action, or form a portion of it, or are the direct causes 
of an ulterior consequence. We must entreat the indulgence of 
our readers whilst we endeavour to establish this principle some- 
what in detail. 

In the whole range of the Shaksperian drama there is no opening 
scene which more perfectly exhibits the effect which is produced 
by coming at once, and without the slightest preparation, to the 
main business of the piece : — 

" Now say, Chatillon, what would France with us?' 

In three more lines the phrase " borrow'd majesty " at once 
explains the position of John ; and immediately afterwards we come 
to the formal assertion by France of the " most lawful claim " of 
" Arthur Plantagenet" — 

" To this fair island, and the territories ; 

To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine." 

As rapid as the lightning of which John speaks is a defiance given 
and returned. The ambassador is commanded to " depart in peace ;" 
the king's mother makes an important reference to the " ambitious 
Constance ;" and John takes up the position for which he struggles 
to the end, — 

" Our strong possession, and our right, for us.'' 

The scene of the Bastard is not an episode entirely cut off from the 
main action of the piece ; his loss of " lands," and his " new-made 
honour," were necessary to attach him to the cause of John. The 
Bastard is the one partisan who never deserts him. 

The second act brings us into the very heart of the conflict on 
the claim of Arthur, What a Gothic grandeur runs through the 
whole of these scenes ! We see the men of six centuries ago, as they 
played the game of their personal ambition — now swearing hollow 
friendships, now breathing stern denunciations; — now affecting 
compassion for the weak and the suffering, now breaking faith with 
the orphan and the mother ; — now 

" Gone to be married, gone to swear a peace ;" 

now keeping the feast " with slaughtered men ;" — now trembling 
at, and now braving, the denunciations of spiritual power; — and 
agreeing in nothing but to bend " their sharpest deeds of malice " 
on unoffending and peaceful citizens, unless the citizens have some 
" commodity " to offer which shall draw them 

" To a most base and vile-concluded peace." 
With what skill has Shakspere, whilst he thus painted the spirit of 


the chivalrous times, — lofty in words, but sordid in acts, — given us 
a running commentary which interprets the whole in the sarcasms 
of the Bastard ! But amidst all the clatter of conventional dignity 
which we find in the speeches of John, and Philip, and Lewis, and 
Austria, the real dignity of strong natural affections rises over the 
pomp and circumstance of regal ambition with a force of contrast 
which is little less than sublime. In the second act Constance is 
almost too much mixed up with the dispute to let us quite feel that 
she is something very much higher than the " ambitious Constance." 
Yet even here, how sweetly does the nature of Arthur rise up 
amongst these fierce broils, — conducted at the sword's point with 
words that are as sharp as swords, — to assert the supremacy of gen- 
tleness and moderation : — 

'' Good my mother, peace! 

I would that I were low laid in my grave ; 

I am not worth this coil that 's made for me." 

This is the key-note to the great scene of Arthur and Hubert in the 
fourth act. But in the mean time the maternal terror and anguish 
of Constance become the prominent objects ; and the rival kings, 
the haughty prelate, the fierce knights, the yielding citizens, appear 
but as puppets moved by destiny to force on the most bitter sorrows 
of that broken-hearted mother. We have here the true character- 
istic of the drama, as described by the philosophical critic, — " fate 
and will in opposition to each other." Mrs. Jameson, in her very 
delighful work, ' The Characteristics of Women,' has formed a 
most just and beautiful conception of the character of Constance : — 
" That which strikes us as the principal attribute of Constance is 
power — power of imagination, of will, of passion, of affection, of 
pride : the moral energy, that faculty which is principally exercised 
in self-control, and gives consistency to the rest, is deficient ; or 
rather, to speak more correctly, the extraordinary development of 
sensibility and imagination, which lends to the character its rich 
poetical colouring, leaves the other qualities comparatively subordi- 
nate. Hence it is that the whole complexion of the character, not- 
withstanding its amazing grandeur, is so exquisitely feminine. 
The weakness of the woman, who by the very consciousness of that 
weakness is worked up to desperation and defiance, the fluctuations 
of temper and the bursts of sublime passion, the terrors, the impa- 
tience, and the tears, are all most true to feminine nature. The 
energy of Constance, not being based upon strength of character, 
rises and falls with the tide of passion. Her haughty spirit swells 
against resistance, and is excited into frenzy by sorrow and disap- 


pointment ; while neither from her towering pride nor her strength 
of intellect can she borrow patience to submit, or fortitude to 

How exquisitely is this feminine nature exhibited when Constance 
affects to disbelieve the tale of Salisbury that the kings are " gone 
to swear a peace ;" or rather makes her words struggle with her 
half-belief, in very weakness and desperation ! — 

" Thou shalt be punish'd for thus frighting me. 
For I am sick, and capable of fears ; 
Oppress'd with wrongs, and therefore fiill of fears ; 
A widow, husbandless, subject to fears; 
A woman, naturally bom to fears ; 
And though thou now confess thou didst but jest 
With my vex'd spirits, I cannot take a truce,^ 
But they will quake and tremble all this day." 

Here is the timid, helpless woman, sick even at the shadows of 
coming events ; but when the shadows become realities, the haughty 

" lake a proud river peering o'er his bound^"" 

asserts its supremacy in little matters which are yet within its. con- 
trol : — 

" Sar. Pardon me, madam, 

I may not go without you to the kings. 

Const. Thou mayst, thou shalt, I will not go with thee ^ 
* * * * hei^e I and sorrows sit ; 
Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it." 

The pride of grief for a while triumphs over the grief itself : — 

"^ Arm, arm, you heavens, against these perjur'd kings !" 

She casts away all fear of consequences, and defies her false friends 
with words that appear as irrepressible as her tears. When Pan- 
dulph arrives upon the scene she sees the change which his mission 
is to work only through the medium of her own personal wrongs : — - 

" Good father cardinal, cry thou, amen, 

To my keen curses : for, without my wrong, 
There is no tongue hath power to curse him right." 

Reckless of what may follow, she, who formerly exhorted Philip, 

•' Stay for an answer to your embassy, 

Lest unadvis'd you stain your swords with blood," 

is now ready to encounter all the perilous chances of another war,; 
and to exhort France to fall off from England, even upon her knee 
" made hard with kneeling." This would appear like the intensity 
of selfishness, did we not see the passion of the mother in every act 


and word. It is thus that the very weakness of Constance — the 
impotent rage, the deceiving hope — become clothed with the 
dignity that in ordinary cases belongs to patient suffering and rea- 
sonable expectations. Soon, however, this conflict of feeling — 
almost as terrible as the " hysterica passio " of Lear — is swallowed 
up in the mother's sense of her final bereavement : — 

« Grief fills the room up of my absent child, 
Lies ill his bed, walks up and down with me. 
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words. 
Remembers me of all his gracious parts. 
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form ; 
Then, have I reason to be fond of {^ief. 
Fare you well : had you such a loss as I, 
I could give better comfort than you do. 

* * « * 

O Lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son ! 
My life, my joy, my food, my all the world ! 
My widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure !" 

Matchless as is the art of the poet in these scenes j — matchless as 
an exhibition of maternal sorrow only, apart from the whirlwind of 
conflicting passions that are mixed up with that sorrow ; — matchless 
in this single point of view when compared with the " Hecuba " 
which antiquity has left us,* and with the " Merope" which the imi- 
tators of the Greek drama have attempted to revive ; — are we to be- 
lieve that Shakspere intended that our hearts should sustain this lacera- 
tion, and that the eff"ects should pass away when Constance quits the 
stage ? Are we to believe that he was satisfied that his " incidents 
should be various and affecting," but " independent on each other, 
and without any tendency to produce and regulate the conclusion ?" 
Was there to be no " unity of feeling " to sustain and elevate the 
action to the end ? Was his tragedy to be a mere dance of Fan- 
toccini ? No, no. The remembrance of Constance can never be 
separated from the after-scenes in which Arthur appears ; and at 
the very last, when the poison has done its work upon the guilty 
king, we can scarcely help believing that the spirit of Constance 
hovers over him, and that the echo of the mother's cries is even 
more insupportable than the " bum'd bosom " and the " parched 
lips," which neither his " kingdom's rivers" nor the " bleak winds" 
of the north can " comfort with cold." 

Up to the concluding scene of the third act we have not learnt 
from Shakspere to hate John. We may think him an usurper. 

* In the * Troades ' of Euripides. 


Our best sympathies may be with Arthur and his mother. But he 
is bold and confident, and some remnant of the indomitable spirit 
of the Plantagenets gives him a lofty and gallant bearing. We are 
not even sure, from the first, that he had not something of justice in 
his quarrel, even though his mother confidentially repudiates " his 
right," In the scene with Pandulph we completely go with him. 
We have yet to know that he would one day crouch at the feet of 
the power that he now defies ; and he has therefore all our voices 
when he tells the wily and sophistical cardinal 

" That no Italian priest 
Sliall tithe or toll in our dominions." 

But the expression of one thought that had long been lurking in the 
breast of John sweeps away every feeling but that of hatred, and 
worse than hatred ; and we see nothing, hereafter, in the king, but 
the creeping, cowardly assassin, prompting the deed which he is 
afraid almost to name to himself, with the lowest flattery of his in- 
strument, and showing us, as it were, the sting which wounds, and 
the slaver which pollutes, of the venomous and loathsome reptile. 


" Come hither, Hubert — O, my gentle Hubert, 
We owe thee much " — 

By heaven, Hubert, I am almost asham'd 
To say what good respect I have of thee " — 

make our flesh creep. The warrior and the king vanish. If Shak- 
spere had not exercised his consummate art in making John move 
thus stealthily to his purpose of blood — if he had made the suggestion 
of Arthur's death what John afterwards pretended it was — " the 
winking of authority " — the " humour " 

" Of dangerous majesty, when, perchance, it frowns," — 

we might have seen him hemmed in with revolted subjects and 
foreign invaders with something like compassion. But this exhi- 
bition of low craft and desperate violence we can never forgive. 

At the end of the third act, when Pandulph instigates the Dau- 
phin to the invasion of England, the poet overleaps the historical 
succession of events by many years, and makes the expected death 
of Arthur the motive of policy for the invasion : — 

" The hearts 
Of all his people shall revolt from him, 
And kiss the lips of unacquainted change ; 
And pick strong matter of revolt, and wrath, 
Out of the bloody fingers' ends of John," 


Here is the link which holds together the dramatic action still en- 
tire ; and it wonderfully binds up all the succeeding events of the 

In the fourth act the poet has put forth all his power of the pa- 
thetic in the same ultimate direction as in the grief of Constance. 
The theme is not now the affection of a mother driven to frenzy by 
the circumstances of treacherous friends and victorious foes ; but it 
is the irresistible power of the very helplessness of her orphan boy, 
triumphing in its truth and artlessness over the evil nature of the 
man whom John had selected to destroy his victim, as one 

'• Fit for bloody villainy, 
Apt, liable, to be employed in danger." 

It would be worse than idle to attempt any lengthened comment on 
that most beautiful scene between Arthur and Hubert, which carries 
on the main action of this play. Hazlitt has truly said, " If any- 
thing ever was penned, heart-piercing, mixing the extremes of 
terror and pity, of that which shocks and that which soothes the 
mind, it is this scene." When Hubert gives up his purpose, we 
do not the less feel that 

" The bloody fingers' ends of John " 

have not been washed of their taint : — 

" Your uncle muBt not know but you are dead," 

tells us, at once, that no relenting of John's purpose had prompted 
the compassion of Hubert. Pleased, therefore, are we, to see the 
retribution beginning. The murmurs of the peers at the " once 
again crown'd," — the lectures which Pembroke and Salisbury read 
to their sovereign, — are but the preludes to the demand for " the 
enfranchisement of Arthur." Then come the dissembling of 
John, — 

" We cannot hold mortality's strong hand," — 

and the bitter sarcasms of Salisbury and Pembroke : — 

" Indeed we fear'd his sickness was past cure. 
Indeed we heard how near his death he was, 
Before the child himself felt he was sick." 

" This must be answer'd " is as a knell in John's ears. Throughout 
this scene the king is prostrate before his nobles ; — it is the prostra- 
tion of guilt without the energy which too often accompanies it. 
Contrast the scene with the unconquerable intellectual activity of 
Richard III., who never winces at reproach, seeing only the success 
of his crimes and not the crimes themselves, — as, for example, his 

KING JOHN. ' 365 

answer in the scene where his mother and the widow of Edward 
upbraid him with his murders, — 

" A flourish, trumpets! strike alarums, drums! 
Let not the heavens hear these tell-tale women 
Rail on the Lord's anointed." 

The messenger appears from France : — the mother of John is dead ; 
— " Constance in a frenzy died ;" the " powers of France " have 
arrived " under the Dauphin." Superstition is brought in to terrify- 
still more the weak king, who is already terrified with " subject 
enemies " and " adverse foreigners." The " prophet of Pomfret " 
and the " five moons " affright him as much as the consequences of 
" young Arthur's death." He turns upon Hubert in the extremity 
of his fears, and attempts to put upon his instrument all the guilt 
of that deed. Never was a more striking display of the equivoca- 
tions of conscience in a weak and guilty mind. Shakspere is here 
the true interpreter of the secret excuses of many a criminal, who 
would shift upon accessories the responsibility of the deviser of a 
wicked act, and make the attendant circumstances more powerful 
for evil than the internal suggestions. When the truth is avowed 
by Hubert, John does not rejoice that he has been spared the per- 
petration of a crime, but he is prompt enough to avail himself of 
his altered position : — 

" O haste thee to the peers." 
Again he crawls before Hubert. But the storm rolls on. 

The catastrophe of Arthur's death follows instantly upon the 
rejoicing of him who exclaimed, " Doth Arthur live ?" in the hope 
to find a safety in his preservation upon the same selfish principle 
upon which he had formerly sought a security in his destruction. 
In a few simple lines we have the sad dramatic story of Arthur's 
end : — 

" The wall is high ; and yet will I leap down : — 
Good ground, be pitiful, and hurt me not ! — 
There 's few, or none, do know me ; if they did, 
This ship-boy's semblance hath disguis'd me quite. 
I am afraid ; and yet 1 11 venture it." 

How marvellously does Shakspere subject all his characters and 
situations to the empire of common sense ! The Arthur of the old 
play, after receiving his mortal hurt, makes a long oration about his 
mother. The great dramatist carries on the now prevailing feeling 
of the audience by one pointed line : — 

" O me ! my uncle's spirit is in these stones." 
If any other recollection were wanting, these simple words would 


make us feel that John was as surely the murderer of Arthur, 
when the terrors of the boy drove him to an inconsiderate attempt 
to escape from his prison, as if the assassin, as some have repre- 
sented, rode with him in the dim twilight by the side of a cliff tliat 
overhung the sea, and suddenly hurled the victim from his horse 
into the engulfing wave ; — or as if the king tempted him to de- 
scend from his prison at Rouen at the midnight hour, and, instead 
of giving him freedom, stifled his prayers for pity in the waters of 
the Seine. It is thus that we know the anger of " the distemper'd 
lords " is a just anger, when, finding Arthur's body, they kneel be- 
fore that " ruin of sweet life," and vow to it the " worship of 
revenge." The short scene between Salisbury, Pembroke, the 
Bastard, and Hubert, which immediately succeeds, is as spirited 
and characteristic as anything in the play. Here we see " the 
invincible knights of old " in their most elevated character — fiery, 
implacable, arrogant, but still drawing their swords in the cause of 
right, when that cause was intelligible and undoubted. The cha- 
racter of Faulconbridge here rises far above what we might have 
expected from the animal courage and the exuberant spirits of the 
Faulconbridge of the former acts. The courage is indeed here 
beyond all doubt : — 

" Thou wert better gall the devil, Salisbury : 
If thou but frown on me, or stir thy foot, 
Or teach thy hasty spleen to do me shame, 
I '11 strike thee dead." 

But we were scarcely prepared for the rush of tenderness and hu- 
manity that accompany the courage, as in the speech to Hubert : — 

" If thou didst but consent 
To this most cruel act, do but despair, 
And, if thou want'st a cord, the smallest thread 
That ever spider twisted from her womb 
Will serve to strangle thee ; a rush will be 
A beam to hang thee on ; or, wouldst thou drown thyself, 
Put but a little water in a spoon. 
And it shall be as all the ocean. 
Enough to stifle such a villain up." 

It is this instinctive justice in Faulconbridge, — this readiness to 
uplift the strong hand in what he thinks a just quarrel, — this 
abandonment of consequences in the expression of his opinions, — 
that commands our sympathies for him whenever he appears upon the 
scene. The motives upon which he acts are entirely the antagonist 
motives by which John is moved. We have, indeed, in Shakspere 
none of the essay-writing contrasts of smaller authors. We have 


no asserters of adverse principles made to play at see-saw, with 
reverence be it spoken, like the Moloch and Belial of Milton. 
But, after some reflection upon what we have read, we feel that he 
who leapt into Coeur-de-lion's throne, and he who hath " a trick of 
Coeur-de-lion's face," are as opposite as if they were the formal 
personifications of subtlety and candour, cowardice and courage, 
cruelty and kindliness. The fox and the lion are not more strongly 
contrasted than John and Faulconbridge ; and the poet did not 
make the contrast by accident. And yet with what incomparable 
management are John and the Bastard held together as allies 
throughout these scenes. In the onset the Bastard receives honour 
from the hands of John, — and he is grateful. In the conclusion he 
sees his old patron, weak indeed and guilty, but surrounded with 
enemies, — and he will not be faithless. When John quails before 
the power of a spiritual tyrant, the Bastard stands by him in the 
place of a higher and a better nature. He knows the dangers that 
surroimd his king : — ■ 

"All Kent hath yielded; nothing there holds out 
But Dover castle : London hath receiv'd, 
Like a kind host, the dauphin and his powers ; 
Your nobles will not hear you, but are gone 
To offer service to your enemy." 

But no dangers can daunt his resolution : — 

" Let not the world see fear, and sad distrust, 
Govern the motion of a kingly eye : 
Be stirring as the time ; be fire with fire; 
Threaten the threat'ner, and outface the brow 
Of bragging horror : so shall inferior eyes. 
That borrow their behaviours from the great, 
Grow great by your example, and put on 
The dauntless spirit of resolution." 

The very necessity for these stirring words would show us that 
from henceforth John is but a puppet without a will. The blight 
of Arthur's death is upon him ; and he moves on to his own destiny, 
whilst Faulconbridge defies or fights with his enemies-; and his re- 
volted lords, even while they swear 

" A voluntary zeal, and unurg'd faith," 

to the invader, bewail their revolt, and lament 

'* That, for the health and physic of our right, 
We caimot deal but with the very hand 
Of stem injustice and confused wrong." 

But the great retribution still moves onward. The cause of Eng- 


land is triumphant ; " the lords are all come back;" — but the king 

is " poisoned by a monk :" — 

" Poison'd, — ill fare; — dead, forsook, cast off: 
And none of you will bid the winter come, 
To thrust his icy fingers in my maw ; 
Nor let my kingdom's rivers take their course 
Through my burn'd bosom ; nor entreat the north 
To make his bleak winds kiss my parched lips, 
And comfort me with cold : — I ilo not ask you much, 
I beg cold comfort ; and you are so strait, 
And so ingrateful, you deny me that." 

The interval of fourteen years between the death of Arthur and the 
death of John is annihilated. Causes and consequences, separated 
in the proper history by long digressions and tedious episodes, are 
brought together. The attributed murder of Arthur lost John all 
the inheritances of the house of Anjou, and allowed the house of 
Capet to triumph in his overthrow. Out of this grew a larger 
ambition, and England was invaded. The death of Arthur and the 
events which marked the last days of John were separated in their 
cause and effect by time only, over which the poet leaps. It is said 
that a man who was on the point of drowning saw, in an instant, all 
the events of his life in connexion with his approaching end. So 
sees the poet. It is his to bring the beginnings and the ends of 
events into that real union and dependence which even the philoso- 
phical historian may overlook in tracing their course. It is the 
poet's office to preserve a unity of action ; it is the historian's to 
show a consistency of .progress. In the chroniclers we have mani- 
fold changes of fortune in the life of John after Arthur of Brittany 
has fallen. In Shakspere Arthur of Brittany is at once revenged. 
The heartbroken mother and her boy are not the only sufferers 
from double courses. The spirit of Constance is appeased by the 
fall of John. The Niobe of a Gothic age, who vainly sought to 
shield her child from as stern a destiny as that with which Apollo 
and Artemis pursued the daughter -of Tantalus, may rest in peace ! 


Vol.. IV. 



King Richard II. 

Edmund OF Langley, i>MA:e o/* York: I , , rr- 

T ^ T^ , /. T } uncles to the King. 

John of Gaunt, Duke o/^ Lancaster ; ) 

Henry, surnamed Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford, son to 

John of Gaunt ; afterwards King Henry IV. 

Duke of Aumerle, son to the Duke of York. 

Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk. 

Duke of Surrey. 

Earl of Salisbury. 

Earl Berkley. 

Bushy, ] 

Bagot, > creatures to King Richard. 

Green, J 

Earl of Northumberland. 

Henry Percy, his son. 

Lord Ross. 

Lord Willoughby. 

Lord Fitzwater. 

Bishop of Carlisle. 

Abbot of Westminster. 

Lord Marshal ; and another Lord. 

Sir Pierce of Exton. 

Sir Stephen Scroop. 

Captain of a band of Welshmen. 

Queen to King Richard. 
Duchess of Gloster. 
Duchess of York. 
Lady attending on the Queen. 

Lords, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Two Gardeners, Keeper, 
Messenger, Groom, and other Attendants. 

SCENE, — dispersedly in England and Wales. 



The 'Richard II.' of Shakspere was entered at Stationers' Hall 
August 29, 1597, by Andrew Wise; by whom the first edition 
was published in the same year, under the title of ' The Tragedie 
of King Richard the Second. As it hath been publikely acted by 
the Right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his servants.' It 
is one of the plays enumerated as Shakspere's by Francis Meres 
in 1598. A second edition was printed by Wise in 1598, which 
bears the name of " William Shake-speare " as the author. In 
1608 an edition was printed for Matthew Law, of which the 
copies in general bear this title : ' The Tragedie of King Richard 
the Second, with new additions of the Parliament Sceane, and the 
deposing of King Richard. As it hath been lately acted by the 
kinges servantes, at the Globe, by William Shake-speare.' A 
fourth edition, from the same publisher, appeared in 1615. The 
division of the acts and scenes was first made in the folio of 1623, 
and not, as Steevens has stated, in a quarto of 1634. 

We thus see that one of the most prominent scenes of the play, 
" The Parliament Scene and the deposing of King Richard," re- 
ceived " new additions " in 1608. In point of fact, all that part of 
the fourth act in which Richard is introduced to make the sur- 
render of his crown, comprising one hundred and fifty-four lines, 
was never printed in the age of Elizabeth. The quarto of 1608 
first gives this scene. That quarto is, with very few exceptions, 
the text of the play as it now stands ; for it is remarkable that in 
the folio there are, here and there, lines which are in themselves 
beautiful and unexceptionable, amounting in the whole to about 
fifty, which are omitted. It is difiicult to account for this; for 
the omissions are not so important in quantity that the lines should 
be left out to make room for the deposition scene. The last stage 
copy was, probably, here used ; for one of the passages omitted is 
a speech of " a lord" without a name, in the parliament scene ; and 
the players were, perhaps, desirous to save the introduction of a 



new character. We have indicated these alterations in our foot- 
notes. The text is, upon the whole, remarkably pure, and presents 
few difficulties. , 

Whether this play were written just anterior to the period of 
its publication, or some three or four years before, we have no 
distinct evidence. In the last edition of Malone's Shakspere, in 
his essay on the chronological order of Shakspere's plays, he gives 
it the date of 1 593. In former editions of the same essay he con- 
sidered it to be written in 1597. For neither of these conjectural 
dates does he offer any argument or authority. George Chalmers 
would fix it in 1596, because the play itself has some dozen lines 
upon Irish affairs ; and Irish affairs much occupied the nation in 
1596. This appears to us a somewhat absurd refinement upon the 
intention of the author ; for as the fall of Richard was, in some 
measure, occasioned by his absence in Ireland — as Daniel has it, 
because he 

" Neglects those parts from whence worse dangers grow,'" — 

it certainly does appear to us that some mention of Ireland was 
called for in this play, without any allusion being intended to the 
period of 1595, "when Tir Owen took the Queen's fort at Black- 
water." * 

There is, however, a circumstance connected with the chronology 
of this play which has been entirely overlooked by Malone and 
the other commentators; and which we approach with some hesita- 
tion when we consider what labour they have bestowed in bringing 
to light parallel passages of the text of Shakspere from the most 
obscure authors. The first four books of Daniel's ' Civil Warres,' 
three of which are almost wholly occupied with the story of 
Richard II., were first published in 1595. We have looked at 
this poem with some care, and we cannot avoid coming to the 
conclusion that, with reference to parts of the conduct of the 
story, and in a few modes of expression, each of which differ from 
the general narrative and the particular language of the chroniclers, 
there are similarities betwixt Shakspere and Daniel, which would 
lead to the conclusion, either that the poem of Daniel was known 
to Shakspere, or the play of Shakspere was known to Daniel. We 
will slightly run over these similarities, and then, with much diffi- 
dence, offer a conclusion. 

In the first scene of ' Richard II.' the king says, in regard to the 
appeal of Bolingbroke against Norfolk, — 

* See Chalmers's * Supplemental Apology,' p. 309. 


" Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him, 
If he appeal the duke on ancient malice."' 

Daniel adopts Froissart's version of the story, that Norfolk first 
accused Bolinghroke ; but Froissart has not a word of " ancient 
malice " — he simply makes the king exclaim, " Why say you these 
words ? — we will know it." Holinshed, when he makes Hereford 
first appeal Norfolk of treason, shows the king as hearing them 
both, and dismissing them with, " No more, we have heard enough." 
Daniel thus gives the scene : — 

" Hereof doth Norfolk presently take hold, 

And to the king the whole discourse relate: 
Who, not conceiting it, as it was told, 
But judging it proceeded out of hate,''' &c. 

In the fourth scene of the second act the Welsh Captain thus de- 
scribes the portents which showed that "the king is dead:" — 

" The bay-trees in our country are all wither 'd. 
And meteors fright the fixed stars of heaven ; 
The pale-fac'd moon looks bloody on the earth.'' 

Shakspere found the " bay-trees" in Holinshed : — " In this year, in 
a manner throughout all the realm of England, old bay-trees 
withered, and afterwards, contrary to all men's thinking, grew 
green again, — a strange sight, and supposed to import some un- 
known event." The other prodigies are in Daniel : — 

" Red fiery dragons in the air do flj', 

And burning meteors, pointed streaming lights, 
Bright stars in midst of day appear in sky." 

In the third scene of the third act we have a particular expression, 
unnoticed by the commentators, which finds a parallel in Daniel : — 

" Ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers' sons 
Shall ill become the Jlower of England's /ace ;" 

in Daniel we have — 

" Th" ungodly bloodshed that did so defile 
The beauty of the fields, and even did mar 
The Jlower of thy chief pride, thou fairest isle." 

Daniel had read Stow, although he might not have seen the ' Me- 
trical History ;' and he gives a minute description of the ambush 
of Northumberland between Conway and Flint. This poet has been 
called, and properly, by Drayton, 

'• Too much historian in verse." 
Shakspere drew the distinction between poetry and history, and he, 


therefore, gives us not this me/o -dramatic episode. But the entry 
of Bolingbroke and Richard into London equally came within the 
province of history and poetry. Matchless and original as this de- 
scription is in Shakspere, there is something very similar in Daniel, 
which is not in the chroniclers : — 

" He that in glory of his fortune sate, 

Admiring what he thought could never be, 
Did feel his blood within salute his state. 

And lift up his rejoicing soul, to see 
So many hands and hearts congratulate 

Th' advancement of his long-desir'd degree ; 
When, prodigal of thanks, in passing by, 
He re-salutes them all with cheerful eye. 
Behind him, all aloof, came pensive on 

The unregarded king; that drooping went 
Alone, and (but for spite) scarce lookd upon : 

Judge, if he did more envy, or lament. 
See what a wondrous work this day is done ; 

Which th' image of both fortunes doth present : 
In th' one, to show the best of glories' face ; 
In th' other, worse than worst of all disgrace.'* 

We have mentioned, in our Historical Illustration to Act V., that 
Daniel, as well as Shakspere, makes the queen use the language of 
a woman. There was poetical truth in this, with some foundation 
in historical exactness. Isabel, according to Froissart, had at eight 
years old the port of a queen. But it is remarkable that two poets 
should have agreed in a circumstance which forms no part of the 
ordinary historical narration. Daniel makes the resignation of the 
crown by Richard take place in the Tower ; but he gives the scene 
the same pomp and ceremony with which Shakspere has invested it 
at Westminster. In the speech of the Bishop of Carlisle we have 
these words in Shakspere : — 

" What sulfject can give sentence on his king ? 
And who sits here that is not Richard's subject ?" 

The words in Holinshed, from which the speech is said to be copied, 
are these : — " There was none amongst them worthy or meet to 
give judgment upon so noble a prince as King Richard was, whom 
they had taken for their sovereign and liege lord by the space of 
two-and-twenty years and more." In Daniel we have these words 
of the Bishop : — 

" Never shall this poor breath of mine consent 

That he that two-and-twenty years have reign'd 

As lawful lord and king by just descent, 

Should here be judg'd, unheard and unarraigu'd; 

Bff subjects too (Judges incompetent)." 


Lastly, in the death of Richard, Daniel, as well as Shakspere, 
follows the story that he was barbarously murdered by Sir Pierce 
of Exton. Shakspere puts these words into the mouth of the as- 
sassin : — 

" Didst thou not mark the king, what words he spake ? 
Have I no friend will rid me of this living /ear ?" 

Holinshed has, " King Henry, sitting on a day at his table, sore 
sighing, said, ' Have I no faithful friend which will deliver me of 
him whose life will be my death, and whose death will be the pre- 
servation of my life ?' " Daniel shows Henry perturbed while 
Richard lived, — 

" And wish'd that some would so his life esteem, 
As rid him of these fears wherein he stood." 

Are these resemblances accidental? We think not. Neither do 
we think that the parallel passages are derived from common 
sources. Did Daniel copy Shakspere ? We think not. He was 
of a modest and retiring nature, and would purposely have avoided 
provoking a comparison, especially in the scene describing the 
entrance of Richard and Bolingbroke into London, in which he has 
put out his own strength, in his own quiet manner. Shakspere, on 
the contrary, as it appears to us, took up Daniel's ' Civil Warres,' 
as he took up Hall's, or Holinshed' s, or Froissart's ' Chronicles,' 
and transfused into his play, perhaps unconsciously, a few of the 
circumstances and images that belonged to Daniel in his character 
of poet. Daniel's ' Civil Warres ' was, in truth, founded upon a 
false principle. It attempts an impossible mixture of the Poem 
and the Chronicle, — wanting the fire of the one and the accuracy 
of the other, — and this from the one cause, that Daniel's mind 
wanted the true poetical elevation. Believing, therefore, that 
Shakspere's ' Richard H.' contains passages that might have been 
suggested by Daniel's ' Civil Warres,' we consider that the play 
was written at a very short period before its publication in 1 597. 
The exact date is really of very little importance ; and we should 
not have dwelt upon it, had it not been pleasant to trace resem- 
blances between contemporary poets who were themselves personal 


The Richard H. of Shakspere is the Richard II. of real history. 
The events as they are detailed by the historians, in connexion with 


the use which Shakspere has made of those events, are pointed out 
in the Historical Illustrations to each act. 

But there is a question whether, as the foundation of this drama, 
Shakspere worked upon any previous play. No copy of any such 
play exists. The character of Richard is so entire, — so thoroughly 
a whole, — that we can have little douht in believing it to be a 
creation, and not a character adapted to the received dramatic no- 
tions of the poet's audience. But still there is every reason to 
suppose that there was another play of ' Richard II.' — perhaps two 
others ; and that one held possession of the stage long after Shak- 
spere's exquisite production had been acted and published. There 
is a curious matter connected with the state history of Shakspere's 
own times that has regard to the performance of some play of 
* Richard II.' On the afternoon previous to the insurrection of the 
Earl of Essex, in February, 1601, Sir Gilly Merrick, one of his 
partisans, procured to be acted before a great company of those 
who were engaged in the conspiracy, " the play of deposing 
Richard II." The oflBcial pamphlet of the declarations of the 
treasons of the Earl of Essex states that, when it was told Merrick, 
" by one of the players, that the play was old, and they should have 
loss in playing it, because few would come to it, there was forty 
shillings extraordinary given to play it ; and so, thereupon, played 
it was." In the printed account of the arraignment of Merrick, it 
is said that he ordered this play " to satisfy his eyes with a sight of 
that tragedy which he thought soon after his lord should bring 
from the stage to the state." There is a passage in Camden's 
' Annals ' which would appear to place it beyond a doubt that the 
play so acted was an older play than that of Shakspere. It is there 
charged against Essex that he procured, by money, the obsolete 
tragedy (exoletam tragoediam) of the abdication of Richard II. to 
be acted in a public theatre before the conspiracy. Bacon hints 
at a systematic purpose of bringing Richard II. " upon the stage 
and into print in Queen Elizabeth's time." Elizabeth herself, in a 
conversation with Lambarde, the historian of Kent, and keeper of 
the Records in the Tower, going over a pandect of the Rolls which 
Lambarde had prepared, coming to the reign of Richard II., said, 
" I am Richard II., know ye not that ?" Any allusion to Richard II. 
at that time was the cause of great jealousy. Haywarde, in 1599, 
very narrowly escaped a state prosecution for his ' First Part of the 
Life and Reign of King Henry IV.' This book was the deposition 
of Richard II. put " into print," to which Bacon alludes. It ap- 



pears to us that, without further evidence, there can be no doubt 
that the play acted before the partisans of the Earl of Essex was 
not the play of Shakspere. The deposition scene, we know, 
professed to be added to the edition of 1608. The play which 
Merrick ordered was, in 1601, called an obsolete play. Further, 
would Shakspere have continued in favour with Elizabeth, had 
he been the author of a play whose performance gave such deep 
oflfence ? 

But we have now further evidence that there was an old play of 
' Richard II.,' which essentially differed from Shakspere's play. 
Mr. Collier, whose researches have thrown so much light upon the 
stage in general, and upon Shakspere's life in particular, has pub- 
lished some very curious extracts from a manuscript in the Bod- 
leian Library, which describe, from the observations of a play-goer 
in the time of James I., a play of ' Richard II.,' essentially different 
in its scenes from the play of Shakspere. Dr. Syraon Forman, who 
was a sort of quack and astrologer, and who, being implicated in 
the conspiracy to murder Sir Thomas Overbury, had escaped public 
accusation by suddenly dying in 1611, kept "a book of plays and 
notes thereof, for common policy;" by which "common policy" 
he means — for maxims of prudence. His first entry is entitled 
" in Richard II., at the Globe, 1611, the 30 of April, Thursday." 
From the extract which we shall take the liberty of giving from 
Mr. Collier's book, it will be seen that at Shakspere's own theatre, 
the Globe, a ' Richard II.' was performed, which was, unquestion- 
ably, not his ' Richard II.' 

" Remember therein how Jack Straw, by bis overmuch boldness, not being politic 
nor suspecting anything, was suddenly, at Smithfield Bars, stabbed by AValworth, 
the Mayor of London, and so he and his whole army was overthrown. Therefore, 
in such case, or the like, never admit any party without a bar between, for a man 
cannot be too wise, nor keep himself too safe. 

" Also remember how the Duke of Glocester, the Earl of Arundel, Oxford, and 
others, crossing the King in his humour about the Duke of Eriand (Ireland) and 
Bushy, were glad to fly and raise a host of men; and, being in his castle, how the 
Duke of Eriand came by night to betray him, with three hundred men; but, hav- 
ing privy warning thereof, kept his gates fast, and would not suffer the enemy to 
enter, which went back again with a fly in his ear, and after was slain by the Earl 
of Arundel in the battle. 

" Remember, also, when the Duke («. e. of Glocester) and Arundel came to Lon- 
don with their army, King Richard came forth to them, and met them, and gave 
them fair words, and promised them pardon, and that all should be well, if they 
would discharge their army : upon whose promises and fair speeches they did it ; 
and after, the King bid them all to a banquet, and so betrayed them and cut ofl' 
their heads, &c., because they had not his pardon under his hand and seal before, 
but his word. 


