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'Tis very grievous to be thought upon. What, is he in his bed?
Glo. Go you before, and I will follow you.
He cannot live, I hope; and must not die,
For then I'll marry Warwick's youngest daughter:*
By marrying her, which I must reach unto.
The same. Another Street.
Enter the Corpse of King HENRY the Sixth, borne in an open Coffin, Gentlemen bearing Halberds, to guard it; and Lady ANNE as mourner.
Anne. Set down, set down your honourable load,→
2 He is.] Sir Thomas Hanmer very properly completes this broken verse, by reading
He is, my lord. Steevens.
Warwick's youngest daughter:] See Vol. X, p. 375, n. 5.
obsequiously lament -] Obsequious, in this instance, means funereal So, in Hamlet, Act I, sc. ii: To do obsequious sorrow." Steevens.
Poor key-cold figure of a holy king!
If ever he have wife, let her be made
[The Bearers take up the Corpse, and advance.
key-cold-] A key, on account of the coldness of the metal of which it is composed, was anciently employed to stop any slight bleeding. The epithet is common to many old writers; among the rest, it is used by Decker in his Satiromastix, 1602: It is best you hide your head, for fear your wise brains take key-cold."
Again, in The Country Girl, by T. B. 1647:
"And then in key-cold Lucrece' bleeding stream
to his unhappiness!] i. e. disposition to mischief. So, in Much Ado about Nothing: "Dream'd of unhappiness, and wak’d herself with laughing." Steevens.
See Vol. VI, p. 390, n. 5.
Glo. Stay you, that bear the corse, and set it down. Anne. What black magician conjures up this fiend, To stop devoted charitable deeds?
Glo. Villains, set down the corse; or, by saint Paul, I'll make a corse of him that disobeys.7
1 Gent. My lord, stand back, and let the coffin pass.
Glo. Sweet saint, for charity, be not so curst.
For thou hast made the happy earth thy hell,
7 I'll make a corse of him that disobeys.] So, in Hamlet: "I'll make a ghost of him that lets me." Johnson.
pattern of thy butcheries;] Pattern is instance, or example. Johnson. So, in The Legend of Lord Hastings, Mirrour for Magistrates, 1587:
"By this my pattern, all ye peers, beware." Malone. Holinshed says: "The dead corps on the Ascension even was conveied with billes and glaives pompouslie (if you will call that a funeral pompe) from the Tower to the church of saint Paule, and there laid on a beire or coffen bare-faced; the same in the presence of the beholders did bleed; where it rested the space of one whole daie. From thense he was carried to the Blackfriers, and bled there likewise;" &c. Steevens.
see! dead Henry's wounds
Open their congeal'd mouths and bleed afresh!] It is a tradition very generally received, that the murdered body bleeds on the
Blush, blush, thou lump of foul deformity;
O God, which this blood mad'st, revenge his death!
Glo. Lady, you know no rules of charity, Which renders good for bad, blessings for curses.
Anne. Villain, thou know'st no law of God nor man; No beast so fierce, but knows some touch of pity.
Glo. But I know none, and therefore am no beast.
Anne. Vouchsafe, diffus'd infection of a man,1
touch of the murderer. This was so much believed by Sir Kenelm Digby, that he has endeavoured to explain the reason.
Johnson. Mr. Tollet observes, that this opinion seems to be derived from the ancient Swedes, or Northern nations from whom we descend; for they practised this method of trial in dubious cases, as appears from Pitt's Atlas, in Sweden, p. 20. Steevens.
* This tradition is of much earlier origin than Mr. Tollet supposes. I find it mentioned by Plutarch, in his relation of the exposure of the body of Agrippina, which he says bled afresh on the approach of Nero, which was considered as proof of his guilt. Am. Ed.
Vouchsafe, diffus'd infection of a man,] I believe, diffused in this place signifies irregular, uncouth; such is its meaning in other passages of Shakspeare. Johnson.
Diffus'd infection of a man may mean, thou that art as dangerous as a pestilence, that infects the air by its diffusion. Diffus'd may, however, mean irregular. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor: rush at once
"With some diffused song.” Again, in Green's Farewell to Follie, 1617:
Glo. Fairer than tongue can name thee, let me have Some patient leisure to excuse myself.
Anne. Fouler than heart can think thee, thou canst make
No excuse current, but to hang thyself.
Glo. By such despair, I should accuse myself.
Glo. Say, that I slew them not?
Thy murderous faulchion smoking in his blood;
Glo. I was provoked by her sland'rous tongue,
I grant ye.3
Anne. Dost grant me, hedge-hog? then, God grant
Thou may'st be damned for that wicked deed!
Glo. The fitter for the King of heaven that hath him.o
"I have seen an English gentleman so defused in his sutes; his doublet being for the weare of Castile, his hose for Venice," &c. Steevens. 2 Why then, they are not dead:] Thus the quarto. The folio reads: Then say, they are not slain. Malone.
thy soul's throat -] The folio-thy foul throat. Steevens. 4 That laid their guilt-] The crime of my brothers. He has just charged the murder of Lady Anne's husband upon Edward.
5 I grant ye.] Read, to perfect the measure: I grant ye, yea. Ritson.
One of the quartos, instead of—ye, reads-yea. Steevens.