« AnteriorContinuar »
Both in his words and meaning: He was never, But where he meant to ruin, pitiful :
stomach, or pride, ranking himself with princes, and by suggestion to the King and the Pope, he ty'd, i.e. limited, circumscribed, and set bounds to the liberties and properties of all persons in the kingdom. That he did so, appears from various passages in the play. Act II. sc. ii. “ free us from his slavery," “ or this imperious man will work us all from princes into pages: all men's honours," &c. Act III. sc. ii. “ You wrought to be a legate, by which power you maim'd the jurisdiction of all bishops.” See also Act I. sc. i. and Act III. sc. ii. This construction of the passage may be supported from D'Ewes's Journal of Queen Elizabeth's Parliaments, p. 644: “ Far be it from me that the state and prerogative of the prince should be tied by me, or by the act of any other subject.”
Dr. Farmer has displayed such eminent knowledge of Shakspeare, that it is with the utmost diffidence I dissent from the alteration which he would establish here. He would read tyth’d, and refers to the authorities of Hall and Holinshed about a tax of the tenth, or tythe of each man's substance, which is not taken notice of in the play. Let it be remarked that it is Queen Katharine speaks here, who, in Act I. sc. ii. told the King it was a demand of the sixth part of each subject's substance, that caused the rebellion. Would she afterwards say that he, i.e. Wolsey, had tythed all the kingdom, when she knew he had almost double-tythed it? Still Dr. Farmer insists that “the
passage, like every other in the speech, is intended to express the meaning of the parallel one in the Chronicle:" i.e. The cardinal “by craftie suggestion got into his hands innumerable treasure." This
passage does not relate to a publick tax of the tenths, but to the Cardinal's own private acquisitions. If in this sense I admitted the alteration, tyth’d, I would suppose that, as the Queen is descanting on the Cardinal's own acquirements, she borrows her term from the principal emolument or payment due to priests; and means to intimate that the Cardinal was not content with the tythes legally accruing to him from his own various pluralities, but that he extorted something equivalent to them throughout all the kingdom. So, Buckingham says, Act I. sc. i. “No man's pie is freed from his ambitious finger.” So, again, Surrey says, Act III. sc. ult. : “ Yes, that goodness of gleaning all the land's wealth into one, into your own hands, cardinal, by extortion:" and ibidem, “ You have sent innumerable substance (by what means got, I leave to your own conscience) to the mere undoing of all the kingdom.” This extortion is so fre
His promises were, as he then was, mighty;
quently spoken of, that perhaps our author purposely avoided a repetition of it in the passage under consideration, and therefore gave a different sentiment declarative of the consequence of his unbounded pride, that must humble all others. TOLLET.
as he is now, nothing.] So, in Massinger's Great Duke of Florence :
“ Till they have gain'd their ends, are giants in
“ In their performance." STEEVENS. 9 Of his own body he was ill,] A criminal connection with women was anciently called the vice of the body. Thus, in The Manciple's Tale, by Chaucer:
“ If of hire body dishonest she be.” Again, in Holinshed, p. 1258: “—he laboured by all meanes to cleare mistresse Sanders of committing evill of her bodie with him.”
STEEVENS. So, the Protector says of Jane Shore, Hall's Chronicle, Edw. IV. p. 16: “ She was naught of her bodye.” Malone.
their virtues We write in water.] Beaumont and Fletcher have the same thought in their Philaster :
STEEVENS. This reflection bears a great resemblance to a passage in Sir Thomas More's History of Richard III. whence Shakspeare undoubtedly formed his play on that subject. Speaking of the ungrateful turns which Jane Shore experienced from those whom she had served in her prosperity, More adds, " Men use, if they have an evil turne; to write it in marble, and whoso doth us a good turne, we write it in duste."
More's Works, bl. 1. 1557, p. 59. PERCY.
Yes, good Griffith ;
In Whitney's Emblemes, printed at Leyden, 4to. 1586, p. 183, is the following:
“ Scribit in marmore læsus.
“ So, wronges wee houlde, and never will forgive;
“ And soone forget, that still with us shoulde live.” Again, as Mr. Ritson quotes from Harrington's Ariosto :
“ Men say it, and we see it come to pass,
“ Good turns in sand, shrewd turns are writ in brass." To avoid an unnecessary multiplication of instances, I shall just observe, that the same sentiment is found in Massinger's Maid of Honour, Act V. sc. ii. and Marston's Malcontent, Act II. sc. iii. REED.
