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contributed to Wolsey's ruin. He was not careful enough in making dependants by his bounty, while intent in amassing wealth to himself. The following line seems to confirm this correction,
Corruption wins not more than honesty. i. e. You will never find men won over to your temporary occasions by bribery so useful to you as friends made by a just and generous munificence.
I am unwilling wantonly to contradict so ingenious a remark, but that the reader may not be misled, and believe the emendation proposed to be absolutely necessary, he should remember that this is not a time for Wolsey to speak only as a statesman, but as a christian: Shakspeare would have debased the character, just when he was employing his strongest efforts to raise it, had he drawn it otherwise. Nothing makes the hour of disgrace more irksome, than the reflection, that we have been deaf to offers of reconciliation, and continued those our enemies, whom we might have converted into friends. 30 Had I but serv'd my God with half the zeul
I scru'd my king,] This sentence, it is said, really uttered by Wolsey.
31 SCENE 11.] This scene is above any other part of Shakspeare's tragedies, and, perhaps, above any scene of any other poet, tender and pathetick, without gods, or furies, or poisons, or precipices, without the help of romantick circumstances, without impro
bable sallies of poetical lamentation, and without any throes of tumultuous misery.
JOHNSON. 32 of an unbounded stomach,] Stomach here signifies pride or haughtiness.
ss solemnly tripping one after another,] This whimsical stage-direction is exactly copied from the folio.
STEEVENS. * Not for delights;] Gardiner himself is not much delighted. The delight at which he hints seems to be the king's diversion, which keeps hin in attendance,
JOHNSON --at Primero-] Primero and primavista, two games at cards, H. I. Primera Primavista. La Primiere, G. Prime, f. Prime veue. Primum, et primum visum, that is, first, and first seen: because he that can shew such an order of cards first, wins the game. Minshicu's Guide into Tongues, col. 575.
36 Have broken with the king;] They have broken silence; told their minds to the king.
37 Than I myself, poor man.) Poor man probably belongs to the king's reply.
JOHNSON. 38 Speak to the business, - ] This lord chancellor, though a character, has hitherto had no place in the Dramatis Personce. In the last scene of the fourth act, we heard that sir Thomas More was appointed lord chancellor : but it is not he, whom the poet here introduces. Wolsey, by command, delivered up the seals on the 18th of November, 1529; on the 25th of the same month, they were delivered to sir Thomas
More, who surrendered them on the 16th of May, 1532. Now the conclusion of this scene taking notice of queen Elizabeth's birth (which brings it down to the year 1534), sir Thomas Audlie must necessarily be our poet's chancellor; who succeeded sir Thomas More, and held the seals many years. THEOBALD.
and capable Of our flesh, few are angels :-) If this passage means any thing, it may mean, few are perfect, while they remain in their mortal capacity. STLEVENS,
-you'd spare your spoons.] It was the custom, long before the time of Shakspeare, for the sponsors at christenings, to offer gilt spoons as a present to the child. These spoons were called apostle spoons, because the figures of the apostles were carved on the tops of the handles. Such as were at once opulent and generous, gave the whole twelve; those who were either more moderately rich or liberal, escaped at the expence of the four evangelists; or even some times contented themselves with presenting one spoon only, which exhibited the figure of any saint, in honour of whom the child received its name.
Ben Jonson, in his Bartholomew Fair, mentions spoons of this kind ;_" and all this for the hope of a
couple of apostle spoons, and a cup to eat caudle in,"
So in Middleton's comedy of A chaste Maid in Cheapside, 1620,
“ What has he given her? --what is it, gossip?
“ A faire high standing cup, and two great VOL. IX.
“ 'Postle spoons, one of them gilt.
4 Paris-garden?] The bear-garden of the time.
42 sir Guy, nor Colbrand,] Colbrand was the Danish giant vanquished at Winchester by Guy earl of Warwick. For an account of this battle, see Drayton's Polyolbion.
43 he should be a brasier by his face ;] A brasier signifies a man that manufactures brass, and a mass of metal occasionally heated to convey warmth. Both these senses are here understood. JOHNSON
* the Tribulation of Tower-hill, or the limbs of Limehouse.] I suspect the Tribulation to have been a puritanical meeting-house. The limbs of Limehouse, I do not understand.
JOHNSON. Limehouse was before the time of Shakspeare, and has continued to be ever since, the residence of those who furnish stores, as sails, &c. for shipping. A great number of foreigners having been constantly employed in these manufactures (many of which were introduced from other countries), they assembled themselves under their several pastors, and a number of places of different worship were built in consequence of their respective associations. As they clashed in principles, they had frequent quarrels, and the place has ever since been famous for the variety of its sects, and the turbulence of its inhabitants. It is not improbable that Shakspeare wrote-the lambs of Limehouse.
-baiting of bumbards,] A bumbard is an alebarrel; to bait bumbards is to tipple, to lie at the spigot,
JOHNSON. 46 For such a one we shew'd them.] In the character of Catharine.
Though it is very difficult to decide whether short pieces be genuine or spurious, yet I cannot restrain myself from expressing my suspicion that neither the prologue nor epilogue to this play is the work of Shakspeare; non vultus, non color. It appears to me very likely that they were supplied by the friendship or officiousness of Jonson, whose manner they will be perhaps found exactly to resemble. There is yet another supposition possible: the prologue and epilogue may have been written after Shakspeare's departure from the stage, upon some accidental revisal of the play, and there will then be reason for imagining that the writer, whoever he was, intended no great kindness to him, this play being recommended by a subtle and covert censure of his other works. There is in Shakspeare so much of fool and
fight, the fellow In a long motley coat, guarded with yellow, appears so often in his drama, that I think it not very likely that he would have animadverted so severely on himself. All this, however, must be received as very dubious, since we know not the exact date of this or the other plays, and cannot tell how our author might have changed his practice or opinions. JOHNSON.
In support of Dr. Johnson's opinion, I cannot re