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THE FIRST PART OF

KING HENRY VI.

ACT I.

SCENE I.--Westminster Abbey. Dead march. Corpse of Kings

Henry the Fifth discovered, lying in state ; attended on by the Dukes of BedroRD, GLOSTER, and Exerer; the Earl of WARWICK, the Bishop of Winchester, Heralds, &c.

Bedford.
Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!
Comets, importing change of times and states,
Brandish your crystali tresses in the sky ;
And with them scourge the bad revolting stars,
That have consented2 unto Henry's death !
Henry the fifth, too famous to live long !
England ne'er lost a king of so much worth.

Ĝlo. 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. Wemourn in black ; Wly mourn we not in blood?
Henry is dead, and never shall revive :
Upon a wooden coffin we attend;
And death's dishonourable victory

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[!] Crystal is an epithet repeatedly bestowed on comers by our ancient writers. " There is also a white comet with silver haires,” says Pliny, as translated by P. Holland, 1601. STEEV.

[2] Consented, or as it should be spelt, concented, means, have thrown theinselves into a malignant configurat on, to promote the dea:h of Henry. Milton uses the word, and with the same meaning, in his Penseroso :

“ Whose power hath a true consent

With planet, or with element. STEEV. Consent, in all the books of the age of Elizabeth, and long afterwards, is the spelling of the word concent.

MAL, 2

VOL. V.

We with our stately presence glorify,
Like captives bound to a triumphal car.
What? 'shall we curse the planets of mishap,
That plotted thus our glory's overthrow ?
Or shall we think the subtle-witted French 3
Conjurers and sorcerers, that, afraid of him,
By magic verses have contriv'd his end ?

Win. He was a king bless'd of the King of kings.
Unto the French the dreadful judgment 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 school-boy, 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 goʻst, 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 :Instead of gold, we'll offer up our arms; Since arins 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 ; Prosper 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 Cæsar, or bright5.

4

(3) There was a notion prevalent a long time, that life might be taken away by metrical charms. As superstition grew weaker, these charms were imaginéd only to have power on irrational animals. In our author's time it was supposed that the Irish could kill rats by a song. JOHNS.

[4] Mr. Pope reads Marish; an old word for marsh or fen. I have been informed, that what we call at present a stew, in whch fish are preserved alive, was anciently called a niurish. Nourice, however, Fr. a nurse, was anciently spelt many different ways, among which nourish was onc. STEE.

[5] I can't guess the occasion of the hemistich and imperfect sense in this

Enter a Messenger.
Mes. 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, 6
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 Rouen 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?

Mes. 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,
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.?

Enter another Messenger.
2 Mes. Lords, view these letters, full of bad mischance,
France is revolted from the English quite ;
Except some petty towns of no import :

place ; 'tis not impossible it might have been filled up with, Francis Drake, though that were a terrible anachronism. But this is a mere slight conjec. ture.

POPE [6] This verse might be complete by the

insertion of Rouen among the places lost, as Gloster in his next speech infers that it had been mentioned with the rest. STEEV.

[7] That is, their miseries, which have had only a short intermission from Henry the Fifth's death to my coming among them. WARB.

The dauphin Charles is crowned king in Rheims ;
The bastard of Orleans with him is join'd ;
Reignier, duke of Anjou, doth take his part ;
The duke of Alençon flieth to his side.

Exe. The dauphin crowned king! all fly to him ! (), whither shall we fly from this reproach ?

Gło. We will not fly, but to our enemies' throats :Bedford, if thou be slack, I'll fight it out.

Bed. Gloster, why doubt'st thou of my forwardness ? An army have I muster'd in my thoughts, Wherewith already France is over-i'un.

Enter a third Messenger. 3 Mes. My gracious lords,-to add to your laments, Wherewith you now bedew king Henry's hearse, I must inform you of a dismal fight, Betwixt the stout lord Talbot and the French.

Win. What! wherein Talbot overcame? is't so?

3 Mes. O, no ; wherein lord Talbot was o'erthrown : The circumstance I'll tell you more at large. The tenth of August last, this dreadful lord, Retiring from the siege of Orleans, Having full scarce six thousand in his troop, By three and twenty thousand of the French Was round encompassed and set upon : No leisure had he to enrank his men ; He wanted pikes to set before his archers ; Instead whereof, sharp stakes, pluck'd out of hedges, They pitched in the ground confusedly, To keep the horsemen off from breaking in. More than three hours the fight continued ; Where valiant Talbot, above human thought, Enacted wonders with his sword and lance. Hundreds he sent to hell, and none durst stand him : Here, there, and every where, enrag'd he slew ; The French exclaim’d, The devil was in arms ; All the whole army stood agaz'd on him : His soldiers, spying his undaunted spirit, A Talbot ! a Talbot ! cried out amain, And rush'd into the bowels of the battle. Here had the conquest fully been seal'd up, If sir John Fastolfe had not play'd the coward ; 8

[8] Mr. Pope has taken notice,“ That Falstaff is here introduced again, who was dead in Henry V.” But it is the historical sir John Fastolfe (for so he is called in both our Chroniclers) that is here mentioned ; who was a

He being in the vaward, (plac'd behind,
With purpose to relieve and follow them,)
Cowardly fled, not having struck one stroke.
Hence grew the general wreck and massacre ;
Enclosed were they with their enemies :
A base Walloon, to win the Dauphin's grace,
Thrust Talbot with a spear into the back ;
Whom all France, with their chief assembled strength
Durst not presume to look once in the face.

Bed. Is Talbot slain ? then I will slay myself,
For living idly here, in pomp and ease,
Whilst such a worthy leader, wanting aid,
Unto his dastard foe-men is betray'd.

3 Mes. () no, he lives ; but is took prisoner, And lord Scales with him, and lord Hungerford : Most of the rest slaughter'd, or took, likewise.

Bed. His ransome there is none but I shall pay :
I'll hale the Dauphin headlong from his throne,
His crown shall be the ransome of my friend ;
Four of their lords I'll change for one of ours.
Farewell, my masters ; to my task will I ;
Bonfires in France forth with I am to make,
To keep our great Saint George's feast withal:
Ten thousand soldiers with me I will take,
Whose bloody deeds shall make all Europe quake.

3 Mes. So you had need ; for Orleans is beseig'd ;
The English arıny is grown weak and faint:
The earl of Salisbury craveth supply,
And hardly keeps his men from mutiny,
Since they, so few, watch such a multitude.

Exe. Remember, lords, your oaths to Henry sworn ; Either to quell the Dauphin utterly, Or bring him in obedience to your yoke.

Bed. I do remember it ; and here take leave, To go about my preparation.

[Exit. Gl. I'll to the Tower, with all the haste I can, To view the artillery and munition ; And then I will proclaim young Henry king: [Exit.

Exe. To Eltham will I, where the young king is, Being ordain’d his special governor ;. And for his safety there I'll best devise. [Exit.

Win. Each hath his place and function to attend :

lieutenant general, deputy regent to the duke of Bedford in Normandy, and a knight of the garter; and not the comic character afterwards introduced by our author STEEV:

2* VOL. v.

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