Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

when Callum Beg compares Waverley with his “Pardon me, Julius: here wast thou bay'd, brave hart; target to "the bra' Highlander tat 's painted on

Here didst thou fall, and here thy hunters stand,

Siga'd in thy spoil, and crimson'd in thy lethe." the board afore the mickle change-house they ca' Luckie Middlemass's.”— We give a serious

Old Tuberville gives us the details of this portrait of St. George, from an old illumination,

| custom :-"Our order is, that the prince, or

chief, if so please them, do alight, and take assay of the deer, with a sharp knife, the which is done in this manner—the deer being laid upon his back, the prince, chief, or such as they do appoint, comes to it, and the chief huntsman, kneeling if it be to a prince, doth hold the deer by the fore-foot, while the prince, or chief, do cut a slit drawn along the brisket of the deer.” It would not be easy to effect this operation without the “purpled hands," and Johnson's suggestion that it was “one of the savage practices of the chase, for all to stain their hands in the blood of the deer, as a trophy," is uncalled for.

[graphic]

13 SCENE II.—The mutines of Jerusalem."

The union of the various factions in Jerusa

lem, when besieged by Titus, is here alluded to. that the painters may go right, in future, who Malone gives a particular passage from the desire to make the saint

"Latter Times of the Jews' Commonwealth,' “Sit on his horseback at mine hostess' door." translated from the Hebrew of Joseph Ben

Gorion, which he thinks suggested the passage 12 SCENE II.

to our poet. And, like a jolly troop of huntsmen, come

Our lusty English, all with purpled hands." "SCENE II.—" She is sad and passionate, at The old English custom of the principal men

your highness' tent.” of the hunt "taking assay of the deer,” fur- ! The following representation of tents is from nished this image, and the correspondent one illuminations in Royal MS. 16, G 6, 'L'Histoire in Julius Cæsar:

des Roys de France.'

[graphic]
[graphic][merged small]

HISTORICAL. The events of nearly two years are crowded a meaner enemy, the Viscount Lymoges. But into the rapid movements of this act. And yet, he adopted the conduct of the story in the old except in one circumstance, the general histori play; for he would have lost much by sacrificing cal truth is to be found in the poet. That cir- | the “lion's skin” of the subtle duke to an hiscumstance is the bringing of Austria upon the torical fact, with which his audience was not scene, with the assertion that,

familiar. With the exception, then, of this posi“Richard, that robb'd the lion of his heart,

tive violation of accuracy, we have, in this act, And fought the holy wars in Palestine,

a vivid dramatic picture of the general aspect of By this brave duke came early to his grave." affairs in the contest between John and Philip. Leopold, the brutal and crafty gaoler of the lion We have not, indeed, the exhibition of the slow heart, died some five years before Richard fell course of those perpetually shifting manoeuvres by a wound from a cross-bow, before the castle which marked the policy of the wily King of of the Viscount Lymoges; one of his vassals in France towards the unhappy boy whom he one Limousin

day protected and another day abandoned ; we “An arblaster with a quarrel him shot,

have the fair promises kept and broken in the As he about the castell went to spie.”

space of a few hours. Let ns, however, very In the third Act Constance exclaims, “O, Ly- / briefly trace the real course of events. moges, 0 Austria,” making the two enemies of Philip of France had been twenty years upon Richard as one. In the old play of 'King John' the throne when John leapt into the dominion we have the same confusion of dates and per of Richard, to whom he had been a rebel and a 8ons : for there “the bastard chaseth Lymoges traitor, when the hero of the Holy Land was the Austrich duke, and maketh him leave the

waging the mistaken fight of chivalry and of lyon's skin.” It was un questionably a principle Christendom. Philip was one of the most rewith Shakspere not to disturb the conventional markable examples that history presents of the opinions of his audience by greatly changing constant opposition that is carried on, and for the plots with which they were familiar. He the most part successfully, of cunning against knew full well, from his chronicles, that the in- force. Surrounded as Philip was by turbulent juries which Austria had heaped upon Richard allies and fierce enemies, he perpetually reminds could no longer be revenged by Richard's son,—|

us, in his windings and doublings, of his even and that the quarrel of Faulconbridge was with more crafty successor, Louis XI. Arthur was a Hardyng's .Chronicle.'

