« ForrigeFortsett »
K. John. For our advantage;—Therefore, hear us
first", These flags of France, that are advanced here Before the eye and prospect of your town, Have hither march'd to your endamagement : The cannons have their bowels full of wrath; And ready mounted are they, to spit forth Their iron indignation 'gainst your walls: All preparation for a bloody fiege, And merciless proceeding by these French, Confronts your city's eyes', your winking gates ; And, but for our approach, those Neeping stones, That as a waist do girdle you about, By the compulsion of their ordinance By this time from their fixed beds of lime Had been difhabited, and wide havock made For bloody power to rush upon your peace. But, on the fight of us, your lawful king, Who, painfully, with much expedient march, Have brought a countercheck before your gates, To save unscratch'd your city's threaten'd cheeks, Behold, the French, amaz'd, vouchsafe a parle : And now, instead of bullets wrap'd in fire, To make a shaking fever in your walls, They shoot but calm words, folded up in finoke, To make a faithless error in your ears: Which trust accordingly, kind citizens, And let us in, your king; whose labour'd spirits, Forweary'd in this action of swift speed, Crave harbourage within your city walls.
· For our advantage ; – Therefore hear us firft.-) If we read for your advantage, it would be a inore fpecious reason for interrupting Philip. TYRWHITT. Confronts your city's eyes,
-] The old
reads : - Como forts, &c. Mr. Rowe made this necessary change. STEEVENS.
-a countercheck —] This, I believe, is one of the ana cient terms used in the game of chess. So, in Mucedorus : " Poft hence thyself, thou counterchecking truil.”
STEEVEXS. Vol. V.
K. Phil. When I have said, make answer to us both. Lo, in this right hand, whose protection Is molt divinely vow'd upon the right Of him it holds, stands young Plantagenet; Son to the cider brother of this man, Ard king o'er him, and all that he enjoys : For this down-trodden cquity, we tread In warlike march these greers before your town; Being no further enemy to you, Than the constraint of hospitable zcal, In the relief of this oppressed child, Religiously provokes. Be pleased then To pay that duty, which you truly owe, To him that owes it ; namely, this young prince: And then our arms, like to a muzzled bear, Save in aspect, have all offence scald up; Our cannons' malice vainly thall be spent Against the invulnerable clouds of heaven; And, with a bletted and unvex'd retire, With unhack'd swords, and helmets all unbruis’d, We will bear home that lusty blood again, Which here we came to spout against your town, And Icave your children, wives, and you, in peace. But if you fondly pass our proffer'd offer, 'Tis not the roundure ? of your old fac'd walls Can hide you from our mellengers of war; Though all these English, and their discipline, Were harbour'd in their rude circumference. Then, tell us, shall your city call us lord, In that behalf which we have challeng'd it?
3 'Tis not the roundure, &c.] Roundure means the same as the French rondeur, i.e. the circle. So, in all's lost by Luf, a tragedy by Rowley, 1633 :
-will she meet our arms 66 With an alternate roundure?" Again, in Shakespeare's 21st sonnet :
all things rare,
Or shall we give the signal to our rage,
Cit. In brief, we are the king of England's subjects; For him, and in his right, we hold this town.
K. Jokn. Acknowledge then the king, and let me in.
Cit. That can we not : but he that proves the king, To him will we prove loyal ; 'till that time, Have we ramm'd up our gates against the world. K. John. Doch not the crown of England prove the
king? And, if not that, I bring you witnesses, Twice fifteen thousand hearts of England's breed,
Faulc. Bastards, and else.
those, Faulc. Some bastards too. K. Phil.-Stand in his face, to contradict his claim.
Cit. 'Till you compound whose right is worthiest, We, for the worthicīt, hold the right from both.
K. John. Then God forgive the fin of all those souls, That to their everlasting residence, Before the dew of evening fall, shall fleet, In dreadful trial of our kingdom's king! K. Phil. Amen, Amen! -Mount, chevaliers ! to
arms ! Fauk. Saint George,-that swing'd the dragon, and
[To Axftria. Auft. Peace ; no more.
4 I'd set an ox-bead to your lion's bide,] So, in the old spurious play of K. John:
" But let the frolick Frenchman take no fcorn,
Faulo. O, tremble; for you hear the lion roar.
Faul. Speed then, to take advantage of the field.
K. Phil. It shall be so ;-and at the other hill Command the rest to stand.-God, and our right!
After excursions, enter the Herald of France, with trumpets,
to the galcs.
F.Her. s Youmen of Angiers, open wide your gates,
Enter English Herald, with trumpets.
bells; King John, your king and England's, doth approach,
5 You men of Angiers, &c.] This speech is very poetical and sımooth, and except the conceit of the widow's husband embracing the earth, is just and beautiful. Johnson.
• Rrjoice, you men of Angiers, &c.] The English herald falls somewhat below his antagonist. Silver armour gilt with blood is a poor image. Yet our author has it again in Macbeth :
Here lay Duncan, " His filver skin lac'd with his golden blood." JOHNSON.
Commander of this hot malicious day!
Cit. : Heralds, from off our towers we might behold,
blows; Strength match'd with strength, and power confronted
? And, like a jolly troop of huntsmen,-) It was, I think, one of the savage practices of the chase, for all to ftain their hands in the blood of the deer, as a trophy. JOHNSON,
* Heralds, from off &c.] These three speeches seem to have been laboured. The citizen’s is the best; yet both alike we like is à poor gingle. Johnson.