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Line 346. —by the foil ·
Of England's chair,] It is plain that foil cannot here mean that of which the obscurity recommends the brightness of the diamond. It must mean the leaf (feueille) or thin plate of metal in which the stone is set. JOHNSON.
Nothing has been, or is still more common, than to put a bright-coloured foil under a cloudy or low-prized stone. I have seen a brown chrystal, set with a pink foil, which has made it appear very beautiful. STEEVENS. Line 361. the ransom of my bold attempt—] The fine paid by me in atonement for my rashness shall be my dead corpse.
Line 366. God, and Saint George!] Saint George was the common cry of the English soldiers when they charged the enemy. The author of the old Arte of Warre, printed in the latter end of queen Elizabeth's reign, formally enjoins the use of this cry among his military laws, page 84.
"Item, that all souldiers entring into battaile, assault, skirmish, "or other faction of armes, shall have for their common cry and "word, Saint George, forward, or upon them, saint George, where"by the souldiour is much comforted, and the enemy dismaied "by calling to minde the ancient valour of England, which with "that name has so often been victorious; and therefore he, who "upon any sinister zeale shall maliciously omit so fortunate a "name, shall be severely punished for his obstinate erroneous heart, " and perverse mind.” WARTON.
Line 406. This, and Saint George to boot!] That is, this is the order of our battle, which promises success, and over and above this, is the protection of our patron saint. JOHNSON.
To boot is (as I conceive) to help, and not over and above.
Line 409. -Dickon thy master &c] Dickon was the old nick-name of Richard.
Line 412. Let not our babbling dreams &c.] I suspect these six lines to be an interpolation; but if Shakspeare was really guilty of them in his first draught, he certainly intended to leave them
out when he substituted the much more proper harangue that follows. T. T.
Line 420. A sort of vagabonds,] A sort, that is, a company, a collection. JOHNSON.
Line 447. Amaze the welkin with your broken staves!] That is, fright the skies with the shivers of your lances. JOHNSON.
Line 451. the enemy is pass'd the marsh;] There was a large marsh in Bosworth plain between the two armies. Henry passed it, and made such a disposition of his forces that it served to protect his right wing. By this movement he gained also another point, that his men should engage with the sun behind them, and in the faces of his enemies: a matter of great consequence when bows and arrows were in use. MALONE.
ACT V. SCENE IV.
Line 465. A horse! a horse!] Some inquiry hath been made for the first performers of the capital characters of Shakspeare.
We learn, that Burbage, the alter Roscius of Camden, was the original Richard, from a passage in the poems of bishop Corbet; who introduces his host at Bosworth describing the battle,
"But when he would have said king Richard died,
END OF THE ANNOTATIONS ON KING RICHARD III.
KING HENRY VIII.
ACT I. SCENE I.
LINE 5. a fresh admirer-] An admirer untired; an admirer still feeling the impression as if it were hourly renewed.
Line 22. Till this time, pomp was single; but now married To one above itself.] The author intends only to say in a noisy periphrase, that pomp was encreased on this occasion to more than twice as much as it had ever been before. JOHNSON.
-Each following day
Became the next day's master, &c.] Dies diem docet. Every day learned something from the preceding, till the concluding day collected all the splendor of all the former shews.
Line 26. All clinquant,] All glittering, all shining. Cla rendon uses this word in his description of the Spanish Juego de Toros. JOHNSON.
Line 40. Durst wag his tongue in censure.] Censure for determination, of which had the noblest appearance. WARBURTON.
Line 47. That Bevis was believ'd.] The old romantic legend of Bevis of Southampton. This Bevis (or Beavois) a Saxon, was for his prowess created by William the Conqueror earl of Southampton: of whom Camden in his Britannia. THEOBALD.
Line 50. -the tract of every thing &c.] The course of these triumphs and pleasures, however well related, must lose in the description part of that spirit and energy which were expressed in the real action. JOHNSON.
the office did
Distinctly his full function.] The commission for regulating this festivity was well executed, and gave exactly to every particular person and action the proper place. JOHNSON. Line 59. certes,] i. e. for certain.
-element-] No initiation, no previous practices. Elements are the first principles of things, or rudiments of knowledge. The word is here applied, not without a catachresis, to a person. JOHNSON.
Line 67. -fierce vanities!] Fierce is here, I think, used like the French fier for proud, unless we suppose an allusion to the mimical ferocity of the combatants in the tilt. JOHNSON.
Line 68. That such a keech-] A keech is a solid lump or mass. A cake of wax or tallow formed in a mould is called yet in some places a keech.
the file-] That is, the list.
council out,] Council not then sitting. JOHNS. -97. Must fetch him in he papers.] He papers, a verb; his own letter, by his own single authority, and without the concurrence of the council, must fetch in him whom he papers down. I don't understand it, unless this be the meaning. POPE. Line 100. What did this vanity,
But minister &c.] What effect has this pompous production of a wretched conclusion. JOHNSON,
shew but the Line 110.
After the hideous storm that follow'd, &c.] Holinshed says, "Monday, 18th day of June, there blew such storms "of wind and weather, that marvel was to hear; for which "hideous tempest some said it was a very prognostication of trou"ble and hatred to come between princes." In Henry VIII. p. 80. WARBURTON.