Open Source Shakespeare

History of Henry VIII

Act II

Scene 1. Westminster. A street.

Scene 2. An ante-chamber in the palace.

Scene 3. An ante-chamber of the QUEEN’S apartments.

Scene 4. A hall in Black-Friars.

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Act II, Scene 1

Westminster. A street.


[Enter two Gentlemen, meeting]

  • First Gentleman. Whither away so fast? 815
  • Second Gentleman. O, God save ye!
    Even to the hall, to hear what shall become
    Of the great Duke of Buckingham.
  • First Gentleman. I'll save you
    That labour, sir. All's now done, but the ceremony 820
    Of bringing back the prisoner.
  • Second Gentleman. Were you there?
  • First Gentleman. Yes, indeed, was I.
  • Second Gentleman. Pray, speak what has happen'd.
  • First Gentleman. You may guess quickly what. 825
  • Second Gentleman. Is he found guilty?
  • First Gentleman. Yes, truly is he, and condemn'd upon't.
  • Second Gentleman. I am sorry for't.
  • First Gentleman. So are a number more.
  • Second Gentleman. But, pray, how pass'd it? 830
  • First Gentleman. I'll tell you in a little. The great duke
    Came to the bar; where to his accusations
    He pleaded still not guilty and alleged
    Many sharp reasons to defeat the law.
    The king's attorney on the contrary 835
    Urged on the examinations, proofs, confessions
    Of divers witnesses; which the duke desired
    To have brought viva voce to his face:
    At which appear'd against him his surveyor;
    Sir Gilbert Peck his chancellor; and John Car, 840
    Confessor to him; with that devil-monk,
    Hopkins, that made this mischief.
  • Second Gentleman. That was he
    That fed him with his prophecies?
  • First Gentleman. The same. 845
    All these accused him strongly; which he fain
    Would have flung from him, but, indeed, he could not:
    And so his peers, upon this evidence,
    Have found him guilty of high treason. Much
    He spoke, and learnedly, for life; but all 850
    Was either pitied in him or forgotten.
  • Second Gentleman. After all this, how did he bear himself?
  • First Gentleman. When he was brought again to the bar, to hear
    His knell rung out, his judgment, he was stirr'd
    With such an agony, he sweat extremely, 855
    And something spoke in choler, ill, and hasty:
    But he fell to himself again, and sweetly
    In all the rest show'd a most noble patience.
  • Second Gentleman. I do not think he fears death.
  • First Gentleman. Sure, he does not: 860
    He never was so womanish; the cause
    He may a little grieve at.
  • Second Gentleman. Certainly
    The cardinal is the end of this.
  • First Gentleman. 'Tis likely, 865
    By all conjectures: first, Kildare's attainder,
    Then deputy of Ireland; who removed,
    Earl Surrey was sent thither, and in haste too,
    Lest he should help his father.
  • Second Gentleman. That trick of state 870
    Was a deep envious one.
  • First Gentleman. At his return
    No doubt he will requite it. This is noted,
    And generally, whoever the king favours,
    The cardinal instantly will find employment, 875
    And far enough from court too.
  • Second Gentleman. All the commons
    Hate him perniciously, and, o' my conscience,
    Wish him ten fathom deep: this duke as much
    They love and dote on; call him bounteous Buckingham, 880
    The mirror of all courtesy;—
  • First Gentleman. Stay there, sir,
    And see the noble ruin'd man you speak of.
    [Enter BUCKINGHAM from his arraignment; tip-staves]
    before him; the axe with the edge towards him; 885
    halberds on each side: accompanied with LOVELL,
    VAUX, SANDS, and common people]
  • Second Gentleman. Let's stand close, and behold him.
  • Duke of Buckingham. All good people,
    You that thus far have come to pity me, 890
    Hear what I say, and then go home and lose me.
    I have this day received a traitor's judgment,
    And by that name must die: yet, heaven bear witness,
    And if I have a conscience, let it sink me,
    Even as the axe falls, if I be not faithful! 895
    The law I bear no malice for my death;
    'T has done, upon the premises, but justice:
    But those that sought it I could wish more Christians:
    Be what they will, I heartily forgive 'em:
    Yet let 'em look they glory not in mischief, 900
    Nor build their evils on the graves of great men;
    For then my guiltless blood must cry against 'em.
    For further life in this world I ne'er hope,
    Nor will I sue, although the king have mercies
    More than I dare make faults. You few that loved me, 905
    And dare be bold to weep for Buckingham,
    His noble friends and fellows, whom to leave
    Is only bitter to him, only dying,
    Go with me, like good angels, to my end;
    And, as the long divorce of steel falls on me, 910
    Make of your prayers one sweet sacrifice,
    And lift my soul to heaven. Lead on, o' God's name.
  • Sir Thomas Lovell. I do beseech your grace, for charity,
    If ever any malice in your heart
    Were hid against me, now to forgive me frankly. 915
  • Duke of Buckingham. Sir Thomas Lovell, I as free forgive you
    As I would be forgiven: I forgive all;
    There cannot be those numberless offences
    'Gainst me, that I cannot take peace with:
    no black envy 920
    Shall mark my grave. Commend me to his grace;
    And if he speak of Buckingham, pray, tell him
    You met him half in heaven: my vows and prayers
    Yet are the king's; and, till my soul forsake,
    Shall cry for blessings on him: may he live 925
    Longer than I have time to tell his years!
    Ever beloved and loving may his rule be!
    And when old time shall lead him to his end,
    Goodness and he fill up one monument!
  • Sir Thomas Lovell. To the water side I must conduct your grace; 930
    Then give my charge up to Sir Nicholas Vaux,
    Who undertakes you to your end.
  • Sir Nicholas Vaux. Prepare there,
    The duke is coming: see the barge be ready;
    And fit it with such furniture as suits 935
    The greatness of his person.
  • Duke of Buckingham. Nay, Sir Nicholas,
    Let it alone; my state now will but mock me.
    When I came hither, I was lord high constable
    And Duke of Buckingham; now, poor Edward Bohun: 940
    Yet I am richer than my base accusers,
    That never knew what truth meant: I now seal it;
    And with that blood will make 'em one day groan for't.
    My noble father, Henry of Buckingham,
    Who first raised head against usurping Richard, 945
    Flying for succor to his servant Banister,
    Being distress'd, was by that wretch betray'd,
    And without trial fell; God's peace be with him!
    Henry the Seventh succeeding, truly pitying
    My father's loss, like a most royal prince, 950
    Restored me to my honours, and, out of ruins,
    Made my name once more noble. Now his son,
    Henry the Eighth, life, honour, name and all
    That made me happy at one stroke has taken
    For ever from the world. I had my trial, 955
    And, must needs say, a noble one; which makes me,
    A little happier than my wretched father:
    Yet thus far we are one in fortunes: both
    Fell by our servants, by those men we loved most;
    A most unnatural and faithless service! 960
    Heaven has an end in all: yet, you that hear me,
    This from a dying man receive as certain:
    Where you are liberal of your loves and counsels
    Be sure you be not loose; for those you make friends
    And give your hearts to, when they once perceive 965
    The least rub in your fortunes, fall away
    Like water from ye, never found again
    But where they mean to sink ye. All good people,
    Pray for me! I must now forsake ye: the last hour
    Of my long weary life is come upon me. Farewell: 970
    And when you would say something that is sad,
    Speak how I fell. I have done; and God forgive me!

