Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Diane Jakacki
Not Peer Reviewed

Henry The Eighth (Folio 1, 1623)

The Life of King Henry the Eight.
1995His Contemplation were aboue the earth,
And fixt on Spirituall obiect, he should still
Dwell in his Musings, but I am affraid
His Thinkings are below the Moone, not worth
His serious considering.
King takes his Seat, whispers Louell, who goes
to the Cardinall.
Car. Heauen forgiue me,
Euer God blesse your Highnesse.
King. Good my Lord,
2005You are full of Heauenly stuffe, and beare the Inuentory
Of your best Graces, in your minde; the which
You were now running o're: you haue scarse time
To steale from Spirituall leysure, a briefe span
To keepe your earthly Audit, sure in that
2010I deeme you an ill Husband, and am gald
To haue you therein my Companion.
Car. Sir,
For Holy Offices I haue a time; a time
To thinke vpon the part of businesse, which
2015I beare i'th'State: and Nature does require
Her times of preseruation, which perforce
I her fraile sonne, among'st my Brethren mortall,
Must giue my tendance to.
King. You haue said well.
2020Car. And euer may your Highnesse yoake together,
(As I will lend you cause) my doing well,
With my well saying.
King. 'Tis well said agen,
And 'tis a kinde of good deede to say well,
2025And yet words are no deeds. My Father lou'd you,
He said he did, and with his deed did Crowne
His word vpon you. Since I had my Office,
I haue kept you next my Heart, haue not alone
Imploy'd you where high Profits might come home,
2030But par'd my present Hauings, to bestow
My Bounties vpon you.
Car. What should this meane?
Sur. The Lord increase this businesse.
King. Haue I not made you
2035The prime man of the State? I pray you tell me,
If what I now pronounce, you haue found true:
And if you may confesse it, say withall
If you are bound to vs, or no. What say you?
Car. My Soueraigne, I confesse your Royall graces
2040Showr'd on me daily, haue bene more then could
My studied purposes requite, which went
Beyond all mans endeauors. My endeauors,
Haue euer come too short of my Desires,
Yet fill'd with my Abilities: Mine owne ends
2045Haue beene mine so, that euermore they pointed
To'th'good of your most Sacred Person, and
The profit of the State. For your great Graces
Heap'd vpon me (poore Vndeseruer) I
Can nothing render but Allegiant thankes,
2050My Prayres to heauen for you; my Loyaltie
Which euer ha's, and euer shall be growing,
Till death (that Winter) kill it.
King. Fairely answer'd:
A Loyall, and obedient Subiect is
2055Therein illustrated, the Honor of it
Does pay the Act of it, as i'th'contrary
The fowlenesse is the punishment. I presume,
That as my hand ha's open'd Bounty to you,
My heart drop'd Loue, my powre rain'd Honor, more
2060On you, then any: So your Hand, and Heart,
Your Braine, and euery Function of your power,
Should, notwithstanding that your bond of duty,
As 'twer in Loues particular, be more
To me your Friend, then any.
2065Car. I do professe,
That for your Highnesse good, I euer labour'd
More then mine owne: that am, haue, and will be
(Though all the world should cracke their duty to you,
And throw it from their Soule, though perils did
2070Abound, as thicke as thought could make 'em, and
Appeare in formes more horrid) yet my Duty,
As doth a Rocke against the chiding Flood,
Should the approach of this wilde Riuer breake,
And stand vnshaken yours.
2075King. 'Tis Nobly spoken:
Take notice Lords, he ha's a Loyall brest,
For you haue seene him open't. Read o're this,
And after this, and then to Breakfast with
What appetite you haue.
Exit King, frowning vpon the Cardinall, the Nobles
throng after him smiling, and whispering.
Car. What should this meane?
What sodaine Anger's this? How haue I reap'd it?
He parted Frowning from me, as if Ruine
2085Leap'd from his Eyes. So lookes the chafed Lyon
Vpon the daring Huntsman that has gall'd him:
Then makes him nothing. I must reade this paper:
I feare the Story of his Anger. 'Tis so:
This paper ha's vndone me: 'Tis th'Accompt
2090Of all that world of Wealth I haue drawne together
For mine owne ends, (Indeed to gaine the Popedome,
And fee my Friends in Rome.) O Negligence!
Fit for a Foole to fall by: What crosse Diuell
Made me put this maine Secret in the Packet
2095I sent the King? Is there no way to cure this?
No new deuice to beate this from his Braines?
I know 'twill stirre him strongly; yet I know
A way, if it take right, in spight of Fortune
Will bring me off againe. What's this? To th'Pope?
2100The Letter (as I liue) with all the Businesse
I writ too's Holinesse. Nay then, farewell:
I haue touch'd the highest point of all my Greatnesse,
And from that full Meridian of my Glory,
I haste now to my Setting. I shall fall
2105Like a bright exhalation in the Euening,
And no man see me more.

Enter to Woolsey, the Dukes of Norfolke and Suffolke, the

Earle of Surrey, and the Lord Chamberlaine.
Nor. Heare the Kings pleasure Cardinall,
2110Who commands you
To render vp the Great Seale presently
Into our hands, and to Confine your selfe
To Asher-house, my Lord of Winchesters,
Till you heare further from his Highnesse.
2115Car. Stay:
Where's your Commission? Lords, words cannot carrie
Authority so weighty.
Suf. Who dare crosse 'em,
Bearing the Kings will from his mouth expressely?
2120Car. Till I finde more then will, or words to do it,
(I meane your malice) know, Officious Lords,
I dare, and must deny it. Now I feele
Of what course Mettle ye are molded, Enuy,
How eagerly ye follow my Disgraces