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Whilst 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,4
Then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen,
In murders, and in outrage, bloody here;
But when, from under this terrestrial ball,
He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines,5
And darts his light through every guilty hole,
Then murders, 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:6

and lights the lower world,] The old copies read-that lights. The emendation was made by Dr. Johnson. Sense might be obtained by a slight transposition, without changing the words of the original text:

That when the searching eye of heaven, that lights
The lower world, is hid behind the globe;-

I suppose,

By the lower world, as the passage is amended by Dr. Johnson, we must understand, a world lower than this of ours; our Antipodes. Malone.

That this is the sense of the passage, is obvious from the King's application of the simile;

"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," &c. Henley.

The lower world may signify our world. Malone.

5 He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines,] It is not easy to Point out an image more striking and beautiful than this, in any poet, whether ancient or modern. Steevens.

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: then, if angels fight,

Weak men must fall; for heaven still guards the right.

Welcome, my lord; How far off lies your power?
Sal. Nor near, nor further off, my gracious lord,
Than this weak arm: Discomfort guides my tongue,
And bids me speak of nothing but despair.
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.

The breath of worldly men &c.] Here is the doctrine of indefeasible right expressed in the strongest terms; but our poet did not learn it in the reign of King James, to which it is now the practice of all writers, whose opinions are regulated by fashion or interest, to impute the original of every tenet which they have been taught to think false or foolish. Johnson.

Far be it from me to palliate the conduct of the wretched James; but the truth is, that the inherent rights of the people had been ill understood, or rather were not acknowledged by his predecessors. The doctrine of the divine right of kings, and of the passive obedience of subjects, have never been carried further in any country than in this island, while the house of Tudor sate on the throne. Of this fact, the Homilies, composed during the reign of young Edward, and appointed in the Thirty-nine Articles to be read in churches, furnish striking and abundant proof. Take, as an instance, the following extract from the Homily against Disobedience and wilful Rebellion: "As the name of the king is very often attributed and given unto God in holy scriptures, so doth God himself in the same scriptures sometime vouchsafe to communicate his name with earthly princes, terming them Gods." 1st part. And in the 4th part, we are directed to "call to remembrance the heavy wrath and dreadful indignation of Almighty God against subjects as do only but inwardly grudge, mutter, and murmur against their governors, though their inward treason, so privily hatched in their breasts come not to an open declaration of their doings." H. White.

Aum. Comfort, my liege: why looks your grace so pale?

K. Kich. 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 sluggard3 majesty! thou sleep'st. Is not the king's name forty thousand names?9 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. Comes here?

Enter SCROop.

But who

Scroop. More health and happiness betide my liege, Than can my care-tun'd tongue deliver him.

K. Rich. Mine ear is open,1 and my heart prepar❜d; The worst is worldly loss, thou canst unfold.

7 Have I not reason to look pale and dead?] So, in King Henry IV, P. II:

"Even such a man

"So dull, so dead in look, so woe-begone,
"Drew Priam's curtains in the dead of night."

Again, in A Midsummer Night's Dream:


"So should a murderer look, so dead, so grim.” Malone. sluggard -] So the folio. The quartos have-coward.


9 Is not the king's name forty thousand names?] Thus, in King Richard III:

"Besides, the king's name is a tower of strength." See a speech of Antigonus, in Plutarch, of this kind, Vol. II, p. 199, 4to. Gr. S. W.

1 Mine ear is open, &c.] It seems to be the design of the poet to raise Richard to esteem in his fall, and consequently to interest the reader in his favour. He gives him only passive fortitude, the virtue of a confessor, rather than of a king. In his prosperity we saw him imperious and oppressive; but in his distress he is wise, patient, and pious. Johnson.

Say, is my kingdom lost? why, 'twas 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'll 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:
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; boys, with women's voices,
Strive to speak big, and clap their female joints3
In stiff unwieldy arms against thy crown:
Thy very beadsmen learn to bend their bows

2 White beards-] Thus the quartos. The first folio, with a ridiculous blunder,-White bears. Steevens.


and clap their female joints —] Mr. Pope more elegantly reads-and clasp-; which has been adopted by the subsequent editors. But the emendation does not seem absolutely necessary. Malone.

Clip would be still nearer than clasp. Ritson.

Lee, in his Mithridates, has imitated this passage; Act IV: "The very boys, like Cupids dress'd in arms,

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Clap their young harness'd thighs, and trust to battle."

4 Thy very beadsmen learn to bend their bows —] Such is the reading of all the copies; yet I doubt whether beadsmen be right, for the bow seems to be mentioned here as the proper weapon of a beadsman. The King's beadsmen were his chaplains. Trevisa calls himself the beadsman of his patron. Beadsman might likewise be any man maintained by charity to pray for his benefactor. Hanmer reads the very beadsmen but thy is better. Johnson. The reading of the text is right enough: "As boys strive to speak big, and clasp their effeminate joints in stiff unwieldy arms," &c. "so his 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?"


against him." Their does not absolutely denote that the bow was their usual or proper weapon; but only taken up and appropriated by them on this occasion. Percy.

5 Of double-fatal yew-] Called so, because the leaves of the yew are poison, and the wood is employed for instruments of death. Warburton.

From some of the ancient statutes it appears that every Englishman, while archery was practised, was obliged to keep in his house either a bow of yew or some other wood. It should seem therefore that yews were not only planted in church-yards to defend the churches from the wind, but on account of their use in making bows, while by the benefit of being secured in enclosed places, their poisonous quality was kept from doing mischief to cattle. Steevens.

6 Where is the earl of Wiltshire? where is Bagot?

What is become of Bushy? where is Green?] Here are four of them named; and, within a very few lines, the King hearing they had made their peace with Bolingbroke, calls them three Judasses. But how was their peace made? Why, with the loss of their heads. This being explained, Aumerle says:

"Is Bushy, Green, and the earl of Wiltshire dead?" So that Bagot ought to be left out of the question: and, indeed he had made the best of his way for Chester, and from thence had escaped into Ireland.

The poet could not be guilty of so much forgetfulness and ab. surdity. The transcribers must have blundered. It seems probable to me that he wrote, as I have conjecturally altered the


Where is the earl of Wiltshire? where is he got?

i. e. into what corner of my dominions is he slunk and absconded. Theobald.

This emendation Dr. Warburton adopts. Hanmer leaves a blank after Wiltshire. I believe the author, rather than transcriber, made a mistake. Where is he got, does not sound in my ear like an expression of Shakspeare. Johnson.

I agree with Johnson in thinking that this was a mistake of the author's, because we find a mistake of the same nature in the second Act, where Bolingbroke says, that Bristol-Castle was held by Bushy and Bagot; yet it is certain that Bagot was not taken

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