Even to that drop ten thousand wiry friends a
Do glue themselves in sociable grief;
Like true, inseparable, faithful loves,
Sticking together in calamity.

Const. To England, if you will.
K. Pha.

Bind up your hairs.
Const. Yes, that I will; And wherefore will I do it?
I tore them from their bonds; and cried aloud,
O that these hands could so redeem my son,
As they have given these hairs their liberty!
But now I envy at their liberty,
And will again commit them to their bonds
Because my poor child is a prisoner.
And, father cardinal, I have heard you say,
That we shall see and know our friends in heaven:
If that be true, I shall see my boy again;
For, since the birth of Cain, the first male child,
To him that did but yesterday suspire,
There was not such a gracious creature born.
But now will canker sorrow eat my bud,
And chase the native beauty from his cheek,
And he will look as hollow as a ghost;
As dim and meagre as an ague's fit;
And so he 'll die ; and, rising so again,
When I shall meet him in the court of heaven
I shall not know him: therefore never, never
Must I behold my pretty Arthur more.

Pand. You hold too heinous a respect of grief.
Const. He talks to me that never had a son.
K. Phi. You are as fond of grief as of your child.

Const. Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form ;
Then, have I reason to be fond of grief.
Fare you well: had you such a loss as I,
I could give better comfort than you do.-
a Friends. In the original, fiends.

I will not keep this form upon my head,

[Tearing off her head-dress. When there is such disorder in my wit.

O Lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son!
My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!
My widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure!

[Exit. K. Phi. I fear some outrage, and I'll follow her. Erit.

Lew. There's nothing in this world can make me joy :
Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man;
And bitter shame hath spoild the sweet world's taste, a
That it yields nought but shame and bitterness.

Pand. Before the curing of a strong disease,
Even in the instant of repair and health,
The fit is strongest; evils, that take leave,
On their departure most of all show evil:
What have you lost by losing of this day?

Lew. All days of glory, joy, and happiness.

Pand. If you had won it, certainly, you had.
No, no: when fortune means to men most good,
She looks upon them with a threatening eye.
'Tis strange to think how much king John hath lost
In this which he accounts so clearly won:
Are not you griev'd that Arthur is his prisoner?

Lew. As heartily as he is glad he hath him.

Pand. Your mind is all as youthful as your blood.
Now hear me speak, with a prophetic spirit;
For even the breath of what I mean to speak
Shall blow each dust, each straw, each little rub,
Out of the path which shall directly lead
Thy foot to England's throne; and, therefore, mark.
John hath seiz'd Arthur; and it cannot be,
That, whiles warm life plays in that infant's veins,
The misplac'd John should entertain an hour,
One minute, nay, one quiet breath of rest :
A sceptre, snatch'd with an unruly hand,
Must be as boisterously maintain’d as gain’d:

a Sweet world's taste. Pope made this correction from the “ sweet word's taste" of the original.

And he that stands upon a slippery place
Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him

up: That John


stand then Arthur needs must fall ; So be it, for it cannot be but so.

Lew. But what shall I gain by young Arthur's fall?

Pand. You, in the right of lady Blanch your wife, May then make all the claim that Arthur did.

Lew. And lose it, life and all, as Arthur did.

Pand. How green you are, and fresh in this old world!
John lays you plots; the times conspire with you:
For he that steeps his safety in true blood
Shall find but bloody safety, and untrue.
This act, so evilly born, shall cool the hearts
Of all his people, and freeze up their zeal,
That none so small advantage shall step forth
To check his reign, but they will cherish it;
No natural exhalation in the sky,

scope of nature, a no distemper'd day,
No common wind, no customed event,
But they will pluck away his natural cause,
And call them meteors, prodigies, and signs,
Abortives, presages, and tongues of heaven,
Plainly denouncing vengeance upon John.

Lew. May be, he will not touch young Arthur's life, ,
But hold himself safe in his prisonment.

