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Dead March. The Corpse of King HENRY the Fifth is discovered,' lying in state; attended on by the Dukes of BEDFORD, GLOSTER, and EXETER; the Earl of WARWICK, the Bishop of Winchester, Heralds, &c.
Bed. Hung be the heavens with black, yield day to night!
Comets, importing change of times and states,
Glo. England ne'er had a king, until his time.
1 Dead March. The Corpse of King Henry the Fifth is DISCOVERED, &c.] In our old stage there seems to have been no discovery, as it is now termed, of persons or objects on the stage. The curtain at that time did not rise, but was drawn apart, and the characters and accompaniments entered; and such was the case in this instance, as appears by the old stage-direction in these words :"Dead march. Enter the funeral of King Henry the Fifth, attended on by the Duke of Bedford, Regent of France; the Duke of Gloster, Protector; the Duke of Exeter; Warwick; the Bishop of Winchester, and the Duke of Somerset."
His brandish'd sword did blind men with his beams;
Exe. We mourn in black: why mourn we not in blood? Henry is dead, and never shall revive.
Upon a wooden coffin we attend;
Win. He was a king, bless'd of the King of kings.
The church's prayers made him so prosperous.
Glo. The church! where is it? Had not church
His thread of life had not so soon decay'd:
Win. Gloster, whate'er we like, thou art protector,
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.-
Since arms avail not, now that Henry's dead.
When at their mothers' moist eyes babes shall suck',
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My honourable lords, health to 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 corse?
Speak softly, or the loss of those great towns
2 When at their mothers' MOIST eyes babes shall suck ;] This is the line as it stands in the folio, 1632: that of 1623 has moisten'd for "moist," giving a redundant syllable in a line where no dissyllable can be read in the time of a monosyllable. Besides, the full meaning of the poet is obtained by " moist ;" and here and elsewhere in this play the corrections, if not from authority, have been made generally with great judgment by the editor of the second folio.
3 — a NOURISH of salt tears,] Pope substituted marish, i. e. marsh, for "nourish," which is the word in the first and in all the other folios. In fact, no change is required; and had it been a misprint for marish, the editor of the second folio, who had corrected the preceding line, would not have been likely to pass it over. "Nourish," as Malone and Steevens proved by various quotations anterior to the time of Shakespeare, was only another form of the word nourice, or nurse; and a word of two syllables was required.
4 Than Julius Cæsar, or bright--] So printed in the original, as if the entrance of the messenger had interrupted the conclusion of the sentence. Malone was of opinion that the transcriber of the MS. could not read the name, and therefore omitted it; while Johnson proposed to fill the blank with Berenice, which would ill suit the measure, unless the last two syllables were to be pronounced as one.
Glo. Is Paris lost? is Rouen 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. Among the soldiers this is muttered,—
That here you maintain several factions;
And whilst a field should be despatch'd and fought,
One would have lingering wars with little cost;
Let not sloth dim your honours new-begot:
Exe. Were our tears wanting to this funeral,
Bed. Me they concern; regent I am of France.— 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, To weep 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;
5 A third MAN thinks, without expense at all,] "Man" is from the folio, 1632; and it is necessary, unless we suppose Shakespeare intended "third" to be pronounced as a dissyllable. That it was not usually so pronounced, we have the evidence of the editor of the second folio.
The duke of Alençon flieth to his side.
Exe. The Dauphin 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 over-run.
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,
Having full scarce six thousand in his troop,
— enraged he SLEW.] So the old copies, to which we adhere ; although, as the Rev. Mr. Barry suggests, it was a very easy misprint for flew. Slew shows that Talbot was not only "here, there, and everywhere," but that he made his presence known by the slaughter of the enemy.