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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    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.