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The world, who of itself is peised well,
Made to run even, upon even ground;
Till this advantage, this vile drawing bias,
This sway of motion, this commodity,
Makes it take head from all indifferency,
From all direction, purpose, course, intent:
And this same bias, this commodity,
This bawd, this broker, this all-changing word,
Clapp'd on the outward eye of fickle France,
Hath drawn him from his own determin'd aid,
From a resolv'd and honourable war,
To a most base and vile-concluded peace.
And why rail 'I on this commodity?
But for because he hath not woo'd me. yet:
Not that I have the power to clutch my hand,
When his fair angels would salute my palm;
But for my hand, as unattempted yet,


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? Commodity, the bias of the world;] Commodity is interest.So, in Damon and Pythias, 1582:

for vertue's sake only, “They would honour friendship, and not for commoditie." Again: “I will use his friendship to mine own commoditie.

Steevens. So, in Cupiil's Whirligig, 1607:

“O the world is like a byas bowle, and it runs all on the rich mens' sides.” Henderson.

this broker,] A broker in old language meant a pimp or procuress. See a note on Hamlet, Act II: “Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers,” &c.

Malone - from his own determin'd aid,] The word eye, in the line preceding, and the word own, which can ill agree with aid, in. duces me to think that we ought to read—“his own determined aim," instead of aid. His own aid is little better than nonsense.

M. Mason. clutch my hand,] To clutch my hand, is to clasp it close. So, in Measure for Measure: “ putting the hand into the pocket, and extracting it clutched.” Again, in Antonio's Revenge, 1602:

“ The fist of strenuous vengeance is clutch'd." See also note on Macbeth, Act II, sc. i. Steevens. 2 But for &c.] i. e. because. So, in The Two Gentlemen of Ve

“I curse myself, for they are sent by me." Reed. Again, in Othello:




Like a poor beggar, raileth on the rich.
Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail,
And say,—there is no sin, but to be rich;
And being rich, my virtue then shall be,
To say,—there is no vice, but beggary:
Since kings break faith upon commodity,
Gain, be my lord; for I will worship thee!

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Enter CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and SALISBURY. Const. Gone to be married! gone to swear a peace! False blood to false blood join'd! Gone to be friends! Shall Lewis have Blanch?' and Blanch those provinces? It is not so; thou hast misspoke, misheard; Be well advis'd, tell o'er thy tale again: It cannot be; thou dost but say, 'tis so; I trust, I may not trust thee; for thy word Is but the vain breath of a common man: Believe me, I do not believe thee, man; I have a king's oath to the contrary. Thou shalt be punish'd for thus frighting me, For I am sick, and capable of fears;4 Oppress'd with wrongs, and therefore full of fears; A widow,5 husbandless, subject to fears;

or for I am declin'd “ Into the vale of years." Malone. 3 In the old copy the second Act extends to the end of the speech of Lady Constance, in the next scene, at the conclusion of which she throws herself on the ground. The present divi. sion, which was made by Mr. Theobald, and has been adopted by the subsequent editors, is certainly right. Malone.

See Mr. Theobald's note, p. 337. Steevens.

4 For I am sick, and capable of fears;] i. e. I have a strong sensibility; I am tremblingly alive to apprehension. So, in Hamlet:

“ His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones,

“Would make them capable." Malone. 5 A widow,] This was not the fact. Constance was at this time

A woman, naturally born to fears:
And though thou now confess, thou didst but jest,
With my vex'd spirits I cannot take a truce,
But they will quake and tremble all this day.
What dost thou mean by shaking of thy head?
Why dost thou look so sadly on my son?
What means that hand upon that breast of thine?
Why holds thine eye trat lamentable rheum,
Like a proud river peering o'er his bounds ?6
Be these sad signs? confirmers of thy words?
Then speak again; not all thy former tale,
But this one word, whether thy tale be true.

Sal. As true, as, I believe, you think them false,
That give you cause to prove my saying true.

Const. O, if thou teach me to believe this sorrow, Teach thou this sorrow how to make me die; And let belief and life encounter só, As doth the fury of two desperate men, Which, in the very meeting, fall, and die. Lewis marry Blanch! O, boy, then where art thou? 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, As it makes harmful all that speak of it.

Arth. I do beseech you, madam, be content.

Const. If thou, that bid'st me be content, wert grim, Ugly, and sland'rous to thy mother's womb,

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married to a third husband, Guido, brother to the Viscount of Touars. She had been divorced from her second husband, Ranulph, Earl of Chester. Malone.

