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Of those that turn'd their backs; and, in his flight,
And Westmoreland: this is the news at full.
North. For this I shall have time enough to mourn. In poison there is physick; and these news, Having been well, that would have made me sick,3 Being sick, have in some measure made me well: And as the wretch, whose fever-weaken'd joints, Like strengthless hinges, buckle under life, Impatient of his fit, breaks like a fire
Out of his keeper's arms; even so my limbs, Weaken'd with grief, being now enrag'd with grief, Are thrice themselves: 5 hence therefore, thou nice crutch;
"If any ask a reason, why? or how?
Say, English Edward vail'd his staff to you." Steevens.
3 Having been well, that would have made me sick,] i. e. that would, had I been well, have made me sick.
buckle-] Bend; yield to pressure. Johnson.
Weaken'd with grief, being now enrag'd with grief,
Are thrice themselves:] As Northumberland is here comparing himself to a person, who, though his joints are weakened by a bodily disorder, derives strength from the distemper of the mind, I formerly proposed to read-" Weakened with age," "Weakened with pain."
When a word is repeated, without propriety, in the same or two succeeding lines, there is great reason to suspect some corruption. Thus, in this scene, in the first folio, we have "able heels," instead of " armed heels," in consequence of the word able having occurred in the preceding line. So, in Hamlet: "Thy news shall be the news," &c. instead of "Thy news shall be the fruit." Again, in Macbeth, instead of "Whom we, to gain our place," &c. we find
"Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace."
In this conjecture I had once some confidence; but it is much diminished by the subsequent note, and by my having lately observed that Shakspeare elsewhere uses grief for bodily pain. Falstaff, in King Henry IV, Part I, p. 317, speaks of "the grief of a wound" Grief, in the latter part of this line, is used in its present sense, for sorrow; in the former part for bodily pain.
A scaly gauntlet now, with joints of steel,
Must glove this hand: and hence, thou sickly quoif;
To frown upon the enrag'd Northumberland!
Keep the wild flood confin'd! let order die !
Grief, in ancient language, signifies bodily pain, as well as sorSo, in A Treatise of sundrie Diseases, &c. by T. T. 1591: "he being at that time griped sore, and having grief in his lower bellie." Dolor ventris is, by our old writers, frequently translated "grief of the guts." I perceive no need of alteration. Steevens.
6 -nice-] i. e. trifling. So, in Julius Cæsar:
it is not meet
"That every nice offence should bear his comments."
7 The ragged'st hour ] Mr. Theobald and the subsequent editors read-The rugged'st. But change is unnecessary, the expression in the text being used more than once by our author. In As you Like it, Amiens says, his voice is ragged; and rag is em. ployed as a term of reproach in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and in Timon of Athens. See also the Epistle prefixed to Spenser's Shepherd's Calender, 1579: “ -as thinking them fittest for the rustical rudeness of shepherds, either for that their rough sound would make his rimes more ragged, and rustical," &c. The modern editors of Spenser might here substitute the word rugged with just as much propriety as it has been substituted in the present passage, or in that in As you Like it. See Vol. V, p. 47, n. 7. Again, in The Rape of Lucrece:
"Thy secret pleasure turns to open shame,"Thy smoothing titles to a ragged name." Again, in our poet's eighth Sonnet:
"Then let not Winter's ragged hand deface
Again, in the play before us:
"A ragged and fore-stall'd remission." Malone.
8 And darkness be the burier of the dead!] The conclusion of this
Tra. This strained passion doth you wrong, my lord. Bard. Sweet earl, divorce not wisdom from your ho
Mor. The lives of all your loving complices Lean on your health; the which, if you give o'er To stormy passion, must perforce decay.
You cast the event of war, my noble lord,
And summ'd the account of chance, before you said,-
Of wounds, and scars; and that his forward spirit
Bard. We all, that are engaged to this loss,3
noble speech is extremely striking. There is no need to suppose it exactly philosophical; darkness, in poetry, may be absence of eyes, as well as privation of light. Yet we may remark, that by an ancient opinion it has been held, that if the human race, for whom the world was made, were extirpated, the whole system of sublunary nature would cease. Johnson.
9 in the dole of blows -] The dole of blows is the distribution of blows. Dole originally signified the portion of alms (consisting either of meat or money) that was given away at the door of a nobleman. See Vol. VII, p. 207, n. 9. Steevens.
1 You knew, he walk'd o'er perils, on an edge,
More likely to fall in, than to get o'er :] So, in King Henry IV,
"As full of peril and adventurous spirit,
"As to o'erwalk a current roaring loud,
"On the unsteadfast footing of a spear." Malone.
2 You were advis'd, his flesh was capable —] i. e. you knew. So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona:
"How shall I doat on her with more advice —."
i. e. on further knowledge. Malone.
Thus also, Thomas Twyne, the continuator of Phaer's translation of Virgil, 1584, for haud inscius, has advis'd:
"He spake and strait the sword advisde into his throat receives." Steevens.
Knew that we ventur❜d on such dangerous seas,
Mor. 'Tis more than time: And, my most noble lord,
I hear for certain, and do speak the truth,-
North. I knew of this before; but, to speak truth, This present grief had wip'd it from my mind. Go in with me; and counsel every man The aptest way for safety, and revenge:
3 We all, that are engaged to this loss,] We have a similar phraseology in the preceding play:
"Hath a more worthy interest to the state,
4 The gentle &c.] These one-and-twenty lines were added since the first edition Johnson.
5 Tells them, he doth bestride a bleeding land,] That is, stands over his country to defend her as she lies bleeding on the ground. So Falstaff before says to the Prince, If thou see me down, Hal, and bestride me, so; it is an office of friendship. Johnson.
Get posts, and letters, and make friends with speed;
London. A Street.
Enter Sir JOHN FALSTAFF, with his Page bearing his Sword and Buckler.
Fal. Sirrah, you giant, what' says the doctor to my water?6
Page. He said, sir, the water itself was a good healthy water: but, for the party that owned it, he might have more diseases than he knew for.
Fal. Men of all sorts take a pride to gird at me:7 The brain of this foolish-compound clay, man, is not able to vent any thing that tends to laughter, more than I invent, or is invented on me: I am not only witty in myself, but the cause that wit is in other men. I do here walk before thee, like a sow, that hath overwhelmed all her litter but one. If the prince put thee into my service for any other reason than to set me off, why then I have no judgment. Thou whoreson mandrake, thou
6 what says the doctor to my water?] The method of investigating diseases by the inspection of urine only, was once so much the fashion, that Linacre, the founder of the College of Physicians, formed a statute to restrain apothecaries from carrying the water of their patients to a doctor, and afterwards giving medicines, in consequence of the opinions they received concerning it. This statute was, soon after, followed by another, which forbade the doctors themselves to pronounce on any disorder from such an uncertain diognostic.
It will scarcely be believed hereafter, that in the years 1775 and 1776, a German, who had been a servant in a public ridingschool, (from which he was discharged for insufficiency) revived this exploded practice of water-casting. After he had amply increased the bills of mortality, and been publicly hung up to the ridicule of those who had too much sense to consult him, as a monument of the folly of his patients, he retired with a princely fortune, and perhaps is now indulging a hearty laugh at the expense of English credulity. Steevens.
to gird at me:] i. e. to gibe. So, in Lyly's Mother Bombie, 1594: We maids are mad wenches; we gird them, and flout them," &c. Steevens.
8 -mandrake,] Mandrake is a root supposed to have the shape of a man; it is now counterfeited with the root of briony.