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The sea enraged is not half so deaf,
Here's a stay,
Out of his rags !) I cannot but think that every reader wishes for some other word in the place of stay, which though it may signify an hindrance, or man that hinders, is yet very improper to introduce the next line. I read :
“ Here's a flaw,
" That shakes the rotten carcase of old death." That is, here is a gust of bravery, a blast of menace. This suits well with the spirit of the speech. Stay and flaw, in a careless hand, are not easily distinguished ; and if the writing was obscure, flaw being a word less usual, was easily missed. JOHNSON.
Stay, I apprehend, here signifies a supporter of a cause. Here's an extraordinary partizan, that shakes, &c. So, in the last Act of
“What surety of the world, what hope, what stay,
“When this was now a king, and now is clay?" Again, in King Henry VI. Part III. :
“ Now thou art gone, we have no staff, no stay.” Again, in King Richard III. :
“What stay had I, but Edward, and he's gone." Again, in Davies's Scourge of Folly, printed about the year 1611:
England's fast friend, and Ireland's constant stay.” It is observable, that partizan, in like manner, though now generally used to signify an adherent to a party, originally meant a pike or halberd.
Perhaps, however, our author meant by the words, “Here's a stay," "Here's a fellow, who whilst he makes a proposition as a stay or obstacle, to prevent the effusion of blood, shakes,' &c. The Citizen has just said:
“ Hear us, great kings, vouchsafe a while to stay,
“ And I shall show you peace," &c. It is, I conceive, no objection to this interpretation, that an impediment or obstacle could not shake death, &c. though the who endeavoured to stay or prevent the attack of the two kings, might. Shakspeare seldom attends to such minutiæ. But the first explanation appears to me more probable. MALONE,
That spits forth death, and mountains, rocks, and
seas; Talks as familiarly of roaring lions, As maids of thirteen do of puppy-dogs ! What cannoneer begot this lusty blood ? He speaks plain cannon, fire, and smoke, and
Perhaps the force of the word stay, is not exactly known. I meet with it in Damon and Pythias, 1582: “Not to prolong my life thereby, for which I reckon not
this, “ But to set my things in a stay." Perhaps by a stay, the Bastard means "a steady, resolute fellow, who shakes," &e. So, in Fenton's Tragical Discourses, bl. 1. 4to. 1567 : - more apt to follow th' inclination of vaine and lascivious desyer, than disposed to make a staye of herselfe in the trade of honest vertue.” Again, in Chapman's translation of the 22d Iliad :
• Trie we then if now their hearts will leave
“ Their citie cleare, her cleare stay [i. e. Hector) slaine." A stay, however, seems to have been meant for something active, in the following passage in the 6th canto of Drayton's Barons' Wars :
“ Oh could ambition apprehend a stay,
" The giddy course it wandereth in, to guide.” Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. ii. c. x. :
“ Till riper yeares he raught, and stronger stay." Shakspeare, therefore, who uses wrongs for wrongers, &c. &c. might have used a stay for a stayer. Churchyard, in his Siege of Leeth, 1575, having occasion to speak of a trumpet that sounded to proclaim a truce, says
“ This staye of warre made many men to muse.” I am therefore convinced that the first line of Faulconbridge's speech needs no emendation.
Shakspeare seems to have taken the hint of this speech from the following in The Famous History of Thomas Stukely, 1605, bl. 1. :
" Why here's a gallant, here's a king indeed !
Why now I see we shall have cuffs indeed.” STEEVENS.
He gives the bastinado with his tongue;
6 Lest zeal, now melted, &c.] We have here a very unusual, and, I think, not very just image of zeal, which, in its highest degree, is represented by others as a fame, but by Shakspeare, as a frost. To repress zeal, in the language of others, is to cool ; in Shakspeare's to melt it : when it exerts its utmost power it is commonly said to flame, but by Shakspeare to be congealed.
Johnson. Sure the poet means to compare zeal to metal in a state of fusion, and not to dissolving ice. STEEVENS.
The allusion, I apprehend, is to dissolving ice; and if this passage
be compared with others in our author's plays, it will not, I think, appear liable to Dr. Johnson's objection. The sense,
I conceive, is, “Lest the now zealous and to you well-affected heart of Philip, which but lately was cold and hard as ice, and has newly been melted and softened, should by the breath of supplications of Constance, and pity for Arthur, again become congealed and frozen.” I once thought that “the windy breath of soft petitions,” &c. should be coupled with the preceding words, and related to the proposal made by the citizen of Angiers; but now I believe that they were intended to be connected, in construction, with the following line. In a subsequent scene we find a similar thought couched in nearly the same expressions :
1 Cır. Why answer not the double majesties This friendly treaty of our threaten'd town? K. Phi. Speak England first, that hath been for
ward first To speak unto this city: What say you ? K. John. If that the Dauphin there, thy princely
son, Can in this book of beauty read”, I love, Her dowry shall weigh equal with a queen:
“ This act, so evilly born, shall cool the hearts
“Of all his people, and freeze up their zeal." Here Shakspeare does not say that zeal, when “congealed, exerts its utmost power,” but on the contrary, that when it is congealed or frozen, it ceases to exert itself at all ; it is no longer zeal. We again meet with the same allusion in King Henry VIII. :
This makes bold mouths ;
“ Allegiance in them." Both zeal and allegiance therefore, we see, in the language of Shakspeare, are in their highest state of exertion, when melted ; and repressed or diminished, when frozen. The word freeze, in the passages just quoted, shows that the allusion is not, as has been suggested, to metals, but to ice.
The obscurity of the present passage arises from our author's use of the word zeal, which is, as it were, personified. Zeal, if it be understood strictly, cannot “cool and congeal again to what it was,” (for when it cools, it ceases to be zeal,) though a person who is become warm and zealous in a cause, may afterwards become cool and indifferent, as he was, before he was warmed.-"To what it was,” however, in our author's licentious language, may mean, “to what it was, before it was zeal.” MALONE.
The windy breath that will cool metals in a state of fusion, produces not the effects of frost. I am, therefore, yet to learn, how “the soft petitions of Constance, and pity for Arthur," (two gentle agents) were competent to the act of freezing.There is surely somewhat of impropriety in employing Favonius to do the work of Boreas. STEEVENS. ? Can in this book of beauty read,] So, in Pericles, 1609 :
“ Her face, the book of praises,” &c. Again, in Macbeth :
“ Your face, my thane, is as a book, where men
May read strange matters.”
For Anjou®, and fair Touraine, Maine, Poictiers,
[Whispers with Blanch.
8 For Anjou,] In old editions :
“ For Angiers, and fair Touraine, Maine, Poictiers,
(Except this city now by us besieg'd,)
“ Find liable,” &c. What was the city besieged but Angiers? King John agrees to give up all he held in France, except the city of Angiers, which he now besieged and laid claim to. But could he give up all except Angiers, and give up that too? Anjou was one of the provinces which the English held in France. THEOBALD.
Mr. Theobald's emendation is confirmed both by the context and by the anonymous King John, printed in 1591. See the next page. See also p. 231, n. 5. MALONE.
9 Drawn in the flattering TABLE of her eye.] So, in All's Well That Ends Well :
to sit and draw
“ In our heart's table.” Table is picture, or, rather, the board or canvas on which any object is painted. Tableau, Fr. Steevens.