Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

That have consented* unto Henry's death!
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 conquer'd.
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.
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.

4 Consented here means conspired together to promote the death of Henry by their malignant influence on human events. Our ancestors bad but one word to express consent, and concent, which meant accord and agreement, whether of persons or things.

5 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, 1584.

Glo. The church! where is it? Had not church

men pray'd, His thread of life had not so soon decay’d: None do

you

like but an effeminate prince, Whom, like a schoolboy, you may overawe. Win. Gloster, whate'er we like, thou art pro

tector;
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 your

minds in peace! . 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 nourish 6 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 27

.

6 Nurse was anciently spelt nouryce and noryshe; and, by Lydgate, even nourish:

Athenes whan it was in its floures

Was called nourish of philosophers wise.' ? Pope conjectured that this blank had been supplied by the name of Francis Drake, which, though a glaring anachronism, might have been a popular, though not judicious, mode of attracting plaudits in the theatre. Part of the arms of Drake was two blazing stars. Malone says that the blank arose from the transcriber or compositor not being able to make out the name.

VOL. VI.

С

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 8. Bed. What say'st thou, man, before dead Henry's

corse ? 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 money. Among 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 9.

Bed. Me they concern; regent I am of France:

men and

8 Capel proposed to complete this defective verse by the insertion of Rouen among the places lost, as Gloster infers that it had been mentioned with the rest.

9 i. e. England's flowing tides.

Give me

my steeled coat, I'll fight for France.Away with these disgraceful wailing robes ! Wounds I will lend the French, instead of

eyes, To weep

their intermissive miseries 10.

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 is crowned king! all fly to him 0, 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. 0, no; wherein Lord Talbot was o'er-

thrown:
The circumstance I'll tell you more at large.
The tenth of August last, this dreadful lord,
Retiring from the siege of Orleans,
Having full scarce six thousand in his troop,
By three and twenty thousand of the French

10 i. e. their miseries which have only a short intermission.

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 seald up,
If Sir John Fastolfe 11 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 wreck 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,

11 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 Shakspeare, 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 that he was afterwards, upon good reasons by him alledged in his defence, restored to his honour.'

« AnteriorContinuar »