6 Like a proud river peering o'er his bounds ?] This seems to have been imitated by Marston, in his Insutiate Countess, 1603:

“ Then how much more in me, whose youthful veins,

Like a proud river o'erflow their bounds -," Malone. 7 Be these sad signs - ] The sad signs are, the shaking of his head, the laying his hand on his breast, &c. We have again the same words in our author's Venus and Adonis:

“So she, at these sad signs exclaims on death." Mr. Pope and the subsequent editors read-Be these sad sighs &c. Malone.


Full of unpleasing blots, 8 and sightless' stains,
- Lame, foolish, crooked, swart, prodigious,
Patch'd with foul moles, and eye-offending marks,
I would not care, I then would be content;
For then I should not love thee; no, nor thou
Become thy great birth, nor deserve a crown.
But thou art fair; and at thy birth, dear boy!
Nature and fortune join’d to make thee great:
Of nature's gifts thou may’st with lilies boast,
And with the half-blown rose: but fortune, 0!
She is corrupted, chang'd, and won from thee;
She adulterates hourly with thine uncle John;
And with her golden hand hath pluck’d on France
To tread down fair respect of sovereignty,
And made his majesty the bawd to theirs.
France is a bawd to fortune, and king John;
That strumpet fortune, that usurping John :-
Tell me, thou fellow, is not France forsworn?
Envenom him with words; or get thee gone,
And leave those woes alone, which I alone,




8 Ugly and sland rous to thy mother's womb,

Full of unpleasing blots,] So, in our author's Rape of Lu crece, 1594:

" The blemish that will never be forgot,
“ Worse than a slavish wipe, or birth-hour's blot." Malone.

sightless – ] The poet uses sightless for that which we now express by unsightly, disagreeable to the eyes. Johnson.

swart,] Swart is brown, inclining to black. So, in King Henry VI, P. I, Act l, sc. ii:

" And whereas I was black and swart before." Again, in The Comedy of Errors, Act III, sc. ii: Swart like my shoe, but her face nothing so clean kept.”

Steevens. - prodigious,] That is, portentous, so deformed as to be taken for a foretoken of evil. Fohnson.

In this sense it is used by Decker, in the first part of The Honest Whore, 1604:

yon comet shews his head again ;
“ Twice hath he thus at cross-turns thrown on us

Prodigious looks."
Again, in The Revenger's Tragedy, 1607:

“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 thy unlook'd for funeral, Steevens.


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Am bound to under-bear.

Pardon me, madam,
I may not go without you to the kings.
Const. Thou may’st, thou shalt, I will not go

with thee:
I will instruct my sorrows to be proud;
For grief is proud, and makes his owner stout. 3
To me, and to the state of my great grief,
Let kings assemble;" for my grief's so great,
That no supporter but the huge firm earth
Can hold it up: here I and sorrow sit;'




makes his owner stout.] The old editions have-makes its owner stoop. The emendation is Sir T. Hanmer's. Fohnson. So, in Daniel's Civil Wars, B. VI:

“ Full with stout grief and with disdainful woe.. Steedens. 1 To me, and to the state of my great grief,

Let kings assemble; In Much Ado about Nothing, the father of Hero, depressed by her disgrace, declares himself so subdued 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 softens the mind while it is yet warmed by hope, but hardens it when it is congealed by despair. Distress, while there remains any prospect of relief, is weak and Aexible, but when no succour remains, is fearless and stubborn; angry alike at those that injure, and at those that do not help; 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.

here I and sorrow sit ;] The old copy has-sorrows. So, in the first edition of Pope's version of the fifteenth Book of the Odyssey :

“My secret soul in all thy sorrow shares." The next edition erroneously reads--sorrows, which number, as Mr. Wakefield observes, no man of any ear could in that place have written. Steevens.

A slight corruption has here destroyed a beautiful image. There is no poetical reader that will not join with me in reading L"here I and Sorrow sit.” M. Mason.

Perhaps we should read- Here I and Sorrow sit. Our author might have intended to personify sorrow, as Marlowe had done before him, in his King Edward II:

“While I am lodg'd within this cave of care,

“ Where Sorrow at my elbow still attends." The transcriber's ear might easily have deceived him, the two readings, when spoken, sounding exactly alike. So, we find, in the quarto copy of King Henry IV, P.I:

“ The mailed Mars shall on his altars sit, -." instead of-shall on his altar sit. Again, in the quarto copy of

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