Open Source Shakespeare

History of Henry VIII

Act I


Scene 1. London. An ante-chamber in the palace.

Scene 2. The same. The council-chamber.

Scene 3. An ante-chamber in the palace.

Scene 4. A Hall in York Place.

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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.


Act I, Scene 1

London. An ante-chamber in the palace.


[Enter NORFOLK at one door; at the other, BUCKINGHAM] [p]and ABERGAVENNY]

  • Duke of Buckingham. Good morrow, and well met. How have ye done 35
    Since last we saw in France?
  • Duke of Norfolk. I thank your grace,
    Healthful; and ever since a fresh admirer
    Of what I saw there.
  • Duke of Buckingham. An untimely ague 40
    Stay'd me a prisoner in my chamber when
    Those suns of glory, those two lights of men,
    Met in the vale of Andren.
  • Duke of Norfolk. 'Twixt Guynes and Arde:
    I was then present, saw them salute on horseback; 45
    Beheld them, when they lighted, how they clung
    In their embracement, as they grew together;
    Which had they, what four throned ones could have weigh'd
    Such a compounded one?
  • Duke of Buckingham. All the whole time 50
    I was my chamber's prisoner.
  • Duke of Norfolk. Then you lost
    The view of earthly glory: men might say,
    Till this time pomp was single, but now married
    To one above itself. Each following day 55
    Became the next day's master, till the last
    Made former wonders its. To-day the French,
    All clinquant, all in gold, like heathen gods,
    Shone down the English; and, to-morrow, they
    Made Britain India: every man that stood 60
    Show'd like a mine. Their dwarfish pages were
    As cherubins, all guilt: the madams too,
    Not used to toil, did almost sweat to bear
    The pride upon them, that their very labour
    Was to them as a painting: now this masque 65
    Was cried incomparable; and the ensuing night
    Made it a fool and beggar. The two kings,
    Equal in lustre, were now best, now worst,
    As presence did present them; him in eye,
    Still him in praise: and, being present both 70
    'Twas said they saw but one; and no discerner
    Durst wag his tongue in censure. When these suns—
    For so they phrase 'em—by their heralds challenged
    The noble spirits to arms, they did perform
    Beyond thought's compass; that former fabulous story, 75
    Being now seen possible enough, got credit,
    That Bevis was believed.
  • Duke of Buckingham. O, you go far.
  • Duke of Norfolk. As I belong to worship and affect
    In honour honesty, the tract of every thing 80
    Would by a good discourser lose some life,
    Which action's self was tongue to. All was royal;
    To the disposing of it nought rebell'd.
    Order gave each thing view; the office did
    Distinctly his full function. 85
  • Duke of Buckingham. Who did guide,
    I mean, who set the body and the limbs
    Of this great sport together, as you guess?
  • Duke of Norfolk. One, certes, that promises no element
    In such a business. 90
  • Duke of Buckingham. I pray you, who, my lord?
  • Duke of Norfolk. All this was order'd by the good discretion
    Of the right reverend Cardinal of York.
  • Duke of Buckingham. The devil speed him! no man's pie is freed
    From his ambitious finger. What had he 95
    To do in these fierce vanities? I wonder
    That such a keech can with his very bulk
    Take up the rays o' the beneficial sun
    And keep it from the earth.
  • Duke of Norfolk. Surely, sir, 100
    There's in him stuff that puts him to these ends;
    For, being not propp'd by ancestry, whose grace
