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honesty; next encounters him with an eye “ full of disdain,” and is "scarcely kept from following him to the king to “ outstare him ;” and, finally, lashes himself to the utterance of a torrent of: words, while his friends evidently tremble more for him in the consequences of his blind hatred than they look with hope to its power to injure the man whom they equally hate. And how does all this close ? In
“my life is spann'd already: I am the shadow of poor Buckingham." We see the coming end of the rash and haughty man;—his “noble blood” will be reckoned as nothing in the “ beggar's book;" the “ butcher's cur” will tear him.
If the arrest of Buckingham had been followed by his “coming from his arraignment,” we should have seen indeed the “misery” following upon the "mightiness;" but we should not have seen the moving cause of this rapid transition of fortune. There sits the absolute king, prejudging his victim before examination :
" I stood i' the level Of a full-charg‘d confederacy.” But an interruption takes place. The queen comes, in the spirit of honesty and justice, to represent to the king that his subjects “ are in great grievance." Upon his minister does the king lay the blame, and desires the grievance to be redressed. This looks like equity and moderation :
“We must not rend our subjects from our laws,
And stick them in our will." The queen, who has obtained the redress of the subjects' wrong, is to “ sit by,” and hear the charges against Buckingham. To her upright and sagacious mind it is evident that the charges are the exaggerations of revenge, stimulated by corruption. The king will see only the one side of the evidence. When Katharine exhorts Wolsey to “deliver all with charity,” Henry desires the witness to “ speak on;" when Katharine lays bare the “ spleen” of the Surveyor, with Henry it is still “ Let him on.” The allegation rests only upon the testimony of a discarded servant as to words spoken; but upon these is the duke condemned ; for, after the decision of the king, a trial is but a form :
“He is attach'd ;
It is evident that the hatred of Wolsey produces the fall of Buckingham ; but the ambitious minister wields a power which may turn and rend him. All with him, however, is apparent security : his greatness is at its height. The king visits his mighty subject as a familiar friend ;—there is masquing and banqueting; and the gay monarch chooses the “ fairest hand,” and hovers round the one “ sweet partner.” This is the “ state” which is the prelude to the “woe.” Between the prejudgment of Buckingham by the king, and his formal condemnation, the cardinal's masque is interposed. It is the wonderful art of Shakspere in this play to command our entire sympathies for the unfortunate. He has taken no care to render Buckingham an object of our love, or even respect, till he perishes. We think him a wilful man; we see that there is a struggle for power between him and Wolsey: it is his “ misery” alone that makes us “ let fall a tear." Amongst the “ noble scenes” of this drama, that in which Buckingham addresses “all good people” is very noble. The deepest pathos is in
“ When I came hither I was lord high constable,
And duke of Buckingham; now, poor Edward Bohun.” But there is a deeper pathos that will 6 draw the eye to flow." It is foreshadowed to us even while the eye is still wet for Buckingham :
“ Did you not of late days hear A buzzing of a separation
Between the king and Katharine ?"
“ Cham. It seems the marriage with his brother's wife
No, his conscience Has crept too near another lady.” And shall we “ let fall a tear” because a just and spotless wife is about to be parted from a self-willed, capricious, tyrannical husband ? If we read her character aright, we shall understand where lies the depth of her “misery.” It is not in Anne Bullen's description alone that we can estimate “ the pang that pinches.” It is not alone that she has “lived long” with “ his highness”—
“Still growing in a majesty and pomp, the which
To leave is a thousand-fold more bitter than
'Tis sweet at first to acquire." This is the interpretation of a young woman, to whom “ majesty and pomp” look dazzling. In her notion the “ divorce” from “ temporal” glory is
- a sufferance, panging As soul and body's severing.” It is held that this pity of Anne for her mistress is a stroke of dramatic art to render her amiable under her equivocal situation. Is it not rather the poet's profound display of the weakness of Anne's own character? The sufferings of Katharine lie deeper than this. She is one who feels that she is about to be surrounded with the snares of injustice. She is defenceless,“ a most poor woman and a stranger.” She has been “ a true and humble wife.” But she is proud-nobly proud :
I 'll turn to sparks of fire." The eloquence of that “ simple woman”—her lofty bearing, her bold resolve-is not born of the clinging to temporal pomp: it issues out of the bruised spirit, whose affections are outraged, whose honour is insulted, whose dignity is trodden upon. She is all in all in this great scene. Before the grandeur of her earnest and impassioned pleading the intellect of Wolsey quails, and the self-will of Henry resorts to a justification of his motives. What a picture next is opened of the “ poor weak woman, fallen from favour"! The poetry of the situation is unequalled: the queen, sitting amongst her women at work—and listening to that delicious song of “ Orpheus with his lute made trees.” Then is revealed the innermost grief of that wounded heart:
“ Would ye have me
To me above this wretchedness ?” But the pride still remains—the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella speaks in the fallen woman's
“nothing but death Shall e'er divorce my dignities.” She has lost even the power of making her dependants happy :
“ Alas! poor wenches, where are now your fortunes ?” and then comes, out of this tenderness, the revulsion from that lofty passion to the humility of an absorbing despair :
lords : And, pray, forgive me,
the compass of poetry more touching than this radual subjection of a high spirit to the force of
“Do what ye will, my lords : And, ni
If I have used myself unmannerly." There is nothing in the compass exhibition of the gradual subject circumstances.