" Remember therein, also, how the Duke of Lancaster privily contrived all villainy 
to Bet them all together by the ears, and to make the nobility to envy the King, and 
mislike him and his government; by which means he made his own son king, which 
was Henry Bolingbroke. 

" Remember, also, how the Duke of Lancaster asked a wise man whether himself 
should ever be king, and he told him no, but his son should be a king : and when 
he had told him, he hanged him up for his labour, because he should not bruit 
abroad, or speak thereof to otliers. This was a policy in the commonwealth's opi- 
nion, but I say it was a villain's part, and a Judas' kiss, to hang the man for telling 
him the truth. Beware, by this example, of noblemen and their fair words, and say 
little to them, lest they do the like to thee for thy good will.'* 

From Forman's account of this play it will be seen that it em- 
braces the earlier period of Richard II., containing the insurrection 
of Jack Straw. It seems very doubtful whether it includes the 
close of the reign. We have a talk for "policy" about the Duke 
of Lancaster's (Gaunt' s) machinations ; but nothing about Henry 
Bolingbroke. Were there two plays of ' Richard II.' of which we 
know nothing — the obsolete play of the deposition, which Merrick 
caused to be acted in 1601, and the play containing Jack Straw, 
which Forman noted in 1611 ? 


For the male costume of this play we are overwhelmed with au- 
thorities. Not only do we possess elaborately-executed portraits 
and monumental effigies of Richard, and the greater number of the 
other historical personages, but the time is particularly rich in illu- 
minated manuscripts, and in anecdotes illustrative of the dress and 
armour of the people at large. 

The poems of Chaucer and the chronicles of Froissart are full of 
information on these points ; and in the Harleian Collection of MSS. 
there is the well-known and invaluable 'Metrical History' of the de- 
position of Richard II., by a gentleman of the household of Charles 
VI. of France, and who attended Richard during the whole of 
the period he describes. f The MS. is liberally illustrated by mi- 
niatures exhibiting all the principal scenes of that eventful story, 
and containing portraits, of the dress at least, of Richard II., Bo- 
lingbroke, the Earls of Northumberland, Westmoreland, Exeter, 
Salisbury, the Bishop of Carlisle, &c. &c. 

This circumstance is the more fortunate, as, although we possess 

* New Particulars regarding the Works of Shakespeare : 18.16. 
f See Historical Hlustrations to Act 111. 


numberless illuminated copies of Froissart, all that have come 
under our notice have been executed as late, at least, as the com- 
mencement of the reign of our Henry VI., and, consequently, pre- 
sent us with the dress and armour of another century. We take 
this opportunity of impressing this fact upon the minds of our 
readers, by at once referring them to the cut at the end of this 
Introductory Notice, taken from the illuminated copy of Froissart, 
and representing the throwing down and accepting of the gage ; by 
comparison of which with those from the ' Metrical History' they 
will perceive the difference in the fashions of the times, and avoid 
confounding the former with those which are given as undoubted 
authorities for the costume of this play. 

The foppery of dress prevailing during the reign of Richard II. 
is the universal theme of satire and reprobation amongst the poets 
and historians of the day ; and York, in the first scene of the second 
act of this play, speaks with perfect truth of our " apish nation " 
limping in base imitation after the " fashions in proud Italy," or 
wherever "the world thrusts forth a vanity;" a passage which Dr. 
Johnson has presumed, of course, to be a mistake of Shakspere, or, 
rather, a wilful anachronism of the man who gave " to all nations 
the customs of England, and to all ages the manners of his own!" 
Richard himself was (as the Rev. Mr. Webb has remarked in his 
description of the ' Metrical History' aforesaid — ' Archseologia,' vol. 
XX.) the greatest fop of his day.* He had a coat estimated at thirty 
thousand marks, the value of which must chiefly have arisen from 
the quantity of precious stones with which it was embroidered, such 
being one of the many extravagant fashions of the time.f Those 
of working letters and mottoes on the dresses, and cutting the edges 
of the mantles, hoods, &c., into the shape of leaves and other de- 
vices, will be seen by referring to the portrait of Richard in the 
Jerusalem Chamber at Westminster, and the illuminations of the 
' Metrical History.' Bolingbroke, in the miniatures of that work, is 
represented in mourning for his father. When he entered London 
with the captive Richard in his train, he was dressed, according to 
Froissart, in a short jack, or jacket, of cloth of gold, " a la fachon 

Of John of Gaunt we are told that he wore his garments " not 

* The Monk of Evesham describes him as extravagantly splendid in his enter- 
tainments and dress. 

f The statute passed in prohibition of such vanities calls these dresses " apparel 
broider'd of stone." 


wide," and yet they became him "full well." In the Cotton MS. 
marked D 6, he is represented granting the claims at the corona- 
tion of Richard II., as Lord High Steward of England. He is 
attired in a long particoloured robe, one half white, the other 
blue, such being the family colours of the House of Lancaster. 
White and red were, however, assumed by Richard II. as his livery 
colours, and, as such, worn by the courtiers and citizens on state 

The sleeves of John of Gaunt's robe, it will be observed, are 
tight, and reach to the wrist, after the old fashion of Edward III.'s 
time, but bearing out the words of the old poet before quoted, 
who praises him for not giving way to the extravagances of his 
nephew's court : Chaucer, the Monk of Evesham, and the author 
of an anonymous work, cited by Camden, and called ' The Eulo- 
gium,' all complain of the large, long, and wide sleeves, reaching 
almost to the feet, which even the servants wore in imitation of 
their masters. 

The shoes had excessively long pikes, sometimes crooked up- 
wards, and then called crackowes (probably from Cracow, in 
Poland), and, according to the author of ' The Eulogium,' occasion- 
ally fastened to the knees by chains of gold or silver. The cha- 
peron, or hood, of this reign is of a most indescribable shape, and 
is sometimes worn over the capucium, or cowl. Single ostrich- 
feathers are also seen occasionally in front of the hood, or cap. 
The hair was worn long in the neck and at the sides, and elderly 
persons are generally represented with forked beards. 

The decoration of the white hart, crowned and chained under a 
tree, was worn by all Richard's friends and retainers. In the ward- 
robe account of his twenty -second year is an entry of a belt and 
sheath of a sword, of red velvet, embroidered with white harts 
crowned and with rosemary-branches. 

The armour of this reign was nearly all of plate, — a neck-piece 
of chain fastened to the bascinet, and called the camail, and the in- 
dented edge of the chain-apron depending below the jupon, or sur- 
coat, being nearly all the mail visible. The jupon introduced 
during the preceding reign was a garment of silk, or velvet, richly 
embroidered with the armorial bearings of the wearer, fitting tight 
to the shape, and confined over the hips by a magnificent girdle. 
( Vide that of the Black Prince at Canterbury.) In the ' Metrical 
History,' however, Richard and his knights are represented in loose 
surcoats, sometimes with sleeves, and embroidered all over with 


fanciful devices, the king's being golden ostrich-feathers. The 
armour worn by Bolingbroke when he entered the lists at Co- 
ventry was manufactured expressly for him at Milan by order of 
Galeazzo Visconti, to whom he had written on the subject. 

The chronicler Hall (and Holinshed follows him), describing 
this event, asserts, but without quoting his authority, that Boling- 
broke's horse was caparisoned with blue and green velvet, embroi- 
dered all over with swans and antelopes (his badges and supporters), 
and that the housings of the Duke of Norfolk's charger were of 
crimson velvet, embroidered with silver lions (his paternal arms) 
and mulberry-trees, a punning device, the family name being Mow- 
bray. The vizor of the bascinet, or war helmet, of this time, was 
of a singular shape, giving to the wearer almost the appearance of 
having the head of a bird. A specimen is to be seen in the Tower 
of London, and a still more perfect one is in the armoury of Sir S. 
Meyrick, at Goodrich Court. 

No feathers, as yet, decorated the helmet, unless they formed 
the heraldic crest of the family, and then only the tournament 

Of the female characters in the play, the Duchess of Gloster is 
the only one for whose dress we have any precise authority ; and it 
is probable that she is represented on her monumental brass in 
Westminster Abbey, which furnishes it, in the habit of a nun of 
Barking Abbey, to which place she retired after her husband's 
murder, and took the veil. The nuns of Barking, however, being 
of the order of St. Benedict, the dress, both in hue and form, would 
resemble the mourning habit of a widow of high rank at that period, 
which was quite conventual in its appearance, even to the barbe, or 
plaited chin-cloth. 

The general dress of ladies of quality, during the reign of Richard 
II., consisted of the kirtle, a sort of low-bodied gown, with long 
tight sleeves, and made to fit very close to the figure, over which 
was worn a singularly-shaped sleeveless gown, or robe, with a very 
full skirt and train, the front and edges generally trimmed with 
ermine, or other rich furs, and giving the appearance of a tight 
spencer over a loose dress, instead of which it is, as nearly as pos- 
sible, the exact reverse. 

Over this, on state occasions, was worn a long mantle, which, as 
well as the skirt of the gown, or robe, was frequently embroidered 
with armorial bearings. Leithieullier, in his observations on Se- 
pulchral Monuments, has remarked that, in such cases, the arms on 



the mantle are always those of the husband, and the others those of 
the lady's own family. 

The hair was worn in a gold fret, or caul, of net-work, sur- 
mounted by a chaplet, or garland, of goldsmith's work, a coronet, 
or a veil, according to the fancy or rank of the wearer. The eflBgy 
of Anne of Bohemia, and the illuminated MS. entitled ' Liber Re- 
galis,' preserved in Westminster Abbey, and executed in the time 
of Richard II., may be considered the best authorities for the royal 
and noble female costume of the period. 

[Throwing the Gaj; 

iiuination in Froissut.] 

[Richard II. Portrait in the Jerusalem Chamber.] 


SCENE I. — London. A Room in the Palace. 

\ Enter KiiiG Richard, attended; John of Gaunt, and other 
^ Nobles, with him. 

»L K. Rich. Old John of Gaunt, time-honour'd Lancaster, 
ik Hast thou, according to thy oath ' and band,* 
-.^^.Brought hither Henry Hereford,** thy bold son ; 

■ Band. Bund and bond are each the past participle passive of the verb to bind; 
and hence the band, that by which a thing is confined, and the bond, that by which 
one is constrained, are one and the same thing. 

'• Hereford. In the old copies this title is invariably spelt and pronounced Her- 
ford. In Hardynge's • Chronicle ' the word is always written Herford or Harford. 
It is constantly Herford, as a dissyllable, in Daniel's * Civile Warres.' 


Here to make good the boisterous late appeal. 
Which then our leisure would not let us hear. 
Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thoma^_Moatbwi3L2 

Gaunt. I have, my liege. 

K. Rich. Tell me, moreover, hast thou sounded him. 
If he appeal the duke on ancient malice ; 
Or worthily, as a good subject should. 
On some known ground of treachery in him ? 

Gaunt. As near as I could sift him on that argument. 
On some apparent danger seen in him, 
Aim'd at your highness, — ^no inveterate malice. 

K. Rich. Then call them to our presence ; face to face. 
And frowning brow to brow, ourselves will hear 
The accuser, and the accused, freely speak : — 

[Exeu7it some Attendants. 
High-stomach'd are they both, and full of ire. 
In rage deaf as the sea, hasty as fire. 

Re-enter Attendants, with Bolingbroke and Norfolk. 

Baling. Many years of happy days befal 
My gracious sovereign, my most loving liege ! 

Nor. Each day still better other's happiness ; 
Until the heavens, envying earth's good hap. 
Add an immortal title to your crown ! 

K. Rich. We thank you both : yet one but flatters us. 
As well appeareth by the cause you come ;* 
Namely, to appeal each other of high treason. — 
Cousin of Hereford, what dost thou object 
Against the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray ? 

Boling. First, (heaven be the record to my speech !) 
In the devotion of a subject's love. 
Tendering the precious safety of my prince. 
And free from other misbegotten hate. 
Come I appellant to this princely presence. 
Now, Thomas Mowbray, do I turn to thee. 
And mark my greeting well ; for what I speak 
My body shall make good upon this earth, 

■ You come. On which you come ; or you come on. The omission, in such a 
cose, of the preposition is not unusual. 

Scene I.] KING RICHARD II. 385 

Or my divine soul answer it in heaven. 

Thou art a traitor, and a miscreant ; 

Too good to be so, and too bad to live ; 

Since the more fair and crystal is the sky. 

The uglier seem the clouds that in it fly. 

Once more, the more to aggravate the note. 

With a foul traitor's name stuff I thy throat ; 

And wish (so please my sovereign), ere I move. 

What my tongue speaks, my right-drawn sword may prove. 

IVor. Let not my cold words here accuse my zeal : 
'T is not the trial of a woman's war. 
The bitter clamour of two eager tongues. 
Can arbitrate this cause betwixt us twain : 
The blood is hot that must be cool'd for this. 
Yet can I not of such tame patience boast. 
As to be hush'd, and nought at all to say : 
First, the fair reverence of your highness curbs me 
From giving reins and spurs to my free speech ; 
Which else would post, until it had return'd 
These terms of treason doubled " down his throat. 
Setting aside his high blood's royalty. 
And let him be no kinsman to my liege, 
I do defy him, and I spit at him ; 
Call him a slanderous coward, and a villain : 
Which to maintain, I would allow him odds ; 
And meet him, Avere I tied to run a-foot 
Even to the frozen ridges of the Alps, 
Or any other ground inhabitable ^ 
Wherever Englishman durst set his foot. 
Meantime, let this defend my loyalty, — 
By all my hopes, most falsely doth he lie. 

Boling. Pale trembling coward, there I throw my gage. 
Disclaiming here the kindred of the king ; 
And lay aside my high blood's royalty, 

*■ Doubled. In folio of 1623, and first quarto of 1597, doubly; doubled a HtB 
reading of fhe quarto 1615. 

'' Inhabitable. Uninhabitable, unhabitable. Jonson, and Taylor the Water-poet, 
both use tlie word in tliis sense, strictly according to its Latin derivation. But the 
Nurmaii origin of much of our language warrants this use. Habitable, and its con- 
verse, present no difficulty to a Frenchman. 

Vol. IV. 2 C 


Which fear, not reverence, makes thee to except : 
If guilty dread hath left thee so much strength. 
As to take up mine honour's pawn, then stoop ; 
By that, and all the rites of knighthood else. 
Will I make good against thee, arm to arm. 
What I have spoke, or thou canst worse devise.* 

Aor. I take it up ; and by that sword I swear. 
Which gently laid my knighthood on my shoulder, 
I '11 answer thee in any fair degree. 
Or chivalrous design of knightly trial : 
And, when I mounts alive may I not light. 
If I be traitor, or unjustly fight ! 

K. Rich. What doth our cousin lay to Mowbray's charge ? 
It must be great, that can inherit us ^ 
So much as of a thought of ill in him. 

Boling. Look, what I said "^ my life shall prove it true ; — 
That Mowbray hath receiv'd eight thousand nobles,* 
In name of lendings, for your highness' soldiers ; 
The which he hath detain'd for lewd "^ employments. 
Like a false traitor and injurious villain. 
Besides I say, and will in battle prove, — 
Or here, or elsewhere, to the furthest verge 
That ever was survey'd by English eye, — 
That all the treasons, for these eighteen years 
Com plotted and contrived in this land, 
Fetch'd from false Mowbray their first head and spring. 
Further I say, — and further will maintain 
Upon his bad life, to make all this good, — 
That he did plot the duke of Gloster's death ; 
Suggest ® his soon -believing adversaries ; 

* So the quarto of 1597. The first folio readsj 

" What I have spoken, or thou caast devise.*' 

* Inherit tu. To inherit was not only used in the sense of to inherit as an heir, 
but in that of to receive generally. It is here used for to cause toreceive, in the tame 
way that to possess is either used for to have, or to cause to have. 

<^ Said. So the quartos and folio. In modem editions, speak. 

<* Leu<d, in its early signification, means misled, deluded ; and thence it came to 
stand, as here, for wicked. The laity — " the body of the Christian people," as 
Gibbon calls them — were designated as lewede by the clergy. (See Tooke, vol. ii. 
p. 383.) 

* Suggest — prompt. 



Scene I.] KING RICHARD II. 387 

And, consequently, like a traitor coward, 

Sluic'd out his innocent soul through streams of blood : 

Which blood, like sacrificing Abel's, cries. 

Even from the tongueless caverns of the earth. 

To me for justice and rough chastisement ; 

And, by the glorious worth of my descent. 

This arm shall do it, or this life be spent. 

K. Rich. How high a pitch his resolution soars ! — 
Thomas of Norfolk, what say'st thou to this ? 

Nor. O, let my sovereign turn away his face. 
And bid his ears a little while be deaf. 
Till I have told this slander of his blood. 
How God, and good men, hate so foul a liar. 

K. Rich. Mowbray, impartial are our eyes and ears: 
Were he my brother, nay, our* kingdom's heir, 
(As he is but my father's brother's son,) 
Now by my sceptre's awe I make a vow. 
Such neighbour nearness to our sacred blood 
Should nothing privilege him, nor partialize 
The unstooping firmness of my upright soul : 
He is our subject, Mowbray ; so art thou ; 
Free speech, and fearless, I to thee allow. 

Nor. Then, Bolingbroke,^ as low as to thy heart. 
Through the false passage of thy throat, thou liest ! 
Three parts of that receipt I had for Calais 
Disburs'd I duly to his highness' soldiers : 
The other part reserv'd I by consent ; 
For that my sovereign liege was in my debt. 
Upon remainder of a dear account. 
Since last I went to France to fetch his queen : 
Now swallow down that lie. — For Gloster's death, — 
I slew him not j'f but to my own disgrace, ^ 

Neglected my sworn duty in that case. 
For you, my noble lord of Lancaster, 
The honourable father to my foe. 
Once I did lay an ambush for your life, 
A trespass that doth vex my grieved soul : 
But, ere I last receiv'd the sacrament, 

» Our kingdoni'i heir. So the folio. The earlier copies, my kingdom's heir. 

2 C 2 


I did confess it ; and exactly begg'd 

Your grace's pardon, and, I hope, I had it. 

This is my fault r As for the rest appeal'd. 

It issues from the rancour of a villain, 

A recreant and most degenerate traitor : 

Which in myself I boldly will defend ; 

And interchangeably hurl down my gage 

Upon this overweening traitor's foot. 

To prove myself a loyal gentleman 

Even in the best blood chamber'd in his bosom : 

In haste whereof, most heartily I pray 

Your highness to assign our trial day. 

K. Rich. Wrath-kindled gentlemen, be rul'd by me ; 
Let 's purge this choler without letting blood : 
This we prescribe, though no physician ; 
Deep malice makes too deep incision : 
Forget, forgive ; conclude, and be agreed ; 
Our doctors say, this is no month* to bleed.'' 
Good uncle, let this end where it begun ; 
We '11 calm the duke of Norfolk, you your son. 

Gaunt. To be a make-peace shall become my age : — 
Throw down, my son, the duke of Norfolk's gage. 

K. Rich. And, Norfolk, throw down his. 

Gaunt. When, Harry? when?'' 

Obedience bids, I should not bid again. 

K. Rich. Norfolk, throw down, we bid ; there is no boot.' 

Nor. Myself I throw, dread sovereign, at thy foot : 
My life thou shalt command, but not my shame : 
The one my duty owes ; but my fair name, 
(Despite of death,) that lives upon my grave. 
To dark dishonour's use thou shalt not have. 

■ Month in the quartos; in the folio, time. 

•> JVhen, Harry? when? UTien, so used, is an expression of impatience, as in 
' The Taming of the Shrew,' — "Why when, I say ?" Monck Mason, in this pas- 
sage, suggests a new punctuation, which is very ingenious, though we can scarcely 
venture to adopt it in the text, contrary to all the old copies. It is this, — 
« When, Harry ? When 
Obedience bids, I should not bid again." 
* No boot. Boot is here used in its original sense of compensation. There is no 
boot, no remedy for what is jwist, — nothing to be added, or substituted. 


Scene I.] KING RICHARD II. 389 

I am disgrac'd, impeach'd, and baffled here ; 
Piere'd to the soul with slander's venom 'd spear ; 
The which no balm can cure, but his heart-blood 
Which breath'd this poison. 

K. Rich. Rage must be withstood : 

Give me his gage : — Lions make leopards tame." 

Nor. Yea, but not change his '' spots : take but my shame. 
And I resign my gage. My dear dear lord. 
The purest treasure mortal times afford 
Is spotless reputation ; that away. 
Men are but gilded loam,'' or painted clay. 
A jewel in a ten-times-barr'd-up chest 
Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast. 
Mine honour is my life ; both grow in one ; 
Take honour from me, and my life is done : 
Then, dear my liege, mine honour let me try ; 
In that I live, and for that will I die. 

K. Rich. Cousin, throw down your gage ; do you begin. 

Baling. O, heaven defend my soul from such foul sin ! 
Shall I seem crest-fallen in my father s sight ? 
Or with pale beggar fear impeach my height 
Before this outdar'd dastard? Ere my tongue 
Shall wound mine honour with such feeble wrong. 
Or sound so base a parle, my teeth shall tear 
The slavish motive of recanting fear ; 
And spit it bleeding, in his high disgrace. 
Where shame doth harbour, even in Mowbray's face. 

[Exit Gaunt. 

K. Rich. We were not born to sue, but to command : 
Which since we cannot do to make you friends. 
Be ready, as your lives shall answer it. 
At Coventry, upon Saint Lambert's day ; 

* Lions make leopards tame. The crest of Norfolk was a golden leopard. 

'' His spots. So the old copies. According to the custom in Shakspere's time of 
changing from the singular to the plural number, or from the plural to the singular, 
the alteration to their in modern copies was scarcely called for. But in this case 
Mowbray quotes the very text of Scripture — Jer. xiii. 23. 

•= Gilded loam. In ' England's Parnassus ' (1600) these three lines are extracted, 
but the third line reads thus : — 

" Men are but gilded trunks, or painted clay." 


There shall your swords and lances arbitrate 

The swelling difference of your settled hate ; 

Since we cannot atone you/ you shall see ^ 

Justice design*^ the victor's chivalry. 

Lord marshal, command our officers at arms 

Be ready to direct these home-alarms. [Exeunt. 

SCENE II. — London. A Room in the Duke o/* Lancaster'* 


Enter Gaunt and Duchess of Gloster." 

Gaunt. Alas ! the part*^ I had in Gloster's blood 
Doth more solicit me than your exclaims. 
To stir against the butchers of his life. 

But since correction lieth in those hands , 

Which made the fault that we cannot correct. 
Put we our quarrel to the will of heaven ; 
Who, when he sees® the hours ripe on earth. 
Will rain hot vengeance on offenders' heads. 

Duch. Finds brotherhood in thee no sharper spur ? 
Hath love in thy old blood no living fire ? 
Edward's seven sons,' whereof thyself art one. 
Were as seven phials of his sacred blood. 
Or seven fair branches springing from one root : 
Some of those seven are dried by nature's course. 
Some of those branches by the destinies cut : 
But Thomas, my dear lord, my life, my Gloster, — 
One phial full of Edward's sacred blood. 
One flourishing branch of his most royal root. 
Is crack'd, and all the precious liquor spilt; 
Is hack'd down, and his summer leaves all vaded,' 

* Atoneyou — make you in concord — cause you to be at one. 

•> You shall see. All the old copies read you ; modem editors bave substituted 

' Design — designate — point out — exhibit — show by a token. 
•* The part I had, &c. My consanguinity to Gloster. 

• He sees. All the old copies, they see. Heaven is often put as the impersonation 
of the Deity. 

' Vadtd. So all the old copies; modern editors read faded. But to vade seems 
to have a stronger sense than to fadx, aUhough fade was often written vade. Still 
we may trace the distinction. In * The Mirrour for Magistrates' we have, 



By envy's hand, and murther's bloody axe. 

Ah, Gaunt ! his blood was thine ; that bed, that womb. 

That mettle, that self-mould, that fashion'd thee. 

Made him a man ; and though thou liv'st and breath'st. 

Yet art thou slain in him : thou dost consent 

In some large measure to thy father's death. 

In that thou seest thy wretched brother die. 

Who was the model of thy father's life. 

Call it not patience. Gaunt, it is despair : 

In suffering thus thy brother to be slaughter'd. 

Thou show'st the naked pathway to thy life. 

Teaching stern murther how to butcher thee : 

That which in mean men we entitle patience 

Is pale cold cowardice in noble breasts. 

What shall I say ? to safeguard thine own life. 

The best way is to 'venge my Gloster's death. 

Gaunt. Heaven's is the quarrel ; for heaven's substitute. 
His deputy anointed in his sight. 
Hath caus'd his death : the which if wrongfully. 
Let heaven revenge ; for I may never lift 
An angry arm against his minister. 

Duch. Where then, alas! may I complain myself?* 

Gaunt. To heaven, the widow's champion and defence. 

Duch. Why then, I will. Farewell, old Gaunt. 
Thou go'st to Coventry, there to behold 
Our cousin Hereford and fell Mowbray fight : 
O, sit my husband's wrongs on Hereford's spear. 
That it may enter butcher Mowbray's breast ! 
Or, if misfortune miss the first career. 
Be Mowbray's sins so heavy in his bosom,' 
That they may break his foaming courser's back. 
And throw the rider headlong in the lists, 

" The barren fields, which whilom flower'd as they would never vade." 
This ia clearly in the sense of fade. In Spenser we have, 

" However gay their blossom or their blade 
Do flourish now, they into dust shall vade." 
Here we have, as clearly, the sense to pass away, to vanish. But, after all, the old 
writers probably used the words without distinction ; for doubtless they are the same 

" Complain myself. The verb is here the same as the French verb teplaindre. 


A caitiff' recreant to my cousin Hereford ! 
Farewell, old Gaunt ; thy sometimes brother's wife 
With her companion grief must end her life. 

Gaunt. Sister, farewell: 1 must to Coventry: 
As much good stay with thee, as go with me ! 

Duch. Yet one word more ; — Grief boundeth where it falls. 
Not with the empty hollowness, but weight : 
I take my leave before I have begun ; 
For sorrow ends not when it seemeth done. 
Commend me to my brother, Edmund York. 
Lo, this is all : — Nay, yet depart not so ; 
Though this be all, dp not so quickly go ; 
I shall remember more. Bid him — O, what ? — 
With all good speed at Plashy visit me. 
Alack, and what shall good old York there see. 
But empty lodgings and unfurnish'd walls,' 
Unpeopled offices," untrodden stones ? 
And what cheer ^ there for welcome but my groans? 
Therefore commend me ; let him not come there. 
To seek out sorrow that dwells everywhere : 
Desolate, desolate, will I hence, and die ; 
The last leave of thee takes my weeping eye. \^Exeunt. 

SCENE III. — Open Space near Coventry. 
Lasts set out, and a Throne. Heralds, 8^c., attending. 

Enter the Lord Marshal *' and Aumerle.'* 

Mar. My lord Aumerle, is Harry Hereford arm'd ? 
Aum. Yea, at all points ; and longs to enter in. 
Mar. The duke of Norfolk, sprightfully and bold. 
Stays but the summons of the appellant's trumpet. 

* Caitiff. The original meaning of this word was, a prisoner. Wickliffe has 
" he stighynge an high ledde caityfle caityf" (captivity captive). As the captive 
anciently became a slave, the word gradually came to indicate a man in a servile 
condition — ^a mean creature — a dishonest ])erson. The history of language is odea 
the history of opinion; and it is not surprising that, in the days of misused power, 
to be weak, and to be guilty, were synonymous. The French diet^ bad anciently 
the meaning of captif. 

•• Cheer. The quarto of 1597 reads dteer; the subsequent early editions, hear. 
(See Illustrations to Act I.) 


Aum. Why, then the champions are prepar'd, and stay 
For nothing but his majesty's approach. 

Flourish of trumpets. Enter King Richard, who takes his 
seat on his throne; Gaunt, and several Noblemen, who 
take their places. A trumpet is sounded, and answered by 
another trumpet within. Then enter Norfolk, in armour, 
preceded by a Herald. 

K. Rich. Marshal, demand of yonder champion 
The cause of his arrival here in arms : 
Ask him his name ; and orderly proceed 
To swear him in the justice of his cause. 

Mar. In God's name and the king's, say who thou art. 
And why thou com'st thus knightly clad in arms : 
Against what man thou com'st, and what 's thy quarrel : 
Speak truly, on thy knighthood, and thine oath ; 
As so defend thee heaven, and thy valour ! 

Nor. My name is Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk ; 
Who hither come engaged by my oath, 
(Which heaven defend a knight should violate !) 
Both to defend my loyalty and truth 
To God, my king, and his succeeding issue,' 
Against the duke of Hereford that appeals me ; 
And, by the grace of God, and this mine arm. 
To prove him, in defending of myself, 
A traitor to my God, my king, and me : 
And, as I truly fight, defend me heaven! \_He takes his seat. 

Trumpet sounds. Enter Bolingbroke, in armour, preceded 
by a Herald. 

K. Rich. Marshal, ask yonder knight in arms. 
Both who he is, and why he cometh hither 
Thus plated in habiliments of war ; 

" The first folio, deviating from the first three editions, reads "/ui succeeding 
issue ;'" — the succeeding issue of the king. My succeeding issue, the reading of the 
quartos, must be received in the sense that Mowbray owed to his descendants to 
defend his loyalty and tnith to them, as well as to his God and to his king. Their 
fortunes would have been ruined by his attainder ; their reputations compromised 
by his disgrace. This, however, would be to refine somewhat too much. 


And formally according to our law 
Depose him in the justice of his cause. 

Mar. What is thy name ? and wherefore com'st thou 
Before king Richard, in his royal lists ? 
Against whom comest thou ? and what 's thy quarrel ? 
Speak like a true knight, so defend thee heaven ! 

Boling. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, 
Am I ; who ready here do stand in arms. 
To prove, by heaven's grace, and my body's valour. 
In lists, on Thomas Mowbray duke of Norfolk, 
That he 's a traitor, foul and dangerous. 
To God of heaven, king Richard, and to me ; 
And, as I truly fight, defend me heaven ! 

Mar. On pain of death, no person be so bold. 
Or daring-hardy, as to touch the lists. 
Except the marshal, and such officers 
Appointed to direct these fair designs. 

Boling. Lord marshal, let me kiss my sovereign's hand. 
And bow my knee before his majesty : 
For Mowbray and myself are like two men 
That vow a long and weary pilgrimage ; 
Then let us take a ceremonious leave. 
And loving farewell, of our several friends. 

Mar. The appellant in all duty greets your highness. 
And craves to kiss your hand, and take his leave. 

K. Rich. We will descend, and fold him in our arms. 
Cousin of Hereford, as thy cause is right. 
So be thy fortune in this royal fight ! 
Farewell, my blood ; which if to-day thou shed. 
Lament we may, but not revenge thee dead. 

Boling. O, let no noble eye profane a tear 
For me, if I be gor'd with Mowbray's spear j 
As confident as is the falcon's flight 

Against a bird do I with Mowbray fight. 

My loving lord, [to Lord Marshal] I take my leave of you ; 
Of you, my noble cousin, lord Aumerle : — 
Not sick, although I have to do with death ; 
But lusty, young, and cheerly drawing breath. 


Lo, as at English feasts, so I regreet 

The daintiest last, to make the end most sweet : 

O thou, the earthly » author of my blood, — [To Gaunt. 

Whose youthful spirit, in me regenerate. 

Doth with a two-fold vigour lift me up 

To reach at victory above my head, — 

Add proof unto mine armour with thy prayers ; 

And with thy blessings steel my lance's point. 

That it may enter Mowbray's waxen coat,** 

And furnish'^ new the name of John of Gaunt, 

Even in the lusty 'haviour of his son. 

Gaunt. Heaven in thy good cause make thee pros- 
perous ! 
Be swift like lightning in the execution ; 
And let thy blows, doubly redoubled. 
Fall like amazing thunder on the casque 
Of thy adverse '^ pernicious enemy : 
Rouse up thy youthful blood, be valiant and live. 

Boling. Mine innocency, and saint George to thrive. 

[He takes his seat. 

Nor. [Rising.l However heaven, or fortune, cast my 
There lives, or dies, true to king Richard's throne, 
A loyal, just, and upright gentleman : 
Never did captive with a freer heart 
Cast off his chains of bondage, and embrace 
His golden uncontroU'd enfranchisement. 
More than my dancing soul doth celebrate 
This feast of battle with miue adversary. 
Most mighty liege, and my companion peers. 
Take from my mouth the wish of happy years : 

» Earthli/. In the folio, earthy. 

^ IVaxen coat. The original meaning of the noun wax is that of something 
pliable, yielding. fVeak and wax have the same root. Mowbray's waxen coat, 
into which Bolingbroke's lance's point may enter, is his frail and penetrable coat, or 

" FttmUh is the reading of the folio; /urbith of the quarto of 1597. To/urbish 
is to polish ; to furnish to dress. 

^ Adverse, in the quarto ; the folio, amaz'd. 


As gentle and as jocund, as to jest,' 

Go I to fight ; Truth hath a quiet breast. 

K. Rich. Farewell, mj lord : securely I espy 
Virtue with valour couched in thine eye. 
Order the trial, marshal, and begin. 

[The King and the Lords return to their seats. 

Mar. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, 
Receive thy lance ; and God defend thy right ! 

Boling. [Rising.'] Strong as a tower in hope, I cry — amen. 

Mar. Go bear this lance [to an Officer] to Thomas, duke 
of Norfolk. 

1 Her. Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, 
Stands here for God, his sovereign, and himself. 
On pain to be found false and recreant. 

To prove the duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray, 
A traitor to his God, his king, and him. 
And dares him to set forward to the fight. 

2 Her. Here standeth Thomas Mowbray, duke of 

On pain to be found false and recreant. 
Both to defend himself, and to approve 
Henry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby, 
To God, his sovereign, and to him, disloyal ; 
Courageously, and with a free desire. 
Attending but the signal to begin. 

Mar. Sound, trumpets ; and set forward, combatants. 

[A charge sounded. 
Stay, the king hath thrown his warder^ down. 

K'. Rich. Let them lay by their helmets and their spears. 
And both return back to their chairs again : 
Withdraw with us : and let the trumpets sound, 

* Tojett. A jest was sometimes used to signify a mask, or pageant. Thus, in 
the old play of ' Hieronymo :' — 

"He promis'd us, in honour of our guest, 
To grace our banquet with some pompous jest." 
To jest, therefore, in the sense in which Mowbray here uses it, is to play a part in a 

•» Warder — the truncheon, or staff of command. 


While we return these dukes what we decree. — 

[A long flourish. 
Draw near, [To the Combatants. 

And list, what with our council we have done. 
For that our kingdom's earth should not be soil'd 
With that dear blood which it hath fostered ; 
And for our eyes do hate the dire aspect 
Of civil wounds plough'd up with neighbours' swords ; 
[And for we think the eagle-winged pride 
Of sky -aspiring and ambitious thoughts. 
With rival-hating envy, set on you " 
To wake our peace, which in our country's cradle 
Draws the sweet infant breath of gentle sleep ;] ^ 
Which so rous'd up with boisterous untun'd drums. 
With harsh resounding trumpets' dreadful bray. 
And grating shock of wrathful iron arms. 
Might from our quiet confines fright fair peace. 
And make us wade even in our kindred's blood ; — 
Therefore, we banish you our territories : 
You, cousin Hereford, upon pain of death. 
Till twice five summers have enrich'd our fields. 
Shall not regreet our fair dominions. 
But tread the stranger paths of banishment. 

Boling. Your will be done : This must my comfort be. 
That sun, that warms you here, shall shine on me ; 
And those his golden beams, to you here lent. 
Shall point on me, and gild my banishment. 

K. Rich. Norfolk, for thee remains a heavier doom. 
Which I with some unwillingness pronounce : 
The sly slow hours •= shall not determinate 
The dateless limit of thy dear ^ exile ; — 

» On you. So the old copies. Pope and subsequent editors read you on. 

^ These five lines, enclosed in brackets, are omitted in the folio. (See Introduc- 
tcry Notice.) 

= Sly slow hours. So the old copies. Pope would read fly-shw. Chapman, in 
his translation of the ' Odyssey,' has " those sly hours." It would hardly be fair 
to think that Pope changed the text that he might have the credit of originality in 
the following line : — 

" All sly slow things, with circumspective eye." 

