Page images
PDF
EPUB

'Tis very grievous to be thought upon. What, is he in his bed?

Hast.

He is.2

Glo. Go you before, and I will follow you.

He cannot live, I hope; and must not die,
Till George be pack'd with"posthorse' up to heaven. posthafte
I'll in, to urge his hatred more to Clarence,
With lies well steel'd with weighty arguments;.
And, if I fail not in my deep intent,
Clarence hath not another day to live:
Which done, God take king Edward to his mercy,
And leave the world for me to bustle in!

For then I'll marry Warwick's youngest daughter:*
What though I kill'd her husband, and her father?
The readiest way to make the wench amends,
Is to become her husband, and her father:
The which will I; not all so much for love,
As for another secret close intent,

[Exit HAST.

By marrying her, which I must reach unto.
But yet I run before my horse to market:
Clarence still breathes; Edward still lives, and reigns;
When they are gone, then must I count my gains.

[Exit.

SCENE II.

The same. Another Street.

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 lament*
The untimely fall of virtuous Lancaster.

3

[ocr errors]

2 He is.] Sir Thomas Hanmer very properly completes this broken verse, by reading

He is, my lord. Steevens.

Warwick's youngest daughter:] See Vol. X, p. 375, n. 5.
Steevens.

4

obsequiously lament -] Obsequious, in this instance, means funereal So, in Hamlet, Act I, sc. ii: To do obsequious sorrow." Steevens.

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,
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:
O, 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!6

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.

5

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; among the rest, it is used by Decker in his Satiromastix, 1602: It is best you hide your head, for fear your wise brains take key-cold."

161

99

Again, in The Country Girl, by T. B. 1647:
"The key-cold figure of a man Steevens.
Again, in our author's Rape of Lucrece:

"And then in key-cold Lucrece' bleeding stream
"He falls
"9 Malone.

6

to his unhappiness!] i. e. disposition to mischief. So, in Much Ado about Nothing: "Dream'd of unhappiness, and wak’d herself with laughing." Steevens.

See Vol. VI, p. 390, n. 5.

Malone.

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.7

1 Gent. My lord, stand back, and let the coffin pass.
Glo. Unmanner'd dog! stand thou when I command:
Advance thy halberd higher than my breast,
Or, by saint Paul, I'll strike thee to my foot,
And spurn upon thee, beggar, for thy boldness.
[The Bearers set down the Coffin.
Anne. What, do you tremble? are you all afraid?
Alas, I blame you not; for you are mortal,
And mortal eyes cannot endure the devil.-
Avaunt, thou dreadful minister of hell!
Thou had'st but power over his mortal body,
His soul thou canst not have; therefore, be gone.

Glo. Sweet saint, for charity, be not so curst.
Anne. Foul devil, for God's sake, hence, and trouble

us not;

For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell,
Fill'd it with cursing cries, and deep exclaims.
If thou delight to view thy heinous deeds,
Behold this pattern of thy butcheries: 8-
O, gentlemen, see, see! dead Henry's wounds
Open their congeal'd mouths, and bleed afresh !9*

7 I'll make a corse of him that disobeys.] So, in Hamlet: "I'll make a ghost of him that lets me." Johnson.

pattern of thy butcheries;] Pattern is instance, or example. Johnson. So, in The Legend of Lord Hastings, Mirrour for Magistrates, 1587:

"By this my pattern, all ye peers, beware." Malone. Holinshed says: "The dead corps on the Ascension even was conveied with billes and glaives pompouslie (if you will call that a funeral pompe) from the Tower to the church of saint Paule, and there laid on a beire or coffen bare-faced; the same in the presence of the beholders did bleed; where it rested the space of one whole daie. From thense he was carried to the Blackfriers, and bled there likewise;" &c. Steevens.

9

see! dead Henry's wounds

Open their congeal'd mouths and bleed afresh!] It is a tradition very generally received, that the murdered body bleeds on the

Blush, blush, thou lump of foul deformity;
For 'tis thy presence that exhales this blood
From cold and empty veins, where no blood dwells;
Thy deed, inhuman, and unnatural,
Provokes this deluge most unnatural.-

O God, which this blood mad'st, revenge his death!
O earth, which this blood drink'st, revenge his death!
Either, heaven, with lightning strike the murderer dead,
Or, earth, gape open wide, and eat him quick;
As thou dost swallow up this good king's blood,
Which his hell-govern'd arm hath butchered!

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 nor man; 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,1
For these known evils, but to give me leave,
By circumstance, to curse thy cursed self.

touch of the murderer. This was so much believed by Sir Kenelm Digby, that he has endeavoured to explain the reason.

Johnson. Mr. Tollet observes, that this opinion seems to be derived from the ancient Swedes, or Northern nations from whom we descend; for they practised this method of trial in dubious cases, as appears from Pitt's Atlas, in Sweden, p. 20. Steevens.

* This tradition is of much earlier origin than Mr. Tollet supposes. I find it mentioned by Plutarch, in his relation of the exposure of the body of Agrippina, which he says bled afresh on the approach of Nero, which was considered as proof of his guilt. Am. Ed.

1

Vouchsafe, diffus'd infection of a man,] I believe, diffused in this place signifies irregular, uncouth; such is its meaning in other passages of Shakspeare. Johnson.

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. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor: rush at once

<"

"With some diffused song.” Again, in Green's Farewell to Follie, 1617:

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 excus'd;
For doing worthy vengeance on thyself,
That didst unworthy slaughter upon others.

Glo. Say, that I slew them not?
Anne.
Why then, they are not dead:2
But dead they are, and, devilish slave, by thee.
Glo. I did not kill your husband.
Anne.
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 Marga-

ret saw

Thy murderous faulchion smoking in his blood;
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 provok'd by thy bloody mind,
That never dreamt on aught but butcheries:
Didst thou not kill this king?

Glo.

I grant ye.3

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.o

"I have seen an English gentleman so defused in his sutes; his doublet being for the weare of Castile, his hose for Venice," &c. Steevens. 2 Why then, they are not dead:] Thus the quarto. The folio reads: Then say, they are not slain. Malone.

3

thy soul's throat -] The folio-thy foul throat. Steevens. 4 That laid their guilt-] The crime of my brothers. He has just charged the murder of Lady Anne's husband upon Edward.

Johnson.

5 I grant ye.] Read, to perfect the measure: I grant ye, yea. Ritson.

One of the quartos, instead of—ye, reads-yea. Steevens.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »