Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Henry The Eighth (Modern)
  • Editor: Diane Jakacki

  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Modern)

    The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight.
    [Enter Prologue]
    I come no more to make you laugh. Things now
    That bear a weighty and a serious brow;
    Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe.
    5Such noble scenes as draw the eye to flow,
    We now present. Those that can pity here
    May, if they think it well, let fall a tear:
    The subject will deserve it. Such as give
    Their money out of hope they may believe,
    10May here find truth, too. Those that come to see
    Only a show or two, and so agree
    The play may pass, if they be still and willing,
    I'll undertake may see away their shilling
    Richly in two short hours. Only they
    15That come to hear a merry, bawdy play,
    A noise of targets, or to see a fellow
    In a long motley coat guarded with yellow,
    Will be deceived. For, gentle hearers, know
    To rank our chosen truth with such a show
    20As fool and fight is, beside forfeiting
    Our own brains and the opinion that we bring
    To make that only true we now intend,
    Will leave us never an understanding friend.
    Therefore, for goodness' sake, and as you are known
    25The first and happiest hearers of the town,
    Be sad, as we would make ye. Think ye see
    The very persons of our noble story
    As they were living; think you see them great,
    And followed with the general throng and sweat
    30Of thousand friends; then, in a moment, see
    How soon this mightiness meets misery;
    And if you can be merry then, I'll say
    A man may weep upon his wedding day.