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SCENE, the Palace.
· Enter Trumpets founding ; then two Aldermen, Lord Mayor, í Garter, Cranmer, Duke of Norfolk with his Marmals
staff, Duke of Suffolk, two Noblemen bearing great standing bowls for the christening gifts'; then four Noblemen bearing a canopy, under which the Dutchess of Norfolk, godmother, bearing the child richly babited in a mantle, &c. Train born by a lady: then follows the Marchioness of Dorset, the other god-mother, and ladies. The troop pass once about the stage, and Garter speaks. .
Gárt, Heav'n, from thy endless goodness send |
Flourish. Enter King and Guard. . Cran. And to your royal Grace, and the good Queen, My noble partners and my self thus pray; All comfort, joy, in this most gracious lady, That heav'n e'er laid up to make parents happy, May hourly fall upon ye!
King. Thank you, good lord Arch-bishop: What is her name?
King. Stand up, lord."
King. My noble gossips, y’have been too prodigal,
Cran. Let me speak, Sir ;
Though in her cradle, yet now promises
(But few now living can behold that goodness)
The bird of wonder dies, the maiden Phoenix,
King. Thou speakest wonders. · Cran. She shall be, to the happiness of England, (31)
G2 (31) She shall be to the Happiness of England, An aged Princess ;] The Transition here from the Complimentary Ad
An aged Princess ; many days shall see her,
King. O lord Arch-bishop, Thou'st made me now a man ; never, before This happy child, did I get any thing. This oracle of comfort has so pleas'd me, That when I am in heav'n, I Ihall desire To see what this child does, and praise my maker. I thank ye all. - To you, my good Lord Mayor, dress to King James the First is fo abrupt, that it seems obvious to me, that Compliment was inferted after the Accession of that Prince. If this Play was wrote, as in my opinion it was, in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth; we may easily determine where Cranmer's Eulogium of that Princess concluded. I make no question but the Poet rested here ;
And claim by those their Greatness, not by Blood. All that the Bishop fays after this, was an occasional Homage paid to her Successor; and evidently inserted after her Demise. How naturally, without this Insertion, does the King's Joy, and satisfactory Reflection upon the Bishop's Prophecy come in! · King. Thou speakest Wonders. O Lord Archbilhop,
Thou'st made me now a Man. Never, before
This happy Child, did I get any Thing, &c. Whether the King would so properly have made this Inference, upon hearing that a Child of so great Hopes should dye without Iffue, is submitted to Judgment.
(32) Would I had known no more : but she must dye, She must, the Saints must have her ; yet a Virgin, A most unspotted Lilly, &c.] Thus the Editors hitherto, in their Sagacity, have pointed this Passage, and destroy'd the true Sense of it. The first part of this Sentence is a Wish : The other should be a forrowful Continuation of the Bishop's Prophecy. But, fure, Cranmer was too wise and pious a Man, too well acquainted with the State of Mortality, to make it a part of his Lamentation that this good Princess muft one time or other go to Heaven. As I point it; the Poet makes a fine Compliment to his Royal Mistress's Memory, to lament that she must dye without leaving an Heir of her Body behind her. Palamon and Arcite, in the Two Noble Kinsmen of Beaumont and Fletcher, being made Prisoners to Theseus, and fearing they shall dye in that Captivity, lament their Fate, I remember, in much the same manner.
Here the Graces of our Youths must wither,'
And your good brethren, I am much beholden: (33)
(33) And you good Brethren,] But, the Aldermen never were call'd Brethren to the King. The Top of the Nobility are but Cousins and Counfellors. Dr. Thirlby, therefore, rightly advised ;
And your good Brethren i. e. the Lord Mayor's Brethren ; which is properly their Style. So in the Chorus before the 5th Act of Henry V.
The Mayor, and all his Brethren in best Sort,
EPIL OG U E.
IS ten to one, this Play can never please