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Doth want example: Who hath read, or heard,
Of any kindred action like to this?

K. Phi. Well could I bear that England had this praise, So we could find some pattern of our shame.

Enter ConstanCE.
Look, who comes here! a grave unto a soul;
Holding the eternal spirit, against her will,
In the vile prison of afflicted breath: –


Change is needless. A fierce cause is a cause conducted with precipitation. Fierce wretchedness, in Timon, is, hasty, sudden misery.Steevens.

a grave unto a soul;
Holding the eternal spirit, against her will,

In the vile prison of afflicted breath:] I think we should read earth. The passage seems to have been copied from Sir Thomas More: “If the body be to the soule a prison, how strait a prison maketh he the body, that stuffeth it with riff raff, that the soule can have no room to stirre itself—but is, as it were, enclosed not in a prison, but in a grave. Farmer.

Perhaps the old reading is justifiable. So, in Measure for Measure:

To be imprison'd in the viewless winds.Steevens. It appears, from the amendment proposed by Farmer, and by the quotation adduced by Steevens in support of the old reading, that they both consider this passage in the same light, and suppose that King Philip intended to say, “that the breath was the prison of the soul;" but I think they have mistaken the sense of it; and that by “the vile prison afflicted breath,” he means the same vile prison in which the breath is confined; that is, the body.

In the second scene of the fourth Act, King John says to Hu. bert, speaking of what passed in his own mind:

Nay, in the body of this fleshly land,
“ This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath,

“Hostility and civil tumult reign." And Hubert says, in the following scene:

“If I, in act, consent, or sin of thought,
“Be guilty of the stealing that sweet breath
" Which was embounded in this beauteous clay,

May hell want pains enough to torture me!" It is evident that, in this last passage, the breath is considered as embounded in the body; but I will not venture to assert that the same inference may with equal certainty be drawn from the former. M. Mason.

There is surely no need of change. “The vile prison of afflicted breath,” is the body, the prison in which the distressed soul is confined.

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I pr’ythee, lady, go away with me.
Const. Lo, now! now see the issue of your peace!
K. Phi. Patience, good lady! comfort, gentle Constance!

Const. No, I defy all counsel, all redress,
But that which ends all counsel, true redress,
Death, death:-( amiable lovely death!
Thou odoriferous stench! sound rottenness!
Arise forth from the couch of lasting night,
Thou hate and terror to prosperity,
And I will kiss thy détestable bones;
And put my eye-balls in thy vaulty brows;
And ring these fingers with thy household worms;
And stop this gap of breath? with fulsome dust,
And be a carrion monster like thyself:
Come, grin on me; and I will think thou smil'st,
And buss thee as thy wife! Misery's love, 3
O, come to me!
K. Phi.

O fair affliction, peace.
Const. No, no, I will not, having breath to cry:-
O, that my tongue were in the thunder's mouth!
Then with a passion would I shake the world;
And rouse from sleep that fell anatomy,
Which cannot hear a lady's feeble voice,
Which scorns a modern invocation. 4

We have the same image in King Henry VI, P. III:

“ Now my soul's palace is become her prison.Again, more appositely, in his Rape of Lucrece:

“Even here she sheathed in her harmless breast
A harmful knife, that thence her soul unsheath’d;
6. That blow did bail it from the deep unrest

Of that polluted prison where it breath’d.Malone. i No, I defy &c.] To defy anciently signified to refuse. So, in Romeo and Juliet:

“I do defy thy commiseration.” Steevens. 2 And stop this gap of breath -] The gap of breath is the mouth; the outlet from whence the breath issues. Malone.

3 Misery's love, &c.] Thou, death, who courted by Misery to come to his relief, o come to me. So before:

“ Thou hate and terror to prosperity.Malone.

- modern invocution.] It is hard to say what Shakspeare means by modern: it is not opposed to ancient. In All's Well that Ends Well, speaking of a girl in contempt, he uses this word “ her modern grace.” It apparently means something slight and inconsiderable. Johnson.

Pard. Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow.

Const. Thou art not holys to belie me so;
I am not mad: this hair I tear, is mine;
My name is Constance; I was Geffrey's wife;
Young Arthur is my son, and he is lost:
I am not mad;- I would to heaven, I were !
For then, 'tis like I should forget myself:
o, if I could, what grief should I forget!
Preach some philosophy to make me mad,
And thou shalt be canoniz'd, cardinal;
For, being not mad, but sensible of grief,
My reasonable. part produces reason
How I may be deliver'd of these woes,
And teaches me to kill or hang myself:
If I were mad, I should forget my son;
Or madly think, a babe of clouts were het
I am not mad; too well, too well I feel
The different plague of each calamity.

K. Phi. Bind up those tresses : 6 0, what love I note
In the fair multitude of those her hairs!
Where but by chance a silver drop hạth fallen,
Even to that drop ten thousand wiry friends?

