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dire and ominous shadow of the historic Richard is thus thrown nearly a generation backward. It is also deepened and darkened by the aid of the blacker interpretation of Richard left by Sir Thomas More. Holinshed's Richard is the ruthless champion of his House, who slays Henry only 'to the intent that his brother Edward might reign with more surety'; the dramatic Richard is 'himself' and for himself alone. But even the dramatic Richard does nothing, in the present play, which the champion of his House might not do; and thus the two sublime monologues (iii. 2., v. 5.) in which he lays bare, with the terrific candour of Tamburlane, the policy of his egoism, are only intelligible as preludes to the wonderful drama in which Shakespeare, now at length escaping from the traces of Greene and from the Marlowe alliance if not as yet altogether from his spell, worked out the destiny of the great avenger of the crimes of Lancaster.




SCENE I. Westminster Abbey.

Dead March. Enter the Funeral of KING HENRY the Fifth, attended on by the DUKE OF BEDFORD, Regent of France; the DUKE OF GLOUCESTER, Protector; the DUKE OF EXETER, the EARL OF WARWICK, the BISHOP of Winchester, Heralds, etc.

Bed. Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!

Comets, importing change of times and states,
Brandish your crystal 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.

1. Hung be the heavens with practice evidently suggested the black. The roof covering the image. stage (technically called


heavens') was hung with black on such occasions as this. This

5. consented unto, conspired to bring about.

Glou. 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 mid-day 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 magic verses have contrived his end?

Win. He was a king bless'd of the King of

Unto the French the dreadful judgement-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.
Glou. The church! where is it? Had not
churchmen pray'd,

His thread of life had not so soon decay'd:
None do you like but an effeminate prince,
Whom, like a school-boy, you may over-awe.
Win. Gloucester, whate'er we like, thou art

16. lift, lifted.




And lookest to command the prince and realm.
Thy wife is proud; she holdeth thee in awe,
More than God or religious churchmen may.

Glou. Name not religion, for thou lovest the

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 mothers' moist eyes babes shall


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-

Enter a Messenger.

Mess. My honourable lords, health to you all!

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