Imatges de pÓgina
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

Shakspere, who, according to Malone, read no history but Holinshed's, may now be traced to another source to one of the most popular books in our language, 'Fox's Acts and Monuments of the Christian Martyrs,' printed in 1563. Our poet saw the dramatic power of this scene, though the occurrence took place long after the birth of Elizabeth :-

you news.

"When night came, the king sent sir Anthony Denny about midnight to Lambeth to the archbishop, willing him forthwith to resort unto him at the court. The message done, the archbishop speedily addressed himself to the court, and coming into the gallery where the king walked and tarried for him, his highness said, 'Ah, my lord of Canterbury, I can tell For divers weighty considerations it is determined by me and the council, that you to-morrow at nine of the clock shall be committed to the Tower, for that you and your chaplains (as information is given us) have taught and preached, and thereby sown within the realm such a number of execrable heresies, that it is feared, the whole realm being infected with them, no small contention and commotions will rise thereby amongst my subjects, as of late days the like was in divers parts of Germany, and therefore the council have requested

[blocks in formation]

"When the king had said his mind, the archbishop kneeled down, 'I am content, if it please your grace, with all my heart, to go thither at your highness' commandment; and I must humbly thank your Majesty that I may come to my trial, for there be that have many ways slandered me, and now this way I hope to try myself not worthy of such report.'

"The king, perceiving the man's uprightness, joined with such simplicity, said, 'Oh Lord, what manner o' man be you? What simplicity is in you? I had thought that you would rather have sued to us to have taken the pains to have heard you and your accusers together for your trial, without any such indurance. Do you not know what state you be in with the whole world, and how many great enemies you have? Do you not consider what an easy thing it is to procure three or four false knaves to witness against you? Think you to have better luck that way than your master Christ had? I see by it you will run headlong to your undoing, if I would suffer you. Your enemies shall not so prevail against you; for I have otherwise de

vised with myself to keep you out of their | them the king's ring, revoking his cause into

hands. Yet, notwithstanding, to-morrow when the council shall sit, and send for you, resort unto them, and if, in charging you with this matter, they do commit you to the Tower, require of them, because you are one of them, a counsellor, that you may have your accusers brought before them without any further indurance, and use for yourself as good persuasions that way as you may devise; and if no entreaty or reasonable request will serve, then deliver unto them this my ring (which then the king delivered unto the archbishop), and say unto them, If there be no remedy, my lords, but that I must needs go to the Tower, then I revoke my cause from you, and appeal to the king's own person by this token unto you all; for (said the king then unto the archbishop) so soon as they shall see this my ring, they know it so well that they shall understand that I have reserved the whole cause into mine own hands and determination, and that I have discharged them thereof.'

"The archbishop, perceiving the king's be nignity so much to him wards, had much ado to forbear tears. 'Well,' said the king, 'go your ways, my lord, and do as I have bidden you.' My lord, humbling himself with thanks, took his leave of the king's highness for that night.

"On the morrow about nine of the clock before noon, the council sent a gentleman usher for the archbishop, who, when he came to the council-chamber door, could not be let in, but of purpose (as it seemed) was compelled there to wait among the pages, lackeys, and servingmen all alone. D. Butts, the king's physician, resorting that way, and espying how my lord of Canterbury was handled, went to the king's highness, and said, 'My Lord of Canterbury, if it please your grace, is well promoted: for now he is become a lackey or a servingman, for yonder he standeth this half-hour at the councilchamber door amongst them.' 'It is not so (quoth the king), I trow, nor the council hath not so little discretion as to use the metropolitan of the realm in that sort, specially being one of their own number. But let them alone (said the king) and we shall hear more soon.'

"Anon the archbishop was called into the council-chamber, to whom was alleged as before is rehearsed. The archbishop answered in like sort as the king had advised him; and in the end, when he perceived that no manner of persuasion or entreaty could serve, he delivered



the king's hands. The whole council being thereat somewhat amazed, the earl of Bedford, with a loud voice, confirming his words with a solemn oath, said, 'When you first began the matter, my lords, I told you what would become of it. Do you think that the king would suffer this man's finger to ache? Much more (I warrant you) will he defend his life against brabling varlets. You do but cumber yourselves to hear tales and fables against him.' And incontinently upon the receipt of the king's token they all rose, and carried to the king his ring, surrendering that matter, as the order and use was, into his own hands.

