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K. Rich. Thou, now a dying, fay'it, thou flatter'st


Gaunt. Oh! no, thou dy'ft, though I the ficker be. K. Rich. I am in health, I breathe, I fee thee ill. Gaunt. Now, he that made me knows, I fee thee ill; Ill in myself, and in thee, feeing ill. Thy death-bed is no leffer than thy land, Wherein thou lieft in reputation fick; And thou, too careless patient as thou art, Giv'ft thy anointed body to the cure Of those physicians that firft wounded thee. A thoufand flatterers fit within thy crown, Whose compass is no bigger than thy head, And yet, incaged in fo fmall a verge, Thy wafte is no whit leffer than thy land. Oh, had thy grandfire, with a prophet's eye, Seen how his fon's fon fhould destroy his fons, From forth thy reach he would have laid thy fhame; Depofing thee before thou wert poffefs'd, Who art poffefs'd now, to depofe thyself. Why, coufin, wert thou regent of the world, It were a fhame to let this land by leafe: But, for thy world, enjoying but this land, Is it not more than fhame, to fhame it fo? Landlord of England art thou now, not king: 9 Thy state of law is bond-slave to the law; And

K. Rich.

Thy ftate of law is bond-flave to the law;] State of law, i. e. legal foreignty. But the Oxford editor alters it to fate c'er law, i. e. abfolute fo'reignty. A doctrine, which, if our poet ever learnt at all, he learnt not in the reign when this play was written, queen Elizabeth's, but in the reign after it, king James's. By bond-flave to the law, the poet means his being inflaved to his favorite fabjects. WARBURTON.

This fentiment, whatever it be, is obfcurely expreffed. I understand it differently from the learned commentator, being perhaps not quite fo zealous for Shakespeare's political reputation. The reafoning of Gaunt, I think, is this: By Setting thy royalties to farm thou haft reduced thyself to a fate below fo


Thou, a lunatic lean-witted fool,

K. Rich.
Prefuming on an ague's privilege,
Dar'ft with a frozen admonition

Make pale our cheek; chafing the royal blood
With fury from his native refidence.
Now by my feat's right-royal majefty,
Wert thou not brother to great Edward's fon,
This tongue, that runs fo roundly in thy head,
Should run thy head from thy unreverend shoulders.

Gaunt. Oh, fpare me not, my brother Edward's fon, For that I was his father Edward's fon. That blood already, like the pelican, Haft thou tap'd out, and drunkenly carows'd. My brother Glofter, plain well-meaning foul (Whom fair befal in heaven 'mongst happy fouls!) May be a precedent and witnefs good, That thou refpect'ft not spilling Edward's blood. Join with the present sickness that I have;

And thy unkindness be like crooked age, To crop at once a too-long wither'd flower.


vereignty, thou art now no longer king but landlord of England, Jubject to the fame reftraint and limitations as other landlords; by making thy condition a state of law, a condition upon which the common rules of law can operate, thou art become a bond-flave to the law; thou hast made thyself amenable to laws from which thou wert originally exempt.

Whether this interpretation be true or no, it is plain that Dr. Warburton's explanation of bond-flave to the law, is not true. JOHNSON

And thy unkindness be like crooked age,

To crop at once a too-long wither'd flower.] Thus ftand thefe lines in all the copies, but I think there is an error. Why should Gaunt, already old, call on any thing like age to end him? How can age be faid to crop at once? How is the idea of crookedness connected with that of cropping? I fuppofe the poet

dictated thus:

And thy unkindness be time's crooked edge
To crop at once-

That is, let thy unkindness be time's fcythe to crop.

Edge was eafily confounded by the ear with age, and one mistake once admitted made way for another. JOHNSON.



Live in thy fhame, 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.
K. Rich. And let them die, that age and fullens have;
For both haft thou, and both become the grave.
York. I do befeech your majefty, impute
His words to wayward ficklinefs and age:
He loves you, on my life, and holds you dear
As Harry duke of Hereford, were he here.
K. Rich. Right, you fay true: as Hereford's love,
fo his;

As theirs, fo mine; and all be, as it is.

