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The whilft his iron did on the anvil cool,
With open mouth swallowing a taylor's news;
Who, with his shears and measure in his hand,
Standing on Nippers (which his nimble haste 3
Had fallely thrust upon contrary feet)
Told of a many thousand warlike French,
That were embatteled and rank'd in Kent.
Another lean unwash'd artificer
Cuts off his tale, and talks of Arthur's death.
K. John. Why seek'st thou to poffefs me with these

fears ?
Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death?
Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had a mighty cause
To wish him dead, but thou had'st none to kill him.
Hub. Had none, my lord! why, did you not pro-

voke me?
K. John. It is the curse of kings 4, to be attended
By Naves, that take their humours for a warrant,
To break within the bloody house of life :
And, on the winking of authority,
To understand a law; to know the meaning
Of dangerous majesty; when, perchance, it frowns
More upon humour, than advis'd respect.

Hub. Here is your hand and seal for what I did.
K. John. Oh, when the last account 'twixt heaven

and earth
Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal

3

- slippers (which his nimble base Had faljely thrust upon contrary feet)] I know not how the commentators understand this important pasige, which in Dr. Warburton's edition is marked as eminently beautiful, and, on the whole, not without justice. But Shakespeare seems to have confounded the man's shoes with his gloves. He that is frighted or hurried may put his hand into the wring glove, but either thoe will equally admit either foot. The author feems to be disturbed by the disorder which he describes. JOHNSON.

* It is the curse of kings, &c.] This plainly hints at Davison's case, in the affair of Mary queen of Scots, and so must have been inserted long after the first representation. WARBURTON.

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Witness against us to damnation!
How oft the sight of means, to do ill deeds,
Makes deeds ill done? Hadeft not thou been by,
A fellow by the hand of nature mark’d,
Quoted, and lign'd, to do a deed of shame,
This nuurder had not come into my mind :
But, taking note of thy abhorr'd aspect,
Finding thee fit for bloody villainy,
Apt, liable, to be employ'd in danger,
I faintly broke with thee of Arthur's death;
And thou, to be endeared to a king,
Mad'It it no conscience to destroy a prince.

H::b. My lord-
K. Jchn. Hadft thou but shook thy head 5, or made

a pause,
When I spake darkly what I purposed;
Or turn’d an eye of doubt upon my face ;
Or bid me tell my tale in express words ;
Deep shame had struck me dumb, made me break off,
And those thy fears might have wrought fears in me.
But thou didit understand me by my signs,
And didft in signs again parley with sin;
Yea, without stop, did'st let thy heart confent,
And, contequently, thy rude hand to act
The deed, which both our tongues held vile to name. -
Out of my sight, and never see me more !

5 Hadthou but shook thy head, &c.] There are many touches of nature in this conference of John with Hubert. A man engaged in wickedness would keep the profit to himself, and tranffer the guilt to his accomplice. These reproaches vented against Huburt are not the words of art or policy, but the eruptions of a mind swelling with consciousness of a crime, and detirous of difchargirgits misery on another.

This account of the timidity of guilt is drawn ab ipfis receribus moziis, from the intimate knowledge of markinu, particularly that line in which he says, that to have band bim tel bis tale in exercy's words, would have firuck bim duml; nothing is more ccriain, than that bad nen uie all the arts of fallacy upon themselves, pallia'e their actions to their own minds by gende terms, and hide themselves from their own deiection in ambiguities and fubterfuges. JOHNSON.

My

My nobles leave me; and my state is brav’d,
Even at my gates, with ranks of foreign powers :
Nay, in the body of this fleshly land,
This kingdom, this confine of blood and breath,
Hostility and civil tumult reigns,
Between my conscience, and my cousin's death.

