Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

we hold that the Prologue is a complete exposition of the idea of this drama. The Prologue is fastened upon Jonson, upon the theory that he wrote it after Shakspere's retirement from the stage, when the old play was revived in his absence. We believe in the one piece of external evidence,—that a 'Henry VIII.' was produced in 1613, when the Globe was burned ; that it was a new play; that it was then called · All is True ;'—and that this title agrees with the idea upon which Shakspere wrote the Henry VIII.' Those who believe that it was written in the time of Elizabeth have to reject this one piece of external evidence. We further believe, from the internal evidence, that the play, as it stands, was written in the time of James I., and that we have received it in its original form. Those who assert the contrary have to resort to the hypothesis of interpolation; and, further, have to explain how many things which are, to a plain understanding, inconsistent with their theory, may be interpreted, by great ingenuity, to be consistent. We believe that Shakspere, amongst his latest dramas, constructed an historical drama to complete his great series,—one that was agreeable to the tone of his mind after his fiftieth year :

“ Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe." Those who take the opposite view hold that the chief object of the poet was to produce something which might be acceptable to Queen Elizabeth. Our belief is the obvious one ; the contrary belief may be the more ingenious.

Shakspere has in this play closed his great series of Chronicle Histories. This last of them was to be “sad, high, and working.". It has laid bare the hollowness of

worldly glory; it has shown the heavy "load" of “ too much honour.” It has given us a picture of the times which succeeded the feudal strifes of the other "Histories.' Were they better times ? To the mind of the poet the age of corruption was as “sad” as the age of force. The one tyrant rides over the obligations of justice, wielding a power more terrible than that of the sword. The poet's consolation is to be found in the prophetic views of the future.

We have a few words to add on the style of this drama. It is remarkable for the elliptical construction of many of the sentences, and for an occasional peculiarity in the versification, which is not found in any other of Shakspere's works.

A theory has been set up that Jonson" tampered" with the versification. We hold this notion to be utterly untenable; for there is no play of Shakspere's which has a more decided character of unity, no one from which any passage could be less easily struck out. We believe that Shakspere worked in this particular upon a principle of art which he had proposed to himself to adhere to, wherever the nature of the scene would allow. The elliptical construction, and the licence of versification, brought the dialogue, whenever the speaker was not necessarily rhetorical, closer to the language of common life. Of all his historical plays, the 'Henry VIII.' is the nearest in its story to his own times. It professed to be a “ truth." It belongs to his own country. It has no poetical indistinctness about it, either of time or place: all is defined. If the diction and the versification had been inore artificial, it would have been less a reality.

PERSONS REPRESENTED.

KING HENRY VIII. Appears, Act I. sc. 2; sc. 4. Act II. sc. 2 ; sc. 4. Act Ill. sc. 2.

Act V. sc. 1 ; sc. 2; sc. 4.

CARDINAL WOLSEY. Appears, Act I, sc. 1 ; sc. 2; sc. 4. Act II. sc. 2; sc. 4. Act III.

sc. 1 ; se. 2.

CARDINAL Campeius.
Appears, Act II. sc. 2; sc. 4. Act III. sc. 1.

CAPucius, ambassador from the Emperor Charles V.

Appears, Act IV. sc. 2.

CRANMER, archbishop of Canterbury.
Appears, Act II. sc. 4. Act V. sc. l; sc. 2; sc. 4.

DUKE OF NORFOLK.
"Appears, Act I. sc. 1; sc. 2. Act II. sc. 2. Act III. sc. 2,

DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1. Act II. sc. I.

DUKE OF SUFFOLK.
Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act II. sc. 2. Act III, sc. 2,

sc. I; sc. 2.

Act V.

***61

EARL OF SURREY,
Appeurs, Act II. sc. 2. Act V. sc. 8.

Lord Chamberlain.
Appears, Act I. sc. 3 ; sc. 4. Act II. sc. 2; sc. 3. Act III. sc. 2.

Act V. sc. 2 ; sc. 3.
Lord Chancellor.

Appears, Act V. sc. 2.
GARDI er, bishop of Winchester.
Appears, Act II. sc. 2. Act V. sc. 1; sc. 2.

BISHOP OF LINCOLN.

Appeurs, Act II. sc. 4.
Lord ABERGAVENNY.

Appears, Act I. sc. 1.

Lord Sands.
Appears, Act I. sc. 3; sc. 4. Act II. sc. 1.

SIR HENRY GUILDFORD.

Appears, Act I. sc. 4.

Sır THOMAS LOVELL. Appears, Act 1. sc. 2; sc. 3 ; sc. 4. Act II. sc. 1.

Act V. sc. I.

Act III. sc. 2.

SIR ANTHONY DENNY.

Appears, Act V. sc. 1.
Sır NICHOLAS Vaux.

Appears, Act II, sc. 1.
Secretaries to Wolsey.

Appeur, Act I. sc. 1.
CROMWELL, servant to Wolsey.
Appears, Act III. sc. 2. Act V. sc. 2.

GRIFFITH, Gentleman-Usher to Queen Katharine.

Appears, Act II. sc. 4. Act IV. sc. 2.

Three Gentlemen.
Appear, Act II. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 1.

Doctor Butts, physician to the King.

Appears, Act V. sc. 2.
Garter King at Arms.

Appears, Act V. sc. 4.
Surveyor to the Duke of Buckingham.

Appears, Act I. sc. 2.

BRANDON.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1.

A Sergeant at Arms.

Appears, Act I. sc. 1.
Door-Keeper of the Council Chamber.

Appears, Act V. sc. 2.
Porter, and his Man.
Appear, Act V. sc. 3.
Page to Gardiner.
Appears, Act V. sc. I.

A Crier.

Appears, Act II. sc. 4. Queen KATHARINE, wife to King Henry, afterwards

divorced. Appears, Act I. sc.2. Act II. sc. 4. Act III. sc. 1. Act IV. sc. 2.

« ZurückWeiter »