Page images
PDF

Henry the eighth, life, honour, name, and all
That made me happy, at one stroke has taken
For ever from the world. I had my trial,
And, must needs say, a noble one; which makes me
A little happier than my wretched father:
Yet thus far we are one in fortunes, Both
Fell by our servants, by those men we lov'd most;
A most unnatural and faithless services
Heaven has an end in all: Yet, you that hear me,
This from a dying man receive as certain :
Where you are liberal of your loves, and counsels,
Be sure, you be not loose;” for those you make friends,
And give your hearts to, when they once perceive
The least rub in your fortunes, fall away
Like water from ye, never found again
But where they mean to sink ye. All good people,
Pray for me! I must now forsake ye; the last hour
Of my long weary life is come upon me.
Farewel :
And when you would say something that is sad,”
Speak how I fell.—I have done; and God forgive me !
[Ereunt Buck, and Train.

1 Gent. O, this is full of pity!—Sir, it calls,
I fear, too many curses on their heads,
That were the authors.

2 Gent. If the duke be guiltless,
'Tis full of woe: yet I can give you inkling
Of an ensuing evil, if it fall,
Greater than this.

1 Gent. Good angels keep it from us. What may it be 2 You do not doubt my faith, sir?

2 Gent. This secret is so weighty, 'twill require A strong faith" to conceal it.

1 Gent. Let me have it;

3 be not loose: ) This expression occurs again in Otheilo : “There are a kind of men so loose of soul, “That in their sleeps will mutter their affairs.” Steevens.

4 And when you would say something that is sad, &c.] So, in King Fichard II: “Tell thou the lamentable tale of me, “And send the hearers weeping to their beds.” Steevens. s strong faith —j Is great fidelity. johnson. VOL. XI. Z

I do not talk much.

2 Gent. I am confident;
You shall, sir: Did you not of late days hear
A buzzing, of a separation
Between the king and Katharine?

1 Gent. Yes, but it held not:
For when the king once heard it, out of anger
He sent command to the lord mayor, straight
To stop the rumour, and allay those tongues
That durst disperse it.

2 Gent. But that slander, sir,
Is found a truth now: for it grows again
Fresher than e'er it was; and held for certain,"
The king will venture at it. Either the cardinal,
Or some about him near, have, out of malice
To the good queen, possess'd him with a scruple
That will undo her: To confirm this too,
Cardinal Campeius is arriv'd, and lately;
As all think, for this business.

1 Gent. 'Tis the cardinal;
And merely to revenge him on the emperor,
For not bestowing on him, at his asking,
The archbishoprick of Toledo, this is purpos'd.

2 Gent. I think, you have hit the mark: But is 't not

cruel,

That she should feel the smart of this? The cardinal Will have his will, and she must fall.

l Gent. 'Tis woful. We are too open here to argue this; Let’s think in private more. [Exeunt. SCENE II.

.An Ante-Chamber in the Palace.
Enter the Lord Chamberlain, reading a Letter.

Cham. My lord, The horses your lordshih sent for, with all the care I had, I saw well chosen, ridden and furmished. They were young, and handsome ; and of the best breed in the north. When they were ready to set out for

6 — and held for certain, To hold, is to believe. So, in Lord Surrey's translation of the fourth AEneid: “I hold thee not, nor yet gainsay thy words.” Steevens.

JLondon, a man of my lord cardinal’s, by commission, and main flower, took 'em from me 5 with this reason, His master would be served before a subject, if not before the king: which stoffed our mouths, sir. I fear, he will, indeed: Well, let him have them: He will have all, I think.

Enter the Dukes of Norfolk and SUFFolk.

JWor, Well met, my good? Lord chamberlain.

Cham. Good day to both your graces.

Suf. How is the king employ'd :

Cham. I left him private, Full of sad thoughts and troubles.

JWor, What's the cause:

Cham. It seems, the marriage with his brother’s wife Has crept too near his conscience.

