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Charles Knyvet, in person.
The Duke has no one there to defend him; the witnesses are not subjected to cross-examination, nor is any attempt made to ascertain the accuracy of their charges, or tò test their honesty and good faith by the methods now adopted in similar cases. The Duke's guilt is assumed upon their unsupported assertions. In this travesty of justice, the Queen is the only person who appears to retain any sense of what is due to reason and equity; but she is too feeble an advocate, too much bewildered by the sophistry which she feels, but is unable to unravel, to render the accused any effectual help. Besides, when kings sit in council, who shall contradict them? When their minds are already made up,
“God mend all,” is the natural and sole reflection which presents itself to the thoughts of inferiors. Strange as this proceeding may appear, it is not due merely to the poet's imagination. It presents us with a general likeness of State prosecutions in the Tudor times. The presumption that men are innocent until they are legally proved to be guilty, the facilities granted to the accused for substantiating his innocence by retaining the ablest advocate, the methods for sifting evidence now in use, had no existence then. In crimes against the sovereign, real or supposed, men were presumed to be guilty until they proved themselves to be innocent, and that proof was involved in endless difficulties. What advocate or what witness would have ventured to brave the displeasure of a Tudor king, by appearing in defense of a criminal, on whose guilt the King had pronounced already? With the exception of making Wolsey present at the examination of the Duke's servants and surveyor, Shakespeare has strictly adhered to facts in this preliminary examination of the Duke's servants.'
(J. S. Brewer, The Reign of Henry VIII, I. 383.) I. ii. 147. Henton. This, the Folio reading, was
altered by Theobald to 'Hopkins. But as he was often called Henton from the monastery to which he belonged, 'there is no need to amend the text.' (Gollancz.) Cf. I. i. 221 and note.
I. ii. 151-171. These twenty lines are merely Holinshed (1587), p. 864, in blank verse.
I. ii. 164. confession's seal. Theobald's emendation of the Folio's reading Commissions seal. It comes from Holinshed, 'under the seal of confession.'
I. ii. 170. To gain. The word gain was added in the Fourth Folio to complete the meter.
I. ii. 172. You were the duke's surveyor. The accusation against Knyvet is taken from Holinshed.
I. ii. 177-186. This speech is versified Holinshed.
I. ii. 179. for him. Capell's emendation for the for this of the Folio.
I. ii. 190. Bulmer. The Folio printer transposed the letters, so that the name reads Blumer.
I. ii. 213. by day and night. An exclamation. Cf. Hamlet, I. v. 164, ‘0 day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
I. iii. The third scene, which serves only as a prelude to the fourth, is typical of Fletcher's style. It has been explained by some commentators as being an attack
upon the courtiers of James I. Although there is no dramatic reason for its existence, it is an expansion of one paragraph of Holinshed (1587), p. 850, and of another on p. 852. Owing to the fact that the dramatists skipped back and forth in versifying the passages from Holinshed, the chronology is hopeless. This scene was in 1519. At this time the Lord Chamberlain was Charles Somerset, Earl of Worcester, and Sir William Sands (or Sandys) had not been raised to the nobility.
I. iii. 12, 13. spavin Or springhalt. Verplanck's emendation for the Folio,
the Spauen A Spring-halt ... because the two diseases are different, although each causes lameness in a horse.
I. iii. 25. Of fool and feather. Alluding to the long feathers worn in the hats.
I. iii. 27. as fights and fireworks. There had been jousting at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and the interview had ended with a display of fireworks.
I. iii. 30. tall stockings. The extreme of the fashion was very short puffed trousers and long stockings, reaching above the knee.
I. iii. 63. My barge stays. Before the Victoria Embankment was built, the palaces along the river front had steps leading down to the river, because the ordinary means of travel was by boat.
