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LIFE AND DEATH
KING RICHARD III.
SCENE I.-London. A Street.
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York';
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
1 this sun of York ;] Alluding to the cognizance of Edward IV. which was a sun, in memory of the three suns, which are said to have appeared at the battle which he gained over the Lancastrians at Mortimer's Cross.
2 — delightful measures.] A measure was, strictly speaking, a court dance of a stately turn, though the word is sometimes employed to express dances in general.
And now, instead of mounting barbed steeds ',
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I,-that am not shap'd for sportive tricks,
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain,
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
barbed steeds,] i. e. steeds caparisoned in a warlike manner. Barbed, however, may be no more than a corruption of barded. Equus bardatus, in the Latin of the middle ages, was a horse adorned with military trappings.
Aile capers -] War capers. This is poetical, though a little harsh; if it be York that capers, the antecedent is at such a distance, that it is almost forgotten.
5 Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,] By dissembling is not meant hypocritical nature, that pretends one thing, and does another but nature that puts together things of a dissimilar kind, as a brave soul and a deformed body. Feature is used here, as in other pieces of the same age, for beauty in general.
And therefore,-since I cannot prove a lover,] Shakspeare very diligently inculcates, that the wickedness of Richard proceeded from his deformity, from the envy that rose at the comparison of his own person with others, and which incited him to disturb the pleasures that he could not partake. JOHNSON.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous',
About a prophecy, which says—that G
Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul! here Clarence comes.
Enter CLARENCE, guarded, and BRAKENBURY. Brother, good day: What means this armed guard That waits upon your grace?
Glo. Upon what cause?
Clar. Yea, Richard, when I know; for, I protest,
And, for my name of George begins with G,
7 — inductions dangerous,] Preparations for mischief. The
induction is preparatory to the action of the play.
8 toys Fancies, freaks of imagination.
Glo. Why, this it is, when men are rul'd by wo
'Tis not the king, that sends you to the Tower;
Was it not she, and that good man of worship,
That made him send lord Hastings to the Tower;
Clar. By heaven, I think, there is no man secure,
Glo. Humbly complaining to her deity
Brak. I beseech your graces both to pardon me ;
Glo. Even so? an please your worship, Brakenbury,
A bonny eye, a passing pleasing tongue ;
The jealous o'er-worn widow, and herself,] That is, the queen and Shore.
And the queen's kindred are made gentlefolks: How say you, sir? can you deny all this?
Brak. With this, my lord, myself have nought to do. Glo. Naught to do with mistress Shore? I tell thee, fellow,
He that doth naught with her, excepting one,
Brak. What one, my lord?
Glo. Her husband, knave:-Would'st thou betray me?
Brak. I beseech your grace to pardon me ; and withal, Forbear your conference with the noble duke.
Clar. We know thy charge, Brakenbury, and will obey.
Glo. We are the queen's abjects', and must obey.
Mean time, this deep disgrace in brotherhood,
Clar. I know, it pleaseth neither of us well.
Mean time, have patience.
I must perforce; farewell.
If heaven will take the present at our hands.
t "And that the queen's," &c.-MALONE.
the queen's abjects,] The most servile of her subjects, who must of course obey all her commands.
lie for you: i. e. be imprisoned in your stead. To lie was anciently to reside, as appears by many instances in these volumes.