William Shakespeare, The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eighth (1612-13)

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)  


This is a part of a collection of works by William Shakespeare.


The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, ed. with a glossary by W.J. Craig M.A. (London: Oxford University Press, 1916).

See the complete volume in HTML and facs. PDF.



Table of Contents







King Henry the Eighth.
Cardinal Wolsey.
Cardinal Campeius.
Capucius, Ambassador from the Emperor Charles the Fifth.
Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury.
Duke of Norfolk.
Duke of Suffolk.
Duke of Buckingham.
Earl of Surrey.
Lord Chancellor.
Lord Chamberlain.
Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester.
Bishop of Lincoln.
Lord Abergavenny.
Lord Sands.
Sir Thomas Lovell.
Sir Henry Guildford.
Sir Anthony Denny.
Sir Nicholas Vaux.
Secretaries to Wolsey.
Cromwell, Servant to Wolsey.
Griffith, Gentleman-Usher to Queen Katharine.
Three Gentlemen.
Garter King-at-Arms.
Doctor Butts, Physician to the King.
Surveyor to the Duke of Buckingham.
Brandon, and a Sergeant-at-Arms.
Door-keeper of the Council Chamber.
Porter, and his Man.
Page to Gardiner.
A Crier.
Queen Katharine, Wife to King Henry; afterwards divorced.
Anne Bullen, her Maid of Honour; afterwards Queen.
An Old Lady, Friend to Anne Bullen.
Patience, Woman to Queen Katharine.
Several Lords and Ladies in the Dumb Shows; Women attending upon the Queen; Spirits which appear to her; Scribes, Officers, Guards, and other Attendants.



Scene.Chiefly in London and Westminster; once, at Kimbolton.


I come no more to make you laugh: things now,

That bear a weighty and a serious brow,

Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe,

Such noble scenes as draw the eye to flow,  4

We now present. Those that can pity, here

May, if they think it well, let fall a tear;

The subject will deserve it. Such as give

Their money out of hope they may believe,  8

May here find truth too. Those that come to see

Only a show or two, and so agree

The play may pass, if they be still and willing,

I’ll undertake may see away their shilling  12

Richly in two short hours. Only they

That come to hear a merry, bawdy play,

A noise of targets, or to see a fellow

In a long molley coat guarded with yellow,  16

Will be deceiv’d; for, gentle hearers, know,

To rank our chosen truth with such a show

As fool and fight is, besides forfeiting

Our own brains, and the opinion that we bring,

To make that only true we now intend,  21

Will leave us never an understanding friend.

Therefore, for goodness’ sake, and as you are known

The first and happiest hearers of the town,  24

Be sad, as we would make ye: think ye see

The very persons of our noble story

As they were living; think you see them great,

And follow’d with the general throng and sweat  28

Of thousand friends; then, in a moment see

How soon this mightiness meets misery:

And if you can be merry then, I’ll say

A man may weep upon his wedding day.  32


Scene I.— London. An Antechamber in the Palace.

Enter at one door the Duke of Norfolk; at the other, the Duke of Buckingham and the Lord Abergavenny.


Good morrow, and well met. How have you done,

Since last we saw in France?


I thank your Grace,

Healthful; and ever since a fresh admirer

Of what I saw there.


An untimely ague  4

Stay’d me a prisoner in my chamber, when

Those suns of glory, those two lights of men,

Met in the vale of Andren.


’Twixt Guynes and Arde:

I was then present, saw them salute on horseback;  8

Beheld them, when they lighted, how they clung

In their embracement, as they grew together;

Which had they, what four thron’d ones could have weigh’d

Such a compounded one?


All the whole time  12

I was my chamber’s prisoner.


Then you lost

The view of earthly glory: men might say,

Till this time, pomp was single, but now married

To one above itself. Each following day  16

Became the next day’s master, till the last

Made former wonders its. To-day the French

All clinquant, all in gold, like heathen gods,

Shone down the English; and to-morrow they

Made Britain India: every man that stood  21

Show’d like a mine. Their dwarfish pages were

As cherubins, all gilt: the madams, too,

Not us’d to toil, did almost sweat to bear  24

The pride upon them, that their very labour

Was to them as a painting. Now this masque

Was cried incomparable; and the ensuing night

Made it a fool, and beggar. The two kings,  28

Equal in lustre, were now best, now worst,

As presence did present them; him in eye,

Still him in praise; and, being present both,

’Twas said they saw but one; and no discerner

Durst wag his tongue in censure. When these suns—  33

For so they phrase ’em—by their heralds challeng’d

The noble spirits to arms, they did perform

Beyond thought’s compass; that former fabulous story,  36

Being now seen possible enough, got credit,

That Bevis was believ’d.


O! you go far.


As I belong to worship, and affect

In honour honesty, the tract of every thing  40

Would by a good discourser lose some life,

Which action’s self was tongue to. All was royal;

To the disposing of it nought rebell’d,

Order gave each thing view; the office did  44

Distinctly his full function.


Who did guide,

I mean, who set the body and the limbs

Of this great sport together, as you guess?


One certes, that promises no element  48

In such a business.


I pray you, who, my lord?


All this was order’d by the good discretion

Of the right reverend Cardinal of York.


The devil speed him! no man’s pie is freed  52

From his ambitious finger. What had he

To do in these fierce vanities? I wonder

That such a keech can with his very bulk

Take up the rays o’ the beneficial sun,  56

And keep it from the earth.


Surely, sir,

There’s in him stuff that puts him to these ends;

For, being not propp’d by ancestry, whose grace

Chalks successors their way, nor call’d upon  60

For high feats done to the crown; neither allied

To eminent assistants; but, spider-like,

Out of his self-drawing web, he gives us note,

The force of his own merit makes his way;  64

A gift that heaven gives for him, which buys

A place next to the king.


I cannot tell

What heaven hath given him: let some graver eye

Pierce into that; but I can see his pride  68

Peep through each part of him: whence has he that?

If not from hell, the devil is a niggard,

Or has given all before, and he begins

A new hell in himself.


Why the devil,  72

Upon this French going-out, took he upon him,

Without the privity o’ the king, to appoint

Who should attend on him? He makes up the file

Of all the gentry; for the most part such  76

To whom as great a charge as little honour

He meant to lay upon: and his own letter,—

The honourable board of council out,—

Must fetch him in he papers.


I do know  80

Kinsmen of mine, three at the least, that have

By this so sicken’d their estates, that never

They shall abound as formerly.


O! many

Have broke their backs with laying manors on ’em  84

For this great journey. What did this vanity

But minister communication of

A most poor issue?


Grievingly I think,

The peace between the French and us not values  88

The cost that did conclude it.


Every man,

After the hideous storm that follow’d, was

A thing inspir’d; and, not consulting, broke

Into a general prophecy: That this tempest,  92

Dashing the garment of this peace, aboded

The sudden breach on’t.


Which is budded out;

For France hath flaw’d the league, and hath attach’d

Our merchants’ goods at Bourdeaux.


Is it therefore  96

The ambassador is silenc’d?


Marry, is’t.


A proper title of a peace; and purchas’d

At a superfluous rate!


Why, all this business

Our reverend cardinal carried.


Like it your Grace,  100

The state takes notice of the private difference

Betwixt you and the cardinal. I advise you,—

And take it from a heart that wishes towards you

Honour and plenteous safety,—that you read  104

The cardinal’s malice and his potency

Together; to consider further that

What his high hatred would effect wants not

A minister in his power. You know his nature,

That he’s revengeful; and I know his sword  109

Hath a sharp edge: it’s long, and ’t may be said,

It reaches far; and where ’twill not extend,

Thither he darts it. Bosom up my counsel,  112

You’ll find it wholesome. Lo where comes that rock

That I advise your shunning.

Enter Cardinal Wolsey,the Purse borne before him,—certain of the Guard, and two Secretaries with papers. The Cardinal in his passage fixeth his eye on Buckingham, and Buckingham on him, both full of disdain.


The Duke of Buckingham’s surveyor, ha?

Where’s his examination?

First Secr.

Here, so please you.  116


Is he in person ready?

First Secr.

Ay, please your Grace.


Well, we shall then know more; and Buckingham

Shall lessen this big look.

[Exeunt. Wolsey, and Train.


This butcher’s cur is venom-mouth’d, and I  120

Have not the power to muzzle him; therefore best

Not wake him in his slumber. A beggar’s book

Outworths a noble’s blood.


What! are you chaf’d?

Ask God for temperance; that’s the appliance only  124

Which your disease requires.


I read in’s looks

Matter against me; and his eye revil’d

Me, as his abject object: at this instant

He bores me with some trick: he’s gone to the king;  128

I’ll follow, and out-stare him.


Stay, my lord,

And let your reason with your choler question

What ’tis you go about. To climb steep hills

Requires slow pace at first: anger is like  132

A full-hot horse, who being allow’d his way,

Self-mettle tires him. Not a man in England

Can advise me like you: be to yourself

As you would to your friend.


I’ll to the king;  136

And from a mouth of honour quite cry down

This Ipswich fellow’s insolence, or proclaim

There’s difference in no persons.


Be advis’d;

Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot  140

That it do singe yourself. We may outrun

By violent swiftness that which we run at,

And lose by overrunning. Know you not,

The fire that mounts the liquor till it run o’er,

In seeming to augment it wastes it? Be advis’d:

I say again, there is no English soul

More stronger to direct you than yourself,

If with the sap of reason you would quench,  148

Or but allay, the fire of passion.



I am thankful to you, and I’ll go along

By your prescription: but this top-proud fellow

Whom from the flow of gall I name not, but  152

From sincere motions,—by intelligence,

And proofs as clear as founts in July, when

We see each grain of gravel,—I do know

To be corrupt and treasonous.


Say not, ‘treasonous.’  156


To the king I’ll say’t; and make my vouch as strong

As shore of rock. Attend. This holy fox,

Or wolf, or both,—for he is equal ravenous

As he is subtle, and as prone to mischief  160

As able to perform ’t, his mind and place

Infecting one another, yea, reciprocally,

Only to show his pomp as well in France

As here at home, suggests the king our master

To this last costly treaty, the interview,  165

That swallow’d so much treasure, and like a glass

Did break i’ the rinsing.


Faith, and so it did.


Praygive me favour, sir. This cunning cardinal  168

The articles o’ the combination drew

As himself pleas’d; and they were ratified

As he cried, ‘Thus let be,’ to as much end

As give a crutch to the dead. But our count-cardinal  172

Has done this, and ’tis well; for worthy Wolsey,

Who cannot err, he did it. Now this follows,—

Which, as I take it, is a kind of puppy

To the old dam, treason, Charles the emperor,

Under pretence to see the queen his aunt,—  177

For ’twas indeed his colour, but he came

To whisper Wolsey,—here makes visitation:

His fears were, that the interview betwixt  180

England and France might, through their amity,

Breed him some prejudice; for from this league

Peep’d harms that menac’d him. He privily

Deals with our cardinal, and, as I trow,  184

Which I do well; for, I am sure the emperor

Paid ere he promis’d; whereby his suit was granted

Ere it was ask’d; but when the way was made,

And pav’d with gold, the emperor thus desir’d:

That he would please to alter the king’s course,

And break the foresaid peace. Let the king know—

As soon he shall by me—that thus the cardinal

Does buy and sell his honour as he pleases,  192

And for his own advantage.


I am sorry

To hear this of him; and could wish he were

Something mistaken in ’t.


No, not a syllable:

I do pronounce him in that very shape  196

He shall appear in proof.

Enter Brandon; a Sergeant-at-Arms before him.


Your office, sergeant; execute it.



My Lord the Duke of Buckingham, and Earl

Of Hereford, Stafford, and Northampton, I  200

Arrest thee of high treason, in the name

Of our most sovereign king.


Lo you, my lord,

The net has fall’n upon me! I shall perish

Under device and practice.


I am sorry  204

To see you ta’en from liberty, to look on

The business present. ’Tis his highness’ pleasure

You shall to the Tower.


It will help me nothing

To plead mine innocence, for that dye is on me

Which makes my whit’st part black. The will of heaven  209

Be done in this and all things! I obey.

O! my Lord Abergavenny, fare you well!


Nay, he must bear you company. [To Abergavenny.] The king  212

Is pleas’d you shall to the Tower, till you know

How he determines further.


As the duke said,

The will of heaven be done, and the king’s pleasure

By me obey’d!


Here is a warrant from  216

The king to attach Lord Montacute; and the bodies

Of the duke’s confessor, John de la Car,

One Gilbert Peck, his chancellor,—


So, so;

These are the limbs o’ the plot: no more, I hope.


A monk o’ the Chartreux.


O! Nicholas Hopkins?




My surveyor is false; the o’er-great cardinal

Hath show’d him gold. My life is spann’d already:

I am the shadow of poor Buckingham,  224

Whose figure even this instant cloud puts on,

By dark’ning my clear sun. My lord, farewell.


Scene II.— The Council Chamber.

Enter the King, leaning on the Cardinal’s shoulder, the Lords of the Council, Sir Thomas Lovell, Officers, and Attendants. The Cardinal places himself under the King’s feet on the right side.

K. Hen.

My life itself, and the best heart of it,

Thanks you for this great care: I stood i’ the level

Of a full-charg’d confederacy, and give thanks

To you that chok’d it. Let be call’d before us  4

That gentleman of Buckingham’s; in person

I’ll hear him his confessions justify;

And point by point the treasons of his master

He shall again relate.  8

A noise within, crying, ‘Room for the Queen!’ Enter Queen Katharine, 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.

K. Hen.

Arise, and take place by us: half your suit

Never name to us; you have half our power:

The other moiety, ere you ask, is given;  12

Repeat your will, and take it.

Q. Kath.

Thank your majesty.

That you would love yourself, and in that love

Not unconsider’d leave your honour, nor

The dignity of your office, is the point  16

Of my petition.

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  20

Sent down among ’em, 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  24

Of these exactions, yet the king our master,—

Whose honour heaven shield from soil!—even he escapes not

Language unmannerly; yea, such which breaks

The sides of loyalty, and almost appears  28

In loud rebellion.


Not almost appears,

It doth appear; for, upon these taxations,

The clothiers all, not able to maintain

The many to them ’longing, have put off  32

The spinsters, carders, fullers, weavers, who,

Unfit for other life, compell’d by hunger

And lack of other means, in desperate manner

Daring the event to the teeth, are all in uproar,  36

And danger serves among them.

K. Hen.


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,  40

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.

Q. Kath.

No, my lord,

You know no more than others; but you frame

Things that are known alike; which are not wholesome  45

To those which would not know them, and yet must

Perforce be their acquaintance. These exactions,

Whereof my sov’reign would have note, they are  48

Most pestilent to the hearing; and to bear ’em,

The back is sacrifice to the load. They say

They are devis’d by you, or else you suffer

Too hard an exclamation.

K. Hen.

Still exaction!  52

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 subjects’ grief  56

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:  60

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,

This tractable obedience is a slave  64

To each incensed will. I would your highness

Would give it quick consideration, for

There is no primer business.

K. Hen.

By my life,

This is against our pleasure.


And for me,  68

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 ignorant tongues, which neither know  72

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  76

Our necessary actions, in the fear

To cope malicious censurers; which ever,

As rav’nous fishes, do a vessel follow

That is new-trimm’d, but benefit no further  80

Than vainly longing. What we oft do best,

By sick interpreters, once weak ones, is

Not ours, or not allow’d; what worst, as oft,

Hitting a grosser quality, is cried up  84

For our best act. 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.

K. Hen.

Things done well,  88

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.  92

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;  96

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  100

The force of this commission. Pray, look to ’t;

I put it to your care.


[To the Secretary.] A word with you.

Let there be letters writ to every shire,

Of the king’s grace and pardon. The griev’d commons  104

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.

Q. Kath.

I am sorry that the Duke of Buckingham  109

Is run in your displeasure.

K. Hen.

It grieves many:

The gentleman is learn’d, and a most rare speaker,

To nature none more bound; his training such

That he may furnish and instruct great teachers,

And never seek for aid out of himself. Yet see,

When these so noble benefits shall prove

Not well dispos’d, the mind growing once corrupt,  116

They turn to vicious forms, ten times more ugly

Than ever they were fair. This man so complete,

Who was enroll’d ’mongst wonders, and when we,

Almost with ravish’d listening, could not find

His hour of speech a minute; he, my lady,  121

Hath into monstrous habits put the graces

That once were his, and is become as black

As if besmear’d in hell. Sit by us; you shall hear—  124

This was his gentleman in trust—of him

Things to strike honour sad. Bid him recount

The fore-recited practices; whereof

We cannot feel too little, hear too much.  128


Stand forth; and with bold spirit relate what you,

Most like a careful subject, have collected

Out of the Duke of Buckingham.

