Internet Shakespeare Editions

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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Scena Secunda.
    Enter Katherine Dowager, sicke, lead betweene Griffith,
    her Gentleman Vsher, and Patience
    2550her Woman.
    Grif. How do's your Grace?
    Kath. O Griffith, sicke to death:
    My Legges like loaden Branches bow to'th'Earth,
    Willing to leaue their burthen: Reach a Chaire,
    2555So now (me thinkes) I feele a little ease.
    Did'st thou not tell me Griffith, as thou lead'st mee,
    That the great Childe of Honor, Cardinall Wolsey
    Was dead?
    Grif. Yes Madam: but I thanke your Grace
    2560Out of the paine you suffer'd, gaue no eare too't.
    Kath. Pre'thee good Griffith, tell me how he dy'de.
    If well, he stept before me happily
    For my example.
    Grif. Well, the voyce goes Madam,
    2565For after the stout Earle Northumberland
    Arrested him at Yorke, and brought him forward
    As a man sorely tainted, to his Answer,
    He fell sicke sodainly, and grew so ill
    He could not sit his Mule.
    2570Kath. Alas poore man.
    Grif. At last, with easie Rodes, he came to Leicester,
    Lodg'd in the Abbey; where the reuerend Abbot
    With all his Couent, honourably receiu'd him;
    To whom he gaue these words. O Father Abbot,
    2575An old man, broken with the stormes of State,
    Is come to lay his weary bones among ye:
    Giue him a little earth for Charity.
    So went to bed; where eagerly his sicknesse
    Pursu'd him still, and three nights after this,
    2580About the houre of eight, which he himselfe
    Foretold should be his last, full of Repentance,
    Continuall Meditations, Teares, and Sorrowes,
    He gaue his Honors to the world agen,
    His blessed part to Heauen, and slept in peace.
    2585Kath. So may he rest,
    His Faults lye gently on him:
    Yet thus farre Griffith, giue me leaue to speake him,
    And yet with Charity. He was a man
    Of an vnbounded stomacke, euer ranking
    2590Himselfe with Princes. One that by suggestion
    Ty'de all the Kingdome. Symonie, was faire play,
    His owne Opinion was his Law. I'th'presence
    He would say vntruths, and be euer double
    Both in his words, and meaning. He was neuer
    2595(But where he meant to Ruine) pittifull.
    His Promises, were as he then was, Mighty:
    But his performance, as he is now, Nothing:
    Of his owne body he was ill, and gaue
    The Clergy ill example.
    2600Grif. Noble Madam:
    Mens euill manners, liue in Brasse, their Vertues
    We write in Water. May it please your Highnesse
    To heare me speake his good now?
    Kath. Yes good Griffith,
    2605I were malicious else.
    Grif. This Cardinall,
    Though from an humble Stocke, vndoubtedly
    Was fashion'd to much Honor. From his Cradle
    He was a Scholler, and a ripe, and good one:
    2610Exceeding wise, faire spoken, and perswading:
    Lofty, and sowre to them that lou'd him not:
    But, to those men that sought him, sweet as Summer.
    And though he were vnsatisfied in getting,
    (Which was a sinne) yet in bestowing, Madam,
    2615He was most Princely: Euer witnesse for him
    Those twinnes of Learning, that he rais'd in you,
    Ipswich and Oxford: one of which, fell with him,
    Vnwilling to out-liue the good that did it.
    The other (though vnfinish'd) yet so Famous,
    2620So excellent in Art, and still so rising,
    That Christendome shall euer speake his Vertue.
    His Ouerthrow, heap'd Happinesse vpon him:
    For then, and not till then, he felt himselfe,
    And found the Blessednesse of being little.
    2625And to adde greater Honors to his Age
    Then man could giue him; he dy'de, fearing God.
    Kath. After my death, I wish no other Herald,
    No other speaker of my liuing Actions,
    To keepe mine Honor, from Corruption,
    2630But such an honest Chronicler as Griffith.
    Whom I most hated Liuing, thou hast made mee
    With thy Religious Truth, and Modestie,
    (Now in his Ashes) Honor: Peace be with him.
    Patience, be neere me still, and set me lower,
    2635I haue not long to trouble thee. Good Griffith,
    Cause the Musitians play me that sad note
    I nam'd my Knell; whil'st I sit meditating
    On that Coelestiall Harmony I go too.
    Sad and solemne Musicke.
    2640Grif. She is asleep: Good wench, let's sit down quiet,
    For feare we wake her. Softly, gentle Patience.
    The Vision.
    Enter solemnely tripping one after another, sixe Personages,
    clad in white Robes, wearing on their heades Garlands of
    2645Bayes, and golden Vizards on their faces, Branches of Bayes
    or Palme in their hands. They first Conge vnto her, then
    Dance: and at certaine Changes, the first two hold a spare
    Garland ouer her Head, at which the other foure make re-
    uerend Curtsies. Then the two that held the Garland, deli-
    2650uerthe same to the other next two, who obserue the same or-
    derin their Changes, and holding the Garland ouer her
    head. Which done, they deliuer the same Garland to the
    last two: who likewise obserue the same Order. At which
    (as it were by inspiration) she makes (in her sleepe) signes of
    2655reioycing, and holdeth vp her hands to heauen. And so, in
    their Dancing vanish, carrying the Garland with them.
