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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    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.