Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

drama, containing, in fact, the commencement of the story. of this course of proceeding Henslowe's Diary furnishes several other examples.

The earliest entry relating to " Cardinal Wolsey," (the second play in the order of the incidents, though the earliest in point of production) is dated 5th June, 1601, when Henry Chettle was paid 208. " for writing the book of Cardinal Wolsey.” On the 14th July he was paid 40s. more on the same account, and in the whole, between 5th June and 17th July, he was paid 51., as large a sum as he usually obtained for a new play.

We have no positive testimony of the success of “Cardinal Wolsey," of which Chettle was the sole author; but we are led to infer it, because very soon afterwards we find no fewer than four poets engaged upon the production of the drama under the title of " The Rising of Cardinal Wolsey," which, doubtless, related to his early life, and to his gradual advance in the favour of Henry VIII. These four poets were Drayton, Chettle, Munday, and Wentworth Smith; and so many pens, we may conjecture, were employed, that the play might be brought out with all dispatch, in order to follow up the popularity of what may be looked upon as the second part of the same "history." Another memorandum in Henslowe's Diary tends to the same conclusion, for it appears that the play was licensed piece-meal by the Master of the Revels, that it might be put into rehearsal as it proceeded, and represented immediately after it was finished.

A farther point established by the same authority is, that Henslowe expended an unusual amount in getting up the drama. On the 10th Ang. 1601, he paid no less than 211. for “velvet, sattin, and taffeta” for the dresses, a sum equal now to about 1001. Upon the costumes only, in the whole, considerably more than 2001. were laid out, reckoning the value of money in 1601 at about five times its value at present.

We may conclude with tolerable certainty that Shakespeare wrote “ Henry the Eighth” in the winter of 1603-4, and that it was first acted at the Globe soon after the commencement of the season there, which seems to have begun towards the close of April, as soon as a theatre open to the weather could be conveniently employed. The coronation procession of Anne Bullen forms a prominent feature in the drama; and as the coronation of Jaines I. and Anne of Denmark took place on the 24th July, 1603, we may not unreasonably suppose that the audiences at the Globo were intended to be reminded of that event, and that the show, detailed with such unusual minuteness in the folio of 1623, was meant as a remote imitation of its splendour. The opinion, that Shakespeare's “ Henry the Eighth” was undoubtedly written after the accession of James I., was expressed and printed by us nearly twenty years ago. The words “aged princess,” (no part of the imputed addition by Ben Jonson) would never have been used by Shakespeare during the life of Elizabeth.

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

KING HENRY THE EIGHTH.
CARDINAL WOLSEY. CARDINAL CAMPEIUS.
CAPUCIUS, Ambassador from Charles V.
CRANMER, Archbishop of Canterbury.
DUKE OF NORFOLK. EARL OF SURREY.
DUKE OF SUFFOLK. DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.
LORD CHAMBERLAIN. LORD CHANCELLOR.
GARDINER, Bishop of Winchester.
BISHOP OF LINCOLN. LORD ABERGAVENNY. LORD

SANDS.
SIR HENRY GUILDFORD. SIR THOMAS LOVELL.
SIR ANTHONY DENNY. SIR NICHOLAS Vaux,
Secretaries to Wolsey.
CROMWELL, Servant to Wolsey.
GRIFFITH, Gentleman-Usher to Queen Katharine.
Three other Gentlemen. Garter, King at Arms.
Doctor Butts, Physician to the King.
Surveyor to the Duke of Buckingham.
BRANDON, and a Sergeant at Arms.
Door-keeper of the Council-Chamber. Porter,

and his Man.
Page to Gardiner. A Crier.

QUEEN KATHARINE, Wife to King Henry.
ANNE BULLEN, her Maid of Honour.
An old Lady, Friend to Anne Bullen.

PATIENCE, Woman to Queen Katharine.
Several Lords and Ladies in the Dumb Shows; Wo-

men attending upon the Queen; Spirits, which appear to her ; Scribes, Officers, Guards, and other Attendants.

SCENE, chiefly in London and Westminster; once, at

Kimbolton.

KING HENRY VIII.

ACT I.

