Page images
PDF

The Vision. Enter, solemnly tripping one after another,

six Personages, clad in white robes, wearing on their heads garlands of bays, and golden vizards on their faces; branches of bays, or palm, in their hands. They first congee unto her, then dance; and, at certain changes, the first two hold a spare garland over her head; at which, the other four make reverend court'sies; then the two, that held the garland, deliver the same to the other next two, who observe the same order in their changes, and holding the garland over her head: which done, they deliver the same garland to the last two, who likewise observe the same order: at which, (as it were by inspiration) she makes in her sleep signs of rejoicing, and holdeth up her hands to heaven: and so in their dancing they vanish, carrying the garland with them. The musick continues.

Kath. Spirits of peace, where are ye? Are ye all gone? And leave me here in wretchedness behind ye??

Grif. Madam, we are here.'
Kath.

'' It is not you I call for: Saw ye none enter, since I slept? Grif.

None, madam. Kath. No? Saw you not, even now, a blessed troop Invite me to a banquet; whose bright faces Cast thousand beams upon me, like the sun? They promis'd me eternal happiness; And brought me garlands, Griffith, which I feel I am not worthy yet to wear: I shall, Assuredly.

Grif. I am most joyful, madam, such good dreams

5 solemnly tripping one after another, ] This whimsical stagedirection is exactly taken from the old copy. Steevens.

Of this stage-direction I do not believe our author wrote one word. Katharine's next speech probably suggested this tripping dumb-shew to the too busy reviver of this play. Malone.

6 golden vizards -] These tawdry disguises are also mentioned in Hall's account of a maske devised by King Henry VIII: " thei were appareled &c. with visers and cappes of golde.

Steevens. 7 And leave me here in wretchedness behind ye?] Perhaps Mr. Gray had this passage in his thoughts, when he made his Bard exclaim, on a similar occasion, (the evanescence of visionary forms):

“ Stay, O stay! nor thus forlorn
Leave me unbless'd, un pitied, here to mourn." Steevens.

Possess your fancy.
Kath.

Bid the musick leave,
They are liarsh and heavy to me. [Musick ceases.
Pat.

Do you note,
How much her grace is alter'd on the sudden ?
How long her face is drawn? How pale she looks,
And of an earthy cold? Mark you her eyes? 8

Grif. She is going, wench; pray, pray.
Pat.

Heaven comfort her!
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. An 't like your grace,
Kath.

You are a saucy fellow :
Deserve we no more reverence?
Grif.

You are to blame,
Knowing, she will not lose her wonted greatness,
To use so rude behaviour: go to, kneel.9

Mess. I humbly do entreat your highness' pardon;
My haste made me unmannerly: There is staying
A gentleman, sent from the king, to see you.

Kath. Admit him entrance, Griffith: But this fellow Let me ne'er see again. [Exeunt Grif. and Mess. Re-enter GRIFFITH with CAPUCIUS.

If my sight fail not,
You should be lord ambassador from the emperor,
My royal nephew, and your name Capucius.

Cap. Madam, the same, your servant.
Kath.

O my lord,
The times, and titles, now are alter'd strangely
With me since first you knew me. But, I pray you,

8 - Mark you her eyes?] The modern editors read-Mark her eyes. But in the old copy, there being a stop of interrogation after this passage, as after the foregoing clauses of the speech, I have ventured to insert the pronoun-you, which at once supports the ancient pointing, and completes the measure. Steevens.

go to, kneel.] Queen Katharine's servants, after the divorce at Dunstable, and the Pope's curse stuck up at Dunkirk, were directed to be sworn to serve her not as a Queen, but as Princess Dowager. Some refused to take the oath, and so were forced to leave her service; and as for those who took it and stayed, she would not be served by them, by which means she was almost destitute of attendants. See Hall, fol. 219. Bishop Burnet says, all the women about her still called her Queen. Bur. net, p. 162. Reed,

What is your pleasure with me?
Cap.

Noble lady,
First, mine own service to your grace; the next,
The king's request that I would visit you;
Who grieves much for your weakness, and by me
Sends you his princely commendations,
And heartily entreats you take good comfort.

Kath. O my good lord, that comfort comes too late;
'Tis like a pardon after execution:
That gentle physick, given in time, had cur'd me;
But now I am past all comforts here, but prayers.
How does his highness?
Cap.

Madam, in good health.
Kath. So may he ever do! and ever flourish,
When I shall dwell with worms, and my poor name
Banish'd the kingdom-Patience, is that letter,
I caus’d you write, yet sent away?

No, madam. [Giving it to Kath.
Kath. Sir, I most humbly pray you to deliver
This to my lord the king: 1

Pat.

