Imatges de pÓgina

NOR FOLK, godmother, bearing the child richly habited in
a mantle, &c. Train borne by a Lady : tben follows the
Marchioness of DORSET, the other godmother, and ladies,
The troop balts, and Garter speaks.

Gart. Heaven, from thy endless goodness, send prof. perous life, long, and ever happy, to the high and mighty princess of England, Elizabeth!

Flourish. Enter King, and Train.
Cran. [kneeling.1 And to your royal grace, and the

good queen,
My noble partners, and myself, thus pray ;-
Al comfort, joy, in this mod gracious lady,
Heaven ever laid up to make parents happy,
May hourly fall upon ye!

King. Thank you, good lord archbishop:
What is her name?

Cran. Elizabeth.

King. Stand up, lord. [The King kisses the child.
With this kiss take my blefling: God protect thee!
Into whose hand I give thy life.

Cran. Amen.

King. My noble goslips, ye have been too prodigal:
I thank ye heartily; so shall this lady,
When she has so much English..

Cran. Let me speak, fir,
For Heaven now bids me; and the words I utter
Let none think flattery, for they'll find them truth,
This royal infant, (heaven ftill move about her!)
Though in her cradle, yet now promises
Upon this land a thousand thousand blessings,
Which time shall bring to ripeness: She shall be
(But few now living can behold that goodness)
A pattern to all princes living with her,
And all that shall succeed: Sheba was never
More covetous of wisdom, and fair virtue,

3 Heaven, from eby endless goodness, &c.] These words are not the invention of the poet, having been pronounced at the christening of Elizabeth. See Hall's Cbronicle, Henry VIII. fol. 218. MALONE.

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Than this pure foul shall be: all princely graces,
That mould up such a mighty piece as this is,
With all the virtues that attend the good,
Shall still be doubled on her: truth thall nurse her,
Holy and heavenly thoughts still counsel her:
She shall be lov’d, and fear'd: Her own shall bless her ;
Her foes shake like a field of beaten corn,
And hang their heads with sorrow: Good grows with her :
In her days, every man fall eat in safety *,
Under his own vine, what he plants; and sing
The merry songs of peace to all his neighbours ;
God shall be truly known; and those about her
From her shall read the perfect ways of honour",
And by those claim their greatness, not by blood,
[Nor thall this peace sleep with her 6 : But as when


4 every man shall eat in safety,] This part of the prophecy seems to have been burlesqued by B. and Fletcher in the Beggar's Bufs, where orator Higgin is making his congratulatory speech to the new king of the beggars :

* Each man shall eat his own stolen eggs, and butter,

" In his own shade, or funshine, " &c. The original thought, however, is borrowed from the fourth chapter of the first book of Kings: “Every man dwelt safely under his vine."

STEEVENS. 5 - tbe per fest ways of bonour, ] The old copy reads way. The Night emendation now made is fully justified by the subsequent line, and by the scriptural expression which our author probably had in his thoughts. “ Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” MALONE.

6. Nor shall ibis peace sleep wirb ber:] These lines, to the interruption by the king, seem to have been inserted at some sevival of the play, after the accellion of king James. If the passage, included in crotchets, be left out, the speech of Cranmer proceeds in a regular tenour of prediction and continuity of sentiments; but, by the interposition of the new lines, he first celebrates Elizabeth's succefior, and then wishes he did not know that she was to die; first rejoices at the consequence, and then laments the cause. Our authour was at once politick and idle; he resolved to flatter James, but neglected to reduce the whole speech to propriety, or perhaps intended that the lines in. serted should be spoken in the action, and omitted in the publication, if any publication ever was in his thoughts. Mr. Theobald has made the same observation. JOHNSON. I agree entirely with Dr. Johnson with respect to the time when


The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phænix,
Her ashes new create another heir,
As great in admiration as herself;
So ihall the leave her blessedness to one,
(When heaven shall call her from this cloud of darkness)
Who, from the sacred ashes of her honour,
Shall star-like rise, as great in fame as she was,
And so stand fix'd: Peace, plenty, love, truth, terror,
That were the servants to this chosen infant,
Shall then be his, and like a vine grow to him ;
Wherever the bright sun of heaven shall shine,
His honour and the greatness of his name
Shall be, and make new nations?: He shall nourish,
And, like a mountain cedar, reach his branches
To all the plains about him:–Our children's children
Shall see this, and bless heaven.

King. Thou speakest wonders.)

