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K I N G
Northampton. A Room of State in the Palace.
Enter King John, Queen Elinor, PEMBROKE, Es
SEX, SALISBURY, and Others, with CHATILLON.
K. John. Now, say, Chatillon, what would France
Eli. A strange beginning ;-borrow'd majesty!
? In my behaviour,] The word behaviour seems here to have a signification that I have never found in any other author. The king of France, says the envoy, thus Speaks in my behaviour to the majesty of England; that is, the King of France speaks in the charakter which I here assume. I once thought that these two lines, in my behaviour, &c. had been uttered by the ambassador as part of his master's message, and that behaviour had meant the conduct of the King of France towards the King of England; but the ambassador's speech, as continued after the interruption, will not admit this meaning. Johnson. In my behaviour means, in the manner that I now do,
M. MASON. In my bebaviour means, I think, in the words and action that I am now going to use. So, in the fifth act of this play, the Bastard says to the French king,
Now hear our English king,
Chat. Philip of France, in right and true behalf Of thy deceased brother Geffrey's son, Arthur Plantagenet, lays most lawful claim To this fair island, and the territories; To Ireland, Poictiers, Anjou, Touraine, Maine: Desiring thee to lay aside the sword, Which sways usurpingly these several titles; And
put the same into young Arthur's hand, Thy nephew, and right royal sovereign.
K. John. What follows, if we disallow of this? Chat. The proud control of fierce and bloody
war, To enforce these rights so forcibly withheld. K. John. Here have we war for war, and blood
for blood, Controlment for controlment; so answer France."
3 —-control-] Opposition, from controller. JOHNSON. I think it rather mcans constraint or compulfion. So, in the second act of King Henry V. when Exeter demands of the King of France the surrender of his crown, and the King answers" Or else what follows ?" Exeter replies :
Bloody constraint; for if you hide the crown
“ Even in your hearts, there will he rake for it." The passages are exactly similar. M. Mason. 4 Here have we war for war, and blood for blood,
Controlment for controlment; &c.] King John's reception of Chatillon not a little resembles that which Andrea meets with from the King of Portugal in the first part of Jeronimo, &c. 1605:
“ And. Thou shalt pay tribute, Portugal, with blood.-
-I bid you sudden wars." Steevens.
MALONE. From the following passage in Barnabie Googe's Cupido conquered, (dedicated with his other Poems, in May, 1562, and printed in 1563,) Yeronymo appears to have been written earlier ihan the earliest of these dates :
Chat. Then take my king's defiance from my
mouth, The furtheft limit of my embassy. K. John. Bear mine to him, and so depart in
“ Mark hym that showes y Tragedies,
Thyne owne famylyar frende,
“In Englysh verse is pende." B. Googe had already founded the praises of Phaer and Gascoigne, and is here descanting on the merits of Kyd.
It is not impossible (though Ferrex and Porrex was acted in 1561) that Hieronymo might have been the first regular tragedy that appeared in an English dress.
It may also be remarked, that B. Googe, in the foregoing lines, seems to speak of a tragedy “ in English verse," as a novelty.
Steevens. s Be thou as lightning-] The fimile does not suit well: the lightning indeed appears before the thunder is heard, but the lightning is deftructive and the thunder innocent. JOHNSON.
The allufion may notwithstanding be very proper so far as Shakspeare had applied it, i. e. merely to the swiftness of the lightning, and its preceding and foretelling the thunder. But there is fome reason to believe that thunder was not thought to be innocent in our author's time, as we elsewhere learn from himself. See King Lear, Act III. sc. ii. Antony and Cleopatra, Act II. fc. v. Julius Cæsar, Act I. sc. iii. and still more decisively in Measure for Measure, Act II. sc. ii. This old superstition is still prevalent in many parts of the country. Ritson.
King John does not allude to the destructive powers either of thunder or lightning; he only means to fay, that Chatillon shall appear to the eyes of the French like lightning, which shows that thunder is approaching: and the thunder he alludes to is that of his cannon. Johnson also forgets, that though philosophically speaking, the destructive power is in the lightning, it has generally in poetry been attributed to the thunder. So, Lear says:
“ You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
So, hence! Be thou the trumpet of our wrath,
[Exeunt Chatillon and PEMBROKE.
K. John. Our strong possession, and our right,
Eli. Your strong possession, much more than
your right; Or else it must go wrong with you, and me: So much my conscience whispers in your car; Which none but heaven, and you, and I, shall hear.
- sullen presage ] By the epithet sullen, which cannot be applied to a trumpet, it is plain that our author's imagination had now suggested a new idea. It is as if he had said, be a trumpet to alarm with our invasion, be a bird of ill omen to croak out the prognostick of your own ruin. Johnson.
I do not see why the epithet sullen may not be applied to a rrumpet, with as much propriety as to a bell. In our author's Henry IV. P. II. we find
“ Sounds ever after as a fullen bell—" MALONE. That here are two ideas, is evident; but the second of them has not been luckily explained. The fullen prefage of your own decay, means, the dismal paling bell, shat announces your own approaching disolution. STEVENS.
the manage--] i. e. conduct, adminiftration. So, in K. Richard II :
- for the rebels
Enter the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, who whis
Essex. My liege, here is the strangest contro
versy, Come from the country to be judg'd by you, That e'er I heard : Shall I produce the men?
K. John. Let them approach.- [Exit Sheriff. Our abbies, and our priories, shall pay
Re-enter Sheriff, with Robert FAULCONBRIDGE,
and Philip, bis bastard brother.'
This expedition's charge.-What men are you?
8 Enter the sheriff of Northamptonshire, &c.] This stage direction I have taken from the old quarto. STEEVENS.
9 — and Philip, his baftard brother. ] Though Shakspeare adopted this character of Philip Faulconbridge from the old play, it is not improper to mention that it is compounded of two distinct personages.
Matthew Paris says:-“ Sub illius temporis curriculo, Falcafius de Brente, Neusteriensis, et spurius ex parte matris, atque Bastardus, qui in vili jumento manticato ad Regis paulo ante clientelam descenderat," &c.
Matthew Paris, in his History of the Monks of St. Albans, calls him Falco, but in his General History, Falcafius de Brente, as above.
Holinshed says, “ That Richard 1. had a natural son named Philip, who in the year following killed the Viscount De Limoges to revenge the death of his father.” Steevens.
Perhaps the following passage in the Continuation of Harding's Chronicle, 1543)
24, b. ad ann. 1472, induced the author of the old play to affix the name of Faulconbridge to King Richard's natural son, who is only mentioned in our histories by the name of Philip: " —one Faulconbridge, therle of Kent, his baftarde, a ftoute-harted man."
Who the mother of Philip was, is not ascertained. It is said that she was a lady of Poictou, and that King Richard bestowed upon her son a lordship in that province.