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how difficult it would be, on this account, to distinguish between Belzebub and Judas Iscariot.
50 St. Edmund's-Bury.] I have ventured to fix the place of the scene here, which is specified by none of the editors, on the following authorities. In the preceding act, where Salisbury has fixed to go over to the dauphin; he says,
Lords, I will meet him at St. Edmund's-Bury.
Upon the altar at St. Edmund's-Bury;
And it appears likewise from The troublesome Reign of King John, in two parts (the first rough model of this play) that the interchange of vows betwixt the dauphin and the English barons was at St. Edmund'sBury.
51 Unthread the rude eye of rebellion,] Though all the copies concur in this reading, how poor is the metaphor of unthreading the eye of a needle! And besides, as there is no mention made of a needle, how remote and obscure is the allusion without it! The text, as I have restored it, is easy and natural; and it is the mode of expression, which our author is every where fond of, to tread and untread, the way, path, steps, &c.
The metaphor is certainly harsh, but I do not think
the passage corrupted.
Shakspeare elsewhere uses the same expression, threading dark ey'd night.
52-rated treachery,] It were easy to change rated to hated for an easier meaning, but rated suits better with fine. The dauphin has rated your treachery, and set upon it a fine which your lives must pay.