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is to be made, then shall this hand and seal.
off, And those thy fears might have wrought fears
in me: But thou didst understand me by my signs,
22 To quote is to note or mark. See Hamlet, Act ii. Sc. 1:
'I am sorry that with better heed and judgment
I had not quoted himn. 23 There are many touches of nature in this conference of John with Hubert. A man engaged in wickedness would keep the profit to himself, and transfer the guilt to his accomplice. These reproaches vented against Hubert are not the words of art or policy, but the eruptions of a mind swelling with consciousness of a
crime, and desirous of discharging its misery on another. This * account of the timidity of guilt is drawn, ab ipsis recessibus mentis, from the intimate knowledge of mankind; particularly that line in which he says, that to have bid him tell his tale in express words would have struck him dumb: nothing is more certain than that bad men use all the arts of fallacy upon themselves, palliate their actions to their own minds by gentle terms, and hide themselves from their own detection in ambiguities and subterfuges.Johnson.
24 The old copy reads "As bid me,' &c. Malone made the cor. rection, in which I concur; though as frequently is used for that, which. See Julius Caesar, Act i. Sc. 2, note 15.
And didst in signs again parley with sin;
Hub. Arm you against your other enemies,
26 The old play of The Troublesome Raigne of King John is divided into two parts; the first of which concludes with the king's despatch of Hubert on this message; the second begins with Enter Arthur, &c. as in the following scene.
SCENE III. The same. Before the Castle.
Enter ARTHUR, on the Walls. Arth. The wall is high; and yet will I leap
downl:Good ground, be pitiful, and hurt me not!There's few, or none, do know me; if they did, This ship-boy's semblance hath disguis'd me quite. I am afraid; and yet I'll venture it. If I get down, and do not break my limbs,. I'll find a thousand shifts to get away: As good to die, and go, as die, and stay.
[Leaps down. O me! my uncle's spirit is in these stonesHeaven take my soul, and England keep my bones!
[Dies. Enter PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and Bigot. Sal. Lords, I will meet him at Saint Edmund's
Bury; It is our safety, and we must embrace This gentle offer of the perilous time. Pem. Who brought that letter from the cardinal ?
Sal. The Count Melun, a noble lord of France; Whose private with me, of the Dauphin's love, Is much more general than these lines import. Big. To-morrow morning let us meet him then. Sal. Or, rather then set forward : for 'twill be Two long day's journey, lords, or e’er3 we meet.
I Shakspeare has followed the old play. In what manner Arthur was deprived of his life is not ascertained. Matthew Paris relating the event uses the word evanuit; and it appears to have been conducted with impenetrable secrecy. The French historians say that John, coming in a boat during the night to the castle of Rouen, where the young prince was confined, stabbed him while supplicating for mercy, fastened a stone to the body, and threw it into the Seine, in order to give some colour to a report, which he caused to be spread, that the prince, attempting to escape out of a window, fell into the river, and was drowned.
2 Private account.
3 The use of or for ere, before, is at least as old as Chaucer's time. It is the Saxon aer, prius, antequam, priusquam,-ere, or, 800ner than; before. Ever is the Saxon aefre-aliquando, unquam,-ever, e'er, at any time. Ere ever, or ever, or ere, is, in modern English, sooner than at any time; before ever : and this is the sense in which Shakspeare and our elder writers constantly use the phrase, 4 i. e. ruffled, out of humour. So in Hamlet :
Enter the Bastard. Bast. Once more to-day well met, distemper’d4
lords ! The king, by me, requests your presence straight.
Sal. The king hath dispossess’d himself of us; We will not line his thin bestained cloak With our pure honours, nor attend the foot That leaves the print of blood where'er it walks: Return, and tell him so; we know the worst. Bast. Whate'er you think, good words, I think,
Pem. Sir, sir, impatience hath its privilege.
[Seeing ARTHUR. Pem. O death, made proud with pure and princely
beauty! The earth had not a hole to hide this deed.
Sal. Murder, as hating what himself hath done, Doth lay it open, to urge on revenge.
Big. Or, when he doom'd this beauty to a grave, Found it too precious-princely for a grave. Sal. Sir Richard, what think you? Have you
beheld, Or have you read, or heard? or could you think? Or do you almost think, although you see,
in his retirement marvellous distemper'd. 5 To reason, in Shakspeare, is not so often to argue as to talk. So in Coriolanus:
- reason with the fellow Before you punish him.'
That you do see? could thought, without this object,
Pem. All murders past do stand excus'd in this:
Bast. It is a damned and a bloody work;
Sal. If that it he the work of any hand ?-
7 The old copy reads sin of times. The emendation is Pope's.
8 The old copy reads, “Till I have set a glory to this hand.' This is a copy of the vows made in the ages of superstition and chivalry. Pope thought that we should read “a glory to this head, pointing to the head of the dead prince, and using worship in its common acceptation. A glory is a circle of rays, such as is represented surrounding the heads of saints and other holy persons. The solemn confirmation of the other lords seems to require this sense. Gray, the poet (says Dr. Farmer), was much pleased with this correction. The old reading has been explained, "till I have famed and renowned my own hand by giving it the honour of revenge for so foul a deed.' In the next act we have :
---I will not return