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K. Rich. We were not born to sue, but to com
mand: Which since we cannot do to make you friends, Be ready, as your lives shall answer it, At Coventry, upon Saint Lambert's day; There shall your swords and lances arbitrate The swelling difference of your settled hate; Since we cannot atone 23 you, we shall see Justice design 24 the victor's chivalry.Lord Marshal, command our officers at arms Be ready to direct these home-alarms. [Exeunt.
Enter GAUNT, and Duchess of Gloster 1.
23 i. e. make them friends, ' to make agreement or atonement, to reconcile them to each other. Ad concordiam adducere. Lat. Mettre d'accord. Fr.' Baret.
24 To design is to mark out, to show by a token. It is the sense of the Latin designo. I may here take occasion to remark that Shakspeare's learning appears to me to have been underrated ; it is almost always evident in his choice of expressive terms derived from the Latin, and used in their original sense. The propriety of this expression here will be obvious, when we recollect that designator was 'a marshal, a master of the play or prize, who appointed every one his place, and adjudged the victory.'
i l'he duchess of Gloster was Eleanor Bohun, widow of Duke Thomas, son of Edward III.
2 i. e. my relationship of consanguinity to Gloster.
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 faded, By envy's hand, and murder'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 consento 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 murder 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
may never lift An
angry arm against his minister. i. e. assent; consent is often used by the poet for accord, agree
Duch. Where then, alas! may I complain myselfs ? 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 : 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, A caitiff recreant to my cousin Hereford ! Farewell, old Gaunt; thy sometime brother's wife, With her companion grief must end her life.
Gaunt. Sister, farewell: I must to Coventry:
where it falls,
5 To complain is commonly a verb neuter; but it is here used as a verb active. It is a literal translation of the old French phrase, me complaindre; and is not peculiar to Shakspeare.
6 Her house in Essex.
7 In our ancient castles the naked stone walls were only covered with tapestry or arras, hung upon tenterhooks, from which it was easily taken down on every removal of the family. (See the Preface to The Northumberland Household Book, by Dr. Percy.) The offices of our old English mansions were the rooms designed for keeping the various stores of provisions, bread,
Unpeopled offices, untrodden stones?
where: Desolate, desolate, will I hence, and die; The last leave of thee takes my weeping eye.
SCENE III. Gosford Green, near Coventry. Lists set out, and
a Throne. Heralds, &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. Aum. Why then, the champions are prepar'd, and
stay For nothing but his majesty's approach. wine, ale, &c. and for culinary purposes. They were always situate within the house, on the ground-floor (for there were no subterraneous rooms till about the middle of the reign of Charles I.), and nearly adjoining each other. When dinner had been set on the board by the sewers, the proper officers attended in each of these offices. Sometimes, on occasions of great festivity, these offices were all thrown open, and unlimited licence given to all comers to eat and drink at their pleasure. The duchess therefore laments that, in consequence of the murder of her husband, all the hospitality of plenty is at an end ; 'the walls are unfurnished, the lodging rooms empty, and the offices unpeopled. All is solitude and silence; her groans are the only cheer that her guests can expect.'
1 The Duke of Norfolk was Earl Marshal of England; but being himself one of the combatants, the duke of Surrey (Thomas. Holland) officiated. Shakspeare has made a slight mistake by introducing that nobleman as a distinct person from the marshal in the present drama. Edward duke of Aumerle (so created by his cousin-german Richard II. in 1397, was the eldest son of Edward duke of York, fifth son of Edward III. officiated as high constable at the lists of Coventry. He was killed at the battle of Agincourt, in 1415.
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
And why thou com’st, thus knightly clad in arms:
[He takes his seat.
2 The duke of Hereford, being the appellant, entered the lists first, according to the historians.
3* His succeeding issue’ is the reading of the first folio: the quartos all read my.