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France friend with England! what becomes of
me? Fellow, be gone; I cannot brook thy sight; This news hath made thee a most ugly man.
SAL. What other harm have I, good lady, done, But spoke the harm that is by others done?
Const. Which harm within itself so heinous is,
Arth. I do beseech you, madam, be content.
? If thou, &c.] Maffinger appears to have copied this passage in The Únnatural Combat:
If thou hadft been born
Thy body, as the manners of thy mind;
“ I had been bleft." STEEVENS. : Ugly, and Nand'rous to thy mother's womb,
Full of unpleafing blots,] So, in our author's Rape of Lucrece, 1594:
“ The blemish that will never be forgot,
MALONE. 9-fightless -] The poet uses fightless for that which we now express by unfightly, disagreeable to the eyes. Johnsos.
: -fwart,] Swart is brown, inclining to black. So, in K. Henry VI. Part I. Ad I. sc. ii:
“ And whereas I was black and swart before." Again, in The Comedy of Errors, Act 111. sc. ii: " Swart like my shoe, but her face nothing so clean kept."
STEIVENS. prodigious,] That is, portentous, so deformed as to be taken for å foretoken of evil. Johnson.
In this sense it is used by Decker, in the first part of The Honeff Wboro, 1604:
Patch'd with foul moles, and eye-offending marks,
Pardon me, madam,
with thee: I will instruct my sorrows to be proud; For grief is proud, and makes his owner stout."
- yon comet shews his head again;
" Prodigious looks,''
“ Over whose roof hangs this prodigious comet." Again, in The English Arcadia, by Jarvis Markham, 1607; “O, yes, I was prodigious to thy birth-right, and as a blazing star at thine unlook'd for funeral." Steevens.
- makes his owner stout, ] The old editions have—makes its rwner stoop: the emendation is Sir T. Hanmer's, JOHNSON, So, in Daniel's Civil Wars, B. VI:
” Full with ftout grief and with disdainful woe,” STBEVENS,
To me, and to the state of my great grief,
Our author has rendered this passage obscure, by indulging himself in one of those conceits in which he too much delights, and by bounding rapidly, with his usual licence, from one idea to another. This obscurity induced Sir T. Hanmer for stoop to fubstitute fout; a reading that appears to me to have been too hastily adopted in the subsequent editions.
The confusion arises from the poet's having personified grief in the first part of the passage, and supposing the afflicted person to be bowed to the earth by that pride or haughtiness which Grief is said to possess; and by making the afflicted person, in the latter part of the passage, aćtuated by this very pride, and exacting the same kind of obeisance from others, that Grief has exacted from her.-" I will not go (fays Conftarce) to these kings; I will teach my sorrows to be proud; for Grief is proud, and makes the afflicted stoop; therefore here I throw myfelf, and let them come to me.” Here, had the stopped, and thrown herself on the ground, and had nothing more been added, however we might have disapproved of the conceit, we should have had no temptation to difturb the text. But the idea of throwing herself on the ground suggests a new image; and because her fately grief is so great that nothing but the huge earth can support it, the confiders the ground as her throne; and having thus invested herself with regal dignity, the as queen in misery, as possessing (like Imogen) " the supreme crown of grief,” calls on the princes of the world to bow down before her, as she has herself been bowed down by affliction.
Such, I think, was the process that passed in the poet's mind; which appears to me so clearly to explain the text, that I see no reason for departing from it. MALONE. s To me, and to the state of my great grief,
Let kings assemble;] In Much ado about Nothing, the father of Hero, depreffed by her disgrace, declares himself so fubdued by grief that a thread may lead him. How is it that grief in Leonato and Lady Constance produces effects directly opposite, and yet both agreeable to nature? Sorrow foftens the mind while it is yet warmed by hope, but hardens it when it is congealed by despair, thon Distress, while there remains any prospect of relief, is weak and flexible, but when no succour remains, is fearless and stubborn; angry alike at those that injure, and at those that do not help; y careless to please where nothing can be gained, and fearless to offend when there is nothing further to be dreaded. Such was this writer's knowledge of the passions. JOHNSON.
That no supporter but the huge firm earth
[Sbe throws herself on the ground.
* I wil initruct my forrows to ve pruuu, now appears to me to render it somewhat disputable.
Perhaps our author here remembered the description of Elizabeth, the widow of King Edward IV. given in an old book, that, I believe, he had read “ The Queen fat alone below on the rushes, al desolate and dismaide; whom the Archbishop comforted in the best manner that he coulde.” Continuation of Harding's Chronicle, 1543. So also, in a book already quoted, that Shakspeare appears to have read, A compendious and most marvelous history of the latter times of the Jewes Commonweale: “ All those things when I Joseph heard tydings of, I tare my head with my hand, and cast ashes upon my beard, fitting in great forrow upon the ground." MALONE.
7 — bid kings come bow to it.] I must here account for the liberty I have taken to make a change in the division of the second and third acts. In the old editions, the second act was made to end here; though it is evident Lady Constance here, in her despair, seats herself on the floor: and she must be supposed, as I formerly observed, immediately to rise again, only to go off and end the act decently; or the flat scene muit shut her in from the fight of the audience, an absurdity I cannot wish to accufe Shakspeare of. Mr. Gildon and some other criticks fancied, that a considerable part of the second act was loft; and that the chasm began here. I had joined
Enter King John, King PHILIP, Lewis, BLANCH,
ELINOR, Bastard, AUSTRIA, and Attendants.
in this suspicion of a scene or two being loft; and unwittingly drew Mr. Pope into this error. “ It seems to be so, (says he,) and it were to be wish'd the restorer (meaning me) could supply it." To deserve this great man's thanks, I will venture at the task; and hope to convince my readers, that nothing is loft; but that I have supplied the suspected chasm, only by rectifying the division of the acts. Upon looking a little more narrowly into the consticution of the play, I am fatisfied that the third act ought to begin with that scene which has hitherto been accounted the last of the second act; and my reasons for it are these. The match being concluded, in the scene before that, betwixt the Dauphin and Blanch, a messenger is sent for Lady Constance to King Philip's tent, for her to come to Saint Mary's church to the solemnity. The princes all go out, as to the marriage; and the Bastard staying a little behind, to de. scant on interest and commodity, very properly ends the act. The next scene then, in the French king's tent, brings us Salisbury delivering his message to Constance, who, refusing to go to the solemnity, lets herself down on the floor. The whole train returning from the church to the French king's pavilion, Philip expresses such fatisfaction on occasion of the happy solemnity of that day, that Constance ntes from the floor, and joins in the scene by entering her protest against their joy, and curfing the business of the day. Thus, I conceive, the scenes are fairly continued; and there is no chasm in the action, but a proper interval made both for Salisbury's coming to Lady Constance, and for the folemnization of the marriage. Besides, as Faulconbridge is evidently the poet's favourite character, it was very well judged to close the act with his soliloquy. THEOBALD,
This whole note seems judicious enough; but Mr, Theobald forgets there were, in Shakspeare's time, no moveable scenes in common playhouses. JOHNSON.
It appears from many passages that the ancient theatres had the advantages of machinery as well as the more modern stages. See a note on the fourth scene of the fifth act of Cymbeline,
How happened it that Shakspeare himself should have mentioned the act of soifting scenes, if in his time there were no scenes capable of being shifted Thus in the chorus to King Henry V:
“ Unto Southampton do we shift our scene,"