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King Henry the Eighth.
Cardinal Wolfey. Cardinal Campeius.
Duke of Norfolk. Duke of Buckingham.
Duke of Suffolk. Earl of Surrey.
Lord Chamberlain. Lord Chancellor.
Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester.
Bishop of Lincoln. Lord Abergavenny. Lord Sands.
Sir Anthony Denny. Sir Nicholas Vaux.
Cromwell, Servant to Wolley.
Griffith, Gentleman-Ufher to Queen Catharine.
Doctor Butts, Phyfician to the King.
Garter, King at Arms.
Surveyor to the Duke of Buckingham.
Brandon, and a Serjeant at arms.
Door-keeper of the Council-Chamber. Porter, and his Man. Page to Gardiner. A Cryer.
Queen Catharine, wife to King Henry; afterwards die vorced :
Anne Bullen, her maid of honour; afterwards Queen.
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 Weftminster; once, at Kimbolton.
I come no more to make you laugh; things now,
The play may pals; if they be still, and willing,
In a long motley coat', guarded with yellow,
Our own brains, and the opinion that we bring,
or to fee a fellow
In a long motley coat,] Alluding to the fools and buffoons, intro duced for the generality in the plays a little before our author's time: and of whom he has left us a fmall tafte in his own. THEOBALD.
So, Nah, in his Epistle Dedicatory to Have with you to Saffron Wal den, or Gabriel Harvey's Hunt is Up, 1596: "fooles, ye know, alwaies for the most part (efpeciallie if they bee naturall fooles) are futed in long coats." STEEVENS.
2 — fuch a show
As fiol and fight is,-] This is not the only paffage in which Shakspeare has difcovered his conviction of the impropriety of battles reprefented on the stage. He knew that five or fix men with fwords, gave a very unfatisfactory idea of an army, and therefore, without much care to excufe his former practice, he allows that a theatrical fight would deftroy all opinion of truth, and leave him never an underfanding friend. Magnis ingeniis et multa nihilominus babituris fimplex convenit erroris confeffio. Yet I know not whether the coronation fhewn in this play may not be liable to all that can be objected against a battle. JOHNSON.
(To make that only true we now intend ',) Will leave us never an understanding friend.
3 the opinion that we bring,
(To make that only true we now intend,)] Thefe lines I do not onderstand, and suspect them of corruption. I believe we may better read thus:
-th' opinion, that we bring
Or make; that only truth we now intend. JOHNSON.
To intend in our author, has fometimes the fame meaning as to pran tend. So, in the preceding play
"Intend fome deep fufpicion." STEEVENS.
If any alteration were neceffary, I fhould be for only changing the order of the words and reading
That only true to make we now intend:
i. e. that now we intend to exbibit only what is true.
This paffage, and others of this Prologue in which great ftrefs is laid upon the truth of the enfuing reprefentation, would lead one to suspect, that this play of Henry the VIIIth, is the very play mentioned by Sir H. Wotton, [in his letter of 2 July, 1613, Reliq. Wotton. p. 425.] under the defcription of a“ a new play, [acted by the king's players at the Bank's Side] called All is True, reprefenting fome principal pieces of the reign of Henry the VIIIth." The extraordinary circumftances of pomp and majesty, with which, fir Henry fays, that play was fet forth, and the particular incident of certain cannons foot off at the king's entry to a mafque at the cardinal Wolfey's boufe, (by which the theatre was fet on fire and burnt to the ground,) are ftrictly applicable to the play before us. Mr. Chamberlaine, in Winwood's Memorials, Vol. III. p. 469, mentions," the burning of the Globe or playhouse, on the Bankfide, on St. Peter's-day [1613,] which, (fays he) fell out by a peale of chambers, that I know not on what occafion were to be used in the play." B. Jonfon, in his Execration upon Vulcan, fays, they were savo poor chambers. [See the ftage-direction in this play, a little before the king's entrance. Drum and trumpet, chambers dif.barged.] The continuator of Stowe's Chronicle, relating the fame accident, p. 1003, fays exprefsly, that it happened at the play of Henry the VIIItb.
In a MS. letter of Thomas Lorkin to fir Thomas Puckering, dated London, this laft of June, 1613, the fame fact is thus related. longer fince than yefterday, while Bourbage his companie were acting at the Globe the play of Henry VIII. and there fhooting of certayne abambers in way of triumph, the fire catch'd &c. MS. Harl. 17002. TYRWHITT
I have followed a regulation recommended by an anonymous correfpondent, and only included the contested line in a parenthefis, which in fome editions was placed before the word befide. Opinion, I believe, means here, as in one of the parts of King Henry IV. character.-To realize and fulfil the expectations formed of our play, is now our object. This fentiment (to fay nothing of the general style of this prologue,) could
Therefore, for goodness' fake, and as you are known
Be fad, as we could make ye: Think, ye fee
As they were living; think, you fee them great,
never have fallen from the modeft Shakspeare. I have no doubt that the whole prologue was written by Ben Jonfon, at the revival of the play. in 1613. MALONI,