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Crom. Please your honours,


I shall both find your lordship judge and juror,

The chief cause concerns his grace of Canter- You are so merciful: I see your end,


Gar. Has he had knowledge of it?

Crom. Yes.

Nor. Who waits there?

D. Keep. Without, my noble lords?

Gar. Yes.

D. Keep. My lord archbishop;

'Tis my undoing: Love, and meekness, lord,
Become a churchman better than ambition;
Win straying souls with modesty again,"
Cast none away. That I shall clear myself,
Lay all the weight ye can upon my patience,
I make as little doubt, as you do conscience,
In doing daily wrongs. I could say more,

And bas done half an hour, to know your plea- But reverence to your calling makes me mo


Chan. Let him come in.

D. Keep. Your grace may enter now.

[CRANMER approaches the Council-table. Chan. My good lord archbishop, I am very sorry

To sit here at this present, and behold
That chair stand empty: But we all are men,
In our own natures frail: and capable

Of our flesh, few are angels: out of which

And want of wisdom, you, that best should
teach us,

Have misdemean'd yourself, and not a little,
Toward the king first, then his laws, in filling
The whole realm by your teaching, and your

(For so we are inform'd,) with new opinions,
Divers, and dangerous; which are heresies,
And, not reform'd, may prove pernicious.

Gar. Which reformation must be sudden too, My noble lords: for those, that tame wild horses,

Pace them not in their hands to make them



Gar. My lord, my lord, you are a sectary,
That's the plain truth; your painted gloss dis-


To men that understand you, words and weak.


Crom. My lord of Winchester, you are a lit.


By your good favour, too sharp; men so noble
However faulty, yet should find respect
For what they have been: 'tis a cruelty,
To load a falling man.

Gar. Good master secretary,

I cry your honour mercy; you may, worst
Of all this table, say so.

Crom. Why, my lord?

Gar. Do not I know you for a favourer
Of this new sect? ye are not sound.
Crom. Not sound?

Gur. Not sound, I say.

Crom. 'Would you were half so bonest!

Men's prayers then would seek you, not their

Gar. I shall remember this bold language.
Crom. Do.

But stop their mouths with stubborn bits, and Remember your bold life too.

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Both of my life and office, I have labour'd,
And with no little study, that my teaching,
And the strong course of my authority,
Might go one way, and safely; and the end
Was ever, to do well: nor is there living
(I speak it with a single heart, my lords,)
A man, that more detests, more stirs against,
Both in his private conscience, and his place,
Defacers of a public peace, than I do.
'Pray heaven, the king may never find a heart
With less allegiance in it! Men that toake
Envy and crooked malice nourishment,

Dare bite the best. I do beseech your lord

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Be what they will, may stand forth face to face, To a most noble judge, the king my master. And freely urge against me.

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Cham. This is the king's ring.

Sur. 'Tis no counterfeit.

Suf. 'Tis the right ring, by heaven: I told

ye all,

When we first put this dangerous stone a roll-
'Twould fall upon ourselves.

Nor. Do you think, my lords,
The king will suffer but the little finger
Of this man to be vex'd?

Cham. 'Tis now too certain :

How much more is his life in value with him? 'Would I were fairly out on't.

Crom. My mind gave me,

In seeking tales and informations
Against this man, (whose bonesty the devil
And his disciples only envy at,)

Ye blew the file that burns ye: Now have t

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By all that's holy, he had better starve,

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SCENE III.-The Palace Yard.

Noise and tumult within. Enter PORTER and his MAN.

Port. You'll leave your noise anon, ye rascals: Do you take the court for Paris-garden? • ye rude slaves, leave your gaping. +

[Within.] Good master porter, I belong to the larder.

Port. Belong to the gallows, and be hanged, you rogue: Is this a place to roar in 3-Fetch

Than but once think his place becomes thee me a dozen crab-tree staves, and strong ones;


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I will say thus much for him, If a prince
May be beholden to a subject, I
Am, for his love and service, so to him.
Make me no more ado, but all embrace him;
Be friends, for shame, my lords.-My lord of

I have a suit which you must not deny me;
This is, a fair voung maid that yet wants bap-

You must be godfather, and answer for her.
Cran. The greatest monarch now alive may

In such an honour; how may I deserve it,
That am a poor and humble subject to you?
K. Hen. Come, come, my lord, you'd spare
your spoons; you shall have
Two noble partners with you; the old duchess
of Norfolk,

And lady marquis Dorset; Will these please


Once more, my lord of Winchester, I charge


Embrace, and love this man.

