Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Cousin, I am too young to be your father,
Though you are old enough to be my heir. .
What you will have, I'll give, and willing too;
For do we must what force will have us do.-
Set on towards London:-Cousin, is it so?

Boling. 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 'll 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 'll tell tales. Queen.

Of sorrow, or of joy ? a 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 'll 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,

Of sorrow 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.

b And I 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.

a

And never borrow any tear of thee.
But stay, here come the gardeners:
Let’s step into the shadow of these trees.-

Enter a Gardener and two Servants.

My wretchedness unto a row of pins,
They 'll 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, a
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 land,
Is full of weeds; her fairest flowers chok'd up,
Her fruit-trees all unprun’d, her hedges ruin’d,

queen, who

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 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,

66 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 modern 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-Apricockplumbes."

[ocr errors]

a

Her knots disorder'd,a and her wholesome herbs
Swarming with caterpillars?
Gard.

Hold thy peace
He that hath suffer'd this disorder'd spring
Hath now himself met with the fall of leaf:
The weeds, that his broad-spreading leaves did shelter,
That scem'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 and 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, 'Tis 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

ing ! Thou, old Adam's likeness, [coming from her concealment]

set to dress this garden,

a Knots disorder'd. The symmetrical beds of a garden were the knots. (See • Love's Labour's Lost,' Illustrations of Act I.)

b We 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,

How dares thy harsh-rude tongue sound this unpleasing

news?
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 'll find it so:
I speak no more than

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 born 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 grast'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 'll 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.

every one

[graphic][merged small]

1 SCENE II.

" There the antic sits,

Scoffing his state, and grinning at his pomp." 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 furnished Shakspere with the hint of these splendid lines.

2 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 Bolingbroke violated it in an oath-breaking age.

« VorigeDoorgaan »