thought that you would rather have sued to us to have taken the pains to have heard you and your accusers together for your trial, without any such indurance. Do you not know what state you be in with the whole world, and how many great enemies you have? Do you not consider what an easy thing it is to procure three or four false knaves to witness against you? Think you to have better luck that way than your master Christ had ? I see by it you will run headlong to your undoing, if I would suffer you. Your enemies shall not so prevail against you; for I have otherwise devised with myself to keep you out of their hands. Yet, notwithstanding, to-morrow when the council shall sit, and send for you, resort unto them, and if, in charging you with this matter, they do commit you to the Tower, require of them, because you are one of them, a counsellor, that you may have your accusers brought before them without any further indurance, and use for yourself as good persuasions that way as you may devise ; and if no entreaty or reasonable request will serve, then deliver unto them this my ring' (which then the king delivered unto the archbishop), "and say unto them, If there be no remedy, my lords, but that I must needs go to the Tower, then I revoke my cause from you, and appeal to the king's own person by this token unto you all; for' (said the king then unto the archbishop) “so soon as they shall see this my ring, they know it so well that they shall understand that I have reserved the whole cause into mine own hands and determination, and that I have discharged them thereof.

“ The archbishop, perceiving the king's benignity so much to him wards, had much ado to forbear, tears. "Well,' said the king, go your ways, my lord, and do as I have bidden you.' My lord, humbling himself with thanks, took his leave of the king's highness for that night.

“ On the morrow, about nine of the clock before noon, the council sent a gentleman-usher for the archbishop, who, when he came to the council-chamber door, could not be let in, but of purpose (as it seemed) was compelled there to wait among the pages, lackeys, and servingmen all alone. D. Butts, the king's physician, resorting that way, and espying how my lord of Canterbury was handled, went to the king's highness, and said, ' My lord of Canterbury, if it please your grace, is well promoted; for now he is become a lackey or a servingman, for yonder he standeth this half-hour at the council-chamber door amongst them. It is not so' (quoth the king), “I trow, nor the council hath not so little discretion as to use the metropolitan of the realm in that sort, specially being one of their own number. But let them alone' (said the king) and we shall hear more soon.

“ Anon the archbishop was called into the council-chamber, to whom was alleged as before is rehearsed. The archbishop answered in like sort as the king had advised him; and in the end, when he perceived that no manner of persuasion or entreaty could serve, he delivered them the king's ring, revoking his cause into the king's hands. The whole council being thereat somewhat amazed, the Earl of Bedford, with a loud voice, confirming his words with a solemn oath, said, · When you first began the matter, my lords, I told you what would become of it. Do you think that the king would suffer this man's finger to ache? Much more (I warrant you) will he defend his life against brabling varlets. You do but cumber yourselves to hear tales and fables against him.' And incontinently upon the receipt of the king's token they all rose, and carried to the king his ring, surrendering that matter, as the order and use was, into his own hands.

“When they were all come to the king's presence, his bighness, with a severe countenance, said unto them, “ Ah, my lords, I thought I had had wiser men of my council than now I find you. What discretion was this in you thus to make the primate of the realm, and one of you in office, to wait at the council-chamber door amongst servingmen? You might have considered that he was a counsellor

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as well as you, and you had no such commission of me so to handle him. I was content that you should try him as a counsellor, and not as a mean subject. But now I well perceive that things be done against him maliciously, and, if some of you might have had your minds, you would have tried him to the uttermost. But I do you all to wit, and protest, that if a prince may be beholding unto his subject (and so solemnly laying his hand upon his breast, said), by the faith I owe to God, I take this man here, my lord of Canterbury, to be of all other a most faithful subject unto us, and one to whom we are much beholding, giving him great commendations otherwise.' And, with that, one or two of the chiefest of the council, making their excuse, declared that, in requesting his indurance, it was rather meant for his trial and his purgation against the common fame and slander of the world, than for any malice conceived against him. "Well, well, my lords' (quoth the king),

take him, and well use him, as he is worthy to be, and make no more ado.' And with that, every man caught him by the hand, and made fair weather of altogethers, which might easily be done with that man."

