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History of Henry VIII

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Act V, Scene 1

London. A gallery in the palace.


[Enter GARDINER, Bishop of Winchester, a Page with a] [p]torch before him, met by LOVELL]

  • Gardiner. It's one o'clock, boy, is't not?
  • Page. It hath struck.
  • Gardiner. These should be hours for necessities,
    Not for delights; times to repair our nature 2780
    With comforting repose, and not for us
    To waste these times. Good hour of night, Sir Thomas!
    Whither so late?
  • Gardiner. I did, Sir Thomas: and left him at primero 2785
    With the Duke of Suffolk.
  • Gardiner. Not yet, Sir Thomas Lovell. What's the matter?
    It seems you are in haste: an if there be 2790
    No great offence belongs to't, give your friend
    Some touch of your late business: affairs, that walk,
    As they say spirits do, at midnight, have
    In them a wilder nature than the business
    That seeks dispatch by day. 2795
  • Sir Thomas Lovell. My lord, I love you;
    And durst commend a secret to your ear
    Much weightier than this work. The queen's in labour,
    They say, in great extremity; and fear'd
    She'll with the labour end. 2800
  • Gardiner. The fruit she goes with
    I pray for heartily, that it may find
    Good time, and live: but for the stock, Sir Thomas,
    I wish it grubb'd up now.
  • Sir Thomas Lovell. Methinks I could 2805
    Cry the amen; and yet my conscience says
    She's a good creature, and, sweet lady, does
    Deserve our better wishes.
  • Gardiner. But, sir, sir,
    Hear me, Sir Thomas: you're a gentleman 2810
    Of mine own way; I know you wise, religious;
    And, let me tell you, it will ne'er be well,
    'Twill not, Sir Thomas Lovell, take't of me,
    Till Cranmer, Cromwell, her two hands, and she,
    Sleep in their graves. 2815
  • Sir Thomas Lovell. Now, sir, you speak of two
    The most remark'd i' the kingdom. As for Cromwell,
    Beside that of the jewel house, is made master
    O' the rolls, and the king's secretary; further, sir,
    Stands in the gap and trade of moe preferments, 2820
    With which the time will load him. The archbishop
    Is the king's hand and tongue; and who dare speak
    One syllable against him?
  • Gardiner. Yes, yes, Sir Thomas,
    There are that dare; and I myself have ventured 2825
    To speak my mind of him: and indeed this day,
    Sir, I may tell it you, I think I have
    Incensed the lords o' the council, that he is,
    For so I know he is, they know he is,
    A most arch heretic, a pestilence 2830
    That does infect the land: with which they moved
    Have broken with the king; who hath so far
    Given ear to our complaint, of his great grace
    And princely care foreseeing those fell mischiefs
    Our reasons laid before him, hath commanded 2835
    To-morrow morning to the council-board
    He be convented. He's a rank weed, Sir Thomas,
    And we must root him out. From your affairs
    I hinder you too long: good night, Sir Thomas.

[Exeunt GARDINER and Page]


  • Henry VIII. Charles, I will play no more tonight;
    My mind's not on't; you are too hard for me.
  • Henry VIII. But little, Charles;
    Nor shall not, when my fancy's on my play.
    Now, Lovell, from the queen what is the news?
  • Sir Thomas Lovell. I could not personally deliver to her
    What you commanded me, but by her woman 2850
    I sent your message; who return'd her thanks
    In the great'st humbleness, and desired your highness
    Most heartily to pray for her.
  • Henry VIII. What say'st thou, ha?
    To pray for her? what, is she crying out? 2855
  • Sir Thomas Lovell. So said her woman; and that her sufferance made
    Almost each pang a death.
  • Duke of Suffolk. God safely quit her of her burthen, and
    With gentle travail, to the gladding of 2860
    Your highness with an heir!
  • Henry VIII. 'Tis midnight, Charles;
    Prithee, to bed; and in thy prayers remember
    The estate of my poor queen. Leave me alone;
    For I must think of that which company 2865
    Would not be friendly to.
  • Duke of Suffolk. I wish your highness
    A quiet night; and my good mistress will
    Remember in my prayers.
  • Henry VIII. Charles, good night. 2870
    [Exit SUFFOLK]
    [Enter DENNY]
    Well, sir, what follows?
  • Sir Anthony Denny. Sir, I have brought my lord the archbishop,
    As you commanded me. 2875

[Exit DENNY]

  • Sir Thomas Lovell. [Aside] This is about that which the bishop spake:
    I am happily come hither.

[Re-enter DENNY, with CRANMER]

  • Henry VIII. Avoid the gallery.
    [LOVELL seems to stay] 2885
    Ha! I have said. Be gone. What!

