Imatges de pÓgina

The fpinfters, carders, fullers, weavers, who,
Unfit for other life, compell'd by hunger
And lack of other means, in defperate manner
Daring the event to the teeth, are all in uproar,
And Danger ferves among them".

King. Taxation!

Wherein? and what taxation?-My lord cardinal,
You that are blam'd for it alike with us,
Know you of this taxation ?

Wol. Please you, fir,

I know but of a fingle part, in aught

Pertains to the ftate; and front but in that file?
Where others tell fteps with me.

2. Cath. No, my lord,

You know no more than others: but you frame

Things, that are known alike; which are not wholesome
To those which would not know them, and yet must
Perforce be their acquaintance. These exactions,
Whereof my fovereign would have note, they are
Moft peftilent to the hearing; and, to bear them,
The back is facrifice to the load. They fay,
They are devis'd by you; or else you suffer

"The kings before their many rode." JOHNSON.


I believe the many is only the multitude. Thus Coriolanus, speaking of the rabble, calls them:

"the mutable rank-fcented many." STEEVENS.

6 And Danger ferves among them.] Danger is perfonalized as serving in the rebel army, and fhaking the established government. WARB.

Chaucer, Gower, Skelton, and Spenfer, have perfonified Danger. The firft, in his Romaunt of the Rofe; the fecond, in his fifth book De Confeffione Amantis; the third in his Bouge of Court:

"With that, anone out ftart dangere."

and the fourth, in the 10th Canto of the fourth book of his Faery Queen, and again in the fifth book and the ninth Canto. STEEVENS. 7 - front but in that file-] I am but primus inter pares. I am but firft in the row of counfellors. JOHNSON.

This was the very idea that Wolfey wished to difclaim. It was not his intention to acknowledge that he was the first in the row of coun fellors, but that he was merely on a level with the rest, and stept in the fame line with them. MASON.

You know no more than others: &c.] That is, you know no more than other counsellors, but you are the perfon who frame those things which are afterwards propofed, and known equally by all. MASON.

Too hard an exclamation.

King. Still exaction!

The nature of it? In what kind, let's know,

Is this exaction?

2. Cath. I am much too venturous

In tempting of your patience; but am bolden'd
Under your promis'd pardon. The subject's grief
Comes through commiffions, which compel from each
The fixth part of his fubftance, to be levy'd
Without delay; and the pretence for this

Is nam'd, your wars in France: This makes bold mouths:
Tongues fpit their duties out, and cold hearts freeze
Allegiance in them; their curfes now,

Live where their prayers did; and it's come to pafs,
That tractable obedience is a flave

To each incenfed will. I would, your highness
Would give it quick confideration, for
There is no primer business.

King. By my life,

This is against our pleasure.
Wol. And for me,

9 That tractable obedience is a flave

To each incenfed will.] The meaning, I think, is, Things are now in fuch a fituation, that refentment and indignation predominate in every man's breaft over duty and allegiance. MALONE.

• There is no primer business.] In the old edition:

There is no primer bafenefs.


The queen is here complaining of the fuffering of the commons; which, fhe fufpects, arofe from the abufe of power in fome great men. fhe is very referved in fpeaking her thoughts concerning the quality of it. We may be affured then, that he did not, in conclufion, call it the highest bafene's; but rather made ufe of a word that could not offend the cardinal, and yet would incline the king to give it a speedy hearing. I read therefore:

There is no primer bufinefs.

i. e. no matter of fate that more earnestly preffes a difpatch. WARB, Dr. Warburton (for reafons which he has given in his note) would


no primer bufinefs:

but I think the meaning of the original word is fufficiently clear. No primer bajenefs is no mischief more ripe or ready for redress. So, in Othello:

"Were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkies. STEEVENS,

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I have no further gone in this, than by
A fingle voice; and that not pafs'd me, but
By learned approbation of the judges.

If I am

Traduc'd by ignorant tongues, which neither know
My faculties, nor perfon, yet will be

The chronicles of my doing,-let me fay,

'Tis but the fate of place, and the rough brake
That virtue muft go through. We must not ftint*
Our neceffary actions, in the the fear

To cope 3 malicious cenfurers; which ever,
As ravenous fishes, do a veffel follow

That is new trimm'd; but benefit no further
Than vainly longing. What we oft do beft,
By fick interpreters, once weak ones, is
Not ours, or not allow'd5; what worft, as oft,
Hitting a groffer quality, is cry'd up

For our best act. If we fhall stand still,

In fear our motion will be mock'd or carp'd at,
We should take root here where we fit, or fit
State ftatues only.

