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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    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,
    1740I haue more Charity. But say I warn'd ye;
    Take heed, for heauens sake take heed, least at once
    The burthen of my sorrowes, fall vpon ye.
    Car. Madam, this is a meere distraction,
    You turne the good we offer, into enuy.
    1745Quee. Ye turne me into nothing. Woe vpon ye,
    And all such false Professors. Would you haue me
    (If you haue any Iustice, any Pitty,
    If ye be any thing but Churchmens habits)
    Put my sicke cause into his hands, that hates me?
    1750Alas, ha's banish'd me his Bed already,
    His Loue, too long ago. I am old my Lords,
    And all the Fellowship I hold now with him
    Is onely my Obedience. What can happen
    To me, aboue this wretchednesse? All your Studies
    1755Make me a Curse, like this.
    Camp. Your feares are worse.
    Qu Haue I liu'd thus long (let me speake my selfe,
    Since Vertue findes no friends) a Wife, a true one?
    A Woman (I dare say without Vainglory)
    1760Neuer yet branded with Suspition?
    Haue I, with all my full Affections
    Still met the King? Lou'd him next Heau'n? Obey'd him?
    Bin (out of fondnesse) superstitious to him?
    Almost forgot my Prayres to content him?
    1765And am I thus rewarded? 'Tis not well Lords.
    Bring me a constant woman to her Husband,
    One that ne're dream'd a Ioy, beyond his pleasure;
    And to that Woman (when she has done most)
    Yet will I adde an Honor; a great Patience.
    1770Car. Madam, you wander from the good
    We ayme at.
    Qu. My Lord,
    I dare not make my selfe so guiltie,
    To giue vp willingly that Noble Title
    1775Your Master wed me to: nothing but death
    Shall e're diuorce my Dignities.
    Car. Pray heare me.
    Qu. Would I had neuer trod this English Earth,
    Or felt the Flatteries that grow vpon it:
    1780Ye haue Angels Faces; but Heauen knowes your hearts.
    What will become of me now, wretched Lady?
    I am the most vnhappy Woman liuing.
    Alas (poore Wenches) where are now your Fortunes?
    Shipwrack'd vpon a Kingdome, where no Pitty,
    1785No Friends, no Hope, no Kindred weepe for me?
    Almost no Graue allow'd me? Like the Lilly
    That once was Mistris of the Field, and flourish'd,
    Ile hang my head, and perish.
    Car. If your Grace
    1790Could but be brought to know, our Ends are honest,
    Youl'd feele more comfort. Why shold we (good Lady)
    Vpon what cause wrong you? Alas, our Places,
    The way of our Profession is against it;
    We are to Cure such sorrowes, not to sowe 'em.
    1795For Goodnesse sake, consider what you do,
    How you may hurt your selfe: I, vtterly
    Grow from the Kings Acquaintance, by this Carriage.
    The hearts of Princes kisse Obedience,
    So much they loue it. But to stubborne Spirits,
    1800They swell and grow, as terrible as stormes.
    I know you haue a Gentle, Noble temper,
    A Soule as euen as a Calme; Pray thinke vs,
    Those we professe, Peace-makers, Friends, and Seruants.
    Camp. Madam, you'l finde it so:
    1805You wrong your Vertues
    With these weake Womens feares. A Noble Spirit
    As yours was, put into you, euer casts
    Such doubts as false Coine from it. The King loues you,
    Beware you loose it not: For vs (if you please
    1810To trust vs in your businesse) we are ready
    To vse our vtmost Studies, in your seruice.
    Qu. Do what ye will, my Lords:
    And pray forgiue me;
    If I haue vs'd my selfe vnmannerly,
    1815You know I am a Woman, lacking wit
    To make a seemely answer to such persons.
    Pray do my seruice to his Maiestie,
    He ha's my heart yet, and shall haue my Prayers
    While I shall haue my life. Come reuerend Fathers,
    1820Bestow your Councels on me. She now begges
    That little thought when she set footing heere,
    She should haue bought her Dignities so deere. Exeunt