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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 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.

    Actus Primus. Scoena Prima.

    35Enter the Duke of Norfolke at one doore. At the other,
    the Duke of Buckingham, and the Lord

    GOod morrow, and well met. How haue ye done
    40Since last we saw in France?
    Norf. I thanke your Grace:
    Healthfull, and euer since a fresh Admirer
    Of what I saw there.
    Buck. An vntimely Ague
    45Staid me a Prisoner in my Chamber, when
    Those Sunnes of Glory, those two Lights of Men
    Met in the vale of Andren.
    Nor. 'Twixt Guynes and Arde,
    I was then present, saw them salute on Horsebacke,
    50Beheld them when they lighted, how they clung
    In their Embracement, as they grew together,
    Which had they,
    What foure Thron'd ones could haue weigh'd
    Such a compounded one?
    55Buck. All the whole time
    I was my Chambers Prisoner.
    Nor. Then you lost
    The view of earthly glory: Men might say
    Till this time Pompe was single, but now married
    60To one aboue it selfe. Each following day
    Became the next dayes master, till the last
    Made former Wonders, it's. To day the French,
    All Clinquant all in Gold, like Heathen Gods
    Shone downe the English; and to morrow, they
    65Made Britaine, India: Euery man that stood,
    Shew'd like a Mine. Their Dwarfish Pages were
    As Cherubins, all gilt: the Madams too,
    Not vs'd to toyle, did almost sweat to beare
    The Pride vpon them, that their very labour
    70Was to them, as a Painting. Now this Maske
    Was cry'de incompareable; and th'ensuing night
    Made it a Foole, and Begger. The two Kings
    Equall in lustre, were now best, now worst
    As presence did present them: Him in eye,
    75Still him in praise, and being present both,
    'Twas said they saw but one, and no Discerner
    Durst wagge his Tongue in censure, when these Sunnes
    (For so they phrase 'em) by their Heralds challeng'd
    The Noble Spirits to Armes, they did performe