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For my little cure,
Hautboys. Enter CARDINAL WOLSEY, attended ; and takes
his state. Wol. You are welcome, my fair guests; that noble lady, Or gentleman, that is not freely merry, Is not my friend : This, to confirm my welcome; And to you all good health.
Your grace is noble :-
My lord Sands,
The red wine first must rise
You are a merry gamester,
Sands. Yes, if I make my play.
You cannot show me.
[Drum and trumpets within : Chambers discharged.a Wol.
What 's that?
What warlike voice ?
A noble troop of strangers ; For so they seem; they have left their barge, and landed ;
a See Introductory Notice.
And hither make, as great ambassadors
Good lord chamberlain,
[Exit Chamb., attended. All arise, and tables removed. You have now a broken banquet; but we 'll mend it. A good digestion to you all : and, once more, I shower a welcome on you ;-Welcome all.
Hautboys. Enter the King, and twelve others, as maskers,
habited like shepherds, with sixteen torchbearers ; ushered by the Lord Chamberlain. They pass directly before the
CARDINAL, and gracefully salute him.
Cham. Because they speak no English, thus they pray'd
Say, lord chamberlain, They have done my poor house grace; for which I pay them A thousand thanks, and pray them take their pleasures. [Ladies chosen for the dance. The King chooses ANNE
BULLEN. K. Hen. The fairest hand I ever touch’d! O, beauty, Till now I never knew thee.
[Music. Dance. Wol. My lord. Cham. Your grace ? Wol.
Pray, tell them thus much from me: There should be one amongst them, by his person, More worthy this place than myself; to whom, If I but knew him, with my love and duty I would surrender it.
I will, my lord.
[Cham. goes to the company, and returns.
Such a one, they all confess,
Let me see then.—[Comes from his state.
K. Hen. You have found him, cardinal: [Unmasking.
I am glad
My lord chamberlain,
K. Hen. By Heaven, she is a dainty one.-Sweetheart,
Wol. Sir Thomas Lovell, is the banquet ready
Yes, my lord.
K. Hen. I fear, too much.
There 's fresher air, my lord, In the next chamber.
K. Hen. Lead in your ladies, every one.—Sweet part ner, I must not yet forsake you :-Let's be merry ;Good my lord cardinal, I have half a dozen healths To drink to these fair ladies, and a measure To lead them once again ; and then let 's dream Who 's best in favour.—Let the music knock it.
[Exeunt with trumpets Vol. VII.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF ACT I.
1 The Prologue. There are several points here which require remark_" a noise of targets "_" a fellow in a long motley coat,” &c. But we have found it desirable to touch upon these allusions in our Introductory Notice, to which we refer the reader.
2 Scene I.—“ Enter the Duke of Norfolk,” &c. Many of the stage-directions in this play are very remarkable, and are evidently written with great care. The modern editors have for the most part retained their substance, and in some cases their words. We shall more closely follow the ori. ginal, with such slight changes as are absolutely necessary to make the scene intelligible.
3 Scene III.—“ Of fool, and feather." It appears, from Nashe's 'Life of Jacke Wilton,' that, amongst other French fashions in the court of Henry VIII., the hero of the biography says, “I had my feather in my cap as big as a flag in the foretop."