[Exeunt BUCKINGHAM and Train]

  • First Gentleman. O, this is full of pity! Sir, it calls,
    I fear, too many curses on their beads 975
    That were the authors.
  • Second Gentleman. If the duke be guiltless,
    'Tis full of woe: yet I can give you inkling
    Of an ensuing evil, if it fall,
    Greater than this. 980
  • First Gentleman. Good angels keep it from us!
    What may it be? You do not doubt my faith, sir?
  • Second Gentleman. This secret is so weighty, 'twill require
    A strong faith to conceal it.
  • First Gentleman. Let me have it; 985
    I do not talk much.
  • Second Gentleman. I am confident,
    You shall, sir: did you not of late days hear
    A buzzing of a separation
    Between the king and Katharine? 990
  • First Gentleman. Yes, but it held not:
    For when the king once heard it, out of anger
    He sent command to the lord mayor straight
    To stop the rumor, and allay those tongues
    That durst disperse it. 995
  • Second Gentleman. But that slander, sir,
    Is found a truth now: for it grows again
    Fresher than e'er it was; and held for certain
    The king will venture at it. Either the cardinal,
    Or some about him near, have, out of malice 1000
    To the good queen, possess'd him with a scruple
    That will undo her: to confirm this too,
    Cardinal Campeius is arrived, and lately;
    As all think, for this business.
  • First Gentleman. 'Tis the cardinal; 1005
    And merely to revenge him on the emperor
    For not bestowing on him, at his asking,
    The archbishopric of Toledo, this is purposed.
  • Second Gentleman. I think you have hit the mark: but is't not cruel
    That she should feel the smart of this? The cardinal 1010
    Will have his will, and she must fall.
  • First Gentleman. 'Tis woful.
    We are too open here to argue this;
    Let's think in private more.



