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Sal. We do believe thee,-And beshrew my soul But I do love the favour and the form Of this most fair occasion, by the which We will untread the steps of damned flight; And, like a bated and retired flood, Leaving our rankness4 and irregular course, Stoop low within those bounds we have o'erlook'd, And calmly run on in obedience, Even to our ocean, to our great King John.-My arm shall give thee help to bear thee hence; For I do see the cruel pangs of death Rights in thine eye.-Away, my friends! New
flight: And happy newness6, that intends old right.
[Exeunt, leading off MELUN.
SCENE V. The same. The French Camp.
Enter Lewis and his Train. Lew. The sun of heaven, methought, was loath
to set; But stay'd, and made the western welkin blush, When the English measur'd backward their own
4 Rankness, as applied to a river, here signifies exuberant, ready to over flou; as applied to the actions of the speaker and his party it signifies wanton wildne88. Petulantia
“Rain added to a river that is rank
Perforce will force it overflow the bank.' 5 Immediate. 6 Innovation.
1 Tott'ring colours is the reading of the old copy, which was unnecessarily altered to tatter'd by Johnson, who is followed by the sabsequent editors. To totter, in old language, was to waver, to shake with a tremulous motion, as colours would do in the wind. It is obvious that tatter'd cannot be the right word, for how could their tatter'd colours be clearly wound up?' 'to tottre (says Baret), nutare, vaccilare, see shake and wagge. The colours were waving in the wind during the battle, and were wound up at the close of it.
Enter a Messenger.
Here:- What news?
heart! I did not think to be so sad to-night, As this hath made me.-Who was he, that said, King John did fly, an hour or two before The stumbling night did part our weary powers? Mess. Whoever spoke it, it is true, my lord. Lew. Well; keep good quarter, and good care
The dato-nightep 800d", it is trueweary power
The day shall not be up so soon as I,
SCENE VI. An open Place in the Neighbourhood of Swinstead
Of the part of England.
? i. e keep in your allotted posts or stations.
Thou hast a perfecti thought: I will, upon all hazards, well believe, Thou art my friend, that know'st my tongue so
well: Who art thou ? Bast.
Who thou wilt: an if thou please, Thou may'st befriend me so much, as to think I come one way of the Plantagenets. Hub. Unkind remembrance! thou, and eyeless
night, Have done me shame:-Brave soldier, pardon me, That any accent, breaking from thy tongue, Should ’scape the true acquaintance of mine ear. Bast. Come, come; sans compliment, what news
abroad? Hub. Why, here walk I, in the black brow of
night, To find you out. Bast. Brief, then ; and what's the news? Hub. O, my sweet sir, news fitting to the night, Black, fearful, comfortless, and horrible.
Bast. Show me the very wound of this ill news; I am no woman, I'll not swoon at it.
Hub. The king, I fear, is poison’d by a monk3 : I left him almost speechless, and broke out To acquaint you with this evil; that you might
Black. Show me, I'll not, is poison broke outight
Ti. e. a well informed one. So in Cymbeline :
--I am perfect
That the Pannonians, &c.' 2 The old copy reads "endless night. The emendation was made by Theobald. The epithet is found in Jarvis Markham's English Arcadia, 1607 :
“O eyeless night, the portraiture of death.' In Shakspeare's Rape of Lucrece, we have
"Poor grooms are sightless night; kings glorious day.'
3 Not one of the historians who wrote within sixty years of • the event mentions this improbable story. The tale is, that a monk, to revenge himself on the king for a saying at which he took offence, poisoned a cup of ale, and havig brought it to his majesty, drank some of it himself, to induce the king to taste it, and soon afterwards expired. Thomas Wykes is the first who mentions it in his Chronicle as a report. According to the best accounts John, died at Newark, of a fever.
The better arm you to the sudden time,
Bast. Withhold thine indignation, mighty heaven, And tempt us not to bear above our power!-I'll tell thee, Hubert, half my power this night, Passing these flats, are taken by the tide, These Lincoln washes have devoured them; Myself, well mounted, hardly have escap’d. Away, before! conduct me to the king; I doubt, he will be dead, or ere I come. [Exeunt.
SCENE VII. The Orchard of Swinstead-Abbey.
Enter PRINCE HENRY!, SALISBURY, and Bigot. P. Hen. It is too late; the life of all his blood Is touch'd corruptibly; and his pure brain (Which some suppose the soul's frail dwelling
house, Doth, by the idle comments that it makes, Foretell the ending of mortality.
Enter PEMBROKE. Pem. His highness yet doth speak: and holds
belief, That, being brought into the open air,
4 i. e. less speedily, after some delay. i Prince Henry was only nine years old when his father died.
It would allay the burning quality
[Exit Bigot. Pem.
He is more patient
P. Hen. O vanity of sickness! fierce extremes,
should sing.-I am the cygnet to this pale faint swan, Who chants a doleful hymn to his own death; And, from the organ-pipe of frailty, sings His soul and body to their lasting rest.
Sal. Be of good comfort, prince; for you are born To set a form upon that indigest Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude4. Re-enter Bigot and Attendants, who bring in
KING JOHN in a Chair. K. John. Ay, marry, now, my soul hath elbow
2 Continuance here means continuity. Bacon uses it in that sense also. So Baret, 'If the disease be of any continuance, if it be an old and settled disease.' I should not have thought this passage needed elucidation, had not Malone proposed to read 'in thy coutinuance.'
3 The old copy reads invisible. Sir T. Hanmer proposed the reading admitted into the text. Malone has endeavoured to ela. borate a meaning out of the old reading, but without success. I must refer the reader to the variorum editions for his argument, and Steevens's vein of pleasant irony upon it. 4 A description of Chaos almost in the very words of Ovid :
Quem dixere Chaos rudis indigestaeque moles. -Met. i. Which Chaos hight a huge rude heap :No sunne as yeth with lightsome beames the shapeless world did view.