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And you have slander'd nature in my form ;
Which, howsoever rude exteriorly,
Is yet the cover of a fairer mind
Than to be butcher of an innocent child.

K. John. Doth Arthur live? O, haste thee to

the peers,

Throw this report on their incensed rage,
And make them tame to their obedience !
Forgive the comment that my passion made
Upon thy feature; for my rage was blind,
And foul imaginary eyes of blood
Presented thee more hideous than thou art.
O, answer not; but to my closet bring
The angry lords, with all expedient haste :
I conjure thee but slowly; run more fast*. [Exeunt.

SCENE III.

The Same. Before the Castle.

Enter ARTHUR, on the Walls. Arth. The wall is high; and yet will I leap

down 5:

with difficulty that the tears, the intreaties, and the innocence of Arthur had diverted and suppressed it. WARBURTON.

4 I conjure thee but slowly ; run more fast.] The old play is divided into two parts, the first of which concludes with the King's despatch of Hubert on this message; the second begins with “ Enter Arthur,” &c. as in the following scene.

Steevens. 5 The wall is high; and yet I will leap down :) Our author has here followed the old play. In what manner Arthur was deprived of his life is not ascertained. Matthew Paris, relating the event, uses the word evanuit ; and, indeed, as King Philip afterwards publickly accused King John of putting his nephew to death, without either mentioning the manner of it, or his accomplices, we may conclude that it was conducted with impenetrable secrecy. The French historians, however, say, that John coming in a boat, during the night-time, to the castle of Rouen, where the

Good ground, be pitiful, and hurt me not !-
There's few, or none, do know me; if they did,
This ship-boy's semblance hath disguis'd me quite.
I am afraid; and yet I'll venture it.
If I get down, and do not break my limbs,
l'll find a thousand shifts to get away :
As good to die, and go, as die, and stay.

[Leaps down. O me! my uncle's spirit is in these stones :Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones !

[Dies. Enter PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and Bigot. Sal. Lords, I will meet him at saint Edmund's

Bury;
It is our safety, and we must embrace
This gentle offer of the perilous time.

Pem. Who brought that letter from the cardinal ?

SAL. The count Melun, a noble lord of France; Whose private with me, of the Dauphin's love, Is much more general than these lines import.

Big. To-morrow morning let us meet him then.

SAL. Or, rather then set forward : for 'twill be Two long days' journey, lords, or e'er we meet". young prince was confined, ordered him to be brought forth, and having stabbed him, while supplicating for mercy, the King fastened a stone to the dead body, and threw it into the Seine, in order to give some colour to a report, which he afterwards caused to be spread, that the prince attempting to escape out of a window of the tower of the castle, fell into the river, and was drowned.

MALONE. 6 Whose private, &c.] i. e. whose private account of the Dauphin's affection to our cause is much more ample than the letters.

Pope, ។ OR E’er we meet.] This phrase, so frequent in our old writers, is not well understood. Or is here the same as ere, i. e. before, and should be written (as it is still pronounced in Shropshire) ore. There the common people use it often. Thus, they say, Ore to-morrow, for ere or before to-morrow. The addition of ever, or e'er, is merely augmentative.

Enter the Bastard.
Bast. Once more to-day well met, distemper'd8

lords! The king, by me, requests your presence straight.

Sal. The king hath dispossess'd himself of us; We will not line his thin bestained cloak With our pure honours, nor attend the foot That leaves the print of blood where-e'er it walks : Return, and tell him so ; we know the worst. Bast. Whate'er you think, good words, I think,

were best. SAL. Our griefs, and not our manners, reason

now!

That or has the full sense of before, and that e'er, when joined with it, is merely augmentative, is proved from innumerable passages in our ancient writers, wherein or occurs simply without e'er, and must bear that signification. Thus, in the old tragedy of Master Arden of Feversham, 1599, quarto, (attributed by some, though falsely, to Shakspeare,) the wife says: “ He shall be murdered or the guests come in."

