Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE TRAGEDY

OF

KING JOHN

PLAYS OF SHAKSPEARE

THE FALCONEDITION

With Introduction and Notes to each Play

JULIUS CÆSAR. By H. C. BEECHING.

IS. 6d.

IS, 6d.

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. By H. C. BeechING.
CORIOLANUS. By H. C. BEECHING.

23.

KING HENRY IV. Part I. By OLIVER ELTON.

IS, 6d.

KING HENRY IV. Part II. By A. D. Innes, M.A. 15. 6d.

KING RICHARD III. By W. H. PAYNE SMITH, M.A.

2s.

IS. 6d.

TWELFTH NIGHT. By H. HOWARD CRAWLEY. Is. 6d.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. By A. W. Verity, M.A.
KING HENRY V. By A. D. INNES, M.A.
KING JOHN. By Oliver Elton.

IS. 6d.

AS YOU LIKE IT. By Professor A. C. BRADLEY.

Others to follow.

LONGMANS: LONDON

THE TRAGEDY

OF

King John

EDITED BY

O. ELTON

LATE SCHOLAR OF CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE, OXFORD

LONDON
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
AND NEW YORK: 15 EAST 16th STREET

1890

All rights reserved

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

22 niy'll

THE
'HE Life and Death of King John is perhaps the

most breathless of all Shakspere's historical plays. It is full of tempestuous haste, of swiftly-changing pageantry. The life of years is condensed into a few hours. The embassy of Chatillion; the field before Angers, the league against the town ; the backsliding of Philip, first from Constance, and then from John; the capture of Arthur, his pleading, his rescue and death ; the invasion of England; the vacillations of fortune ; the death-agony of John; and the tranquil note of assured patriotism and hope with which the play ceases -all these scenes fly like thought, like the tumult of a great storm which crushes good and evil impartially, and breaks at the last moment suddenly, displaced by daylight and the orderly march of nature.

This mark of Shakspere, which he shares with the Greek dramatists and with Goethe, namely, an astonishing naturalness, hopefulness, and serenity at the end of his tragedies, is not for a moment to be confounded with vulgar “poetic justice.”. Poetic justice, which exhibits the good receiving good in this world according to their deserts, and the evil receiving evil, is of course a pleasant but puerile account of the matter ; and Shakspere ‘is the last person to give us this kind of consolation. Arthur's

209!

A 2

« PreviousContinue »