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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Scena Secunda.
    Enter Cranmer, Archbyshop of Canterbury.
    Cran. I hope I am not too late, and yet the Gentleman
    2990That was sent to me from the Councell, pray'd me
    To make great hast. All fast? What meanes this? Hoa?
    Who waites there? Sure you know me?
    Enter Keeper.
    Keep. Yes, my Lord:
    2995But yet I cannot helpe you.
    Cran. Why?
    Keep. Your Grace must waight till you be call'd for.
    Enter Doctor Buts.
    Cran. So.
    3000Buts. This is a Peere of Malice: I am glad
    I came this way so happily. The King
    Shall vnderstand it presently. Exit Buts
    Cran. 'Tis Buts.
    The Kings Physitian, as he past along
    3005How earnestly he cast his eyes vpon me:
    Pray heauen he sound not my disgrace: for certaine
    This is of purpose laid by some that hate me,
    (God turne their hearts, I neuer sought their malice)
    To quench mine Honor; they would shame to make me
    3010Wait else at doore: a fellow Councellor
    'Mong Boyes, Groomes, and Lackeyes.
    But their pleasures
    Must be fulfill'd, and I attend with patience.
    Enter the King, and Buts, at a Windowe
    Buts. Ile shew your Grace the strangest sight.
    King. What's that Buts?
    Butts. I thinke your Highnesse saw this many a day.
    Kin. Body a me: where is it?
    3020Butts. There my Lord:
    The high promotion of his Grace of Canterbury,
    Who holds his State at dore 'mongst Purseuants,
    Pages, and Foot-boyes.
    Kin. Ha? 'Tis he indeed.
    3025Is this the Honour they doe one another?
    'Tis well there's one aboue 'em yet; I had thought
    They had parted so much honesty among 'em,
    At least good manners; as not thus to suffer
    A man of his Place, and so neere our fauour
    3030To dance attendance on their Lordships pleasures,
    And at the dore too, like a Post with Packets:
    By holy Mary (Butts) there's knauery;
    Let 'em alone, and draw the Curtaine close:
    We shall heare more anon.
    3035A Councell Table brought in with Chayres and Stooles, and
    placed vnder the State. Enter Lord Chancellour, places
    himselfe at the vpper end of the Table, on the left hand: A
    Seate being left void aboue him, as for Canterburies Seate.
    Duke of Suffolke, Duke of Norfolke, Surrey, Lord Cham-
    3040berlaine, Gardiner, seat themselues in Order on each side.
    Cromwell at lower end, as Secretary.
    Chan. Speake to the businesse, M. Secretary;
    Why are we met in Councell?
    Crom. Please your Honours,
    3045The chiefe cause concernes his Grace of Canterbury.
    Gard. Ha's he had knowledge of it?
    Crom. Yes.
    Norf. Who waits there?
    Keep. Without my Noble Lords?
    3050Gard. Yes.
    Keep. My Lord Archbishop:
    And ha's done halfe an houre to know your pleasures.
    Chan. Let him come in.
    Keep. Your Grace may enter now.
    3055Cranmer approches the Councell Table.
    Chan. My good Lord Archbishop, I'm very sorry
    To sit heere at this present, and behold
    That Chayre stand empty: But we all are men
    In our owne natures fraile, and capable
    3060Of our flesh, few are Angels; out of which frailty
    And want of wisedome, you that best should teach vs,
    Haue misdemean'd your selfe, and not a little:
    Toward the King first, then his Lawes, in filling
    The whole Realme, by your teaching & your Chaplaines
    3065(For so we are inform'd) with new opinions,
    Diuers and dangerous; which are Heresies;
    And not reform'd, may proue pernicious.
    Gard. Which Reformation must be sodaine too
    My Noble Lords; for those that tame wild Horses,
    3070Pace 'em not in their hands to make 'em gentle;
    But stop their mouthes with stubborn Bits & spurre 'em,
    Till they obey the mannage. If we suffer
    Out of our easinesse and childish pitty
    To one mans Honour, this contagious sicknesse;
    3075Farewell all Physicke: and what followes then?
