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Not Peer Reviewed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.
The other moity ere you aske is giuen,
Repeat your will, and take it.
Queen. Thanke your Maiesty
340That you would loue your selfe, and in that loue
Not vnconsidered leaue your Honour, nor
The dignity of your Office; is the poynt
Of my Petition.
Kin. Lady mine proceed.
345Queen. I am solicited not by a few,
And those of true condition; That your Subiects
Are in great grieuance: There haue beene Commissions
Sent downe among 'em, which hath flaw'd the heart
Of all their Loyalties; wherein, although
350My good Lord Cardinall, they vent reproches
Most bitterly on you, as putter on
Of these exactions: yet the King, our Maister
Whose Honor Heauen shield from soile; euen he escapes
Language vnmannerly; yea, such which breakes
355The sides of loyalty, and almost appeares
In lowd Rebellion.
Norf. Not almost appeares,
It doth appeare; for, vpon these Taxations,
The Clothiers all not able to maintaine
360The many to them longing, haue put off
The Spinsters, Carders, Fullers, Weauers, who
Vnfit for other life, compeld by hunger
And lack of other meanes, in desperate manner
Daring th'euent too th'teeth, are all in vprore,
365And danger serues among them.
Kin. Taxation?
Wherein? and what Taxation? My Lord Cardinall,
You that are blam'd for it alike with vs,
Know you of this Taxation?
370Card. Please you Sir,
I know but of a single part in ought
Pertaines to th'State; and front but in that File
Where others tell steps with me.
Queen. No, my Lord?
375You know no more then others? But you frame
Things that are knowne alike, which are not wholsome
To those which would not know them, and yet must
Perforce be their acquaintance. These exactions
(Whereof my Soueraigne would haue note) they are
380Most pestilent to th'hearing, and to beare 'em,
The Backe is Sacrifice to th'load; They say
They are deuis'd by you, er else you suffer
Too hard an exclamation.
Kin. Still Exaction:
385The nature of it, in what kinde let's know,
Is this Exaction?
Queen. I am much too venturous
In tempting of your patience; but am boldned
Vnder your promis'd pardon. The Subiects griefe
390Comes through Commissions, which compels from each
The sixt part of his Substance, to be leuied
Without delay; and the pretence for this
Is nam'd, your warres in France: this makes bold mouths,
Tongues spit their duties out, and cold hearts freeze
395Allegeance in them; their curses now
Liue where their prayers did: and it's come to passe,
This tractable obedience is a Slaue
To each incensed Will: I would your Highnesse
Would giue it quicke consideration; for
400There is no primer basenesse.
Kin. By my life,
This is against our pleasure.
Card. And for me,
I haue no further gone in this, then by
405A single voice, and that not past me, but
By learned approbation of the Iudges: If I am
Traduc'd by ignorant Tongues, which neither know
My faculties nor person, yet will be
The Chronicles of my doing: Let me say,
410'Tis but the fate of Place, and the rough Brake
That Vertue must goe through: we must not stint
Our necessary actions, in the feare
To cope malicious Censurers, which euer,
As rau'nous Fishes doe a Vessell follow
415That is new trim'd; but benefit no further
Then vainly longing. What we oft doe best,
By sicke Interpreters (once weake ones) is
Not ours, or not allow'd; what worst, as oft
Hitting a grosser quality, is cride vp
420For our best Act: if we shall stand still,
In feare our motion will be mock'd, or carp'd at,
We should take roote here, where we sit;
Or sit State-Statues onely.
Kin. Things done well,
425And with a care, exempt themselues from feare:
Things done without example, in their issue
Are to be fear'd. Haue you a President
Of this Commission? I beleeue, not any.
We must not rend our Subiects from our Lawes,
430And sticke them in our Will. Sixt part of each?
A trembling Contribution; why we take
From euery Tree, lop, barke, and part o'th'Timber:
And though we leaue it with a roote thus hackt,
The Ayre will drinke the Sap. To euery County
435Where this is question'd, send our Letters, with
Free pardon to each man that has deny'de
The force of this Commission: pray looke too't;
I put it to your care.
Card. A word with you.
440Let there be Letters writ to euery Shire,
Of the Kings grace and pardon: the greeued Commons
Hardly conceiue of me. Let it be nois'd,
That through our Intercession, this Reuokement
And pardon comes: I shall anon aduise you
445Further in the proceeding.
Exit Secret.

Enter Surueyor.
Queen. I am sorry, that the Duke of Buckingham
Is run in your displeasure.
Kin. It grieues many:
450The Gentleman is Learn'd, and a most rare Speaker,
To Nature none more bound; his trayning such,
That he may furnish and instruct great Teachers,
And neuer seeke for ayd out of himselfe: yet see,
When these so Noble benefits shall proue
455Not well dispos'd, the minde growing once corrupt,
They turne to vicious formes, ten times more vgly
Then euer they were faire. This man so compleat,
Who was enrold 'mongst wonders; and when we
Almost with rauish'd listning, could not finde
460His houre of speech, a minute: He, (my Lady)
Hath into monstrous habits put the Graces
That once were his, and is become as blacke,
As if besmear'd in hell. Sit by Vs, you shall heare
(This was his Gentleman in trust) of him
465Things to strike Honour sad. Bid him recount
The fore-recited practises, whereof
We cannot feele too little, heare too much.