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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. JOHNSON. Line 29. The mutual conference—] I am the bolder to address you, having already familiarized you to my imagination.
Line 32. -mine alder-liefest sovereign,] Alder-livest is an old English word given to him to whom the speaker is supremely attached: lievest being the superlative of the comparative levar, rather, from lief. So, Hall in his Chronicle, Henry VI. folio Ryght hyghe and mighty prince, and my ryght noble, and, after one, levest lord." WARBURTON.
Line 113. This peroration with such circumstance?] This speech crouded with so many instances of aggravation.
Agrees not with the leanness of his purse.] So Holinshed: "King Reigner hir father, for all his long stile, had too short a purse to send his daughter honourably to the king hir spowse." MALONE.
Line 131. And are the cities, &c] The indignation of Warwick is natural, and I wish it had been better expressed; there is a kind of jingle intended in wounds and words. JOHNSON.
In the old play the jingle is more striking. "And must that then which we won with our swords, be given away with words?" Line 165. And all the wealthy kingdoms of the west,] Certainly Shakspeare wrote-east. WARBURTON. There are wealthy kingdoms in the west as well as in the east, and the western kingdoms were more likely to be in the thought of the speaker.
Line 235. Stands on a tickle point,] Tickle for ticklish.
-257. the prince's heart of Calydon.] According to the fable, Meleager's life was to continue only so long as a certain firebrand should last. His mother Althea having thrown it into the fire, he expired in great torments.
Line 406. Sort how it will,] Let the issue be what it will.
ACT I. SCENE III.
in the quill.] In the quill probably may mean with much exactitude and formality.
Line 495. She bears a duke's revenues &c.] See King Henry VIII. Act I. sc. i. MALONE.
Line 502. Till Suffolk gave two dukedoms-] The duchies of Anjou and Maine, which Henry surrendered to Reignier, on his marriage with Margaret. See sc. i. MALONE,
Line 512. this late complaint-] That is, the complaint of Peter the armourer's man against his master, for saying that York was the rightful king. JOHNSON.
ACT I. SCENE IV.
Line 677. and ban-dogs howl,] Ban-dog is a corruption of
band-dog; or rather the first d is suppressed here, as in other com pound words. Cole, in his Dict. 1679, renders ban-dog, canis
Line 695. -What shall of him become?] Here is another proof of what has been already suggested. In the quarto 1600, it is concerted between mother Jourdain and Bolingbroke that he should frame a circle, &c. and that she should "fall prostrate to the ground," to "whisper with the devils below." (Southwell is not introduced in that piece.) Accordingly, as soon as the incantations begin, Bolingbroke reads the questions out of a paper, as here. But our poet has expressly said in the preceding part of this scene that Southwell was to read them. Here, however, he inadvertently follows his original as it lay before him, forgetting that consistently with what he had already written, he should have deviated from it. He has fallen into the same kind of inconsistency in Romeo and Juliet, by sometimes adhering to and sometimes deserting the poem on which he formed that tragedy. MALONE.
Line 727. Lord Buckingham, methinks, &c.] This repetition of the prophecies, which is altogether unnecessary, after what the spectators had heard in the scene immediately preceding, is not to be found in the first edition of this play.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Line 1. for flying at the brook,] The falconer's term for hawking at water-fowl. JOHNSON.
And, ten to one, old Joan had 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.
blessed are the peacemakers, &c.] Vide Matthew's
-crying, A Miracle!] This scene is founded on a story which sir Thomas More has related, and which he says was communicated to him by his father. The imposter's name is
not mentioned, but he was detected by Humphrey duke of Gloster, and in the manner here represented. See his Works, p. 134, edit. 1557. MALONE. Line 121.
-who said-Simpcox, &c.] The former copies:
-who said, Simon, come;
Come, offer at my shrine, and I will help thee. Why Simon? The chronicles, that take notice of Gloster's detecting this pretended miracle, tell us, that the imposter, who asserted himself to be cured of blindness, was called Saunder Simpcox-Simon was therefore a corruption. THEOBALD.
Line 218. A sort of naughty persons, lewdly bent,] Lewdly generally means wickedly.
Line 230. Your lady is forthcoming-] That is, Your lady is in custody.
ACT II. SCENE II.
Line 268. Which is infallible,] I know not well whether he means the opinion or the title is infallible.
Surely he means his title.
Line 294. -as all you know,] In the original play the words are as you both know." This mode of phraseology, when the speaker addresses only two persons, is peculiar to Shakspeare.
Line 335. And, in this private plot,] Sequestered spot of ground.
ACT II. SCENE III.
Line 373. after three days' open penance-] In the original play the king particularly specifies the mode of penance: "Thou shalt two days do penance barefoot, in the streets, with a white sheet," &c. MALONE. Line 385. Sorrow would solace, and mine age would ease.] That is, Sorrow would have, sorrow requires, solace, and age requires JOHNSON.
Line 409. This staff of honour raught:] Raught the old pret. and part. pass. of to reach.
Line 426. I never saw a fellow worse bested,] In a worse plight.
with a sad-bag fastened to it;] As, according to the old laws of duels, knights were to fight with the lance and sword; so those of inferior rank fought with an ebon staff or battoon, to the farther end of which was fixed a bag crammed hard with sand. To this custom Hudibras has alluded in these humorous lines:
"Engag'd with money-bags, as bold
"As men with sand-bags did of old."
Line 432. -a cup of charneco.] A common name for a sort of sweet wine: charneca is, in Spanish, the name of a kind of turpentine-tree, and I imagine the growth of it was in some district abounding with that tree; or that it had its name from a certain flavour resembling it. WARBURTON..
Line 463. as Bevis of Southampton fell upon Ascapart.] Ascapart-the giant of the story-a name familiar to our ancestors, is mentioned by Dr. Donne:
"Those Ascaparts, men big enough to throw
The figures of these combatants are still preserved on the gates
ACT II. SCENE IV.
-as seasons fleet.] Dr. Johnson in his Diction
ary supposes to fleet (as here used) to be the same as to flit; that is, to be in a flux or transient state, to pass away.
Line 491. Uneath may she endure-] Uneath, i. e. scarcely.
·516. Mail'd up in shame,] Wrapped up; bundled up in
disgrace; alluding to the sheet of penance.
Line 552. Thy greatest help is quiet,] The poet has not endeavoured to raise much compassion for the duchess, who indeed suffers but what she had deserved. JOHNSON.
the world may laugh again;] That is, The
world may look again favourably upon me.
-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 in a state of disgrace to be sheltered from the scorn of gazers.