Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

What fince thou fwor'ft, is fworn against thyself;
And may not be performed by thyself;
For that, which thou haft fworn to do amifs,
Is not amifs, when it is truly done:
And being not done, where doing tends to ill,
The truth is then mot done, not doing it.
The better act of purposes miftook

Is to mistake again; tho' indirect,
Yet indirection thereby grows direct,

And falihood falfhood cures; as fire cools fire,
Within the fcorched veins of one new-burn'd.
It is religion that doth make vows kept,
But thou haft fworn against religion:

By what thou fwear'ft, against the thing thou fwear'ft :·
And mak'ft an oath the furety for thy truth,
Against an oath the truth thou art unfure
To fwear, fwear only not to be forfworn;
Elfe what a mockery should it be to fwear?
But thou dost fwear, only to be forfworn,
And most forfworn, to keep what thou doft swear.
Therefore thy latter vows, against thy firft,
Is in thyself rebellion to thyself.

And better conqueft never canft thou make,.
Than arm thy conftant and thy nobler parts
Against these giddy, loofe fuggeftions;
Upon which better part, our pray'rs come in,
If thou vouchfafe them. But if not, then know,
The peril of our curfes light on thee

So heavy, as thou shalt not shake them off;
But, in defpair, die under their black weight.
Auft. Rebellion, flat rebellion.

Faulc. Will't not be?

Will not a calve's-skin stop that mouth of thine?
Lewis. Father, to arms.

Blanch. Upon thy wedding day?

Against the blood that thou haft married?

What, fhall our feaft be kept with flaughter'd men?
Shall braying trumpets, and loud churlish drums,
Clamours of hell, be measures to our pomp?
O husband, hear me; (ah! alack, how new

Is husband in my mouth?) ev'n for that name,
Which till this time my tongue did ne'er pronounce,
Upon my knee I beg, go not to arms

Against mine uncle.

Conft. O, upon my knee,

Made hard with kneeling, I do pray to thee,
Thou virtuous Dauphin, alter not the doom
Forethought by heav'n.

Blanch. Now fhall I fee thy love; what motive may Be ftronger with thee than the name of wife?

Conft. That which upholdeth him, that thee upholds, His honour. Oh, thine honour, Lewis, thine honour l Lewis. I mule, your Majesty doth feem fo cold, When fuch profound refpects do pull you on? Pand. I will denounce a curfe upon his head. K. Philip. Thou shalt not need. England, I'll fall from thee.

Conft. O fair return of banish'd Majefty!

Eli. O foul revolt of French inconftancy !

K. John. France, thou fhalt rue this hour within this hour.

Faulc. Old time the clock-fetter, that bald fexton time.

Is it, as he will? well then, France fhall rue.

Blanch. The fun's o'ercaft with blood: fair day, adieu! Which is the fide that I muft go withal?

I am with both, each army hath a hand,
And in their rage, I having hold of both,.
They whirl afunder, and difmember me.
Husband, I cannot pray that thou may'ft win:
Uncle, I needs muft pray that thou may' lofe:
Father, I may not with the fortune thine :
Grandam, I will not wish thy wishes thrive:
Whoever wins, on that fide fhall I lose :
Affured lofs, before the match be play'd.

Lewis. Lady, with me, with me thy fortune lies. Blanch. There where my fortune lives, there my life dies.

K. John. Coufin, go. draw our puiffance together.

[Exit Faulconbridge.

France,

France, I am burn'd up with inflaming wrath,
A rage, whofe heat hath this condition
That nothing can allay, nothing but blood,
The blood, and deareft-valu'd blood of France.

K. Philip. Thy rage fhall burn thee up, and thou

fhalt turn

To afhes, ere our blood shall quench that fire:
Look to thyfelf, thou art in jeopardy.

K. John. No more, than he that threats. To arms, let's hie.

[Exeunt. SCENE changes to a Field of Battle. Alarms, Excurfions: Enter Faulconbridge, with Auftria's

Faulc.

Head.

OW, by my life, this day grows wond'roushot; (12)

Now

Some fiery devil hovers in the sky,

And pours down mischief. Auftria's head lie there.
Thus hath King Richard's fon perform'd his vow,
And offer'd Auftria's blood for facrifice

Unto his father's ever-living foul.

Enter King John, Arthur, and Hubert.

