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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    And giue your hearts to; when they once perceiue
    975The least rub in your fortunes, fall away
    Like water from ye, neuer found againe
    But where they meane to sinke ye: all good people
    Pray for me, I must now forsake ye; the last houre
    Of my long weary life is come vpon me:
    980Farewell; and when you would say somthing that is sad,
    Speake how I fell.
    I haue done; and God forgiue me.
    Exeunt Duke and Traine.
    1. O, this is full of pitty; Sir, it cals
    985I feare, too many curses on their heads
    That were the Authors.
    2. If the Duke be guiltlesse,
    'Tis full of woe: yet I can giue you inckling
    Of an ensuing euill, if it fall,
    990Greater then this.
    1. Good Angels keepe it from vs:
    What may it be? you doe not doubt my faith Sir?
    2. This Secret is so weighty, 'twill require
    A strong faith to conceale it.
    9951. Let me haue it:
    I doe not talke much.
    2. I am confident;
    You shall Sir: Did you not of late dayes heare
    A buzzing of a Separation
    1000Betweene the King and Katherine?
    1. Yes, but it held not;
    For when the King once heard it, out of anger
    He sent command to the Lord Mayor straight
    To stop the rumor; and allay those tongues
    1005That durst disperse it.
    2. But that slander Sir,
    Is found a truth now: for it growes agen
    Fresher then e're it was; and held for certaine
    The King will venture at it. Either the Cardinall,
    1010Or some about him neere, haue out of malice
    To the good Queene, possest him with a scruple
    That will vndoe her: To confirme this too,
    Cardinall Campeius is arriu'd, and lately,
    As all thinke for this busines.
    10151. Tis the Cardinall;
    And meerely to reuenge him on the Emperour,
    For not bestowing on him at his asking,
    The Archbishopricke of Toledo, this is purpos'd.
    2. I thinke
    1020You haue hit the marke; but is't not cruell,
    That she should feele the smart of this: the Cardinall
    Will haue his will, and she must fall.
    1. 'Tis wofull.
    Wee are too open heere to argue this:
    1025Let's thinke in priuate more. Exeunt.

    Scena Secunda.

    Enter Lord Chamberlaine, reading this letter.

    My Lord, the Horses your Lordship sent for, with all the
    care I had, I saw well chosen, ridden, and furnish'd.
    1030They were young and handsome, and of the best breed in the
    North. When they were ready to set out for London, a man
    of my Lord Cardinalls, by Commission, and maine power tooke
    'em from me, with this reason: his maister would bee seru'd be-
    fore a Subiect, if not before the King, which stop'd our mouthes
    I feare he will indeede; well, let him haue them; hee
    will haue all I thinke.
    Enter to the Lord Chamberlaine, the Dukes of Nor-
    folke and Suffolke.
    1040Norf. Well met my Lord Chamberlaine.
    Cham. Good day to both your Graces.
    Suff. How is the King imployd?
    Cham. I left him priuate,
    Full of sad thoughts and troubles.
    1045Norf. What's the cause?
    Cham. It seemes the Marriage with his Brothers Wife
    Ha's crept too neere his Conscience.
    Suff. No, his Conscience
    Ha's crept too neere another Ladie.
    1050Norf. Tis so;
    This is the Cardinals doing: The King-Cardinall,
    That blinde Priest, like the eldest Sonne of Fortune,
    Turnes what he list. The King will know him one day.
    Suff. Pray God he doe,
    1055Hee'l neuer know himselfe else.
    Norf. How holily he workes in all his businesse,
    And with what zeale? For now he has crackt the League
    Between vs & the Emperor (the Queens great Nephew)
    He diues into the Kings Soule, and there scatters
    1060Dangers, doubts, wringing of the Conscience,
    Feares, and despaires, and all these for his Marriage.
    And out of all these, to restore the King,
    He counsels a Diuorce, a losse of her
    That like a Iewell, ha's hung twenty yeares
    1065About his necke, yet neuer lost her lustre;
    Of her that loues him with that excellence,
    That Angels loue good men with: Euen of her,
    That when the greatest stroake of Fortune falls
    Will blesse the King: and is not this course pious?
    1070Cham. Heauen keep me from such councel: tis most true
    These newes are euery where, euery tongue speaks 'em,
    And euery true heart weepes for't. All that dare
    Looke into these affaires, see this maine end,
    The French Kings Sister. Heauen will one day open
    1075The Kings eyes, that so long haue slept vpon
    This bold bad man.
    Suff. And free vs from his slauery.
    Norf. We had need pray,
    And heartily, for our deliuerance;
    1080Or this imperious man will worke vs all
    From Princes into Pages: all mens honours
    Lie like one lumpe before him, to be fashion'd
    Into what pitch he please.
    Suff. For me, my Lords,
    1085I loue him not, nor feare him, there's my Creede:
    As I am made without him, so Ile stand,
    If the King please: his Curses and his blessings
    Touch me alike: th'are breath I not beleeue in.
    I knew him, and I know him: so I leaue him
    1090To him that made him proud; the Pope.
    Norf. Let's in;
    And with some other busines, put the King
    From these sad thoughts, that work too much vpon him:
    My Lord, youle beare vs company?
    1095Cham. Excuse me,
    The King ha's sent me otherwhere: Besides
    You'l finde a most vnfit time to disturbe him:
    Health to your Lordships.