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The Council-Chamber. Cornets. Enter King HENRY, Cardinal Wolsey, the
Lords of the Council, Sir Thomas LOVELL, Officers, and Attendants. The King enters leaning on the Cardinals shoulder. K. Hen. My life itself, and the best heart of it, Thanks
you for this great care: I stood i' the level
Another explanation may be given, somewhat harsh, but the best that occurs to me:
I am the shadow of poor Buckingham,
Whose figure even this instant cloud puts on, whose port and dignity is assumed by the Cardinal, that clouds and oppresses me, and who gains my place
By dark’ning my clear sun. Fohnson.
“O, how this spring of love resembleth
* 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
“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 shadowed love." 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:
“ To give, or to forgive."
“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
Of a full-charg'd confederacy, 1 and give thanks
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 sha. dow 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 :
the pleached bower,
“ Made proud by princes — To pout is at this time a phrase descriptive only of infantine sulleriness, but might anciently have had a more consequential meaning: I should wish, however, instead of By dark’ning my
clear to read
Be-dark’ning my clear sun, So, in The Tempest :
- I have be-dimm'd “ The noontide sun." Steedens. 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. Black stone had already explained the passage in this manner. Malone. By adopting Dr. Johnson's first conjecture, "puts out," for
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 extin. guished by this impending cloud, which darkens (or interposes between me and) my clear sun; that is, the favour of my sovereign.” Blackstone.
- 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 cak is called heart of oak. Johnson.
stood ; the level Of a full-charg’d confecleracy,] 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.
o puts on,"
That gentleman of Buckingham's: in person
their several Places. The Cardinal places himself un
der 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 Suf-
suit Never name to us; you have half our power: The other moiety, ere you ask, is given; Repeat your will, and take it. l. Kath.
Thank your majesty.
you would love yourself; and, in that love,
K. Hen. Lady mine, proceed,
Q. Kath. I am solicited, not by a few, And those of true condition, that your subjects Are in great grievance: there have been commissions Sent down among them, which hath flaw'd the heart Of all their loyalties:-wherein, although, My good lord cardinal, they vent reproaches Most bitterly on you, as putter-on Of these exactions, ? yet the king our master,
So, in our author's Lover's Complaint :
" not a heart which in his level came
as putter-on Of these exaetions,] The instigator of these exactions; the per son 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:
« Of deaths put on by cunning and forc'd cause." Malone.
(Whose honour heaven shield from soil !) even he es.
Language unmannerly, yea, such which breaks
Not almost appears,
Please you, sir,
3 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.” Fohnson. I believe the many is only the multitude, the oi tonnol. Thus, Coriolanus, speaking of the rabble, calls them:
the mutable rank-scented many.” Steevens. 4 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 personalized 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,
his Bouge of Court
“ With that, anone out start dangere;". and the fourth, in the 10th Canto of the fourth Book of bis Fairy Queen, and again in the fifth Book and the ninth Canto. Steevens.
- 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.
Where others tell steps with me.
No, my lord,
I am much too venturous
6 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. tractable obedience &c.] i. e. those who are tractable and obedient, must give way to others who are angry. Musgrave.
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.
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.
I coincide in opinion with Musgrave-I think the meaning this,-So powerful and numerous are the incensed, that those who were disposed to be tractable and obedient have become slaves to their will. An. Ed.