K. John. There, Hubert, keep this boy. Richard,

make up ;

My mother is affailed in our tent,

And ta'en, I fear.

Faulc. My lord, I refcu'd her:

Her highness is in fafety, fear you not..

(12)

-it grows wondrous bot;

Some airy Devil bovers in the Sky.] I have, by Mr. Warburton's Direction, ventur'd to fubftitute, fiery Devil. It is a very unconclufive Inference, fure, that, because it grew wond'rous hot, foms airy Devil hover'd in the Sky. It is a fort of Reafoning, that carries an Air of Ridicule; unless we could determine, that the Poet meant no more by the Epithet than to express the Sacred Text, in which the. Devil is ftiled the Prince of the Air.

But

But on, my Liege; for very little pains
Will bring this labour to an happy end.

[Exeunt.

Alarms, Excurfions, Retreat. Re-enter King John, Elinor, Arthur, Faulconbridge, Hubert, and Lords.

K. John. So fhall it be; your Grace fhall ftay behind So ftrongly guarded: Coufin, look not fad, [To Arthur. Thy grandam loves thee, and thy uncle will

As dear be to thee, as thy father was.

Arth. O, this will make my mother die with grief. K. John. Coufin, away for England; hafte before,

(To Faulc And, ere our coming, fee thou fhake the bags Of hoarding Abbots; their imprison'd angels Set thou at liberty: the fat ribs of peace (13) Muft by the hungry war be fed upon.

Ufe our commiffion in its utmost force.

Faul. Bell, book, and candle fhall not drive me back, When gold and filver beck me to come on.

I leave your highnefs: grandam, I will pray

(If ever I remember to be holy)

For

your fair fafety; fo I kifs your hand.

Eli. Farewel, my gentle cousin.

K. John. Coz, farewel.

[Exit Faule.

Eli. Come hither, little kinfman;-hark, a word.

[Taking him to one fide of the flage.

K. John. [to Hubert on the other fide.]

Come hither, Hubert. O my gentle Hubert,
We owe thee much; within this wall of flesh
There is a foul counts thee her creditor,
And with advantage means to pay thy love :

[blocks in formation]

Muft by the bungry now be fed upon.] This Word now feems a very idle Term here, and conveys no fatisfactory Idea. An Antithefis, and Oppofition of Terms, fo perpetual with oug Author, requires ;

Muft by the bungry War be fed upon.

War demanding a large Expence, is very poetically said to be hungry, and to prey on the Wealth and Fat of Peace.

Mr. Warburton.

And,

And, my good friend, thy voluntary oath
Lives in this bofom, dearly cherished.
Give me thy hand, I had a thing to fay-
But I will fit it with fome better time.
By heaven, Hubert, I'm almoft afham'd
To fay what good respect I have of thee.
Hub. I am much bounden to your Majefty.

K. John. Good friend, thou haft no cause to fay ló yet,

But thou fhalt have-and creep time ne'er so slow,.
Yet it shall come for me to do thee good.

I had a thing to fay-but, let it go:
The fun is in the heav'n, and the proud day,
Attended with the pleasures of the world,
Is all too wanton, and too full of gawds,
To give me audience. If the midnight bell (14)
Did with his iron tongue and brazen mouth
Sound one unto the drowfie race of night;
If this fame were a church-yard where we ftand,
And thou poffeffed with a thousand wrongs 3.
Or if that furly spirit Melancholy

Had bak'd thy blood and made it heavy-thick,
Which elfe runs tickling up and down the veins,
Making that idiot laughter keep mens' eyes,
And ftrain their cheeks to idle merriment ;
(A paffion hateful to my purposes)

Or if that thou could'ft fee me without eyes,
Hear me without thine ears, and make reply
Without a tongue, ufing conceit alone,
Without eyes, ears, and harmful found of words;

(14)

If the midnight Bell

Did with bis iron Tongue, and brazen Mouth,

[ocr errors]

Sound on into the drowy race of Night;] I do not think, that found on gives here that Idea of Solemnity and Horror, which, 'tis plain, our Poet intended to imprefs by this fine Defcription; and which my Emendation conveys. i. e. If it were the ftill part of the Night, or One of the Clock in the Morning, when the Sound of the Bell ftrikes upon the Ear with most Awe and Terror. And it is very ufual with our Shakepears in other, Paffages to exprefs the Horror of a Midnight Bell.

Then,

« IndietroContinua »