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Line 436. cheveril-] Is kid-skin, soft leather. You'd centure an emballing:] You would venture to be distinguished by the ball, the ensign of royalty. JOHNSON. Line 484. More than my all is nothing:] Not only my all is nothing, but if my all were more than it is, it were still nothing.
Line 493. I shall not fail &c.] I shall not omit to strengthen by my commendation the opinion which the king has formed.
To lighten all this isle?] Perhaps alluding to the carbuncle, a gem supposed to have intrinsic light, and to shine in the dark; any other gem may reflect light, but cannot give it. JOHNSON.
Line 511. -is it bitter? forty pence, no.] Forty pence was in those days the proverbial expression of a small wager. Money was then reckoned by pounds, marks, and nobles. Forty pence is half a noble, or the sixth part of a pound. Forty pence, or three and four pence, still remains in many offices the legal and established fee. STEEVENS.
ACT II. SCENE IV.
-Sennet,] A sennet appears to have signified a short flourish
-Pillars;] Pillars were some of the ensigns of dignity carried before cardinals. Sir Thomas More, when he was speaker to the commons, advised them to admit Wolsey into the house with his maces and his pillars. More's Life of Sir T. More. JOHNSON. -goes about the court,] "Because (says Cavendish) she could not come to the king directlie, for the distance severed between them." MALONE.
Line 549. Sir, I desire you, do me right and justice; &c.] This speech of the queen's and the king's reply are taken from the old chronicles. STEEVENS.
Line 602. That longer you desire the court;] i. e. that you desire to protract the business of the court; that you solicit a more distant session and trial. MALONE.
and make my challenge,
You shall not be my judge:] Challenge is here a verbum juris, a law term. The criminal, when he refuses a juryman, says, I challenge him. JOHNSON.
Line 658. You sign your place and calling,] Sign, for answer. WARBURTON.
I think, to sign must here be to show, to denote. By your outward meekness and humility, you show that you are of an holy order, but, &c.
Line 663. Where powers are your retainers: and
your words, Domesticks to you, serve your will,] You have now got power at your beck, following in your retinue; and words therefore are degraded to the servile state of performing any office which you shall give them. In humbler and more common terms; having now got power you do not regard your word. JOHNSON.
Line 694. could speak thee out,)] If thy several qualities had tongues to speak thy praise. JOHNSON. -although not there
At once, and fully satisfied,)] The sense is this. I must be loosed, though when so loosed, I shall not be satisfied fully and at once; that is, I shall not be immediately satisfied. JOHNS. -on my honour,
I speak my good lord cardinal to this point,] The king, having first addressed to Wolsey, breaks off; and declares upon his honour to the whole court, that he speaks the cardinal's sentiments upon the point in question; and clears him from any attempt, or wish, to stir that business. THEOBALD.
Line 730. Scruple, and prick,] Prick of conscience was the term in confession. JOHNSON.
-This respite shook
The bosom of my conscience,] Shakspeare, in all his historical plays, was a most diligent observer of Holinshed's Chronicle. Now Holinshed, in the speech which he has given to king Henry upon this subject, makes him deliver himself thus: "Which words, once conceived within the secret bottom of my "conscience, ingendred such a scrupulous doubt, that my conscience was incontinently accombred, vexed, and disquieted." Vide Life of Henry VIII. p. 907. THEOBALD.
The wild sea-] That is, floating without guidance: toss'd here and there.
JOHNSON. The expression belongs to navigation. A ship is said to hull, when she is dismasted, and only her hull, or hulk, is left at the direction and mercy of the waves. STEEVENS.
Line 780. I then mov'd you,] I have rescued the text from Holinshed." I moved it in confession to you, my lord of Lin"coln, then ghostly father. And forasmuch as then you yourself "were in some doubt, you moved me to ask the counsel of all “these my lords. Whereupon I moved you, my lord of Canter"bury, first to have your licence, in as much as you were metro"politan, to put this matter in question; and so I did of all you, my "lords.". Holinshed's Life of Henry VIII. p. 908. THEOBALD.
ACT III. SCENE I.
Line 46. Envy and base opinion against them,] I would be glad that my conduct were in some publick trial confronted with mine enemies, that envy and corrupt judgment might try their utmost power against me. JOHNSON. Line 48. and that way I am wife in,] That is, if you come to examine the title by which I am the king's wife; or, if you come to know how I have behaved as a wife. JOHNSON.
