Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Resolveth o from his figure 'gainst the fire? .
What in the world should make me now deceive,
Since I must lose the use of all deceit? ·
Why should I then be false; since it is true
That I must die here, and live hence by truth?
I say again, if Lewis do win the day,
He is forsworn, if e'er those eyes of yours
Behold another day break in the east:
But even this night,-whose black contagious breath
Already smokes about the burning crest
Of the old, feeble, and day-wearied sun,
Even this ill night, your breathing shall expire;
Paying the fine of rated treachery,
Even with a treacherous fine of all your lives,
If Lewis by your assistance win the day.
Commend me to one Hubert, with your king;
The love of him,—and this respect besides,
For that my grandsire was an Englishman,
Awakes my conscience to confess all this.
In lieu whereof, I pray you, bear me hence
From forth the noise and rumour of the field;
Where I may think the remnant of my thoughts
In peace, and part this body and my soul
With contemplation and devout desires.

Sal. We do believe thee,-And beshrew my soul
But I do love the favour and the form
Of this most fair occasion, by the which
We will untread the steps of damned flight;
And, like a bated and retired flood,
Leaving our rankness* and irregular course,
3 i. e. dissolveth. So in Hamlet:

• Thaw and resolve itself into a dew.' Again in Baret's Alvearie, 1575, T.120, 'to thaw or resolve that which is frosen.'

4 Rankness, as applied to a river, here signifies exuberant, ready to overflow; as applied to the actions of the speaker and his party it signifies wanton wildness. Petulantia,

• Rain added to a river that is rank
Perforce will force it overflow the bank. . .

Stoop low within those bounds we have o'erlook’d,
And calmly run on in obedience,
Even to our ocean, to our great King John.-
My arm shall give thee help to bear thee hence;
For I do see the cruel pangs of death
Right in thine eye.—Away,my friends! New flight:
And happy newness “, that intends old right.

[Exeunt, leading off MELUN. SCENE V. The same. The French Camp.

Enter Lewis and his Train. Lew. The sun of heaven, methought, was loath

to set; But stay'd, and made the western welkin blush, When the English measur’d backward their own

ground,
In faint retire: 0, bravely came we off,
When with a volley of our needless shot,
After such bloody toil, we bid good night;
And wound our tott'ring 1 colours clearly up,
Last in the field, and almost lords of it!

Enter a Messenger.
Mess. Where is my prince, the Dauphin?
Lew.

Here :- What news?
Mess. The Count Melun is slain; the English lords,
By his persuasion, are again fallen off :
And your supply, which you have wish'd so long,
Are cast away, and sunk, on Goodwin Sands.
5 Immediate. 6 Innovation.

1 Tottring colours is the reading of the old copy, which was unnecessarily altered to tatter'd by Johnson, who is followed by the subsequent editors. To totter, in old language, was to waver, to shake with a tremulous motion, as colours would do in the wind. It is obvious that tatter'd cannot be the right word, for how could their tatter'd colours be clearly wound up? ' to tottre (says Baret), nutare, yaccilare, see shake and wagge. The colours were waving in the wind during the battle, and were wound up at the close of it.

Lew. Ah, foul shrewd news !-Beshrew thy very

heart!
I did not think to be so sad to-night,
As this hath made me.—Who was he, that said,
King John did fly, an hour or two before
The stumbling night did part our weary powers ?

Mess. Whoever spoke it, it is true, my lord.
Lew. Well; keep good quarter?, and good care

to-night; The day shall not be up so soon as I, To try the fair adventure of tomorrow. [Exeunt.

as 1,

SCENE VI. An open Place in the neighbourhood of Swinstead

Abbey.
Enter the Bastard and HUBERT, meeting. '
Hub. Who's there? speak, ho! speak quickly, or

I shoot.
Bast. A friend :- What art thou?
Hub.

Of the part of England. Bast, Whither dost thou go?

Hub. What's that to thee? Why may not I demand Of thine affairs, as well as thou of mine?

Bast. Hubert, I think.
Hub.

Thou hast a perfect thought :
I will, upon all hazards, well believe,
Thou art my friend, that know'st my tongue so well:
Who art thou?

Bast. Who thou wilt: an if thou please, Thou may’st befriend me so much, as to think I come one way of the Plantagenets.

2 i. e. keep in your allotted posts or stations.
Ti. e, a well informed one. So in Cymbeline.-

i I am perfect
That the Pannonians, &c.'

· Hub. Unkind remembrance ! thou, and eyeless

night, Have done me shame:-Brave soldier, pardon me, That any accent, breaking from thy tongue, Should ’scape the true acquaintance of mine ear. Bast. Come, come; sans compliment, what news

abroad? Hub. Why, here walk I, in the black brow of night, To find you out.

Bast. Brief, then; and what's the news?

Hub. 0, my sweet sir, news fitting to the night, Black, fearful, comfortless, and horrible.

Bast. Show me the very wound of this ill news; I am no woman, I'll not swoon at it.

Hub. The king, I fear, is poison’d by a monk 3: I left him almost speechless, and broke out To acquaint you with this evil; that you might The better arm you to the sudden time, Than if you had at leisure 4 known of this.

Bast. How did he take it? who did taste to him?

Hub. A monk, I tell you; a resolved villain,
Whose bowels suddenly burst out: the king
Yet speaks, and, peradventure, may recover.

Bast. Who didst thou leave to tend his majesty ? ? The old copy reads' endless night.' The emendation was made by Theobald. The epithet is found in Jarvis Markham's English Arcadia, 1607 :

O eyeless night, the portraiture of death.' In Shakspeare's Rape of Lucrece, we bave

• Poor grooms are sightless night; kings glorious day.' 3 Not one of the historians who wrote within sixty years of the event mentions this improbable story. The tale is, that a monk, to revenge himself on the king for a saying at which he took offence, poisoned a cup of ale, and having brought it to his majesty, drank some of it himself, to induce the king to taste it, and soon afterwards expired. Thomas Wykes is the first who mentions it in his Chronicle as a report. According to the best accounts John died at Newark, of a fever.

4 i. e. less speedily, after some delay.

hook

Hub. Why, know you not? the lords are all come

back,
And brought prince Henry in their company;
At whose request the king hath pardon’d them,
And they are all about his majesty.

Bast. Withhold thine indignation, mighty heaven,
And tempt us not to bear above our power!
I'll tell thee, Hubert, half my power this night,
Passing these flats, are taken by the tide,
These Lincoln washes have devoured them;
Myself, well mounted, hardly have escap'd.
Away, before! conduct me to the king;
I doubt, he will be dead, or ere I come. [Exeunt.

SCENE VII. The Orchard of Swinstead-Abbey. Enter Prince HENRY', SALISBURY, and

Bigot. P. Hen. It is too late; the life of all his blood Is touch'd corruptibly; and his pure brain (Which some suppose the soul's frail dwelling-house), Doth, by the idle comments that it makes, Foretell the ending of mortality.

Enter PEMBROKE.
Pem. His highness yet doth speak : and holds

belief,
That, being brought into the open air,
It would allay the burning quality
Of that fell poison which assaileth him.

P. Hen. Let him be brought into the orchard here. Doth he still rage?

[Exit Bigot. Pem.

He is more patient
Than when you left him; even now he sung.

P. Hen. O vanity of sickness! fierce extremes,

· Prince Henry was only nine years old when his father died.

« AnteriorContinuar »