Open Source Shakespeare

History of Henry VIII

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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.