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divorce.” This persistency of opposition to the gratification of the king's amorous desires, awakens Henry's hostility to the cardinal, whose spell is out, for “the king hath found”
“Matter against him that for ever mars
The honey of his language.” With all his knowledge of the king's character there was this one particular phase, viz., Henry's sexual passion, that he had entirely overlooked. He had never accurately weighed nor discriminated the strength of this passion, and this oversight, coupled with his negligence, in putting his “main secret in the packet” he “sent the king,” causes Henry to break with him, deposing him from his high estate, commanding him to surrender the great seal to his direst foes, and confines him “to Asher house." True to his nature, which is made up of dissimulation, craft and hypocrisy, he quits the scene doling forth precepts of virtue which he himself did never act upon during his life, and punished those who had been fools enough so to do.
The character of the king, as drawn by Shakspere, is not particularly flattering to the amorous monarch, whose dalliance with the fair sex partook more of the animal portion of his nature than any development of the feeling of love. There is no attempt to disguise the “tyranny together working with his jealousness,” the cruelty and the sensuality of Henry's conduct, though such deeds and actions are not prominently thrust forward. The self-will and passion of which the king was to a great extent a slave, are faithfully pourtrayed, so is also his intense implacability, for it is said and justly so that Henry never forgave an enemy; for he
was entirely “void and empty from any dram of mercy."*
Of Anne Bullen we see but little. There is not much of her character pourtrayed, but sufficient is shown to intimate that she is fully capable of bearing the honours which are being thrust upon her, and though she “would not be a queen for all the world,” she is well able to play a queenly part. She bears “a gentle mind,” and beauty and honour in her are mingled. Her chastity and good humour are thoroughly exhibited and her completeness of mind and feature is of that high class, that
“She will outstrip all praise
And make it halt behind her.”+ The character of Katharine is charmingly and truthfully drawn. She is full of womanly goodness and virtue, true in her love for her husband and full of gentleness. “She bore a mind that envy could not but call fair,'' and those with whom she associated and by whom she was surrounded are of the most virtuous kind, so that her bitterest enemy can say nought against her virtue. Her husband she loves “with that excellence that angel's love good men with," "loved him next Heaven," and almost forgot her "prayers to content him.” She readily obeys his wishes and desires with but one exception, and that is the attempt to divorce her from him with whom she had been mated for twenty years. This arouses her womanly nature and she fails not to castigate the arrogant cardinal, refusing to be judged by him,” and rising in her queenly dignity, declines “ever more upon this business” to “make
* Merchant of Venice, Act iv. Sc. 1. + The Tempest, Act iv. Sc. 1.
appearance in any of their courts." The death scene of the outraged Katharine is particularly beautiful, for in her last moments, full of true gentleness, she forgives her bitter enemy, Wolsey, fails not to wish joy and happiness to her late husband, hoping "that he may for ever flourish,” and bids Capucius that he will “tell him, in death I bless'd him, for so I will.”
CYMBELINE.—The date of the production of this grand romantic drama, for it can hardly be called a tragedy, cannot be said to be definitely ascertained. It was seen by Dr. S. Forman, the astrologer, either in 1610 or 1611, for he has recorded the witnessing thereof, though he does not name the day nor the theatre at which it was played. The historical materials were found in Holinshed, who mentions the names of the king and his sons, but no trace of their adventures in the drama can be found in the pages of the historian. The fortunes of Posthumus and Imogen, the wager, the treachery of Iachimo, were probably derived from the Decameron of Boccaccio, though the position of the characters who lay the wager is different in degree. The old dry bones of others, in this instance, Shakspere has endowed with vitality, and
consummate powers. Cloten is an original portraiture, made up of contradictions, full of self-conceit, which is mainly engendered by his position and the gross flattery of the courtiers by whom he is surrounded. He is tainted with brutality and folly, yet not lacking all the qualities of humanity, for at times he displays a manliness of nature, which fails not to stamp him as one of human kind.
Both the young princes, the brothers of Imogen, are distinguished by their simple-hearted goodness, and this is most fully developed by the training which they receive from Belarius, by whom they are brought up in a knowledge and love of the natural and true. The yearnings for a wider field of distinction which they feel, are but promises of true wisdom and greatness, which is ultimately fulfilled. Their mixed character is excellently and faithfully described by their aged counsellor, when he says they are “ the sweetest companions in the world," and
“They are gentle,
And make him stoop to the vale." They are apparently both alike in character, yet they are not truly so, for the elder Guiderius is the most impetuous and passionate of the two, and upbraids the more gentle Arviragus, who uses richer and more flowing language, for playing “in wench-like words with that which is so serious.”
The character of the queen, “ a crafty devil who coins plots hourly,” is the blackest among the whole of the women ever drawn by Shakspere. She is remarkable for her coolness, her cunning, her hypocrisy and her treachery, being truly “a woman that bears all down with her brain.” She lusteth for power, in which everything is included, and her desire for Cloten to marry Imogen, proceeds from her love of dominion. In the development of her wickedness, she cares not who may suffer, so that she obtains her desire. She needs no broker when practising her deceit; her "cunning