Open Source Shakespeare

History of Henry VIII

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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