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For ere thou canst report I will be there,
the lightning, indeed, appears before the thunder is heard, but the lightning is destructive, and the thunder innocent. Johnson.
The allusion may, notwithstanding, be very proper, so far as Shakspeare had applied it, i. e. merely to the swiftness of the lightning, and its preceding and foretelling the thunder. But there is some reason to believe that thunder was not thought to be innocent in our author's time, as we elsewhere learn from himself. See King Lear, Act III. Sc. II. Antony and Cleopatra, Act II. Sc. V. Julius Cæsar, Act I. Sc. III, and still more decisively in Measure for Measure, Act II. Sc. II. This old superstition is still prevalent in many parts of the country. Ritson.
King John does not allude to the destructive powers either of thunder or lightning; he only means to say, that Chatillon shall appear to the eyes of the French like lightning, which shows that thunder is approaching : and the thunder he alludes to is that of his cannon. Johnson also forgets, that though, philosophically speaking, the destructive power is in the lightning, it has generally, in poetry, been attributed to the thunder So,
“ You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Singe my white head ! ” M. Mason.
sullen presage -] By the epithet sullen, which cannot be applied to a trumpet, it is plain that our author's imagination had now suggested a new idea. It is as if he had said, be a trumpet to alarm with our invasion, be a bird of ill-omen to croak out the prognostick of your own ruin. Johnson.
I do not see why the epithet sullen may not be applied to a trumpet, with as much propriety as to a bell. In our author's King Henry IV. Part II. we find
“ Sounds ever after as a sullen bell—.” Malone, Surely Johnson is right : the epithet sullen may be applied as Milton also has applied it to a bell" swinging slow with sullen roar," with more propriety than to the sharp sound of a trumpet.
BoswELL. That here are two ideas is evident; but the second of them has not been luckily explained. “ The sullen presage of your own decay,” means, the dismal passing bell, that announces your own approaching dissolution." Steevens,
Pembroke, look to't: Farewell, Chatillon.
[Exeunt Chatillon and PEMBROKE. ELI. What now, my son ? have I not ever
said, How that ambitious Constance would not cease, Till she had kindled France, and all the world, Upon the right and party of her son ? This might have been prevented, and made
whole, With very easy arguments of love ; Which now the manage of two kingdoms must With fearful bloody issue arbitrate.
K. John. Our strong possession, and our right,
Eli. Your strong possession, much more than
your right; Or else it must go wrong with you, and me: So much my conscience whispers in your ear; Which none but heaven, and you, and I, shall
Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whis
pers Essex). Essex. My liege, here is the strangest contro
versy, Come from the country to be judg’d by you, That e'er I heard : Shall I produce the men ?
K. Joun. Let them approach.– [Exit Sheriff. Our abbies, and our priories, shall pay
– the manage -] i. e. conduct, administration. So, in King Richard II. :
for the rebels,
STEEvens. 7 Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, &c.] This stage diręction I have taken from the old quarto. Steevens,
Re-enter Sheriff, with Robert FAULCONBRIDGE, and
Philip, his bastard Brother 8.
Bast. Your faithful subject I, a gentleman,
K. John. What art thou ?
bridge. K. John. Is that the elder, and art thou the
heir ? 8 — and Philip, his bastard Brother.] Though Shakspeare adopted this character of Philip Faulconbridge from the old play, it is not improper to mention that it is compounded of two distinct personages.
Matthew Paris says : Sub illius temporis curriculo, Falcasius de Brente, Neusteriensis, et spurius ex parte matris, atque Bastardus, qui in vili jumento manticato ad Regis paulo ante clientelam descenderat," &c.
Mathew Paris, in his History of the Monks of St. Albans, calls him Falce, but in his General History, Falcasius de Brente, as above.
Holinshed says that “ Richard I. had a natural son named Philip, who, in the year following, killed the Viscount De Limoges, to revenge the death of his father.” Steevens.
Perhaps the following passage in the continuation of Harding's Chronicle, 1543, fol. 24, b. ad ann. 1472, induced the author of the old play to affix the name of Faulconbridge to King Richard's
who is only mentioned in our histories by the name of Philip: “one Faulconbridge, therle of Kent, his bastarde, a stoute-hearted man."
Who the mother of Philip was is not ascertained. It is said that she was a lady of Poictou, and that King Richard bestowed upon her son a lordship in that province.
In expanding the character of the Bastard, Shakspeare seems to have proceeded on the following slight hint in the original play :
“ Next them, a bastard of the king's deceas'd,
You came not of one mother then, it seems.
BAST. Most certain of one mother, mighty king, That is well known ; and, as I think, one father: But, for the certain knowledge of that truth, I put you o'er to heaven, and to my mother; Of that I doubt, as all men's children may". Eli. Out on thee, rude man! thou dost shame
thy mother, And wound her honour with this diffidence.
Bast. I, madam ? no, I have no reason for it; That is my brother's plea, and none of mine ; The which if he can prove, 'a pops me out At least from fair five hundred pound a year : Heaven guard my mother's honour, and my land ! K. John. A good blunt fellow :-Why, being
younger born, Doth he lay claim to thine inheritance ?
Bast. I know not why, except to get the land. But once he slander'd me with bastardy; But whe'r' I be as true begot, or no, That still I lay upon my mother's head; But, that I am as well begot, my liege, (Fair fall the bones that took the pains for me !) Compare our faces, and be judge yourself.
9 But, for the certain knowledge of that truth,
I put you o'er to heaven, and to my mother ;
Of that I doubt, as all men's children may.] The resemblance between this sentiment, and that of Telemachus, in the first book of the Odyssey, is apparent. The passage is thus translated by Chapman : My mother, certaine, says
sonne; “ I know not; nor was ever simply knowne,
By any child, the sure truth of his sire.” Mr. Pope has observed, that the like sentiment is found in Euripides, Menander, and Aristotle. Shakspeare expresses the same doubt in several of his other plays. Steevens.
1 But whe'r-] Whe'r for whether. So, in The Comedy of Errors : “ Good sir, say, whe'r you'll answer me or no.”
If old sir Robert did beget us both,
K. John. Mine eye hath well examined his parts, And finds them perfect Richard. --Sirrah, speak, What doth move you to claim your brother's land ?
2 He hath a TRICK of Coeur-de-lion's face,] The trick, or tricking, is the same as the tracing of a drawing, meaning that peculiarity of face which may be sufficiently shown by the slightest outline. This expression is used by Heywood and Rowley, in their comedy called Fortune by Land and Sea: “Her face, the trick of her eye,
her leer.” The following passage, in Ben Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour, proves the phrase to be borrowed from delineation :
You can blazon the rest, Signior? “O ay, I have it in writing here o'purpose; it cost me two shillings the tricking." So again in Cynthia's Revels :
the parish-buckets with his name at length trick'd upon them." STEEVENS.
By a trick, in this place, is meant some peculiarity of look or motion. So, Helen, in All's Well that Ends Well, says, speaking of Bertram
" -'Twas pretty, though a plague,
Of every line and trick of his sweet favour.”
M. Mason. Our author often uses this phrase, and generally in the sense of a peculiar air or cast of countenance or feature. So, in King Henry IV. Part I. : “ That thou art my son, I have partly thy mother's word, partly my own opinion ; but chiefly a villainous trick of thine eye-.