H́nh ảnh trang

Muft I behold thy timeless cruel death?

Ah, Joan, fweet daughter Joan, I'll die with thee! Puc. Decrepit mifer! base ignoble wretch!

I am defcended of a gentler blood;

Thou art no father, nor no friend, of mine.
SHEP. Out, out!-My lords, an please you, 'tis
not fo;

I did beget her, all the parish knows:
Her mother liveth yet, can teftify

She was the firft-fruit of my bachelorship.

WAR. Graceless! wilt thou deny thy parentage? YORK. This argues what her kind of life hath been;

Wicked and vile; and so her death concludes. 3

timeless is untimely. So, in Drayton's Legend of Robert Duke of Normandy:


"Thy ftrength was buried in his timeless death."


Decrepit mifer!] Mifer has no relation to avarice in this paffage, but fimply means a miferable creature. So, in the Interlude of Jacob and Efau, 1568:

"But as for thefe mifers within my father's tent-." Again, in Lord Sterline's tragedy of Crafus, 1604:

"Or think'ft thou me of judgement too remifs,

"A mifer that in miferie remains,

"The baftard child of fortune, barr'd from blifs,

"Whom heaven doth hate, and all the world difdains?" Again, in Holinshed, p. 760, where he is speaking of the death of Richard III: "And fo this mifer, at the same verie point, had like chance and fortune,' &c. Again, p. 951, among the laft words of Lord Cromwell: “ —— for if I fhould fo doo, I were a very wretch and mifer." Again, ibid: " and fo patiently fuffered the ftroke of the ax, by a ragged and butcherlie mifer, which ill-favouredlie performed the office." STEEVENS.

This argues what her kind of life hath been;

Wicked and vile; and fo her death concludes.] So, in this play, Part II. p. 290:

“So bad a death argues a monftrous life." STEEVENS.

SHEP. Fie, Joan! that thou wilt be fo obftacle! 5 God knows, thou art a collop of my flesh; And for thy fake have I fhed many a tear: Deny me not, I pr'ythee, gentle Joan.

Puc. Peafant, avaunt!-You have fuborn'd this


Of purpofe to obfcure my noble birth.

[ocr errors]

SHEP. 'Tis true, I gave a noble 5 to the priest. The morn that I was wedded to her mother.Kneel down and take my bleffing, good my girl. Wilt thou not ftoop? Now curfed be the time Of thy nativity! I would, the milk

Thy mother gave thee, when thou fuck'dft her breast,

Had been a little ratfbane for thy fake!

Or elfe, when thou didst keep my lambs a-field,
I wifh fome ravenous wolf had eaten thee!
Doft thou deny thy father, curfed drab?
O, burn her, burn her; hanging is too good.

[Exit. YORK. Take her away; for she hath liv'd too long, To fill the world with vicious qualities.


that thou wilt be fo obftacle! ] A vulgar corruption of obftinate, which I think has oddly lafted fince our author's time till now. JOHNSON.

The fame corruption may be met with in Gower, and other writers. Thus in Chapman's May-Day, 1611;

"An obftacle young thing it is."

Again, in The Tragedy of Hoffman, 1631:

"Be not obftacle, old duke." STEEVENS.

So, in The Hiftory of Morindos and - yet being his fecond felfe,

4 --a collop of my flesh; ] Miracola: 1609, quarto, bl. 1.: « a collop of his owne flesh" &c.

my noble birth.


Shep. 'Tis true, I gave a noble --] This paffage feems to cor roborate an explanation, somewhat far-fetched, which I have given in King Henry IV. of the nobleman and royal man, JOHNSON.

