Page:Richard II (1921) Yale.djvu/124

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112
The Life and Death of
 

ings of the word, namely, 'to be put in possession of' and 'to be controlled by an evil spirit.'

II. i. 114. As king, Richard was above the law; as landlord, he was, like any subject, its servant.

II. i. 126. pelican. According to the medieval natural history, the pelican fed its young by wounding its breast and letting them drink the blood. Here (and in Lear III iv. 74: 'those pelican daughters') used as if the young of their own initiative wounded the old bird.

II. i. 158. no venom else. Alluding to the fact that there are no snakes in Ireland.

II. i. 168, 169. prevention of poor Bolingbroke About his marriage. Holinshed (op. cit., p. 10) states that Richard broke up a match between Bolingbroke and the daughter of the Duc de Berri by sending the Earl of Salisbury expressly to 'surmize by untrue suggestion, heinous offenses against him,' and to forbid the King of France to permit the marriage.

II. i. 203. letters-patents. Documents authorizing him to do homage for his inheritance by proxies in his enforced absence. Under the feudal system of land tenure, the heir of a deceased vassal had to do homage to his lord and take an oath of fealty, in order to secure his right to succeed to the fief, or land and revenues, held by his predecessor.

II. i. 204, 205. sue His livery. To institute a suit as heir to obtain delivery of lands held by the court of wards.

II. i. 248. And quite lost their hearts. Since this phrase is repeated in l. 249, and since l. 248 can be read as verse only with difficulty, it is probable that we have here a typesetter's error. It stands thus, however, in all the Quartos and Folios; hence editors have not attempted emendation.

II. i. 251. benevolences. Compulsory 'free-will'