페이지 이미지


Dear copy

ing: he would promise much and perform little: he was

SCENE II. vicious of his body, and gave the clergy evil example.”

Enter the King and Butts, at a window abore." “Tied all the kingdom"— There is a great controversy

That is, an interior window, looking into the lobby among the commentators, whether this word means

of the council-chamber. Probably the balcony at the limited-infringed the liberties—(as in preceding scenes

back of the stage was made to answer the purpose of a complaints are made of the " slavery,” he imposed, how

window. It was furnished with curtains, and these are he “maim'd the jurisdiction of the bishops,” etc.,)-or afterwards drawn by Butts, at the command of the King. should be corrected to tythed. This last is Farmer's

Stevens observes that “the suspicious vigilance of our opinion, who supports it by a passage from Hall, in

ancestors contrived windows which overlooked the inwhich Wolsey claims from the Lord Mayor a tythe of the citizens' substance, and his "treasure equal to the

sides of chapels, halls, kitchens, passages, etc. Some king'e” is mentioned, and the means of its acquisition.

of these convenient peep-holes may still be seen in colWe incline to think that the allusion is to the acquisi: leges, and such ancient houses as have not suffered from

the reformations of modern architecture. In a letter Lion of wealth by the Cardinal.

from Archbishop Parker, (1573:)— And if it please her “ Was fashion'd to much honour from his cradle. majestie, she may come in through my gallerie, and see He was a scholar, and a ripe, and good one," etc.

the disposition of the hall in dynner time, at a window The old copies introduce a period after “honour,"

opening thereinto.' Without a previous knowledge of which cannot be right, according to the obvious mean

this custom, Shakespeare's scenery in this instance would

be obscure." ing of the passage: Wolsey could not have been a ripe scholars from his cradle.” Besides, the words of Hol- The Council-chamber"- This is not to be considered lingshed (or rather those of Edmund Campion, whom a new scene, but the continuation of scene 2; and in he quotes) support the above punctuation :-" This order that the place might represent the council-chamCardinal was a man undoubtedly born to honour.” The ber, we are informed in the old stage-direction that “ A ordinary reading, after the old punctuation, is

Council-table is brought in with chairs and stools."
From his cradle
He was a scholar, and a ripe and good one.

In our own naturcs frail, AND capable

Of our flesh; few are angels," etc. The Vision"—This vision is here described exactly in the whimsical terms of the original edition.

This is the old reading; and the meaning is, that men

are frail, and liable to or capable of the weaknesses beThe model of our chaste loves"-"Model,” it has longing to flesh and blood. Malone changes it tobeen already observed, signified, in the language of our

In our own natures frail, incapable; ancestors, a representation, or image. Thus, in the

Of our flesh, few are angels. “ London Prodigal," (1609:)

This is the king's ring"-" It seems to have been a of my husband ! O let me kiss thee!

custom, began probably in the dark ages, before litera(Kissing a picture.

ture was generally diffused, and before the regal power

experienced the restraints of law, for every monarch to ACT V.-SCENE I.

have a ring, the temporary possession of which invested - and left him at PRIMERO"_" Primero" was a

the holder with the same authority as the owner himgame at cards, frequently mentioned by old writers, self could exercise. The production of it was sufficient French, Italian, and English, and appears to have been

to suspend the execution of the law; it procured indemthe favourite game, in high life, of the fifteeuth and six

nity for offences committed, and imposed acquiescence teenth centuries.

and submission to whatever was done under its authority.

The traditional story of the Earl of Essex, Queen Elizayour late business"-i. e. The business which

beth, and the Countess of Nottingham, (long considered occupies you at so late an hour.

as an incident of romance,) is generally known, and now · INCENS'd the lords o' the council"-"Incens'd," or

as generally credited.”—REED. insensed, in this instance, and in some others, only

They are too thin and Bare to hide offences." ineans instructed, informed; still in use in Staffordshire,

That is, the commendations above-mentioned are too (England.) It properly signifies to infuse into the mind; to prompt, or instigale. Invidiæ stimulo mentes

thin and bare ; the intention of them is too palpably seen Patrum fodit Saturnia: Juno incenseth the senators'

through. The old copy reads, " thin and base;" the minds with secret envy against,” etc.-Cooper.

emendation was suggested by Malone, and it seems

self-evident, though Collier retains base. In a line or Have broken with the king-i. e. Have broken two lower down, in the same speech, Rowe's correction silence; told their minds to the King.

