Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

Henry the fifth, too famous to live long!?
England ne'er loft a king of so much worth.

Glo. England ne'er had a king, until his time.
Virtue he had, deserving to command:
His brandish'd sword did blind men with his beams;
His arms spread wider than a dragon's wings;8
His sparkling eyes replete with wrathful fire,
More dazzled and drove back his enemies,
Than mid-day fun, fierce bent against their faces.
What should I say? his deeds exceed all speech:
He ne'er lift up his hand, but conquered.
Exe. We mourn in black; Why mourn we not

in blood ?

and in The Chances, Antonio, speaking of the wench who robbed him, says:

And also the fiddler who was confenting with her.” meaning the fiddler that was her accomplice.

The word appears to be used in the same sense in the fifth scene of this act, where Talbot says to his troops :

You all consented unto Salisbury's death,
• For none would strike a stroke in his revenge.”

M. Mason. Consent, in all the books of the age of Elizabeth, and long afterwards, is the usual spelling of the word concent. See Vol. VII. p. 403, n. 3 ; and Vol. IX. p. 211, n. 2. In other places I have adopted the modern and more proper spelling ; but, in the present instance, I apprehend, the word was used in its ordinary sense. In the second act, Talbot, reproaching the soldiery, uses the same expression, certainly without any idea of a malignant configuration :

“ You all confented unto Salisbury's death.MALONE. 6 Henry the fifth,] Old copy, redundantly,-King Henry &c.

STEEVENS. 7 —too famous to live long!'] So, in King Richard III: “ So wise fo young, they say, do ne'er live long.”

STEEVENS. & His arms spread wider than a dragon's wings;] So, in Troilus and Cressida : “ The dragon wing of night o'erspreads the earth.”

SteeVENS.

[ocr errors]

Henry is dead, and never shall revive:
Upon a wooden coffin we attend;
And death's dishonourable victory
We with our stately presence glorify,
Like captives bound to a triumphant car.
What? Thall we curse the planets of mishap,
That plotted thus our glory's overthrow?
Or shall we think the subtle-witted French
Conjurers and sorcerers, that, afraid of him,
By magick verses have contriv'd his end?

Win. He was a king bless'd of the King of kings.
Unto the French the dreadful judgement day
So dreadful will not be, as was his sight.
The battles of the Lord of hosts he fought :
The church's prayers made him so prosperous.
Glo. The church! where is it? Had not church-

men pray'd,
His thread of life had not so soon decay’d:
None do you like but an effeminate prince,
Whom, like a schoolboy, you may over-awe.

Win. Gloster, whate'er we like, thou art protector;
And lookest to command the prince, and realm.
Thy wife is proud; she holdeth thee in awe,
More than God, or religious churchmen, may.

Glo. Name not religion, for thou lov’st the flesh;
And ne'er throughout the year to church thou go'st,
Except it be to pray against thy foes.

the subtle-witted French &c.] There was a notion prevalent a long time, that life might be taken away by metrical charms. As superstition grew weaker, these charms were imagined only to have power on irrational animals. In our author's time it was supposed that the Irish could kill rats by a song.

JOHNSON. So, in Reginald Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft, 1584: “The Irishmen addict themselves, &c. yea they will not sticke to affirme that they can rime either man or beast to death.” Steevens,

Bed. Cease, cease these jars, and rest your minds

in peace! Let's to the altar:-Heralds, wait on us : Instead of gold, we'll offer up our arms; Since arms avail not, now that Henry's dead. Posterity, await for wretched years, When at their mothers' moist eyes? babes shall suck; Our isle be made a nourish of salt tears, And none but women left to wail the dead. Henry the fifth! thy ghost I invocate ;

8

7

moist eyes-] Thus the second folio. The first, redundantly,-moisten'd." STEVENS.

8 Our isle be made a nourish of falt tears,] Mr. Pope—marish, All the old copies read, a nourish : and considering it is said in the line immediately preceding, that babes shall suck at their mothers' moift eyes, it seems very probable that our author wrote, a nourice, i. e. that the whole isle should be one common nurse, or nourisher, of tears: and those be the nourishment of its miserable issue.

Theobald. Was there ever fuch nonsense! But he did not know that marish is an old word for marsh or fen; and therefore very judiciously thus corrected by Mr. Pope. WARBURTON. We should certainly read-marih. So, in The Spanish Tragedy: “ Made mountains marsh, with spring-tides of my tears.

Ritson. I have been informed, that what we call at present a few, in which fish are preserved alive, was anciently called a nourish. Nourice, however, Fr. a nurse, was anciently spelt many different ways, among which nourish was one. So, in Syr Eglamour of Artois, bl. l. no date :

« Of that chylde she was blyth,

After noryshes the sent belive.” A nourish therefore in this passage of our author may fignify a nurse, as it apparently does in the Tragedies of John Bochas, by Lydgate, B. I. c. xii:

“ Athenes whan it was in his floures
“ Was called nourish of philofophers wise."
Juba tellus generat, leonum

Arida nutrix. STEEVENS.
Spenser, in his Ruins of Time, uses nourice as an English word :

“ Chaucer, the nourice of antiquity." MALONE,

Profper this realm, keep it from civil broils !
Combat with adverse planets in the heavens!
A far more glorious star thy soul will make,
Than Julius Cæfar, or bright &–

Enter a Meffenger. Mess. My honourable lords, health to you all! Sad tidings bring I to you out of France, Of loss, of slaughter, and discomfiture: Guienne, Champaigne, Rheims, Orleans," Paris, Guysors, Poictiers, are all quite loft.

& Than Julius Cafar, or bright — I can't guess the occafion of the hemiftich and imperfect sense in this place; 'tis not impossible it might have been filled up with-Francis Drake, though that were a terrible anachronism (as bad as Hector's quoting Aristotle in Troilus and Cressida); yet perhaps at the time that brave Englishman was in his glory, to an English-hearted audience, and pronounced by some favourite actor, the thing might be popular, though not judicious; and, therefore, by some critic in favour of the author afterwards struck out. But this is a mere flight conjecture. Pope.

To confute the flight conjecture of Pope, a whole page of vehement oppofition is annexed to this passage by Theoball. Sir Thomas Hanmer has stopped at Cæfar-perhaps more judiciously. It might, however, have been written,-or bright Berenice.

JOHNSON. Pope's conjecture is confirmed by this peculiar circumstance, that two blazing stars (the Julium fidus) are part of the arms of the Drake family. It is well known that families and arms were much more attended to in Shakspeare's time, than they are at this day.

M. Mason. This blank undoubtedly arose from the transcriber's or compofitor's not being able to make out the name. So, in a subsequent passage the word Nero was omitted for the same reason. See the Differtation at the end of the third part of King Henry VI.

MALONE. 9 Guienne, Champaigne, Rheims, Orleans,] This verse might be completed by the insertion of Rouen among the places loft, as Gloiter in his next speech infers that it had been mentioned with the rest. STEEVENS,

!

Bed. What say'st thou, man, before dead Henry's

corse?
Speak softly; or the loss of those great towns
Will make him burst his lead, and rise from death.

Glo. Is Paris loft? is Roüen yielded up?
If Henry were recallid to life again,
These news would cause him once more yield the

ghoft.
Exe. How were they lost? what treachery was

us'd?
Mess. No treachery; but want of men and money.
Among the soldiers this is muttered,
That here you maintain several factions ;
And, whilft a field should be despatch'd and fought,
You are disputing of your generals.
One would have ling'ring wars, with little cost;
Another would fly swift, but wanteth wings;
A third man thinks,“ without expence at all,
By guileful fair words peace may be obtain’d.
Awake, awake, English nobility!
Let not sloth dim your honours, new-begot:
Cropp'd are the flower-de-luces in your arms;
Of England's coat one half is cut away.

Exe. Were our tears wanting to this funeral,
These tidings would call forth her flowing tides.

Bed. Me they concern; regent I am of France:Give me my steeled coat, I'll fight for France.Away with these disgraceful wailing robes ! Wounds I will lend the French, instead of eyes, To weep their intermissive miseries.

[ocr errors]

2 A third man thinks,] Thus the second folio. The first omits the word-man, and consequently leaves the verse imperfect.

Steevens. 3 — her flowing tides.] i. e. England's flowing tides.

MALONE. 1 — their intermissive miferies.] i. c. their miseries, which have

« EdellinenJatka »