It was an ancient custom for sponsors to present spoons to their god-children.

these are but switches to them.-I'll scratch your heads: You must be seeing christenings! Do you look for ale and cakes here, you rude rascals?

Man. Pray, Sir, be patient; 'tis as much impossible

(Unless we sweep them from the door with

To scatter them, as 'tis to make them sleep
On May-day morning; which will never be :
we may as well push against Paul's, as stir


Port. How got they in, and be bang'd?
Man. Alas, I know not; How gets the tide in ?
As much as one sound cudgel of four fost
(You see the poor remainder) could distribute,
I made no spare, Sir.

Port. You did nothing, Sir.

Man. I am not Samson, nor Sir Guy, nor Colbrand, to mow them down before me : but if 1 spared any, that had a head to hit, either young or old, he or she, cuckold or cuckold-maker, let me never hope to see a chine again; and that I would not for a cow, God save her.

[Within.] Do you hear, master Porter ? Port. I shall be with you presently, good master puppy.-Keep the door close, Sirrah. Man. What would you have me do? Port. What should you do, but knock them down by the dozens? Is this Moorfields to muster in? or have we some strange Indian with the great tool come to court, the women so besiege us? Bless me, what a fry of fornication is at door! On my Christian conscience, this one christening will beget a thousand; here will be father, godfather, and all toge


Man. The spoons will be the bigger, Sir. There is a fellow somewhat near the door, he should be a brazier by his face, for o'my conscience, twenty of the dog-days now reign in's nose; all that stand about him, are under the line, they need no other penance: That firedrake did I hit three times on the head, and three times was his nose discharged against me; he stands there like a mortar-piece, to blow us. There was a haberdasher's wife of small wit near him, that rail'd upon me till her pink porringer § fell off her head, for I kindling such a combustion in the state.

The bear garden on the Bank-side.
+ Roaring.
Guy of Warwick, vanquished Colbrand the Danish
Pink'd cap.


Flourish. Enter KING, and Train. Cran. [Kneeling.] And to your royal grace, and the good queen,

miss'd the meteor once, and hit that woman, who cried out, clubs! when I might see from far some forty truncheoneers draw to her succour, which were the hope of the Strand, where she was quartered. They fell on; I made good my place; at length they came to the broomstaff with me, I defied them still; when suddenly a file of boys behind them, loose shot, delivered such a shower of pebbles, that I was fain to draw nine honour in, and let them win the work: The devil is amongst them, I think, surely.

Port. These are the youths that thunder at a play-house, and fight for bitten apples; that no audience, but the Tribulation of Tower-hill, or the limbs of Limehouse, their dear brothers, are able to endure. I have some of them in Limbo Patrum, and there they are like to dance these three days; besides the running banquet of two beadles, that is to come.

Enter the Lord CHAMBERLAIN.

Cham. Mercy o'me, what a multitude are here!

They grow still too, from all parts they coming,

are As if we kept a fair here! Where are these porters,

These lazy knaves ?-Ye have made a fine band, fellows.

There's a trim rabble let in: Are all these Your faithful friends o'the suburbs? We shall have

Great store of room, no doubt, left for

When they pass back from the christening.
Port. An't please your honour


We are but men; and what so many may do,
Not being torn a pieces, we have done :
An army cannot rule them.

Cham. As I live,

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SCENE IV.-The Palace. T Enter Trumpets, sounding: then two Aldermen, Lord MAYOR, GARTER, CRANMER, Duke of NORFOLK, with his Marshal's Staff, Duke of SUFFOLK, two Noblemen bearing great standing-bowls for the christening gifts; then four Noblemen bearing a canopy, under which the Duchess of NORFOLK, godmother, bearing the child richly habited in a mantle, &c. Train borne by a Lady; then follows the Marchioness of DORSET, the other godmother, and Ladies. The Troop pass once about the stage, and GARTER speaks.

Gart. Heaven from thy endless goodness, send prosperous life, long, and ever happy, to the high and mighty princess of England,


• The brazier. + Place of confinement. A desert of whipping. Black leather vessels to hold beer. 1 Pitch. At Greenwich. These are the actual words used at Elizabeth's christening.

