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The thunders of Pandulph on either side do not affect the issue. The earlier dramatist treats the crafty legate with malignant hatred, as a 'curse' happily evaded; the later manages him with fine irony, as the wielder of an imposing but not really formidable authority, easily rendered innocuous, incapable of injuring a people true to themselves. And though John still meets his death at the hands of a monk, the act is dismissed with a studiously casual allusion, so that the resolved villain' seems merely the executant of Nemesis. Whereas in the Troublesome Reign he dies to satisfy the vengeance of an incensed ecclesiastic, who has vowed never to let escape the king that never loved a friar, the man that did contemn the pope.' Naturally, Shakespeare ignores the 'moral' which this suggests to the Bastard :
This is the fruit of Poperie, when true kings
Nor does his John indulge any vision of a more fortunate Protestant successor.
The Shakespearean Pandulph, finally, would suffice to show that Shakespeare was no longer under the spell of the fiery but nowise subtle intellect of Marlowe. If Marlowe was the first English dramatist who commanded the language of impetuous passion, Shakespeare was the first master of the language of polished and astute debate, of high-bred conversation, of courtly ceremony.
The earlier John retains not a little of the lofty insolence of Tamburlaine: how kingly on the other hand is the later John's dismissal of Chatillon ;-dignified defiance, injunction, valiant forecast, courteous attention and farewell, all concentrated in eight lines (i. 1). The two great creations Constance and Arthur, also, are touched with an intensity of pathos still strange to the Shakespeare of Henry VI, and of Richard III. The situation of Margaret after Tewkesbury, of Elizabeth after the murders in the Tower, resemble that of Constance; but Margaret utters her passion for vengeance more poignantly than the agony of her loss, and Elizabeth's outraged motherhood finds expression merely in sullen resentment. Constance is the Juliet of maternal love. Love for Arthur dominates her whole being, and the agony of bereavement finds utterance through phrases that burn in the fire of an imagination familiar with wild grief. Arthur's situation similarly recalls that of the young princes. The Arthur of the Troublesome Reign does, in fact, bear himself like the young Duke of York in Richard III., boldly bearding his dangerous uncle, and incurring reproof from Elinor for his vehemence (“Peace, Arthur, peace,' etc., Troublesome Reign, p. 240). Shakespeare has endowed his Arthur not with the charm of precocious talent, but with the pathos and shrinking tenderness of childhood: 'I am not worth this coil that's made for me'; and, instead of incurring reproof, it is he who, almost in Elinor's words, appeals to his own fiery advocate to cease pleading: 'Good my mother, peace!' Of the death of the princes we have in the earlier play no more than a brief though exquisite picture; but Arthur's perilous captivity is displayed in the most tender and sympathetic dramatic detail; and the pathos of the scene is derived, not from an accumulation of harrowing details, as to some extent it is in the grim finale of Edward II., but from the ideal loveliness of childlike character which unfolds itself under the stress of Hubert's threat.
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF
SCENE I. KING JOHN's palace.
Enter KING JOHN, QUEEN ELINOR, PEMBROKE,
France with us?
Eli. A strange beginning : ‘borrow'd majesty!'
behalf Of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son, Chatillon. In Ff he is
3. my behaviour, called the Chattylion of France.' and character which I here Like English words in -ion, the assume. name could be either of three or 7. in right and true behalf, of four syllables.
on behalf of the just claims.
• the tone
Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim
K. John. What follows if we disallow of this?
blood for blood, Controlment for controlment: so answer France. Chat. Then take my king's defiance from my
[Exeunt Chatillon and Pembroke.
IO. territories, feudal de
mission as envoy. pendencies.
29. conduct, escort. 17. control, constraint. 22. my embassy, my com- 30. Chatillon (four syllables).
With very easy arguments of love,
K. John. Our strong possession and our right
Eli. Your strong possession much more than
Enter a Sheriff.
K. John. Let them approach.
Enter ROBERT FAULCONBRIDGE, and Philip his
What men are you?
K. John. What art thou ?
37. manage, procedure, ad. here and throughout, this, the ministration.
common Elizabethan form of 54. Cordelion. The Ff have, Ceur-de-lion. VOL. VI