Friday, December 05, 2014

Shakespeare 8

Queen Katharine's Dream', illustration to 'Henry VIII' IV, ii, formerly in an extra-illustrated second folio edition of Shakespeare (1632); the Queen an effigy on a monument, two sleeping figures below, many small musical angels floating upwards. 1809 Pen and grey ink, and watercolour
© The Trustees of the British MuseumFrom 
Wikipedia:

Henry VIII of England
  1. Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later assumed the Kingship, of Ireland, and continued the nominal claim by English monarchs to the Kingdom of France. Wikipedia
  2. SpouseCatherine Parr (m. 1543–1547), More

Henry VIII is a history play generally believed to be a collaboration between William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, based on the life of Henry VIII of England. An alternative title, All is True, is recorded in contemporary documents, the title Henry VIII not appearing until the play's publication in the First Folio of 1623. Stylistic evidence indicates that individual scenes were written by either Shakespeare or his collaborator and successor,John Fletcher. It is also somewhat characteristic of the late romances in its structure. It is noted for having more 
stage directions than any of Shakespeare's other plays.[1]
During a performance of Henry VIII at the Globe Theatre in 1613, a cannon shot employed for special effects ignited the theatre's thatched roof (and the beams), burning the original building to the ground..

Here is the passage that perhaps incited Blake to draw 'Katherine's Dream:


QUEEN KATHARINE
Lord cardinal,
To you I speak.
Your pleasure, madam?
Sir,
I am about to weep; but, thinking that
We are a queen, or long have dream'd so, certain
The daughter of a king, my drops of tears
I'll turn to sparks of fire.

***************************************************************
The daughter of Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, Catherine was three years old when she was betrothed to Prince Arthur, heir apparent to the English throne. They married in 1501, and Arthur died five months later. In 1507, she held the position of ambassador for the Spanish Court in England, becoming the first female ambassador in European history.[1] Catherine subsequently married Arthur's younger brother, the recently succeeded Henry VIII, in 1509. For six months in 1513, she served as regent of England while Henry VIII was in France. During that time the English won the Battle of Flodden, an event in which Catherine played an important part.[2]
By 1525, Henry VIII was infatuated with his mistress, Anne Boleyn, and dissatisfied that his marriage to Catherine had produced no surviving sons, leaving their daughter, the future Mary I of England, as heiress presumptive at a time when there was no established precedent for a woman on the throne. He sought to have their marriage annulled, setting in motion a chain of events that led to England's schism with the Catholic Church. When Pope Clement VII refused to annul the marriage, Henry defied him by assuming supremacy over religious matters. In 1533 their marriage was declared invalid and Henry married Anne on the judgement of clergy in England, without reference to the Pope. Catherine refused to accept Henry as Supreme Head of the Church of England and considered herself the King's rightful wife and queen, attracting much popular sympathy.[3] Despite this, she was acknowledged only as Dowager Princess of Wales by Henry. After being banished from court, she lived out the remainder of her life at Kimbolton Castle, and died there on 7 January 1536. Catherine's English subjects held her in high esteem, and her death set off tremendous mourning among the English people.[4]