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History of Henry VIII

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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 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.
  • 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
  • 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.

[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.
  • Lord Sands. Yes, if I make my play. 720
    Here's to your ladyship: and pledge it, madam,
    For 'tis to such a thing,—
  • Lord Sands. I told your grace they would talk anon.

[Drum and trumpet, chambers discharged]

[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]

  • 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. 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.

[Whispers the Masquers]

  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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]