    Chalks successors their way, nor call'd upon
    For high feats done to the crown; neither allied
    For eminent assistants; but, spider-like, 105
    Out of his self-drawing web, he gives us note,
    The force of his own merit makes his way
    A gift that heaven gives for him, which buys
    A place next to the king.
  • Lord Abergavenny. I cannot tell 110
    What heaven hath given him,—let some graver eye
    Pierce into that; but I can see his pride
    Peep through each part of him: whence has he that,
    If not from hell? the devil is a niggard,
    Or has given all before, and he begins 115
    A new hell in himself.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Why the devil,
    Upon this French going out, took he upon him,
    Without the privity o' the king, to appoint
    Who should attend on him? He makes up the file 120
    Of all the gentry; for the most part such
    To whom as great a charge as little honour
    He meant to lay upon: and his own letter,
    The honourable board of council out,
    Must fetch him in the papers. 125
  • Lord Abergavenny. I do know
    Kinsmen of mine, three at the least, that have
    By this so sickened their estates, that never
    They shall abound as formerly.
  • Duke of Buckingham. O, many 130
    Have broke their backs with laying manors on 'em
    For this great journey. What did this vanity
    But minister communication of
    A most poor issue?
  • Duke of Norfolk. Grievingly I think, 135
    The peace between the French and us not values
    The cost that did conclude it.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Every man,
    After the hideous storm that follow'd, was
    A thing inspired; and, not consulting, broke 140
    Into a general prophecy; That this tempest,
    Dashing the garment of this peace, aboded
    The sudden breach on't.
  • Duke of Norfolk. Which is budded out;
    For France hath flaw'd the league, and hath attach'd 145
    Our merchants' goods at Bourdeaux.
  • Lord Abergavenny. Is it therefore
    The ambassador is silenced?
  • Duke of Norfolk. Marry, is't.
  • Lord Abergavenny. A proper title of a peace; and purchased 150
    At a superfluous rate!
  • Duke of Buckingham. Why, all this business
    Our reverend cardinal carried.
  • Duke of Norfolk. Like it your grace,
    The state takes notice of the private difference 155
    Betwixt you and the cardinal. I advise you—
    And take it from a heart that wishes towards you
    Honour and plenteous safety—that you read
    The cardinal's malice and his potency
    Together; to consider further that 160
    What his high hatred would effect wants not
    A minister in his power. You know his nature,
    That he's revengeful, and I know his sword
    Hath a sharp edge: it's long and, 't may be said,
    It reaches far, and where 'twill not extend, 165
    Thither he darts it. Bosom up my counsel,
    You'll find it wholesome. Lo, where comes that rock
    That I advise your shunning.
    [Enter CARDINAL WOLSEY, the purse borne before him,]
    certain of the Guard, and two Secretaries with 170
    papers. CARDINAL WOLSEY in his passage fixeth his
    eye on BUCKINGHAM, and BUCKINGHAM on him, both full
    of disdain]
  • Cardinal Wolsey. The Duke of Buckingham's surveyor, ha?
    Where's his examination? 175
  • First Secretary. Here, so please you.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Is he in person ready?
  • First Secretary. Ay, please your grace.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Well, we shall then know more; and Buckingham
    Shall lessen this big look. 180