<■ Dear exile. The manner in which Shakspere uses the word dear often presents 
a difficulty to the modem reader. Twenty-five Imes before this we have the " dear 


The hopeless word of, never to return. 
Breathe I against thee, upon pain of life. 

Nor. A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege. 
And all unlook'd for from your highness' mouth : 
A dearer merit,' not so deep a maim 
As to be cast forth in the common air. 
Have I deserved at your highness' hands. 
The language I have learn'd these forty years. 
My native English, now I must forego : 
And now my tongue's use is to me no more 
Than an unstringed viol, or a harp ; 
Or like a cunning instrument cas'd up. 
Or, being open, put into his hands 
That knows no touch to tune the harmony. 
Within my mouth you have engaol'd my tongue. 
Doubly portcullis'd with my teeth and lips ; 
And dull, unfeeling, barren ignorance 
Is made my gaoler to attend on me. 
I am too old to fawn upon a nurse. 
Too far in years to be a pupil now ; 
What is thy sentence, then, but speechless death. 
Which robs my tongue from breathing native breath ? 

K. Rich. It boots thee not to be compassionate ; ^ 
After our sentence plaining comes too late. 

blood" of the kingdom — the valued blood. We have now the "dear exile" of 
Norfolk — the harmful exile. The apparent contradiction is immediately reconciled 
by looking at the etymology of the word. To dere, the old English verb, from the 
Anglo-Saxon der-ian, is to hurt, — to do mischief; and thence dearth, meaning, 
which hurteth, deretk, or maketh dear. In the expression dear exile we have the 
primitive meaning of to dere. But in the other expression, dear blood, we have the 
secondary meaning. One of the most painful consequences of mischief on a large 
scale, such as the mischief of a bad season, was dearth — the barrenness, the scarcity, 
produced by the hurtful agent. What was spared was thence called dear — precious 
— costly — greatly coveted — highly prized. 

• A dearer merit. A more valued reward. Johnson says to deserve a merit is a 
phrase of which he knows not any example. Shakspere here distinctly means to 
deserve a reward ; for merit is strictly the part or share earned or gained. Prior, 
who wrote a century after Shakspere, uses the word in the same sense : — 
" Those laurel-groves, the merit* of thy youth, 
Which thou from Mahomet didst greatly gain." 

'' Compatsionate. This is the only instance in which Shakspere uses compas- 
■iouate iu the sense of complaining. 


Nor. Then thus I turn me from my country's light. 
To dwell in solemn shades of endless night. [Retiring. 

K. Rich. Return again, and take an oath with thee. 
Lay on our royal sword your banish'd hands ; 
Swear by the duty that you owe to heaven, 
(Our part therein we banish " with yourselves,) 
To keep the oath that we administer : — 
You never shall (so help you truth and heaven !) 
Embrace each other's love in banishment ; 
Nor ever look upon each other's face ; 
Nor ever write, regreet, or reconcile 
This lowering tempest of your home-bred hate ; 
Nor ever by advised purpose meet 
To plot, contrive, or complot any ill 
'Gainst us, our state, our subjects, or our land. 

Baling. I swear. 

Nor. And I, to keep all this. 

Baling. Norfolk, — so far as to mine enemy ; " — 
By this time, had the king permitted us. 
One of our souls had wander'd in the air, 
Banish'd this frail sepulchre of our flesh. 
As now our flesh is banish'd from this land : 
Confess thy treasons ere thou fly this realm ; 
Since thou hast far to go, bear not along 
The clogging burthen of a guilty soul. 

Nor. No, Bolingbroke ; if ever I were traitor 
My name be blotted from the book of life. 
And I from heaven banish'd as from hence ! 
But what thou art, heaven, thou, and I do know j 
And all too soon, I fear, the king shall rue. 
Farewell, my liege : — Now no way can I stray ; 
Save back to England, all the world 's my way. [Exit. 

K. Rich. Uncle, even in the glasses of thine eyes 
I see thy grieved heart ; thy sad aspect 
Hath from the number of his banish'd years 

• Johnson's interpretation cf this passage seems to be just : '' Norfolk, so far I 
have addressed myself to thee as to mine enemy; I now utter my last words with 
kindness and tenderness ; confess thy treasons.'' 


Pluck'd four away : — Six frozen winters spent. 
Return [to Boling.] with welcome home from banish- 

Baling. How long a time lies in one little word ! 
Four lagging winters, and four wanton springs 
End in a word : Such is the breath of kings. 

Gaunt. I thank my liege, that, in regard of me. 
He shortens four years of my son's exile ; 
But little vantage shall I reap thereby ; 
For ere the six years that he hath to spend 
Can change their moons, and bring their times about. 
My oil-dried lamp, and time-bewasted light. 
Shall be extinct with age and endless night ; 
My inch of taper will be burnt and done. 
And blindfold death not let me see my son. 

K. Rich. Why, uncle, thou hast many years to live. 

Gaunt. But not a minute, king, that thou canst give : 
Shorten my days thou canst with sullen sorrow. 
And pluck nights from me, but not lend a morrow : 
Thou canst help time to furrow me with age. 
But stop no wrinkle in his pilgrimage ; 
Thy word is current with him for my death : 
But, dead, thy kingdom cannot buy my breath. 

K. Rich. Thy son is banish'd upon good advice. 
Whereto thy tongue a party-verdict gave ; 
Why at our justice seem'st thou then to lower ? 

Gaunt. Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour. 
You urg'd me as a judge ; but I had rather 
You would have bid me argue like a father : 
[O, had it been a stranger, not my child. 
To smooth his fault I should have been more mild : 
A partial slander sought I to avoid. 
And in the sentence my own life destroy'd.] * 
Alas, I look'd when some of you should say, 
I was too strict, to make mine own away ; 
But you gave leave to mine unwilling tongue. 
Against my will, to do myself this wrong. 

* These four lines, enclosed in brackets, are omitted in the folio. 


K. Rich. Cousin, farewell : — and, uncle, bid bim so ; 
Six years we banisli him, and he shall go. 

[Flourish. Exeunt K. Richard and Train. 

Aum. Cousin, farewell : what presence must not know. 
From where you do remain, let paper show. 

Mar. My lord, no leave take I ; for I will ride 
As far as land will let me by your side. 

Gaunt. O, to what purpose dost thou hoard thy words. 
That thou retum'st no greeting to thy friends ? 

Baling. I have too few to take my leave of yo\i. 
When the tongue's office should be prodigal 
To breathe the abundant dolour of the heart. 

Gaunt. Thy grief is but thy absence for a time. • 

Baling. Joy absent, grief is present for that time. 

Gaunt. What is six winters ? they are quickly gone. 

Baling. To men in joy ; but grief makes one hour ten. 

Gaunt. Call it a travel that thou tak'st for pleasure. 

Baling. My heart will sigh when I miscall it so. 
Which finds it an enforced pilgrimage. 

Gaunt. The sullen passage of thy weary steps 
Esteem a foil," wherein thou art to set 
The precious jewel of thy home-return. 

[Baling. Nay, rather, every tedious stride I make 
Will but remember me, what a deal of world 
I wander from the jewels that I love. 
Must I not serve a long apprenticehood 
To foreign passages ; and in the end. 
Having my freedom, boast of nothing else 
But that I was a journeyman to grief? 

Gaunt. All places that the eye of heaven visits 
Are to a wise man ports and happy havens : 
Teach thy necessity to reason thus ; 
There is no virtue like necessity. 
Think not, the king did banish thee ; 
But thou the king : Woe doth the heavier sit. 
Where it perceives it is but faintly borne. 
Go, say I sent thee forth to purchase honour. 
And not, the king exil'd thee : or suppose, 

* Foil oi/otfl, the thin plate or leaf of metal used in setting jewellery. 

Vol. IV. 2 D 




Devouring pestilence hangs in our air, 

And thou art flying to a fresher clime. 

Look, what thy soul holds dear, imagine it 

To lie that way thou go'st, not whence thou com'st. 

Suppose the singing birds, musicians ; 

The grass whereon thou tread'st, the presence strew'd ; 

The flowers, fair ladies ; and thy steps, no more 

Than a delightful measure or a dance : 

For gnarling sorrow hath less power to bite 

The man that mocks at it, and sets it light.'] 
Baling. O, who can hold a fire in his hand. 

By thinking on the frosty Caucasus ? i* 

Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite. 

By bare imagination of a feast ? 

Or wallow naked in December snow. 

By thinking on fantastic summer's heat? 

O, no ! the apprehension of the good 

Gives but the greater feeling to the worse : 

Fell sorrow's tooth doth never rankle more. 

Than when it bites but lanceth not the sore. 

Gaunt. Come, come, my son, I '11 bring thee on thy way : 

Had I thy youth and cause, I would not stay. 

Boling. Then, England's ground, farewell; sweet soil, 
adieu ; 

/ My mother, and my nurse, that bears me yet ! 
I Where'er I wander, boast of this I can, N 

Y Though banish'd, yet a true-born Englishman. \\ Exeunt. 

SCENE IV.— ^ Room in the King'j Palace. 

Enter King Richard, Bagot, and Green ; Aumerle 

K. Rich. We did observe. — Cousin Aumerle, 
How far brought you high Hereford on his way ? 

Aum. I brought high Hereford, if you call him so. 
But to the next highway, and there I left him. 

• The twenty-six lines between brackets are omitted in the folio. They are in 
the first quarto of 1597, and are continued in the subsequent quartos. — (See Intro- 
ductory Notice.) 

Scene IV.] KING RICHARD II. 403 

K. Rich. And, say, what store of parting tears were shed ? 

Aum. 'Faith, none for me,' except the north-east wind. 
Which then blew bitterly against our face, 
Awak'd the sleepy rheum ; and so, by chance. 
Did grace our hollow parting with a tear. 

K. Rich, What said our cousin when you parted with 
him ? 

Aum. Farewell : 
And, for my heart disdained that my tongue 
Should so profane the word, that taught me craft 
To counterfeit oppression of such grief. 
That word seem'd buried in my sorrow's grave. 
Marry, would the word farewell have lengthen'd hours. 
And added years to his short banishment. 
He should have had a volume of farewells ; 
But, since it would not, he had none of me. 

K. Rich. He is our cousin, cousin; but 'tis doubt. 
When time shall call him home from banishment. 
Whether our kinsman come to see his friends. 
Ourself and Bushy, Bagot here, and Green, 
Observ'd his courtship to the common people : — ■* 

How he did seem to dive into their hearts. 
With humbl6 and familiar courtesy ; 
What reverence he did throw away on slaves; 
Wooing poor craftsmen with the craft of smiles. 
And patient underbearing of his fortune. 
As 't were to banish their affects with him. 
Off goes his bonnet to an oyster- wench ; 
A brace of draymen bid — God speed him well. 
And had the tribute of his supple knee. 
With — Thanks, my countrymen, my loving friends ; 
As were our England in reversion his. 
And he our subjects' next degree in hope. 

Green. Well, he is gone ; and with him go these thoughts. 
Now for the rebels, which stand out in Ireland ; 
Expedient'' manage must be made, my liege, 

* None for me — none on my part. 

^ Expedient — prompt— suitable — disengaged from entanglements. — (See note on 
' King John,' Act II., Scene 1.) 



Ere further leisure yield them further means. 
For their advantage, and your highness' loss. 

K. Rich. We will ourself in person to this war. 
And, for our coffers, with too great a court. 
And liberal largess, are grown somewhat light. 
We are enforc'd to farm our royal realm ; 
The revenue whereof shall furnish us 
For our affairs in hand : If that come short. 
Our substitute at home shall have blank charters ; 
Whereto, when they shall know what men are rich. 
They shall subscribe them for large sums of gold. 
And send them after to supply our wants ; 
For we will make for Ireland presently. 

Enter Bushy. 

Bushy, what news? 

Bushy. Old John of Gaunt is grievous sick, my lord ; 
Suddenly taken ; and hath sent post haste. 
To entreat your majesty to visit him. 

K. Rich. Where lies he? 

Bushy. At Ely-house. 

K. Rich. Now put it, heaven, in his physician's mind, 
, To help him to his grave immediately ! 
jThe lining of his coffers shall make coats 
iTo deck our soldiers for these Irish wars. 
Come, gentlemen, let 's all go visit him : 
I*ray God, we may make haste, and come too late ! 
' ■ ^ \^Exeunt. 




* Scene I. — " Hast ihou, according to thy oath and hand — " 

The appeal of Hereford against Mowbray was to be decided by a " trial by com- 
bat." This practice was very ancient, and traces of it are found in the fifth century. 
The "oath and band" of John of Gaunt were the pledges that he gave fur his son's 
appearance. Thus, in the 'Fairy Queen' of Spenser : — 

" These three that liardy challenge took in hand. 
For Canace with Cambel for to fight ; 
The day was set, that all might understand, 
And pledges pawn'd, the same to keep aright." 

* Scene I. — " Eight thousand nobles." 
The following is a representation of the gold noble of Richard II. : — 

' Scene I. — " Then, Bolingbroke:' 

Henry of Lancaster was not called Bolingbroke, or Bullingbrook, till he had 
ascended the throne. This name of Henry IV. was derived from his birth place, 
Bolingbroke Castle, in Lincolnshire. The last remains of this ancient edifice 
crumbled over their base in May, 1815. (* Gentleman's Magazine,' vol. Ixxxv.) 

* Scene I. — " Our doctors say, this is no month to bleed."' 

Malone says, "This alludes to the almanacs of the time, when particular seasons 
were pointed out as the most proper times for being bled." In an English almanac 
for 1386 — the earliest known (and which has been printed, 1812) — we have full 
directions for bloodletting. (See 'Companion to the Almanac,' 1839, p. 55.) 

* Scene II. — " Duke of Lancaster'' s Palace." 

The Savoy Palace, of which some remains existed within a few years, was situated 
near the Thames, almost close to the Strand end of Waterloo Bridge. This was 
anciently the seat of Peter Earl of Savoy, uncle to Eleanor, queen of Henry III. 
Upon his death it devolved to the queen, who gave it to her second son, Edmund, 
afterwards Earl of Lancaster. From tliat time the Savoy was taken as part and 
parcel of the earldom and honour of Lancaster, and was used as the London palace 
of the earls and dukes of that house. John of Gaunt married Blanch, the daughter 



of Henry, the first Duke of Lancaster. Blanch was a co-heiress with her sister 
Matilda to the vast estates of this duchy ; and by the death of Matilda, without 
issue, he became subsequently possessessed of all the property, in right of his wife, 
and was himself created Duke of Lancaster. 

• Scene IL — " Duchest of Gloaler" 

The following is a {wrtrait of Eleanor Bohun, widow of Thomas of Woodstock, 
Duke of Gloster. (See Introductory Notice.) 

' Scene II. — " Edward's seven sons."' 

The seven sons of the great Edward III. were, 1. Edward of Woodstock, the 
Black Prince ; 2. William of Hatfield ; 3. Lionel Duke of Clarence ; 4. John of 
Gaunt ; 5. Edmund of I.rfingley, Duke of York ; 6. William of Windsor ; 7. Tho- 
mas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloster. 

^ Scene II. — " Be Mowbray's sins so heavy in his bosoms 

Did not this fine description suggest the equally fine scene in ' Ivanhoe,' where 
the guilty Templar falls without a blow ? 

• Scene II. — " Unfumiih'd wallt." 

" The usual manner," says Percy, in his preface to the * Northumberland House- 
hold Book,' " of hanging the rooms in the old castles, was only to cover the naked 
stone walls with tapestry, or arras, hung upon tenter-hooks, from which they were 
easily taken down upon every removal." 

'0 Scene II. — " Unpeopled offices." 

The offices were those parts of a great house, or castle, in which the vast train of 
servants lived and carried on their duties. Tiiey were not out-buildings, nor sub- 
terraneous, but on the ground-floor within the house. The " unpeopled offices," 
therefore, of the Duchess of Gloster "s desolate mansion would present no sound of 
life, nor " cheer for welcome." 



" Scene III. — " Lord marthal." 

Mowbray was himself earl marshal of England ; but the Duke of Surrey officiated 
aa marshal on this occasion. 

'« Scene III. — " AumtrU."' 

The eldest son of the Duke of York was created Duke of Aumerle, or Albemarle, 
— a town in Normandy. He officiated as high constable at the lists of Coventry. 

'■ Scene III. — " Our part therein we banith." 

The King here alludes to a disputed question amongst writers on public law : — 
Is a banished man tied in his allegiance to the state which exiled him? Richard 
requires them to swear by their duty to heaven ; for " our part " in your duty 
"we banish with yourselves." Hobbes and Puffendorf hold this opinion; — Cicero 
thought differently. 

'* Scene III. — " The frosty Caucasu*." 

" In the language of the Calmuc Tartars, C'hasu signifies snow," according to 
Mr. Wilford, in the sixth volume of ' Asiatic Researches.' There are two papers 
in the ' Censura Literaria' of Sir E. Brydges which refute this notion of the origin 
of (he name of Caucasus. — Vol. iv. p. 412 ; vol. v. p. 87. 


Shakspere's " History " of ' Richard II.' presents, in one particular, a most remark- 
able contrast to that of King John.' In the ' King John,' for the purpose of securing 
a dramatic unity of action, the chronological succession of events, as they occurred 
in the real history of the times, is constantly disregarded. In the ' Richard II.' 
that chronological succession is as strictly adhere<l to. The judgment of the poet 
is remarkably exhibited in these opposite modes of working. He had to mould a 
drama out of the disjointed materials of the real history of John, in which events, 
remote in the order of time, and apparently separated as to cause and consequence, 
should all conduce to the development of one great action — the persecution of 
Arthur by his uncle, and the retribution to which the fate of Arthur led. In the 
life of Richard II. there were two great dramatic events, far separated in the order 
of time, and having no connexion in their origin or consequences. The rebellion of 
Wat Tyler, in 1381, might, in itself, have formed the subject of a drama not un- 
worthy of the hand of Shakspere. It might have stood as the " First Part"' of the 
Life of Richard II. Indeed, it is probable, as we have shown in the Introductory 
Notice, that a play in which this event formed a remarkable feature did exist. But 
the greater event of Richard's life was the banishment and the revolt of Bolingbroke, 
which led to his own deposition and his death. This is the one event which Shak- 
spere has made the subject of the great drama before us. With a few very minute 
deviations from history — deviations which are as nothing compared with the errors 
of the contemporary historian, Froissart — the scenes which this play presents, and 
the characters which it develops, are historically true to the letter. But what a 
wonderful vitality does the truth acquire in our poet's hands ! The hard and formal 
abstractions of the old chroniclers — the tigures that move about in robes and armour, 
without presenting to us any distinct notions of their common human qualities — 
here show themselves to us as men like ourselves, partaking of like passions and 


like weaknesses; and, whilst tbey exhibit to us the natural triumph of intellectual 
vigour and decision over frailty and irresolution, ihey claim our pity for tlie unfor- 
tunate, and our resj)ect for the "faithful amongst the faithless." But in the 
' Chronicles ' Shakspere found the rude outline ready to his hand, which he was to 
fill up with his surpassing colouring. There was nothing in the course of the real 
events to alter for the purposes of dramatic propriety. The history was full of the 
most stirring and picturesque circumstances ; and the incidents came so thick and 
fast upon one another, that it was unnecessary for the poet to leap over any long 
intervals of time. Bolingbroke first appealed Norfolk of treason in January, 1398. 
Richard was deposed in September, 1399. 

The finl scene of this act exhibits the course of the quarrel between Bolingbroke 
and Mowbray, as it proceeded, after Harry Hereford's " boisterous late appeal." 
We must observe that the Bolingbroke of Shakspere is called Duke of Herefopl (or 
Earl of Derby, his former title) by all the old historians ; it being pretty clear that 
he was not distinguished by the name of Bolingbroke till ailer he had assumed the 
crown. Drayton states this without any qualification. We must, however, follow 
the poet in calling him Bolingbroke. It is somewhat difficult to understand the 
original cause of the quarrel between Bolingbroke and Norfolk. Tbey were each 
elevated in rank at the Christmas of 1398, probably with the view, on the part of 
Richard, to propitiate men of such power and energy. They were the only two 
who remained of the great lords who, twelve years before, had driven Richard's 
favourites from his court and kingdom, and had triumpliantly asserted their resist- 
ance to his measures at the battle of Radcot Bridge. The Duke of Gloster, the 
imcle of the king, with whose party Bolingbroke and Norfolk had always been con- 
federated, was murdered at Calais in 1398. Bolingbroke, in the same year, had 
received a full pardon in parliament for his proceedings in 1386. " In this parlia- 
ment, holden at Shrewsbury,"' says Holinshed, " Henry Duke of Hereford accused 
Thomas Mowbray of certain words, which he should ' utter in talk had betwixt 
them as they rode together lately before, betwixt London and Brainford, sounding 
highly to the king's dishonour." Froissart (we quote from Lord Bemers" transla- 
tion) gives a different version of the affair, and says — " On a day the Earl of Derby 
and the Earl Marshal communed together of divers matters ; at last, among other, 
they spake of the state of the king and of his council, such as he had about him, and 
believed them; so that, at the last, tlie Earl of Derby spake certain words which he 
thought for the best, wenynge that they should never have been called to rehearsal, 
which words were neither villainous nor outrageous." Froissart then goes on to 
make the Earl Marshal repeat these words to the king, and Derby to challenge him 
as a false traitor, after the breach of confidence. Shakspere has followed Holinshed. 
The accusation of Bolingbroke against Norfolk was first made, according to this 
chronicler, at Shrewsbury; and "there was a day appointed, about six weeks after, 
for the king to come unto Windsor, to hear and to take some order betwixt the two 
dukes which had thus appealed each other.'' The scene then proceeds in the essential 
matters very much as is exhibited by Shakspere, except that the appellant and 
defendant each speak by the mouth of a knight that had "licence to speak." Nor- 
folk is accused of being a false and disloyal traitor — of appropriating eight thousand 
nobles, which he had received to pay the king's soldiers at Calais — of being the 
occasion of all the treason contrived in the realm for eighteen years — and, by his 
false suggestions and malicious counsels, having caused the Duke of Gloster to be 
murdered. Norfolk, in the answer by his knight, declares that Henry of Lancaster 
hath " falsely and wickedly lied as a false and disloyal knight ;" and he then, in 
bis own jxirson, adds the explanation which Shakspere gives about the use of the 
money for Calais. The chronicler, however, makes him say not a word about 


Gloster's death ; but he confesses that he once " laid an ambush to have slain the 
Duke of Lancaster that there sitteth,'' The king once again requires them to be 
asked if they would agree and make peace together; "but they both flatly answered 
that they would not; and withal the Duke of Hereford cast down his gage, and the 
Duke of Norfolk took it up. The king, perceiving this demeanour betwixt them, 
sware by St. John Baptist that he would never seek to make peace betwixt them 
again." The combat was then ap{x>inted to be done at Coventry, " some say upon 
a Monday in August ; other, upon St. Lambert's day, being the I7tli September; 
other, on the 11th September." 

The narrative of Holinshed upon which Shakspere has founded the third scene of 
this act is most picturesque. We see all the gorgeous array of chivalry, as it existed 
in an age of pageants, called forth with unusual magnificence upon an occasion of 
the gravest import. The old stage of Shakspere's time could exhibit none of this 
magnificence. The great company of men apparelled in silk sendall — the splendid 
coursers of the combatants, with their velvet housings — the king on his throne, sur- 
rounded by his peers and his ten thousand men in armour — all these were to be 
wholly imagined upon the ancient stage. Our poet, in his Chorus to • Henry V.,' 
thus addresses his audience : — 

" Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts; 
Into a thousand parts divide one man, 
And malce imaginary puissance : 
Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them 
Printing their proud hoofs i' the receiving eartli." 

To assist our readers in seeing the " imaginary puissance" of the lists of Coventry, 
we subjoin Holinshed's description : — 

" The Duke of Aumerle, that day being high constable of England, and the 
Duke of Surrey , marshal, placed themselves between them, well armed and appointed ; 
and when they saw their time, they first entered into the lists with a great company 
of men apparelled in silk sendall, embroidered with silver, both richly and curiously, 
every man having a tipped staff to keep the field in order. About the hour of prime 
came to the barriers of the lists th« Duke of Hereford, mounted on a white courser 
barded with green and blue velvet, embroidered sumptuously with swans and ante- 
lopes of goldsmiths work, armed at all points. The constable and marshal came 
to the barriers, demanding of him what he was : he answered — ' I am Henry of 
Lancaster Duke of Hereford, which am come hither to do mine endeavour against 
Thomas Mowbray Duke of Norfolk, as a traitor untrue to God, the king, his realm, 
and me.' Then, incontinently, he sware upon the holy evangelists that his quarrel 
was true and just, and upon that point he required to enter the lists. Then he put 
by his sword, which before he held naked in his hand, and, putting down his visor, 
made a cross on his horse, and with spear in hand entered into the lists, and descended 
from his horse, and set him down in a chair of green velvet, at the one end of the 
lists, and there reposed himself, abiding the coming of his adversary. 

" Soon after him, entered into the field with great triumph King Richard, accom- 
panied with all the peers of the realm, and in his company was the Earl of St. Paul, 
which was come out of France in post to see this challenge performed. The king 
had there above ten thousand men in armour, lest some fray or tumult might rise 
amongst his nobles by quarrelling or partaking. When the king was set in his seat, 
which was richly hanged and adorned, a king-at-arms made open proclamation, 
prohibiting all men, in the name of the king, and of the high constable and marshal, 
to enterprise or attempt to approach or touch any part of the lists upon pain of 
death, except such as were appointed to order or marshal the field. The proclama- 
tion ended, another herald cried, ' Behold here Henry of I^mcaster Duke of Here- 


ford appellant, which is entered into the lists royal to do his devoir against Thomas 
Mowbray Duke of Norfolk defendant, upon pain to be found false and recreant.' 

" The Duke of Norfolk hovered on horseback at the entrance of the lists, his 
horse being barded with crimson velvet, embroidered richly with lions of silver and 
mulberry-trees ; and when he had made his oath before the constable and marshal 
that his quarrel was just and true, he entered the field manfully, saying aloud, 
* God aid him that liath the right,' and then he departed from his liorse, and sate 
him down in his chair, which was of crimson velvet, curtained about with white 
and red damask. The lord marshal viewed their spears to see that they were of 
equal length, and delivered the one spear himself to the Duke of Hereford, and sent 
the other unto the Duke of Norfolk by a knight. Then the herald proclaimed that 
the traverses and chairs of tlie champions should be removed, commanding them on 
the king's behalf to mount on horseback, and address themselves to the l)attle and 

" The Duke of Herefonl was quickly horsed, and closed his beaver, and cast his 
spear into the rest, and, when tlie trumpet sounded, set forward courageously 
towards liis enemy six or seven paces. The Duke of Norfolk was not fully set 
forward, when the king cast down his warder, and the heralds cried, 'Ho, ho!' 
Then the king caused their spears to be taken from them, and commanded them to 
repair agahi to their chairs, where they remained two long hours, while the king 
and his council deliberately consulted what order was best to be had in so weighty 
a cause." 

The sentence of Richard upon Bolingbvoke and Norfolk was, in efl'ect, the same 
as Shakspere has described it ; but the remission of a portion of the term of Bo- 
lingbroke's banishment did not take place at the lists of Coventry. Fro issart says 
that, when Bolingbroke's day of departure approached, he came to Eltliam, to the 
king, who thus addressed him : — " As God help me, it right greatly displeaseth 
me tlie words that hath been between you and the earl marshal ; but the sentence 
that I have given is for the best, and for to appease thereby the people, who greatly 
murmured on this matter ; wiierefore, cousin, yet to ease you somewhat of your 
pain, I release my judgment from ten year to six year. Cousin, take this aworth, 
and ordain you thereafter." The earl answered and said, " Sir, I thank your 
grace ; and when it shall please you, ye shall do me more grace," 

Scene I.] KING RICHARD II. 41 1 


SCENE I. — London. A Room in Ely House, 

Gaunt on a couch; the Duke of York, and others standing 

by him. 

Gaunt. Will the king come ? that I may breathe my last 
In wholesome counsel to his unstaid youth. 

York. Vex not yourself, nor strive not with your breath; 
For all in vain comes counsel to his ear. 

Gaunt. O, but they say, the tongues of dying men 
Enforce attention, like deep harmony ; 
Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain ; 
For they breathe truth, that breathe their words in pain. 
He, that no more must say, is listen'd more 

Than they whom youth and ease have taught to glose ; 
More are men's ends mark'd, than their lives before ; 

The setting sun, and music at the close, 
(As the last taste of sweets is sweetest,) last. 
Writ in remembrance, more than things long past ;' 
Though Richard my life's counsel would not hear. 
My death's sad tale may yet undeaf his ear. 

York. No ; it is stopp'd with other flattering sounds, 
As praises of his state : then, there are found 
Lascivious metres ; to whose venom sound 
The open ear of youth doth always listen : 
Report of fashions in proud Italy ; 

* The ordinary reading of this passage is as follows : — 
" The setting sun, and music at the close, 
As the last taste of sweets, is sweetest last ; 
Writ in remembrance more than things long past."' 
We have adopted the change in the punctuation which was suggested by Monck 
Mason ; by which slight alteration the word last, at the end of the second line, is 
read as a verb, of which the sun and mime form the nominative case. This inge- 
nious suggestion has not been adopted in the text, or alluded to in the notes, of the 
variorum editions. 

412 KING RICHARD II. [Act 1 1. 

Whose manners still our tardy apish nation 

Limps after in base imitation. 

Where doth the world thrust forth a vanity, 

(So it be new, there 's no respect how vile,) 

That is not quickly buzz'd into his ears ? 

Then all too late comes counsel to be heard. 

Where will doth mutiny with wit's regard. 

Direct not him, whose way himself will choose ; 

'T is breath thou lack'st, and that breath wilt thou lose. 

Gaunt. Methinks I am a prophet new inspir'd; 
And thus, expiring, do foretell of him : 
His rash -fierce blaze of riot cannot last ; 
For violent fires soon burn out themselves ; 
Small showers last long, but sudden storms are short ; 
He tires betimes, that spurs too fast betimes ; 
With eager feeding food doth choke the feeder : 
Light vanity, insatiate cormorant. 
Consuming means, soon preys upon itself. 
This royal throne of kings, this scepter'd isle. 
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, 
This other Eden, demi-paradise ; 
This fortress, built by nature for herself. 
Against infestion * and the hand of war ; 

* In/estion. All the ancient, copies read infection. In ' England's Parnassus' 
(1600), wliere the passage is quoted, we read in test ion. Farmer suggested the sub- 
stitution of infestion, which Maloiie has adopted, and which we think right to fol- 
low. Infection, in Shakspere's time, was used, as it is now, to express the taint of 
some pernicious quality ; and was more particularly applied to that frightful dis- 
ease, the plague, to whose ravages London was annually subject. For Shakspere, 
therefore, to call England 

" 'Th.\a fortress, built by nature for herself, 
Against infection," 
would sound very unreasonable to an audience who were constantly witnesses of 
the ravages of infection. 

" The silver sea, 
Which serves it in the office of a wall," 
was then unavailing to keep out " the pestilence which walketh in darkness." But, 
on the other hand, England had been long free from foreign invasion. Infestion is 
taken, by Malone, to he. an abbreviation of infestation, in the same way that, in 
Bishop Hall, acception is used for acceptation. Infestation appears to have desig- 
nated those violent inciirsions of an enemy — those annoying, joy-depriving (i«- 
festus) ravages — to which an unprotected frontier is peculiarly exposed ; and from 
which the sea, "as a moat defensive to a house," shutout " this scepter'd isle." 

Scene!.] i KING RICHARD II. 413 

This happy breed of men, this little world ; 

This precious stone set in the silver sea. 

Which serves it in the office of a wall. 

Or as a moat defensive to a house. 

Against the envy of less happier lands ; 

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England, 

This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings, 

Fcar'd by their breed, and famous for their birth. 

Renowned for their deeds as far from home, 

(For Christian service, and true chivalry,) 

As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry 

Of the world's ransom, blessed Mary's son : 

This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land. 

Dear for her reputation through the world. 

Is now leas'd out, (I die pronouncing it,) 

Like to a tenement, or pelting" farm : 

England, bound in with the triumphant sea. 

Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege 

Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame. 

With inky blots, and rotten parchment bonds ; 

That England, that was wont to conquer others. 

Hath made a shameful conquest of itself: 

Still, infection, being a word of which there can be no doubt of the meaning, is to be 
preferred, if we can be content to receive the idea in a limited sense — that the sea 
in some sort kept out pestilence, though not absolutely. 

* Pelting. Whatever doubts there may be as to the origin of this word, its ap- 
plication is perfectly clear. It invariably means something petty — of little worth. 
The " peltittg/arm" in this passage, and " the poor pelting villages" of Lear, would 
leave no doubt as to its use, even if we had not "a pelting little town," and "a 
pelting village of barbarous people," in North's 'Plutarch.' The epithet was not 
conBned to inanimate things. In ' Measure for Measure' we have the famous pas • 

" Could g^eat men thunder 

As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet. 

For every pelting, petty officer 

Would use his heaven for thunder." 
Gabriel Harvey, it seems, wrote the word faulting ; and as palt is the Teutonic 
word for a scrap — a rag — some say that paulting, pelting, and paltry, are the same. 
Pell, as is well known, is a skin. The fur trade is still called the peltry trade. 
But skins — peltries — in former times might have been considered comparatively 
worthless. A dead fowl thrown to a hawk was, according to Grose, a pelt. Thus 
pelting may have been derived directly from pelt, although it may have had some 
original affinity with paltry. 


Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life. 
How happy then were my ensuing death ! 

Enter King Richard and Queen ; Aumerle, Bushy, 
Green, Bagot, Ross, and Willoughby. 

York. The king is come : deal mildly with his youth ; 
For young hot colts, being rag'd, do rage the more. 

Queen. How fares our noble uncle, Lancaster ? 

K. Rich. What comfort, man? How is 't with aged 
Gaunt ? 

Gaunt. O, how that name befits my composition ! 
Old Gaunt, indeed ; and gaunt in being old : 
Within me grief hath kept a tedious fast ; 
And who abstains from meat, that is not gaunt ? 
For sleeping England long time have I watch'd ; 
Watching breeds leanness, leanness is all gaunt : 
The pleasure that some fathers feed upon 
Is my strict fast, — I mean my children's looks ; 
And, therein fasting, hast thou made me gaunt : 
Gaunt am I for the grave, gaunt as a grave. 
Whose hollow womb inherits nought but bones. 

K. Rich. Can sick men play so nicely with their names ? 

Gaunt. No, misery makes sport to mock itself: 
Since thou dost seek to kill my name in me, 
I mock my name, great king, to flatter thee. 

K. Rich. Should dying men flatter with those that live? 

Gaunt. No, no ; men living flatter those that die. 

K. Rich. Thou, now a dying, say'st thou flatterest me. 

Gaunt. Oh ! no ; thou diest, though I the sicker be. 

K. Rich. I am in health, I breathe, and see thee ill. 

Gaunt. Now, He that made me knows I see thee ill ; 
111 in myself to see, and in thee seeing ill. 
Thy death-bed is no lesser than the land 
Wherein thou Host in reputation sick : 
And thou, too careless patient as thou art, 
Committ'st thy anointed body to the cure 
Of those physicians that first wounded thee. 
A thousand flatterers sit within thy crown. 
Whose compass is no bigger than thy head ; 

Scene I.] KING RICHARD II. 415 

And yet, incaged in so small a verge. 

The waste is no whit lesser than thy land. 

O, had thy grandsire, with a prophet's eye. 

Seen how his son's son should destroy his sons. 

From forth thy reach he would have laid thy shame. 

Deposing thee before thou wert possess'd. 

Which art possess'd" now to depose thyself. 

Why, cousin, wert thou regent of the world. 

It were a shame to let this land by lease : 

But, for thy world, enjoying but this land. 

Is it not more than shame to shame it so ? 

Landlord of England art thou, and not king : 

Thy state of law is bondslave to the law ; 


K. Mich. And thou** a lunatic lean-witted fool. 
Presuming on an ague's privilege, 
Dar'st with thy 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. 
This tongue, that runs so roundly in thy head. 
Should run thy head from thy unreverend shoulders. 