Cran. She thall be, to the happiness of England, An aged princess 8; many days shall see her,

And these additional lines were inserted. See An Attempt to ascertain tbe order of Shakspeare's plays, Vol. I. I suspect they were added in 1613, after Shakspeare had quitted the stage, by that hand which tampered with the other parts of the play so much, as to have rendered the versification of it of a different colour from all the other plays of Shakspeare,

MALONE. 7 His bonour and the greatness of bis name

Sball be, and make new nations : ] On a pi&ture of this contemptible king, which formerly belonged to the great Bacon, and is now in the poffeffion of Lord Grimston, he is styled imperii Allantici conditor. The year before the revival of this play (1612,) there was a lottery for the plantation of Virginia. These lines probably allude to the fettlement of that colony. MALONE, 8 Sbe jhall be, so sbe bappiness of England,

An aged princess,] The transition here from the complimentary address to king James the first is so abrupt, that it seems obvious to me, that compliment was inserted after the accellion of that prince. If this play was wrote, as in my opinion it was, in the reign of queen Elizabeth, we may easily determine where Cranmer's eulogium of that princess concluded. I make no question but the poet rested here:

And claim by ibole obeir greatness, nor by blood. All that the bishop Tays after this, was an occational homage paid to her fuccefior, and evidently inserted after her demise. How naturally, without this insertion, does the king's joy and satisfactory reflection wpon the bishop's prophecy, come in !

And yet no day without a deed to crown it.
'Would I had known no more! but she must die,
She muft, the saints must have her ; yet a virgin,
A moft unspotted lily shall the pass
To the ground, and all the world shall mourn her,

King, O lord archbishop,
Thou hast made me now a man; never, before
This happy child, did I get any thing :
This oracle of comfort has so pleas'd me,
That, when I am in heaven, I shall desire
To see what this child does, and praise my Maker.
I thank ye all,—To you, my good lord mayor,
And your good breth’ren', I am much beholding;
I have receiv'd much honour by your presence,
And ye shall find me thankful. Lead the way, lords ;
Ye must all see the queen, and she must thank ye,
She will be fick else. This day, no man think
He has business at his house ; for all Mall stay,
This little one shall make it holiday'.

King. I bou speakest wonders. O lord archbishop,
Tbow'st mode me now a man. Never, before

This bappy child, did I get any ibing, &c. Whether the king would lo properly have made this inference, upon hearing that a child of so great hopes should die without iflue, is submitted to judgment. THEOBALD.

9 And your good bretb’ren,] The old copy hasAnd you, &c. The correction was made by Dr. Thirlby. So, in K. Henry v.

The mayor and all his breth'ren in best fort." MALONE. - The play of Henry sbe Eigbeb is one of those, which till keeps por feffion of the itage, by the iplendour of its pageantry. The corona. tion, about forty years ago, drew the people together in multitudes for a great part of the winter. Yet pomp is not the only merit of this play. The meek forrows and virtuous distress of Katharine have fure nited some scenes, which may be justly numbered among the greatest efforts of tragedy. But the genius of Shakspeare comes in and goes out with Katharine. Every other part may be easily conceived and easily written. JOHNSON.

'Tis ten to one, this play can never please
All that are here: Some come to take their ease,
And sleep an act or two; but those, we fear,
We have frighted with our trumpets ; so, 'tis clear,
They'll say, 'tis naught: others, to hear the city
Abus'd extremely, and to cry,--that's witty !
Which we have not done neither : that, I fear,
All the expected good we are like to hear
For this play at this time, is only in
The merciful construction of good women;
For such a one we shew'd them?: If they smile 3,
And say, 'twill do, I know, within a while
All the beft men are ours; for 'tis ill hap,
If they hold, when their ladies bid them clap.

2 sueb a one we fpew'd them :) In the character of Katharine. Johns.

3 'If tbey smile, &c.] This thought is too much hackney'd. It had been used already in the Epilogues to As You Like It, and the second part of King Henry IV. STEEVENS.

Though it is very difficult to decide whether short pieces be genuine or fpurious, yet I cannot restrain myself from expressing my suspicion thai neither the prologue nor epilogue to this play is the work of Shak. fpeare; non vultus, non color. It appears to me very likely that they were supplied by the friendship or officiousness of Jonson, whose mana ner they will be perhaps found exactly to resemble. There is yet another supposition poflible: the prologue and epilogue may have been written after Shakspeare's departure from the stage, upon some acci. dental revival 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;

-be 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 animadvcrted so feverely 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 authour might have changed his practice or opinions. JOHNSON.

Dr. Johnson's conjecture, thus cautiously stated, has been fince strongly confirmed by Mr. Tyrwhitt's note, p. 4, by which it appears that this play was revived in 1613, at which time without doubt the pro


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