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That bloody spoil: Thou slave, thou wretch, thou
What a fool art
of these titles, which every editor has suffered to pass unnoted, deserves a little consideration. Shakspeare has, on this occasion, followed the old play, which at once furnished him with the character of Faulconbridge, and ascribed the death of Richard I. to the duke of Austria. In the person of Austria he has conjoined the two well-known enemies of Caur-de-lion. Leopold, duke of Austria, threw him into prison, in a former expedition (in 1193]; but the castle of Chaluz, before which he fell (in 1199] belonged to Vidomar, viscount of Limoges; and the archer who pierced his shoulder with an arrow (of which wound he died) was Bertrand de Gourdon. The editors seem hitherto to have understood Lymoges as being an appendage to the title of Austria, and therefore enquired no further about it.
Holinshed says on this occasion : “ The same yere, Philip, bastard sonne to King Richard, to whom his father had given the castell and honor of Coinacke, killed the viscount of Limoges, in revenge of his father's death,” &c. Austria, in the old play, [printed in 1591] is called Lymoges, the Austrich duke.
With this note I was favoured by a gentleman to whom I have yet more considerable obligations in regard to Shakspeare. His extensive knowledge of history and manners has frequently supplied me with apt and necessary illustrations, at the same time that his judgment has corrected my errors ; yet such has been his constant solicitude to remain concealed, that I know not but I may give offence while I indulge my own vanity in affixing to this note the name of my friend, Henry Blake, Esq. Steevens.
And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs 6. Aust. O, that a man should speak those words to
me! Basr. And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant
limbs. Aust. Thou dar'st not say so, villain, for thy life.
Doff it for shame,] To doff is to do off, to put off. So, in Fuimus Troes, 1633 :
“Sorrow must doff her sable weeds.” Steevens. 6 And hang a CALF'S-skin on those recreant limbs.] When fools were kept for diversion in great families, they were distinguished by a calf's-skin coat, which had the buttons down the back ; and this they wore that they might be known for fools, and escape the resentment of those whom they provoked with their waggeries.
In a little penny book, intitled The Birth, Life, and Death, of John Franks, with the Pranks he Played though a meer Fool, mention is made in several places of a calf's-skin. In chap. x. of this book, Jack is said to have made his appearance at his lord's table, having then a new calf-skin, red and white spotted. This fact will explain the sarcasm of Constance, and Faulconbridge, who mean to call Austria a fool. Sir J. Hawkins.
I may add, that the custom is still preserved in Ireland ; and the fool, in any of the legends which the mummers act at Christmas, always appears in a calf's or cow's skin. In the prologue to Wily Beguiled, are the two following passages :
“ I'll make him do penance upon the stage in a calf's-skin." Again :
“ His calf's-skin jests from hence are clean exil'd," Again, in the play :
" I'll come wrapp'd in a calf's-skin, and cry bo, bo."— Again : “ I'll wrap me in a rousing calf-skin suit, and come like some Hobgoblin.”— .“ I mean my Christmas calf's-skin suit.”
Steevens. It does not appear that Constance means to call Austria a fool, as Sir John Hawkins would have it; but she certainly means to call him coward, and to tell him that a calf's-skin would suit his recreant limbs better than a lion's. They still say of a dastardly person that he is a calf-hearted fellow ; and a run-away school boy is usually called a great calf. Ritson.
The speaker in the play (Wily Beguiled) is Robin Goodfellow. Perhaps, as has been suggested, Constance, by cloathing Austria in a calf's-skin, means only to insinuate that he is a coward.
The word recreant seems to favour such a supposition. Malone.
Bast. And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant
limbs 7. K. John. We like not this; thou dost forget
K. Pui. Here comes the holy legate of the pope.
PAND. Hail, you anointed deputies of heaven! To thee, king John, my holy errand is. I Pandulph, of fair Milan cardinal, And from Pope Innocent the legate here, Do, in his name, religiously demand, Why thou against the church, our holy mother, So wilfully dost spurn; and, force perforce,
Bast. And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs.] Here Mr. Pope inserts the following speeches from the old play of King Jobn, printed in 1591, before Shakspeare appears to have commenced a writer :
“ Aust. Methinks, that Richard's pride, and Richard's fall, “ Should be a precedent to fright you all.
“ Faulc. What words are these ? how do my sinews shake!
My father's foe clad in my father's spoil !
Thy father's triumph o'er the savages ! -
STEEVENS. I cannot, by any means, approve of the insertion of these lines from the other play. If they were necessary to
' explain the ground of the bastard's quarrel to Austria,” as Mr. Pope supposes, they should rather be inserted in the first scene of the second Act, at the time of the first altercation between the Bastard and Austria. But indeed the ground of their quarrel seems to be as clearly expressed in the first scene as in these lines ; so that they are unnecessary in either place; and therefore, I think, should be thrown out of the text, as well as the three other lines, which have been inserted, with as little reason, in Act III. Sc. II. : Thus hath King Richard's,” &c. TYRWHITT.
Keep Stephen Langton, chosen archbishop
K. John. What earthly name to interrogatories *,
8 What earthly, &c.] This must have been at the time when it was written, in our struggles with popery, a very captivating
So many passages remain in which Shakspeare evidently takes his advantage of the facts then recent, and of the passions then in motion, that I cannot but suspect that time has obscured much of his art, and that many allusions yet remain undiscovered, which perhaps may be gradually retrieved by succeeding commentators. Johnson.
The speech stands thus in the old spurious play ; " And what hast thou, or the pope thy master, to do, to demand of me how I employ mine own Know, sir priest, as I honour the church and holy churchmen, so I scorne to be subject to the greatest prelate in the world. Tell thy master so from me; and say, John of England said it, that never an Italian priest of them all, shall either have tythe, toll, or polling penny out of England ; but as I am king, so will I reign next under God, supreme head both over spiritual and temporal : and he that contradicts me in this, I'll make him hop headless." Steevens.
" What earthly name to interrogatories,
“ Can task the free breath,” &c. i. e. What earthly name, subjoined to interrogatories, can force a king to speak and answer them?' The old copy reads--earthy. The emendation was made by Mr. Pope. It has also tast instead of task, which was substituted by Mr. Theobald. Breath for speech is common with our author. So, in a subsequent part of this scene:
“ The latest breath that gave the sound of words.” Again, in The Merchant of Venice,“ breathing courtesy," for verbal
courtesy. Malone, The emendation [task] may be justified by the following passage in King Henry IV. Part I. :
“ How show'd his tasking ? seem'd it in contempt?" Again, in King Henry V.: “ That task our thoughts concerning us and France."
STEEVENS VOL. XV.
Tell him this tale; and from the mouth of England,
this. K. John. Though you, and all the kings of
Pand. Then, by the lawful power that I have,
9 That takes away by any secret course
Thy hateful life.] This may allude to the bull published against Queen Elizabeth. Or we may suppose, since we have no proof that this play appeared in its present state before the reign of King James, that it was exhibited soon after the popish plot. I have seen a Spanish book in which Garnet, Faux, and their accomplices, are registered as saints. Johnson.
Dr. Johnson is incorrect in supposing that there is no