« AnteriorContinuar »
KING HENRY THE EIGHTH.
“The Famous History of The Life of King Henry the Eight” was first printed, it is believed, in the folio of 1623. The date of its production is uncertain. Some editors, including Theobald and Malone, contend that it was written before the death of Elizabeth, and that the complimentary address to her successor
“Nor shall this peace sleep with her; but as when
And so stand fix'd”was interpolated on the play being revived for presentation before King James. Messrs. Dyce, Collier, and others, on the contrary, conjecture it was produced after the accession of James, and in confirmation of this opinion adduce the following Memorandum from the Registers of the Stationers' Company :
- 12 Feb 1604 .
“Nath. Butter] Yf he get good allowance for the Enterlude of K. Henry 8th before he begyn to print it, and then procure the wardens hands to yt for the entrance of yt, he is to have the same for his copy." This insertion, supposed by many to refer to Rowley's piece,
“ When you see
me you know me,” which was published in the same year, and is founded on events and characters in the reign of Henry the Eighth, they think pertains to the present play. Although both parties maintain their theory with confidence, the evidence, external or intrinsic, in favour of either appears too slight and speculative to warrant a decision. One fact seems established, namely, that there was a play upon the same subject at least as early as Shakespeare's “ Henry the Eighth,” presumably before; for in Henslowe's Diary, pp. 189, 198, 221, &c., are notices regarding two pieces, consisting of a first and second part, written in 1601, the one entitled “The Rising of Cardinal Wolsey," and the other, “Cardinal Wolsey," on which an exceptional amount of money was expended for costume and decoration. There is a probability, too, that at one period “ Henry the Eighth” bore a double title, and was known as “ Henry the Eighth, or All is True.” The grounds for supposing so are these. On the 29th of June, 1613, the Globe theatre on Bankside was totally destroyed, owing to the thatch of the roof being fired by the wadding of some “chambers," or small cannon, discharged during a performance. According to Howes, the continuator of Stow's Chronicle, this catastrophe occurred at the representation of “ Henry the Eighth.” The same fact is recorded in a MS. Jetter from Thomas Lorkin to Sir Thomas Puckering, dated the very day after the fire:
* “ No longer since than yesterday, while Bourbege his companie were acting at yo Globe the play of Hen = 8. and there shooting of certayne chambers in way of triumph, the fire catch'd, and fastened upon the thatch of the house and there burned so furiously, as it consumed the whole house and all in lesse then two houres;" &c.—MSS. Harl. 7002. But Sir Henry Wotton, writing on the 2d of July in the same year, and describing this calamity, says it took place during the acting of " a new play, called, All is true, representing some principal pieces of the Reign of Henry the gth."- Reliquiae (edit. 1672, p. 425). There appears to be no doubt that the play in question, which Sir Henry terms new, probably because it was revived with new dresses, new prologue, epilogue, &c. &c., was our author's “ Henry the Eighth,” and the discrepancy as to the title might have arisen from the circumstance, just hinted at, of its having originally borne a double one.
KING HENRY THE EταΗΤΗ. .
QUEEN KATHARINE, Wife to King Henry ; afterwards divorced.
Several Lords and Ladies in the dumb shows ; Women attending upon the Queen ;
Spirits, which appear to her ; Scribes, Officers, Guards, and other Attendants.
SCENE,-Chiefly in London and WESTMINSTER ; once at KIMBOLTOS.
I come no more to make you laugh ; things now,
of our noble story,
* Sad, and high-working,-) The old, and every modern copy, read
“Sad, high, and working;" but see,
• Then let not this Divinitie in earth
(Deare Prince) be sleighted, as she were the birth
b Upon bis wedding-day.) The conjecture of Johnson and Farmer, that Ben Jonson furnished the prologue and epilogue to this play, is strongly borne out, not only by their general style and structure, but by particular expressions in them also. Ag Johnson observes, there is in Shakespeare's dramas so much of " fool and fight," that it is not probable he would animad. vert so severely on the introduction of such characters and incidents.
