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The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phenix,
Her ashes new create another heir,
As great in admiration as herself;
So shall she leave her blefTedness to one,
(When heaven shall call her from this cloud of

darkness,)
Who, from the sacred ashes of her honour,
Shall star-like rise, as great in fame as she was,
And so stand fix'd: Peace, plenty, love, truth, terror,
That were the servants to this chosen infant,
Shall then be his, and like a vine grow to him;
Wherever the bright sun of heaven shall shine,
His honour and the greatness of his name
Shall be, and make new nations: ' He shall flourish,
And, like a mountain cedar, reach his branches
To all the plains about him: Our children's

children Shall see this, and bless heaven. K. Hen.

Thou speakest wonders.] Cran. She shall be, to the happiness of England, An aged princess; ? many days shall see her,

the following passage in the 9th book of Lucan (a poet from whose itores old Ben has often enriched himself):

quanta sub nocte jaceret Noftra dies.

STEEVENS. 9 His honour and the greatness of his name

Shall be, and make new nations :) On a picture of this contemptible king, which formerly belonged to the great Bacon, and is now in the possession of Lord Grimston, he is styled imperii Atlantici conditor. The year before the revival of this play (1612) there was a lottery for the plantation of Virginia. These lines probably allude to the settlement of that colony. Malone. 2 She shall be, to the happiness of England,

An aged princess ;] The transition here from the complimentary address to King James the first is so abrupt, that it seems obvious to me, that compliment was inserted after the accession of that prince. If this play was wrote, as in my opinion it was, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, we may easily determine where

And yet no day without a deed to crown it.
Would I had known no more! but she must die,
She must, the faints must have her; yet a virgin,
A most unspotted lily shall she pass
To the ground, and all the world shall mourn her.

K. Hen. O lord archbishop,
Thou haft made me now a man; never, before
This happy child, did I get any thing:
This oracle of comfort has so pleas'd me,
That, when I am in heaven, I shall desire
To see what this child does, and praise my Maker.
I thank ye all,—To you, my good lord mayor,
And your good brethren,' I am much beholden;
I have receiv'd much honour by your presence,
And
ye

shall find me thankful. Lead the way,

lords ;Ye must all see the queen, and she must thank ye,

reflection upon

Cranmer's eulogium of that princess concluded. I make no ques. tion but the poet refted here:

And by those claim their greatness, not by blood. All that the bishop fays after this, was an occasional homage paid to her successor, and evidently inserted after her demise. How naturally, without this insertion, does the king's joy and satisfactory

the bishop's prophecy, come in !
King. Thou speakest wonders. O lord archbishop,
Thou'st made me now a man. Never, before

This happy child, did I get any thing : &c. Whether the king would fo properly have made this inference, upon hearing that a child of so great hopes should die without issue, is submitted to judgment. THEOBALD.

3 And your good brethren,] Old copy-you. But the aldermen were never called brethren to the king. The top of the nobility are but cousins and counsellors. Dr. Thirlby, therefore, rightly advised :

And your good brethren,i. e. the lord mayor's brethren, which is properly their style.

THEOBALD. So, in King Henry V : “ The mayor and all his brethren in best fort.

MALONE.

She will be fick else. This day, no man think
He has business at his house; for all shall stay,
This little one shall make it holiday. [Exeunt.

- The play of Henry the Eighth is one of those, which still keeps possession of the stage, by the splendour of its pageantry. The Coronation, about forty years ago, drew the people together in multitudes for a great part of the winter. Yet pomp is not the only merit of this play. The meek sorrows and virtuous distress of Katharine have furnished some scenes, which may be justly numbered among the greatest efforts of tragedy. But the genius of Shakspeare comes in and goes out with Katharine. Every oth part may be easily conceived and easily written. Johnson.

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'Tis ten to one, this play can never please
All that are here: Some come to take their ease,
And sleep an act or two; but those, we fear,
We have frighted with our trumpets; so, 'tis clear,
They'll say, 'tis naught: others, to hear the city
Abus'd extremely, and to cry,—that's witty!
Which we have not done neither : that, I fear,
All the expected good we are like to hear
For this play at this time, is only in
The merciful construction of good women;
For such a one we show'd them;s If they smile,
And say, 'twill do, I know, within a while

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- such a one we show'd them;] In the character of Katharine. JOHNSON.

-If they smile, &c.] This thought is too much hackney'd. It had been used already in the Epilogues to As you like it, and the second part of King Henry IV. ŠTEEVENS.

Though it is very difficult to decide whether fort pieces be genuine or fpurious, yet I cannot reitrain myself from expressing my suspicion that neither the Prologue nor Epilogue to this play is the work of Shakspeare ; non vultus, non color. It appears to me very likely that they were fupplied by the friendthip or officious. ness of Jonson, whose manner they will be perhaps found exactly to resemble. There is yet another supposition poffible: the Prologue and Epilogue may have been written after Shakspeare's departure from the Itage, upon some accidental revival of the play, and there will then be reason for imagining that the writer, whoever he was, intended no great kindness to him, this play being recommended by a subtle and covert censure of his other works. There is in Shakspeare so much of fool and fight;

the fellow, In a long motley coat, guarded with yellow, appears so often in his drama, that I think it not very likely that he would have animadverted so severely on himself. All this, however, must be received as very dubious, since we know not the exact date of this or the other plays, and cannot tell how our author might have changed his practice or opinions. JOHNSON.

All the best men are ours; for 'tis ill hap,
If they hold, when their ladies bid them clap.

Dr. Johnson's conjecture, thus cautioufly stated, has been since strongly confirmed by Mr. Tyrwhitt's note, p: 5, by which it appears that this play was revived in 1613, at which time without doubt the Prologue and Epilogue were added by Ben Jonson, or some other person. On the subject of every one of our author's historical pieces, except this, I believe a play had been written, before he commenced a dramatick poet. See the Essay at the end of the third part of King Henry VI. MALONE.

I entirely agree in opinion with Dr. Johnson, that Ben Jonson wrote the Prologue and Epilogue to this play. Shakspeare had a little before affifted him in his Sejanus ; and Ben was too proud to receive affiftance without returning it. It is probable, that he drew

up the directions for the parade at the christening, &c. which his employment at court would teach him, and Shakspeare must be ignorant of. I think, I now and then perceive his hand in the dialogue.

It appears from Stowe, that Robert Green wrote somewhat on this subject. FARMER.

See the first scene of this play, p. 3. MALONE.

In support of Dr. Johnson's opinion, it may not be amiss to quote the following lines from old Ben's prologue to his Every Man in his Humour :

“ To make a child new swaddled, to proceed
“ Man, and then Thoot up, in one beard and weed,
• Past threescore years : or with three rusty swords,
“ And help of some few foot-and-half-foot words,

Fight over York and Lancaster's long wars,

“ And in the tyring-house," &c. Steevens. The historical dramas are now concluded, of which the two parts of Henry the Fourth, and Henry the Fifth, are among the happiest of our author's compositions ; and King John, Richard the Third, and Henry the Eighth, deservedly stand in the second class. Those whose curiosity would refer the historical scenes to their original, may consult Holin shed, and sometimes Hall: from Holinshed, Shakspeare has often inserted whole speeches, with no more alteration than was necessary to the numbers of his verse. To transcribe them into the margin was unnecessary, because the original is easily examined, and they are feldom less perfpicuous in the poet than in the historian.

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