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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 virtuous distress of Katharine have furnished some see nes, 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. JOHNSON.

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 season, is was exhibited 75 times. See bis History of the Stage, p. 68. STEEV.



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,2 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.

[] Alluding to the fools and buffoons, introduced in the plays a little bea fore our auther's time: 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 allows 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, JÓHŃS


King HENRY the Eighth.

Cardinal WOLSEY. Cardinal CAMPEIUS.
CAPUCIUS, ambassador from the emperor, Charles V.
CRANMER, archbishop of Canterbury.
Duke of SUFFOLK. Earl of SURREY.
Lord Chamberlain. Lord Chancellor.
GARDINER, bishop of Winchester.



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-chamber.


Page to Gardiner. A Crier.

Porter, and his

Queen KATHARINE, wife to king Henry, afterwards 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 Attendants.

SCENE, chiefly in London and Westminster; once, at Kimbolton.


SCENE I.-London. An Ante-chamber in the Palace. Enter the Duke of NORFOLK, at one door; at the other, the Duke of BUCKINGHAM, and the Lord ABERGAVENNY.

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morrow, and well met. Since last we saw in France?

Nor. I thank your grace:

How have you done,

Healthful; and ever since a fresh admirer'
Of what I saw there.

Buck. An untimely ague

Stay'd me a prisoner in my chamber, when
Those sons of glory, those two lights of men,
Met in the vale of Arde.

Nor. 'Twixt Guynes and Arde :2

I was then present, saw them salute on horseback;
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 lost

The view of earthly glory: Men might say,
Till this time, pomp was single; but now marry'd
To one above itself. Each following day

Became the next day's master, till the last
Made former wonders its :3 To-day, the French,
All clinquant, all in gold, like heathen gods,

[1] An admirer untired; an admirer still feeling the impression as if it were hourly renewed. JOHNS.

[2] Guynes then belonged to the English, and Arde to the French; they are towns in Picardy, and the valley of Ardren lay between them. Arde is Ardre, but Hall and Holinshed write it as Shakspeare does. REED.

[3] Dies diem docet. Every day learned something from the preceding, till the concluding day collected all the splendor of all the former shows. JOH. [4] All glittering, all shining. Clarendon uses this word in his description of the Spanish Juego de Toros. JOHNS.

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