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Sal. As true, as, I believe, you think them false, That give you cause to prove my saying true.
Const. O, if thou teach me to believe this sorrow, Teach thou this sorrow how to make me die; And let belief and life encounter so, As doth the fury of two desperate men, Which, in the very meeting, fall, and die.— Lewis marry Blanch! O, boy, then where art thou? France friend with England! what becomes of me? Fellow, be gone; I cannot brook thy sight; This news hath made thee a most ugly man.
Sal. What other harm have I, good lady, done, But spoke the harm that is by others done?
Const. Which harm within itself so heinous is, As it makes harmful all that speak of it.
Arth. I do beseech you, madam, be content. Const. If thou, that bidd'st me be content, wert
grim, Ugly, and sland'rous to thy mother's womb, Full of unpleasing blots, and sightless3 stains, Lame, foolish, crooked, swart4, prodigious, Patch'd with foul moles, and eye-offending marks, I would not care, I then would be content; For then I should not love thee; no, nor thou Become thy great birth, nor deserve a crown. But thou art fair; and at thy birth, dear boy! Nature and fortune join'd to make thee great: Of nature's gifts thou may’st with lilies boast, And with the half-blown rose: but fortune, 0! She is corrupted, chang'd, and won from thee; She adulterates hourly with thine uncle John; And with her golden hand hath pluck'd on France To tread down fair respect of sovereignty, And made his majesty the bawd to theirs. France is a bawd to fortune, and King John;
4 Swart is dark, dusky. See Comedy of Errors, Act iii. Sc. 2, p. 156. Prodigious is portentous, so deformed as to be taken for a foretoken of cvil Thus in The Revenger's Tragedy, 1607 :
"Over whose roof bangs this prodigious comet?'
That strumpet fortune, that usurping John: -
Pardon me, madam,
thee: I will instruct my sorrows to be proud; For grief is proud, and makes his owner stout". To me, and to the state of my great grief, Let kings assemble; for my grief's so great, That no supporter but the huge firm earth Can hold it up: here I and sorrow sit; Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.
[She throws herself on the ground. Enter King John, King Philip, LEWIS, BLANCH,
Elinor, Bastard, Austria, and Attendants. K. Phi. "Tis true, fair daughter;and this blessed day, Ever in France shall be kept festival: To solemnize this day, the glorious sun Stays in his course, and plays the alchemist; Turning, with splendour of his precious eye, The meagre cloddy earth to glittering gold:
2 The old copy reads makes its owner stoop.' The emendation is Sir T. Hanmer's. We have in Daniel's Civil Wars, b. vi. :
'Full with stout grief and with disdainful woe.' Malone has in an elaborate argument attempted a defence of the old reading; but, I think, without success.
In Much Ado about Nothing the father of Hero, depressed by her disgrace, declares himself 80 subdued by grief that a thread may lead him. How is it that grief in Leonato and Lady Constance produces effects directly opposite, and yet both agreeable to nature ? Sorrow softens the mind while it is yet warmed by hope, but hardens it when it is congealed by despair. Distress, while there remains any prospect of relief, is weak and flexible; but when no succour remains, is fearless and stubborn: angry alike at those that injure, and those that do not help; careless to please where nothing can be gained, and fearless to offend when there is nothing further to be dreaded. Such was this writer's knowledge of the passions.-Johnson.
his dayher, turn idese, in should be hath it do
The yearly course, that brings this day about,
K. Phi. By heaven, lady, you shall have no cause To curse the fair proceedings of this day: Have I 'not pawn’d to you my majesty ?
Const. You have beguil'd me with a counterfeit10, Resembling majesty; which, being touch'd, and tried, Proves valueless: You are forsworn, forsworn; You came in arms to spill mine enemies' blood,
6 Solemn seasons, times to be observed above others.
7 In Allusion to Job iii 3-Let the day perish,' &c.; and v. 6, Let it not be joined to the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months.'
8i, e be disappointed by the production of a prodigy, a monster. So in a Midsummer Night's Dream :
'Nor mark prodigious, such as are
Despised in nativity. I But for unless; its exceptive sense of be out. In the ancient almanacks the days supposed to be favourable or unfavourable to bargains are distinguished among a number of particulars of the like importance. This circumstance is alluded to in Webster's Duchess of Malfy, 1623 :
"By the almanack, I think
To choose good days and shun the critical.' So in Macbeth :
---Let this pernicious hour
Stand aye accursed in the calendar.' 10 i. e. a false coin; a representation of the king being usually impressed on his coin. A counterfeit formerly signified also a portrait. The word seems to be here used equivocally.
But now in arms you strengthen it with yours :
Lady Constance, peace.
coward; Thou little valiant, great in villany! Thou ever strong upon the stronger side! Thou fortune's champion, that dost never fight But when her humorous ladyship is by To teach thee safety! thou art perjur'd too, And sooth’st up greatness. What a fool art thou, A ramping fool; to brag, and stamp, and swear, Upon my party! Thou cold-blooded slave, Hast thou not spoke like thunder on my side ? Been sworn my soldier? bidding me depend Upon thy stars, thy fortune, and thy strength? And dost thou now fall over to my foes? Thou wear a lion's hide! doff it for shame, And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs12.
11 Shakspeare, in the person of Austria, has conjoined the two well known enemies of Richard Coeur-de-lion. Leopold, duke of Aostria, threw him into prison in a former expedition (in 1193); but the castle of Chaluz, before which he fell (in 1199) belonged to Vidomar, Viscount of Limoges. The archer who pierced his shoulder with an arrow (of which wound he died ) was Bertrand de Gourdon, Austria in the old play is called Lymoges, the Austrich duke. Holinshed says, "The same year Philip, bastard sonne to king Richard, to whom his father tiad given the castell and honour of Coniacke, killed the viscount of Lyimoges in revenge of his father's death,' &c.
12 Sir John Hawkins thought that there was here a sarcastic intention of calling Austria a foul; he says that a calf-skin coat Vol. IV.
Aust. 0, that a man should speak those words
to me! Bast. And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs. Aust. Thou dar’st not say so, villain, for thy life. Bast. And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant
limbs13. K. John. We like not this; thou dost forget thyself.
K. Phi. Here comes the holy legate of the pope. Pand. Hail, you anointed deputies of heaven: To thee, King John, my holy errand is. I Pandulph, of fair Milan cardinal, And from Pope Innocent the legate here, Do, in his name, religiously demand, Why thou against the church, our holy mother, So wilfully dost spurn; and, force perforce, Keep Stephen Langton, chosen archbishop Of Canterbury, from that holy see? This, in our 'foresaid holy father's name, Pope Innocent, I do demand of thee. K. John. What earthly name to interrogatories14,
was anciently the dress of a fool. It is more probable, as Ritson observes, that she means to call him a coward; she tells him that a calf's-skin would suit his recreant limbs better than a lion's. A calf-hearted fellow is still used for a dastardly person.
13 Pepe inserted the following lines from the old play here, which he thought necessary to explain the ground of the Bastard's quarrel with Austria :'
Aust. Methinks that Richard's pride, and Richard's fall
Faulc. What words are these? How do my sinews shake!
And split thy heart for wearing it so long.' 14 What earthly name subjoined to interrogatories, can force a king to speak and answer them? The old copy reads earthy. The emendation was Pope's. It has also tash instead of task in the next line, which was substituted by Theobald. Johnson observes that this must have been a very captivating scene at the time of our struggles with popery.