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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    1995His Contemplation were aboue the earth,
    And fixt on Spirituall obiect, he should still
    Dwell in his Musings, but I am affraid
    His Thinkings are below the Moone, not worth
    His serious considering.
    2000King takes his Seat, whispers Louell, who goes
    to the Cardinall.
    Car. Heauen forgiue me,
    Euer God blesse your Highnesse.
    King. Good my Lord,
    2005You are full of Heauenly stuffe, and beare the Inuentory
    Of your best Graces, in your minde; the which
    You were now running o're: you haue scarse time
    To steale from Spirituall leysure, a briefe span
    To keepe your earthly Audit, sure in that
    2010I deeme you an ill Husband, and am gald
    To haue you therein my Companion.
    Car. Sir,
    For Holy Offices I haue a time; a time
    To thinke vpon the part of businesse, which
    2015I beare i'th'State: and Nature does require
    Her times of preseruation, which perforce
    I her fraile sonne, among'st my Brethren mortall,
    Must giue my tendance to.
    King. You haue said well.
    2020Car. And euer may your Highnesse yoake together,
    (As I will lend you cause) my doing well,
    With my well saying.
    King. 'Tis well said agen,
    And 'tis a kinde of good deede to say well,
    2025And yet words are no deeds. My Father lou'd you,
    He said he did, and with his deed did Crowne
    His word vpon you. Since I had my Office,
    I haue kept you next my Heart, haue not alone
    Imploy'd you where high Profits might come home,
    2030But par'd my present Hauings, to bestow
    My Bounties vpon you.
    Car. What should this meane?
    Sur. The Lord increase this businesse.
    King. Haue I not made you
    2035The prime man of the State? I pray you tell me,
    If what I now pronounce, you haue found true:
    And if you may confesse it, say withall
    If you are bound to vs, or no. What say you?
    Car. My Soueraigne, I confesse your Royall graces
    2040Showr'd on me daily, haue bene more then could
    My studied purposes requite, which went
    Beyond all mans endeauors. My endeauors,
    Haue euer come too short of my Desires,
    Yet fill'd with my Abilities: Mine owne ends
    2045Haue beene mine so, that euermore they pointed
    To'th'good of your most Sacred Person, and
    The profit of the State. For your great Graces
    Heap'd vpon me (poore Vndeseruer) I
    Can nothing render but Allegiant thankes,
    2050My Prayres to heauen for you; my Loyaltie
    Which euer ha's, and euer shall be growing,
    Till death (that Winter) kill it.
    King. Fairely answer'd:
    A Loyall, and obedient Subiect is
    2055Therein illustrated, the Honor of it
    Does pay the Act of it, as i'th'contrary
    The fowlenesse is the punishment. I presume,
    That as my hand ha's open'd Bounty to you,
    My heart drop'd Loue, my powre rain'd Honor, more
    2060On you, then any: So your Hand, and Heart,
    Your Braine, and euery Function of your power,
    Should, notwithstanding that your bond of duty,
    As 'twer in Loues particular, be more
    To me your Friend, then any.
    2065Car. I do professe,
    That for your Highnesse good, I euer labour'd
    More then mine owne: that am, haue, and will be
    (Though all the world should cracke their duty to you,
    And throw it from their Soule, though perils did
    2070Abound, as thicke as thought could make 'em, and
    Appeare in formes more horrid) yet my Duty,
    As doth a Rocke against the chiding Flood,
    Should the approach of this wilde Riuer breake,
    And stand vnshaken yours.
    2075King. 'Tis Nobly spoken:
    Take notice Lords, he ha's a Loyall brest,
    For you haue seene him open't. Read o're this,
    And after this, and then to Breakfast with
    What appetite you haue.
    2080Exit King, frowning vpon the Cardinall, the Nobles
    throng after him smiling, and whispering.
    Car. What should this meane?
    What sodaine Anger's this? How haue I reap'd it?
    He parted Frowning from me, as if Ruine
    2085Leap'd from his Eyes. So lookes the chafed Lyon
    Vpon the daring Huntsman that has gall'd him:
    Then makes him nothing. I must reade this paper:
    I feare the Story of his Anger. 'Tis so:
    This paper ha's vndone me: 'Tis th'Accompt
    2090Of all that world of Wealth I haue drawne together
    For mine owne ends, (Indeed to gaine the Popedome,
    And fee my Friends in Rome.) O Negligence!
    Fit for a Foole to fall by: What crosse Diuell
    Made me put this maine Secret in the Packet
    2095I sent the King? Is there no way to cure this?
    No new deuice to beate this from his Braines?
    I know 'twill stirre him strongly; yet I know
    A way, if it take right, in spight of Fortune
    Will bring me off againe. What's this? To th'Pope?
    2100The Letter (as I liue) with all the Businesse
    I writ too's Holinesse. Nay then, farewell:
    I haue touch'd the highest point of all my Greatnesse,
    And from that full Meridian of my Glory,
    I haste now to my Setting. I shall fall
    2105Like a bright exhalation in the Euening,
    And no man see me more.

    Enter to Woolsey, the Dukes of Norfolke and Suffolke, the

    Earle of Surrey, and the Lord Chamberlaine.
    Nor. Heare the Kings pleasure Cardinall,
    2110Who commands you
    To render vp the Great Seale presently
    Into our hands, and to Confine your selfe
    To Asher-house, my Lord of Winchesters,
    Till you heare further from his Highnesse.
    2115Car. Stay:
    Where's your Commission? Lords, words cannot carrie
    Authority so weighty.
    Suf. Who dare crosse 'em,
    Bearing the Kings will from his mouth expressely?
    2120Car. Till I finde more then will, or words to do it,
    (I meane your malice) know, Officious Lords,
    I dare, and must deny it. Now I feele
    Of what course Mettle ye are molded, Enuy,
    How eagerly ye follow my Disgraces