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And here's a prophet, that I brought with me
From forth the streets of Pomfret, whom I found
With many hundreds treading on his heels;
To whom he sung, in rude harsh-sounding rhymes,
That, ere the next Ascension-day at noon,
Your highness should deliver up your crown.

K. JOHN. Thou idle dreamer, wherefore didst
thou so ?

PETER. Foreknowing that the truth will fall out


K. JOHN. Hubert, away with him; imprison him; And on that day at noon, whereon, he says, I shall yield up my crown, let him be hang'd. Deliver him to safety, and return,

For I must use thee.-O my gentle cousin,

[Exit HUBERT, with PETER. Hear'st thou the news abroad, who are arriv'd? BAST. The French, my lord; men's mouths are full of it:

Besides, I met lord Bigot, and lord Salisbury,
(With eyes as red as new-enkindled fire,)
And others more, going to seek the grave
Of Arthur, who, they say ', is kill'd to-night
On your suggestion.

8 And here's a prophet,] This man was a hermit in great repute with the common people. Notwithstanding the event is said to have fallen out as he had prophesied, the poor fellow was inhumanly dragged at horses' tails through the streets of Warham, and, together with his son, who appears to have been even more innocent than his father, hanged afterwards upon a gibbet. See Holinshed's Chronicle, under the year 1213. DOUCE. See A. of Wyntown's Cronykil, b. vii. ch. viii. v. 801, &c. STEVENS. observes, that he Pope's legate, the

Speed (History of Great Britain, p. 499,) [Peter the Hermit] was suborned by the French king, and the Barons for this purpose. GREY.

9 Deliver him to safety,] That is, "Give him into safe custody." JOHNSON.


-WHO, they say,] Old copy-whom. Corrected by Mr. Pope. MALONE."


Gentle kinsman, go,

And thrust thyself into their companies :
I have a way to win their loves again;
Bring them before me.


I will seek them out.

K. JOHN. Nay, but make haste; the better foot before.

O, let me have no subject enemies,
When adverse foreigners affright my towns
With dreadful pomp of stout invasion!-
Be Mercury, set feathers to thy heels;
And fly, like thought, from them to me again.
BAST. The spirit of the time shall teach me


[Exit. K. JOHN. Spoke like a spriteful noble gentle


Go after him; for he, perhaps, shall need
Some messenger betwixt me and the peers;
And be thou he.


With all my heart, my liege.

K. JOHN. My mother dead!

Re-enter Hubert.


HUB. My lord, they say, five moons were seen

to-night 2:

Four fixed; and the fifth did whirl about

The other four, in wond'rous motion.

K. JOHN. Five moons?


Old men, and beldams, in the streets Do prophecy upon it dangerously:

2-five moons were seen to-night, &c.] This incident is mentioned by few of our historians. I have met with it no where but in Matthew of Westminster and Polydore Virgil, with a small alteration.


This incident is likewise mentioned in the old King John.


Young Arthur's death is common in their mouths:
And when they talk of him, they shake their heads,
And whisper one another in the ear;

And he, that speaks, doth gripe the hearer's wrist;
Whilst he, that hears, makes fearful action,
With wrinkled brows, with nods, with rolling eyes 3.
I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,
The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool,
With open mouth swallowing a tailor's news;
Who, with his shears and measure in his hand,
Standing on slippers, (which his nimble haste
Had falsely thrust upon contráry feet"),

And he, that speaks, doth gripe the hearer's wrist;] This description may be compared with a spirited passage in Edward III. Capell's Prolusions, p. 75:

"Our men with open mouths, and staring eyes
"Look on each other, as they did attend

"Each others words, and yet no creature speaks;
"A tongue-ty'd fear hath made a midnight hour,
"And speeches sleep through all the waking regions."

slippers, (which his nimble haste


Had falsely thrust upon CONTRARY feet,)] The following notes afford a curious specimen of the difficulties which may arise from the fluctuations of fashion. What has called forth the antiquarian knowledge of so many learned commentators is again become the common practice at this day. Boswell.

