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Our discontented counties5 do revolt;
Our people quarrel with obedience;
Swearing allegiance, and the love of soul,
To stranger blood, to foreign royalty.
This inundation of mistemper'd humour
Rests by you only to be qualified.

Then pause not; for the present time 's so sick,
That present medicine must be minister'd,

Or overthrow incurable ensues.

Pand. It was my breath that blew this tempest up, Upon your stubborn usage of the pope: But, since you are a gentle convertite,"


use all your power

To stop their marches, for we are inflam'd;

Our discontented counties do revolt, &c. M. Mason.

counties] Perhaps counties, in the present instance, do not mean the divisions of a kingdom, but lords, nobility, as in Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado about Nothing, &c. Steevens.


a gentle convertite,] A convertite is a convert. So, in Marlowe's Few of Malta, 1633:

"Gov. Why, Barabas, wilt thou be christened?

"Bar. No, governour; I'll be no convertite." Steevens. The same expression occurs in As you Like it, where Jaques, speaking of the young Duke, says:

"There is much matter in these convertites.”

In both these places the word convertite means a repenting sinner; not, as Steevens says, a convert, by which, in the language of the present time, is meant a person who changes from one religion to another; in which sense the word can neither apply to King John, or to Duke Frederick: In the sense I have given it, it will apply to both. M. Mason.

A convertite (a word often used by our old writers, where we should now use convert) signified either one converted to the faith, or one reclaimed from worldly pursuits, and devoted to penitence and religion.

Mr. M. Mason says, a convertite cannot mean a convert, because the latter word, "in the language of the present time, means a person that changes from one religion to another." But the ques tion is, not what is the language of the present time, but what was the language of Shakspeare's age. Marlowe uses the word Convertite exactly in the sense now affixed to convert. John, who. had in the former part of this play asserted, in very strong terms, the supremacy of the king of England in all ecclesiastical mat ters, and told Pandulph that he had no reverence for "the pope, or his usurp'd authority," having now made his peace with the "holy church," and resigned his crown to the pope's representative, is considered by the legate as one newly converted to the


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My tongue shall hush again this storm of war,
And make fair weather in your blustering land.
On this Ascension-day, remember well,
Upon your oath of service to the pope,

Go I to make the French lay down their arms.


K. John. Is this Ascension-day? Did not the prophet Say, that, before Ascension-day at noon,

My crown I should give off? Even so I have:
I did suppose, it should be on constraint;
But, heaven be thank'd, it is but voluntary.
Enter the Bastard.

Bast. All Kent hath yielded; nothing there holds out, But Dover castle: London hath receiv'd,

Like a kind host, the Dauphin and his powers:
Your nobles will not hear you, but are gone

To offer service to your enemy;

And wild amazement hurries up and down
The little number of your doubtful friends.

K. John. Would not my lords return to me again,
After they heard young Arthur was alive?

Bast. They found him dead, and cast into the streets; An empty casket, where the jewel of life?

By some damn'd hand was robb'd and ta'en away.
K. John. That villain Hubert told me, he did live.
Bast. So, on my soul, he did, for aught he knew.
But wherefore do you droop? why look you sad?
Be great in act, as you have been in thought;
Let not the world see fear, and sad distrust,
Govern the motion of a kingly eye:

Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire;


true faith, and very properly styled by him a convertite. same term, in the second sense above mentioned, is applied to the usurper, Duke Frederick, in As you Like it, on his having "put on a religious life, and thrown into neglect the pompous court:" out of these convertites

"There is much matter to be heard and learn'd."

Malone. 7 An empty casket, where the jewel of life-] Dryden has transferred this image to a speech of Antony, in All for Love:

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"An empty circle, since the jewel's gone. Steevens. The same kind of imagery is employed in King Richard II "A jewel in a ten-times-barr'd-up chest

"Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast." Malone.

Threaten the threat'ner, and outface the brow
Of bragging horror: so shall inferior eyes,
That borrow their behaviours from the great,
Grow great by your example, and put on
The dauntless spirit of resolution.
Away; and glister like the god of war,
When he intendeth to become the field:9
Show boldness, and aspiring confidence.
What, shall they seek the lion in his den?
And fright him there; and make him tremble there?
O, let it not be said!-Forage, and run1
To meet displeasure further from the doors;
And grapple with him ere he come so nigh.

K. John. The legate of the pope hath been with me, And I have made a happy peace with him;

And he hath promis'd to dismiss the powers
Led by the Dauphin.


O inglorious league!

