Page:Richard II (1921) Yale.djvu/133

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King Richard the Second
121
 

St. Valentine's Day, February 14, 1400, historically some time between the middle of January and of February.

V. v. 9. little world. A literal translation of 'microcosm.' It was a favorite theory of Renaissance moralists that man epitomized within himself the organization of the universe or cosmos.

V. v. 50. clock. Richard carries the figure out into the elements of the clock: 'jar' (l. 51) perhaps refers to the pendulum; 'watches' (l. 52) may mean the markings on the dial; the 'dial's point' (l. 53), or hand, the 'outward watch' (l. 52), or dial, and the bell are more obvious. The royal prisoner's figure is not perfectly proportional, for he makes his groans strike his heart as the sound strikes the bell, an absurdity. But we must not expect too much from a melancholy man in solitary confinement, probably on the brink of insanity.

V. v. 66. brooch. Love for Richard is a strange ornament to be worn in this world where everybody hates him.

V. v. 68. cheapest of us is ten groats too dear. A 'groat' was fourpence, one-third of a shilling, a 'royal' was a coin of ten shillings or thirty groats, a 'noble' was a coin of six shillings eightpence or twenty groats; hence there is ten groats' difference between a 'royal prince' and a 'noble peer,' and the king holds that the latter is worth only half his nominal value.

V. vi. 3. Cicester. The burning of Cirencester and the suppression of the Abbot of Westminster's rebellion actually took place before the death of Richard.

V. vi. 20. clog of conscience. Holinshed (op. cit., p. 76) gave the cue for this line in saying that the abbot 'for thought fell into a sudden palsie, and shortly after, without speech, ended his life.'

V. vi. 33. Richard of Bordeaux. So called because he was born there.