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The imminent decay of wrested pomp 2.
Now happy he, whose cloak and cincture3 can
ACT V. SCENE I.
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.
[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
2 The imminent decay of WRESTED POMP.] Wrested pomp is greatness obtained by violence. JOHNSON.
Rather, greatness wrested from its possessor. MALONE.
3 and CINCTURE -]
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;
Then pause not; for the present time's so sick,
PAND. It was my breath that blew this tempest up,
Upon your stubborn usage of the pope :
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,
[Exit. K. JOHN. Is this Ascension-day? Did not the prophet
Say, that, before Ascension-day at noon,
Enter the Bastard.
BAST. All Kent hath yielded; nothing there holds out,
But Dover castle: London hath receiv'd,
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?
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 :
"And meet i' the hall together." MALONE.
to become the field :] So, in Hamlet :
"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;
K. JOHN. The legate of the pope hath been with me,
And I have made a happy peace with him;
O inglorious league!
To arms invasive? shall a beardless boy,
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!
"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,