Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

KING HENRY VIII.

[blocks in formation]

Ric!
TL
A

[ocr errors]

т A

THE play of Henry the Eighth is one of those, which still keeps possession of the stage, by the splendour of its pageantry. "The coronation about forty years ago drew the people together in multitudes for a great part of the winter Yet pomp is not the only merit of this play. The meek sorrows and yirtuous distress of Katharine have furnished some scenes, which may be justly numbered among the greatest efforts of tragedy. But the genius of Shakspeare comes in and goes out with Katharine. Every other part may be easily conceived and easily written. JOANSON.

This historical drama comprizes a period of twelve years, commencing in the twelfth year of King Henry's reign, (1521,) and ending with the christening of Elizabeth in 1633. Shakspeare has deviated from history in placing the death of Queen Katharine before the birth of Elizabeth, for in fact Katharine did not die till 1536. MALONE.

* Chetwood says, that during one seasons is was exhibited 75 times. See his History of the Stage, p. 68. STEEV.

I

COME no more to make you laugh ; things now,
That bear a weighty and a serious brow,
-Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe,
Such noble scenes, as draw the eye to flow,
We now present. Those, that can pity, here
May, if they think it well, let fall a tear ;
The subject will deserve it. Such, as give
Their money out of hope they may believe,
May here find truth too. Those, that come to see
Only a show or two, and so agree,
The play may pass; if they be still, and willing,
I'll undertake, may see away their shilling
Richly in two short hours. Only they,
That come to hear a merry, bawdy play,
A noise of targets ; or to see a fellow
In a long motley coat, guarded with yellow,"
Will be deceiv'd : for, gentle hearers, know,
To rank our chosen truth with such a show
As fool and fight is, beside forfeiting
Our own brains, and the opinion that we bring,
(To make that only true we now intend,)
Will leave us never an understanding friend.
Therefore, for goodness' sake, and as you are known
The first and happiest hearers of the town,
Be sad, as we would make ye : Think, ye 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.

[1] Alluding to the fools and buffoons, introduced in the plays a little be.. fore our auther's cime: and of whom he has left us a small taste in his own.

THEOBALD. [2] This is not the only passage in which Shakspeare has discovered his conviction of the impropriety of battles represented on the stage. He knew that five or six men with swords, gave a very unsatisfactory idea of an ar. my, and therefore, without much care to excuse his former practice, he als lows that a theatrical fight would destroy all opinion of truth, and leave him never an understanding friend. Magnis ingeniis et multa nihil ominus habituris simplex convedit erroris confessio. Yet I know not whether the coronation shown in this play may not be liable to all that can be objected against a battle, JOHNS

King HENRY the Eighth.
Cardinal WOLSEY. Cardinal CAMPEIUS.
CAPUCIUS, ambassador from the emperor, Charles V.
CRANMER, archbishop of Canterbury.
Duke of NORFOLK, Duke of BUCKINGHAM.
Duke of SUFFOLK. Earl of SURREY.
Lord Chamberlain. Lord Chancellar.
GARDINER, bishop of Winchester.
Bishop of LINCOLN. Lord ABERGAVENNY.
Lord SANDS.
Sir HENRY GUILFORD. Sir THOMAS LOVELL.
Sir ANTHONY DENNY. Sir NICHOLAS VAUX.
Secretaries to Wolsey.
CROMWELL, servant to Wolsey.
GRIFFITH, gentleman-usher to queen Katharine.
Three other Gentlemen.
Doctor Butts, physician to the king.
Garter, king at arms.
Surveyor to the duke of Buckingham.
BRANDON, and a Sergeant at Arms.
Door-keeper of the council-chainber. Porter, and his

man.

Page to Gardiner. A Crier.

Queen KATHARINE, wife to king Henry, a fterwards

divorced. ANNE BULLEN, her maid of honour, afterwards queen. An old Lady, friend to Anne Bullen. PATIENCE, woman to queen Katharine. Several Lords and Ladies in the dumb shows ; women

attending upon the queen ; Spirits, which appear to her ; Scribes, Officers, Guards, and other Atten

(lants, SCENE, chiefly in London and Westminster ; once,

Q6 Kimbolion,

« AnteriorContinuar »