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K. HEN.

Still exaction!

The nature of it? In what kind, let's know,

Is this exaction?

I am much too venturous

Q. KATH. In tempting of your patience; but am bolden'd Under your promis'd pardon. The subject's grief Comes through commissions, which compel from

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The sixth part of his substance, to be levied
Without delay; and the pretence for this.

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Is nam'd, your wars in France: This makes bold

mouths :

Tongues spit their duties out, and cold hearts freeze Allegiance in them; their curses now,

Live where their prayers did and it's come to pass,
That tractable obedience is a slave

To each incensed will2. I would, your highness!
Would give it quick consideration, for
There is no primer business3.

2tractable obedience, &c.] i. e. those who are tractable and obedient, must give way to others who are angry.

MUSGRAVE.

The meaning, I think, is-Things are now in such a situation, that resentment and indignation predominate in every man's breast over duty and allegiance. MALONE.

The meaning of this is, that the people were so much irritated by oppression, that their resentment got the better of their obedience. M. MASON.

3 There is no primer BUSINESS.] In the old edition

"There is no primer baseness."

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The queen is here complaining of the suffering of the commons, which, she suspects, arose from the abuse of power in some great men. But she is very reserved in speaking her thoughts concerning the quality of it. We may be assured then, that she did not, in conclusion, call it the highest baseness; but rather made use of a word that could not offend the Cardinal, and yet would incline the King to give it a speedy hearing. I read therefore:

"There is no primer business."

i. e. no matter of state that more earnestly presses a dispatch. WARBURTON.

K. HEN.

This is against our pleasure.

WOL.

By my life,

And for me,

I have no further gone in this, than by

A single voice: and that not pass'd me, but

By learned approbation of the judges.

If I am Traduc'd by ignorant tongues, which neither know My faculties, nor person*, yet will be

The chronicles of my doing,-let me say,

'Tis but the fate of place, and the rough brake That virtue must go through. We must not stint Our necessary actions, in the fear

To cope malicious censurers; which ever,
As ravenous fishes, do a vessel follow
That is new trimm'd; but benefit no further
Than vainly longing. What we oft do best,
By sick interpreters, once weak ones", is

Dr. Warburton (for reasons which he has given in his note) would read:

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but I think the meaning of the original word is sufficiently clear. No primer baseness is no mischief more ripe or ready for redress. So, in Othello:

"Were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkies STEEVENS.

4 If I am traduc'd by tongues, which neither know

My faculties, nor person.] The old copy-by ignorant tongues. But surely this epithet must have been an interpolation, the ignorance of the supposed speakers being sufficiently indicated by their knowing neither the faculties nor person of the Cardinal. I have, therefore, with Sir T. Hanmer, restored the measure, by the present omission. STEEVENS.

5 We must not STINT] To stint is to stop, to retard. Many instances of this sense of the word are given in a note on Romeo and Juliet, vol. vi. p. 36, n. 5. STEEVENS.

6 TO COPE] To engage with, to encounter. The word is still used in some counties. JOHNSON.

So, in As You Like It, vol. vi, p. 384:

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"I love to cope him in these sullen fits." STEEVENS, ONCE weak ones,] The modern editors read-or weak ones; but once is not unfrequently used for sometime, or at one time or other, among our ancient writers.

Not ours, or not allow'd; what worst, as oft,
Hitting a grosser quality 9, is cried up

For our best act'. If we shall stand still,

In fear our motion will be mock'd or carp'd at,
We should take root here where we sit, or sit
State statues only.

K. HEN.

Things done well2,

And with a care, exempt themselves from fear;
Things done without example, in their issue
Are to be fear'd. Have you a precedent

Of this commission? I believe, not any.
We must not rend our subjects from our laws,
And stick them in our will. Sixth part of each ?
A trembling contribution! Why, we take,

From every tree, lop, bark, and part o' the timber
And, though we leave it with a root, thus hack'd,
The air will drink the sap. To every county,
Where this is question'd, send our letters, with
Free pardon to each man that has denied
The force of this commission: Pray, look to't;
I put it to your care.

So, in the 13th Idea of Drayton :

"This diamond shall once consume to dust."

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Again, in The Merry Wives of Windsor: "I pray thee, once to-night give my sweet Nan this ring."

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Again, in Leicester's Commonwealth : if God should take from us her most excellent majesty (as once he will) and so leave us destitute-"

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STEEVENS.

or not ALLOW'D;] Not approved.

n. 5; and vol. x. p. 125, n. 6. MALONE.

9

- what worst, as oft,

Hitting a grosser quality,]

See vol. viii. p. 33,

The worst actions of great men are commended by the vulgar, as more accommodated to the grossness of their notions.

JOHNSON.

For our best ACT.] I suppose, for the sake of measure, we should read-action. Perhaps the three last letters of this word were accidentally omitted by the compositor. STEEVens.

2 Things done well,] Sir T. Hanmer, very judiciously in my opinion, completes the measure by reading:

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Things that are done well." STEEVENS.

3 From every tree, LOP, bark, and part o' the timber ;] Lop is a substantive, and signifies the branches. WARBURTON.

WOL.

A word with you.

[To the Secretary.

Let there be letters writ to every shire,
Of the king's grace and pardon.

commons

Hardly conceive of me; let it be nois'd,

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The griev'd

That, through our intercession, this revokement
And pardon comes*: I shall anon advise you.
Further in the proceeding.

Enter Surveyors.

[Exit Secretary.

Q. KATH. I am sorry that the duke of Buck

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To nature none more bound; his training such, That he may furnish and instruct great teachers, And never seek for aid out of himself' Yet see

4 That, through our intercession, &c.] So, in Holinshed, p. 892: "The cardinall, to deliver himself from the evill will of the commons, purchased by procuring and advancing of this demand, affirmed, and caused it to be bruted abrode that through his intercession the king had pardoned and released all things." STEEVENS.

s Enter Surveyor.] It appears from Holinshed that his name was Charles Knyvet. RITSON.

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The gentleman is learn'd, &c.] We understand from "The Prologue of the translatour," that the Knyghte of the Swanne, a French romance, was translated at the request of this unfortunate nobleman. Copland, the printer, adds, this present history compyled, named Helyas the Knight of the Swanne, of whom linially is descended my said lord." The duke was executed on Friday the 17th of May, 1521. The book has no date.

7 And NEVER seek for aid OUT OF HIMSELF.] treasures of his own mind. JOHNSON.

Read:

STEEVENS.
Beyond the

"And ne'er seek aid out of himself. Yet see-."

RITSON.

When these so noble benefits shall prove

Not well dispos'd, the mind growing once corrupt,
They turn to vicious forms, ten times more ugly
Than ever they were fair. This man so cómplete,
Who was enroll'd 'mongst wonders, and when we,
Almost with ravish'd list'ning, could not find
His hour of speech a minute; he, my lady,
Hath into monstrous habits put the graces
That once were his, and is become as black
As if besmear'd in hell".

Sit by us; you shall hear (This was his gentleman in trust,) of him

Things to strike honour sad.-Bid him recount >' The fore-recited practices; whereof

We cannot feel too little, hear too much.

WOL. Stand forth; and with bold spirit relate what you,

Most like a careful subject, have collected

Out of the duke of Buckingham.

K. HEN.

Speak freely.

SURV. First, it was usual for him, every day
It would infect his speech, That if the king
Should without issue die, he'd carry it1 so
To make the scepter his: These very words
I have heard him utter to his son-in-law,
Lord Aberga'ny; to whom by oath he menac'd
Revenge upon the cardinal.

WOL.

8 - noble benefits

Please your highness, note

Not well dispos'd,] Great gifts of nature and education, not

joined with good dispositions.

9 is become as black

JOHNSON.

As if besmear'd in hell.] So, in Othello:

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Her name, that was as fresh

"As Dian's visage, is now begrim'd and black

"As mine own face."

STEEVENS.

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