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Of a full-charg'd confederacy,' and give thanks
to a cloud, which intercepts the rays of the sun, and throws a gloom over the object beneath it. "I am (says he) but the sha
dow of poor Buckingham, on whose figure this impending cloud • looks gloomy, having got between me and the sunshine of royal favour.”
Our poet has introduced a somewhat similar idea in Much Ado about Nothing :
“ _ the pleached bower,
“ Made proud by princes – To pout is at this time a phrase descriptive only of infantine sullenness, but might anciently have had a more consequential meaning. I should wish, however, instead of
By dark'ning my clear sun, to read
Be-dark’ning my clear sun, So, in The Tempest:
“— I have be-dimm'd
- The noontide sun.” Steevens. The following passage in Greene's Dorastus and Fawnia, 1588, (a book which Shakspeare certainly had read) adds support to Dr. Johnson's conjecture: “Fortune, envious of such happy suc. cesse,-turned her wheele, and darkened their bright sunne of prosperitie with the mistie cloudes of mishap and misery."
Mr. M. Mason has observed that Dr. Johnson did not do justice to his own emendation, referring the words whose figure to Buckingham, when, in fact, they relate to shadow. Sir W. Blackstone had already explained the passage in this manner. Malone.
By adopting Dr. Johnson's first conjecture, “puts out," for “puts on," a tolerable sense may be given to these obscure lines. "I am but the shadow of poor Buckingham: and even the figure or outline of this shadow begins now to fade away, being extinguished by this impending cloud, which darkens (or interposes between me and) my clear sun; that is, the favour of my sovereign.". Blackstone.
O and the best heart of it,] Heart is not here taken for the great organ of circulation and life, but, in a common, and popular sense, for the most valuable or precious part. Our author, in Hamlet, mentions the heart of heart. Exhausted and effete ground is said by the farmer to be out of heart. The hard and inner part of the oak is called heart of oak. Johnson. 1- stood i' the level
Of a full-charg'd confederacy, 7 To stand in the level of a gun is to stand in a line with its mouth, so as to be hit by the shot.
That gentleman of Buckingham's: in person
their several Places. The Cardinal places himself un
der the King's Feet, on his right side. A Noise within, crying, Room for the Queen. Enter the
Queen, ushered by the Dukes of NORFOLK and SUF-
K. Hen. Arise, and take place by us:-Half your suit
Thank your majesty.
K. Hen. Lady mine, proceed.
Q. Kath. I am solicited, not by a few, And those of true condition, that your subjects Are in great grievance: there have been commissions Sent down among them, which hath flaw'd the heart Of all their loyalties:-wherein, although, My good lord cardinal, they vent reproaches Most bitterly on you, as putter-on Of these exactions, yet the king our master,
So, in our author's Lover's Complaint:
" not a heart which in his level came
« Could scape the hail of his all-hurting aim.” Steevens. 2- as putter-on
Of these exaetions,] The instigator of these exactions; the person who suggested to the King the taxes complained of, and incited him to exact them from his subjects. So, in Macbeth:
" The powers above
“ Put on their instruments." Again, in Hamlet:
“Of deaths put on by cunning and forc'd cause.” Malone.
(Whose honour heaven shield from soil!) even he es
Not almost appears,
Please you, sir,
3 The many to them 'longing,] The many is the meiny, the train, the people. Dryden is, perhaps, the last that used this word:
« The kings before their many rode.” Fohnson. I believe the many is only the multitude, the ci sonnod. Thus, Coriolanus, speaking of the rabble, calls them:
“ the mutable rank-scented many.” Steevens. 4 And Danger serves among them.) Could one easily believe that a writer, who had, but immediately before, sunk so low in his expression, should here rise again to a height so truly sublime ! where, by the noblest stretch of fancy, Danger is personalized as serving in the rebel army, and shaking the established government. Warburton.
Chaucer, Gower, Skelton, and Spenser, have personified Dan. ger. The first, in his Romaunt of the Rose; the second, in his fifth Book, De Confessione Amantis; the third, in bis Bouge of Court
" With that, anone out start dangere;" and the fourth, in the 10th Canto of the fourth Book of his Fairy Queen, and again in the fifth Book and the ninth Canto. Steevens,
5 front but in that file - ] I am but primus inter pares. I am but first in the row of counsellors. Johnson.
This was the very idea that Wolsey wished to disclaim. It was not his intention to acknowledge that he was the first in the row of counsellors, but that he was merely on a level with the rest, and stept in the same line with them. M. Mason.
Where others tell steps with me. .
No, my, lord,
Still exaction! The nature of it? In what kind, let 's know, Is this exaction?
Q. Kath. I am much too venturous In tempting of your patience; but am bolden'd Under your promis'd pardon. The subject's grief Comes through commissions, which compel from each The sixth part of his substance, to be levied Without delay; and the pretence for this Is nam’d, your wars in France: This makes bold mouths: Tongues spit their duties out, and cold hearts freeze Allegiance in them; their curses now, Live where their prayers did; and it's come to pass, That tractable obedience is a slave To each incensed will.7* I would, your highness Would give it quick consideration, for There is no primer business. 8
6 You know no more than others : &c.] That is, you know no more than other counsellors, but you are the person who frame those things which are afterwards proposed, and known equally by all.
M. Mason. 7- tractable obedience &c.] i.e. those who are tractable and obedient, must give way to others who are angry. Musgrave.
The meaning of this is, that the people were so much irritated by oppression, that their resentment got the better of their obedience. M. Masun.
The meaning, I think, is—Things are now in such a situation, that resentment and indignation predominate in every man's breast over duty and allegiance. Malone.
* I coincide in opinion with Musgrave--I think the meaning this,-So powerful and numerous are the incensed, that those who were disposed to be tractable and obedient have become slaves to their will. Am. Ed.
By my life,
And for me,
8 There is no primer business.] In the old edition
There is no primer baseness. The queen is here complaining of the suffering of the commons, which, she suspects, arose from the abuse of power in some great men. But she is very reserved in speaking her thoughts concerning the quality of it. We may be assured then, that she did not, in conclusion, call it the highest baseness; but rather made use of a word that could not offend the Cardinal, and yet would incline the King to give it a speedy hearing. I read therefore:
There is no primer business. i. e. no matter of state that more earnestly presses a despatch.
Warburton. Dr. Warburton (for reasons which he has given in his note) would read:
no primer business : but I think the meaning of the original word is sufficiently clear. No primer baseness is no mischief more ripe or ready for redress. So, in Othello: “ Were they as prime as goats, as hot as monkies -."
Steevens 9 If I am traduc'd by tongues, which neither know,
My faculties, nor person,) The old copy-by ignorant tongues. But surely this epithet must have been an interpolation, the ignorance of the supposed speakers being sufficiently indicated by their knowing neither the faculties nor person of the Cardinal. I have, therefore, with Sir T. Hanmer, restored the measure, by the present omission. Steevens.
1 We must not stint -) To stint is to stop, to retard. Many instances of this sense of the word are given in a note on Romco and Juliet, Act I, sc. iii. Steevens.
* We must not stint -1 i. e. we must not limit, we must not restrain our necessary actions:-We must not do less than what is necessary to be done, because we may encounter malicious censures. Am. Ed.