Act II, Scene 2

An ante-chamber in the palace.


[Enter Chamberlain, reading a letter]

  • Lord Chamberlain. 'My lord, the horses your lordship sent for, with
    all the care I had, I saw well chosen, ridden, and
    furnished. They were young and handsome, and of the
    best breed in the north. When they were ready to 1020
    set out for London, a man of my lord cardinal's, by
    commission and main power, took 'em from me; with
    this reason: His master would be served before a
    subject, if not before the king; which stopped our
    mouths, sir.' 1025
    I fear he will indeed: well, let him have them:
    He will have all, I think.

[Enter, to Chamberlain, NORFOLK and SUFFOLK]

  • Duke of Norfolk. Well met, my lord chamberlain.
  • Lord Chamberlain. Good day to both your graces. 1030
  • Duke of Suffolk. How is the king employ'd?
  • Lord Chamberlain. I left him private,
    Full of sad thoughts and troubles.
  • Duke of Norfolk. What's the cause?
  • Lord Chamberlain. It seems the marriage with his brother's wife 1035
    Has crept too near his conscience.
  • Duke of Suffolk. No, his conscience
    Has crept too near another lady.
  • Duke of Norfolk. 'Tis so:
    This is the cardinal's doing, the king-cardinal: 1040
    That blind priest, like the eldest son of fortune,
    Turns what he list. The king will know him one day.
  • Duke of Suffolk. Pray God he do! he'll never know himself else.
  • Duke of Norfolk. How holily he works in all his business!
    And with what zeal! for, now he has crack'd the league 1045
    Between us and the emperor, the queen's great nephew,
    He dives into the king's soul, and there scatters
    Dangers, doubts, wringing of the conscience,
    Fears, and despairs; and all these for his marriage:
    And out of all these to restore the king, 1050
    He counsels a divorce; a loss of her
    That, like a jewel, has hung twenty years
    About his neck, yet never lost her lustre;
    Of her that loves him with that excellence
    That angels love good men with; even of her 1055
    That, when the greatest stroke of fortune falls,
    Will bless the king: and is not this course pious?
  • Lord Chamberlain. Heaven keep me from such counsel! 'Tis most true
    These news are every where; every tongue speaks 'em,
    And every true heart weeps for't: all that dare 1060
    Look into these affairs see this main end,
    The French king's sister. Heaven will one day open
    The king's eyes, that so long have slept upon
    This bold bad man.
  • Duke of Suffolk. And free us from his slavery. 1065
  • Duke of Norfolk. We had need pray,
    And heartily, for our deliverance;
    Or this imperious man will work us all
    From princes into pages: all men's honours
    Lie like one lump before him, to be fashion'd 1070
    Into what pitch he please.
  • Duke of Suffolk. For me, my lords,
    I love him not, nor fear him; there's my creed:
    As I am made without him, so I'll stand,
    If the king please; his curses and his blessings 1075
    Touch me alike, they're breath I not believe in.
    I knew him, and I know him; so I leave him
    To him that made him proud, the pope.
  • Duke of Norfolk. Let's in;
    And with some other business put the king 1080
    From these sad thoughts, that work too much upon him:
    My lord, you'll bear us company?
  • Lord Chamberlain. Excuse me;
    The king has sent me otherwhere: besides,
    You'll find a most unfit time to disturb him: 1085
    Health to your lordships.
  • Duke of Norfolk. Thanks, my good lord chamberlain.
    [Exit Chamberlain; and KING HENRY VIII draws the]
    curtain, and sits reading pensively]
  • Duke of Suffolk. How sad he looks! sure, he is much afflicted. 1090
  • Henry VIII. Who's there, ha?
  • Duke of Norfolk. Pray God he be not angry.
  • Henry VIII. Who's there, I say? How dare you thrust yourselves
    Into my private meditations?
    Who am I? ha? 1095
  • Duke of Norfolk. A gracious king that pardons all offences
    Malice ne'er meant: our breach of duty this way
    Is business of estate; in which we come
    To know your royal pleasure.
  • Henry VIII. Ye are too bold: 1100
    Go to; I'll make ye know your times of business:
    Is this an hour for temporal affairs, ha?
    a commission]
    Who's there? my good lord cardinal? O my Wolsey, 1105
    The quiet of my wounded conscience;
    Thou art a cure fit for a king.
    You're welcome,
    Most learned reverend sir, into our kingdom: 1110
    Use us and it.
    My good lord, have great care
    I be not found a talker.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Sir, you cannot. 1115
    I would your grace would give us but an hour
    Of private conference.
  • Henry VIII. [To NORFOLK and SUFFOLK]
    We are busy; go.
  • Duke of Norfolk. [Aside to SUFFOLK] 1120
    This priest has no pride in him?
  • Duke of Suffolk. [Aside to NORFOLK] Not to speak of:
    I would not be so sick though for his place:
    But this cannot continue.
  • Duke of Norfolk. [Aside to SUFFOLK] If it do, 1125
    I'll venture one have-at-him.
  • Duke of Suffolk. [Aside to NORFOLK] I another.


