Page images
PDF
EPUB

K. HEN. Now welcome, Kate :-and bear me

witness all,

That here I kifs her as my fovereign queen.

[Flourish.

Q. ISA. God, the best maker of all marriages,
Combine your hearts in one, your realms in one!
As man and wife, being two, are one in love,
So be there 'twixt your kingdoms such a spousal,
That never may ill office, or fell jealousy,

Which troubles oft the bed of bleffed marriage,
Thruft in between the paction of these kingdoms,5
To make divorce of their incorporate league;
That English may as French, French Englishmen,
Receive each other!-God fpeak this Amen!
ALL. Amen!

K. HEN. Prepare we for our marriage:-on which day,

My lord of Burgundy, we'll take your oath,
And all the peers', for furety of our leagues.-
Then fhall I fwear to Kate, and you to me;
And may our oaths well kept and profp'rous be!

[Exeunt.

5 the paction of thefe kingdoms,] The old folios have it-the pation, which makes me believe the author's word was paction; a word more proper on the occafion of a peace ftruck up. A paffion of two kingdoms for one another is an odd expreffion. An amity and political harmony may be fixed betwixt two countries, and yet either people be far from having for the other. THEOBALD.

paflion

Prepare we &c.] The quartos, 1600 and 1608, conclude with the following speech :

"Hen. Why then fair Katharine,

"Come, give me thy hand:

"Our marriage will we prefent folemnize,

"And end our hatred by a bond of love.

"Then will I fwear to Kate, and Kate to me,

"And may our vows once made, unbroken be."

STEEVENS

Enter CHORUS.

Thus far, with rough, and all unable pen,
Our bending author 7 hath purfu'd the story;
In little room confining mighty men,

Mangling by starts the full courfe of their glory. Small time, but, in that fimall, moft greatly liv'd This ftar of England: fortune made his fword; By which the world's beft garden he achiev'd, And of it left his fon imperial lord.

Henry the fixth, in infant bands crown'd king
Of France and England did this king fucceed;
Whose state so many had the managing,

That they loft France, and made his England

bleed:

Which oft our stage hath fhown; and, for their fake, In your fair minds let this acceptance take.

[Exit.

Our bending author-] By bending, our author meant unequal to the weight of his fubject, and bending beneath it; or he may mean, as in Hamlet: "Here Stooping to your cle

mency." STEEVENS.

8 Mangling by ftarts-] By touching only on felect parts.

9

JOHNSON.

the world's best garden-] i. e. France. A fimilar distinction is bestowed, in The Taming of the Shrew, on Lombardy :

"The pleasant garden of great Italy." STEEVENS.

This play has many fcenes of high dignity, and many of eafy merriment. The character of the King is well fupported, except in his courtship, where he has neither the vivacity of Hal, nor the grandeur of Henry. The humour of Piftol is very happily continued his character has perhaps been the model of all the bullies that have yet appeared on the English ftage.

The lines given to the Chorus have many admirers; but the truth is, that in them a little may be praised, and much muft be

forgiven; nor can it be eafily discovered why the intelligence given by the Chorus is more neceffary in this play than in many others where it is omitted. The great defect of this play is the emptiness and narrowness of the last Act, which a very little diligence might have easily avoided. JOHNSON.

END OF VOL. XII.

Printed by J. PLYMSELL, Leather Lane, Holborn, London.

« PreviousContinue »