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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    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.
    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.