. This cardinal, &c.] This speech is formed on the following passage in Holinshed: “ This cardinal, (as Edmond Campion, in his Historie of Ireland, described him,) was a man undoubtedly born to honour; I think, (saith he,) some prince's bastard, no butcher's sonne; exceeding wise, faire-spoken, high-minded, full of revenge, vitious of his bodie, loftie to his enemies, were they never so bigge, to those that accepted and sought his friendship wonderful courteous; a ripe schooleman, thrall to affections, brought a bed with flatterie ; insaciable to get, and more princelie in bestowing, as appeareth by his two colleges at Ipswich and Oxenford, the one overthrown with his fall, the other unfinished, and yet as it lyeth, for an house of studentes, (considering all the appurtenances,) incomparable throughout Christendome. He held and injoied at once the bishoprickes of Yorke, Duresme, and Winchester, the dignities of Lord Cardinall, Legat, and Chancellor, the abbaie of St. Albons, diverse priories, sundrie fat benefices in commendam; a great preferrer of his servants, an advauncer of learning, stoute in every quarrel, never happy till this his overthrow : wherein he shewed such moderation, and ended so perfectlie, that the houre of his death did him more honour than all the pomp of his life passed.*"
So, in Macbeth :
nothing in his life " Became him like the leaving it;
Though from an humble stock, undoubtedly
When Shakspeare says that Wolsey was a scholar from his cradle,” he had probably in his thoughts the account given by Cavendish, which Stowe has copied ; « Cardinal Wolsey was an honest, poor man's sonne-who, being but a child, was very apt to learne; wherefore by means of his parents and other his good friends he was maintained at the university of Oxford, where in a short time he prospered so well, that in a small time, (as he told me with his owne mouth,) he was made bachelour of arts, when he was but fifteen years of age, and was most commonly called the boy batchelour." See also Wolsey's Legend, Mirrour for Magistrates, 1587.
I have here followed the punctuation of the old copy, where there is a full point at honour, and From his cradle begins a new sentence. This punctuation has likewise been adopted in the late editions. Mr. Theobald, however, contends that we ought to point thus :
66 Was, fashion’d to much honour from his cradle." And it must be owned that the words of Holinshed, here thrown
“ This cardinall was a man undoubtedly BORN to honour,” strongly support his regulation. The reader has before him the arguments on each side. I am by no means confident that I have decided rightly. Malone. The present punctuation,
From his cradle, " He was a scholar, seems to be countenanced by a passage in King Henry V:
“ Never was such a sudden scholar made." STEEVENS.
3 Was fashion'd to much honour.] Perhaps our author borrowed this expression from Saint Paul's Epistle to the Romans, ix. 21: “ Hath not the potter power over the clay of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honour" &c. STEEVENS.
-fair spoken, and persuading :) Eloquence constituted a part of the Cardinal's real character. In the charges exhibited against him, it was alledged that at the Privy Council “ he would have all the words to himself, and consumed much time with a fair tale." See 4 Inst. 91. HOLT WHITE.
But, to those men that sought him, sweet as summer.
KATH. After my death I wish no other herald,
* Ipswich,] “ The foundation-stone of the College which the Cardinal founded in this place, was discovered a few years ago. It is now in the Chapter-house of Christ-Church, Oxford.” Seward's Anecdotes of distinguished Persons, &c. 1795.
STEEVENS. • Unwilling to outlive the good that did it;] Unwilling to survive that virtue which was the cause of its foundation : or, perhaps, “ the good” is licentiously used for the good man; * the virtuous prelate who founded it.” So, in The Winter's Tale: 6
a piece many years in doing." Mr. Pope and the subsequent editors read--the good he did it; which appears to me unintelligible. “ The good he did it," was laying the foundation of the building and endowing it: if therefore we suppose the college unwilling to outlive the good he did it, we suppose it to expire instantly after its birth.
“ The college unwilling to live longer than its founder, or the goodness that gave rise to it,” though certainly a conceit, is sufficiently intelligible. MALONE. Good, I believe, is put for goodness. So, in p. 159:
May it please your highness