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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
Brief, then; and what's the news? Hub. O, 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
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 inajesty, 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.
Hub. Why, know you not? the lords are all come
Bast. Withhold thine indignation, mighty heaven,
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.
P. Hen. Let him be broughtinto the orchard here.— Doth he still rage?
[Exit Bigot. Pem.
He is more patient Than when
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.
In their continuance®, will not feel themselves.
Sal. Be of good comfort, prince; for you are born To set a form
that indigest Which he hath left so shapeless and so rude 4. Re-enter Bigot and Attendants, who bring in King
John in a Chair. K. John. Ay, marry, now, my soul hath elbow
room; It would not out at windows, nor at doors. There is so hot a summer in
bosom, That all
to dust: I am a scribbled form, drawn with a pen Upon a parchment; and against this fire Do I shrink up.
? Continuance here means continuity. Bacon uses it in that sense also. So Baret, “ If the disease be of any continuance, if it be an old and settled disease.' I should not have thought this passage needed elucidation, had not Malone proposed to read ' in thy continuance.'
3 The old copy reads invisible. Sir T. Hanmer proposed the reading admitted into the text. Malone has endeavoured to elaborate a meaning out of the old reading, but without success. I must refer the reader to the variorum editions for his argument, and Steevens's vein of pleasant irony upon it. 4 A description of Chaos almost in the very words of Ovid:Quem dixere Chaos rudis indigestæque moles.-Met. i. Which Chaos hight a huge rude heap: No sunne as yet with lightsome beames the shapeless world did view.
P. Hen. How fares your majesty ?
cast off; And none of
will bid the winter come, To thrust his icy fingers in my maw"; Nor let my kingdom's rivers take their course Through my burn’d bosom ; nor entreat the north To make his bleak winds kiss my parched lips, And comfort me with cold: I do not ask
you much, I beg cold comfort: and you are so-straito, And so ingrateful, you deny me that.
P. Hen. O, that there were some virtue in my tears, That might relieve you! K. John.
The salt in them is hot. Within me is a hell; and there the poison Is, as a fiend, confin'd to tyrannize On unreprievable condemned blood.
Enter the Bastard. Bast. 0, I am scalded with my violent motion, And spleen of speed to see your majesty.
5 This scene has been imitated by Beaumont and Fletcher, in A Wife for a Month, Act iv. Decker, in the Gull's Hornbook, has the same thought : the morning waxing cold thrust his frosty fingers into thy bosome. Perhaps Shakspeare was acquainted with the following passages in two of Marlowe's plays, which must both have been written previous to King John, for Marlowe died in 1593:
O I am dull, and the cold hand of sleep
O poor Zabina, O my queen, my queen,
Tamburlaine, 1591. The corresponding passage in the old play runs thus :
• Philip, some drink. O for the frozen Alps
That rageth as a furnace seven-fold.'
K. John. ( cousin, thou art come to set mine eye: The tackle of my heart is crack’d and burn'd; And all the shrouds, wherewith my life should sail, Are turned to one thread, one little hair: My heart hath one poor string to stay it by, Which holds but till thy news be uttered: And then all this thou seest, is but a clod, And module of confounded royalty.
Bast. The Dauphin is preparing hitherward: Where, heaven he knows, how we shall answer him: For, in a night, the best part of my power, As I upon advantage did remove, Were in the washes, all unwarily, Devoured by the unexpected flood 8. [The King dies.
Sal. You breathe these dead news in as dead an
My liege! my lord !- But now a king,—now thus.
P. Hen. Even so must I run on, and even so stop. What surety of the world, what hope, what stay, When this was now a king, and now is clay!
Bast. Art thou gone so? I do but stay behind,
7 Module and model were only different modes of spelling the same word. Model signified not an archetype, after which some thing was to be formed, but the thing formed after an archetype, a copy. Bullokar, in his Expositor, 1616, explains' model, the platform, or form of any thing.'
8 This untoward accident really happened to King John bimself. As he passed from Lynn to Lincolnshire he lost by an inundation all his treasure, carriages, baggage, and regalia.