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THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
810350 ASTOR, LENOX AND TILDEN FOUNDATIONS
Copyright, 1909, by
All the unsigned footnotes in this volume are by the writer of the article to which they are appended. The interpretation of the initials signed to the others is: I. G.
Israel Gollancz, M.A.; H. N. H.= Henry Norman Hudson, A.M.; C. H. H.-C. H. Herford, Litt.D.
By ISRAEL GOLLANCZ, M.A.
THE FIRST EDITION
The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eighth was printed for the first time in the First Folio. There was no Quarto edition of the play.
The text of the play is singularly free from corruptions; the Acts and Scenes are indicated throughout; the stage-directions are full and explicit.? Rowe first supplied, imperfectly, the Dramatis Persona.
DATE OF COMPOSITION
Henry the Eighth was undoubtedly acted as "a new play” on June 29, 1613, and resulted in the destruction by fire of the Globe Theater on that day. The evidence on this point seems absolutely conclusive:
(i) Thomas Lorkin, in a letter dated “this last of June” 1613, referring to the catastrophe of the previous day, says: “No longer since than yesterday, while Bourbage his companie were acting at the Globe the play of Henry VIII, and their shooting of certayne chambers in the way of triumph, the fire catch’d,” etc.
1 Except in the case of Act V. scene iii., where no change of scene is marked in the folio. "Exeunt is not added at the end of the previous scene, but it is quite clear that the audience was to imagine a change of scene from the outside to the inside of the Council-chamber. The stage-direction runs:-“A Councell Table brought in with Chayres and Stooles, and placed under the state,” etc.
2 The lengthy stage-direction at the beginning of Act V. Sc. v. was taken straight from Holinshed; similarly, the order of the Coronation in Act IV. sc. i.
(ii) Sir Henry Wotton, writing to his nephew on July 2, 1613, tells how the Globe was burnt down during the performance of a new play, called All is True,' representing some principal pieces of the reign of Henry the 8th.
Now, King Henry making a Masque at the Cardinal Wolsey's House, and certain cannons being shot off at his entry, some of the paper, and other stuff, where
1 Cp. Prologue to Henry VIII, 11. 9, 18, 21:
“May here find truth.”
“To rank our chosen truth with such a show."
“To make that only true we now intend.” The second name of the play may very well have been a counterblast to the title of Rowley's Chronicle History of Henry 8th, "When you see me you know me," and perhaps also of Heywood's plays on Queen Elizabeth, “If you know not me, you know no body.” It is possible that both Prologue and Epilogue of Henry VIII refer to Rowley's play, “the merry bawdy play,” with its "fool and fight,” and its "abuse of the city."
“When you see Me" was certainly “the Enterlude of K. Henry VIII” entered in the Stationers' Books under the date of February 12, 1604 (-5), which has sometimes been identified with Shakespeare's play.
It is noteworthy that the play, first published in 1605, was re-issued in 1613. The same is true of the First Part of Heywood's play. This play of Heywood's called forth the well-known prologue, wherein the author protested
“That some by stenography drew
The plot: put it in print: scarce one word trew." Similarly, the Chronicle History of Thomas Lord Cromwell, originally printed in 1602, was re-issued in 1613 with the mendacious or equivocal statement on the title-page, "written by W. 8.”
We know from Henslowe's Diary that there were at least two plays on Wolsey which held the stage in 1601, 1602, The Rising of Cardinal Wolsey, by Munday, Drayton & Chettle, and Cardinal Wolsey, by Chettle.
An edition of Rowley's play, by Karl Elze, with Introduction and Notes, was published in 1874 (Williams & Norgate).
2 Vide Act I. sc. iv. 44–51, with stage direction:-"Chambers discharged."