  • Cardinal Wolsey. Your grace has given a precedent of wisdom
    Above all princes, in committing freely 1130
    Your scruple to the voice of Christendom:
    Who can be angry now? what envy reach you?
    The Spaniard, tied blood and favour to her,
    Must now confess, if they have any goodness,
    The trial just and noble. All the clerks, 1135
    I mean the learned ones, in Christian kingdoms
    Have their free voices: Rome, the nurse of judgment,
    Invited by your noble self, hath sent
    One general tongue unto us, this good man,
    This just and learned priest, Cardinal Campeius; 1140
    Whom once more I present unto your highness.
  • Henry VIII. And once more in mine arms I bid him welcome,
    And thank the holy conclave for their loves:
    They have sent me such a man I would have wish'd for.
  • Cardinal Campeius. Your grace must needs deserve all strangers' loves, 1145
    You are so noble. To your highness' hand
    I tender my commission; by whose virtue,
    The court of Rome commanding, you, my lord
    Cardinal of York, are join'd with me their servant
    In the unpartial judging of this business. 1150
  • Henry VIII. Two equal men. The queen shall be acquainted
    Forthwith for what you come. Where's Gardiner?
  • Cardinal Wolsey. I know your majesty has always loved her
    So dear in heart, not to deny her that
    A woman of less place might ask by law: 1155
    Scholars allow'd freely to argue for her.
  • Henry VIII. Ay, and the best she shall have; and my favour
    To him that does best: God forbid else. Cardinal,
    Prithee, call Gardiner to me, my new secretary:
    I find him a fit fellow. 1160



  • Cardinal Wolsey. [Aside to GARDINER] Give me your hand much joy and
    favour to you;
    You are the king's now. 1165
  • Gardiner. [Aside to CARDINAL WOLSEY]
    But to be commanded
    For ever by your grace, whose hand has raised me.
  • Henry VIII. Come hither, Gardiner.

[Walks and whispers]

  • Cardinal Campeius. My Lord of York, was not one Doctor Pace
    In this man's place before him?
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Yes, he was.
  • Cardinal Campeius. Was he not held a learned man?
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Yes, surely. 1175
  • Cardinal Campeius. Believe me, there's an ill opinion spread then
    Even of yourself, lord cardinal.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. How! of me?
  • Cardinal Campeius. They will not stick to say you envied him,
    And fearing he would rise, he was so virtuous, 1180
    Kept him a foreign man still; which so grieved him,
    That he ran mad and died.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Heaven's peace be with him!
    That's Christian care enough: for living murmurers
    There's places of rebuke. He was a fool; 1185
    For he would needs be virtuous: that good fellow,
    If I command him, follows my appointment:
    I will have none so near else. Learn this, brother,
    We live not to be grip'd by meaner persons.
  • Henry VIII. Deliver this with modesty to the queen. 1190
    [Exit GARDINER]
    The most convenient place that I can think of
    For such receipt of learning is Black-Friars;
    There ye shall meet about this weighty business.
    My Wolsey, see it furnish'd. O, my lord, 1195
    Would it not grieve an able man to leave
    So sweet a bedfellow? But, conscience, conscience!
    O, 'tis a tender place; and I must leave her.



Act II, Scene 3

An ante-chamber of the QUEEN’S apartments.


