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'TIS ten to one, this play can never please All that are here: Some come to take their ease, And sleep an act or two; but those, we fear, We have frighted with our trumpets ; so, 'tis clear, They'll say, 'tis naught : others, to hear the city Abus'd extremely, and to cry,—that's witty! Which we have not done neither : that, I fear, All the expected good we are like to hear For this play at this time, is only in The merciful construction of good women ; For such a one we show'd them +6; If they smile, And say, 'twill do, I know, within a while All the best men are ours; for 'tis ill hap, If they hold, when their ladies bid them clap.
KING HENRY VIII.
1_ TH' opinion that we bring
To make that only true we now intend,] These lines I do not understand, and suspect them of corruption. I believe we may better read thus:
th' opinion, that we bring
The very persons of our noble story,] Why the rhyme should have been interrupted here, when it was so easily to be supplied, I cannot conceive. It can only be accounted for from the negligence of the press, or the transcribers; and therefore I have made no scruple to replace it thus;
- Think before ye. THEOBALD. s- a fresh admirer-] Fresh here means uncloyed: a fresh admirer is one who still continues his admiration.
" clinquant-] Shining. The word, in French, signifies tinsel.
That Bevis was believed.] Vide Camden's Britannia. This Bedis, a Saxon, was created earl of Southampton by William the Conqueror.
9- a keech-] Keech signifies both a tub, or barrel, and a lump. A moulded cake of wax, or tallow, is called a keech. 7- -Every man,
After the hideous storm that follow'd, &c.] “ Monday, xviii. day of June, there blew such storms of wind and weather, that marvel was to hear; for which hideous tempest some said it was a very prognostication of trouble and hatred to come between princes.” Hall's Chronicle.
* This butcher's cur-] It was the received opinion that Wolsey was the son of a butcher; and when he was tumbled from his proud entinence, and men no longer feared his power, they spared not to call him the butcher's cur, and the butcher's dog. But this notion, I believe, was a wrong one. His father seems to have been a private gentleman. • I am the shadow of poor Buckingham, Whose figure even this instant cloud puts on,
By dark’ning my clear sun. ] These lines have passed all the editors. Does the reader understand them? By me they are inexplicable, and must be left, I fear, to some happier sagacity. If the usage of our author's time could allow figure to be taken, as now, for dignity or importance, we might read,
Whose figure even this instant cloud puts out. But I cannot please myself with any conjecture.
Another explanation may be given, somewhat harsh, but the best that occurs to me.
I am the shadow of poor Buckingham,
Whose figure even this instant cloud puts on, whose port and dignity is assumed by this cardinal, that overclouds and oppresses me, and who gains my place
By durk’ning my clear sun. JOHNSON.
10 lop, bark, and part o' the timber ;] Lop signifies the branches of a tree. The word is still used in leases, &c. “ All timber trees, lup and top."
'Sir William Blomer,- ) Sir William Blomer (Holinshed calls him Bulmer) was reprimanded by the king in the star-chamber, for that, being his sworn servant, he had left the king's service for the duke of Buckingham's. Edwards's MSS.
Edware king's set, being held
12 the spavin
A springhalt- ] Mr. Steevens and Mr. Malone cannot understand, they say, why Mr. Pope and the subsequent editors read, AND springhalt. Would it be wrong to say, a man has a cold and cough ? A horse may have a sparin without a springhalt, or a springhalt without a spavin: either of which will make him lame. The springhalt is frequently the effect of spavin, as cough is of cold; but they are different disorders. Shakspeare was expert in horses and dogs ; he knew that many a slight blood-horse has the springhalt who was never spavin'd. Sparin