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Saint Albans.

Enter King HENRY, Queen MARGARET, GLOSTER, Cardinal, and SUFFOLK, with Falconers hollaing. 'Q. Mar. Believe me, lords, for flying at the brook,9 'I saw not better sport these seven years' day: Yet, by your leave, the wind was very high; And, ten to one, old Joan had not gone out.1

• K. Hen. But what a point, my lord, your falcon made, 'And what a pitch she flew above the rest!2. To see how God in all his creatures works!

* Yea, man and birds, are fain of climbing high.3


for flying at the brook,] The falconer's term for hawking at water-fowl. Johnson.


the wind was very high;

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. Johnson.

-old Joan had not gone out.] i. e. the wind being high it was ten to one that old Joan would not have taken her flight at the game. Percy.

The ancient books of hawking do not enable me to decide on the merits of such discordant explanations. It may yet be remarked, that the terms belonging to this once popular amusement were in general settled with the utmost precision; and I may at least venture to declare, that a mistress might have been kept at a cheaper rate than a falcon. To compound a medicine to cure one of these birds of worms, it was necessary to destroy no fewer animals than a lamb, a culver, a pigeon, a buck and a cat. I have this intelligence from the Booke of Haukinge, &c. bl. 1. no date. This work was written by dame Julyana Bernes, prioress of the nunnery of Sopwell, near St. Albans, (where Shakspeare has fixed the present scene) and one of the editions of it was prynted at Westmestre by Wynkin de Worde, 1496, together with an additional treatise on fishing. Steevens.

2 But what a point, my lord, your falcon made,

And what a pitch she flew above the rest!] The variation between these lines and those in the original play on which this is founded, is worth notice:

“Uncle Gloster, how high your hawk did soar,

"And on a sudden souc'd the partridge down.”


3 -are fain of climbing high.] Fain, in this place, signifies fond. So, in Heywood's Epigrams on Proverbs, 1562:

"Fayre words make fooles faine." Steevens.

Suf. No marvel, an it like your majesty, My lord protector's hawks do tower so well; They know their master loves to be aloft,4 * And bears his thoughts above his falcon's pitch. Glo. My lord, 'tis but a base ignoble mind That mounts no higher than a bird can soar. 'Car. I thought as much; he 'd be above the clouds. Glo. Ay, my lord cardinal; How think you by that? Were it not good, your grace could fly to heaven? *K. Hen. The treasury of everlasting joy!

'Car. Thy heaven is on earth; thine eyes and thoughts Beat on a crown," the treasure of thy heart;

Pernicious protector, dangerous peer,

That smooth'st it so with king and commonweal! Glo. What, cardinal, is your priesthood grown perémtory?

*Tantæne animis cælestibus ira?

Churchmen so hot? good uncle, hide such malice;
With such holiness can you do it?

4to be aloft,] Perhaps alluding to the adage:

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High-flying hawks are fit for princes."

See Ray's Collection. Steevens.

5 thine eyes and thoughts

Beat on a crown,] To bait or beat, (bathe) is a term in falconry. Johnson.

To bathe, and to beat, or bate, are distinct terms in this diversion. To bathe a hawk was to wash his plumage. To beat, or bate, was to flutter with his wings. To beat on a crown, however, is equivalent to an expression which is still used-to hammer, i. e. to work in the mind. Shakspeare has employed a term somewhat similar in a preceding scene of the play before us:

"Wilt thou still be hammering treachery ""

But the very same phrase occurs in Lyly's Maid's Metamorphosis, 1600:

"With him whose restless thoughts do beat on thee." Again, in Doctor Dodypoll, 1600:

"Since my mind beats on it mightily." Steevens.

6 With such holiness can you do it?] Do what? The verse wants a foot; we should read:

With such holiness can you not do it?

Spoken ironically. By holiness he means hypocrisy and says, have you not hypocrisy enough to hide your malice? Warburton.

The verse is lame enough after the emendation, nor does the negative particle improve the sense. When words are omitted it is not often easy to say what they were if there is a perfect sense without them. I read, but somewhat at random:

A churchman, with such holiness can you do it?

Suf. No malice, sir; no more than well becomes So good a quarrel, and so bad a peer.

Glo. As who, my lord?


Why, as you, my lord;

An 't like your lordly lord-protectorship.

Glo. Why, Suffolk, England knows thine insolence. Q. Mar. And thy ambition, Gloster.

K. Hen. I pr'ythee, peace, Good queen; and whet not on these furious peers, For blessed are the peacemakers on earth.7

Car. Let me be blessed for the peace I make, Against this proud protector, with my sword! Glo. 'Faith, holy uncle, 'would 'twere come to that! [Aside to the Cardinal.

'Car. Marry, when thou dar'st. [Aside. Glo. Make up no factious numbers for the matter, In thine own person answer thy abuse.

[Aside. Car. Ay, where thou dar'st not peep: an if thou dar❜st, This evening, on the east side of the grove. [Aside. K. Hen. How now, my lords?