Gaunt. O, spare me not, my brother Edward's son. 
For that I was his father Edward's son ; 
That blood already, like the pelican. 
Hast thou tapp'd out, and drunkenly carous'd : 
My brother Gloster, plain well-meaning soul, 
(Whom fair befal in heaven 'mongst happy souls !) 
May be a precedent and witness good. 
That thou respect'st not spilling Edward's blood : 
Join with the present sickness that I have ; 
And thy unkindncss be like crooked age,'' 

" Possessed. The second possess'd in this sentence is used in the same way in 
which Maria speaks of Malvolio, in ' Twelfth Night :' — " He is, sure, possessed, ma- 

*' So the folio. The first quarto resids thus : — 

" Gaunt. And thou 

K. Rick. a lunatic lean-witted fool." 

<= Crooked age. It has been suggested that age here means Time; and that 


To crop at once a too-long wither'd flower. 

Live in thy shame, but die not shame with thee ! — 

These words hereafter thy tormentors be ! — 

Convey me to my bed, then to my grave : 

Love they to live, that love and honour have. 

[Exit, borne out by his Attendants. 

K. Rich. And let them die, that age and suUens have ; 
For both hast thou, and both become the grave. 

York. I do beseech your majesty, impute his words * 
To wayward sickliness and age in him : 
He loves you, on my life, and holds you dear 
As Harry duke of Hereford, were he here. 

K. Rich. Right ; you say true : as Hereford's love, so 
his : 
As theirs, so mine ; and all be as it is. 

Enter Northumberland. 

North. My liege, old Gaunt commends him to your ma- 

K. Rich. What says he?'' 

North. Nay, nothing ; all is said : 

His tongue is now a stringless instrument ; 
Words, life, and all, old Lancaster hath spent. 

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. 
But only they, hath privilege to live. 
And, for these great affairs do ask some charge. 
Towards our assistance, we do seize to us 
The plate, coin, revenues, and moveables. 
Whereof our 'uncle Gaunt did stand possess'd. 

crooked age is not bending age, but Time armed with a crook, by which name a 
sickle was anciently called. The natural meaning of the passage seems to be, like 
bent old age, which crops the flower of life. 

* Steevens struck out / do from this line. 

^ Steevens stuck in now, to make ten syllables of this line. 

Scene I.] KING RICHARD II. 417 

York. How^ong shall I be patient? Ah, how long 
Shall tender duty make me suffer wrong? 
Not Gloster's death, nor Hereford's banishment. 
Nor Gaunt's rebukes, nor England's private wrongs. 
Nor the prevention of poor Bolingbroke 
About his marriage, nor my own disgrace. 
Have ever made me sour my patient cheek. 
Or bend one wrinkle on my sovereign's face. 
I am the last of noble Edward's sons. 
Of whom thy father, prince of Wales, was first ; 
In war, was never lion rag'd more fierce. 
In peace, was never gentle lamb more mild. 
Than was that young and princely gentleman : 
His face thou hast, for even so look'd he, 
Accomplish'd with the number of thy hours ; 
But when he frown'd it was against the French, 
And not against his friends ; his noble hand 
Did win what he did spend, and spent not that 
Which his triumphant father's hand had won : 
His hands were guilty of no kindred's blood. 
But bloody with the enemies of his kin. 
O, Richard ! York is too far gone with grief. 
Or else he never would compare between. 

K. Rich. Why, uncle, what 's the matter ? 

York. O, my liege. 

Pardon me, if you please ; if not, I, pleas'd 
Not to be pardon'd, am content withal. 
Seek you to seize, and gripe into your hands. 
The royalties and rights of banish'd Hereford ? 
Is not Gaunt dead ? and doth not Hereford live ? 
Was not Gaunt just ? and is not Harry true ? 
Did not the one deserve to have an heir? 
Is not his heir a well-deserving son ? 
Take Hereford's rights away, and take from time 
His charters, and his customary rights ; 
Let not to-morrow then ensue to-day ; 
Be not thyself, for how art thou a king. 
But by fair sequence and succession ? 
Now, afore God (God forbid, I say true !) 

Vol. IV. 2 E 


If you do wrongfully seize Hereford's right. 

Call in his letters-patents that he hath 

By his attorneys-general to sue 

His livery,' and deny his ofFer'd homage. 

You pluck a thousand dangers on your head. 

You lose a thousand well-disposed hearts. 

And prick my tender patience to those thoughts 

Which honour and allegiance cannot think. 

K. Rich. Think what you will ; we seize into our hands 
His plate, his goods, his money, and his lands. 

York. I '11 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 Wiltshire straight ; 
Bid him repair to us to Ely-house 
To see this business : To-morrow next 
We will for Ireland ; and 't is 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. 

CvRiA '♦* [Exeunt King, Queen, Bushy, Aum., Green, 

\ ; ^tt«-»* ^'' '" «W^ BagOT. 

North. Well, lords, the duke of Lancaster is dead. 

Ross. And living too ; for now his son is duke. 

Willo. Barely in title, not in revenue. 

North. Richly in both, if justice had her right. 

Ross. My heart is great ; but it must break with silence. 
Ere 't be disburthen'd with a liberal tongue. 

North. Nay, speak thy mind ; and let him ne'er speak 
That speaks thy words again to do thee harm ! 

Willo. Tends that thou 'dst speak to the duke of Here- 
If it be so, out with it boldly, man; 
Quick is mine ear to hear of good towards him. 

Ross. No good at all that I can do for him ; 

Scene I.] KING RICHARD II. 419 

Unless you call it good to pity him. 
Bereft and gelded of his patrimony. 

North. Now, afore heaven, 't is shame such wrongs are 
In him a royal prince, and many more 
Of noble blood in this declining land. 
The king is not himself, but basely led 
By flatterers ; and what they will inform. 
Merely in hate, 'gainst any of us all. 
That will the king severely prosecute 
'Gainst us, our lives, our children, and our heirs. 

Ross. The commons hath he pill'd with grievous taxes. 
And quite lost their hearts : * the nobles hath he fin'd 
For ancient quarrels, and quite lost their hearts. 

Willo. And daily new exactions are devis'd — 
As blanks, benevolences, and I wot not what ; 
But what, o' God's name, doth become of this ? 

North. Wars have not wasted it, for warr'd he hath not. 
But basely yielded upon compromise 
That which his ancestors achiev'd with blows : 
More hath he spent in peace than they in wars. 

Ross. The earl of Wiltshire hath the realm in farm. 

Willo. The king 's grown bankrupt, like a broken man. 

North. Reproach and dissolution hangeth over him. 

Ross. He hath not money for these Irish wars. 
His burthenous taxations notwithstanding. 
But by the robbing of the banish'd duke. 

North. His noble kinsman : most degenerate king ! 
But, lords, we hear this fearful tempest sing. 
Yet seek no shelter to avoid the storm : 
We see the wind sit sore upon our sails. 
And yet we strike not,'' but securely perish. 

Ross. We see the very wrack that we must suflfer; 
And unavoided is the danger now. 
For suffering so the causes of our wrack. 

North. Not so ; even through the hollow eyes of death 

" Steevens struck out quite from this line. 
^ Strike not. To strike sail is to lower sail. 



I spy life peering ; but I dare not say 
How near the tidings of our comfort is. 

Willo. Nay, let us share thy thoughts, as thou dost ours. 

Ross. Be confident to speak, Northumberland : 
We three are but thyself; and, speaking so. 
Thy words are but as thoughts ; therefore, be bold. 

North. Then thus : — I have from Port le Blanc, a bay 
In Brittany, rcceiv'd intelligence 

That Harry duke of Hereford, Reignold lord Cobham,' 
That late broke from the duke of Exeter,* 
His brother, archbishop late of Canterbury, 
Sir Thomas Erpingham, sir John Ramston, 
Sir John Norbery, sir Robert Waterton, and Francis 

Quoint, — 
All these, well furnish'd by the duke of Bretagne, 
With eight tall ships, three thousand men of war. 
Are making hither with all due expedience. 
And shortly mean to touch our northern shore : 
Perhaps they had ere this, but that they stay 
The first departing of the king for Ireland. 
If then we shall shake oiF our slavish yoke. 
Imp out*" our drooping country's broken wing. 
Redeem from broking pawn the blemish'd crown, 
Wipe off" the dust that hides our sceptre's gilt. 
And make high majesty look like itself. 
Away with me in post to Ravenspurg : 
But if you faint, as fearing to do so. 
Stay and be secret, and myself will go. 

Ross. To horse, to horse ! urge doubts to them that fear. 

Willo. Hold out my horse, and I will first be there. 


» We print this liue according to the old copies. Modem editors have omitted 
duke of. 

•" Imp out. To imp a hawk was artificially to supply such wing feathers as were 
dropped or forced out by accident. To imp is to engraft — to insert. 


^ SCENE \\.~The same. A Room in the Palace. 
Enter Queen, Bushy, and Bagot. 

Bushy. Madam, your majesty is too much sad : 
You promis'd, when you parted with the king, 
To lay aside life-harming * heaviness. 
And entertain a cheerful disposition. 

Queen. To please the king, I did ; to please myself, 
I cannot do it ; yet I know no cause 
Why I should welcome such a guest as grief. 
Save bidding farewell to so sweet a guest 
As my sweet Richard : Yet, again, methinks. 
Some unborn sorrow, ripe in fortune's womb. 
Is coming towards me ; and my inward soul 
With nothing trembles : at something it grieves 
More than with parting from my lord the king. 

Bushy. Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows. 
Which show like grief itself, but are not so : 
For sorrow's eye, glazed with blinding tears. 
Divides one thing entire to many objects. 
Like perspectives,* which, rightly gaz'd upon. 
Show nothing but confusion, — ey'd awry. 
Distinguish form : so your sweet majesty. 
Looking awry upon your lord's departure. 
Finds shapes of griefs more than himself to wail ; 
Which, look'd on as it is, is nought but shadows 
Of what it is not. Then, thrice-gracious queen. 
More than your lord's departure weep not ; more 's not 

seen : 
Or if it be, 't is with false sorrow's eye. 
Which, for things true, weeps things imaginary. 
Queen. It may be so ; but yet my inward soul 
Persuades me it is otherwise : Howe'er it be, 
I cannot but be sad ; so heavy sad. 
As — though, in thinking, on no thought I think — 
Makes me with heavy nothing faint and shrink. 

Bushy. 'T is nothing but conceit, my gracious lady. 

» Life-harming. So the quarto of 1597. The folio, Klf-hanamg. 

422 KING RICHARD II. [Act 11. 

Queen. 'T is nothing less : conceit is still deriv'd 
From some forefather grief; mine is not so ; 
For nothing hath begot my something grief ; 
Or something hath the nothing that I grieve ; 
'T is in reversion that I do possess ; 
But what it is, that is not yet known ; what 
I cannot name ; 't is nameless woe, I wot. 

Enter Green. 

Green. Heaven save your majesty ! — and well met, gen- 
I hope the king is not yet shipp'd for Ireland. 

Queen. Why hop'st thou so ? 't is better hope he is ; 
For his designs crave haste, his haste good hope ; 
Then wherefore dost thou hope he is not shipp'd ? 

Green. That he, our hope, might have retir'd his power. 
And driven into despair an enemy's hope. 
Who strongly hath set footing in this land : 
The banish'd Bolingbroke repeals himself. 
And with uplifted arms is safe arriv'd 
At Ravenspurg. 

Queen. Now God in heaven forbid ! 

Green. O, madam, 't is too true ; and that is worse, — 
The lord Northumberland, his young son Henry Percy, 
The lords of Ross, Beaumond, and Willoughby, 
With all their powerful friends, are fled to him. 

Bushy. Why have you not proclaim'd Northumberland 
And the rest of the revolting faction traitors ?■ 

Green. We have : whereupon the earl of Worcester 
Hath broke his staff, resign'd his stewardship. 
And all the household servants fled with him 
To Bolingbroke. 

Queen. So, Green, thou art the midwife of my woe. 
And Bolingbroke my sorrow's dismal heir : 
Now hath my soul brought forth her prodigy ; 
And I, a gasping new-deliver'd mother. 
Have woe to woe, sorrow to sorrow, join'd. 

Bushy. Despair not, madam. 

• The folio, revolting ; the first quarto, revolted. 

Scene II.] KING RICHARD 11. 423 

Queen. Who shall hinder me ? 

I will despair, and be at enmity 
With cozening hope ; he is a flatterer, 
A parasite, a keeper-back of death. 
Who gently would dissolve the bands of life. 
Which false hope lingers in extremity. 

Enter York. 

Green. Here comes the duke of York. 

Queen. With signs of war about his aged neck ; 
O, full of careful business are his looks ! 
For heaven's sake, speak comfortable words. 

York. [Should I do so, I should belie my thoughts :J " 
Comfort 's in heaven ; and we are on the earth. 
Where nothing lives, but crosses, care, and grief. 
Your husband he is gone to save far off. 
Whilst others come to make him lose at home : 
Here am I left to underprop his land ; 
Who, weak with age, cannot support myself: 
Now comes the sick hour that his surfeit made ; 
Now shall he try his friends that flatter'd him. 

Enter a Servant. 

Serv. My lord, your son was gone before I came. 

York. He was ? — Why, so ! — go all which way it will \ 
The nobles they are fled, the commons they are cold,^ 
And will, I fear, revolt on Hereford's side. — 
Sirrah, get thee to Plashy, to my sister Gloster ; — 
Bid her send me presently a thousand pound : 
Hold, take my ring. 

Serv. My lord, I had forgot to tell your lordship : 
To-day, I came by, and called there ; — 
But I shall grieve you to report the rest, 

York. What is it, knave ? 

Serv. An hour before I came, the duchess died. 

■ This line is wanting in the folio. 

'• Steevens rejected the second they are from this line. 


York. Heaven for his mercy ! what a tide of woes 
Comes rushing on this woeful land at once ! 
I know not what to do : — I would to heaven, 
(So my untruth had not provok'd him to it,) 
The king had cut off my head with my brother's. 
What, are there posts despatch'd for Ireland? — * 
How shall we do for money for these wars ? — 
Come, sister, — cousin, I would say : pray, pardon me. — 
Go, fellow, \to the Servant] get thee home, provide some 

And bring away the armour that is there. — \_Exit Servant. 
Gentlemen, will you go muster men ? if I know 
How, or which way, to order these affairs. 
Thus disorderly thrust into my hands. 
Never believe me. Both are my kinsmen ; — 
The one is my sovereign, whom both my oath 
And duty bids defend ; the other again 
Is my kinsman, whom the king hath wrong'd. 
Whom conscience and my kindred bids to right. 
Well, somewhat we must do. — Come, cousin, I '11- 
Dispose of you : — Gentlemen, go muster up your men,*" 
And meet me presently at Berkley castle. 

I should to Plashy too ; 

But time will not permit : — All is uneven. 
And everything is left at six and seven. 

[Exeunt York and Queen. 
Bushy. The wind sits fair for news to go to Ireland, 
But none returns. For us to levy power, 

' The first quarto has no posts. 

'• Steevens omits gentlemen. It may be well to say, once for all, that we notice 
the principal of these changes, which are very numerous in this play, and were made 
without any authority from old copies, to account for the difl'erences between our 
text and that of all the modern editions, except Malone's of 1821. The principle 
upon which Steevens invariably worked was to cut out or thrust in a word, or 
words, wherever he found a verse longer or shorter than ten syllables counted upon 
his fingers. To restore the popular text to what Shakspere wrote would, perhaps, 
be impossible ; for every edition, in a portable form, that has been printed within 
the last thirty years, makes a merit of adopting "the text of Steevens and Malone," 
which is, in point of fact, the text with all the corruptions of Steevens. Malone, 
when left to himself, and not working in conjunction with Steevens, knew better 
what was the duty of an editor. We have restored several minor readings without 


Proportionable to the enemy. 
Is all impossible. 

Green. Besides, our nearness to the king in love. 
Is near the hate of those love not the king. 

Bagot. And that 's the wavering commons : for their love 
Lies in their purses ; and whoso empties them. 
By so much fills their hearts with deadly hate. 

Bushy. Wherein the king stands generally condemn'd. 

Bagot. If judgment lie in them, then so do we. 
Because we have been ever near the king. 

Green. Well, I '11 for refuge straight to Bristol castle ; 
The earl of Wiltshire is already there. 

Bushy. Thither will I with you : for little office 
Will the hateful commons perform for us ; 
Except, like curs, to tear us all in pieces. — 
Will you go along with us ? 

Bagot. No ; I will to Ireland to his majesty. 
Farewell : if heart's presages be not vain. 
We three here part, that ne'er shall meet again. 

Bushy. That 's as York thrives to beat back Bolingbroke. 

Green. Alas, poor duke ! the task he undertakes 
Is numb'ring sands, and drinking oceans dry ; 
Where one on his side fights, thousands will fly. 

Bushy. Farewell at once ; for once, for all, and ever. 

Green. Well, we may meet again. 

Bagot. I fear me, never. \^Exeunt. 

-^ SCENE III.— 'The Wilds in Glostershire. 

Enter Bolingbrokk and Northumberland, with Forces. 

Boling. How far is it, my lord, to Berkley now ? 

North. Believe me, noble lord, 
I am a stranger here in Glostershire. 
These high wild hills, and rough uneven ways. 
Draw out our miles, and make them wearisome ; 
And yet our fair discourse hath been as sugar. 
Making the hard way sweet and delectable. 
But, I bethink me, what a weary way 


From Ravenspurg to Cotswold will be found 
In Ross and Willoughbj, wanting your company ; 
Wticli, I protest, hath very much beguil'd 
The tediousness and process of my travel : 
But theirs is sweeten'd with the hope to have 
The present benefit which I possess : 
And hope to joy,' is little less in joy. 
Than hope enjoy'd : by this the weary lords 
Shall make their way seem short ; as mine hath done 
By sight of what I have, your noble company. 
Boling. Of much less value is my company 
Than your good words. But who comes here ? 

Enter Harry Percy. 

North. It is my son, young Harry Percy, 
Sent from my brother Worcester, whencesoever. — 
Harry, how fares your uncle ? 

Percy. I had thought, my lord, to have leam'd his health 
of you. 

North. Why, is he not with the queen ? 

Percy. No, my good lord ; he hath forsook the court. 
Broken his staff of office, and dispers'd 
The household of the king. 

North. What was his reason ? 

He was not so resolv'd when we last spake together. 

Percy. Because your lordship was proclaimed traitor. 
But he, my lord, is gone to Ravenspurg, 
To offer service to the duke of Hereford ; 
And sent me over by Berkley, to discover 
What power the duke of York had levied there ; 
Then with direction to repair to Ravenspurg. 

North. Have you forgot the duke of Hereford, boy ? 

Percy. No, my good lord ; for that is not forgot 
Which ne'er I did remember : to my knowledge, 
I never in my life did look on him. 

North. Then learn to know him now ; this is the duke. 

Percy. My gracious lord, I tender you my service. 
Such as it is, being tender, raw, and young ; 

• To joy is here used as a verb. 


Which elder days shall ripen, and confirm 
To more approved service and desert. 

Baling. I thank thee, gentle Percy ; and be sure, 
I count myself in nothing else so happy 
As in a soul rememb'ring my good friends ; 
And as my fortune ripens with thy love. 
It shall be still thy true love's recompense : 
My heart this covenant makes, my hand thus seals it. 

North. How far is it to Berkley ? And what stir 
Keeps good old York there, with his men of war ? 

Percy. There stands the castle, by yon tuft of trees, 
Mann'd with three hundred men, as I have heard : 
And in it are the lords of York, Berkley, and Seymour ; 
None else of name and noble estimate. 

Enter Ross and Willoughby. 

North. Here come the lords of Ross and Willoughby, 
Bloody with spurring, fiery -red with haste. 

Boling. Welcome, my lords : I wot your love pursues 
A banish'd traitor ; all my treasury 
Is yet but unfelt thanks, which, more enrich'd. 
Shall be your love and labour's recompense. 

Ross. Your presence makes us rich, most noble lord. 

Willo. And far surmounts our labour to attain it. 

Boling. Evermore thanks, th' exchequer of the poor ; 
Which, till my infant fortune comes to years. 
Stands for my bounty. But who comes here ? 

Enter Berkley. 

North. It is my lord of Berkley, as I guess. 

Berk. My lord of Hereford, my message is to you. 

Boling. My lord, my answer is — to Lancaster :* 
And I am come to seek that name in England : 
And I must find that title in your tongue. 
Before I make reply to aught you say. 

Berk. Mistake me not, my lord ; 't is not my meaning 
To raze one title of your honour out : — 

■ To Lancaster. I do not answer to the name of Hereford — my answer is to the 
name of Lancaster. 


To you, my lord, I come, (what lord you will,) 
From the most gracious ' regent of this land. 
The duke of York ; to know what pricks you on 
To take advantage of the absent time. 
And fright our native peace with self-born arms. 

Enter York, attended. 

Baling. I shall not need transport my words by you j 
Here comes his grace in person. — My noble uncle ! [Kneels. 

York. Show me thy humble heart, and not thy knee. 
Whose duty is deceivable and false. 

Baling. My gracious uncle ! 

York. Tut, tut ! 
Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle.^ 
I am no traitor's uncle ; and that word, grace. 
In an ungracious mouth, is but profane. 
Why have these banish'd and forbidden legs 
Dar'd once to touch a dust of England's ground ? 
But more then, why, why have they dar'd to march 
So many miles upon her peaceful bosom. 
Frighting her pale-fac'd villages with war. 
And ostentation of despised arms?* 
Com'st thou because the anointed king is hence? 
Why, foolish boy, the king is left behind. 
And in my loyal bosom lies his power. 
Were I but now the lord of such hot youth 
As when brave Gaunt, thy father, and myself, 
Rescued the Black Prince, that young Mars of men. 
From forth the ranks of many thousand French, 
O, then, how quickly should this arm of mine. 
Now prisoner to the palsy, chastise thee. 
And minister correction to thy fault ! 

Baling. My gracious uncle, let me know my fault ; 
On what condition stands it, and wherein ? 

• Graciout in the first quarto ; — glorious in the folio, which also omits regent. 
^ This is the reading of the first quarto. The folio reads, 

" Tut, tut, grace me no grace, nor uncle me." 
In ' Romeo and Juliet ' we have, 

" Thank me no thank ings, nor proud me no prouds." 

• Detpited arms. The ostentation of arms which we despise. 


York. Even in condition of the worst degree,— 
In gross rebellion, and detested treason : 
Thou art a banish'd man, and here art come. 
Before the expiration of thy time. 
In braving arms against thy sovereign. 

Boling. As I was banish'd, I was banish'd Hereford: 
But as I come, I come for Lancaster. 
And, noble uncle, I beseech your grace. 
Look on my wrongs with an indificrent eye : 
You are my father, for methinks in you 
I see old Gaunt alive ; O, then, my father ! 
Will you permit that I shall stand condemn'd 
A wand'ring vagabond ; my rights and royalties * 

Pluck'd from my arms perforce, and given away 
To upstart unthrifts? Wherefore was I born? 
If that my cousin king be king of England, 
It must be granted I am duke of Lancaster. 
You have a son, Aumerle, my noble kinsman ; 
Had you first died, and he been thus trod down. 
He should have found his uncle Gaunt a father. 
To rouse his wrongs, and chase them to the bay. 
I am denied to sue my livery here. 
And yet my letters-patents give me leave : 
My father's goods are all distrain'd, and sold ; 
And these, and all, are all amiss employ'd. 
What would you have me do ? I am a subject. 
And challenge law : Attorneys are denied me ; 
And therefore personally I lay my claim 
To my inheritance of free descent. 

North, The noble duke hath been too much abus'd. 

Ross. It stands your grace upon, to do him right. 

Willo. Base men by his endowments are made great. 

York. My lords of England, let me tell you this, — 
I have had feeling of my cousin's wrongs. 
And labour'd all I could to do him right : 
But in this kind to come, in braving arms. 
Be his own carver, and cut out his way. 
To find out right with wrongs, — it may not be ; 


And you that do abet him in this kind. 
Cherish rebellion, and are rebels all. 

North. The noble duke hath sworn his coming is 
But for his own : and, for the right of that. 
We all have strongly sworn to give him aid ; 
And let him ne'er see joy that breaks that oath. 

York. Well, well, I see the issue of these arms ; 
I cannot mend it, I must needs confess. 
Because my power is weak, and all ill left : 
But, if I could, by Him that gave me life, 
I would attach you all, and make you stoop 
Unto the sovereign mercy of the king ; 
But, since I cannot, be it known to you, 
I do remain as neuter. So, fare you well ; — 
Unless you please to enter in the castle. 
And there repose you for this night. 

Boling. An oflfer, uncle, that we will accept. 
But we must win your grace to go with us 
To Bristol castle ; which, they say, is held 
By Bushy, Bagot, and their complices. 
The caterpillars of the commonwealth. 
Which I have sworn to weed, and pluck away. 

York. It may be I will go with you : — but yet I '11 pause ; 
For I am loth to break our country's laws. 
Nor friends, nor foes, to me welcome you are : 
Things past redress are now with me past care. [Exeunt. 

Jif SCENE IV.— ^ Camp in Wales. 

Enter Salisbury and a Captain. 

Cap. My lord of Salisbury, we have stay'd ten days. 
And hardly kept our countrymen together. 
And yet we hear no tidings from the king ; 
Therefore we will disperse ourselves ; farewell. 

Sal. Stay yet another day, thou trusty Welshman ; 
The king reposeth all his confidence 
In thee. 

Cap. 'T is thought the king is dead ; we will not stay. 
The bay-trees in our country are all wither'd. 

Scene IV.] KING RICHARD II, 431 

And meteors fright the fixed stars of heaven ; 

The pale-fac'd moon looks bloody on the earth. 

And lean-look'd prophets whisper fearful change ; 

Rich men look sad, and ruffians dance and leap, — 

The one, in fear to lose what they enjoy. 

The other, to enjoy by rage and war : 

These signs forerun the death [or fall'] of kings. — 

Farewell ; our countrymen are gone and fled. 

As well assur'd Richard their king is dead. [Eant. 

Sal. Ah, Richard ! with the eyes of heavy mind, 
I see thy glory, like a shooting star. 
Fall to the base earth from the firmament ! 
Thy sun sets weeping in the lowly west. 
Witnessing storms to come, woe, and unrest ; 
Thy friends are fled, to wait upon thy foes ; 
And crossly to thy good all fortune goes. [Exit. 

■ Or /all is not in the original copies. 



' Scene I. — " Ui» livery." 

Malone gives the following explanation of this passage : — " On the death of every 
person who held by knight's service, the escheator of the court in which he died 
summoned a jury, who inquired what estate he died seized of, and of what age his 
next heir was. If he was under age, he became award of the king's; but if he was 
found to be of full age, he then had a right to sue out a writ of ouster k main, — that 
is, Mi livery, — that the king' s hand might betaken off, and the land deliixredio him." 
Bolingbroke had appointed attorneys to execute this office for him, if his &ther 
should die during the period of his banishment. 

« Scene I. — " That late broke from the duke of Exeter."^ 

Thomas, the son of the Earl of Arundel, was in the custody of the Duke of 
Exeter, and escaped from his house — broke from him. The description could not 
apply to " Reignold lord Cobham ;" — and, therefore, Malone has introduced a 
line, which he supposes, or something like it, to have been accidentally omitted : — 

" The son of Richard earl of Arundel, ' 
That late broke from the duke of Exeter." 

^ Scene II. — " Like perspectives." 
These perspectives were produced by cutting a board so that it should present a 
number of sides, or flats, when looked at obliquely. To these sides, a print, or 
drawing, cut into parts, was affixed ; so that looked at " awry " the whole picture 
was seen ; looked at direct — " rightly gaz'd upon" — it showed " nothing but con- 
fusion." Dr. Plot, in his 'History of Staffordshire,' describes these "perspectives." 



[John of GauHt.] 

John of Gaunt, who, in the first line of thig play, is called 

'' Old John of Gannt, time-honoor'd Lancaster," 

was the fourth son of Edward III., by his Queen Philippa. He was called of Gaot 
or Ghent, from the place of his birth; — was bom in 1340, and died in 1399. The 
circumstance of the king naming him as old John of Gaunt has many examples in 
the age of Shakspere. Spenser calls the Earl of Leicester an old man, though he 
was then not fifty ; Lord Huntingdon represents Coligny as very old, though he died 
at fifty-three. There can be little doubt, we apprehend, that the average duration of 
human life has been much increased during the last two centuries ; and, at that period, 
marriages were much earlier, so that it was not uncommon for a man to be at the 
head of a family before he was twenty. When John of Gaunt was fifty-eight (in 
the year of Bolingbroke's appeal against Hereford), Henry of Monmouth, his grand- 
son, was eleven years old; so that Bolingbroke, who was bom in 1366, must have 
been a father at twenty -one. Froissart thus speaks of the death of John of Gaunt : — 
" So it fell that, about the feast of Christmas, Duke John of Lancaster, who lived 
in great displeasure, what because the king had banished his son out of the realm tot 
so little a cause, and also because of the evil governing of the realm by his nephew, 
King Richard ; (for he saw well, if he long persevered, and were suffered to con- 
tinue, the realm was likely to be utterly lost) — with these imaginations and other, 
the duke fell sick, whereon he died ; whose death was greatly sorrowed of all his 
friends and lovers." 

Shakspere found no authority in the Chronicles for the fine deatfa-scene of John of 
Gaunt; but the principal circumstance for which he reproaches the king — that 
England " is now leas'd out " — is distincUy supported. Fabyan says, " In this 
22nd year of King Richard, the common &me ran that the king had letten to farm 
the realm unto Sir William Scrope, Earl of Wiltshire, and then treasurer of Eng- 

VoL. IV. 2 F 


land, to Sir John Bushey, Sir John Bagot, and Sir Henry Green, knight*." The 
subeequent reproach of the confederated lords, that 

" Daily new exactioiu aredevis'd; 
As blanks, benevolences," 

is also fully supported. The " blanks " were most ingenious uistruments of pillage, 
principally devised for the oppression of substantial and wealthy citizens. For these 
blanks, they of London " were fain to seal, to their great charge, as in the end apjieared. 
And the like charters were sent abroad into all shires within the realm, whereby 
great grudge and murmuring arose amongst the people ; for when they were so sealed, 
the king's oflScers wrote in the same what liked them, as well for charging the jmrties 
with pajrment of money, as otherwise." 

The general condition of the country, while the commons were " pill'd,' and tlie 
nobles "fin'd," by Richard and his creatures, was, according to Froissart, most 
lamentable. We copy the passage, as it is highly characteristic of the manners of 
the times. The period thus described is that immediately before the departure of 
Richard for Ireland : — " The state generally of all men in England began to mur- 
mur and to rise one against another, and ministering of justice was clean stopped up 
in all courts of England ; whereof the valiant men and prelates, who loved rest and 
peace, and were glad to pay their duties, were greatly abashed : for there rose in the 
realm companies in divers routs, keeping the fields and highways, so that merchants 
durst not ride abroad to exercise their merchandise for doubt of robbing ; and no 
man knew to whom to complain to do them right, reason, and justice, which things 
were right prejudicial and displeasant to the good people of England, for it was con- 
trary to their accustomable usage : for all people, labourers and merchants in Eng- 
land, were wont to live in rest and peace, and to occupy their merchandise peace- 
ably, and the labourers to labour their lands quietly ; and then it was contrary, for 
when merchants rode from town to town with their merchandise, and had either gold 
or silver in their purses, it was taken from them ; and from other men and labourers 
out of their houses these companions would take wheat, oats, beefs, muttons, porks, 
and the poor men durst speak no word. These evil deeds daily multiplied so that 
great complaints and lamentations were made thereof throughout the realm, and the 
good people said, The time is changed upon us from good to evil, ever since the death 
of good King Edward the Third, in whose days justice was well kept and ministered : 
in his days there was no man so hardy in England to take a hen or a chicken, or a 
sheep, without he had paid truly for it ; and now-a-days, all that we have is taken 
from us, and yet we dare not speak ; these things cainiotlong endure, but that Eng- 
land is likely to be lost without recovery : we have a king now that will do nothing; 
he eutendeth but to idleness and to accomplish bis pleasure, and by that he showeth 
he careth not how everything goeth, so he may have his will. It were time to pro- 
vide for remedy, or else our enemies will rejoice and mock us." There is a remark- 
able corroboration of the state of cruel oppression in which the common people lived, 
furnished by a copy of the stipulations made by the Duke of Surrey, in 1398, on 
taking upon him the government of Ireland : " Item, That he, the lieutenant, may 
have, at sundry times, out of every parish, or every two parishes, in England, a man 
and his wife, at the cost of the king, in the land of Ireland, to inhabit the same land 
where it is wasted upon the marshes."' (Cotton MS.) This compulsory colonization 
must have been most odious to the people, who knew that the " wild men " of Ire- 
land, amongst whom they were to be placed, kept the government in constant terror. 

The seizure of Bolingbroke's patrimony by Richard, after the death of Gaunt, is 
thus described by Holinshed ; and Shakspere has most accurately followed the 
description as to its facta : — " The death of this duke gave occasion of increasing 
more hatred in the people of this realm toward the king, for he seized into his hands 



all tJie goods that belonged to him, and also received all the rents and revenues of 
his lands, which ought to have descended unto the Duke of Hereford, by lawful in- 
heritance, in revoking his letters patents, which he had granted to him before, by- 
virtue whereof he might make his attonieys-general to sue livery for him, of any 
manner of inheritances or possessions that might from thenceforth fall unto him, 
and that his homage might be respited with making reasonable fine : whereby it 
was evident that the king meant his utter undoing." The private malice of 
Richard against his banished cousin — 

" The prevention of poor Bolingbroke 
About his marriage" — 

is also detailed in the Chronicles. 

Fired with revenge by these aggressions, and encouraged by letters from the 
leading men of England — nobility, prelates, magistrates, and rulers, as Holinshed 
describes them — promising him all their aid, power, and assistance, in " expulsing"' 
King Richard — Bolingbroke took the step which involved this land in blood for 
nearly a century. He quitted Paris, and sailed from Port Blatic, in Lower Brit- 
tany, with very few men-at-arms, according to some accounts — with three thousand, 
according to others. This event took place about a fortnight after Richard had 
sailed for Ireland. His last remaining uncle, the Duke of York, had been left in 
the government of the kingdom. He was, however, unfitted for a post of so much 
difficulty and danger; and Shakspere has well described his perplexities upon 
hearing of the landing of Bolingbroke : — 

" If I know 

How or which way to order these affairs, 

Thus disorderly thrust into my hands, 

Never believe me." 

He had been little accustomed to afiairs of state. Hardyng, in his ' Chronicle,' 
thus describes him at an early period of his life : — 

" Edmonde hyght of Langley of goodchere. 
Glad and mery and of his owne ay lyved 
Without wrong as chronicles have breved. 
When all the lordes to councell and parlyament 
Went, he wolde to hunte, and also to hawekyng. 
All gentyll disporte as to a lorde appent, 
He used aye, and to the pore supportyng." 

Froissart describes him as living at his own castle with his people, interfering not 
with what was passing in the country, but taking all things as they happened. 
According to Holinshed, the army that he raised to oppose Bolingbroke "boldly 
protested that they would not fight against the Duke of Lancaster, whom they knew 
to be evil dealt with." It seems to be agreed on all hands that Froissart, who 
makes Bolingbroke land at Plymouth, and march direct to London, was incorrectly 
informed. Holinshed, upon the authority of " our English writers," says, " The 
Duke of Lancaster, after that he had coasted alongst the shore a certain time, and 
had got some intelligence how the people's minds were aflected towards him, landed, 
about the beginning of July, ip Yorkshire, at a place sometimes called Ravenspur, 
betwixt Hull and Bridlington, and with him not past threescore persons, as some 
write : but he was so joyfully received of the lords, knights, and gentlemen of those 
parts, that he found means (by their help) forthwith to assemble a great number of 
people that were willing to take his part." The subsequent events, previous to the 
return of Richard, are most correctly delineated by our poet. Bolingbroke was 
joined by Northumberland and Harry Percy, by Ross and Willoughby. " He 
sware unto those lords that he would demand no more but- the lands that were to 
him descended by inheritance irom his father, and in right o^ his wife."' From 

2 F 2 



Doiicaster, with a mighty army, Boliiigbroke marched through the counties of 
Derby or Nottingham, Leicester, Warwick, and Worcester ; — " through the coun- 
tries coming by Evesham unto Berkley." The Duke of York had marched towards 
Wales to meet the king, upon his expected arrival from Ireland. Holinshed says, 
he " was received into the Castle of Berkley, and there remained till the coming 
thither of the Duke of Lancaster, whom when he perceived that he was not able to 
resist, on the Sunday after the feast of St. James, which, as that year came about, 
fell upon a Friday, he came forth into the church that stood without the castle, and 
there communed with the Duke of Lancaster. * * ♦ * On the morrow after, 
the foresaid dukes with their power went towards Bristow, where (at their coming) 
they showed themselves before the town and castle, being an huge multitude of 
people." The defection of the Welsh under Salisbury is detailed in the writers of 
the period ; and so is the prodigy of the withered bay-trees. 