Enter Northumberland.

North. My liege, old Gaunt commends him to your majefty.

K. Rich. What fays he?

North. Nay, nothing; all is faid. His tongue is now a ftringlefs inftrument, Words, life, and all, old Lancaster hath spent. York. Be York the next, that must be bankrupt fo! Though death be poor, it ends a mortal woe.

K. Rich. The ripest fruit firft falls, and fo doth he; His time is fpent, our pilgrimage must be: So much for that.-Now for our Irish wars! We must fupplant those rough rug-headed kerns, Which live like venom, where no venom elfe 3, But only they, hath privilege to live. And, for these great affairs do afk fome charge, Towards our affiftance, we do feize to us

Shakespeare, I believe, took this idea from the figure of Time, who is armed with a fcythe, which (from its form) was anciently called a crook. Crooked may mean armed with a crook. STEEV.

2 Love they] That is, let them love. JOHNSON.

3 where no venom elfe,] This alludes to the tradition that St. Patrick freed the kingdom of Ireland from venomous reptiles of every kind. STEEVENS.




The plate, coin, revenues, and moveables,
Whereof our uncle Gaunt did ftand poffefs'd.

York. How long fhall I be patient? Oh, how long
Shall tender duty make me fuffer wrong?
Not Glofer's death, not Hereford's banishment,
Not Gaunt's rebukes, nor England's private wrongs,
4 Nor the prevention of poor Bolingbroke,
About his marriage, nor my own difgrace,
Have ever made me four my patient cheek,
Or bend one wrinkle on my fovereign's face.-
I am the last of noble Edward's fons,
Of whom thy father, prince of Wales, was firft;
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 haft, for even fo 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 fpend, 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.
Oh, 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 pleafe; if not, I, pleas'd
Not to be pardon'd, am content withal.
Seek you to feize, and gripe into your hands,
The royalties and rights of banifh'd Hereford?
Is not Gaunt dead? and doth not Hereford live?
Was not Gaunt juft, and is not Harry true?

4 Nor the prevention of poor Bolingbroke,

About his marriage, &c.] When the duke of Hereford, after his banishment, went into France, he was honourably entertained at that court, and would have obtained in marriage the only daughter of the duke of Berry, uncle to the French king, had not Richard prevented the match. STEVENS,

Did not the one deserve to have an heir?
Is not his heir a well-deferving fon?
Take Hereford's right away, and take from time
His charters, and his cuftomary rights;
Let not to-morrow then enfue to-day;
Be not thyfelf; for how art thou a king,
But by fair fequence and fucceffion?
Now, afore God (God forbid I fay true!)
If you do wrongfully feize Hereford's rights,
Call in his letters patents that he hath
By his attornies-general to fue

His livery, and deny his offer'd homage,
You pluck a thousand dangers on your head;
You lofe a thousand well-difpofed hearts;
And prick my tender patience to those thoughts,
Which honour and allegiance cannot think.

K. Rich. Think what you will; we feize into our hands

His plate, his goods, his money, and his lands.
York. I'll not be by the while: my liege, farewell:
What will enfue hereof, there's none can tell;
But by bad courfes may be understood,
That their events can never fall out good.


K. Rich. Go, Bufhy, to the earl of Wiltshire straight, Bid him repair to us to Ely-house,

To fee this bufinefs. To-morrow next
We will for Ireland; and 'tis time, I trow;
And we create, in absence of ourself,
Our uncle York lord-governor of England,
For he is juft, and always lov'd us well.—
Come on, our queen: to-morrow muft we part;
merry, for our time of stay is short. [Flourish.
[Exeunt king, queen, &c.
North. Well, lords, the duke of Lancaster is dead,
Rofs. And living too; for now his fon is duke.



-deny his offer'd homage,] That is, refufe to admit the bamage, by which he is to hold his lands. JOHNSON.

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