« ÎnapoiContinuă »
ACT I. SCENE I.
Dead march. Corpfe of King Henry the Fifth dif
BED. Hung be the heavens with black, yield
Comets, importing change of times and ftates,
earl of Warwick; ] The Earl of Warwick who makes his appearance in the firft fcene of this play is Richard Beauchamp, who is a character in King Henry V. The Earl who appears in the fubfequent part of it, is Richard Nevil, fon to the Earl of Salisbury, who became poffeffed of the title in right of his wife, Anne, fifter of Henry Beauchamp Duke of Warwick, on the death of Anne his only child in 1449. Richard, the father of this Henry, was appointed governor to the king, on the demile of Tomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, and died in 1439. There is no reafon to think that the author meant to confound the two chara&ers. RITSON.
3 Hung be the heavens with black,] Alluding to our ancient ftage-practice when a tragedy was to be expected. So, in Sidney's Arcadia, Book II: There arofe, even with the funne, a vaile of darke cloudes before his face, which fhortly had blacked over all the face of heaven, preparing (as it were) a mournfull ftage for a tragedie to be played on." See alfo Mr. Malone's Hiftorical Account of the English Stage. STEEVENS.
Brandish your cryftal treffes-] Gryftal is an epithet repeatedly bestowed on comets by our ancient writers. So, in a Sonnet by Lord Sterline, 1604:
"When as thofe chryfal comets whiles appear."
And with them fcourge the bad revolting flars,
Spenfer, in his Faery Queen, Book I. c. x. applies it to a lady's face;
"You chryfal planets shine all clear
And light a lover's way."
"There is also a white comet with filver haires," fays Pliny, as tranflated by P. Holland, 1601. STEEVENS.
5 That have confented] If this expreffion means no more than that the stars gave a bare confent, or agreed to let King Henry I believe to confent; in Concentus, Lat. Thus
die, it does no great honour to its author. this inftance, means to a& in concert. Erato the mufe applauding the fong of Apollo. in Lyly's Midas, 1592, cries out: "O sweet confent!" i. e. fweet union of founds. Again, in Spenser's Faery Queen, B. IV. c. ii:
"Such mufick his wife words with time confented."
Again, in his tranflation of Virgil's Culex:
"Chanted their fundry notes with fweet concent."
and in many other places. Confented, or as it fhould be spelt, concented, means, have thrown themselves into a malignant configura tion, to promote the death of Henry. Spenser, in more than one inftance, fpells this word as it appears in the text of Shakspeare ; as does Ben Jonfon, in his Epithalamion on Mr. Wefton. following lines.
fhall we curse the planets of mishap, "That plotted thus," &c.
feem to countenance my explanation; and Falftaff fays of Shallow's fervants, that " they flock together in confent, like fo many wild geese." See alfo Tully de Natura Deorum, Lib. II. ch. xlvi: Nolo in ftellarum ratione multus vobis videri, maximéque earum quæ errare dicuntur. Quarum tantus eft concentus ex diffimilibus motibus, &c.
Milton uses the word, and with the fame meaning, in his Penferofo:
"Whofe power hath a true confent
"With planet, or with element." STEEVENS.
Steevens is right in his explanation of the word confented. So, in The Knight of The Burning Peftle, the Merchant fays to Merrythought:
too late, I well perceive,
"Thou art confenting to my daughter's lofs."
Henry the fifth, too famous to live long!"
GLO. England ne'er had a king, until his time. Virtue he had, deferving to command:
His brandifh'd fword did blind men with his beams;
EXE. We mourn in black; Why mourn we not in blood?
and in The Chances, Antonio, fpeaking of the wench who robbed him, fays:
"And also the fiddler who was confenting with her.” meaning the fiddler that was her accomplice.
The word appears to be used in the fame fenfe in the fifth fcene of this ad, where Talbot fays to his troops:
"You all confented unto Salisbury's death,
For none would ftrike a ftroke in his revenge."
and long after
Confent, in all the books of the age of Elizabeth, wards, is the usual spelling of the word concent. See Vol. XI. p. 85, n. 3; and Vol. XIII. p. 211, n. 2. In other places I have adopted the modern and more proper fpelling; but, in the present inftance, I apprehend, the word was used in its ordinary fense. In the secoud act, Talbot, reproaching the foldiery, uses the fame expreffion, 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 111: So wife fo young, they fay, do ne'er live long."
His arms fpread wider than a dragon's wings; ] So, in Trailus and Creffida:
"The dragon wing of night o'erfpeads the earth.”
Henry is dead, and never fhall revive:
WIN. He was a king blefs'd of the King of kings.
His thread of life had not fo foon decay'd:
WIN. Glofter, whate'er we like, thou art protector; And lookeft to command the prince, and realm. Thy wife is proud; fhe holdeth thee in awe, More than God, or religious churchmen, may.
GLO. Name not religion, for thou lov'ft the flesh; And ne'er throughout the year to church thou go'ft, Except it be to pray against thy foes.
6 the fubtle-witted French &c.] There was a notion prevalent a long time, that life might be taken away by metrical charms. As fuperftition grew weaker, thefe charms were imagined only to have power on irrational animals. In our author's time it was fuppofed that the Irish could kill rats by a fong.
So, in Reginald Scot's Difcoverie of Witchcraft, 1584: The Irishmen addict themselves, &c. yea they will not flicke to affirme that they can rime either man or beaft to death." STEEVENS.
BED. Cease, cease these jars, and reft your minds in peace!
Let's to the altar:-Heralds, wait on us:-
When at their mothers' moift eyes babes fhall fuck;
And none but women left to wail the dead.-
Thus the fecond folio. The firft, redundantly, moiften'd. STEEVENS.
Our ile be made a nourish of falt tears,] Mr. Pope-marish. All the old copies read, a nourish and confidering it is faid in the line immediately preceding, that babes fhall fuck at their mothers moift eyes, it seems very probable that our author wrote, a nourice, i. e. that the whole ifle fhould be one common nurse, or nourisher, of tears and thefe be the nourishment of its miferable issue.
Was there ever such nonfenfe! But he did not know that marish is an old word for marth or fen; and therefore very judiciously thus corrected by Mr. Pope. WARBURTON.
We should certainly read-marish. So, in The Spanish Tragedy: "Made mountains marsh, with fpring-tides of my tears.'
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 fpelt many different ways, among which nourish was one. So, in Syr Eglamour of Artois, bl. 1. no date:
"Of that chylde fhe was' blyth,
"After noryfhes fhe fent belive.'
A nourish therefore in this paffage of our author may fignify a nurse, as it apparently does in the Tragedies of John Bechas, by Lydgate, B. I. c. xii:
"Athenes whan it was in his floures
"Was called nourish of philofophers wife."
Juba tellus generat, leonum
Spenfer, in his Ruins of Time, ules nourice as an English word: Chaucer, the nourice of antiquity." MALONE.