III. iv. 72. press'd to death. A form of medieval punishment in which the victim was slowly killed by having weights piled upon his body.
IV. i. 1–90. This passage follows Holinshed closely. These events, however, took place on November 3, 1399, while the deposition of the king (who never actually appeared in Westminster Hall) occurred on September 30.
IV. i. 4. wrought it with the king. 'Persuaded the king to order it,' or perhaps simply, 'aided the king to accomplish it.'
IV. i. 11. Is not my arm of length? 'Is not my arm long when it can reach Calais,' where Gloucester was in prison?
IV. i. 21. my fair stars. The high station given him by the propitious stars that, according to medieval belief, governed his birth.
IV. i. 57. sets. A figure from dicing. 'Sets' refers to setting up a stake against the one casting the dice. 'I'll throw at all' means, 'I'll cover all your bets.'
IV. i. 115. Worst in this royal presence. This may refer to the bishop's comparatively low rank in that assembly, or to the unwelcome nature of what he is about to say. Carlisle really made this speech October 22, three weeks after the deposition.
IV. i. 117–119. noble. A play on the two meanings, 'high in rank' and 'lofty in character.'
IV. i. 149. child, child's children. The reading of the Quartos and the Folio; the thought seems to be identical with that of 'children's children,' a reading adopted by Pope and many subsequent editors.
IV. i. 154. commons' suit. 'Request was made by the commons, that sith king Richard has resigned, and was lawfully deposed from his roiall dignitie, he might have iudgement decreed against him . . . and that the causes of his deposition might be published