K. Hen.

Speak freely.


First, it was usual with him, every day

It would infect his speech, that if the king  133

Should without issue die, he’d carry it so

To make the sceptre his. These very words

I’ve heard him utter to his son-in-law,  136

Lord Abergavenny, to whom by oath he menac’d

Revenge upon the cardinal.


Please your highness, note

This dangerous conception in this point.

Not friended by his wish, to your high person

His will is most malignant; and it stretches  141

Beyond you, to your friends.

Q. Kath.

My learn’d Lord Cardinal,

Deliver all with charity.

K. Hen.

Speak on:

How grounded he his title to the crown  144

Upon our fail? to this point hast thou heard him

At any time speak aught?


He was brought to this

By a vain prophecy of Nicholas Hopkins.

K. Hen.

What was that Hopkins?


Sir, a Chartreux friar,

His confessor, who fed him every minute  149

With words of sovereignty.

K. Hen.

How know’st thou this?


Not long before your highness sped to France,

The duke being at the Rose, within the parish

Saint Lawrence Poultney, did of me demand  153

What was the speech among the Londoners

Concerning the French journey: I replied,

Men fear’d the French would prove perfidious,

To the king’s danger. Presently the duke  157

Said, ’twas the fear, indeed; and that he doubted

’Twould prove the verity of certain words

Spoke by a holy monk; ‘that oft,’ says he,  160

‘Hath sent to me, wishing me to permit

John de la Car, my chaplain, a choice hour

To hear from him a matter of some moment:

Whom after under the confession’s seal  164

He solemnly had sworn, that what he spoke,

My chaplain to no creature living but

To me should utter, with demure confidence

This pausingly ensu’d: neither the king nor ’s heirs—  168

Tell you the duke—shall prosper: bid him strive

To gain the love o’ the commonalty: the duke

Shall govern England.’

Q. Kath.

If I know you well,

You were the duke’s surveyor, and lost your office  172

On the complaint o’ the tenants: take good heed

You charge not in your spleen a noble person,

And spoil your nobler soul. I say, take heed;

Yes, heartily beseech you.

K. Hen.

Let him on.  176

Go forward.


On my soul, I’ll speak but truth.

I told my lord the duke, by the devil’s illusions

The monk might be deceiv’d; and that ’twas dangerous for him

To ruminate on this so far, until  180

It forg’d him some design, which, being believ’d,

It was much like to do. He answer’d, ‘Tush!

It can do me no damage;’ adding further,

That had the king in his last sickness fail’d,  184

The cardinal’s and Sir Thomas Lovell’s heads

Should have gone off.

K. Hen.

Ha! what, so rank? Ah, ha!

There’s mischief in this man. Canst thou say further?


I can, my liege.

K. Hen.



Being at Greenwich,

After your highness had reprov’d the duke  189

About Sir William Blomer,—

K. Hen.

I remember

Of such a time: being my sworn servant,

The duke retain’d him his. But on; what hence?  192


‘If,’ quoth he, ‘I for this had been committed,

As, to the Tower, I thought, I would have play’d

The part my father meant to act upon

The usurper Richard; who, being at Salisbury,

Made suit to come in ’s presence; which if granted,  197

As he made semblance of his duty, would

Have put his knife into him.’

K. Hen

A giant traitor!


Now, madam, may his highness live in freedom,  200

And this man out of prison?

Q. Kath.

God mend all!

K. Hen.

There’s something more would out of thee? what sayst?


After ‘the duke his father,’ with ‘the knife,’

He stretch’d him, and, with one hand on his dagger,  204

Another spread on’s breast, mounting his eyes,

He did discharge a horrible oath; whose tenour

Was, were he evil us’d, he would outgo

His father by as much as a performance  208

Does an irresolute purpose.

K. Hen.

There’s his period;

To sheathe his knife in us. He is attach’d;

Call him to present trial: if he may

Find mercy in the law, ’tis his; if none,  212

Let him not seek’t of us: by day and night!

He’s traitor to the height.


Scene III.— A Room in the Palace.

Enter the Lord Chamberlain and Lord Sands.


Is’t possible the spells of France should juggle

Men into such strange mysteries?


New customs,

Though they be never so ridiculous,

Nay, let ’em be unmanly, yet are follow’d.  4


As far as I see, all the good our English

Have got by the late voyage is but merely

A fit or two o’ the face; but they are shrewd ones;

For when they hold ’em, you would swear directly  8

Their very noses had been counsellors

To Pepin or Clotharius, they keep state so.


They have all new legs, and lame ones: one would take it,

That never saw ’em pace before, the spavin  12

Or springhalt reign’d among ’em.


Death! my lord,

Their clothes are after such a pagan cut too,

That, sure, they’ve worn out Christendom.

Enter Sir Thomas Lovell.

How now!

What news, Sir Thomas Lovell?


Faith, my lord,

I hear of none, but the new proclamation  17

That’s clapp’d upon the court-gate.


What is’t for?


The reformation of our travell’d gallants,

That fill the court with quarrels, talk, and tailors.  20


I am glad ’tis there: now I would pray our monsieurs

To think an English courtier may be wise,

And never see the Louvre.


They must either—

For so run the conditions—leave those remnants  24

Of fool and feather that they got in France,

With all their honourable points of ignorance

Pertaining thereunto,—as fights and fireworks;

Abusing better men than they can be,  28

Out of a foreign wisdom;—renouncing clean

The faith they have in tennis and tall stockings,

Short blister’d breeches, and those types of travel,

And understand again like honest men;  32

Or pack to their old playfellows: there, I take it,

They may, cum privilegio, wear away

The lag end of their lewdness, and be laugh’d at.


’Tis time to give ’em physic, their diseases  36

Are grown so catching.


What a loss our ladies

Will have of these trim vanities!


Ay, marry,

There will be woe indeed, lords: the sly whoresons

Have got a speeding trick to lay down ladies;  40

A French song and a fiddle has no fellow.


The devil fiddle ’em! I am glad they’re going:

For, sure, there’s no converting of ’em: now

An honest country lord, as I am, beaten  44

A long time out of play, may bring his plainsong

And have an hour of hearing; and, by’r lady,

Held current music too.


Well said, Lord Sands;

Your colt’s tooth is not cast yet.


No, my lord;  48

Nor shall not, while I have a stump.


Sir Thomas,

Whither were you a-going?


To the cardinal’s:

Your lordship is a guest too.


O! ’tis true:

This night he makes a supper, and a great one,

To many lords and ladies; there will be  53

The beauty of this kingdom, I’ll assure you.


That churchman bears a bounteous mind indeed,

A hand as fruitful as the land that feeds us;  56

His dews fall everywhere.


No doubt he’s noble;

He had a black mouth that said other of him.


He may, my lord; he has wherewithal: in him

Sparing would show a worse sin than ill doctrine:  60

Men of his way should be most liberal;

They are set here for examples.


True, they are so;

But few now give so great ones. My barge stays;

Your lordship shall along. Come, good Sir Thomas,  64

We shall be late else; which I would not be,

For I was spoke to, with Sir Henry Guildford,

This night to be comptrollers.


I am your lordship’s.


Scene IV.— The Presence-chamber in York-Place.

Hautboys. A small table under a state for Cardinal Wolsey, a longer table for the guests. Enter, at one door, Anne Bullen, and divers Lords, Ladies, and Gentlewomen, as guests; at another door, enter Sir Henry Guildford.


Ladies, a general welcome from his Grace

Salutes ye all; this night he dedicates

To fair content and you. None here, he hopes,

In all this noble bevy, has brought with her  4

One care abroad; he would have all as merry

As, first, good company, good wine, good welcome

Can make good people.

Enter Lord Chamberlain, Lord Sands, and Sir Thomas Lovell.

O, my lord! you’re tardy:

The very thought of this fair company  8

Clapp’d wings to me.


You are young, Sir Harry Guildford.


Sir Thomas Lovell, had the cardinal

But half my lay-thoughts in him, some of these

Should find a running banquet ere they rested,

I think would better please ’em: by my life,  13

They are a sweet society of fair ones.


O! that your lordship were but now confessor

To one or two of these!


I would I were;  16

They should find easy penance.


Faith, how easy?


As easy as a down-bed would afford it.


Sweet ladies, will it please you sit? Sir Harry,

Place you that side, I’ll take the charge of this;

His Grace is ent’ring. Nay you must not freeze;

Two women plac’d together makes cold weather:

My Lord Sands, you are one will keep ’em waking;

Pray, sit between these ladies.


By my faith,  24

And thank your lordship. By your leave, sweet ladies:

[Seats himself between Anne Bullen and another Lady.

If I chance to talk a little wild, forgive me;

I had it from my father.


Was he mad, sir?


O! very mad, exceeding mad; in love too:  28

But he would bite none; just as I do now,

He would kiss you twenty with a breath.

[Kisses her.


Well said, my lord.

So, now you’re fairly seated. Gentlemen,

The penance lies on you, if these fair ladies  32

Pass away frowning.


For my little cure,

Let me alone.

Hautboys. Enter Cardinal Wolsey, attended, and takes his state.


You’re welcome, my fair guests: that noble lady,

Or gentleman, that is not freely merry,  36

Is not my friend: this, to confirm my welcome;

And to you all, good health.



Your Grace is noble:

Let me have such a bowl may hold my thanks,

And save me so much talking.


My Lord Sands,  40

I am beholding to you: cheer your neighbours.

Ladies, you are not merry: gentlemen,

Whose fault is this?


The red wine first must rise

In their fair cheeks, my lord; then, we shall have ’em  44

Talk us to silence.


You are a merry gamester,

My Lord Sands.


Yes, if I make my play.

Here’s to your ladyship; and pledge it, madam,

For ’tis to such a thing,—


You cannot show me.  48


I told your Grace they would talk anon.

[Drum and trumpets within; chambers discharged.


What’s that?


Look out there, some of ye.

[Exit a Servant.


What war-like voice,

And to what end, is this? Nay, ladies, fear not;

By all the laws of war you’re privileg’d.  52

Re-enter Servant.


How now, what is’t?


A noble troop of strangers;

For so they seem: they’ve left their barge and landed;

And hither make, as great ambassadors

From foreign princes.


Good Lord Chamberlain,  56

Go, give ’em welcome; you can speak the French tongue;

And, pray, receive ’em nobly, and conduct ’em

Into our presence, where this heaven of beauty

Shall shine at full upon them. Some attend him.

[Exit the Lord Chamberlain, attended. All arise, and tables removed.

You have now a broken banquet; but we’ll mend it.  61

A good digestion to you all; and once more

I shower a welcome on ye; welcome all.

Hautboys. Enter the King, and Others, as masquers, habited like shepherds, ushered by the Lord Chamberlain. They pass directly before the Cardinal, and gracefully salute him.

A noble company! what are their pleasures?  64


Because they speak no English, thus they pray’d

To tell your Grace: that, having heard by fame

Of this so noble and so fair assembly

This night to meet here, they could do no less,

Out of the great respect they bear to beauty,  69

But leave their flocks; and, under your fair conduct,

Crave leave to view these ladies, and entreat

An hour of revels with ’em.


Say, Lord Chamberlain,

They have done my poor house grace; for which I pay ’em  73

A thousand thanks, and pray ’em take their pleasures.

[They choose Ladies for the dance. The King chooses Anne Bullen.

K. Hen.

The fairest hand I ever touch’d! O beauty,

Till now I never knew thee!

[Music. Dance.


My lord.


Your Grace?


Pray tell them thus much from me:

There should be one amongst ’em, by his person,

More worthy this place than myself; to whom,

If I but knew him, with my love and duty  80

I would surrender it.


I will, my lord.

[Whispers the Masquers.


What say they?


Such a one, they all confess,

There is, indeed; which they would have your Grace

Find out, and he will take it.


Let me see then.  84

[Comes from his state.

By all your good leaves, gentlemen, here I’ll make

My royal choice.

K. Hen.

[Unmasking.] You have found him, cardinal.

You hold a fair assembly; you do well, lord:

You are a churchman, or, I’ll tell you, cardinal,

I should judge now unhappily.


I am glad

Your Grace is grown so pleasant.

K. Hen.

My Lord Chamberlain,

Prithee, come hither. What fair lady’s that?


An’t please your Grace, Sir Thomas Bullen’s daughter,  92

The Viscount Rochford, one of her highness’ women.

K. Hen.

By heaven, she is a dainty one. Sweetheart,

I were unmannerly to take you out,

And not to kiss you. A health, gentlemen!  96

Let it go round.

Henry VIII, by T. Stothard.


Sir Thomas Lovell, is the banquest ready

I’ the privy chamber?


Yes, my lord.


Your Grace,

I fear, with dancing is a little heated.  100

K. Hen.

I fear, too much.


There’s fresher air, my lord,

In the next chamber.

K. Hen.

Lead in your ladies, every one. Sweet partner,

I must not yet forsake you. Let’s be merry:  104

Good my Lord Cardinal, I have half a dozen healths

To drink to these fair ladies, and a measure

To lead ’em once again; and then let’s dream

Who’s best in favour. Let the music knock it.

[Exeunt with trumpets.


Scene I.— Westminster. A Street.

Enter two Gentlemen, meeting.

First Gent.

Whither away so fast?

Sec. Gent.

O! God save ye.

E’en to the hall, to hear what shall become

Of the great Duke of Buckingham.

First Gent.

I’ll save you

That labour, sir. All’s now done but the ceremony  4

Of bringing back the prisoner.

Sec. Gent.

Were you there?

First Gent.

Yes, indeed, was I.

Sec. Gent.

Pray speak what has happen’d.

First Gent.

You may guess quickly what.

Sec. Gent.

Is he found guilty?

First Gent.

Yes, truly is he, and condemn’d upon’t.  8

Sec. Gent.

I am sorry for ’t.

First Gent.

So are a number more.

Sec. Gent.

But, pray, how pass’d it?

First Gent.

I’ll tell you in a little. The great duke

Came to the bar; where, to his accusations  12

He pleaded still not guilty, and alleg’d

Many sharp reasons to defeat the law.

The king’s attorney on the contrary

Urg’d on the examinations, proofs, confessions

Of divers witnesses, which the duke desir’d  17

To have brought, vivâ voce, to his face:

At which appear’d against him his surveyor;

Sir Gilbert Peck his chancellor; and John Car,

Confessor to him; with that devil-monk,  21

Hopkins, that made this mischief.

Sec. Gent.

That was he

That fed him with his prophecies?

First Gent.

The same.

All these accus’d him strongly; which he fain

Would have flung from him, but, indeed, he could not:  25

And so his peers, upon this evidence,

Have found him guilty of high treason. Much

He spoke, and learnedly, for life; but all  28

Was either pitied in him or forgotten.

Sec. Gent.

After all this how did he bear himself?

First Gent.

When he was brought again to the bar, to hear

His knell rung out, his judgment, he was stirr’d

With such an agony, he sweat extremely,  33

And something spoke in choler, ill, and hasty:

But he fell to himself again, and sweetly

In all the rest show’d a most noble patience.  36

Sec. Gent.

I do not think he fears death.

First Gent.

Sure, he does not;

He never was so womanish; the cause

He may a little grieve at.

Sec. Gent.


The cardinal is the end of this.

First Gent.

’Tis likely  40

By all conjectures: first, Kildare’s attainder,

Then deputy of Ireland; who, remov’d,

Earl Surrey was sent thither, and in haste too,

Lest he should help his father.

Sec. Gent.

That trick of state  44

Was a deep envious one.

First Gent.

At his return,

No doubt he will requite it. This is noted,

And generally, whoever the king favours,

The cardinal instantly will find employment,  48

And far enough from court too.

Sec. Gent.

All the commons

Hate him perniciously, and o’ my conscience,

Wish him ten fathom deep: this duke as much

They love and dote on; call him bounteous Buckingham,  52

The mirror of all courtesy;—

First Gent.

Stay there, sir,

And see the noble ruin’d man you speak of.

