H́nh ảnh trang


An Até, stirring him to blood and frife;
With her her niece, the lady Blanch of Spain;
With them a bastard of the king deceas'd :3
And all the unsettled humours of the land,
Ram, inconsiderate, firy voluntaries,
With ladies' faces, and fierce dragons' spleens,
Have fold their fortunes at their native homes,
Bearing their birthrights proudly on their backs, 4
To make a hazard of new fortunes here.
In brief, a braver choice of dauntless spirits,
Than now the English bottoms have waft o'er,
Did never float upon the swelling tide,
To do offence and scatho in Christendom.

[ocr errors]

• An Até, flirring him, &c.] Até was the Goddess of Revenge. The player-editors read -- an Ace. SrLEVENS, Correded by Mr. Rowe.

MALONE. This image might have been borrowed from the celebrated libel, called Leicejler's Commonwealth, originally published about the year 1584 : She standeth like a fiend or fury, at the elbow of her Amadis, to Mirre him forward when occasion shall serve." STEEVENS, 3 With them a bastard of the king deceas'd :]

The old copy, erroneously, reads king's. Steevens.

This line, except the word will, is borrowed from the old play of King Jolin, already mentioned. Our author should have written king, and so the modern editors read. But there is ceriainly no corruption, for we have the same phraseology elsewhere. MALONE.

It inay as juftly be faid, that the same error has been elsewhere repeaied by the same illiterate compositors: STEEVENS. * Bearing their birthrighis, &c.] So, in King Henry VIII:

-0, many
" Have broke their backs with laying manors

on them."

JOHNSON. Than now the English bottoms have waft o'er, ] Waft for wafted So again in this play :

“ The iron of itself, though heat red hoti. e. heated. STEEVENS.

- scath ---) Deftru&ion, harm. Joinson. So, in How to chufe a good Wife from a Bad, 1602 :

" For these accounis, 'faith it thall scath thee something." Again :

" And it shall scath him somewhat of my purse. STEEVENS.

The interruption of their churlish drums

[ Drums beat. Cuts off more circumstance: they are at hand, To parley, or to fight; therefore, prepare. K. Phí. How much unlook'd for is this expe

dition! Aust. By how much unexpected, by so much We must awake enddavour for defence ; For courage mounteth with occasion: Let them be welcome then, we are prepar'd.

Enter King John, ELINOR, BLANCH, the Bastard,

PEMBROKE, and Forces. K. John. Peace be to France; if France in peace

permit Our' just and lincal entrance to our own! If not; bleed France, and peace ascend to heayen! Whiles we, God's wrathful agent, do correct Their proud contempt that beat his peace to hea


K. Phi. Peace be to England; if that war re

turn From France to England, there to live in peace! England we love; and, for that England's sake, With burden of our armour here we sweat; This toil of ours should be a work of thine; But thou from loving England art fo far, That thou hast underwrought his lawful king, Cut off the sequence of poterity, Outfaced infant state, and done a rape Upon the maiden virtue of the crown.


- underwrought --] i. e. underworked, undermined.


[ocr errors]


Look here upon thy brother Geffrey's face;-
These eyes, these brows, were moulded out of his:
This little abstract doth contain that large,
Which died in Geffrey; and the hand of time
Shall draw this brief into as huge a volume.
That Geffrey was thy elder brother born,
And this his son; England was Geffrey's right,
And this is Geffrey's: 9 In the name of God,
How comes it then, that thou art call'd a king,
When living blood doth in these temples beat,
Which owe the crown that thou o'ermastereft?
K. John. From whom nast thou this great com-

million, France,
To draw my answer from thy articles ?
K. Phi. From that supernal judge, that stirs good

In any breast of strong authority,
To look into the blots and stains of right.

[ocr errors]


this brief -] A brief is a short writiog, abftra&, or description. So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream : "- Here is a brief how many sports are ripe."



England was Geffrey's right, And this is Geffrey's:) I have no doubt but we should read et. and his is Geffrey's.' The meaning is, “ England was Geffrey's right, and whatever was Geffrey's, is now his," pointing to Arthur.

