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And more than carefully it us concerns,?
My most redoubted father,
O peace, prince Dauphin!
? And more than carefully it us concerns,] More than carefully is with more than common care; a phrase of the same kind with better than well. Johnson.
- so dull a kingdom,] i.e. render it callous, insensibly. So, in Hamlet :
“But do not dull thy palm,” &c. Steevens. 9 Were busied -] The quarto 1600, reads-were troubled.
Steevens. so idly king'd,] Shakspeare is not singular in his use of this verb-to king. I find it in Warner's Albion's England, B. VIII, chap. xlii:
and king'd his sister's son.” Steevens.
Question your grace the late ambassadors,
2 You are too much mistaken in this king;] This part is much enlarged since the first writing. Pope.
3 How modest in exception,] How diffident and decent in making objections. Fohnson. 1 And you shall find, his vanities fore-spent Were but the outside of the Roman Brutus,
Covering discretion with a coat of folly;] Shakspeare not having given us, in the First or Second Part of King Henry IV, or in any other place but this, the remotest hint of the circumstance here alluded to, the comparison must needs be a little obscure to those who do not know or reflect that some historians have told us, that Henry IV had entertained a deep jealousy of his son's aspiring superior genius. Therefore, to prevent all umbrage, the prince withdrew from public affairs, and amused himself in consorting with a dissolute crew of robbers. It seems to me, that Shakspeare was ignorant of this circumstance when he wrote the two parts of Henry IV, for it might have been so managed as to have given new beauties to the character of Hal, and great improvements to the plot. And with regard to these matters, Shakspeare generally tells us all he knew, and as soon as he knew it.
Warburton. Dr. Warburton, as usual, appears to me to refine too much. I believe, Shakspeare meant no more than that Henry, in his external appearance, was like the elder Brutus, wild and giddy, while in fact his understanding was good.
Thomas Otterbourne, and the translator of Titus Livius, in. deed, say, that Henry the Fourth, in his latter days, was jealous of his son, and apprehended that he would attempt to depose him; to remove which suspicion, the prince is said (from the re
ation of an earl of Ormond, who was an eye witness of the fact,) to have gone with a great party of his friends to his father, in the twelfth year of his reign, and to have presented him with a dagger, which he desired the king to plunge into his breast, if he still entertained any doubts of his loyalty: but, I believe, it is no where said, that he threw himself into the company of dissolute persons to avoid giving umbrage to his father, or betook himself to irregular courses with a political view of quieting his suspicions. Malone.
That shall first spring, and be most delicate.
Dau. Well, 'tis not so, my lord high constable,
Fr. King. Think we king Harry strong;
5 Which, of a weak and niggardly projection,] This passage, as it stands, is so perplexed, that I formerly suspected it to be corrupt. If which be referred to proportions of defence, (and I do not see to what else it can be referred) the construction will be“which proportions of defence, of a weak and niggardly projection, spoils his coat, like a miser,” &c. If our author had written
While oft a weak and niggardly projection
Doth, &c. the reasoning would then be clear.-In cases of defence, it is best to imagine the enemy more powerful than he seems to be; by this means, we make more full and ample preparations to defend ourselves: whereas, on the contrary, a poor and mean idea of the enemy's strength induces us to make but a scanty provision of forces against him; wherein we act as a miser does, who spoils his coat by scanting of cloth.
Projection, I believe, is here used for fore-cast or preconception. It may, however, mean preparation.
Perhaps, in Shakspeare's licentious diction, the meaning may be—“Which proportions of defence, when weakly and niggardly projected, resemble a miser who spoils his coat,” &c. The false concord is no objection to such a construction; for the same inaccuracy is found in almost every page of the old copy. Malone.
strain,] lineage. Reed. ? That haunted us - ] To haunt is a word of the utmost horror, which shows that they dreaded the English as goblins and spirits.
Johnson. 8 When Cressy battle fatally was struck,] So, in Robert of Glotzcester :
and that fole of Somersete
And all our princes captivd, by the hand
9 Whiles that his mountain sire,-on mountain standing,] Mr. Theobald would read-mounting ; i. e. bigh-minded, aspiring. Thus, in Love's Labour's Lost, Act IV:
“Whoe'er he was, he show'd a mounting mind.” The emendation may be right, and yet I believe the poet meant to give an idea of more than human proportion in the figure of the king:
Quantus Athos, aut quantus Eryx, &c. Virg.
"Like Teneriffe or Atlas unremov'd.” Milton. Drayton, in the 18th Song of his Polyolbion, has a similar thought:
" Then he above them all, himself that sought to raise,
“Upon some mountain top, like a pyramides." Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. I, c. xi:
“ Where stretch'd he lay, upon the sunny side
agmen agens, magnique ipse agminis instar. Steevens. If the text is not corrupt, Mr. Steevens's explication is the true
See the extract from Holinshed, p. 215, n. 4. The repetition of the word mountain is much in our author's manner, and therefore I believe the old copy is right. Malone.
† Mountain sire, may have been used as a term of reproach, derived from the epithet mountaineer, i. e. savage, barbarian, freebooter. We may either suppose it pointed at the descent of Edward III, whose father, the weak and unfortunate Edward II, was born in Wales, from which he was surnamed Edward of Cær. narvon, or to the prevalent idea entertained in the French court, as supported in the dialogue at the opening of Act III, sc. v; where, in the presence of the king, the English are stigmatized as a “barbarous people,”—“wild and savage;" and the courage which even envy is compelled to acknowledge, hatred endeavours to debase, by pronouncing it the ferocity of robbers. It may not be irrelevant to remark that the opinion of the king is the opinion of the court, and that if the court speaks contemptuously of the English people-denouncing them as savage, wild, &c. it is derived immediately from the monarch, and in all probability from the very expression here used of mountain sire: The bint was sufficient to call forth the intemperate language of the court, which, in the scene alluded to is cordially countenanced by him, though he never degrades his dignity by descending to abuse, unless it may be conceived he has done so in this instance.
Am. Ed. 1 Up in the air, crown'd with the golden sun.] Dr. Warburton calls this “the nonsensical line of some player. The idea, however, might have been taken from Chaucer's Legende of good. Women:
“Her gilt beere was ycrownid with a son," *
Saw his heroical seed, and smil'd to see him
Enter a Messenger.
[Exeunt Mess. and certain Lords. You see, this chase is hotly follow'd, friends.
Dau. Turn head, and stop pursuit: for coward dogs Most spend their mouths, 3 when what they seem to
Re-enter Lords, with EXETER and Train.
From our brother England? Exe. From him; and thus he greets your majesty, He wills you, in the name of God Almighty, That you divest yourself, and lay apart The borrow'd glories, that, by gift of heaven, By law of nature, and of nations, 'long To him and to his heirs; namely, the crown, And all wide-stretched honours that pertain, By custom and the ordinance of times, Unto the crown of France. That you may know, 'Tis no sinister, nor no awkward claim, Pick'd from the worm-holes of long-vanish'd days, Nor from the dust of old oblivion rak’d,
Shakspeare's meaning, (divested of its poetical finery) I sup. pose, is, that the king stood upon an eminence, with the sun shining over his head. Steevens.
fate of him.] His fate is what is allotted him by.destiny, or what he is fated to perform. Johnson. - spend their mouths,] That is, bark; the sportsman's term.