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Plate LII. represents Queen Katharine in an attitude of supplication. It is taken from a scene in the first act of the tragedy of King Henry VIII.
A noise within, crying, " Room for the Queen." Enter the Queen, ushered by the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk. She kneels. The King riseth from his state, takes her up, kisses and placeth her by him.
Q. Kath. Nay, we must longer kneel— I am a suitor.
The stretching forth and clasping the hands, when we importunately entreat, sue, beseech, or ask mercy, is the gesture of supplication. Thus the Romans, who sued in behalf of Coriolanus, used this gesture, when Sicenius the tribune had pronounced sentence of death upon him, holding forth their hands to the people, beseeching them not to sacrifice this noble Roman. Thus Manlius and Fulvius came to Tiberius with tears in their eyes, and holding up their hands, besought him to leave the Agrarian law unaltered.
Plutarch, in the description of the triumph of Emilius, relates that King Perses' children were led in with their masters, officers, and other servants, weeping and lamenting, holding out their hands, that they might appear to ask mercy and grace from the people as they passed in the triumphal procession. The power of this expression has sometimes remained in the arm, even when the hand has been lost. When the people of Athens were about to stone jEschylus the tragedian for some impiety which he had brought upon the stage, his brother Amynias, who had lost his hand at the battle of Salamis, held up his arm, which reminding the judges of the services of Amynias, they immediately acquitted the poet. This gesture may be often observed in children, when entreating forgiveness; and Raffaelle has adopted it with great success in the figure of our Saviour in the Transfiguration.
In prayer which ranks next to supplication, to raise the hands joined and hollowed in the middle, or spread towards heaven, is the habit of devotion, and a natural and universal form of prayer. This is the language of contrition, submission, entreaty, and supplication. Alexander, in his third battle with Darius, before charging the enemy, grasped his lance in his left hand, and extending his right, besought the gods to assist him, and to encourage the Grecians. The