Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

5 As 'twere retaild to all posterity,
Even to the general all-ending day.
Glo. So wise so young, they say, do ne'er live
long

[Afide, Prince. What say you, uncle?

Glo. I say, without characters, fame lives long, 7 Thus, like the formal vice, Iniquity, I moralize,—two meanings in one word, } Hide.

Prince,

[ocr errors]

5 As 'twere retail'd to all pofterity,] And so it is : and, by that means, like most other retailed things, became adulterated. We should read :

intaild to all pofterity ;
which is finely and sensibly expressed, as if truth was the natural
inheritance of our children ; which it is impiety to deprive them
of. WARBURTON.

Retailed may signify diffused, dispersed. Johnson,
6 So wife, &c.]

Is cadit ante fenem, qui sapit ante diem,
a proverbial line.

Nov. 21, 1576, was enter'd on the books of the Stationers * Company, “ Carininum proverbialium totius humanæ vitæ, loci communes." From this collection, perhaps, the pentameter, which I have quoted from memory, is derived. STEEVENS.

1 Thus, like the formal vice, Iniquity,

I moralize two meanings in one word.] By vice, the author means not a quality, but a person. There was hardly an old play, till the period of the Reformation, which had not in it a devil, and a droil character, a jester ; (who was to play upon the devil ;) and this buffoon went by the name of a Vice. This buffoon was at first accoutred with a long jerkin, a cap with a pair of ass's ears, and a wooden dagger, with which (like another arlequin) he was to make sport in belabouring the devil, This was the constant entertainment in the times of popery, whilst spirits, and witchcraft, and exorcising held their own. When the Reformation took place, the itage shook off some groffities, and encreased in refinements. The master-devil then was soon difmissed from the scene; and this buffoon was changed into a subordinate fiend, whose business was to range on earth, and seduce poor mortals into that personated vicious quality, which he occafionally supported; as, iniquity in general, bypocrifi, ufury, vanity, prodigality, gluttony, &c. Now, as the fiend (or vice,) who personated Iniquity (or Hypocrisy, for instance) could never hope to play his game to the purpose but by hiding his cloven foot, and affuming a semblance quite different from his real character;

he

Prince. That Julius Cæsar was a famous man;
With what his valour did enrich his wit,

His

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

he must certainly put on a formal demeanour, moralize and prevaricate in his words, and pretend a meaning directly oppofite to his

genuine and primitive intention. If this does not explain the pafiage in question, 'tis all that I can at present suggest upon it,

THEOBALD, Thus, like the formal vice, Iniquity,

I moralize two meanings in one word.] That the buffoon, or jester of the old English farces, was called the vice, is certain : and that, in their moral representations, it was common to bring in the deadly sins, is as true.

Of these we have yet several remains. But that the vice used to assume the personage of those fins, is a fancy of Mr. Theobald's, who knew nothing of the matter. The truth is, the vice was always a fool or jefter: And, (as the woman, in the Merchant of Venice, calls the clown, alluding to this character,) a merry devil. Whereas these mortal fins were fo many fad serious ones. But what milled our editor was the name, Iniquity, given to this vice : But it was only on account of his unhappy tricks and rogueries. That it was given to him, and for the reason I mention, appears from the following passage of Jonson's Staple of News, second intermeane:

6 M. How like you the vice i' the play?

T. Here is never a fiend to carry him away. Besides he has never a wooden dagger.

“ M. That was the old way, golip, when Iniquity came in, like Hocas Pocas, in a jugler's jerkin, with false Skirts, like the knave

of clubs.And, in The Devil's an Ass, we see this old vice, Iniquity, described more at large.

From all this, it may be gathered, that the text, where Richard compares himself to the formal vice, Iniquity, must be corrupt : And the interpolation of some foolish player. The vice, or iniquity being not a formal but a merry, buffoon character, Besides, Shakespeare could never make an exact speaker refer to this character, because the subject he is upon is tradition and antiquity, which have no relation to it; and because it appears from the turn of the paffage, that he is apologizing for his equivocation by a reputable practice. To keep the reader no longer in fufpence, my conjecture is, that Shakespeare wrote and pointed the lines in this manner :

Thus like the formal-wise Antiquity,

I moralize : Two meanings in one word. Alluding to the mythologic learning of the antients, of whom they are all here speaking. So that Richard's ironical apology

His wit fet down to make his valour live :
Death makes no conquest of this conqueror ;

For

is to this effect, You men of morals who fo much extol your all, wise antiquity, in what am I inferior to it? which was but an equivocator as I am. And it is remarkable, that the Greeks themselves called their remote antiquity, Auxóuuta or the equi. vocator. So far as to the general fente; as to that which arises particularly out of the corrected expression, I thall only observe, that formal-wise is a compound epithet, an extreme fine one, and admirably fitted to the character of the speaker, who thought all wisdom but formality. It must therefore be read for the future with a hyphen. My other observation is with regard to the pointing ; the common reading:

I moralize tzuo meaningsis nonsense : but reformed in this manner, very sensible :

Thus like the formal-wise Antiquity

I moralize : Two meanings in one word. j.e. I moralize as the antients did. And how was that? the having two meanings to one word. A ridicule on the morality of the antients, which he insinuates was no better than equivocating. WARBURTON.

