« AnteriorContinua »
King Henry the Eighth.
Queen Catharine, wife to King Henry; afterwards dio
Several Lords ard Ladies in the dumb shows;
Women attending upon the Queen; Spirits, which appear to ber;
Scribes, Officers, Guards, and other Attendants. SCENE, chiefly in London, and Westminster ; once, at
I come no more to make you laugh; things now,
in a long motley coat,] Alluding to the foris and buff9o7s, intro duced for the generality in the plays a little before our author's time: and of whom he has left us a small taste in his own. THEOBALD.
So, Nash, in his Epistle Dedicatory to Have wirb you 19 Saffror Wal. den, or Gabriel Harvey's Hunt is Up, 1596: 6-fooles, ye know, al. waies for the most part (especiallic if they bee naturall fooles) are futed in long coats." STELVENS. 3 — fub a fost
As fiol and fig be is,-] This is not the only passage in which Shakspeare bas discovered his conviction of the impropriety of battles represented on the stage. He knew that five or fix men with swords, gave a very unsatisfactory idea of an army, and therefore, without much care to excuse his former practice, he allows that a theatrical fignt would destroy all opinion of oruib, and leave him never an underftanding friend. Magnis ingeniis et mulia nibilominus badituris fimplex convenit erroris confeffio. Yet I know not whether the coronation shewn in this play may not be liable to all that can be cbjected against á battle. JOHNSON
(To make that only true we now intend',) Will leave us never an understanding friend.
Therefore 3 tbe opinion ebat we bring,
(To make oba! only true we now intend,)] These lines I do not on. derstand, and suspect them of corruption. I believe we may better read thus :
-b opinion, ibat we bring
Or make; obat only truth we now intend. JOHNSON. To intend in our author, has sometimes the same meaning as to pre tend. So, in the preceding play
"' Intend rome deep Purpicion.” STEEVINS. If any alteration were necesiary, I should be for only changing the order of the words and reading
That only true to make we now intend: i. e, that now we intend to exbibit only what is true.
This passage, and others of this Prologue in which great stress is laid upon tbe trutb of the ensuing representation, would lead one to suspect, that this play of Henry the Villth, is the very play mentioned by Sir H. Wotton, [in his letter of 2 July, 1613, Reliq. Worton. p. 425.) under the description of a“ a new play, (acted by the king's players at the Bank's Side) called All is True, representing some principal pieces of the reign of Henry the Villth." The extraordinary circumstances of pomp and majesty, with which, fir Henry says, that play was set forth, and the particular incident of certain cannons pot off at sbe king's entry to a masque at tbe cardinal Wolsey's boule, (by which the theatre was set on fire and burnt to the ground,) are strictly applicable to the play before us.
Mr. Chamberlaine, in Winwood's Memorials, Vol. III. P. 469, mentions,“ the burning of tbe Globe or playhouse, on the Banke fide, on St. Peter's-day (1613,] which, (says he) fell out by a peale of chambers, that I know not on what occafion were to be used in the play.” B. Jonson, in his Execration upon Vulcan, says, they were Iwo poor cbambers. (See the stage-direction in this play, a little before the king's entrance. Drum and trumpet, chambers dif. barged.] The continuator of Stowe's Cbronicle, relating the same accident, p. 1003, says expressly, that it happened at tbe play of Henry obe VIIlıb.
In a MS. letter of Thomas Lorkin tó fír Thomas Puckering, dated London, ibis last of June, 1613, the same fact is thus related. longer since than yesterday, while Bourbage his companie were acting at the Globe the play of Henry VIII, and there shooting of certayne cbambers in way of triumph, the fire catch'd &c. MS. Harl
TYRWHITTI I have followed a regulation recommended by an anonymous correspondent, and only included the contested line in a parenthesis, which in some editions was placed before the word beside. Opinion, I believe, means here, as in one of the parts of King Henry IV. cbarafier.–To realize and fulfil the expectations formed of our play, is now our object. This featincat (to say nothing of the general style of this prologue,) could
Therefore, for goodness' fake, and as you are known
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. never have fallen from the modeft Shakspeare. I have no doubt that the whole prologue was written by Ben Jonson, at the revival of the play. ia 1613. MALONI,