"When they were all come to the king's presence, his highness, with a severe countenance, said unto them, 'Ah, my lords, I thought I had had wiser men of my council than now I find you. What discretion was this in you thus to make the primate of the realm, and one of you in office, to wait at the council-chamber door amongst servingmen? You might have considered that he was a counsellor as well as you, and you had no such commission of me so to handle him. I was content that you should try him as a counsellor and not as a mean subject. But now I well perceive that things be done against him maliciously, and if some of you might have had your minds, you would have tried him to the uttermost. But I do yon all to wit, and protest, that if a prince may be beholding unto his subject (and so solemnly laying his hand upon his breast, said), by the faith I owe to God, I take this man here, my Lord of Canterbury, to be of all other a most faithful subject unto us, and one to whom we are much beholding, giving him great commendations otherwise.' And, with that, one or two of the chiefest of the council, making their excuse, declared, that in requesting his indurance, it was rather meant for his trial and his purgation against the common fame and slander of the world, than for any malice conceived against him. 'Well, well, my lords (quoth the king), take him, and well use him, as he is worthy to be, and make no more ado.' And with that, every man caught him by the hand, and made fair weather of altogethers, which might easily be done with that man.”

The christening of the Princess Elizabeth at Greenwich is the last "show" of this "historical masque." In the description of this ceremony Hall is again superb. The most important

part of the day's proceeding is briefly de- Elizabeth:' and then the trumpets blew, then spatched by the chronicler :

"The godfather was the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury; the godmothers were the old Duchess of Norfolk and the old Marchioness of Dorset, widows; and the child was named Elizabeth and after that all thing was done, at the church-door the child was brought to the font, and christened, and this dope, Garter chief king of arms cried aloud, 'God, of his infinite goodness, send prosperous life and long to the high and mighty Princess of England

the child was brought up to the altar, and the Gospel said over it: and after that immediately the Archbishop of Canterbury confirmed it, the Marchioness of Exeter being godmother, then the Archbishop of Canterbury gave to the Princess a standing cup of gold: the Duchess of Norfolk gave to her a standing cup of gold, fretted with pearl: the Marchioness of Dorset gave three gilt bowls, pounced, with a cover: and the Marchioness of Exeter gave three standing bowls, graven, all gilt, with a cover."

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

THE male costume of the reign of Henry VIII. has been rendered familiar to our very children by the innumerable portraits of "Bluff King Hal," principally copied from the paintings by Holbein, and the female costume scarcely less so by those of his six wives. Henry VIII. was born in 1491, and was therefore just thirty years of age at the period at which the play opens (the arrest and impeachment of Buckingham having taken place in 1521), and forty-two at the time it is supposed to close, as above mentioned. The best authorities, therefore, for the dress of the monarch and his nobles at the commencement of this play would be the

curious old painting of the meeting of Henry and Francis, preserved at Hampton Court, and the bas-reliefs representing the same occurrence, at Rouen. The profusion of feathers in the latter a fashion of the previous reign, and still raging in 1520-adds greatly to the picturesque effect of the general costume. For the later period, the full-length by Holbein engraved in

Lodge's Portraits,' or the print by Vertue, in which Henry is seen granting a charter to the barber-surgeons, would be preferable. Of Cardinal Wolsey there is a fine painting by Holbein at Christ Church, Oxford, engraved in Lodge's work. Cavendish, in his 'Life of Wolsey,' de

scribes him as issuing out in his cardinal's habit of fine scarlet or crimson satin, his cap being of black velvet: and in a MS. copy of that interesting work, formerly in the possession of the late Francis Douce, Esq., F.S.A., are three very curious drawings, representing-1st, The cardinal's progress on his way to France, with his archers, spearmen, cross, pillar, and purse bearers, &c.; 2ndly, The cardinal surrendering the great seal to the Dukes of Norfolk and

Suffolk; and, 3rdly, Dr. Butts sent by the king and Anne Bullen to the sick cardinal with tokens of favour. The gentlemen in the cardinal's train wore, we are told, black velvet livery-coats, the most part with great chains of gold about their necks; and all his yeomen following were clad in French tawny liverycoats, having embroidered upon the backs and breasts of the said coats the letters T and C under the cardinal's hat.

