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Enter King Henry, the Queen, Cardinal, Somerset, with
K. Henry. Go, call our uncle to our presence ftrait:
Šay, we intend to try his Grace to-day,
If he be guilty, as 'tis published.
Suf. I'll call him presently, my noble Lord. [Exit.
K. Henry. Lords, take your places: and, I pray you all, Proceed no Itraiter 'gainst our uncle Glo'ster, Than from true evidence, of good esteem, He be approv'd in practice culpable.
Q. Mur. God forbid, any malice should prevail,
nobleman ! Pray God, he may acquit him of suspicion ! K. Henry. I thank thee: well, these words content me
(10) I thank thee, Nell, these words content me mucb.] This is K. Henry's reply to his wife Margaret. Our poet, I remember, in his King Jobn, makes Falconbridge the bastard, upon his first stepping into honour, say, that he will study to forget his old acquaintance;
And if his name be George, I'll call him Peter ;
For new-made honour doth forget men's names. But, surely, this is wide of King Henry's case; and it can be no reason why he should forget his own wife's name, and call her Nell instead of Margaret.. Perhaps, it may be alledg’d, that the blunder was original in the poet; that his head was full of another character, which he introduces in this play, Eleanor Dutchess of Gloucester, whom her husband frequently calls Nell: and thence thro' inadvertence he might flip into this mistake. Were this to be allow'd the case, is not the mistake therefore to be rectified. As the change of a single letter sets all right, I am much more willing to suppose it came from his pen thus:
I thank thee : Well; these words content me mucb. K. Henry was a Prince of great piety and meekness, a great lover of his uncle Gloucester, whom his nobles were rigidly persecuting i and to whom he suspected the Queen bore no very good will in her heart : But finding her, beyond his hopes, speak so candidly in the Duke's case, he is mightily comforted and contented at her impartial seeming. I believe every body in conversation must have obferv’de that, well, is used to express an air of satisfaction, when any inci. dent in life goes to our wish; or any purpose, that was dreaded, happens to be disappointed. I amended this paffage in my SHAKESPEARE restor’d, and Mr. Pope has fince embrac'd the correction.
How now? why look'it thou pale? why trembleft thou ?
Where is our uncle ? what's the matter, Suffolk ?
Suf. Dead in his bed, my Lord; Gloster is dead.
Q. Mar. Marry, God forfend!
Car. God's secret judgment : I did dream to-night, The Duke was dumb, and could not speak a word.
(King Gwoons. Q. Mar. How fares my Lord? help, Lords, the King
is dead. Som. Rear up his body, wring him by the nose. Q. Mar. Run, go, help, help: oh, Henry, ope thine eyes. Suf. He doth revive again ; Madam, be patient. K. Henry. O heavenly God ! Q. Mar. How fares my gracious Lord ? Suf. Comfort, my Sovereign ; gracious Henry, comfort.
K. Henry. What, doth my Lord of Suffolk comfort me? Came he right now to sing a raven’s note, Whose dismal tune bereft
vital pow'rs :
And thinks he, that the chirping of a wren,
By crying comfort from a hollow breast,
Can chase away the first-conceived sound?
Hide not thy poison with such sugar'd words;
Lay not thy hands on me; forbear, I say ;
Their touch affrights me as a serpent's sting.
Thou baleful mesenger, out of my fight!
Upon thy eye-balls murd'rous tyranny
Sits in grim majesty to fright the world.
Look not upon me, for thine eyes are wounding!
Yet do not go away; come, basilisk,
And kill the innocent gazer with thy sight:
For in the shade of death I shall find joy ;
In life, but double death, now Glofter's dead.
Q. Mar. Why do you rate my Lord of Suffolk thus !
Although the Duke was enemy to him,
Yet he, most christian-like, laments his death.
And for myself, foe as he was to me,
Might liquid tears, or heart-offending groans,
Or blood .consuming fighs recal his life;
I would be blind with weeping, fick with groans,
Look pale as primrose with blood-drinking fighs,
And all to have the noble Duke alive.
What know I, how the world may deem of me?
For, it is known, we were but hollow friends :
It may be judg’d, I made the Duke away;
So ihall my name with fander's tongue be wounded,
And Princes courts be fill’d with my reproach:
This get I by his death: ah, me unhappy!
To be a Queen, and crown’d with infamy.
K. Henry. Ah, woe is me, for Gloster, wretched man!
Q. Mar. Be woe for me, more wretched than he is.
What, dost thou turn away and hide thy face?
I am no loathsome leper; look on me.
What, art thou like the adder waxen deaf?
