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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 flying vapours, adds:
— now thy captain is
"Even such a body here I am Antony,
"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 my 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. :
"We pout upon the morning, are unapt
Again, in Romeo and Juliet, Act III. Sc. iii.:
"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,
"Where honeysuckles, ripen'd by the sun,
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
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.
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.
4 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.
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
And point by point the treasons of his master
The King takes his State. The Lords of the Council 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:
Repeat your will, and take it.
Thank your majesty.
That you would love yourself; and, in that love,
Not unconsider'd leave your honour, nor
The dignity of your office, is the point
Of my petition.
Lady mine, proceed.
Q. KATH. I am solicited, not by a few,
And those of true condition, that your subjects
Again, in our author's 117th Sonnet :
Bring me within the level of your frown, "But shoot not at me," &c.
Again in the Winter's Tale, vol. xiv.
My life stands in the level of your dreams. MALONE.
Sent down among them, which hath flaw'd the
Of all their loyalties:—wherein, although,
Of these exactions, yet the king our master,
Language unmannerly, yea, such which breaks
In loud rebellion.
And lack of other means, in desperate manner
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: The powers above
"Put on their instruments."
Again, in Hamlet, vol. vii. p. 518:
"Of deaths put on by cunning and forc'd cause."
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 noλλoì. Thus, Coriolanus, speaking of the rabble, calls them
66 the mutable rank-scented many.”
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 per
Wherein ? and what taxation ?-My lord cardinal,
Please you, sir,
I know but of a single part, in aught
Pertains to the state; and front but in that file 9 Where others tell steps with me.
Q. KATH. No, my lord, 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,
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.
9- 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.