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"HE play of Henry the Eighth is one of those, whick

still keeps poffeffion of the stage, by the splendour of its pageantry. The coronation about forty years ago drew the people together in multitudes for a great part of the winter. Yet pomp is not the only merit of this play. The meek forrows and virtuous distress of Catherinė have furnished some scenes, which may be juftly numbered among the greatest efforts of tragedy. But the genius of Shakespeare comes in and goes out with Catherine. Every other part may be easily conceived and easily written.

The historical dramas are now concluded, of which the two parts of Henry the Fourth, and Henry the Fifth, are among the happiest of our author's compofitions ; and King John, Richard the Third, and Henry the Eighth, deservedly stand in the second class. Those whose curiosity would refer the historical scenes to their original, may consult Hollinshed, and sometimes Halle from Hollinihed Shakespeare has often inserted whole {peeches with no other alteration than was neceffary to the numbers of his verse. To transcribe them into the margin was unnecessary, because the original is easily examined, and they are seldom less perspicuous in the poet than in the historian.

To play histories, or to exhibit a succession of events by action and dialogue, was a common entertainment among our rude ancestors upon great festivities. The parish clerks once performed at Clerkenwell a play which lafted three days, containing, The History of the World.

JOHNSON. COME no more to make you laugh ; things now,


Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe ;
Such noble scenes, as draw the eye to flow,
We fall present. Those, that can pity, here
May, if they think it well, let fall a tear ;
The subject will deserve it. Such as give
Their money out of hope they may believe,
May here find truth too. Those that come to see
Only a show or two, and so agree,
The play may pass, if they be fill, and willing,
I'll undertake, may


their shilling
Richly in two short hours. Only they,
That come to hear a merry, bawdy play ;
A noise of targets ; or to see a fellow
In a long motley coat, guarded with yellow,(1)
Will be deceiv'd : for gentle hearers, know,
To rank our chosen truth with such a show
As fool and fight is,(2) besides forfeiting
Our own brains, and the opinion that we bring
To make that only true we now intend,
Will leave us ne'er an understanding friend.
Therefore, for goodness' sake, as you are known
The first and happiest hearers of the town,
Be fad, as we would make ye. Think


The very persons of our noble story,
As they were living ; think, you see them great,
And follow'd with the gen’ral throng, and Iweat
Of thousand friends ; Then, in a moment, see
How soon this mightiness meets misery !
And, if you can be merry then, I'll say,
A man may weep upon his wedding day.

(1), Alluding to the Fools and Buffoons, introduced for the generality in the plays a little before our author's time': and of whom he has left us a small taste in his own. THEO.

(2). This is not the only passage in which Shakespeare has discovered his conviction of the impropriety of battles represented on the ftage. He knew that five or fix men with Twords, gave a very unsatisfactory idea of an army, and therefore, without much care to excuse his former practice, he al. lows that a theatrical fight would deftroy all opinion of truth, and leave him never an underttanding friend. Magnis ingeniis et multa nihilominus habituris fimplex convenit erroris confeflio.” Yet I know not whether the coronation mewn in this play may not be liable to all that can be objected against a battle. JOHNS.

King HENRY the Eighth.
Cardinal WOLSEY.
CRANMER, Archbishop of Canterbury.
Duke of NORFOLK.
Duke of SUFFOLK,
Earl of SURREY.
Lord Chamberlain.
Cardinal CAMPEIUS, the Pope's Legate.
CAPUCIUS, Ambassador from the Emperor Charles T.
Sir THOMAS AUDLEY, Lord Keeper.
GARDINER, Bishop of Winchester.
Bishop of Lincoln.
CROMWELL, Servant to Wolfey.
GRIFFITH, Gentleman-Usher to Queen Catherine.
Three Gentlemen.
Doctor Butts, Physician to the King,
GARTER, King at Arms.
Surveyor to the Duke of Buckingham.
BRANDON. Şerjeant at Arms.
Door-Keeper of the Council-Chamber.
Porter, and his Man.
An old Lady, Friend to Anne Bullen.
PATIENCE, Woman to Queen Catherine,
Several Lords and Ladies in the dumb Shoruse Women

attending upon the Queen ; Spirits, which appear to her.