    Commotions, vprores, with a generall Taint
    Of the whole State; as of late dayes our neighbours,
    The vpper Germany can deerely witnesse:
    Yet freshly pittied in our memories.
    3080Cran. My good Lords; Hitherto, in all the Progresse
    Both of my Life and Office, I haue labour'd,
    And with no little study, that my teaching
    And the strong course of my Authority,
    Might goe one way, and safely; and the end
    3085Was euer to doe well: nor is there liuing,
    (I speake it with a single heart, my Lords)
    A man that more detests, more stirres against,
    Both in his priuate Conscience, and his place,
    Defacers of a publique peace then I doe:
    3090Pray Heauen the King may neuer find a heart
    With lesse Allegeance in it. Men that make
    Enuy, and crooked malice, nourishment;
    Dare bite the best. I doe beseech your, Lordships,
    That in this case of Iustice, my Accusers,
    3095Be what they will, may stand forth face to face,
    And freely vrge against me.
    Suff. Nay, my Lord,
    That cannot be; you are a Counsellor,
    And by that vertue no man dare accuse you.
    3100Gard. My Lord, because we haue busines of more mo-(ment,
    We will be short with you. 'Tis his Highnesse pleasure
    And our consent, for better tryall of you,
    From hence you be committed to the Tower,
    Where being but a priuate man againe,
    3105You shall know many dare accuse you boldly,
    More then (I feare) you are prouided for.
    Cran. Ah my good Lord of Winchester: I thanke you,
    You are alwayes my good Friend, if your will passe,
    I shall both finde your Lordship, Iudge and Iuror,
    3110You are so mercifull. I see your end,
    'Tis my vndoing. Loue and meekenesse, Lord
    Become a Churchman, better then Ambition:
    Win straying Soules with modesty againe,
    Cast none away: That I shall cleere my selfe,
    3115Lay all the weight ye can vpon my patience,
    I make as little doubt as you doe conscience,
    In doing dayly wrongs. I could say more,
    But reuerence to your calling, makes me modest.
    Gard. My Lord, my Lord, you are a Sectary,
    3120That's the plaine truth; your painted glosse discouers
    To men that vnderstand you, words and weaknesse.
    Crom. My Lord of Winchester, y'are a little,
    By your good fauour, too sharpe; Men so Noble,
    How euer faultly, yet should finde respect
    3125For what they haue beene: 'tis a cruelty,
    To load a falling man.
    Gard. Good M. Secretary,
    I cry your Honour mercie; you may worst
    Of all this Table say so.
    3130Crom. Why my Lord?
    Gard. Doe not I know you for a Fauourer
    Of this new Sect? ye are not sound.
    Crom. Not sound?
    Gard. Not sound I say.
    3135Crom. Would you were halfe so honest:
    Mens prayers then would seeke you, not their feares.
    Gard. I shall remember this bold Language.
    Crom. Doe.
    Remember your bold life too.
    3140Cham. This is too much;
    Forbeare for shame my Lords.
    Gard. I haue done.
    Crom. And I.
    Cham. Then thus for you my Lord, it stands agreed
    3145I take it, by all voyces: That forthwith,
    You be conuaid to th'Tower a Prisoner;
    There to remaine till the Kings further pleasure
    Be knowne vnto vs: are you all agreed Lords.
    All. We are.
    3150Cran. Is there no other way of mercy,
    But I must needs to th'Tower my Lords?
    Gard. What other,
    Would you expect? You are strangely troublesome:
    Let some o'th'Guard be ready there.
    3155 Enter the Guard.
    Cran. For me?
    Must I goe like a Traytor thither?
    Gard. Receiue him,
    And see him safe i'th'Tower.
    3160Cran. Stay good my Lords,
    I haue a little yet to say. Looke there my Lords,
    By vertue of that Ring, I take my cause
    Out of the gripes of cruell men, and giue it
    To a most Noble Iudge, the King my Maister.
    3165Cham. This is the Kings Ring.
    Sur. 'Tis no counterfeit.