[Exeunt CARDINAL WOLSEY and his Train]

  • Duke of Buckingham. This butcher's cur is venom-mouth'd, and I
    Have not the power to muzzle him; therefore best
    Not wake him in his slumber. A beggar's book
    Outworths a noble's blood. 185
  • Duke of Norfolk. What, are you chafed?
    Ask God for temperance; that's the appliance only
    Which your disease requires.
  • Duke of Buckingham. I read in's looks
    Matter against me; and his eye reviled 190
    Me, as his abject object: at this instant
    He bores me with some trick: he's gone to the king;
    I'll follow and outstare him.
  • Duke of Norfolk. Stay, my lord,
    And let your reason with your choler question 195
    What 'tis you go about: to climb steep hills
    Requires slow pace at first: anger is like
    A full-hot horse, who being allow'd his way,
    Self-mettle tires him. Not a man in England
    Can advise me like you: be to yourself 200
    As you would to your friend.
  • Duke of Buckingham. I'll to the king;
    And from a mouth of honour quite cry down
    This Ipswich fellow's insolence; or proclaim
    There's difference in no persons. 205
  • Duke of Norfolk. Be advised;
    Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot
    That it do singe yourself: we may outrun,
    By violent swiftness, that which we run at,
    And lose by over-running. Know you not, 210
    The fire that mounts the liquor til run o'er,
    In seeming to augment it wastes it? Be advised:
    I say again, there is no English soul
    More stronger to direct you than yourself,
    If with the sap of reason you would quench, 215
    Or but allay, the fire of passion.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Sir,
    I am thankful to you; and I'll go along
    By your prescription: but this top-proud fellow,
    Whom from the flow of gall I name not but 220
    From sincere motions, by intelligence,
    And proofs as clear as founts in July when
    We see each grain of gravel, I do know
    To be corrupt and treasonous.
  • Duke of Norfolk. Say not 'treasonous.' 225
  • Duke of Buckingham. To the king I'll say't; and make my vouch as strong
    As shore of rock. Attend. This holy fox,
    Or wolf, or both,—for he is equal ravenous
    As he is subtle, and as prone to mischief
    As able to perform't; his mind and place 230
    Infecting one another, yea, reciprocally—
    Only to show his pomp as well in France
    As here at home, suggests the king our master
    To this last costly treaty, the interview,
    That swallow'd so much treasure, and like a glass 235
    Did break i' the rinsing.
  • Duke of Norfolk. Faith, and so it did.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Pray, give me favour, sir. This cunning cardinal
    The articles o' the combination drew
    As himself pleased; and they were ratified 240
    As he cried 'Thus let be': to as much end
    As give a crutch to the dead: but our count-cardinal
    Has done this, and 'tis well; for worthy Wolsey,
    Who cannot err, he did it. Now this follows,—
    Which, as I take it, is a kind of puppy 245
    To the old dam, treason,—Charles the emperor,
    Under pretence to see the queen his aunt—
    For 'twas indeed his colour, but he came
    To whisper Wolsey,—here makes visitation:
    His fears were, that the interview betwixt 250
    England and France might, through their amity,
    Breed him some prejudice; for from this league
    Peep'd harms that menaced him: he privily
    Deals with our cardinal; and, as I trow,—
    Which I do well; for I am sure the emperor 255
    Paid ere he promised; whereby his suit was granted
    Ere it was ask'd; but when the way was made,
    And paved with gold, the emperor thus desired,
    That he would please to alter the king's course,
    And break the foresaid peace. Let the king know, 260
    As soon he shall by me, that thus the cardinal
    Does buy and sell his honour as he pleases,
    And for his own advantage.
  • Duke of Norfolk. I am sorry
    To hear this of him; and could wish he were 265
    Something mistaken in't.
  • Duke of Buckingham. No, not a syllable:
    I do pronounce him in that very shape
    He shall appear in proof.
    [Enter BRANDON, a Sergeant-at-arms before him, and] 270
    two or three of the Guard]
  • Brandon. Your office, sergeant; execute it.
  • Sergeant. Sir,
    My lord the Duke of Buckingham, and Earl
    Of Hereford, Stafford, and Northampton, I 275
    Arrest thee of high treason, in the name
    Of our most sovereign king.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Lo, you, my lord,
    The net has fall'n upon me! I shall perish
    Under device and practise. 280
  • Brandon. I am sorry
    To see you ta'en from liberty, to look on
    The business present: 'tis his highness' pleasure
    You shall to the Tower.
  • Duke of Buckingham. It will help me nothing 285
    To plead mine innocence; for that dye is on me
    Which makes my whitest part black. The will of heaven
    Be done in this and all things! I obey.
    O my Lord Abergavenny, fare you well!
  • Brandon. Nay, he must bear you company. The king 290
    Is pleased you shall to the Tower, till you know
    How he determines further.
  • Lord Abergavenny. As the duke said,
    The will of heaven be done, and the king's pleasure 295
    By me obey'd!
  • Brandon. Here is a warrant from
    The king to attach Lord Montacute; and the bodies
    Of the duke's confessor, John de la Car,
    One Gilbert Peck, his chancellor— 300
  • Duke of Buckingham. So, so;
    These are the limbs o' the plot: no more, I hope.
  • Brandon. A monk o' the Chartreux.
  • Duke of Buckingham. O, Nicholas Hopkins?
  • Brandon. He. 305
  • Duke of Buckingham. My surveyor is false; the o'er-great cardinal
    Hath show'd him gold; my life is spann'd already:
    I am the shadow of poor Buckingham,
    Whose figure even this instant cloud puts on,
    By darkening my clear sun. My lord, farewell. 310



Act I, Scene 2

The same. The council-chamber.


[Cornets. Enter KING HENRY VIII, leaning on] [p]CARDINAL WOLSEY's shoulder, the Nobles, and LOVELL; [p]CARDINAL WOLSEY places himself under KING HENRY [p]VIII's feet on his right side]

  • Henry VIII. My life itself, and the best heart of it,
    Thanks you for this great care: I stood i' the level
    Of a full-charged confederacy, and give thanks
    To you that choked it. Let be call'd before us
    That gentleman of Buckingham's; in person 320
    I'll hear him his confessions justify;
    And point by point the treasons of his master
    He shall again relate.
    [A noise within, crying 'Room for the Queen!' Enter]
    QUEEN KATHARINE, ushered by NORFOLK, and SUFFOLK: 325
    she kneels. KING HENRY VIII riseth from his state,
    takes her up, kisses and placeth her by him]
  • Queen Katharine. Nay, we must longer kneel: I am a suitor.
  • Henry VIII. Arise, and take place by us: half your suit
    Never name to us; you have half our power: 330
    The other moiety, ere you ask, is given;
    Repeat your will and take it.
  • Queen Katharine. Thank your majesty.
    That you would love yourself, and in that love
    Not unconsider'd leave your honour, nor 335
    The dignity of your office, is the point
    Of my petition.
  • Henry VIII. Lady mine, proceed.
  • Queen Katharine. I am solicited, not by a few,
    And those of true condition, that your subjects 340
    Are in great grievance: there have been commissions
    Sent down among 'em, which hath flaw'd the heart
    Of all their loyalties: wherein, although,
    My good lord cardinal, they vent reproaches
    Most bitterly on you, as putter on 345
    Of these exactions, yet the king our master—
    Whose honour heaven shield from soil!—even he
    escapes not
    Language unmannerly, yea, such which breaks
    The sides of loyalty, and almost appears 350
    In loud rebellion.
  • Duke of Norfolk. Not almost appears,
    It doth appear; for, upon these taxations,
    The clothiers all, not able to maintain
    The many to them longing, have put off 355
    The spinsters, carders, fullers, weavers, who,
    Unfit for other life, compell'd by hunger
    And lack of other means, in desperate manner
    Daring the event to the teeth, are all in uproar,
    And danger serves among then! 360
  • Henry VIII. Taxation!
    Wherein? and what taxation? My lord cardinal,
    You that are blamed for it alike with us,
    Know you of this taxation?
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Please you, sir, 365
    I know but of a single part, in aught
    Pertains to the state; and front but in that file
    Where others tell steps with me.
  • Queen Katharine. No, my lord,
    You know no more than others; but you frame 370
    Things that are known alike; which are not wholesome
    To those which would not know them, and yet must
    Perforce be their acquaintance. These exactions,
    Whereof my sovereign would have note, they are
    Most pestilent to the bearing; and, to bear 'em, 375
    The back is sacrifice to the load. They say
    They are devised by you; or else you suffer
    Too hard an exclamation.
  • Henry VIII. Still exaction!
    The nature of it? in what kind, let's know, 380
    Is this exaction?
  • Queen Katharine. I am much too venturous
    In tempting of your patience; but am bolden'd
    Under your promised pardon. The subjects' grief
    Comes through commissions, which compel from each 385
    The sixth part of his substance, to be levied
    Without delay; and the pretence for this
    Is named, your wars in France: this makes bold mouths:
    Tongues spit their duties out, and cold hearts freeze
    Allegiance in them; their curses now 390
    Live where their prayers did: and it's come to pass,
    This tractable obedience is a slave
    To each incensed will. I would your highness
    Would give it quick consideration, for
    There is no primer business. 395
  • Henry VIII. By my life,
    This is against our pleasure.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. And for me,
    I have no further gone in this than by
    A single voice; and that not pass'd me but 400
    By learned approbation of the judges. If I am
    Traduced by ignorant tongues, which neither know
    My faculties nor person, yet will be
    The chronicles of my doing, let me say
    'Tis but the fate of place, and the rough brake 405
    That virtue must go through. We must not stint
    Our necessary actions, in the fear
    To cope malicious censurers; which ever,
    As ravenous fishes, do a vessel follow
    That is new-trimm'd, but benefit no further 410
    Than vainly longing. What we oft do best,
    By sick interpreters, once weak ones, is
    Not ours, or not allow'd; what worst, as oft,
    Hitting a grosser quality, is cried up
    For our best act. If we shall stand still, 415
    In fear our motion will be mock'd or carp'd at,
    We should take root here where we sit, or sit
    State-statues only.
  • Henry VIII. Things done well,
    And with a care, exempt themselves from fear; 420
    Things done without example, in their issue
    Are to be fear'd. Have you a precedent
    Of this commission? I believe, not any.
    We must not rend our subjects from our laws,
    And stick them in our will. Sixth part of each? 425
    A trembling contribution! Why, we take
    From every tree lop, bark, and part o' the timber;
    And, though we leave it with a root, thus hack'd,
    The air will drink the sap. To every county
    Where this is question'd send our letters, with 430
    Free pardon to each man that has denied
    The force of this commission: pray, look to't;
    I put it to your care.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. A word with you.
    [To the Secretary] 435
    Let there be letters writ to every shire,
    Of the king's grace and pardon. The grieved commons
    Hardly conceive of me; let it be noised
    That through our intercession this revokement
    And pardon comes: I shall anon advise you 440
    Further in the proceeding.

