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Wherein? and what taxation?-My lord cardinal,
You that are blam'd for it alike with us,
Know you of this taxation?


Please you, sir,

I know but of a single part, in aught

Pertains to the state; and front but in that file' Where others tell steps with me.

No, my lord,
You know no more than others: but you frame
Things, that are known alike;' which are not

To those which would not know them, and yet must
Perforce be their acquaintance. These exactions,
Whereof my sovereign would have note, they are
Most pestilent to the hearing; and, to bear them,
The back is sacrifice to the load. They say,
They are devis'd by you; or else you suffer
Too hard an exclamation.


Still exaction!

The nature of it? In what kind, let's know,
Is this exaction?

"With that, anone out start dangere;"

and the fourth, in the 10th Canto of the 4th Book of his Fairy Queen, and again in the fifth Book and the ninth Canto.



-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.

1 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.


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

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. I would, your highness
Would give it quick consideration, for
There is no primer business.3


-tractable obedience &c.] i. e. those who are tractable and obedient, must give way to others who are angry.


The meaning of this is, that the people were so much irritated by oppression, that their resentment got the better of their obedience. M. MASON.

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.

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:

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This is against our pleasure.


By my life,

And for me,

I have no further gone in this, than by
A single voice; and that not pass'd me, but
By learned approbation of the judges.

If I am traduc'd by tongues, which neither know
My faculties, nor person, yet will be
The chronicles of my doing,-let me say,
'Tis but the fate of place, and the rough brake
That virtue must go through. We must not stint
Our necessary actions, in the fear


To cope malicious censurers; which ever,

As ravenous fishes, do a vessel follow

That is new trimm'd; but benefit no further
Than vainly longing. What we oft do best,
By sick interpreters, once weak ones," is

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.

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.

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 Romeo and Juliet, Act I. sc. iii. STEEVENS.

To cope-] To engage with, to encounter. The word is still used in some counties. JOHNSON.


So, in As you like it :

"I love to cope him in these sullen fits." STEEVENS.

once weak ones,] The modern editors read-or weak

Not ours, or not allow'd; what worst, as oft,
Hitting a grosser quality," is cried up

For our best act.1 If we shall stand still,

In fear our motion will be mock'd or carp'd at, We should take root here where we sit, or sit State statues only.


Things done well,2

And with a care, exempt themselves from fear;
Things done without example, in their issue
Are to be fear'd. Have you a precedent
Of this commission? I believe, not any.
We must not rend our subjects from our laws,
And stick them in our will. Sixth part of each?
A trembling contribution! Why, we take,

From every tree, lop, bark, and part o' the timber;*

ones; but once is not unfrequently used for sometime, or at one time or other, among our ancient writers.

So, in the 13th Idea of Drayton:

"This diamond shall once consume to dust."

Again, in The Merry Wives of Windsor: "I pray thee, once to-night give my sweet Nan this ring."

Again, in Leicester's Commonwealth: "

if God should take from us her most excellent majesty (as once he will) and so leave us destitute-."



or not allow'd;] Not approved. See Vol. V. p. 95, n. 5. MALOne.


—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.


1 For our best act.] I suppose, for the sake of measure, we should read-action. Perhaps the three last letters of this word were accidentally omitted by the compositor. STEEVENS.


Things done well,] Sir T. Hanmer, very judiciously in my opinion, completes the measure by reading:

Things that are done well.


3 From every tree, lop, bark, and part o' the timber;] Lop is a substantive, and signifies the branches. WARBURTON.

And, though we leave it with a root, thus hack'd,
The air will drink the sap. To every county,
Where this is question'd, send our letters, with
Free pardon to each man that has denied
The force of this commission: Pray, look to't;
I put it to your care.


A word with you.

[To the Secretary.

Let there be letters writ to every shire,

Of the king's grace and pardon. The griev'd


Hardly conceive of me; let it be nois'd,

That, through our intercession, this revokement And pardon comes : I shall anon advise you Further in the proceeding.

[Exit Secretary.

Enter Surveyor.5

Q. KATH. I am sorry, that the duke of Buckingham

Is run in your displeasure.

K. HEN. It grieves many : The gentleman is learn'd, and a most rare speaker,

That, through our intercession, &c.] So, in Holinshed, p. 892: "The cardinall, to deliver himself from the evill will of the commons, purchased by procuring and advancing of thisdemand, affirmed, and caused it to be bruted abrode that through his intercession the king had pardoned and released all things." STEEvens.

• Enter Surveyor.] It appears from Holinshed that his name was Charles Knyvet. RITSON.

• The gentleman is learn'd, &c.] We understand from "The Prologue of the translatour," that the Knyghte of the Swanne, a French romance, was translated at the request of this unfortunate nobleman. Copland, the printer, adds, this present history compyled, named Helyas the Knight

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