[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Cornet. Enter King Henry, leaning on the Cardinal's
Moulder ; thë Nobles, and Sir Thomas Lovel. The
Cardinal places himself under the King's feet, on his
right fides

King. My life itself, and the best heart of it,
Thanks you for this great care : ? I stood i' the level
Of a full-charg'd confederacy; and give thanks
To you that choak'd it. Let be callà before us
That gentleman of Buckingham's : in person
I'll hear him his confeffions justify;
And point by point the treasons of his master
He shall again relate.

A noise within, crying, Room for the Queen. Enter

the Queen, ushered by the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk :
the kneels. The King riseth from his state, takes her up,
kisses, and placeth her by him.
Queen. Nay, we must longer kneel ; I am a suitor.

[ocr errors]

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,



O 2

King. Arise, and take your place by us :-Half

your suit

Never name to us ; you have half our power :
The other moiety, ere you ask, is given;
Repeat your will, and take it.

Queen. Thank your majesty.
That you would love yourself; and, in that love,
Not unconfider'd leave your honour, nor
The dignity of your office, is the point
Of my petition.

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

escapes not
Language unmannerly, yea, such which breaks
The sides of loyalty, and almost appears
In loud rebellion.

Nor. Not almost appears,
It doth appear : for, upon these taxations,
The clothiers all, not able to maintain
3 The many to them 'longing, have put off
The spinsters, carders, fullers, weavers, who,
Unfit for other life, compell’d by hunger

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.


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

4 And lack of other means, in desperate manner
Daring the event to the teeth, are all in uproar,
s And Danger serves among them.

King. Taxation !
Wherein ? and what taxation My lord cardinal,
You that are blam'd for it alike with us,
Know you of this taxation ?

Wol. Please you, fir,
I know but of a single part, in aught
Pertains to the state ; and front but in that file
Where others tell steps with me.

Queen. No, my lord,
+ And lack of other means,-) Means does not fignify methods
of livelihood, for that was said immediately before :

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.

s And Danger serves among them.] Could one easily believe,
that a writer, who had, but immediately before, funk fo low in
his expression, should here rise again to a height so truly fublime?
where, by the noblest stretch of fancy, Danger is personalized as
serving in the rebel army, and shaking the established govern.

Chaucer, Gower, Skelton, and Spenser, have personified
Danger. The first, in his Romaunt of the Rose; the fecond, in
his fifth book De Confeffione Amantis; the third in his Bouge of

“ With that, anone out start dangerc.".
and the fourth, in the ioth Canto of the fourth book of his
Faery Queen, and again in the fifth book and the ninth Canto,

STEEVENS. - front but in that file] I am but primus inter pares.

I am but first in the row of counsellors. JOHNSON,




[ocr errors]


You know no inore than others : but


fraine Things, that are known alike ; which are not whole,

To those which would not know them, and yet must
Perforce be their acquaintance. These exactions,
Whereof my sovereign would have note, they are
Most pestilent to the hearing; and, to bear them,
The back is sacrifice to the load. They say,.
They are devis'd by you ; or else you suffer
Too hard an exclamation,

King. Still exaction !
The nature of it? In what kind, let's know,
Is this exaction?

Queen. I am much too venturous
In tempting of your patience ; but am bolden'd
Under your promis’d pardon, The subject's grief
Comes through comınissions, which compel from

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

a word

King. By my my life,
This is against our pleasure.

Wol. And for me,
I have no further gone in this, than by
A single voice; and that not past me, but
By learned approbation of the judges. If I am
Traduc'd by ignorant tongues,—which neither know
My faculties, nor person, yet will be
The chronicles of my doing,-- let me say,
'Tis but the fate of place, and the rough brake
That virtue must go through. We must not stint)
Our necessary actions, in the fear
To cope malicious censurers; which ever,
As ravenous fishes, do a vessel follow
That is new trimm'd; but benefit no further
Than vainly longing. What we oft do best,
By fick interpreters, once weak ones', is



[ocr errors]

a word that could not offend the cardinal, and yet would incline
the king to give it a speedy hearing. I read therefore :

There is no primer business.
i.c, no matter of state that more earnestly presses a dispatch.

9 We muf not ftint] To stint is to stop, to retard. Many in.
stances of this sense of the word are given in a note on the first
act of Romeo and Juliet. STEEVENS.

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.

Not ours,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »