History of Henry VIII

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Prologue

       
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  • Chorus. 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,
    Such noble scenes as draw the eye to flow,
    We now present. Those that can pity, here 5
    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,
    May here find truth too. Those that come to see
    Only a show or two, and so agree 10
    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
    That come to hear a merry bawdy play,
    A noise of targets, or to see a fellow 15
    In a long motley coat guarded with yellow,
    Will be deceived; for, gentle hearers, know,
    To rank our chosen truth with such a show
    As fool and fight is, beside forfeiting
    Our own brains, and the opinion that we bring, 20
    To make that only true we now intend,
    Will leave us never an understanding friend.
    Therefore, for goodness' sake, and as you are known
    The first and happiest hearers of the town,
    Be sad, as we would make ye: think ye see 25
    The very persons of our noble story
    As they were living; think you see them great,
    And follow'd with the general throng and sweat
    Of thousand friends; then in a moment, see
    How soon this mightiness meets misery: 30
    And, if you can be merry then, I'll say
    A man may weep upon his wedding-day.

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