Pand. O, sir, when he shall hear of your approach,
If that young Arthur be not gone already,
Even at that news he dies; and then the hearts
Of all his people shall revolt from him,
And kiss the lips of unacquainted change;
And pick strong matter of revolt, and wrath,
Out of the bloody fingers' ends of John.
Methinks, I see this hurly all on foot;
And, 0, what better matter breeds for you,

& No scope of nature. The modern editions all read, contrary to the original, scape (escape) of nature. The scope of nature-the ordinary course of natureappears to us to convey the poet's meaning much better. An escape of nature is a prodigy ;-Shakspere says, the commonest things will be called “ abortives." A scope is what is seen-according to its derivation-as a phenomenon is what appears. They are the same thing.

Than I have nam’d !—The bastard Faulconbridge
Is now in England, ransacking the church,
Offending charity : If but a dozen French
Were there in arms, they would be as a call a
To train ten thousand English to their side;
Or, as a little snow, tumbled about,
Anon becomes a mountain. O noble dauphin,
Go with me to the king: ’T is wonderful
What may be wrought out of their discontent,
Now that their souls are topfull of offence.
For England go; I will whet on the king.

Lew. Strong reasons make strange b actions: Let us go ; If you say ay, the king will not say no.



A call. The caged birds which lure the wild ones to the net are termed by fowlers “ call-birds.” The image in the text is more probably derived from a term of falconry.

Strange. So the reading of the first folio. It has been generally altered into strong. The old reading restored gives us a deep observation instead of an epigrammatic one. Strong reasons make--that is, justify—a large deviation from common




1 SCENE III.—Bell, book, and candle shall not drive me back.' The form of excommunication in the Romish church was familiar to Chaucer :

“ For clerkes say we shallin be fain

For their livelod to sweve and swinke,
And then right nought us geve again,
Neither to eat ne yet to drinke;
Thei move by law, as that thei sain,
Us curse and dampne to hellis brinke;
And thus thei puttin us to pain

With candles queint and bellis clinke.” In another passage of the same poem, “The Manciple’s Tale,' we have the “ clerkes," who

“ Christis people proudly curse

With brode boke and braying bell.” But the most minute and altogether curious description of the ceremony of excommunication is in Bishop Bale's · Kynge Johan,' which we have described in our Introductory Notice. In that “pageant” Pandulph denounces John in the following fashion :

“ For as moch as kyng Johan doth holy church so handle,

Here I do curse hym wyth crosse, boke, bell, and candle.
Lyke as this same roode turneth now from me his face,
So God I requyre to sequester hym of his grace.
As this boke doth speare by my worke mannuall,
I wyll God to close uppe from hym his benefyttes all.
As this burnyng flame goth from this candle in syght,
I wyll God to put hym from his eternall lyght.
I take hym from Crist, and after the sownd of this bell,
Both body and sowle I geve hym to the devyll of hell.
I take from hym baptym, with the other sacramentes
And sufferages of the churche, bothe amber days and lentes.
Here I take from hym bothe penonce and confessyon,
Masse of the wondes, with sensyng and processyon.
Here I take from hym holy water and holy brede,

And never wyll them to stande hym in any sted.” In Fox we have the ceremony of excommunication minutely detailed ;—the bishop, and clergy, and all the several sorts of friars in the cathedral,—the cross borne before them with three wax tapers lighted, and the eager populace assembled. A priest, all in white, mounts the pulpit, and then begins the denunciation. Those who are curious as to this formula may consult Fox or Strype ; and they will agree with Corporal Trim that the “ soldiers in Flanders” swore nothing like this. The climax of the cursing was when each taper was extinguished, with the pious prayer that the souls of the “ malefactors and schismatics” might be given utterly to the power of the fiend, as this candle is now quenched and put out.” Henry VIII., in 1533, abolished the General Sentence or Curse which was read in the churches four times a year.




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