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Cornets. Enter King Henry, Cardinal WOLSEY,
the Lords of the Council, Sir Thomas LOVELL, Officers, and Attendants. The King enters leaning on the Cardinal's Shoulder.
K. Hen. My life itself, and the best heart of it", Thanks you for this great care: I stood i' the level
“ Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,
“ And, by and by, a cloud takes all away.” Antony, remarking on the various appearances assumed by the fying vapours, adds :
now thy captain is
“ But cannot hold this visible shape, my knave." Or yet, more appositely, in King John :
being but the shadow of your son “ Becomes a sun, and makes your son a shadow.". Such another thought occurs in The famous History of Thomas Stukely, 1605 : “ He is the substance of
shadowed love." There is likewise a passage similar to the conclusion of this, in Rollo, or the Bloody Brother, of Beaumont and Fletcher:
is drawn so high, that, like an ominous comet, “ He darkens all your light.” We might, however, read-pouts on; i. e. looks gloomily upon. So, in Coriolanus, Act V. Sc. i. :
“ To give, or to forgive.”
“Thou pout'st upon thy fortune and thy love." Wolsey could only reach Buckingham through the medium of the King's power. The Duke therefore compares the Cardinal to a cloud, which intercepts the rays of the sun, and throws a gloom over the object beneath it. "I am (says he) but the shadow of poor Buckingham, on whose figure this impending cloud looks gloomy, having got between me and the sunshine of royal favour."
Our poet has introduced a somewhat similar idea in Much Ado About Nothing :
Of a full charg'd.confederacy', and give thanks
the pleached bower,
“ Made proud by princes To pout is at this time a phrase descriptive only of infantine sullenness, but might anciently have had a more consequential meaning I should wish, however, instead of
“By dark ning my clear'sun, to read
“ Be-dark’ning my clear sun. So, in The Tempest:
“I have be-dimm'd
“ The noontide sun." STEVENS. The following passage in Greene's Dorastus and Fawnia, 1588, (a book which Shakspeare certainly had read,) adds support to Dr. Johnson's conjecture : “ Fortune, envious of such happy successe, -turned her wheele, and darkened their bright sunne of prosperitie with the mistie cloudes of mishap and misery."
Mr. M. Mason has observed that Dr. Johnson did not do justice to his own emendation, referring the words whose figure to Buckingham, when, in fact, they relate to shadow. Sir W. Blackstone had already explained the passage in this manner.
Malone. By adopting Dr. Johnson's first conjecture, “puts out," for “puts on," a tolerable sense may be given to these obscure lines. “ I am but the shadow of poor Buckingham: and even the figure or outline of this shadow begins now to fade away, being extinguished by this impending cloud, which darkens (or interposes between me and) my clear sun; that is, the favour of my sovereign.” BLAkstone.
and the best HEART of it,] Heart is not here taken for the great organ of circulation and life, but, in a common, and popular sense, for the most valuable or precious part. Our author, in Hamlet, mentions the heart of heart. Exhausted and effete ground is said by the farmer to be out of heart. The hard and inner part of the oak is called heart of oak. Johnson.
stood i' the LEVEL Of a full-charg'd confederacy,] To stand in the level of a gun is to stand in a line with its mouth, so as to be hit by the shot.
Johnson. So, in our author's Lover's Complaint :
not a heart which in his level came “ Could scape the hail of his all-hurting aim.” Steevens.
That gentleman of Buckingham's: in person
The King takes his State. The Lords of the Coun
cil take their several Places. The Cardinal places himself under the King's Feet, on his right Side.
A Noise within, crying Room for the Queen.
Enter the Queen, ushered by the Dukes of NorFOLK and SUFFOLK: she kneels. The King riseth from his State, takes her up, kisses, and placeth her by him.
Q. Kath. Nay, we must longer kneel: I am a
suitor. K. HEn. Arise, and take place by us :--Half
Never name to us ; you have half our power:
Thank your majesty.
K. HEN. Lady mine, proceed.
Q. Kath. I am solicited, not by a few, And those of true condition, that your subjects Are in great grievance: there have been commis
Again, in our author's 117th Sonnet :
“My life stands in the level of your dreams. MALONE.
Sent down among them, which hath flaw'd the
heart Of all their loyalties :—wherein, although, My good lord cardinal, they vent reproaches Most bitterly on you, as putter-on Of these exactions, yet the king our master, (Whose honour heaven shield from soil !) even he
Not almost appears,
Of these exactions,] The instigator of these exactions; the person who suggested to the King the taxes complained of, and incited him to exact them from his subjects. So, in Macbeth:
above “ Put on their instruments." Again, in Hamlet, vol. vii. p. 518 : “Of deaths put on by cunning and forc'd cause."
MALONE. 7 The Many to them 'longing,] The
many is the meiny, the train, the people. Dryden is, perhaps, the last that used this word : “ The kings before their many
rode." Johnson. I believe the many is only the multitude, the oi morto. Thus, Coriolanus, speaking of the rabble, calls themthe mutable rank-scented many."
STEEVENS. 8 And DANGER serves among them.] Could one easily believe that a writer, who had, but immediately before, sunk so low in his expression, should here rise again to a height so truly sublime? where, by the noblest stretch of fancy, Danger is perK. HEN.
Please you, sir,
No, my lord, i You know no more than others : but you frame' Things, that are known alike'; which are not
wholesome To those which would not know them, and yet
Perforce be their acquaintance. These exactions, Whereof my sovereign would have note, they are Most pestilent to the hearing; and, to bear them, The back is sacrifice to the load. · They say,
, They are devis’d by you; or else you suffer Too hard an exclamation.
sonalized as serving in the rebel army, and shaking the established government. WARBURTON.
Chaucer, Gower, Skelton, and Spenser, have personified Danger. The first, in his Romaunt of the Rose; the second, in his fifth Book, De Confessione Amantis ; the third, in his Bouge of Court
“ With that, anone out start dangere ;' and the fourth, in the 10th Canto of the 4th Book of his Fairy Queen, and again in the fifth Book and the ninth Canto.
Steevens. - front but in that file -] I am but primus inter pares. I am but first in the row of counsellors. Johnson.
This was the very idea that Wolsey wished to disclaim. It was not his intention to acknowledge that he was the first in the row of counsellors, but that he was merely on a level with the rest, and stept in the same line with them. M. Mason.
1 You know no more than others, &c.] That is, you know no more than other counsellors, but you are the person who frame those things which are afterwards proposed, and known equally by all. M. Mason.