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KING HENRY VIII.
ACT I. SCENE I.
LINE 5. -a fresh admirer-] An admirer untired; an ad mirer still feeling the impression as if it were hourly renewed.
Line 22. Till this time, pomp was single; but now married To one above itself.] The author intends only to say in a noisy periphrase, that pomp was encreased on this occasion to more than twice as much as it had ever been before.
-Each following day
Became the next day's master, &c.] Dies diem docet. Every day learned something from the preceding, till the concluding day collected all the splendor of all the former shews.
Line 26. All clinquant,] All glittering, all shining. Clarendon uses this word in his description of the Spanish Juego de Toros. JOHNSON.
Line 40. Durst wag his tongue in censure.] Censure for determination, of which had the noblest appearance. WARBURTON.
Line 47. That Bevis was believ'd.] The old romantic legend of Bevis of Southampton. This Bevis (or Beavois) a Saxon, was for his prowess created by William the Conqueror earl of Southampton: of whom Camden in his Britannia. THEOBALD.
Line 50. the tract of every thing &c.] The course of these triumphs and pleasures, however well related, must lose in the description part of that spirit and energy which were expressed in the real action. JOHNSON.
Distinctly his full function.] The commission for regulating this festivity was well executed, and gave exactly to every particular person and action the proper place. JOHNSON. Line 59. certes,] i. e. for certain.
-element-] No initiation, no previous practices. Elements are the first principles of things, or rudiments of knowledge. The word is here applied, not without a catachresis, to a person. JOHNSON.
Line 67. fierce vanities!] Fierce is here, I think, used like the French fier for proud, unless we suppose an allusion to the mimical ferocity of the combatants in the tilt. JOHNSON.
Line 68. That such a keech-] A keech is a solid lump or mass. A cake of wax or tallow formed in a mould is called yet in some places a keech.
the file-] That is, the list.
-council out,] Council not then sitting. JOHNS.
97. Must fetch him in he papers.] He papers, a verb; his own letter, by his own single authority, and without the concurrence of the council, must fetch in him whom he papers down.—I don't understand it, unless this be the meaning. POPE. Line 100. What did this vanity,
shew but the
But minister &c.] What effect has this pompous production of a wretched conclusion. JOHNSON,
Line 110. Every man,
After the hideous storm that follow'd, &c.] Holinshed says, "Monday, 18th day of June, there blew such storms "of wind and weather, that marvel was to hear; for which "hideous tempest some said it was a very prognostication of trou"ble and hatred to come between princes." In Henry VIII. p. 80. WARBURTON,
Line 120. The ambassador is silenc'd?] Silenc'd for recall'd. This being proper to be said of an orator, and an ambassador or public minister being called an orator, he applies silenc'd to ambassador. WARBURTON.
. I understand it rather of the French ambassador residing in England, who, by being refused an audience, may be said to be silenc'd.
Line 122. A proper title of a peace;] A fine name of a peace. Ironically.
. Line 139. very just.
-comes that rock,] To make the rock come is not
butcher's cur-] Wolsey is said to have been
the son of a butcher.
-A beggar's book
Out-worths a noble's blood.] That is, the literary qualifications of a bookish beggar are more prized than the high descent of hereditary greatness. This is a contemptuous exclamation very naturally put into the mouth of one of the antient, unletter'd, martial nobility. JOHNSON.
Line 161. He bores me with some trick:] He stabs or wounds me by some artifice or fiction.
from a mouth of honour-] I will crush this baseborn fellow, by the due influence of my rank, or say that all
distinction of persons is at an end.
warmth of integrity. Perhaps name not, should be blame not.
Whom from the flow of gall I blame not. JOHNS.
-for he is equal ravenous,] Equal for equally.
-his mind and place
Infecting one another,] This is very satirical. His mind he represents as highly corrupt; and yet he supposes the contagion of the place of first minister as adding an infection to it, WARBURTON. suggests the king our master-] Suggests for WARBURTON.
Line 204. Excites.
Line 214. our count-cardinal-] Wolsey is afterwards called king-cardinal.
Line 252. I am sorry
To see you ta'en from liberty, to look on
The business present:] I am sorry that I am obliged
to be present and an eye-witness of your loss of liberty.
Line 281. my life is spann'd already:] To span is to gripe, or inclose in the hand; to span is also to measure by the palm and fingers. The meaning, therefore, may either be, that hold is taken of my life, my life is in the gripe of my enemies; or, that my time is measured, the length of my life is now determined. JOHNSON.
Line 282. I am the shadow of poor Buckingham;
Whose figure even this instant cloud puts on,] Whose port and dignity is assumed by this cardinal, that overclouds and oppresses me, and who gains my place
-By dark'ning my clear sun.
ACT I. SCENE II.
Line 285. —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.
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.
Of these exactions,] i. e. the instigator of these
Line 324. 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.
front but in that file-] I am but primus inter pares. I am but first in the row of counsellors. JOHNSON.
Line 380. We must not stint-] To stint is to restrain, to stop.
Line 382. To cope-] To engage with; to encounter. The
word is still used in some counties.
. Line 386. -once weak ones,] Once is not unfrequently used for sometimes among the old writers.
Line 387. —what worst, as oft,
Hitting a grosser quality,] The worst actions of great men are commended by the vulgar, as more accommodated to the grossness of their notions.
Line 401. From every tree, lop, bark, and part o' the timber;] Lop is a substantive, and signifies the branches. WARBURTON. -out of himself.] Beyond the treasures of his
Not well dispos'd,] Great gifts of nature and edu
cation, not joined with good dispositions.
Line 452. This dangerous conception in this point.] Note this
particular part of this dangerous design.
Line 510. -so rank?] Rank weeds, are weeds that are grown up to great height and strength. What, says the king, was he advanced to this pitch?
JOHNSON. Line 519. ·Being my servant sworn, &c.] Sir William Blomer (Holinshed calls him Bulmer) was reprimanded by the king in the star-chamber, for that, being his sworn servant, he had left the king's service for the duke of Buckingham's. Edwards's MSS. STEEVENS.
ACT I. SCENE III.
Line 550. Is it possible, the spells of France should juggle Men into such strange mysteries?] Mysteries were allegorical shows, which the mummers of those times exhibited in odd and fantastic habits. Mysteries are used, by an easy figure, for those that exhibited mysteries; and the sense is only, that the travelled Englishmen were metamorphosed, by foreign fashions, into such an uncouth appearance, that they looked like mummers in a mystery. JOHNSON. Line 558. A fit or two o' the face;] A fit of the face seems to be what we now term a grimace, an artificial cast of the JOHNSON,