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To whom, with all submission, on my knee,
Sal. And the like tender of our love we make,
P. Hen. I have a kind soul, that would give you thanks, And knows not how to do it, but with tears.
Bast. O, let us pay the time but needful woe,
ILLUSTRATIONS OF ACT V.
1 SCENE II.—“ Have I not here the best car:/8 for the game?" THERE is a general notion that cards were invented for the amusement of Charles VI. of France, who suffered an almost constant depression of spirits, nearly allied to insanity. This opinion was derived from an entry in an account-book of the treasurer to that unhappy king, about 1393, in which we find “. listy-six sols of Paris given to Jacquemin Gringonneur, painter, for three packs of cards, gilt and coloured, and of different sorts, for the diversion of his majesty.” From a passage discovered in an old manuscript copy of the romance of Renard le Coutrefait,' it appears that cards were known in France about 1340; and there is no doubt that they were commonly used in France and Spain about the end of the fourteenth century. The earliest printed cards known are those engraved by the celebrated artist known as “ the Master of 1466 ;" and parts of a pack, in most beautiful preservation, are in the possession of Mr. Tiffin, of the Strand, who has kindly permitted us to copy the following specimens:
2 SCENE III. .“ To my litter straight." Holinshed relates, after Matthew Paris, that the King was not able to ride, but was fain to be carried in a litter, presently made of twigs, with a couch of straw under him, without any bed or pillow.” Matthew of Westminster informs us that John was conveyed from the abbey of Swineshead, “ in lecticâ equestri, the horselitter. The following representation of one form of this litter is from a drawing in the MS. “History of the Kings of France' (Royal, 16 G. 6), written at the commencement of the fourteenth century. In the original the drawing appears to Vol. IV,
represent Queen Crotilde, who in her last illness was carried to Tours, where she died.
3 SCENE VII.-“ Many carriages." In vol. xx, of the Archæologia' there is a history of carriages in England, by Mr. Markland, illustrated by engravings--among which is the principal figure of the following engraving, copied from a very valuable MS. formerly in the Roxburgh Library, entitled “Le Roman du Roy Meliadus,' written at the close of the fourteenth century. The elegant form of the wheel of this carriage (similar to what, in architecture, is called a Catherine wheel) deserves particular notice. The vehicles in the background are taken from a curious Saxon MS. in the British Museum (Cottonian Lib. Claudius B, 4), in which many varieties of wheel-carriages are delineated.
The four-wheeled car in which the standard is erected is copied from a drawing in an early ' MS. History of the Kings of France (Royal MS. 16 G. 6, Brit. Mus.).
The standard there represented is of great size, indeed so large that only some contrivance similar to that adopted could have rendered it available in the field.
The famous Battle of the Standard, fought 1138, derived its name from one of these remarkable standards being erected by the English army; from the car of which the Bishop of Durham, previous to the battle, read the prayer of absolution.
It is unnecessary for us to do more than refer our readers to Holinshed for an account of the long-protracted dispute between the Pope and John, which ended in the mean submission which Shakspere has so strikingly recorded in the first scene of this act. The chronicler also details the attempt which the Pope made to dissuade the French king from the invasion of England, and the determination of the Dauphin to assert what he called his right to the throne. These narratives are too long, and have too little of dramatic interest, to be here given as illustrations of the poet. We subjoin, however, Holinshed's account, which he gives on the authority of Matthew Paris, of the disclosures of Melun, which determined the revolted lords to return to their obedience to John. But the story is very apocryphal
“ About the same time (1216, An. Reg. 18), or rather in the year last past as some hold, it fortuned that the Viscount of Melune, a Frenchman, fell sick at London, and, perceiving that death was at hand, he called unto bim certain of the English barons, which remained in the city, upon safeguard thereof, and to them made this protestation : 'I lament (saith he) your destruction and desolation at
hand, because you are ignorant of the perils hanging over your heads. For this understand, that Lewis, and with him sixteen earls and barons of France, have secretly sworn (if it shall fortune him to conquer this realm of England, and be crowned king) that he will kill, banish, and confine all those of the English nobility (which now do serve under him, and persecute their own king) as traitors and rebels, and furthermore will dispossess all their lineage of such inheritance as they now hold in England. And because (saith he) you shall not have doubt hereof, I, which lie here at the point of death, do now affirm unto you, and take it on the peril of my soul, that I am one of those sixteen that have sworn to perform this thing. Wherefore I advise you to provide for your own safeties, and your realm’s which you now destroy, and keep this thing secret which I have uttered unto you.' After this speech was uttered he straightways died."
The “ Plain near St. Edmund's-Bury,” which is the locality of the second scene and of the subsequent battle, is not mentioned in the chronicles, nor is this locality defined in the original edition of this play. The modern editors have introduced it, most probably from the circumstance of the Barons and the Dauphin having interchangeably sworn
Upon the altar at St. Edmund's-Bury." We subjoin an old view of the town :
Matthew Paris, and Matthew of Westminster, have minutely described the route taken by the king previous to his death. The country being wasted on each hand, the king passeth forward till he came to Wellestreme Sands, where, in passing the washes, he lost a great part of his army, with horses and carriages.” “ Yet the king himself, and a few others, escaped the violence of the waters, by following a good guide.” The Long Wash, between Lynn and Boston, was formerly a morass, intersected by roads of Roman construction. The memory of the precise spot where Johın lost his baggage is still preserved in the name of a corner of a bank between Cross Keys Wash and Lynn, called King's Corner. The poet, having another dramatic purpose in view, did not take that version of the king's death