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Which done, God take king Edward to his mercy,
Enter the Corpse of King Henry the Sixth, borne
in an open Coffin, Gentlemen bearing Halberds, to guard it; and Lady Anne as Mourner.
Anne. Set down, set down your honourable load, If honour may be shrouded in a hearse, Whilst I a while obsequiously laments The untimely fall of virtuous Lancaster.Poor key-cold figure of a holy king! Pale ashes of the house of Lancaster! Thou bloodless remnant of that royal blood ! Be it lawful that I invocate thy ghost, To hear the lamentations of poor Anne, Wife to thy Edward, to thy slaughter'd son,
obsequiously lament -] Obsequious, in this instance, means funereal.
key-cold —] A key, on account of the coldness of the metal of which it is composed, was anciently employed to stop any slight bleeding. The epithet is common to many old writers.
Stabb'd by the self-same hand that made these
wounds! Lo, in these windows, that let forth thy life, I pour the helpless balm of my poor eyes :0, cursed be the hand that made these holes ! Cursed the heart, that had the heart to do it! Cursed the blood, that let this blood from hence! More direful hap betide that hated wretch, That makes us wretched by the death of thee, Than I can wish to adders, spiders, toads, Or any creeping venom'd thing that lives! If ever he have child, abortive be it, Prodigious, and untimely brought to light, Whose ugly and unnatural aspect May fright the hopeful mother at the view; And that be heir to his unhappiness!? If ever he have wife, let her be made More miserable by the death of him, Than I am made by my young lord, and thee! Come, now, toward Chertsey with your holy load, Taken from Paul's to be interred there; And, still as you are weary of the weight, Rest you, whiles I lament king Henry's corse.
[The Bearers take up the Corpse, and advance.
Enter GLOSTER. Glo. Stay you, that bear the corse, and set it down.
Anne. What black magician conjures up this fiend, To stop devoted charitable deeds?
Glo. Villains, set down the corse; or, by Saint Paul, I'll make a corse of him that disobeys. i Gent. My lord, stand back, and let the coffin
pass. Glo. Unmanner'd dog! stand thou when I com
? to his unhappiness!) i. e. disposition to mischief.
Advance thy halberd higher than my breast,
[The Bearers set down the Coffin.
Glo. Sweet saint, for charity, be not so curst. Anne. Foul devil, for God's sake, hence, and
trouble us not;
pattern of thy butcheries;] Pattern is instance, or erumple.
see! dead Henry's wounds Open their congeald mouths, and bleed afresh!] It is a tradition very generally received, that the murdered body bleeds on the touch of the murderer. This was so much believed by Sir Kenelm Digby, that he has endeavoured to explain the reason.
Glo. Lady, you know no rules of charity, Which renders good for bad, blessings for curses.
Anne. Villain, thou know'st no law of God norman; No beast so fierce, but knows some touch of pity.
Glo. But I know none, and therefore am no beast. Anne. O wonderful, when devils tell the truth!
Glo. More wonderful, when angels are so angry. Vouchsafe, divine perfection of a woman, Of these supposed evils, to give me leave, By circumstance, but to acquit myself.
Anne. Vouchsafe, diffus'd infection of a man, For these known evils, but to give me leave, By circumstance, to curse thy cursed self. Glo. Fairer than tongue can name thee, let me
have Some patient leisure to excuse myself. Anne. Fouler than heart can think thee, thou
canst make No excuse current, but to hang thyself.
Glo. By such despair, I should accuse myself. Anne. And, by despairing, shalt thou stand ex
Glo. Say, that I slew them not?
Why then, they are not dead: But dead they are, and, devilish slave, by thee.
Glo. I did not kill your husband.
Why, then he is alive. Glo. Nay, he is dead; and slain by Edward's hand. Anne. In thy soul's throat thou liest; queen
Vouchsafe, diffus'd infection of a man,] Diffus'd infection of a man may mean, thou that art as dangerous as a pestilence, that infects the air by its diffusion. Diffus'd may, however, mean irregular.
The which thou once didst bend against her breast, But that thy brothers beat aside the point.
Glo. I was provoked by her sland'rous tongue, That laid their guilt’ upon my guiltless shoulders.
Anne. Thou wast provoked by thy bloody mind, That never dreamt on aught but butcheries: Didst thou not kill this king? Glo.
I grant ye. Anne. Dost grant me, hedge-hog? then, God
grant me too, Thou may'st be damned for that wicked deed! O, he was gentle, mild, and virtuous. Glo. The fitter for the King of heaven that hath
him. Anne. He is in heaven, where thou shalt never
Glo. Let him thank me, that holp to send him
Anne. And thou unfit for any place but hell.
name it. Anne. Some dungeon? Glo.
Your bed-chamber. Anne. Ill rest betide the chamber where thou liest! Glo. So will it, madam, till I lie with you. Anne. I hope so.
Glo. I know so.-But, gentle lady Anne,To leave this keen encounter of our wits, And fall somewhat into a slower method ;3 Is not the causer of the timeless deaths Of these Plantagenets, Henry, and Edward, As blameful as the executioner?
? That laid their guilt -] The crime of my brothers. He has just charged the murder of Lady Anne's husband upon Edward.
- a slower method;] As quick was used for spritely, so slower was put for serious.