[Exit Secretary]

[Enter Surveyor]

  • Queen Katharine. I am sorry that the Duke of Buckingham
    Is run in your displeasure. 445
  • Henry VIII. It grieves many:
    The gentleman is learn'd, and a most rare speaker;
    To nature none more bound; his training such,
    That he may furnish and instruct great teachers,
    And never seek for aid out of himself. Yet see, 450
    When these so noble benefits shall prove
    Not well disposed, the mind growing once corrupt,
    They turn to vicious forms, ten times more ugly
    Than ever they were fair. This man so complete,
    Who was enroll'd 'mongst wonders, and when we, 455
    Almost with ravish'd listening, could not find
    His hour of speech a minute; he, my lady,
    Hath into monstrous habits put the graces
    That once were his, and is become as black
    As if besmear'd in hell. Sit by us; you shall hear— 460
    This was his gentleman in trust—of him
    Things to strike honour sad. Bid him recount
    The fore-recited practises; whereof
    We cannot feel too little, hear too much.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Stand forth, and with bold spirit relate what you, 465
    Most like a careful subject, have collected
    Out of the Duke of Buckingham.
  • Henry VIII. Speak freely.
  • Surveyor. First, it was usual with him, every day
    It would infect his speech, that if the king 470
    Should without issue die, he'll carry it so
    To make the sceptre his: these very words
    I've heard him utter to his son-in-law,
    Lord Abergavenny; to whom by oath he menaced
    Revenge upon the cardinal. 475
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Please your highness, note
    This dangerous conception in this point.
    Not friended by by his wish, to your high person
    His will is most malignant; and it stretches
    Beyond you, to your friends. 480
  • Queen Katharine. My learn'd lord cardinal,
    Deliver all with charity.
  • Henry VIII. Speak on:
    How grounded he his title to the crown,
    Upon our fail? to this point hast thou heard him 485
    At any time speak aught?
  • Surveyor. He was brought to this
    By a vain prophecy of Nicholas Hopkins.
  • Henry VIII. What was that Hopkins?
  • Surveyor. Sir, a Chartreux friar, 490
    His confessor, who fed him every minute
    With words of sovereignty.
  • Henry VIII. How know'st thou this?
  • Surveyor. Not long before your highness sped to France,
    The duke being at the Rose, within the parish 495
    Saint Lawrence Poultney, did of me demand
    What was the speech among the Londoners
    Concerning the French journey: I replied,
    Men fear'd the French would prove perfidious,
    To the king's danger. Presently the duke 500
    Said, 'twas the fear, indeed; and that he doubted
    'Twould prove the verity of certain words
    Spoke by a holy monk; 'that oft,' says he,
    'Hath sent to me, wishing me to permit
    John de la Car, my chaplain, a choice hour 505
    To hear from him a matter of some moment:
    Whom after under the confession's seal
    He solemnly had sworn, that what he spoke
    My chaplain to no creature living, but
    To me, should utter, with demure confidence 510
    This pausingly ensued: neither the king nor's heirs,
    Tell you the duke, shall prosper: bid him strive
    To gain the love o' the commonalty: the duke
    Shall govern England.'
  • Queen Katharine. If I know you well, 515
    You were the duke's surveyor, and lost your office
    On the complaint o' the tenants: take good heed
    You charge not in your spleen a noble person
    And spoil your nobler soul: I say, take heed;
    Yes, heartily beseech you. 520
  • Henry VIII. Let him on.
    Go forward.
  • Surveyor. On my soul, I'll speak but truth.
    I told my lord the duke, by the devil's illusions
    The monk might be deceived; and that 'twas dangerous for him 525
    To ruminate on this so far, until
    It forged him some design, which, being believed,
    It was much like to do: he answer'd, 'Tush,
    It can do me no damage;' adding further,
    That, had the king in his last sickness fail'd, 530
    The cardinal's and Sir Thomas Lovell's heads
    Should have gone off.
  • Henry VIII. Ha! what, so rank? Ah ha!
    There's mischief in this man: canst thou say further?
  • Surveyor. I can, my liege. 535
  • Henry VIII. Proceed.
  • Surveyor. Being at Greenwich,
    After your highness had reproved the duke
    About Sir William Blomer,—
  • Henry VIII. I remember 540
    Of such a time: being my sworn servant,
    The duke retain'd him his. But on; what hence?
  • Surveyor. 'If,' quoth he, 'I for this had been committed,
    As, to the Tower, I thought, I would have play'd
    The part my father meant to act upon 545
    The usurper Richard; who, being at Salisbury,
    Made suit to come in's presence; which if granted,
    As he made semblance of his duty, would
    Have put his knife to him.'
  • Henry VIII. A giant traitor! 550
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Now, madam, may his highness live in freedom,
    and this man out of prison?
  • Queen Katharine. God mend all!
  • Henry VIII. There's something more would out of thee; what say'st?
  • Surveyor. After 'the duke his father,' with 'the knife,' 555
    He stretch'd him, and, with one hand on his dagger,
    Another spread on's breast, mounting his eyes
    He did discharge a horrible oath; whose tenor
    Was,—were he evil used, he would outgo
    His father by as much as a performance 560
    Does an irresolute purpose.
  • Henry VIII. There's his period,
    To sheathe his knife in us. He is attach'd;
    Call him to present trial: if he may
    Find mercy in the law, 'tis his: if none, 565
    Let him not seek 't of us: by day and night,
    He's traitor to the height.



