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But, ass, I'll take that burden from your back;
Aust. What cracker is this same, that deafs our
With this abundance of superfluous breath?
straight. Lew. Women and fools, break off your con
ference. King John, this is the very sum of all,
i. e. upon
to draw the lion's skin upon Æsop's asse, or Hercules' shoes on a childes feete.” Again, in the second of William Rankins's Seven Satyres, &c. 1598:
“ Yet in Alcides' buskins will he stalke." STEEVENS.
the hoofs of an ass. Mr. Theobald thought the shoes must be placed on the back of the ass; and, therefore, to avoid this incongruity, reads-Alcides' shows.
MALONE. 4 K. Phi. Lewis, determine, &c.] Thus Mr. Malone, and perhaps rightly; for the next speech is given, in the old copy, (as it stands in the present text,) to Lewis the dauphin, who was afterwards Lewis VIII. The speech itself, however, seems sufficiently appropriated to the King; and nothing can be inferred from the folio, with any certainty, but that the editors of it were careless and ignorant. Steevens. In the old copy this line stands thus :
King Lewis, determine what we shall do straight." To the first three speeches spoken in this scene by King Philip, the word King only is prefixed. I have therefore given this line to him. The transcriber or compositor having, I imagine, forgotten to distinguish the word King by Italicks, and to put a full point after it, these words having been printed as part of Austria's speech : “ King Lewis,” &c.; but such an arrangement must be erroneous, for Lewis was not King. Some of our author's editors have left Austria in possession of the line, and corrected the error by reading here : “ King Philip, determine," &c. and giving the next speech to him, instead of Lewis.
I once thought that the line before us might stand as part of Austria's speech, and that he might have addressed Philip and the Dauphin by the words, King, -Lewis, &c. but the addressing Philip by the title of King, without any addition, seems too tamia liar, and I therefore think it more probable that the error happened in the way above stated. MALONE,
England, and Ireland, Anjou ’, Touraine, Maine,
Come to thy grandam, child.
Good my mother, peace ! I would, that I were low laid in my grave; I am not worth this coil that's made for me. Eli. His mother shames him so, poor boy, he
weeps. Const. Now shame upon you, whe'r she does,
or no 6!
His grandam's wrongs, and not his mother's shames, Draw those heaven-moving pearls from his poor
eyes, Which heaven shall take in nature of a fee; Ay, with these crystal beads heaven shall be brib'd To do him justice, and revenge on you.
5 - Anjou,] Old copy-Angiers. Corrected by Mr. Theobald. MALONE.
6 Now shame upon you, whe'r she does, or no!] Whe'r for whether. So, in an Epigram, by Ben Jonson :
“ Who shall doubt, Donne, whe'r I a poet be,
“When I dare send my epigrams to thee?" Again, in Gower's De Confessione Amantis, 1532 : “ That maugre where she wolde or not —," MALONE.
.“ whe'r he does, or no!”-i. e. whether he weeps or not. Constance, so far from admitting, expressly denies that she shames him. RITSON.
Eli. Thou monstrous slanderer of heaven and
earth! Const. Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and
K. John. Bedlam, have done.
I have but this to say, —
Of this oppressed boy : This is thy eldest son's son,] Mr. Ritson would omit the redundant words —" This is,” and read : “ Of this oppressed boy: thy eldest son's son."
But God hath made her sin and her the plague, &c.] This passage appears to me very obscure. The chief difficulty arises from this, that Constance having told Elinor of her sin-conceiving womb, pursues the thought, and uses sin through the next lines in an ambiguous sense, sometimes for crime, and sometimes for offspring
“He's not only plagued for her sin," &c. He is not only made miserable by vengeance for her sin or crime ; but her sin, her offspring, and she, are made the instruments of that vengeance, on this descendant ; who, though of the second generation, is “ plagued for her and with her;" to whom she is not only the cause but the instrument of evil. The next clause is more perplexed. All the editions read :
plagu'd for her,
© All punish'd in the person of this child." I point thus :
On this removed issue, plagu'd for her,
plagu'd for her
“ Her injury, the beadle to her sin.” That is, instead of inflicting vengeance on this innocent and remote descendant, punish her son, her immediate offspring: then the affliction will fall where it is deserved ; his injury will be her injury, and the misery of her sin ; her son will be a beadle, or chastiser, of her crimes, which are now all punish'd in the person of this child. Johnson. Mr. Roderick reads :
“plagu'd for her,
“ And with her plagu'd; her sin, his injury"
“ Her injury, the headle to her sin."
God hath made her and her sin together, the plague of her most remote descendants, who are plagued for her; ” the same power hath likewise “made her sin her own plague, and the injury she has done to him her own injury, as a beadle to lash that sin.” i. e. Providence has so ordered it, that she who is made the instrument of punishment to another, has, in the end, converted that other into an instrument of punishment for herself. STEEVENS.
Constance observes that he (iste, pointing to King John, “whom from the flow of gall she names not,”) is not only plagued [with the present war] for his mother's sin, but God hath made her sin and her the plague also on this removed issue [Arthur), plagued on her account, and by the means of her sinful offspring, whose injury (the usurpation of Arthur's rights] may be considered as her injury, or the injury of her sin-conceiving womb; and John's injury may also be considered as the beadle or officer of correction employed by her crimes to inflict all these punishments on the person of this child. Tollet.
Plagued, in these plays, generally means punished. So, in King Richard III. :
“And God, not we, hath plagu'd thy bloody deed." So, Holinshed : " - they for very remorse and dread of the divine plague, will either shamefully flie,” &c.
Not being satisfied with any of the emendations proposed, I have adhered to the original copy. I suspect that two half lines, have been lost after the words —" And with her." If the text
Her injury,--the beadle to her sin;
be right, with, I think, means by, (as in many other passages,) and Mr. Tollet's interpretation is the true one.' Removed, I believe, here signifies remote. So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream: “ From Athens is her house remov'd seven leagues.”
MALONE. Much as the text of this note has been belaboured, the original reading needs no alteration :
I have but this to say,
“ All punish'd in the person of this child.” The key to these words is contained in the last speech of Constance, where she alludes to the denunciation of the second commandment of “visiting the iniquities of the parents upon the children, unto the third and
fourth generation," &c. Thou monstrous injurer of heaven and earth!
· Thy sins are visited in this
“ Removed from thy sin-conceiving womb." Young Arthur is here represented as not only suffering
from the guilt of his grandmother; but, also, by her, in person, she being made the very instrument of his sufferings. As he was not here immediate, but removed issue—the second generation
from her sin-conceiving womb-it might have been expected, that the evils to which, upon her account, he was obnoxious, would have incidentally befallen him; instead of his being punished for them all, by her immediate infliction.-He is not only plagued on account of her sin, according to the threatening of the commandment, but she is preserved alive to her second generation, to be the instrument of inflicting on her grandchild the penalty annexed to her sin : so that he is plagued on her account, and with her plague, which is, her sin, that is, (taking, by a common figure, the cause for the consequence] the penalty entailed upon it. His injury, or, the evil he suffers, her sin brings upon him, and her injury, or, the evil she inflicts, he suffers from her, as the