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As merry as the day is long.

      — Much Ado about Nothing, Act II Scene 1


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History of Henry VIII

Act IV

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Scene 1. A street in Westminster.

Scene 2. Kimbolton.


Act IV, Scene 1

A street in Westminster.

      next scene .

[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.


. previous scene      

Act IV, Scene 2



[Enter KATHARINE, Dowager, sick; led between] [p]GRIFFITH, her gentleman usher, and PATIENCE, her woman]

  • Queen Katharine. O Griffith, sick to death!
    My legs, like loaden branches, bow to the earth, 2560
    Willing to leave their burthen. Reach a chair:
    So; now, methinks, I feel a little ease.
    Didst thou not tell me, Griffith, as thou led'st me,
    That the great child of honour, Cardinal Wolsey, Was dead?
  • Griffith. Yes, madam; but I think your grace, 2565
    Out of the pain you suffer'd, gave no ear to't.
  • Queen Katharine. Prithee, good Griffith, tell me how he died:
    If well, he stepp'd before me, happily
    For my example.
  • Griffith. Well, the voice goes, madam: 2570
    For after the stout Earl Northumberland
    Arrested him at York, and brought him forward,
    As a man sorely tainted, to his answer,
    He fell sick suddenly, and grew so ill
    He could not sit his mule. 2575
  • Griffith. At last, with easy roads, he came to Leicester,
    Lodged in the abbey; where the reverend abbot,
    With all his covent, honourably received him;
    To whom he gave these words, 'O, father abbot, 2580
    An old man, broken with the storms of state,
    Is come to lay his weary bones among ye;
    Give him a little earth for charity!'
    So went to bed; where eagerly his sickness
    Pursued him still: and, three nights after this, 2585
    About the hour of eight, which he himself
    Foretold should be his last, full of repentance,
    Continual meditations, tears, and sorrows,
    He gave his honours to the world again,
    His blessed part to heaven, and slept in peace. 2590
  • Queen Katharine. So may he rest; his faults lie gently on him!
    Yet thus far, Griffith, give me leave to speak him,
    And yet with charity. He was a man
    Of an unbounded stomach, ever ranking
    Himself with princes; one that, by suggestion, 2595
    Tied all the kingdom: simony was fair-play;
    His own opinion was his law: i' the presence
    He would say untruths; and be ever double
    Both in his words and meaning: he was never,
    But where he meant to ruin, pitiful: 2600
    His promises were, as he then was, mighty;
    But his performance, as he is now, nothing:
    Of his own body he was ill, and gave
    The clergy in example.
  • Griffith. Noble madam, 2605
    Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues
    We write in water. May it please your highness
    To hear me speak his good now?
  • Griffith. This cardinal,
    Though from an humble stock, undoubtedly
    Was fashion'd to much honour from his cradle.
    He was a scholar, and a ripe and good one;
    Exceeding wise, fair-spoken, and persuading: 2615
    Lofty and sour to them that loved him not;
    But to those men that sought him sweet as summer.
    And though he were unsatisfied in getting,
    Which was a sin, yet in bestowing, madam,
    He was most princely: ever witness for him 2620
    Those twins Of learning that he raised in you,
    Ipswich and Oxford! one of which fell with him,
    Unwilling to outlive the good that did it;
    The other, though unfinish'd, yet so famous,
    So excellent in art, and still so rising, 2625
    That Christendom shall ever speak his virtue.
    His overthrow heap'd happiness upon him;
    For then, and not till then, he felt himself,
    And found the blessedness of being little:
    And, to add greater honours to his age 2630
    Than man could give him, he died fearing God.
  • Queen Katharine. After my death I wish no other herald,
    No other speaker of my living actions,
    To keep mine honour from corruption,
    But such an honest chronicler as Griffith. 2635
    Whom I most hated living, thou hast made me,
    With thy religious truth and modesty,
    Now in his ashes honour: peace be with him!
    Patience, be near me still; and set me lower:
    I have not long to trouble thee. Good Griffith, 2640
    Cause the musicians play me that sad note
    I named my knell, whilst I sit meditating
    On that celestial harmony I go to.

