Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

Flourish. Enter King and Train.
Cran. [Kneeling.) And to your royal grace, and the

good queen,
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 lord archbishop;
What is her name?
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 be
(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.

soul shall be. All princely graces,
That mould up such a mighty piece as this is,
With all the virtues that attend the good,
Shall still be doubled on her. Truth shall nurse her,
Holy and heavenly thoughts still counsel her.
She shall be loved and feared; her own shall bless her;
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 neighbors.
God shall be truly known; and those about her
From her shall read the perfect ways of honor,
And by those claim their greatness, not by blood.
[Nor shall this peace sleep with her; but as when
The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phænix,
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 darkness)
Who, from the sacred ashes of her honor,
Shall star-like rise, as great in fame as she was,
And so stand fixed. Peace, plenty, love, truth, terror,
That were the servants to this chosen infant,
Shall then be his, and like a vine grow to him;
Wherever the bright sun of heaven shall shine,
His honor and the greatness of his name
Shall be, and make new nations. He shall flourish,

?

, 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.]
Cran. She shall be, to the happiness of England,
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
To the ground, and all the world shall inourn her.

K. Hen. O lord archbishop,
Thou hast made me now a man; never,

before
This happy child, did I get any thing.
This oracle of confort has so pleased me,

2

a

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
To see what this child does, and praise my Maker.-
I thank ye all.—To you, my good lord mayor,


And your good brethren, I am much beholden ;
I have received much honor by your presence,
And

ye
shall find me thankful. Lead the

way,

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.

EPILOGUE.

'Tis ten to one, this play can never please
All that are here. Some come to take their ease,
And sleep an act or two; but those, we fear,
We have frighted with our trumpets; so, 'tis clear,
They'll say, 'Tis naught! others, to hear the city
Abused 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 showed them. If they smile,
And say, 'Twill do! I know, within a while

,
All the best men are ours; for 'tis ill hap,
If they hold, when their ladies bid them clap.

a

sitions;

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.

a

JOHNSON.

* 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.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »