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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;" His sparkling eyes replete with wrathful fire, More dazzled and drove back his enemies, Than mid-day sun, 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?
Henry is dead, and never shall revive :
WIN. He was a king bless'd of the King of kings. Unto the French the dreadful judgment day
His arms spread wider than a dragon's wings;] So, in Troilus and Cressida :
"The dragon wing of night o'erspreads the earth."
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."
So dreadful will not be, as was his sight.
GLO. The church! where is it? Had not churchmen pray'd,
His thread of life had not so soon decay'd:
And lookest to command the prince, and realm.
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.
-BED. Cease, cease these jars, and rest your minds in peace!
Let's to the altar :-Heralds, wait on us :-
When at their mothers' moist eyes' babes shall suck;
moist eyes-] Thus the second folio. The first, redundantly,-moisten'd. STEEVens.
1 Our isle be made a nourish of salt 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' moist 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 such nonsense! But he did not know that marish is an old word for marsh or fen; and therefore ciously thus corrected by Mr. Pope. WARBURTON.
And none but women left to wail the dead.
Henry the fifth! thy ghost I invocate;
Prosper this realm, keep it from civil broils!
Combat with adverse planets in the heavens!
A far more glorious star thy soul will make,
We should certainly read-marish. 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 stew, 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. 1. no date:
"Of that chylde she was blyth,
"After noryshes she sent belive."
A nourish therefore in this passage of our author may signify 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 philosophers 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.
Than Julius Caesar, or bright-] I can't guess the occasion of the hemistich 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 Englishhearted audience, and pronounced by some favourite actor, the thing might be popular, though not judicious; and, therefore, by some critick in favour of the author, afterwards struck out. But this is a mere slight conjecture. POPE.
To confute the slight conjecture of Pope, a whole page of vehement opposition is annexed to this passage by Theobald. Sir Thomas Hanmer has stopped at Caesar-perhaps more judicious❤ ly. It might, however, have been written or bright Berenice.
Enter a Messenger.
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,3 Paris, Guysors, Poictiers, are all quite lost.
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 lost? is Roüen yielded up?
If Henry were recall'd to life again,
These news would cause him once more yield the ghost.
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, whilst a field should be despatch'd and fought,
Pope's conjecture is confirmed by this peculiar circumstance, that two blazing stars (the Julium sidus) 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 compositor'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 Dissertation at the end of the third part of King Henry VI. MALONE.
3 Guienne, Champaigne, Rheims, Orleans,] This verse might be completed by the insertion of Rouen among the places lost, as Gloster in his next speech infers that it had been mentioned with the rest. STEEVENS.
You are disputing of your generals.
One would have ling'ring wars, with little cost;
Let not sloth dim your honours, new-begot:
EXE. Were our tears wanting to this funeral, These tidings would call forth her flowing tides.5
BED. Me they concern; regent Iam 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."
Enter another Messenger.
2 MESS. Lords, view these letters, full of bad mischance.
France is revolted from the English quite;
* A third man thinks,] Thus the second folio. The first omits the word-man, and consequently leaves the verse imperfect.
- her flowing tides.] i. e. England's flowing tides.
5 their intermissive miseries.] i. e. their miseries, which have had only a short intermission from Henry the Fifth's death to my coming amongst them. WARBURTON.