[graphic][ocr errors]

[Henry and Anne sending Dr. Butts with tokens of favour to the sick Cardinal.]

In the same beautiful work by Lodge, before mentioned, the portraits will be found of the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk, Cromwell, Sir Thomas More, and Sir Anthony Denny, by Holbein; and Cranmer by Flick, the original painting being in the British Museum. Also a most interesting one of the gallant and accomplished Henry Earl of Surrey, by Titian, who has represented him in a magnificent suit of armour, and thereby given us a splendid specimen of the military costume of the period. In addition to the information conveyed to the eye by this collection of authentic portraits, it will be sufficient to quote, from the sumptuary law passed in the 24th year of Henry's reign, such passages as will describe the materials of which the dresses were made, and which were, indeed, at this time of the most costly kind. The royal family alone were permitted to use the fur of the black genet; and sables could only be worn by noblemen above the rank of a viscount. Crimson or blue velvet, embroidered apparel, or garments bordered "with gold sunken work," were forbidden to any person beneath the quality of a baron or knight's son or heir; and velvet dresses of any colour, furs

of martens, chains, bracelets, and collars of gold, were prohibited to all persons possessing less than two hundred marks per annum. The sons and heirs of such persons were, however, permitted the use of black velvet or damask, and tawny-coloured russet or camlet. Satin and damask gowns were confined to the use of persons possessing at least one hundred marks per annum; and the wearing of plaited shirts, garnished with gold, silver, or silk, was permitted to none below the rank of knighthood. The hair was cut remarkably close, a peremptory order having been issued by Henry to all his attendants and courtiers to "poll their heads." Beards and moustaches were worn at pleasure.

The portraits of Anne Bullen and Queen Katharine will convey a sufficient idea of the costume of ladies of rank at this period. The jewelled cap and feather with which Holbein has represented Anne in the portraits engraved in Cavendish's 'Life of Wolsey' are exceedingly picturesque and becoming. The other headdress, which was probably the often-talked-of "French hood," is better known, nearly all Henry's wives being represented in it. The gown was cut square at the bosom, as in the

[merged small][ocr errors]

[Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk.]

preceding reign; but instead of the neck being bare, it was covered almost to the throat by the partlet, a sort of habit-shirt, much like the modern one, embroidered with gold and silk. The sleeves of the gowns were frequently of a different material from that which composed the rest of the dress, and generally of a richer stuff. The gown was open in front to the waist, showing the kirtle or petticoat, and with or without a train, according to the prevailing fashion of France or Holland. Anne of Cleves is described as wearing a gown made round without any train, after the Dutch fashion; while the train of Catherine Parr is stated to have been more than two yards long. Anne Bullen, while Countess of Pembroke, danced at Calais with Francis I. in a masque consisting of seven ladies besides herself, who were attired in masking apparel of strange fashion, made of cloth of gold compassed with crimson tinsel satin, formed with cloth of silver, lying loose and knit with laces of gold. They were brought into the chamber with four damsels in crimson satin, with tabards of fine cypress. Cavendish, in his Life of Wolsey,' says "I have seen the

king suddenly come thither (i. e., to the cardinal's) in a mask, with a dozen other maskers in garments like shepherds, made of fine cloth of gold and crimson satin; their hairs and beards, of fine gold wire, or silver, or some of black silk, with sixteen torchbearers and drums all in satin." A minute account is given by Hall of the coronation of Queen Anne Bullen; and also by Cavendish, who has described the procession and the ceremony. We must be careful, however, not to confound the procession from the Tower to Westminster, on the day previous to the coronation, with that introduced in the play, which is the procession from the palace to the Abbey. On the first occasion she wore a surcoat of white cloth of tissue, and a mantle of the same, furred with ermine, her hair hanging down from under a coif, with a circlet about it full of rich stones. On the second (that in the play) she wore a surcoat and robe of purple velvet, furred with ermine, the coif and circlet as before. The barons of the Cinque Ports, who carried the canopy over her, were "all in crimson, with points of blue and red hanging on their sleeves." The ladies, "being

« AnteriorContinua »