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The world, who of itself is peised well,
Made to run even, upon even ground;
Till this advantage, this vile drawing bias,
This sway of motion, this commodity,
Makes it take head from all indifferency,
From all direction, purpose, course, intent:
And this same bias, this commodity,
This bawd, this broker, this all-changing word,
Clapp'd on the outward eye of fickle France,
Hath drawn him from his own determin’d aid,
From a resolv'd and honourable war,
To a most base and vile-concluded peace.
And why rail I on this commodity ?
But for because he hath not woo'

me yet:
Not that I have the power to clutch 27
When his fair angels 28 would salute my palm:
But for 29 my hand, as unattempted yet,
Like a poor beggar, raileth on the rich.
Well, whiles I am a beggar, I will rail,
And

say,—there is no sin, but to be rich;
And being rich, my virtue then shall be,
To say,-there is no vice, but beggary:
Since kings break faith upon commodity,
Gain, be my lord! for I will worship thee!

[Erit 50

my hand,

27 Clasp.

28 Coin.

29 i. e. but cause. 30 In the old copy the second Act extends to the end of the speech of Lady Constance, in the next scene, at the conclusion of which she throws herself on the ground. The present division, which was made by Theobald, is certainly right,

ACT III.

SCENE I.

The same.

The French King's Tent, Enter CONSTANCE, ARTHUR, and SALISBURY,

Const. Gone to be married ! gone to swear a peace! False blood to false blood join'd! Gone to be friends! Shall Lewis have Blanch? and Blanch those pro

vinces ? It is not so; thou hast misspoke, misheard; Be well advis’d, tell o'er thy tale again: It cannot be; thou dost but say, 'tis so: I trust, I may not trust thee; for thy word Is but the yain breath of a common man; Believe me, I do not believe thee, man; I have a king's oath to the contrary. Thou shalt be punish'd for thus frighting me, For I am sick, and capable of fears. Oppress'd with wrongs, and therefore full of fears; A widow, husbandless, subject to fears; A woman, naturally born to fears; And though thou now confess, thou didst but jest, With

my vex'd spirits I cannot take a truce, But they will quake and tremble all this day. What dost thou mean by shaking of thy head? Why dost thou look so sadly on my son? What means that hand upon that breast of thine ? Why holds thine eye that lamentable rheum, Like a proud river peering o'er his bounds ? i Capable is susceptible. So in Hamlet :

His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones,

Would make them capable.' ? This seems to have been imitated by Marston, in his Insatiate Countess, 1603 :-

• Then how much more in me, whose youthful veins
Like a proud river overflow their bounds.'

Be these sad signs confirmers of thy words?
Then speak again ; not all thy former tale,
But this one word, whether thy tale be true.

Sal. As true, as, I believe, you think them false, That give you cause to prove my saying true.

Const. O, if thou teach me to believe this sorrow, Teach thou this sorrow how to make me die; And let belief and life encounter so, As doth the fury of two desperate men, Which, in the very meeting, fall, and die.— Lewis

marry Blanch! 0, boy, then where art thou? France friend with England! what becomes of me?Fellow, be gone; I cannot brook thy sight; This news hath made thee a most ugly man.

Sal. What other harm have I, good lady, done, But spoke the harm that is by others done?

Const. Which harm within itself so heinous is, As it makes harmful all that speak of it.

Arth. I do beseech you, madam, be content. Const. If thou, that bidd'st me be content, wert

grim, Ugly, and sland'rous to thy mother's womb, Full of unpleasing blots, and sightless 3 stains, Lame, foolish, crooked, swart*, prodigious, Patch'd with foul moles, and eye-offending marks, I would not care, I then would be content; For then I should not love thee; no, nor thou Become thy great birth, nor deserve a crown. But thou art fair; and at thy birth, dear boy! Nature and fortune join'd to make thee great: Of nature's gifts thou may'st with lilies boast, And with the half-blown rose: but fortune, O!

Unsightly. 4 Swart is dark, dusky. See Comedy of Errors, Actiii. Sc.2, p. 146. Prodigious is portentous, so deformed as to be taken for a foretoken of evil. Thus in The Revenger's Tragedy, 1607 :

• Over whose roof hangs this prodigious comet?'

3

She is corrupted, chang'd, and won from thee;
She adulterates hourly with thine uncle John;
And with her golden hand hath pluck’d on France
To tread down fair respect of sovereignty,
And made his majesty the bawd to theirs.
France is a bawd to fortune, and King John;
That strumpet fortune, that usurping John :-
Tell me, thou fellow, is not France forsworn ?
Envenom him with words; or get thee gone,
And leave those woes alone, which I alone
Am bound to under-bear.
Sal.

Pardon me, madam,
I
may

without

you

to the kings. Const. Thou may’st, thou shalt, I will not go with,

thee:
I will instruct my sorrows to be proud;
For grief is proud, and makes his owner stouts.
To me, and to the state of my great grief,
Let kings assemble; for my grief's so great,
That no supporter but the huge firm earth
Can hold it up: here I and sorrow sit;
Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.

[She throws herself on the ground.

not go

5 The old copy reads makes its owner stoop.' The emendation is Sir T. Hanmer's. We have in Daniel's Civil Wars, b. vi.:

• Full with stout grief and with disdainful woe.' Malone has in an elaborate argument attempted a defence of the old reading; but, I think, without success.

In Much Ado about Nothing the father of Hero, depressed by her disgrace, declares himself so subdued by grief that a thread may lead him. How is it that grief in Leonato and Lady Constance produces effects directly opposite, and yet both agreeable to nature ? Sorrow softens the mind while it is yet warmed by hope, but hardens it when it is congealed by despair. Distress, while there remains any prospect of relief, is weak and flexible; but when no succour remains, is fearless and stubborn: angry alike at those that injure, and those that do not help; careless to please where nothing can be gained, and fearless to offend when there is nothing further to be dreaded. Such was this writer's knowledge of the passions.—Johnson.

Enter KING John, KING PHILIP, LEWIS,

BLANCH, ELINOR, Bastard, AUSTRIA, and Attendants.

K.Phi.'Tis true,fair daughter; and this blessed day, Ever in France shall be kept festival: To solemnize this day, the glorious sun Stays in his course, and plays the alchemist; Turning, with splendour of his precious eye, The meagre cloddy earth to glittering gold : The yearly course, that brings this day about, Shall never see it but a holyday. Const. A wicked day, and not a holyday!

[Rising. What hath this day deserv'd? what hath it done; That it in golden letters should be set, Among the high tides, in the calendar? Nay, rather, turn this day out of the week?; This day of shame, oppression, perjury: Or, if it must stand still, let wives with child Pray, that their burdens may not fall this day, Lest that their hopes prodigiously be crossd 8 ; But' on this day, let seamen fear no wreck;

6 Solemn seasons, times to be observed above others.

7 In allusion to Job iii. 3—Let the day perish,' &c.; and v. 6, . Let it not be joined to the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months.' 8 i. e. be disappointed by the production of a prodigy, a monSo in a Midsummer Night's Dream :

• Nor mark prodigious, such as are

Despised in nativity.' 9 But for unless ; its exceptive sense of be out. In the ancient almanacks the days supposed to be favourable or unfavourable to bargains are distinguished among a number of particulars of the like importance. This circumstance is alluded to in Webster's Duchess of Malfy, 1623 :

. By the almanack, I think

To choose good days and shun the critical.'
So in Macbeth:-

Let this pernicious hour
Stand aye accursed in the calendar.'

ster.

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