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ACT I.

London.

SCENE I.

An Antechamber in the Palace.

Enter the Duke of NORFOLK, at one door; at the other, the Duke of BUCKINGHAM, and the Lord ABERGAVENNY.

Buck. Good morrow, and well met. How have you done, Since laft we faw in France?

Nor. I thank your grace:

Healthful; and ever fince a fresh admirer2
Of what I faw there.

Buck. An untimely ague

Stay'd me a prifoner in my chamber, when
Thofe funs of glory 3, thofe two lights of men,
Met in the vale of Arde.

This hiftorical drama comprizes a period of twelve years, commencing in the twelfth year of King Henry's reign, (1521,) and ending with the chriftening of Elizabeth in 1533. Shakspeare has deviated from history in placing the death of Queen Catharine before the birth of Elizabeth, for in fact Catharine did not die till 1536.

King Henry VIII. was written, I believe, in 1601. See An Attempt to aftertain the order of Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. I.

Dr. Farmer in a note on the epilogue obferves from Stowe, that "Robert Greene had written fomething on this ftory"; but this, I apprehend, was not a play, but fome hiftorical account of Henry's reign, written not by Robert Greene, the dramatick poet, but by fome other perfon. In the lift of "authors out of whom Stowe's Annals were compiled," prefixed to the laft edition printed in his life time, quarto, 1605, Robert Greene is enumerated with Robert de Brun, Robert Fabian, &c. and he is often quoted as an authority for facts in the margin of the history of that reign. MALONE.

2

19

a fresh admirer] An admirer untired; an admirer ftill feeling the impreffion as if it were hourly renewed. JOHNSON.

3 Thofe funs of glory,] That is, thofe glorious funs. The editor of the third folio plaufibly enough reads-Thofe fans of glory; and indeed as in old English books the two words are ufed indifcriminately, the luminary being often fpelt fon, it is fometimes difficult to determine which is meant; fun, or fon. However, the fubfequent part of the line, and the recurrence of the fame expreffion afterwards, are in favour of the reading of the original copy. MALONE.

B 4

Nor.

Nor. "Twixt Guines and Arde:

I was then present, faw them falute on horse-back;
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 loft

The view of earthly glory: Men might fay,
Till this time, pomp was fingle; but now marry'd
To one above itself. Each following day
Became the next day's mafter, till the laft
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,
Shew'd like a mine. Their dwarfish pages were
As cherubins, all gilt: the madams too,
Not us'd to toil, did almoft fweat to bear
The pride upon them, that their very labour
Was to them as a painting: now this mask
Was cry'd incomparable; and the ensuing night

4 as they grow together;] That is, as if they grew together. See Vol. IV. p. 358, n. We have the fame image in our author's Venus and Adonis:

66 a sweet embrace;

"Incorporate then they seem; face grows to face." MALONE. 5 Till this time, pomp was fingle; but now marry'd

To one above itself.] The author only meant to say in a noify periphrafe, that pomp was increased on this occafion to more than twice as much as it bad ever been before. Pomp is married to pomp, but the new pomp is greater than the old. JOHNSON.

6 Each following day

Became the next day's mafter, &c.] Dies diem docet. Every day learned fomething from the preceding, till the concluding day collected all the fplendour of all the former fhews. JOHNSON.

7 All clinquant,] All glittering, all fhining. Clarendon ufes this word in his defcription of the Spanish Juego de Toros. JOHNSON.

It is likewife ufed in A Memorable Mafque, &c. performed before king James at Whitehall in 1613, at the marriage of the Palgrave and princess Elizabeth:

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his bufkins clinquant as his other attire." STEEVENS.

Made

Made it a fool, and beggar. The two kings,
Equal in luftre, were now beft, now worst,
As prefence did prefent them; him in eye,
Still him in praife: and, being present both,
'Twas faid, they faw but one; and no difcerner
Durft wag his tongue in cenfure. When thefe funs
(For fo they phrase them) by their heralds challeng'd
The noble ípirits to arms, they did perform

Beyond thought's compafs; that former fabulous ftory,
Being now feen poffible enough, got credit;
That Bevis was believ'd'.

Buck. O, you go far.

All was royal';

Nor. As I belong to worship, and affect
In honour honefty, the tract of every thing2
Would by a good difcourfer lofe fome life,
Which action's felf was tongue to.
To the difpofing of it nought rebell'd,
Order gave each thing view; the office did
Diftinctly his full function*.

Buck. Who did guide,

Į mean, who set the body and the limbs

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Two chiefs

"So match'd, as each feem'd worthieft when alone." JOHNSON. 9 Durft wag bis tongue in cenfure.] Cenfure for determination, of which had the nobleft appearance. WARBURTON.

See Vol. I. p. 113, n. 8.

MALONE.

1 That Bevis was believ'd.] The old romantick legend of Bevis of Southampton. This Bevis, (or Beavois) a Saxon, was for his prowess created by William the Conqueror earl of Southampton: of whom Camden in his Britannia. THEOBALD.