I. iv. This scene, also by Fletcher, is a dramatization of the passage from Holinshed (1587), pp. 921 ff. But Holinshed's Chronicle is itself a compilation from a number of previous works. This particular passage is an almost verbatim reprint from George Cavendish's Life of Cardinal Wolsey. According to Hall, the entertainment took place January 3, 1527. Consequently chronological order in the play is incorrect in placing it before Buckingham's death. This error arose from the fact that Holinshed, after he had finished a year-by-year account of Wolsey's career, summarized his character, drawing from Cavendish. Consequently in this part of Holinshed no dates are given to the events described. This error in dating causes another, namely, that in 1527 the Lord Chamberlain and Lord Sandys were not different persons, as Sandys had become Lord Chamberlain the
before, Sir Henry Guilford was Master of Horse.
York Place, then the residence of Wolsey, later became Whitehall, the royal palace. Cf. IV. i. 95-97.
I. iv. 49 S. d. Chambers discharged. This ap
pears to have been the occasion of the conflagration which destroyed the Globe Theatre. See Appendix B, p. 150.
I. iv. 75. The fairest hand. Anne Boleyn's presence at this entertainment is an invention of the dramatists. There is no indication in Holinshed that she was there.
I. iv. 96. And not to kiss you. Kissing before the dance was the custom. If he had not kissed her, he would have been ‘unmannerly.'
II. i. This scene (by Fletcher), while scarcely advancing the action of the drama, is yet finely effective, taken by itself. It is a close dramatization from Holinshed (1587), p. 865, even to the extent of keeping many of the original phrases.
II. i. 18. To have brought. The first three Folios read To him brought; the correction was made in the Fourth.
II. i. 43, 44. Earl Surrey was sent thither, and in haste too, Lest he should help his father. Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey and in 1524 Duke of Norfolk, had married Elizabeth Stafford, the eldest daughter of the Duke of Buckingham.
II. i. 53. The mirror of all courtesy. 'He is tearmed in the books of the law in the said thirteenth yeare of Henrie the eight (where his arreignement is liberallie set downe) to be the floure and mirror of all courtesie.' Holinshed (1587), p. 870.
II. i. 53 S. d. the axe with the edge towards him. This indicated that the prisoner had been condemned.
II. i. 53 S. d. Sir William Sandys. The same character that has figured in Act I as Lord Sandys, only here his title is correctly given. Theobald corrected the Folio, which reads Walter.
II. i. 67. evils. Some commentators have wished to take evils in this passage and in Measure for Measure, II. ii. 172, in the Elizabethan sense of privy or out-house. This meaning at best is doubtful. Here, however, where the style is both elliptical and metaphorical, the usual sense of crimes seems the simpler reading.
II. i. 103. Edward Bohun. Buckingham's surname was Stafford, although he was a remote descendant of the Bohun family. The mistake, however, is in Holinshed.
II. i. 107. My noble father. Henry Stafford, High Constable of England and Duke of Buckingham, raised a revolt against Richard III, was betrayed by his servant, Humphrey Banaster, and beheaded in 1483, 'without arreignement or iudgement.'
II. i. 148-153. This passage is versified Holinshed (1587), p. 897.
II. i. 160. Cardinal Campeius. Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio was sent by the Pope, Clement VII, to judge the question jointly with Wolsey. As the Pope had withheld the power to make a decision, the trial was necessarily adjourned.
II. i. 164. The archbishopric of Toledo. This motivation of Wolsey's conduct is taken from Holinshed.
II. ii. 18, 19. No; his conscience Has crept too near another lady. As has been pointed out by Mr. Vaughan, this speech of Suffolk is an aside, and Norfolk's' 'Tis so' is in agreement with the opinion of the Chamberlain. This speech is incongruous coming from the mouth of the historical Duke of Suffolk !
II. ii. 21. That blind priest. Reckless, because he cannot see. But the adjective suggests the familiar figure of Fortune, with her wheel.
II. ii. 62 S. d. At the back of the Elizabethan stage there was a gallery. Under the gallery was a recess, screened by curtains. This recess here is used as the King's study. And it is upon the gallery that the King and Butts play in Act V. ii.