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Modern, is trite, ordinary, common.
So, in As you Like it :

“ Full of wise saws, and modern instances." Again, in Antony and Cleopatra:

“ As we greet modern friends withal.” Steevens. 5 Thou art not holy – ] The word not, which is not in the old copy, (evidently omitted by the carelessness of the transcriber or compositor) was inserted in the fourth folio. Malone. Perhaps our author wrote

Thou art unholy &c. Steevens. 6 Bind up those tresses] It was necessary that Constance should be interrupted, because a passion so violent cannot be borne long. I wish the following speeches had been equally happy; but they only serve to show how difficult it is to maintain the pathetick long. Johnson

- wiry friends -) The old copy reads--wiry fiends. Wiry is an adjective used by Heywood, in his Silver Age, 1613:

« My vassal furies, with their wiery strings,

« Shall lash thee hence.” Steevens. Mr. Pope made the emendation. Malone.

Fiends is obviously a typographical error. As the epithet wiry is here attributed to hair; so, in another description, the hair of Apollo supplies the office of wire, In The Instructions to the Corn


Do glew themselves in sociable grief;
Like true, inseparable, faithful loves,
Sticking together in calamity.

Const. To England, if you will.
K. Phi.

Bind up your hairs.
Const. Yes, that I will; and wherefore will I do it?
I tore them from their bonds; and cried aloud,

that these hands could so redeem my son,
As they have given these hairs their liberty!
But now I envy at their liberty,
And will again commit them to their bonds,
Because my poor child is a prisoner.
And, father cardinal, I have heard you say,
That we shall see and know our friends in heaven:
If that be true, I shall see my boy again;
For, since the birth of Cain, the first male child,
To him that did but yesterday suspire, 8
There was not such a gracious creature born.



missioners for the Choice of a Wife for Prince Arthur, it is directed “ to note the eye-browes” of the young Queen of Naples, (who, after the death of Arthur, was married to Henry VIII, and divorced by him for the sake of Anna Bulloygn). They answer, “ Her browes are of a browne heare, very small, like wyre of heare.” Thus also, Gascoigne:

“ First for her head, the hairs were not of gold,
“ But of some other mettall farre more fine,
“ Whereof each crinet seemed to behold,
“ Like glist'ring wyars against the sunne that shine.”

Henley. but yesterday suspire,] To suspire, in Shakspeare, I be. lieve, only means to breathe. So, in King Henry IV, P. II:

“ Did he suspire, that light and weightless down

“ Perforce must move. Again, in a Copy of Verses prefixed to Thomas Powell's Passionate Poet, 1601:

“Beleeve it, I suspire no fresher aire,
“ Than are my hopes of thee, and they stand faire."

Steevens. 9 a gracious creature born.) Gracious, i. e. graceful. So, in Albion's Triumph, a Masque, 1631:“- on the which (the freeze) were festoons of several fruits in their natural colours, on which, in gracious postures, lay children sleeping.”

Again, in the same piece: “they stood about him, not in set ranks, but in several gracious postures.” Again, in Chapman's version of the eighteenth Iliad:

But now will canker sorrow eat my bud,
And chase the native beauty from his cheek,
And he will look as hollow as a ghost;
As dim and meagre as an ague's fit;
And so he 'll die; and, rising so again,
When I shall meet him in the court of heaven
I shall not know him: therefore never, never
Must I behold my pretty Arthur more.

Pand. You hold too heinous a respect of grief.
Const. He talks to me, that never had a son.
K. Phi. You are as fond of grief, as of your child.

Const. Grief fills the room up of my absent child,?
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me;
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;
Then, have I reason to be fond of grief.
Fare you well: had you such a loss as I,
I could give better comfort3 than you do.
I will not keep this form upon my head,

[Tearing off her head-dress.

then tumbled round, and tore, “ His gracious curles.” Steevens. A passage quoted by Mr. Steevens, from Marston's Malcon. tent, 1604, induces me to think that gracious likewise, in our author's time, included the idea of beauty: - he is the most exquisite in forging of veins, sprightning of eyes,--sleeking of skinnes, blushing of cheeks,-blanching and bleaching of teeth, that ever made an ould lady gracious by torch-light.” Malone. 1 He talks to me, that never had a son.

n.] To the same purpose Macduff observes

“ He has no children.” This thought occurs also in King Henry VI, Part III. Steevens. 2 Grief fills the room up of my absent child,] • Perfruitur lachrymis, et amat pro conjuge luctum.”

Lucan, Lib. IX. Maynard, a French poet, has the same thought:

“Qui me console, encite ma colere,

“Et le repos est un bien que je crains :
“ Mon dëuil, me plaît, et me doit toujours plaire,
Il me tient lieu de celle que je plains." Malone.

had you such a loss as I, I could give better comfort - ) This is a sentiment which great sorrow always dictates, Whoever cannot help himself casts his eyes on others for assistance, and often mistakes their ability for coldness. Johnson.


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