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Full of unpleafing blots, and fightless stains,
Lame, foolish, crooked, fwart, prodigious,
Patch'd with foul moles, and eye-offending marks;
I would not care, I then would be content :
For then I fhould not love thee: no, nor thou
Become thy great birth, nor deserve a crown.
But thy art fair, and at thy birth, dear boy!
(5) Nature and fortune join'd to make thee great.
Of nature's gifts thou may'ft with lillies boaft,
And with the half blown-rofe.
I will inftruct my forrows to be proud;
For grief is proud, and makes the owner ftout.
If thou had'ft been born
Deform'd and crooked in the features of
Thy body, as the manners of thy mind,
Moor-lip'd, flat-nos'd, dim-ey'd and beetle-brow'd,
With a dwarfs ftature to a giant's waift:
Sour-breath'd, with claws for fingers on thy hands,
Splay-footed, gouty-leg'd, and over all
A loathfome leprofy had fpread itself,
And made thee fhun'd of human fellowships,
I had been bleft.
Rather than as now,
(Tho' I had drown'd thee for it in the fea)
Appearing as thou dost a new Pandora,
With Juno's fair cow-eyes, Minerva's brow,
Aurora's blushing cheeks, Hebe's fresh youth,
Venus foft paps, and Thetis filver feet.
Act 4. S. 1,
The laft lines of Maffinger, are an immediate translation from a pretty Greek epigram, the author of which compares his miftreffes eyes to Juno's, her paps to Venus, &c.
Ομματ' έχεις Ηρης, Μελίτη, τας χείρας Αθήνης,
Τις μάζες Παφίης, τα σφυρα της Θέτιδος, δε
(5) Nature, &c.] In the Philoctetes of Sophocles, it is faid,
Αλλ' ευγενής γαρ ηφυσις, και ευγένων
Ω τεκνον, η ση
Noble thy nature, as thy birth. my son.
SCENE V. The Horrors of unclofing a Confpiracy.
(6) I had a thing to fay-but, let it go :
The fun is in the heav'n, and the proud day,
Attended with the pleasures of the world,
Is all too wanton, and too full of gawds,
To give me audience. If the midnight bell,
Did with his iron tongue and brazen mouth
Sound one unto the drowsy race of night;
(6) I bad, &c.] The reader cannot but be ftruck with the pe culiar excellencies of this fpeech: we fee into the very workings of king John's troubled foul, while he is wishing yet afraid to difclofe his bloody purpofe to Hubert; and how finely does the author defcribe the fituation the mind fhou'd be in to hear and embrace fuch a proposal, the place fittest to disclose it in, the time most suitable to pour it into the bofom of the hearer. See Julius Cafar, p. 97. Shakespear, when he would exprefs the most dreadful time of night, always fpeaks of the hours of twelve or ne; for that, in the vulgar opinion, was the peculiar time of ghosts and spirits. In Midsummer Night's Dream, he fays,
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve.
And the ghost in Hamblet just then ftalks forth, when Bernards. giving an account of it comes to
The bell then beating one.
A most beautiful break, and finely imagin'd.
The king, in Beaumont and Fletcher's King and no King, is alike troubled and fearful to disclose his intentions. fays of him,
He has followed me
Thro' twenty rooms, and ever when 1 ftay
To wait's command, he blushes like a girl,
And looks upon me as if modesty
Kept in his bufinefs: fo turns away from me:
But if I go on, he follows me again.
And the king says of himself,
I cannot utter it; why fhou'd I keep
A breaft to harbour thoughts I dare not speak?
Darkness is in my bofom, and there lie
A thoufand thoughts that cannot brook the light;
How wilt thou vex me, when this deed done,
Confcience that art afraid to let me name it? A 3.
If this same were a churchyard, where we stand,
And thou poffeffed with a thousand wrongs ;
Or if that surly spirit melancholy
Had bak'd thy blood, and made it heavy-thick,
Which else runs tickling up and down the veins,
Making that ideot laughter keep mens eyes,
And strain their cheeks to idle merriment ;
(A passion hateful to my purposes)
Or if that thou couldst fee me without eyes,
Hear me without thine ears, and make reply
Without a tongue, using conceit alone
Without eyes, ears, and harmful soul of words ;
Then in dispight of broad-ey'd watchful day,
I would into thy bosom pour my thoughts ;
But ah, I will not:-
SCENE VI. A Mother's Ravings.
1 am not mad; this hair I tear is mine ;
My name is Constance, I was Geffrey's wife :-
Young Arthur is my son, and he is loft,
I am not mad; I would to heav'n, I were !
For then 'tis like, I should forget myself.
Oh, if I could, what grief should I forget!
Preach some philosophy to make me mad,
And thou shall be canoniz'd Cardinal,
For being not mad, but fenfible of grief,
My reasonable part produces reason
How I may be deliver'd of these woes,
And teaches me to kill or hang myself.
If I were mad, I fou'd forget my son,
Or madly think, a babe of clouts were he ::
I am not mad ; too well, too well I feel,
The diff'rent plague of each calamity.
A Mother's Grief.
Father Cardinal, I have heard you fay,
That we shall fee and know our friends in heav'n;
If that be, I fhall fee my boy again.
For fince the birth of Cain, the firft male-child,
To him that did but yesterday fufpire,
There was not fuch a gracious creature born.
But now will canker forrow eat my bud,
And chafe the native beauty from his cheek;
And he will look as hollow as a ghoft;
As dim and meagre as an ague's fit;
And fo he'll die; and rifing so again,
When I shall meet him in the court of heav'n,
I fhall not know him; therefore, never, never
Muft I behold my pretty Arthur more.
Pand. You hold too heinous a respect of grief.
Conft. He talks to me, that never had a fon.-
K. Phil. You are as fond of grief, as of your child;
Conft. Grief fills the room up of my absent child;
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me;
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts;
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;
Then have I reafon to be fond of grief.
There's nothing in this world can make me joy ; (7) Life is as tedious as a twice told tale, Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.
'(7) Life, &c.] So in another part of the play he says, This act is as an ancient tale new told, And in the last repeating troublesome.
I bring this paffage chiefly that the reader may more carefully dwell on the inimitable beauties of that in the text.
Before the curing of a strong disease, Ev'n in the instant of repair and health, The fit is ftrongeft: evils that take leave, On their departure, moft of all shew evil.
Danger lays hold of any Support. He that ftands upon a slipp'ry place, Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him up.
Arthur's pathetick Speeches to Hubert.
Methinks, nobody fhould be fad but I ;
Yet I remember when I was in France,
Young gentlemen would be as fad as night,
Only for wantonnefs. By my Christendom,
So were I out of prison and kept sheep,
I should be merry as the day is long.
Have you the heart? when your head did but ake,
my handkerchief about your
(The best I had, a princess wrought it me)
And I did never afk it you again;
And with my hand at midnight held your head;
And, like the watchful minutes to the hour,
Still and anon chear'd up the heavy time
Saying, what lack you, and where lies your grief?
Or what good love may I perform for you?
Many a poor man's fon would have lain ftill,
And ne'er have spoke a loving word to you;
But you at your fick service had a prince.
Nay, you may think, my love was crafty love,
And call it cunning. Do, an if you will:
If heav'n be pleas'd that you must use me ill,