Act I, Scene 3

An ante-chamber in the palace.


[Enter Chamberlain and SANDS]

  • Lord Chamberlain. Is't possible the spells of France should juggle 570
    Men into such strange mysteries?
  • Lord Sands. New customs,
    Though they be never so ridiculous,
    Nay, let 'em be unmanly, yet are follow'd.
  • Lord Chamberlain. As far as I see, all the good our English 575
    Have got by the late voyage is but merely
    A fit or two o' the face; but they are shrewd ones;
    For when they hold 'em, you would swear directly
    Their very noses had been counsellors
    To Pepin or Clotharius, they keep state so. 580
  • Lord Sands. They have all new legs, and lame ones: one would take it,
    That never saw 'em pace before, the spavin
    Or springhalt reign'd among 'em.
  • Lord Chamberlain. Death! my lord,
    Their clothes are after such a pagan cut too, 585
    That, sure, they've worn out Christendom.
    [Enter LOVELL]
    How now!
    What news, Sir Thomas Lovell?
  • Sir Thomas Lovell. Faith, my lord, 590
    I hear of none, but the new proclamation
    That's clapp'd upon the court-gate.
  • Lord Chamberlain. What is't for?
  • Sir Thomas Lovell. The reformation of our travell'd gallants,
    That fill the court with quarrels, talk, and tailors. 595
  • Lord Chamberlain. I'm glad 'tis there: now I would pray our monsieurs
    To think an English courtier may be wise,
    And never see the Louvre.
  • Sir Thomas Lovell. They must either,
    For so run the conditions, leave those remnants 600
    Of fool and feather that they got in France,
    With all their honourable point of ignorance
    Pertaining thereunto, as fights and fireworks,
    Abusing better men than they can be,
    Out of a foreign wisdom, renouncing clean 605
    The faith they have in tennis, and tall stockings,
    Short blister'd breeches, and those types of travel,
    And understand again like honest men;
    Or pack to their old playfellows: there, I take it,
    They may, 'cum privilegio,' wear away 610
    The lag end of their lewdness and be laugh'd at.
  • Lord Sands. 'Tis time to give 'em physic, their diseases
    Are grown so catching.
  • Lord Chamberlain. What a loss our ladies
    Will have of these trim vanities! 615
  • Sir Thomas Lovell. Ay, marry,
    There will be woe indeed, lords: the sly whoresons
    Have got a speeding trick to lay down ladies;
    A French song and a fiddle has no fellow.
  • Lord Sands. The devil fiddle 'em! I am glad they are going, 620
    For, sure, there's no converting of 'em: now
    An honest country lord, as I am, beaten
    A long time out of play, may bring his plainsong
    And have an hour of hearing; and, by'r lady,
    Held current music too. 625
  • Lord Chamberlain. Well said, Lord Sands;
    Your colt's tooth is not cast yet.
  • Lord Sands. No, my lord;
    Nor shall not, while I have a stump.
  • Lord Chamberlain. Sir Thomas, 630
    Whither were you a-going?
  • Sir Thomas Lovell. To the cardinal's:
    Your lordship is a guest too.
  • Lord Chamberlain. O, 'tis true:
    This night he makes a supper, and a great one, 635
    To many lords and ladies; there will be
    The beauty of this kingdom, I'll assure you.
  • Sir Thomas Lovell. That churchman bears a bounteous mind indeed,
    A hand as fruitful as the land that feeds us;
    His dews fall every where. 640
  • Lord Chamberlain. No doubt he's noble;
    He had a black mouth that said other of him.
  • Lord Sands. He may, my lord; has wherewithal: in him
    Sparing would show a worse sin than ill doctrine:
    Men of his way should be most liberal; 645
    They are set here for examples.
  • Lord Chamberlain. True, they are so:
    But few now give so great ones. My barge stays;
    Your lordship shall along. Come, good Sir Thomas,
    We shall be late else; which I would not be, 650
    For I was spoke to, with Sir Henry Guildford
    This night to be comptrollers.
  • Lord Sands. I am your lordship's.



