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Henry the fifth,5 too famous to live long !"
fhall we curfe the planets of mishap, "That plotted thus," &c.
feem to countenance my explanation; and Falstaff says 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," &e.
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 Pestle, the Merchant fays to Merrythought:
too late, I well perceive,
and in The Chances, Antonio, speaking of the wench who robbed him, fays:
"And alfo 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 Act, where Talbot fays to his troops:
"You all confented unto Salisbury's death,
"For none would ftrike a stroke in his revenge."
Confent, in all the books of the age of Elizabeth, and long afterwards, is the ufual spelling of the word concent. See Vol. X. p. 96, n. 3; and K. Henry IV. P. II. A& V. fc. i. In other places I have adopted the modern and more proper spelling; but, in the present inftance, I apprehend, the word was used in its ordinary fenfe. In the fecond Act, Talbot, reproaching the foldiery, ufes the fame expreffion, certainly without any idea of a malignant configuration:
"You all confented unto Salisbury's death." MALONE. S Henry the fifth,] Old copy, redundantly,-King Henry &c. STEEVENS.
too famous to live long !] So, in King Richard III: "So wife fo young, they fay, do ne'er live long."
GLO. England ne'er had a king, until his time. Virtue he had, deferving to command: His brandish'd sword did blind men with his beams; His arms spread wider than a dragon's wings;7 His fparkling eyes replete with wrathful fire, More dazzled and drove back his enemies, Than mid-day fun, fierce bent against their faces. What should I say? his deeds exceed all speech: He ne'er lift up his hand, but conquered.
EXE. We mourn in black; Why mourn we not in blood?
Henry is dead, and never fhall revive:
WIN. He was a king blefs'd of the King of kings. Unto the French the dreadful judgment day
His arms fpread wider than a dragon's wings;] So, in Troilus and Creffida:
"The dragon wing of night o'erspreads the earth."
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, 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 fong.
So, in Reginald Scot's Difcoverie 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."
So dreadful will not be, as was his fight.
GLO. The church! where is it? Had not churchmen pray'd,
His thread of life had not so foon decay'd:
WIN. Glofter, whate'er we like, thou art protector;
And lookeft to command the prince, and realm.
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.
BED. Ceafe, cease these jars, and reft your minds in peace!
Let's to the altar:-Heralds, wait on us:
.moist eyes-] Thus the second folio. The firft, redundantly,-moiften'd. STEEVENS.
1 Our ille 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 shall fuck at their mothers' moift eyes, it seems very probable that our author wrote, a nourice, i. e. that the whole ifle should be one common nurfe, or nourisher, of tears: and those be the nourishment of its miferable iffue. THEOBALD.
Was there ever such nonsense! 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.
And none but women left to wail the dead.—
We should certainly read-marish. So, in The Spanish Tragedy: "Made mountains marsh, with fpring-tides of my tears." RITSON. I have been informed, that what we call at present a stew, in which fish are preferved 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,
A nourish therefore in this paffage of our author may fignify 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 philofophers wife."
-Juba tellus generat, leonum
Spenfer, in his Ruins of Time, ufes nourice as an English word:
"Chaucer, the nourice of antiquity." MALONE.
Than Julius Cæfar, or bright-] I can't guess the occafion of the hemiftich and imperfect fenfe in this place; 'tis not impoffible it might have been filled up with-Francis Drake, though that were a terrible anachronifin (as bad as Hector's quoting Aristotle in Troilus and Crefida); yet perhaps at the time that brave Englishman was in his glory, to an Englishhearted audience, and pronounced by fome favourite actor, the thing might be popular, though not judicious; and, therefore, by fome critick in favour of the author, afterwards ftruck out. But this is a mere flight conjecture. POPE.
To confute the flight conjecture of Pope, a whole page of vehement oppofition is annexed to this paffage by Theobald. Sir Thomas Hanmer has ftopped at Cæfar-perhaps more judiciously. It might, however, have been written or bright Berenice.
Enter a Meffenger.
MESS. My honourable lords, health to you all! Sad tidings bring I to you out of France, Of lofs, of flaughter, and difcomfiture: Guienne, Champaigne, Rheims, Orleans,3 Paris, Guyfors, Poictiers, are all quite loft.
BED. What fay'ft thou, man, before dead Henry's corfe?
Speak foftly; or the lofs of thofe great towns
These news would cause him once more yield the ghoft.
EXE. How were they loft? what treachery was us'd?
MESS. No treachery; but want of men and mo
Among the foldiers this is muttered,——
Pope's conjecture is confirmed by this peculiar circumftance, that two blazing ftars (the Julium fidus) 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 compofitor's not being able to make out the name. So, in a subsequent paffage the word Nero was omitted for the fame reafon. See the Differtation at the end of the third part of King Henry VI.
3 Guienne, Champaigne, Rheims, Orleans,] This verse might be completed by the infertion of Rouen among the places loft, as Glofter in his next fpeech infers that it had been mentioned with the reft. STEEVENS.