I see some sparkles of a better hope,a
Which elder days may happily bring forth.
But who comes here?

Enter AUMERLE, hastily.

Where is the king ?

What means
Our cousin, that he stares and looks so wildly?
Aum. God save your grace.

I do beseech your majesty, To have some conference with your grace

alone. Boling. Withdraw yourselves, and leave us here alone.

Ereunt PERCY and Lords. What is the matter with our cousin now?

Aum. For ever may my knees grow to the earth, [Kneels.
My tongue cleave to my roof within my mouth,
Unless a pardon, ere I rise, or speak.

Boling. Intended, or committed, was this fault ?
If on the first, how heinous cre it be,
To win thy after-love, I pardon thee.

Aum. Then give me leave that I may turn the key,
That no man enter till my tale be done.

Boling. Have thy desire. [AUMERLE locks the door.

York. [Within.] My liege, beware; look to thyself;
Thou hast a traitor in thy presence there.
Boling. Villain, I 'll make thee safe.

[Drawing. Aum. Stay thy revengeful hand; Thou hast no cause to fear.

York. [Within.] Open the door, secure, fool-hardy king; Shall I, for love, speak treason to thy face? Open the door, or I will break it open.

[BOLING BROKE opens the door.

Enter YORK.
Boling. What is the matter uncle ? speak ;
Recover breath; tell us how near is danger,
That we may arm us to encounter it.
a In the folio these lines stand thus :-

“ I see some sparks of better hope ; which elder days

May happily bring forth. But who comes here ?" The modern reading is certainly an improvement; and one of the quartos has sparkles.

York. Peruse this writing here, and thou shalt know The treason that


haste forbids me show.
Aum. Remember, as thou read’st, thy promise past:
I do repent me; read not my name there,
My heart is not confederate with my hand.

York. It was, villain, ere thy hand did set it down.---
I tore it from the traitor's bosom, king;
Fear, and not love, begets his penitence :
Forget to pity him, lest thy pity prove
A serpent that will sting thee to the heart.

Boling. O heinous, strong, and bold conspiracy !
O loyal father of a treacherous son!
Thou sheer,a immaculate, and silver fountain,
From whence this stream through muddy passages
Hath held his current, and defil'd himself!
Thy overflow of good converts to bad;
And thy abundant goodness shall excuse
This deadly blot in thy digressing son.

York. So shall my virtue be his vice's bawd;
And he shall spend mine honour with his shame,
As thriftless sons their scraping father's gold.
Mine honour lives when his dishonour dies,
Or my sham'd life in his dishonour lies;
Thou kill'st me in his life, giving him breath,
The traitor lives, the true man's put to death.
Duch. [Within.] What ho, my liege! for heaven's sake

let me in. Boling. What shrill-voic'd suppliant makes this eager cry?

Duch. A woman, and thine aunt, great king; 't is I.
Speak with me, pity me, open the door:
A beggar begs that never begg'd before.

Boling. Our scene is alter'd,--from a serious thing,
And now chang’d to “The Beggar and the King.
My dangerous cousin, let your mother in ;
I know she's come to pray


foul sin. York. If thou do pardon, whosoever pray, More sins, for this forgiveness, prosper may.

a Sheer means separated, unmingled, free from admixture—and thus pure.

This fester'd joint cut off, the rest rests sound;
This, let alone, will all the rest confound.


Duch. O king, believe not this hard-hearted man; Love, loving not itself, none other can.

York. Thou frantic woman, what dost thou make here? Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear? Duch. Sweet York, be patient. Hear me, gentle liege.

[Kneels. Boling. Rise up, good aunt. Duch.

Not yet, I thee beseech: For ever will I kneel upon my knees,a And never see day that the happy sees, Till thou give joy; until thou bid me joy, By pardoning Rutland, my transgressing boy. Aum. Unto my mother's prayers I bend my knee. [Kneels. York. Against them both my true joints bended be.

[Kneels. [Ill mayst thou thrive, if thou grant any grace !] b

Duch. Pleads he in earnest? look upon his face;
His eyes do drop no tears, his prayers are in jest ;
His words come from his mouth, ours from our breast :
He prays but faintly, and would be denied ;
We pray with heart, and soul, and all beside:
His weary joints would gladly rise, I know;
Our knees shall kneel till to the ground they grow :
His prayers are full of false hypocrisy ;
Ours of true zeal and deep integrity.
Our prayers do out-pray his; then let them have
That mercy which true prayers ought to have.

