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fion, contained in a..y of the lines in praise of the queen, inconsistent with the idea of the whole of the panegyrick on her having been composed in her life-time.
In further confirination of what has been here advanced to shew that this play was probably written while queen Elizabeth was yet alive, it may be observed, (to use the words of an anonymous writer",) that “ Shakspeare has cast the disagreeable parts of her father's character as much into thade as possible; that he has represented him as greatly displeased with the grievances of his subjects, and ordering them to be relieved; tender and obliging (in the early part of the play! to his queen, grateful to the cardinal, and in the case of Cranmer, capable of distinguishing and rewarding true merit.” “ He has exerted (adds the same author) an equal degree of complaisance, by the amiable lights in which he has shewn the mother of Elizabeth. Anne Bullen is represented as affected with the most tender concern for the sufferings of her mistress, queen Catherine; receiving the honour the king confers on her, by making her marchioness of Pembroke, with a graceful humility; and more anxious to conceal her advancement from the queen, left it 1hould aggravate her forrows, than sollicitous to penetrate into the meaning of so extraordinary a favour, or of indulging herself in the flattering prospect of future royalty."
It is unnecessary to quote particular passages in support of these assertions; but the following lines which are spoken of Anne Boleyn by the Lord Chamberlain, appear to me so evidently calculated for the ear of Elizabeth, (to whom fuch incense was by no means displeasing) that I canz not forbear to transcribe them:
“ I have perused her well; Beauty and honour are in her so mingled, “ That they have caught the king: and who knows yata « But from ibis Lady may proceed a gem,
" To lighten all this ise.' The Globe play-house, we are told by the continuator of Stowe's Chronicle, was burnt down, on St. Peter's day, in the year 1613, while the play of K. Henry VII. was exhibiting. Sir Henry Wotton, (as Mr. Tyrwhitt has obferred) says in one of his letters, that this accident happen.
. The author of Shakespeare illuftrated,
ed during the exhibition of a new play, called All is True; which, however, appears both from Sir Henry's minute description of the piece, and from the account given by Stowe's continuator, to have been our author's play of K. Henry VIII. - If indeed Sir H. Wotton was accurate in calling it a new play, all the foregoing reasoning on this subject would be at once overthrown; and this piece, instead of being ascribed to 1601, should have been placed twelve years later. But I strongly sufpect that the only novelty attending this play, in the year 1613, was its title, decorations, and perhaps the prologue and epilogue. The Elector Palatine was in London in that year; and it appears from the Mf. register of lord Harrington, treasurer of the chambers to K. James 1. that many of our author's plays were then exhibited for the entertainment of him and the princess Elizabeth. By the same register we learn, that the titles of many of them were changed in that year. Princes are fond of opportunities to display their magnificence before strangers of distinction; and James, who on his arrival here, must have been dazzled by a splendour foreign to the poverty of his native kingdom, might have been peculiarly ambitious to exhibit before his son-in-law'the mimick pomp of an English coronation P, King Henry VIII. therefore, after having lain by for some years unacted, on account of the costliness of the exhibition, might have been revived in 1613, under the title of All is True, with new decorations and a new prologue and epilogue. Mr. Tyrwhitt observes, that the prologue has two or three direct references to this title ; a circumstance which authorizes us to conclude, almost with certainty, that it was an occasional production, written some years after the composition of the play.
NOT E s. Thus Henry IV. P. J. was called Hotspur ; Henry IV. P. II. or The Merry Wives of Windsor, was exhibited under the name of Sir John Falstaff ; Much Ado about Nothing was new named Benedia and Beatrix, and Julius Cafar seems to have been represented under the title of Cæsar's Tragedy.
The Prince Palatine was not present at the representation of K. Henry VIII, on the zoth of June 0. S. when the Globe playhouse was burnt down, having left England some time before. But the play might have been revived for his entertainment in the beginning of the year 1613 ; and might have been occasionally repesented afterwards. VOL. I.
Dr. Johnson long since suspecied, from the contemptuouz manner in which “ the noise of targets, and the fellow in a long motley coa!," or, in other words, most of our author's plays, are spoken of, in this prologue, that it was not the composition of Shakspeare, but written after his departure from the fage, on some accidental revisal of K. Henry VIII. by B. Jonson, whole ftyle, it seemed to him to resemble 9.
In fupport of this conjecture it may be observed that Ben Jon on has in many places endeavoured to ridicule our author for represencing battles on the stage. So in his prologue to Every Mar in bis Humour:
-“Yet ours for want, hath not so lov’d the Itage,
- or svith three rufiy favords,
And in the tyring house bring wounds to fears." Again, in his Silent Iloman, Act IV. fc. iv.
* Nay, I would fit out a play, that were nothing but fights at sea, drum, trumpet, and target."
We are told in the memoirs of Ben Jonson's life, that he went to France in the year 1613. But at the time of the revival of King Henry VIII. he either had not lett England, or was then returned; tor he was a spectator of the fire which happened at the Globe theatre during the representation of that piece. (See the next note.)