[Enter ANNE and an Old Lady]

  • Anne Bullen. Not for that neither: here's the pang that pinches:
    His highness having lived so long with her, and she
    So good a lady that no tongue could ever
    Pronounce dishonour of her; by my life,
    She never knew harm-doing: O, now, after 1205
    So many courses of the sun enthroned,
    Still growing in a majesty and pomp, the which
    To leave a thousand-fold more bitter than
    'Tis sweet at first to acquire,—after this process,
    To give her the avaunt! it is a pity 1210
    Would move a monster.
  • Old Lady. Hearts of most hard temper
    Melt and lament for her.
  • Anne Bullen. O, God's will! much better
    She ne'er had known pomp: though't be temporal, 1215
    Yet, if that quarrel, fortune, do divorce
    It from the bearer, 'tis a sufferance panging
    As soul and body's severing.
  • Old Lady. Alas, poor lady!
    She's a stranger now again. 1220
  • Anne Bullen. So much the more
    Must pity drop upon her. Verily,
    I swear, 'tis better to be lowly born,
    And range with humble livers in content,
    Than to be perk'd up in a glistering grief, 1225
    And wear a golden sorrow.
  • Old Lady. Our content
    Is our best having.
  • Anne Bullen. By my troth and maidenhead,
    I would not be a queen. 1230
  • Old Lady. Beshrew me, I would,
    And venture maidenhead for't; and so would you,
    For all this spice of your hypocrisy:
    You, that have so fair parts of woman on you,
    Have too a woman's heart; which ever yet 1235
    Affected eminence, wealth, sovereignty;
    Which, to say sooth, are blessings; and which gifts,
    Saving your mincing, the capacity
    Of your soft cheveril conscience would receive,
    If you might please to stretch it. 1240
  • Anne Bullen. Nay, good troth.
  • Old Lady. Yes, troth, and troth; you would not be a queen?
  • Anne Bullen. No, not for all the riches under heaven.
    Old as I am, to queen it: but, I pray you,
    What think you of a duchess? have you limbs 1245
    To bear that load of title?
  • Anne Bullen. No, in truth.
  • Old Lady. Then you are weakly made: pluck off a little;
    I would not be a young count in your way, 1250
    For more than blushing comes to: if your back
    Cannot vouchsafe this burthen,'tis too weak
    Ever to get a boy.
  • Anne Bullen. How you do talk!
    I swear again, I would not be a queen 1255
    For all the world.
  • Old Lady. In faith, for little England
    You'ld venture an emballing: I myself
    Would for Carnarvonshire, although there long'd
    No more to the crown but that. Lo, who comes here? 1260

[Enter Chamberlain]

  • Lord Chamberlain. Good morrow, ladies. What were't worth to know
    The secret of your conference?
  • Anne Bullen. My good lord,
    Not your demand; it values not your asking: 1265
    Our mistress' sorrows we were pitying.
  • Lord Chamberlain. It was a gentle business, and becoming
    The action of good women: there is hope
    All will be well.
  • Anne Bullen. Now, I pray God, amen! 1270
  • Lord Chamberlain. You bear a gentle mind, and heavenly blessings
    Follow such creatures. That you may, fair lady,
    Perceive I speak sincerely, and high note's
    Ta'en of your many virtues, the king's majesty
    Commends his good opinion of you, and 1275
    Does purpose honour to you no less flowing
    Than Marchioness of Pembroke: to which title
    A thousand pound a year, annual support,
    Out of his grace he adds.
  • Anne Bullen. I do not know 1280
    What kind of my obedience I should tender;
    More than my all is nothing: nor my prayers
    Are not words duly hallow'd, nor my wishes
    More worth than empty vanities; yet prayers and wishes
    Are all I can return. Beseech your lordship, 1285
    Vouchsafe to speak my thanks and my obedience,
    As from a blushing handmaid, to his highness;
    Whose health and royalty I pray for.
  • Lord Chamberlain. Lady,
    I shall not fail to approve the fair conceit 1290
    The king hath of you.
    I have perused her well;
    Beauty and honour in her are so mingled
    That they have caught the king: and who knows yet 1295
    But from this lady may proceed a gem
    To lighten all this isle? I'll to the king,
    And say I spoke with you.

