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ON THE CLOWNS AND FOOLS OF SHAKSPEARE; ON THE
GESTA ROMANORUM; AND ON THE
ET FRANCIS DOUCE
THE ENGRAVINGS ON WOOD BY J. BERRYMAN.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, LEES, AND ORKE
KING HENRY VI. PART I.
Scene 1. Page 506.
BED. And with them scourge the bad revolting stars,
Ir is conceived that most readers, after perusing the several notes on these lines, will be of opinion that some further elucidation is necessary. The first attempt should be to ascertain the respective significations of the words concent and consent, which can only be effected by an attention to their Latin etymology.
Concent, in its simple and primitive acceptation, is nothing more than a singing together harmoniously; but because in such harmony there is an agreement of sounds, the word was sometimes metaphorically used to express concord or agreement generally. Consent never means union of sounds, but agreement generally, or an union of sense or opinion. Cicero has most carefully distinguished them when he says, "Ubi
enim perspecta vis est rationis ejus qua causæ rerum atque exitus cognoscuntur, mirus quidam omnium quasi consensus doctrinarum, concentusque reperitur." De oratore, lib. iii. Among English writers, the similitude in sound and an inattention to orthography have contributed to their common and promiscuous use.
Mr. Steevens inclines to the meaning above given of concent, and yet he adops consent in his text; nor are his instances uniform. Thus in the quotation from Cicero De nat. deorum, concentus simply means concord or agreement.. In the passage from Milton consent evidently denotes the same thing. The rest of his quotations relate to musical concent.
Mr. Mason, in his own words, assents to Mr. Steevens's explanation; yet his instances are all unfortunately calculated to illustrate the other sense of barely agreeing.
The books of Elizabeth's time indiscriminately use both modes of orthography. Thus we have, "Broughton's concent of Scripture," for consent; though, as is shown already, either will serve for agreement..
In the two passages cited by Mr. Steevens from Spenser, the orthography varies, though the meaning is evidently the same, i..e. musical con