[Edmund of Langley.] 

Scene I.] KING RICHARD II. 437 



SCENE I.— Bolingbroke'j Camp at Bristol. 

Enter Bolingbroke, York, Northumberland, Percy, 
WiLLOUGHBY, Ross : Officers behind, with Bushy and 
Green, prisoners. 

Boling. Bring forth these men. — 
Bushy, and Green, I will not vex your souls- 
(Since presently your souls must part your bodies,) 
With too much urging your pernicious lives. 
For 't were no charity : yet, to wash your blood 
From off my hands, here, in the view of men, 
I will unfold some causes of your deaths. 
You have misled a prince, a royal king, 
A happy gentleman in blood and lineaments, 
By you unhappied and disfigur'd clean. 
You have, in manner, with your sinful hours. 
Made a divorce betwixt his queen and him ; 
Broke the possession of a royal* bed. 
And stain'd the beauty of a fair queen's cheeks 
With tears drawn from her eyes by your foul wrongs. 
Myself — a prince, by fortune of my birth ; 
Near to the king in blood ; and near in love. 
Till you did make him misinterpret me, — 
Have stoop'd my neck under your injuries. 
And sigh'd my English breath in foreign clouds. 
Eating the bitter bread of banishment : 
While you have fed upon my seignories, 
Dispark'd my parks,* and fell'd my forest woods ; 

' Dispark'd my park*. To disafforest a forest is to annul all the peculiar privi- 
leges which belong to it, and render it, with reference to the rights of the owner or 
lord, and the privileges of the tenants or vassals, the same as that of ordinary land. 
Bolingbroke, we presume, complains that, when the favoxirites of Richard had dis- 
parked his parks, they let out the property to common purposes of pasture or tillage, 
and at the same time felled his woods;— thus, not only feeding upon his seignories, 
but destroying their ancient beaufy and propriety. 


From mine own windows torn my household coat, 

Raz'd out my impress, leaving me no sign — 

Save men's opinions, and my living blood — 

To show the world I am a gentleman. 

This, and much more, much more than twice all this. 

Condemns you to the death : — See them deliver'd over 

To execution and the hand of death. 

Bushy. More welcome is the stroke of death to me. 
Than Bolingbroke to England. [Lords, farewell.'] 

Green. My comfort is, that heaven will take our souls, 
And plague injustice with the pains of hell. 

Baling. My lord Northumberland, see them despatch'd. 
[Exeunt Northumberland and others, with Prisoners. 
Uncle, you say, the queen is at your house : 
For heaven's sake, fairly let her be entreated ; 
Tell her, I send to her my kind commends ; 
Take special care my greetings be deliver'd. 

York. A gentleman of mine I have despatch'd 
With letters of your love to her at large. 

Boling. Thanks, gentle uncle. — Come, lords, away ; 
To fight with Glendower and his complices ^ 
Awhile to work, and, after, holiday. [Exeunt. 

SCENE II.— r^eCba*/^" Wales. A Castle in View. 

Flourish : Drums and Trumpets. Enter King Richard, 
Bishop of Carlisle, Aumerle, and Soldiers. 

K. Rich. Barkloughly castle call you this at hand ? 

Aum. Yea, my lord. How brooks your grace the air. 
After your'^ late tossing on the breaking seas? 

K. Rich. Needs must I like it well ; I weep for joy. 
To stand upon my kingdom once again. 
Dear earth, I do salute thee with my hand. 
Though rebels wound thee with their horses' hoofs : 
As a long-parted mother with her child 
Plays fondly with her tears'' and smiles, in meeting; 

• Lurdt, farewell, is omitted in the folio. 
'' Steeven» omits your. 

* The usual mode of reading these two beautiful lines is as follows : — 

Scene II.] KING RICHARD II. 439 

So, weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth,* 
And do thee favour with my royal hands. 
Feed not thy sovereign's foe, my gentle earth, 
Nor with thy sweets comfort his ravenous sense : 
But let thy spiders, that suck up thy venom. 
And heavy-gaited toads,** lie in their way ; 
Doing annoyance to the treacherous feet 
Which with usurping steps do trample thee. 
Yield stinging nettles to mine enemies : 
And when they from thy bosom pluck a flower. 
Guard it, I pray thee, with a lurking adder. 
Whose double tongue may with a mortal touch 
Throw death upon thy sovereign's enemies. 
Mock not my senseless conjuration, lords ; 
This earth shall have a feeling, and these stones 
Prove armed soldiers, ere her native king 
Shall falter under foul rebellion's ^ arms. 

Bishop. Fear not, my lord ; that Power that made you king 
Hath power to keep you king, in spite of all. 
[The means that heaven yields must be embrac'd. 
And not neglected ; else, if heaven would. 
And we will not, heaven's ofier we refuse ; 
The proffer'd means of succour and redress..]'* 

" As a long-parted mother with her child 
Plays fondly with her tears, and smiles in meeting." 
Smiles, in this way, is a verb; but, by the transposition of the comma, it is read as a 
noun. The " long-parted mother " does not only play fondly with her teiirs, but 
with her smiles also. Richard adds, 

" So weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth." 

" The repeated use, by Richard, of the word earth, would seem to indicate that 
Shakspere employs the word in the meaning of inheritance, — possession, — " my 
kingdom," — " dear earth,'' — " my earth," — " my gentle earth." Mr. Whiter, in 
his curious ' Etymological Dictionary,' has shown that the word heir is derived 
from earth. " The Latin hceres, hcered-ia, or, as it was anciently written, eres, is the 
person who possesses, or is destined to possess, tlie certain spot of land, — or of earthy 
hertha, herda, &c." When Capulet, in ' Romeo and Juliet,' says, 

" She is the hopeful lady of my earth," 
there is little doubt that he means that Juliet is his heiress. 

•> Heavy-gaited toads. This epithet is one of the many examples of Shakspere's 
wonderful accuracy in observing natural objects, and of hia power of conveying an 
image by a word. 

« Rebellion's artns. So the quarto of 1597. The folio rebellious. 

^ These four lines, enclosed in brackets, are omitted in the folio. 

440 KING RICHARD 11. [Act III, 

Aum. He means, my lord, that we are too remiss ; 
Wliilst Bolingbroke, through our security. 
Grows strong and great, in substance, and in friends. 

K. Rich. Discomfortable cousin ! know'st thou not. 
That, when the searching eye of heaven is hid 
Behind the globe, and lights* the lower world. 
Then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen. 
In murthers, and in outrage, bloody here ; 
But when, from under this terrestrial ball. 
He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines. 
And darts his light'' through every guilty hole. 
Then murthers, treasons, and detested sins. 
The cloak of night being pluck'd from off their backs. 
Stand bare and naked, trembling at themselves ? 
So when this thief, this traitor, Bolingbroke, — 
Who all this while hath revell'd in the night. 
Whilst we were wand'ring with the antipodes, — 
Shall see us rising in our throne the east. 
His treasons will sit blushing in his face. 
Not able to endure the sight of day. 
But, self-affrighted, tremble at his sin. 
Not all the water in the rough rude sea 
Can wash the balm from an anointed king : 
The breath of worldly men cannot depose 
The deputy elected by the Lord : 
For every man that Bolingbroke hath press'd. 
To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown. 
Heaven for his Ricliard hath in heavenly pay 
A glorious angel : then, if angels fight. 
Weak men must fall ; for heaven still guards the right. 

Enter Salisbury. 
Welcome, my lord ; How far off lies your power ? 

Sal. Nor near, nor farther off, my gracious lord. 
Than this weak arm : Discomfort guides my tongue, 
And bids me speak of nothing but despair. 

■ And lights. All the old copies read that 'lights. That, as a relative, has pro' 
bably searching eye for its antecedent; but the construction is still difficult, whilst 
a slight alteration removes the difficulty* 

*> Ugkt, In the folio, lightning. 

Scene II.] KING RICHARD II. 441 

One day too late, I fear, my noble lord. 

Hath clouded all thy happy days on earth ; 

O, call back yesterday, bid time return. 

And thou shalt have twelve thousand fighting men : 

To-day, to-day, unhappy day, too late, 

O'erthrows thy joys, friends, fortune, and thy state ; 

For all the Welshmen, hearing thou wert dead. 

Are gone to Bolingbroke, dispers'd, and fled. 

Aum. Comfort, my liege : why looks your grace so pale ? 

K. Rich. But now, the blood of twenty thousand men 

Did triumph in my face, and they are fled ; 
And, till so much blood thither come again. 

Have I not reason to look pale and dead ? 
All souls that will be safe fly from my side ; 
For time hath set a blot upon my pride. 

Aum. Comfort, my liege ; remember who you are. 

K. Rich. I had forgot myself: Am I not king? 
Awake thou sluggard* majesty ! thou sleepest. 
Is not the king's name forty thousand names? 
Arm, arm, my name ! a puny subject strikes 
At thy great glory. — Look not to the ground. 
Ye favourites of a king. Are we not high ? 
High be our thoughts : I know, my uncle York 
Hath power enough to serve our turn. But who 
Comes here? 

Enter Scroop, 

Scroop. More health and happiness betide my liege. 
Than can my care-tun'd tongue deliver him. 

K. Rich. Mine ear is open, and my heart prepared j 
The worst is worldly loss thou canst unfold. 
Say, is my kingdom lost ? why, 't was my care ; 
And what loss is it to be rid of care ? 
Strives Bolingbroke to be as great as we ? 
Greater he shall not be ; if he serve God, 
We '11 serve him too, and be his fellow so. 
Revolt our subjects ? that we cannot mend ; 
They break their faith to God, as well as us : 

■ Sluggard. One of the quartos has coward. 


Cry, woe, destruction, ruin, loss, decay ; 

The worst is death, and death will have his day. 

Scroop. Glad am I that your highness is so arm'd 
To bear the tidings of calamity. 
Like an unseasonable stormy day. 
Which makes the silver rivers drown their shores. 
As if the world were all dissolv'd to tears ; 
So high above his limits swells the rage 
Of Bolingbroke, covering your fearful land 
With hard bright steel, and hearts harder than steel. 
White beards have arm'd their thin and hairless scalps 
Against thy majesty ; and boys, with women's voices. 
Strive to speak big, and clap their female joints 
In stiff unwieldy arms against thy crown: 
Thy very beadsmen learn to bend their bows 
Of double-fatal yew against thy state ; 
Yea, distaff-women manage rusty bills 
Against thy seat : both young and old rebel. 
And all goes worse than I have power to tell. 

K. Rich. Too well, too well, thou tell'st a tale so ill. 
Where is the earl of Wiltshire ? where is Bagot ? 
What is become of Bushy ? where is Green ? 
That they have let the dangerous enemy 
Measure our confines with such peaceful steps ? 
If we prevail, their heads shall pay for it. 
I warrant they have made peace with Bolingbroke. 

Scroop. Peace have they made with him, indeed, my lord. 

K. Rich. O villains, vipers, damn'd without redemption ! 
Dogs, easily won to fawn on any man ! 
Snakes, in my heart-blood warm'd, that sting my heart ! 
Three Judases, each one thrice worse than Judas ! 
Would they make peace ? terrible hell make war 
Upon their spotted souls for this offence ! 

Scroop. Sweet love, I see, changing his property. 
Turns to the sourest and most deadly hate : 
Again uncurse their souls ; their peace is made 
With heads, and not with hands : those whom you curse 
Have felt the worst of death's destroying wound. 
And lie full low, grav'd in the hollow ground. 

Scene II.] KING RICHARD II. 443 

Aum. Is Bushy, Green, and the earl of Wiltshire, dead ? 

Scroop. Yea, all of them at Bristol lost their heads. 

Aum. Where is the duke my father with his power ? 

K. Rich. No matter where. Of comfort no man speak : 
Let 's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs ; 
Make dust our paper, and with rainy eyes 
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth. i 

Let 's choose executors, and talk of wills : 1 

And yet not so, — for what can we bequeath. 
Save our deposed bodies to the ground ? 
Our lands, our lives, and all, are Bolingbroke's, 
And nothing can we call our own but death ; j 

And that small model " of the barren earth, ' 

Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.'' 
For heaven's sake, let us sit upon the ground. 
And tell sad stories of the death of kings : — 
How some have been depos'd, some slain in war. 
Some haunted by the ghosts they have depos'd : "^ 
Some poison'd by their wives, some sleeping kill'd ; 
All murther'd : — For within the hollow crown 
That rounds the mortal temples of a king. 
Keeps Death his court ; and there the antic sits. 
Scoffing his state, and grinning at his pomp, — ' 
Allowing him a breath, a little scene 
To monarchize, be fear'd, 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. 
Comes at the last, and with a little pin 
Bores through his castle walls, and — farewell king ! 
Cover your heads, and mock not flesh and blood 
With solemn reverence; throw away respect, 

■ Model. The word is, probably, here used for something formed or fashioned. 
The earth assumes the shape of the body which it covers. Douce seems to tliiiik it 
meaus only measure, portion, or quantity, — a modicum. 

^ We copy a remark of Johnson upon this line, to show what criticism upon 
Shakspere used to be, even in the hands of one of the ablest of modern writers : 
" A metaphor, not of the most sublime kind, taken from a pie." 

' Ghottt they have deposed. Ghosts of those whom they have deposed. This sort 
'if ellipsis is very frequently used by our poet. 


Tradition, form, and ceremonious duty. 
For you have but mistook me all this while : 
I live with bread like you, feel want, taste grief. 
Need friends : — Subjected thus, 
How can you say to me — I am a king? 

Car. My lord, wise men ne'er wail their present woes. 
But presently prevent the ways to wail. 
To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength. 
Gives, in your weakness, strength unto your foe, 
[And so your follies fight against yourself.'] 
Fear, and be slain ; no worse can come, to fight : 
And fight and die, is death destroying death ; 
Where fearing dying pays death servile breath. 

Aum. My father hath a power, inquire of him ; 
And learn to make a body of a limb. 

K. Rich. Thou chid'st me well : — Proud Bolingbroke, I 
To change blows with thee for our day of doom. 
This ague-fit of fear is over-blown ; 
An easy task it is to win our own. 
Say, Scroop, where lies our uncle with his power ? 
Speak sweetly, man, although thy looks be sour. 

Scroop. Men judge by the complexion of the sky 

The state and inclination of the day : 
So may you by my dull and heavy eye ; 

My tongue hath but a heavier tale to say. 
I play the torturer, by small and small. 
To lengthen out the worst that must be spoken : — 
Your uncle York is ^ join'd with Bolingbroke j 
And all your northern castles yielded up. 
And all your southern gentlemen in arms 
Upon his faction." 

K. Rich. Thou hast said enough. — 

Beshrew thee, cousin, which didst lead me forth [To Aum. 
Of that sweet way I was in to despair ! 
What say you now? What comfort have we now ? 

" This line is omitted in the folio. 

'' /», in the folio ; in the quartos, hath, 

' Faction. The first quarto reads parti/, 


By heaven, I '11 hate him everlastingly 
That bids me be of comfort any more. 
Go to Flint castle ; there I '11 pine away ; 
A king, woe's slave, shall kingly woe obey. 
That power I have, discharge ; and let them go 
To ear the land * that hath some hope to grow. 
For I have none : — Let no man speak again 
To alter this, for counsel is but vain. 

Aum. My liege, one word. 

K. Rich. He does me double wrong 

That wounds me with the flatteries of his tonorue. 


Discharge my followers, let them hence. — Away, 

From Richard's night to Bolingbroke's fair day. [Exeunt. 

SCENE III.— Wales. Before Flint Castle. 

Enter, with drum and colours, Bolingbroke and Forces; 
York, Northumberland, and others. 

Baling. So that by this intelligence we learn. 
The Welshmen are dispers'd ; and Salisbury 
Is gone to meet the king, who lately landed. 
With some few private friends, upon this coast. 

North. The news is very fair and good, my lord ; 
Richard, not far from hence, hath hid his head. 

York. It would beseem the lord Northumberland 
To say, king Richard : Alack the heavy day. 
When such a sacred king should hide his head ! 

North. Your grace mistakes ; '' only to be brief. 
Left I his title out. 

York. The time hath been. 

Would you have been so brief with him, he would 
Have been so brief with you, to shorten you. 
For taking so the head,'^ your whole head's length. 

■■ Ear the land — plough the land. So in Shakspere's dedication of Venus and 
Adonis ' to the Earl of Southampton, " never after ear so barren a land, for fear it 
yield me still so bad a harvest." Elar is the same as the Latin arare, to plough, to 
till. Arable is ear-able. 

i> Hanmer added me; — make a pause after the emphatic mittakes, and the metre 
wants no such addition. 

" Taking so the head. Johnson thinks that to take the head is to take undue 
liberties. We incline to Douce's opinion, that the expression means to take away 
the sovereign's cA»*^ title. 


Boling. Mistake not, uncle, farther than you should. 

York. Take not, good cousin, farther than you should, 
Lest you mis-take : The heavens are o'er your head. 

Boling. I know it, uncle ; and oppose not myself 
Against their will. — But who comes here ? 

Enter Percy. 

Welcome, Harry : ' what, will not this castle yield ? 

Percy. The castle royally is mann'd, my lord. 
Against thy entrance. 

Boling. Royally ? 
Why, it contains no king ? 

Percy. Yes, my good lord, 

It doth contain a king ; king Richard lies 
Within the limits of yon lime and stone : 
And with him the lord Aumerle, lord Salisbury, 
Sir Stephen Scroop j besides a clergyman 
Of holy reverence, who, I cannot learn. 

North. Oh ! belike it is the bishop of Carlisle. 

Boling. Noble lord, [To North. 

Go to the rude ribs of that ancient castle : 
Through brazen trumpet send the breath of parle 
Into his ruin'd ears, and thus deliver. 
Henry Bolingbroke 

Upon his knees doth kiss king Richard's hand ; 
And sends allegiance, and true faith of heart. 
To his most royal person : hither come 
Even at his feet to lay my arms and power ; 
Provided that, my banishment repeal'd. 
And lands restor'd again, be freely granted : 
If not, I '11 use the advantage of my power. 
And lay the summer's dust with showers of blood, 
Rain'd from the wounds of slaughter'd Englishmen : 
The which, how far off from the mind of Bolingbroke 
It is such crimson tempest should bedrench 
The fresh green lap of fair king Richard's land, 

' Welcome, Harry. In Steeveng, who followed Hanmer, we must put up with 
the feeble Well, Horn/. 


My stooping duty tenderly shall show. 
Go, signify as much ; while here we march 
Upon the grassy carpet of this plain. 

[North, advances to the castle with a trumpet. 
Let 's march without the noise of threat'ning drum. 
That from this castle's totter'd » battlements 
Our fair appointments may be well perus'd. 
Methinks, king Richard and myself should meet 
With no less terror than the elements 
Of fire and water, when their thund'ring shock *• 
At meeting tears the cloudy cheeks of heaven. 
Be he the fire, P 11 be the yielding water : 
The rage be his, while on the earth I rain 
My waters ; on the earth, and not on him. 
March on, and mark king Richard how he looks. 

A parle sounded, and answered by another trumpet within. 
Flourish. Enter on the walls King Richard, the Bishop 
OF Carlisle, Aumerle, Scroop, and Salisbury. 

York. See, see, king Richard doth himself appear. 
As doth the blushing discontented sun. 
From out the fiery portal of the east ; 
When he perceives the envious clouds are bent 
To dim his glory, and to stain the track 
Of his bright passage to the Occident.'^ 
Yet looks he like a king ; behold, his eye. 
As bright as is the eagle's, lightens forth 
Controlling majesty ; Alack, alack, for woe. 
That any harm should stain so fair a show ! 

K. Rich. We are amaz'd ; and thus long have we stood 
To watch the fearful bending of thy knee, [To North. 

" Tottered, for tottering ; die passive for the active participle. 

•■ Thundering shock. All the old copies read smoke. We cannot trace how thock 
has been substituted; yet we feel it right to adopt it. The passage was written long 
before the properties of electricity were known ; and the poet attributes, therefore, 
the thundering shock which "tears the cloudy cheeks of heaven " to the meeting of 
"the elements of fire and water," — some obscure notion of the days of conjectural 

<^ In all the old copies the first six lines of this spe«ch are given to Bolingbroke. 

448 KING RICHARD 11. [Act III. 

Because we thought ourself thy lawful king : 

And if we be, how dare thy joints forget 

To pay their awful duty to our presence ? 

If we be not, show us the hand of God 

That hath dismiss'd us from our stewardship ; 

For well we know, no hand of blood and bone 

Can gripe the sacred handle of our sceptre, 

Unless he do profane, steal, or usurp. 

And though you think that all, as you have done. 

Have torn their souls, by turning them from us. 

And we are barren, and bereft of friends ; 

Yet know, — my master, God omnipotent. 

Is mustering in his clouds, on our behalf. 

Armies of pestilence ; and they shall strike 

Your children yet unborn, and unbegot. 

That lift your vassal hands against my head. 

And threat the glory of my precious crown. 

Tell Bolingbroke, (for yond', methinks, he is,) 

That every stride he makes upon my land 

Is dangerous treason : He is come to ope 

The purple testament of bleeding war ; * 

But ere the crown he looks for live in peace. 

Ten thousand bloody crowns of mothers' sons 

Shall ill become the flower of England's face ; 

Change the complexion of her maid-pale peace 

To scarlet indignation, and bedew 

Her pastures' grass with faithful English blood. 

North. The king of heaven forbid, our lord the king 
Should so with civil and uncivil arms 
Be rush'd upon ! Thy thrice-noble cousin, 
Harry Bolingbroke, doth humbly kiss thy hand ; 

• There ia a very similar line in the first part of ' Jeronimo,' a play which, it is 
supposed, was produced in 1688 (see Dodsley's ' Old Plays,' edition 1825, vol. 
iii., p. 51) : — 

" Then I unclasp the purple leaves of war." 

Whiter pointed this out in his * Specimen of a Commentary,' in 1794, but none 
of the editors have noticed it. Steevens believed that Shakspere here used the word 
tettament in its legal sense. Whiter says, " Whatever be the direct meaning of the 
words in question, I am persuaded that the idea of a book with a purple covering 
suggested this combination of words to the mind of our poet." 


And by the honourable tomb he swears. 
That stands upon your royal grandsire's bones ; * 
And by the royalties of both your bloods. 
Currents that spring from one most gracious head ; 
And by the buried hand of warlike Gaunt ; 
And by the worth and honour of himself. 
Comprising all that may be sworn or said, — 
His coming hither hath no further scope. 
Than for his lineal royalties, and to beg 
Enfranchisement immediate on his knees ; 
Which on thy royal party granted once. 
His glittering arms he will commend to rust. 
His barbed steeds to stables, and his heart 
To faithful service of your majesty. 
This swears he, as he is a prince, is just ; 
And, as I am a gentleman, I credit him. 

K. Rich. Northumberland, say, — thus the king returns : — 
His noble cousin is right welcome hither ; 
And all the number of his fair demands 
Shall be accomplish'd without contradiction : 
With all the gracious utterance thou hast. 
Speak to his gentle hearing kind commends. — 
We do debase ourself, cousin, do we not, [To Aumerle. 

To look so poorly, and to speak so fair ? 
Shall we call back Northumberland, and send 
Defiance to the traitor, and so die ? 

Aum. No, good my lord ; let 's fight with gentle words. 
Till time lend friends, and friends their helpful swords. 

K. Rich. O God ! O God ! that e'er this tongue of mine. 
That laid the sentence of dread banishment 
On yon proud man, should take it off again 
With words of sooth ! * O, that I were as great 
As is my grief, or lesser than my name ! 
Or that I could forget what I have been ! 
Or not remember what I must be now ! 

" Words of sooth — words of assent — assuaging, soothing words. As sooth, in its 
first meaning, is true or truth ; so to soothe is to receive as true ; and thence to assent, 
— and further to propitiate. 

VoT.. IV. 2G 


Swell'st thou, proud heart ? I '11 give thee scope to beat. 

Since foes have scope to beat both thee and me. 

Aum. Northumberland comes back from Bolingbroke, 
K. Rich. What must the king do now ? Must he submit ? 

The king shall do it. Must he be depos'd ? 

The king shall be contented : Must he lose 

The name of king ? o' God's name, let it go : 

I '11 give my jewels, for a set of beads ; 

My gorgeous palace, for a hermitage ; 

My gay apparel, for an alms-man's gown ; 

My figur'd goblets, for a dish of wood ; 

My sceptre, for a palmer's walking-staff; 

My subjects, for a pair of carved saints ; 

And my large kingdom, for a little grave, 

A little little grave, an obscure grave : — 

Or I '11 be buried in the king's highway. 

Some way of common trade," where subjects' feet 

May hourly trample on their sovereign's head : 

For on my heart they tread, now whilst I live ; 

And, buried once, why not upon my head ? 

Aumerle, thou weep'st ; My tender-hearted cousin ! — 

We '11 make foul weather with despised tears ; 

Our sighs, and they, shall lodge the summer corn. 

And make a dearth in this revolting land. 

Or shall we play the wantons with our woes. 

And make some pretty match with shedding tears ? 

As thus ; — To drop them still upon one place. 

Till they have fretted us a pair of graves 

Within the earth ; and, therein laid, — " There lies 

Two kinsmen, digg'd their graves with weeping eyes ? " 

Would not this ill do well ? — ^Well, well, I see 

I talk but idly, and you mock at me. — 

Most mighty prince, my lord Northumberland, 

• Some toay <^ common trade. The early meddling editors changed trade into 
tread. The original meai)ing of trade is a course — a path traded or trodden con- 
tinuously. The trade-winds are not winds favourable to commerce, but winds 
blowing in a regular course. Our modem usage of the word as intercourse for 
buying and selling is a secondary meaning engrafted upon the original meaning of 
habitual course or practice. 


What says king Bolingbroke? will his majesty 
Give Richard leave to live till Richard die ? 
You make a leg, and Bolingbroke says — ay. 

North. My lord, in the base court ' he doth attend 
To speak with you ; may 't please you to come down ? 

K. Rich. Down, dovni, I come ; like glistering Phaeton, 
Wanting the manage of unruly jades. 

[North, retires to Boling. 
In the base court ? Base court, where kings grow base. 
To come at traitors' calls, and do them grace. 
In the base court ? Come down ? Down court ! down king ! 
For night-owls shriek, where mounting larks should sing. 

[Exeunt/rom above. 

Boling. What says his majesty ? 

North. Sorrow and grief of heart 

Makes him speak fondly, like a frantic man : 
Yet he is come. 

Enter King Richard, and his Attendants below. 

Boling. Stand all apart. 
And show fair duty to his majesty. 

My gracious lord, — [Kneeling. 

K. Rich. Fair cousin, you debase your princely knee. 
To make the base earth proud with kissing it : 
Me rather had my heart might feel your love. 
Than my unpleas'd eye see your courtesy. 
Up, cousin, up ; your heart is up, I know. 
Thus high at least, [touching his own head] although your 
knee be low. 

Boling. My gracious lord, I come but for mine own. 

K. Rich. Your own is yours, and I am yours, and all. 

Boling. So far be mine, my most redoubted lord. 
As my true service shall deserve your love. 

K. Rich. Well you deserve : — They well deserve to have 
That know the strong'st and surest way to get. 
Uncle, give me your hand : nay, dry your eyes ; 
Tears show their love, but want their remedies. — 

» Bate court — lower court — bas cow. 

2 G 2 


Cousin, I am too young to be your father. 
Though you are old enough to be my heir. 
What you will have, I '11 give, and willing too ; 
For do we must what force will have us do. — 
Set on towards London : — Cousin, is it so ? 

Baling . Yea, my good lord. 

K. Rich. Then I must not say no. 

[Flourish. Exeunt. 

SCENE IV.— Langley. The Duke of York's Garden. 
Enter the Queen and two Ladies. 

Queen. What sport shall we devise here in this garden, . 
To drive away the heavy thought of care ? 

1 Lady. Madam, we '11 play at bowls. 

Queen. 'T will make me think the world is full of rubs. 
And that my fortune runs 'gainst the bias. 

1 Lady. Madam^ we'll dance. 

Queen. My legs can keep no measure in delight. 
When my poor heart no measure keeps in grief: 
Therefore, no dancing, girl ; some other sport. 

1 Lady. Madam, we '11 tell tales. 

Queen. Of sorrow, or of joy ?• 

1 Lady. Of either, madam. 

Queen. Of neither, girl : 

For if of joy, being altogether wanting. 
It doth remember me the more of sorrow ; 
Or if of grief, being altogether had. 
It adds more sorrow to my want of joy : 
For what I have, I need not to repeat ; 
And what I want, it boots not to complain. 

1 Lady. Madam, I '11 sing. 

Queen. 'T is well that thou hast cause ; 

But thou shouldst please me better wouldst thou weep. 

1 Lady. I could weep, madam, would it do you good. 

Queen. And I could sing,^ would weeping do me good, 

■ Oftorrow or of joy ? All the old copies read of sorrow or of grief, which the 
context clearly shows to be an error. It was corrected by Pope. 

*> And J could sing. Thus all the old copies ; but Pope, having corrected the 
error just above, was satisfied that another error existed, and changed sing to weep. 

Scene IV.] KING RICHARD II. 453 

And never borrow any tear of thee. 
But stay, here come the gardeners : 
Let 's step into the shadow of these trees. — 

Enter a Grardener and two Servants. 

My wretchedness unto a row of pins. 

They '11 talk of state : for every one doth so 

Against a change : Woe is forerun with woe. 

[Queen and Ladies retire. 

Gard. Go, bind thou up yon' dangling apricocks,* 
Which, like unruly children, make their sire 
Stoop with oppression of their prodigal weight : 
Give some supportance to the bending twigs. 
Go thou, and, like an executioner. 
Cut off the heads of too-fast-growing sprays. 
That look too lofty in our commonwealth : 
All must be even in our government. 
You thus employ'd, I will go root away 
The noisome weeds, that without profit suck 
The soil's fertility from wholesome flowers. 

1 Serv. Why should we, in the compass of a pale. 
Keep law, and form, and due proportion. 
Showing, as in a model, our firm estate ? 
When our sea-walled garden, the whole laud. 
Is full of weeds ; her fairest flowers chok'd up. 
Her fruit-trees all unprun'd, her hedges ruin'd. 

This reading has been adopted in all subsequent editions. We believe that the 
original was right, and that the sense of the passage was mistaken. The queen, who 
speaks constantly of her sorrow, it may be presumed does weep, or has been weeping. 
The lady offers to sing, but the queen desires sympathy : — " Thou shouldst please 
me better wouldst thou weep." The lady could weep, " would it do you good." 
The queen rejoins, 

" And I could sing, would weeping do me good." 
If my griefs were removed by weeping, — if my tears could take away my sorrow, — ^I 
should be ready to sing, — I could sing, and then, my sorrows being past, I would 
" never borrow any tear of thee," — not ask thee to weep, as I did just now. 

* Apricocks. Our modem apricot is from the French abricot. But the name 
came with the fruit from Persia — bricoc; and we probably derived it from the 
Italian. Florio, in his ' New World of Words,' has " Berricocoli — Apricock- 


Her knots disorder'd," and her wholesome herbs 
Swarming with caterpillars? 

Gard. Hold thy peace :— 

He that hath suiFer'd this disorder'd spring 
Hath now himself met with the fall of leaf: 
The weeds, that his broad-spreading leaves did shelter. 
That seem'd in eating him to hold him up. 
Are pluck'd up, root and all, by Bolingbroke ; 
I mean the earl of Wiltshire, Bushy, Green. 

1 Serv. What, are they dead? 

Gard. They are ; 

And Bolingbroke hath seiz'd the wasteful king. — 
Oh ! what pity is it. 

That he had not so trimm'd an^ dress'd his land. 
As we this garden ! We ^ at time of year 
Do wound the bark, the skin of our fruit-trees ; 
Lest, being over-proud with sap and blood. 
With too much riches it confound itself: 
Had he done so to great and growing men. 
They might have liv'd to bear, and he to taste. 
Their fruits of duty. Superfluous branches 
We lop away, that bearing boughs may live : 
Had he done so, himself had borne the crown. 
Which waste and idle hours hath quite thrown down. 

1 Serv. What, think you then, the king shall be depos'd ? 

Gard. Depress'd he is already ; and depos'd, 
'T is doubt, he will be : Letters came last night 
To a dear friend of the good duke of York's, 
That tell black tidings. 

Queen. O, I am press'd to death through want of speak' 
Thou, old Adam's likeness, [coming from her concealment] 
set to dress this garden, 

» Knott di»order'd. The symmetrical beds of a garden were the knots. (See 
' Love's Labour's Lost,' Illustrations of Act I.) 

^ JVe is not in the original copies; but it renders the construction less ambiguous. 
The metrical arrangement is confused in the old copies ; but we adhere to the 
original as much as possible, 

Scene IV.] KING RICHARD II. 455 

How (lares thy harsh-rude tongue sound this unpleasing 

What Eve, what serpent hath suggested thee 
To make a second fall of cursed man ? 
Why dost thou say king Richard is depos'd ? 
Dar'st thou, thou little better thing than earth. 
Divine his downfall ? Say where, when, and how 
Cam'st thou by these ill-tidings ? speak, thou wretch. 

Gard. Pardon me, madam : little joy have I 
To breathe these news : yet what I say is true. 
King Richard, he is in the mighty hold 
Of Bolingbroke ; their fortunes both are weigh'd : 
In your lord's scale is nothing but himself. 
And some few vanities that make him light ; 
But in the balance of great Bolingbroke, 
Besides himself, are all the English peers. 
And with that odds he weighs king Richard down. 
Post you to London, and you '11 find it so : 
I speak no more than every one doth know. 

Queen. Nimble mischance, that art so light of foot. 
Doth not thy embassage belong to me. 
And am I last that knows it ? O, thou think'st 
To serve me last, that I may longest keep 
Thy sorrow in my breast. Come, ladies, go. 
To meet at London London's king in woe. 
What, was I bom to this ! that my sad look 
Should grace the triumph of great Bolingbroke ? 
Gardener, for telling me this news of woe, 
I would the plants thou graft'st may never grow. 

\^Exeunt Queen and Ladies. 

Gard. Poor queen ! so that thy state might be no worse,, 
I would my skill were subject to thy curse. — 
Here did she drop a tear ; here, in this place, 
I '11 set a bank of rue, sour herb of grace : 
Rue, even for ruth, here shortly shall be seen. 
In the remembrance of a weeping queen. [Exeunt. 




' Scene II. — 

" There the antic sits, 

Scoffing his state, and grinning at hispomp.''^ 

We have given a fac-simile from the seventh in the fine series of woodcuts called 
Imagines mortis, improperly attributed to Holbein. It is a wonderful composition ; 
and it is by no means improbable, as suggested by Douce, that the engraving fur- 
nished Shakspere with the hint of these splendid lines. 

* Scene III. — " By the honourable tomb he swears, 

That stands upon your royal grandsire's bones.''' 

The reverence in which the memory of this illustrious king was held by his de- 
scendants, and by the people, made this oath of peculiar solemnity. And yet Bo- 
lingbroke violated it in an oath-breaking age. 