Another turn of “ the even He had none of our sympati intellect; we marvel ats the crafty and daring no
of the ever-whirling wheel!” Wolsey next falls. of our sympathies. We gaze upon his commanding ve marvel at “ his unbounded stomach ;”—but we fear Tv and daring politician. Up to the moment when the Lerous Henry gathers up his power to hurl the bolt at him
" and then to breakfast, with What appetite you may”— e rejoice at the “ instant cloud.” But by the exercise of his marvellous art the poet throws the fallen man upon our pity. He restores him to his fellowship with humanity by his temporal abasement. The trappings of his ambition are stripped off, and we see him in his natural dignity. He puts on the armour of fortitude, and we reverence him.
The scene is changed. The stage is crowded with processional displays. There has been a coronation. We see it not ; but its description is worth more than the sight :
« The rich stream
The beauty of her person to the people.” Anne passes from the stage ;– Katharine is led in sick. Her great enemy is dead. She cannot but number up his faults; but she listens to “his good.” They have a fellowship in misfortune; and she honours his ashes. She is passing from the world. The grave hides that pure, and gentle, and noble sufferer. Anne is crowned. Her example of
“ How soon this mightiness meets misery” was not to be shown. But who can forget it? Then comes the shadowing out of new intrigues and new hatreds; and the despot puts on an attitude of justice. Elizabeth is born. The link is completed between the generation which is past and the generation which looks upon
“ The very persons of our noble story,
As they were living."
Shakspere has closed his great series of · Chronicle Histories.' This last of them was to be “ sad, high, and working.” It has laid bare the hollowness of worldly glory; it has shown the heavy “ load” of “ too much honour.” It has given us a picture of the times which succeeded the feudal strifes of the other · Histories.' Were they better times? To the mind of the poet the age of corruption was as “sad” as the age of force. The one tyrant rides over the obligations of justice, wielding a power more terrible than that of the sword. The poet's consolation is to be found in the prophetic views of the future. The prophecy of Cranmer upon the reigns of Elizabeth and James is the eulogy of just government partially realized in the age of Shakspere, but not the less a high conception, however beyond the reality, of
“What makes a nation happy and keeps it so." We have a few words to add on, the style of this drama. It is remarkable for the elliptical construction of many of the sentences and for an occasional peculiarity in the versification, which is not found in any other of Shakspere's works. “The Roman plays, decidedly amongst the latest of his productions, possess a colloquial freedom of versification which in some cases approaches almost to ruggedness. But in the · Henry VIII.' this freedom is carried much farther. We have repeated instances in which the lines are so constructed that it is impossible to read them with the slightest pause at the end of each line :—the sentence must be run together, so as to produce more the effect of measured prose than of blankverse. As an example of what we mean we will write a sentence of fourteen lines as if it had been printed as prose :
“ Hence I took a thought this was a judgment on me; that my kingdom, well worthy the best heir of the world, should not be gladded in ’t by me: Then follows, that I weigh'd the danger which my realms stood in by this my issue's fail : and that gave to me many a groaning throe. Thus hulling in the wild sea of my conscience, I did steer towards this remedy, whereupon we are now present here together ; that's to say, I meant to rectify my conscience, which I then did feel full sick, and yet not well,—by all the reverend fathers of the land, and doctors learn'd.”
If the reader will turn to the passage (Act II., Scene 4) he will see that many of the lines end with particles, and that scarcely one of the lines is marked by a pause at the termination. Many other passages could be pointed out with this peculiarity. A theory has been set up that Jonson “ tampered” with the versification. We hold this notion to be utterly untenable ; for there is no play of Shakspere's which has a more decided character of unity-no one