« ForrigeFortsett »
Cornet. Enter King Henry, leaning on the Cardinal's
King. My life itself, and the best heart of it,
A noise within, crying, Room for the Queen. Enter
the Queen, ushered by the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk :
and the best heart of it,] The expression is monstrous. The heart is supposed the seat of life: but, as if he had many lives, and to each of them a heart, he says, his best heart. A way of speaking that would have become a cat rather than a king,
WARBURTON. This expression is not more monstrous than many others. Heart is not here taken for the great organ of circulation and life, but, in a common and popular sense, for the most valuable or precious part. Our author, in Hamlet, mentions the heart of heart. Exa hausted and effete ground is said by the farmer to be out of heart. The hard and inner part of the oak is called heart of oak.
JOHNSON. -stood i' the level
Of a full-charg'd confederacy; ) To stand in the level of a gun is to stand in a line with its mouth, so as to be hit by the shot. Johnson,
King. Arise, and take your place by us :-Half
Never name to us ; you have half our power :
Queen. Thank your majesty.
King. Lady mine, proceed.
Queen. I am solicited, not by a few, And those of true condition, that your subjects Are in great grievance : There have been commif
fions Sent down among them, which have flaw'd the heart Of all their loyalties:-wherein, although, [To Wolsey, My good lord cardinal, they vent reproaches Most bitterly on you, as putter-on Of these exactions, yet the king our master, (Whose honour heaven shield from foil !) even he
Nor. Not almost appears,
3 The many to them 'longing,-) The many is the meiny, the train, the people. Dryden is, perhaps, the last that used this words
is The kings before their many rode.” JOHNSON. I believe the many is only the multitude. Thus, Coriolanus, speaking of the rabble, calls them:
the mutable rank-scented many." STEEVENS.
4 And lack of other means, in desperate manner
King. Taxation !
Wol. Please you, fir,
Queen. No, my lord,
Unfit for other life, but it fignifies, necessaries-compelled, says the speaker, for want of bread and other necesarics. But the poet using for the thing want of bread} the effect of it, [hunger) the pallage is become doubly obscure; first, by using a term in a licentious sense, and then by putting it to a vicious construction. The not apprehending that this is one of the distinguishing peculiarities in Shake1peare's stile, has been the occasion of so much ridiculous cor, rection of him. WARBURTON.
I have inserted this note rather because it seems to have been the writer's favourite, than because it is of much value. It explains what no reader has found difficult, and, I think, explains it wrong.
“ With that, anone out start dangerc.".
STEEVENS. - front but in that file] I am but primus inter pares.
I am but first in the row of counsellors. JOHNSON,
You know no inore than others : but
fraine Things, that are known alike ; which are not whole,
King. Still exaction !
Queen. I am much too venturous
each The fixth part of his substance, to be levy'd Without delay ; and the pretence for this Is nam’d, your wars in France : This makes bold
mouths : Tongues spit their duties out, and cold hearts freeze Allegiance in them; their curses now, Live where their prayers did; and it's come to pass, That tractable obedience 7 is a flave To each incensed will. I would, your highness Would give it quick confideration, for & There is no primer business.
-trackable obedience &c.} i.e. those who aţe tractable and obedient must give way to others who are angry. MUSGRAVE.
There is no primer business.) In the old edition :
There is no primer baseness. The queen is here complaining of the suffering of the commons ; which, the suspects, arose from the abuse of power in some great men. But she is very reserved in speaking her thoughts concern. ing the quality of it. We may be affured then, that she did not, in conclufion, call it the highest baseness; but rather made use of
King. By my my life,
Wol. And for me,
a word that could not offend the cardinal, and yet would incline
There is no primer business.
• To cope-) To engage with; to encounter. The word is still used in some counties. Johnson.
By fick &c.] The old edition reads :
By fick interpreters, (once weak ones) is I do not know that the old reading ought to be restored, but it may be noted, JOHNSON,
The modern editors read or weak ones ; but once is not unfrequently used for sometime, or at one time or other, among our ancient writers. So, in the 13th Idea of Drayton :
" This diamond fall once consume to dust." Again, in the Merry Wives of Windsor :-“I pray thee once tonight give my sweet Nan this ring." STEEVENS.