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Jobn, to flop Arthur's Title in the whole,
Hath willingly departed with a part:
And France, whofe armour Confcience buckled on,
Whom Zeal and Charity brought to the field,
As God's own foldier, rounded in the ear
With that fame purpose changer, that fly devil,
That broker, that ftill breaks the pate of faith,
That daily break-vow, he that wins of all,
Of Kings, of beggars, old men, young men, maids,
Who having no external thing to lofe
But the word Maid, cheats the poor maid of that;
That fmooth-fac'd gentleman, tickling Commodity,-
Commodity, the biafs of the world,
The world, which of itself is poifed well,
Made to run even, upon even ground;
'Till this advantage, this vile-drawing biafs,
This fway of motion, this Commodity,
Makes it take head from all indifferency,
From all direction, purpose, courfe, intent.
And this fame biafs, this Commodity,
This bawd, this broker, this all changing word,
Clapt on the outward eye of fickle France,
Hath drawn him from his own determin'd aid,
From a refolv'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 wooed me yet:
Not that I have the power to clutch my hand,
When his fair angels would falute my palm;
But that my hand, as unattempted yet,
Like a poor beggar, raileth on the rich.
Well, while I am a beggar, I will rail;
And fay, there is no fin but to be rich :
And being rich, my virtue then shall be,
To fay, there is no vice, but beggary.
Since Kings break faith upon commodity,
Gain, be my lord; for I will worship thee!
SCENE, the French King's Pavilion.
Enter Conftance, Arthur, and Salisbury.
G Falfe blood to falfe blood join'd! Gone to be
Shall Lewis have Blanch, and Blanch thofe provinces ?
It is not fo, thou haft mis-spoke, mif-heard ;-
Be well advis'd, tell o'er thy tale again,
It cannot be; thou doft but fay, 'tis fo.
I trust, I may not trust thee; for thy word
Is but the vain 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 fick, and capable of fears;
Oppreft with wrongs, and therefore full of fears ::
A widow, husbandlefs, fubject to fears,
A woman, naturally born to fears,
And, tho' thou now confefs thou didst but jeft,
With my vext fpirits I cannot take a truce,
But they will quake and tremble all this day.
What doft thou mean by fhaking of thy head?
Why doft thou look fo fadly on my fon?
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?
Be thefe fad fighs 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 caufe to prove my faying true.
Conft. Oh, if thou teach me to believe this forrow,
Teach thou this forrow how to make me die;
And let belief and life encounter fo,
As doth the fury of two defp'rate men,
Which, in the very meeting, fall and die.
Lewis wed Blanch! O boy, then where art thou ?
France friend with England what becomes of me
Fellow, be gone, I cannot brook thy fight:
This news hath made thee a moft ugly man.
Sal. What other harm have I, good lady, done,
But fpoke the harm that is by others done?
Conft. Which harm within itself fo heinous is,
As it makes harmful all that fpeak of it.
Arth. I do befeech you, mother, be content.
Conft. If thou, that bidft me be content, wert grim,
Ugly, and fland'rous to thy mother's womb,
Full of unpleafing blots, and fightless ftains,
Lame, foolish, crooked, fwart, prodigious,
Patch'd with foul moles, and eye-offending marks;
I would not care, I then would be content :
For then I fhould 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'ft with lillies boaft,
And with the half-blown rofe. But fortune, oh!
She is corrupted, chang'd, and, won from thee,
Adulterates hourly with thine uncle John;
And with her golden hand hath pluckt on France
To tread down fair refpect of fovereignty,
And made his majefty the bawd to theirs.
France is a bawd to fortune, and to John;
That ftrumpet fortune, that ufurping John!
Tell me, thou fellow, is not France forfworn?
Envenom him with words; or get thee gone,
And leave thefe woes alone, which I alone
Am bound to under-bear.
Sal. Pardon me, Madam,
I may not go without you to the Kings.
Conft. Thou may'ft, thou shalt, I will not go with thee.