PROLOGUE. I COME po more to make you laugh: things now, That bear a weighty and a serious brow, Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe, Such noble scenes as draw the eye to flow, We now present. Those that can pity, here May, if they think it well, let fall a tear; The subject will deserve it: such, as give Their money out of hope they may believe, May here find truth too: those, that come to see Only a show or two, and so agree The play may pass, if they be still and willing, I'll undertake, may see away their shilling Richly in two short hours. Only they, That come to hear a merry, bawdy play, A noise of targets, or to see a fellow In a long motley coat, guarded' with yellow, Will be deceiv'd; for, gentle hearers, know, To rank our chosen truth with such a show As fool and fight is, beside forfeiting Our own brains, and the opinion that we bring, To make that only true we now intend, Will leave us never an understanding friend. Therefore, for goodness' sake, and as you are known, The first and happiest hearers of the town, Be sad as we would make ye : think, ye see The very persons of our noble story, As they were living; think, you see them great, And follow'd with the general throng, and sweat Of thousand friends ; then, in a moment, see How soon this mightiness meets misery : And, if you can be merry then, I'll say, A man may weep upon his wedding day.

1 Bordered.

SCENE I.-London. An Ante-chamber in the

Palace. Enter the Duke of Norfolk, at one door ; at the other,

the Duke of BucKINGHAM, and the Lord ABER

GAVENNY.

Buck. Good morrow, and well met. How have

you done,
Since last we saw in France ?
Nor.

I thank your grace,
Healthful; and ever since a fresh admirer
Of what I saw there.
Buck.

An untimely ague
Stay'd me a prisoner in my chamber, when
Those suns of glory, those two lights of men,
Met in the vale of Andren.
Nor.

'Twixt Guynes and Arde :
I was then present, saw them salute on horseback;
Beheld them, when they lighted, how they clung,
In their embracement, as they grew together;
Which had they, what four thron'd ones could have

weigh'd
Such a compounded one?
Buck.

All the whole time
I was my chamber's prisoner.
Nor.

Then you lost
The view of earthly glory : men might say,
Till this time, pomp was single ; but now married
To one above itself. Each following day
Became the next day's master, till the last
Made former wonders it's : to-day the French
All clinquant, all in gold, like heathen gods,
Shone down the English ; and to-morrow they
Made Britain, India : every man that stood
Show'd like a mine. Their dwarfish pages were
As cherubins, all gilt: the madams, too,
Not us'd to toil, did almost sweat to bear
The pride upon them, that their very labour
Was to them as a painting : now this mask
Was cried incomparable ; and the ensuing night
Made it a fool, and beggar. The two kings,
Equal in lustre, were now best, now worst,
As presence did present them; him in eye,
Still him in praise; and, being present both,

'T was said, they saw but one: and no discerner
Durst wag his tongue in censure. When these suns
(For so they praise 'em) by their heralds challengd
The noble spirits to arms, they did perform
Beyond thought's compass ; that former fabulous story,
Being now seen possible enough, got credit,
That Bevis: was believ'd.
Buck.

0! you go far.
Nor. As I belong to worship, and affect
In honour honesty, the tract of every thing
Would by a good discourser lose some life,
Which action's self was tongue to. All was royal :
To the disposing of it nought rebell’d;
Order gave each thing view.
Buck.

The office did
Distinctly his full function.” Who did guide,
I mean, who set the body and the limbs
Of this great sport together, as you guess ?

Nor. One, certes, that promises no element
In such a business.
Buck.

I

pray you, who, my lord ? Nor. All this was order'd by the good discretion of the right reverend cardinal of York.

Buck. The devil speed him ! no man's pie is freed
From his ambitious finger. What had he
To do in these fierce vanities ? I wonder,
That such a keecho can, with his very bulk,
Take up the rays o' the beneficial sun,
And keep it from the earth.
Nor.

Surely, sir,
There's in him stuff that puts him to these ends ;
For, being not propp'd by ancestry,
Chalks successors their way, nor call’d upon
For high feats done to the crown; neither allied
To eminent assistants, but, spider-like,
Out of his self-drawing web, he gives us note,
The force of his own merit makes his way;
A gift that heaven gives him, and which buys
A place next to the king.
Aber.

I cannot tell
What heaven hath given him : let some graver eye

whose grace

1 Of Southampton, the hero of an old romance. 2 This sentence is assigned to NORFOLK, in f. e. 3 A ball of fat, rolled up by batchers. 40 : in folio.' Steevens made the change.

Vo«. V.-32

« ÎnapoiContinuați »