« PreviousContinue »
and I (in 1873) the end-stopt-line test, with the following result :
In short, the proportion of Shakspere's double endinga was 1 to 3, of Fletcher's 1 to 17; of Shakspere's un. stopt lines, 1 to 2-03, of Fletcher's 1 to 3.79, both tests making Shakspero's part of the play his latest work, Mr. Spedding's division of the play between Shakspere and Fletcher was confirmd independently by the late Mr. S. Hiokson, in Notes and Queries, ii. 198, August 24, 1850; and by Mr. Fleay, in New Shaks, Soc. Trans., 1874, Appendix, p. 23. These critics may be lookt on as certainly establishing the fact that two writers of very different styles composed the play, and that Fletcher was one of them. That the other was Shakspere I now (1908) doubt, nay, disbelieve, The non-Fletcher part is not up to Shakspere's level, and was, I think,
by some other man, perhaps Massinger : see Robert Boyle's Paper in the New Shaks. Soc. Trans., 1880-6; and Arthur F. Symons's Introduction to the play, Henry-Irving Shaks
pere, vol. viii. The length to which this discussion has run prevents from dwelling on
the noble character of Katharine, who, with her pleadings for the unjustly oppresst poor, the dignity and forbearance with which she meets crushing misfortune, her forbearance to her rival, and her forgiveness to her ruffian husband is, as Mrs. Jameson says, in one sense, “the triumph of Shakspere’s genius and his wisdom.” Though it seems very hard to take from Shakespere Wolsey's last speeches, yet that they are Fletcher's in manner, the evidence shows, as every observer of Shakspere's latest style must admit. Those who believe that Fletcher wrote no prose, can cut the porter's scene up into rough, irregular verse, no worse than some of Fletcher's.
Munro adds: “It was during the performance of Henry VIII. that the Globe Theatre was burnt on June 29, 1613. Thomas Lorkins in a letter to Sir Thomas Puckering on June 30, says: 'No longer since then yesterday, while Bourbege his companie were acting at ye Globe the play of Hen: 8, and there shooting of certayne chambers in way of triumph; the fire catchd and fastened upon the thatch of ye house and there burned 80 furiously as it consumed the whole house all in lesse then two houres (the people having enough to doe to save themselves).'1 Howes in his continuation
1 Centurie of Prayse, p. 102.
of Stow's Annales again mentions the fire; and John Chamberlain, in a letter dated July 8, says the theatre was destroyd in two hours, and marvels how the large audience escaped thru two small doors. The chambers referd to were bombs let off, according to stage directions, in I., iv., ‘Drum and trumpet. Chambers discharged,' to announce the approach of the troop of Strangers among whom was the king.
Sir Henry Wotton in his account of the fire, to his nephew, July, 1613, described the play as new, entitled All is True, representing some principal pieces of Henry the Eighth's reign. From his description there is no doubt that All is True is identical with Henry VIII. Whence then the two titles ? A reference to the Pro. logue shows that 'truth' was in some way supposed to be associated with the play, and it is possible that Henry VIII.; or All is True was the original double title, from which AU is True subsequently disappeared.
We know for certain that the play was acted in June, 1613; and as the metrical tests show that the Shaksperean portions cannot be dated earlier than 1610, the date of 1610-12 is accepted for the composition.
Different suggestions have been made to account for the joint authorship of the play. Spedding's theory was that Shakspere, finding his fellows of the Globe in distress for a new play to honor the marriage of Lady Elizabeth, handed to them his halffinisht MS. of a great historical drama on the divorce of Katharine, the fall of Wolsey, the rise of Cranmer, etc. This was expanded by Fletcher into the present play as well as he was able, the original design being
beyond his powers of execution. Herford in his ‘Eversley' edition, p. 157, offers a better solution. He suggests that Shakspere, whose work was not so completely rounded off as the Tempest Epilogue might lead us to believe, probably left on his retirement to Stratford, some projects unfulfilld, some dramatic schemes half-wrought.” Herford supposes that, among these, was Henry VIII., and that, as Shakespere and others had done before him, Fletcher took up a predecessor's work and completed it for representation.
“ Henry VIII. was first printed in the Folio, 1623, where the text is remarkably pure. The basis for the drama is Holinshed ; 1 part of the Chancellor's address to Cranmer (V. ii., 10-15, p. 160) comes from Halle.? The historic time of the play is from June, 1520, to the christening of Elizabeth in 1533. Two subsequent events, Katharine's death early in 1536, and the arraignment of Cranmer before the Council in 1544, precede the dramatic ending. Dramatically seven days are represented on the stage with indefinite intervals. 3
“ The seasons in Henry VIII, are not disclosed by the plant- and fruit-references." 4
See Boswell Stone's valuable Shakespeare's Holinshed, 1907, pp. 424-507.
" Ib., p. 607.
KING HENRY THE EIGHTH
KING HENRY THE EIGHTH. Garter King-at-Arms.
DR. BUTTS, Physician to the CARDINAL CAMPEIUS.
King. CAPUCIUS, Ambassador from Surveyor to the Duke of BuckCharles V.
ingham. CRANMER, Archbishop of Can- BRANDON, and a Serjeant-atterbury.
Arms. DUKE OF NORFOLK.
Door-keeper of the Council. DUKE OF SUFFOLK.
chamber. DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.
Porter, and his Man. EARL OF SURREY.
Page to Gardiner. A Crier. Lord Chamberlain Lord Chancellor.
QUEEN KATHARINE, Wife to GARDINER, Bishop of Win- King Henry. chester.
ANNE BULLEN, her Maid of BISHOP OF LINCOLN.
Honour. LORD ABERGAVENNY.
An Old Lady, Friend to Anne LORD SANDS.
Several Lords and Ladies in Secretaries to Wolsey.
the Dumb-shows; Women CROMWELL, Servant to Wolsey. attending upon the Queen; GRIFFITH, Gentleman-Usher to Spirits, which appear to her ; Queen Katharine.
Scribes, Officers, Guards, Three other Gentlemen.
and other attendants. SCENE-Chiefly in LONDON and WESTMINSTER ; once, at
PROLOGUE I COME no more to make you laugh : things now That bear a weighty and a serious brow