2

the tract of every thing, &c.] The course of these triumphs and pleasures, however well related, muft lofe in the defcription part of that fpirit and energy which were expreffed in the real action. JOHNSON. - All was royal; &c.] This fpeech was given in all the editions to Buckingham; but improperly. For he wanted information, having kept his chamber during the folemnity. I have therefore given it to Norfolk. WARBURTON.

3

The regulation had already been made by Mr. Theobald. MALONE. -the office did

·Diftinely bis full function.] The commiffion for regulating this feftivity was well executed, and gave exactly to every particular perfon and action the proper place. JOHNSON,

Of

Cf this great sport together, as you guess?
Nor. One, certes, that promifes no element
In fuch a business.

Buck. I pray you, who, my lord?

Nor. All this was order'd by the good difcretion
Of the right reverend cardinal of York.

Buck. The devil speed him! no man's pye is free'd
From his ambitious finger, What had he
To do in these fierce vanities? I wonder,
That fuch a keech' can with his very bulk
Take up the rays o' the beneficial fun,
And keep it from the earth.

Nor. Surely, fir,

There's in him stuff that puts him to these ends;
For, being not propp'd by ancestry, (whofe grace
Chalks fucceffors their way,) nor call'd upon
For high feats done to the crown; neither ally'd
To eminent affiftants, but, fpider-like,

Out of his felf-drawing web, he gives us note,
The force of his own merit makes his way;
A gift that heaven gives for him, which buys

5-element-] No initiation, no previous practices. Elements are the first principles of things, or rudiments of knowledge. The word is here applied, not without a catachrefis, to a perfon. JOHNSON.

6

fierce panities?] Fierce is here, I think, ufed like the French fer, for proud, unlefs we fuppofe an allufion to the mimical ferocity of the combatants in the tilt. JOHNSON.

It is certainly used as the French word fier. So, in Ben Jonfon's Bartholomew Fair, the puritan says, the hobby horfe

rank idol." STEEVENS.

Again, in the Rape of Lucrece:

"Thy violent vanities can never laft.”

In Timon of Athens we have→→

is a fierce and

"O the fierce wretchedness that glory brings!" MALONE. 7 That fuch a keech-] A keech is a folid lump or mafs. A cake of wax or tallow formed in a mould is called yet in fome places a keech. JOHNSON.

There may, perhaps, be a fingular propriety in this term of contempt. Wolfey was the fon of a butcher, and in the fecond part of King Henry IV. a butcher's wife is called-Goody Keech. STEEVENS.

Out of bis felf-drawing web,-] Thus it ftands in the first edition. The later editors, by injudicious correction, have printed : Out of bis felf-drawn web. JOHNSON.

9- he gives us wote,] Old Copy-O gives us, &c. Mr. Steevens. MALONE.

Corrected by

A place

A place next to the king'.

Aber. I cannot tell

What heaven hath given him, let fome graver eye.
Pierce into that; but I can fee his pride

Peep through each part of him: Whence has he that?
If not from hell, the devil is a niggard;

Or has given all before, and he begins.
A new hell in himself.

Buck. Why the devil,

Upon this French going-out, took he upon him,
Without the privity o' the king, to appoint
Who fhould attend on him? He makes up the file
Of all the gentry; for the most part fuch
Too, whom as great a charge as little honour
He meant to lay upon: and his own letter,
The honourable board of council out3,
Muft fetch him in he papers.

Aber. I do know

Kinsmen of mine, three at the leaft, that have

A gift that beaven gives for him, which buys

A place next to the king.] It is evident a word or two in the fentence is misplaced, and that we should read:

A gift that beaven gives; which buys for bim

A place next to the king. WARBURTON,

It is full as likely that Shakspeare wrote gives to bim, which will fave any greater alteration. JoHNSON.

I am too dull to perceive the neceflity of any change. What he is unable to give himself, heaven gives or depofits for him, and that gift, or depofit, buys a place, &c. STEEVENS.

2 the file] That is, the lift. JOHNSON.

3 council out,] It appears from Holinhed, that this expreffion is rightly explained by Mr. Pope in the next note: without the concurrence of the council, The peers of the realme receiving letters to prepare themfelves to attend the king in this journey, and no apparent neceffarie caufe expreffed, why or wherefore, feemed to grudge that fuch a coftly journey fhould be taken in hand-without confent of the abole boarde of the Counfaille." MALONE.

Muft fetch him in be papers.] He papers,—a verb; his own letter, by his own fingle authority, and without the concurrence of the council, muft fetch in him whom he papers down.-I don't understand it, unless this be the meaning. POPE.

Wolfey published a lift of the feveral perfons whom he had appointed to attend on the king at this interview. See Hall's Chronicle, Rymer's Federa, tom. 13, &c. STEEVENS.

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