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To overbear it, and we are all well pleas'd;
K. John. Some reasons of this double coronation
Pem. Then I, as one that am the tongue of these, To sound the purposes of all their hearts, Both for myself and them, but, chief of all, Your safety, for the which myself and them Bend their best studies, heartily request Th' enfranchisenient of Arthur ; whose restraint Doth move the murmuring lips of discontent To break into this dangerous argument : If what in rest you have, in right you hold, Why then your fears, which, as they say, attend The steps of wrong, should move you to mew up Your tender kinsman', and to choke his days With barbarous ignorance, and deny his youth The rich advantage of good exercise ?That the time's enemies may not have this To grace occasions, let it be our suit,
9 And more, more strong tuan lesser is my fear,
I shall indue you with :] The first folio has then for “ than,” the commonest mode of printing the word in the time of Shakespeare; but the commentators not adverting to this circumstance do not seem to have understood the passage, and printed “ when lesser is my fear,” putting it in parentheses : the meaning, however, seems to be, that the king will hereafter give his lords reasons “ stronger than his fear was lesser:" the comparative "lesser” is put for the positive little, because the poet had used“ more strong," in the preceding part of the line.
1 Your tender kinsman,] The reasoning is much the same in the old “ King John :”—
“We crave, my lord, to please the commons with,
The liberty of Lady Constance' son ;
That you have bid us ask his liberty;
[HUBERT whispers the King.
Sal. The colour of the king doth come and go,
Pem. And when it breaks, I fear, will issue thence The foul corruption of a sweet child's death.
K. John. We cannot hold mortality's strong hand.Good lords, although my will to give is living, The suit which you demand is gone and dead : He tells us, Arthur is deceas'd to-night.
Sal. Indeed, we fear'd his sickness was past cure.
Pem. Indeed, we heard how near his death he was, Before the child himself felt he was sick. This must be answer'd, either here, or hence.
K. John. Why do you bend such solemn brows on me?
Sal. It is apparent foul-play; and 'tis shame,
Pem. Stay yet, lord Salisbury; I'll go with thee,
And find th' inheritance of this poor child,
Enter a Messenger. A fearful eye thou hast : where is that blood, That I have seen inhabit in those cheeks? So foul a sky clears not without a storm : Pour down thy weather.—How goes all in France ? Mess. From France to England. - Never such a
My liege, her ear
? That blood which ow'd the BREADTH of all this isle,] To "owe” is of course
In Malone’s Shakespeare by Boswell, the word “breadth” is printed breath ; probably an error of the press.
K. John. Withhold thy speed, dreadful Occasion ! O! make a league with me, till I have pleas'd My discontented peers.—What ! mother dead? How wildly, then, walks my estate in France Under whose conduct came those powers of France, That thou for truth giv’st out are landed here?
Mess. Under the Dauphin.
Enter the Bastard, and Peter of POMFRET. K. John.
Thou hast made me giddy With these ill tidings.—Now, what says the world To
your proceedings ? do not seek to stuff My head with more ill news, for it is full.
Bast. But if you be afeard to hear the worst,
K. John. Bear with me, cousin, for I was amaz’d
Bast. How I have sped among the clergymen,
3 And here's a prophet,] “ This man,” says Douce," was a hermit in great repute with the common people. Notwithstanding the event is said to have fallen out as he had prophesied, the poor fellow was inhumanly dragged at horses' tails through the streets of Warham, and, together with his son, who appears to have been even more innocent than his father, hanged afterwards upon a gibbet.” See Holinshed's Chronicle, under the year 1213. In the old " King John,” there is a scene between the prophet and the people.
K. John. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst thou
so? Peter. Foreknowing that the truth will fall out so.
K. John. Hubert, away with him : imprison him; And on that day at noon, whereon, he says, , I shall yield up my crown, let him be hang'd. Deliver him to safety, and return, For I must use thee.—O my gentle cousin !
[Exit HUBERT, with PETER. Hear'st thou the news abroad, who are arriv'd ? Bast. The French, my lord ; men's mouths are full
Gentle kinsman, go,
I will seek them out.
before. 0! let me have no subject enemies, When adverse foreigners affright my towns With dreadful pomp of stout invasion. Be Mercury; set feathers to thy heels, And fly like thought from them to me again. Bast. The spirit of the time shall teach me speed.
[Exit. K. John. Spoke like a spriteful, noble gentleman.Go after him; for he, perhaps, shall need Some messenger betwixt me and the peers, And be thou he. Mess.
With all my heart, my liege. [Exit. K. John. My mother dead !