We have hitherto traced the course of eveuta in Shakgpere's History of ' Richard II.' 
by the aid of the Chronicles. Froissart was a contemporary of Richard ; and in 
the days of the king's prosperity had presented him with a book " fair enlumined 
and written," of which when the king demanded whereof it treated, the maker of his- 
tories " showed him how it treated matters of love, whereof the king was glad, and 
looked in it, and read it in many places, for he could speak and read French very 
well." Holinshed was, in another sense, a " maker of hislories." He compiled, and 
that admirably well, from those who had written before him ; and he was properly 
Shakspere's great authority for the incidents which he dramatised. But we have 
now to turn to one of the most remarkable documents that afford materials for the 
history of any period — the narrative of an eye-witness of what took place from the 
period when Richard, being in Ireland, received the news of Bolingbroke's landing, 
to the time when the king was utterly prostrate at the feet of the man whom he had 
bani^ed and plundered. All the historians have been greatly indebted to this 
narrative. It is entitled ' Histoire du Roy d'Angleterre Richard, Traictant par- 
ticulierement la Rebellion de ses subiectz et prinse de sa personne. Composee 
par un gentlehom'e Francois de marque, qui fut a la suite du diet Roy, avecq per- 
mission du Roy de France, 1399.' The most beautiful, and, apparently, the 
earliest copy of this manuscript is in the British Museum. It contains sixteen 
illuminations, in which the identity of the portraits and of the costume is pre- 
served throughout. It appears to have been the property of Charles of Anjou, 
Count of Maine, and formed part of the Harleian collection. Another manuscript 
of the same history, which is in the library at Lambeth, was that consulted and 
quoted by the early historians, and it is called, by Holinshed, ' A French Pam- 
phlet that belongeth to Master John Dee :" the name of John Dee, with the date 
1575, appears in the last leaf. The author of the 'Metrical History' informs us, in 
his title, that he was " Un gentilhom'e Francois de marque ;" and, when brought 
before Bolingbroke, the writer says of himself and his companion, " The herald 
told him, in the English language, that we were of France, and that the king had 
sent us with King Richard into Ireland for recreation, and to see the country.'' 
This manuscript has been re- published in the twentieth volume of the ' Archaeologia,' 
with a most admirable translation, and notes alike distinguished for their learning 
and good sense, by the Rev. John Webb. 

The author of the ' Metrical History,' with his companion, " in the year one 
thousand and four hundred save one, quitted Paris, fiiU of joy ;" and, travelling 
late and early, reached London. He found that Richard had set out, anxious to 
journey day and night He followed him to Milford Haven, where " he waited 
ten days for the north wind, and passed his time pleasantly amidst trumpets and 
the sounds of minstrelsy." The king had proceeded to Waterford, whither the 
French knight at length followed him. Six days afterwards the king took the 
field, with the English, for Kilkenny, whence after a fortnight's delay, he marched 
directly towards Macmore (the Irish chieftain) into the depths of the deserts, who, 
with his wild men — Shakspere's " rough, rug-headed kerns" — defied England and 
its power. The usual accompaniment of war was not wanting on this occasion : — 
'• Orders were given by the king that everything should be set fire to." Neither 
were the pageantries of chivalry, — the gilding of the horrors, — absent from this ex- 
pedition. Henry of Monmouth, the son of Bolingbroke, being then eleven years 
old, was with the king; and Richard knighted him making, at the same time, 


eight or ten other knighta. The English army appears to have suffered greatly 
from the want of provisions. A negotiation took place with Macmore, which 
ended in nothing. The king's face grew pale with anger, and he sware, in great 
wrath, by St. Edward, that no, never, would he depart from Ireland till, alive or 
dead, he had Macmore in his power. The want of provisions dislodged the army 
and drove them to Dublin, where, for six weeks, they lived " easy of body as fish 
in Seine." No news came from England. The winds were contrary. At last, 
" a barge arrived which was the occasion of much sorrow." Those who came in 
her related to the king how Scrope was beheaded by Bolingbroke — how the jjeople 
had been stirred to insurrection — how the invader had taken towns and castles for 
his own. " It seemed to me," says the French knight, " that the king's face at 
this turned pale with anger, while he said, * Come hither, friends. Good Lord, 
this man designs to deprive me of my country.' " Richard consulted his council 
on a Saturday, and tiiey agreed to put to sea on the next Monday. The king, 
however, according to this writer, was deceived and betrayed by Aumerle, who 
persuaded him to remain himself, and send Salisbury to raise the Welsh against 
Bolingbroke. The French knight and his companion departed with Salisbury, and 
lauded at Conway. Salisbury raised, it seems, forty thousand men within four 
days. The earl kept them in the field a fortnight; but they then deserted him, as 
Shakspere has represented, because they heard " no tidings from the king." He 
•' tarried eighteen days," says the French knight, " after our departure from Ire- 
land. It was very great folly." 

The ' Metrical History' now proceeds to the events which followed the landing of 
Richard upon the Welsh coast. " He did not stop there," says the history, " consi- 
dering the distress, complaints, and lamentations of the poor people, and the mortal 
alarm of all. Then he resolved that, without saying a word, he would set out at 
midnight from his host, attended by a few persons, for he would on no account be 
discovered. In that place he clad himself in another garb, like a poor priest of the 

Minors (Franciscans), for the fear that he had of being known of his foes 

Thus the king set out that very night, with only thirteen others, and arrived, by 
break of day, at Conway." He here met Salisbury. " At the meeting of the king 
and the earl, instead of joy there was very great sorrow. Tears, lamentations, sighs, 
groans, and mourning, quickly broke forth. Truly it was a piteous sight to behold 
their looks and countenances, and woeful meeting. The earl's face was pale with 
watching. He related to the king his bard fate." Aumerle, the constable, accord- 
ing to this writer, basely went off with the king's men — his last hope. " The king 
continued all sorrowful at Conway, where he had no more with them than two or 

three of his intimate friends, sad and distressed Reckoning nobles and other 

persons, we were but sixteen in all." From Conway they went to Beaumaris, and 
thence to Carnarvon. " In his castles, to which he retired, there was no furniture, 
nor had he anything to lie down upon but straw. Really, he lay in this manner for 
four or six nights ; for, in truth, not a farthings worth of victuals or anything else 
was to be found in them." In consequence of this poverty the king returned to 
Conway. The ' Metrical History' then details, at considerable length, and with great 
spirit and circumstantiality, the remarkable incident of Northumberland entrapping 
Richard to leave Conway, so that he might convey him as his prisoner to Flint 
Castle. " This is one of the instances," says Mr. Courtenay (• Shakspeare's Historical 
Plays considered Historically'), " in which a more minute knowledge of history 
might have furnished Shakspere with some good scenes and further discriminations 
of character." One would suppose, from this remark, that the account of the meet- 
ing between Northumberland and the king at Conway, and the king's agreement, 
upon Northumberland's assurances of safety, to go with him to Flint, was unre- 


corded by the chronicler whom Shakspere is known to have consulted. Holinshed 
relates this affair with great distinctness; and he moreover gives an account of the 
ambush described by the French knight. We must, therefore, conclude that Shak- 
spere knew his own business as a dramatist in the omission of the scene. The pass- 
age is also given very fully in Stow ; and is versified by Daniel in his ' Civil Warres.' 
" In the castle of Flint," says the ' Metrical History,' " King Richard awaited the 
coming of the Duke of Lancaster, who set out from the city of Chester on Tuesday, 
the 22nd of August, with the whole of his force." King Richard, " having heard 
mass, went up upon the walls of the castle, which are large and wide in the inside, 
beholding the Duke of Lancaster as he came along the sea-shore with all his host," 
Messengers came from Henry to Richard, and an interview took place between 
them. Shakspere has made Northumberland the negotiator on this occasion, as he 
really was at Conway. " The king went up again upon the walls, and saw that the 
army was two bowshots from the castle; then he, together with those that were with 
him, began anew great lamentation." At length Lancaster entered the castle. 
" Then they made the king, who had dined in the donjon, come down to meet Duke 
Henry, who, as soon as he perceived him at a distance, bowed very low to the 
ground ; and as they approached each other, he bowed a second time, with his cap 
in his hand ; and then the king took off his bonnet, and spake first in this manner: 
' Fair cousin of Lancaster, you be right welcome.' Then Duke Henry replied, 
bowing very low to the ground, ' My lord, I am come sooner than you sent for me : 
the reason wherefore I will tell you. The common report of your people is such, 
that you have, for the space of twenty or two-and-twenty years, governed them very 
badly and very rigorously, and in so much that they are not well contented there- 
with. But if it please our Lord, I will help you to govern them better than they 
have been governed in time past.' King Richard then answered him, ' Fair cousin, 
since it pleaseth you, it pleaseth us well.' And be assured that these are the very 
words that they two spake together, without taking away or adding anything : for 
I heard and understood them very well." This version of the remarkable dialogue 
between Bolingbroke and Richard is not given by Holinshed, although he quotes 
all the substance of what had previously taken place between Northumberland and 
Richard " out of Master Dee's book." Holinshed thus describes the interview : — 
" Forthwith, as the duke got sight of the king, he showed a reverend duty, as be- 
came him, in bowing his, knee; and, coming forward, did so likewise the second and 
third time, till the king took him by the hand, and lift him up, saying, ' Dear cou- 
sin, ye are welcome.' The duke, humbly thanking him, said, ' My sovereign lord 
and king, the cause of my coming at this present is (your honour saved) to have 
again restitution of my person, my lands, and heritage, through your favourable 
licence.' The king hereunto answered, ' Dear cousin, I am ready to accomplish 
your will, so that ye may enjoy all that is yours, without exception.' " Shak- 
spere's version of the scene appears to lie between the two extremes of Bolingbroke's 
defiance, as recorded by the French knight and copied by Stow, and of his assumed 
humility, as described by Holinshed. 



SCENE I. — London. Westminster Hall. The Lords spi- 
ritual on the right side of the throne ; the Lords temporal 
on the left ; the Commons below. 

Enter Bolingbroke, Aumerle, Surrey, Northumber- 
land, Percy, Fitzwater, another Lord, Bishop of 
Carlisle, Abbot of Westminster, and Attendants. 
Officers behind with Bagot. 

Baling. Call forth Bagot. 
Now, Bagot, freely speak thy mind ; 
What thou dost know of noble Gloster's death ; 
Who wrought it with the king, and who perform'd 
The bloody office of his timeless' end. 

Bagot. Then set before my face the lord Aumerle. 

Baling. Cousin, stand forth, and look upon that man. 

Bagot. My lord Aumerle, I know your daring tongue 
Scorns to unsay what it hath once deliver'd. 
In that dead time when Gloster's death was plotted, 
I heard you say, — Is not my arm of length. 
That reacheth from the restful English court 
As far as Calais, to my uncle's head ? — 
Amongst much other talk, that very time, 
I heard you say, that you had rather refuse 
The offer of an hundred thousand crowns. 
Than Bolingbroke's return to England ; 
Adding withal, how bless'd this land would be 
In this your cousin's death. 

Aum. Princes, and noble lords. 

What answer shall I make to this base man ? 
Shall I so much dishonour my fair stars. 
On equal terms to give him chastisement ? 
Either I must, or have mine honour soil'd 

* TttneUu — untimely. 

Scene I.] KING RICHARD II. 461 

With the attainder of his sland'rous lips. 
There is my gage, the manual seal of death. 
That marks thee out for hell : I say, thou liest. 
And will maintain what thou hast said is false. 
In thy heart-blood, though being all too base 
To stain the temper of my knightly sword. 

Boling. Bagot, forbear, thou shalt not take it up. 

Aum. Excepting one, I would he were the best 
In all this presence, that hath mov'd me so. 

Fitz. If that thy valour stand on sympathies," 
There is my gage, Aumerle, in gage to thine : 
By that fair sun that shows me where thou stand'st, 
I heard thee say, and vauntingly thou spak'st it. 
That thou wert cause of noble Gloster's death. 
If thou deny'st it, twenty times thou liest ; 
And I will turn thy falsehood to thy heart. 
Where it was forged, with my rapier's point.** 

Aum. Thou dar'st not, coward, live to see the day. 

Fitz. Now, by my soul, I would it were this hour. 

Aum. Fitzwater, thou art damn'd to hell for this. 

Percy. Aumerle, thou liest ; his honour is as true. 
In this appeal, as thou art all unjust : 
And, that thou art so, there I throw my gage. 
To prove it on thee to the extremest point 
Of mortal breathing ; seize it, if thou dar'st. 

Aum. And if I do not, may my hands rot off. 
And never brandish more revengeful steel 
Over the glittering helmet of my foe ! 

[Lord. I task the earth <= to the like, forsworn Aumerle ; 

^ Sympathies. Sympathy is, passion with, — mutual passion. Aumerle thinks 
that to accept the challenge of Bagot would dishonour his "fair stars:" the stars 
that presided over his birth made him Bagot's superior. Fitzwater, who is his equal 
in blood, throws down his gage with the retort, 

" If that thy valour stand on sympathies.' 

*" Rapier's point. The rapier was a weapon not known in the time of Richard. 
This is an anachronism which the commentators dwell on, but which is justified 
upon the principle of employing terms which were familiar to an audience. 

" Task the earth. This is the reading of the first quarto. The subsequent edi- 
tions read take. When the lord threw down his gage, he tasked the earth, in the 
same way that Percy had done by throwing down his gage. Johnson would read 
thy oath instead of the earth. Whiter, although he does not suppose that there was 


And spur tliee on with full as many lies 
As may be hoUa'd in thy treacherous ear 
From sun to sun : ' there is my honour's pawn ; 
Engage it to the trial, if thou dar'st. 

Aum. Who sets me else ? by heaven, I '11 throw at all : 
I have a thousand spirits in one breast. 
To answer twenty thousand such as you.] ^ 

Surrey. My lord Fitzwater, I do remember well 
The very time Aumerle and you did talk. 

Fitz. 'T is very true :'^ you were in presence then ; 
And you can witness with me, this is true. 

Surrey. As false, by heaven, as heaven itself is true. 

Fitz. Surrey, thou liest. 

Surrey. Dishonourable boy ! 

That lie shall lie so heavy on my sword. 
That it shall render vengeance and revenge. 
Till thou the lie-giver, and that lie, do lie 
In earth as quiet as thy father's skull. 
In proof whereof, there is my honour's pawn ; 
Engage it to the trial, if thou dar'st. 

Fitz. How fondly dost thou spur a forward horse ! 
If I dare eat, or drink, or breathe, or live, 
I dare meet Surrey in a wilderness. 
And spit upon him, whilst I say, he lies. 
And lies, and lies : there is my bond of faith. 
To tie thee to my strong correction. 
As I intend to thrive in this new world, 
Aumerle is guilty of my true appeal : 
Besides, I heard the banish'd Norfolk say 
That thou, Aumerle, didst send two of thy men 
To execute the noble duke at Calais. 

a connexion between an oath and the earth, when the gage was thrown — or as War- 
ner has it in his ' Albion's England,' when the glove was " terr'd" — yet points at an 
etymological affinity between the Gothic aith (juramentum) and airtha (terra). 

* From sun to sun. The old copies read from sin to sin. The time appointed for 
the combats of chivalry was betwixt the rising and the setting sun. Shakspere, in 
' Cymbeline,' uses the phrase in this sense. 

*> The challenge of the anonymous lord to Aumerle, and his answer (eight lines 
in brackets), are omitted in the folio. 

" 'T is very true. So the quarto of 1597. The folio reads, " My lord, V is very 

Scene I.] KING RICHARD 11. 46^3 

Aum. Some honest Christian trust me with a gage. 
That Norfolk lies : here do I throw down this. 
If he may be repeal'd to try his honour. 

Baling. These differences shall all rest under gage. 
Till Norfolk be repeal'd : repeal'd he shall be. 
And, though mine enemy, restor'd again 
To all his land and seignories ; when he 's return'd. 
Against Aumerle we will enforce his trial. 

Car. That honourable day shall ne'er be seen. 
Many a time hath banish'd Norfolk fought 
For Jesu Christ ; in glorious Christian field 
Streaming the ensign of the Christian cross. 
Against black pagans, Turks, and Saracens : 
And, toil'd with works of war, retir'd himself 
To Italy ; and there, at Venice, gave 
His body to that pleasant country's earth,' 
And his pure soul unto his captain Christ, 
Under whose colours he had fought so long. 

Boling. Why, bishop, is Norfolk dead ? 

Car. As sure as I live, my lord. 

Boling. Sweet peace condiTCt his sweet soul to the bosom 
Of good old Abraham ! — Lords appellants, ^ 

Your differences shall all rest under gage. 
Till we assign you to your days of trial. 

Enter York, attended. 

York. Great duke of Lancaster, I come to thee 
From plume-pluck'd Richard ; who with willing soul 
Adopts thee heir, and his high sceptre yields 
To the possession of thy royal hand : 
Ascend his throne, descending now from him, — 
And long live Henry, of that name the fourth ! 

Boling. In God's name, I '11 ascend the regal throne. 

Car. Marry, Heaven forbid ! — 
Worst in this royal presence may I speak. 
Yet best beseeming me to speak the truth. 
Would God, that any in this noble presence 
Were enough noble to be upright judge 


Of noble Richard ; then true nobleness ' would 

Learn him forbearance from so foul a wrong. 

What subject can give sentence on his king ? 

And who sits here that is not Richard's subject ? 

Thieves are not judg'd but they are by to hear. 

Although apparent guilt be seen in them : 

And shall the figure of God's majesty. 

His captain, steward, deputy elect. 

Anointed, crowned, planted many years. 

Be judg'd by subject and inferior breath. 

And he himself not present ? O, forfend ^ it, God, 

That, in a Christian climate, souls refin'd 

Should show so heinous, black, obscene a deed ! 

I speak to subjects, and a subject speaks, 

Stirr'd up by heaven thus boldly for his king. 

My lord of Hereford here, whom you call king. 

Is a foul traitor to proud Hereford's king : 

And if you crown him, let me prophesy, — 

The blood of English shall manure the ground. 

And future ages groan for this foul act; 

Peace shall go sleep with Turks and infidels. 

And, in this seat of peace, tumultuous wars 

Shall kin with kin and kind with kind confound ; 

Disorder, horror, fear, and mutiny. 

Shall here inhabit, and this land be call'd 

The field of Golgotha, and dead men's skulls. 

O, if you rear "^ this house against this house. 

It will the woefullest division prove 

That ever fell upon this cursed earth : 

Prevent it, resist it, and let it not be so. 

Lest child, child's children, cry against you — woe ! 

North. Well have you argued, sir ; and, for your pains, 

* Nobleness. So all the old copies. Modern editors read nobkss. Steevens 
changed the word to get rid of a short syllable. He had, however, authority for 
the use of nobless in the sense of nobleness, in Ben Jonson (Epigram 102) : — 
" But thou, whose noblesse keeps one stature still." 
»» Forfend. So the quarto of 1597. The folio, forbid. We cling to the less 
common word, as in ' Othello :' — 

" No, heavens forfend, I would not kill thy soul." 
' Rear, in the folio ; in the quartos, raise. 

Scene I.] KING RICHARD II. 465 

Of capital treason we arrest you here : 

My lord of Westminster, be it your charge 

To keep him safely till his day of trial. 

May 't please you, lords, to grant the commons' suit ? 

Boling. Fetch hither Richard, that in common view 
He may surrender ; so we shall proceed 
Without suspicion. 

York. I will be his conduct. [Eacil. 

Boling. Lords, you that here are under our arrest. 
Procure your sureties for your days of answer : 
Little are we beholden to your love, [To Carlisle. 

And little look'd for at your helping hands. 

Re-enter York, with King Richard, and Officers bearing 
the crown, %c. 

K. Rich. Alack, why am I sent for to a king. 
Before I have shook oflf the regal thoughts 
Wherewith I reign'd ? I hardly yet have leam'd 
To insinuate, flatter, bow, and bend my knee : — 
Give sorrow leave awhile to tutor me 
To -this submission. Yet I well remember 
The favours * of these men : Were they not mine ? 
Did they not sometime cry, all hail ! to me ? 
So Judas did to Christ : but he, in twelve. 
Found truth in all but one ; I, in twelve thousand, none. 
God save the king ! — Will no man say, amen ? 
Am I both priest and clerk? well then, amen. 
God save the king ! although I be not he ; 
And yet, amen, if heaven do think him me. — 
To do what service am I sent for hither? 

York. To do that office, of thine own good will. 
Which tired majesty did make thee offer, — 
The resignation of thy state and crown 
To Henry Bolingbroke. 

K. Rich. Give me the crown : — Here, cousin, seize the 
crown ; 

' Favours — features, countenances. 
Vol. IV. 2 H 

466 KING RICHARD 11. [Act IV. 

Here, cousin, on this side my hand ; on that side thine.' 

Now is this golden crown like a deep well. 

That owes two buckets filling one another ; 

The emptier ever dancing in the air. 

The other down, unseen, and full of water : 

That bucket down, and full of tears, am I, 

Drinking my griefs, whilst you mount up on high. 

Baling. I thought you had been willing to resign. 

K. Rich. My crown I am, but still my griefs are mine : 
You may my glories and my state depose. 
But not my griefs ; still am I king of those. 

Baling . Part of your cares you give me with your crown. 

K. Rich. Your cares set up do not pluck my cares down. 
My care is loss of care, by old care done ; 
Your care is gain of care, by new care won : 
The cares I give I have, though given away ; 
They tend the crown, yet still with me they stay. 

Boling. Are you contented to resign the crown ? 

K. Rich, kj, no ; — no, ay ; for I must nothing be ; 
Therefore no, no, for I resign to thee. 
Now mark me how I will undo myself: — 
I give this heavy weight from off my head. 
And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand. 
The pride of kingly sway from out my heart ; 
With mine own tears I wash away my jDalm, 
With mine own hands I give away my crown. 
With mine own tongue deny my sacred state. 
With mine own breath release all duteous oaths : 
All pomp and majesty I do forswear ; 
My manors, rents, revenues, I forego ; 
My acts, decrees, and statutes, I deny : 
God pardon all oaths that are broke to me ! 
God keep all vows unbroke are made to thee ! 

• This is the reading of the folio. The quarto of 1608, the only other edition in 
which the passage appears, reads thus : — 

" Give me the crown. — Seize the crown. 
Here, cousin, on this side my hand, and on that side yours." 
It appears to us that the repetition of " here, cousin," is Shaksperian j and that Ma- 
lone is wrong in omitting " here, cousin," in the second line. 

Scene L] KING RICHARD II. 467 

Make me, that nothing have, with nothing griev'd ; 
And thou with all pleas'd, that hast all achiev'd ! 
Long mayst thou live in Richard's seat to sit. 
And soon lie Richard in an earthy pit ! 
God save king Henry unking'd Richard says. 
And send him many years of sunshine days ! 
What more remains ? 

North. No more, but that you read [Offering a paper. 
These accusations, and these grievous crimes. 
Committed by your person, and your followers. 
Against the state and profit of this land ; 
That^by confessing them, the souls of men 
May deem that you are worthily depos'd. 

K. Rich. Must I do so ? and must I ravel out 
My weav'd-up follies! Gentle Northumberland, 
If thy offences were upon record. 
Would it not shame thee, in so fair a troop. 
To read a lecture of them ? If thou would st. 
There shouldst thou find one heinous article. 
Containing the deposing of a king. 
And cracking the strong warrant of an oath, 
Mark'd with a blot, damn'd in the book of heaven : — 
Nay, all of you, that stand and look upon me. 
Whilst that my wretchedness doth bait myself. 
Though some of you, with Pilate, wash your hands. 
Showing an outward pity ; yet you Pilates 
Have here deliver'd me to my sour cross. 
And water cannot wash away your sin. 

North. My lord, despatch ; read o'er these articles. 

K. Rich. Mine eyes are full of tears, I cannot see : 
And yet salt water blinds them not so much. 
But they can see a sort' of traitors here. 
Nay, if I turn mine eyes upon myself, 
I find myself a traitor with the rest : 
For I have given here my soul's consent 
To undeck the pompous body of a king ; 

* A sort — a company. So in ' Richard III.' — 

" A tort of vagabonds, rascals, and runaways." 

2 H 2 


Made glory base ; a sovereignty a slave ; 
Proud majesty a subject ; state a peasant. 

North. My lord, 

K. Rich. No lord of thine, thou haught, insulting man. 
No, nor no man's lord ; I have no name, no title, — 
No, not that name was given me at the font, — 
But 't is usurp'd : — Alack the heavy day. 
That I have worn so many winters out. 
And know not now what name to call myself! 
O, that I were a mockery king of snow. 
Standing before the sun of Bolingbroke, 
To melt myself away in water-drops ! — 
Good king, — great king, — (and yet not greatly good,) 
An if my word be sterling yet in England, 
Let it command a mirror hither straight. 
That it may show me what a face I have. 
Since it is bankrupt of his majesty. 

Boling. Go some of you, and fetch a looking-glass. 

\_Exit an Attendant. 

North. Read o'er this paper, while the glass doth come. 

K. Rich. Fiend ! thou torment'st me ere I come to hell. 

Boling. Urge it no more, my lord Northumberland. 

North. The commons will not then be satisfied. 

K. Rich. They shall be satisfied : I '11 read enough, 
When I do see the very book indeed 
Where all my sins are writ, and that 's myself. 

Re-enter Attendant, with a glass. 

Give me that glass, and therein will I read. 

No deeper wrinkles yet ? Hath sorrow struck 

So many blows upon this face of mine. 

And made no deeper wounds ? — O, flattering glass. 

Like to my followers in prosperity. 

Thou dost beguile me ! Was this face the face 

That every day under his household roof 

Did keep ten thousand men ? Was this the face 

That, like the sun, did make beholders wink ? 

Is this the face which fac'd so many follies, 

That was at last outfac'd by Bolingbroke ? 

Scene I.] KING RICHARD II. 469 

A brittle glory shineth in this face : 
As brittle as the glory is the face ; 

[Dashes the glass against the ground. 
For there it is, crack'd in an hundred shivers. 
Mark, silent king, the moral of this sport, — 
How soon my sorrow hath destroy'd my face. 

Baling. The shadow of your sorrow hath destroy'd 
The shadow of your face. 

K. Rich. Say that again. 

The shadow of my sorrow ? Ha ! let 's see : — 
'T is very true, my grief lies all within ; 
And these external manners of laments * 
Are merely shadows to the unseen grief. 
That swells with silence in the tortur'd soul ; 
There lies the substance : and I thank thee, king. 
For thy great bounty, that not only giv'st 
Me cause to wail, but teachest me the way 
How to lament the cause. I '11 beg one boon. 
And then be gone, and trouble you no more. 
Shall I obtain it? 

Baling. Name it, fair cousin. 

K. Rich. Fair cousin ? I am greater than a king : 
For when I was a king my flatterers 
Were then but subjects ; being now a subject, 
I have a king here to my flatterer. 
Being so great, I have no need to beg. 

Baling. Yet ask. 

K. Rich. And shall I have ? 

Baling. You shall. 

K. Rich. Then give me leave to go. 

Baling. Whither ? 

K. Rich. Whither you will, so I were from your sights. 

Baling. Go, some of you, convey him to the Tower. 

K. Rich. O, good ! Convey ? — Conveyers *» are you all. 
That rise thus nimbly by a true king's fall. 

[Exeunt K. Richard, some Lords, and a Guard. 

* Laments is the reading of the old copies ; modern editions, lament. 
*> Conveyers. Conveyer was sometimes used in an ill sense, — as a fraudulent 
appropriator of property, a juggler. In Tyndall's works we have, " What say ye uf 


^ Boling. On Wednesday next, we solemnly set down 

Our coronation : lords, prepare yourselves. 

[Exeunt all but the Abbot, Bishop of Carl., ant/ Aum. 

Abbot. A woeful pageant have we here beheld. 

Car. The woe 's to come ; the children yet unborn 
Shall feel this day as sharp to them as thorn. 

Aum. You holy clergymen, is there no plot 
To rid the realm of this pernicious blot ? 

Abbot. Before I freely speak my mind herein. 
You shall not only take the sacrament 
To bury mine intents, but to effect 
Whatever I shall happen to devise : — 
I see your brows are full of discontent. 
Your hearts of sorrow, and your eyes of tears ; 
Come home with me to supper ; I will lay 
ju^ A plot shall show us all a merry day. [Exeunt. 

this crafty conveyer, which fearetb not to juggle with the Holy Scripture V Pistol 
gives it as a soft name for stealing — " Convey the wise it call." 




' Scene I. — " And there, at Fenice, gave 

Hit body to that pleasant country's earth."' 
The remains of Thomas Mowbray were interred in Saint Mark's church, in Venice, 
A.D. 1399; but his ashes were removed to England in 1533. The slab which 
originally covered these remains at the latter end of the seventeenth ceutury 
stood under the gallery of the ducal palace ; and the arms of Thomas Mowbray 
being very elaborately engraved upon it, the stone was described by an Italian 
writer in 1682 as a Venetian hieroglyphic. By the indefatigable inquiries of Mr. 
Rawdon Brown, an English gentleman residing in Venice, this most curious mo- 
nument was traced, in 1839, to the possession of a stonemason ; and it has been 
■ent to England, and is now safe in the custody of Mr. Howard, of Corby. 


The fourth act of Shakspere's History of ' Richard II.' opens with the assembly 
of Bolingbroke and the peers in parliament. The entry of the triumphant Henry 
of Lancaster and the captive king into London is reserved by the jjoet for 
the unequalled description by York to his Duchess in the fifth act. But, as we 
are following the course of real events, we will very briefly describe the proceed- 
ings between the surrender of Richard at Flint Castle and his deposition. 

After the interview between Richard and Bolingbroke, the author of the ' Metri- 
cal History' thus proceeds : " The said Duke Henry called aloud with a stem and 
savage voice, ' Bring out the king's horses ;' and then they brought him two little 
horses that were not worth forty francs. The king mounted one, and the Earl of 
Salisbury the other." Henry, with his captives, set out from Flint, and prot;eeded 
to Chester, where they staj'ed three days. Tlie duke then dismissed many of his fol- 
lowers, saying that thirty or forty thousand men would be sufficient to take the 
king to London. At Lichfield the unhappy Richard attempted to escape by night, 
letting himself down into a garden tlirough a window of his tower. The French 
knight goes on to record that a deputation arrived from London, to request Henry, 
on the part of the commons, to cut off the king's head; to which request Henry 
replied, " Fair sirs, it would be a very great disgrace to us for ever if we should 
thus put him to death ; but we will bring him to London, and there he shall be 
judged by the parliament." Proceeding by Coventry, Daventry, Northampton, 
Dunstable, and St. Alban's, the army reached within six miles of London. Here 
the cavalcade was met by the Mayor, accompanied by a very great number of the 
commons. " They paid much greater respect,'' says the writer, "to Duke Henry 
than to the king, shouting with a loud and fearful voice, ' Long live the Duke of 
Lancaster!' " Ricliard was taken, according to this relation, to Westminster. 
Henry, who entered the city at the hour of vespers, " alighted at St. Paul's, and 
went all armed before the high altar to make his orisons. He returned by the 
tomb of his father, which is very nigh to the said altar, and there be wept very 


much, for he had never seen it since his father had been laid there.*' The per- 
sonal narrative of the French knight here closes ; the remainder of his narrative 
being given on the faith of anotlier person, a clerk. From Westminster, Richard 
was removed to the Tower. The parliament, which began on the I3th September, 
drew up thirty -three "articles objected to King Richard, whereby he was counted 
worthy to be deposed from his principality."' 

The scene of fiery contention in Westminster Hall, with which this act opens, 
follows the chroniclers very literally. Shakspere has, however, placed this remark- 
able exhibition of vindictive charges and recriminations before the deposition of 
Richard. It took place after Henry's coronation. The protest of the Bishop of 
Carlisle, whom Hoi inshed calls " a bold bishop and a faithful," also, according to 
most authorities, followed tlie deposition. It is stated to have been made on a 
request from the commons that Richard might have "judgment decreed against 
him, so as the realm were not troubled by him." There is considerable doubt 
whether this speech was delivered at all. It does not appear that Richard made 
his resignation in j)arliament, but that Northumberland and other peers, prelates 
and knights, with justices and notaries, attended the captive on the 29th September, 
1399, in the chief chamber of the king's lodging in the Tower, where he read aloud 
and subscribed the scroll of resignation, saying that, if it were in his power, he 
would that the Duke of Lancaster there present should be his successor. These 
instruments were read to the parliament the day following. So Holinshed relates 
the story. Froissart, however, details the ceremonies of the surrender with more 
minuteness : " On a day the Duke of Lancaster, accompanied with lords, dukes, 
prelates, earls, barons, and knights, and of the notablest men of London, and of 
other good towns, rode to the Tower, and there alighted. Then King Richard was 
brought into the hall, apparelled like a king in his robes of state, his sceptre in his 
hand, and his crown on his head ; then he stood up alone, not holden nor stayed 
by no man, and said aloud, ' I have been king of Etigland, duke of Aquitaine, 
and lord of Ireland, about twenty-one years, which seigniory, royalty, sceptre, crown, 
and heritage I clearly resign here to my cousin Henry of Lancaster ; and I desire 
him here, in this open presence, in entering of the same possession, to take this 
sceptre :' and so delivered it to the duke, who took it." There can be no doubt 
that this apparently willing resignation, which his enemies said was made even with 
a merry countenance, was extorted from Richard by the fear of death. Northum- 
berland openly proclaimed this when he rebelled against Henry. In a very curious 
manuscript in the library of the King of France, from which copious extracts are 
given in Mr. Webb's notes to the ' Metrical History,' there is a detailed account of 
a meeting between Richard and Bolingbroke in the Tower, at which York and 
Aumerle were present, — where the king, in a most violent rage, says, " I am king, 
and will still continue king, in spite of all my enemies." Shakspere has most skil- 
fully portrayed this natural struggle of the will of the unhappy man against the 
necessity by which he was overwhelmed. The deposition scene shows us, — as faith- 
fully as the glass which the poet introduces exhibits the person of the khig, — the 
vacillations of a nature irresolute and yielding, but clinging to the phantom of 
power when the substance had passed away. There can be no doubt that Shak- 
spere's portrait of Richard II. is as historically true as it is poetically just. 

The chroniclers have shown us the fierce, and, as we should call them in modern 
times, the brutal contests of the peers in the first parliament of Henry IV. But we 
have had lately opened to us a most curious record of the days of Richard, which 
shows us a parliament that more nearly approaches to our notions of an assembly of 
men called together for the public good, but not forgetting their private interests in 
their peaceful moods ; and deporting themselves as men do who have mighty ques- 


tiona to deliberate upon, but who bring to that deliberation the sloth, the petty feel- 
ings, and the other individual characteristics that remind us that great legislators 
are sometimes small men. The Camden Society, which is doing for literature the 
very reverse of what the Roxburgh Club did — which is making unpublished and 
rare tracts accessible to all men, instead of gaining a petty reputation by rendering 
scarce things known, and then causing them to be scarcer, — has published an ' Alli- 
terative Poem on the Deposition of King Richard II.' This most curious produc- 
tion is printed from a manuscript in the public library at Cambridge. There 
seems to be no doubt that the poem was written about the time when Richard fell 
into the hands of his enemies : — the first lines represent the author as being informed 
that " Henrri was entrid on the est half" of the kingdom, while Richard " werrid 
be west on the wilde Yrisshe." The author of the poem appears to have been a par- 
tisan of Bolingbroke — the transcriber was of the opposite faction ; and to this 
circumstance we owe the loss of the more important part of the original composi- 
tion ; for he broke oflF abruptly in the description of Richard's servile parliament — 
the parliament that, giving a colour to his exactions and despotic exercise of autho- 
rity, led to the great revolution which ended in his deposition. Of this famous par- 
liament the following is a part of the description to which we have alluded : — 

" And somme slombrid and slepte, and said but a lite ; 
And somme mafflid vt-ith the mouth, and n yst what they ment ; 
And somme had hire, and helde ther-with evere, 
And wolde no fForther a ffoot, fFor ffer of her maistris ; 
And some were so soleyne, and sad of her wittis. 
That er they come to the clos a-combred they were. 
That thei the conclucioun than constrewe ne couthe 
No burne of the benche, of borowe nother ellis. 
So blynde and so ballid and bare was the reson ; 
And somme were so flfers at the ffrist come, 
That they bente on a bouet, and bare a topte saile 
A-ffor the wynde ffresshely, to make a good ffare." 

We venture upon a free prose translation of the old English : — 

" And some slumbered and slept, and said but a little ; and some stammered 
with the mouth, and knew not what they meant ; and some were paid, and held to 
that, and would no further a-foot, for fear of their masters; and some were so sullen 
and grave in their wits, that before they came to the close they were so much encum- 
bered, that their conclusions could be construed by no baron on the bench, nor by 
no one else of the borough, — so blind, and so bald, and so bare was their reason. 
And some were so fierce at the first coming, that they were bent on a bout, and bare 
a topsail afore the wind freshly, to make a good fare." — Unchangeable human 
nature ! 

