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When there is such disorder in my wit.
Pand. Before the curing of a strong disease,
Lew. All days of glory, joy, and happiness.
Pand. If you had won it, certainly, you had. No, no: when fortune means to men most good, She looks upon them with a threatening eye.
* There's nothing in this &c.) The young prince feels his defeat with more sensibility than his father. Shame operates most strongly in the earlier years; and when can disgrace be less welcome than when a man is going to his bride? Fohnson.
5 Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,) Our author here, and in another play, seems to have had the 90th Psalm in his thoughts. “For all our days are passed away in thy wrath; we spend out years, as a tale that is told.” So again, in Macbeth: “ Life's but a walking shadow ;
it is a tale
Signifying nothing.” Malone.
Steevens. The sweet word is life; which, says the speaker, is no longer sweet, yielding now nothing but shame and bitterness. Mr. Pope, with some plausibility, but certainly without necessity, reads--the sweet world's taste. Malone.
I prefer Mr. Pope's reading, which is sufficiently justified by the following passage in Hamlet :
“How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable
“ Seem to me all the uses of this world.” Our present rage for restoration from ancient copies may induce some of our readers to exclaim, with Virgil's Shepherd:
“ Claudite jam rivos, pueri, sat prata biberunt.” Steevenat
'Tis strange, to think how much king John hath lost
Lew. As heartily, as he is glad he hath him.
Pand. Your mind is all as youthful as your blood. Now hear me speak, with a prophetick spirit; For even the breath of what I mean to speak Shall blow each dust, each straw, each little rub, Out of the path which shall directly lead Thy foot to England's throne; and, therefore, mark. John hath seiz'd Arthur; and it cannot be, That, whiles warm life plays in that infant's veins, The misplac'd John should entertain an hour, One minute, nay, one quiet breath of rest: A sceptre, snatch'd with an unruly hand, Must be as boisterously maintain'd as gain'd: And he, that stands upon a slippery place, Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him up: That John may stand, then Arthur needs must fall; So be it, for it cannot be but so.
Lew. But what shall I gain by young Arthur's fall?
Pand. You, in the right of lady Blanch your wife, May then make all the claim that Arthur did.
Lew. And lose it, life and all, as Arthur did.
Pand. How green you are, and fresh in this old world! John lays you plots;? the times conspire with you: For he, that steeps his safety in true blood, Shall find but bloody safety, and untrue. This act, so evilly born, shall cool the hearts · Of all his people, and freeze up their zeal; That none so small advantage shall step forth,
John lays you plots;] That is, lays plots, which must be serviceable to you. Perhaps our author wrote-your plots. John is doing your business. Malone.
The old reading is undoubtedly the true one. A similar phrase occurs in The First Part of King Henry VI:
“He writes me here,-that,” &c. Again, in the Second Part of the same play: “ He would have carried you a fore-band shaft,” &c. Steevens. true blood,] the blood of him that has the just claim.
Johnson. The expression seems to mean no more than innocent blood in general. Ritson.
To check his reign, but they will cherish it:
Lew. May be, he will not touch young Arthur's life, But hold himself safe in his prisonment.
Pand. O, sir, when he shall hear of your approach, If that young Arthur be not gone already, Even at that news he dies : and then the hearts Of all his people shall revolt from him, And kiss the lips of unacquainted change ; And pick strong matter of revolt, and wrath, Out of the bloody fingers' ends of John. Methinks, I see this hurly all on foot ; And, O, what better matter breeds for you, Than I have nam'd! - The bastard Faulconbridge Is now in England, ransacking the church, Offending charity: If but a dozen French Were there in arms, they would be as a calle To train ten thousand English to their side ; Or, as a little snow,3 tumbled about, Anon becomes a mountain. O noble Dauphin,
• No scape of nature,] The old copy reads-No scope, &c.
Steevene. It was corrected by Mr. Pope. The word abortives, in the lat. ter part of this speech, referring apparently to these scapes of nature, confirms the emendation that has been made. Malone.
The author very finely calls a monstrous birth, an escape of nature, as if it were produced while she was busy elsewhere, or intent upon some other thing Warburton. 1 And, O, what better matter breels for you,
Than I have nam’d!] I believe we should read-lo! instead of O. M. Mason.
they would be as a call -] The image is taken from the manner in which birds are sometimes caught; one being placed for the purpose of drawing others to the net, by his note or call.
Malone. 3 Or, as a little snow,] Bacon, in his History of Henry VII, speaking of Simnel's march, observes, that “their snow-ball did not gather as it went.” Johnson,
Go with me to the king: 'Tis wonderful,
Lew. Strong reasons make strong actions: * Let us go; If you say, ay, the king will not say, no. [Exeunt.
ACT IV..... SCENE I.
Northampton. A Room in the Castle.
Enter HUBERT and two Attendants. Hub. Heat me these irons hot; and, look thou stand Within the arras: when I strike my foot Upon the bosom of the ground, rush forth; And bind the boy, which you shall find with me, Fast to the chair: be heedful: hence, and watch.
1 Attend. I hope, your warrant will bear out the deed. Hub. Uncleanly scruples! Fear not you: look to 't.
strong actions.] The oldest copy reads-strange actions : the folio, 1632-strong. Steevens.
The editor of the second folio, for strange, substituted strong: and the two words so nearly resemble each other that they might certainly have been easily confounded. But, in the present in. stance, I see no reason for departing from the old reading of the original copy, which is perfectly intelligible. Malone.
The repetition, in the second folio, is perfectly in our author's manner, and is countenanced by the following passage in King Henry V :
“ Think we King Harry strong,
Steevens. 5 Northampton.] The fact is, as has been already stated, that Arthur was first confined at Falaise, and afterwards at Rouen, in Normandy, where he was put to death.-Our author has deviated, in this particular, from the history, and brought King John's nephew to England; but there is no circumstance, either in the original play, or in this of Shakspeare, to point out the particu. lar castle in which he is supposed to be confined. The castle of Northampton has been mentioned, in some modern editions, as the place, merely because, in the first Act, King John seems to have been in that town in the old copy there is no where any notice of place. Malone.
Young lad, come forth; I have to say with you.
Enter ARTHUR. Arth. Good morrow, Hubert. Hub.
Good morrow, little prince.
Hub. Indeed, I have been merrier.
Mercy on me!
Hub. If I talk to him, with his innocent prate He will awake my mercy, which lies dead: Therefore I will be sudden, and despatch. [Aside.
Arth. Are you sick, Hubert? you look pale to-day: In sooth, I would you were a little sick; That I might sit all night, and watch with you: I warrant, I love you more than you do me.
Hub. His words do take possession of my bosom. Read here, young Arthur. [Showing a paper.] How now, foolish rheum!
(Aside. Turning dispiteous torture out of door! I must be brief; lest resolution drop Out at mine eyes, in tender womanish tears.Can you not read it? is it not fair writ?
By my christendom,] This word is used, both here and in All's Well that Ends Well, for baptism, or rather the baptismal name: nor is this use of the word peculiar to our author. Lyly, his predecessor, has employed the word in the same way: “Concerning the body, as there is no gentlewoman so curious to have him in print, so there is no one so careless to have him a wretch, only his right shape to show him a man, his christendome to prove his faith.” Euphues and his England, 1581. Malone.