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78

KING HENRY VIII.

Enter the Lord Chamberlain.

CHAM. Good morrow, ladies. What were't worth to know

The fecret of your conference?

ANNE.
My good lord,
Not your demand; it values not your afking:
Our mistress' forrows we were pitying.

time, who fpeaking a language very different from the Welsh, and bearing fome affinity to the English, this fertile fpot was called by the Britons, as we are told by Camden, Little England beyond Wales; and, as it is a very fruitful country, may be justly opposed to the mountainous and barren county of Carnarvon. WHALLEY.

You'd venture an emballing:] You would venture to be dif tinguished by the ball, the enfign of royalty. JOHNSON.

Dr. Johnfon's explanation cannot be right, because a queenconfort, fuch as Anne Bullen was, is not diftinguished by the ball, the enfign of royalty, nor has the poet expreffed that she was fo diftinguifhed. TOLLET.

Mr. Tollet's objection to Johnfon's explanation, is an hypercriticifm. Shakspeare did not probably confider fo curiously his distinction between a queen confort and a queen regent.

M. MASON.

Might we read-You'd venture an empalling; i. e. being invested with the pall or robes of ftate? The word occurs in the old tragedy of King Edward III. 1596:

As with this armour I impall thy breaft

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And, in Macbeth, the verb to pall is used in the fense of enrobe: "And pall thee in the dunneft fmoke of hell.”

MALONE.

Might we not read-an embalming? A queen confort is anointed at her coronation; and in King Richard II. the word is used in that fense:

"With my own tears I wash away my balm." Dr. Johnfon properly explains it, the oil of confecration.

WHALLEY.

The Old Lady's jocularity, I am afraid, carries her beyond the bounds of decorum; but her quibbling allufion is more eafily comprehended than explained. RITSON.

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CHAM. It was a gentle business, and becoming The action of good women: there is hope,

All will be well.

ANNE.

Now I pray God, amen!

CHAM. You bear a gentle mind, and heavenly bleffings

Follow fuch creatures. That you may, fair lady,
Perceive I fpeak fincerely, and high note's
Ta'en of your many virtues, the king's majefty
Commends his good opinion to you,' and
Does purpofe honour to you no lefs flowing
Than marchionefs of Pembroke; to which title
A thousand pound a year, annual fupport,
Out of his grace he adds.

ANNE.

I do not know, What kind of my obedience I fhould tender;

Thus the old copy, and

STEEVENS.

3 Commends his good opinion to you,] fubfequent editors. Mr. Malone reads: Commends his good opinion of you. The words to you, in the next line, muft in construction be understood here. The old copy, indeed, reads:

Commends his good opinion of you to you, and. but the metre fhews that cannot be right. The words-to you were probably accidentally omitted by the compofitor in the fecond line, and being marked by the corrector as out, (to fpeak technically,) were inferted in the wrong place. The old error being again marked, the words that were wanting were properly inferted in the fecond line where they now ftand, and the new error in the first was overlooked. In the printing-houfe this frequently happens. MALONE.

- It is as probable that, in the prefent inftance, a correction, and the erafure that was defigned to make room for it, have both been printed.

The phrafe I found in the text I have not difturbed, as it is fupported by a paffage in Antony and Cleopatra:

Commend unto his lips thy favouring hand."

Again, in King Lear:

"I did commend your highnefs' letters to them."

4

More than my all is nothing: nor my prayers Are not words duly hallow'd,' nor my wishes More worth than empty vanities; yet prayers, and wishes,

Are all I can return. 'Beseech your lordship, Vouchsafe to speak my thanks, and my obedience, As from a blushing handmaid, to his highness; Whose health, and royalty, I pray for.

CHAM.

Lady, I fhall not fail to approve the fair conceit," The king hath of you.-I have perus'd her well;'

[Afide.

4 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. JOHNSON.

nor my prayers

Are not words duly hallow'd, &c.] It appears to me abfolutely neceffary, in order to make sense of this paffage, to read : for my prayers

Are not words duly hallow'd, &c.

inftead of " nor my prayers."

Anne's argument is this:

More than my all is nothing, for

my prayers and wishes are of no value, and yet prayers and wishes are all I have to return." M. MASON.

The double negative, it has been already obferved, was commonly used in our author's time.

