« AnteriorContinuar »
* That drag the tragick melancholy night; * Who with their drowsy, slow, and flagging wings
Clip dead men's graves, and from their misty jaws * Breathe foul contagious darkness in the air. * Therefore, bring forth the soldiers of our prize; * For, whilst our pinnace anchors in the Downs, * Here shall they make their ransome on the sand, * Or with their blood stain this discolour'd shore.• Master, this prisoner freely give I thee:• And thou that art his mate, make boot of this ;· The other (pointing to SUFFOLK), Walter Whit
more, is thy share. 1 Gent. What is my ransome, master ? let me
know. • Mast. A thousand crowns, or else lay down your
head. • Mate. And so much shall you give, or off goes
yours. Cap. What, think you much to pay two thou
sand crowns, * And bear the name and port of gentlemen ?* Cut both the villains' throats ;—for die you
shall; * The lives of those which we have lost in fight * Cannot be counterpois'd with such a petty sum. * 1 Gent. I'll give it, sir; and therefore spare my
life. * 2 Gent. And so will I, and write home for it
3 The chariot of the night is supposed by Shakspeare to be drawn by dragons. Vide Cymbeline, Act ii. Sc. 2.
4 The word cannot, which is necessary to complete the sense of the passage, is not in the old copy: it was supplied by Malone. The difference between the captain's present and succeeding sentiments may be thus accounted for. Here he is only striving to intimidate his prisoners into a ready payment of their
Afterwards his natural disposition inclines him to mercy, till he is provoked by the upbraidings of Suffolk.
• Whit. I lost mine eye in laying the prize aboard, • And therefore, to revenge it, shalt thou die;
[T. SUF. . And so should these, if I might have
will. Cap. Be not so rash; take ransome, let him live. • Suf. Look on my George, I am a gentleman; • Rate me at what thou wilt, thou shalt be paid.
• Whit. And so am I; my name is Walter Whit
• How now? why start'st thou? what, doth death
affright? Suf. Thy name affrights me", in whose sound
is death. • A cunning man did calculate my birth, And told me
-that by Water I should die 6: • Yet let not this make thee be bloody minded;
Thy name is—Gaultier, being rightly sounded.
• Whit. Gualtier, or Walter, which it is, I care not; • Ne'er yet did base dishonour blur our name, • But with our sword we wip'd away the blot;
5 Suffolk had heard his name before without being startled by it. In the old play, as soon as ever the captain has consigned him to “Walter Whickmore,' he immediately exclaims, 'Walter ! Whickmore asks him why he fears him; and Suffolk replies, • It is thy name affrights me.' The poet here, as in other instances, has fallen into an impropriety by sometimes following and sometimes deserting his original.
6 Thus Drayton, in Queen Margaret's Epistle to this duke of Suffolk :
'I pray thee, Poole, have care how thou dost pass;
And one foretold by water thou should'st die.' A note on these lines says, “ The witch of Eye received answer from the spirit, that the duke of Suffolk should take heed of water. See the fourth Scene of the first Act of this play. The prophecy is differently stated by a contemporary in the Paston Letters, vol. i. p. 40: Also he asked the name of the ship; and when he knew it, he remembered Stacy that said if he might escape the danger of the Tower he should be safe, and then his heart failed him.'
• Therefore, when merchant-like I sell revenge, • Broke be my sword, my arms torn and defac’d?, • And I proclaim'd a coward through the world!
[Lays hold on SUFFOLK. • Suf. Stay, Whitmore; for thy prisoner is a prince, The duke of Suffolk, William de la Pole. • Whit. The duke of Suffolk, muffled
in rags! Suf. Ay, but these rags are no part of the duke; . Jove sometime went disguisd, and why not I? Cap. But Jove was never slain, as thou shalt be. Suf. Obscure and lowly swain, King Henry's
blood, The honourable blood of Lancaster, • Must not be shed by such a jaded groom 8. Hast thou not kiss'd thy hand, and held my stirrup? . Bare-headed plodded by my footcloth mule, . And thought thee happy when I shook my head ?