of “this" for his—(“his place becomes thee not,”) Enter Sir Anthony Denny"-The substance of this

appears also to be justified by the context, when the and the two following scenes is taken from Fox's “ Acts

King bids Cranmer « sit down.” and Monuments of the Christian Martyrs," etc.. (1553.) " you'd spare your spoons"- " It was the custom, Here we have another evidence of the error of the no- (says Stevens) long before the time of Shakespeare, for tion so often repeated by the commentators, that Shake- the sponsors at christenings to offer spoons as a present speare was too idle or too ignorant to go beyond the to the child. These spoons were called a postle spoons, single authority of Hollingshed. Compared with the because the figures of the apostles were carved on the facilities of reference and research enjoyed by a modern tops of the handles. Such as were at once opulent and author, (take Sir Walter Scott for example,) his range generous, gave the whole twelve; those who were was very narrow; but it is evident that his reading was either more moderately rich or liberal, escaped at the various, and that he referred to the best authorities and expense of the four evangelists; or even sometimes materials within his reach.

contented themselves with presenting one spoon only, “ you a brother of us"_“You (says Johnson) being

which exhibited the figure of any saint, in honour one of the council, it is necessary to imprison you, that

of whom the child received its name." There is a the witnesses against you may not be deterred.”

pleasant though apocryphal anecdote on this point, con

nected with the names of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. “ Without INDURANCE"-"Indurance," which Shake- It is contained in one of the Harleian Manuscripts, called speare found in Fox's narrative, means here imprison- · Merry Passages and Jests:""Shakespeare was godment :-"One or two of the chiefest of the council, father to one of Ben Jonson's children; and after the making their excuse, declared, that in requesting his christening, being in deep study, Jonson came to cheer indurance, it was rather meant for his trial and his pur- him up, and asked him why he was so melancholy ?gation, than for any malice conceived against him." No, faith, Ben, (says he,) not I; but I have been con.



[ocr errors]


sidering a great while what should be the fittest gift for of the eastern country, who came to admire the wisdom me to bestow upon my god-child, and I have resolved at of Solomon. Sheba, however, was not her name, but last.'—' I pr’ythee what?' (says he.)—l' faith, Ben, that of her country, --while, for some reason or other

, I'll give him a dozen good latten (Latin) spoons; and the old English and Latin poets, who mention her, al. thou shalt translate them.'Latten is the now obsolete ways call her “Saba;"-perhaps taken from the name for brass, or iron, tinned over. The collector of Latin Vulgate, where her land is called “Saba," Peele these anecdotes gives the respectable name of Donne and Marlowe both speak of her as "wise Saba," " sage as his authority for the foregoing incident.

Saba.” This name, therefore, is one of those vestiges

of old English custom, such as we should not alter to SCENE III.

modern fashion any more than we should substitute a " — her pink'd PornINGER”-i. e. Her pink'd cap: Old poet.

phrase of our own day for an obsolete expression of an In the TaminG OF THE SHREW, Petruchio complains of a cap bought for Katharine, that it looked as if it had

the greatness of his name been “moulded on a porringer."

Shall be, and make nero nations," etc. “ — who cried out, clubs!”—The cry of “Clubs !" These lines probably allude to the plantation and setwas sure to draw together the London “ truncheoneers;"' tlement of Virginia. and the appearance of the “ hope of the Strand" cannot fail to remind us of the heroic apprentices of the watch

Would I had known no more! but she must die, maker of Fleet-street, in that inimitable picture of an

(She must, the saints must have her,) yet a virgin, cient manners, the “ Fortunes of Nigel."

A most unspotted lily shall she pass," etc.

This is universally printed thus:“ – no audience, but the Tribulation of Tower-hill, or

but she must die, the limbs of Limehouse, their dear brothers," etc.

