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That sways the earth this climate overlooks,
Bast. Ha, majesty! how high thy glory towers,
K. John. Whose party do the townsmen yet admit?
K. John. In us, that are our own great deputy,
Hubert. A greater power than we denies all this;
Mousing. This figurative and characteristic expression in the original was rendered by Pope into the prosaic mouthing, which has ever since usurped its place. We restore the reading.
b Kings, of our fear. The change of this passage is amongst the most remarkable of the examples which this play furnishes of the unsatisfactory nature of conjectural emendation. Warburton and Johnson, disregarding the original, say, Kings are our fears.” Malone adopts Tyrwhitt's conjecture—“King’d of our fears; '—and so the passage runs in all modern editions. If the safe rule of endeavouring to understand the existing text, in preference to guessing what the author ou have written, had been adopted in this and hundreds of other cases, we should have been spared volumes of commentary. The two kings peremptorily demand the
Bast. By heaven, these scroyles of Angiers flout you,
your industrious scenes and acts of death. Your royal presences be rul’d by me; Do like the mutines of Jerusalem," Be friends a while, and both conjointly bend Your sharpest deeds of malice on this town: By east and west let France and England mount Their battering cannon charged to the mouths; Till their soul-fearing clamours have brawl'd down citizens of Angiers to acknowledge the respective rights of each, England for himself, France for Arthur. The citizens, by the mouth of Hubert, answer,
“ A greater power than we denies all this." Their quarrel is uudecided—the arbitrement of Heaven is wanting.
“ And, till it be undoubted, we do lock
Our former scruple in our strong-barr'd gates,
Kings, of our fear;"'on account of our fear, or through our fear, or by our fear, we hold our former scruple, kings,
“ until our fears, resolv’d, Be by some certain king purg'd and depos’d.” Through and by had the same meaning, for examples of which see Tooke's · Diversions of Purley' (vol. i. p. 379); and so had by and of~as, “ he was tempted of the devil," in our translation of the Bible; and as in Gower --
“ But that arte couth thei not fynde
Of which Ulisses was deceived." a Scroyles; from Les Escrouelles, the king's evil.
b Soul-fearing. To fear is often used by the old writers in the sense of to make afraid. Thus, in Sir Thomas Elyot’s ‘Governor,' “ the good husband" setteth up “shailes to fear away birds." In North’s ‘Plutarch,' Pyrrhus, “thinking to fear"? Fabricius, suddenly produces an elephant. Shakspere has several examples: An. tony says,
“ Thou canst not fear us, Pompey, with thy sails." Angelo, in ‘ Measure for Measure,' would not
“ Make a scarecrow of the law,
Setting it up to fear the birds of prey." But this active sense of the verb fear is not its exclusive meaning in Shakspere; and in ‘The Taming of the Shrew ’he exhibits its common use as well in the neuter as in the active acceptation :
“ Pet. Now, for my life, Hortensio fears his widow.
Wid. Then never trust me if I be afeard.
I meant Hortensio is aseard of you."
The flinty ribs of this contemptuous city :
K. John. Now, by the sky that hangs above our heads,
Bast. An if thou hast the mettle of a king,
K. Phi. Let it be so :-Say, where will you assault?
K. John. We from the west will send destruction
Aust. I from the north.
Our thunder from the south,
Bast. O prudent discipline! From north to south; Austria and France shoot in each other's mouth ; [Aside. I'll stir them to it :-Come, away, away!
Hubert. Hear us, great kings: vouchsafe a while to stay, And I shall show you peace, and fair-fac'd league ; Win you this city without stroke or wound; Rescue those breathing lives to die in beds, That here come sacrifices for the field: Persever not, but hear me, mighty kings.
K. John. Speak on, with favour; we are bent to hear.
Hubert. That daughter there of Spain, the lady Blanch,
Complete of. So the original. Haniner changed this reading to,
“ If not complete, O say, he is not she," which is to substitute the language of the eighteenth century for that of the sixteenth.
b A. The original reads as-evidently a misprint.
Here's a stay,
Eli. Son, list to this conjunction, make this match;
à Here's a stay. This little word has produced large criticism. Johnson would read flaw; another emendator, Becket, would give us say. Malone and Steevens have two pages to prove, what requires no proof, that stay means interruption.
b Zeal, now melted. There is great confusion in what the commentators say on this image. Johnson thinks Shakspere means to represent zeal, in its highest degree, as congealed by a frost; Steevens thinks “ the poet means to compare zeal to metal in a state of fusion, and not to dissolving ice ;" Malone affirms that “Shakspere does not say that zeal, when congealed, exerts its utmost power; but, on the contrary, that when it is congealed or frozen it ceases to exert itself at all.” All this discordance appears to us to be produced by not limiting the image by the poet's own words. The “ zeal” of the King of France and of Lewis is “now melted”whether that melting represent metal in a state of fusion, or dissolving ice: it has lost its compactness, its cohesion; but
“ the windy breath
Of soft petitions,”– the pleading of Constance and Arthur,-the pity and remorse of Philip for their lot, -may “cool and congeal” it “ again to what it was;”—may make it again solid and entire.