puppet in the hands of Philip, to be set up or

knocked down, as Philip desired to bully or consistent with Shakspere's delineation of the to cajole John out of the territories of the house heart-broken mother. She died in 1201. But of Anjou. In the possession of Arthur's person | Arthur was not then John's captive,-although he had a hostage whom he might put forward as all his high hopes were limited to Brittany. an ally, or degrade as a prisoner; and, in the The treaty of marriage between Lewis and same spirit, when he seized upon a fortress in Blanch is thus described by Holinshed :the name of Arthur, he demolished it, that he | “So King John returned back (from York) might lose no opportunity of destroying a bar- and sailed again into Normandy, because the rier to the extension of his own frontier. The variance still depended between him and the peace which Shakspere represents, and cor. King of France. Finally, upon the Ascension rectly, as being established by the marriage of day in this second year of his reign, they came Blanch and Lewis, was one of several truces and eftsoons to a communication betwixt the towns treaties of amity that took place in the first of Vernon, and Lisle Dandelie, where, finally, two or three years of John's reign. The treaty of they concluded an agreement, with a marriage the 22nd May, in the year 1200, between these to be had betwixt Lewis the son of King Philip, two kings, agreed that, with the exception of and the lady Blanch, daughter to Alfonso, Blanch's dowry, John should remain in pos- | King of Castile, the eighth of that name, and session of all the dominions of his brother niece to King John by his sister Eleanor.” The Richard ;-for Arthur was to hold, even his own terms of the treaty are, in several respects, Brittany, as a vassal of John. It is affirmed, | accurately described by Shakspere-the dowry that by a secret article of this treaty Philip was of thirty thousand marks--the resignation by to inherit the continental dominions thus con John of certain possessions—the retention of firmed to John, if he, John, died without chil- Angiers—and the bestowal of Brittany and the dren.

earldom of Richmond upon Arthur. — John, At the time of the treaty of 1200, Constance, however, retained much of what the poet has the mother of Arthur, was alive. As we have recited as being abandoned by him. “The said, she was reigning duchess of Brittany, in lady Blanch” was not personally consenting to her own right. If we may judge of her cha this treaty, for it was stipulated that “the foreracter from the chroniclers, she was weak and said Blanch should be conveyed into France to selfish-deserting the bed of her second hus her husband, with all speed.” band, and marrying the Lord Guy de Touars,— at a time when the fortune, and perhaps the life of her son, by Geffrey, depended upon the singleness of her affection for him. But it is exceedingly difficult to speak upon these points; and there is, at any rate, little doubt that her second husband treated her with neglect and cruelty.

The surpassing beauty of the maternal love of the Constance of Sbakspere will, it is probable, destroy all other associations with the character of Constance. We have no record that Constance was not a most devoted mother to her eldest born; and in that age, when divorces were as common amongst the royal and the noble as other breaches of faith, we are not entitled to believe that her third marriage was incompatible with her passionate love for the heir of so many hopes,her heart-breaking devotion to her betrayed and forsaken son,—and her natural belief, that

"Since the birth of Cain, the first male child,

To him that did but yesterday suspire,

There was not such a gracious creature born."
The fate of Constance was not altogether in-

[Blouch of Castil..]

[graphic]

ACT III.

IS SCENE III.-" Bell, book, and candle shall not I take hym from Crist, and after the sownd of this bell,

Both body and sowle I geve hym to the devyll of hell. drive me back."

I take from hym baptym, with the other sacramentes THE form of excommunication in the Romish

And sufferages of the churche, bothe amber days and

lentes. church was familiar to Chaucer :

Here I take from bym bothe penonce and confessyon, “For clerkes say we shallin be fain

Masse of the wondes, with sensyng and processyon.
For their livelod to sweve and swinke,

Here I take from hym holy water and holy brede,
And then right nought us geve again,

And never wyll them to stand hym in any sted."
Neither to eat ne yet to drink;

In Fox we have the ceremony of excommunica-
Thei move by law, as that thei sain,
Us curse and dampne to hellis brink;

tion minutely detailed ;-the bishop, and clergy, And thus thei puttin us to pain

and all the several sorts of friars in the catheWith candles queint and bellis clink."

