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Who waits there? D. Keep. Without, my noble lords ?? Gar.
Yes, D. Keep.
My lord archbishop; And has done half an hour, to know your pleasures.
Chan. Let him come in.
Your grace may enter now.S
[Cran. approaches the Council-Table. 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,
- noble lords?] The epithet-noble should be omitted, as it spoils the metre. Steevens.
8 Your grace may enter now.) It is not easy to ascertain the mode of exhibition here. The inside and outside of the council-chamber seem to be exhibited at once. Norfolk within 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. Malone.
How the outside and inside of a room can be exbibited 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.
Steevens. and capable Of our flesh, few are angels : &c.] If this passage means any thing, it may mean, few are perfect quhile 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 Iliad:
And want of wisdom, you, that best should teach us,
“ 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 Řing Richard III:
-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 distress." 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 sub. sequent 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 sense:
we are all men,
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:
we are all men,
Of frailty, few are angels; from which frailty, &c. 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. That is, few are perfect. M. Mason.
Divers, and dangerous; which are heresies,
Gar. Which reformation must be sudden too,
Cran. My good lords, hitherto, in all the progress
Nay, my lord,
1 The upper Germany, &c.] Alluding to the heresy of Thomas Muntzer, which sprung up in Saxony in the years 1521 and 1522.
Grey. 2- a single heart,] A heart void of duplicity or guile.
Malone. It is a scriptural expression. See Acts ii, 46. Reed. 3 Defacers of a publick peace,] Read,-the publick peace,
Gar. My lord, because we have business of more mo
ment, 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
Gar. My lord, my lord, you are a sectary,
Crom. My lord of Winchester, you are a little,
Good master secretary,
Why, my lord?
- your painted gloss &c.] Those that understand you, under this painted gloss, this fair outside, discover your empty talk and your false reasoning. Fohnson.
e'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:
O, my lord,
'Would you were half so honest! Men's prayers then would seek you, not their fears.
Gar. I shall remember this bold language.
This is too much;
I have done.
All. We are.
What other Would you expect? You are strangely troublesome. Let some o'the guard be ready there.
Stay, good my lords,
Cham. This is the king's ring.?
6 Chan. Then thus for you, &c.} This, and the little speech above " This is too much,” &c. are in the old copy given to the Lord Chamberlain. The difference between Cham. and Chan is so slight, that I have not hesitated to give them both to the chancellor, who on Cranmer's entrance first arraigns him, and therefore, (without any consideration of his high station in the council) is the person to whom Sbakspeare would naturally assign the order for his being committed to the Tower. The Chancellor's apo. logizing to the King for the cominittal in a subsequent passage likewise supports the emcndation now made, which was suggested by Mr. Capell. Malone.