This alteration Mr. Upton very justly censures. Dr. Warbur. ton, has, in my opinion, done nothing but correct the punctua. tion, it indeed any alteration be really necessary. See the differtation on the old vice at the end of this play.

To this long collection of notes may be added a question, to what equivocation Richard refers ? The position immediately preceding, that fame lives long without characters, that is, without the help of letters, seems to have no ambiguity. He must allude to the former line :

So young fo wise, they say, did ne'er live long, in which he conceals under a proverb, his design of haftening the prince's death. Johnson.

From the following stage direction, in an old dramatic piece, entituled, Hifirion:aftix, or the Player whipt, 1610, it appears, that the Vice and Iniquity were sometimes distinct personages : “ Enter a roaring devil, with the Vice on his back, Iniquity in

one hand, and Juventus in the other." The devil likewise makes the distinction in his first speech;

Ho, ho, ho! these babes mine are all,

" The Vice, Iniquitie, and child prodigal." The following part of this note was obligingly communicated by the rev. Mr. Bowle, of Idmestone near Salisbury. I know no writer who gives fo complete an account of this obsolete chasacter, as archbishop Harsnet, in his Declaration of Popish Im.

postures,

For now he lives in fame, though not in life.
I'll tell you what, my cousin Buckingham.

Buck. What, my gracious lord ?

Prince. An if I live until I be a man,
I'll win our ancient right in France again,
Or die a soldier, as I liv'da king.
Glo. Short fummers & lightly have a forward spring.

Ande.
Enter York, Hastings, and the Cardinal.
Buck. Now, in good time, here comes the duke of

York.
Prince. Richard of York! how fares our loving

brother
York. Well, my dread lord ; so muft I call you

!

now.

Prince. Ay, brother; to our grief, as it is yours :
Too late he died, that might have kept that title,
Which by his death hath lost much majesty.

Glo. How fares our cousin, noble lord of York?

York. I thank you, gentle uncle. O, my lord,
You said, that idle weeds are fast in growth :
The prince my brother hath outgrown me far.

Glo. He hath, my lord.
York. And therefore is he idle ?

[ocr errors]

8

postures, p. 114, Lond. 1603: “It was a pretty part (he tells us)
in the old church playes, when the nimble Vice would skip up
nimbly like a jackanapes into the devil's necke, and ride the de-
yil a course, and belabour him with his wooden dagger, till he
made him roare, whereat the people would laugh to see the devil
so vice-haunted," STEEVENS.

-lightly-1 Commonly, in ordinary course. JOHNSON.
So, in the old proverb : “ There's lightning lightly before thun-
der." See Ray's Proverbs, p. 130. edit. 3d. Steevens.
drcad lord;

The original of this epithet
applied to kings has been much disputed. In some of our old
statutes, the king is called Rex metuendiffimus. JOHNSON.
1 Too late be died,

] i.e. too lately, the loss is too fresh'
in our memory. But the Oxford editor makes him say:

Too soon he died WARBURTON.

9

O, my

have power

Glo. O, my fair cousin, I must not say so.
York. Then is he more beholden to you, than I.

Glo. He may command me, as my fovereign ;
But
you

in me, as in a kinsman. York. I pray you, uncle, give me this dagger. Gl. My dagger, little cousin ? with all my heart, Prince. A beggar, brother?

York. Of my kind uncle, that I know will give; And, being but a toy, which is no gift to give 2.

Glo. A greater gift than that I'll give my cousin.
York. A greater gift! O, that's the sword to it?
Glo. Ay, gentle cousin, were it light enough.
York. O then, I see, you'll part but with light

gifts ;
In weightier things you'll say a beggar, nay.

Glo. It is too weighty for your grace to wear.
York. 3 I weigh it lightly, were it heavier,
Glo. What, would you have my weapon, little

lord ? : York. I would, that I might thank you as you call

me. Glo. How? York. Little.

Prince. My lord of York will still be cross in talk; Uncle, your grace knows how to bear with him.

? And, being but a toy, which is no gift to give.] This is the reading of the quartos; the first folio reads :

And, being but a toy, which is no grief to give. This reading, made a little more metrical, has been followed, I think erroneously, by all the editors. Johnson. The quarto 1612 reads : no grief

Steevens. 3 I weigh it lightly, &c.] i.e. I fould still efteem it but a trifling gift, were it heavier. But the Oxford editor reads :

I'd weigh it lightly 1. e. I could manage it, tho' it were heavier. WARBURTON.

Dr. Warburton is right. So, in Love's Labour's Loft, act V. {c. ji : “ You weigh me not,- that's you care not for me.”

STEEVENS,

Yorken

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »