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quoth my lord, 'Madam, if it please your grace, we come both to know your mind, how ye be disposed to do in this matter between the king and you, and also to declare secretly our opinions and our counsel unto you, which we have intended of very zeal and obedience that we bear to your grace.' 'My lords, I thank you then,' quoth she, of your good wills; but to make answer to your request I cannot so suddenly, for I was set among my maidens at work, thinking full little of any such matter, wherein there needeth a longer deliberation, and a better head than mine, to make answer to so noble wise men as ye be; I had need of good counsel in this case, which toucheth me so near; and for any counsel or friendship that I can find in England they are nothing to my purpose or profit. Think you, I pray you, my lords, will any Englishman counsel or be friendly unto me against the king's pleasure, they being his subjects? Nay, forsooth, my lords and for my counsel in whom I do intend to put my trust be not here; they be in Spain, in my native country. Alas, my lords; I am a poor woman lacking both wit and understanding sufficiently to answer such approved wise men as ye be both, in so weighty a matter. I pray you to extend your good and indifferent minds in your authority unto me, for I am a simple woman, destitute and barren of friendship and counsel here in a foreign region: and as for your counsel, I will not refuse, but be glad to hear.'
"And with that she took my lord by the hand, and led him into her privy chamber, with the other cardinal, where they were in long communication: we, in the other chamber, might sometime hear the queen speak very loud, but what it was we could not understand. The communication ended, the cardinals departed and went directly to the king, making to him relation of their talk with the queen, and after resorted home to their houses to supper."
The circumstance of Wolsey incurring the king's displeasure through the accidental discovery of a "schedule" of his wealth is not supported by historical authority. The story is told somewhat differently of Thomas Ruthall, Bishop of Durham; who sent to the king, through Wolsey, a book upon his private affairs, instead of a Treatise on the Estate of the Kingdom,' each having been bound in white vellum.
The dramatic condensation of the action has produced some historical confusion. The Duke of Norfolk, whom we met in the first scene, before Buckingham's arrest in 1521, died in 1525. The Duke of Norfolk who succeeded him is the same person as the Earl of Surrey of the present scene, for Buckingham was his "father-in-law." Between the arrest of Wolsey, and the christening scene, Shakspere meant, probably, to change the persons: for we have in the procession "the old Duchess of Norfolk." The Earl of Surrey is then Henry Howard.
The demand of the great seal from Wolsey
was made by the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk; and the proceeding is thus detailed by Cavendish:
"After Cardinal Campeggio was thus departed and gone, Michaelmas Term drew near, against the which my lord returned unto his house at Westminster; and when the term began he went to the hall in such-like sort and gesture as he was wont most commonly to do, and sat in the chancery, being chancellor. After which day he never sat there more. The next day he tarried at home, expecting the coming of the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk, who came not that day, but the next day came thither unto him; to whom they declared how the king's pleasure was that he should surrender and deliver up the great seal into their hands, and to depart simplily unto Asher, a house situate nigh Hampton Court, belonging to the bishopric of Winchester. My lord, understanding their message, demanded of them what commission they had to give him any such commandment? Who answered him again, that they were sufficient commissioners in that behalf, having the king's commandment by his mouth so to do. 'Yet,' quoth he, 'that is not sufficient for me, without farther commandment of the king's pleasure; for the great seal of England was
delivered me by the king's own person, to enjoy during my life, with the ministration of the office and high room of chancellorship of England: for my surety whereof, I have the king's letters patent to show.' Which matter was greatly debated between the dukes and him, with many stout words between them; whose words and checks he took in patience for the time; in so much that the dukes were fain to depart again without their purpose at that present, and returned again unto Windsor to the king; and what report they made I cannot tell howbeit the next day they came again from the king, bringing with them the king's letters. After the receipt and reading of the same by my lord, which was done with much reverence, he delivered unto them the great seal, contented to obey the king's high commandment; and seeing that the king's pleasure was to take his house, with the contents, was well pleased simply to depart to Asher, taking nothing but only some provision for his house.
"And after long talk between the dukes and him, they departed, with the great seal of England, to Windsor, unto the king. Then went my lord cardinal and called all officers in every office in his house before him, to take
THE ceremonies attending the coronation of Anne Bullen are most minutely described by Hall. From that source Shakspere derived not only the narration in the first scene of this Act, but "the Order of the Procession." Sir Thomas More was the chancellor on this occasion; and he is introduced again in the fifth Act.
The circumstances which preceded the death of Wolsey are described by Cavendish :
"And the next day he took his journey with Master Kingston and the guard. And as soon as they espied their old master in such a lamentable estate, they lamented him with weeping eyes, whom my lord took by the hands, and divers times by the way, as he rode, he would talk with them, sometime with one and
sometime with another. At night he was lodged at a house of the Earl of Shrewsbury's, called Hardwick Hall, very ill at ease. The next day he rode to Nottingham, and there lodged that night, more sicker, and the next day we rode to Leicester Abbey; and by the way he waxed so sick that he was divers times likely to have fallen from his mule; and being night before we came to the Abbey of Leicester, where, at his coming in at the gates, the abbot of the place, with all his convent, met him with the light of many torches; whom they right honourably received with great reverence. To whom my lord said, 'Father Abbot, I am come hither to leave my bones among you;' whom they brought on his mule
to the stairs' foot of his chamber, and there alighted; and Master Kingston then took him by the arm and led him up the stairs, who told me afterwards that he never carried so heavy a burden in all his life. And as soon as he was in his chamber he went incontinent to his bed, very sick. This was upon Saturday at night; and there he continued sicker and sicker.
"Upon Monday in the morning, as I stood by his bedside, about eight of the clock, the windows being close shut, having wax-lights burning upon the cupboard, I beheld him, as me seemed, drawing fast to his end. He, perceiving my shadow upon the wall by his bedside, asked who was there? Sir, I am here,' quoth I. 'How do you?' quoth he to me. Very well, sir,' quoth I, 'if I might see your grace well.' 'What is it of the clock?' said he to me. Forsooth, sir,' said I, 'it is past eight of the clock in the morning.' 'Eight of the clock?' quoth he; that cannot be :' rehearsing divers times eight of the clock-eight of the clock-nay, nay,' quoth he at the last, it can not be eight of the clock, for by eight of the clock ye shall lose your master, for my time
draweth near that I must depart out of this world."
The letter of Katharine to the king, of which the substance is in Holinshed, was first published by Polydore Virgil, and was translated by Lord Herbert :
"My most dear lord, king, and husband,— "The hour of my death now approaching, I cannot choose but, out of the love I bear you, advise you of your soul's health, which you ought to prefer before all considerations of the world or flesh whatsoever; for which yet you have cast me into many calamities, and yourself into many troubles. But I forgive you all, and pray God to do so likewise. For the rest, I commend unto you Mary our daughter, beseeching you to be a good father to her, as I have heretofore desired. I must entreat you also to respect my maids, and give them in marriage (which is not much, they being but three), and to all my other servants a year's pay besides their due, lest otherwise they should be unprovided for. Lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire you above all things. Farewell."
SCENE II.-"At a window above." THE old mode of building castles or mansions, by which a principal room could be commanded from a window opening into it, is illustrated by a letter from Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1573:-"And if it please her Majesty, she may come in through my gallery, and see the disposition of the hall in dinnertime, at a window opening thereunto."
SCENE II." You'd spare your spoons." The allusion is to the practice of sponsors at a christening presenting the child with called apostle spoons. The old plays contain many allusions to this custom; as in a comedy
of Middleton's :
"2 Gos. What has he given her?-what is it, gossip? 3 Gos. A fair high standing cup, and two great 'postle spoons, one of them gilt."
SCENE III.-" Paris-garden." The bear-garden on the Bankside, remarkable enough to be distinguished in the maps of
London in the time of Elizabeth.
SCENE III. "Who cried out, Clubs!" The cry of clubs was sure to draw together the London "truncheoneers;" and the appear
ance of "the hope of the Strand" cannot fail to remind us of the heroic apprentices of the watchmaker of Fleet Street, in that inimitable picture of ancient manners, 'The Fortunes of Nigel.' See Illustrations of Romeo and Juliet,' Act I., Sc. 1.
* SCENE III. "The Tribulation of Tower Hill, or the limbs of Limehouse."
These allusions are perhaps now inexplicable. Johnson supposed the Tribulation to have been a puritanical meeting-house. But why should the "youths that thunder at a playhouse" be endurable by the frequenters of the Tribulation! Because, says Steevens, such an audience was familiarized to excess of noise by the bellowings of their preachers. Is it not, that the puritans, hating playhouses, approved of the uproar of those who "fight for bitten apples," because it disturbed those that came to hear? Ajudicious critic calls this suggestion" subtle;" and is of opinion that Shakspere "meant to say that no audience, except it consisted of downright saints, could tolerate the noisy youths in question." Were the "downright saints" of these days so patient of popular excesses?