Enter Buckingham from his arraignment; Tipstaves before him; the axe with the edge towards him; halberds on each side: with him Sir Thomas Lovell, Sir Nicholas Vaux, Sir William Sands, and common people.

Sec. Gent.

Let’s stand close, and behold him.


All good people,

You that thus far have come to pity me,  56

Hear what I say, and then go home and lose me.

I have this day receiv’d a traitor’s judgment,

And by that name must die: yet, heaven bear witness,

And if I have a conscience, let it sink me,  60

Even as the axe falls, if I be not faithful!

The law I bear no malice for my death,

’T has done upon the premises but justice;

But those that sought it I could wish more Christians:  64

Be what they will, I heartily forgive ’em.

Yet let ’em look they glory not in mischief,

Nor build their evils on the graves of great men;

For then my guiltless blood must cry against ’em.  68

For further life in this world I ne’er hope,

Nor will I sue, although the king have mercies

More than I dare make faults. You few that lov’d me,

And dare be bold to weep for Buckingham,  72

His noble friends and fellows, whom to leave

Is only bitter to him, only dying,

Go with me, like good angels, to my end;

And, as the long divorce of steel falls on me,  76

Make of your prayers one sweet sacrifice,

And lift my soul to heaven. Lead on, o’ God’s name.


I do beseech your Grace, for charity,

If ever any malice in your heart  80

Were hid against me, now to forgive me frankly.


Sir Thomas Lovell, I as free forgive you

As I would be forgiven: I forgive all.

There cannot be those numberless offences  84

’Gainst me that I cannot take peace with: no black envy

Shall mark my grave. Commend me to his Grace;

And, if he speak of Buckingham, pray, tell him

You met him half in heaven. My vows and prayers  88

Yet are the king’s; and, till my soul forsake,

Shall cry for blessings on him: may he live

Longer than I have time to tell his years!

Ever belov’d and loving may his rule be!  92

And when old time shall lead him to his end,

Goodness and he fill up one monument!


To the water side I must conduct your Grace;

Then give my charge up to Sir Nicholas Vaux,

Who undertakes you to your end.


Prepare there!  97

The duke is coming: see the barge be ready;

And fit it with such furniture as suits

The greatness of his person.


Nay, Sir Nicholas,  100

Let it alone; my state now will but mock me.

When I came hither, I was Lord High Constable,

And Duke of Buckingham; now, poor Edward Bohun:

Yet I am richer than my base accusers,  104

That never knew what truth meant: I now seal it;

And with that blood will make them one day groan for’t.

My noble father, Henry of Buckingham,

Who first rais’d head against usurping Richard,

Flying for succour to his servant Banister,  109

Being distress’d, was by that wretch betray’d,

And without trial fell: God’s peace be with him!

Henry the Seventh succeeding, truly pitying  112

My father’s loss, like a most royal prince,

Restor’d me to my honours, and, out of ruins,

Made my name once more noble. Now his son,

Henry the Eighth, life, honour, name, and all  116

That made me happy, at one stroke has taken

For ever from the world. I had my trial,

And, must needs say, a noble one; which makes me

A little happier than my wretched father:  120

Yet thus far we are one in fortunes; both

Fell by our servants, by those men welov’d most:

A most unnatural and faithless service!

Heaven has an end in all; yet, you that hear me,

This from a dying man receive as certain:  125

Where you are liberal of your loves and counsels

Be sure you be not loose; for those you make friends

And give your hearts to, when they once perceive  128

The least rub in your fortunes, fall away

Like water from ye, never found again

But where they mean to sink ye. All good people,

Pray for me! I must now forsake ye: the last hour  132

Of my long weary life is come upon me.


And when you would say something that is sad,

Speak how I fell. I have done; and God forgive me!

[Exeunt Buckingham and Train.

First Gent.

O! this is full of pity! Sir, it calls,

I fear, too many curses on their heads

That were the authors.

Sec. Gent.

If the duke be guiltless,

’Tis full of woe; yet I can give you inkling  140

Of an ensuing evil, if it fall,

Greater than this.

First Gent.

Good angels keep it from us!

What may it be? You do not doubt my faith, sir?

Sec. Gent.

This secret is so weighty, ’twill require  144

A strong faith to conceal it.

First Gent.

Let me have it;

I do not talk much.

Sec. Gent.

I am confident:

You shall, sir. Did you not of late days hear

A buzzing of a separation  148

Between the king and Katharine?

First Gent.

Yes, but it held not;

For when the king once heard it, out of anger

He sent command to the lord mayor straight

To stop the rumour, and allay those tongues  152

That durst disperse it.

Sec. Gent.

But that slander, sir,

Is found a truth now; for it grows again

Fresher than e’er it was; and held for certain

The king will venture at it. Either the cardinal,

Or some about him near, have, out of malice  157

To the good queen, possess’d him with a scruple

That will undo her: to confirm this too,

Cardinal Campeius is arriv’d, and lately;  160

As all think, for this business.

First Gent.

’Tis the cardinal;

And merely to revenge him on the emperor

For not bestowing on him, at his asking,

The archbishopric of Toledo, this is purpos’d.

Sec. Gent.

I think you have hit the mark: but is’t not cruel  165

That she should feel the smart of this? The cardinal

Will have his will, and she must fall.

First Gent.

’Tis woeful.

We are too open here to argue this;  168

Let’s think in private more.


Scene II.— An Antechamber in the Palace.

Enter the Lord Chamberlain, reading a letter.


My lord, The horses your lordship sent for, with all the care I had, I saw well chosen, ridden, and furnished. They were young and handsome, and of the best breed in the north. When they were ready to set out for London, a man of my Lord Cardinal’s, by commission and main power, took them from me; with this reason: His master would be served before a subject, if not before the king; which stopped our mouths, sir.

I fear he will indeed. Well, let him have them:

He will have all, I think.  12

Enter the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk.


Well met, my Lord Chamberlain.


Good day to both your Graces.


How is the king employ’d?


I left him private,

Full of sad thoughts and troubles.


What’s the cause?


It seems the marriage with his brother’s wife  17

Has crept too near his conscience.


No; his conscience

Has crept too near another lady.


’Tis so:

This is the cardinal’s doing, the king-cardinal:

That blind priest, like the eldest son of Fortune,

Turns what he list. The king will know him one day.  22


Pray God he do! he’ll never know himself else.


How holily he works in all his business,

And with what zeal! for, now he has crack’d the league  25

Between us and the emperor, the queen’s great nephew,

He dives into the king’s soul, and there scatters

Dangers, doubts, wringing of the conscience,  28

Fears, and despairs; and all these for his marriage:

And out of all these, to restore the king,

He counsels a divorce; a loss of her,

That like a jewel has hung twenty years  32

About his neck, yet never lost her lustre;

Of her, that loves him with that excellence

That angels love good men with; even of her,

That, when the greatest stroke of fortune falls,

Will bless the king: and is not this course pious?


Heaven keep me from such counsel! ’Tis most true

These news are every where; every tongue speaks ’em,

And every true heart weeps for’t. All that dare

Look into these affairs, see this main end,  41

The French king’s sister. Heaven will one day open

The king’s eyes, that so long have slept upon

This bold bad man.


And free us from his slavery.


We had need pray,  45

And heartily, for our deliverance;

Or this imperious man will work us all

From princes into pages. All men’s honours  48

Lie like one lump before him, to be fashion’d

Into what pitch he please.


For me, my lords,

I love him not, nor fear him; there’s my creed.

As I am made without him, so I’ll stand,  52

If the king please; his curses and his blessings

Touch me alike, they’re breath I not believe in.

I knew him, and I know him; so I leave him

To him that made him proud, the pope.


Let’s in;

And with some other business put the king  57

From these sad thoughts, that work too much upon him.

My lord, you’ll bear us company?


Excuse me;

The king hath sent me otherwhere: besides,  60

You’ll find a most unfit time to disturb him:

Health to your lordships.


Thanks, my good Lord Chamberlain.

[Exit Lord Chamberlain.

Norfolk opens a folding-door. The King is discovered sitting and reading pensively.


How sad he looks! sure, he is much afflicted.

K. Hen.

Who is there, ha?


Pray God he be not angry.

K. Hen.

Who’s there, I say? How dare you thrust yourselves  65

Into my private meditations?

Who am I, ha?


A gracious king that pardons all offences  68

Malice ne’er meant: our breach of duty this way

Is business of estate; in which we come

To know your royal pleasure.

K. Hen.

Ye are too bold.

Go to; I’ll make ye know your times of business:

Is this an hour for temporal affairs, ha?

Enter Wolsey and Campeius.

Who’s there? my good Lord Cardinal? O! my Wolsey,

The quiet of my wounded conscience;

Thou art a cure fit for a king. [To Campeius.] You’re welcome,  76

Most learned reverend sir, into our kingdom:

Use us, and it. [To Wolsey.] My good lord, have great care

I be not found a talker.


Sir, you cannot.

I would your Grace would give us but an hour

Of private conference.

K. Hen.

[To Norfolk and Suffolk.] We are busy: go.  81


[Aside to Suffolk.] This priest has no pride in him!


[Aside to Norfolk.] Not to speak of;

I would not be so sick though for his place:

But this cannot continue.


[Aside to Suffolk.] If it do,  84

I’ll venture one have-at-him.


[Aside to Norfolk.] I another.

[Exeunt Norfolk and Suffolk.


Your Grace has given a precedent of wisdom

Above all princes, in committing freely

Your scruple to the voice of Christendom.  88

Who can be angry now? what envy reach you?

The Spaniard, tied by blood and favour to her,

Must now confess, if they have any goodness,

The trial just and noble. All the clerks,  92

I mean the learned ones, in Christian kingdoms

Have their free voices: Rome, the nurse of judgment,

Invited by your noble self, hath sent

One general tongue unto us, this good man,  96

This just and learned priest, Cardinal Campeius;

Whom once more I present unto your highness.

K. Hen.

And once more in my arms I bid him welcome,

And thank the holy conclave for their loves:

They have sent me such a man I would have wish’d for.  101


Your Grace must needs deserve all strangers’ loves,

You are so noble. To your highness’ hand

I tender my commission, by whose virtue,—  104

The court of Rome commanding,—you, my Lord

Cardinal of York, are join’d with me, their servant,

In the impartial judging of this business.

K. Hen.

Two equal men. The queen shall be acquainted  108

Forthwith for what you come. Where’s Gardiner?


I know your majesty has always lov’d her

So dear in heart, not to deny her that

A woman of less place might ask by law,  112

Scholars, allow’d freely to argue for her.

K. Hen.

Ay, and the best, she shall have; and my favour

To him that does best: God forbid else. Cardinal,

Prithee, call Gardiner to me, my new secretary:

I find him a fit fellow.

[Exit Wolsey.

Re-enter Wolsey, with Gardiner.


[Aside to Gardiner.] Give me your hand; much joy and favour to you;

You are the king’s now.


[Aside to Wolsey.] But to be commanded

For ever by your Grace, whose hand has rais’d me.  120

K. Hen.

Come hither, Gardiner.

[They converse apart.


My Lord of York, was not one Doctor Pace

In this man’s place before him?


Yes, he was.


Was he not held a learned man?


Yes, surely.  124


Believe me, there’s an ill opinion spread then

Even of yourself, Lord Cardinal.


How! of me?


They will not stick to say, you envied him,

And fearing he would rise, he was so virtuous,

Kept him a foreign man still; which so griev’d him  129

That he ran mad and died.


Heaven’s peace be with him!

That’s Christian care enough: for living murmurers

There’s places of rebuke. He was a fool,  132

For he would needs be virtuous: that good fellow,

If I command him, follows my appointment:

I will have none so near else. Learn this, brother,

We live not to be grip’d by meaner persons.  136

K. Hen.

Deliver this with modesty to the queen.

[Exit Gardiner.

The most convenient place that I can think of

For such receipt of learning, is Black-Friars;

There ye shall meet about this weighty business.

My Wolsey, see it furnish’d. O my lord!  141

Would it not grieve an able man to leave

So sweet a bedfellow? But, conscience, conscience!

O! ’tis a tender place, and I must leave her.  144


Scene III.— An Antechamber in the Queen’s Apartments.

Enter Anne Bullen and an Old Lady.


Not for that neither: here’s the pang that pinches:

His highness having liv’d so long with her, and she

So good a lady that no tongue could ever

Pronounce dishonour of her; by my life,  4

She never knew harm-doing; O! now, after

So many courses of the sun enthron’d,

Still growing in a majesty and pomp, the which

To leave a thousand-fold more bitter than  8

’Tis sweet at first to acquire, after this process

To give her the avaunt! it is a pity

Would move a monster.

Old Lady.

Hearts of most hard temper

Melt and lament for her.


O! God’s will; much better  12

She ne’er had known pomp: though ’t be temporal,

Yet, if that quarrel, Fortune, do divorce

It from the bearer, ’tis a sufferance panging

As soul and body’s severing.

Old Lady.

Alas! poor lady,  16

She’s a stranger now again.


So much the more

Must pity drop upon her. Verily,

I swear, ’tis better to be lowly born,

And range with humble livers in content,  20

Than to be perk’d up in a glist’ring grief

And wear a golden sorrow.

Old Lady.

Our content

Is our best having.


By my troth and maidenhead

I would not be a queen.

Old Lady.

Beshrew me, I would,  24

And venture maidenhead for’t; and so would you,

For all this spice of your hypocrisy.

You, that have so fair parts of woman on you,

Have too a woman’s heart; which ever yet  28

Affected eminence, wealth, sovereignty:

Which, to say sooth, are blessings, and which gifts—

Saving your mincing—the capacity

Of your soft cheveril conscience would receive,

If you might please to stretch it.


Nay, good troth.  33

Old Lady.

Yes, troth, and troth; you would not be a queen?


No, not for all the riches under heaven.

Old Lady.

’Tis strange: a three-pence bow’d would hire me,  36

Old as I am, to queen it. But, I pray you,

What think you of a duchess? have you limbs

To bear that load of title?


No, in truth.

Old Lady.

Then you are weakly made. Pluck off a little:  40

I would not be a young count in your way,

For more than blushing comes to: if your back

Cannot vouchsafe this burden, ’tis too weak

Ever to get a boy.


How you do talk!  44

I swear again, I would not be a queen

For all the world.

Old Lady.

In faith, for little England

You’d venture an emballing: I myself

Would for Carnarvonshire, although there ’long’d

No more to the crown but that. Lo! who comes here?  49

Enter the Lord Chamberlain.


Good morrow, ladies. What were’t worth to know

The secret of your conference?


My good lord,

Not your demand; it values not your asking:  52

Our mistress’ sorrows we were pitying.


It was a gentle business, and becoming

The action of good women: there is hope

All will be well.


Now, I pray God, amen!  56


You bear a gentle mind, and heavenly blessings

Follow such creatures. That you may, fair lady,

Perceive I speak sincerely, and high note’s

Ta’en of your many virtues, the king’s majesty

Commends his good opinion of you, and  61

Does purpose honour to you no less flowing

Than Marchioness of Pembroke; to which title

A thousand pound a year, annual support,  64

Out of his grace he adds.


I do not know

What kind of my obedience I should tender;

More than my all is nothing, nor my prayers

Are not words duly hallow’d, nor my wishes  68

More worth than empty vanities; yet prayers and wishes

Are all I can return. Beseech your lordship,

Vouchsafe to speak my thanks and my obedience,

As from a blushing handmaid, to his highness,

Whose health and royalty I pray for.


Lady,  73

I shall not fail to approve the fair conceit

The king hath of you. [Aside.] I have perus’d her well;

Beauty and honour in her are so mingled  76

That they have caught the king; and who knows yet

But from this lady may proceed a gem

To lighten all this isle? [To her.] I’ll to the king,

And say, I spoke with you.


My honour’d lord.  80

[Exit Lord Chamberlain.

Old Lady.

Why, this it is; see, see!

I have been begging sixteen years in court,

Am yet a courtier beggarly, nor could

Come pat betwixt too early and too late;  84

For any suit of pounds; and you, O fate!

A very fresh-fish here,—fie, fie, upon

This compell’d fortune!—have your mouth fill’d up

Before you open it.


This is strange to me.  88

Old Lady.

How tastes it? is it bitter? forty pence, no.

There was a lady once,—’tis an old story,—

That would not be a queen, that would she not,

For all the mud in Egypt: have you heard it?


Come, you are pleasant.

Old Lady.

