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About this text

  • Title: Henry The Eighth (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Diane Jakacki
  • Research assistant: Beth Norris
  • Research assistant (proof): Simon Carpenter

  • Copyright Diane Jakacki. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Diane Jakacki
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Henry The Eighth (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Life of King Henry the Eight.
    1225And range with humble liuers in Content,
    Then to be perk'd vp in a glistring griefe,
    And weare a golden sorrow.
    Old L. Our content
    Is our best hauing.
    1230Anne. By my troth, and Maidenhead,
    I would not be a Queene.
    Old. L. Beshrew me, I would,
    And venture Maidenhead for't, and so would you
    For all this spice of your Hipocrisie:
    1235You that haue so faire parts of Woman on you,
    Haue (too) a Womans heart, which euer yet
    Affected Eminence, Wealth, Soueraignty;
    Which, to say sooth, are Blessings; and which guifts
    (Sauing your mincing) the capacity
    1240Of your soft Chiuerell Conscience, would receiue,
    If you might please to stretch it.
    Anne. Nay, good troth.
    Old L. Yes troth, & troth; you would not be a Queen?
    Anne. No, not for all the riches vnder Heauen.
    1245Old. L. Tis strange; a threepence bow'd would hire me
    Old as I am, to Queene it: but I pray you,
    What thinke you of a Dutchesse? Haue you limbs
    To beare that load of Title?
    An. No in truth.
    1250Old. L. Then you are weakly made; plucke off a little,
    I would not be a young Count in your way,
    For more then blushing comes to: If your backe
    Cannot vouchsafe this burthen, tis too weake
    Euer to get a Boy.
    1255An. How you doe talke;
    I sweare againe, I would not be a Queene,
    For all the world.
    Old. L. In faith, for little England
    You'ld venture an emballing: I my selfe
    1260Would for Carnaruanshire, although there long'd
    No more to th'Crowne but that: Lo, who comes here?
    Enter Lord Chamberlaine.
    L. Cham. Good morrow Ladies; what wer't worth to
    The secret of your conference?
    1265An. My good Lord,
    Not your demand; it values not your asking:
    Our Mistris Sorrowes we were pittying.
    Cham. It was a gentle businesse, and becomming
    The action of good women, there is hope
    1270All will be well.
    An. Now I pray God, Amen.
    Cham. You beare a gentle minde, & heau'nly blessings
    Follow such Creatures. That you may, faire Lady
    Perceiue I speake sincerely, and high notes
    1275Tane of your many vertues; the Kings Maiesty
    Commends his good opinion of you, to you; and
    Doe's purpose honour to you no lesse flowing,
    Then Marchionesse of Pembrooke; to which Title,
    A Thousand pound a yeare, Annuall support,
    1280Out of his Grace, he addes.
    An. I doe not know
    What kinde of my obedience, I should tender;
    More then my All, is Nothing: Nor my Prayers
    Are not words duely hallowed; nor my Wishes
    1285More worth, then empty vanities: yet Prayers & Wishes
    Are all I can returne. 'Beseech your Lordship,
    Vouchsafe to speake my thankes, and my obedience,
    As from a blushing Handmaid, to his Highnesse;
    Whose health and Royalty I pray for.
    1290Cham. Lady;
    I shall not faile t'approue the faire conceit
    The King hath of you. I haue perus'd her well,
    Beauty and Honour in her are so mingled,
    That they haue caught the King: and who knowes yet
    1295But from this Lady, may proceed a Iemme,
    To lighten all this Ile. I'le to the King,
    And say I spoke with you.
    Exit Lord Chamberlaine.
    An. My honour'd Lord.
    1300Old. L. Why this it is: See, see,
    I haue beene begging sixteene yeares in Court
    (Am yet a Courtier beggerly) nor could
    Come pat betwixt too early, and too late
    For any suit of pounds: and you, (oh fate)
    1305A very fresh Fish heere; fye, fye, fye vpon
    This compel'd fortune: haue your mouth fild vp,
    Before you open it.
    An. This is strange to me.
    Old L. How tasts it? Is it bitter? Forty pence, no:
    1310There was a Lady once (tis an old Story)
    That would not be a Queene, that would she not
    For all the mud in Egypt; haue you heard it?
    An. Come you are pleasant.
    Old. L. With your Theame, I could
    1315O're-mount the Larke: The Marchionesse of Pembrooke?
    A thousand pounds a yeare, for pure respect?
    No other obligation? by my Life,
    That promises mo thousands: Honours traine
    Is longer then his fore-skirt; by this time
    1320I know your backe will beare a Dutchesse. Say,
    Are you not stronger then you were?
    An. Good Lady,
    Make your selfe mirth with your particular fancy,
    And leaue me out on't. Would I had no being
    1325If this salute my blood a iot; it faints me
    To thinke what followes.
    The Queene is comfortlesse, and wee forgetfull
    In our long absence: pray doe not deliuer,
    What heere y'haue heard to her.
    1330Old L. What doe you thinke me ---

    Scena Tertia.

    Enter Anne Bullen, and an old Lady.

    An. Not for that neither; here's the pang that pinches.
    His Highnesse, hauing liu'd so long with her, and she
    So good a Lady, that no Tongue could euer
    1205Pronounce dishonour of her; by my life,
    She neuer knew harme-doing: Oh, now after
    So many courses of the Sun enthroaned,
    Still growing in a Maiesty and pompe, the which
    To leaue, a thousand fold more bitter, then
    1210'Tis sweet at first t'acquire. After this Processe.
    To giue her the auaunt, it is a pitty
    Would moue a Monster.
    Old La. Hearts of most hard temper
    Melt and lament for her.
    1215An. Oh Gods will, much better
    She ne're had knowne pompe; though't be temporall,
    Yet if that quarrell. Fortune, do diuorce
    It from the bearer, 'tis a sufferance, panging
    As soule and bodies seuering.
    1220Old L. Alas poore Lady,
    Shee's a stranger now againe.
    An. So much the more
    Must pitty drop vpon her; verily
    I sweare, tis better to be lowly borne,