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Q. Eliz. O, thou didst prophecy, the time would come, That I should wish for thee to help me curse That bottled spider, that foul bunch-back’ toad. Q. Mar. I call’d thee then, vain flourish of my for
tune; I call’d thee then, poor shadow, painted queen ; The presentation of but what I was, The flattering index of a direful pageant?, One heav'd a high, to be hurld down below: A mother only mock'd with two fair babes; A dream of what thou wast; a garish flag, To be the aim of every dangerous shot ® ; A sign of dignity, a breath, a bubble ; A queen in jest, only to fill the scene. Where is thy husband now ? where be thy brothers? Where be thy two sons ? wherein dost thou joy? Who sues, and kneels, and says-God save the queen! Where be the bending peers that flatter'd thee? Where be the thronging troops that follow'd thee ? Decline all this', and see what now thou art. For happy wife, a most distressed widow; For joyful mother, one that wails the name; For one being sued to, one that humbly sues ; For queen, a very caitiff crown'd with care : For one that scorn'd at me, now scorn’d of me:
7 The flattering index of a direful pageant) Pageants are dumb shows, and the poet meant to allude to one of these, the index of which promised a happier conclusion. The pageants then displayed on public occasions were generally preceded by a brief account of the order in which the characters were to walk. These indexes were distributed among the spectators, that they might understand the meaning of such allegorical stuff as was usually exhibited. The index of every book was anciently placed before the beginning of it.
- a garish flag,
To be the aim of every dangerous shot;] Alluding to the dangerous situation of those persons to whose care the standards of armies were entrusted. STEEVENS.
9 Decline all this,] i.e. run through all this from first to last.
For one being fear'd of all, now fearing one;
Q. Eliz. O thou well skill'd in curses, stay a while, And teach me how to curse mine enemies.
Q. Mar. Forbear to sleep the night, and fast the day; Compare dead happiness with living woe; Think that thy babes were fairer than they were, And he, that slew them, fouler than he is : Bettering thy loss makes the bad-causer worse; Revolving this will teach thee how to curse. Q. Eliz. My words are dull, 0, quicken them with
thine! Q. Mar. Thy woes will make them sharp, and pierce like mine.
[Exit Q. MARGARET, Duch. Why should calamity be full of words ?
Q. Eliz. Windy attorneys to their client woes,
Duch. If so, then be not tongue-ty'd: go with me,
[Drum, within. I hear his drum,-be copious in exclaims.
Enter King RICHARD, and his Train, marching. K. Rich. Who intercepts me in my expedition ?
Duch. O, she, that might have intercepted thee, By strangling thee in her accursed womb, From all the slaughters, wretch, that thou hast done. Q. Eliz. Hid’st thou that forehead with a golden
Q. Eliz. Where is the gentle Rivers, Vaughan, Grey ?
K. Rich. A flourish, trumpets !-strike alarum, drums! Let not the heavens hear these tell-tale women Rail on the Lord's anointed: Strike, I say.
Duch. Art thou my son ?
K. Rich. Madam, I have a touch of your condition”, That cannot brook the accent of reproof.
Duch. O, let me speak.
Do, then ; but I'll not hear.
- that ow'd that crown,] i, e. that possessed it. ? — a touch of your condition,] A spice or particle of your temper or disposition.
Duch. Art thou so hasty? I have staid for thee, God knows, in torment and in agony.
K. Rich. And came I not at last to comfort you?
Duch. No, by the holy rood, thou know’st it well,
call’d your grace
I pr’ythee, hear me speak.
Hear me a word, For I shall never speak to thee again.
K. Rich. So.
Duch. Either thou wilt die, by God's just ordinance, Ere from this war thou turn a conqueror ; Or I with grief and extreme age shall perish, And never look upon thy face again. Therefore, take with thee my most heavy curse ; Which, in the day of battle, tire thee more,
3 Tetchy - ] Is touchy, peevish, fretful, ill-tempered.
4 That ever grac'd me -] To grace seems here to mean the same as to bless, to make happy. So, gracious is kind, and graces are favours. Johnson.
5 — Humphrey Hour,] I believe nothing more than a quibble was meant. In our poet's twentieth Sonnet we find a similar conceit; a quibble between hues (colours) and Hughes (formerly spelt Hewes), the person addressed. Malone.
Than all the complete armour that thou wear'st!
[Exit. Q. Eliz. Though far more cause, yet much less spirit
to curse Abides in me; I say amen to her.
[Going. K. Rich. Stay, madam?, I must speak a word with
K'. Rich. You have a daughter callid – Elizabeth,
Q. Eliz. And must she die for this? O, let her live, And I'll corrupt her manners, stain her beauty ; Slander myself, as false to Edward's bed; Throw over her the veil of infamy: So she may live unscarr’d of bleeding slaughter, I will confess she was not Edward's daughter.
K. Rich. Wrong not her birth, she is of royal blood.
6 Shame serves thy life,] To serve is to accompany, servants being near the persons of their masters.
7 Stay, madam,] On this dialogue 'tis not necessary to bestow much criticism; part of it is ridiculous, and the whole inprobable. Johnson.
I cannot agree with Dr. Johnson's opinion. I see nothing ridiculous in any part of this dialogue; and with respect to probability, it was not unnatural that Richard, who by his art and wheedling tongue had prevailed on lady Anne to marry him in her heart's extremest grief, should hope to persuade an ambitious, and, as he thought her, a wicked woman, to consent to his marriage with her daughter, which would make her a queen, and aggrandize her family. M. Mason.