It may, perhaps, fcem extraordinary, that he should have presumed to prefix this covert censure of Shakspeare, to one of his own plays. But he appears to have cagerly embraced every op portunity of depreciating him. This occalional prologue (who. ever was the writer of it) confirms the tradition handed down by Rowe, thatour author retired froin the stage about three
years fure his death. Had he been at that time joined with Heminge and Burbage in the management of the Globe ihearie, he scarcely would have futiered the lines above alluded to, to have been spoken. In lord Harrington's account of the money disbursed for the plays that were exhibited by his majesty's servants, in the year 1613, before the Elector Palatine, ali the payments are faid to have been made to“ Foln Herninge, for himicit and the rest of his fellows ;" from which we may conclude thar he was then the principal managcr. A correfpondent, however, of Sir Thomas Puckering's (as I
Dr. Farmer is of the same opinion, and thinks he fees fomething of Jonson's hand, here and there, in the dialogue alfo. After our author's retirement to the country, Jonson was perhaps employed to give a novelty to the piece by a new title and prologue, and to furnish the managers of the Globe with a description of the coronation ceremony, and of those other decorations, with which, from his connection with Inigo Jones, and his attendance at court, he was peculiarly conversant.
The piece appears to have been revived with some degree of splendour; for Sir Henry Wotton gives a very pompous account of the representation. The unlucky accident that happened to the houfe during the exhibition, was occafioned by discharging some small pieces, called chambers, on K. Henry's arrival at cardinal Wolfey's gate at Whitehall, one of which, being injudiciously managed, set fire to the thatched roof of the theatre'.
The NOTES. learn from Mr. Tyrwhite) in a MI. letter, preserved in the Museum, and dated in the year 1613, calls the company at the Globe, “ Bourbage's company"-Shakspeare's name stands before either of these, in the licence granted by K. James; and had he not left London before that time, the players at the Globe theatre, I should imagine, would rather have been entitled, his company: The burlesque parody on the account of Falltaff's death, which is contained in Fletcher's comedy of the Captain, acted in 1613, and the ridicule of Hamlet's celebrated foliloquy, and of Ophelia's death, in his Scurnful Lady, which was represented about the same time, confirm the tradition that our author had then retired from the stage, careless of the fate of his writings, inattentive to the illiberal at. tacks of his contemporaries, and ncgligent alike of present and pofthumous fame.
The Globe theatre (as I learn from the Mil. of Mr. Oldys) was thatched with reeds, and had an open area in its center. This area we may suppose to have been filled by the lowest part of the audience, whom Shakspeare calls the groundlings. Chambers are not, like other guns, pointed horizontally, but are discharged as they fand erect on their breeches. The accident
may, therefore, be easily accounted for. If these pieces were let oif behind the scenes, the paper or wadding with which their charges were confined, would reach the thatch on the inside ; or if tixed without the walls, it might have been carried by the wind to the top
of the roof.
This accident is alluded to, in the following lines of Ben Jon. son's Execration upon Vulcar, from which it appears, that he was
The play, thus revived and new-named, was probably called, in the hills of that time, a new play; which might have led Sir Henry Wotton to describe it as such. And thus his account may be reconciled with that of the other contemporary writers, as well as with those arguments which have been here urged in support of the early date of K. Henry VIII. Every thing has been fully stated on each side of the question. The reader muft judge.
Mr. Roderick in his notes on our author, (appended to Nr. Edwards's Canons of Criticism) takes notice of some peculiarities in the meire of the play before us; viz. “ that there are many more virfes in it than in any other, which end with a redundant syllable”-_' very near two to one"--and that "the iæfuræ or pauses of the verse are full as remarkable.” - The re
at the Globe playhouse when it was burnt; a circumstance which in fome measure strengthens the conjecture that he was employed on the revival of King Henry VIII. for this was not the theatre at which his pieces were usually represented :
“ Well fare the wise men yet on the Bank-side, “ My friends, the watermen! they could provide “ Against thy fury, when, to serve their needs, " They made a Vulcan of a theaf of reeds; " Whom they durst handle in their holy-day coats, " And safely trust to dress, not burn their boats. “ But O those reeds! thy mere disdain of them “ Made thee beget that cruel stratagem, "(Which some are pleas'd to style but thy mad prank) “ Àgainst the Globe, the glory of the Bank : “ Which, though it were the fort of the whole parish, “ Flank'd with a ditch and forc'd out of a marilli, " I fasu with two poor chambers taken in, “ And raz'd; ere thought could urge this might have been. “ See the world's ruins! nothing but the piles " Left, and wit since to cover it with tiles. “ The breth'ren, they straight nois'd it out for news, “ 'Twas verily fome relick of the flews, " And this a sparkle of that fire let loose, " That was lock'd up in the Winchestrian goose, “ Bred on the Bank in time of popery, $6 When Venus there maintain' her mistery. " But others fell, with that conceit, by the ears, “ And cried, it was a threat'ning to the bears, 4 And that accursed ground, the Paris-garden, &c."