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ACT III. 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 capable of fears 5 Oppress'd with wrongs, and therefore full of fears ; A widow o, husbandless, subject to fears; A woman, naturally born to fears ; And though thou now confess, thou didst but jest,

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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 Mr. Theobald, and has been adopted by the subsequent editors, is certainly right. MALONE.

See Mr. Theobald's note, p. 265. STEEVENS.

5 For I am sick, and capable of fears ;] i. e. I have a strong sensibility; I am tremblingly alive to apprehension. So, in Hamlet :

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

“Would make them capable." MALONE. 6 A widow,] This was not the fact. Constance was at this time married to a third husband, Guido, brother to the Viscount of Touars. She had been divorced from her second husband, Ranulph, Earl of Chester. Malone.

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 peering 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.

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 sor

row, 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.

7 Like a proud river peering o'er his bounds ?] This seenis to have been imitated by Marston, in his Insatiate Countess, 1603 :

“ Then how much more in me, whose youthful veins,
Like a proud river, o'erflow their bounds--"

MALONE. 8 Be these sad signs-] The sad signs are, the shaking of his head, the laying his hand on his breast, &c. We have again the same words in our author's Venus and Adonis :

“ So she, at these sad signs exclaims on death.” Mr. Pope and the subsequent editors read-Be these sad sighs &c. MALONE.

Arth. I do beseech, you, madam, be content. Const. If thou”, that bid'st me be content, wert

grim, Ugly, and sland'rous to thy mother's womb, Full of unpleasing blots', and sightless 2 stains, Lame, foolish, crooked, swart', prodigious 4, 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.

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9 If thou, &c.] Massinger appears to have copied this passage in The Unnatural Combat :

If thou hadst been born
“ Deform’d and crooked in the features of

Thy body, as the manners of thy mind;
“ Moor-lip'd, flat-nos'd, &c. &c.

“ I had been blest.” Steevens. 1 Ugly, and sland'rous to thy MOTHER'S WOMB,

Full of unpleasing blots,] So, in our author's Rape of Lucrece, 1594 :

“The blemish that will never be forgot,
“ Worse than a slavish wipe, or birth-hour's blot."

MALONE. sightless - ] The poet uses sightless for that which we now express by unsightly, disagreeable to the eyes. Johnson.

swart,] Swart is brown, inclining to black. So, in King Henry VI. Part I. Act I. Sc. II. :

“ And whereas I was black and swart before." Again, in The Comedy of Errors, vol. iv. p. 209 : “ Swart like my shoe, but her face nothing so clean kept."

STEEVENS. - prodigious,] That is, portentous, so deformed as to be taken for a foretoken of evil. Johnson.

In this sense it is used by Decker, in the first part of The Honest Whore, 1604 :

yon comet shews his head again ;
“ Twice hath he thus at cross-turns thrown on us

Prodigious looks."
Again, in The Revenger's Tragedy, 1607 :

“ Over whose roof hangs this prodigious comet.” Ågain, in The English Arcadia, by Jarvis Markham, 1607:

O, yes, I was prodigious to thy birth right, and as a blazing star at thine unlook'd for funeral." STEEVENS,

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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, O!
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;
That strumpet fortune, that usurping John:
Tell me, thou fellow, is not France forsworn ?
Envenom him with words; or get thee gone,
And leave those woes alone, which I alone,
Am bound to under-bear.
SAL.

Pardon me, madam,
I may not go without you to the kings.
Const. Thou may'st, thou shalt, I will not go

with thee : I will instruct my sorrows to be proud ; For grief is proud, and makes its owner stoop..

- makes his owner stout.] The old editions have—“ makes its owner stoop.The emendation is Sir T. Hanmer's.

Johnson. So, in Daniel's Civil Wars, b. vi. : “ Full with stout grief and with disdainful woe.”

STEEVENS. Our author has rendered this passage obscure, by indulging himself in one of those conceits in which he too much delights, and by bounding rapidly, with his usual licence, from one idea to another. This obscurity induced Sir T. Hanmer, for stoop, to substitute stout ; a reading that has been too hastily adopted in the subsequent editions.

The confusion arises from the poet's having personified grief in the first part of the passage, and supposing the afflicted person to be bowed to the earth by that pride or haughtiness which Grief, which he personifies, is said to possess; and by making the afflicted person, in the latter part of the passage, actuated by this very pride, and exacting the same kind of obeisance from others, that Grief has exacted from her." I will not go (says

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To me, and to the state of my great grief,
Let kings assembleo; for my grief's so great,
That no supporter but the huge firm earth
Can hold it up: here I and sorrows sit?;

Constance) to these kings ; I will teach my sorrows to be proud: for Grief is proud, and makes the afflicted stoop ; therefore here I throw myself

, and let them come to me.” Here, had she stopped, and thrown herself on the ground, and had nothing more been added, however we might have disapproved of the conceit, we should have had no temptation to disturb the test. But the idea of throwing herself on the ground suggests a new image; and because her stately grief is so great that nothing but the huge earth can support it, she considers the ground as her throne; and having thus invested herself with regal dignity, she, as queen in misery, as possessing (like Imogen) " the supreme crown of grief,” calls on the princes of the world to bow down before her, as she has herself been bowed down by affliction.

Such, I think, was the process that passed in the poet's mind; which appears to me so clearly to explain the text, that I see no reason for departing from it.

MALONE. I am really surprized that Mr. Malone should endeavour, by one elaborate argument, to support the old debasing reading. A pride which makes the owners stoop is a kind of pride I have never heard of; and though grief, in a weaker degree, and working in weaker minds, may depress the spirits, despair, such as the haughty Constance felt at this time, must naturally rouse them. This distinction is accurately pointed out by Johnson, in his observations on this passage. M. Mason.

Το me, and to the state of my great grief,

Let kings assemble;] in Much Ado About Nothing, the father of Hero, depressed by her disgrace, declares himself so 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 at 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. here I and SORROWs sit;] Thus the old copy. Perhaps we should read~"Here I, and sorrow sit.Our author might

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