Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Enter king John, king Philip, Lewis, Blanch, Elinor,

Faulconbridge, and Austria.
K. Phil. 'Tis true, fair daughter; and this bleffed

day
Ever in France shall be kept festival :
To solemnize this day, the glorious sun

this suspicion of a scene or two being loft ; 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 delerve this great man’s thanks, I'll venture at the talk; and hope to convince my readers, that nothing is loft; but that I have supplied the suspected chasnı, 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 3d act ought to begin with that scene which has hitherto been accounted the last of the zd act; and my reasons for it are these : the match being concluded, in the scene before that, betwixt the Dauphin and Blanch, a mellenger 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 deséant 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 folemnity, sets herself down on the floor. The whole train returning from the church to the French king's pavilion, Philip exprelles such satisfaction on occasion of the happy folemnity of that day, that Constance rises from the floor, and joins in the scene by entering her protest against their joy, and curfing 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 folemnization of the marriage. Besides, as Faulconbridge is evidently the poet's favourite character, it was very well judged to close the act with his foliloquy. THEOBALD.

This whole note seems judicious enough; but Mr. Theobald forgets that there were, in Shakespeare's time, no moveable scenes in common playhouses. Johnson. It

appears from many paffages 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. STEEVENS.

* To folemnize this day, &c.) From this paffage Rowe seems to have borrowed the first lines of his Fair Penitent. Johnson,

Stays

E 3

9

Stays in his course, and plays the alchymist';
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 holy-day.
Confi. A wicked day, and not a holy-day!

[Rifing
What hath this day desery'd? what hath it done;
That it in golden letters should be fet,
Among the high tides', in the kalendar?
Nay, rather, turn this day out of the week;
This day of ihame, oppression, perjury :
Or, if it must stand still, let wives with child
Pray, that their burthens may not fall this day,
Left that their hopes prodigiously be croft * :
But on this day}, let feamen fear no wreck;
No bargains break, that are not this day made :

and plays the alchymist;] Milton has borrowed this thought, Paradise Lost, b, iji;

“ when with one virtuous touch “ TB'arch-chemic fun, &c." STEEVENS.

-high tides, -- ] i. e. folcmn seasons, times to be observ. ed above others. STEEVENS.

prodigiously be crost :] i. e. be disappointed by the production of a prodigy, a moniter. So, in the Midjummer Night's Dream :

“ Nor mark prodigious, such as are

Despised in nativity." STEEVENS,
3 But on this day,

No bargains break, &c.]
That is, except on this day. Johnson,

In the ancient almanacs (one of which I have in my possession, dated 1562) the days fuppoled 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 Webster's Dutchefs of Malfy, 1623 :

“ By the almanac, I think

" To choose good days and fhun the critical.” Again, in The Elder Brother of Beaumont and Fletcher:

an almanac
66 Which thou art daily poring in, to pick out
" Days of iniquity to cozen fools in.' STLEVENS,

[ocr errors]

This day, all things begun come to ill end;
Yea, faith itself to hollow faldhood change!

K. Phil. By heaven, lady, you shall have no cause
To curse the fair proceedings of this day:
Have I not pawn'd to you my majeliy ?

Const. You have beguil'd me with a counterfeit, Resembling majesty ; which, being touch'd, and

try'd,
Proves valueless : You are for sworn, forsworn;
4 You came in arms to spill mine enemies' blood,
But now in arms you strengthen it with yours :
The grappling vigour and rough frown of war,
Is cold in amity and painted peace,
And our oppression hath made up this league :-
Arm, arm, you heavens, against these perjur’d kings!
A widow cries; be husband to me, heavens!
Let not the hours of this ungodly day
Wear out the day in peace; but, erc sun-set,
3 Set armed discord 'twixt these perjurd kings!
Hear me, oh, hear me!