[Exeunt LOVELL and DENNY]

  • Archbishop Cranmer. [Aside]
    I am fearful: wherefore frowns he thus?
    'Tis his aspect of terror. All's not well. 2890
  • Henry VIII. How now, my lord! you desire to know
    Wherefore I sent for you.
  • Henry VIII. Pray you, arise, 2895
    My good and gracious Lord of Canterbury.
    Come, you and I must walk a turn together;
    I have news to tell you: come, come, give me your hand.
    Ah, my good lord, I grieve at what I speak,
    And am right sorry to repeat what follows 2900
    I have, and most unwillingly, of late
    Heard many grievous, I do say, my lord,
    Grievous complaints of you; which, being consider'd,
    Have moved us and our council, that you shall
    This morning come before us; where, I know, 2905
    You cannot with such freedom purge yourself,
    But that, till further trial in those charges
    Which will require your answer, you must take
    Your patience to you, and be well contented
    To make your house our Tower: you a brother of us, 2910
    It fits we thus proceed, or else no witness
    Would come against you.
  • Archbishop Cranmer. [Kneeling]
    I humbly thank your highness;
    And am right glad to catch this good occasion 2915
    Most throughly to be winnow'd, where my chaff
    And corn shall fly asunder: for, I know,
    There's none stands under more calumnious tongues
    Than I myself, poor man.
  • Henry VIII. Stand up, good Canterbury: 2920
    Thy truth and thy integrity is rooted
    In us, thy friend: give me thy hand, stand up:
    Prithee, let's walk. Now, by my holidame.
    What manner of man are you? My lord, I look'd
    You would have given me your petition, that 2925
    I should have ta'en some pains to bring together
    Yourself and your accusers; and to have heard you,
    Without indurance, further.
  • Archbishop Cranmer. Most dread liege,
    The good I stand on is my truth and honesty: 2930
    If they shall fail, I, with mine enemies,
    Will triumph o'er my person; which I weigh not,
    Being of those virtues vacant. I fear nothing
    What can be said against me.
  • Henry VIII. Know you not 2935
    How your state stands i' the world, with the whole world?
    Your enemies are many, and not small; their practises
    Must bear the same proportion; and not ever
    The justice and the truth o' the question carries
    The due o' the verdict with it: at what ease 2940
    Might corrupt minds procure knaves as corrupt
    To swear against you? such things have been done.
    You are potently opposed; and with a malice
    Of as great size. Ween you of better luck,
    I mean, in perjured witness, than your master, 2945
    Whose minister you are, whiles here he lived
    Upon this naughty earth? Go to, go to;
    You take a precipice for no leap of danger,
    And woo your own destruction.
  • Archbishop Cranmer. God and your majesty 2950
    Protect mine innocence, or I fall into
    The trap is laid for me!
  • Henry VIII. Be of good cheer;
    They shall no more prevail than we give way to.
    Keep comfort to you; and this morning see 2955
    You do appear before them: if they shall chance,
    In charging you with matters, to commit you,
    The best persuasions to the contrary
    Fail not to use, and with what vehemency
    The occasion shall instruct you: if entreaties 2960
    Will render you no remedy, this ring
    Deliver them, and your appeal to us
    There make before them. Look, the good man weeps!
    He's honest, on mine honour. God's blest mother!
    I swear he is true—hearted; and a soul 2965
    None better in my kingdom. Get you gone,
    And do as I have bid you.
    [Exit CRANMER]
    He has strangled
    His language in his tears. 2970

[Enter Old Lady, LOVELL following]

  • Gentleman. [Within] Come back: what mean you?
  • Old Lady. I'll not come back; the tidings that I bring
    Will make my boldness manners. Now, good angels
    Fly o'er thy royal head, and shade thy person 2975
    Under their blessed wings!
  • Henry VIII. Now, by thy looks
    I guess thy message. Is the queen deliver'd?
    Say, ay; and of a boy.
  • Old Lady. Ay, ay, my liege; 2980
    And of a lovely boy: the God of heaven
    Both now and ever bless her! 'tis a girl,
    Promises boys hereafter. Sir, your queen
    Desires your visitation, and to be
    Acquainted with this stranger 'tis as like you 2985
    As cherry is to cherry.
  • Henry VIII. Give her an hundred marks. I'll to the queen.


  • Old Lady. An hundred marks! By this light, I'll ha' more.
    An ordinary groom is for such payment.
    I will have more, or scold it out of him.
    Said I for this, the girl was like to him?
    I will have more, or else unsay't; and now, 2995
    While it is hot, I'll put it to the issue.