She must, the saints must have her; yet a virgin Among much commentary on this passage, where the A most unspotted lily shall she pass, etc. true sense is after all but a matter of antiquarian curiosi- The punctuation in the text is adopted from a suggestion ty, I am best satisfied with Dyce's remarks. He considers it a fling at the Puritans :—“No audience unless makes Cranmer regret his prophetic foresight of Eliza

of Mr. Dyce, in his “ Remarks;' as the ordinary one it consisted of such weak persons as those who formed the beth's being destined to the common end of mortals

. assembly at the Tribulation, on Tower-hill, (some well

But, as here pointed, he only expresses a regret very known place of meeting for the Puritans,) or the mem

proper in his mouth and Henry's presence, that the bers of the Limehouse meeting, could endure it."

royal line should not be continued by the princess. "— some of 'em in LIMBO PATRUM”—“Limbo Patrum” was the term for the place where the patriarchs, etc., await the resurrection; but "limbo" was then, and is

The play of King HENRY VIII. is one of those which still, the cant name for any place of confinement.

still keeps possession of the stage by the splendour of " baiting of BOMBARDS"" Bombards” were large its pageantry. The coronation, about forty years ago, leathern vessels, for holding liquor.

drew the people together in multitudes for a great part

of the winter. Yet pomp is not the only merit of this SCENE IV.

play. The meek sorrows and virtuoas distress of Kath

arine have furnished some scenes, which may be justly SABA was never

numbered among the greatest efforts of tragedy. But More covetous of wisdom, and fair virtue," etc. the genius of Shakespeare comes in and goes out with “Saba" is the word of the old editions, which the Katharine. Every other part may be easily conceived later editors alter to Sheba, as the name of the queen and easily written."-Johnson.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[graphic][merged small]

Upon the contested question of the precise date of to us that Cranmer's prophecy, in act v. scene 4, is quite this play, there are three several opinions. That of the decisive. There the Poet first speaks of Elizabeth, and critics of the last generation is thus well stated by of the advantages derived from her rule, and then proSinger :

ceeds in the clearest manner to notice her successor. “ It is the opinion of Johnson, Stevens, and Malone, “ Ingenuity cannot pervert those lines to any other that this play was written a short time before the meaning: but it has been said that they, and some death of Queen Elizabeth, which happened on the 24th which follow them, were a subsequent introduction; March, 1602-3. The euloginm on King James, which and were the work of Ben Jonson, on some revival of is blended with the panegyric of Elizabeth in the last the play in the reign of James I. There is not the scene, was evidently a subsequent insertion, after the slightest evidence for either proposition. Any person, succession of the Scottish monarch to the throne; for reading Cranmer's speech at the christening, can hardly Shakespeare was too well acquainted with courts to fail to perceive such an entireness and sequence of compliment, in the lifetime of Queen Elizabeth, her thoughts and words in it, as to make it very unlikely presumptive successor,-of whom, history informs us, that it was not dictated by the same intellect, and writ. she was not a little jealous. That the prediction con- ten by the same pen. Malone and others made up cerning King James was added after the death of the their minds that HENRY VIII. was produced before queen, is still more clearly evinced, as Dr. Johnson has the death of Elizabeth; and finding the passage quoted remarked, by the awkward manner in which it is con- directly in the teeth of this supposition, they charged it nected with the foregoing and subsequent lines. as a subsequent addition, and fixed the authorship of it

“ After having lain by some years, unacted, probably upon a different poet. on account of the costliness of its exhibition, it was re- “ As to external evidence, there has never been suffivived in 1613, under the title of “All is True,' with cient importance given the memorandum in the Regisnew decorations, and a new prologue and epilogue; and ters of the Stationers' Company :this revival took place on the very day, being St. Pe

"•12 Feb. 1604 ter's, on which the Globe Theatre was burnt down. * • Nath. Butter] Yf he get good allowance for the Enterlude The fire was occasioned, as it is said, by the discharge

of K. Henry 8th before he begyn to print it; and then of some small pieces of ordnance, called chambers, in

procure the wardens hands to it for the entrance of yt:

he is to have the same for his copy.' the scene where King Henry is represented as arriving at Cardinal Wolsey's gate at Whitehall, one of which, “ Chalmers asserted that this entry referred to a conbeing injudiciously managed, set fire to the thatched temporaneous play by Samuel Rowley, under the title roof of the theatre. Dr. Johnson first suggested that of When you see me you know me,' 1605; but the Ben Jonson might have supplied the prologue and epi- | 'enterlude is expressly called in the entry · K. Henry logue to the play, upon the occasion of its revival. Dr. 8th,' and we feel no hesitation in concluding that it reFarmer, Stevens, and Malone, pport his opinion; and ferred to Shakespeare's drama, which had probably been even attribute to him some of the passages of the brought out at the Globe Theatre in the summer of 1604. play.

