Page images
PDF
EPUB

A C Τ Ι. SCENE I.

London. An Antechamber in the Palace. Enter the Duke of Nor FOLK, at one door ; at the other, tha

Duke of BUCKINGHAM, and the Lord ABERGAVENNY.

Buck. Good morrow, and well met. How have you done, Since last we saw in France?

Nor. I thank your grace:
Healthful; and ever tince a fresh admirer?
Of what I saw there.

Buck. An untimely ague
Stay'd me a prisoner in my chamber, when
Those suns of glory 3, those two lights of men,
Met in the vale of Arde.

* This historical drama comprizes a period of twelve years, commencing in the twelfth year of King Henry's reign, (1521,) and end. ing with the christening of Elizabeth in 1533. Shakspeare has deviated from history in placing the death of Queen Catharine before the birth of Elizabeth, for in fact Catharine did not die till 1536.

King Henry VIII. was written, I believe, in 1601. See An Attempt to aftertain ebe order of Sbakspeare's Plays, Vol. I.

Dr. Farmer in a note on the epilogue observes from Stowe, that “ Robert Greene had written something on this story”; but this, I apprehend, was not a play, but some historical account of Henry's reign, written not by Robert Greene, the dramatick poct, but by some other person. In the list of “ authors out of whom Stowe's Annals were compiled," prefixed to the laft edition printed in his life time, quarto, 1605, Robert Greene is enumerated with Robert de Brun, Robert Fabian, &c. and he is often quoted as an authority for facts in the mare gin of the history of that reign. MALONE.

a fresh admirer] An admirer untired; an admirer ftill feeling the impression as if it were hourly renewed. JOHNSON.

3 Tbose suns of glory,] That is, those glorious funs. The editor of the third folio plausibly enough reads—Those fons of glory; and indeed as in old English books the two words are used indiscriminately, the luminary being often spelt son, it is sometimes difficult to determine which is meant; sun, or fon. However, the subsequent part of the line, and the recurrence of the same expression afterwards, are in favour of the reading of the original copy. MALONE,

Nor.

2

B 4

Nor. 'Twixt Guines and Arde: I was then present, saw them falute on horse-back; Beheld them, when they lighted, how they clung In their embracement, as they grew together+; Which had they, what four thron’d ones could have

weigh'd
Such a compounded one?

Buck. All the whole time
I was my chamber's prisoner,

Nor. Then you loft
The view of earthly glory: Men might say,
Till this time, pomp was fingle; but now marry'd
To one above itselfs. Each following day
Became the next day's master, till the last
Made former wonders it's : To-day, the French,
All clinquant?, all in gold, like heathen gods,
Shone down the Englis; and, to-morrow, they
Made Britain, India : every man, that stood,
Shew'd like a mine. Their dwarfish pages were
As cherubins, all gilt: the madams too,
Not us'd to toil, did almoft sweat to bear
The pride upon them, that their very labour
Was to them as a painting: now this mask
Was cry'd incomparable ; and the ensuing night

* – as tbey grow togetber;] That is, as if they grew together. See Vol. IV. p. 358, n. We have the same image in our author's Venus and Adonis:

a sweet embrace; “ Incorporate then they seem; face grows to face." MALONE. s Till tbis time, pomp was fingle; but now marry'd

To one above itself.] The author only meant to say in a noisy periphrase, that pomp was increased on tbis occafion to more tban twice as much as it bad ever been before. Pomp is married to pomp, but the new pomp is greater than the old. Johnson. Om Each following day

Became i be next day's mafier, &c.] Dies diem docet. Every day learned something from the preceding, till the concluding day collected all the splendour of all the former thews. Johns

7 All clinquan!,! All glittering, all spining. Clarendon uses this word in his description of the Spanish Juego de Torose Johnson.

It is likewise used in A Memorable Masque, &c. performed before king James at Whitehall in 1613, at the marriage of the Palsgrave and princess Elizabeth : " — his buskins clinquant as his other attire." STEIVINS.

Made

NSON

Made it a fool, and beggar. The two kings,
Equal in lustre, were now beft, now worst,
As presence did present them; him in eye,
Still him in praile 8: and, being present both,
'Twas said, they saw bat one; and no discerner
Durft wag his tongue in censure. When these suns
(For so they phrale them) by their heralds challeng'd
The noble spirits to arms, they did perform
Beyond thought's compass; that former fabulous story,
Being now seen possible enough, got credit;
That Bevis was believ'd',

Buck. O, you go far.

Nor. As I belong to worship, and affect
In honour honesty, the tract of every thing?
Would by a good discourser lose some life,
Which a&tion's self was tongue to. All was royal' ;
To the dispofing of it nought rebell’d,
Order gaye each thing view; the office did
Diftinctly his full function 4

Buck. Who did guide,
I mean, who set the body and the limbs

bim in

eye,
Still bim in praise:] So, Dryden :

Two cbiefs So marcb'd, as each seem'd wortbies when alone." JOHNSON. 9 Durft wag bis congue in censure.) Censure for determination, of which had the noblest appearance.

