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The use of majesty is ascribed by the learned authors of the Nouveau traité de diplomatique to Gondemar king of the Visigoths, and to the kings of Lorraine in the seventh century; but in France it is not traceable before the year 1360, about which time Raoul de Presle, in the dedication to his translation of Saint Augustin De civitate Dei, thus addresses Charles the Fifth, "si supplie à vostre royalle majesté." It was however but sparingly used till the reign of Louis XI. In the treaty of Créssy the emperor Charles V. is called imperial majesty, and Francis I. royal majesty. In that of Château Cambresis, Henry II. is entitled most christian majesty, and Philip II. catholic majesty. Pasquier has some very curious remarks in reprobation of the use of majesty. See Recherches de la France, liv. viii. ch. 5.
Both Camden and Selden agree that the title of Grace began about the time of Henry the Fourth, and of excellent Grace under Henry the Sixth.
Caper upright like a wild Mórisco,
Shaking the bloody darts as he his bells.
However just Dr. Johnson's explanation of
Morisco may be in an etymological point of view, it is at least doubtful whether it mean in this place a real or even personated Moor. Nothing more may be intended than simply a performer in a morris dance. It may be likewise doubted whether in the English morris dance, a single Moorish character was ever introduced. The quotation from Junius is extremely perplexing; yet it must be remembered that he was a foreigner, and speaking perhaps conjecturally.
And kill the innocent gazer with thy sight. Bartholomæus, with whom it has been shewn that Shakspeare was well acquainted, speaking of the basilisk or cockatrice, says, "In his sight no fowle nor birde passeth harmelesse, and though he be farre from the foule, yet it is burnt and devoured by his mouth . . . . . . Plinius also sayth there is a wilde beast called Catobletas [which is] great noyeng to mankinde: for all that see his eyen should dye anone, and the same kinde hath the cockatrice." De propriet: rer. lib. xviii. c. 16. The same property is also mentioned by Pliny of the basilisk, but Holland's translation was not
printed till after this play was written. It is true that if Shakspeare did not write the lines in ques tion, the original author might have used a Latin Pliny:
Sc. 2. p. 103.
WAR. Oft have I seen a timely-parted ghost..
It has been very plausibly suggested that timely-parted signifies in proper time, as opposed to timeless; yet in this place it seems to mean early, recently, newly. Thus in Macbeth, Act ii, Sc. 3,
"He did command me to call timely on him." Again, in The unfaithful lover's garland,
"" Says he, I'll rise; says she, I scorn
To be so timely parted."
Porter, in his comedy of the Two angry women of Abingdon, 1599, 4to, seems to have had Warwick's speech in view when he wrote these lines:
"Oft have I heard a timely married girl
That newly left to call her mother mam, &c."
Sc. 2. p. 105.
WAR. But see, his face is black and full of blood.
The accounts given by the English historians
of the Duke of Gloucester's death are very discordant and unsatisfactory. They relate that he was smothered between feather-beds; that he was found dead in his bed; that a red hot spit was thrust through him; and that he died of grief. There is another account of this event, which, as it seems to have been quite unnoticed in our histories, and may deserve as much attention as either of the foregoing, shall here be given.
George Chastellain, a celebrated soldier, poet, and historian, was by birth a Fleming, and is said to have been in the service of Philip duke of Burgundy. He travelled into various countries, and wrote an account of what he had seen, under the title of The wonderful occurrences of his time. Speaking of his visit to England, he says;
"Passant par Angleterre
Ie veis en grant tourment
Que a peine y eut refuge
Et son legitime hoir
Qui fuytif alla prendre
De tous siécles le mendre
Et le plus tollerant."
This alludes to the flight of Henry the Sixth. into Scotland. In another place he speaks as an eye witness of the death of duke Humphrey, and relates that he was strangled in a cask of wine, adding also the reason,
"Par fortune senestre
Veiz a l'oeil vifvement
What credit he may deserve may be worth the inquiry of some future historian. His work in general will strike every reader as a strange mixture of veracity and credulity.
The above singular mode of inflicting death seems to have prevailed about this time; for we find not long afterwards another instance of it in the execution of George duke of Clarence, who, as is generally agreed, was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine. He appears to have chosen the manner of his death, on which Mr. Hume