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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    80Beyond thoughts Compasse, that former fabulous Storie
    Being now seene, possible enough, got credit
    That Beuis was beleeu'd.
    Buc. Oh you go farre.
    Nor. As I belong to worship, and affect
    85In Honor, Honesty, the tract of eu'ry thing,
    Would by a good Discourser loose some life,
    Which Actions selfe, was tongue too.
    Buc. All was Royall,
    To the disposing of it nought rebell'd,
    90Order gaue each thing view. The Office did
    Distinctly his full Function: who did guide,
    I meane who set the Body, and the Limbes
    Of this great Sport together?
    Nor. As you guesse:
    95One certes, that promises no Element
    In such a businesse.
    Buc. I pray you who, my Lord?
    Nor. All this was ordred by the good Discretion
    Of the right Reuerend Cardinall of Yorke.
    100Buc. The diuell speed him: No mans Pye is freed
    From his Ambitious finger. What had he
    To do in these fierce Vanities? I wonder,
    That such a Keech can with his very bulke
    Take vp the Rayes o'th'beneficiall Sun,
    105And keepe it from the Earth.
    Nor. Surely Sir,
    There's in him stuffe, that put's him to these ends:
    For being not propt by Auncestry, whose grace
    Chalkes Successors their way; nor call'd vpon
    110For high feats done to'th'Crowne; neither Allied
    To eminent Assistants; but Spider-like
    Out of his Selfe-drawing Web. O giues vs note,
    The force of his owne merit makes his way
    A guift that heauen giues for him, which buyes
    115A place next to the King.
    Abur. I cannot tell
    What Heauen hath giuen him: let some Grauer eye
    Pierce into that, but I can see his Pride
    Peepe through each part of him: whence ha's he that,
    120If not from Hell? The Diuell is a Niggard,
    Or ha's giuen all before, and he begins
    A new Hell in himselfe.
    Buc. Why the Diuell,
    Vpon this French going out, tooke he vpon him
    125(Without the priuity o'th'King) t'appoint
    Who should attend on him? He makes vp the File
    Of all the Gentry; for the most part such
    To whom as great a Charge, as little Honor
    He meant to lay vpon: and his owne Letter
    130The Honourable Boord of Councell, out
    Must fetch him in, he Papers.
    Abur. I do know
    Kinsmen of mine, three at the least, that haue
    By this, so sicken'd their Estates, that neuer
    135They shall abound as formerly.
    Buc. O many
    Haue broke their backes with laying Mannors on 'em
    For this great Iourney. What did this vanity
    But minister communication of
    140A most poore issue.
    Nor. Greeuingly I thinke,
    The Peace betweene the French and vs, not valewes
    The Cost that did conclude it.
    Buc. Euery man,
    145After the hideous storme that follow'd, was
    A thing Inspir'd, and not consulting, broke
    Into a generall Prophesie; That this Tempest
    Dashing the Garment of this Peace, aboaded
    The sodaine breach on't.
    150Nor. Which is budded out,
    For France hath flaw'd the League, and hath attach'd
    Our Merchants goods at Burdeux.
    Abur. Is it therefore
    Th'Ambassador is silenc'd?
    155Nor. Marry is't.
    Abur. A proper Title of a Peace, and purchas'd
    At a superfluous rate.
    Buc. Why all this Businesse
    Our Reuerend Cardinall carried.
    160Nor. Like it your Grace,
    The State takes notice of the priuate difference
    Betwixt you, and the Cardinall. I aduise you
    (And take it from a heart, that wishes towards you
    Honor, and plenteous safety) that you reade
    165The Cardinals Malice, and his Potency
    Together; To consider further, that
    What his high Hatred would effect, wants not
    A Minister in his Power. You know his Nature,
    That he's Reuengefull; and I know, his Sword
    170Hath a sharpe edge: It's long, and't may be saide
    It reaches farre, and where 'twill not extend,
    Thither he darts it. Bosome vp my counsell,
    You'l finde it wholesome. Loe, where comes that Rock
    That I aduice your shunning.

    175Enter Cardinall Wolsey, the Purse borne before him, certaine
    of the Guard, and two Secretaries with Papers: The
    Cardinall in his passage, fixeth his eye on Buck-
    ham, and Buckingham on him,
    both full of disdaine.

    180Car. The Duke of Buckinghams Surueyor? Ha?
    Where's his Examination?
    Secr. Heere so please you.
    Car. Is he in person, ready?
    Secr. I, please your Grace.
    185Car. Well, we shall then know more, & Buckingham
    Shall lessen this bigge looke.
    Exeunt Cardinall, and his Traine.
    Buc. This Butchers Curre is venom'd-mouth'd, and I
    Haue not the power to muzzle him, therefore best
    190Not wake him in his slumber. A Beggers booke,
    Out-worths a Nobles blood.
    Nor. What are you chaff'd?
    Aske God for Temp'rance, that's th'appliance onely
    Which your disease requires.
    195Buc. I read in's looks
    Matter against me, and his eye reuil'd
    Me as his abiect obiect, at this instant
    He bores me with some tricke; He's gone to'th'King:
    Ile follow, and out-stare him.
    200Nor. Stay my Lord,
    And let your Reason with your Choller question
    What 'tis you go about: to climbe steepe hilles
    Requires slow pace at first. Anger is like
    A full hot Horse, who being allow'd his way
    205Selfe-mettle tyres him: Not a man in England
    Can aduise me like you: Be to your selfe,
    As you would to your Friend.
    Buc. Ile to the King,
    And from a mouth of Honor, quite cry downe