With your theme I could

O’ermount the lark. The Marchioness of Pembroke!

A thousand pounds a year, for pure respect!

No other obligation! By my life  96

That promises more thousands: honour’s train

Is longer than his foreskirt. By this time

I know your back will bear a duchess: say,

Are you not stronger than you were?


Good lady,  100

Make yourself mirth with your particular fancy,

And leave me out on’t. Would I had no being,

If this salute my blood a jot: it faints me,

To think what follows.  104

The queen is comfortless, and we forgetful

In our long absence. Pray, do not deliver

What here you’ve heard to her.

Old Lady.

What do you think me?


Scene IV.— A Hall in Black-Friars.

Trumpets, sennet, and cornets. Enter two Vergers, with short silver wands; next them, two Scribes, in the habit of doctors; after them, the Archbishop of Canterbury, alone; after him, the Bishops of Lincoln, Ely, Rochester, and Saint Asaph; next them, at some small distance, follows a Gentleman bearing the purse, with the great seal, and a cardinal’s hat; then two Priests, bearing each a silver cross; then a Gentleman Usher bare-headed, accompanied with a Sergeant-at-Arms, bearing a silver mace; then two Gentlemen, bearing two great silver pillars; after them, side by side, the two Cardinals; two Noblemen with the sword and mace. Then enter the King and Queen, and their Trains. The King takes place under the cloth of state; the two Cardinals sit under him as judges. The Queen takes place at some distance from the King. The Bishops place themselves on each side the court, in manner of a consistory; below them, the Scribes. The Lords sit next the Bishops. The Crier and the rest of the Attendants stand in convenient order about the Stage.


Whilst our commission from Rome is read,

Let silence be commanded.

K. Hen.

What’s the need?

It hath already publicly been read,

And on all sides the authority allow’d;  4

You may then spare that time.


Be’t so. Proceed.


Say, Henry King of England, come into the court.


Henry King of England, come into the court.

K. Hen.



Say, Katharine Queen of England, come into the court.


Katharine Queen of England, come into the court.

[The Queen makes no answer, rises out of her chair, goes about the court, comes to the King, and kneels at his feet; then speaks.

Q. Kath.

Sir, I desire you do me right and justice;

And to bestow your pity on me; for  12

I am a most poor woman, and a stranger,

Born out of your dominions; having here

No judge indifferent, nor no more assurance

Of equal friendship and proceeding. Alas! sir,

In what have I offended you? what cause  17

Hath my behaviour given to your displeasure,

That thus you should proceed to put me off

And take your good grace from me? Heaven witness,  20

I have been to you a true and humble wife,

At all times to your will conformable;

Ever in fear to kindle your dislike,

Yea, subject to your countenance, glad or sorry

As I saw it inclin’d. When was the hour  25

I ever contradicted your desire,

Or made it not mine too? Or which of your friends

Have I not strove to love, although I knew  28

He were mine enemy? what friend of mine

That had to him deriv’d your anger, did I

Continue in my liking? nay, gave notice

He was from thence discharg’d. Sir, call to mind  32

That I have been your wife, in this obedience

Upward of twenty years, and have been blest

With many children by you: if, in the course

And process of this time, you can report,  36

And prove it too, against mine honour aught,

My bond to wedlock, or my love and duty,

Against your sacred person, in God’s name

Turn me away; and let the foul’st contempt  40

Shut door upon me, and so give me up

To the sharp’st kind of justice. Please you, sir,

The king, your father, was reputed for

A prince most prudent, of an excellent  44

And unmatch’d wit and judgment: Ferdinand,

My father, King of Spain, was reckon’d one

The wisest prince that there had reign’d by many

A year before: it is not to be question’d  48

That they had gather’d a wise council to them

Of every realm, that did debate this business,

Who deem’d our marriage lawful. Wherefore I humbly

Beseech you, sir, to spare me, till I may  52

Be by my friends in Spain advis’d, whose counsel

I will implore: if not, i’ the name of God,

Your pleasure be fulfill’d!


You have here, lady,—

And of your choice,—these reverend fathers; men  56

Of singular integrity and learning,

Yea, the elect o’ the land, who are assembled

To plead your cause. It shall be therefore bootless

That longer you desire the court, as well  60

For your own quiet, as to rectify

What is unsettled in the king.


His Grace

Hath spoken well and justly: therefore, madam,

It’s fit this royal session do proceed,  64

And that, without delay, their arguments

Be now produc’d and heard.

Q. Kath.

Lord Cardinal,

To you I speak.


Your pleasure, madam?

Q. Kath.


I am about to weep; but, thinking that  68

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.


Be patient yet.

Q. Kath.

I will, when you are humble; nay, before,  72

Or God will punish me. I do believe,

Induc’d by potent circumstances, that

You are mine enemy; and make my challenge

You shall not be my judge; for it is you  76

Have blown this coal betwixt my lord and me,

Which God’s dew quench! Therefore I say again,

I utterly abhor, yea, from my soul

Refuse you for my judge, whom, yet once more,

I hold my most malicious foe, and think not  81

At all a friend to truth.


I do profess

You speak not like yourself; who ever yet

Have stood to charity, and display’d the effects

Of disposition gentle, and of wisdom  85

O’ertopping woman’s power. Madam, you do me wrong:

I have no spleen against you; nor injustice

For you or any: how far I have proceeded,  88

Or how far further shall, is warranted

By a commission from the consistory,

Yea, the whole consistory of Rome. You charge me

That I have blown this coal: I do deny it.  92

The king is present: if it be known to him

That I gainsay my deed, how may he wound,

And worthily, my falsehood; yea, as much

As you have done my truth. If he know  96

That I am free of your report, he knows

I am not of your wrong. Therefore in him

It lies to cure me; and the cure is, to

Remove these thoughts from you: the which before  100

His highness shall speak in, I do beseech

You, gracious madam, to unthink your speaking,

And to say so no more.

Q. Kath.

My lord, my lord,

I am a simple woman, much too weak  104

To oppose your cunning. You’re meek and humble-mouth’d;

You sign your place and calling, in full seeming,

With meekness and humility; but your heart

Is cramm’d with arrogancy, spleen, and pride.

You have, by fortune and his highness’ favours,

Gone slightly o’er low steps, and now are mounted

Where powers are your retainers, and your words,

Domestics to you, serve your will as’t please  112

Yourself pronounce their office. I must tell you,

You tender more your person’s honour than

Your high profession spiritual; that again

I do refuse you for my judge; and here,  116

Before you all, appeal unto the pope,

To bring my whole cause ’fore his holiness,

And to be judg’d by him.

[She curtsies to the King, and offers to depart.


The queen is obstinate,

Stubborn to justice, apt to accuse it, and  120

Disdainful to be tried by’t: ’tis not well.

She’s going away.

K. Hen.

Call her again.


Katharine Queen of England, come into the court.  124


Madam, you are call’d back.

Q. Kath.

What need you note it? pray you, keep your way:

When you are call’d, return. Now, the Lord help!

They vex me past my patience. Pray you, pass on:  128

I will not tarry; no, nor ever more

Upon this business my appearance make

In any of their courts.

[Exeunt Queen, and her Attendants.

K. Hen.

Go thy ways, Kate:

That man i’ the world who shall report he has

A better wife, let him in nought be trusted,  133

For speaking false in that: thou art, alone,—

If thy rare qualities, sweet gentleness,

Thy meekness saint-like, wife-like government,

Obeying in commanding, and thy parts  137

Sovereign and pious else, could speak thee out,—

The queen of earthly queens. She’s noble born;

And, like her true nobility, she has  140

Carried herself towards me.


Most gracious sir,

In humblest manner I require your highness,

That it shall please you to declare, in hearing

Of all these ears,—for where I am robb’d and bound  144

There must I be unloos’d, although not there

At once, and fully satisfied,—whether ever I

Did broach this business to your highness, or

Laid any scruple in your way, which might  148

Induce you to the question on’t? or ever

Have to you, but with thanks to God for such

A royal lady, spake one the least word that might

Be to the prejudice of her present state,  152

Or touch of her good person?

K. Hen.

My Lord Cardinal,

I do excuse you; yea, upon mine honour,

I free you from’t. You are not to be taught

That you have many enemies, that know not  156

Why they are so, but, like to village curs,

Bark when their fellows do: by some of these

The queen is put in anger. You’re excus’d:

But will you be more justified? you ever  160

Have wish’d the sleeping of this business; never

Desir’d it to be stirr’d; but oft have hinder’d, oft,

The passages made toward it. On my honour,

I speak my good Lord Cardinal to this point,

And thus far clear him. Now, what mov’d me to’t,  165

I will be bold with time and your attention:

Then mark the inducement. Thus it came; give heed to’t:

My conscience first receiv’d a tenderness,  168

Scruple, and prick, on certain speeches utter’d

By the Bishop of Bayonne, then French ambassador,

Who had been hither sent on the debating

A marriage ’twixt the Duke of Orleans and  172

Our daughter Mary. I’ the progress of this business,

Ere a determinate resolution, he—

I mean, the bishop—did require a respite;

Wherein he might the king his lord advertise  176

Whether our daughter were legitimate,

Respecting this our marriage with the dowager,

Sometimes our brother’s wife. This respite shook

The bosom of my conscience, enter’d me,  180

Yea, with a splitting power, and made to tremble

The region of my breast; which forc’d such way,

That many maz’d considerings did throng,

And press’d in with this caution. First, methought  184

I stood not in the smile of heaven, who had

Commanded nature, that my lady’s womb,

If it conceiv’d a male child by me, should

Do no more offices of life to’t than  188

The grave does to the dead; for her male issue

Or died where they were made, or shortly after

This world had air’d them. Hence I took a thought

This was a judgment on me; that my kingdom,

Well worthy the best heir o’ the world, should not  193

Be gladded in’t by me. Then follows that

I weigh’d the danger which my realms stood in

By this my issue’s fail; and that gave to me  196

Many a groaning throe. Thus hulling in

The wild sea of my conscience, I did steer

Toward this remedy, whereupon we are

Now present here together; that’s to say,  200

I meant to rectify my conscience, which

I then did feel full sick, and yet not well,

By all the rev’rend fathers of the land

And doctors learn’d. First, I began in private

With you, my Lord of Lincoln; you remember

How under my oppression I did reek,  206

When I first mov’d you.


Very well, my liege.

K. Hen.

I have spoke long: be pleas’d yourself to say  208

How far you satisfied me.


So please your highness,

The question did at first so stagger me,

Bearing a state of mighty moment in’t,

And consequence of dread, that I committed  212

The daring’st counsel that I had to doubt;

And did entreat your highness to this course

Which you are running here.

K. Hen.

Then I mov’d you,

My Lord of Canterbury, and got your leave  216

To make this present summons. Unsolicited

I left no reverend person in this court;

But by particular consent proceeded

Under your hands and seals: therefore, go on;

For no dislike i’ the world against the person

Of the good queen, but the sharp thorny points

Of my alleged reasons drive this forward.

Prove but our marriage lawful, by my life  224

And kingly dignity, we are contented

To wear our mortal state to come with her,

Katharine our queen, before the primest creature

That’s paragon’d o’ the world.


So please your highness,  228

The queen being absent, ’tis a needful fitness

That we adjourn this court till further day:

Mean while must be an earnest motion

Made to the queen, to call back her appeal  232

She intends unto his holiness.

[They rise to depart.

K. Hen.

[Aside.] I may perceive

These cardinals trifle with me: I abhor

This dilatory sloth and tricks of Rome.

My learn’d and well-beloved servant Cranmer,

Prithee, return: with thy approach, I know,  237

My comfort comes along. Break up the court:

I say, set on.

[Exeunt, in manner as they entered.


Scene I.— The Palace at Bridewell. A Room in the Queen’s Apartment.

The Queen and her Women at work.

Q. Kath.

Take thy lute, wench: my soul grows sad with troubles;

Sing and disperse ’em, if thou canst. Leave working.


Orpheus with his lute made trees,

And the mountain tops that freeze,  4

Bow themselves, when he did sing:

To his music plants and flowers

Ever sprung; as sun and showers

There had made a lasting spring.  8

Every thing that heard him play,

Even the billows of the sea,

Hung their heads, and then lay by.

In sweet music is such art,  12

Killing care and grief of heart

Fall asleep, or hearing, die.

Enter a Gentleman.

Q. Kath.

How now!


An’t please your Grace, the two great cardinals  16

Wait in the presence.

Q. Kath.

Would they speak with me?


They will’d me say so, madam.

Q. Kath.

Pray their Graces

To come near. [Exit Gentleman.] What can be their business

With me, a poor weak woman, fall’n from favour?

I do not like their coming, now I think on’t.  21

They should be good men, their affairs as righteous;

But all hoods make not monks.

Enter Wolsey and Campeius.


Peace to your highness!

Q. Kath.

Your Graces find me here part of a housewife,  24

I would be all, against the worst may happen.

What are your pleasures with me, reverend lords?


May it please you, noble madam, to withdraw

Into your private chamber, we shall give you  28

The full cause of our coming.

Q. Kath.

Speak it here;

There’s nothing I have done yet, o’ my conscience,

Deserves a corner: would all other women

Could speak this with as free a soul as I do!  32

My lords, I care not—so much I am happy

Above a number—if my actions

Were tried by every tongue, every eye saw ’em,

Envy and base opinion set against ’em,  36

I know my life so even. If your business

Seek me out, and that way I am wife in,

Out with it boldly: truth loves open dealing.


Tanta est erga te mentis integritas, regina serenissima,—  40

Q. Kath.

O, good my lord, no Latin;

I am not such a truant since my coming

As not to know the language I have liv’d in:

A strange tongue makes my cause more strange, suspicious;  44

Pray, speak in English: here are some will thank you,

If you speak truth, for their poor mistress’ sake:

Believe me, she has had much wrong. Lord Cardinal,

The willing’st sin I ever yet committed  48

May be absolv’d in English.


Noble lady,

I am sorry my integrity should breed,—

And service to his majesty and you,—

So deep suspicion, where all faith was meant.  52

We come not by the way of accusation,

To taint that honour every good tongue blesses,

Nor to betray you any way to sorrow,

You have too much, good lady; but to know  56

How you stand minded in the weighty difference

Between the king and you; and to deliver,

Like free and honest men, our just opinions

And comforts to your cause.


Most honour’d madam,  60

My Lord of York, out of his noble nature,

Zeal and obedience he still bore your Grace,

Forgetting, like a good man, your late censure

Both of his truth and him,—which was too far,—

Offers, as I do, in sign of peace,  65

His service and his counsel.

Q. Kath.

[Aside.] To betray me.

My lords, I thank you both for your good wills;

Ye speak like honest men,—pray God, ye prove so!—  68

But how to make ye suddenly an answer,

In such a point of weight, so near mine honour,—

More near my life, I fear,—with my weak wit,

And to such men of gravity and learning,  72

In truth, I know not. I was set at work

Among my maids; full little, God knows, looking

Either for such men or such business.

For her sake that I have been,—for I feel  76

The last fit of my greatness,—good your Graces

Let me have time and counsel for my cause:

Alas! I am a woman, friendless, hopeless.


Madam, you wrong the king’s love with these fears:  80

Your hopes and friends are infinite.

Q. Kath.

In England

But little for my profit. Can you think, lords,

That any Englishman dare give me counsel?

Or be a known friend, ’gainst his highness’ pleasure,—  84

Though he be grown so desperate to be honest,—

And live a subject? Nay, forsooth, my friends,

They that must weigh out my afflictions,  87

They that my trust must grow to, live not here:

They are, as all my other comforts, far hence

In mine own country, lords.


I would your Grace

Would leave your griefs, and take my counsel.

Q Kath.

How, sir?


Put your main cause into the king’s protection;  92

He’s loving and most gracious: ’twill be much

Both for your honour better and your cause;

For if the trial of the law o’ertake ye,

You’ll part away disgrac’d.


He tells you rightly.  96

Q. Kath.

Ye tell me what ye wish for both; my ruin.

Is this your Christian counsel? out upon ye!

Heaven is above all yet; there sits a judge

That no king can corrupt.


Your rage mistakes us.  100

Q. Kath.

The more shame for ye! holy men I thought ye,

Upon my soul, two reverend cardinal virtues;

But cardinal sins and hollow hearts I fear ye.

Mend ’em, for shame, my lords. Is this your comfort?  104

The cordial that ye bring a wretched lady,

A woman lost among ye, laugh’d at, scorn’d?