Suf. No, his conscience Has crept too near another lady. JWor, 'Tis so;

This is the cardinal’s doing, the king-cardinal:
That blind priest, like the eldest son of fortune,
Turns what he list. The king will know him one day.
Suf. Pray God, he do! he'll never know himself else.
JVor. How holily he works in all his business!
And with what zeal For, now he has crack'd the league
Between us and the emperor, the queen’s great nephew,
He dives into the king's soul; and there scatters
Dangers, doubts, wringing of the conscience,
Fears, and despairs, and all these for his marriage:
And, out of all these to restore the king,
He counsels a divorce : a loss of her,
That, like a jewel, has hung twenty years
About his neck, yet never lost her lustre;"
Of her, that loves him with that excellence
That angels love good men with; even of her,
That, when the greatest stroke of fortune falls,
Will bless the king: And is not this course pious?

7 Well met, my good — The epithet—good, was inserted by Sir Thomas Hanmer for the sake of measure. Steevens.

* That, like a jewel, has hung twenty years &c.] See Vol. VI, p. 185, n. 2. Malone.

Cham. Heaven keep me from such counsell 'Tis most true,

These news are every where; every tongue speaks them,
And every true heart weeps for ’t: All, that dare
Look into these affairs, see this main end,”—
The French king's sister.” Heaven will one day open
The king's eyes, that so long have slept upon
1 is is Loid bad man.

Suf. And free us from his slavery.

-Vor. We had need pray,
And heartily, for our deliverance;
Or this imperious man will work us all
From princes into pages:” all men's honours
Lie in one lump before him, to be fashion’d
Into what pitch he please.”

Suf. For me, my lords,
I love him not, nor fear him; there 's my creed:
As I am made without him, so I 'll stand,
If the king please; his curses and his blessings
Touch me alike, they are breath I not believe in.
I knew him, and I know him; so I leave him.
To him, that made him proud, the pope.

:^/or. Let's in;

And, with some other business, put the king

* see this main end, Thus the old copy. All, &c. perceive this main end of these counsels, namely, the French king's sister: The editor of the fourth folio and all the subsequent editors read —his; but yt or this were not likely to be confounded with his. Besides, the King, not Wolsey, is the person last mentioned; and it was the main end or object of Wolsey to bring about a marriage between Henry and the French king’s sister. End has already been used for cause, and may be so here. See p. 238: “The cardinal is the end of this.” Malone. 1 The French king's sister.] i. e. the Duchess of Alençon. Steevent. ... *From princes into pages.) This may allude to the retinue of the Cardinal, who had several of the nobility among his menial servants. johnson. 3 Into what pitch he please.] The mass must be fashioned into pitch or height, as well as into particular form. The meaning is, that the Cardinal can, as he pleases, make high or low. johnson. The allusion seems to be to the 21st verse of the 9th chapter of the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans: “ Hath not the potter power over the clay of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour” Collins.

From these sad thoughts, that work too much upon him:—

My lord, you’ll bear us company?

Cham. Excuse me; The king hath sent me other-where: besides, You'll find a most unfit time to disturb him: Health to your lordships.

JWor. Thanks, my good lord chamberlain.

[Exit Ld. Cham.

Norfolk oftens a folding-door. The King is discovered sitting, and reading fiensively.”

Suf. How sad he looks! sure, he is much afflicted. R. Hen. Who is there? hał JWor. 'Pray God, he be not angry. R. Hen. Who’s there, I say? How dare you thrust yourselves Into my private meditations? Who am I? hał .Vor. A gracious king, that pardons all offences. Malice ne'er meant: our breach of duty, this way, Is business of estate; in which, we come To know your royal pleasure. JK. Hen. You are too bold: Go to; I'll make ye know your times of business: Is this an hour for temporal affairs? hai–

4 The stage direction, in the old copy, is a singular one. Exit Lord Chamberlain, and the King draws the curtain, and sits reading fensively. Steevens.

This stage direction was calculated for, and ascertains precisely the state of, the theatre in Shakspeare's time. When a person was to be discovered in a different apartment from that in which the original speakers in the scene are exhibited, the artless mode of our author’s time was to place such person in the back part of the stage, behind the curtains, which were occasionally suspended across it. These the person, who was to be discovered, (as Henry, in the present case,) drew back just at the proper time. Mr. Rowe, who seems to have looked no further than the modern stage, changed the direction thus: “ The scene opens, and discovers the King,” &c. but, besides the impropriety of introducing scenes, when there were none, such an exhibition would not be proper here, for Norfolk has just said—“Let’s in,”—and therefore should himself do some act, in order to visit the King. This, indeed, in the simple state of the old stage, was not attended to: the King very civilly discovering himself. Malone.

« PreviousContinue »