Those suns of glory, those two lights of men,
gave each thing view; the office did Met in the vale of Andren.*
Distinctly his full function. NORF. 'Twixt Guynes and Arde: BUCK.
Who did guide ? I was then present, saw them salute on horseback; I mean, who set the body and the limbs Beheld them, when they ’lighted, how they clung Of this great sport together, as you guess ? In their embracement, as they grew together ; NORF. One, certes, that promises no elementa Which had they, what four thron'd ones could In such a business. have weigh'd
I pray you, who, my lord ? Such a compounded one ?
Norf. All this was order'd by the good Buck. All the whole time
discretion I was my chamber's prisoner.
Of the right-reverend cardinal of York. NORF.
Buck. The devil speed him! no man's pie is
That such a keecho can with his very
bulk Became the next day's master, till the last
Take up the rays o' the beneficial sun,
Surely, sir, Shone down the English ; and, to-morrow, they There's in him stuff that puts him to these ends : Made Britain, India : every man that stood, For,—being not propp'd by ancestry, whose grace Show'd like a mine. Their dwarfish pages were Chalks successors their way; nor call’d upon As cherubins, all gilt: the madams too,
· For high feats done to the crown ; neither allied Not us'd to toil, did almost sweat to bear
To eminent assistants; but, spider-like, The pride upon them, that their
labour Out of his self drawing web,- he gives us note," Was to them as a painting : now this masque
The force of his own merit makes his way ; Was cried incomparable ; and the ensuing night A gift that heaven gives for him, which buys Made it a fool and beggar. The two kings, A place next to the king. Equal in lustre, were now best, now worst,
I cannot tell As presence did present them; him in eye, What heaven hath given him,-let some graver eye Still him in praise : and, being present both, Pierce into that ;-but I can see his pride 'T was said, they saw but one; and no discerner Peep through each part of bim : whence has he Durst wag his tongue in censure. When these suns
that ? (For so they phrase 'em) by their heralds challeng'd If not from hell, the devil is a niggard ; The noble spirits to arms, they did perform Or has given all before, and he begins Beyond thought's compass; that former fabulous A new hell in himself. story,
Why the devil, Being now seen possible enough, got credit, Upon this French going-out, took he upon him, That Bevis was believ'd.(1)
Without the privity o' the king, to appoint Buck. 0, you go far.
Who should attend on him ? He makes up the file
Must fetch him in, he papers."
" A gift that heaven gives him, and which buys;" and Ardres; and, at the period alluded to, the former belonged to
but if such licentious alterations were permissible, it would be the English, and the latter to the French.
easy to improve on this emendation. b Durst wag his tongue in censure.] That is, in judging either
" -- and his own letler, superior to the other.
The honourable board of council out, € All was royal ;) These words and the remainder of the speech
Must fetch him in, he papers. ] are in the old copies given to Buckingham. d No element-] No rudimentary knowledge even.
By "The honourable board of council out," is meant, without e Keech-) See note (e), p. 530, Vol. I.
concurrence of the council; but what are we to understand by ? Out of his self drawing web, he gives us note,-) The old
the expression in the last line," he papers ?" In sheer despair, text reads :
Pope threw out a suggestion that papers was here a verb. —"whom
he papers down," and succeeding editors have been content with “Out of his Selfe-drawing Web. O gives us note," &c.
the explication; yet what thinking reader can ever believe this Steevens surmised that the manuscript bad, "'A gives us note," is what Shakespeare intended ? From the context, see especially which the compositor mistook for "O gives us note." This is the two next speeches, it would seem that the sense requires a not improbable ; but the expression, “self-drawing web," which synonyme for the verb beggars, -"whom he beggars," or imevery editor adopts without comment, appears to us an error like- poverishes; it is then possible that the meaningless papers is a wise. The sense is better and more clearly expressed by omitting
misprint, and that we should read :the hyphen.
"And his own letter, 8 A gift that heaven gives for him, &c.) This is a very doubt
Must fetch him in, he paupers."