[Exit Chamberlain]

  • Anne Bullen. My honour'd lord. 1300
  • Old Lady. Why, this it is; see, see!
    I have been begging sixteen years in court,
    Am yet a courtier beggarly, nor could
    Come pat betwixt too early and too late
    For any suit of pounds; and you, O fate! 1305
    A very fresh-fish here—fie, fie, fie upon
    This compell'd fortune!—have your mouth fill'd up
    Before you open it.
  • Anne Bullen. This is strange to me.
  • Old Lady. How tastes it? is it bitter? forty pence, no. 1310
    There was a lady once, 'tis an old story,
    That would not be a queen, that would she not,
    For all the mud in Egypt: have you heard it?
  • Anne Bullen. Come, you are pleasant.
  • Old Lady. With your theme, I could 1315
    O'ermount the lark. The Marchioness of Pembroke!
    A thousand pounds a year for pure respect!
    No other obligation! By my life,
    That promises moe thousands: honour's train
    Is longer than his foreskirt. By this time 1320
    I know your back will bear a duchess: say,
    Are you not stronger than you were?
  • Anne Bullen. Good lady,
    Make yourself mirth with your particular fancy,
    And leave me out on't. Would I had no being, 1325
    If this salute my blood a jot: it faints me,
    To think what follows.
    The queen is comfortless, and we forgetful
    In our long absence: pray, do not deliver
    What here you've heard to her. 1330
  • Old Lady. What do you think me?



Act II, Scene 4

A hall in Black-Friars.


[Trumpets, sennet, and cornets. Enter two Vergers,] [p]with short silver wands; next them, two Scribes, in [p]the habit of doctors; after them, CANTERBURY alone; [p]after him, LINCOLN, Ely, Rochester, and Saint [p]Asaph; next them, with some small distance, follows [p]a Gentleman bearing the purse, with the great seal, [p]and a cardinal's hat; then two Priests, bearing [p]each a silver cross; then a Gentleman-usher [p]bare-headed, accompanied with a Sergeant-at-arms [p]bearing a silver mace; then two Gentlemen bearing [p]two great silver pillars; after them, side by side, [p]CARDINAL WOLSEY and CARDINAL CAMPEIUS; two Noblemen [p]with the sword and mace. KING HENRY VIII takes [p]place under the cloth of state; CARDINAL WOLSEY and [p]CARDINAL CAMPEIUS sit under him as judges. QUEEN [p]KATHARINE takes place some distance from KING [p]HENRY VIII. The Bishops place themselves on each [p]side the court, in manner of a consistory; below [p]them, the Scribes. The Lords sit next the Bishops. [p]The rest of the Attendants stand in convenient [p]order about the stage]

