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pauses of the verse; (iii.) the clashing of the emphasis with the cadence of the metre The subject received no serious attention for well-nigh a century, until in 1850 Mr. Spedding published his striking study of the play, wherein he elaborated a suggestion casually thrown out by a man of first-rate judgment on such a point' (viz., the late Lord Tennyson), that many passages in Henry VIII. were very much in the manner of Fletcher. Basing his conclusions on considerations of dramatic construction, diction, metre, and subtler æsthetic criteria, he assigned to Shakespeare Act I. Sc. i., ii.; Act II. Sc. iii., iv.; Act III. Sc. ii. (to exit of the King); Act V. Sc. i., and all the rest of the play to Fletcher (though, possibly, even a third hand can be detected).*

Shakespeare's original design was probably 'a great historical drama on the subject of Henry VIII., which would have included the divorce of Katharine, the fall of Wolsey, the rise of Cranmer, the coronation of Anne Bullen, and the final separation of the English from the Romish Church.' He had carried out his idea as far as Act III., when his fellows at the Globe required a new play for some special occasion (perhaps the marriage of Princess Elizabeth); the MS. was handed over to Fletcher, who elaborated a five-act play, suitable to the occasion, 'by interspersing scenes of show and magnificence'; a splendid 'historical masque or show-play' was the result.t

*N.B.-Wolsey's famous soliloquy falls to Fletcher's share.

As regards the Prologue and Epilogue, they seem Fletcherian; the former may well be compared with the lines prefixed to The Mad Lover; they are, however, so contradictory, that one would fain assign them to different hands.

The panegyric at the end is quite in the Masque-style; so, too, the Vision in Act IV. Sc. ii.; compare Pericles, V. ii. ; Cymbeline, V. iv., both similarly un-Shakespearian. The Masque in the Tempest is also of some

Spedding's views on Henry VIII. are now generally accepted ; * they were immediately confirmed by Mr. S. Hickson, who had been investigating the matter independently (Notes and Queries, II. p. 198; III. p. 33), and later on by Mr. Fleay and others, who subjected the various portions of the play to the metrical tests.t

The Sources. There were four main sources used for the his

what doubtful authorship. Mr Fleay suggested as an explanation of the dual authorship that that part of Shakespeare's play was burnt at the Globe, and that Fletcher was employed to re-write this part; that in doing so he used such material as he recollected from his hearing of Shakespeare's play. Hence the superiority of his work here over that elsewhere (vide Shakespeare Manual, p. 171).

* Singer, Knight, Ward, Ulrici, do not accept the theory of a divided authorship. In the Transactions of the New Shak. Soc. for 1880-5, there is a paper by Mr Robert Boyle, putting forth the theory that the play was written by Fletcher and Massinger, and that the original Shakespearian play perished altogether in the Globe fire.

†These tests seem decisive against Shakespeare's sole authorship. Dr Abbott (Shakespearian Grammar, p. 331) states emphatically :-"The fact that in Henry VIII., and in no other play of Shakespeare's, constant exceptions are formed to this rule (that an extra syllable at the end of a line is rarely a monosyllable) seems to me a sufficient proof that Shakespeare did not write that play."

The following table will show at a glance the metrical characteristics of the parts:

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torical facts of the play :-(i.) Hall's Union of the Families of Lancaster and York (1st ed. 1548); (ii.) Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1st ed. 1577; 2nd ed. 1586); (iii.) The Life of Cardinal Wolsey, by George Cavendish, his gentleman-usher (first printed in 1641; MSS. of the work were common); (iv.) Foxe's Acts and Monuments of the Church (1st ed. 1563). The last-named book afforded the materials for the Fifth Act.

Chronology of the Play. Though the play keeps in many places the very diction of the authorities, yet its chronology is altogether capricious, as will be seen from the following table of historic dates, arranged in the order of the play :—* 1520. June. Field of the Cloth of Gold.

1522. March. War declared with France.

May-July. Visit of the Emperor to the English Court. 1521. April 16th. Buckingham brought to the Tower, 1527. Henry becomes acquainted with Anne Bullen. 1521. May. Arraignment of Buckingham.

May 17th. His Execution.

1527. August. Commencement of proceedings for the divorce. 1528. October. Cardinal Campeius arrives in London, 1532. September. Anne Bullen created Marchioness of Pembroke.

1529. May. Assembly of the Court at Blackfriars to try the case of the divorce.

* Vide P. A. Daniel's Time Analysis, Trans. of New Shak. Soc., 1877-79; cp. Courtenay's Commentaries on the Historical Plays; Warner's English History in Shakespeare.

1529. J


Cranmer abroad working for the divorce,

1529. Return of Cardinal Campeius to Rome.

1533. January. Marriage of Henry with Anne Bullen, 1529. October. Wolsey deprived of the great seal,

Sir Thomas More chosen Lord Chancellor. 1533. March 30th. Cranmer consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury.

May 23rd. Nullity of the marriage with Katherine declared.

1530. November 29th, Death of Cardinal Wolsey.

1533. June 1st,

1536. January 8th.

Coronation of Anne.

1533. September 7th.


Death of Queen Katherine.

Birth of Elizabeth.

Cranmer called before the Council, 1533. September. Christening of Elizabeth,

Duration of Action,

From the above it is clear that

the historical events of the play cover a period of twenty-four years; the time of the play, however, is seven days, represented on the stage, with intervals:—

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