WARBURTON. See Vol. I. p. 113, n. 8. MALONE, ITbat Bevis was believ'd.] The old romantick legend of Bevis of Southampton. This Bevis, (or Beavois) a Saxon, was for his prowess created by William the Conqueror earl of Southampton : of whom Camden in his Britannia. THEOBALD.

ibe tract of every tbing, &c.] The course of those triumphs and pleasures, however well related, must lose in the description part of that spirit and energy which were expressed in the real action. JOHNSON.

3 - All was royal; &c.] This speech was given in all the editions to Buckingham; but improperly. For he wanted information, having ķepr his chamber during the solemnity. I have therefore given it to Norfolk. WARBURTON. The regulation had already been made by Mr. Theobald. MALONE,

- the office did

Distinctly bis full fun&tion.] The commisfion for regulating this feftivity was well executed, and gave exactly to every particular person and action the proper place. JOHNSON,

Of

8

Cf this great sport together, as you guess ?

Nor. One, certes, that promises no elements In such a business,

Buck. I pray you, who, my lord ?

Nor. All this was order'd by the good discretion
Of the right reverend cardinal of York.

Buck. The devil speed him! no man's pye is free'd
From his ambitious finger, What had he
To do in these fierce vanities 6? I wonder,
That such a keech' can with his very bulk
Take up the rays o'the beneficial fun,
And keep it from the earth.

Nor. Surely, fir,
There's in him ftuff that puts him to these ends :
For, being not propp'd by ancestry, (whole grace
Chalks fucceffors their way,) nor call'd upon
For high feats done to the crown; neither ally'd
To eminent assistants, but, spider-like,
Out of his self-drawing web', he gives us note,
The force of his own merit makes his way;
A gift that heaven gives for him, which buys

5 - elemeniNo initiation, no previous practices. Elements are the first principles of things, or rudiments of knowledge. The word is here applied, not without a caracbrefis, to a person. JOHNSON.

6 - fierce wanities?] Fierce is here, I think, used like the French for, for proud, unlefs we suppose an allufion to the mimical ferocity of the combatants in the tilt. JOHNSON.

It is certainly used as the French word fier. So, in Ben Jonson's Bartbolomew Fair, the puritan says, the hobby horse “is a fierce and Jank idol." STEEVENS. Again, in tbe Rape of Lucrece:

“ Thy violent vanities can never laft." In Timon of Albens we have

“ O the fierce wretchedness that glory brings !" MALONE. 7 Tbar fucb a keech ---] A kerch is a solid lump or mass. A cake of wax or callow formed in a mould is called yet in some places a keech,

JOHNSON There may, perhaps, be a fingular propriety in this term of contempt. Wolsey was the son of a burcber, and in the second part of King Henry IV. a butcher's wife is called-Goody KoecbSTIEVINS.

8 Our of his felf-drawing web,-) Thus it stands in the first edition. The later editors, by injudicious correction, have printed :

Out of bis felf-drawn web. JOHNSON,

- he gives us acte,] Old Copy-- gives us, &c. Corrected by Mr, Steevens. MALONE,

A place

A place next to the king'.

Aber. I cannot tell
What heaven hath given him, let fome graver eye.
Pierce into that; but I can see his pride
Peep through each part of him: Whence has he that?
If not from hell, the devil is a niggard;
Or has given all before, and he begins.
A new hell in himself.

Buck. Why the devil,
Upon this French going-out, took he upon him,
Without the privity o' the king, to appoint
Who should attend on him? He makes up the file :
Of all the gentry; for the most part such
Too, whom as great a charge as little honour
He meant to lay upon: and his own letter,
The honourable board of council out?,
Must fetch him in he papers,

Aber. I do know
Kinímen of mine, three at the leaft, that have
1 A gift tbat beaven gives for him, which bays

A place next 10 tbe king.] It is evident a word or two in the sen. tence is misplaced, and that we Mould read:

Agift that braven gives; whicb buys for bim

A place next to the king. WARBUR TON, It is fuil as likely that Shakipease wrote gives 10 bin, which will save any greater alteration. JoANSON.

I an too dull to perceive the necessity of any change. What he is unable to give himself, heaven gives or deposits for him, and that gift, or depofit, bugs a place, &c. STIEVENS. 2 tbefile] That is, ibe lift. JOHNSON.

* council out,] It appears from Holin lhed, that this expression is rightly explained by Mr. Pope in the next note : wirbout be concurrence of tbe council, « Thę peers of the realme receiving letters to prepare themselves to atrend the king in this journey, and no apparent necesfarie cause expreflcd, why or wherefore, seemed to grudge that such a costly jurney hould be taken in hand-witbcut consent of the wbola boarde of ibe Counfaille.MALONE.

4. Mut fereb lin in be papers.] He papers,-a verb; his own letter, by his own tingle authority, and without the concurrence of the council, must fetch in him whom he papers down. I don't understand it, unless this be the meaning. Pore.

Wolley publithed a list of the leveral persons whom he had appointed to attend on the king at this interview. See Hall's Curonicle, Rymer's Federa, tom. 13, &c. STELVENS.

5

3

Ву

« PreviousContinue »