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Not Peer Reviewed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.
Butts. I thinke your Highnesse saw this many a day.
Kin. Body a me: where is it?
3020Butts. There my Lord:
The high promotion of his Grace of Canterbury,
Who holds his State at dore 'mongst Purseuants,
Pages, and Foot-boyes.
Kin. Ha? 'Tis he indeed.
3025Is this the Honour they doe one another?
'Tis well there's one aboue 'em yet; I had thought
They had parted so much honesty among 'em,
At least good manners; as not thus to suffer
A man of his Place, and so neere our fauour
3030To dance attendance on their Lordships pleasures,
And at the dore too, like a Post with Packets:
By holy Mary (Butts) there's knauery;
Let 'em alone, and draw the Curtaine close:
We shall heare more anon.
A Councell Table brought in with Chayres and Stooles, and
placed vnder the State. Enter Lord Chancellour, places
himselfe at the vpper end of the Table, on the left hand: A
Seate being left void aboue him, as for Canterburies Seate.
Duke of Suffolke, Duke of Norfolke, Surrey, Lord Cham-
3040berlaine, Gardiner, seat themselues in Order on each side.
Cromwell at lower end, as Secretary.
Chan. Speake to the businesse, M. Secretary;
Why are we met in Councell?
Crom. Please your Honours,
3045The chiefe cause concernes his Grace of Canterbury.
Gard. Ha's he had knowledge of it?
Crom. Yes.
Norf. Who waits there?
Keep. Without my Noble Lords?
3050Gard. Yes.
Keep. My Lord Archbishop:
And ha's done halfe an houre to know your pleasures.
Chan. Let him come in.
Keep. Your Grace may enter now.
Cranmer approches the Councell Table.
Chan. My good Lord Archbishop, I'm very sorry
To sit heere at this present, and behold
That Chayre stand empty: But we all are men
In our owne natures fraile, and capable
3060Of our flesh, few are Angels; out of which frailty
And want of wisedome, you that best should teach vs,
Haue misdemean'd your selfe, and not a little:
Toward the King first, then his Lawes, in filling
The whole Realme, by your teaching & your Chaplaines
3065(For so we are inform'd) with new opinions,
Diuers and dangerous; which are Heresies;
And not reform'd, may proue pernicious.
Gard. Which Reformation must be sodaine too
My Noble Lords; for those that tame wild Horses,
3070Pace 'em not in their hands to make 'em gentle;
But stop their mouthes with stubborn Bits & spurre 'em,
Till they obey the mannage. If we suffer
Out of our easinesse and childish pitty
To one mans Honour, this contagious sicknesse;
3075Farewell all Physicke: and what followes then?
Commotions, vprores, with a generall Taint
Of the whole State; as of late dayes our neighbours,
The vpper Germany can deerely witnesse:
Yet freshly pittied in our memories.
3080Cran. My good Lords; Hitherto, in all the Progresse
Both of my Life and Office, I haue labour'd,
And with no little study, that my teaching
And the strong course of my Authority,
Might goe one way, and safely; and the end
3085Was euer to doe well: nor is there liuing,
(I speake it with a single heart, my Lords)
A man that more detests, more stirres against,
Both in his priuate Conscience, and his place,
Defacers of a publique peace then I doe:
3090Pray Heauen the King may neuer find a heart
With lesse Allegeance in it. Men that make
Enuy, and crooked malice, nourishment;
Dare bite the best. I doe beseech your, Lordships,
That in this case of Iustice, my Accusers,
3095Be what they will, may stand forth face to face,
And freely vrge against me.
Suff. Nay, my Lord,
That cannot be; you are a Counsellor,
And by that vertue no man dare accuse you.
3100Gard. My Lord, because we haue busines of more mo-
We will be short with you. 'Tis his Highnesse pleasure
And our consent, for better tryall of you,
From hence you be committed to the Tower,
Where being but a priuate man againe,
3105You shall know many dare accuse you boldly,
More then (I feare) you are prouided for.
Cran. Ah my good Lord of Winchester: I thanke you,
You are alwayes my good Friend, if your will passe,
I shall both finde your Lordship, Iudge and Iuror,
3110You are so mercifull. I see your end,
'Tis my vndoing. Loue and meekenesse, Lord
Become a Churchman, better then Ambition:
Win straying Soules with modesty againe,
Cast none away: That I shall cleere my selfe,
3115Lay all the weight ye can vpon my patience,
I make as little doubt as you doe conscience,
In doing dayly wrongs. I could say more,
But reuerence to your calling, makes me modest.
Gard. My Lord, my Lord, you are a Sectary,
3120That's the plaine truth; your painted glosse discouers
To men that vnderstand you, words and weaknesse.
Crom. My Lord of Winchester, y'are a little,
By your good fauour, too sharpe; Men so Noble,
How euer faultly, yet should finde respect
3125For what they haue beene: 'tis a cruelty,
To load a falling man.
Gard. Good M. Secretary,
I cry your Honour mercie; you may worst
Of all this Table say so.
3130Crom. Why my Lord?
Gard. Doe not I know you for a Fauourer
Of this new Sect? ye are not sound.
Crom. Not sound?
Gard. Not sound I say.
3135Crom. Would you were halfe so honest:
Mens prayers then would seeke you, not their feares.
Gard. I shall remember this bold Language.
Crom. Doe.
Remember your bold life too.
3140Cham. This is too much;
Forbeare for shame my Lords.
Gard. I haue done.
Crom. And I.
Cham. Then thus for you my Lord, it stands agreed
3145I take it, by all voyces: That forthwith,
You be conuaid to th'Tower a Prisoner;
There to remaine till the Kings further pleasure
Be knowne vnto vs: are you all agreed Lords.