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That judge hath made me guardian to this boy:
K. John. Alack, thou doft ufurp authority.
Eli. Out, insolent! thy bastard shall be king; That thou may'st be a queen, and check the world!
Const. My bed was ever to thy fon as true, As thine was to thy husband : and this boy Liker in feature to his father Geffrey, Than thou and John in manners; being as like, As rain to water, or devil to his dam. My boy a bastard! By my soul, I think, His father never was fo true 'begot; It cannot be, an if thou wert his mother."
called a blot or difference. So, in Drayton's Epifle from Queen Isabel to K. Richard 11:
“ No bastard's mark doth blot his conquering shield.” Blets and stains occur again together in the firit scene of the third act. STEEVENS.
Blot had certainly the heraldical sense mentioned by Mr. Steevens. But it here, I think, means only blemishes. So again, in Act III.
MALONE. 3 That thou may't be a queen, and check the world!] “ Surely (lays Holinshed) Queen Eleanor, the kyngs mother, was sore against her nephew Arthur, rather moved thereto by envye conceyved against his mother, than upon any just occasion, given in the behalfe of the childe; for that the faw, if he were king, how his mother Conftance would looke to beare the most rule within the realme of Englande, till her sonne should come to a lawfull age to govern of himselfe. So hard a thing it is, to bring women to agree in one minde, their natures commonly being so contrary:
MALONE. - an if thou wert his mother,] Constance alludes to Elinor's infidelity to her husband Lewis the Seventh, when they were in the
Eli. There's a good mother, boy, that blots thy
What the devil art thou?
Holy Land; on account of which he was divorced from her. She afterwards (1151) married our King Henry II. Malone.
s Hear the crier.] Alluding to the usual proclamation for filence, made by criers in courts of justice, beginning Oyez, corruptly pronounced O-Yes. Auftria has just said Peace? Malone. 6 One that will play the devil, for, with you, An'a may catch your hide and
you alone.] The ground of the quarrel of the Bastard to Austria is no where specified in the present play. But the story is, that Austria, who killed King Richard Caur-de-lion, wore as the spoil of that prince, a lion's hide, which had belonged to him. This circumstance renders the anger of the Baftard very natural, and ought not to have been omitted. Pope.
See p. 27, n. 9, and p. 28, n. 2. Malone.
The omiffion of this incident was natural. Shakspeare having familiarized the story to his own imagination, forgot that it was obscure to his audience; or what is equally probable, the story was then so popular that a hint was sufficient at that time to bring it to mind; and these plays were written with very little care for the approbation of posterity. Johnson. ? You are the hare-) So, in The Spanish Tragedy:
“ He hunted well that was a lion's death;
“ So hares may pull dead lions by the beard.” See p. 6, n. 4. Steevens,
The proverb alluded to is, “ Mortuo leoni et lepores insultant." Erasmi ADAG. MALONE.
BLANCH. O, well did he become that lion's robe,
Bast. It lies as sightly on the back of him,
Aust. What cracker is this same, that deafs our
With this abundance of superfluous breath?
8 It lies as hightly on the back of him,
As great Alcides' shoes upon an ass:] But why his shoes in the name of propriety?, For let Hercules and his fhces have been really as big as they were ever supposed to be, yet they (I mean the shoes) would not have been an overload for an ass. I am persuaded, I have retrieved the true reading; and let us observe the juftness of the comparison now. Faulconbridge in his resentment would say this to Austria: “ That lion's skin, which my great father King Richard once wore, looks as uncouthly on thy back, as that other noble hide, which was borne by Hercules, would look on the back of an afs.” A double allusion was intended; first, to the fable of the ass in the lion's skin; then Richard I. is finely set in competition with Alcides, as Austria is satirically coupled with the ass.
THEOBALD. The shoes of Hercules are more than once introduced in the old comedies on much the same occasions. So, in The Ifie of Gulls, by J, Day, 1606:
are as fit, as Hercules's shoe for the foot of a pigmy." Again, in Greene's Epistle Dedicatory to Perimedes the Blacksmith, 1588: “ - and so, left I should shape Hercules' shoe for a child's foot, I commend your worship to the Almighty," Agai Greene's Penelope's Web, 1601 : “ I will not make a long harvest for a small crop, nor go about to pull a Hercules' shoe on Achilles' foot.” Again, ibid : “ Hercules' shoe will never serve a child's foot.” Again, in Stephen Goffon's School of Abuse, 1579: “ - 10 draw the lyon's skin upon Æsop's asse, or Hercules' shoes on a childes feete.” Again, in the second of William Rankins's Seven Satyres, &c. 1598:
“ Yet in Alcides' buskins will he stalke." STEEVENS,
upon an ass:] i. e. upon the hoofs of an ass. Mr. Theobald thought the shoes must be placed on the back of the ass; and, therefore, to avoid this incongruity, reads-Alcides' shows, MALONE,
K. Pai. Lewis, determine what we shall do
straight. Lew. Women and fools, break off your con
9 K. Phi. Lewis, determine, &c.] Thus Mr. Malone, and perhaps rightly; for the next speech is given in the old copy (as it ftands in the present text) to Lewis the dauphin, who was afterwards Lewis VIII. The speech itself, however, seems fufficiently appropriated to the King; and nothing can be inferred from the folio with any certainty, but that the editors of it were careless and ignorant. STEVENS. In the old copy this line stands thus :
King Lewis, determine what we shall do straight. To the first three speeches spoken in this scene by King Philip, the word King only is prefixed. I have therefore given this line to him. The transcriber or compofitor having, I imagine, forgotten to distinguish the word King by Italicks, and to put a full point after it, these words have been printed as part of Austria's fpeech: “ King Lewis,” &c. but such an arrangement must be erroneous, for Lewis was not king. Some of our author's editors have left Auftria in poffeffion of the line, and corrected the error by reading here, “ King Philip, determine,” &c. and giving the next speech to him, instead of Lewis.
I once thought that the line before us might stand as part of Auftria's speech, and that he might have addressed Philip and the Dauphin by the words, King ----Lewis, &c. but the addressing Philip by the title of King, without any addition, seems too familiar, and I therefore think it more probable that the error happened in the way above stated. MALONE. Anjou,] Old copy--Angiers. Corrected by Mr. Theobald.
Come to thy grandam, child.
Good my mother, peace !
or no ! 3
3 Now shame upon you, whe'r she does, or no!] Whe'r for whether, So, in an Epigram, by Ben Jonson:
“ Who Thall doubt, Donne, whe'r I a poet be,
“ When I dare send my epigrams to theek Again, in Gower's De Confeffione Amantis, 1532 :
“ 'That maugre where she wolde or not,-," MALONE. Read: - whe'r he does, or no!-i. e. whether he weeps, or not. Constance, so far from admitting, expressly denies that the Thames him. Ritson.
+ Of this oppreffed boy: This is thy eldest fon's fon] Mr. Ritfon would omit the redundant words—This is, and read:
Of this oppreffed boy: thy eldest son's son, STEEVENS.