Internet Shakespeare Editions

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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Famous History of the Life of
    King HENRY the Eight.
    I Come no more to make you laugh, Things now,
    That beare a Weighty, and a Serious Brow,
    Sad, high, and working, full of State and Woe:
    5Such Noble Scoenes, as draw the Eye to flow
    We now present. Those that can Pitty, heere
    May (if they thinke it well) let fall a Teare,
    The Subiect will deserue it. Such as giue
    Their Money out of hope they may beleeue,
    10May heere finde Truth too. Those that come to see
    Onely a show or two, and so agree,
    The Play may passe: If they be still, and willing,
    Ile vndertake may see away their shilling
    Richly in two short houres. Onely they
    15That come to heare a Merry, Bawdy Play,
    A noyse of Targets: Or to see a Fellow
    In a long Motley Coate, garded with Yellow,
    Will be deceyu'd. For gentle Hearers, know
    To ranke our chosen Truth with such a show
    20As Foole, and Fight is, beside forfeyting
    Our owne Braines, and the Opinion that we bring
    To make that onely true, we now intend,
    Will leaue vs neuer an vnderstanding Friend
    Therefore, for Goodnesse sake, and as you are knowne
    25The First and Happiest Hearers of the Towne,
    Be sad, as we would make ye. Thinke ye see
    The very Persons of our Noble Story,
    As they were Liuing: Thinke you see them Great,
    And follow'd with the generall throng, and sweat
    30Of thousand Friends: Then, in a moment, see
    How soone this Mightinesse, meets Misery:
    And if you can be merry then, Ile say,
    A Man may weepe vpon his Wedding day.