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I'd set an ox-head to your lion's hide",
Peace ; no more. Bast. O, tremble ; for you hear the lion roar. K. John. Up higher to the plain ; where we'll
set forth, In best appointment, all our regiments. Bast. Speed then, to take advantage of the
field. K. Phi. It shall be so ;-[To Lewis.] and at the
other hill Command the rest to stand.-God, and our right!
Alarums and Excursions ; then a Retreat. Enter
a French Herald, with trumpets, to the gates. F. Her. You men of Angiers, open wide your
gates And let young Arthur, duke of Bretagne, in; Who, by the hand of France, this day hath made Much work for tears in many an English mother, Whose sons lie scatter'd on the bleeding ground: Many a widow's husband groveling lies, Coldly embracing the discolour'd earth ; And victory, with little loss, doth play Upon the dancing banners of the French ;
i I'd set an ox-head to your lion's hide,] So, in the old spurious play of King John:
" But let the frolick Frenchman take no scorn,
“ If Philip front him with an English horn." STEEVENS. 2 You men of Angiers, &c.] This speech is very poetical and smooth, and, except the conceit of the widow's husband embracing the earth, is just and beautiful. Johnson,
Who are at hand, triumphantly display'd,
Enter an English Herald, with trumpets.
King John, your king and England's, doth ap
proach, Commander of this hot malicious day! Their armours, that march'd hence so silver-bright, Hither return all gilt with Frenchmen's blood * ; There stuck no plume in any English crest, That is removed by a staff of France ; Our colours do return in those same hands That did display them when we first march'd forth; And, like a jolly troop of huntsmen”, come Our lusty English, all with purpled hands, Died in the dying slaughter of their foes : Open your gates, and give the victors way.
3 Rejoice, you men of Angiers, &c.] The English Herald falls somewhat below his antagonist. Silver armour gilt with blood is a poor image. Yet our author has it again in Macbeth :
Here lay Duncan, “ His silver skin lac'd with his golden blood.” Johnson.
all gilt with Frenchman's BLOOD;] This phrase, which has already been exemplified in Macbeth, vol. xi. p. 109, n. 5, occurs also in Chapman's version of the sixteenth Iliad:
“ The curets from great Hector's breast, all gilded with his Again, in the same translator's version of the 19th Odyssey: “ And shew'd his point gilt with the gushing gore.”
Steevens. 5 And, like a jolly troop of huntsmen, &c.] It was, I think, one of the savage practices of the chase, for all to stain their hands in the blood of the deer as a trophy. JOHNSON. Shakspeare alludes to the same practice in Julius Cæsar :
Here thy hunters stand,
STEEVENS. VOL, XV.
Cit. 6 Heralds, from off our towers we might
behold, From first to last, the onset and retire Of both your armies ; whose equality By our best eyes cannot be censured": Blood hath bought blood, and blows have answer'd
blows; Strength match'd with strength, and power con
fronted power : Both are alike ; and both alike we like. One must prove greatest : while they weigh so
even, We hold our town for neither; yet for both. Enter, at one side, King John, with his power;
ELINOR, BLANCH, and the Bastard; at the other,
6 Heralds, from off, &c.] These three speeches seem to have been laboured. The Citizen's is the best ; yet both alike we like is a poor gingle. Johnson.
cannot be ceNSURED :) i. e. cannot be estimated. See vol. iv. p. 19, n. 7. Our author ought rather to have writtenwhose superiority, or whose inequality, cannot be censured.
MALONE. So, in King Henry VI. Part I. :
“ If you do censure me by what you were,
Not what you are.” Steevens. Say, shall the current of our right ROAM on ?] The editor of the second folio substituted run, which has been adopted in the subsequent editions. I do not perceive any need of change. In The Tempest we have" the wandering brooks." MALONE. I prefer the reading of the second folio. So in King Henry V.:
“As many streams run into one self sea." The King would rather describe his right as running on in a direct than in an irregular course, such as would be implied by the word roam. STEEVENS.
Whose passage, vex'd with thy impediment,
Bast. Ha, majesty ! how high thy glory towers,
9 — MOUSING the flesh of men,] Mousing, like many
ancient and now uncouth expressions, was expelled from our author's text by Mr. Pope; and mouthing, which he substituted in its room, has been adopted in the subsequent editions, without any sufficient reason in my apprehension. Mousing is, I suppose, mamocking, and devouring eagerly, as a cat devours a mouse. So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream: “ Well moused Lion !" Again, in The Wonderful Year, by Thomas Decker, 1603 : “ Whilst Troy was swilling sack and sugar, and mousing fat venison, the mad Greekes made bonfires of their houses."
MALONE. I retain Mr. Pope's emendation, which is supported by the following passage in Hamlet : “ first mouthed to be last swallowed.” Shakspeare designed no ridicule in this speech, and therefore did not write, (as when he was writing the burlesque interlude of Pyramus and Thisbe,)-mousing. STEEVENS.
Shakspeare is perpetually in the habit of using familiar terms and images in his most serious scenes. To instance only what occurs in this very play :
In undetermin'd differences of kings.-
death! K. John. Whose party do the townsmen yet
admit? K. Pui. Speak, citizens, for England; who's your
king? 1 Cor. The king of England, when we know the
king. K. Phi. Know him in us, that here hold up his
right. K. John. In us, that are our own great deputy, And bear possession of our person here : Lord of our presence, Angiers, and of you.
1 Cit. A greater power than we, denies all this; And, till it be undoubted, we do lock Our former scruple in our strong-barr'd gates : King'd of our fears 8 ; until our fears, resolvd,
“ Now for the bare-pick'd bone of majesty,
“ Doth dogged war bristle his angry crest,” &c. Act IV. Scene last, ad finem. Again, Act V. Sc. II.:
- Have I not here the best cards for the game." Again, Act V. Sc. IV.:
“ Unthread the rude eye of rebellion !" MALONE. i Cry, havock, kings !] That is, command slaughter to proceed. So, in Julius Cæsar :
Cry, havock, and let slip the dogs of war.” Johnson. ? You equal potents,] Potents
, for potentates. So, in Ane verie excellent and delectabill Treatise intitulit Philotus, &c. 1603 : “ Ane of the potentes of the town," 3 A greater power than we, denies all this ; King's of our fears ;] The old copy reads
Kings of our feare—" &c. Steevens. “ A greater power than we,” may mean,' the Lord of hosts, who has not yet decided the superiority of either army; and till it be undoubted the people of Angiers will not open their gates.'