    The Musicke continues.
    Kath. Spirits of peace, where are ye? Are ye all gone?
    And leaue me heere in wretchednesse, behinde ye?
    2660Grif. Madam, we are heere.
    Kath. It is not you I call for,
    Saw ye none enter since I slept?
    Grif. None Madam.
    Kath. No? Saw you not euen now a blessed Troope
    2665Inuite me to a Banquet, whose bright faces
    Cast thousand beames vpon me, like the Sun?
    They promis'd me eternall Happinesse,
    And brought me Garlands (Griffith) which I feele
    I am not worthy yet to weare: I shall assuredly.
    2670Grif. I am most ioyfull Madam, such good dreames
    Possesse your Fancy.
    Kath. Bid the Musicke leaue,
    They are harsh and heauy to me. Musicke ceases.
    Pati. Do you note
    2675How much her Grace is alter'd on the sodaine?
    How long her face is drawne? How pale she lookes,
    And of an earthy cold? Marke her eyes?
    Grif. She is going Wench. Pray, pray.
    Pati. Heauen comfort her.
    2680Enter a Messenger.
    Mes. And't like your Grace ------
    Kath. You are a sawcy Fellow,
    Deserue we no more Reuerence?
    Grif. You are too blame,
    2685Knowing she will not loose her wonted Greatnesse
    To vse so rude behauiour. Go too, kneele.
    Mes. I humbly do entreat your Highnesse pardon,
    My hast made me vnmannerly. There is staying
    A Gentleman sent from the King, to see you.
    2690Kath. Admit him entrance Griffith. But this Fellow
    Let me ne're see againe. Exit Messeng.
    Enter Lord Capuchius.
    If my sight faile not,
    You should be Lord Ambassador from the Emperor,
    2695My Royall Nephew, and your name Capuchius.
    Cap. Madam the same. Your Seruant.
    Kath. O my Lord,
    The Times and Titles now are alter'd strangely
    With me, since first you knew me.
    2700But I pray you,
    What is your pleasure with me?
    Cap. Noble Lady,
    First mine owne seruice to your Grace, the next
    The Kings request, that I would visit you,
    2705Who greeues much for your weaknesse, and by me
    Sends you his Princely Commendations,
    And heartily entreats you take good comfort.
    Kath. O my good Lord, that comfort comes too late,
    'Tis like a Pardon after Execution;
    2710That gentle Physicke giuen in time, had cur'd me:
    But now I am past all Comforts heere, but Prayers.
    How does his Highnesse?
    Cap. Madam, in good health.
    Kath. So may he euer do, and euer flourish,
    2715When I shall dwell with Wormes, and my poore name
    Banish'd the Kingdome. Patience, is that Letter
    I caus'd you write, yet sent away?
    Pat. No Madam.
    Kath. Sir, I most humbly pray you to deliuer
    2720This to my Lord the King.
    Cap. Most willing Madam.
    Kath. In which I haue commended to his goodnesse
    The Modell of our chaste loues: his yong daughter,
    The dewes of Heauen fall thicke in Blessings on her,
    2725Beseeching him to giue her vertuous breeding.
    She is yong, and of a Noble modest Nature,
    I hope she will deserue well; and a little
    To loue her for her Mothers sake, that lou'd him,
    Heauen knowes how deerely.
    2730My next poore Petition,
    Is, that his Noble Grace would haue some pittie
    Vpon my wretched women, that so long
    Haue follow'd both my Fortunes, faithfully,
    Of which there is not one, I dare auow
    2735(And now I should not lye) but will deserue
    For Vertue, and true Beautie of the Soule,
    For honestie, and decent Carriage
    A right good Husband (let him be a Noble)
    And sure those men are happy that shall haue 'em.
    2740The last is for my men, they are the poorest,
    (But pouerty could neuer draw 'em from me)
    That they may haue their wages, duly paid 'em,
    And something ouer to remember me by.
    If Heauen had pleas'd to haue giuen me longer life
    2745And able meanes, we had not parted thus.
    These are the whole Contents, and good my Lord,
    By that you loue the deerest in this world,
    As you wish Christian peace to soules departed,
    Stand these poore peoples Friend, and vrge the King
    2750To do me this last right.
    Cap. By Heauen I will,
    Or let me loose the fashion of a man.
    Kath. I thanke you honest Lord. Remember me
    In all humilitie vnto his Highnesse:
    2755Say his long trouble now is passing
    Out of this world. Tell him in death I blest him
    (For so I will) mine eyes grow dimme. Farewell
    My Lord. Griffith farewell. Nay Patience,
    Vou must not leaue me yet. I must to bed,
    2760Call in more women. When I am dead, good Wench,
    Let me be vs'd with Honor; strew me ouer
    With Maiden Flowers, that all the world may know
    I was a chaste Wife, to my Graue: Embalme me,
    Then lay me forth (although vnqueen'd) yet like
    2765A Queene, and Daughter to a King enterre me.
    I can no more.
    Exeunt leading Katherine.