I will not wish ye half my miseries,

I have more charity; but say, I warn’d ye:  108

Take heed, for heaven’s sake, take heed, lest at once

The burden of my sorrows fall upon ye.


Madam, this is a mere distraction;

You turn the good we offer into envy.  112

Q. Kath.

Ye turn me into nothing: woe upon ye,

And all such false professors! Would ye have me,—

If ye have any justice, any pity;

If ye be anything but churchmen’s habits,—  116

Put my sick cause into his hands that hates me?

Alas! he has banish’d me his bed already,

His love, too long ago! I am old, my lords,

And all the fellowship I hold now with him  120

Is only my obedience. What can happen

To me above this wretchedness? all your studies

Make me a curse like this.


Your fears are worse.

Q. Kath.

Have I liv’d thus long—let me speak myself,  124

Since virtue finds no friends—a wife, a true one?

A woman, I dare say without vain-glory,

Never yet branded with suspicion?

Have I with all my full affections  128

Still met the king? lov’d him next heaven? obey’d him?

Been, out of fondness, superstitious to him?

Almost forgot my prayers to content him?

And am I thus rewarded? ’tis not well, lords.  132

Bring me a constant woman to her husband,

One that ne’er dream’d a joy beyond his pleasure,

And to that woman, when she has done most,

Yet will I add an honour, a great patience.  136


Madam, you wander from the good we aim at.

Q. Kath.

My lord, I dare not make myself so guilty,

To give up willingly that noble title

Your master wed me to: nothing but death  140

Shall e’er divorce my dignities.


Pray hear me.

Q. Kath.

Would I had never trod this English earth,

Or felt the flatteries that grow upon it!

Ye have angels’ faces, but heaven knows your hearts.  144

What will become of me now, wretched lady?

I am the most unhappy woman living.

[To her women.] Alas! poor wenches, where are now your fortunes?

Shipwrack’d upon a kingdom, where no pity,  148

No friends, no hope; no kindred weep for me;

Almost no grave allow’d me. Like the lily,

That once was mistress of the field and flourish’d,

I’ll hang my head and perish.


If your Grace  152

Could but be brought to know our ends are honest,

You’d feel more comfort. Why should we, good lady,

Upon what cause, wrong you? alas! our places,

The way of our profession is against it:  156

We are to cure such sorrows, not to sow them.

For goodness’ sake, consider what you do;

How you may hurt yourself, ay, utterly

Grow from the king’s acquaintance, by this carriage.  160

The hearts of princes kiss obedience,

So much they love it; but to stubborn spirits

They swell, and grow as terrible as storms.

I know you have a gentle, noble temper,  164

A soul as even as a calm: pray think us

Those we profess, peace-makers, friends, and servants.


Madam, you’ll find it so. You wrong your virtues

With these weak women’s fears: a noble spirit,

As yours was put into you, ever casts  169

Such doubts, as false coin, from it. The king loves you;

Beware you lose it not: for us, if you please

To trust us in your business, we are ready  172

To use our utmost studies in your service.

Q. Kath.

Do what ye will, my lords: and, pray, forgive me

If I have us’d myself unmannerly.

You know I am a woman, lacking wit  176

To make a seemly answer to such persons.

Pray do my service to his majesty:

He has my heart yet; and shall have my prayers

While I shall have my life. Come, reverend fathers,  180

Bestow your counsels on me: she now begs

That little thought, when she set footing here,

She should have bought her dignities so dear.


Scene II.— Antechamber to the King’s Apartment.

Enter the Duke of Norfolk, the Duke of Suffolk, the Earl of Surrey, and the Lord Chamberlain.


If you will now unite in your complaints,

And force them with a constancy, the cardinal

Cannot stand under them: if you omit

The offer of this time, I cannot promise  4

But that you shall sustain moe new disgraces

With these you bear already.


I am joyful

To meet the least occasion that may give me

Remembrance of my father-in-law, the duke,  8

To be reveng’d on him.


Which of the peers

Have uncontemn’d gone by him, or at least

Strangely neglected? when did he regard

The stamp of nobleness in any person,  12

Out of himself?


My lords, you speak your pleasures:

What he deserves of you and me, I know;

What we can do to him,—though now the time

Gives way to us,—I much fear. If you cannot  16

Bar his access to the king, never attempt

Any thing on him, for he hath a witchcraft

Over the king in’s tongue.


O! fear him not;

His spell in that is out: the king hath found  20

Matter against him that for ever mars

The honey of his language. No, he’s settled,

Not to come off, in his displeasure.



I should be glad to hear such news as this  24

Once every hour.


Believe it, this is true:

In the divorce his contrary proceedings

Are all unfolded; wherein he appears

As I would wish mine enemy.


How came  28

His practices to light?


Most strangely.


O! how? how?


The cardinal’s letter to the pope miscarried,

And came to the eye o’ the king; wherein was read,

That the cardinal did entreat his holiness  32

To stay the judgment o’ the divorce; for if

It did take place, ‘I do,’ quoth he, ‘perceive

My king is tangled in affection to

A creature of the queen’s, Lady Anne Bullen.’  36


Has the king this?


Believe it.


Will this work?


The king in this perceives him, how he coasts

And hedges his own way. But in this point

All his tricks founder, and he brings his physic

After his patient’s death: the king already  41

Hath married the fair lady.


Would he had!


May you be happy in your wish, my lord!

For I profess, you have it.


Now all my joy  44

Trace the conjunction!


My amen to’t!


All men’s.


There’s order given for her coronation:

Marry, this is yet but young, and may be left

To some ears unrecounted. But, my lords,  48

She is a gallant creature, and complete

In mind and feature: I persuade me, from her

Will fall some blessing to this land, which shall

In it be memoriz’d.


But will the king  52

Digest this letter of the cardinal’s?

The Lord forbid!


Marry, amen!


No, no;

There be moe wasps that buzz about his nose

Will make this sting the sooner. Cardinal Campeius  56

Is stol’n away to Rome; hath ta’en no leave;

Has left the cause o’ the king unhandled; and

Is posted, as the agent of our cardinal,

To second all his plot. I do assure you  60

The king cried Ha! at this.


Now, God incense him,

And let him cry Ha! louder.


But, my lord,

When returns Cranmer?


He is return’d in his opinions, which  64

Have satisfied the king for his divorce,

Together with all famous colleges

Almost in Christendom. Shortly, I believe,

His second marriage shall be publish’d, and  68

Her coronation. Katharine no more

Shall be call’d queen, but princess dowager,

And widow to Prince Arthur.


This same Cranmer’s

A worthy fellow, and hath ta’en much pain  72

In the king’s business.


He has; and we shall see him

For it an archbishop.


So I hear.


’Tis so.

The cardinal!

Enter Wolsey and Cromwell.


Observe, observe; he’s moody.


The packet, Cromwell,  76

Gave’t you the king?


To his own hand, in his bedchamber.


Look’d he o’ the inside of the paper?



He did unseal them; and the first he view’d,  80

He did it with a serious mind; a heed

Was in his countenance. You he bade

Attend him here this morning.


Is he ready

To come abroad?


I think, by this he is.  84


Leave me awhile.

[Exit Cromwell.

[Aside.] It shall be to the Duchess of Alençon,

The French King’s sister; he shall marry her.

Anne Bullen! No; I’ll no Anne Bullens for him:

There’s more in’t than fair visage. Bullen!  89

No, we’ll no Bullens. Speedily I wish

To hear from Rome. The Marchioness of Pembroke!


He’s discontented.


May be he hears the king

Does whet his anger to him.


Sharp enough,  93

Lord, for thy justice!


The late queen’s gentlewoman, a knight’s daughter,

To be her mistress’ mistress! the queen’s queen!

This candle burns not clear: ’tis I must snuff it;

Then, out it goes. What though I know her virtuous

And well deserving? yet I know her for

A spleeny Lutheran; and not wholesome to  100

Our cause, that she should lie i’ the bosom of

Our hard-rul’d king. Again, there is sprung up

A heretic, an arch one, Cranmer; one

Hath crawl’d into the favour of the king,  104

And is his oracle.


He is vex’d at something.


I would ’twere something that would fret the string,

The master-cord on’s heart!

Enter the King, reading a schedule; and Lovell.


The king, the king!

K. Hen.

What piles of wealth hath he accumulated  108

To his own portion! and what expense by the hour

Seems to flow from him! How, i’ the name of thrift,

Does he rake this together? Now, my lords,

Saw you the cardinal?


My lord, we have  112

Stood here observing him; some strange commotion

Is in his brain: he bites his lip, and starts;

Stops on a sudden, looks upon the ground,

Then lays his finger on his temple; straight  116

Springs out into fast gait; then stops again,

Strikes his breast hard; and anon he casts

His eye against the moon: in most strange postures

We have seen him set himself.

K. Hen.

It may well be:  120

There is a mutiny in ’s mind. This morning

Papers of state he sent me to peruse,

As I requir’d; and wot you what I found

There, on my conscience, put unwittingly?  124

Forsooth, an inventory, thus importing;

The several parcels of his plate, his treasure,

Rich stuffs and ornaments of household, which

I find at such a proud rate that it out-speaks

Possession of a subject.


It’s heaven’s will:  129

Some spirit put this paper in the packet

To bless your eye withal.

K. Hen.

If we did think

His contemplation were above the earth,  132

And fix’d on spiritual object, he should still

Dwell in his musings: but I am afraid

His thinkings are below the moon, not worth

His serious considering.

[He takes his seat, and whispers Lovell, who goes to Wolsey.


Heaven forgive me!  136

Ever God bless your highness!

K. Hen.

Good my lord,

You are full of heavenly stuff, and bear the inventory

Of your best graces in your mind, the which

You were now running o’er: you have scarce time  140

To steal from spiritual leisure a brief span

To keep your earthly audit: sure, in that

I deem you an ill husband, and am glad

To have you therein my companion.


Sir,  144

For holy offices I have a time; a time

To think upon the part of business which

I bear i’ the state; and nature does require

Her times of preservation, which perforce  148

I, her frail son, amongst my brethren mortal,

Must give my tendance to.

K. Hen.

You have said well.


And ever may your highness yoke together,

As I will lend you cause, my doing well  152

With my well saying!

K. Hen.

’Tis well said again;

And ’tis a kind of good deed to say well:

And yet words are no deeds. My father lov’d you:

He said he did; and with his deed did crown  156

His word upon you. Since I had my office,

I have kept you next my heart; have not alone

Employ’d you where high profits might come home,

But par’d my present havings, to bestow  160

My bounties upon you.


[Aside.] What should this mean?


[Aside.] The Lord increase this business!

K. Hen.

Have I not made you

The prime man of the state? I pray you, tell me

If what I now pronounce you have found true;

And if you may confess it, say withal,  165

If you are bound to us or no. What say you?


My sovereign, I confess your royal graces,

Shower’d on me daily, have been more than could  168

My studied purposes requite; which went

Beyond all man’s endeavours: my endeavours

Have ever come too short of my desires,

Yet fil’d with my abilities. Mine own ends  172

Have been mine so, that evermore they pointed

To the good of your most sacred person and

The profit of the state. For your great graces

Heap’d upon me, poor undeserver, I  176

Can nothing render but allegiant thanks,

My prayers to heaven for you, my loyalty,

Which ever has and ever shall be growing,

Till death, that winter, kill it.

K. Hen.

Fairly answer’d;  180

A loyal and obedient subject is

Therein illustrated; the honour of it

Does pay the act of it, as, i’ the contrary,

The foulness is the punishment. I presume  184

That as my hand has open’d bounty to you,

My heart dropp’d love, my power rain’d honour, more

On you than any; so your hand and heart,

Your brain, and every function of your power,

Should, notwithstanding that your bond of duty,

As ’twere in love’s particular, be more

To me, your friend, than any.


I do profess,  191

That for your highness’ good I ever labour’d

More than mine own; that am, have, and will be.

Though all the world should crack their duty to you,

And throw it from their soul; though perils did

Abound as thick as thought could make ’em, and

Appear in forms more horrid, yet my duty,  197

As doth a rock against the chiding flood,

Should the approach of this wild river break,

And stand unshaken yours.

K. Hen.

’Tis nobly spoken.  200

Take notice, lords, he has a loyal breast,

For you have seen him open’t. Read o’er this;

[Giving him papers.

And after, this: and then to breakfast with

What appetite you have.

[Exit King, frowning upon Cardinal Wolsey; the Nobles throng after him, smiling, and whispering.


What should this mean?  204

What sudden anger’s this? how have I reap’d it?

He parted frowning from me, as if ruin

Leap’d from his eyes: so looks the chafed lion

Upon the daring huntsman that has gall’d him;

Then makes him nothing. I must read this paper;  209

I fear, the story of his anger. ’Tis so;

This paper has undone me! ’Tis the account

Of all that world of wealth I have drawn together

For mine own ends; indeed, to gain the popedom,

And fee my friends in Rome. O negligence!

Fit for a fool to fall by: what cross devil

Made me put this main secret in the packet  216

I sent the king? Is there no way to cure this?

No new device to beat this from his brains?

I know ’twill stir him strongly; yet I know

A way, if it take right, in spite of fortune  220

Will bring me off again. What’s this?—‘To the Pope!’

The letter, as I live, with all the business

I writ to’s holiness. Nay then, farewell!

I have touch’d the highest point of all my greatness;  224

And from that full meridian of my glory,

I haste now to my setting: I shall fall

Like a bright exhalation in the evening,

And no man see me more.  228

Re-enter the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, the Earl of Surrey, and the Lord Chamberlain.


Hear the king’s pleasure, cardinal: who commands you

To render up the great seal presently

Into our hands; and to confine yourself

To Asher-house, my Lord of Winchester’s,  232

Till you hear further from his highness.



Where’s your commission, lord? words cannot carry

Authority so weighty.


Who dare cross ’em,

Bearing the king’s will from his mouth expressly?


Till I find more than will or words to do it,  237

I mean your malice, know, officious lords,

I dare and must deny it. Now I feel

Of what coarse metal ye are moulded, envy:  240

How eagerly ye follow my disgraces,

As if it fed ye! and how sleek and wanton

Ye appear in every thing may bring my ruin

Follow your envious courses, men of malice;  244

You have Christian warrant for ’em, and, no doubt,

In time will find their fit rewards. That seal

You ask with such a violence, the king—

Mine and your master—with his own hand gave me;  248

Bade me enjoy it with the place and honours

During my life; and to confirm his goodness,

Tied it by letters-patents: now who’ll take it?


The king, that gave it.


It must be himself then.  252


Thou art a proud traitor, priest.


Proud lord, thou liest:

Within these forty hours Surrey durst better

Have burnt that tongue than said so.


Thy ambition,

Thou scarlet sin, robb’d this bewailing land  256

Of noble Buckingham, my father-in-law:

The heads of all thy brother cardinals—

With thee and all thy best parts bound together—

Weigh’d not a hair of his. Plague of your policy!  260

You sent me deputy for Ireland,

Far from his succour, from the king, from all

That might have mercy on the fault thou gav’st him;  263

Whilst your great goodness, out of holy pity,

Absolv’d him with an axe.


This and all else

This talking lord can lay upon my credit,

I answer is most false. The duke by law

Found his deserts: how innocent I was  268

From any private malice in his end,

His noble jury and foul cause can witness.

If I lov’d many words, lord, I should tell you,

You have as little honesty as honour,  272

That in the way of loyalty and truth

Toward the king, my ever royal master,

Dare mate a sounder man than Surrey can be,

And all that love his follies.


By my soul,  276

Your long coat, priest, protects you; thou shouldst feel

My sword i’ the life-blood of thee else. My lords,

Can ye endure to hear this arrogance?

And from this fellow? If we live thus tamely,

To be thus jaded by a piece of scarlet,  281

Farewell nobility; let his Grace go forward,

And dare us with his cap like larks.


All goodness

Is poison to thy stomach.


Yes, that goodness  284

Of gleaning all the land’s wealth into one,

Into your own hands, cardinal, by extortion;

The goodness of your intercepted packets,

You writ to the pope against the king; your goodness,  288

Since you provoke me, shall be most notorious.

My Lord of Norfolk, as you are truly noble,

As you respect the common good, the state

Of our despis’d nobility, our issues,  292

Who, if he live, will scarce be gentlemen,

Produce the grand sum of his sins, the articles

Collected from his life; I’ll startle you

Worse than the sacring bell, when the brown wench  296

Lay kissing in your arms, Lord Cardinal.


