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Destruction straight shall dog them at the heels.
Enter Sir PIERCE of 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 were his very 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 wishtly 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.
5 Uncle, farewell,--and cousin too, adieu :] Some monosyllable must have dropped out in this rhyming line. Theobald supplied “ too,” not found in any of the old copies.
6 And, speaking it, he wishtly look'd on me ;] So the quartos of 1597 and 1598 ; probably, as the context shows, an abridgment of wishfully, for the sake of the metre. The two later quartos and the folio read wistly, which is a different word, meaning attentirely, and sometimes silently.
Pomfret. The Dungeon of the Castle.
Enter King RICHARD. K. Rich. I have been studying how I may compare? This prison, where I live, unto the world: And, for because the world is populous, And here is not a creature but myself, I cannot do it : yet I'll hammer't out. My brain I'll prove the female to my soul; My soul, the father: and these two beget A generation of still-breeding thoughts, And these same thoughts people this little world; In humours like the people of this world, For no thought is contented. The better sort, As thoughts of things divine, are intermix'd With scruples, and do set the word itself Against the word 8: As thus,—“ Come, little ones ;” and then again, “ It is as hard to come, as for a camel To thread the postern of a small needle's eye'." Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot Unlikely wonders : how these vain weak nails May tear a passage through the flinty ribs Of this hard world, my ragged prison walls ; And, for they cannot, die in their own pride.
how I may compare] So the quarto, 1597 : other editions read “how to compare.”
and do set the word itself Against the word :] So the four quarto editions : the folios have faith for “ word " in both instances. Perhaps it was thought that this allusion to Holy Writ was too direct for the times when the folio, 1623, was published.
• To thread the postern of a small needle's eye.] All the quartos agree in the insertion of “small,” which is excluded in the folio, probably because the editor did not advert to the fact, that the dissyllable “needle” is to be pronounced in the time of a monosyllable, as in Midsummer-Night's Dream,” Vol. ii. p. 433, and in “ Lucrece," quoted in note 4. VOL. IV.
Thoughts tending to content flatter themselves,
1 Thus play I, in one PERSON,] All the copies, quarto and folio, excepting the first quarto, read prison for “person ;” another out of many proofs of the value of the edition of 1597.
? TO CHECK time broke-] The four early quartos have “ To check :" the folio alone, “ To hear.” 3 My thoughts are minutes, and with sighs they jar,
Their watches on UNTO mine eyes the outward watch,] This is the reading and pointing of the quartos, excepting that that of 1615 has There in the second line for “ Their :" the folio, 1623, follows the three earliest quartos, and the s – his Jack of the clock.] The figure that in old clocks used to strike the hour was called the “ Jack of the clock,” and “ Jack of the clock-house.” It is often mentioned by old writers.
Whereto my finger, like a dial's point,
folio of 1632 omits “on,” and prints “into" to. We have stated the original text thus particularly, on account of the difficulty of extracting sense from the passage by any of the old readings. The commentators gave up the attempt, and Johnson reasonably supposed the passage to be corrupt.
“ Jar” is explained by the use of the same word in “ The Winter's Tale," Vol. iii. p. 433, to signify the tick of a clock, and Steevens suggested that “outward watch ” meant the figure of a watchman, or watch, above the dial-plate. Still, this will not explain what is intended by “ with sighs they jar their watches on unto my eyes.” The reading of the second line in the second folio is good measure, “ Their watches to mine eyes, the outward watch,” but it does not clear the sense of the passage. * Now, sir, the sound, that tells what hour it is,
Are clamorous groans,] Here again we must leave the text as it is found in every old edition. Ritson suggests that “sound” should be in the plural, which seems plausible ; but what has “ sir” to do in the line, and whom is Richard addressing? If we read for instead of “sir,” a not unfrequent error, arising from the long s and f having been confounded by the compositor, the verb are will have no nominative, but that perhaps might be they or “sounds” understood :
“Now, for the sounds that tell what hour it is,
Are clamorous groans.”
6 Is a strange Brooch in this all-hating world.] i.e. says Malone, " is as strange as a brooch, which is now no longer worn;" and we have already seen, in “ All's Well that Ends Well,” Vol. ii. p. 212, that brooches were out of fashion,—"just like the brooch and tooth-pick, which wear not noro.”
Thanks, noble peer ; The cheapest of us is ten groats too dear”. What art thou ? and how comest thou hither, Where no man never comes, but that sad dog That brings me food to make misfortune live?
Groom. I was a poor groom of thy stable, king, When thou wert king; who, travelling towards York, With much ado, at length have gotten leave To look upon my sometimes royal master's face. O! how it yern'd my heart, when I beheld In London streets that coronation day, When Bolingbroke rode on roan Barbary ! That horse that thou so often hast bestrid, That horse that I so carefully have dress'd ! K. Rich. Rode he on Barbary? Tell me, gentle
Groom. So proudly, as if he disdain'd the ground.
Enter Keeper, with a Dish®.
[To the Groom. 7 The cheapest of us is ten groats too dear.) Some allusion may be intended here (as Boswell supposes) to the “ royal ” and “noble,” as pieces of money.
8 Enter Keeper, with a dish.] This is the stage-direction of the folio, 1623 : the quarto, 1597, and other quartos, have “ Enter one to Richard with meat."