Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

To him that did but yesterday suspire',
There was not such a gracious creature born.
But now will canker sorrow eat my bud,
And chase the native beauty from his cheek,
And he will look as hollow as a ghost;
As diin and meagre as an ague's fit;
And so he'll die; and, rising so again,
When I shall meet him in the court of heaven
I Thall not know him : therefore never, never
Must I behold my pretty Arthur more.

Pand. You hold too heinous a respect of grief.
Conft. He talks to me, that never had a son.
K. Phil. You are as fond of grief, as of your child.

Const. Grief fills the room up of my absent child',
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me;
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;

2

1- but yesterday fufpire,] To fufpire in Shakespeare, I believe, only means to breathe. So, in K. Henry IV. P. II:

"Did he fufpire, that light and weightless down
66 Perforce must move." STEEVENS.

a gracious creature born.] Gracious, in this instance, as in some others, fignifies graceful. So, in Albion's Triumph, a masque, 1631 :

on which (the freeze) were feftoons of several fruits, in their natural colours, on which, in gracious postures, lay children Sleeping." Again, in the same piece:

they stood about him, not in fet ranks, but in several gracious postures."

Again, in the Malecontent, 1604:

". The most exquisite, &c. that ever made an old lady gratious by torch-light." STEEVENS.

Grief fills the room up of my absent child,]
“ Perfruitur lachrymis et amat pro conjuge luctum.”.

Lucan, lib. ix. A French poet, Maynard, has the same thought:

66 Mon dëuil me plaît et me doit toujours plaire, :
" Il me tient lieu de celle que je plains.” MALONE.

Then,

3

Then, have I reason to be fond of grief.
Fare you well : + had you such a lots as I,
I could give better comfort than

you

do. I will not keep this form upon my head,

[Tearing off her head-dress. When there is such disorder in my wit. O Lord ! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son! My life, my joy, my food, my all the world! My widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure ! [Exit. K. Phil. I fear fome outrage, and I'll follow her.

[Exit. Lewis. 5 There's nothing in this world, can make

me joy :
Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man;
And bitter shame hath spoild the sweet world's taste,
That it yields nought, but shame, and bitterness.

Pand. Before the curing of a strong disease,
Even in the instant of repair and health,
The fit is strongest; evils, that take leave,
On their departure most of all thew evil :
What have you lost by losing of this day?

Lewis. All days of glory, joy, and happiness.

Pand. If you had won it, certainly, you had. No, no: when fortune means to men most good, She looks upon them with a threatening eye. 'Tis strange, to think how much king John hath lost In this which he accounts so clearly won : Are not you griev'd, that Arthur is his prisoner? Lewis. As heartily, as he is glad he hath him. 4 had you such a lofs as I,

I could give better comfort ] This is a sentiment which great forrow always dictates. Whoever 'cannot help himself carts his eyes on others for allistance, and often mistakes their inability for coldness. Johnson.

$ There's nothing in this &c.] The young prince feels his defeat with more sensibility than his father. Shame operates most strongly in the earlier years; and when can disgrace be less welcome than when a man is going to his bride? Johnson.

Pand,

Pand. Your mind is all as youthful as your blood. Now hear me speak, with a prophetic spirit; For even the breath of what I mean to speak Shall blow each dust, each straw, each little rub, Out of the path which shall directly lead . Thy foot to England's throne; and, therefore, mark. John hath seiz'd Arthur ; and it cannot be, That, whiles warm life plays in that infant's veins, The misplac'd John should entertain an hour, One minute, nay, one quiet breath of rest : A scepter, snatch'd with an unruly hand, Must be as boisterously maintain'd as gain'd : And he, that stands upon a flippery place, Makes nice of no vile hold to stay himn up: That John may stand, then Arthur needs must fall; So be it, for it cannot be but so.

Lewis. But what shall I gain by young Arthur's fall?

Pand. You, in the right of lady Blanch your wife, May then make all the claim that Arthur did.

Lewis. And lose it, life and all, as Arthur did. Pand. How green you are, and fresh in this old

world! John lays you plots; the times conspire with you: For he, that steeps his safety in true blood, Shall find but bloody safety, and untrue. This act, so evilly born, shall cool the hearts Of all his people, and freeze up their zeal ; That none so small advantage Thall step forth, To check his reign, but they will cherish it : No natural exhalation in the sky, " No scape of nature, no distemper'd day, true blood,] The blood of him that has the just claim.

JOHNSON * No scape of nature,-) The author very finely calls a monstrous birth, an escape of nature. As if it were produced while she was busy elsewhere, or intent on some other thing. But the Oxford editor will have it, that Shakespeare wrote: No shape of nature.

WARBURTON. The old copy reads:- No scope, &c. STEEVENS.

No

6

young Arthur's

No common wind, no customed event,
But they will pluck away his natural cause,
And call them meteors, prodigies, and signs,
Abortives, presages, and tongues of heaven,
Plainly denouncing vengeance upon John.
Lewis. May be, he will not touch

life,
But hold himself safe in his prisonment.

Pand. O, fir, when he shall hear of your approach, If that young Arthur be not gone already, Even at that news he dies : and then the hearts Of all his people shall revolt from him, And kiss the lips of unacquainted change ; And pick strong matter of revolt, and wrath, Out of the bloody fingers’ ends of John. Methinks, I see this hurly all on foot; And, O, what better matter breeds for you, Than I have nam’d!--The bastard Faulconbridge Is now in England, ransacking the church, Offending charity : If but a dozen French Were there in arms, they would be as a call To train ten thousand English to their side; * Or, as a little snow, tumbled about, Anon becomes a mnountain. O noble Dauphin, Go with me to the king : 'Tis wonderful, What may be wrought out of their discontent: Now that their souls are top-full of offence, For England go; I will whet on the king. Lewis. Strong reasons make strong actions' : Let

us go; If you say, ay, the king will not say, no. [Exeunt.

8 Or, as a little fnow,–] Bacon, in his History of Henry VII. speaking of Simnel's march, obferves, that “ their snow-ball did not gather as it went.” Johnson. strong actions :-) The oldest

copy

reads ;- strange actions: the folio 1632 : - strong. STEEVENS.

9

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

A CT IV.

SCENE 1.

England.
Northampton. A room in the castle.

Enter Hubert, and executioners.
Hub. Heat me these irons hot; and, look thou

stand
Within the arras : when I strike my foot
Upon the bofom of the ground, rush forth ;
And bind the boy, which you shall find with me,
Faft to the chair : be heedful: hence, and watch.

Exec. I hope, your warrant will bear out the deed.
Hub. Uncleanly scruples! Fear not you: look to't.

Exeunt executioners.
Young lad, come fortlı; I have to say with you.

Enter Arthur.
Arth. Good morrow, Hubert.
Hub. Good morrow, little prince.

Arth. As little prince (having so great a title
To be more prince) as may be. You are fad.

Hub. Indeed, I have been merrier.

Arth. Mercy on me!
Methinks, no body should be sad, but I:
Yet, I remember, when I was in France,
Young gentlemen would be as sad as night,

Only

Young gentlemen &c.] It should seem that this affectation had found its

way into England, as it is ridiculed by Ben Jonson in the character of Maiter Stephen in Every Man in his Humour. Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Queen of Corinth, Onos fays:

66 Come let's be melancholy." Again, in Lylly's Midas, 1592: “ Melancholy! is melancholy a word for a barber's mouth? Thou should'st say, heavy, dull, and

doltish;

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »