Page images

'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 inerciful construction of good women;
For such a one we show'd them: If they smile,
And say, 'twill do, I know, within awhile
All the best men are ours; for 'tis ill hap,
If they hold, when their ladies bid them clap.

The play of Henry the Eighth is one of those which still keeps possession 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 sorrows, and virtuous distress, of Katharine, bave furnished some scenes, which may be justly numbered among the greatest efforts of tragedy. But the genius of Shakspeare comes in and goes out with Katharine. Every other part may be easily conceived and easily written.

The second scene of the fourth act is above any other of Shakspeare's tragedies, and perhaps above any scene of any other poet; tender and pathetic, without gods, or furies, or poisons, or precipices; without the help of romantic circumstances, without improbable sallies of poetical lamentation, and without any throes of tumultuous misery.


C. Whittingham, Printer, Chiswick.

[merged small][graphic][merged small]


Priam, King of Troy.

25, 2'2704 vil ei 9711 Paris, his Sons.

: ไ: ** 11 12 13 14 ) Deiphobus,

CO2099 Si Æneas, Antenor,

Trojan Commanders. Tous Calchas, a Trojan Priest, taking Part with the Greeks Pandarus, Unele to Cressida. Margarelón, a Bastard Son of Priam. Agamemnon, the Grecian General. Menelaus, his Brother. Achilles, Ajax, Ulysses, Nestor,

Grecian Commanders.
Thersites, a deformed and scurrilous Grecian.
Alexander, Servant to Cressida.
Servant to Troilus; Servant to Paris; Servant to Dio-

Helen, Wife to Menelaus.
Andromache, Wife to Héctor.
Cassandra, Daughter to Priam; a Prophetess.
Cressida, Daughter to Calchas.

Trojan and Greek Soldiers, and Attendants
SCENE, Troy, and the Grecian Camp before it.

PROLOGUE. In Troy, there lies the scene. From isles of Greece The princes orgulous, their high blood chaf’d, Have to the port of Athens sent their ships, Fraught with the ministers and instruments Of cruel war: Sixty and nine, that wore Their crownets regal, from the Athenian bay Put forth toward Phrygia : and their vow is made, To ransack Troy; within whose strong immures The ravish'd Helen, Menelaus' queen, With wanton Paris sleeps; And that's the quarrel. To Tenedos they come; And the deep-drawing barks do there disgorge Their warlike fraughtage: Now on Dardan plains The fresh and yet unbruised Greeks do pitch Their brave pavilions: Priam's six-gated city, Dardan, and Tymbria, Ilias, Chetas, Trojan, And Antenorides, with massy staples, And corresponsive and fulfilling bolts, Sperr up the sons of Troy. Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits, On one and other side, Trojan and Greek, 1. Sets all on hazard :-And hither am I come A prologue arm’d, bụt not in confidence' of author's pen, or actor's voice; but suited bem In like.conditions as our argument, To tell you, fair beholders, that our play! Leaps o'er the vaunt and firstlings of those broils, 'Ginning in the middle; starting thence away To what may be digested in a play. Like, or find fault; do as your pleasures are ; Now, good, or bad, 'tis but the chance of war.

« PreviousContinue »