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Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.6
[She throws herself on the ground.
the same play we have-monstrous scantle, instead of-monstrous cantle.
In this conjecture I had once great confidence; but, a preceding line
“I will instruct my sorrows to be proud," now appears to me to render it somewhat disputable. Malone.
- 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 must shut her in from the sight of the audience, an absurdity I cannot wish to accuse Shakspeare of. Mr. Gildon, and some other criticks, fancied that a considerable part of the second Act was lost, and that the chasm began here. I had joined in this suspicion of a scene or two being lost, 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 lost; but that I have supplied the suspected chasm, only by rectifying the division of the Acts. Upon looking a little more narrowly into the constitution of the play, I am satisfied 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 con. cluded, 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 descant 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, sets herself down on the floor. The whole train returning from the church to the
French king's pavilion, Philip expresses such satisfaction on oc| casion of the happy solemnity of that day, that Constance rises from the floor, and joins in the scene by entering her protest against their joy, and cursing 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 solemnization 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 VOL. VII.
Enter King John, King Philip, Lewis, BLANCA, ELINOR,
Bastard, AUSTRIA, and Attendants. K. Phi. 'Tis true, fair daughter; and this blessed day, Ever in France shall be kept festival: To solemnize this day,7 the glorious sun Stays in his course, and plays the alchemist ;8 Turning, with splendor of his precious eye, The meagre cloddy earth to glittering gold: The yearly course, that brings this day about, Shall never see it but a holyday.
Const. A wicked day, and not a holyday! [Rising. What hath this day deserv'd? what hath it done; That it in golden letters should be set, Among the high tides,' in the kalendar? Nay, rather, turn this day out of the week;?
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 shifting 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 This phrase was hardly more ancient than the custom which it describes. Steevens.
7 To solemnize this day, &c.] From this passage Rowe seems to have borrowed the first lines of his Fair Penitent. Johnson. The first lines of Rowe's tragedy
“Let this auspicious day be ever sacred,” &c. are apparently taken from Dryden's version of the second Satire of Persius:
“Let this auspicious morning be exprest,” &c. Steevens.
- and plays the alchemist;] Milton has borrowed this thought:
when with one virtuous touch “ Th' arch-chemic sun," &c. Par. Lost, B. III. Steevens. So, in our author's 33d Sonnet:
“Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchymy." Malone.
-high tides,] i. e. solemn seasons, times to be observed above others. Steevens.
Nay, rather, turn this day out of the week;] In allusion (as Mr. Upton has observed) to Fub, iii, 3: “Let the day perish,” &c. and v. 6: “Let it not be joined to the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months." Malone.
This day of shame, oppression, perjury:
K. Phi. By heaven, lady, you shall have no cause
Const. You have beguild me with a counterfeit,
In The Fair Penitent, the imprecation of Calista on the night that betrayed her to Lothario, is chiefly borrowed from this and subsequent verses in the same chapter of Fob. Steevens.
prodigiously be cross'd:) i. e. be disappointed by the production of a prodigy, a monster. So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream :
“ Nor mark prodigious, such as are
“ Despised in nativity.” Steevens. 3 But on this day, &c.] That is, except on this day. Fohnson.
In the ancient almanacks, (several of which I have in my possession) the days supposed to be favourable or unfavourable to bargains, are distinguished among a number of other particulars of the like importance. This circumstance is alluded to in Web. ster's Duchess of Malfy, 1623:
“ By the almanack, I think
“ To choose good days and shun the critical.” Again, in The Elder Brother of Beaumont and Fletcher:
“ Days of iniquity to cozen fools in.” Steevens. See Macbeth, Act IV, sc. i. Malone.
4 Resembling majesty; which, being touch'd, and tried,] Being touch'd-signifies, having the touchstone applied to it. The two last words and triel, which create a redundancy of measure, should, as Mr. Ritson observes, be omitted. Steevens: 5 You came in arms to spill mine enemies' blood,
But now in arms you strengthen it with yours: ] I am afraid hes is a clinch intended. You came in war to destroy my enemies, now you strengthen them in embraces. Johnson.
The grappling vigour and rough frown of war,
Lady Constance, peace.
6 Wear out the day -] Old copy-da;s. Corrected by Mr. Theobald. Malone.
1 Set armed discord &c.] Shakspeare makes this bitter curse effectual. Johnson.
8 O Lymoges! O Austria !) The propriety or impropriety of these titles, which every editor has suffered to pass unnoted, deserves a little consideration. Shakspeare has, on this occasion, followed the old play, which at once furnished him with the character of Faulconbridge, and ascribed the death of Richard I to the Duke of Austria. In the person of Austria, he has conjoined the two well-known enemies of Cæur-de-lion. Leopold, duke of Austria, threw him into prison, in a former expedition; [in 1193] but the castle of Chaluz, before which he fell (in 1199] belonged to Vidomar, viscount of Limoges; and the archer who pierced his shoulder with an arrow (of which wound he died) was Bertrand de Gourdon. The editors seem hitherto to have understood Lymoges as being an appendage to the title of Austria, and therefore inquired no further about it.
Holinshed says on this occasion: “ The same yere, Philip, bastard sonne to King Richard, to whom his father had given the castell and honor of Coniacke, killed the viscount of Limoges, in revenge of his father's death,” &c. Austria in the old play, [printed in 1591] is called Lymoges, the Austrich duke.
With this note I was favoured by a gentleman to whom I have yet more considerable obligations in regard to Shakspeare. His extensive knowledge of history and manners has frequently supplied me with apt and necessary illustrations, at the same time, that his judgment has corrected my errors; yet such has been his constant solicitude to remain concealed, that I know not but I may give offence while I indulge my own vanity in affixing to this note the name of my friend, HENRY BLAKE, Esq. Steevens
Thou fortune's champion; that dost never fight
doff it for shame,] To doff is to do off, to put off. So, in Fuimus Troes, 1633:
“Sorrow must doff her sable weeds.” Steevens. 1 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's-skin coat, which had the buttons down the back; and this they wore that they might be known för fools, and es. cape the resentment of those whom they provoked with their waggeries.
In a little penny book, entitled The Birth, Life, and Death of Fohn Franks, with the Pranks he played though a meer Fool, mention is made in several places of a calf's-skin. In chap. x, of this book, Jack is said to have made his appearance at his lord's table, having then a new calf-skin, red and white spotted. This fact will explain the sarcasm of Constance and Faulconbridge, who mean to call Austria a fool. Sir H. Hawkins.
I may add, that the custom is still preserved in Ireland; and the fool, in any of the legends which the mummers act at Christ. mas, 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 calf's
skin." Again :
“ His calf's-skin jests from hence are clean exild." Again, in the play:
“I'll come wrapp'd in a calf's-skin, and cry bo, bo.” Again: “I'll wrap me in a rousing calf-skin suit, and come like some Hobgoblin.”. .“ I mean my Christmas calf's-skin suit.”
Steevens. It does not appear that Constance means to call Austria a a fool, as Sir John Hawkins would have it; but she certainly means to call him coward, and to tell him that a calf's-skin would suit his recreant limbs better than a lion's. They still say of a dastardly person, that he is a culf-hearted fellow; and a run-away school boy is usually called a great calf. Ritson.