474 KING RICHARD 11. [Act V. 


SCENE I. — London. A Street leading to the Tower. 

Enter Queen and Ladies. 

Queen. This way the king will come j this is the way 
To Julius Caesar's ill-erected' tower. 
To whose flint bosom my condemned lord 
Is doom'd a prisoner by proud Bolingbroke : 
Here let us rest, if this rebellious earth 
Have any resting for her true king's queen. 

Enter King Richard and Guards. 

But soft, but see, or rather do not see. 

My fair rose wither : Yet look up ; behold ; 

That you in pity may dissolve to dew. 

And wash him fresh again with true-love tears. 

Ah, thou, the model where old Troy did stand ; ^ 

Thou map of honour ; thou king Richard's tomb. 

And not king Richard ; thou most beauteous inn,*^ 

Why should hard-favour'd grief be lodg'd in thee. 

When triumph is become an alehouse guest ? 

K. Rich. Join not with grief, fair woman, do not so. 
To make my end too sudden : learn, good soul. 
To think our former state a happy dream ; 
From which awak'd, the truth of what we are 

" Ill-erected — erected for evil. 

*• The queen, in a series of bold metaphors, compares her " condemned lord " to 
a ruin, or a mere outward form of greatness. He is " the model where old Troy did 
stand'" — the representation of the waste on which the most renowned city of anti- 
quity once stood. 

•= Inn. We doubt whether the word is here used as Falstaff uses it — " Shall I not 
"take mine ease in mine inn ?" An inn was originally a dwelling — a place of cover 
or protection. We have still the Inns of Court ; Lord Braybrooke's seat in Essex, 
commonly called Audley-End, is, properly, Audley-Inn. When the queen opposes 
the term alehouse to inn, she certainly does not mean, as Monck Mason thinks, to 
discriminate between two classes of houses of entertainment, but between a public- 
house and a " beauteous mansion." 

Scene!.] KING RICHARD II. 475 

Shows us but this : I am sworn brother,' sweet. 

To grim necessity ; and he and I 

Will keep a league till death. Hie thee to France, 

And cloister thee in some religious house : 

Our holy lives must win a new world's crown. 

Which our profane hours here have stricken down. 

Queen. What, is my Richard both in shape and mind 
Transform'd and weaken'd ? Hath Bolingbroke 
Depos'd thine intellect ? Hath he been in thy heart ? 
The lion, dying, thrusteth forth his paw. 
And wounds the earth, if nothing else, with rage 
To be o'erpower'd ; and wilt thou, pupil-like. 
Take thy correction mildly ? kiss the rod ; 
And fawn on rage with base humility, 
Which art a lion, and a king of beasts ? 

K. Rich. A king of beasts, indeed ; if aught but beasts, 
I had been still a happy king of men. 
Good sometime queen, prepare thee hence for France : 
Think I am dead ; and that even here thou tak'st. 
As from my death-bed, my last living leave. 
In winter's tedious nights sit by the fire 
With good old folks ; and let them tell thee tales 
Of woeful ages, long ago betid : 
And, ere thou bid good night, to quit their grief. 
Tell thou the lamentable fall of me. 
And send the hearers weeping to their beds. 
For why, the senseless brands will sympathize 
The heavy accent of thy moving tongue. 
And, in compassion, weep the fire out : 
And some will mourn in ashes, some coal-black. 
For the deposing of a rightful king. 

Enter Northumberland, attended. 

North. My lord, the mind of Bolingbroke is chang'd ; 
You must to Pomfret, not unto the Tower. 

" Sworn brother. Military adventurers were lometimes leagued to share each 
others' fortunes — to divide their plunder, and even their honours. They were then 
/ratresj'urati — swoni brothers. 


And, madam, there is order ta'en for you ; 
With all swift speed you must away to France. 

K. Rich. Northumberland, thou ladder wherewithal 
The mounting Bolingbroke ascends my throne. 
The time shall not be many hours of age 
More than it is, ere foul sin, gathering head. 
Shall break into corruption : thou shalt think. 
Though he divide the realm, and give thee half. 
It is too little, helping him to all : 
And he shall think that thou, which know'st the way 
To plant unrightful kings, wilt know again. 
Being ne'er so little urg'd another way. 
To pluck him headlong from the usurped throne. 
The love of wicked friends converts to fear ; 
That fear to hate ; and hate turns one, or both. 
To worthy danger, and deserved death. 

North. My guilt be on my head, and there an end. 
Take leave, and part ; for you must part forthwith. 

K. Rich. Doubly divorc'd? — Bad men, ye violate 
A twofold marriage ; 'twixt my crown and me ; 
And then betwixt me and my married wife. 
Let me unkiss the oath 'twixt thee and me ; 
And yet not so, for with a kiss 'twas made." 
Part us, Northumberland ; I towards the north. 
Where shivering cold and sickness pines the clime ; 
My queen ^ to France ; from whence, set forth in pomp. 
She came adorned hither like sweet May, 
Sent back like Hallowmas,*^ or short'st of day. 

Queen. And must we be divided ? must we part ? 

K. Rich. Ay, hand from hand, my love, and heart from 

Queen. Banish us both, and send the king with me. 

North. That were some love, but little policy. 

Queen. Then whither he goes thither let me go. 

K. Rich. So two, together weeping, make one woe. 

• The kiss was an established fonn of the ancient ceremony of affiancing. (See 
Illustrations of ' Two Gentlemen of Verona,' Act II. Scene 2.) 

»> Queen. So the folio. The quartos, wife. 

* Halloumat. The first of November, — opposed to "sweet May." 

Scene II.] KING RICHARD II. 477 

Weep thou for me in France, I for thee here ; 

Better far off than near, be ne'er the near'.' 

Go, count thy way with sighs ; I mine with groans. 

Queen. So longest way shall have the longest moans. 

K. Rich. Twice for one step I '11 groan, the way being short. 
And piece the way out with a heavy heart. 
Come, come, in wooing sorrow let 's be brief. 
Since, wedding it, there is such length in grief. 
One kiss shall stop our mouths, and dumbly part ; 
Thus give I mine, and thus take I thy heart. [They kiss. 

Queen. Give me mine own again ; 't were no good part. 
To take on me to keep, and kill thy heart. [Kiss again. 

So, now I have mine own again, begone. 
That I may strive to kill it with a groan. 

K. Rich. We make woe wanton with this fond delay ; 
Once more, adieu ; the rest let sorrow say. [Exeunt. 

f SCENE l\.~The same. A Room in the Duke of York's 


Enter York and his Duchess.' 

Duch. My lord, you told me you would tell the rest. 
When weeping made you break the story off 
Of our two cousins coming into London. 

York. Where did I leave ? 

Duch. At that sad stop, my lord. 

Where rude misgovem'd hands, from windows' tops. 
Threw dust and rubbish on king Richard's head. 

York. Then, as I said, the duke, great Bolingbroke, 
Mounted upon a hot and fiery steed. 
Which his aspiring rider seem'd to know. 
With slow, but stately pace, kept on his course. 
While all tongues cried — God save thee, Bolingbroke ! 
You would have thought the very windows spake. 
So many greedy looks of young and old 
Through casements darted their desiring eyes 
Upon his visage ; and that all the walls, 

■ Ne'er the near. Some deem this a proverbial expression, meaning not nearer 
to good. It appears to us here to mean " never the nearer.'* 


With painted imagery, had said at once, — 
Jesu preserve thee ! welcome, Bolingbroke ! 
Whilst he, from one side to the other turning. 
Bare-headed, lower than his proud steed's neck, 
Bespake them thus, — I thank you, countrymen : 
And thus still doing, thus he pass'd along. 

Duck. Alas, poor Richard ! where rides he the whilst ? 

York. As in a theatre, the eyes of men. 
After a well-grac'd actor leaves the stage. 
Are idly bent on him that enters next. 
Thinking his prattle to be tedious : 
Even so, or with much more contempt, men's eyes 
Did scowl on Richard ; no man cried, God save him ; 
No joyful tongue gave him his welcome home : 
But dust was thrown upon his sacred head ; 
Which with such gentle sorrow he shook off. 
His face still combating with tears and smiles. 
The badges of his grief and patience. 
That had not God, for some strong purpose, steel'd 
The hearts of men, they must perforce have melted. 
And barbarism itself have pitied him." 
But heaven hath a hand in these events ; 
To whose high will we bound our calm contents. 
To Bolingbroke are we sworn subjects now. 
Whose state and honour I for aye allow. 

Enter Aumerle. 

Duck. Here comes my son Aumerle. 

York. Aumerle that was ;*> 

But that is lost, for being Richard's friend. 
And, madam, you must call him Rutland now : 
I am in parliament pledge for his truth. 
And lasting fealty to the new-made king. 

■ It is pleasant, in reading what has been written upon Shakspere, to meet occa- 
sionally with the genial criticism of one who understands him. Dryden, speaking 
of this celebrated passage, says, " The painting of this description is so lively, and 
the words so moving, that I have scarce read anything comparable to it in any other 

*" Aumerle that was. Aumerle was deprived of his dukedom by an act of Henry's 
first parliament ; but was suffered to retain his earldom of Rutland. 

Scene II.] KING RICHARD II. 479 

Duch. Welcome, my son : Who are the violets now 
That strew the green lap of the new-come spring? 

Aum. Madam, I know not, nor I greatly care not ; 
God knows, I had as lief be none, as one. 

York. Well, bear you well in this new spring of time. 
Lest you be cropp'd before you come to prime. 
What news from Oxford ? hold those justs and triumphs ? 

Aum. For aught I know, my lord, they do. 

York. You will be there, I know. 

Aum. If God prevent it not ; I purpose so. 

York. What seal is that that hangs without thy bosom ?* 
Yea, look'st thou pale ? let me see the writing. 

Aum. My lord, 't is nothing. 

York. No matter then who sees it : 

I will be satisfied, — ^let me see the writing. 

Aum. I do beseech your grace to pardon me ; 
It is a matter of small consequence. 
Which for some reasons I would not have seen. 

York. Which for some reasons, sir, I mean to see. 
I fear, I fear, — 

Duch. What should you fear ? 

'T is nothing but some bond, that he is enter'd into 
For gay apparel, 'gainst the triumph. 

York. Bound to himself? what doth he with a bond 
That he is bound to ? Wife, thou art a fool. — 
Boy, let me see the writing. 

Aum. I do beseech you, pardon me ; I may not show it. 

York. I will be satisfied ; let me see it, I say. 

[Snatches it, and reads. 
Treason ! foul treason ! — villain ! traitor ! slave ! 

Duch. What 's the matter, my lord ? 

York. Ho ! who 's within there ? 

Enter a Servant. 

Saddle my horse. 
Heaven for his mercy ! what treachery is here ! 

* The seal was formerly not impressed on the deed itself, bat attached to it by a 
slip of parchment. The Great Seal is applied in a similar manner at the present 


Duch. Why, what is 't, my lord ? 

York. Give me my boots, I say ; saddle my horse : — 
Now by my honour, by my life, my troth, 
I will appeach the villain. \^Exit Servant. 

Duch. What 's the matter ? 

York. Peace, foolish woman. 

Duch. I will not peace : — What is the matter, son ? 

Aum. Good mother, be content ; it is no more 
Than my poor life must answer. 

Duch. Thy life answer ? 

Re-enter Servant, with boots. 

York. Bring me my boots, I will unto the king. 

Duch. Strike him, Aumerle. — Poor boy, thou art amaz'd : 
Hence, villain ; never more come in my sight. — 

[To the Servant. 

Ywrk. Give me my boots, I say. 

Duch. Why, York, what wilt thou do ? 
Wilt thou not hide the trespass of thine own ? 
Have we more sons ? or are w^e like to have ? 
Is not my teeming date drunk up with time? 
And wilt thou pluck my fair son from mine age. 
And rob me of a happy mother's name ? 
Is he not like thee ? is he not thine own ? 

York. Thou fond mad woman. 
Wilt thou conceal this dark conspiracy ? 
A dozen of them here have ta'en the sacrament. 
And interchangeably set down their hands. 
To kill the king at Oxford. 

Duch. He shall be none ; 

We '11 keep him here : Then what is that to him ? 

York. Away, 
Fond woman ! were he twenty times my son .^ 

I would appeach him. 

Duch. Hadst thou groan'd for him. 

As I have done, thou 'dst be more pitiful. 
But now I know thy mind ; thou dost suspect 
That I have been disloyal to thy bed. 
And that he is a bastard, not thy son : 


Sweet York, sweet husband, be not of" that mind : 
He is as like thee as a man may be. 
Not like to me, or any of my kin. 
And yet I love him. 

York. Make way, unruly woman. \^Exit. 

Duch. After, Aumcrle ; mount thee upon his horse ; 
Spur, post ; and get before him to the king, 
And beg thy pardon ere he do accuse thee. 
I '11 not be long behind ; though I be old, 
I doubt not but to ride as fast as York : 
And never will I rise up from the ground, 
Till Bolingbroke have pardon'd thee : Away ; 
Begone. [Exeunt. 

Jf SCENE III.— Windsor. A Room in the Castle. 

Enter Bolingbroke, as King ; Percy, and other Lords. 

Baling. Can no man tell of my unthrifty son ? * 
'T is full three months since I did see him last : 
If any plague hang over us, 't is he. 
I would to Heaven, my lords, he might be found : 
Inquire at London, 'mongst the taverns there. 
For there, they say, he daily doth frequent. 
With unrestrained loose companions — 
Even such, they say, as stand in narrow lanes. 
And beat our watch, and rob our passengers ; 
While he, young, wanton, and effeminate boy. 
Takes on the point of honour, to support 
So dissolute a crew. 

Percy. My lord, some two days since I saw the prince. 
And told him of triumphs held at Oxford. 

Boling. And what said the gallant ? 

Percy. His answer was, — he would unto the stews. 
And from the commonest creature pluck a glove. 
And wear it as a favour ; and with that 
He would unhorse the lustiest challenger. 

Boling. As dissolute as desperate : yet through both 
Vol. IV. 2 I 


I see some sparkles of a better hope/ 
Which elder days may happily bring forth. 
But who comes here ? 

Enter Au merle, hastily. 

Aunt. Where is the king ? 

Boling. What means 

Our cousin, that he stares and looks so wildly ? 

Aum. God save your grace. I do beseech your majesty. 
To have some conference with your grace alone. 

Boling. Withdraw yourselves, and leave us here alone. 

[Exeunt Percy and Lords. 
What is the matter with our cousin now ? 

Aum. For ever may my knees grow to the earth, [Kneels. 
My tongue cleave to my roof within my mouth. 
Unless a pardon, ere I rise, or speak. 

Boling. Intended, or committed, was this fault ? 
If on the first, how heinous ere it be. 
To win thy after-love, I pardon thee. 

Aum. Then give me leave that I may turn the key. 
That no man enter till my tale be done. 

Boling. Have thy desire. [Aumerle locks the door. 

York. [}Vithin.'\ My liege, beware ; look to thyself ; 
Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there. 

Boling. Villain, I '11 make thee safe. [Drawing. 

Aum. Stay thy revengeful hand; 
Thou hast no cause to fear. 

York. [Within.] Open the door, secure, fool-hardy king ; 
Shall I, for love, speak treason to thy face ? 
Open the door, or I will break it open. 

[Bolingbroke opens the doer. 

Enter York. 
Boling. What is the matter uncle ? speak ; 
Recover breath ; tell us how near is danger. 
That we may arm us to encounter it. 

* In the folio these lines stand thus : — 

" I see some sparks of better hope ; which elder days 
May happily bring forth. But who comes here ? ' 
The modem reading is certainly an improvement ; and one of the quartos has 


York. Peruse this writing here, and thou shalt know 
The treason that my haste forbids me show. 

Aum. Remember, as thou read'st, thy promise past : 
I do repent me ; read not my name there. 
My heart is not confederate with my hand. 

York. It was, villain, ere thy hand did set it down. — 
I tore it from the traitor's bosom, king ; 
Fear, and not love, begets his penitence : 
Forget to pity him, lest thy pity prove 
A serpent that will sting thee to the heart. 

Boling. O heinous, strong, and bold conspiracy ! 

loyal father of a treacherous son ! 

Thou sheer," immaculate, and silver fountain. 
From whence this stream through muddy passages 
Hath held his current, and defil'd himself! 
Thy overflow of good converts to bad ; 
And thy abundant goodness shall excuse 
This deadly blot in thy digressing son. 

York. So shall my virtue be his vice's bawd ; 
And he shall spend mine honour with his shame. 
As thriftless sons their scraping father's gold. 
Mine honour lives when his dishonour dies, 
Or my sham'd life in his dishonour lies ; 
Thou kill'st me in his life, giving him breath. 
The traitor lives, the true man 's put to death. 

Duch. [Within.] What ho, my liege! for heaven's sake 
let me in. 

Boling. What shrill- voic'd suppliant makes this eager cry? 

Duch. A woman, and thine aunt, great king; 't is I. 
Speak with me, pity me, open the door : 
A beggar begs that never begg'd before. 

Boling. Our scene is alter'd, — from a serious thing, 
And now chang'd to " The Beggar and the King." 
My dangerous cousin, let your mother in ; 

1 know she 's come to pray for your foul sin. 

York. If thou do pardon, whosoever pray. 
More sins, for this forgiveness, prosper may. 

* Sheer means separated, unmingled, free from admixture — and thus pure.. 

2 I 2 


This fester'd joint cut off, the rest rests sound ; 
This, let alone, will all the rest confound. 

Enter Duchess. 

Duch. O king, believe not this hard-hearted man ; 
Love, loving not itself, none other can. 

York. Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make here ? 
Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear ? 

Duch. Sweet York, be patient. Hear me, gentle liege. 


Boling. Rise up, good aunt. 

Duch. Not yet, I thee beseech : 

For ever will I kneel upon my knees,' 
And never see day that the happy sees. 
Till thou give joy ; until thou bid me joy. 
By pardoning Rutland, my transgressing boy. 

Aum. Unto my mother's prayers I bend my knee. [Kneels. 

York. Against them both my true joints bended be. 

[Ill mayst thou thrive, if thou grant any grace !] ^ 

Duch. Pleads he in earnest ? look upon his face ; 
His eyes do drop no tears, his prayers are in jest ; 
His words come from his mouth, ours from our breast : 
He prays but faintly, and would be denied ; '^ 
We pray with heart, and soul, and all beside : 
His weary joints would gladly rise, I know ; 
Our knees shall kneel till to the ground they grow : 
His prayers are full of false hypocrisy ; 
Ours of true zeal and deep integrity. 
Our prayers do out-pray his ; then let them have 
That mercy which true prayers ought to have. 

Boling. Good aunt, stand up. 

Duch. Nay, do not say — stand up ; 

° So the folio. Walk upon my knees is the reading of the first quarto. In the 
Communion Service we have " meekly kneeling on your knees." 

^ This line is not in the folio. 

' Blair, in his ' Lectures on Rhetoric,' compares this argument to a passage in 
Cicero, where the orator maintains that the coldness of Marcus Callidius, in 
making an accusation of an attempt to poison him, was a proof that the charge was 
false. " An tu, M. Callidi, nisi fingeres, sic ageres ?' 


But pardon, first ; and afterwards, stand up. 
An if I were thy nurse, thy tongue to teach. 
Pardon — should be the first word of thy speech. 
I never long'd to hear a word till now ; 
Say — pardon, king : let pity teach thee how : 
The word is short, but not so short as sweet ; 
No word like pardon, for kings' mouths so meet. 

York. Speak it in French, king : say, pardonnez moy. 

Duch. Dost thou teach pardon pardon to destroy? 
Ah, my sour husband, my hard-hearted lord. 
That sett'st the word itself against the word ! 
Speak, pardon, as 't is current in our land ; 
The chopping French* we do not understand. 
Thine eye begins to speak, set thy tongue there : 
Or, in thy piteous heart plant thou thine ear ; 
That, hearing how our plaints and prayers do pierce. 
Pity may move thee pardon to rehearse. 

Boling. Good aunt, stand up. 

Duch. I do not sue to stand. 

Pardon is all the suit I have in hand. 

Boling. I pardon him, as heaven shall pardon me. 

Duch. O happy vantage of a kneeling knee ! 
Yet am I sick for fear : speak it again ; 
Twice saying pardon doth not pardon twain. 
But makes one pardon strong. 

Boling. With all my heart 

I pardon him. 

Duch. A god on earth thou art. 

Boling. But for our trusty brother-in-law,^ and the abbot. 
With all the rest of that consorted crew. 
Destruction straight shall dog them at the heels. 
Good uncle, help to order several powers 
To Oxford, or where'er these traitors are ; 

» Chopping Frendi. Chopping is here used in the sense of changing, which is 
derived from cheaping, trafficking. We still say a chopping wind. Malone, we 
apprehend, mistakes when he explains the word by jaUxring. York exhorts the 
king, instead of saying pardon, to say pardonnez moy — excuse me. The duchess 
will have pardon as " 't is current in our land." The chopping French — the 
French which changes the meaning of words — which sets " the word itself against 
the word" — she says, " we do not understand." 


They shall not live within this world, I swear. 
But I will have them, if I once know where. 
Uncle, farewell, — and cousin, too, adieu : 
Your mother well liath pray'd, and prove you true. 

Duch. Come, my old son; — I pray Heaven* make thee 
new. [Exeunt. 


Enter Exton and a Servant. 

Exton. Didst thou not mark the king, what words he 
spake ? 
" Have I no friend will rid me of this living fear ?" 
Was it not so? 

Serv. Those were his very words. 

Exton. " Have I no friend V quoth he : he spake it twice. 
And urg'd it twice together ; did he not ? 

Serv. He did. 

Exton. And, speaking it, he wistly'' look'd on me; 
As who should say, — I would thou wort the man 
That would divorce this terror from my heart ; 
Meaning the king at Pomfret. Come, let 's go ; 
I am the king's friend, and will rid his foe. [Exeunt. 

» Heaven. This is the last passage of the play in which we have substituted, 
according to the authority of the folio of 1623, the word Heaven for God. It is to 
be observed that the editors of the folio have retained the name of tlie Most High 
when it is used in a jwculiarly empliatic or reverential manner, and have not made 
the change to Heaven indiscriminately. The substitution of this word, in most 
cases, was made in obedience to a statute of James I. (3 Jac. I. c. 21) ; and 
it ap{)ears to us that the modem editors have not exercised good taste, to say the 
least of it, in restoring the readings of the earliest copies, which were issued at a 
time when the habits of society sanctioned the habitual, and therefore light, 
employment of the Sacred Name. 

^ I'Vistly. So the old copies. fVittfully has crept into the modern editions with- 
out authority. Wistly is constantly used by the writers of Shakspere's time, — by 
Drayton for example : — 

" But when more wistly they did her behold." 

Scene V.] KING RICHARD II. 487 

SCENE v.— Pomfret. The Dungeon of the Castle. 
Enter Kino Richard. 

K. Rich. I have been studying how to compare* 
This prison, where I live, unto the world : 
And, for because the world is populous. 
And here is not a creature but myself, 
I cannot do it ; — ^yet I '11 hammer it out. 
My brain I '11 prove the female to my soul ; 
My soul, the father : and these two beget 
A generation of still-breeding thoughts. 
And these same thoughts people this little world ; ** 
In humours like the people of this world. 
For no thought is contented. The better sort, — 
As thoughts of things divine, — are intermix'd 
With scruples, and do set the faith itself 
Against the faith :•= 

As thus, — Come, little ones ; and then again, — 
It is as hard to come, as for a camel 
To thread the postern of a needle's eye. 
Thoughts tending to ambition they do plot 
Unlikely wonders : how these vain weak nails 
May tear a passage through the flinty ribs 
Of this hard world, my ragged prison walls ; 
And, for they cannot, die in their own pride. 
Thoughts tending to content flatter themselves 
That they are not the first of fortune's slaves. 
Nor shall not be the last ; like silly beggars, 

" So the folio. Modem editions, haw I may compare. 

^ This littk world. " The little world of man," as in ' Lear.' Shakspere here 
uses the philosophy which is thus described by Raleigh : — '• Because iii the little 
frame of man's body there is a representation of the universal, and (by allusion) a 
kind of participation of all the parts there, therefore was man called microcotmot, or 
the little world.'" — (• History of the World.') 

c So the folio. The quarto of 1597 reads — " The word itself against the word ;" 
which is, perhaps, better taken singly. But in the third scene of this act the 
duchess uses precisely the same expression ; and the sense of the word there being 
altogether different, the change was, we think, judicious. Modem editors liave, 
however, rejected the readuig which we adopt. 


Who, sitting in the stocks, refuge their shame. 

That many have, and others must sit there : 

And in this thought they find a kind of case. 

Bearing their own misfortunes on the back 

Of such as have before endur'd the like. 

Thus play I, in one person, many people. 

And none contented : Sometimes am I king ; 

Then treason makes me wish myself a beggar. 

And so I am : Then crushing penury 

Persuades me I was better when a king ; 

Then am I king'd again : and by-and-by. 

Think that I am unking'd by Bolingbroke, 

And straight am nothing : — But, whate'er I am. 

Nor I, nor any man, that but man is. 

With nothing shall be pleas'd till he be eas'd 

With being nothing. Music do I hear ? [Music. 

Ha, ha ! keep time : — How sour sweet music is. 

When time is broke, and no proportion kept ! 

So is it in the music of men's lives. 

And here have I the daintiness of ear. 

To check time broke in a disorder'd string ; 

But, for the concord of my state and time. 

Had not an ear to hear my true time broke. 

I wasted time, and now doth time waste me. 

For now hath time made me his numb'ring clock : 

My thoughts are minutes ; and, with sighs, they jar 

Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch. 

Whereto my finger, like a dial's point. 

Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears." 

Now, sir, the sounds that tell what hour it is 

Are clamorous groans, that strike upon my heart, 

■ It is somewhat difficult to follow this reading. Richard says Time has made 
him a numbering clock. A clock and a watch were formerly tlie same instru- 
ments ; a clock so called because it clicketh — a watch so called because it marks 
the walchet, the ancient divisions of the day. Comparing, then, himself to such an 
instrument, he says, his thoughts jar — that is, tick their watches on (unto) his eyes, 
which are the outward part of the instrument — the dial-plate on which the hours are 
numbered, — whereto his finger, the dial's point, is pointing. These analogies may 
appear forced, and somewhat obscure ; but it must be observed that, throughout the 
character of Richard, the poet has made him indulge in those freaks of the imagina- 
tion which belong to weakness of character. (See Supplementary Notice.) 

Scene V.] KING RICHARD II. 489 

Which is the bell : So sighs, and tears, and groans. 
Show minutes, times, and hours : — but my time 
Runs posting on in Bolingbroke's proud joy, 
While I stand fooling here, his Jack o' the clock.* 
This music mads me, let it sound no more ; 
For, though it have holpe madmen to their wits. 
In me it seems it will make wise men mad. 
Yet blessing on his heart that gives it me ! 
For 't is a sign of love ; and love to Richard 
Is a strange brooch'' in this all-hating world. 

Enter Groom. 

Groom. Hail, royal prince ! 

K. Rich. Thanks, noble peer ; 

The cheapest of us is ten groats too dear.* 
What art thou? and how comest thou hither. 
Where no man ever comes, but that sad dog *= 
That brings me food, to make misfortune live ? 

Groom. I was a poor grocan of thy stable, king. 
When thou wert king ; who, travelling towards York, 
With much ado, at length have gotten leave 
To look upon my sometimes royal master's face. 
O, how it yearn'd my heart, when I beheld. 
In London streets that coronation day. 
When Bolingbroke rode on roan Barbary ! 
That horse that thou so often hast bestrid ; 
That horse that I so carefully have dress'd ! 

K. Rich. Rode he on Barbary ? Tell me, gentle friend. 
How went he under him ? 

Groom. So proudly as if he had disdain'd the ground. 

K. Rich. So proud that Bolingbroke was on his back ! 
That jade hath eat bread from my royal hand ; 

" Jack o' the clock. An automaton, such as fonnerly constituted one of the won- 
ders of London before St. Duustan's Church in Fleet Street ; but which the ruth- 
less hand of improvement has now swept away. 

'' A strange brooch. The brooch, a valuable ornament, was, it seems, out of 
fashion in Shakspere's time. In ' All 's Well that Ends Well ' we have " the brooch 
and the toothpick, which wear not now." Love to Richard is, therefore, called a 
strange brooch, a thing of value out of fashion. 

'^ Sad dog. Sad is here used in the sense of grave, gloomy. 


This hand hath made him proud with clapping him. 
Would he not stumble ? Would he not fall down, 
(Since pride must have a fall,) and break the neck 
Of that proud man that did usurp his back ? 
Forgiveness, horse ! why do I rail on thee. 
Since thou, created to be aw'd by man. 
Wast bom to bear ? I was not made a horse ; 
And yet I bear a burthen like an ass, 
Spur-gall'd, and tir'd, by jauncing ' Bolingbrokc. 

Enter Keeper, with a dish. 

Keep. Fellow, give place ; here is no longer stay. 

[To the Groom. 

K. Rich. If thou love me 't is time thou wert away. 

Groom. What my tongue dares not that my heart shall 
say. [Exit. 

Keep. My lord, will 't please you to fall to ? 

K. Rich. Taste of it first, as thou art wont to do. 

Keep. My lord, I dare not ; Sir Pierce of Exton, who 
Lately came from the king, commands the contrary. 

K. Rich. The devil take Henry of Lancaster, and thee ! 
Patience is stale, and I am weary of it. [Beats the Keeper. 

Keep. Help, help, help ! 

Enter Exton, and Servants, armed. 

K. Rich. How now ? what means death in this rude as- 
Villain, thine own hand yields thy death's instrument. 

[Snatching a weapon, and killing one. 
Go thou, and fill another room in hell. 

[He kills another, then Exton strikes him down. 
That hand shall burn in never-quenching fire. 
That staggers thus my person. — Exton, thy fierce hand 
Hath with the king's blood stain'd the king's own land. 
Mount, mount, my soul ! thy seat is up on high ; 
Whilst my gross flesh sinks downward, here to die. [Dies. 

* Jouncing. Richard compares himself to a spur-galled beast that Bolingbroke 
rides. — Jauncing — ^jaunting — hurriedly moving Bolingbroke. It is possible, how- 
ever, that it may be a contraction of joyauncing. 

Scene VI.] KING RICHARD II. 491 

Exton. As full of valour as of royal blood : 
Both have I spilt ; O, would the deed were good ! 
For now the devil, that told me I did well. 
Says that this deed is chronicled in hell. 
This dead king to the living king I '11 bear. 
Take hence the rest, and give them burial here. [Exeunt. 

^ SCENE VL— Windsor. A Room in the Castle. 

Flourish. Enter Bolingbroke and York, with Lords and 
Baling. Kind uncle York, the latest news we hear 
Is, that the rebels have consum'd with fire 
Our town of Cicester in Glostershire ; 
But whether they be ta'en, or slain, we hear not. 

Enter Northumberland. 

Welcome, my lord : what is the news ? 

North. First, to thy sacred state wish I all happiness. 
The next news is, — I have to London sent 
The heads of Salisbury, Spencer, Blunt, and Kent : 
The manner of their taking may appear 
At large discoursed in this paper here. [Presenting a paper. 

Baling. We thank thee, gentle Percy, for thy pains ; 
And to thy worth will add right worthy gains. 

Enter Fitzwater. 

Fitz. My lord, I have from Oxford sent to London 
The heads of Brocas, and sir Bennet Seely ; 
Two of the dangerous consorted traitors 
That sought at Oxford thy dire overthrow. 

Boling. Thy pains, Fitzwater, shall not be forgot ; 
Right noble is thy merit, well I wot. 

Enter Percy, with the Bishop of Carlisle. 
Percy. The grand conspirator, abbot of Westminster, 
With clog of conscience and sour melancholy. 
Hath yielded up his body to the grave ; * 
But here is Carlisle living, to abide 
Thy kingly doom, and sentence of his pride. 


Boling. Carlisle, this is your doom : — 
Choose out some secret place, some reverend room. 
More than thou hast, and with it joy thy life ; 
So, as thou liv'st in peace, die free from strife : 
For though mine enemy thou hast ever been. 
High sparks of honour in thee have I seen. 

Enter Exton, with Attendants bearing a coffin. 

Exton. Great king, within this coffin I present 
Thy buried fear ; herein all breathless lies 
The mightiest of thy greatest enemies, 
Richard of Bordeaux, by me hither brought. 

Boling. Exton, I thank thee not ; for thou hast wrought 
A deed of slander, with thy fatal hand. 
Upon my head, and all this famous land. 

Exton. From your own mouth, my lord, did I this deed. 

Boling. They love not poison that do poison need. 
Nor do I thee ; though I did wish him dead, 
I hate the murtherer, love him murthered. 
The guilt of conscience take thou for thy labour. 
But neither my good word, nor princely favour : 
With Cain go wander through the shade of night. 
And never show thy head by day nor light. 
Lords, I protest, my soul is full of woe 
That blood should sprinkle me to make me grow : 
Come, mourn with me for that I do lament. 
And put on sullen black, incontinent ; 
I '11 make a voyage to the Holy Land, 
To wash this blood off from my guilty hand : — 
March sadly after ; grace my mourning here. 
In weeping after this untimely bier. [Exeunt. 



[Abbot of Westminster.] 


' Scene II. — Duchess of York. 

The mother of Aumerle died in 1394. Edmund of Langley was subsequently 

* Scene III. — " Can no man tell of my unthrifty son ? " 

Shaksperehas here laid the connexion between this play and that of ' Henry IV.,' 
by a dramatic relation of the real events of history. Henry of Monmouth was at 
this time only twelve years old. Richard had taken him with his army to Ireland ; 
had knighted him ; and bad kept him as a hostage when he knew of Bolingbroke's 

^ Scene III. — " Our trusty brother-in-law.'' 

John Duke of Exeter (own brother to Richard II.), who married Elizabeth, the 
sister of Bolingbroke. 


* Scene V. — " 7%« cheapest of us is ten groats too dear." 
We subjoin a representation of the groat of Richard II. 

* Scene VI. — " Hath yielded up his body to the graved 

William de Colchester, Abbot of Westminster, according to Holinshed's Chro- 
nicle, which Shakspere followed, died about this time. The relation is not correct. 
He outlived Henry IV. The portrait which we give in the preceding page is from 
his tomb in Westminster Abbey. 


We have avoided any previous illiutration of the history and character of Richard's 
queen, reserving a short notice for this act, in which she occupies so interesting a 
position. Richard was twice married. His first wife, who was called the good 
Queen Anne, died in 1394. His second wife, the queen of this play, was Isabel, 
eldest daughter of Charles VI. of France. When Richard espoused her, on the 
31st of October, 1396,8he was but eight years old. The alliance with France gave 
the greatest dissatisfaction in England, and was one amongst the many causes of 
Richard's almost general unpopularity. Froissart mentions Richard's obstinacy in 
this matter with great naivete : " It is not pleasant to tlie realm of England that he 
should marry witli France, and it hath been showed him that the daughter of France 
is over young, and that this five or six year she shall not be able to keep him 
company ; thereto he hath answered and saifh, that she shall grow riglit well in 
age." Isabel was espoused at Paris, by proxy. Froissart says, " As I was in- 
formed, it was a goodly sight to see her behaviour : for all that she was but young, 
right pleasantly she bare the port of a queen." Isabel lived at Windsor, under the 
care of Lady de Coucy : but this lady was dismissed for her extravagance, and an 
Englishwoman, Lady Mortimer, succeeded her in the charge. It appears from the 
' Metrical History" that Richard was very much attached to her. In his lamentations 
in Conway Castle he uses tliese passionate expressions : " My mistress and my 
consort! accursed be the man, little doth he love us, wiio thus sliamefuUy 
separateth us two. I am dying of grief because of it. My fair sister, my lady, 
and my sole desire. Since I am robbed of the pleasure of beholding thee, such 
pain and aflliction oppressetli my whole heart, that, oftentimes, I am hard upon 


despair. Alas ! Isabel, rightful daughter of France, you were wont to be my joy, 
my hope, and my consolation ; I now plainly see that, through the great violence of 
fortune, which hath slain many a man, I must wrongfully be removed from you." 
When we observe that Froissart describes the girl of eight years old as deporting 
herself right pleasantly as a queen, and read of the lamentations of Richard for 
their separation, as described by one who witnessed them, we may consider that 
there was an historical as well as a dramatic propriety in the character which 
Shakspere has drawn of her. In the garden-scene at Langley we have scarcely 
more elevation of character than might belong to a precocious girl. In one part, 
however, of the last scene witli Richard, we have the majesty of the high-minded 
woman : — 

" What, is my Richard both in shape and mind 
Transform'd and weaken'd ? Hath Bolingbroke 
Depos'd thine intellect ? Hath he been in thy heart f " 

The poet, however, had an undoubted right to mould his materials to his own 
purpose. Daniel, in his descriptive poem of the Civil Wars, which approaches to 
the accuracy of a chronicle, makes " the young affected queen " a mucli more 
prominent personage than Shakspere does. These are her words, as she witnesses 
the procession of Richard and Bolingbroke in imaginary situation altogether : — 

" And yet, dear lord, though thy ungrateful land 

Hath left thee thus; yet I will take thy part : 
I do remain the same, under thy hand ; 

Thou still doth rule the kingdom of my heart : 
If all be lost, that government doth stand ; 

And that shall never from thy rule depart : 
And, so thou be, I care not how thou be : 
Let greatness go, so it go without thee." 