Puc. First, let me tell you whom you have con



Not me begotten of a fhepherd swain,
But iffu'd from the progeny of kings;
Virtuous, and holy; chosen from above,
By inspiration of celeftial grace,

To work exceeding miracles on earth.
I never had to do with wicked spirits:

But you,-
-that are polluted with your lufts,
Stain'd with the guiltlefs blood of innocents,
Corrupt and tainted with a thousand vices,-
Because you want the grace that others have,
You judge it ftraight a thing impoffible
To compafs wonders, but by help of devils.
No, mifeonceived!' Joan of Arc hath been
A virgin from her tender infancy,

Chafte and immaculate in very thought;
Whofe maiden blood, thus rigorously effus'd,
Will cry for vengeance at the gates of heaven.
YORK. Ay, ay;-away with her to execution.
WAR. And hark ye, firs; because she is a maid,
Spare for no faggots, let there be enough:
Place barrels of pitch upon the fatal stake,
That fo her torture may be shortened.

Puc.Will nothing turn your unrelenting hearts?-
Then, Joan, discover thine infirmity;
That warranteth by law to be thy privilege.
I am with child, ye bloody homicides:

6 Not me

I believe the author wrote-Not one.



7 No, mifconceived!] i. e. No, ye misconceivers, ye who mistake me and my qualities,' STEEVENS.


8 That warranteth by law to be thy privilege. ] The useless words-to be, which spoil the measure, are an evident interpolation.


Murder not then the fruit within my womb,
Although ye hale me to a violent death.

YORK. Now heaven forefend! the holy maid with child?

WAR. The greatest miracle that e'er ye wrought: Is all your ftrict precifenefs come to this?

YORK. She and the Dauphin have been juggling: I did imagine what would be her refuge.

WAR. Well, go to; we will have no baftards live;

Efpecially, fince Charles muft father it.

Puc. You are deceiv'd; my child is none of his; It was Alençon, that enjoy'd my love.

YORK. Alençon! that notorious Machiavel! 8 It dies, an if it had a thoufand lives.

Puc. O, give me leave, I have deluded you; 'Twas neither Charles, nor yet the duke I nam'd, But Reignier. king of Naples, that prevail'd.

WAR. A marry d man! that's mol intolerable. YORK. Why. here's a girl! I think, fhe knows not well,

There were fo

many, whom he may accufe.

Machiavel being men

8 Alençon! that notorious Machiavel! ] tioned fomewhat before his time, this line is by fome of the editors given to the players, and ejected from the text. JOHNSON.

The character of Machiavel feems to have made fo very deep an impreffion on the dramatick writers of this age, that he is many times as prematurely spoken of. So, in The Valiant Welchman, 1615, one of the characters bids Caradoc, i. e. Caraćtacus,


-read Machiavel:

"Princes that would aspire, must mock at hell,”

66 - my brain

"Italianates my barren faculties

To Machiavelian blacknefs." STEEVENS.

[ocr errors]

WAR. It's fign, fhe hath been liberal and free. YORK. And, yet, forfooth, she is a virgin pure.Strumpet, thy words condemn thy brat, and thee: Ufe no entreaty, for it is in vain.

Puc. Then lead me hence; -with whom I leave
my curfe,

May never glorious fun reflex his beams
Upon the country where you make abode!
But darkness and the gloomy fhade of death
Environ you; till mifchief, and defpair,

Drive you to break your necks, or hang yourselves !*
{ Exit, guarded.

YORK. Break thou in pieces, and confume to


Thou foul accurfed minifter of hell!

Enter Cardinal BEAUFORT, attended.

CAR. Lord regent, I do greet your excellence
With letters of commiffion from the king.
For know, my lords, the flates of Christendom,
Mov'd with remorfe of these outrageous broils,


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

darkness and the gloomy shade of death] The expreffion Whereby the day-fpring from on high hath vifited us, to give light to them that fit in darkness and the shadow of death."

is fcriptural:

till mifchief, and despair,


Drive you to break your necks, or hang yourselves!] Perhaps Shakspeare intended to remark, in this execration, the frequency of suicide among the English, which has been commonly imputed to the gloominess of their air. JOHNSON.



remorfe―]i. e. compaffion, pity. So, in Meafure for

"If fo your heart were touch'd with that remorse
"As mine is to him. STEEVENS.


[ocr errors]


« TrướcTiếp tục »