Imagens das páginas

The imminent decay of wrested pomp 2.

Now happy he, whose cloak and cincture3 can
Hold out this tempest. Bear away that child,
And follow me with speed; I'll to the king:
A thousand businesses are brief in hand,
And heaven itself doth frown upon the land.


The Same. A Room in the Palace.

Enter King JOHN, PANDULPH with the Crown, and Attendants.


K. JOHN. Thus have I yielded up into your hand The circle of my glory.


Take again

[Giving JOHN the Crown. From this my hand, as holding of the pope, Your sovereign greatness and authority.

K. JOHN. Now keep your holy word: go meet the French;

And from his holiness use all your power
To stop their marches, 'fore we are inflam'd *.

[ocr errors]

2 The imminent decay of WRESTED POMP.] Wrested pomp is greatness obtained by violence. JOHNSON.

Rather, greatness wrested from its possessor. MALONE.
The old copy reads-center, pro-

3 and CINCTURE -]

[ocr errors]

bably for ceinture, Fr. STEEVENS.

The emendation was made by Mr. Pope. MALOne.

4 use all your power

To stop their marches, 'FORE we are inflam'd.] This cannot be right, for the nation was already as much inflamed as it could be, and so the King himself declares. We should read for, instead of 'fore, and then the passage will run thus:

Our discontented counties' do revolt;
Our people quarrel with obedience;
Swearing allegiance, and the love of soul,
To stranger blood, to foreign royalty.
This inundation of mistemper'd humour
Rests by you only to be qualified.

Then pause not; for the present time's so sick,
That present medicine must be minister'd,
Or overthrow incurable ensues.

PAND. It was my breath that blew this tempest up,

Upon your stubborn usage of the pope :
But, since you are a gentle convertite",

use all your power

“To stop their marches, for we are inflam'd;

"Our discontented counties do revolt," &c. M. MASON. S - counties-] Perhaps counties, in the present instance, do not mean the divisions of a kingdom, but lords, nobility, as in Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, &c. STEEVENS. a gentle CONVERTITE,] A convertite is a convert. So, in Marlow's Jew of Malta, 1633:


Gov. Why, Barabas, wilt thou be christened?

"Bar. No, governour; I'll be no convertite." STEEVENS. The same expression occurs in As You Like It, where Jaques, speaking of the young Duke, says:

There is much matter in these convertites.”




In both these places the word convertite means a repenting sinner; not, as Steevens says, a convert, by which, in the language of the present time, is meant a person who changes from one religion to another; in which sense the word can neither apply to King John, or to Duke Frederick: In the sense I have given it, it will apply to both. M. MASON.

A convertite (a word often used by our old writers, where we should now use convert) signified either one converted to the faith, or one reclaimed from worldly pursuits, and devoted to penitence and religion.

Mr. M. Mason says, a convertite cannot mean a convert, because the latter word, "in the language of the present time, means a person that changes from one religion to another." But the question is, not what is the language of the present time, but what was the language of Shakspeare's age. Marlow uses the word convertite exactly in the sense now affixed to convert. John, who had in the former part of this play asserted, in very

My tongue shall hush again this storm of war,
And make fair weather in your blustering land.
On this Ascension-day, remember well,
Upon your oath of service to the pope,
Go I to make the French lay down their arms.

[Exit. K. JOHN. Is this Ascension-day? Did not the prophet

Say, that, before Ascension-day at noon,
My crown I should give off? Even so I have:
I did suppose, it should be on constraint;
But, heaven be thank'd, it is but voluntary.

Enter the Bastard.

BAST. All Kent hath yielded; nothing there holds out,

But Dover castle: London hath receiv'd,
Like a kind host, the Dauphin and his powers:
Your nobles will not hear you, but are gone
To offer service to your enemy;
And wild amazement hurries up and down
The little number of your doubtful friends.

K. JOHN. Would not my lords return to me again, After they heard young Arthur was alive?

strong terms, the supremacy of the king of England in all ecclesiastical matters, and told Pandulph that he had no reverence for "the Pope, or his usurp'd authority," having now made his peace with the " holy church," and resigned his crown to the Pope's representative, is considered by the legate as one newly converted to the true faith, and very properly styled by him a convertite. The same term, in the second sense above-mentioned, is applied to the usurper, Duke Frederick, in As You Like It, on his having put on a religious life, and thrown into neglect the pompous court:




out of these convertites

"There is much matter to be heard and learn'd." So, in The Rape of Lucrece :

"He thence departs a heavy convertite." MALONE,

BAST. They found him dead, and cast into the streets;

An empty casket, where the jewel of life'

By some damn'd hand was robb'd and ta'en away. K. JOHN. That villain Hubert told me, he did live.

BAST. So, on my soul, he did, for aught he knew.

But wherefore do you droop? why look you sad?
Be great in act, as you have been in thought;
Let not the world see fear, and sad distrust,
Govern the motion of a kingly eye:
Be stirring as the time; be fire with fire;
Threaten the threat'ner, and outface the brow
Of bragging horror: so shall inferior eyes,
That borrow their behaviours from the great,
Grow great by your example, and put on
The dauntless spirit of resolution R.
Away, and glister like the god of war,
When he intendeth to become the field 9:
Show boldness, and aspiring confidence.
What shall they seek the lion in his den,
And fright him there? and make him tremble


O, let it not be said!-Forage, and run1

7 AN EMPTY CASKET, where the JEWEL of life-] Dryden has transferred this image to a speech of Antony, in All for Love: "An empty circle, since the jewel's gone." STEEVENS. The same kind of imagery is employed in King Richard II. : "A jewel in a ten-times-barr'd-up chest

"Is a bold spirit in a loyal breast." MALONE.


and put on

The dauntless spirit of resolution.] So, in Macbeth :
"Let's briefly put on manly readiness,

"And meet i' the hall together." MALONE.

to become the field :] So, in Hamlet :
such a sight as this



"Becomes the field." FORAGE, and run-] nal sense, for to range abroad.



To forage is here used in its origi-

To meet displeasure further from the doors;
And grapple with him, ere he come so nigh.

K. JOHN. The legate of the pope hath been with me,

And I have made a happy peace with him;
And he hath promis'd to dismiss the powers
Led by the Dauphin.


O inglorious league!
Shall we, upon the footing of our land,
Send fair-play orders, and make compromise,
Insinuation, parley, and base truce,

To arms invasive? shall a beardless boy,
A cocker'd silken wanton brave our fields,
And flesh his spirit in a warlike soil,
Mocking the air with colours idly spread 2,
And find no check? Let us, my liege, to arms:
Perchance, the cardinal cannot make your peace;
Or if he do, let it at least be said,

They saw we had a purpose of defence,

K. JOHN. Have thou the ordering of this present time.

BAST. Away then, with good courage; yet, I know,

Our party may well meet a prouder foe3. [Exeunt.

2 Mocking the air with colours idly spread,] He has the same image in Macbeth :


Where the Norweyan banners flout the sky, "And fan our people cold." JOHNSON.

From these two passages Mr. Gray seems to have formed the first stanza of his celebrated Ode:


Ruin seize thee, ruthless king!
"Confusion on thy banners wait !
"Though fann'd by conquest's crimson wing


"Let us then

They mock the air with idle state." MALONE, 3 Away then, with good courage; yet, I know, Our party may well meet a prouder foe.] away with courage; yet I so well know the faintness of our party, that I think it may easily happen that they shall encounter enemies who have more spirit than themselves." JOHNSON,

« AnteriorContinuar »