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And be a carrion monster like thyself:
Come, grin on me; and I will think thou smil'st, And buss thee as thy wife! Misery's love,*
O fair affliction, peace.
Const. No, no, I will not, having breath to
O, that my tongue were in the thunder's mouth!
Then with a passion would I shake the world;
And rouse from sleep that fell anatomy,
Which cannot hear a lady's feeble voice,
Which scorns a modern invocation."
Pand. Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow.
Const. Thou art not holy to belie me so;
I 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 lost:
I am not mad;-I would to heaven, I were!
For then, 'tis like I should forget myself:
O, if I could, what grief should I forget!
Preach some philosophy to make me mad,
And thou shalt be canoniz'd, cardinal;
For, being not mad, but sensible 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 should forget my son;
Or madly think, a babe of clouts were he:
I am not mad; too well, too well I feel
The different plague of each calamity.
K. Phi. Bind up those tresses: O, what love I
4 Misery's love, &c.] Thou, death, who art courted by Misery to come to his relief, O come to me.
modern invocation.] i. e. trite, common.
6 Bind up those tresses:] It was necessary that Constance should be interrupted, because a passion so violent cannot be borne
In the fair multitude of those her hairs!
Where but by chance a silver drop hath fallen,
Even to that drop ten thousand wiry friends
Do glew themselves in sociable grief;
Like true, inseparable, faithful loves,
Sticking together in calamity.
Const. To England, if you will.
Const. Yes, that I will; And wherefore will I
I tore them from their bonds; and cried aloud,
O that these hands could so redeem my son,
As they have given these hairs their liberty!
But now I envy at their liberty,
And will again commit them to their bonds,
Because my poor child is a prisoner.
And, father cardinal, I have heard you say,
That we shall see and know our friends in heaven:
If that be true, I shall see my boy again;
For, since the birth of Cain, the first male child,
To him that did but yesterday suspire,"
There was not such a gracious creature born."
But now will canker sorrow eat my bud,
And chase the native beauty from his cheek,
And he will look as hollow as a ghost;
As dim and meagre as an ague's fit;
And so he'll die; and, rising so again,
When I shall meet him in the court of heaven
I shall not know him: therefore never, never
Must I behold my pretty Arthur more.
Pand. You hold too heinous a respect of grief.
Const. He talks to me, that never had a son.
long. I wish the following speeches had been equally happy; but they only serve to show how difficult it is to maintain the pathetick long. JOHNSON.
but yesterday suspire,] i. e. breathe.
a gracious creature born.] Gracious, i. e. graceful.
K. Phi. You are as fond of grief, as of your
Const. Grief fills the room up of my absent
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 reason to be fond of grief.
Fare you well: had you such a loss as I,
I could give better comfort than you do.—
I will not keep this form upon my head,
[Tearing off her head-dress.
When there is such disorder in my wit.
O lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son!
My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!
My widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure! [Exit.
K. Phi. I fear some outrage, and I'll follow her.
[Exit. Lew. There's nothing in this world, can make me joy:1
Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man;
And bitter shame hath spoil'd the sweet world's
That it yields naught, but shame, and bitterness. Pand. Before the curing of a strong disease,
Even in the instant of repair and health,
The fit is strongest; evils, that take leave,
I could give better comfort-] This is a sentiment which great sorrow always dictates. Whoever cannot help himself casts his eyes on others for assistance, and often mistakes their inability for coldness. JOHNSON.
There's nothing in this, &c.] The young prince feels his defeat with more sensibility than his father. Shame operates most strongly in the earlier years; and when can disgrace be less welcome than when a man is going to his bride? JOHNSON.
On their departure most of all show evil:
What have you lost by losing of this day?
Lew. All days of glory, joy, and happiness.
Pand. If you have won it, certainly, you had.
No, no: when fortune means to men most good,
She looks upon them with a threatening eye.
'Tis strange, to think how much king John hath
In this which he accounts so clearly won:
Are not you griev'd, that Arthur is his prisoner?
Lew. As heartily, as he is glad he hath him.
Pand. Your mind is all as youthful as your
Now hear me speak, with a prophetick spirit;
For even the breath of what I mean to speak
Shall blow each dust, each straw, each little rub,
Out of the path which shall directly lead
Thy foot to England's throne; and, therefore, mark.
John hath seiz'd Arthur; and it cannot be,
That, whiles warm life plays in that infant's veins,
The misplac'd John should entertain an hour,
One minute, nay, one quiet breath of rest:
A scepter, snatch'd with an unruly hand,
Must be as boisterously maintain'd as gain'd:
And he, that stands upon a slippery place,
Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him up:
That John may stand, then Arthur needs must
So be it, for it cannot be but so.
Lew. But what shall I gain by young Arthur's
Pand. You, in the right of lady Blanch your
May then make all the claim that Arthur did.
Lew. And lose it, life and all, as Arthur did.
Pand. How green are you, and fresh in this old
John lays you plots; the times conspire with you;
For he, that steeps his safety in true blood,
Shall find but bloody safety, and untrue.
This act, so evilly born, shall cool the hearts
Of all his people, and freeze up their zeal;
That none so small advantage shall step forth,
To check his reign, but they will cherish it:
No natural exhalation in the sky,
No scape of nature, no distemper'd day,
No common wind, no customed event,
But they will pluck away his natural cause,
And call them meteors, prodigies, and signs,
Abortives, présages, and tongues of heaven,
Plainly denouncing vengeance upon John.
Lew. May be, he will not touch young Arthur's
But hold himself safe in his prisonment.
Pand. O, sir, when he shall hear of your ap
If that young Arthur be not gone already,
Even at that news he dies: and then the hearts
Of all his people shall revolt from him,
And kiss the lips of unacquainted change;
And pick strong matter of revolt, and wrath,
Out of the bloody fingers' ends of John.
Methinks, I see this hurly all on foot;
And, O, what better matter breeds for you,
Than I have nam'd!-The bastard Faulconbridge
Is now in England, ransacking the church,
Offending charity: If but a dozen French
Were there in arms, they would be as a call
To train ten thousand English to their side;
Or, as a little snow, tumbled about,
Anon becomes a mountain. O noble Dauphin,
Go with me to the king: 'Tis wonderful,
What may be wrought out of their discontent:
Now that their souls are topfull of offence,