    Suff. 'Ts the right Ring, by Heau'n: I told ye all,
    When we first put this dangerous stone a rowling,
    'Twold fall vpon our selues.
    3170Norf. Doe you thinke my Lords
    The King will suffer but the little finger
    Of this man to be vex'd?
    Cham. Tis now too certaine;
    How much more is his Life in value with him?
    3175Would I were fairely out on't.
    Crom. My mind gaue me,
    In seeking tales and Informations
    Against this man, whose honesty the Diuell
    And his Disciples onely enuy at,
    3180Ye blew the fire that burnes ye: now haue at ye.
    Enter King frowning on them, takes his Seate.
    Gard. Dread Soueraigne,
    How much are we bound to Heauen,
    In dayly thankes; that gaue vs such a Prince;
    3185Not onely good and wise, but most religious:
    One that in all obedience, makes the Church
    The cheefe ayme of his Honour, and to strengthen
    That holy duty out of deare respect,
    His Royall selfe in Iudgement comes to heare
    3190The cause betwixt her, and this great offender.
    Kin. You were euer good at sodaine Commendations,
    Bishop of Winchester. But know I come not
    To heare such flattery now, and in my presence
    They are too thin, and base to hide offences,
    3195To me you cannot reach. You play the Spaniell,
    And thinke with wagging of your tongue to win me:
    But whatsoere thou tak'st me for; I'm sure
    Thou hast a cruell Nature and a bloody.
    Good man sit downe: Now let me see the proudest
    3200Hee, that dares most, but wag his finger at thee.
    By all that's holy, he had better starue,
    Then but once thinke his place becomes thee not.
    Sur. May it please your Grace; ---
    Kin. No Sir, it doe's not please me,
    3205I had thought, I had had men of some vnderstanding,
    And wisedome of my Councell; but I finde none:
    Was it discretion Lords, to let this man,
    This good man (few of you deserue that Title)
    This honest man, wait like a lowsie Foot-boy
    3210At Chamber dore? and one, as great as you are?
    Why, what a shame was this? Did my Commission
    Bid ye so farre forget your selues? I gaue ye
    Power, as he was a Counsellour to try him,
    Not as a Groome: There's some of ye, I see,
    3215More out of Malice then Integrity,
    Would trye him to the vtmost, had ye meane,
    Which ye shall neuer haue while I liue.
    Chan. Thus farre
    My most dread Soueraigne, may it like your Grace,
    3220To let my tongue excuse all. What was purpos'd
    Concerning his Imprisonment, was rather
    (If there be faith in men) meant for his Tryall,
    And faire purgation to the world then malice,
    I'm sure in me.
    3225Kin. Well, well my Lords respect him,
    Take him, and vse him well; hee's worthy of it.
    I will say thus much for him, if a Prince
    May be beholding to a Subiect; I
    Am for his loue and seruice, so to him.
    3230Make me no more adoe, but all embrace him;
    Be friends for shame my Lords: My Lord of Canterbury
    I haue a Suite which you must not deny mee.
    That is, a faire young Maid that yet wants Baptisme,
    You must be Godfather, and answere for her.
    3235Cran. The greatest Monarch now aliue may glory
    In such an honour: how may I deserue it,
    That am a poore and humble Subiect to you?
    Kin. Come, come my Lord, you'd spare your spoones;
    You shall haue two noble Partners with you: the old
    3240Duchesse of Norfolke, and Lady Marquesse Dorset? will
    these please you?
    Once more my Lord of Winchester, I charge you
    Embrace, and loue this man.
    Gard. With a true heart,
    3245And Brother; loue I doe it.
    Cran. And let Heauen
    Witnesse how deare, I hold this Confirmation.
    Kin. Good Man, those ioyfull teares shew thy true (hearts,
    The common voyce I see is verified
    3250Of thee, which sayes thus: Doe my Lord of Canterbury
    A shrewd turne, and hee's your friend for euer:
    Come Lords, we trifle time away: I long
    To haue this young one made a Christian.
    As I haue made ye one Lords, one remaine:
    3255So I grow stronger, you more Honour gaine. Exeunt.