I will inftruct my forrows to be proud;
For Grief is proud, and makes his owner ftoop.
To me, and to the State of my great Grief,
Let Kings affemble: for my Grief's fo great,
That no Supporter but the huge firm earth
Can hold it up: Here I and Sorrow fit:
Here is my Throne, bid Kings come bow to it. (10)
[Sits down on the Floor.
bid Kings come bow to it.] I must here account for the Liberty I have taken to make a Change in the Divifion of the 2d and 3d Aas. In the old Editions, the 2d At was made to end here: tho' 'tis evident, Lady Conftance here, in her Defpair, feats herself on the Floor and She must be fuppofed, as I formerly obferv'd, immediately to rife again, only to go off and end the Aa decently; or the flat Scene must shut her in from the Sight of the Audience, an Abfurdity I cannot wish to accufe Shakespeare of. Mr. Gildon and fome other Criticks fancied, that a confiderable Part of the 2d Act was loft ; and that the Chafm began here. I had joined in this Sufpicion of a Scene or two being loft; and unwittingly drew Mr. Pope into this Error. "It feems to be fo, fays he, and it were to be wifh'd the Restorer (meaning Me,) could fupply it." To deferve this Great Man's Thanks, I'll venture at the Task; and hope to convince my Readers, that nothing is loft; but that I have supplied the suspected Chaẩm, only by rectifying the Divifion of the Aas. Upon looking a little more narrowly into the Conftitution of the Play, I am fatisfied that the 3d A ought to begin with that Scene, which has hitherto been accounted the Laft of the 2d A&: and my Reafons for it are thefe. The Match being concluded, in the Scene before That, betwixt the Dauphin and Blanch, a Meffenger is fent for Lady Conftance to K. Philip's Tent, for Her to come to St. Mary's Church to the Solemnity. The Princes all go out, as to the Marriage; and the Baftard staying a little behind, to defcant on Intereft and Commodity, very properly ends the A. The next Scene then, in the French King's Tent, brings us Salifbury delivering his Meffage to Conftance, who, refusing to go to the Solemnity, fets herself down on the Floor. The whole Train returning from the Church to the French King's Pavi. lion, Philip expreffes fuch satisfaction en Occasion of the happy Solemnity of that Day; that Conftance rifes from the Floor,
Enter King John, King Philip, Lewis, Blanch, Elinor, Faulconbridge, and Auftria.
K. Philip. 'Tis true, fair daughter; and this blessed day
Ever in France fhall be kept festival:
To folemnize this day, the glorious fun
Stays in his courfe, and plays the alchymift;
Turning with fplendor of his precious eye
The meagre cloddy earth to glitt'ring gold.
The yearly courfe, that brings this day about,
Shall never fee it, but a holy-day.
Conft. A wieked day, and not an holy-day.-[Rifing,
What has this day deferv'd? what hath it done,
That it in golden letters fhould be fet
Among the high tides in the kalendar?
Nay, rather turn this day out of the week,
This day of shame, oppreffion, perjury:
Or, if it muft fland ftill, let wives with child
Pray, that their burthens may not fall this day,
Left that their hopes prodigiously be croft:
But on this day, let feamen fear no wreck;
No bargains break, that are not this day made;
This day, all things begun come to ill end,
Yea, faith itself to hollow falfhood change!
K. Philip. By heaven, lady, you fhall have no cause To curfe the fair proceedings of this day: Have I not pawn'd to you my Majefty?
Conft. You have beguil'd me with a counterfeit Refembling Majefty, which, touch'd and try'd, Proves valueless you are forfworn, forfworn. You came in arms to fpill my enemies blood,
and joins in the Scene by entring her Protest against their Joy, and curfing the Bufinefs of the Day. Thus, I conceive, the Scenes are fairly continued; and there is no Chafm in the Action but a proper Interval made both for Salisbury's coming to Lady Corfance, and for the Solemnization of the Marriage. Befides, as Faulconbridge is evidently the Poet's favourite Character; 'twas very well judg'd to close the A with his Soliloquy.