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And aid thee in this doubtful shock of arms:
Richm. Good lords, conduct him to his regiment:
[Ereunt Lords, fc. with STANLEY.
12 This is from Holinshed. The young nobleman, whom the poet calls George Stanley, was created Lord Strange in right of his wife by Edward IV. in 1482.
13 We have still a phrase equivalent to this, however harsh it may seen. • I would do this if leisure would permit,' where leisure stands for want of leisure. Thus in another place:
More than I have said
15 Thus in Romeo and Juliet:
thy eyes' windows fall Like death.'
The Ghost 16 of Prince Edward, Son to Henry the
Sixth, rises between the two Tents. Ghost. Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow!
[To KING RICHARD. Think, how thou stab’dst me in my prime of youth At Tewksbury; Despair therefore, and die !Be cheerful, Richmond; for the wronged souls Of butcher'd princes fight in thy behalf: King Henry's issue, Richmond, comforts thee.
The Ghost of King Henry the Sixth rises. Ghost. When I was mortal, my anointed body
[To KING RICHARD. By thee was punched 17 full of deadly holes : Think on the Tower, and me; Despair, and die; Harry the Sixth bids thee despair and die.Virtuous and holy, be thou conqueror !
TO RICHMOND. Harry, that prophesy'd thou should'st be king 18, Doth comfort thee in thy sleep; Live, and flourish!
16 The hint for this scene is furnished by Holinshed, who copies from Polydore Virgil. It seemed to him being asleepe, that he saw diverse ymages like terrible devilles which pulled and haled him, not sufferynge him to take any quiet or reste. The which strange vision not so sodaynely strake his heart with a sodayne feare, but it stuffed his head with many busy and dreadful imaginations. And least that it might be suspected that he was abashed for fear of his enemies, and for that cause looked so piteously, he recited and declared to his familiar friends of the morning his wonderfull vysion and fearefull dreame.' The Legend of King Richard III. in The Mirror for Magistrates, and Drayton in the twenty-second Song of his Polyolbion, have passages founded upon Shakspeare's description.
17 The verb to punch, according to its etymology, was formerly used to prick or pierce with a sharp point. Thus Chapman, in his version of the sixth Iliad:
· With a goad he punch'd each furious dame.' 18 See the prophecy in King Henry VI. Part III. Act iv. Sc.6.
The Ghost of Clarence rises. Ghost. Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow!
[To King RICHARD. I, that was wash'd to death with fulsome 19 wine, Poor Clarence, by thy guile betray'd to death! To-morrow in the battle think on me, And fall20 thy edgeless sword; Despair, and die !Thou offspring of the house of Lancaster,
[To RICHMOND. The wronged heirs of York do pray for thee; Good angels guard thy battle! Live, and flourish! The Ghosts of Rivers, Grey, and Vaughan, rise. Riv. Let me sit heavy on thy soul to-morrow,
[To KING RICHARD. Rivers, that died at Pomfret! Despair, and die! Grey. Think upon Grey, and let thy soul despair!
[To King RICHARD. Vaugh. Think upon Vaughan; and, with guilty
fear, Let fall thy lance ! Despair, and die!
[To KING RICHARD. All, Awake! and think, our wrongs in Richard's bosom
[T. RICHMOND. Will conquer him ;-awake, and win the day!
The Ghost of Hastings rises. Ghost. Bloody and guilty, guiltily awake;
[To KING RICHARD. 19 i. e. teeming or superabundant wine. Shakspeare seems to have forgot that Clarence was killed before he was thrown into the Malmsey butt, and consequently could not be washed to death. I find ' fulsone habundance' in Lidgate's Siege of Thebes, Part III. See vol. iii. p. 19, note 7.
20 Fall is here a verb active, signifying to drop or let full. As in Othello :
• If that the earth could teem with woman's tears,
And in a bloody battle end thy days!
[To RicHMOND. Arm, fight, and conquer, for fair England's sake!
The Ghosts of the two young Princes rise. Ghosts. Dream on thy cousins smother'd in the
Tower; Let us be lead within thy bosom, Richard, And weigh thee down to ruin, shame, and death! Thy nephews' souls bid thee despair, and die.
Sleep, Richmond, sleep in peace, and wake in joy;
The Ghost of Queen Anne rises.
[T. RICHMOND. Dream of success and happy victory; Thy adversary's wife doth pray for thee.
The Ghost of Buckingham rises. Ghost. The first was I, that help'd thee to the crown;
[To KING RICHARD. The last was I that felt thy tyranny: 0, in the battle think on Buckingham, And die in terror of thy guiltiness! Dream on, dream on, of bloody deeds and death;
Fainting, despair; despairing, yield thy breath!-
[To RICHMOND. But cheer thy heart, and be thou not dismay'd: God, and good angels fight on Richmond's side; And Richard falls in height of all his pride.
[The Ghosts vanish. King RICHARD
starts out of his dream. K. Rich. Give me another horse,-bind up my
wounds, Have mercy, Jesu!-Soft; I did but dream.O coward conscience, how dost thou afflict me! The lights burn blue. It is now dead midnight. Cold fearful drops stand on my trembling flesh. What do I fear? myself? there's none else by: Richard loves Richard; that is, I am I 22. Is there a m lerer here? No;-Yes; I am: Then fly,-What, from myself? Great reason: Why? Lest I revenge. What? Myself on myself? I love myself. Wherefore? for any good, That I myself have done unto myself? 0, no: alas, I rather hate myself, For hateful deeds committed by myself. I am a villain: Yet I lie, I am not. Fool, of thyself speak well :--Fool, do not flatter.
21 Buckingham's hope of aiding Richmond induced him to take up arms: he lost his life in consequence, and therefore may be said to have died for hope; hope being the cause which led to that event.
22 There is in this, as in many of the poet's speeches of passion, something very trifling, and something very striking. Richard's debate, whether he should quarrel with himself, is too long continued; but the subsequent exaggeration of his crimes is truly tragical.- Johnson.
Steevens conjectures that this and the twenty following lines were crossed out of the stage manuscript by Shakspeare himself, and afterwards restored by the original but tasteless editor of this play. Every one must wish with Ritson that they could be omitted, or degraded to the margin.