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Act V. SCENE i. (iv. vii.)
The return of rhyme where young Talbot is again mentioned, and in no other place, strengthens the suspicion, that these verses were originally part of some other work, and were copied here only to save the trouble of composing new. Act V. SCENE Üï. (v. jäi. 6.) Monarch of the Nortb.
The North was always supposed to be the particular habitation of bad spirits. Milton therefore assembles the rebel angels in the North. Act V. SCENE iv. (v. üi. 62 foll.)
As plays the sun upon the glassy streams, &c. This comparison, made between things which seem sufficiently unlike, is intended to express the softness and delicacy of Lady Margaret's beauty, which delighted, but did not dazzle ; which was bright, but gave no pain by its lustre.
Of this play there is no copy earlier than that of the folio in 1623, though the two succeeding parts are extant in two editions in quarto. That the second and third parts were published without the first may be admitted as no weak proof that the copies were surreptitiously obtained, and that the printers of that time gave the publick those plays not such as the authour designed, but such as they could get them. That this play was written before the two others is indubitably collected from the series of events ; that it was written and played before Henry the fifth is apparent, because in the epilogue there is mention made of this play and not of the other parts.
Henry the sixth in swaddling bands crown'd king,
France is lost in this play. The two following contain, as the old title imports, the contention of the houses of York and Lancaster.
The two first parts of Henry VI. were printed in 1600. When Henry V. was written we know not, but it was printed likewise in 1600, and therefore before the publication of the first and second parts, the first part of Henry VI. had been often shown on the stage, and would certainly have appeared in its place had the authour been the publisher.
THE SECOND PART OF KING HENRY VI.
It is apparent that this play begins where the former ends, and continues the series of transactions, of which it presupposes the first part already known. This is a sufficient proof that the second and third parts were not written without dependance on the first, though they were printed as containing a complete period of history.
Act II. SCENE i. (11. i. 3-4.)
The wind was very bigb, And, ten to one, old Joan bad not gone out. I am told by a gentleman better acquainted with falconry than myself, that the meaning, however expressed, is, that, the wind being high, it was ten to one that the old hawk had flown quite away ; a trick which hawks often play their masters in windy weather. Act II. SCENE vii. (11. iv. 111.)
ELEANOR. I long to see my prison. This impatience of a high spirit is very natural. It
is not so dreadful to be imprisoned, as it is desirable
And as the Butcber takes away the Calf,
And binds the wretch, and beats it when it strays. I am inclined to believe that in this passage, as in many, there is a confusion of ideas, and that the poet had at once before him a butcher carrying a calf bound, and a butcher driving a calf to the slaughter, and beating him when he did not keep the path. Part of the
line was suggested by one image and part by another, so that strive is the best word, but stray is the right. Act III. SCENE vi. (111. ii. 161-2.)
Oft bave I seen a timely-parted gbost,
Of asby semblance, meager, pale, and bloodless. All that is true of the body of a dead man is here said by Warwick of the soul. I would read,
Oft have I seen a timely-parted coarse, But of two common words how or why was one changed for the other? I believe the transcriber thought that the epithet timely-parted could not be used of the body, but that, as in Hamlet there is mention of peaceparted souls, so here timely-parted must have the same substantive. He removed one imaginary difficulty and made many real. If the soul is parted from the body, the body is likewise parted from the soul.
I cannot but stop a moment to observe that this
Would curses kill, as doth the inandrake's groan.
give it an inferiour degree of animal life, and relate, that when it is torn from the ground, it groans, and that this groan being certainly fatal to him that is offering such unwelcome violence, the practice of those who gather mandrakes is to tie one end of a string to the plant, and the other to a dog, upon which the fatal groan discharges its malignity. Act III. SCENE viii. (111. ii. 333.)
You bad me ban, and will you bid me leave ? This inconsistency is very common in real life. Those who are vexed to impatience are angry to see others less disturbed than themselves, but when others begin to rave, they themselves see in them, what they could not find in themselves, the deformity and folly of useless rage. Act III. SCENE X. (111. iii.) Death of Cardinal Beaufort.
This is one of the scenes which have been applauded by the criticks, and which will continue to be admired when prejudice shall cease, and bigotry give way to impartial examination. These are beauties that rise out of nature and of truth; the superficial reader cannot miss them, the profound can image nothing beyond them. Act IV. SCENE i. (iv. i. 1.) Tbe gaudy, blabbing . . . day.
The epithet blabbing applied to the day by a man about to commit murder, is exquisitely beautiful. Guilt is afraid of light, considers darkness as a natural shelter, and makes night the confidante of those actions which cannot be trusted to the tell-tale day. Act IV. SCENE i. (iv. i. 3-6.)
Clip dead mens' graves.
CADE. For our enemies shall fall before us.
To mend the world by banishing money is an old
Thou hast caused printing to be us’d. Shakespeare is a little too early with this accusation. Act IV. SCENE Vi. (IV. vii. 54-5.)
Thou ought'st not to let thy horse wear a cloak. This is a reproach truly characteristical. Nothing gives so much offence to the lower ranks of mankind as the sight of superfluities merely ostentatious. Act IV. SCENE ix. (iv. x. 84.)
So wisb 1, I might thrust tby soul to bell. Not to dwell upon the wickedness of this horrid wish, with which Iden debases his character, this whole speech is wild and confused. To draw a man by the heels, headlong, is somewhat difficult ; nor can I discover how the dunghill would be his grave if his trunk were left to be fed upon by crows. These I conceive not to be the faults of corruption, but of negligence, and therefore do not attempt correction.