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HENRY THE EIGHTH:
WITH INTRODUCTORY REMARKS;
COPIOUS INTERPRETATION OF THE TEXT ;
CRITICAL, HISTORICAL, AND GRAMMATICAL NOTES;
A LIFE OF CARDINAL WOLSEY.
Adapted for Scholastic or Private Study, and especially for the guidance of
persons qualifying for the Middle-Class Examinations.
BY THE REV. JOHN HUNTER, M.A.
Instructor of Candidates for the Military and Civil Service Examinations, &c.; and
formerly Vice-Principal of the National Society's Training Institution, Battersea.
LONGMAN, GREEN, LONGMAN, AND ROBERTS.
The immediate purpose of this publication is to guide and assist young persons qualifying for the Middle-Class Examinations, ---the Henry VIII. of Shakspeare being one of the prescribed subjects of the Oxford Examination for Midsummer 1860. The student in this particular department is recommended to get up, in addition to what is here supplied, some biographical and critical notices of Shakspeare and the Shakspearean dramatists, and also such biographical information connected with the reign of Henry VIII. as may be found in any good history of England.
As guides to the Parsing, &c. of the more difficult phraseology in Shakspeare, the Supplementary Syntax in Hunter's “Text-Book of English Grammar” (which is the Grammar referred to throughout the present volume), and his little treatise on “Paraphrasing and Analysis,” are likely to be found
useful. The Editor has endeavoured to interest and instruct the youthful reader, by removing the obscurity
under which many of the ideas in this play might otherwise remain undiscerned or imperfectly appreciated. In the explanation of the language of the text, he has attempted much beyond wbat commentators have hitherto contributed; and he hopes that by his mode of interpretation the diction and style of Shakspeare will be much more distinctly and fully understood, than it could be by the usual expedient of a glossary.
The omission of indelicate language has been considered necessary in this edition of the play, but has happily required only a very slight amount of deviation from the original.
The present volume will be shortly followed by Johnson's “ Rasselas," with Explanatory Notes, Examination Questions, &c., designed as a Class-Book for Schools, as well as a Help to persons graduating for the Middle-Class Examinations.
SHAKSPEARE'S HENRY THE EIGHTH.
I. Of the thirty-seven dramas commonly regarded as the genuine compositions of our immortal bard, and which (with the exception of Pericles) formed the first collected edition of his plays in 1623, ten are denominated Histories, or Chronicle Plays, presenting many of the most interesting features of that portion of our annals which commenced with the thirteenth century and closed about the middle of the sixteenth ;-these are King John, Richard II., Henry IV. in 2 parts, Henry V., Henry VI. in 3 parts, Richard III., and Henry VIII. II. Some of these historical plays are among the earliest
productions of Shakspeare's đramatic pen, having been written when he was about 30 years of age; the last one, being descriptive of events the least remote from his own time, seems to have been deferred till he had entered upon his 50th year.* Malone, however, and others, have assigned the first production of Henry VIII. to the year 1601, about two years before the close of Elizabeth's reign ; and they have accounted for the reference which Cranmer, towards the end of the play, makes to the successor of Elizabeth, by supposing that Ben Jonson,
* Shakspeare was born in April 1564, and died in April 1616, having just completed his 52nd year.