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And you shall say indeed, it is the time,
Your noble and right-well-remember'd father's?
Their armed staves in charge*, their beavers down,
what is done in these times according to the exigencies that overrule us. JOHNSON.
9 Either from the king, &c.] Whether the faults of government be imputed to the time or the king, it appears not that you have, for your part, been injured either by the king or the time. JOHNSON.
To build a GRIEF on :] i. e. a grievance. MALONE. 2 Was, FORCE perforce,] Old copy-" Was forc'd." Corrected by Mr. Theobald. In a subsequent scene we have the same words:
"As, force perforce, the age will put it in." MALONE.
3 And then, WHEN-] The old copies read-" And then, that " Corrected by Mr. Pope. Mr. Rowe reads " And when that." MALONE.
* Their armed staves in charge, &c.] An armed staff is a lance. To be in charge, is to be fixed in the rest for the encounter.
their BEAVERS down,] Beaver, it has been already observed in a former note, (see vol. xvi. p. 364, n. 5,) meant properly that part of the helmet which let down, to enable the wearer to drink; but is confounded both here and in Hamlet with visiere, or used for helmet in general.
Shakspeare, however, is not answerable for any confusion on this subject. He used the word beaver in the same sense in which it was used by all his contemporaries. MALONE.
See Mr. Douce's note, vol. xvi. p. 429. Boswell.
Their eyes of fire sparkling through sights of steel And the loud trumpet blowing them together; Then, then, when there was nothing could have staid
My father from the breast of Bolingbroke,
O, when the king did throw his warder down,
WEST. You speak, lord Mowbray, now you know not what:
The earl of Hereford' was reputed then
But, if your father had been victor there,
Cried hate upon him; and all their prayers, and love,
Were set on Hereford, whom they doted on,
But this is mere digression from my purpose.—
To know your griefs; to tell you from his grace,
SIGHTS of steel,] i. e. the perforated part of their helmets, through which they could see to direct their aim. Visiere, Fr. STEEVEns.
The EARL of Hereford-] This is a mistake of our author's. He was Duke of Hereford. See King Richard II. MALONE.
And bless'd, and grac'd INDEED, more than the king.] The two oldest folios, (which first gave us this speech of Westmore- › land,) read this line thus:
"And bless'd and grac'd and did more than the king." Dr. Thirlby reformed the text very near to the traces of the corrupted reading. THEOBALD.
It shall appear that your demands are just,
Mow. But he hath forc'd us to compel this offer; And it proceeds from policy, not love.
WEST. Mowbray, you overween, to take it so ; This offer comes from mercy, not from fear: For, lo! within a ken, our army lies; Upon mine honour, all too confident To give admittance to a thought of fear. Our battle is more full of names than yours, Our men more perfect in the use of arms, Our armour all as strong, our cause the best; Then reason wills, our hearts should be as good:Say you not then, our offer is compell'd.
Mow B. Well, by my will, we shall admit no parley.
WEST. That argues but the shame of your offence:
A rotten case abides no handling.
HAST. Hath the prince John a full commission, In very ample virtue of his father,
To hear, and absolutely to determine
Of what conditions we shall stand upon?
WEST. That is intended in the general's name': I muse you make so slight a question.
ARCH. Then take, my lord of Westmoreland, this schedule;
9 Then reason wILLS,] The old copy has will. Corrected by Mr. Pope. Perhaps we ought rather to read-" Then reason well. The same mistake has, I think, happened in The Merry Wives of Windsor. MALone.
The sense is clear without alteration. Reason wills—is, reason determines, directs. STEEVENS.
I That is INTENDED in the general's name:] That is, this power is included in the name or office of a general. We wonder that you can ask a question so trifling. JOHNSON.
Intended-is understood, i. e. meant without expressing, like entendu, Fr. subauditur, Lat. STEEVENS.
For this contains our general grievances :
All members of our cause, both here and hence,
substantial form;] That is, by a pardon of due form and legal validity. JOHNSON.
3 To us, and to our PURPOSES, CONSIGN'D;] The old copies➡ confin'd. STEEvens.
This schedule we see consists of three parts: 1. A redress of general grievances. 2. A pardon for those in arms. 3. Some demands of advantage for them. But this third part is very strangely expressed.
And present execution of our wills
"To us, and to our purposes, confin'd."
The first line shows they had something to demand, and the second expresses the modesty of that demand. The demand, says the speaker, "is confined to us and to our purposes." A very modest kind of restriction truly! only as extensive as their appetites and passions. Without question Shakspeare wrote—
"To us and to our properties confin'd;
i. e. we desire no more than security for our liberties and properties and this was no unreasonable demand. WARBURTON.
This passage is so obscure that I know not what to make of it. Nothing better occurs to me than to read consign'd for confin'd. That is, let the execution of our demands be put into our hands, according to our declared purposes. JOHNSON.
Perhaps we should read [with Sir Thomas Hanmer] confirm'd. This would obviate every difficulty. STEEVENS.
I believe two lines are out of place. I read :
"And present execution of our wills;
"To us and to our purposes confin'd." FARMER.
The present reading appears to me to be right; and what they demand is, a speedy execution of their wills, so far as they relate to themselves, and to the grievances which they proposed to redress. M. MASON.
The quarto has confin'd. In my copy of the first folio, the word appears to be consin'd. The types used in that edition were so worn, that ƒ and are scarcely distinguishable. But however it may have been printed, I am persuaded that the true reading is consign'd; that is, sealed, ratified, confirmed; a Latin
We come within our awful banks again',
WEST. This will I show the general. Please you, lords,
In sight of both our battles we may meet:
sense: "auctoritate consignata literæ. Cicero pro Cluentio." It has this signification again in this play:
"And (God consigning to my good intents)
Again, in King Henry V.:
"And take with you free power to ratify,
Again, ibid. It were, my lord, a hard condition for a maid to consign to." Confin'd, in my apprehension, is unintelligible. Supposing these copies to have been made by the ear, and one to have transcribed while another read, the mistake might easily have happened, for consign'd and consin'd are, in sound, undistinguishable; and when the compositor found the latter word in the manuscript, he would naturally print confin'd, instead of a word that has no existence.
Dr. Johnson proposed the reading that I have adopted, but explains the word differently. The examples above quoted show, f think, that the explication of this word already given is the true one. MALONE.
Though I have followed Mr. Malone's example by admitting Dr. Johnson's conjecture, the notes of various commentators are left before the reader, to whose judgment they are submitted.
4 We come within our AWFUL banks again,] Awful banks are proper limits of reverence. JOHNSON.
So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona :
"From the society of awful men." STEEVENS.
It is also used in the same sense in Pericles:
"A better prince and benign lord
"Prove awful both in deed and word." M. MASON.
Dr. Warburton reads lawful. We have awful in the last Act of this play:
"To pluck down justice from her awful bench." Here it certainly means inspiring awe. If awful banks be right, the words must mean due and orderly limits, MAlone.