dral,—the cross borne before them with three In another passage of the same poem, the Man

wax tapers lighted, and the eager populace ciples' tale, we have the “clerkes,” who

assembled. A priest, all in white, mounts the “ Christis people proudly curse

pulpit, and then begins the denunciation. Those With brode boke and braying bell."

who are curious as to this formula, may consult But the most minute and altogether curious

15 Fox, or Strype; and they will agree with Cordescription of the ceremony of excommunica

poral Trim that the “soldiers in Flanders" tion is in Bishop Bale's 'Kynge Johan.' In

swore nothing like this. The climax of the that "pageant” Pandulph denounces John in

cursing was when each taper was extinguished, the following fashion :

with the pious prayer that the souls of the “ For as moch as kyng Johan doth Holy Church so handle,

“malefactors and schismatics” might be given Here I do curse hym wyth crosse, boke, bell, and candle. Lyke as this same roode turneth now from me his face,

“over utterly to the power of the fiend, as this So God I requyre to sequester hym of his grace.

candle is now quench'd and put out.” Henry As this boke doth speare by my worke mannuall,

VIII., in 1533, abolished the General Sentence I wyll God to close uppe from hym his benefyttes all. As this burn yng Aame goth from this candle in syght,

or Curse, which was read in the churches four I wyll God to put hym from his eternal lyght.

times a year.

HISTORICAL

After the peace of 1200, Arthur remained the town of Mirebeau, near Poictiers, where his under the care of King Philip, in fear, as it is grandmother Elinor was stationed, as “ Regent said, of the treachery of John. But the peace of those parts.” Some of the chroniclens affirm was broken within two years. John, whose pas- that Elinor was captured; but, says Holinshed, sions were ever his betrayers, seized upon the “others write far more truly, that she was not wife of the Count de la Marche, Isabella of An- ! taken, but escaped into a tower, within the goulême, and married her, although his wife which she was straitly besieged.” John, who Avisa, to whom he had been married ten years, was in Normandy, being apprised of the danger was living. The injured Count headed an in- of his mother, “used such diligence that he was surrection in Aquitaine ; which Philip secretly upon bis enemies' necks ere they could underencouraged. John was, however, courteously en- stand anything of his coming.” On the night tertained by his crafty rival in Paris. But, of the 31st July, 1202, John obtained possession upon his return to England, Philip openly suc- of the town by treachery, and Arthur was taken coured the insurgents; once more brought the in his bed. The Count de la Marche, and the unhappy Arthur upon the scene; and made him other leaders, were captured, and were treated raise the banner of war against his powerful with extreme cruelty and indignity. Arthur uncle. With a small force he marched against I was conveyed to the Castle of Falaise. The interdict of John, by Rome, for refusing to admit terbury, did not take place till five years after Stephen Langton to the Archbishopric of Can- / these events.

[graphic][merged small]

ACT IV. 16 SOENE II.—" If what in rest you have."

have

15

game, as far as we may judge, the terms seem to

| imply that the player, at a particular point of To set up a rest” is a term with which every the game, makes a decided stand upon the reader of our old dramatic poets must be familiar. chances he fancies he has secured. In a tale Some have thought that the expression was de- / told of Henry VIII. (quoted by Reed), we have rived from the manner of fixing the harquebuss “The King, 55 eldest hand, sets up all rests, and

-a gun so heavy that the soldier, taking up his discarded flush.” The king was satisfied with position, fixed a rest in the ground to enable his position, and “threw his 55 on the board him to level his piece. But, from a number of open, with great laughter, supposing the game examples given by Reed in his edition of Dods- (as it was) in a manner sure.” The analogy in ley's Old Plays, we find the same expression the speech of Pembroke is pretty close :constantly used in the game of Primero, in which " If what in rest you have in right you hold."

HISTORICAL. It is unquestionably to be deplored that the facts of history, but utterly opposed to them. greatest writers of imagination have sometimes We are not speaking of those deviations from embodied events not only unsupported by the the actual succession of events,—those omissions

« VorigeDoorgaan »