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Brandish your crystal3 tresses in the sky,
And with them scourge the bad revolting stars,
That have consented unto Henry's death!
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;
His sparkling eyes, replete with wrathful fire,
More dazzled and drove back his enemies,
Than midday 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. We mourn in black; Why mourn we not in blood?
Henry is dead, and never shall revive;
Upon a wooden coffin we attend ;
And death's dishonourable victory
We with our stately presence glorify,
Like captives bound to a triumphant car.
What! shall we curse the planets of mishap,
That plotted thus our glory's overthrow?
Or shall we think the subtle-witted French
Conjurers and sorcerers, that, afraid of him,
By magick verses 5 have contriv'd his end?
Win. He was a king bless'd of the King of kings.
3 Crystal is an epithet repeatedly bestowed on comets by our ancient writers. Thus in a Sonnet by Lord Sterline, 1604:"When as those chrystal comets whiles appear."
Consented here meant conspired together to promote the death of Henry by their malignant influence on human events. Our ancestors had but one word to express consent, and concent, which meant accord and agreement, whether of persons or things.
There was a notion long prevalent that life might be taken away by metrical charms. "The Irishmen addict themselves, &c.; yea, they will not sticke to affirme that they can rime man or beast to death."-Reginald Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, 158↓ See As You Like It, Act iii. Sc. 2, note 21, p. 58.
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 churchmen pray'd,
His thread of life had not so soon decay'd:
you like but an effeminate prince,
Whom, like a schoolboy, you may overawe.
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 go'st, Except it be to pray against thy foes.
Bed. Cease, cease these jars, and rest
Let's to the altar :-Heralds, wait on us:
Instead of gold, we'll offer up our arms;
Since arms avail not, now that Henry's dead.
Posterity, await for wretched years,
When at their mother's moist eyes babes shall suck;
Our isle be made a marish 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 bright-
The old copy has "a nourish of salt tears," which has been explained a nurse," but this would be an incongruous figure. It is much more probable that it was a misprint for marish, a marsh, which Pope substituted. Ritson's quotation from the Spanish Tragedy is much to the point:
"Made mountains marsh with spring-tides of my tears."
7 Pope conjectured that this blank had been supplied by the name of Francis Drake, which, though a glaring anachronism, he
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,
Paris, Guysors, Poictiers, are all quite lost.
Bed. What say'st thou, man, before dead Henry's
Speak softly; or the loss of those great towns
Will make him burst his lead, and rise from death.
Glo. Is Paris lost? is Roüen 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?
Mess. No treachery; but want of men and money.
Amongst the soldiers this is mutter'd,
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 expense 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: thought might have been a popular, though not judicious, mode of attracting plaudits in the theatre. Part of the arms of Drake Johnson with great improbability prowas two blazing stars. posed Berenice.
The corrector of Mr. Collier's folio would read
Give me my steeled coat, I'll fight for France.
Away with these disgraceful wailing robes!
Wounds will I lend the French, instead of eyes,
their intermissive miseries.
Enter another Messenger.
2 Mess. Lords, view these letters, full of bad mischance,
France is revolted from the English quite;
Except some petty towns of no import :
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! O! whither shall we fly from this reproach?
Glo. 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 overrun.
Enter a third Messenger.
3 Mess. 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 Mess. 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 scarce full six thousand in his troop,
By three and twenty thousand of the French
The old copies have "full scarce" the words being evidently transposed by accident.
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 Fastolfe9 had not play'd the coward;
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 wrack 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,
For an account of this Sir John Fastolfe, vide Biographia Britannica, by Kippis, vol. v.; in which is his life, written by Mr. Gough. See also Anstis On the Order of the Garter; Parkins' Supplement to Blomefield's History of Norfolk; Capel's Notes to Shakespeare, vol. ii. p. 221; and Sir John Fenn's Collection of the Paston Letters. He is said by Hall to have been degraded for cowardice; and Heylin, in his History of St. George, tells us