The memorandum seems to have been made, not at the • Mr. Gifford has controverted this opinion of Jonson instance of the bookseller, but of the company to which having been the author of the prologue and epilogue of Shakespeare belonged, in order to prevent a surreptithis play, and thinks the play which was performed, tious publication of the play. The 12 Feb. 1604,' was, under the title of All is True,' was a distinct perform | according to our present reckoning, the 12 Feb. 1605. ance, and not Shakespeare's Henry VIII. To this it and as no edition of HENRY VIII. is known before it has been answered, “That the prologue, which has al- appeared in the folio of 1623, we may infer that Butter ways accompanied Shakespeare's drama, from its first failed in getting ‘good allowance' with the wardens' publication in 1623, manitestly and repeatedly alludes hands to it.' to the title of the play which was represented on the “ The Globe Theatre was destroyed on 29th June, 29th June, 1613, and which we know to have been 1613, the thatch with which it was covered having been founded on the history of King Henry the Eighth, fired by the discharge of some small piece of ordnance. affords a strong proof of their identity. And though Howes, in his continuation of Stowe's Chronicle, states Sir Henry Wotton mentions it as a new play, we have that the play then in representation was • Henry VIII.;' Stowe and Lorkin who call it The play of Henry the but Sir Henry Wotton, who is particular in his descripEighth.'

tion of the calamity, asserts that the play was called *** That ihe prologue and epilogue were not written All is True. There is little doubt that he is right, beby Shakespeare is, I think, clear from internal evidence,' cause a ballad, printed on the occasion, has the burden says Mr. Boswell, to whose opinion I have no hesitation of · All is True' at the end of every stanza. in subscribing; but it does not follow that they were tion then is, whether this was Shakespeare's HENRY the production of Ben Jonson's pen. That gentleman VIII. under a different title, or a different play? Sir has shown that there was no intention of covertly sneer- Henry Wotton informs us in terms that it was a new ing at Shakespeare's other works in this prologue ; play,' and as he was right in the title, we may have the but that this play is opposed to a rude kind of farcical more faith in his statement respecting the novelty of representation on the same subject, by Samuel Rowley. the performance. This play, or interlude, which was printed in 1605, is “In the instance of HENRY VIII., as of other works probably referred to in the entry on the books of the || by our great dramatist, there is ground for believing Stationers' Company :- Nathaniel Butter, Feb. 12, that there existed a preceding play on the same story. 1604, That he get good allowance for the Enterlude of Henslowe's Diary states that iwo plays were written in King Henry VIII. before he begin to print it; and 1601, on the life of Wolsey, including necessarily some with the warden's hand to yt, he is to have the same of the chief incidents of the reign of Henry VIII. for his copy.' Stowe has observed that · Robert Greene These plays consisted of a first and second part, the one had written somewhat on the same story;' but there is called "The Rising of Cardinal Wolsey,' and the other, no evidence that it was in a dramatic form : it may have Cardinal Wolsey.' been something historical, and not by the dramatic poet The earliest entry relating to Cardinal Wolsey,' of that name; as Stowe cites the authority of Robert || (the second play in the order of the incidents, though Greene, with Robert Brun, Babian, etc., in other places the earliest in point of production) is dated 5th June, of his chronicle."

1601, when Henry Chetile was pa 208. ' for writing the

book of Cardinal Wolsey. On the 14th July he was paid Mr. Collier (Introduction to HENRY VIII.) thus states 40s. more on the same account, and in the whole, be his views :-“We are satisfied that this play came from tween 5th June and 17th July, he was paid 51., as large the Poet's pen after James I. had ascended the throne. a sum as he usually obtained for a new play.

“ Independently of the whole character of the drama, “We have no testimony of the success of Cardinal which was little calculated to please Elizabeth, it seems Wolsey,' of which Chettle was the sole author; bui

[ocr errors]