[Sad and solemn music]

  • Griffith. She is asleep: good wench, let's sit down quiet, 2645
    For fear we wake her: softly, gentle Patience.
    [The vision. Enter, solemnly tripping one after]
    another, six personages, clad in white robes,
    wearing on their heads garlands of bays, and golden
    vizards on their faces; branches of bays or palm in 2650
    their hands. They first congee unto her, then
    dance; and, at certain changes, the first two hold
    a spare garland over her head; at which the other
    four make reverent curtsies; then the two that held
    the garland deliver the same to the other next two, 2655
    who observe the same order in their changes, and
    holding the garland over her head: which done,
    they deliver the same garland to the last two, who
    likewise observe the same order: at which, as it
    were by inspiration, she makes in her sleep signs 2660
    of rejoicing, and holdeth up her hands to heaven:
    and so in their dancing vanish, carrying the
    garland with them. The music continues]
  • Queen Katharine. Spirits of peace, where are ye? are ye all gone,
    And leave me here in wretchedness behind ye? 2665
  • Queen Katharine. It is not you I call for:
    Saw ye none enter since I slept?
  • Queen Katharine. No? Saw you not, even now, a blessed troop 2670
    Invite me to a banquet; whose bright faces
    Cast thousand beams upon me, like the sun?
    They promised me eternal happiness;
    And brought me garlands, Griffith, which I feel
    I am not worthy yet to wear: I shall, assuredly. 2675
  • Griffith. I am most joyful, madam, such good dreams
    Possess your fancy.

[Music ceases]

  • Patience. Do you note
    How much her grace is alter'd on the sudden?
    How long her face is drawn? how pale she looks,
    And of an earthy cold? Mark her eyes!
  • Griffith. She is going, wench: pray, pray. 2685

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Queen Katharine. You are a saucy fellow:
    Deserve we no more reverence? 2690
  • Griffith. You are to blame,
    Knowing she will not lose her wonted greatness,
    To use so rude behavior; go to, kneel.
  • Messenger. I humbly do entreat your highness' pardon;
    My haste made me unmannerly. There is staying 2695
    A gentleman, sent from the king, to see you.
  • Queen Katharine. Admit him entrance, Griffith: but this fellow
    Let me ne'er see again.
    [Exeunt GRIFFITH and Messenger]
    [Re-enter GRIFFITH, with CAPUCIUS] 2700
    If my sight fail not,
    You should be lord ambassador from the emperor,
    My royal nephew, and your name Capucius.
  • Capucius. Madam, the same; your servant.
  • Queen Katharine. O, my lord, 2705
    The times and titles now are alter'd strangely
    With me since first you knew me. But, I pray you,
    What is your pleasure with me?
  • Capucius. Noble lady,
    First mine own service to your grace; the next, 2710
    The king's request that I would visit you;
    Who grieves much for your weakness, and by me
    Sends you his princely commendations,
    And heartily entreats you take good comfort.
  • Queen Katharine. O my good lord, that comfort comes too late; 2715
    'Tis like a pardon after execution:
    That gentle physic, given in time, had cured me;
    But now I am past an comforts here, but prayers.
    How does his highness?
  • Queen Katharine. So may he ever do! and ever flourish,
    When I shall dwell with worms, and my poor name
    Banish'd the kingdom! Patience, is that letter,
    I caused you write, yet sent away?

[Giving it to KATHARINE]

  • Queen Katharine. Sir, I most humbly pray you to deliver
    This to my lord the king.
  • Queen Katharine. In which I have commended to his goodness 2730
    The model of our chaste loves, his young daughter;
    The dews of heaven fall thick in blessings on her!
    Beseeching him to give her virtuous breeding—
    She is young, and of a noble modest nature,
    I hope she will deserve well,—and a little 2735
    To love her for her mother's sake, that loved him,
    Heaven knows how dearly. My next poor petition
    Is, that his noble grace would have some pity
    Upon my wretched women, that so long
    Have follow'd both my fortunes faithfully: 2740
    Of which there is not one, I dare avow,
    And now I should not lie, but will deserve
    For virtue and true beauty of the soul,
    For honesty and decent carriage,
    A right good husband, let him be a noble 2745
    And, sure, those men are happy that shall have 'em.
    The last is, for my men; they are the poorest,
    But poverty could never draw 'em from me;
    That they may have their wages duly paid 'em,
    And something over to remember me by: 2750
    If heaven had pleased to have given me longer life
    And able means, we had not parted thus.
    These are the whole contents: and, good my lord,
    By that you love the dearest in this world,
    As you wish Christian peace to souls departed, 2755
    Stand these poor people's friend, and urge the king
    To do me this last right.
  • Capucius. By heaven, I will,
    Or let me lose the fashion of a man!
  • Queen Katharine. I thank you, honest lord. Remember me 2760
    In all humility unto his highness:
    Say his long trouble now is passing
    Out of this world; tell him, in death I bless'd him,
    For so I will. Mine eyes grow dim. Farewell,
    My lord. Griffith, farewell. Nay, Patience, 2765
    You must not leave me yet: I must to bed;
    Call in more women. When I am dead, good wench,
    Let me be used with honour: strew me over
    With maiden flowers, that all the world may know
    I was a chaste wife to my grave: embalm me, 2770
    Then lay me forth: although unqueen'd, yet like
    A queen, and daughter to a king, inter me.
    I can no more.

[Exeunt, leading KATHARINE]