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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.

    Actus Tertius. Scena Prima.

    1615Enter Queene and her Women as at worke.
    Queen. Take thy Lute wench,
    My Soule growes sad with troubles,
    Sing, and disperse 'em if thou canst: leaue working:

    Orpheus with his Lute made Trees,
    And the Mountaine tops that freeze,
    Bow themselues when he did sing.
    To his Musicke, Plants and Flowers
    Euer sprung; as Sunne and Showers,
    1625There had made a lasting Spring.
    Euery thing that heard him play,
    Euen the Billowes of the Sea,
    Hung their heads, & then lay by.
    In sweet Musicke is such Art,
    1630Killing care, & griefe of heart,
    Fall asleepe, or hearing dye.

    Enter a Gentleman.
    Queen. How now?
    Gent. And't please your Grace, the two great Cardinals
    1635Wait in the presence.
    Queen. Would they speake with me?
    Gent. They wil'd me say so Madam.
    Queen. Pray their Graces
    To come neere: what can be their busines
    1640With me, a poore weake woman, falne from fauour?
    I doe not like their comming; now I thinke on't,
    They should bee good men, their affaires as righteous:
    But all Hoods, make not Monkes.
    Enter the two Cardinalls, Wolsey & Campian.
    1645Wols. Peace to your Highnesse.
    Queen. Your Graces find me heere part of a Houswife,
    (I would be all) against the worst may happen:
    What are your pleasures with me, reuerent Lords?
    Wol. May it please you Noble Madam, to withdraw
    1650Into your priuate Chamber; we shall giue you
    The full cause of our comming.
    Queen. Speake it heere.
    There's nothing I haue done yet o' my Conscience
    Deserues a Corner: would all other Women
    1655Could speake this with as free a Soule as I doe.
    My Lords, I care not (so much I am happy
    Aboue a number) if my actions
    Were tri'de by eu'ry tongue, eu'ry eye saw 'em,
    Enuy and base opinion set against 'em,
    1660I know my life so euen. If your busines
    Seeke me out, and that way I am Wife in;
    Out with it boldly: Truth loues open dealing.
    Card. Tanta est erga te mentis integritas Regina serenissima.
    Queen. O good my Lord, no Latin;
    1665I am not such a Truant since my comming,
    As not to know the Language I haue liu'd in:
    A strange Tongue makes my cause more strange, suspiti- (ous:
    Pray speake in English; heere are some will thanke you,
    If you speake truth, for their poore Mistris sake;
    1670Beleeue me she ha's had much wrong. Lord Cardinall,
    The willing'st sinne I euer yet committed,
    May be absolu'd in English.
    Card. Noble Lady,
    I am sorry my integrity should breed,
    1675(And seruice to his Maiesty and you)
    So deepe suspition, where all faith was meant;
    We come not by the way of Accusation,
    To taint that honour euery good Tongue blesses;
    Nor to betray you any way to sorrow;
    1680You haue too much good Lady: But to know
    How you stand minded in the waighty difference
    Betweene the King and you, and to deliuer
    (Like free and honest men) our iust opinions,
    And comforts to our cause.
    1685Camp. Most honour'd Madam,
    My Lord of Yorke, out of his Noble nature,
    Zeale and obedience he still bore your Grace,
    Forgetting (like a good man) your late Censure
    Both of his truth and him (which was too farre)
    1690Offers, as I doe, in a signe of peace,
    His Seruice, and his Counsell.
    Queen. To betray me.
    My Lords, I thanke you both for your good wills,
    Ye speake like honest men, (pray God ye proue so)
    1695But how to make ye sodainly an Answere
    In such a poynt of weight, so neere mine Honour,
    (More neere my Life I feare) with my weake wit;
    And to such men of grauity and learning;
    In truth I know not. I was set at worke,
    1700Among my Maids, full little (God knowes) looking
    Either for such men, or such businesse;
    For her sake that I haue beene, for I feele
    The last fit of my Greatnesse; good your Graces
    Let me haue time and Councell for my Cause:
    1705Alas, I am a Woman frendlesse, hopelesse.
    Wol. Madam,
    You wrong the Kings loue with these feares,
    Your hopes and friends are infinite.
    Queen. In England,
    1710But little for my profit can you thinke Lords,
    That any English man dare giue me Councell?
    Or be a knowne friend 'gainst his Highnes pleasure,
    (Though he be growne so desperate to be honest)
    And liue a Subiect? Nay forsooth, my Friends,
    1715They that must weigh out my afflictions,
    They that my trust must grow to, liue not heere,
    They are (as all my other comforts) far hence
    In mine owne Countrey Lords.
    Camp. I would your Grace
    1720Would leaue your greefes, and take my Counsell.
    Queen. How Sir?
    Camp. Put your maine cause into the Kings protection,
    Hee's louing and most gracious. 'Twill be much,
    Both for your Honour better, and your Cause:
    1725For if the tryall of the Law o'retake ye,
    You'l part away disgrac'd.
    Wol. He tels you rightly.
    Queen. Ye tell me what ye wish for both, my ruine:
    Is this your Christian Councell? Out vpon ye.
    1730Heauen is aboue all yet; there sits a Iudge,
    That no King can corrupt.
    Camp. Your rage mistakes vs.
    Queen. The more shame for ye; holy men I thought ye,
    Vpon my Soule two reuerend Cardinall Vertues:
    1735But Cardinall Sins, and hollow hearts I feare ye:
    Mend 'em for shame my Lords: Is this your comfort?
    The Cordiall that ye bring a wretched Lady?
    A woman lost among ye, laugh't at, scornd?
    I will not wish ye halfe my miseries,