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Chan. My good lord archbishop, I am very sorry To sit here at this present, and behold That chair stand empty: But we all are men, In our own natures frail ; and capable Of our flesh, few are angels :: out of which frailty,
calls to the Keeper without, who yet is on the stage, and supposed to be with Cranmer, &c. at the outside of the door of the chamber. The Chancellor and counsellors probably were placed behind a curtain at the back part of the stage, and spoke, but were not seen, till Cranmer was called in. The stage-direction in the old copy, which is, “ Cranmer approaches the council-table,” not, “ Cranmer enters the council-chamber," seems to countenance such an idea. With all the “ appliances and aids” that modern scenery
furnishes, it is impossible to produce any exhibition that shall precisely correspond with what our author has here written. Our less scrupulous ancestors were contented to be told, that the same spot, without any change of its appearance, (except perhaps the drawing back of a curtain,) was at once the outside and the inside of the council-chamber. See the Account of our old Theatres, Vol. III. MALONE.
How the outside and inside of a room can be exhibited on the stage at the same instant, may be known from many ancient prints in which the act of listening or peeping is represented. See a famous plate illustrating the Tale of Giocondo, and intitled Vero essempio d' Impudicitia, cavato da M. L. Ariosto; and the engraving prefixed to Twelfth-Night, in Mr. Rowe's edition.
Of our flesh, few are angels : &c.] If this passage means any thing, it may mean, few are perfect, while they remain in their mortal capacity ; i. e. while they are capable (in a condition] of being invested with flesh. A similar phrase occurs in Chapman's version of the sixteenth Niad :
“ That is no city libertine, nor capable of their gown." Shakspeare uses the word capable as perversely in King Lear:
and of my land,
“ To make thee capable." STEEVENS. The word capable almost every where in Shakspeare means intelligent, of capacity to understand, or quick of apprehension. So, in King Richard III :
Andwant of wisdom, you, that best should teach us, Have misdemean’d yourself, and not a little, Toward the king first, then his laws, in filling
0, 'tis a parlous boy, “ Bold, quick, ingenious, forward, capable!” Again, in Hamlet :
“ His form and cause conjoin’d, preaching to stones,
“ Would make them capable !” In the same play Shakspeare has used incapable nearly in the sense required here: “ As one incapable [i. e. unintelligent] of her own dis
tress. So, Marston, in his Scourge of Villanie, 1599:
“ To be perus’d by all the dung-scum rabble
“ Of thin-brain’d ideots, dull uncapable.” Minsheu, in his Dictionary, 1617, renders the word by indocilis.
The transcriber's ear, I suppose, deceived him, in the passage before us, as in many others; and the Chancellor, I conceive, means to say, the condition of humanity is such, that we are all born frail in disposition, and weak in our understandings. The subsequent words appear to me to add such support to this emendation, that I have ventured, contrary to my general rule, to give it a place in my text; which, however, I should not have done, had the original reading afforded a glimmering of
we are all
few are angels ; out of which frailty, And want of wisdom, you, &c. Mr. Pope, in his licentious method, printed the passage thus, and the three subsequent editors adopted his supposed reformation :
MALONE. I cannot extort any kind of sense from the passage as it stands. Perhaps it should be read thus :
we are all men,
Of our flesh, few are angels.
The whole realm, by your teaching, and your chap
(For so we are inform’d,) with new opinions, Divers, and dangerous; which are heresies, And, not reform'd, may prove pernicious.
GAR. Which reformation must be sudden too, My noble lords : for those, that tame wild horses, Pace them not in their hands to make them gentle; But stop
their mouths with stubborn bits, and spur
them, Till they obey the manage.
If we suffer (Out of our easiness, and childish pity To one man's honour) this contagious sickness, Farewell, all physick: And what follows then? Commotions, uproars, with a general taint Of the whole state: as, of late days, our neigh
* The upper Germany, &c.] Alluding to the heresy of Thomas Muntzer, which sprung up in Saxony in the years 1521 and 1522. GREY, a single heart,] A heart void of duplicity or guile.
MALONE. It is a scriptural expression. See Acts, ii. 46. Reed.
Defacers of a publick peace, than I do.
Nay, my lord,
moment, We will be short with you.
'Tis his highness' pleasure, And our consent, for better trial of you, From hence you be committed to the Tower; Where, being but a private man again, You shall know many dare accuse you boldly, More than, I fear, you are provided for. CRAN. Ah, my good lord of Winchester, I thank
you, You are always my good friend ; if your will pass, I shall both find your lordship judge and juror, You are so merciful: I see your end, 'Tis my undoing: Love, and meekness, lord, Become a churchman better than ambition ; Win straying souls with modesty again, Cast none away. That I shall clear myself, Lay all the weight ye can upon my patience, I make as little doubt, as you do conscience, In doing daily wrongs. I could say more, But reverence to your calling makes me modest.
• Defacers of a publick peace,] Read, the publick peace.
GAR. My lord, my lord, you are a sectary, That's the plain truth; your painted gloss discovers, To men that understand you, words and weakness.
CROM. My lord of Winchester, you are a little, By your good favour, too sharp; men so noble, However faulty, yet should find respect For what they have been : 'tis a cruelty, To load a falling man.? GAR.
Good master secretary,
Why, my lord?
were half so honest! Men's prayers then would seek you, not their fears.
GAR. I shall remember this bold language.
bold life too. CHAN.
This is too much ; Forbear, for shame, my lords. GAR.
I have done. CROM.
your painted gloss &c.] Those that understand you, under this painted gloss, this fair outside, discover your empty talk and your false reasoning. Johnson.
'tis a cruelty, To load a falling man.) This sentiment had occurred before. The Lord Chamberlain, checking the Earl of Surrey for his reproaches to Wolsey, says:
0, my lord,