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Blanch. The lady Constance speaks not from her
faith, But from her need.
Conft. Oh, if thou grant my need, Which only lives but by the death of faith, That need must needs infer this principleThat faith would live again by death of need: O then, tread down my need, and faith mounts up; Keep my need up, and faith is trodden down.
K. John. The king is mov’d, and answers not to this. Conft
. O, be remov’d from him, and answer well. Auft
. Do so, king Philip; hang no more in doubt. Faulo. Hang nothing but a calve’s-skin, most sweet
lout. K. Phil. I am perplex’d, and know not what to say. Pand. What can’st thou say, but will perplex thee
more, If thou stand excommunicate, and curst? K. Pbil. Good reverend father, make my person
but they are both too hasty. It squares very well with the sense, and signifies unsteady. The term is taken from navigation. We say too, in a similar way of speaking, not well manned. WARB.
I think Mr. Theobald's correction more plausible than Dr. Warburton's explanation. A commentator should be grave, and therefore I can read these notes with proper severity of attention ; but the idea of trimming a lady to keep her steady, would be too risible for any common power of face. Johnson.
Trim is dress. An untrimmed bride is a bride undrejt: Could the tempter of mankind aflume a semblance in which he was more likely to be successful? The devil (says Constance) raises to your imagination your bride stripped of the forbidding forms of dress, and in the anticipation of future enjoyment, the memory of my wrongs is loft. Ben Jonson, in his New Inn, says,
". Bur. Here's a lady gay.
With all religious strength of sacred vows.
Pand. All form is formless, order orderless, Save what is opposite to England's love. Therefore, to arms ! be champion of our church! Or let the church, our mother, breathe her curse, A mother's curse, on her revolting son. France, thou may'st hold a serpent by the tongue, A cased lion 5 by the mortal paw, A fasting tyger fafer by the tooth, Than keep in peace that hand which thou dost hold.
- so strong in both,] I believe the meaning is, love so strong in both parties. JOHNSON.
SA cajed lion) All the modern editors read, a chafed lien. Ic little resfon for change. A cefed lion, is a lion ir, ritated by coniinement. The author might, however, have written, a chased lion, STEEVENS,
K. Philip. K. Phil. I may disjoin my hand, but not my faith. .
Pand. So mak’it thou faith an enemy to faith; And, like a civil war, set'st oath to oath, Thy tongue against thy tongue. O, let thy vow Firit made to heaven, firit be to heaven perform’d; That is, to be the champion of our church! What since thou swor'ft, is sworn against thyself, And may not be performed by thyself. For that, which thou hast sworn to do amiss, * Is't not amiss, when it is truly done ? And being not done, where doing tends to ill, The truth is then most done, not doing it. The better act of purposes mistook Is to mistake again ; tho' indirect, Yet indirection thereby grows direct, And fallhood falfhood cures; as fire cools fire, Within the scorched veins of one new-burn'd. It is religion, that doth make vows kept; 7 But thou hast sworn against religion : By what thou swear'lt, against the thing thou swear'st :
o Is not amiss, when it is truly done :] This is the conclufion de travers.
We should read, Is yet amiss,The Oxford editor, according to his usual custom, will improve it further, and reads, most amiss. WARBURTON. I rather read,
Is't act amiss, when it is truly done ? as the alteration is less, and the sense which Dr. Warburton firf discovered is preserved. JOHNSON.
But thou haft worn againsi religion, &c.] In this long speech, the legate is made to fhew his skill in casuistry; and the ftrange heap of quibble and nonsense of which it confifts, was intended to ridicule that of the schools. For when he assumes the politician, at the conclusion of the third act, the author makes him talk at another rate. I mean in that beautiful paffage where he speaks of the mischiefs following the king's loss of his subjects hearts
. This conduct is remarkable, and was intended, I suppose
, to sew us how much better politicians the Roman courtiers are, than divines. WARBURTON.
And mak'st an oath the surety for thy truth,
I am nct able to discover here any thing inconsequent or ridiculously subtle. The propositions, that the voice of the church is the voice of heaven, and that the pope utters the voice of the church, neither of which Pandulph's auditors would deny, being once granted, the argument here used is irrefiitible ; nor is it easy, notwithtanding the gingle, to enforce it with greater brevity or propriety:
Bilt thou haft j worn against religion :
To freear, frear orly not to be forsworn.] By what. Sir T. HANMER reads, by that. I think it should be rather by which. That is, thou swearst against the thing, by which thout fwear's ; that is, against religion. The most formidable dificulty is in these lines,
And mak't an oath the furety for thy truth,
To wear, &c.
And nak's an oath the surety for thy truth,
To frenr, &c.
Againsi on oath the truth thou art unsure-
I know not whether there is any corruption beyond the omis. sion of a point. The sense, after I had considered it, appeared to me only this : In fwearing by religion against religion, to which thou haf: already sworn, thou mukest an oath the security for thy faith again an oath already taken. I will give, Jays be, a rule for conscience in these cases. Thou mayit be in doubt about the matter of an oath; when thou feearest thou mayfl not be always sure to frear rightly, but let this be thy fettied principle, swear only not to be firsworn; let not the latter oaths be at variance with the former.
Truth, through this whole speech, means rectitude of conduct. JOHNSON,
Is in thyself rebellion to thyself.
Auft. Rebellion, flat rebellion!
Faulc. Will't not be?
Lewis. Father, to arms!
Blanch. Upon thy wedding-day?
. O, upon my knee,
Now shall I see thy love.—What motive may Be stronger with thee than the name of wife?
Const. That which upholdeth him, that thee upholds, His honour. Oh, thine honour, Lewis, thine ho
Pand. I will denounce a curse upon his head.