« AnteriorContinua »
Clamours of hell,-be measures 2 to our pomp?
O, upon my knee, Made hard with kneeling, I do pray to thee, Thou virtuous Dauphin, alter not the doom Fore-thought by heaven.
BLANCH. Now shall I see thy love; What motive may
Be stronger with thee than the name of wife? CONST. That which upholdeth him that thee upholds,
His honour: O, thine honour, Lewis, thine honour! LEW. I muse, your majesty doth seem so cold,
"Then shrilling trompets loudly 'gan to bray." And elsewhere in the play before us :
Hard-resounding trumpets' dreadful bray.” Again, in Hamlet:
"The trumpet shall bray out.”
Gawin Douglas, in his translation of the Eneid, renders "sub axe tonanti(lib. v. v. 820 :)
"Under the brayand quhelis and assiltre."
Blackmore is ridiculed in the Dunciad, (b. ii.) for endeavouring to ennoble this word by applying it to the sound of armour, war, &c. He might have pleaded these authorities, and that of Milton:
"Arms on armour clashing bray'd
"Horrible discord." Paradise Lost, b. vi. v. 209. Nor did Gray, scrupulous as he was in language, reject it in
"Heard ye the din of battle bray?" HOLT WHITE. 2-be MEASURES-] The measures, it has already been more than once observed, were a species of solemn dance in our author's time.
This speech is formed on the following lines in the old play:
"Blanch. And will your grace upon your wedding-day "Forsake your bride, and follow dreadful drums?
"Phil. Drums shall be musick to this wedding-day."
3 I MUSE,] i. e. I wonder.
When such profound respects do pull you on.
CONST. O fair return of banish'd majesty!
BAST. Old time the clock-setter, that bald sexton
Is it as he will? well then, France shall rue.
BLANCH. The sun's o'ercast with blood: Fair day, adieu !
Which is the side that I must go withal?
LEW. Lady, with me; with me thy fortune lies.
K. JOHN. Cousin, go draw our puissance toge-
So, in Middleton's Tragi-Coomodie, called The Witch:
4 They whirl asunder, and dismember me.] Alluding to a well-known Roman punishment:
Metium in diversa quadrigæ
See vol. xiv. p. 127, n. 3, where I have shewn that Shakspeare was much more likely to have alluded in cases of this sort to events which had happened in his own time than to the Roman history.
France, I am burn'd up with inflaming wrath;
To ashes, ere our blood shall quench that fire:
K. JOHN. No more than he that threats.-To arms let's hie!
The Same. Plains near Angiers.
Enter the Bastard, with AUSTRIA'S Head.
BAST. Now, by my life, this day grows wondrous hot; Some airy devil hovers in the sky,
5 Some AIRY devil-] Shakspeare here probably alludes to the distinctions and divisions of some of the demonologists, so much regarded in his time. They distributed the devils into different tribes and classes, each of which had its peculiar qualities, attributes, &c.
These are described at length in Burton's Anatomie of Melancholy, Part I. sect. ii. p. 45, 1632:
Of these sublunary devils-Psellus makes six kinds; fiery, aeriall, terrestriall, watery, and subterranean devils, besides those faieries, satyres, nymphes," &c.
Fiery spirits or divells are such as commonly worke by blazing starres, fire-drakes, and counterfeit sunnes and moones, and sit on ships' masts," &c. &c.
"Aeriall spirits or divells are such as keep quarter most part in the aire, cause many tempests, thunder and lightnings, teare oakes, fire steeples, houses, strike men and beasts, make it raine stones," &c. PERCY.
There is a minute description of different devils or spirits, and their different functions, in Pierce Pennilesse his Supplication,
And pours down mischief. Austria's head, lie there; While Philip breathes".
Enter King JOHN, ARTHUR, and HUBERT. K. JOHN. Hubert, keep this boy":-Philip", make up:
My mother is assailed in our tent 9,
And ta'en, I fear.
1592: With respect to the passage in question, take the following: "the spirits of the aire will mixe themselves with thunder and lightning, and so infect the clyme where they raise any tempest, that sodainely great mortalitie shall ensue to the inhabitants. The spirits of fire have their mansions under the regions of the moone." HENDERSON.
While Philip breathes.] Here Mr. Pope, without authority, adds from the old play already mentioned:
"Thus hath king Richard's son perform'd his vow,
"Unto his father's ever-living soul." STEEVENS. 7 Hubert, keep this boy :] Thus the old copies. Mr. Tyrwhitt would read:
"Hubert, keep thou this boy: ".
8-Philip.] Here the King, who had knighted him by the name of Sir Richard, calls him by his former name. STEEVENS.
9 My mother is assailed in our tent,] The author has not attended closely to the history. The Queen-mother, whom King John had made Regent in Anjou, was in possession of the town of Mirabeau, in that province. On the approach of the French army with Arthur at their head, she sent letters to King John to come to her relief; which he did immediately. As he advanced to the town, he encountered the army that lay before it, routed them, and took Arthur prisoner. The Queen in the mean while remained in perfect security in the castle of Mirabeau.
Such is the best authenticated account. Other historians however say that Arthur took Eleanor prisoner. The author of the old play has followed them. In that piece Eleanor is taken by Arthur, and rescued by her son. MALONE.
Alarums; Excursions; Retreat. Enter King JOHN, ELINOR, ARTHUR, the Bastard, HUBERT, and Lords.
K. JOHN. So shall it be; your grace shall stay behind, [TO ELINOR.
So strongly guarded.-Cousin, look not sad:
Thy grandam loves thee; and thy uncle will
ARTH. O, this will make my mother die with grief.
K. JOHN, Cousin, [To the Bastard.] away for England; haste before:
And, ere our coming, see thou shake the bags
Set THOU at liberty:] The word thou (which is wanting in the old copy) was judiciously added, for the sake of metre, by Sir T. Hanmer. STEEVENS.
the fat ribs of peace
Must by the hungry Now be fed upon :] This word now seems a very idle term here, and conveys no satisfactory idea. An antithesis, and opposition of terms, so perpetual with our author, requires :
"Must by the hungry war be fed upon." War, demanding a large expence, is very poetically said to be hungry, and to prey on the wealth and fat of peace.
This emendation is better than the former word, but yet not necessary. Sir T. Hanmer reads-hungry maw, with less deviation from the common reading, but not with so much force or elegance as war. JOHNSON.