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The court of England. Enter King John, Pembroke, Salisbury, and other lords.
K. John. Here once again we sit, once again crown'd,
Sal. Therefore, to be possess’d with double pomp,
Pemb, But that your royal pleasure must be done,
Sal. In this, the antique and well-noted face
7 This once again,
was once superfluous :) This one time more was one time more than enough. Johnson.
It should be remembered that king John was at present crowned for the fourth time. STEEVENS. 8 To guard a title that was rich before,] To guard, is to fringe.
Makes found opinion fick, and truth suspected,
Pemb. When workmen strive to do better than well,
Sal. To this effect, before you were new-crown'd, We breath'd our counsel : but it pleas'd your highnefs To over-bear it; and we are all well pleas’d; Since all and every part of what we would, Must make a stand at what your highness will.
K. John. * Some reasons of this double coronation I have possess’d you with, and think them strong; And more, more strong (when lefser is my fear) 4
They do confound their skill in covetousness :) i. e. Not by their avarice, but in an eager emulation, an intense desire of excelling; as in Henry V:
But if it be a fin to covet honour,
-in hiding of the fault,
] I have told you some reasons, in my opinion strong, and shall tell more yet stronger ; for the stronger my reasons are, the less is my fear of your disapprobation. This seems to be the meaning. Johnson.
4 And more, more strong, (the lesser is my fear)
I shall endue you with : -] The first folio reads :
(then leser is my fear) The present text is given according to Theobald, whose reading I cannot understand, though the true one is obvious enough:
(when lesser is my fear) TYRWHITT. I have done this reading the justice to place it in the text.
I shall endue you with : Mean time, but ask
Pemb. Then I, (as one that am the tongue of these,
grace occasions, let it be our suit,
K. John. Let it be so; I do commit his youth
Enter Hubert. To your direction. ---Hubert, what news with you?
Pemb. This is the man should do the bloody deed;
s To found the purposes---) To declare, to publish the defires of all those. Johnson.
-good exercise :] In the middle ages the whole education of princes and noble youths confifted in martial exercises, &c. These could not be easily had in a prison, where mental improvements might have been afforded as well as any where else; but this fort of education never entered into the thoughts of our active, warlike, but illiterate nobility. Percy,
He shew'd his warrant to a friend of mine :
Sal. The colour of the king doth come and go,
Pemb. And, when it breaks!, I fear, will iffue thence The foul corruption of a sweet child's death.
K. John. We cannot hold mortality's strong hand:Good lords, although my will to give is living, The suit which you demand is gone and dead; He tells us, Arthur is deceas’d to-night.
Sal. Indeed, we fear’d, his fickness was past cure.
Pemb. Indeed, we heard how near his death he was, Before the child himself felt he was sick: This must be answer'd, either here, or hence. K. John. Why do you bend such solemn brows on
me? Think you, I bear the shears of destiny ? Have I commandment on the pulse of life?
Sal. It is apparent foul-play; and 'tis shame, That greatness should so grossly offer it :
? Between his purpose and his conscience,] Between his conscioufa ness of guilt, and his design to conceal it by fair professions.
Johnson. Like heralds 'trvixt two dreadful battles set :) But heralds are not planted, I presume, in the midst betwixt two lines of battle ; though they, and trumpets, are often fent over from party to party, to propose terms, demand a parley, &c. I have therefore ventured to read, fent. THEOBALD.
This Dr. Warburton has followed without much advantage; fet is not fixed, but only placed; heralds must be set between battles in order to be sent between them. Johnson.
9 And, when it breaks, -] This is but an indelicate metaphor, taken from an impostumated tumour. Johnson,
So thrive it in your game! and so farewel.
K. John. They burn in indignation ; I' repent :
Enter a Messenger.
copy of your speed is learn’d by them; For, when you should be told they do prepare, The tidings come, that they are all arriv'd.
K. John. O, where hath our intelligence been drunk?
Mef. My liege, her ear
* From France to England. The king afks boru all goes in France, the messenger catches the word goes, and answers, that whatever is in France goes now into England. Johnson.