Page images

K. Phi. What say'st thou, boy? look in the lady's

face. Lew. I do, my lord, and in her eye I find A wonder, or a wondrous miracle, The shadow of myself form’d in her eye; Which, being but the shadow of your son, Becomes a sun, and makes your son a shadow; I do protest, I never lov'd myself, Till now infixed I beheld myself, Drawn in the flattering table18 of her eye.

[Whispers with BLANCH. Bast. Drawn in the flattering table of her eye!Hang’d in the frowning wrinkle of her brow!And quarter'd in her heart?-he doth espy

Himself love's traitor: This is pity now,
That hang'd, and drawn, and quarter'd there should

In such a love, so vile a lout as he.

Blanch. My uncle's will, in this respect, is mine: If he see aught in you, that makes him like, That any thing he sees, which moves his liking, I can with ease translate it to my will; Or, if you will (to speak more properly), I will enforce it easily to my love. Further I will not flatter you, my lord, That all I see in you is worthy love, Than this,—that nothing do I see in you (Though churlish thoughts themselves should be

your judge), That I can find should merit any hate. K. John. What say these young ones? What say

you, my niece?

18 The table is the plain surface on which any thing is depicted or written. Tablette, Fr Our ancestors called their memorandum books a pair of writing tables Vide Baret's Alvearie, 1575, Letter T.' No. 2. Thus Helena, in All's Well that Ends Well :

---to sit and draw
His arched brows, his hawking eye, his carls,

In our heart's table.'
Vol. IV.


Blanch. That she is bound in honour still to do What you in wisdom.shall vouchsafe to say. K. John. Speak then, prince Dauphin; can you

love this lady? Lew. Nay, ask me if I can refrain from love; For I do love her most unfeignedly. K. John. Then do I give Volquessen 19, Touraine,

Maine, Poictiers, and Anjou, these five provinces, With her to thee; and this addition more, Full thirty thousand marks of English coin.Philip of France, if thou be pleas'd withal, Command thy son and daughter to join hands. K. Phi. It likes us well; - Young princes, close

your hands20. Aust. And your lips too; for, I am well assur'd, That I did so, when I was first assur'd 21,

K. Phi. Now, citizens of Angiers, ope your gates, Let in that amity which you have made; For at Saint Mary's chapel, presently, The rites of marriage shall be solemniz'd. Is not the Lady Constance in this troop ?I know, she is not; for this match, made up, Her presence would have interrupted much :Where is she and her son ? tell me, who knows. Lew. She is sad and passionate22 at your high

ness' tent. K. Phi. And by my faith, this league, that we

have made,

19 This is the ancient name for the country now called the Verin, in Latin Pagus Velocassinus. That part of it called the Norman Vexin was in dispute between Philip and John. This and the subsequent line (except the words 'do I give") are taken from the old play.

20 See Winter's Tale, Act i. Sc. 2. p. 12. 21 Affianced, contracted.

22 Passionate here means agitated, perturbed, a prey to monrnful sensations, not moved or disposed to anger. Thus in the old play, entitled The true Tragedie of Richard Duke of York, 1600 :

---Tell me, good madam,
Why is your grace so passionate of late.'

satisfet her!

we stop

Will give her sadness very little cure.-
Brother of England, how may we content
This widow lady? In her right we came;
Which we, God knows, have turn'd another way,
To our own vantage23.
K. John.

We will heal up all;
For we'll create young Arthur duke of Bretagne,
And earl of Richmond; and this rich fair town
We make him lord of.--Call the Lady Constance;
Some speedy messenger bid her repair
To our solemnity :-I trust we shall,
If not fill up the measure of her will,
Yet in some measure satisfy her so,
That we shall stop her exclamation.
Go we, as well as haste will suffer us,
To this unlook’d for unprepared pomp.
[Exeunt all but the Bastard.—The Citicens

retire from the Walls. Bast. Mad world! mad kings! mad composition! John, to stop Arthur's title in the whole, Hath willingly departed24 with a part: And France (whose armour conscience buckled on; Whom zeal and charity brought to the field, As God's own soldier), rounded25 in the ear With that same purpose-changer, that sly devil ; That broker, that still breaks the pate of faith; That daily break-vow; he that wins of all, Of kings, of beggars, old men, young men, maids, – Who having no external thing to lose But the word, maid, -cheats the poor maid of

[ocr errors]

Arthu mad bin the Wat The Citie


23 Advantage.

24 To part and depart were formerly synonymous. So in Cooper's Dictionary, v. "communico, to communicate or departe a thing I have with another.'

25 To round or rown in the ear is to whisper; from the Saxon runian, susurrare. The word and its etymology is fully illustrated by Casaubon in his Treatise de Ling. Saxonica, and in a Letter by Sir H. Spelman, published in Worinius. 'Literatura Runica. Hafniae, 1651, p. 4.

'That smooth-faced gentleman, tickling commo

dity26;— Commodity, the bias of the world; The world, who of itself is peised well, Made to run even, upon even ground; Till this advantage, this vile drawing bias, This sway of motion, this commodity, Makes it take head from all indifferency, From all direction, purpose, course, intent: And this same bias, this commodity, This bawd, this broker, this all-changing word, Clapp'd on the outward eye of fickle France, Iath drawn him from his own determind aid, From a resolv'd and honorable war, To a most base and vile-concluded peace.-And why rail I on this commodity ? But for because he hath not woo'd me yet: Not that I have the power to clutch27 my land, When his fair angels28 would salute my palm: But for29 my hand, as unattempted yet, Like a poor beggar, raileth on the rich. Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail, And say, - there is no sin, but to be rich; And being rich, my virtue then shall be, To say, - there is no vice, but beggary: Since kings break faith upon commodity, Gain, be my lord! for I will worship thee!


26 Commodity is interest, advantage. So Baret :- What fruite or commoditie had he by this his friendship ? Alvearie, letter C. 867. The construction of this passage, though h

gh harsh to modern ears, is—Commodity, he that wins of all,-he that cheats the poor maid of that only external thing she has to lose, namely the word maid, i. e her chastity.'

Henderson has adduced a passage from Cupid's Whirligig, 1607, which happily illustrates the word bias in this passage :

'0, the world is like a byas bowle, and it runs

All on the rich men's sides," 27 Clasp. 28 Coin. 79 i. e. but cause.

30 in the old copy the second Act extends to the end of the speech of Lady Constance, in the next scene, at the conclusion of which she throws herself on the ground. The present division, which was made by Theobald, is certainly right.


SCENE I. The same. The French King's Tent.

Enter CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and SALISBURY. Const. Gone to be married! gone to swear a peace! False blood to false blood join'd! Gone to be friends! Shall Lewis have Blanch? and Blanch those pro

vinces ? It is not so; thou hast misspoke, misheard ; Be well advis'd, tell o'er thy tale again: It cannot be; thou dost but say, 'tis so: I trust, I may not trust thee; for thy word Is but the vain breath of a common man: Believe me, I do not believe thee, man; I have a king's oath to the contrary. Thou shalt be punish'd for thus frighting me, For I am sick, and capablel of fears. Oppress’d with wrongs, and therefore full of fears; A widow, husbandless, subject to fears; A woman, naturally born to fears; And though thou now confess, thou didst but jest, With my vex'd spirits I cannot take a truce, But they will quake and tremble all this day. What dost thou mean by shaking of thy head? Why dost thou look so sadly on my son ? What means that hand upon that breast of thine? Why holds thine eye that lamentable rheum, Like a proud river peering2 o'er his bounds ? Be these sad signs confirmers of thy words? Then speak again; not all thy former tale, But this one word, whether thy tale be true.

1 Capable is susceptible. So in Hamlet:

His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones,

Would make them capable.' 2 This seems to have been imitated by Marston, in his Insatiate Countess, 1603 :

"l'hen how much more in me, whose youthful veins
Like a proud river overflow their bounds.'

« PreviousContinue »