Act I, Scene 4

A Hall in York Place.


[Hautboys. A small table under a state for CARDINAL] [p]WOLSEY, a longer table for the guests. Then enter [p]ANNE and divers other Ladies and Gentlemen as [p]guests, at one door; at another door, enter GUILDFORD]

  • Sir Henry Guildford. Ladies, a general welcome from his grace
    Salutes ye all; this night he dedicates 660
    To fair content and you: none here, he hopes,
    In all this noble bevy, has brought with her
    One care abroad; he would have all as merry
    As, first, good company, good wine, good welcome,
    Can make good people. O, my lord, you're tardy: 665
    [Enter Chamberlain, SANDS, and LOVELL]
    The very thought of this fair company
    Clapp'd wings to me.
  • Lord Chamberlain. You are young, Sir Harry Guildford.
  • Lord Sands. Sir Thomas Lovell, had the cardinal 670
    But half my lay thoughts in him, some of these
    Should find a running banquet ere they rested,
    I think would better please 'em: by my life,
    They are a sweet society of fair ones.
  • Sir Thomas Lovell. O, that your lordship were but now confessor 675
    To one or two of these!
  • Lord Sands. I would I were;
    They should find easy penance.
  • Sir Thomas Lovell. Faith, how easy?
  • Lord Sands. As easy as a down-bed would afford it. 680
  • Lord Chamberlain. Sweet ladies, will it please you sit? Sir Harry,
    Place you that side; I'll take the charge of this:
    His grace is entering. Nay, you must not freeze;
    Two women placed together makes cold weather:
    My Lord Sands, you are one will keep 'em waking; 685
    Pray, sit between these ladies.
  • Lord Sands. By my faith,
    And thank your lordship. By your leave, sweet ladies:
    If I chance to talk a little wild, forgive me;
    I had it from my father. 690
  • Anne Bullen. Was he mad, sir?
  • Lord Sands. O, very mad, exceeding mad, in love too:
    But he would bite none; just as I do now,
    He would kiss you twenty with a breath.

[Kisses her]

  • Lord Chamberlain. Well said, my lord.
    So, now you're fairly seated. Gentlemen,
    The penance lies on you, if these fair ladies
    Pass away frowning.
  • Lord Sands. For my little cure, 700
    Let me alone.

[Hautboys. Enter CARDINAL WOLSEY, and takes his state]

  • Cardinal Wolsey. You're welcome, my fair guests: that noble lady,
    Or gentleman, that is not freely merry,
    Is not my friend: this, to confirm my welcome; 705
    And to you all, good health.


