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Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it S.
[She throws herself on the ground.
have intended to personify sorrow, as Marlowe had done before him, in his King Edward II. :
" While I am lodg’d within this cave of care,
“ Where Sorrow at my elbow still attends.". The transcriber's ear might easily have deceived him, the two readings, when spoken, sounding exactly alike. So, we find, in the quarto copy of King Henry IV. Part 1. :
" The mailed Mars shall on his altars sit," instead of-shall on his altar sit. Again, in the quarto copy of the same play we have-monstrous scantle, instead of- monstrous cantle.
In this conjecture I had once great confidence; but, a preceding line
“ I will instruct my sorrows to be proud," now appears to me to render it somewhat disputable.
Perhaps our author here remembered the description of Elizabeth, the widow of King Edward IV. given in an old book, that, I believe, he had read—“ The Queen sat alone below on the rushes, al desolate and dismaide ; whom the Archbishop comforted in the best manner that he coulde." Continuation of Harding's Chronicle, 1543. So also, in a book already quoted, that Shakspeare appears to have read, A compendious and most marvelous History of the latter Times of the Jewes Commonweale : “ All those things when I Joseph heard tydings of, I tare my head with my hand, and cast ashes upon my beard, sitting in great sorrow upon the ground.” Malone.
- bid kings come bow to it.] I must here account for the liberty I have taken to make a change in the division of the second and third Acts. In the old editions, the second Act was made to end here; though it is evident Lady Constance here, in her despair, seats herself on the floor: and she must be supposed, as I formerly observed, immediately to rise again, only to go off and end the Act decently; or the flat scene must shut her in from the sight of the audience, an absurdity I cannot wish to accuse Shakspeare of. Mr. Gildon, and some other criticks, fancied, that a considerable part of the second Act was lost, and that the chasm began here. I had joined in this suspicion of a scene or two being lost, and unwittingly drew Mr. Pope into this error.
“ It seems to be so, (says he,) and it were to be wish'd the restorer (meaning me) could supply it.” To deserve this great man's. thanks, I will venture at the task ; and hope to convince my readers that nothing is lost; but that I have supplied the suspected chasm, only by rectifying the division of the Acts. Upon looking a little more narrowly into the constitution of the play, I am satisfied that the third Act ought to begin with that
Enter King John, King Philip, LEWIS, Blanch,
Elinor, Bastard, AUSTRIA, and Attendants.
day, Ever in France shall be kept festival : To solemnize this day, the glorious sun scene which has hitherto been accounted the last of the second Act: and my reasons for it are these. The match being concluded, in the scene before that, betwixt the Dauphin and Blanch, a messenger is sent for Lady Constance to King Philip's tent, for her to come to Saint Mary's church to the solemnity. The princes all go out, as to the marriage ; and the Bastard staying a little behind, to descant on interest and commodity, very properly ends the Act. The next scene then, in the French king's tent, brings us Salisbury delivering his message to Constance, who, refusing to go to the solemnity, sets herself down on the floor. The whole train returning from the church to the French king's pavilion, Philip expresses such satisfaction on occasion of the happy solemnity of that day, that Constance rises from the floor, and joins in the scene by entering her protest against their joy, and cursing the business of the day. Thus, I conceive, the scenes are fairly continued, and there is no chasm in the action, but a proper interval made both for Salisbury's coming to Lady Constance, and for the solemnization of the marriage. Besides, as Faulconbridge is evidently the poet's favourite character, it was very well judged to close the Act with his soliloquy. TheoBALD.
This whole note seems judicious enough; but Mr. Theobald forgets there were, in Shakspeare's time, no moveable scenes in common playhouses. Johnson. It appears, from
many passages, that the ancient theatres had the advantages of machinery as well as the more modern stages. See a note on the fourth scene of the fifth Act of Cymbeline.
How happened it that Shakspeare himself should have mentioned the act of shifting scenes, if in his time there were no scenes capable of being shifted! Thus, in the chorus to King Henry V.:
“ Unto Southampton do we shift our scene." This phrase was hardly more ancient than the custom which it describes. STEVENS.
See this question fully discussed in The History of the Stage, vol. iii. BOSWELL.
9 To solemnize this day, &c.] From this passage Rowe seems to have borrowed the first lines of his Fair Penitent. Johnson.
Stays in his course, and plays the alchymist';
[Rising. What hath this day deserv'd ? what hath it done; That it în golden letters should be set,
The first lines of Rowe's tragedy
“Let this auspicious day be ever sacred,” &c. are apparently taken from Dryden's version of the second Satire of Persius : “ Let this auspicious morning be exprest,” &c.
STEEVENS. and plays the ALCHYMIST;] Milton has borrowed this thought :
when with one virtuous touch
STEEVENS. So, in our author's 33d Sonnet: “ Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchymy."
MALONE. 2 Shall never see it but a holyday.] So, in The Famous Historie of George Lord Fauconbridge, 1616: “ This joyful day of their arrival (that of Richard I. and his mistress, Clarabel,] was by the king and his counsell canonized for a holy-day." MALONE.
3 A wicked day, &c.] There is a passage in The Honest Whore, by Decker, 1604, so much resembling the present, that I cannot forbear quoting it :
“ Curst be that day for ever, that robb’d her
other damn'd impieties,
Among the high tides 4, in the kalendar ?
K. Phi. By heaven, lady, you shall have no
- high tides,] i. e. solemn seasons, times to be observed above others. STEVENS.
5 Nay, rather, turn this day out of the week ;] In allusion (as Mr. Upton has observed) 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.” Malone.
In The Fair Penitent, the imprecation of Calista on the night that betrayed her to Lothario, is chiefly borrowed from this and subsequent verses in the same chapter of Job. Steevens.
Ó — PRODIGIOUSLY be cross'd :) i. 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.” Steevens. ? But on this day, &c.] That is, except on this day.
johnson. In the ancient almanacks, (several of which I have in my possession,) the days supposed to be favourable or unfavourable to bargains, are distinguished among a number of other 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.”
Days of iniquity to cozen fools in.” Steevens.
Let this pernicious hour
To curse the fair proceedings of this day:
Const. You have beguild me with a counterfeit, Resembling majesty '; which, being touch'd, and
Lady Constance, peace.
war. O Lymoges ! 0 Austria 4 ! thou dost shame 8 You have beguil'd me with a counterFEIT,
Resembling majesty ;] i.e. a false coin. A counterfeit formerly signified also a portrait.-A representation of the king being usually impressed on his coin, the word seems to be here used equivocally. Malone.
9 Resembling majesty; which, being touch'D, AND TRIED] Being touch'd-signifies, having the touchstone applied to it. The two last words—and tried, which create a redundancy of measure, should, as Mr. Ritson observes, be omitted. Steevens. * You came in ARMS to spill mine enemies' blood,
But now in ARMS you strengthen it with yours :) I am afraid here is a clinch intended. “ You came in war to destroy my enemies, but now you strengthen them in embraces.”
Johnson. 2 Wear out the day-] Old copy-days. Corrected by Mr. Theobald. Malone.
3 Set armed discord, &c.] Shakspeare makes this bitter curse effectual. Johnson.
4 O Lymoges ! O Austria!] The propriety or impropriety