  • Cardinal Wolsey. Whilst our commission from Rome is read,
    Let silence be commanded. 1355
  • Henry VIII. What's the need?
    It hath already publicly been read,
    And on all sides the authority allow'd;
    You may, then, spare that time.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Be't so. Proceed. 1360
  • Scribe. Say, Henry King of England, come into the court.
  • Crier. Henry King of England, &c.
  • Henry VIII. Here.
  • Scribe. Say, Katharine Queen of England, come into the court.
  • Crier. Katharine Queen of England, &c. 1365
    [QUEEN KATHARINE makes no answer, rises out of her]
    chair, goes about the court, comes to KING HENRY
    VIII, and kneels at his feet; then speaks]
  • Queen Katharine. Sir, I desire you do me right and justice;
    And to bestow your pity on me: for 1370
    I am a most poor woman, and a stranger,
    Born out of your dominions; having here
    No judge indifferent, nor no more assurance
    Of equal friendship and proceeding. Alas, sir,
    In what have I offended you? what cause 1375
    Hath my behavior given to your displeasure,
    That thus you should proceed to put me off,
    And take your good grace from me? Heaven witness,
    I have been to you a true and humble wife,
    At all times to your will conformable; 1380
    Ever in fear to kindle your dislike,
    Yea, subject to your countenance, glad or sorry
    As I saw it inclined: when was the hour
    I ever contradicted your desire,
    Or made it not mine too? Or which of your friends 1385
    Have I not strove to love, although I knew
    He were mine enemy? what friend of mine
    That had to him derived your anger, did I
    Continue in my liking? nay, gave notice
    He was from thence discharged. Sir, call to mind 1390
    That I have been your wife, in this obedience,
    Upward of twenty years, and have been blest
    With many children by you: if, in the course
    And process of this time, you can report,
    And prove it too, against mine honour aught, 1395
    My bond to wedlock, or my love and duty,
    Against your sacred person, in God's name,
    Turn me away; and let the foul'st contempt
    Shut door upon me, and so give me up
    To the sharp'st kind of justice. Please you sir, 1400
    The king, your father, was reputed for
    A prince most prudent, of an excellent
    And unmatch'd wit and judgment: Ferdinand,
    My father, king of Spain, was reckon'd one
    The wisest prince that there had reign'd by many 1405
    A year before: it is not to be question'd
    That they had gather'd a wise council to them
    Of every realm, that did debate this business,
    Who deem'd our marriage lawful: wherefore I humbly
    Beseech you, sir, to spare me, till I may 1410
    Be by my friends in Spain advised; whose counsel
    I will implore: if not, i' the name of God,
    Your pleasure be fulfill'd!
  • Cardinal Wolsey. You have here, lady,
    And of your choice, these reverend fathers; men 1415
    Of singular integrity and learning,
    Yea, the elect o' the land, who are assembled
    To plead your cause: it shall be therefore bootless
    That longer you desire the court; as well
    For your own quiet, as to rectify 1420
    What is unsettled in the king.
  • Cardinal Campeius. His grace
    Hath spoken well and justly: therefore, madam,
    It's fit this royal session do proceed;
    And that, without delay, their arguments 1425
    Be now produced and heard.
  • Queen Katharine. Lord cardinal,
    To you I speak.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Your pleasure, madam?
  • Queen Katharine. Sir, 1430
    I am about to weep; but, thinking that
    We are a queen, or long have dream'd so, certain
    The daughter of a king, my drops of tears
    I'll turn to sparks of fire.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Be patient yet. 1435
  • Queen Katharine. I will, when you are humble; nay, before,
    Or God will punish me. I do believe,
    Induced by potent circumstances, that
    You are mine enemy, and make my challenge
    You shall not be my judge: for it is you 1440
    Have blown this coal betwixt my lord and me;
    Which God's dew quench! Therefore I say again,
    I utterly abhor, yea, from my soul
    Refuse you for my judge; whom, yet once more,
    I hold my most malicious foe, and think not 1445
    At all a friend to truth.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. I do profess
    You speak not like yourself; who ever yet
    Have stood to charity, and display'd the effects
    Of disposition gentle, and of wisdom 1450
    O'ertopping woman's power. Madam, you do me wrong:
    I have no spleen against you; nor injustice
    For you or any: how far I have proceeded,
    Or how far further shall, is warranted
    By a commission from the consistory, 1455
    Yea, the whole consistory of Rome. You charge me
    That I have blown this coal: I do deny it:
    The king is present: if it be known to him
    That I gainsay my deed, how may he wound,
    And worthily, my falsehood! yea, as much 1460
    As you have done my truth. If he know
    That I am free of your report, he knows
    I am not of your wrong. Therefore in him
    It lies to cure me: and the cure is, to
    Remove these thoughts from you: the which before 1465
    His highness shall speak in, I do beseech
    You, gracious madam, to unthink your speaking
    And to say so no more.
  • Queen Katharine. My lord, my lord,
    I am a simple woman, much too weak 1470
    To oppose your cunning. You're meek and
    You sign your place and calling, in full seeming,
    With meekness and humility; but your heart
    Is cramm'd with arrogancy, spleen, and pride. 1475
    You have, by fortune and his highness' favours,
    Gone slightly o'er low steps and now are mounted
    Where powers are your retainers, and your words,
    Domestics to you, serve your will as't please
    Yourself pronounce their office. I must tell you, 1480
    You tender more your person's honour than
    Your high profession spiritual: that again
    I do refuse you for my judge; and here,
    Before you all, appeal unto the pope,
    To bring my whole cause 'fore his holiness, 1485
    And to be judged by him.

[She curtsies to KING HENRY VIII, and offers to depart]

  • Cardinal Campeius. The queen is obstinate,
    Stubborn to justice, apt to accuse it, and
    Disdainful to be tried by't: 'tis not well. 1490
    She's going away.
  • Henry VIII. Call her again.
  • Crier. Katharine Queen of England, come into the court.
  • Griffith. Madam, you are call'd back.
  • Queen Katharine. What need you note it? pray you, keep your way: 1495
    When you are call'd, return. Now, the Lord help,
    They vex me past my patience! Pray you, pass on:
    I will not tarry; no, nor ever more
    Upon this business my appearance make
    In any of their courts. 1500

[Exeunt QUEEN KATHARINE and her Attendants]