Auft. Lady Constance, peace.
Conft. War! war! no peace! peace is to me a war.
O Lymoges ! O Austria! thou dost shame

That

4 You came in arms to spill mine enemies' blood,

But now in arms you strengthen it with yours : ] I am afraid here is a clinch intended; You came in war to destroy my enemies, but now you strengthen them in embraces. Johnson.

's Set armed difcord &c.] Shakespeare makes this bitter curse effectual. JOHNSON.

O Lymoges! ( Aufiria!-] The propriety or impropriety of these titles, which every editor has suffered to pass unnoted, deserves a little consideration. Shakespeare 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 ; but the caitle of Chalus, before which he fell, belonged to Vidomar, viscount of Limoges ; and the archer, who pierced his shoulder with an arrow (of which wound he died) was Bertrand de Goure E 4

don,

That bloody spoil: Thou save, thou wretch, thou

coward;
Thou little valiant, great in villainy!.
Thou ever strong upon the stronger fide!
Thou fortune's champion, that dost never fight
But when her humourous ladyship is by
To teach thee safety! thou art perjur'd too,
And sooth'st up greatness. What a fool art thou,
A ramping fool; to brag, and stamp, and swear,
Upon my party! Thou cold-blooded slave,
Haft thou not spoke like thunder on my side?
Been sworn my soldier ? bidding me depend
Upon thy stars, thy fortune, and thy strength?
And doft thou now fall over to my foes ?
Thou wear a lion's hide! doff it for shame 7.
And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs *.

Auft.

don. The editors seem hitherto to have understood Lymoges as being an appendage to the title of Austria, and therefore enquired no further about it.

Holinshed says on this occasion : 66 The same yere, Phillip, bastard sonne to king Richard, to whome his father had given the caftell and honor of Coinacke, killed the viscount of Limoges, in revenge of his father's death, &c.” Austria, in the spurious play, is called Lymoges the Auftrich duke.

With this note, I was favoured by a gentleman to whom I have yet more confiderable obligations in regard to Shakespeare. 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 folicitude 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, 7 doff it for Mame,] To doff is to do of, to put off. So, in Fuimus Trous, 1603 :

“ Sorrow must doff her fable weeds." STEEVENS. 8 And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs.] When fools were kept for divertion in great families, they were distinguished by a calf-skin coat, which had the buttons down the back; and this they wore that they might be known for fools, and escape the refentment of those whom they provoked with their waggeries. In a little penny book, intitled The Birth, Life, and Death of

Auft. O, that a man would speak those words to me! Faulc. And hang a calf's-ikin on those recreant

limbs. Auft. Thou dar'st not say so, villain, for thy life. Faulc. And hang a calf's-skin on those recreant limbs

K. John.

John Franks, with the Pranks be 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 fuit, red and white spotted. This fact will explain the sarcasm of Constance and Faulconbridge, who mean to call Austria a fool. Sir J. 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 Christmas, 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 fuit, and come like fome Hobgoblin.” 6. I mean my Christmas calf skin fuit."

STEEVENS. 9 Here Mr. Pope inserts the following speeches from the old play of K. John, printed in 1591, (before Shakespeare appears to have commenced a writer) with the following note upon them.

Auft. Methinks, that Richard's pride, and Richard's fall, “ Should be a precedent to fright you all.

Faulc. What words are there? how do my sinews shake! « My father's foe clad in my father's spoil! " How doth Alecto whisper in my ears,

Delay not, Richard, kill the villain strait;

Difrobe bim of the matchless monument,
Thy father's triumph o'er the favages.
“ Now by his foul I swear, my father's foul,
“+ Twice will I not review the morning's rise,
66 Till I have torn that trophy from thy back,

" And split thy heart, for wearing it fo long." Methinks, that Richard's pride, &c.] What was the ground of this quarrel of the bastard to Austria is no where specified in the present play: nor is there in this place, or the scene where it is first hinted at (uamely the second of act II.) the least mention of

« ForrigeFortsett »