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He hath a stern look, but a gentle heart:-
Come, boy, prepare yourself.
None, but to lose your eyes. Arth. ( heaven !-that there were but a mote in
yours, A grain, a dust, a gnat, a wand'ring hair, Any annoyance in that precious sense! Then, feeling what small things are boist'rous there, Your vile intent must needs seem horrible.
Hub. Is this your promise? go to, hold your tongue.
Arth. Hubert, the utterance of a brace of tongues
I can heat it, boy.
1 a mote in yours,] Old copy-a moth. Steevens.
Surely we should read-a mote. Our author, who has bor. rowed so much from the sacred writings, without doubt remembered," And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye,” &c. Matth. vii, 3. So, in Hamlet :
« A mote it is, to trouble the mind's eye.” A mote is a small particle of straw or chaff. It is likewise used by old writers for an atom.
I have since found my conjecture confirmed. Moth was merely the old spelling of mote. In the passage quoted from Hamlet, the word is spelt moth in the original copy, as it is here. So also, in the preface to Lodge's Incarnate Devils of the Age, 4to. 1596: “- they are in the aire, like atomi in sole, mothes in the sonne.” See also Florio's Italian Dict. 1598: “Festucco.-A moth, a little beam.” Malone.
2 Or, Hubert, if you will, cut out my tongue,] This is according to nature. We imagine no evil so great as that which is near us. Fohnson.
3 the fire is dead with grief, &c.] The sense is : the fire, being created not to hurt, but to comfort, is dead with grief for find. ing itself used in acts of cruelty, which being innocent, I have not deserved. Fohnson
Being create for comfort, to be us’d
Hub. But with my breath I can revive it, boy.
Arth. And if you do, you will but make it blush, And glow with shame of your proceedings, Hubert: Nay, it, perchance, will sparkle in your eyes; And, like a dog that is conipell’d to fight, Snatch at his master that doth tarre him on.5 All things, that you should use to do me wrong, Deny their office: only you do lack That mercy, which fierce fire, and iron, extends, Creatures of note, for mercy-lacking uses.
Hub. Well, see to live;6 I will not touch thine eyes
Arth. (, now you look like Hubert! all this while
Peace: no more. Adieu;
4 There is no malice in this burning coal;? Dr. Grey says “that no malice in a burning coal is certainly absurd, and that we should read:
There is no malice burning in this coal. Steevens. , Dr. Grey's remark on this passage is an hypercriticism. The coal was still burning, for Hubert says, “ He could revive it with his breath :" but it had lost, for a time, its power of injuring, by the abatement of its heat. M. Mason.
5_ tarre him on.] i.e. stimulate, set him on. Supposed to be derived from tapariw, excito. The word occurs again in Hamlet: “ — and the nation holds it no sin to tarre them on to controversy.” Again, in Troilus and Cressida:
« Pride alone must tarre the mastiffs on.” Steevens. 6 — see to live;? The meaning is not, I believe,-keep your eye-sight, that you may live (for he might have lived, though blind.) The words, agreeably to a common idiom of our language, mean, I conceive, no more than live. Malone. See to live means only-Continue to enjoy the means of life.
Steevens. On further consideration of these words, I believe the author meant-Well, live, and live with the means of seeing; that is, with your eyes uninjured. Malone.
I 'll fill these dogged spies with false reports.
O heaven !- I thank you, Hubert. Hub. Silence; no more: Go closely in with me;? Much danger do I undergo for thee.
[Exeunt. SCENE II. The same. A Room of State in the Palace. Enter King John, crowned; PEMBROKE, SALISBURY, and
other Lords. The King takes his State. K. John. Here once again we sit, once again crown'd, And look'd upon, I hope, with cheerful eyes.
Pem. This once again, but that your highness pleas'do Was once superfluous: 9 you were crown'd before, And that high royalty was ne'er pluck'd off; The faiths of men ne'er stained with revolt; Fresh expectation troubled not the land, With any long'd-for change, or better state.
Sal. Therefore, to be possess'd with double pompa To guard a title that was rich before,
1- Go closely in with me;] i. e. secretly, privately. So, in Albumazar, 1610, Act III, sc. i:
“I'll entertain him here, mean while, steal you
“ Closely into the room,” &c. Again, in The Atheist's Tragedy, 1612, Act IV, sc. i:
« Enter Frisco closely." Again, in Sir Henry Wotton's Parallel: “ That when he was free from restraint, he should closely take an out lodging at Green. wich.” Reed.
8 — once again crown'd,] Old copy-against Corrected in the fourth folio. Malone. 9 This once again, —
Was once superfluous: ] This one time more was one time more than enough. Fohnson.
It should be remembered, that King John was at present crowned for the fourth time. Steevens.
John's second coronation was at Canterbury, in the year 1201. He was crowned a third time, at the same place, after the mur. der of his nephew, in April, 1202; probably with a view of con. firming his title to the throne, his competitor no longer standing in his way. Malone.
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
Pem. But that your royal pleasure must be done,
Sal. In this, the antique and well-noted face
Pem. When workmen strive to do better than well, -
1 To guard a title that was rich before,] To guard, is to fringe.
Johnson. Rather, to lace. So, in The Merchant of Venice:
“ give him a livery
“ More guarded than his fellows." Steevens. 2 — as an ancient tale new told;} Had Shakspeare been a dili. gent examiner of his own compositions, he would not so soon have repeated an idea which he had first put into the mouth of the Dauphin :
“Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,
“ Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.” Mr. Malone has a remark to the same tendency. Steevens.
3 They do confound their skill in covetousness :) i.e. not by their avarice, but in an eager emulation, an intense desire of excelling, as in Henry V :
“ But if it be a sin to covet honour,
“I am the most offending soul alive.” Theobald. So, in our author's 103d Sonnet:
“ Were it not sinful then, striving to mend,
“ To mar the subject that before was well?" Malone. 1- in hiding of the fault,] Fault means blemish. Steevens.
Than did the fault before it was so patch'd.
Sal. To this effect, before you were new-crown'd,
K. John. Some reasons of this double coronation
Pem. Then I, (as one that am the tongue of these,
3.Since all and every part of what we would,] Since the whole and each particular part of our wishes, &c. Malone. 6 Some reasons of this double coronation
I have possess'd you with, and think them strong;
I shall indue you with:] Mr. Theobald reads-(the lesser is my fear) which, in the following note, Dr. Johnson has attempted to explain. Steevens.
I have told you some reasons, in my opinion strong, and shall tell more, yet stronger; for the stronger my reasons are, the less is my fear of your disapprobation. This seems to be the meaning.
Fohnson. And more, more strong, (when lesser is my fear,) I shall indue you with: 1 The first folio reads:
(then lesser is my fear). The true reading is obvious enough :
- (when lesser is my fear). Tyrwhitt. I have done this emendation the justice to place it in the text.
Steevens. ..? To sound the purposes --] To declare, to publish the desires of all those. Johnson.