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History of Henry VIII

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Act IV, Scene 1

A street in Westminster.


[Enter two Gentlemen, meeting one another]

  • First Gentleman. You come to take your stand here, and behold 2380
    The Lady Anne pass from her coronation?
  • Second Gentleman. 'Tis all my business. At our last encounter,
    The Duke of Buckingham came from his trial.
  • First Gentleman. 'Tis very true: but that time offer'd sorrow;
    This, general joy. 2385
  • Second Gentleman. 'Tis well: the citizens,
    I am sure, have shown at full their royal minds—
    As, let 'em have their rights, they are ever forward—
    In celebration of this day with shows,
    Pageants and sights of honour. 2390
  • Second Gentleman. May I be bold to ask at what that contains,
    That paper in your hand?
  • First Gentleman. Yes; 'tis the list 2395
    Of those that claim their offices this day
    By custom of the coronation.
    The Duke of Suffolk is the first, and claims
    To be high-steward; next, the Duke of Norfolk,
    He to be earl marshal: you may read the rest. 2400
  • Second Gentleman. I thank you, sir: had I not known those customs,
    I should have been beholding to your paper.
    But, I beseech you, what's become of Katharine,
    The princess dowager? how goes her business?
  • First Gentleman. That I can tell you too. The Archbishop 2405
    Of Canterbury, accompanied with other
    Learned and reverend fathers of his order,
    Held a late court at Dunstable, six miles off
    From Ampthill where the princess lay; to which
    She was often cited by them, but appear'd not: 2410
    And, to be short, for not appearance and
    The king's late scruple, by the main assent
    Of all these learned men she was divorced,
    And the late marriage made of none effect
    Since which she was removed to Kimbolton, 2415
    Where she remains now sick.
  • Second Gentleman. Alas, good lady!
    The trumpets sound: stand close, the queen is coming.
    [Hautboys] 2420
    1. A lively flourish of Trumpets.
    2. Then, two Judges.
    3. Lord Chancellor, with the purse and mace
    before him. 2425
    4. Choristers, singing.
    5. Mayor of London, bearing the mace. Then
    Garter, in his coat of arms, and on his
    head a gilt copper crown. 2430
    6. Marquess Dorset, bearing a sceptre of gold,
    on his head a demi-coronal of gold. With
    him, SURREY, bearing the rod of silver with
    the dove, crowned with an earl's coronet.
    Collars of SS. 2435
    7. SUFFOLK, in his robe of estate, his coronet
    on his head, bearing a long white wand, as
    high-steward. With him, NORFOLK, with the
    rod of marshalship, a coronet on his head.
    Collars of SS. 2440
    8. A canopy borne by four of the Cinque-ports;
    under it, QUEEN ANNE in her robe; in her hair
    richly adorned with pearl, crowned. On each
    side her, the Bishops of London and
    Winchester. 2445
    9. The old Duchess of Norfolk, in a coronal of
    gold, wrought with flowers, bearing QUEEN
    ANNE's train.
    10. Certain Ladies or Countesses, with plain
    circlets of gold without flowers. 2450

[They pass over the stage in order and state]

  • Second Gentleman. A royal train, believe me. These I know:
    Who's that that bears the sceptre?
  • First Gentleman. Marquess Dorset:
    And that the Earl of Surrey, with the rod. 2455
  • Second Gentleman. Heaven bless thee!
    [Looking on QUEEN ANNE]
    Thou hast the sweetest face I ever look'd on.
    Sir, as I have a soul, she is an angel;
    Our king has all the Indies in his arms, 2465
    And more and richer, when he strains that lady:
    I cannot blame his conscience.
  • First Gentleman. They that bear
    The cloth of honour over her, are four barons
    Of the Cinque-ports. 2470
  • Second Gentleman. Those men are happy; and so are all are near her.
    I take it, she that carries up the train
    Is that old noble lady, Duchess of Norfolk.
  • Second Gentleman. Their coronets say so. These are stars indeed; 2475
    And sometimes falling ones.

[Exit procession, and then a great flourish of trumpets]

[Enter a third Gentleman]

  • Third Gentleman. Among the crowd i' the Abbey; where a finger
    Could not be wedged in more: I am stifled
    With the mere rankness of their joy.
  • Third Gentleman. As well as I am able. The rich stream 2490
    Of lords and ladies, having brought the queen
    To a prepared place in the choir, fell off
    A distance from her; while her grace sat down
    To rest awhile, some half an hour or so,
    In a rich chair of state, opposing freely 2495
    The beauty of her person to the people.
    Believe me, sir, she is the goodliest woman
    That ever lay by man: which when the people
    Had the full view of, such a noise arose
    As the shrouds make at sea in a stiff tempest, 2500
    As loud, and to as many tunes: hats, cloaks—
    Doublets, I think,—flew up; and had their faces
    Been loose, this day they had been lost. Such joy
    I never saw before. Great-bellied women,
    That had not half a week to go, like rams 2505
    In the old time of war, would shake the press,
    And make 'em reel before 'em. No man living
    Could say 'This is my wife' there; all were woven
    So strangely in one piece.
  • Third Gentleman. At length her grace rose, and with modest paces
    Came to the altar; where she kneel'd, and saint-like
    Cast her fair eyes to heaven and pray'd devoutly.
    Then rose again and bow'd her to the people:
    When by the Archbishop of Canterbury 2515
    She had all the royal makings of a queen;
    As holy oil, Edward Confessor's crown,
    The rod, and bird of peace, and all such emblems
    Laid nobly on her: which perform'd, the choir,
    With all the choicest music of the kingdom, 2520
    Together sung 'Te Deum.' So she parted,
    And with the same full state paced back again
    To York-place, where the feast is held.
  • First Gentleman. Sir,
    You must no more call it York-place, that's past; 2525
    For, since the cardinal fell, that title's lost:
    'Tis now the king's, and call'd Whitehall.
  • Third Gentleman. I know it;
    But 'tis so lately alter'd, that the old name
    Is fresh about me. 2530
  • Second Gentleman. What two reverend bishops
    Were those that went on each side of the queen?
  • Third Gentleman. Stokesly and Gardiner; the one of Winchester,
    Newly preferr'd from the king's secretary,
    The other, London. 2535
  • Second Gentleman. He of Winchester
    Is held no great good lover of the archbishop's,
    The virtuous Cranmer.
  • Third Gentleman. All the land knows that:
    However, yet there is no great breach; when it comes, 2540
    Cranmer will find a friend will not shrink from him.
  • Third Gentleman. Thomas Cromwell;
    A man in much esteem with the king, and truly
    A worthy friend. The king has made him master 2545
    O' the jewel house,
    And one, already, of the privy council.
  • Third Gentleman. Yes, without all doubt.
    Come, gentlemen, ye shall go my way, which 2550
    Is to the court, and there ye shall be my guests:
    Something I can command. As I walk thither,
    I'll tell ye more.
  • Both. You may command us, sir.