Poor Isabel was sent back to France ; and there she became, a second time, the 
victim of a state alliance, being married to the eldest son of the Duke of Orleans, 
who was only nine years old. Her younger sister became the wife of our 
Henry V. 

Tlie writer of the ' Metrical History ' appears to have conceived a violent sus- 
picion of Aumerle and of all his proceedings. He represents him as the treacherous 
cause of Richard's detention in Ireland ; and, in the conspiracy of the Abbot of 
Westminster and the other lords, he is described as basely becoming privy to 
their designs that he might betray them to Henry IV. Shakspere's version of the 
story is the more dramatic one, which is given by Holinshed. 

"This Earl of Rutland, departing before from Westminster, to see his father the 
Duke of York, as he sat at dinner had his counterpart of the indenture of the con- 
federacy in his bosom. The father, espying it, would needs see what it was : and 
though the son humbly denied to show it, the father, being more eaniest to see it, 
by force took it out of his bosom, and, perceiving the contents thereof, in a great 
rage caused his horses to be saddled out of hand, and spitefully reproving his son 
of treason, for whom he was become surety and mainpeniour for his good bearing 
in open parliament, he incontinently mounted on horseback to ride towards 
Windsor to the king, to declare to him the malicious intent of his son and big 
accomplices. The Earl of Rutland, seeing in what danger he stood, took bis 
horse and rode anotlier way to Windsor, in post, so that he got thither before his 
father; and when he was alighted at the castle-gate, he caused tlie gates to be 
shut, saying that he must needs deliver the keys to the king. When he came 
before the king's presence he kneeled down on his knees, beseecliing him of mercy 
and forgiveness, and declaring the whole matter mito him in order as everything 


had pajsed ; obtained pardon ; and therewith came his father, and, being let in, 
delivered the indenture which he had taken from his son unto the king ; wlio, 
thereby perceiving his son's words to be true, changed his purpose for his going to 
Oxfortl, and despatched messengers forth to signify unto the Earl of Northumf)er- 
land his high constable, and to the Earl of Westmoreland his high marshal, and to 
others his assured friends, of all the doubtful danger and perilous jeopardy." 

The death of Richard II. is one of those historical mysteries which, per- 
haps, will never be cleared up. The story which Shakspere has adopted, of his 
assassination by Sir Pierce of Exton and his followers, was related by Caxton in 
his addition to Hygden's ' Polycronicon ;' was copied by Fabyan, and, of course, 
found its way into Holinshed. The honest old compiler, however, notices the 
other stories — that he died either by compulsory famine or by voluntary pining. 
Caxton borrowed his account, it is supposed, from a French manuscript in the 
royal library at Paris, written by a partisan of Richard. In his ' Chronicle,' 
printed two years before the additions to the ' Polycronicon,' Caxton takes no notice 
of the story of the assassination by Sir Pierce of Exton ; but says, " He was enfamined 

unto the death by his keeper yet much jjeople in England, and in other 

lands, said that he was alive many year after his death." It is a remarkable con- 
firmation of the belief that Richard did not die by the wounds of a battle-axe, that 
when his tomb was opened in Westminster Abbey, some years since, his skull 
was found uninjured. Thomas of Walsingham, who was living at the time of 
Richard's death, relates that the unhappy captive voluntarily starved himself. 
His body was removed to the Tower, where it was publicly exhibited. The story 
of his voluntary starvation is, however, doubtful ; that of his violent assassination 
seems altogether apocryphal. In an important document, whose publication we owe 
to Sir Henry Ellis — the manifesto of the Percies against Henry IV., issued just 
before the battle of Shrewsbury — Henry is distinctly charged with having caused 
Richard to perish from hunger, thirst, and cold, after fifteen days and nights of suf- 
ferings unheard of among Christians. Two years afterwards Archbishop Scroop repeats 
the charge ; but he adds what unquestionably weakens its force, " ut vulgariter 
dicitur.^ There is one other story which has formed the subject of a very curious 
controversy, but which it would be out of place here to detail — that espoused by 
Mr. Tytler — that Richard escaped, and lived nineteen years in Scotland. The 
various arguments for and against this incredible tale may be found in a 
paper, by the late amiable and accomplished Lord Dover, read before the Royal 
Society of Literature. The conflicting evidence as to the causes of Richard's 
death in Porafret Castle is very ably detailed by Mr. Amyot, in the 20th volume 
of the ' Archaeologia.' The prison-scene in Shakspere will, perhap8,more than any 
accredited relation, continue to influence the popular belief; and yet, on the 
other hand, we have the beautiful passage in Gray's ' Bard' to support the less 
dramatic story: — 

" Fair laughs the mom, and soft the zephyr blows, 
While proudly riding o'er the azure realm, 
In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes ; 

Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm ; 
. Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind's sptay. 
That, hush'd in grim repose, expects his evening preyv 

Fill high the sparkling bowl, 

The rich ropa«t prepare. 

Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast; 

Close by the regal chair 

Fell thirst and famine scowl 

A baleful smiln upon their baffled guest." 



The body of Richard was brought to London ; and, being publicly exposed, was 
removed to Langley for interment. Henry V., who appears always to have che- 
rished a generous regard for the memory of the unfortunate king, caused it to be 
removed in great state to Westminster Abbey. 

[Portrait of Richard II. armed. Illumination in ' Metrical History.'] 

Vol. IV 

2 K 


[" I'll give my jewels for a set of beads." — Act III. Scene 3.] 


We scarcely know how to approach this drama, even for the purpose 
of a simple analysis. We are almost afraid to trust our own admi- 
ration when we turn to the cold criticism by which opinion in this 
country has been Wont to be governed. We have been told that it 
cannot " be said much to aifect the passions or enlarge the under- 
standing."* It may be so. And yet, we think, it might somewhat 
" aflfect the passions," — for " gorgeous tragedy " hath here put on 
her " scepter'd pall," and if she bring not Terror in her train. Pity, 
at least, claims the sad story for her own. And yet it may some- 
what " enlarge the understanding," — for, though it abound not in 
those sententious moralities which may fitly adorn " a theme at 
school," it lays bare more than one human bosom with a most 
searching anatomy ; and, in the moral and intellectual strength and 
weakness of humanity, which it discloses with as much precision as 
the scalpel reveals to the student of our physical nature the symp- 
toms of health or disease, may we read the proximate and final 
causes of this world's success or loss, safety or danger, honour or 
disgrace, elevation or ruin. And then, moreover, the profound 
truths which, half-hidden to the careless reader, are to be drawn out 
from this drama, are contained in such a splendid frame-work of 

* Johnson. 


the picturesque and the poetical, that the setting of the jewel almost 
distracts our attention from the jewel itself. We are here plunged 
into the midst of the fierce passions and the gorgeous pageantries of 
the antique time. We not only enter the halls and galleries, where 
is hung 

" Armoury of the invincible knights of old," 

but we see the beaver closed, and the spear in rest : — under those 
cuirasses are hearts knocking against the steel with almost more 
than mortal rage ; — ^the banners wave, the trumpet sounds — heralds 
and marshals are ready to salute the victor — but the absolute king 
casts down his warder, and the anticipated triumph of one proud 
champion must end in the unmerited disgrace of both. The transi- 
tion is easy from the tourney to the battle-field. A nation must 
bleed that a subject may be avenged. "A crown is to be played for, 

" Tumultuous wars 
Shall k!n with kin and kind with kind confound." 

The luxurious lord, 

•' That every day under his household roof 
Did keep ten thousand men,'' 

perishes in a dungeon ; — the crafty usurper sits upon his throne, 
but it is undermined by the hatreds even of those who placed him 
on it. Here is, indeed, " a kingdom for a stage." And has the 
greatest of poets dealt with such a subject without afi"ecting the 
passions or enlarging the understanding ? No. No. Away with 
this. We xciil trust our own admiration. 

It is a sincere pleasure to us to introduce our remarks upon the 
' Richard II.' by some acute and just observations upon Shakspere's 
historical plays in general from a French source. The following 
passage is from the forty-ninth volume of the ' Dictionnaire de la 
Conversation et de la Lecture.' (Paris, 1838.) The article bears 
the signature of Philar^te Chasles : — 

" This poet, so often sneered at as a frantic and barbarous writer, 
is, above all, remarkable for a judgment so high, so firm, so un- 
compromising, that one is almost tempted to impeach his coldness, 
and to find in this impassable observer something that may be 
almost called cruel towards the human race. In the historical 
pieces of Shakspere, the picturesque, rapid, and vehement genius 
which has produced them seems to bow before the superior law of 
a judgment almost ironical in its clear-sightedness. Sensibility to 
impressions, the ardent force of imagination, the eloquence of 

2K 2 


passion — these brilliant gifts of nature, which would seem destined 
to draw a poet beyond all limits, are subordinated in this extraordi- 
nary intelligence to a calm and almost deriding sagacity, which 
pardons nothing and forgets nothing. Thus, the dramas of which 
we speak are painful as real history. iEschylus exhibits to us Fate 
hovering over the world ; Calderon opens to us heaven and hell as 
the last words of the enigma of life ; Voltaire renders his drama an 
instrument for asserting his own peculiar doctrines ; — but Shakspere 
seeks his Fate in the hearts of men, and when he makes us see them 
so capricious, so bewildered, so irresolute, he teaches us to con- 
template, without surprise, the untoward events and sudden changes 
of fortune. In the purely poetical dramas to which this great 
poet has given so much verisimilitude, we console ourselves in 
believing that the evils which he paints are imaginary, and that 
their truth is but general. But the dramatic chronicles which 
Shakspere has sketched are altogether real. There we behold irre- 
vocable evils — we see the scenes that the world has seen, and the 
horrors that it has suffered. The more the details that accompany 
these events are irresistible in their truth, the more they grieve us. 
The more the author is impartial, the more he wounds and over- 
powers us. This employment of his marvellous talent is in reality 
a profound satire upon what we are, upon what we shall be, upon 
what we were." 

It is this wonderful subjection of the poetical power to the higher 
law of truth — to the poetical truth, which is the highest truth, com- 
prehending and expounding the historical truth — which must fur- 
nish the clue to the proper understanding of the drama of ' Richard 
II.' It appears to us that, when the poet first undertook 

" to ope 
The purple testament of bleeding war," — 

to unfold the roll of the causes and consequences of that usurpation 
of the house of Lancaster which plunged three or four generations 
of Englishmen in bloodshed and misery — he approached the subject 
with an inflexibility of purpose as totally removed as it was possible 
to be from the levity of a partisan. There were to be weighed in 
one scale the follies, the weaknesses, the crimes of Richard — the 
injuries of Bolingbroke — the insults which the capricious despotism 
of the king had heaped upon his nobles — the exactions under which 
the people groaned — the real merits and the popular attributes of 
him who came to redress and to repair. In the other scale were to 
be placed the afflictions of fallen greatness — the revenge and 


treachery by which the fall was produced — the heartburnings and 
suspicions which accompany every great revolution — the struggles 
for power which ensue when the established and legitimate authority 
is thrust from its seat. — All these phases, personal and political, of 
a deposition and an usurpation, Shakspere has exhibited with that 
marvellous impartiality which the French writer whom we have 
quoted has well described. The political impartiality is so remark- 
able, that, during the time of Elizabeth, the deposition scene was 
neither acted nor printed, lest it should give occasion to the enemies 
of legitimate succession to find examples for the deposing of a 
monarch. Going forward into the spirit of another age, during the 
administration of Walpole, the play, in 1738, had an unusual suc- 
cess, principally because it contained many passages which seemed 
to point to the then supposed corruption of the court ; and on this 
occasion, a letter published in ' The Craftsman,' in which many 
lines of the play were thus applied to the political topics of the 
times, was the subject of state prosecution. The statesmen of 
Elizabeth and of George II. were thus equally in fear of the popu- 
lar tendencies of this history. On the other hand, when Richard, 
speaking dramatically in his own person, says, — 

" Not all the water in the rough rude sea 
Can wash the balm from an anointed king ; 
The breath of worldly men cannot depose 
The deputy elected by the Lord," — 

Dr. Johnson rejoicingly says, — " Here is the doctrine of indefeasible 
right expressed in the strongest terms ; but our poet did not learn 
it in the reign of 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." Again, when the Bishop of Carlisle, in the deposition 
scene, exclaims, 

" And shall the figure of God's majesty, 
His captain, steward, deputy elect, 
Anointed, crowned, planted many years. 
Be judg'd by subject and inferior breath, 
And he himself not present?'' — 

Johnson remarks, " Here is another proof that our author 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." Steevens adds that Shak- 
spere found the speech in Holinshed, and that " the politics of the 
historian were the politics of the poet." The contrary aspects which 


this play has thus presented to those who were political partisans is 
a most remarkable testimony to Shakspere's political impartiality. 
He appears to us as if he, " apart, sat on a hill retired," elevated far 
above the temporary opinions of his own age, or of succeeding ages. 
His business is with universal humanity, and not with a fragment 
of it. He is, indeed, the poet of a nation in his glowing and genial 
patriotism, but never the poet of a party. Perhaps, the most elo- 
quent speech in this play is that of Gaunt, beginning — 
" This royAl throne of kings, this scepter'd isle." 

It is full of such praise of our country as, taken apart from the 
conclusion, might too much pamper the pride of a proud nation. 
But the profound impartiality of the master-mind comes in at the 
close of this splendid description, to show us that all these glories 
must be founded upon just government. 

It is in the same lofty spirit of impartiality which governs the 
general sentiments of this drama that Shakspere has conceived the 
mixed character of Richard. Sir Joshua Reynolds, in his admirable 
* Discourses ' (a series of compositions which present the example 
of high criticism upon the art of painting, when the true principles 
of criticism upon poetry were neglected or misunderstood), has 
properly reprobated " the diflSculty as well as danger in an endea- 
vour to concentrate in a single subject those various powers, which, 
rising from different points, naturally move in different directions." 
He says, with reference to this subject, " Art has its boundaries, 
though imagination has none." Here is the great line of distinction 
between poetry and painting. Painting must concentrate all its 
power upon the representation of one action, one expression, in the 
same person. The range of poetry is as boundless as the diversities 
of character in the same individual. Sir Joshua Reynolds has, 
however, properly laughed at those principles of criticism which 
would even limit the narrow range of pictorial expression to con- 
ventional, and therefore hackneyed, forms. He quotes a passage 
from Du Piles, as an example of the attempt of a false school of 
criticism to substitute the " pompous and laboured insolence of 
grandeur " for that dignity which, " seeming to be natural and in- 
herent, draws spontaneous reverence." " If you draw persons of 
high character and dignity " (says Du Piles), " they ought to be 
drawn in such an attitude that the portraits must seem to speak to 
us of themselves, and as it were to say to us, ' Stop, take notice of 
me ; I am that invincible king, surrounded by majesty :' ' I am 
that valiant commander who struck terror everywhere :' 'I am that 


great minister who knew all the springs of politics:' ' I am that 
magistrate of consummate wisdom and probity.' " Now, this is 
absurd enough as regards the painter ; but, absurd as it is, in its 
limited application, it is precisely the same sort of reasoning that 
the French critics in the time of Voltaire, and the English who 
caught the infection of their school, applied to the higher range 
of the art of Shakspere. The criticism of Dr. Johnson, for ex- 
ample, upon the character of Richard II. is, for the most part, a 
series of such mistakes. He misinterprets Shakspere's delineation 
of Richard, upon a preconceived theory of his own. Thus he says, 
in a note to the second scene in the third act, where Richard for a 
moment appears resigned 

" To bear the tidings of calamity,". 

" 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 op- 
pressive; but in his distress he is wise, patient, and pious." Now 
this is precisely the reverse of Shakspere's representation of Richard. 
Instead of passive fortitude, we have passionate weakness ; and it is 
that very weakness upon which our pity is founded. Having mis- 
taken Shakspere's purpose in the delineation of Richard in his fall, 
this able but sometimes prejudiced writer flounders on in a series 
of carping objections to the language which Richard uses. After 
Richard has said, 

" Or I '11 be buried in the king's highway, 
Some way of common trade, where subjects' feet 
May hourly trample on their sovereign's head," 

he flies off into a series of pretty imaginings, and ends thus, — 

« Well, well, I see 
I talk but idly, and you mock at me." 

Now in nothing is the exquisite tact of the poet more shown than in 
these riots of the imagination in the unhappy king, whose mind was 
altogether prostrate before the cool and calculating intellect of 
Bolingbroke. But Johnson, quite in Du Piles' style, here says, 
" Shakspere is very apt to deviate from the pathetic to the ridicu- 
lous. Had the speech of Richard ended at this line (' May hourly 
trample on their sovereign's head '), it had exhibited the natural 
language of submissive misery, conforming its intention to the pre- 
sent fortune, and calmly ending its purposes in death." Now, it is 
most certain that Shakspere had no intention to exhibit " the natu- 


ral language of submissive misery." Such a purpose would have 
been utterly foreign to the great ideal truth of his conception of 
Richard's character. Again, in the interview with the queen, when 
Richard says, — 

" Tell thou the lamentable fall of me, 
And send the hearers weeping to their beds. 
For why, the senseless brands will sympathize," &c. — 

Johnson observes, " The poet should have ended this speech with 
the foregoing line, and have spared his childish prattle about the 
fire." Mr. Monck Mason very innocently remarks upon this com- 
ment of Johnson, " This is certainly childish prattle, but it is of the 
same stamp with the other speeches of Richard after the landing of 
Bolingbroke, which are a strange medley of sense and puerility." 
Of course they are so. There are probably no passages of criticism 
upon Shakspere that more forcibly point out to us, than these of 
Johnson and his followers do, the absurdity of trying a poet by laws 
which he had of purpose cast off and spurned. Had Johnson been 
applying his test of excellence to the conventional kings and heroes 
of the French stage, and of the English stage of his own day, he 
might have been nearer the truth. But Shakspere undertook to 
show us, not only a fallen king, but a fallen man. Richard stands 
before us in the nakedness of humanity, stripped of the artificial 
power which made his strength. The props are cut away upon 
which he leaned. He is, 

" in shape and mind, 
Transform'd and weaken'd," — 

humbled to the lot of the commonest slave, to 
" feel want, taste grief, 
Need friends.'' 

This is the Richard of our poet. Is it not the Richard of history ? 
"We must trespass upon the patience of the reader while we run 
through the play, that we may properly note the dependence of its 
events upon its characters. 

Froissart has given us the key to two of the most remarkable 
and seemingly opposite traits of Richard's mind, — cunning and 
credulity. Speaking of his devising the death of his uncle of 
Gloster, Froissart says, " King Richard of England noted well 
these said words, the which was showed him in secretness ; and, like 
an imaginative frince as he was, within a season after that his uncles 
of Lancaster and of York were departed out of the court, then the 
king took more hardiness on him." Lord Berners, the translator 
of Froissart, always uses " imaginative " in the sense of deviceful. 


crafty, — following his original. As to the king's credulity, the 
same accurate observer, who knew the characters of his own days 
well, thus speaks : — " King Richard of England had a condition 
that, if he loved a man, he would make him so great, and so near 
him, that it was marvel to consider, and no man durst speak to the 
contrary; and also he xcovM lightly believe sooner than any other 
king of remembrance before him." Upon these historical truths is 
Shakspere's Richard, in the first scenes of this drama, — the absolute 
Richard, — founded. But with what skill has Shakspere indicated 
the evil parts of Richard's character — ^just as much as, and no more 
than, is sufficient to qualify our pity for his fall. We learn from 
Gaunt that Richard was the real cause of Gloster's death ; — the 
matter is once mentioned, and there an end. We ourselves see his 
arbitrary bearing in the banishment of Bolingbroke and Norfolk ; 
his moral cowardice in requiring an oath for his own safety from 
the two enemies that he was at that moment oppressing ; his mean- 
ness in taunting Gaunt with his " party-verdict" as to his son's 
banishment ; his levity in mitigating the sentence after it had been 
solemnly delivered. After this scene we have an exhibition of his 
cold-hearted rapacity in wishing for the death of Gaunt : — 

" Now put it. Heaven, in his physician's mind 
To help him to his grave immediately ! 
The lining of his coffers shall make coats 
To deck our soldiers for these Irish wars." 

This prepares us for the just reproaches of his dying uncle in the 
next act ; — when the dissembling king is moved from his craft to 
an exhibition of childish passion toward the stern but now powerless 
Gaunt, before whom he had trembled till he saw him on a death- 
bed. The 

" make pale our cheek " 

was not a random expression. The king again speaks in this way 
when he hears of the defection of the Welsh under Salisbury :— 

" Have I not reason to look pale and dead?" 

Richard, who was of a ruddy complexion, exhibited in his cheeks 
the internal workings of fear or rage. This was a part of his weak- 
ness of character. The writer of the ' Metrical History ' twice 
notices the peculiarity. When the king received a defying message 
from the Irish chieftain, the French knight, who was present, says, 
" This speech was not agreeable to the king ; it appeared to me 
that his face grew pale with anger." When he heard of the landing 
of Bolingbroke, the writer again says, " It seemed to me that the 


king's face at this turned pale with anger." Richard's indignation 
at the reproaches of Gaunt is, at once, brutal and childish : — 

" And let them die that age and suUens have." 
Then comes the final act of despotism, which was to be his ruin : — 

" We do seize to us 
The plate, coin, revenues, and moveables, 
Whereof our uncle Gaunt did stand possess 'd." 

He is amazed that York is indignant at this outrtige. He is deaf to 

the prophetic denunciation, 

" You pluck a thousand dangers on your head." 

Still, Shakspere keeps us from the point to which he might have 
led us, of unmitigated contempt towards Richard ; — to make us 
hate him was no part of his purpose. We know that the charges 
of the discontented nobles against him are just ; — ^we almost wish 
success to their enterprise ; but we are most skilfully held back 
from discovering so much of Richard's character as would have 
disqualified us from sympathising in his fall. It is highly probable, 
too, that Shakspere abstained from painting the actual king as an 
object to be despised, while he stood as " the symbolic, or repre- 
sentative, on which all genial law, no less than patriotism, de- 
pends."* The poet does not hesitate, when the time is past for 
reverencing the king or compassionating the man, to speak of 
Richard, by the mouth of Henry IV., with that contempt which his 
weakness and his frivolities would naturally excite : — 

. " The skipping king, he ambled up and down 
With shallow jesters, and rash bavin wits, 
Soon kindled and soon bum'd : carded his state ; 
Mingled his royalty with capering fools ; 
Had his great name profaned with their sconis; 
And gave his countenance, against his name, 
To laugh at gibing boys," &c. — (' Henry IV.' Part I.) 

There is nothing of this bitter satire put in the mouths of any of 
the speakers ' in Richard II. ;' and the poetical reason for this appears 
obvious. Yet it is perfectly true, historically, that Richard " carded 
his state" by indiscriminately mixing with all sorts of favourites, 
who used the most degrading freedoms towards him. 

Bolingbroke (then Henry IV.) thus describes himself to his 
son : — 

" And then I stole all courtesy from heaven. 

And dress'd myself in such humility, 

That I did pluck allegiance from men's hearts, 

* Coleridge. 


Loud shouts and salutations from their moutlis, 
Even in the presence of the crowned king." 

The Bolingbroke who, in ' Henry IV.,' is thus retrospectively painted, 
is the Bolingbroke in action in ' Richard II.' The king 

" Observ'd his courtship to the common people." 
When he returns from banishment, in arms against his unjust lord, 
he wins Northumberland by his powers of pleasing : — 

" And yet our fair discourse hatii been as sugar." 

Mark, too, his professions to the " gentle Percy :" — 

" I count myself in nothing else so happy, 
As in a soul remembering my good friends." 

When York accuses him of 

" Gross rebellion and detested treason," 

how temperate, and yet how convincing, is his defence. York re- 
mains with him — he *' cannot mend it." But Bolingbroke, with 
all his humility to his uncle, and all his courtesy to his friends, 
abates not a jot of his determination to be supreme. He announces 
this in no under-tones — he has no confidences about his ultimate 
intentions ; — but we feel that he has determined to sit on the throne, 
even while he says, 

" I am a subject, 
And challenge law." 

He is, in fact, the king, when he consigns Bushy and Green to the 
scaffold. He speaks not as one of a council — he neither vindicates 
nor alludes to his authority. He addresses the victims as the one 
interpreter of the law; and he especially dwells upon his own per- 
sonal wrongs : — 

" See them deliver'd over 
To execution and the hand of death." 

Most skilfully does this violent and uncompromising exertion of 
authority prepare us for what is to come. 

We are arrived at those wonderful scenes which, to our minds, 
may be classed amongst the very highest creations of art — even of 
the art of Shakspere. " Barkloughly Castle " is " at hand." — 
Richard stands upon his " kingdom once again." Around him are 
armed bands ready to strip him of his crown and life. Does he step 
upon his " earth " with the self-confiding port of one who will hold 
it against all foes ? The conventional dignity of the king cannot 
conceal the intellectual weakness of the man ; and we see that he 
must lose his " gentle earth " for ever. His sensibility — his plastic 
imagination — ^his effeminacy, even when strongly moved to love 


or to hatred — ^his reliance upon his oflSce more than his own head 
and heart — doom him to an overthrow. How surpassingly charac- 
teristic are the lines in which he addresses his " earth" as if it were 
a thing of life — a favourite that he could honour and cherish — a 
friend that would adopt and cling to his cause — a partisan that 
could throw a shield over him, and defend him from his enemies : — 

" So, weeping, smiling, greet I thee, my earth, 
^nd do thee favour with my royal hands. — 
Feed not thy sovereign's foe, my gentle earth," &c. 

He feels that this is a " senseless conjuration ;" but when Aumerle 
ventures to say, " we are too remiss," he reproaches his " discom- 
fortable cousin," by pointing out to him the heavenly aid that a 
king might expect. His is not the holy confidence of a high- 
minded chieftain, nor the pious submission of a humble believer. 
He, indeed, says,^ — 

" For every man that Bolingbroke hath press'd 

To lift shrewd steel against our golden crown, 

God, for his Richard, hath in heavenly pay 

A glorious angel." 

But when Salisbury announces that the " Welshmen " are dispersed, 
Richard, in a moment, forgets the " angels " who will guard the 
right. His cheek pales at the evil tidings. After a pause, and 
upon the exhortation of his friends, liis "sluggard majesty" awakes; 
the man still sleeps. How artificial and externally -sustained is his 
confidence : — 

" Arm, arm, my name ! a puny subject strikes 
At thy great glory. Look not to the ground, 
Ye favourites of a king." 

Scroop arrives ; and Richard avows that he is prepared for the worst. 
His fortitude is but a passing support. He dissimulates with him- 
self; for, in an instant, he flies oiF into a burst of terrific passion at 
the supposed treachery of his minions. Aumerle, when their un- 
happy end is explained, like a man of sense casts about for other 
resources : — 

" Where is the duke my father with his power?" 

But Richard abandons himself to his despair, in that most solemn 
speech, which is at once so touching with reference to the speaker, 
and so profoundly true in its general application : — 

" No matter where ; of comfort no man speak." 
His grief has now evaporated in words : — 

" This ague-fit of fear is over-blown ; 
An easy task it is to win our own. 
Say, Scroop, where lies our uncle with his power?" 


Scroop's reply is decisive : — 

" Your uncle York hath join'd with Bolingbroke." 

Richard is positively relieved by knowing the climax of his mis- 
fortunes. The alternations of hope and fear were too much for his 
indecision. He is forced upon a course, and he is almost happy in 
his weakness : — 

" Beshrew thee, cousin, which didst lead me forth 
Of that su<eel way I was in to despair ! 
What say you now ? What comfort have we now ? 
By heaven, I 11 hate him everlastingly 
That bids me be of comfort any more." 

Shakspere has painted indecision of character in Hamlet — but what 
a diflference is there between the indecision of Hamlet and of 
Richard ! The depth of Hamlet's philosophy engulfs his powers 
of action; the reflective strength of his intellect destroys the 
energy of his will : — Richard is irresolute and inert, abandoning 
himself to every new impression, because his faculties, though 
beautiful in parts, have no principle of cohesion ; — ^judgment, the 
key-stone of the arch, is wanting. 

Bolingbroke is arrived before Flint Castle. Mr. Courtenay says, 
" By placing the negotiation with Northumberland at Flint, Shak- 
spere loses the opportunity of describing the disappointment of the 
king, when he found himself, on his progress to join Henry at Flint, 
a prisoner to Northumberland, who had concealed the force by 
which he was accompanied."* A Mr. Goodhall, of Manchester, in 
1772, gave us a new ' Richard H.,' " altered from Shakspeare, and 
the style imitated." We are constrained to say that such criticism 
as we have extracted, and such imitations of style as that of Mr. 
Goodhall, are entirely on a par. Shakspere wanted not the addi- 
tional scene of Northumberland's treachery to eke out the story of 
Richard's fall. He was too sagacious to make an audience think 
that Richard might have surmounted his difficulties but for an 
accident. It was his business to show what was essentially true 
(though one episode of the truth might be wanting), that Boling- 
broke was coming upon him with steps as certain as that of a rising 
tide towards the shivering tenant of a naked sea-rock. What was 
still more important, it was his aim to exhibit the overthrow of 
Richard, and the upraising of Bolingbroke, as the natural result of the 
collision of two such minds meeting in mortal conflict. The mighty 
physical force which Bolingbroke subdued to his purpose was called 

* Shakspeare's Historical Plays considered Historically. 


forth by his astute and foreseeing intellect : every movement of this 
wary chief — perhaps even from the hour when he resolved to appeal 
Norfolk — was a consequence from a calculated cause. On the 
other hand, Richard threw away every instrument of defence; 
the " one day too late," with which Salisbury reproaches him — 
which delay was the fruit of his personal weakness and vacillation — 
shows that it was impossible to save him. Had he escaped from 
Conway, after being reduced to the extremities of poverty and suf- 
fering, in company with a few wretched followers, he must have 
rushed, from his utter want of the ability to carry through a con- 
sistent plan, into the toils of Bolingbroke. Shakspere, as we must 
repeat, painted events whilst he painted characters. Look at 
Bolingbroke's bearing when York reproaches Northumberland for 
not saying, " King Richard ;" — look at his decision when he learns 
the king is at Flint ; — look at his subtlety in the message to the 

" Harry Bolingbroke 
On both his knees cloth kiss king Richard's hand." 

Compare the affected humility of his professions with the real, though 
subdued, haughtiness of his threats — 

" If not, I '11 use the advantage of my power.'' 
He marches " without the noise of threat'ning drum ;" but he 
marches as a conqueror upon an undefended citadel. On the one 
hand, we have power without menaces; on the other, menaces 
without power. How loftily Richard asserts to Northumberland 
the terrors which are in store — the " armies of pestilence " which 
are to defend his " precious crown !" But how submissively he 
replies to the message of Bolingbroke ! — 

" Thus the king returns: — 
His noble cousin is right welcome hither. — 
Speak to his gentle hearing kind commends." 

Marvellously is the picture of the struggles of irresolution still 
coloured : — 

" Shall we call back Northumberland, and send 
DeBance to the traitor, and so die I" 

Beautiful is the transition to his habitual weakness — to his extreme 
sensibility to evils, and the shadows of evils — to the consolation which 
finds relief in the exaggeration of its own sufferings, and in the 
bewilderments of imagination which carry even the sense of suffer- 
ing into the regions of fancy. We have already seen that this has 
been thought " deviating from the pathetic to the ridiculous." Be 



it so. We are content to accept this and similar passages in the 
character of Richard as exponents of that feeling which made him 
lie at the feet of Bolingbroke, fascinated as the bird at the eye of 
the serpent : — 

" For do we must what force will have u« do." 

This is the destiny of tragedy ; — but it is a destiny with foregoing 
causes — its seeds are sown in the varying constitution of the human 
mind : and thus it may be said, even without a contradiction, that a 
Bolingbroke governs destiny, a Richard yields to it. 

We pass over the charming repose-scene of the garden — in 
which the poet, who in this drama has avoided all dialogues of man- 
ners, brings in " old Adam's likeness," to show us how the vicissi- 
tudes of a^te are felt and understood by the practical philosophy 
of the humblest of the people. We pass over, too, the details of 
the quarrel scene in Westminster Hall, merely remarking that 
those who say, as Johnson has said, " This play is extracted from 
the ' Chronicle ' of Holinshed, in which many passages may be 
found which Shakspere has, with very little alteration, trans- 
planted into his scenes," — that they would have done well to have 
printed the passages of the ' Chronicle ' and of the parallel scenes 
side by side. This scene is one to which the remark refers. Will 
our readers excuse us giving them half-a-dozen lines, as a specimen 
of this " very little alteration ?" — 

" The Lord Fitzwater herewith rose up, 
and said to the king, that, where the Duke of 
Aumerle excuseth himself of the Duke of 
Gloucester's death, I say (quoth he) that he 
was the very cause of his death ; and so he 
appealed hira of treason, offering, by throw- 
ing down his hood as a gage, to prove it 
with his body." 

" If that thy valour stand on sympathies. 
There is my gage, Aumerle, in gage to thine : 
By that fair sun which shows me where thou 

I heard thee say, and vauntingly thou spak'st 

That thou wert cause of noble Glostar's death. 
If thou deniest it, twenty times thou liest; 
And I will turn thy falsehood to thy heart. 
Where it was forged, with my rapier's point." 

We have long borne with these misrepresentations of what Shak- 
spere took from the ' Chronicles,' and what Shakspere took from 
Plutarch. The sculptor who gives us the highest conception of 
an individual, idealized into something higher than the actual man 
— (Roubiliac, for example, when he figured that sublime image of 
Newton, in which the upward eye, and the finger upon the prism, 
tell us of the great discoverer of the laws of gravity and of light) — 
the sculptor has to collect something from authentic records of 
the features and of the character of the subject he has to represent. 
The 'Chronicles' might, in the same way, give Shakspere the 


general idea of his historical Englishmen, as Plutarch of his 
Romans. But it was for the poet to mould and fashion these outlines 
into the vital and imperishable shapes in which we find them. 
This is creation — not alteration. 

Richard is again on the stage. Is there a jot in the deposition 
scene that is not perfectly true to his previous character ? As to 
Bolingbroke's consistency, there cannot be a doubt, even with the 
most hasty reader. The king's dallying with the resignation of the 
crown — the prolonged talk, to parry, as it were, the inevitable act, 
— the " ay, no; no, ay;" — the natural indignation at Northumber- 
land's unnecessary harshness ; — the exquisite tenderness of self- 
shrinking abasement, running oflF into poetry, " too deep for 

tears " — 

" O, that I were a mockery king of snow, 
Standing before the sun of Bolingbroke, 
To melt myself away in water drops ;" — 

and, lastly, the calling for the mirror, and the real explanation of 
all his apparent affectation of disquietude ; — 

" These external manners of lament 
Are merely shadows to the unseen grief 
That swells with silence in the tortur'd soul :" — 

who but Shakspere could have given us these wonderful tints of one 
human mind — so varying and yet so harmonious — so forcible and 
yet so delicate — without being betrayed into something different 
from his own unity of conception ? In the parting scene with the 
queen we have still the same unerring consistency. We are told 
that "the interview of separation between her and her wretched 
husband is remarkable for its poverty and tameness."* The