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And with them scourge the bad revolting stars,
peatedly bestowed on comets by our ancient writers. So, in a Sonnet, by Lord Sterline, 1604 :
"When as those chrystal comets whiles appear."
Spenser, in his Fairy Queen, book i. c. x. applies it to a lady's face:
"Like sunny beams threw from her chrystal face." Again, in an ancient song entitled The falling out of Lovers is the renewing of Love:
"You chrystal planets shine all clear
"And light a lover's way."
"There is also a white comet with silver haires," says Pliny, as translated by P. Holland, 1601. STEEVENS.
That have CONSENTED-] If this expression means no more than that the stars gave a bare consent, or agreed to let King Henry die, it does no great honour to its author. to consent, in this instance, means to act in concert. Concentus, Lat. Thus Erato the muse, applauding the song of Apollo, in Lyly's Midas, 1592, cries out: "O sweet consent!" i. e. sweet union of sounds. Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. iv. c. ii.: "Such musick his wise words with time consented."
Again, in his translation of Virgil's Culex :
"Chaunted their sundry notes with sweet concent." Again, in Chapman's version of the 24th book of Homer's Odyssey:
all the sacred nine
"Of deathless muses, paid thee dues divine :
"By varied turns their heavenly voices venting;
Consented, or as it should be spelt, concented, means, have thrown themselves into a malignant configuration, to promote the death of Henry. Spenser, in more than one instance, spells this word as it appears in the text of Shakspeare, as does Ben Jonson, in his Epithalamion on Mr. Weston. The following lines,
shall we curse the planets of mishap, "That plotted thus," &c.
seem to countenance my explanation; and Falstaff says of Shallow's servants, that they flock together in consent, like so many wild geese." See also Tully de Natura Deorum, lib. ii. ch. xlvi.: "Nolo in stellarum ratione multus vobis videri, maximéque earum quæ errare dicuntur. Quarum tantus est concentus ex dissimilibus motibus," &c.
Milton uses the word, and with the same meaning, in his Penseroso :
King Henry the fifth, too famous to live long! England ne'er lost a king of so much worth.
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';
Than mid-day sun, fierce bent against their faces.
"Whose power hath a true consent
"With planet, or with element." STEEVENS.
Steevens is right in his explanation of the word consented. So, in The Knight of the Burning Pestle, the Merchant says to Merrythought:
too late, I well perceive,
"Thou art consenting to my daughter's loss."
and in The Chances, Antonio, speaking of the wench who robbed him, says:
"And also the fiddler who was consenting with her." meaning the fiddler that was her accomplice.
The word appears to be used in the same sense in the fifth scene of this Act, where Talbot says to his troops :
"You all consented unto Salisbury's death,
"For none would strike a stroke in his revenge."
Consent, in all the books of the age of Elizabeth, and long afterwards, is the usual spelling of the word concent. See vol. xi. p. 92, n. 3. In other places I have adopted the modern and more proper spelling; but, in the present instance, I apprehend, the word was used in its ordinary sense. In the second Act, Talbot, reproaching the soldiery, uses the same expression, certainly without any idea of a malignant configuration:
"You all consented unto Salisbury's death." MALONE. s Henry the fifth,] Old copy, redundantly,-" King Henry," STEEVENS.
too famous to live long !] So, in King Richard III. :
7 His arms SPREAD wider than a DRAGON'S WINGS;] So, in Troilus and Cressida :
"The dragon wing of night o'erspreads the earth."
He ne'er lift up his hand, but conquered.
EXE. We mourn in black; Why mourn we not
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 thread of life had not so soon decay'd:
None do you like but an effeminate prince,
And lookest to command the prince, and realm.
8 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.
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." STEEVENS.
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' moisten'd eyes' babes shall suck;
Our isle be made a nourish of salt tears',
9 — 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 very judiciously thus corrected by Mr. Pope. WARBURTON.
We should certainly read-marish. So, in The Spanish Tragedy:
"Made mountains marsh, with spring-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 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
And none but women left to wail the dead.-
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,
Spenser, in his Ruins of Time, uses nourice as an English word :
"Chaucer, the nourice of antiquity." MALONE.
2 Than Julius Cæsar, 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 English-hearted 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 Cæsar-perhaps more judiciously. It might, however, have been written-or bright Berenice.
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.
3 Guienne, Champaigne, Rheims, Orleans,] This verse might be completed [as Mr. Capell observes] by the insertion of Rouen