The ques


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

we are led to infer it, because soon afterwards we find house to the very ground. This was the fatal period of no fewer than four poets engaged upon the production that virtuous fabric, wherein yet nothing did perish but of the drama under the title of “The Rising of Cardi. wood and straw, and a few forsaken cloaks: only one nal Wolsey,' which, doubtless, related to his early life, man had his breeches set on fire, that would perhaps and to his gradual advance in favour. These four were have broiled him, if he had not, by the benefit of a Drayton, Chettle, Munday, and Wentworth Smith; and provident wit, put it out with bottle ale.'-(Reliquia so many pens, we may conjecture, were employed, that Wottonianæ.) Here is a new play described 'reprethe play might be brought out with despatch, in order senting some principal pieces of the reign of Henry to follow up the popularity of the second part of the VIII.; and the passage of Shakespeare's play in which same history.' Another memorandum in Henslowe's the chambers' are discharged, being the entry' of Diary tends to the same conclusion, for it appears that the king to the mask at the cardinal's house,' is the the play was licensed piece-meal by the Master of the same to the letter. But the title which Wotton gives Revels, that it might be put into rehearsal as it pro- the new play is . All is True.' Gifford thinks this shows ceeded, and represented immediately after it was fin- that the play at the Globe in June, 1613, was not Shakeished.

speare's. But others call the play so represented Henry “ Henslowe expended an unusual amount in getting VIII.' Howes, in his continuation of Stowe's Chroniup the drama. On the 10th August, 1601, he paid 21. cle, so calls it. He writes some time after the destrucfor · velvet, sattin, and taffeta' for the dresses, a sum tion of the Globe, for he adds to his account of the fire, equal now to about 1001. Upon the costumes only, in and the next spring it was new builded in far fairer the whole, considerably more than 2001. were laid out, manner than before.' He speaks of the title of the play reckoning the value of money in 1601 at about five as a familiar thing :— the house being filled with peotimes its value at present.”

ple to behold the play, viz. of Henry the Eighth. Collier thence concludes, “ that Shakespeare wrote When Howes wrote, was the title . All is True HENRY VIII. in the winter of 1603-4, and that it was merged in the obvious title derived from the subject first acted at the Globe soon after the commencement of the play, and following the character of the titles of of the season there, towards the close of April, as soon Shakespeare's other historical plays ? The Prologue to as a theatre open to the weather could be conveniently HENRY VIII, especially keeps in view such a title as employed. The coronation procession of Anne Bullen Sir Henry Wotton has mentioned :forms a prominent feature in the drama; and as the

Such as give coronation of James I. and Anne of Denmark took

Their money out of hope they may believe, place on the 24th July, 1603, we may reasonably sup

May here tind truth too. pose that the audiences at the Globe were intended to

Gentle hearers, know, be reminded of that event, and that the show, detailed

To rank our chosen truth with such a show with such unusual minuteness in the folio of 1623, was

As fool and fight is, etc. meant as a remote imitation of its splendour. The

To make that only true we now intend. words “aged princess,' (no part of the imputed addition Boswell has a theory that this Prologue had reference by Ben Jonson.) would never have been used by tu another play on the same historical subject, “When Shakespeare during the life of Elizabeth."

you see me you know me, or the Famous Chronicle

History of King Henry the Eighth, etc., by Samuel RowMy own opinion fully concurs with that of Mr. ley,' in which the incidents of Henry's reign are Knight, who thus argues ihe question:

thrown together in the most confused manner.' Then “ And first, of the external evidence. The Globe was the probability is that the Henry VIII of Shakespeare, burnt down in June, 1613. The cause of this accident, and the . All is True,' are one and the same play. The and the circumstances attending it, are minutely related next question is, whether Wotton was correct in de by several witnesses. In Winwood's Memorials' there scribing the Henry VIII. as a new play. Chalmers mainis a letter from John Chamberlain to Sir Ralph Win- tains that the fact of a play on the subject of Henry wood, dated from London the 12th July, 1613, which VIII. being termed new in 1613 is decisive as to the describes the burning,—' which fell out by a peal of date of its original production at that time. Malone. chambers.' This conflagration took place on the pre- on the contrary, conjectures that the HENRY VIII. was vious 29th June. The play acted on this occasion written in 1601, and revived in 1613, with a new title was one on the story of Henry VIII. Were the 'cham- and prologue, 'having lain by some years unacted.' bers' (small cannon) which produced the misfortune This rests upon no external evidence. those fired according to the original stage-direction in “We proceed to the evidence of its date, furnished the fourth scene of the first act of Shakespeare's King by the play itself. HENRY VIII. Drum and trumpet, chambers discharged?'. In the prophecy of Cranmer in the last scene, the In the Harleian Manuscripts there is a letter from glories of the reign of Elizabeth are carried on to that Thomas Lorkin to Sir Thomas Puckering, dated this

of her successor. This passage would appear to be last of June, 1613,' in which the writer says, “ No longer decisive as to the date of the play, by the introducsince than yesterday, while Burbage his company were

tion of these lines :acting at the Globe the play of Henry VIII., and there

Wherever the bright sun of heaven shall shine, shooting off certain chambers in way of triumph, the

His honour, and the greatness of his name, fire catch'd.' But this does not establish that it was

Shall be, and make new nations. Shakespeare's play. Sir Henry Wotton, writing to his That the colonization of Virginia is here distinctly alnephew on the 6th July, 1613, gives an account of a luded to is without doubt. The first charter was 'new play, called All is True, representing some princi- granted in 1606; the colony was planted in 1607. in pal pieces of the reign of Henry the Eighth, which was which year James Town was built ; another charter set forth with many extraordinary circumstances of was given to the colonists in 1612, and a lottery was pomp and majesty, even to the matting of the stage ; granted for the encouragement of the colony, which the knights of the order, with their Georges and Garter, was struggling with difficulties. That James took an the guards with their embroidered coats and the like; || especial interest in this settlement, and naturally enough sufficient, in truth, within a while to make greatness was recognized as the founder of new nations,' may very familiar, if not ridiculous. Now King Henry, be readily imagined. In the inscription upon a pormaking a mask at the Cardinal Wolsey's house, and cer- trait of the king, which belonged to Lord Bacon, he is tain cannons being shot off at his entry, some of the styled Imperii Atlantici conditor.' This part of Cranpaper, or other stuff wherewith one of them was stop- mer's prophecy, therefore, would fix the date of the play ped, did light on the thatch, where, being thought at after the settlement of Virginia. But that part of the first but an idle smoke, and their eyes being more atten- prophecy relating to James, is held to be an addition tive to the show, it kindled inwardly, and ran round like upon a revival of the play in 1613. a train, consuming, within less than an hour, the whole « « These lines,' says Dr. Johnson, 'to the interruption

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


by the king, seem to have been inserted at some way by the Poet—that is, in the sequence of the drarevisal of the play, after the accession of King James. matic action—as the impelling motive for his divorce If the passage be left out, the speech of Cranmer pro- from Katharine? Would she have tolerated the masqueceeds in a regular tenour of prediction and continuity scene, immediately succeeding that in which Katharine of sentiments; but, by the interpolation of the new lines, is told by her husband, You have half our power ?' he first celebrates Elizabeth's successor, and then wishes Would she have endured that her father, upon his next he did know she was to die; first rejoices at the conse- appearance after the meeting with Anne Bullen, when quence, and then laments the cause. Is it so ? The pre- he exclaims, sumed interpolation immediately follows these lines:

The fairest hand I ever touch'd! O beauty

Till now I never knew thee !
In her days, every man shall eat in safety,
Under his own vine, what he plants; and sing

that he shonld be represented in the depth of his hypoThe merry songs of peace to all his neighbours, etc.

crisy gloating over his projected divorce, with, The Poet then adds

But conscience, conscience, Nor shall this peace sleep with her: But as when

O! 'tis a tender place, and I must leave her ? The bird of wonder dies

Would she have been pleased with the jests of the old So shall she leave her blessedness to one, (When heaven shall call her from this cloud of darkness)

lady to Anne upon her approaching elevation—and all Who, from the sacred ashes of her honour,

to be instantly followed by the trial-scene,-that mag. Shall star-like rise.

nificent exhibition of the purity, the constancy, the Is it true, then, that he • first celebrates Elizabeth's suc

fortitude, the grandeur of soul, the self-possession, of the cessor, and then wishes he did not know she was to most poor woman and a stranger' that her mother had die? Of the seventeen lines which relate to James,

supplanted; contrasted with the heartless coldness, the first eleven never lose sight of Elizabeth. Her salved over with a more heartless commendation of his - blessedness,' her 'honour,' her · fame,' were to de

injured wife, from the hypocritical tyrant. Finally, scend to her heir.' The extension of the dominion of

would she have licensed the exhibition of her father's England, under James.—the only passage in which the traditionary peculiarities, in addition to the portraiture, greatness of his name' is separated from that of Eliza

which cannot be mistaken, of his sensual, arrogant, imbeth,-occupies the rest of the prophecy; and that the patient, and crafty character? Would she have laughed thread which connects the whole with Elizabeth may

at his perpetual “ha!'-or taken away Burbage's not be dropped even while those six lines are uttered,

license ? "Would she have wept over the touching sorCranmer returns to the close of her life, which in two

row of the dying Katharine; or sent Shakespeare to thirds of the previous lines he had constantly inferred:

join the company of his friend Southampton in the

Tower? Those who have written on the subject say She shall be, to the happiness of England,

she would have borne all this; and that the pageant of An aged princess, etc.

