Apoplexy in Shakespeare

William Shakespeare, 2 Henry VI (1590-91):

  Say.  Long sitting to determine poor men's causes
Hath made me full of sickness and diseases.
  Cade.  Ye shall have a hempen caudle, then, and the help of hatchet.
  Dick.  Why dost thou quiver, man?
  Say.  The palsy, and not fear, provokes me.
  Cade.  Nay, he nods at us, as who should say, I'll be even with you: I'll see if his head will stand steadier on a pole, or no. Take him away, and behead him…. Away with him! He has a familiar under his tongue; he speaks not o' God's name. Go, take him away, I say, and strike off his head presently. (4.7.89-122)

William Shakespeare, 2 Henry IV (1598):

  Fal.  And I hear, moreover, his Highness is fall'n into same whoreson apoplexy.
  Ch. Just.  Well, God mend him! I pray you let me speak with you.
  Fal.  This apoplexy, as I take it, is a kind of lethargy, please your lordship, a kind of sleeping in the blood, a tingling.
  Ch. Just.  What tell you me of it? Be it as it is.
  Fal.  It hath it original from much grief, from study, and perturbation of the brain. I have read the cause of his effects in Galen, it is a kind of deafness.
  Ch. Just.  I think you are fall’n into the disease, for you hear not what I say to you. (1.2.107-19)

  King.  And wherefore should these good news make me sick?
Will Fortune never come with both hands full,
But write her fair words still in foulest terms?
She either gives a stomach and no food –
Such are the poor, in health; or else a feast
And takes away the stomach – such are the rich,
That have abundance and enjoy it not.
I should rejoice now at this happy news;
And now my sight fails, and my brain is giddy.
O me! come near me; now I am much ill.
  Glou.  Comfort, your Majesty!
  Clar.  O my royal father!
  West.  My sovereign lord, cheer up yourself, look up.
  War.  Be patient, Princes; you do know, these fits
Are with his Highness very ordinary.
Stand from him, give him air, he'll straight be well.
  Clar.  No, no, he cannot long hold out these pangs.
The incessant care and labor of his mind
Hath wrought the mure that should confine it in
So thin that life looks through and will break out.
  Glou.  The people fear me, for they do observe
Unfather'd heirs and loathly births of nature.
The seasons change their manners, as the year
Had found some months asleep and leapt them over.
  Clar.  The river hath thrice flowed, no ebb between,
And the old folk (time's doting chronicles)
Say it did so a little time before
That our great-grandsire, Edward, sick'd and died.
  War.  Speak lower, princes, for the King recovers.
  Glou.  This apoplexy will certain be his end. (4.4.102-30)

William Shakespeare, Hamlet (1600-01):

  [Ham.]  Sense sure you have,
Else could you not have motion; but sure that sense
Is apoplex'd; for madness would not err,
Nor sense to ecstacy was ne'er so thrall'd
But it reserv'd some quantity of choice
To serve in such a difference. (3.4.71-76)

William Shakespeare, Coriolanus (1607-08):

  1. Serv.  Let me have war, say I; it exceeds peace as far as day does night; it's spritely, waking, audible, and full of vent. Peace is a very apoplexy, lethargy; mulled, deaf, sleepy, insensible; a getter of more bastard children than war's a destroyer of men. (4.5.221-26)