How much, methinks, I could despise this man,

But that I am bound in charity against it!


Those articles, my lord, are in the king’s hand;  300

But, thus much, they are foul ones.


So much fairer

And spotless shall mine innocence arise

When the king knows my truth.


This cannot save you:

I thank my memory, I yet remember  304

Some of these articles; and out they shall.

Now, if you can blush, and cry ‘guilty,’ cardinal,

You’ll show a little honesty.


Speak on, sir;

I dare your worst objections; if I blush,  308

It is to see a nobleman want manners.


I had rather want those than my head. Have at you!

First, that, without the king’s assent or know ledge,

You wrought to be a legate; by which power

You maim’d the jurisdiction of all bishops.  313


Then, that in all you writ to Rome, or else

To foreign princes, Ego et Rex meus

Was still inscrib’d; in which you brought the king

To be your servant.


Then, that without the knowledge  317

Either of king or council, when you went

Ambassador to the emperor, you made bold

To carry into Flanders the great seal.  320


Item, you sent a large commission

To Gregory de Cassado, to conclude,

Without the king’s will or the state’s allowance,

A league between his highness and Ferrara.  324


That, out of mere ambition, you have caus’d

Your holy hat to be stamp’d on the king’s coin.


Then, that you have sent innumerable substance,—

By what means got I leave to your own conscience,—  328

To furnish Rome, and to prepare the ways

You have for dignities; to the mere undoing

Of all the kingdom. Many more there are;

Which, since they are of you, and odious,  332

I will not taint my mouth with.


O my lord!

Press not a falling man too far; ’tis virtue:

His faults lie open to the laws; let them,

Not you, correct him. My heart weeps to see him  336

So little of his great self.


I forgive him.


Lord Cardinal, the king’s further pleasure is,

Because all those things you have done of late,

By your power legatine, within this kingdom,

Fall into the compass of a præmunire,  341

That therefore such a writ be su’d against you;

To forfeit all your goods, lands, tenements,

Chattels, and whatsoever, and to be  344

Out of the king’s protection. This is my charge.


And so we’ll leave you to your meditations

How to live better. For your stubborn answer

About the giving back the great seal to us,  348

The king shall know it, and, no doubt, shall thank you.

So fare you well, my little good Lord Cardinal.

[Exeunt all except Wolsey.


So farewell to the little good you bear me.  351

Farewell! a long farewell, to all my greatness!

This is the state of man: to-day be puts forth

The tender leaves of hopes; to-morrow blossoms,

And bears his blushing honours thick upon him;

The third day comes a frost, a killing frost;  356

And, when he thinks, good easy man, full surely

His greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,

And then he falls, as I do. I have ventur’d,

Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,

This many summers in a sea of glory,  361

But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride

At length broke under me, and now has left me,

Weary and old with service, to the mercy  364

Of a rude stream, that must for ever hide me.

Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate yo:

I feel my heart new open’d. O! how wretched

Is that poor man that hangs on princes’ favours!

There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,

That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,

More pangs and fears than wars or women have;

And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,  372

Never to hope again.

Enter Cromwell, and stands amazed.

Why, how now, Cromwell!


I have no power to speak, sir.


What! amaz’d

At my misfortunes? can thy spirit wonder

A great man should decline? Nay, an you weep,

I am fall’n indeed.


How does your Grace?


Why, well;  377

Never so truly happy, my good Cromwell.

I know myself now; and I feel within me

A peace above all earthly dignities,  380

A still and quiet conscience. The king has cur’d me,

I humbly thank his Grace; and from these shoulders,

These ruin’d pillars, out of pity taken

A load would sink a navy, too much honour:  384

O! ’tis a burden, Cromwell, ’tis a burden

Too heavy for a man that hopes for heaven.


I am glad your Grace has made that right use of it.


I hope I have: I am able now, methinks,—

Out of a fortitude of soul I feel,—  389

To endure more miseries and greater far

Than my weak-hearted enemies dare offer.

What news abroad?


The heaviest and the worst,

Is your displeasure with the king.


God bless him!  393


The next is, that Sir Thomas More is chosen

Lord Chancellor in your place.


That’s somewhat sudden:

But he’s a learned man. May he continue  396

Long in his highness’ favour, and do justice

For truth’s sake and his conscience; that his bones,

When he has run his course and sleeps in blessings,

May have a tomb of orphans’ tears wept on ’em!

What more?  401


That Cranmer is return’d with welcome,

Install’d Lord Archbishop of Canterbury.


That’s news indeed.


Last, that the Lady Anne,

Whom the king hath in secrecy long married,

This day was view’d in open, as his queen,  405

Going to chapel; and the voice is now

Only about her coronation.


There was the weight that pull’d me down. O Cromwell!  408

The king has gone beyond me: all my glories

In that one woman I have lost for ever.

No sun shall ever usher forth mine honours,

Or gild again the noble troops that waited  412

Upon my smiles. Go, get thee from me, Cromwell;

I am a poor fall’n man, unworthy now

To be thy lord and master: seek the king;—

That sun, I pray, may never set!—I have told him  416

What, and how true thou art: he will advance thee;

Some little memory of me will stir him—

I know his noble nature—not to let

Thy hopeful service perish too. Good Cromwell,

Neglect him not; make use now, and provide

For thine own future safety.


O my lord!

Must I then, leave you? must I needs forego

So good, so noble, and so true a master?  424

Bear witness all that have not hearts of iron,

With what a sorrow Cromwell leaves his lord.

The king shall have my service; but my prayers

For ever and for ever, shall be yours.  428


Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear

In all my miseries; but thou hast forc’d me,

Out of thy honest truth, to play the woman.

Let’s dry our eyes: and thus far hear me, Cromwell;  432

And, when I am forgotten, as I shall be,

And sleep in dull cold marble, where no mention

Of me more must be heard of, say, I taught thee,

Say, Wolsey, that once trod the ways of glory,

And sounded all the depths and shoals of honour,  437

Found thee a way, out of his wrack, to rise in;

A sure and safe one, though thy master miss’d it.

Mark but my fall, and that that ruin’d me.  440

Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition:

By that sin fell the angels; how can man then,

The image of his Maker, hope to win by’t?

Love thyself last: cherish those hearts that hate thee;  444

Corruption wins not more than honesty.

Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,

To silence envious tongues: be just, and fear not.

Let all the ends thou aim’st at be thy country’s,

Thy God’s, and truth’s; then if thou fall’st, O Cromwell!  449

Thou fall’st a blessed martyr. Serve the king;

And,—prithee, lead me in:

There take an inventory of all I have,  452

To the last penny; ’tis the king’s: my robe,

And my integrity to heaven is all

I dare now call mine own. O Cromwell, Cromwell!

Had I but serv’d my God with half the zeal  456

I serv’d my king, he would not in mine age

Have left me naked to mine enemies.


Good sir, have patience.


So I have. Farewell

The hopes of court! my hopes in heaven do dwell.



Scene I.— A Street in Westminster.

Enter two Gentlemen, meeting.

First Gen.

You’re well met once again.

Sec. Gen.

So are you.

First Gen.

You come to take your stand here, and behold

The Lady Anne pass from her coronation?

Sec. Gen.

’Tis all my business. At our last encounter  4

The Duke of Buckingham came from his trial.

First Gen.

’Tis very true: but that time offer’d sorrow;

This, general joy.

Sec. Gen.

’Tis well: the citizens,

I am sure, have shown at full their royal minds,

As, let ’em have their rights, they are ever forward,  9

In celebration of this day with shows,

Pageants, and sights of honour.

First Gen.

Never greater;

Nor, I’ll assure you, better taken, sir.  12

Sec. Gen.

May I be bold to ask what that contains,

That paper in your hand?

First Gen.

Yes; ’tis the list

Of those that claim their offices this day

By custom of the coronation.  16

The Duke of Suffolk is the first, and claims

To be high-steward; next, the Duke of Norfolk,

He to be earl marshal: you may read the rest.

Sec. Gen.

I thank you, sir: had I not known those customs,  20

I should have been beholding to your paper.

But, I beseech you, what’s become of Katharine,

The princess dowager? how goes her business?

First Gen.

That I can tell you too. The Archbishop  24

Of Canterbury, accompanied with other

Learned and reverend fathers of his order,

Held a late court at Dunstable, six miles off

From Ampthill, where the princess lay; to which  28

She was often cited by them, but appear’d not:

And, to be short, for not appearance and

The king’s late scruple, by the main assent

Of all these learned men she was divorc’d,  32

And the late marriage made of none effect:

Since which she was remov’d to Kimbolton,

Where she remains now sick.

Sec. Gen.

Alas! good lady!


The trumpets sound: stand close, the queen is coming.


The Order of the Coronation.

A lively flourish of trumpets.

  • 1.  Two Judges.
  • 2  Lord Chancellor, with the purse and mace before him.
  • 3.  Choristers, singing. [Music.
  • 4.  Mayor of London, bearing the mace. Then Garter, in his coat of arms, and on his head a gilt copper crown.
  • 5.  Marquess Dorset, bearing a sceptre of gold, on his head a demi-coronal of gold. With him, the Earl of Surrey, bearing the rod of silver with the dove, crowned with an earl’s coronet. Collars of SS.
  • 6.  Duke of Suffolk, in his robe of estate, his coronet on his head, bearing a long white wand, as high-steward. With him, the Duke of Norfolk, with the rod of marshalship, a coronet on his head. Collars of SS.
  • 7.  A canopy borne by four of the Cinque-ports; under it, the Queen in her robe; in her hair richly adorned with pearl, crowned. On each side of her, the Bishops of London and Winchester.
  • 8.  The old Duchess of Norfolk, in a coronal of gold, wrought with flowers, bearing the Queen’s train.
  • 9.  Certain Ladies or Countesses, with plain circlets of gold without flowers.
  • They pass over the stage in order and state.

Sec. Gen.

A royal train, believe me. These I know;  37

Who’s that that bears the sceptre?

First Gen.

Marquess Dorset:

And that the Earl of Surrey with the rod.

Sec. Gen.

A bold brave gentleman. That should be  40

The Duke of Suffolk?

First Gen.

’Tis the same; high-steward.

Sec. Gen.

And that my Lord of Norfolk?

First Gen.


Sec. Gen.

[Looking on the Queen.] Heaven bless thee!

Thou hast the sweetest face I ever look’d on.

Sir, as I have a soul, she is an angel;  44

Our king has all the Indies in his arms,

And more and richer, when he strains that lady:

I cannot blame his conscience.

First Gen.

They that bear

The cloth of honour over her, are four barons  48

Of the Cinque-ports.

Sec. Gen.

Those men are happy; and so are all are near her.

I take it, she that carries up the train

Is that old noble lady, Duchess of Norfolk.  52

First Gen.

It is; and all the rest are countesses.

Sec. Gen.

Their coronets say so. These are stars indeed;

And sometimes falling ones.

First Gen.

No more of that.

[Exit Procession, with a great flourish of trumpets.

Enter a third Gentleman.

God save you, sir! Where have you been broiling?  56

Third Gen.

Among the crowd i’ the Abbey; where a finger

Could not be wedg’d in more: I am stifled

With the mere rankness of their joy.

Sec. Gen.

You saw

The ceremony?

Third Gen.

That I did.

First Gen.

How was it?  60

Third Gen

Well worth the seeing.

Sec. Gen.

Good sir, speak it to us.

Third Gen.

As well as I am able. The rich stream

Of lords and ladies, having brought the queen

To a prepar’d place in the choir, fell off  64

A distance from her; while her Grace sat down

To rest awhile, some half an hour or so,

In a rich chair of state, opposing freely

The beauty of her person to the people.  68

Believe me, sir, she is the goodliest woman

That ever lay by man: which when the people

Had the full view of, such a noise arose

As the shrouds make at sea in a stiff tempest,  72

As loud, and to as many tunes: hats, cloaks,—

Doublets, I think,—flew up; and had their faces

Been loose, this day they had been lost. Such joy

I never saw before. Great-bellied women,  76

That had not half a week to go, like rams

In the old time of war, would shake the press,

And make ’em reel before them. No man living

Could say, ‘This is my wife,’ there; all were woven  80

So strangely in one piece.

Sec. Gen.

But, what follow’d?

Third Gen.

At length her Grace rose, and with modest paces

Came to the altar; where she kneel’d, and, saint-like,

Cast her fair eyes to heaven and pray’d devoutly.  84

Then rose again and bow’d her to the people:

When by the Archbishop of Canterbury

She had all the royal makings of a queen;

As holy oil, Edward Confessor’s crown,  88

The rod, and bird of peace, and all such emblems

Laid nobly on her: which perform’d, the choir,

With all the choicest music of the kingdom,

Together sung Te Deum. So she parted,  92

And with the same full state pac’d back again

To York-place, where the feast is held.

First Gen.


You must no more call it York-place, that’s past;

For, since the cardinal fell, that title’s lost:  96

’Tis now the king’s, and call’d Whitehall.

Third Gen.

I know it;

But ’tis so lately alter’d that the old name

Is fresh about me.

Sec. Gen.

What two reverend bishops

Were those that went on each side of the queen?  100

Third Gen.

Stokesly and Gardiner; the one of Winchester,—

Newly preferr’d from the king’s secretary,—

The other, London.

Sec. Gen.

He of Winchester

Is held no great good lover of the archbishop’s,

The virtuous Cranmer.

Third Gen.

All the land knows that:

However, yet there’s no great breach; when it comes,  106

Cranmer will find a friend will not shrink from him.

Sec. Gen.

Who may that be, I pray you?

Third Gen.

Thomas Cromwell:

A man in much esteem with the king, and truly

A worthy friend. The king

Has made him master o’ the jewel house,

And one, already, of the privy-council.  112

Sec. Gen.

He will deserve more.

Third Gen.

Yes, without all doubt.

Come, gentlemen, ye shall go my way, which

Is to the court, and there ye shall be my guests:

Something I can command. As I walk thither,

I’ll tell ye more.


You may command us, sir.  117


Scene II.— Kimbolton.

Enter Katharine, Dowager, sick: led between Griffith and Patience.


How does your Grace?


O Griffith! sick to death!

My legs, like loaden branches, bow to the earth,

Willing to leave their burden. Reach a chair:

So; now, methinks, I feel a little ease.  4

Didst thou not tell me, Griffith, as thou ledd’st me,

That the great child of honour, Cardinal Wolsey,

Was dead?


Yes, madam; but I think your Grace,

Out of the pain you suffer’d, gave no ear to’t.  8


Prithee, good Griffith, tell me how he died:

If well, he stepp’d before me, happily,

For my example.


Well, the voice goes, madam:

For after the stout Earl Northumberland  12

Arrested him at York, and brought him forward,

As a man sorely tainted, to his answer,

He fell sick suddenly, and grew so ill

He could not sit his mule.


Alas! poor man.  16


At last, with easy roads, he came to Leicester;

Lodg’d in the abbey, where the reverend abbot,

With all his covent, honourably receiv’d him:

To whom he gave these words: ‘O! father abbot,  20

An old man, broken with the storms of state,

Is come to lay his weary bones among ye;

Give him a little earth for charity.’

So went to bed, where eagerly his sickness  24

Pursu’d him still; and three nights after this,

About the hour of eight,—which he himself

Foretold should be his last,—full of repentance,

Continual meditations, tears, and sorrows,  28

He gave his honours to the world again,

His blessed part to heaven, and slept in peace.


So may he rest; his faults lie gently on him!

Yet thus far, Griffith, give me leave to speak him,  32

And yet with charity. He was a man

Of an unbounded stomach, ever ranking

Himself with princes; one, that by suggestion

Tied all the kingdom; simony was fair-play;  36

His own opinion was his law; i’ the presence

He would say untruths, and be ever double

Both in his words and meaning. He was never,

But where he meant to ruin, pitiful;  40

His promises were, as he then was, mighty;

But his performance, as he is now, nothing:

Of his own body he was ill, and gave

The clergy ill example.


Noble madam,  44

Men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtues

We write in water. May it please your highness

To hear me speak his good now?


Yes, good Griffith,

I were malicious else.


This cardinal,  48

Though from a humble stock, undoubtedly

Was fashion’d to much honour from his cradle.