  • Henry VIII. Go thy ways, Kate:
    That man i' the world who shall report he has
    A better wife, let him in nought be trusted,
    For speaking false in that: thou art, alone, 1505
    If thy rare qualities, sweet gentleness,
    Thy meekness saint-like, wife-like government,
    Obeying in commanding, and thy parts
    Sovereign and pious else, could speak thee out,
    The queen of earthly queens: she's noble born; 1510
    And, like her true nobility, she has
    Carried herself towards me.
  • Cardinal Wolsey. Most gracious sir,
    In humblest manner I require your highness,
    That it shall please you to declare, in hearing 1515
    Of all these ears,—for where I am robb'd and bound,
    There must I be unloosed, although not there
    At once and fully satisfied,—whether ever I
    Did broach this business to your highness; or
    Laid any scruple in your way, which might 1520
    Induce you to the question on't? or ever
    Have to you, but with thanks to God for such
    A royal lady, spake one the least word that might
    Be to the prejudice of her present state,
    Or touch of her good person? 1525
  • Henry VIII. My lord cardinal,
    I do excuse you; yea, upon mine honour,
    I free you from't. You are not to be taught
    That you have many enemies, that know not
    Why they are so, but, like to village-curs, 1530
    Bark when their fellows do: by some of these
    The queen is put in anger. You're excused:
    But will you be more justified? You ever
    Have wish'd the sleeping of this business; never desired
    It to be stirr'd; but oft have hinder'd, oft, 1535
    The passages made toward it: on my honour,
    I speak my good lord cardinal to this point,
    And thus far clear him. Now, what moved me to't,
    I will be bold with time and your attention:
    Then mark the inducement. Thus it came; give heed to't: 1540
    My conscience first received a tenderness,
    Scruple, and prick, on certain speeches utter'd
    By the Bishop of Bayonne, then French ambassador;
    Who had been hither sent on the debating
    A marriage 'twixt the Duke of Orleans and 1545
    Our daughter Mary: i' the progress of this business,
    Ere a determinate resolution, he,
    I mean the bishop, did require a respite;
    Wherein he might the king his lord advertise
    Whether our daughter were legitimate, 1550
    Respecting this our marriage with the dowager,
    Sometimes our brother's wife. This respite shook
    The bosom of my conscience, enter'd me,
    Yea, with a splitting power, and made to tremble
    The region of my breast; which forced such way, 1555
    That many mazed considerings did throng
    And press'd in with this caution. First, methought
    I stood not in the smile of heaven; who had
    Commanded nature, that my lady's womb,
    If it conceived a male child by me, should 1560
    Do no more offices of life to't than
    The grave does to the dead; for her male issue
    Or died where they were made, or shortly after
    This world had air'd them: hence I took a thought,
    This was a judgment on me; that my kingdom, 1565
    Well worthy the best heir o' the world, should not
    Be gladded in't by me: then follows, that
    I weigh'd the danger which my realms stood in
    By this my issue's fail; and that gave to me
    Many a groaning throe. Thus hulling in 1570
    The wild sea of my conscience, I did steer
    Toward this remedy, whereupon we are
    Now present here together: that's to say,
    I meant to rectify my conscience,—which
    I then did feel full sick, and yet not well,— 1575
    By all the reverend fathers of the land
    And doctors learn'd: first I began in private
    With you, my Lord of Lincoln; you remember
    How under my oppression I did reek,
    When I first moved you. 1580
  • Bishop Lincoln. Very well, my liege.
  • Henry VIII. I have spoke long: be pleased yourself to say
    How far you satisfied me.
  • Bishop Lincoln. So please your highness,
    The question did at first so stagger me, 1585
    Bearing a state of mighty moment in't
    And consequence of dread, that I committed
    The daring'st counsel which I had to doubt;
    And did entreat your highness to this course
    Which you are running here. 1590
  • Henry VIII. I then moved you,
    My Lord of Canterbury; and got your leave
    To make this present summons: unsolicited
    I left no reverend person in this court;
    But by particular consent proceeded 1595
    Under your hands and seals: therefore, go on:
    For no dislike i' the world against the person
    Of the good queen, but the sharp thorny points
    Of my alleged reasons, drive this forward:
    Prove but our marriage lawful, by my life 1600
    And kingly dignity, we are contented
    To wear our mortal state to come with her,
    Katharine our queen, before the primest creature
    That's paragon'd o' the world.
  • Cardinal Campeius. So please your highness, 1605
    The queen being absent, 'tis a needful fitness
    That we adjourn this court till further day:
    Meanwhile must be an earnest motion
    Made to the queen, to call back her appeal
    She intends unto his holiness. 1610
  • Henry VIII. [Aside]. I may perceive
    These cardinals trifle with me: I abhor
    This dilatory sloth and tricks of Rome.
    My learn'd and well-beloved servant, Cranmer,
    Prithee, return: with thy approach, I know, 1615
    My comfort comes along. Break up the court:
    I say, set on.

[Exeunt in manner as they entered]