Boling. Good aunt, stand up.

Nay, do not say-stand up;


a So the folio. Walk upon my knees is the reading of the first quarto. In the Communion Service we have “ meekly kneeling on your knees.”

b This line is not in the folio.

c Blair, in his · Lectures on Rhetoric, compares this argument to a passage in Cicero, where the orator maintains that the coldness of Marcus Callidius, in making an accusation of an attempt to poison him, was a proof that the charge was false. “ An tu, M. Callidi, nisi fingeres, sic ageres ?"'


But pardon, first; and afterwards, stand up.
An if I were thy nurse, thy tongue to teach,
Pardon-should be the first word of thy speech.
I never long'd to hear a word till now;
Say–pardon, king: let pity teach thee how :
The word is short, but not so short as sweet;
No word like pardon, for kings' mouths so meet.

York. Speak it in French, king: say, pardonnez moy.

Duch. Dost thou teach pardon pardon to destroy ?
Ah, my sour husband, my hard-hearted lord,
That sett'st the word itself against the word !
Speak, pardon, as 't is current in our land;
The chopping French a we do not understand.
Thine eye begins to speak, set thy tongue there:
Or, in thy piteous heart plant thou thine ear;
That, hearing how our plaints and prayers do pierce,
Pity may move thee pardon to rehearse.

Boling. Good aunt, stand up.

I do not sue to stand,
Pardon is all the suit I have in hand.

Boling. I pardon him, as heaven shall pardon me.

Duch. O happy vantage of a kneeling knee !
Yet am I sick for fear: speak it again;
Twice saying pardon doth not pardon twain,
But makes one pardon strong.

With all


heart I pardon him.

Duch. A god on earth thou art.

Boling. But for our trusty brother-in-law, and the abbot,
With all the rest of that consorted crew,
Destruction straight shall dog them at the heels.
Good uncle, help to order several powers
To Oxford, or where'er these traitors are :


Chopping French. Chopping is here used in the sense of changing, which is derived from cheaping, trafficking. We still say a chopping wind. Malone, we apprehend, mistakes when he explains the word by jabbering. York exhorts the king, instead of saying pardon, to say pardonnez moy-excuse me.

The duchess will have pardon as “ 't is current in our land." The chopping French-the French which changes the meaning of words--which sets “ the word itself against the word"---she says,

we do not understand.”

[ocr errors]

They shall not live within this world, I swear,
But I will have them, if I once know where.
Uncle, farewell,—and cousin, too, adieu :
Your mother well hath pray’d, and prove you true.
Duch. Come, my old son ;-I pray Heavena make thee




Enter EXTON and a Servant.


Exton. Didst thou not mark the king, what words he

spake? “ Have I no friend will rid me of this living fear?” Was it not so? Serv. Those his


words. Exton. “ Have I no friend ?" quoth he: he spake it twice. And urg'd it twice together; did he not?

Serv. He did.

Exton. And, speaking it, he wistly look'd on me; As who should say,—I would thou wert the man That would divorce this terror from my heart; Meaning the king at Pomfret. Come, let's go; I am the king's friend, and will rid his foe. Exeunt.

a Heaven. This is the last passage of the play in which we have substituted, according to the authority of the folio of 1623, the word Heaven for God. It is to be observed that the editors of the folio have retained the name of the Most High when it is used in a peculiarly emphatic or reverential manner, and have not made the change to Heaven indiscriminately. The substitution of this word, in most cases, was made in obedience to a statute of James I. (3 Jac. I. c. 21); and it appears to us that the modern editors have not exercised good taste, to say the least of it, in restoring the readings of the earliest copies, which were issued at a time when the habits of society sanctioned the habitual, and therefore light, employment of the Sacred Name.

b Wistly. So the old copies. Wistfully has crept into the modern editions without authority. Wistly is constantly used by the writers of Shakspere's time,- by Drayton for example :

“ But when more wistly they did her behold."

« VorigeDoorgaan »