King. Things done well,

And with a care, exempt themselves from fear;
Things done without example, in their issue

Are to be fear'd. Have you a precedent

2 We must not fint-] To fint is to flop, to retard. Many inftances of this fenfe of the word are given in a note on the first act of Romeo and Juliet. STEEVENS.

3 To cope-] To engage with; to encounter. in fome counties. JOHNSON.

The word is ftill used

4- once week ones,] Once is not unfrequently used for fometime, or at one time or other, among our ancient writers. So, in the 13th Idea of Drayton :

"This diamond fhall once confume to duft."

Again, in The Merry Wives of Windsor:-"I pray thee once to-night give my fweet Nan this ring." Again in Leicefter's Commonwealth: if God fhould take from us her most excellent majefty, (as once he will,) and fo leave us deftitute." STEEVENS.

5 or not allow'd;] Not approved. See Vol. I. p. 239, n. 3. MALONE. what quorft, as of,


Hitting a groffer quality,--] The worst actions of great men are commended by the vulgar, as more accommodated to the groliness of their notions. JOHNSON.


Of this commiffion? I believe, not any.

We must not rend our subjects from our laws,
And stick them in our will. Sixth part of each?
A trembling contribution! Why, we take,

From every tree, lop, bark, and part o' the timber;
And, though we leave it with a root, thus hack'd,
The air will drink the fap. To every county,
Where this is queftion'd, fend our letters, with
Free pardon to each man that has deny'd
The force of this commiffion: Pray, look to't;
I put it to your care.

Wel. A word with you.

Let there be letters writ to every fhire,

[To the Secretary.

Of the king's grace and pardon. The griev'd commons Hardly conceive of me; let it be nois'd,

That, through our interceffion, this revokement

And pardon comes: I fhall anon advise you

Further in the proceeding.

Enter Surveyor.

[Exit Secretary.

2. Cath. I am forry, that the duke of Buckingham Is run in your displeasure.

King. It grieves many:

The gentleman is learn'd, and a moft rare fpeaker,
To nature none more bound; his training fuch,
That he may furnish and inftruct great teachers,
And never feek for aid out of himfelf'. Yet fee,
When these so noble benefits shall prove

lop, bark, —] Lop is a fubftantive, and fignifies the branches.

That, through our interceffion, &c.] So, in Holinfhed, p. 892: "The cardinall, to deliver himself from the evill will of the commons, purchafed by procuring and advancing of this demand, affirmed, and caufed it to be bruted abrode, that through bis interceffion the king had pardoned and releafed all things." STEEVENS.

9 The gentleman is learn'd, &c.] It appears from "The Prologue of the tranflatour," that the Knygbt of the Swanne, a French romance, was tranflated at the request of this unfortunate nobleman. Copland, the printer, adds, "this prefent hiftory compyled, named Heiyas the Knight of the Swanne, of whom linially is defcended my faid lord." The duke was executed on Friday the 17th of May, 1521. The book has no date. STEEVENS.

▲ — out of bimself.-] Beyond the treafures of his own mind. JOHNS. Not

Not well difpes'd, the mind growing once corrupt,
They turn to vicious forms, ten times more ugly
Than ever they were fair. This man fo complete,
Who was enroll'd 'mong ft wonders, and when we,
Almoft with ravifh'd lift'ning, could not find
His hour of fpeech a minute; he, my lady,
Hath into monftrous habits put the graces
That once were his, and is become as black
As if befmear'd in hell 3. Sit by us; you fhall hear
(This was his gentleman in truft) of him
Things to ftrike honour fad.-Bid him recount
The fore-recited practices; whereof

We cannot feel too little, hear too much.

Wol. Stand forth; and with bold fpirit relate what you, Moft like a careful fubject, have collected

Out of the duke of Buckingham.

King. Speak freely.

Surv. First, it was ufual with him, every day
It would infect his fpeech, That if the king
Should without iffue die, he'd carry it * fo
To make the fcepter his : Thefe very words
I have heard him utter to his fon-in-law,
Lord Aberga'ny; to whom by oath he menac'd
Revenge upon the cardinal.

Wol. Pleafe your highness, note

This dangerous conception in this point 4.
Not friended by his wish, to your high perfon

His will is molt malignant; and it ftretches
Beyond you, to your friends.

2. Cath. My learn'd lord cardinal,

Deliver all with charity.

2 noble benefits

Not well difpos'd,-] Great gifts of nature and education, not joined with good difpofitions. JOHNSON.

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As if befmear'd in bell.] So, in Othello:

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Her name, that was as fresh

"As Dian's vifage, is now begrim'd and black

"As mine own face." STEEVENS.

-he'd carry it—] Old Copy-bey. Corrected by Mr. Rowe.


4 This dangerous conception in this point.] Note this particular part of

this dangerous design. JoHNSON.

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