I know not how the commentators understand this important passage, which, in Dr. Warburton's edition, is marked as eminently beautiful, and, on the whole, not without justice. But Shakspeare seems to have confounded the man's shoes with his gloves. He that is frighted or hurried may put his hand into the wrong glove, but either shoe will equally admit either foot. The author seems to be disturbed by the disorder which he describes. JOHNSON.

Dr. Johnson forgets that ancient slippers might possibly be very different from modern ones. Scott, in his Discoverie of Witchcraft, tells us : "He that receiveth a mischance, will consider, whether he put not on his shirt wrong side outwards, or his left shoe on his right foot." One of the jests of Scogan, by Andrew Borde, is how he defrauded two shoemakers, one of a right foot boot, and the other of a left foot one. And Davies,

Told of a many thousand warlike French,
That were embattailed and rank'd in Kent:
Another lean unwash'd artificer

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in one of his Epigrams, compares a man to a soft-knit hose, that serves each leg.





This fellow

In The Fleire, 1615, is the following passage: is like your upright shoe, he will serve either foot." From this we may infer, that some shoes could only be worn on the foot for which they were made. And Barrett, in his Alvearie, 1580, as an instance of the word wrong, says: to put on his shooes wrong." Again, in A merye Jest of a Man that was called Howleglas, bl. 1. no date : Howleglas had cut all the lether for the lefte foote. Then when his master sawe all his lether cut for the lefte foote, then asked he Howleglas if there belonged not to the lefte foote a right foote. Then sayd Howleglas to his maister, If that he had tolde that to me before, I would have cut them; but an it please you I shall cut as mani right shoone unto them." Again, in Frobisher's Second Voyage for the Discoverie of Cataia, 4to. bl. 1. 1578: "They also beheld (to their great maruaille) a dublet of canuas made after the Englishe fashion, a shirt, a girdle, three shoes for contrarie feet," &c. p. 21. See also the Gentleman's Magazine, for April, 1797, p. 280, and the plate annexed, figure 3. STEEVENS.

See Martin's Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, 1703, p. 207: "The generality now only wear shoes having one thin sole only, and shaped after the right and left foot, so that what is for one foot will not serve the other." The meaning seems to be, that the extremities of the shoes were not round or square, but were cut in an oblique angle, or aslant from the great toe to the little one. See likewise The Philosophical Transactions abridged, vol. iii. p. 432, and vol. vii. p. 23, where are exhibited shoes and sandals shaped to the feet, spreading more to the outside than the inside. TOLLET.

So, in Holland's translation of Suetonius, 1606 :- if in a morning his shoes were put one [r. on] wrong, and namely the left for the right, he held it unlucky." Our author himself also furnishes an authority to the same point. Speed, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, speaks of a left shoe. It should be remembered that tailors generally work barefooted: a circumstance which Shakspeare probably had in his thoughts when he wrote this passage. I believe the word contrary, in his time, was frequently accented on the second syllable, and that it was intended to be so accented here. So Spenser, in his Fairy Queen :

“That with the wind contráry courses sew." MALONE.

Cuts off his tale, and talks of Arthur's death.
K. JOHN. Why seek'st thou to possess me with
these fears?

Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death?
Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had a mighty



To wish him dead, but thou hadst none to kill him. HUB. Had none, my lord! why, did you not provoke me?

K. JOHN. It is the curse of kings, to be attended

By slaves, 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. O, when the last account 'twixt heaven and earth

Is to be made, then shall this hand and seal
Witness against us to damnation!

How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds,
Makes deeds ill done! Hadest not thou been by,
A fellow by the hand of nature mark'd,

4- I had mighty cause-] The old copy, more redundantly ." I had a mighty cause." STEEVENS.

5 HAD NONE, my lord!] Old copy-No had. Corrected by Mr. Pope. MALONE.

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.

It is extremely probable that our author meant to pay his court to Elizabeth by this covert apology for her conduct to Mary. The Queen of Scots was beheaded in 1587, some years, I believe, before he had produced any play on the stage. MALONE.

7 — advis'd RESPECT.] i. e. deliberate consideration, reflection, So, in Hamlet:

"There's the respect

"That makes calamity of so long life." STEEVENS.

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