her mother's coronation, with the succeeding represen“But it is held, that Shakespeare did not write these tation of her own christening, capped with the prophecy lines; that Ben Jonson wrote them ; that Shakespeare of her future greatness, were to ensure the harmlessmight compliment Elizabeth in her lifetime, but that he ness of all these somewhat explosive materials, and to would not flatter James, who was 'a contemptible carry forward the five acts to a most felicitous concluking.' Shakespeare had reason to be grateful to James sionfor personal kindnesses; but there is not a word here

This little one shall make it holiday. of James's personal qualities. The lines apply to the

“ Malone says all that can be said, in the literal way, to character of his government—its 'peace, pleniy, love, truth, terror'—the extension of its growth to make

prove that such a drnma as this would be acceptable

to Elizabeth : “It is more likely that Shakespeare should new nations.' Would Jonson, had he written this

have written a play the chief subject of which is the passage, have forgotten than James was prouder of his reputation as a scholar than as a king; Bacon had not

disgraces of Queen Katharine, the aggrandizement of

Anne Bullen, and the birth of her daughter, in the lifehesitated to say to him, “There has not been since Christ's time any king or temporal monarch which has

time of Elizabeth, than after her death ; at a time when been so learned in all literature and erudition, divine

the subject must have been highly pleasing at court, and human ?' We have no hesitation in accepting the

rather than at a period when it must have been less

interesting. Queen Katharine, it is true, is represented passage as one that Shakespeare might not have blushed

as an amiable character, but still she is eclipsed; and to have written, and which derogates nothing from the

the greater her merit, the higher was the compliment independence of his character. Shakespeare, in the

to the mother of Elizabeth, to whose superior beauty age of Elizabeth, would never have written

she was obliged to give way.' This is the prosaic mode She shall be, to the happiness of England,

of viewing the object of Shakespeare,-an object pre. An aged princess.

supposing equal vulgarity of mind in the dramatist and She, of all sovereigns, would least have endured to be his court audience. We appreciate far more highly Mr. called aged; she, of whom, in her seventieth year, the Campbell's poetical creed in this matter:French ambassador writes, 'Her eye is still lively, she “ Shakespeare contrives, though at the sacrifice of has good spirits, and is fond of life, for which reason some historical truth, to raise the matron Katharine to she takes great care of herself; to which may be add- our highest admiration, whilst at the same time he keeps ed an inclination for the Earl of Clancarty, a brave, us in love with Anne Bullen, and on tolerable terms handsome Irish nobleman. This makes her cheerful, with Henry VIII. But who does not see, under all full of hope and confidence respecting her age.' About this wise management, the drift of his design, namely, a year before this time it is held that the Henry VIII. to compliment Elizabeth as a virgin queen; to interest was written, and that it originally included the close us in the memory of her mother Anne Bullen ; and to of Cranmer's prophecy, “An aged princess !!.. But impress us with a belief of her innocence, though she she must die!' Shakespeare must indeed have been a suffered as an alleged traitress to the bed of Henry? bold man to have ventured upon such truths.

The private death of Katharine of Arragon might have “ But let us yield the question of interpolation to those been still remembered by many living persons, but the who assert that the HENRY VIII. was written in the time death of Anne Bullen was still more fresh in public of Elizabeth. It is held that the play was written to recollection; and a wiser expedient could not have please Elizabeth. The memory of Henry VIII., per- been devised for asserting the innocence of Elizabeth's haps, was not cherished by her with any deep affec- mother than by portraying Henry's injustice towards tion ; but would she allow the frailties, and even the Queen Katharine. For we are obliged to infer that, if peculiarities, of her father, to be made a public specta- the tyrant could thus misuse the noble Katharine, the cle? Would she have borne that his passion for her purest innocence in her lovely successor could be no mother should have been put forward in the strongest shield against his cruelty.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« 이전계속 »