Scribes, Officers, Guards, and other Attendants. The SCENE lies mostly in London and Westminster ; once,

at Kimbolton.

Sir William Sands was created lord Sands about this time, but is here introduced among the persons of the drama as a diftinct character. Sir William has not a single speech aßigned to him; and to make the blunder the greater, is brought on after lord

Sands has already made his appearance.

STEEV. There is no enumeration of the persons in the old edition, JOHNS.


London. An Antichamber in the Palace. Enter the Duke

of NORFOLK, at one Door ; at the other, the Duke of BUCKINGHAM, and the Lord ABERGAVENNY.

OOD morrow, and well met. How have you done
Nor. I thank your grace ;
Healthful ; and ever since a fresh admirer(1)
Of what I saw there.

Buck. An untimely ague
Stay'd me a prisoner in my chamber, when
Those sons of glory, those two lights of men,
Met in the vale of Arde.

Nor. 'Twixt Guines and Arde :
I was then present, faw them falute on horse-back ;
Beheld them, when they lighted, how they clung
In their embracement, as they grew together ;
Which had they, what four thron’d ones could have

Such a compounded one?

Buck. All the whole time
I was my chamber's prisoner.

Nor. Then you loft
The view of earthly glory : Men might say,
Till this time, pomp was single ; but now marry'd
To one above itself. Each following day
Became the next day's master, till the last
Made former wonders it's : [2] To-day, the French,
All clinquant,[3] all in gold, like heathen gods,

[1], An admirer untired ; an admirer still feeling the impression as if it were hourly renewed. JOHNS.

[2] Dies diem docet. Every day learned something from the preceding, till the concluding day collected all the splendor of all the former thews. ib.

(3] All clinquant--all glittering, all thining. Clarendon uses this word, in his description of the Spanish Juego de Toros.


Shone down the English ;. and, to-morrow, they
Made Britain, India : every man that stood,
Shew'd like a mine. Their dwarfifh pages were
As cherubims, all gilt : the madams too,
Not us’d to toil, did almost sweat to bear
The pride upon them, that their


labour Was to them as a painting ; now this mask Was cry'd incomparable ; and the ensuing night Made it a fool, and beggar. The two kings, Equal in lustre, were now best, now worst, As presence did present them ; him in eye, Still him in praise : and being present both, 'Twas said, they saw but one ; and no discerner Durft wag his tongue in censure.[4] When these funs: (For so they phrase 'em) by their heralds challeng'd The noble spirits to arms, they did perform Beyond thought's compass; that former fabulous story, Being now seen poffible enough, got credit ; That Bevis was believ'd.[5]

Buck. Oh, you go far.

Nor. As I belong to worship, and affect
In honour honesty, the tract of every thing
Would by a good discourser lose some life,
Which action's self was tongue to.[6] All was royal ;
To the disposing of it nought rebell'd ;
Order gave each thing view ; the office did
Diftinctly his full function.[7]

Buck. Who did guide,
I mean, who set the body and the limbs
Of this great sport together, as you guess ?'

Nor. One, certęs, that promises no element[8]
In such a business.

Buck. I pray you, who, my lord ? Nor. All this was order'd by the good discretion [4] Cenfurefor determination, of which had the nobleft appearance.

[s] The old romantic legend of Bevis of Southampton. (or Beavois) a Saxoir, was for his prowess, created by William the Conqueror earl of Southainpton, of whom Camden speaks in his Britannia.

[6]. The course of these triumphs and pleasures, however well related, muft lose in the description part of that spirit and energy which were expressed in the real action. JOHNS.

[7] The commision for regulating this feftivity was well executed, and, gave exactly to every particular person and action the proper place. ib.

[8] No initiation, no previous practices. Elements are the first princi-, ples of things, or rudiments of knowledge. The word is here applied, not without a catachresis, to a person.

This Bevis



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