  • Lord Sands. Your grace is noble:
    Let me have such a bowl may hold my thanks,
    And save me so much talking. 710
  • Cardinal Wolsey. My Lord Sands,
    I am beholding to you: cheer your neighbours.
    Ladies, you are not merry: gentlemen,
    Whose fault is this?
  • Lord Sands. The red wine first must rise 715
    In their fair cheeks, my lord; then we shall have 'em
    Talk us to silence.
  • Anne Bullen. You are a merry gamester,
    My Lord Sands.
  • Lord Sands. Yes, if I make my play. 720
    Here's to your ladyship: and pledge it, madam,
    For 'tis to such a thing,—
  • Anne Bullen. You cannot show me.
  • Lord Sands. I told your grace they would talk anon.

[Drum and trumpet, chambers discharged]

  • Cardinal Wolsey. What's that?
  • Lord Chamberlain. Look out there, some of ye.

[Exit Servant]

  • Cardinal Wolsey. What warlike voice,
    And to what end is this? Nay, ladies, fear not; 730
    By all the laws of war you're privileged.

[Re-enter Servant]

  • Lord Chamberlain. How now! what is't?
  • Servant. A noble troop of strangers;
    For so they seem: they've left their barge and landed; 735
    And hither make, as great ambassadors
    From foreign princes.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Good lord chamberlain,
    Go, give 'em welcome; you can speak the French tongue;
    And, pray, receive 'em nobly, and conduct 'em 740
    Into our presence, where this heaven of beauty
    Shall shine at full upon them. Some attend him.
    [Exit Chamberlain, attended. All rise, and tables removed]
    You have now a broken banquet; but we'll mend it.
    A good digestion to you all: and once more 745
    I shower a welcome on ye; welcome all.
    [Hautboys. Enter KING HENRY VIII and others, as]
    masquers, habited like shepherds, ushered by the
    Chamberlain. They pass directly before CARDINAL
    WOLSEY, and gracefully salute him] 750
    A noble company! what are their pleasures?
  • Lord Chamberlain. Because they speak no English, thus they pray'd
    To tell your grace, that, having heard by fame
    Of this so noble and so fair assembly
    This night to meet here, they could do no less 755
    Out of the great respect they bear to beauty,
    But leave their flocks; and, under your fair conduct,
    Crave leave to view these ladies and entreat
    An hour of revels with 'em.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Say, lord chamberlain, 760
    They have done my poor house grace; for which I pay 'em
    A thousand thanks, and pray 'em take their pleasures.
    [They choose Ladies for the dance. KING HENRY VIII]
    chooses ANNE]
  • Henry VIII. The fairest hand I ever touch'd! O beauty, 765
    Till now I never knew thee!

[Music. Dance]

  • Cardinal Wolsey. My lord!
  • Lord Chamberlain. Your grace?
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Pray, tell 'em thus much from me: 770
    There should be one amongst 'em, by his person,
    More worthy this place than myself; to whom,
    If I but knew him, with my love and duty
    I would surrender it.
  • Lord Chamberlain. I will, my lord. 775

[Whispers the Masquers]

  • Cardinal Wolsey. What say they?
  • Lord Chamberlain. Such a one, they all confess,
    There is indeed; which they would have your grace
    Find out, and he will take it. 780
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Let me see, then.
    By all your good leaves, gentlemen; here I'll make
    My royal choice.
  • Henry VIII. Ye have found him, cardinal:
    [Unmasking] 785
    You hold a fair assembly; you do well, lord:
    You are a churchman, or, I'll tell you, cardinal,
    I should judge now unhappily.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. I am glad
    Your grace is grown so pleasant. 790
  • Henry VIII. My lord chamberlain,
    Prithee, come hither: what fair lady's that?
  • Lord Chamberlain. An't please your grace, Sir Thomas Bullen's daughter—
    The Viscount Rochford,—one of her highness' women.
  • Henry VIII. By heaven, she is a dainty one. Sweetheart, 795
    I were unmannerly, to take you out,
    And not to kiss you. A health, gentlemen!
    Let it go round.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Sir Thomas Lovell, is the banquet ready
    I' the privy chamber? 800
  • Sir Thomas Lovell. Yes, my lord.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Your grace,
    I fear, with dancing is a little heated.
  • Henry VIII. I fear, too much.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. There's fresher air, my lord, 805
    In the next chamber.
  • Henry VIII. Lead in your ladies, every one: sweet partner,
    I must not yet forsake you: let's be merry:
    Good my lord cardinal, I have half a dozen healths
    To drink to these fair ladies, and a measure 810
    To lead 'em once again; and then let's dream
    Who's best in favour. Let the music knock it.

[Exeunt with trumpets]