Sig. H. iii. b. Percy, So, in All for Money, an old Morality, 1574 :

“ I could sit in the cold a good while I swear,

Or I would be weary such suitors to hear.” Again, in Every Man, another Morality, no date :

As, or we departe, thou shalt know." Again, in the interlude of The Disobedient Child, bl. 1. no date :

“ To send for victuals or I came away.” That or should be written ore I am by no means convinced. The vulgar pronunciation of a particular county ought not to be received as a general guide. "Ere is nearer the Saxon primitive ær. STEEVENS. See vol. xv. p. 25, n. 8. Boswell.

distemper'd -] i. e. ruffled, out of humour. So, in Hamlet : - in his retirement marvellous distemper'd.

Steevens.
REASON now.) To reason, in Shakspeare, is not so often
to argue, as to talk. Johnson.
So, in Coriolanus :

reason with the fellow
« Before you punish him." Steevens.

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Bast. But there is little reason in your grief; Therefore, 'twere reason, you had manners now.

Pem. Sir, sir, impatience hath his privilege. Bast. 'Tis true; to hurt his master, no man

else?

Sal. This is the prison : What is he lies here?

[Seeing Arthur. Pem. O death, made proud with pure and

princely beauty! The earth had not a hole to hide this deed.

SAL. Murder, as hating what himself hath done, Doth lay it open, to urge on revenge. Big. Or, when he doom'd this beauty to a

grave, Found it too precious-princely for a grave.

Sal. Sir Richard, what think you ? Have you

beheld?,

Or have you read, or heard ? or could you think %?
Or do you almost think, although you see,
That you do see ? could thought, without this ob-

ject,
Form such another ? This is the very top,
The height, the crest, or crest unto the crest,
Of murder's arms: this is the bloodiest shame,
The wildest savag'ry, the vilest stroke,
That ever wall-ey'd wrath“, or staring rage,
Presented to the tears of soft remorse.

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no man else.] Old copy-no man's. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. MALONE.

? HAVE You beheld,] Old copy-" You have," &c. rected by the editor of the third folio. MALONE.

3 Or have you read, or heard ? &c.] Similar interrogatories have been already urged by the Dauphin, Act III. Sc. IV.:

Who hath read, or heard, “ Of any kindred action like to this ?” STEEVENS. 4 — WALL-EY'D wrath,] So, in Titus Andronicus, Lucius, addressing himself to Aaron the Moor :

“ Say, wall-ey'd slave." Steevens.

PEMB. All murders past do stand excus'd in this:
And this, so sole, and so unmatchable,
Shall give a holiness, a purity,
To the yet-unbegotten sin of times ;
And prove a deadly bloodshed but a jest,
Exampled by this heinous spectacle.

Bast. It is a damned and a bloody work;
The graceless action of a heavy hand,
If that it be the work of any hand.

Sal. If that it be the work of any hand ?-
We had a kind of light, what would ensue:
It is the shameful work of Hubert's hand;
The practice, and the purpose, of the king :-
From whose obedience I forbid my soul,
Kneeling before this ruin of sweet life,
And breathing to his breathless excellence
The incense of a vow, a holy vow;
Never to taste the pleasures of the world o,
Never to be infected with delight,
Nor conversant with ease and idleness,
Till I have set a glory to this hand,

s- of times ;] That is, of all future times. So, in King Henry V.:

By custom and the ordinance of times.Again, in The Rape of Lucrece:

For now against himself he sounds his doom,

“That through the length of times he stands disgrac'd." Mr. Pope and the subsequent editors more elegantly read-sins of time; but the peculiarities of Shakspeare's diction ought, in my apprehension, to be faithfully preserved. Malone.

I follow Mr. Pope, whose reading is justified by a line in the celebrated soliloquy of Hamlet :

“ For who would bear the whips and scorns of time?' Again, by another in this play of King John, p. 346 :

" I am not glad that such a sore of time." STEEVENS. - a holy vow;

Never to taste the pleasures of the world,) This is a copy of the vows made in the ages of superstition and chivalry.

Johnson.

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