Be pois’nous too, and kill thy forlorn Queen,
Is all thy comfort fhut in Glo'ser's tomb?
Why, then, dame Margaret was ne'er thy joy.
Erečt his statue, and do worship to it,
And make my image but an alehouse fign,
Was I for this nigh wreck'd upon the sea,
And twice by adverse winds from England's bank
Drove back again unto my native clime?
What boaded this ? but well-fore-warning winds
Did seem to say, seek not a scorpion's neit;
Nor set no footing on this unkind shore.
What did I then? but curft the gentle gusts,
And he that loos’d them from their brazen caves;
And bid them blow towards England's blessed hore,
Or turn our stern upon a dreadtul rock:
Yet Æolus would not be a murderer ;
But left that hateful office unto thee.
The pretty vaulting sea refus’d to drown me :
Knowing, that thou wouldst have me drown’d on shore
With tears as salt as sea, through thy unkindness.
The splitting rocks cow'r'd in the sinking sands,
And would not dash me with their ragged fides;
Because thy flinty heart, more hard than they,
Might in thy palace perish Margaret.
As far as I could ken the chalky cliffs,
When from thy shore the tempest beat us back,
I stood upon the hatches in the storm
And when the duky sky began to rob
My earnest-gaping light of thy land's view,
I took a coftly jewel from my neck,
(A heart it was, bound in with diamonds)
And threw it tow'rds thy land ; the sea receiv'd it,
And so I wilh'd thy body might my heart.
And ev’n with this I loft fair England's view,
And bid mine eyes be packing with my heart;
And call’d them blind and dusky spectacles,
For losing ken of Albion's wished coaft.
How often have I tempted Suffolk's tongue
(The agent of thy foul inconitancy)
To fit and witch me, as Ascanius did, (11)
When he to madding Dido would unfold
His father's acts, commenc'd in burning Troy?
Am I not witcht like her, or thou not falle like him.
(11) To fit and watch me, as Ascanius did, When be to madding Dido would unfold His fatber's a&ts, commenc'd in burning Troy? ] The poet here is unquestionably aliuding to Virgil, (Æneid. I.) but he Arangely blends fact with fiction. In the first place, it was Cupid, in the semblance of Ascanius, who sat in Dido’s lap, and was fondled by her. But then it was not Cupid, who related to her the process of Troy's destruction, but it was Eneas himself, who related this history. Again, how did the supposed Ascanius fit and watch her? Cupid was order’d, while Dido mistakenly caress’d him, to bewitch and infect her with love. To this circumstance the poet certainly alludes; and unless he had wrote, as I have restor'd to the text;
To fit and witch me,
Why should the Queen immediately draw this inference,
Am I not witch'd like ber ?
Nor is this the only place, in which we find the verb witcb, us'd
(where the numbers require) for bewitch.
So in i Henry IV.
As if an angel drop'd down from the clouds,
To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus;
And witcb the world with noble horsemanship, so in 3 Henry VI.
I'll make my heaven in a Lady's lap;
And deck my body in gay ornaments;
And witch sweet ladies with my words and looks,
Ah me, I can no more: die, Margaret !
For Henry weeps, that thou do'st live so long.
Noise within. Enter Warwick, Salisbury, and many
War. It is reported, mighty Sovereign,
That good Duke Humphry traiterously is murder'd
By Suffolk, and the Cardinal Beauford's means :
The Commons like an angry hive of bees
That want their leader, scatter up and down ;
And care not who they sting in their revenge.'
Myself have calm’d their spleenful mutiny,
Until they hear the order of his death,
K. Henry. That he is dead, good Warwick, 'tis too
But how he died, God knows, not Henry :
Enter his chamber, view his breathless corps,
And comment then
his sudden death.
War. That I shall do, my Liege: stay, Salisbury,
With the rude multitude, till I return. [War. goes in.
K. Henry. Othou, that judgeft all things, itay my
My thoughts, that labour to persuade my soul,
Some violent hands were laid on Humphry's life;
If my suspect be false, forgive me, God!
For judgment only doth belong to thee.
Fain would I go to chafe his paly lips
With twenty thousand kisies, and to drain
Upon his face an ocean of falt tears :
To tell my love unto his dumb deaf trunk,
And with my fingers feel his hand unfeeling;
But all in vain are these mean obsequies.
Bed with Glo'ster's body put forth.
And to furvey his dead and earthy image,
What were it but to make my forrow greater ?
War. Come hither, gracious Sovereign, view this body.
K. Henry. That is to see how deep my grave is made :
For with his soul fled all my worldly folace ;
For seeing him, I see my life in death.
Wär. As surely as my soul intends to live