The christening of the Princess Elizabeth at Greenwich is the last “ show" of this “historical masque.” In the description of this ceremony Hall is again superb. The most important part of the day's proceeding is briefly despatched by the chronicler :

“ The godfather was the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury; the godmothers were the old Duchess of Norfolk and the old Marchioness of Dorset, widows; and the child was named Elizabeth : and after that all thing was done, at the church-door the child was brought to the fount, and christened; and this done, Garter chief king of arms cried aloud, God, of his infinite goodness, send prosperous life and long to the high and mighty Princess of England Elizabeth :' and then the trumpets blew, then the child was brought up to the altar, and the Gospel said over

it: and after that immediately the Archbishop of Canterbury confirmed it, the Marchioness of Exeter being godmother : then the Archbishop of Canterbury gave to the princess a standing cup of gold ; the Duchess of Norfolk gave to her a standing cup of gold, fretted with pearl; the Marchioness of Dorset gave three gilt bowls, pounced, with a cover; and the Marchioness of Exeter gave three standing bowls, graven, all gilt, with a cover.”

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“I come no more to make you laugh ; things now,

That bear a weighty and a serious brow,
Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe,
Such noble scenes as draw the eye to flow,
We now present.”

This is the commencement of the most remarkable prologue of the few which are attached to Shakspere's plays. It is, to our minds, a perfect exposition of the principle upon which the poet worked in the construction of this drama. Believing, whatever weight of authority there may be for the contrary opinion, that the · Henry VIII.' was a new play in 1613, there had been a considerable interval between its production and that of the · Henry V.,the last in the order of representation of his previous Histories. During that interval several of the poet's most admirable comedies had been unquestionably produced ; and the audience of 1613 was perhaps still revelling in the recollections of the wit of Touchstone, or the more recent whimsies of Autolycus. But the poet, who was equally master of the tears and the smiles of his audience, prepares them for a serious view of the aspects of real life :-" I come no more to make you laugh.” He thought, too, that the popular desire for noisy combats, and the unavoidable deficiencies of the stage in the representation of battle-scenes—he had before described it as an “ unworthy scaffold” for “ vasty fields”-might be passingly adverted to ; and that the Clowns of the same stage, whom he had indeed reformed, but who still delighted the “ ears of the groundlings” with their extemporal rudeness, might be slightly renounced. He disclaimed, then,“ both fool and fight:" these were not amongst the attractions of this work of his maturer age. He had to offer weighty and serious things, sad and high things, noble scenes that commanded tears; state and woe were to be exhibited together : there was to be pageantry, but it was to be full of pity; and the woe was to be the more intense from its truth. And how did this master of his art profess to be able to produce such deep

Vol. VII.

emotion from the exhibition of scenes that almost came down to his own times ; that the fathers and grandfathers of his audience had witnessed in their unpoetical reality; that belonged not to the period when the sword was the sole arbiter of the destinies of princes and favourites, but when men fell by intrigue and not by battle, and even the axe of the capricious despot struck in the name of the law? There was another great poet of this age of high poetry, who had indicated the general theme which Shakspere proposed to illustrate in this drama:

“ What man that sees the ever-whirling wheel

Of change, the which all mortal things doth sway,
But that thereby doth find, and plainly feel,
How Mutability in them doth play

The cruel sports to many men's decay ?'*
From the first scene to the last, the dramatic action seems to point
to the abiding presence of that power which works

“ Her cruel sports to many men's decay.” We see the “ ever-whirling wheel,” in a succession of contrasts of grandeur and debasement; and even when the action is closed, we are carried forward into the depths of the future, to have the same triumph of “ Mutability” suggested to our contemplation. This is the theme which the poet emphatically presents to us under its aspect of sadness :

“ Be sad, as we would make ye: Think ye see

The very persons of our noble story,
As they were living ; think you see them great,
And follow'd with the general throng and sweat
Of thousand friends; then in a moment see

How soon this mightiness meets misery."
Bearing in mind the great principle of the play, it appears to us
to open with singular art. The Field of the Cloth of Gold is pre-
sented to our view, not as a mere piece of ordinary description, but
as having a dramatic connexion with the principal action. By this
description we are at once, and most naturally, introduced to the
characters of the proud nobles whose hatred Wolsey has provoked.
The sarcastic Norfolk may probably abide the frown of the great
cardinal; but in the temperament of the impetuous Buckingham
there is inevitable danger. What a portrait of self-willed pride
has the poet drawn of Buckingham in all that scene! How the
haughty peer first displays his rough contempt of "such a keech ”
as Wolsey; then throws out his random allegations against his

* The Faerie Queene. Two cantos of Mutabilitie.

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