Shall we, upon the footing of our land,
Send fair-play orders, and make compromise,
Insinuation, parley, and base truce,

To arms invasive? shall a beardless boy,
A cocker'd silken wanton brave our fields,
And flesh his spirit in a warlike soil,
Mocking the air with colours idly spread,2


and put on

The dauntless spirit of resolution.] So, in Macbeth:
"Let's briefly put on manly readiness,

"And meet i' the hall together." Malone.

9-- to become the field:] So, in Hamlet: such a sight as this



"Becomes the field." Steevens.

Forage, and run -] To forage is here used in its original sense, for to range abroad. Johnson.

2 Mocking the air with colours idly spread,] He has the same image in Macbeth:

"Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky,

"And fan our people cold." Johnson.

From these two passages Mr. Gray seems to have formed the first stanza of his celebrated Ode:

"Ruin seize thee, ruthless king!
"Confusion on thy banners wait!

"Though fann'd by conquest's crimson wing

"They mock the air with idle state." Malone.

And find no check? Let us, my liege, to arms :
Perchance, the cardinal cannot make your peace;
Or if he do, let it at least be said,

They saw we had a purpose of defence.

K. John. Have thou the ordering of this present time. Bast. Away then, with good courage; yet, I know, Our party may well meet a prouder foe.3


A Plain, near St. Edmund's-Bury.4


Enter, in arms, LEWIS, SALISBURY, MELUN, PEMBROKE, BIGOT, and Soldiers.

Lew. My lord Melun, let this be copied out,

And keep it safe for our remembrance:

Return the precedents to these lords again;

3 Away then, with good courage; yet, I know,

Our party may well meet a prouder foe.] Let us then away with courage; yet I so well know the faintness of our party, that I think it may easily happen that they shall encounter enemies who have more spirit than themselves. Johnson.

Dr. Johnson is, I believe, mistaken. Faulconbridge meansfor all their boasting, I know very well that our party is able to cope with one yet prouder and more confident of its strength than theirs. Faulconbridge would otherwise dispirit the King, whom he means to animate. Steevens.

4 -near St. Edmund's-Bury.] I have ventured to fix the place of the scene here, which is specified by none of the editors, on the following authorities. In the preceding Act, where Salisbury has fixed to go over to the Dauphin, he says:

"Lords, I will meet him at St. Edmund's-Bury.”

And count Melun, in this last Act, says:


and many more with me,

Upon the altar at St. Edmund's-Bury;
"Even on that altar, where we swore to you
"Dear amity, and everlasting love."

And it appears likewise, from The Troublesome Reign of K. John, in two Parts, (the first rough model of this play) that the interchange of vows betwixt the Dauphin and the English barons was at St. Edmund's-Bury. Theobald.


the precedent &c.] i. e. the rough draught of the original treaty between the Dauphin and the English lords. Thus (adds Mr. M. Mason) in K. Richard III, the scrivener employed to engross the indictment of Lord Hastings, says, "that it took him eleven hours to write it, and that the precedent was full as long a doing." Steevens.

That, having our fair order written down,
Both they, and we, perusing o'er these notes,
May know wherefore we took the sacrament,
And keep our faiths firm and inviolable.

Sal. Upon our sides it never shall be broken.
And, noble Dauphin, albeit we swear
A voluntary zeal, and unurg'd faith,

To your proceedings; yet, believe me, prince,
I am not glad that such a sore of time
Should seek a plaster by contemn'd revolt,
And heal the inveterate canker of one wound,
By making many: O, it grieves my soul,
That I must draw this metal from my side
To be a widow-maker; O, and there,
Where honourable rescue, and defence,
Cries out upon the name of Salisbury:
But such is the infection of the time,
That, for the health and physick of our right,
We cannot deal but with the very hand
Of stern injustice and confused wrong.-
And is 't not pity, O my grieved friends!
That we, the sons and children of this isle,
Were born to see so sad an hour as this;
Wherein we step after a stranger march
Upon her gentle bosom, and fill up

Her enemies' ranks, (I must withdraw and weep
Upon the spot of this enforced cause)7

To grace the gentry of a land remote,
And follow unacquainted colours here?

What, here?O nation, that thou could'st remove!
That Neptune's arms, who clippeth thee about,8
Would bear thee from the knowledge of thyself,
And grapple thee9 unto a Pagan shore;1


after a stranger march-] Our author often uses stranger as an adjective. See the last scene. Malone.


the spot of this enforced cause)] Spot probably means, stain or disgrace. M. Mason.

So, in a former passage:

"To look into the spots and stains of right." Malone.

8 clippeth thee about,] i. e. embraceth. So, in Coriolanus: "Enter the city; clip your wives." Steevens.

9 And grapple thee-] The old copy reads-And cripple thee

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