He was a scholar, and a ripe and good one;

Exceeding wise, fair-spoken, and persuading;  52

Lofty and sour to them that lov’d him not;

But, to those men that sought him sweet as summer.

And though he were unsatisfied in getting,—

Which was a sin,—yet in bestowing, madam,  56

He was most princely. Ever witness for him

Those twins of learning that he rais’d in you,

Ipswich, and Oxford! one of which fell with him,

Unwilling to outlive the good that did it;  60

The other, though unfinish’d, yet so famous,

So excellent in art, and still so rising,

That Christendom shall ever speak his virtue.

His overthrow heap’d happiness upon him;  64

For then, and not till then, he felt himself,

And found the blessedness of being little:

And, to add greater honours to his age

Than man could give him, he died fearing God.


After my death I wish no other herald,

No other speaker of my living actions,

To keep mine honour from corruption,

But such an honest chronicler as Griffith.  72

Whom I most hated living, thou hast made me,

With thy religious truth and modesty,

Now in his ashes honour. Peace be with him!

Patience, be near me still; and set me lower:  76

I have not long to trouble thee. Good Griffith,

Cause the musicians play me that sad note

I nam’d my knell, whilst I sit meditating

On that celestial harmony I go to.  80

[Sad and solemn music.


She is asleep: good wench, let’s sit down quiet,

For fear we wake her: softly, gentle Patience.

The Vision. Enter, solemnly tripping one after another, six Personages, clad in white robes, wearing on their heads garlands of bays, and golden vizards on their faces; branches of bays or palm in their hands. They first congee unto her, then dance; and, at certain changes, the first two hold a spare garland over her head; at which, the other four make reverend curtsies: then, the two that held the garland deliver the same to the other next two, who observe the same order in their changes, and holding the garland over her head: which done, they deliver the same garland to the last two, who likewise observe the same order, at which,—as it were by inspiration,—she makes in her sleep signs of rejoicing, and holdeth up her hands to heaven: and so in their dancing they vanish, carrying the garland with them. The music continues.


Spirits of peace, where are ye? Are ye all gone,

And leave me here in wretchedness behind ye?


Madam, we are here.


It is not you I call for:  85

Saw ye none enter since I slept?


None, madam.


No? Saw you not, even now, a blessed troop

Invite me to a banquet; whose bright faces  88

Cast thousand beams upon me, like the sun?

They promis’d me eternal happiness,

And brought me garlands, Griffith, which I feel

I am not worthy yet to wear: I shall assuredly.


I am most joyful, madam, such good dreams  93

Possess your fancy.


Bid the music leave,

They are harsh and heavy to me.



Do you note

How much her Grace is alter’d on the sudden?

How long her face is drawn? How pale she looks,  97

And of an earthy cold? Mark her eyes!


She is going, wench. Pray, pray.


Heaven comfort her!  100

Enter a Messenger.


An’t like your Grace,—


You are a saucy fellow:

Deserve we no more reverence?


You are to blame,

Knowing she will not lose her wonted greatness,

To use so rude behaviour; go to, kneel.  104


I humbly do entreat your highness pardon;

My haste made me unmannerly. There is staying

A gentleman, sent from the king, to see you.


Admit him entrance, Griffith: but this fellow  108

Let me ne’er see again.

[Exeunt Griffith and Messenger.

Re-enter Griffith, with Capucius.

If my sight fail not,

You should be lord ambassador from the emperor,

My royal nephew, and your name Capucius.


Madam, the same; your servant.


O my lord!  112

The times and titles now are alter’d strangely

With me since first you knew me. But, I pray you,

What is your pleasure with me?


Noble lady,

First, mine own service to your Grace; the next,  116

The king’s request that I would visit you;

Who grieves much for your weakness, and by me

Sends you his princely commendations,

And heartily entreats you take good comfort.  120


O! my good lord, that comfort comes too late;

’Tis like a pardon after execution:

That gentle physic, given in time, had cur’d me;

But now I am past all comforts here but prayers.

How does his highness?


Madam, in good health.  125


So may he ever do! and ever flourish,

When I shall dwell with worms, and my poor name

Banish’d the kingdom. Patience, is that letter

I caus’d you write, yet sent away?


No, madam.  129

[Giving it to Katharine.


Sir, I most humbly pray you to deliver

This to my lord the king.


Most willing, madam.


In which I have commended to his goodness  132

The model of our chaste loves, his young daughter:

The dews of heaven fall thick in blessings on her!

Beseeching him to give her virtuous breeding,—

She is young, and of a noble modest nature,  136

I hope she will deserve well,—and a little

To love her for her mother’s sake, that lov’d him,

Heaven knows how dearly. My next poor petition

Is, that his noble Grace would have some pity

Upon my wretched women, that so long  141

Have follow’d both my fortunes faithfully:

Of which there is not one, I dare avow,—

And now I should not lie,—but will deserve,  144

For virtue, and true beauty of the soul,

For honesty and decent carriage,

A right good husband, let him be a noble;

And, sure, those men are happy that shall have ’em.  148

The last is, for my men: they are the poorest,

But poverty could never draw ’em from me;

That they may have their wages duly paid ’em,

And something over to remember me by:  152

If heaven had pleas’d to have given me longer life

And able means, we had not parted thus.

These are the whole contents: and, good my lord,

By that you love the dearest in this world,  156

As you wish Christian peace to souls departed,

Stand these poor people’s friend, and urge the king

To do me this last right.


By heaven, I will,

Or let me lose the fashion of a man!  160


I thank you, honest lord. Remember me

In all humility unto his highness:

Say his long trouble now is passing

Out of this world; tell him, in death I bless’d him;  164

For so I will. Mine eyes grow dim. Farewell,

My lord. Griffith, farewell. Nay, Patience,

You must not leave me yet: I must to bed;

Call in more women. When I am dead, good wench,  168

Let me be us’d with honour: strew me over

With maiden flowers, that all the world may know

I was a chaste wife to my grave: embalm me,

Then lay me forth: although unqueen’d, yet like  172

A queen, and daughter to a king, inter me.

I can no more.

[Exeunt, leading Katharine.


Scene I.— London. A Gallery in the Palace.

Enter Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, a Page with a torch before him, met by Sir Thomas Lovell.


It’s one o’clock, boy, is’t not?


It hath struck.


These should be hours for necessities,

Not for delights; times to repair our nature

With comforting repose, and not for us  4

To waste these times. Good hour of night, Sir Thomas!

Whither so late?


Came you from the king, my lord?


I did, Sir Thomas; and left him at primero

With the Duke of Suffolk.


I must to him too,  8

Before he go to bed. I’ll take my leave.


Not yet, Sir Thomas Lovell. What ’s the matter?

It seems you are in haste: an if there be

No great offence belongs to’t, give your friend

Some touch of your late business: affairs, that walk—  13

As they say spirits do—at midnight, have

In them a wilder nature than the business

That seeks dispatch by day.


My lord, I love you,  16

And durst commend a secret to your ear

Much weightier than this work. The queen’s in labour,

They say, in great extremity; and fear’d

She’ll with the labour end.


The fruit she goes with  20

I pray for heartily, that it may find

Good time, and live: but for the stock, Sir Thomas,

I wish it grubb’d up now.


Methinks I could

Cry the amen; and yet my conscience says  24

She’s a good creature, and, sweet lady, does

Deserve our better wishes.


But, sir, sir,

Hear me, Sir Thomas: you’re a gentleman

Of mine own way; I know you wise, religious;

And, let me tell you, it will ne’er be well,  29

’Twill not, Sir Thomas Lovell, take ’t of me,

Till Cranmer, Cromwell, her two hands, and she,

Sleep in their graves.


Now, sir, you speak of two  32

The most remark’d i’ the kingdom. As for Cromwell,

Beside that of the jewel-house, is made master

O’ the rolls, and the king’s secretary; further, sir,

Stands in the gap and trade of moe preferments,

With which the time will load him. The archbishop  37

Is the king’s hand and tongue; and who dare speak

One syllable against him?


Yes, yes, Sir Thomas,

There are that dare; and I myself have ventur’d

To speak my mind of him: and indeed this day,

Sir,—I may tell it you,—I think I have

Incens’d the lords o’ the council that he is—

For so I know he is, they know he is—  44

A most arch heretic, a pestilence

That does infect the land: with which they mov’d

Have broken with the king; who hath so far

Given ear to our complaint,—of his great grace

And princely care, foreseeing those fell mischiefs

Our reasons laid before him,—hath commanded

To-morrow morning to the council-board  51

He be convented. He’s a rank weed, Sir Thomas,

And we must root him out. From your affairs

I hinder you too long: good-night, Sir Thomas!


Many good-nights, my lord. I rest your servant.

[Exeunt Gardiner and Page.

Enter the King and Suffolk.

K. Hen.

Charles, I will play no more to-night;  56

My mind’s not on’t; you are too hard for me.


Sir, I did never win of you before.

K. Hen.

But little, Charles;

Nor shall not when my fancy’s on my play.  60

Now, Lovell, from the queen what is the news?


I could not personally deliver to her

What you commanded me, but by her woman

I sent your message; who return’d her thanks  64

In the great’st humbleness, and desir’d your highness

Most heartily to pray for her.

K Hen.

What sayst thou, ha?

To pray for her? what! is she crying out?


So said her woman; and that her sufferance made  68

Almost each pang a death.

K. Hen.

Alas! good lady.


God safely quit her of her burden, and

With gentle travail, to the gladding of

Your highness with an heir!

K. Hen.

’Tis midnight, Charles;  72

Prithee, to bed; and in thy prayers remember

The estate of my poor queen. Leave me alone;

For I must think of that which company

Would not be friendly to.


I wish your highness  76

A quiet night; and my good mistress will

Remember in my prayers.

K. Hen.

Charles, good-night.

[Exit Suffolk.

Enter Sir Anthony Denny.

Well, Sir, what follows?


Sir, I have brought my lord the archbishop,  80

As you commanded me.

K. Hen.

Ha! Canterbury?


Ay, my good lord.

K. Hen.

’Tis true: where is he, Denny?


He attends your highness’ pleasure.

K. Hen.

Bring him to us.

[Exit Denny.


[Aside.] This is about that which the bishop spake:  84

I am happily come hither.

Re-enter Denny, with Cranmer.

K. Hen.

Avoid the gallery.

[Lovell seems to stay.

Ha! I have said. Begone.


[Exeunt Lovell and Denny.


I am fearful. Wherefore frowns he thus?  88

’Tis his aspect of terror: all’s not well.

K. Hen.

How now, my lord! You do desire to know

Wherefore I sent for you.


[Kneeling.] It is my duty

To attend your highness’ pleasure.

K. Hen.

Pray you, arise,

My good and gracious Lord of Canterbury.  93

Come, you and I must walk a turn together;

I have news to tell you: come, come, give me your hand.

Ah! my good lord, I grieve at what I speak,  96

And am right sorry to repeat what follows.

I have, and most unwillingly, of late

Heard many grievous, I do say, my lord,

Grievous complaints of you; which, being consider’d,  100

Have mov’d us and our council, that you shall

This morning come before us; where, I know,

You cannot with such freedom purge yourself,

But that, till further trial in those charges  104

Which will require your answer, you must take

Your patience to you, and be well contented

To make your house our Tower: you a brother of us,

It fits we thus proceed, or else no witness  108

Would come against you.


[Kneeling.] I humbly thank your highness;

And am right glad to catch this good occasion

Most throughly to be winnow’d, where my chaff

And corn shall fly asunder; for I know  112

There’s none stands under more calumnious tongues

Than I myself, poor man.

K. Hen.

Stand up, good Canterbury:

Thy truth and thy integrity is rooted

In us, thy friend: give me thy hand, stand up:

Prithee, let’s walk. Now, by my holidame,  117

What manner of man are you? My lord, I look’d

You would have given me your petition, that

I should have ta’en some pains to bring together  120

Yourself and your accusers; and to have heard you,

Without indurance, further.


Most dread liege,

The good I stand on is my truth and honesty:

If they shall fail, I, with mine enemies,  124

Will triumph o’er my person; which I weigh not,

Being of those virtues vacant. I fear nothing

What can be said against me.

K. Hen.

Know you not

How your state stands i’ the world, with the whole world?  128

Your enemies are many, and not small; their practices

Must bear the same proportion; and not ever

The justice and the truth o’ the question carries

The due o’ the verdict with it. At what ease  132

Might corrupt minds procure knaves as corrupt

To swear against you? such things have been done.

You are potently oppos’d, and with a malice

Of as great size. Ween you of better luck,  136

I mean in perjur’d witness, than your master,

Whose minister you are, whiles here he liv’d

Upon this naughty earth? Go to, go to;

You take a precipice for no leap of danger,  140

And woo your own destruction.


God and your majesty

Protect mine innocence! or I fall into

The trap is laid for me!

K. Hen.

Be of good cheer;

They shall no more prevail than we give way to.  144

Keep comfort to you; and this morning see

You do appear before them. If they shall chance,

In charging you with matters, to commit you,

The best persuasions to the contrary  148

Fail not to use, and with what vehemency

The occasion shall instruct you: if entreaties

Will render you no remedy, this ring

Deliver them, and your appeal to us  152

There make before them. Look! the good man weeps;

He’s honest, on mine honour. God’s blest mother!

I swear he is true-hearted; and a soul

None better in my kingdom. Get you gone,  156

And do as I have bid you. [Exit Cranmer.] He has strangled

His language in his tears.

Enter an Old Lady.


[Within.] Come back: what mean you?

Old L.

I’ll not come back; the tidings that I bring  160

Will make my boldness manners. Now, good angels

Fly o’er thy royal head, and shade thy person

Under their blessed wings!

K. Hen.

Now, by thy looks

I guess thy message. Is the queen deliver’d?

Say, ay; and of a boy.

Old L.

Ay, ay, my liege;  165

And of a lovely boy: the God of heaven

Both now and ever bless her! ’tis a girl,

Promises boys hereafter. Sir, your queen  168

Desires your visitation, and to be

Acquainted with this stranger: ’tis as like you

As cherry is to cherry.

K. Hen.


Re-enter Lovell.



K. Hen.

Give her a hundred marks. I’ll to the queen.


Old L.

A hundred marks! By this light, I’ll ha’ more.  173

An ordinary groom is for such payment:

I will have more, or scold it out of him.

Said I for this the girl was like to him?  176

I will have more, or else unsay’t; and now,

While it is hot, I’ll put it to the issue.


Scene II.— The Lobby before the Council-Chamber.

Enter Cranmer; Pursuivants, Pages, &c., attending.


I hope I am not too late; and yet the gentleman,

That was sent to me from the council, pray’d me

To make great haste. All fast? what means this? Ho!

Who waits there?

Enter Keeper.

Sure, you know me?


Yes, my lord;  4

But yet I cannot help you.




Your Grace must wait till you be call’d for.

Enter Doctor Butts.




[Aside.] This is a piece of malice. I am glad

I came this way so happily: the king  8

Shall understand it presently.


[Aside.] ’Tis Butts,

The king’s physician. As he past along,

How earnestly he cast his eyes upon me.

Pray heaven he sound not my disgrace! For certain,  12

This is of purpose laid by some that hate me,—

God turn their hearts! I never sought their malice,—

To quench mine honour: they would shame to make me

Wait else at door, a fellow-counsellor,  16

’Mong boys, grooms, and lackeys. But their pleasures

Must be fulfill’d, and I attend with patience.

Enter, at a window above, the King and Butts.


I’ll show your Grace the strangest sight,—

K. Hen.

What’s that, Butts?


I think your highness saw this many a day.  20

K. Hen.

Body o’ me, where is it?


There, my lord,

The high promotion of his Grace of Canterbury;

Who holds his state at door, ’mongst pursuivants,

Pages, and footboys.

K. Hen.

Ha! ’Tis he, indeed:  24

Is this the honour they do one another?

’Tis well there’s one above ’em yet. I had thought

They had parted so much honesty among ’em,—

At least, good manners,—as not thus to suffer  28

A man of his place, and so near our favour,

To dance attendance on their lordships’ pleasures,

And at the door too, like a post with packets.

By holy Mary, Butts, there’s knavery:  32

Let ’em alone, and draw the curtain close;

We shall hear more anon.

[Exeunt above.

Scene III.— The Council-Chamber.

