Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Diane Jakacki
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Henry The Eighth (Folio 1, 1623)

The Life of King Henry the Eight.
Camp. The Queene is obstinate,
Stubborne to Iustice, apt to accuse it, and
Disdainfull to be tride by't; tis not well.
1485Shee's going away.
Kin. Call her againe.
Crier. Katherine. Q of England, come into the Court.
Gent.Vsh. Madam, you are cald backe.
Que. What need you note it? pray you keep your way,
1490When you are cald returne. Now the Lord helpe,
They vexe me past my patience, pray you passe on;
I will not tarry: no, nor euer more
Vpon this businesse my appearance make,
In any of their Courts.
Exit Queene, and her Attendants.
Kin. Goe thy wayes Kate,
That man i'th'world, who shall report he ha's
A better Wife, let him in naught be trusted,
For speaking false in that; thou art alone
1500(If thy rare qualities, sweet gentlenesse,
Thy meeknesse Saint-like, Wife-like Gouernment,
Obeying in commanding, and thy parts
Soueraigne and Pious els, could speake thee out)
The Queene of earthly Queenes: Shee's Noble borne;
1505And like her true Nobility, she ha's
Carried her selfe towards me.
Wol. Most gracious Sir,
In humblest manner I require your Highnes,
That it shall please you to declare in hearing
1510Of all these eares (for where I am rob'd and bound,
There must I be vnloos'd, although not there
At once, and fully satisfide) whether euer I
Did broach this busines to your Highnes, or
Laid any scruple in your way, which might
1515Induce you to the question on't: or euer
Haue to you, but with thankes to God for such
A Royall Lady, spake one, the least word that might
Be to the preiudice of her present State,
Or touch of her good Person?
1520Kin. My Lord Cardinall,
I doe excuse you; yea, vpon mine Honour,
I free you from't: You are not to be taught
That you haue many enemies, that know not
Why they are so; but like to Village Curres,
1525Barke when their fellowes doe. By some of these
The Queene is put in anger; y'are excus'd:
But will you be more iustifi'de? You euer
Haue wish'd the sleeping of this busines, neuer desir'd
It to be stir'd; but oft haue hindred, oft
1530The passages made toward it; on my Honour,
I speake my good Lord Cardnall, to this point;
And thus farre cleare him.
Now, what mou'd me too't,
I will be bold with time and your attention:
1535Then marke th'inducement. Thus it came; giue heede
My Conscience first receiu'd a tendernes,
Scruple, and pricke, on certaine Speeches vtter'd
By th'Bishop of Bayon, then French Embassador,
Who had beene hither sent on the debating
1540And Marriage 'twixt the Duke of Orleance, and
Our Daughter Mary: I'th'Progresse of this busines,
Ere a determinate resolution, hee
(I meane the Bishop) did require a respite,
Wherein he might the King his Lord aduertise,
1545Whether our Daughter were legitimate,
Respecting this our Marriage with the Dowager,
Sometimes our Brothers Wife. This respite shooke
The bosome of my Conscience, enter'd me;
Yea, with a spitting power, and made to tremble
1550The region of my Breast, which forc'd such way,
That many maz'd considerings, did throng
And prest in with this Caution. First, me thought
I stood not in the smile of Heauen, who had
Commanded Nature, that my Ladies wombe
1555If it conceiu'd a male-child by me, should
Doe no more Offices of life too't; then
The Graue does to th'dead: For her Male Issue,
Or di'de where they were made, or shortly after
This world had ayr'd them. Hence I tooke a thought,
1560This was a Iudgement on me, that my Kingdome
(Well worthy the best Heyre o'th'World) should not
Be gladded in't by me. Then followes, that
I weigh'd the danger which my Realmes stood in
By this my Issues faile, and that gaue to me
1565Many a groaning throw: thus hulling in
The wild Sea of my Conscience, I did steere
Toward this remedy, whereupon we are
Now present heere together: that's to say,
I meant to rectifie my Conscience, which
1570I then did feele full sicke, and yet not well,
By all the Reuerend Fathers of the Land,
And Doctors learn'd. First I began in priuate,
With you my Lord of Lincolne; you remember
How vnder my oppression I did reeke
1575When I first mou'd you.
B. Lin. Very well my Liedge.
Kin. I haue spoke long, be pleas'd your selfe to say
How farre you satisfide me.
Lin. So please your Highnes,
1580The question did at first so stagger me,
Bearing a State of mighty moment in't,
And consequence of dread, that I committed
The daringst Counsaile which I had to doubt,
And did entreate your Highnes to this course,
1585Which you are running heere.
Kin. I then mou'd you,
My Lord of Canterbury, and got your leaue
To make this present Summons vnsolicited.
I left no Reuerend Person in this Court;
1590But by particular consent proceeded
Vnder your hands and Seales; therefore goe on,
For no dislike i'th'world against the person
Of the good Queene; but the sharpe thorny points
Of my alleadged reasons, driues this forward:
1595Proue but our Marriage lawfull, by my Life
And Kingly Dignity, we are contented
To weare our mortall State to come, with her,
(Katherine our Queene) before the primest Creature
That's Parragon'd o'th'World
1600Camp. So please your Highnes,
The Queene being absent, 'tis a needfull fitnesse,
That we adiourne this Court till further day;
Meane while, must be an earnest motion
Made to the Queene to call backe her Appeale
1605She intends vnto his Holinesse.
Kin. I may perceiue
These Cardinals trifle with me: I abhorre
This dilatory sloth, and trickes of Rome.
My learn'd and welbeloued Seruant Cranmer,
1610Prethee returne, with thy approch: I know,
My comfort comes along: breake vp the Court;
I say, set on.
Exeunt, in manner as they enter'd.