M. MASON, * To look into the blots and stains of right.] Mr. Theobald reads, with the first folio, blots, which being so carly authorized, and so much better understood, needed not to have been changed by Dr. Warburton to bolts, though bolts might be used in that time for Spots : so Shakspeare calls Banquo * Jpotted with blood, the blood-bolterd Banquo." The verb to blot is used figuratively for to disgrace, a few lines lower. And perhaps, after all, bolts was only a typographical mistake. JOHNSON.

Blots is certainly right. The illegitimate branch of a family always carried the arms of it with what in ancient heraldry was

That judge hath made me guardian to this boy:
Under whose warrant, I impeach thy wrong;
And, by whose help, I mean to chástise it.

K. John. Alack, thou dost usurp authority.
K. Phi. Excuse; it is to beat usurping down.
Eli. Who is it, thou dost call usurper, France ?
Const. Let me make answer;-thy usurping son.

Eli. Qut, insolent! thy bastard shall be king;
That thou may'st be a queen, and check the world! 3

Const. My bed was ever to thy son as true,
As thine was to thy husband: and this boy
Liker in feature to his father Geffrey,
Than thou and John in manners; being as like,
As rain to water, or devil to his dam.
My boy a bastard! By my soul, I think,
His father never was so true begot;
It cannot be, an if thou wert his mother. 4

called a blot or difference. So, in Drayton's Epifle from Quees Isabel to K. Richard II:

". No battard's mark doth blot his conquering shield." Blots and stains occur again together in the first scene of the third a&t. STEEVENS..

Blot bad certainly the heraldical sense mentioned by Mr. Steevens. But it here, I think, means only blemishes. So again, in Ad Ill.

MALONE. That thou may'lt be a queen, and check the world!]

" Surely (says Holin shed) Queen Eleanor, the kyugs mother, was sore against her nephew Arthur, rather moved thereto by envye con. ceyved against his mother, than upon any just occasion, given in the behalfe of the childe; for that she saw, if he were king, how his mother Constance would looke to beare the moft rule within the realme of Englande, till her sonne should come to a lawfull age govern of himselfe. So hard a thing it is, to bring women to agree in one ninde, their natures commonly being so contrary.




an if thou wert his mother. ] Constance alludes tọ Elinor's infidelity to her husband Lewis the Seventh, when they were in the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Eli. There's a good mother, boy, that blots thy

Const. There's a good grandam, boy, that would

blot thee.
Aust. Peace!
Bast. Hear the crier. 5

What the devil art thou?
Bast. One that will play the devil, sir, with you,

hide and you alone. 6
You are the hare’ of whom the proverb goes,
Whose valour plucks dead lions by the beard;
I'll smoke your ikin-coat, an I catch you right;
Sirrah, look to't; i'faith, I will, i'faith.




Holy Land; on account of which he was divorced from her. She afterwards (1151) married our King Henry II. MALONE.

Hear the crier. ] Alluding to the usual proclamation for filence, made by criers in courts of justice, beginning Oyez, corruptly pro: nounced 0-Yis. Austria has just said Peace! MALONE.

One that will play the devil, sir, with you,

An 'a may catch your hide and you alone. 1 The ground of the quarrel of the Bastard to Austria is no where specified in the present play. But the story is, that Austria, who killed King Richard Ceur-de-lion, wore as the spoil of that prince, á lion's hide, which had belonged to him. This circumstance renders tlie anger of the Baltard very natural, and ought not to have been omitted. POPE. See p. 317, n. 9, and p. 318, n.

The omiffion of this incident was natural. Shakspeare having
familiarized the story to his own imagination, forgot that it was
obscure to his audience; or what is equally probable, the story was
then lo popular that a hint was sufficient at that time to bring it to
mind; and these plays were written with very little care for the
approbation of posterity. JOHNSON.
7 You are the hare - So, in The Spanish Tragedy:

66 He hunted well that was a lion's death;
“ Not he that in a garment wore his skin:

" So hares may pull dead lions by the beard."
See p. 296, n. 4.

The proverb alluded to is, *. Mortuo lconi & lepores insultant."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« TrướcTiếp tục »