My noble partners and myself thus pray :-All comfort, joy, in this most gracious lady, Heaven ever laid up to make parents happy, May hourly fall upon ye!

K. Hen. Thank you, good lerd archbishop. What is her name f

Cran. Elizabeth.

K. Hen. Stand up, lord.

[The KING kisses the child. With this kiss take my blessing: God protect thee !

Into whose hands I give thy life.
Cran. Amen.

K. Hen. My noble gossips, ye have been too prodigal :

I thank ye heartily; so shall this lady,
When she has so much English.
Cran. Let me speak, Sir,

For heaven now bids me; and the words I utter

Let none think flattery, for they'll find them truth.

This royal infant, (heaven still move about her !)

Though in her cradle, yet now promises
Upon this land a thousand thousand blessings,
Which time shall bring to ripeness: She shall

(But few now living can behold that goodness,)
A pattern to all princes living with her,
And all that shall succeed: Sheba was never
More covetous of wisdom, and fair virtue,
Than this pure soul shall be: all princely

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Her foes shake like a field of beaten corn,
And hang their heads with sorrow : Good
grows with her :

In her days, every man shall eat in safety
Under his own vine, what he plants; and sing
The merry songs of peace to all his neighbours:
God shall be truly known; and those about her
From her shall read the perfect ways of hon-

And by those claim their greatness, not by
[Nor shall this peace sleep with her: But as
The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phoenix,
Her ashes new create another heir,
As great in admiration as herself;
So shall she leave her blessedness to one,
(When heaven shall call her from this cloud of

Who, from the sacred ashes of her honour, Shall star-like rise, as great in fame as she

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An aged princess; many days shall see her,⚫ And yet no day without a deed to crown it. 'Would I had known no more! but she must die, She must, the saints must have her; yet a virgin,

A most unspotted lily shall she pass

She will be sick else. This day, no man think He has business at his house; for all shall stay,

This little one shall make it holiday. [Exeunt.


'Tis ten to one, this play can never please

To the ground, and all the world shall mourn All that are here: Some come to take their

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And sleep an act or two; but those, we fear,
We have frighted with our trumpets; so, 'tis

They'll say, 'tis naught: others, to hear the
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 merciful construction of good women;
For such a one we show'd them: If they smile,
And say, 'twill do, I know, within a while
All the best men are our's; for 'tis ill hap,
If they hold, when their ladies bid them clap.

It is supposed that the epilogue and prologʻie ta this play were both written by Ben Jonson.



THE title of this play was probably suggested (like Twelfth Night, and The Winter's Tale,) by the time at which it was first performed; viz. at Midsummer :---thus it would be announced as " A Dream for the Entertainment of a Midsummer Night." No other ground can be assigned for the name which our author has given to it; since the action is distinctly pointed out as occurring on the night preceding May-day. The piece was written in 1592; and, according to Stevens, might have been suggested by the Knight's Tale in Chaucer, or, as Capell supposes, Shakspeare may have taken the idea of his fairies from Drayton's fantastical poem, called Nymphidia, or, The Court of Fairy. Mason, however, denies that our poet made use of the materials which Shakspeare had rendered so popular; and asserts (in opposition to Johnson) that there is no analogy or resemblance between the fairies of the one, and the fairies of the other. The same critics are also at issue upon the general merits of this singular play. Johnson declares that "all the parts, in their various modes, are well written." Malone, that the principal personages are insignificant---the fable meagre and uninteresting. Hippolyta, the Amazon, is undistinguished from any other female; and the solicitudes of Hermia and Demetrius, of Lysander and Helena, are childish and frivolous. Theseus, the companion of Hercules, is not engaged in any adventure worthy his rank and reputation: "he goes out a Maying; meets the lovers in perplexity, and makes no effort to promote their happiness; but when supernatural events have reconciled them, he joins their company, and concludes the entertainment by uttering some miserable puns, at an interlude represented by clowns." These faults are, however, almost wholly redeemed, by the glowing fervour, and varied imagination, which Shakspeare has displayed in the poetry; by the rich characteristic humour (free from the taint of grossness) which enlivens the blunt-witted devices of his theatrical tailors and cobblers; and by the admirable satire which he has passed on those self-conceited actors, who (not unlike some modern "stars") would monopolize the favours of the public, trample upon every competitor, and "bear the palm alone." Bottom was perhaps the leading tragedian of some rival house, and on that account is honoured with an ass's head.

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