Enter the Lord Chancellor, the Duke of Suffolk, the Duke of Norfolk, Earl of Surrey, Lord Chamberlain, Gardiner, and Cromwell. The Chancellor places himself at the upper end of the table on the left hand; a seat being left void above him, as for the Archbishop of Canterbury. The rest seat themselves in order on each side. Cromwell at the lower end as secretary. Keeper at the door.


Speak to the business, Master secretary:

Why are we met in council?


Please your honours,

The chief cause concerns his Grace of Canterbury.


Has he had knowledge of it?




Who waits there?  4


Without, my noble lords?




My lord archbishop:

And has done half-an-hour, to know your pleasures.


Let him come in.


Your Grace may enter now.

[Cranmer enters and approaches the council-table.


My good lord archbishop, I’m very sorry  8

To sit here at this present and behold

That chair stand empty: but we all are men,

In our own natures frail, and capable

Of our flesh; few are angels: out of which frailty

And want of wisdom, you, that best should teach us,  13

Have misdemean’d yourself, and not a little,

Toward the king first, then his laws, in filling

The whole realm, by your teaching and your chaplains,—  16

For so we are inform’d,—with new opinions,

Divers and dangerous; which are heresies,

And, not reform’d, may prove pernicious.


Which reformation must be sudden too,

My noble lords; for those that tame wild horses

Pace ’em not in their hands to make ’em gentle,

But stop their mouths with stubborn bits, and spur ’em,

Till they obey the manage. If we suffer—  24

Out of our easiness and childish pity

To one man’s honour—this contagious sickness,

Farewell all physic: and what follows then?

Commotions, uproars, with a general taint  28

Of the whole state: as, of late days, our neighbours,

The upper Germany, can dearly witness,

Yet freshly pitied in our memories.


My good lords, hitherto in all the progress  32

Both of my life and office, I have labour’d,

And with no little study, that my teaching

And the strong course of my authority

Might go one way, and safely; and the end  36

Was ever, to do well: nor is there living,—

I speak it with a single heart, my lords,—

A man that more detests, more stirs against,

Both in his private conscience and his place,  40

Defacers of a public peace, than I do.

Pray heaven the king may never find a heart

With less allegiance in it! Men, that make

Envy and crooked malice nourishment  44

Dare bite the best. I do beseech your lordships

That, in this case of justice, my accusers,

Be what they will, may stand forth face to face,

And freely urge against me.


Nay, my lord,  48

That cannot be: you are a counsellor,

And by that virtue no man dare accuse you.


My lord, because we have business of more moment,

We will be short with you. ’Tis his highness’ pleasure,  52

And our consent, for better trial of you,

From hence you be committed to the Tower;

Where, being but a private man again,

You shall know many dare accuse you boldly,

More than, I fear, you are provided for.  57


Ah! my good Lord of Winchester, I thank you;

You are always my good friend: if your will pass,

I shall both find your lordship judge and juror,

You are so merciful. I see your end;  61

’Tis my undoing: love and meekness, lord,

Become a churchman better than ambition:

Win straying souls with modesty again,  64

Cast none away. That I shall clear myself,

Lay all the weight ye can upon my patience,

I make as little doubt, as you do conscience,

In doing daily wrongs. I could say more,  68

But reverence to your calling makes me modest.


My lord, my lord, you are a sectary;

That’s the plain truth: your painted gloss discovers,

To men that understand you, words and weakness.  72


My Lord of Winchester, you are a little,

By your good favour, too sharp; men so noble,

However faulty, yet should find respect

For what they have been: ’tis a cruelty  76

To load a falling man.


Good Master secretary,

I cry your honour mercy, you may, worst

Of all this table, say so.


Why, my lord?


Do not I know you for a favourer  80

Of this new sect? ye are not sound.


Not sound?


Not sound, I say.


Would you were half so honest!

Men’s prayers then would seek you, not their fears.


I shall remember this bold language.


Do.  84

Remember your bold life too.


This is too much;

Forbear, for shame, my lords.


I have done.


And I.


Then thus for you, my lord: it stands agreed,

I take it, by all voices, that forthwith  88

You be convey’d to the Tower a prisoner;

There to remain till the king’s further pleasure

Be known unto us. Are you all agreed, lords?


We are.


Is there no other way of mercy,

But I must needs to the Tower, my lords?


What other  93

Would you expect? You are strangely troublesome.

Let some o’ the guard be ready there.

Enter Guard.


For me?

Must I go like a traitor thither?


Receive him,  96

And see him safe i’ the Tower.


Stay, good my lords;

I have a little yet to say. Look there, my lords;

By virtue of that ring I take my cause

Out of the gripes of cruel men, and give it  100

To a most noble judge, the king my master.


This is the king’s ring.


’Tis no counterfeit.


’Tis the right ring, by heaven! I told ye all,

When we first put this dangerous stone a-rolling,

’Twould fall upon ourselves.


Do you think, my lords,  105

The king will suffer but the little finger

Of this man to be vex’d?


’Tis now too certain:

How much more is his life in value with him?

Would I were fairly out on’t.


My mind gave me,  109

In seeking tales and informations

Against this man—whose honesty the devil

And his disciples only envy at—  112

Ye blew the fire that burns ye: now have at ye!

Enter the King, frowning on them: he takes his seat.


Dread sovereign, how much are we bound to heaven

In daily thanks, that gave us such a prince;

Not only good and wise, but most religious:  116

One that in all obedience makes the Church

The chief aim of his honour; and, to strengthen

That holy duty, out of dear respect,

His royal self in judgment comes to hear  120

The cause betwixt her and this great offender.

K. Hen.

You were ever good at sudden commendations,

Bishop of Winchester; but know, I come not

To hear such flattery now, and in my presence;

They are too thin and bare to hide offences.  125

To me you cannot reach; you play the spaniel,

And think with wagging of your tongue to win me;

But, whatsoe’er thou tak’st me for, I’m sure  128

Thou hast a cruel nature and a bloody.

[To Cranmer.] Good man, sit down. Now let me see the proudest

He, that dares most, but wag his finger at thee:

By all that’s holy, he had better starve  132

Than but once think this place becomes thee not.


May it please your Grace,—

K. Hen.

No, sir, it does not please me.

I had thought I had had men of some understanding

And wisdom of my council; but I find none.  136

Was it discretion, lords, to let this man,

This good man,—few of you deserve that title,—

This honest man, wait like a lousy footboy

At chamber-door? and one as great as you are?

Why, what a shame was this! Did my commission  141

Bid ye so far forget yourselves? I gave ye

Power as he was a counsellor to try him,

Not as a groom. There’s some of ye, I see,  144

More out of malice than integrity,

Would try him to the utmost, had ye mean;

Which ye shall never have while I live.


Thus far,

My most dread sov’reign, may it like your Grace  148

To let my tongue excuse all. What was purpos’d

Concerning his imprisonment, was rather—

If there be faith in men—meant for his trial

And fair purgation to the world, than malice,  152

I’m sure, in me.

K. Hen.

Well, well, my lords, respect him;

Take him, and use him well; he’s worthy of it.

I will say thus much for him, if a prince

May be beholding to a subject, I  156

Am, for his love and service, so to him.

Make me no more ado, but all embrace him:

Be friends, for shame, my lords! My Lord of Canterbury,

I have a suit which you must not deny me;  160

That is, a fair young maid that yet wants baptism,

You must be godfather, and answer for her.


The greatest monarch now alive may glory

In such an honour: how may I deserve it,  164

That am a poor and humble subject to you?

K. Hen.

Come, come, my lord, you’d spare your spoons: you shall have two noble partners with you; the old Duchess of Norfolk, and Lady Marquess Dorset: will these please you?  169

Once more, my Lord of Winchester, I charge you,

Embrace and love this man.


With a true heart

And brother-love I do it.


And let heaven  172

Witness, how dear I hold this confirmation.

K. Hen.

Good man! those joyful tears show thy true heart:

The common voice, I see, is verified

Of thee, which says thus, ‘Do my Lord of Canterbury  176

A shrewd turn, and he is your friend for ever.’

Come, lords, we trifle time away; I long

To have this young one made a Christian.

As I have made ye one, lords, one remain;  180

So I grow stronger, you more honour gain.


Scene IV.— The Palace-Yard.

Noise and tumult within. Enter Porter and his Man.


You’ll leave your noise anon, ye rascals.

Do you take the court for Paris-garden? ye rude slaves, leave your gaping.

[Within.] Good Master porter, I belong to the larder.  5


Belong to the gallows, and be hanged, you rogue! Is this a place to roar in? Fetch me a dozen crab-tree staves, and strong ones: these are but switches to ’em. I’ll scratch your heads: you must be seeing christenings! Do you look for ale and cakes here, you rude rascals?  12


Pray, sir, be patient: ’tis as much impossible—

Unless we sweep ’em from the door with cannons—

To scatter ’em, as ’tis to make ’em sleep

On May-day morning; which will never be.  16

We may as well push against Paul’s as stir ’em.


How got they in, and be hang’d?


Alas, I know not; how gets the tide in?

As much as one sound cudgel of four foot—  20

You see the poor remainder—could distribute,

I made no spare, sir.


You did nothing, sir.


I am not Samson, nor Sir Guy, nor Colbrand,

To mow ’em down before me; but if I spar’d any

That had a head to hit, either young or old,  25

He or she, cuckold or cuckold-maker,

Let me ne’er hope to see a chine again;

And that I would not for a cow, God save her!

[Within.] Do you hear, Master porter?  29


I shall be with you presently, good

Master puppy. Keep the door close, sirrah.


What would you have me do?  32


What should you do, but knock ’em down by the dozens? Is this Moorfields to muster in? or have we some strange Indian with the great tool come to court, the women so besiege us? Bless me, what a fry of fornication is at door! On my Christian conscience, this one christening will beget a thousand: here will be father, godfather, and all together.  40


The spoons will be the bigger, sir. There is a fellow somewhat near the door, he should be a brazier by his face, for, o’ my conscience, twenty of the dog days now reign in’s nose: all that stand about him are under the line, they need no other penance. That fire-drake did I hit three times on the head, and three times was his nose discharged against me: he stands there, like a mortar-piece, to blow us. There was a haberdasher’s wife of small wit near him, that railed upon me till her pinked porringer fell off her head, for kindling such a combustion in the state. I missed the meteor once, and hit that woman, who cried out, ‘Clubs!’ when I might see from far some forty truncheoners draw to her succour, which were the hope o’ the Strand, where she was quartered. They fell on; I made good my place; at length they came to the broomstaff to me; I defied ’em still; when suddenly a file of boys behind ’em, loose shot, delivered such a shower of pebbles, that I was fain to draw mine honour in, and let ’em win the work. The devil was amongst ’em, I think, surely.  64


These are the youths that thunder at a playhouse, and fight for bitten apples; that no audience, but the Tribulation of Tower-hill, or the Limbs of Limehouse, their dear brothers, are able to endure. I have some of ’em in Limbo Patrum, and there they are like to dance these three days; besides the running banquet of two beadles, that is to come.  72

Enter the Lord Chamberlain.


Mercy o’ me, what a multitude are here!

They grow still too, from all parts they are coming,

As if we kept a fair here! Where are these porters,

These lazy knaves? Ye have made a fine hand, fellows:  76

There’s a trim rabble let in. Are all these

Your faithful friends o’ the suburbs? We shall have

Great store of room, no doubt, left for the ladies,

When they pass back from the christening.


An’t please your honour,  80

We are but men; and what so many may do,

Not being torn a-pieces, we have done:

An army cannot rule ’em.


As I live,

If the king blame me for’t, I’ll lay ye all  84

By the heels, and suddenly; and on your heads

Clap round fines for neglect: ye’re lazy knaves;

And here ye lie baiting of bombards, when

Ye should do service. Hark! the trumpets sound;  88

They’re come already from the christening.

Go, break among the press, and find a way out

To let the troop pass fairly, or I’ll find

A Marshalsea shall hold ye play these two months.  92


Make way there for the princess.


You great fellow,

Stand close up, or I’ll make your head ache.


You i’ the camlet, get up o’ the rail:

I’ll pick you o’er the pales else.


Scene V.— The Palace.

Enter trumpets, sounding; then two Aldermen, Lord Mayor, Garter, Cranmer, Duke of Norfolk, with his marshal’s staff, Duke of Suffolk, two Noblemen bearing great standing-bowls for the christening gifts; then, four Noblemen bearing a canopy, under which the Duchess of Norfolk, godmother, bearing the child, richly habited in a mantle, &c., train borne by a Lady; then follows the Marchioness of Dorset, the other godmother, and Ladies. The troop pass once about the stage, and Garter speaks.


Heaven, from thy endless goodness, send prosperous life, long, and ever happy, to the high and mighty Princess of England, Elizabeth!  4

Flourish. Enter King and Train.


[Kneeling.] And to your royal Grace, and the good queen,

My noble partners, and myself, thus pray:

All comfort, joy, in this most gracious lady,

Heaven ever laid up to make parents happy,  8

May hourly fall upon ye!

K. Hen.

Thank you, good lord archbishop:

What is her name?



K. Hen.

Stand up, lord.

[The King kisses the Child.

With this kiss take my blessing; God protect thee!

Into whose hand I give thy life.


Amen.  12

K. Hen.

My noble gossips, ye have been too prodigal:

I thank ye heartily: so shall this lady

When she has so much English.


Let me speak, sir,

For heaven now bids me; and the words I utter  16

Let none think flattery, for they’ll find ’em truth.

This royal infant,—heaven still move about her!—

Though in her cradle, yet now promises

Upon this land a thousand thousand blessings,

Which time shall bring to ripeness: she shall be—

But few now living can behold that goodness—

A pattern to all princes living with her,

And all that shall succeed: Saba was never  24

More covetous of wisdom and fair virtue

Than this pure soul shall be: all princely graces,

That mould up such a mighty piece as this is,

With all the virtues that attend the good,  28

Shall still be doubled on her; truth shall nurse her;

Holy and heavenly thoughts still counsel her;

She shall be lov’d and fear’d; her own shall bless her;

Her foes shake like a field of beaten corn,  32

And hang their heads with sorrow; good grows with her.

In her days every man shall eat in safety

Under his own vine what he plants; and sing

The merry songs of peace to all his neighbours.

God shall be truly known; and those about her

From her shall read the perfect ways of honour,

And by those claim their greatness, not by blood.

Nor shall this peace sleep with her; but as when

The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phœnix,  41

Her ashes new-create another heir

As great in admiration as herself,

So shall she leave her blessedness to one,—  44

When heaven shall call her from this cloud of darkness,—

Who, from the sacred ashes of her honour,

Shall star-like rise, as great in fame as she was,

And so stand fix’d. Peace, plenty, love, truth, terror,  48

That were the servants to this chosen infant,

Shall then be his, and like a vine grow to him:

Wherever the bright sun of heaven shall shine,

His honour and the greatness of his name  52

Shall be, and make new nations; he shall flourish,

And, like a mountain cedar, reach his branches

To all the plains about him; our children’s children

Shall see this, and bless heaven.

K. Hen.

Thou speakest wonders.


She shall be, to the happiness of England,  57

An aged princess; many days shall see her,

And yet no day without a deed to crown it.

Would I had known no more! but she must die,

She must, the saints must have her, yet a virgin;

A most unspotted lily shall she pass

To the ground, and all the world shall mourn her.

K. Hen.

O lord archbishop!  64

Thou hast made me now a man: never, before

This happy child, did I get any thing.

This oracle of comfort has so pleas’d me,

That when I am in heaven, I shall desire  68

To see what this child does, and praise my Maker.

I thank ye all. To you, my good Lord Mayor,

And your good brethren, I am much beholding;

I have receiv’d much honour by your presence,

And ye shall find me thankful. Lead the way, lords:  73

Ye must all see the queen, and she must thank ye;

She will be sick else. This day, no man think

He has business at his house; for all shall stay:

This little one shall make it holiday.



’Tis ten to one, this play can never please

All that are here: some come to take their ease

And sleep an act or two; but those, we fear,

We’ve frighted with our trumpets; so, ’tis clear

They’ll say ’tis naught: others, to hear the city

Abus’d extremely, and to cry, ‘That’s witty!’

Which we have not done neither: that, I fear,

All the expected good we’re like to hear  8

For this play at this time, is only in

The merciful construction of good women;

For such a one we show’d ’em: if they smile,

And say ’twill do, I know, within a while  12

All the best men are ours; for ’tis ill hap

If they hold when their ladies bid ’em clap.