For my prayers, a reading introduced by Mr. Pope, even if fuch arbitrary changes were allowable, ought not to be admitted here; this being a diftinct proposition, not an illation from what has gone before. I know not, (fays Anne,) what external acts of duty and obeifance, I ought to return for fuch unmerited favour. All I can do of that kind, and even more, if more were poffible, would be infufficient: nor are any prayers that I can offer up for my benefactor fufficiently fanctified, nor any wishes that I can breathe for his happinefs, of more value than the moft worthlefs and empty vanities. MALONE.

6 I shall not fail &c.] I fhall not omit to ftrengthen by my commendation, the opinion which the king has formed.

7

JOHNSON.

I have perus'd her well;] From the many artful strokes of addrefs the poet has thrown in upon Queen Elizabeth and her

Beauty and honour in her are so mingled,

That they have caught the king: and who knows

yet,

But from this lady may proceed a gem,

8

To lighten all this ifle?-I'll to the king,
And fay, I spoke with you.

ANNE.

My honour'd lord. [Exit Lord Chamberlain.

OLD L. Why, this it is; fee, fee!

I have been begging fixteen years in court,
(Am yet a courtier beggarly,) nor could
Come pat betwixt too early and too late,
For any fuit of pounds: and you, (O fate!)
A very fresh-fish here, (fye, fye upon

This compell'd fortune!) have your mouth fill'd up,

Before you open it.

mother, it should feem that this play was written and performed in his royal miftrefs's time: if fo, fome lines were added by him in the last scene, after the acceffion of her fucceffor, king James. THEOBALD.

8

a gem,

To lighten all this ifle ?] Perhaps alluding to the carbuncle, a gem fuppofed to have intrinfick light, and to fhine in the dark: any other gem may reflect light, but cannot give it. JOHNSON. So, in Titus Andronicus :

"A precious ring, that lightens all the hole."

STEEVENS.

Thus, in a palace defcribed in Amadis de Gaule, Trans. 1619, fol. B. IV. p. 5: "In the roofe of a chamber hung two lampes of gold, at the bottomes whereof were enchafed two carbuncles, which gave fo bright a fplendour round about the roome, that there was no neede of any other light." With a reference to this notion I imagine, Milton, fpeaking of the orb of the fun, fays: "If ftone, carbuncle moft or chryfolite." Paradife Loft, B. III. v. 596. And that we have in Antony and Cleopatra:

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Carbuncled like holy Phabus' car.”

HOLT WHITE.

ANNE.

This is strange to me.

OLD L. How taftes it? is it bitter? forty pence,

no."

"There was a lady once, ('tis an old story,)
That would not be a queen, that would fhe not,
For all the mud in Egypt:'-Have you heard it?
ANNE. Come, you are pleasant.

OLD L.

With your theme, I could O'ermount the lark. The marchioness of Pem

broke!

A thousand pounds a year! for pure refpect;
No other obligation: By my life,

That promises more thoufands: Honour's train
Is longer than his forefkirt. By this time,

I know, your back will bear a duchefs ;-Say,
Are you not stronger than you were?

ANNE. Good lady, Make yourself mirth with your particular fancy,

9 is it bitter? forty pence, no.] Mr. Roderick, in his appendix to Mr. Edwards's book, proposes to read:

for two-pence,—

The old reading may, however, ftand. Forty pence was in those days the proverbial expreffion of a small wager, or a small fum. Money was then reckoned by pounds, marks, and nobles. Forty pence is half a noble, or the fixth part of a pound. Forty pence, or three and four pence, ftill remains in many offices the legal and established fee.

So, in King Richard II. A& V. fc. v:

"The cheapest of us is ten groats too dear." Again, in All's well that ends well, Act II. the clown fays: "As fit as ten groats for the hand of an attorney." Again, in Green's Groundwork of Coneycatching: "wagers laying, &c. forty pence gaged against a match of wreftling." Again, in The longer thou liveft, the more fool thou art, 1570: "I dare wage with any man forty pence." Again, in The Storye of King Darius, 1565, an interlude :

"Nay, that I will not for fourty pence." STEEVENS.

2 For all the mud in Egypt:] The fertility of Egypt is derived from the mud and flime of the Nile. STEEVENS,

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