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Last in the field, and almost lords of it !
Enter a Messenger.
Here :-What news ? Mess. The count Melun is slain; the English
lords, By his persuasion, are again fallen off: And your supply, which you have wish'd so long, Are cast away, and sunk, on Goodwin sands. LEW. Ah, foul shrewd news !--Beshrew thy very
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
to-night; The day shall not be up so soon as I, To try the fair adventure of to-morrow. (Exeunt,
“ This tottered ensign of my ancestors.” Again :
“ As doth this water from my totter'd robes." Again, in The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntington, 1601 :
“ I will not bid my ensign-bearer wave
My totter'd colours in this worthless air." I read-tatter'd, an epithet which occurs again in King Lear and Romeo and Juliet. Of tattering (which would obviously mean tearing to tatters) our author's works afford no parallel.
STEEVENS. Mr. Steevens says there is no parallel for this phraseology in our author's works; but see his own note on all-obeying, in Antony and Cleopatra, vol. xii. p. 326, n. 8. Boswell.
6 - keep good QUARTER,] i. e. keep in your allotted posts or stations. So, in Timon of Athens :
not a man
An open Place in the Neighbourhood of Swinstead
Enter the Bastard and HUBERT, meeting. Hub. Who's there ? speak, ho! speak quickly,
or I shoot. Bast. A friend :-What art thou ? HUB.
Of the part of England Bast. Whither dost thou ? HUB What's that to thee? Why may not I de
Bast. Hubert, I think.
Thou hast a perfect thought?:
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
PERFECT thought:] i. e. a well-informed one. So, in Cymbeline :
“I am perfect;
“O eyeless night, the portraiture of death!" Again, in Gower, De Confessione Amantis, lib. v. fol. 102, b.:
“ The daie made ende, and loste his sight,
Have done me shame :-Brave soldier, pardon me,
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 monko: I left him almost speechless, and broke out To acquaint you with this evil; that you might The better arm you to the sudden time,
The emendation was made by Mr. Theobald. With Pindar our author had certainly no acquaintance; but, I believe, the correction is right. Shakspeare has, however, twice applied the epithet endless to night, in King Richard Il. :
“ Then thụs I turn me from my country's light,
“ To dwell in solemn shades of endless night.” Again :
My oil-dry'd lamp
“ Shall be extinct with age and endless night." But in the latter of these passages a natural, and in the former, a kind of civil, death, is alluded to. In the present passage the epithet endless is inadmissible, because, if understood literally, it is false. On the other hand, eyeless is peculiarly applicable. The emendation is also supported by our author's Rape of Lucrece: “ Poor grooms are sightless night; kings, glorious day.”
MALONE. 9 The king, I fear, is poison'd by a monk :] Not one of the historians who wrote within sixty years after the death of King John, mentions this very 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 having 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 relates it in his Chronicle, as a report. According to the best accounts, John died at Newark, of a fever. Malone.
Than if you had at leisure known of this !.
Bast. How did he take it? who did taste to him ?
Hub. A monk, I tell you; a resolved villain, Whose bowels suddenly burst out: the king Yet speaks, and, peradventure, may recover.
Bast. Who didst thou leave to tend his majesty ? Hub. Why, know you not ? the lords are all come
back, And brought prince Henry in their company? ; At whose request the king hath pardon'd them, And they are all about his majesty. 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.
that you might
Than if you had AT LEISURE known of this.] It appears to me, that at leisure means less speedily, after some delay. M. Mason. 2 Why, know you not ? the lords, &c.] Perhaps we ought to
Why know you not, the lords are all come back, “ And brought prince Henry in their company ?"
point thus :
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, It would allay the burning quality Of that fell poison which assaileth him. P. Hen. Let him be brought into the orchard
here.Doth he still rage ?
[Exit Bigot. PEM.
He is more patient Than when you left him ; even now he sung.
P, Hen. O vanity of sickness ! fierce extremes, In their continuance", will not feel themselves. Death, having prey'd upon the outward parts,
Prince Henry,] This prince was only nine years old when his father died. STEEVENS.
4 Is touch'd CORRUPTIBLY;] i e. corruptively. Such was the phraseology of Shakspeare's age. So, in his Rape of Lucrece :
“ The Romans plausibly did give consenti. e. with acclamations. Here we should now say—plausively.
MALONE. 5 In Their continuance,] I suspect our author wrote—“In thy continuance.” In his Sonnets the two words are frequently confounded. If the text be right, continuance means continuity. Bacon uses the word in that sense. MALONE.