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Line 120. The ambassador is silenc'd?] Silenc'd for recall'd. This being proper to be said of an orator, and an ambassador or public minister being called an orator, he applies silenc'd to ambassador. WARBURTON.
I understand it rather of the French ambassador residing in England, who, by being refused an audience, may be said to be silenc'd. JOHNSON.
Line 122. A proper title of a peace;] A fine name of a peace. Ironically. JOHNSON. -comes that rock,] To make the rock come is not JOHNSON.
. Line 139. very just.
-butcher's cur— -] Wolsey is said to have been
Line 150. the son of a butcher.
Line 153. - -A beggar's book
Out-worths a noble's blood.] That is, the literary qualifications of a bookish beggar are more prized than the high descent of hereditary greatness. This is a contemptuous exclamation very naturally put into the mouth of one of the antient, unletter'd, martial nobility. JOHNSON. Line 161. He bores me with some trick:] He stabs or wounds me by some artifice or fiction. JOHNSON.
from a mouth of honour-] I will crush this baseborn fellow, by the due influence of my rank, or say that all distinction of persons is at an end. JOHNSON.
Line 191. -sincere motions,)]
Honest indignation; warmth of integrity. Perhaps name not, should be blame not. Whom from the flow of gall I blame not. JOHNS. for he is equal ravenous,] Equal for equally. MALONE,
-his mind and place
Infecting one another,] This is very satirical. His mind he represents as highly corrupt; and yet he supposes the contagion of the place of first minister as adding an infection to it, WARBURTON. Line 204. -suggests the king our master-] Suggests for WARBURTON.
Line 214. our count-cardinal-] Wolsey is afterwards called king-cardinal.
Line 252. I am sorry
To see you ta'en from liberty, to look on
The business present:] I am sorry that I am obliged
to be present and an eye-witness of your loss of liberty.
JOHNSON. my life is spann'd already:] To span is to gripe, or inclose in the hand; to span is also to measure by the palm and fingers. The meaning, therefore, may either be, that hold is taken of my life, my life is in the gripe of my enemies; or, that my time is measured, the length of my life is now determined.
Line 282. I am the shadow of poor Buckingham;
Whose figure even this instant cloud puts on,] Whose port and dignity is assumed by this cardinal, that overclouds and oppresses me, and who gains my place
-By dark'ning my clear sun.
ACT I. SCENE II.
Line 285. —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.
————-stood i'the level
Of a full-charg'd confederacy,] 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. JOHNSON.
Of these exactions,] i. e. the instigator of these MALONE. Line 324. 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.
Line 336. front but in that file—] I am but primus inter pares. I am but first in the row of counsellors.
Line 380. We must not stint-] To stint is to restrain, to stop.
Line 382. To cope-] To engage with; to encounter. The word is still used in some counties.
JOHNSON. · Line 386. once weak ones,] Once is not unfrequently used for sometimes among the old writers.
STEEVENS. Line 387.
-what worst, as oft,
Hitting a grosser quality,] The worst actions of great men are commended by the vulgar, as more accommodated to the grossness of their notions.
Johnson. Line 401. From every tree, lop, bark, and part o' the timber;] Lop is a substantive, and signifies the branches. WARBURTON.
Line 423. out of himself.] Beyond the treasures of his own mind.
JOHNSON. Line 425.
Not well dispos’d,] Great gifts of nature and education, not joined with good dispositions.
JOHNSON, Line 452. This dangerous conception in this point.] Note this particular part of this dangerous design.
JOHNSON. · Line 510. so rank?] Rank weeds, are weeds that are grown up to great height and strength. What, says the king, was he advanced to this pitch ?
JOHNSON. Line 519.
-Being my servant sworn, &c.] Sir William Blomer (Holinshed calls him Bulmer) was reprimanded by the king in the star-chamber, for that, being his sworn servant, he had left the king's service for the duke of Buckingham's. Edwards's MSS.
Line 550. Is it possible, the spells of France should juggle
Men into such strange mysteries?] Mysteries were allegorical shows, which the mummers of those times exhibited in odd and fantastic habits. Mysteries are used, by an easy figure, for those that exhibited mysteries; and the sense is only, that tho travelled Englishmen were metamorphosed, by foreign fashions, into such an uncouth appearance, that they looked like mummers in a mystery.
JOHNSON. Line 558. A fit or two o' the face;] A fit 'of the face seems to be what we now term a grimace, an artificial cast of the countenance.
..Line 566. A springhalt reign'd among them.] or springhalt is a disease incident to horses, which gives them a convulsive motion in their paces. STEEVENS.
ACT I. SCENE IV.
Line 644. noble bevy,] Milton has copied this word:
Line 646. As first-good company, &c.] i.e. he would have you as merry as these three things can make you, the best company in the land, of the best rank, good wine, &c. THEOBALD + Line 654. a running banquet-] i. e. a hasty banquet. MALONE. -chambers discharged.]. Chambers are very small guns, used only on occasions of rejoicing. They are so contrived as to carry great charges, and thereby to make a noise more than proportioned to their size. Some of them are still fired in the Park, and at the places opposite to the parliament-house, when the king goes thither. Camden enumerates them among other guns, as follows, -cannons, demi-cannons, chambers, arquebuse, musquet.'
Line 757. ————take it.] That is, take the chief place.
761. You have found him, cardinal:] Holinshed says the cardinal mistook, and pitched upon sir Edward Neville; upon which the king laughed, and pulled off both his own mask and sir Edward's. Edwards's MSS. STEEVENS.
Line 764. —unhappily.] That is, unluckily, mischievously. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Line 28. Was either pitied in him, or forgotten.] Either pro duced no effect, or produced only ineffectual pity. MALONE.
Line 43. he sweat extremely,] This circumstance is taken from Holinshed." After he was found guilty, the duke was brought to the bar, sore chafing, and sweat marvellously."
STEEVENS. Line 92. -You few that lov'd me, &c.] These lines are remarkably tender and pathetic. JOHNSON,
Line 131. -I now seal it ; &c.] I now seal my truth, my loyalty, with blood, which blood shall one day make them groan.
Line 176. Strong faith-] Is great fidelity.
ACT II. SCENE II.
Line 268. From princes into pages:] This may allude to the retinue of the cardinal, who had several of the nobility among; his menial servants. JOHNSON.
Line 270. Into what pitch he please.] The mass must be fashioned into pitch or height, as well as into particular form. The meaning is, that the cardinal can, as he pleases, make high. or low. JOHNSON.
NORFOLK opens, &c.] The stage direction in the old copy is a singular one. Exit Lord Chamberlain, and the King draws the curtain, and sits reading pensively. STEEVENS..
have great care
I be not found a talker.] I take the meaning to be,' Let care be taken that my promise be performed, that my professions of welcome be not found empty talk. JOHNSON -so sick though,] That is, so sick as he is JOHNSON. Line 378. Kept him a foreign man still:] Kept him out of the king's presence, employed in foreign embassies. JOHNSON.
Line 316. proud.
ACT II. SCENE III.
Line 406. To give her the avaunt!] To send her away contemptuously; to pronounce against her a sentence of ejection.
Line 413. Yet, if that quarrel, fortune,] I think the poet may be supposed to use quarrel for quarreller, as murder for murderer, the act for the agent. JOHNSON.j
Line 417. stranger now again.] Again an alien; not only no longer queen, but no longer an Englishwoman. JOHNSON
our best having.] That is, our best possession,
So in Macbeth,
Of noble having und of royal hope.
In Spanish, hazienda.