• Car. Believe me, cousin Gloster, Had not your man put up the fowl so suddenly,

'We had had more sport.-Come with thy two-hand [Aside to Glo.


Glo. True, uncle.

Car. Are you advis'd?—the east side of the grove? Glo. Cardinal, I am with you.


The transcriber saw churchman just above, and therefore omitted it in the second line. Johnson.

can you do it?] The old play, quarto 1600, reads more intelligibly," Good uncle, can you dote?" Malone.


blessed are the peacemakers on earth.] See St. Matthew, ch. v, ver. 9. Reed.


Come with thy two-hand sword.

Glo. True, uncle, are ye advis'd?-the east side of the grove? Cardinal, I am with you.] Thus is the whole speech placed to Gloster, in all the editions: but, surely, with great inadvertence. It is the cardinal who first appoints the east side of the grove for the place of duel: and how finely does it express his rancour and impetuosity, for fear Gloster should mistake, to repeat the appointment, and ask his antagonist if he takes him right! Theobald.

The two-hand sword is mentioned by Holinshed, Vol. III, p. 833:"And he that touched the tawnie shield, should cast a

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K. Hen.

Why, how now, uncle Gloster?

Glo. Talking of hawking; nothing else, my lord.Now, by God's mother, priest, I'll shave your crown

for this,

* Or all my fence shall fail. 8

*Car. Medice teipsum;

Protector, see to 't well, protect yourself.


} [Aside.

K. Hen. The winds grow high; so do your stomachs,

lords. 9*

spear on foot with a target on his arme, and after to fight with a two-hand sword." Steevens.

In the original play the cardinal desires Gloster to bring "his sword and buckler." The two-hand sword was sometimes called the long sword, and in common use before the introduction of the rapier. Justice Shallow, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, boasts of the exploits he had performed in his youth with this instrument. See Vol. III. Malone.


my fence shall fail.] Fence is the art of defence. So, in Much Ado about Nothing:

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Despight his nice fence, and his active practice." Steevens. 9 The winds grow high; so do your stomachs, lords.] This line Shakspeare hath injudiciously adopted from the old play, changing only the word color [choler] to stomachs. In the old play the altercation appears not to be concealed from Henry. Here Shakspeare certainly intended that it should pass between the Cardinal and Gloster aside; and yet he has inadvertently adopted a line, and added others, that imply that Henry has heard the appointment they have made. Malone.

*I do not perceive any inadvertence in the adoption of the line, or in the additions alluded to by Mr. Malone :-The altercation and appointment between Gloster and the Cardinal was certainly intended to be aside; nor do I perceive where the fault complained of exists. It appears that the king was perfectly acquainted with the rooted enmity between Gloster and the Cardinal, and his suspicion must have been excited by the very circumstance of their holding conversation apart. Their mutual anger is represented as working so powerfully on their feelings as to deprive them of the consciousness of being liable to observation, until they are awakened to a sense of their imprudence by the abrupt question of the king, whose suspicions they mutually endeavour to divert: but again thrown off their guard, every sense absorbed in their unappeasable fury, they burst out afresh, which draws from the king a mild and touching reprimand, perfectly in character.

This scene, so beautifully descriptive of the triumph of the angry passions, over prudence and reason, is not only misunderstood, but abused and mutilated by Mr. Malone, while the indefatigable Steevens passes it over as if unworthy of notice, and the gigantic Johnson himself abandons his favorite to the merciless knife of a clumsy operator. Amer. Editor.

* How irksome is this musick to my heart!

* When such strings jar, what hope of harmony? *I pray, my lords, let me compound this strife.

Enter an Inhabitant of Saint Albans, crying, A Miracle!1 Glo. What means this noise?

Fellow, what miracle dost thou proclaim ?

Inhab. A miracle! a miracle!

Suf. Come to the king, and tell him what miracle. Inhab. Forsooth, a blind man at saint Alban's shrine, Within this half hour, hath receiv'd his sight; A man, that ne'er saw in his life before.

K. Hen. Now, God be prais'd! that to believing souls "Gives light in darkness, comfort in despair!

Enter the Mayor of Saint Albans, and his Brethren; and SIMPCOX, borne between two persons in a Chair; his Wife and a great Multitude following.

*Car. Here come the townsmen on procession, * To present your highness with the man.

*K. Hen. Great is his comfort in this earthly vale, * Although by his sight his sin be multiplied.

* Glo. Stand by, my masters, bring him near the king, *His highness' pleasure is to talk with him.

* K. Hen. Good fellow, tell us here the circumstance, *That we for thee may glorify the Lord.

What, hast thou been long blind, and now restor❜d?
Simp. Born blind, an 't please your grace.

Wife. Ay, indeed, was he.

Suf. What woman is this?

Wife. His wife, an 't like your worship.

Gło. Had'st thou been his mother, thou could'st have better told.

K. Hen. Where wert thou born?

Simp. At Berwick in the north, an 't like your grace. «K. Hen. Poor soul! God's goodness hath been great to thee:

'Let never day nor night unhallow'd pass,

1 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 impostor'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.

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