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When such profound respects do pull you on.
Pand. I will denounce a curse upon his head.
this hour. Basr. Old time the clock-setter, that bald sexton
time, Is it as he will ? well then, France shall rue. Blanch. The sun's o'ercast with blood : Fair day,
Lew. Lady, with me; with me thy fortune lies.
my life dies.
K. JOHN. Cousin, go draw our puissance together.
[Exit Bastard. So, in Middleton's Tragi-Coomodie, called The Witch: “ And why thou staist
, so long, I muse, “ Since the air's so sweet and good.” Steevens. 4 They whirl asunder, and dismember me.] Alluding to a well-known Roman punishment :
Metiumu in diversa quadriga Distulerant. Eneid, viii. 642. Steevens. . See vol. xiv. p. 127, n. 3, where I have shewn that Shakspeare was much more likely to have alluded in cases of this sort to events which had happened in his own time than to the Roman history.
France, I am burn'd up with inflaming wrath;
shalt turn To ashes, ere our blood shall quench that fire : Look to thyself, thou art in jeopardy. K. John. No more than he that threats. To arms let's hie!
The Same. Plains near Angiers.
Alarums, Excursions. Enter the Bastard, with
AUSTRIA's Head. Bast. Now, by my life, this day grows wondrous
Some airy devil hovers in the sky,
5 Some AIRY devil -] Shakspeare here probably alludes to the distinctions and divisions of some of the demonologists, so much regarded in his time. They distributed the devils into different tribes and classes, each of which had its peculiar qualities, attributes, &c.
These are described at length in Burton's Anatomie of Melancholy, Part I. sect. ii. p. 45, 1632 :
“ Of these sublunary devils—Psellus makes six kinds; fiery, aeriall, terrestriall, watery, and subterranean devils, besides those faieries, satyres, nymphes," &c.
Fiery spirits or divells are such as commonly worke by blazing starres, fire-drakes, and counterfeit sunnes and moones, and sit on ships' masts,” &c. &c.
“ Aeriall spirits or divells are such as keep quarter most part in the aire, cause many tempests, thunder and lightnings, teare oakes, fire steeples, houses, strike men and beasts, make it raine stones," &c. PERCY.
There is a minute description of different devils or spirits, and their different functions, in Pierce Pennilesse his Supplication,
And pours down mischief. Austria's head, lie there; While Philip breathes 6.
Enter King John, ARTHUR, and HUBERT. K. John. Hubert, keep this boy? :-Philip®,
My mother is assailed in our tent',
My lord, I rescued her;
1592: With respect to the passage in question, take the following: - the spirits of the aire will mixe themselves with thunder and lightning, and so infect the clyme where they raise any tempest, that sodainely great mortalitie shall ensue to the inhabitants. The spirits of fire have their mansions under the regions of the moone.” HENDERSON.
. While Philip breathes.] Here Mr. Pope, without authority, adds from the old play already mentioned :
“ Thus hath king Richard's son perform’d his vow,
“ Unto his father's ever-living soul.” STEEVENS. 7 Hubert, keep this boy :] Thus the old copies. Mr. Tyrwhitt would read : " Hubert, keep thou this boy
STEEVENS. - Philip,] Here the King, who had knighted him by the name of Sir Richard, calls him by his former name. STEEVENS.
9 My mother is assailed in our tent,] The author has not attended closely to the history. The Queen-mother, whom King John had made Regent in Anjou, was in possession of the town of Mirabeau, in that province. On the approach of the French army with Arthur at their head, she sent letters to King John to come to her relief; which he did immediately. As he advanced to the town, he encountered the army that lay before it, routed them, and took Arthur prisoner. The Queen in the mean while remained in perfect security in the castle of Mirabeau.
Such is the best authenticated account. Other historians however say that Arthur took Eleanor prisoner. The author of the old play has followed them. In that piece Eleanor is taken by Arthur, and rescued by her son. MALONE.
Alarums; Excursions; Retreat. Enter King John,
ELINOR, ARTHUR, the Bastard, HUBERT, and
[To ELINOR. So strongly guarded.--Cousin, look not sad:
[TO ARTHUR. Thy grandam loves thee; and thy uncle will As dear be to thee as thy father was. Arth. O, this will make my mother die with
grief. K. John, Cousin, [To the Bastard.] away for
England; haste before :
1 Set Thou at liberty :] The word thou (which is wanting in the old copy) was judiciously added, for the sake of metre, by Sir T. Hanmer. STEEVENS.
the fat ribs of peace Must by the hungry now be fed upon :) This word now seems a very idle term here, and conveys no satisfactory idea. An antithesis, and opposition of terms, so perpetual with our author, requires :
“ Must by the hungry war be fed upon.” War, demanding a large espence, is very poetically said to be hungry, and to prey on the wealth and fat of peace.
WARBURTON. This emendation is better than the former word, but yet not necessary. Sir T. Hanmer reads-hungry maw, with less deviation from the common reading, but not with so much force elegance as war.
Use our commission in his utmost force.
Either emendation may be unnecessary. Perhaps, the “ hungry now” is this hungry instant.' Shakspeare uses the word now as a substantive, in Measure for Measure :
till this very now,
STEEVENS. The meaning, I think, is,“ – the fat ribs of peace must now be fed upon by the hungry troops,"—to whom some share of this ecclesiastical spoil would naturally fall. The expression, like many other of our author's, is taken from the sacred writings: “ And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation.” 107th Psalm.-Again : is He hath filled the hungry with good things,” &c. St. Luke, i. 53.
This interpretation is supported by the passage in the old play, which is here imitated ;
Philip, I make thee chief in this affair ;
“ Convert their coin unto my soldiers' use.” When I read this passage in the old play, the first idea that suggested itself was, that a word had dropped out at the press, in the line before us, and that our author wrote:
“ Must by the hungry soldiers now be fed on." But the interpretation above given renders any alteration unnecessary. MALONE.
3 Bell, BOOK, and CANDLE -] In an account of the Romish curse given by Dr. Grey, it appears that three candles were extinguished, one by one, in different parts of the execration.
Johnson. I meet with the same expression in Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611:
“ I'll have a priest shall mumble up a marriage
“ Without bell, book, or candle.” Steevens, In Archbishop Winchelsea's Sentences of Excommunication, anno 1298, (see Johnson's Ecclesiastical Laws, vol. ii.) it is directed that the sentence against infringers of certain articles should
throughout explained in order in English, with bells tolling, and candies lighted, that it may cause the greater dread; for laymen have greater regard to this solemnity, than to the effect of such sentences." See Dodsley's Old Plays, vol. xii. p. 397, edit. 1780. REED. VOL. XV.