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craftie suggestion gat into his hands innumerable treasure: he forced little on simonie, and was not pittifull, and stood affectionate in his owne opinion: in open presence he would lie and saie untruth, and was double both in speach and meaning: he would promise much and performe little: he was vicious of ĥis bodie, & gaue the clergie euill example. ...
IV. ii. 48 ff. Griffith's commendation of Wolsey is equally taken from Holinshed (1587), p. 917: 'This cardinall (as Edward Campian in his historie of Ireland describeth him) was a man undoubtedly borne to honor: I thinke (saith he) some princes bastard, no butchers sonne, exceeding wise, faire spoken, high minded, full of reuenge, vitious of his bodie, loftie to his enemies, were they neuer so big, to those that accepted and sought his freendship woonderfull courteous, a ripe schooleman, thrall to affections, brought a bed with flatterie, insatiable to get, and more princelie in bestowing, as appeareth by his two colleges at Ipswich and Oxenford, the one ouerthrowne with his fall, the other unfinished, and yet as it lieth as an house for students, considering all the appurtenances incomparable thorough Christendome, whereof Henrie the eight is now called founder, bicause he let it stand
neuer happie till this his ouerthrow. Wherein he shewed such moderation, and ended so perfectlie, that the houre of his death did him more honor, than all the pompe of his life passed.'
IV. ii. 50. From his cradle. Many editors prefer Theobald's punctuation, which puts a period after 'cradle' instead of after 'honour.'
IV. ii. 59. Ipswich, and Oxford. The college founded by Wolsey at Ipswich remains only in a gatehouse; Christ Church at Oxford was founded by Wolsey and originally called Cardinal College.
IV. ii. 111. Capucius. Holinshed (1587), p.
939: ‘The princesse Dowager lieng at Kimbolton, fell into hir last sicknesse, whereof the king being aduertised, appointed the emperors ambassador that was legier here with him named Caputius, to go to visit hir, and to do his commendations to hir, and will hir to be of good comfort.'
V. The first four scenes of this act dramatize an anecdote told by Foxe in his Acts and Monuments of Martyrs (usually called briefly the Book of Martyrs) (1583), pp. 1866 and 1867. The fifth scene is taken from Holinshed (1587), pp. 934-935.
There is no attempt at chronology. Sir Thomas Lovell died in 1524; Elizabeth was born 1533; Cromwell was executed in 1540; and the scene with Cranmer must have been in 1544 or 1545.
V. ii. 18 S. d. Enter the King and Butts at a window above. In the Folio there is no division between this scene and the one following. This was unfortunately introduced by White to conform to our modern stage conventions. The King and Butts appeared upon
the gallery across the back of the Elizabethan stage. Then, with them in full view of the audience but out of the sight of the actors upon the stage, the council assembled below.
V. iii. 29-31. Doubtless an allusion to the Anabaptist rising in Münster under John of Leyden, 1534-1535.
V. iii. 85. This is too much. The Folio gives all the speeches in this scene, here assigned to the Lord Chancellor, to the Lord Chamberlain. As was pointed out by Capell, they belong rather to the Lord Chancellor because he was the presiding officer. The error was probably due to a misreading of the abbreviation Chan. into Cham. Some modern editors, however, assign one of the seven speeches to the Lord Chamberlain, since otherwise he would be silent.
V. iii. 133. his place. This is the reading of the Folio. Paraphrased, it means: now let the proudest deny that thou art his equal, that his position becomes thee. Some modern editors, however, follow Rowe's emendation, 'this place.'
V. iv. 2. Parish-garden. The corrupt pronunciation for Paris-garden, a place of unruly entertainment near the site of the Globe Theatre.
V. iv. 16. May-day morning. On the first of May it was customary to go out early into the fields to gather flowers and dew, which was considered good for the complexion.
V. iv. 23. I am not Samson, etc. The allusion to the proverbial strength of Samson as told in the Old Testament story is obvious. Sir Guy of Warwick is the hero of the medieval romance of the same name; one of his adventures is the killing of the giant Colbrand.
V. iv. 28. for a cow. A proverbial expression, still in use, it is said.
V. iv. 34. Moorfields. The exercising ground of the London militia.
V. iv. 35. strange Indian. It was the Jacobean custom to exhibit Indians, much as we do Hottentots. If the date of exhibition of such an Indian could be ascertained, it would be a clue to the troubled question of the date of the play. Compare The Tempest, II. ii. 29-35.
V. iv. 41. The spoons will be the bigger. Spoons were favorite gifts at christenings. See V. ii. 166, 167.
V. iv. 54. Clubs. 'Clubs' was the rallying cry of the London apprentices.
V. iv. 67, 68. Tribulation of Tower-hill, or the Limbs of Limehouse.
These are fanciful names, alluding to unruly districts of London.
V. iv. 71. running banquet. The two beadles
(officers of the law) will chase them, whipping them, after the prison term of three days has expired.
Elizabeth was christened September 10, 1688.
SOURCES OF THE PLAY
The sources of Henry VIII are Holinshed's Chronicle for the first four acts and the last scene of the fifth act, and Foxe's Book of Martyrs for the first four scenes of the fifth act. Mr. Chambers? posits an earlier version of the play called by the name of Buckingham. This does not seem probable because Holinshed is not the ‘source' in the rather vague sense applicable to the other plays. Here much of the play is merely Holinshed's scenes dramatized and his words put into blank verse. A fair illustration is the speech of the First Gentleman, II. ii. 149-153.
Yes, but it held not;
That durst disperse it.
‘The king was offended with those tales, and sent for Sir Thomas Seimor maior of the citie of London, secretlie charging him to see that the people ceased from such talke.'
But as the play covers a period of twenty-four years, over a hundred folio pages in Holinshed, the playwrights selected passages to dramatize. From this condition three criticisms follow:
(1) The chronology is hopelessly confused, as the action is compressed into six or seven days. This confusion is partly unavoidable; the changes which occur during a quarter of a century must be ignored. The characters of the first act would have actually
1E. K. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage, Vol. 2, p. 202.