1 This to my lord the king. So, Holinshed, p. 939: " - perceiv. ing hir selfe to waxe verie weak and feeble, and to feele death approaching at hand, caused one of hir gentlewomen to write a letter to the king, commending to him hir daughter and his, be. seeching him to stand good father unto hir; and further desired him to have some consideration of nir gentlewomen that had served hir, and to see them bestowed in i arriage. Further that it would please him to appoint that bir servants might have their due wages, and a yeares wages beside.” Steevens.

This letter probably fell into the hands of Polydore Virgil, who was then in England, and has preserved it in the twenty-seventh book of his history. The following is Lord Herbert's translation of it:

“My most dear lord, king, and husband, “ The hour of my death now approaching, I cannot choose but, out of the love I bear you, advise you of your soul's health, which you ought to prefer before all considerations of the world or flesh whatsoever: for which yet you have cast me into many calami. ties, and yourself into many troubles. - But I forgive you all, and pray God to do so likewise. For the rest, I commend into you Mary our daughter, beseeching you to be a good father to her, as I have heretofore desired. I must entreat you also to respect my mails, and give them in marriage, (which is not much, they being but three, and to all my other servants a years pay hesides their due, lest otherwise they should be upprovided for. Lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire you above all things Farewell." Malone,

Ff2

Cap.

Most willing, madam. Kath. In which I have commended to his goodness The model of our chaste loves, 2 his young daughter: The dews of heaven fall thick in blessings on her! Beseeching him, to give her virtuous breeding; (She is young, and of a noble modest nature; I hope, she will deserve well ;) and a little To love her for her mother's sake, that lov'd him, Heaven knows how dearly. My next poor petition Is, that his noble grace would have some pity Upon my wretched women, that so long, Have follow'd both my fortunes faithfully: Of which there is not one, I dare avow, (And now I should not lie) but will deserve, For virtue, and true beauty of the soul, For honesty, and decent carriage, A right good husband, let him be a noble ;3 And, sure, those men are happy that shall have them. The last is, for my men ;-they are the poorest, But poverty could never draw them from me; That they may have their wages duly paid them, And something over to remember me by;

The legal instrument for the divorce of Queen Katharine is still in being; and among the signatures to it is that of Polydore Virgil. Steevens.

2 The model of our chaste loves,] Model is image or representative. See Vol. V, p. 267, n. 3; and Vol. VII, p. 418, n. 4. Malone.

3 A right good &c.] I would read this line (not with a semicolon, as hitherto printed,) but with only a comma:

A right good husband, let him be a noble; i. e. though he were even of noble extraction. Whalley.

Let him be, I suppose, signifies, even thou he should be; or, admit that he be. She means to observe, that nobility superadded to virtue, is not more than each of her women deserves to meet with in a husband. The same phraseology is found in King Richard II:

“Setting aside his high blood's royalty,

“ And let him be no kinsman to my liege.” Steevens: This is, I think, the true interpretation of the line ; but I do not see why the words let him be a noble, may not, consistently with this meaning, be understood in their obvious and ordinary sense. We are not to consider Katharine's women like the attendants on other ladies. One of them had already been married to no more than a noble husband; having unfortunately captivated a worthless king. Malone.

If heaven had pleas'd to have given me longer life,
And able means, we had not parted thus.
These are the whole contents:-And, good my lord,
By that you love the dearest in this world,
As you wish christian peace to souls departed,
Stand these poor people's friend, and urge the king
To do me this last right.
Cap.

· By heaven, I will; Or let me lose the fashion of a man!

Kath. I thank you, honest lord. Remember me In all humility unto his highness: Say, his long trouble now is passing Out of this world: tell him, in death I bless'd him, For so I will.-Mine eyes grow dim.-Farewel, My lord.-Griffith, farewel.-Nay, Patience, You must not leave me yet. I must to bed; Call in more women.- When I am dead, good wench, Let me be us'd with honour; strew me over With maiden flowers, that all the world may know I was a chaste wife to my grave: embalm me, Then lay me forth: although unqueen’d, yet like A queen, and daughter to a king, inter me. I can no more...

[Exeunt, leading KATH.

ACT V... SCENE I.

A Gallery in the Palace. Enter GARDINER, Bishop of Winchester, a Page with

a Torch before him, met by Sir Thomas LOVELL. Gar. It 's one o'clock, boy, is 't not? Boy.

It hath struck Gar. These should be hours for necessities, Not for delights ;4 times to repair our nature With comforting repose, 5 and not for us

4 Not for delights;] Gardiner himself is not much delighted. The delight at which he hints, seems to be the King's diversion, which keeps him in attendance. Johnson. 5 These should be hours

- times to repair our nature

« PreviousContinue »