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Flourish. Enter King and Train.
Thank you, good lord archbishop;
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.
Cran. Let me speak, sir,
soul shall be. All princely graces,
her : In her days, every man shall eat in safety,
Under his own vine, what he plants; and sing
, And, like a mountain cedar, reach his branches To all the plains about him.- -Our children's children Shall see this, and bless Heaven. K. Hen.
Thou speakest wonders.]
K. Hen. O lord archbishop,
1 Some of the commentators think that this and the following seventeen lines were probably written by Ben Johnson, after the accession of king James. We have before observed Mr. Gifford is of opinion that Ben Jonson had no hand in the additions to this play.
2 The year before the revival of this play there was a lottery for the plantation of Virginia. The lines probably allude to the settlement of that colony.
That, when I am in heaven, I shall desire
lords; Ye must all see the queen, and she must thank ye; 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
The play of Henry VIII. is one of those which still keeps possession of the stage by the splendor 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, have 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 historical dramas are now concluded, of which the two parts of Henry IV. and Henry V. are among the happiest of our author's compo
and King John, Richard III., and Henry VIII., deservedly stand in the second class. Those whose curiosity would refer the historical scenes to their original, may consult Holinshed, and sometimes Hall. From Holinshed, Shakspeare has often inserted whole speeches with no more alteration than was necessary to the numbers of his verse. To transcribe them into the margin was unnecessary, because the original is easily examined, and they are seldom less perspicuous in the Poet than in the historian.
To play histories, or to exhibit a succession of events by action and dialogue, was a common entertainment among our rude ancestors upon great festivities.* The parish clerks once performed at Clerkenwell a play which lasted three days, containing the History of the World.
* It appears that the tradesmen of Chester were three days emplɔyed in the representation of twenty-four Whitsun plays or mysteries. See Mr. Markland's Disquisition, prefixed to his very elegant and interesting selection from the Chester Mysteries, printed for private distribution ; which may be consulted in the third volume of the late edition of Malone's Shakspeare, by Mr. Boswell. The Coventry Mysteries must have taken up a longer time, as they were no less than forty in number.