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Been sworn my soldier? bidding me depend
som doff it for skame] To dof is to do off, to put off. So, in Fuimus Troes, 1633 :
“ Sorrow must doff her sable weeds.” STEEVENS.
And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs.] When fools were kept for diversion in great families, they were distinguished by a calf'sakin coat, which had the buttons down the back; and this they wore that they might be known for fools, and escape the resentment of those whom they provoked with their waggeries.
In a little penny book, intitled The Birth, Life, and Death of John Franks, with the Pranks he played though a meer Foal, mention is made in feveral places of a calf's-kin. In chap. X. of this book, Jack is said to have made his appearance at bis lord's table, having then a new calf-/kin, red and white spotted. This fact will explain the farcasm of Constance and Faulconbridge, who mean to call Austria a fool. Sir J. HAWKINS,
I may add, that the custom is ftill preserved in Ireland; and the fool in any of the legends which the mummers act at Christmas, always appears in a calf's or cow's skin. In the prologue to Wily Beguiled, are the two following passages :
* I'll make him do penance upon the stage in a calfos-skin.” Again :
“ His calf'sofkin jests from hence are clean exild." Again, in the play :
“ I'll come wrapp'd in a calf'sakiu, and cry bo, bo." Again :-"I'll wrap me in a rousing calf-/kin suit, and come lika some Hobgoblin."- "I mean my Christmas calf's-skin suit."
STEEVENS. It does not appear that Constance means to call Austria a fool, as Sir John Hawkins would have it; but she certainly means to call him coward, and to tell him that a calf'sakin would fuit his re. creant limbs better than a lion's, They still fay of a daftardly perfon that he is a calf-hearted fellow; and a run-away school boy is usually called a great calf. Ritson.
The speaker in the play (Wily Beguiled] is Robin Goodfellow. Perhaps, as has been suggested, Constance, by cloathing Austria in a calf's-skin, means only to infinuate that he is a coward. The word recreant seems to favour such a supposition. Maloxe..
Aust. O, that a man should speak those words
to me! Bast. And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant
limbs. Aust. Thou dar’st not say so, villain, for thy
life. Bast. And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant
limbs. K. John. We like not this; thou doft forget thy
7. Here Mr. Pope inserts the following speeches from the old play of King John, printed in 1591, before Shakspeare appears to have commenced a writer : : “ Auft. Methinks, that Richard's pride, and Richard's fall, “ Should be a precedent to fright you all.
« Faulc. What words are these? how do my finews shake! “ My father's foe clad in my father's spoil! • How doth Alecto whisper in my ears, “ Delay not, Richard, kill the villain straight; “ Difrobe him of the matchless monument, “ Thy father's triumph o'er the savages ! « Now by his soul I swear, my father's soul, « Twice will I not review the morning's rife, « Till I have torn that trophy from thy back, « And split thy heart for wearing it so long." Steevens.
I cannot by any means approve of the insertion of these lines from the other play. If they were necessary to explain the ground of the Bastard's quarrel to Austria, as Mr. Pope supposes, they should rather be inserted in the first scene of the second act, at the time of the first altercation between the Bastard and Austria. But indeed the ground of their quarrel seems to be as clearly expressed in the first scene as in these lines; so that they are unnecessary in either place; and therefore, I think, should be thrown out of the text, as well as the three other lines, which have been inserted with as little reason in Act III. sc, ii : Thus hath king Richard's, &c.
K. Phi. Here comes the holy legate of the pope.
Pand. Hail, you anointed deputies of heaven!-
K. John. What earthly name to interrogatories, 3
8 What earthly, &c.] This must have been at the time when it was written, in our struggles with popery, a very captivating scene.
So many passages remain in which Shakspeare evidently takes his advantage of the facts then recent, and of the passions then in motion, that I cannot but suspect that time has obscured much of his art, and that many allusions yet remain undiscovered, which perhaps may be gradually retrieved by succeeding commentators.
JOHNSON, The speech stands thus in the old fpurious play : “ And what hast thou, or the pope thy master to do, to demand of me how I employ mine own?" Know, fir priest, as I honour the church and holy churchmen, so I scorne to be subject to the greatest prelate in the world. Tell thy master so from me; and say, John of England said it, that never an Italian priest of them all, shall either have tythe, toll, or polling penny out of England ; but as I am king, so will I reign next under God, supreme head both over fpiritual and temporal: and he that contradicts me in this, I'll make him hop headless." STEEVENS.
What earthly name to interrogatories,
Thou canst not, cardinal, devise a name
to interrogatorics, can force a king to speak and answer them? The old copy reads earthy. The emendation was made by Mr. Pope. It has also taft instead of task, which was substituted by Mr. Thecbald. Breath for speech is common with our author. So, in a subsequent part of this scene :
The latest breath that gave the sound of words.” Again, in The Merchant of Venice, “ breathing courtesy," for verbal courtesy. Malone.
The emendation (task] may be justified by the following passage in King Henry IV. P. I:
• How show'd his talking ? seem'd it in contempt?" . Again, in King Henry V : .“ That task our thoughts concerning us and France."
This juggling witchcraft with revenue cherish;
Pand. Then, by the law ful power that I have,
Const. O, lawful let it be, That I have room with Rome to curse a while ! Good father cardinal, cry thou, amen, To my keen curses; for, without my wrong, There is no tongue hath power to curse him right. Pand. There's law and warrant, lady, for my
curse. Const. And for mine too; when law can do no
2 That takes away by any secret course,
Thy hateful life.] This may allude to the bull published against Queen Elizabeth. Or we may suppose, since we have no proof that this play appeared in its present state before the reign of King James, that it was exhibited soon after the popish plot. I have seen a Spanish book in which Garnet, Faux, and their accomplices, are registered as faints. JOHNSON.
If any allusion to his own times was intended by the author of the old play, (for this speech is formed on one in King John, 1591,) it must have been to the bull of Pope Pius the Fifth, 1569: “Then I Pandulph of Padua, legate from the Apostolike fea, doe in the name of Saint Peter, and his fucceffor, our holy father Pope Innocent, pronounce thee accursed, discharging every of thy subjects of all dutie and fealtie that they do owe to thee, and pardon and for. givenesle of finne to those or them whatsoever which shall carrie ármes against thee or murder thee. This I pronounce, and charge all good men to abhorre thee as an excommunicate person.”