Line 94. For her sake that I have been, &c.] For the sake of that royalty which I have heretofore possessed. MALONE.
Line 105. (Though he be grown so desperate to be honest,)] Do you think that any Englishman dare advise me; or, if any man should venture to advise with honesty, that he could live? JOHNS.
Line 107. -weigh out my afflictions,] This phrase is obscure. To weigh out, is, in modern language, to deliver by weight; but this sense cannot be here admitted. To weigh is likewise to de liberate upon, to consider with due attention. This may, perhaps, be meant. Or the phrase, to weigh out, may signify to counterbalance, to counteract with equal force. JOHNSON.
Line 127. The more shame for ye;] If I mistake you, it is by your fault, not mine; for I thought you good. The distress of Katharine might have kept her from the quibble to which she is irresistibly tempted by the word cardinal. JOHNSON.
́Line 161. superstitious to him?] That is, served him with superstitious attention; done more than was required. JOHNS.
Line 179. Ye have angels' faces,] She may perhaps allude to the old jingle of Angli and Angeli.
gone by him contemned or neglected?
The stamp of nobleness in any person,
Out of himself?] When did he, however careful to carry his own dignity to the utmost height, regard any dignity of another.
ACT III. SCENE II.
Line 228. And force them-] Force is enforce, urge. Johns. -or at least
Strangely neglected?] Which of the peers has not
when did he regard
JOHNSON. Line 258. contrary proceedings-] Private practices opposite to his public procedure. JOHNSON. Line 277. And hedges, his own way.] To hedge, is to creep along by the hedge: not to take the direct and open path, but to steal covertly through circumvolutions. JOHNSON.
Line 285. Trace the conjunction!] To trace, is to follow.
Enter the King, reading a Schedule;] That the cardinal gave the king an inventory of his own private wealth, by mistake, and thereby ruined himself, is a known variation from the truth of history. Shakspeare, however, has not injudiciously represented the fall of that great man, as owing to an incident which he had once improved to the destruction of another. See Holinshed, vol. ii. p. 796 and 797.
"Thomas Ruthall, bishop of Durham, was, after the death of "king Henry VII. one of the privy council to Henry VIII. to "whom the king gave in charge to write a book of the whole "estate of the kingdom, &c. Afterwards, the king commanded "cardinal Wolsey to go to this bishop, and to bring the book away " with him.-This bishop having written two books (the one to * answer the king's command, and the other intreating of his "own private affairs) did bind them both after one sort in vellum, "&c. Now, when the cardinal came to demand the book due to "the king, the bishop unadvisedly commanded his servant to "bring him the book bound in white vellum, lying in his study,
" in such a place. The servant accordingly brought forth one of "the books so bound, being the book intreating of the state of "the bishop, &c. The cardinal having the book, went from the "bishop, and after (in his study by himself) understanding the " contents thereof, he greatly rejoiced, having now occasion "(which he long sought for) offered unto him, to bring the "bishop into the king's disgrace.
"Wherefore he went forthwith to the king, delivered the book "into his hands, and briefly informed him of the contents there"of; putting further into the king's head, that if at any time he 66 were destitute of a mass of money, he should not need to seek "further therefore than to the coffers of the bishop. Of all "which when the bishop had intelligence, &c. he was stricken "with such grief of the same, that he shortly, through extreme
sorrow, ended his life at London, in the year of Christ 1523, "After which, the cardinal, who had long before gaped after his "bishoprick, in singular hope to attain thereunto, had now his "wish in effect, &c." STEEVENS.
Line 382. then, stops again,] Sallust describing the disturbed state of Catiline's mind, takes notice of the same circumstance: "citus modo, modo tardus incessus." STEEVENS.
Line 446. Beyond all man's endeavours:] The sense is, my purposes went beyond all human endeavour. I purposed for your honour more than it falls within the compass of man's nature to attempt. JOHNSON,
Line 448. Yet, fil'd with my abilities:] My endeavours, though less than my desires, have fil'd; that is, have gone an equal pace with my abilities. JOHNSON.
Line 467. notwithstanding that your bond of duty,] Besides the general bond of duty, by which you are obliged to be a loyal and obedient subject, you owe a particular devotion of yourself to me, as your particular benefactor. JOHNSON.
Line 523. Till I find more than will, or words, to do it, (I mean, your malice,) know, &c.] Wolsey had
-words cannot carry Authority so mighty.
To which they reply,