Hub. Arm you against your other enemies,
I'll make a peace between your soul and you.
Young Arthur is alive: this hand of mine
Is yet a maiden and an innocent hand,
Not painted with the crimson spots of blood.
Within this bosom never enter'd yet
The dreadful motion of a murd’rous thought,
And you have Nander'd nature in my

form ;

The dreadful motion of a murd'rous thought,] Nothing can be falser than what Hubert here says in his own vindication; yet it was the poet's purpose that he should speak truth; for we find, from a preceding scene, the motion of a murdrous thought bad entered into him, and that very deeply: and it was with diriculty that the tears, the intreaties, and the innocence of Arthur had diverted and fupprefied it. Nor is the expression, in this reading, at all exact, it not being the necelary quality of a murd'rous thought to be dreadful, affrighting, or terrible : for it being commonly excited by the flattering views of intereft, pleafore. or revenge, the mind is often too much taken up with those ideas to attend, steadily, to the confequcnccs. We muit conclude therefore that Shakespeare wrote,

a MURDERER's thought. And this makes Hubert speak truth, as the poet intended he should. He had not committed the murder, and consequently the motion of a murderer'o thought had never entered his bojom. And in this reading, the epithet dreadfulis admirably jutt, and in nature. For after the perpetration of the fact, the appetites, that hurried their owner to it, lose their force; and nothing fucceeds to take posiesfion of the mind, but a dreadful consciousness, that torments the murderer without respite or intermission. WARBURTON.

I do not see any thing in this change worth the vehemence with which it is recommended. Read the line either way, the sense is nearly the same, nor does Hubert tell truth in either reading when he charges John with fundering his form. He that could once intend to burn out the eyes of a captive prince, had a mind not too fair for the rudest formi. JOHNSON,

F 3

Which,

Which, howsoever rude exteriorly,
Is yet the cover of a fairer mind,
Than to be butcher of an innocent child.
K.ch:1

. Doth Arthur live? O, hafte thee to the

peers, Throw this report on their incensed rage, And make them tame to their obedience! Forgive the comment that my passion made Upon thy feature; for my rage was blind, And foul imaginary eyes of blood Presented thee more hideous than thou art. Oh, answer not; but to my closet bring The angry lords, with all expedient halte: I conjure thee but slowly; run more fast 1. [Exeunt.

SCE N E III.

A freci before a pris011. Enter Arthur on the walls, disguised. Arth. The well is high ; and yet will I leap down :-Good ground, be pitiful, and hurt me not! 'There's few or none do know me: if they did, This ship-boy's semblance hath disguis’d me quite. I am afraid; and yet I'll venture it. If I get down, and do not break my limbs, I'll find a thousand shifts to get away : As good to die, and go; as die, and stay. (Leaps down. Oh me! my uncle's fpirit is in these stones : Heaven take my soul, and England keep my bones!

[Dies. Enter Pembroke, Sclipbury, and Bigot. Sol. Lords, I will meet him at St. Edmund's-bury i It is our safety; and we must embrace This gentlc offer of the perilous time.

? The old play is divided into two parts, the firf of which concludes with the king's dispatch of Hubert on this moffage ; the second begins with “ Enter Arthur," &c. as it itands at present in the new written copy. Sreeyess.

Pemb.

Pemb. Who brought that letter from the cardinal ?

Sal. The count Melun, a noble lord of France,
Whose private with me, of the dauphin's love $,
Is much more general than these lines import.

Bigot. To-morrow morning let us meet him then.

Sal. Or, rather, then set forward; for 'twill be
Two long days journey, lords, ore'er we meet 9.

Enter Faulconbridge.
Faulc. Once more to-day well met, distemper'd

lords !
The king, by me, requests your presence strait,

Sal. The king hath difpoffefs’d himself of us ;
We will not line his thin, bestained cloak
With our pure honours; nor attend the foot,
That leaves the print of blood where-e’er it walks.
Return, and tell him so; we know the worst.
Faulc. What e'er you think, good words, I think,

were best.
Sal. Our griefs, and not our manners, reason now!.

Faulc. But there is little reason in your grief,
Therefore 'twere reason you had manners now.

Pemb. Sir! Sir! impatience hath its privilege.
Faulc. 'Tis true; to hurt its master, no man else.
Sal. This is the prison : what is he lies here?

[Seeing Arthur. Pemb. O death, made proud with pure and princely

beauty!
The earth had not a hole to hide this deed.

9

i, e

e.

& Whole private, &c.] i. e. whose private account of the dauphin's affection to our cause, is much more ample than the letters. Pope.

or e'er we meet.] This phrase, so frequent in our old writers, is not well understood. Or is here the same as ere, before, and should be written (as it is itill pronounced in Shropshire) ore. There, the common people use it often. Thus, they say, Ore to-mcrrow for ere or before to-morrow. The additions of ever or e'er is merely augmentative. Percy.

? To reason, in Shakespeare, is not so often to argue, as to talk. JOHNSON

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