How often hast thou waited at my cup, • Fed from my trencher, kneeld down at the board, • When I have feasted with Queen Margaret? * Remember it, and let it make thee crest-fall’n ;
Ay, and allay this thy abortive pride 9: * How in our voiding lobby hast thou stood, * And duly waited for my coming forth ? « This hand of mine hath writ in thy behalf, • And therefore shall it charm thy riotous tongue 10.
? The new image which Shakspeare has introduced into this speech—' my arms torn and defaced'—is also found in King Richard II. Act iii. Sc. 2. See note on that passage.
8 A jaded groom is a low fellow. Suffolk's boast of his own blood was hardly warranted by his origin. His great grandfather had been a merchant at Hull. If Shakspeare had known his pedigree he would not have failed to make some of his adversaries reproach him with it.
9 Pride that has had birth too soon.
10 By this expression, 'charm thy riotous tongue,' the poet meant Suffolk to say that it should be as potent as a charm in stopping his licentious talk. The same expression occurs in
* Whit. Speak, captain, shall I stab the forlorn
swain ? Cap. First let
words stab him, as he hath me. Suf. Base slave! thy words are blunt, and so
art thou. * Cap. Convey him hence, and on our longboat's
side « Strike off his head. Suf.
Thou dar'st not for thy own. Cap. Yes, Poole. Suf.
Poole? Sir Poole? lord ? Ay, kennel, puddle, sink; whose filth and dirt • Troubles the silver spring where England drinks. • Now will I dam up this thy yawning mouth, · For swallowing the treasure of the realm: • Thy lips, that kiss'd the queen, shall sweep the
ground; · And thou, that smil'dst at good Duke Humphrey's
death, Against the senseless winds shalt grin in vain, * Who, in contempt, shall biss at thee again: * And wedded be thou to the hags of hell, * For daring to affy 11 a mighty lord * Unto the daughter of a worthless king, * Having neither subject, wealth, nor diadem. * By devilish policy art thou grown great, * And, like ambitious Sylla, overgorg’d Othello, Act iv. Sc. 1, and is of common occurrence in the books of the poet's age. Thus in Ben Jonson's Cynthia's Revels :
charm your skipping tongue.' And Spenser, Faerie Queene, b. v. c. 9:
That well could charm his tongue and time his speech.' 11 To betroth in marriage. This enumeration of Suffolk's crimes seems to have been suggested by the Mirror for Magis
See the Legend of William de la Pole. The rest of this speech is entirely Shakspeare's; there is no trace of it in the original play.
* With gobbets of thy mother's bleeding heart.
By thee, Anjou and Maine were sold to France: * The false revolting Normans, thorough thee, * Disdain to call us lord; and Picardy * Hath slain their governors, surpris'd our forts, * And sent the ragged soldiers wounded home. * The princely Warwick, and the Nevils all,* Whose dreadful swords were never drawn in
s hating thee, are rising up in arms: * And now the house of York—thrust from the
crown, * By shameful murder of a guiltless king, * And lofty proud encroaching tyranny, * Burns with revenging fire: whose hopeful colours * Advance our half-fac'd sun 12, striving to shine, * Under the which is writ-Invitis nubibus. * The commons here in Kent are up
in arms: * And, to conclude, reproach, and beggary, * Is crept into the palace of our king, * And all by thee:-Away! convey him hence.
Suf. O that I were a god, to shoot forth thunder Upon these paltry, servile, abject drudges ! * Small things make base men proud: 'this villain
here, Being captain of a pinnace 13, threatens more • Than Bargulus the strong Illyrian pirate 14. • Drones suck not eagles' blood, but rob bee-hives.
12 Edward III. bare for his device the rays of the sun dispersing themselves out of a cloud.—Camden's Remaines.
13 A pinnace then signified a ship of small burthen, built for speed. Vide note on The Merry Wives of Windsor, Acti. Sc. 3.
14 · Bargulus, Illyrius Latro, de quo est apud Theopompum, magnas opes habuit.-Cicero de Officiis, lib. ii. c. 11. Shakspeare, as Dr. Farmer has shown, might have met with this pirate in some of the translations of his time: he points out two in which he is mentioned. In the old play it is, `Abradas the great Macedonian pirate.'