The drama of Henry VIII.' is essentially one of pageantry. Coleridge calls it “ a sort of historical masque, or show-play.” With this view nothing can be finer than the opening. Hall, who was a contemporary of Henry VIII., and was present at the “ Field of the Cloth of Gold,” has filled his · Chronicle of this reign with the most elaborate accounts of tournaments, and processions, and marriages, and christenings. A judicial murder is despatched by him in a few lines. Malone here repeats his stupid assertion that “ Holinshed and not Hall was Shakspeare's author.” (See Historical Illustration of · Henry VI., Part I.,' Act I.) It is easy to trace Shakspere to Hall in the “show” parts of Henry VIII.,' and to Holinshed for the more serious passages. Cavendish, however, has described the masque at York Place, and Holinshed has evidently had the advantage of consulting that admirable piece of biography,' The Life of Wolsey.' We prefer, however, in those places where the chronicler follows the authority of Wolsey's. Gentleman Usher,' to transcribe from the truly graphic original. It has been asserted by Bishop Nicholson that an edition of Cavendish's · Life' was published in 1590; but Mr. Hunter* inclines to the more general opinion that it was first printed in 1641. Shakspere bas unquestionably followed Cavendish in some of the most important scenes, either from an acquaintance with his book, or through Holinshed. Assuming that he was not the idle and incurious person that it has been the fashion to represent him, we cannot hold it to be impossible that, if the book were not printed, he was acquainted with one of the several manuscript copies of · The Life
*• Who wrote Cavendish's Life of Wolsey ?
of Master Thomas Wolsey,' the collation of which by Mr. Singer has given us the admirable edition of 1827.
Hall's description of the meeting between Henry and Francis is a singular specimen of the minute mind of the young chronicler, who was some twenty years old at the time of this memorable interview. He revels in all the luxuriance of the details of man-millinery and horse-millinery; he describes the dress of the two princes even to the smallest button; chambers of blue velvet and cloth-of-gold dazzle our eyes in every page; and of “ the great and goodly plate,” and “the noble feasting and cheer,” the accounts would furnish out a dozen degenerate modern court-historians. We have space only for his description of the first meeting of the two kings :
“ Then the King of England showed himself somedeal forward in beauty and personage, the most goodliest prince that ever reigned over the realm of England : his grace was apparelled in a garment of cloth-of-silver, of damask, ribbed with cloth-of-gold so thick as might be ; the garment was large, and plaited very thick, and canteled of very good intail, of such shape and making that it was marvellous to behold. * * * *
“ Then up blew the trumpets, sagbuttes, clarions, and all other minstrels on both sides, and the kings descended down toward the bottom of the valley of Andren, in sight of both the nations, and on horseback met and embraced the two kings each other: then the two kings alighted, and after embraced with benign and courteous manner each to other, with sweet and goodly words of greeting. * * *
“ After the two kings had ended the banquet, and spice and wine given to the Frenchmen, ipocras was chief drink of plenty to all that would drink. In open sight then came the two kings; that is to wete, the French king and the King of England, out of their tent, by which I then well perceived the habiliment royal of the French king. * * And verily of his person the same Francis the French king, a goodly prince, stately of countenance, merry of cheer, brown coloured, great eyes, high nosed, big lipped, fair breasted and shoulders, small legs, and long feet.”
From his processions and his maskings Hall turns without an effort to more serious matter—the arrest of Buckingham. In the account of this event Shakspere has followed Holinshed :
“ The cardinal, boiling in hatred against the Duke of Buckingham, and thirsting for his blood, devised to make Charles Knevet, that had been the duke's surveyor, and put from him (as ye bave heard), an instrument to bring the duke to destruction. This Knevet, being had in examination before the cardinal, disclosed all the duke's life. And first he uttered that the duke was accustomed, by way of talk, to say how he meant so to use the matter that he would attain to the crown if King Henry chanced to die without issue; and that he had talk and conference of that matter on a time with George Nevill, Lord of Abergavenny, unto whom he had given his daughter in marriage; and also that he threatened to punish the cardinal for his manifold misdoings, being without cause his mortal enemy.
“ The cardinal, having gotten that which he sought for, encouraged, comforted, and procured Knevet, with many comfortable words and great promises, that he should with a bold spirit and countenance object and lay these things to the duke's charge, with more if he knew it when time required. Then Knevet, partly provoked with desire to be revenged, and partly moved with hope of reward, openly confessed that the duke had once fully determined to devise means how to make the king away, being brought into a full hope that he should be king, by a vain prophecy which one Nicholas Hopkins, a monk of an house of the Chartreux order beside Bristow, called Henton, sometime his confessor, had opened unto him. * *