Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Diane Jakacki
Not Peer Reviewed

Henry The Eighth (Folio 1, 1623)


Scena Quarta.
Trumpets, Sennet, and Cornets.
Enter two Vergers, with short siluer wands; next them two
Scribes in the habite of Doctors; after them, the Bishop of
1335Canterbury alone; after him, the Bishops of Lincolne, Ely,
Rochester, and S. Asaph: Next them, with some small
distance, followes a Gentleman bearing the Purse, with the
great Seale, and a Cardinals Hat: Then two Priests, bea-
ringeach a Siluer Crosse: Then a Gentleman Vsher bare-
1340headed, accompanyed with a Sergeant at Armes, bearing a
Siluer Mace: Then two Gentlemen bearing two great
Siluer Pillers: After them, side by side, the two Cardinals,
two Noblemen, with the Sword and Mace. The King takes
place vnder the Cloth of State. The two Cardinalls sit
1345vnder him as Iudges. The Queene takes place some di-
stancefrom the King. The Bishops place themselues on
each side the Court in manner of a Consistory: Below them
the Scribes. The Lords sit next the Bishops. The rest of the
Attendants stand in conuenient order about the Stage.
1350Car. Whil'st our Commission from Rome is read,
Let silence be commanded.
King. What's the need?
It hath already publiquely bene read,
And on all sides th'Authority allow'd,
1355You may then spare that time.
Car. Bee't so, proceed.
Scri. Say, Henry K. of England, come into the Court.
Crier. Henry King of England, &c.
King. Heere.
1360Scribe. Say, Katherine Queene of England,
Come into the Court.
Crier. Katherine Queene of England, &c.
The Queene makes no answer, rises out of her Chaire,
goes about the Court, comes to the King, and kneeles at
1365his Feete. Then speakes.
Sir, I desire you do me Right and Iustice,
And to bestow your pitty on me; for
I am a most poore Woman, and a Stranger,
Borne out of your Dominions: hauing heere
1370No Iudge indifferent, nor no more assurance
Of equall Friendship and Proceeding. Alas Sir:
In what haue I offended you? What cause
Hath my behauiour giuen to your displeasure,
That thus you should proceede to put me off,
1375And take your good Grace from me? Heauen witnesse,
I haue bene to you, a true and humble Wife,
At all times to your will conformable:
Euer in feare to kindle your Dislike,
Yea, subiect to your Countenance: Glad, or sorry,
1380As I saw it inclin'd? When was the houre
I euer contradicted your Desire?
Or made it not mine too? Or which of your Friends
Haue I not stroue to loue, although I knew
He were mine Enemy? What Friend of mine,
1385That had to him deriu'd your Anger, did I
Continue in my Liking? Nay, gaue notice
He was from thence discharg'd? Sir, call to minde,
That I haue beene your Wife, in this Obedience,
Vpward of twenty yeares, and haue bene blest
1390With many Children by you. If in the course
And processe of this time, you can report,
And proue it too, against mine Honor, aught;
My bond to Wedlocke, or my Loue and Dutie
Against your Sacred Person; in Gods name
1395Turne me away: and let the fowl'st Contempt
Shut doore vpon me, and so giue me vp
To the sharp'st kinde of Iustice. Please you, Sir,
The King your Father, was reputed for
A Prince most Prudent; of an excellent
1400And vnmatch'd Wit, and Iudgement. Ferdinand
My Father, King of Spaine, was reckon'd one
The wisest Prince, that there had reign'd, by many
A yeare before. It is not to be question'd,
That they had gather'd a wise Councell to them
1405Of euery Realme, that did debate this Businesse,
Who deem'd our Marriage lawful. Wherefore I humbly
Beseech you Sir, to spare me, till I may
Be by my Friends in Spaine, aduis'd; whose Counsaile
I will implore. If not, i'th'name of God
1410Your pleasure be fulfill'd.
Wol. You haue heere Lady,
(And of your choice) these Reuerend Fathers, men
Of singular Integrity, and Learning;
Yea, the elect o'th'Land, who are assembled
1415To pleade your Cause. It shall be therefore bootlesse,
That longer you desire the Court, as well
For your owne quiet, as to rectifie
What is vnsetled in the King.
Camp. His Grace
1420Hath spoken well, and iustly: Therefore Madam,
It's fit this Royall Session do proceed,
And that (without delay) their Arguments
Be now produc'd, and heard.
Qu. Lord Cardinall, to you I speake.
1425Wol. Your pleasure, Madam.
Qu. Sir, I am about to weepe; but thinking that
We are a Queene (or long haue dream'd so) certaine
The daughter of a King, my drops of teares,
Ile turne to sparkes of fire.
1430Wol. Be patient yet.
Qu. I will, when you are humble; Nay before,
Or God will punish me. I do beleeue
(Induc'd by potent Circumstances) that
You are mine Enemy, and make my Challenge,
1435You shall not be my Iudge. For it is you
Haue blowne this Coale, betwixt my Lord, and me;
(Which Gods dew quench) therefore, I say againe,
I vtterly abhorre; yea, from my Soule
Refuse you for my Iudge, whom yet once more
1440I hold my most malicious Foe, and thinke not
At all a Friend to truth.
Wol. I do professe
You speake not like your selfe: who euer yet
Haue stood to Charity, and displayd th'effects
1445Of disposition gentle, and of wisedome,
Ore-topping womans powre. Madam, you do me wrong
I haue no Spleene against you, nor iniustice
For you, or any: how farre I haue proceeded,
Or how farre further (Shall) is warranted
1450By a Commission from the Consistorie,
Yea, the whole Consistorie of Rome. You charge me,
That I haue blowne this Coale: I do deny it,
The King is present: If it be knowne to him,
That I gainsay my Deed, how may he wound,
1455And worthily my Falsehood, yea, as much
As you haue done my Truth. If he know
That I am free of your Report, he knowes
I am not of your wrong. Therefore in him
It lies to cure me, and the Cure is to
1460Remoue these Thoughts from you. The which before
His Highnesse shall speake in, I do beseech
You (gracious Madam) to vnthinke your speaking,
And to say so no more.
Queen. My Lord, My Lord,
1465I am a simple woman, much too weake
T' oppose your cunning. Y'are meek, & humble-mouth'd
You signe your Place, and Calling, in full seeming,
With Meekenesse and Humilitie: but your Heart
Is cramm'd with Arrogancie, Spleene, and Pride.
1470You haue by Fortune, and his Highnesse fauors,
Gone slightly o're lowe steppes, and now are mounted
Where Powres are your Retainers, and your words
(Domestickes to you) serue your will, as't please
Your selfe pronounce their Office. I must tell you,
1475You tender more your persons Honor, then
Your high profession Spirituall. That agen
I do refuse you for my Iudge, and heere
Before you all, Appeale vnto the Pope,
To bring my whole Cause 'fore his Holinesse,
1480And to be iudg'd by him.
She Curtsies to the King, and offers to depart.
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.
1495
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.