Open Source Shakespeare

History of Henry VIII

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Act V, Scene 2

Before the council-chamber. Pursuivants, Pages, &c.




  • Archbishop Cranmer. I hope I am not too late; and yet the gentleman, 3000
    That was sent to me from the council, pray'd me
    To make great haste. All fast? what means this? Ho!
    Who waits there? Sure, you know me?

[Enter Keeper]

  • Keeper. Yes, my lord; 3005
    But yet I cannot help you.
  • Archbishop Cranmer. Why?


  • Keeper. Your grace must wait till you be call'd for.
  • Archbishop Cranmer. So. 3010
  • Doctor Butts. [Aside] This is a piece of malice. I am glad
    I came this way so happily: the king
    Shall understand it presently.


  • Archbishop Cranmer. [Aside]. 'Tis Butts, 3015
    The king's physician: as he pass'd along,
    How earnestly he cast his eyes upon me!
    Pray heaven, he sound not my disgrace! For certain,
    This is of purpose laid by some that hate me—
    God turn their hearts! I never sought their malice— 3020
    To quench mine honour: they would shame to make me
    Wait else at door, a fellow-counsellor,
    'Mong boys, grooms, and lackeys. But their pleasures
    Must be fulfill'd, and I attend with patience.

[Enter the KING HENRY VIII and DOCTOR BUTTS at a window above]

  • Doctor Butts. I'll show your grace the strangest sight—
  • Henry VIII. What's that, Butts?
  • Doctor Butts. I think your highness saw this many a day.
  • Henry VIII. Body o' me, where is it?
  • Doctor Butts. There, my lord: 3030
    The high promotion of his grace of Canterbury;
    Who holds his state at door, 'mongst pursuivants,
    Pages, and footboys.
  • Henry VIII. Ha! 'tis he, indeed:
    Is this the honour they do one another? 3035
    'Tis well there's one above 'em yet. I had thought
    They had parted so much honesty among 'em
    At least, good manners, as not thus to suffer
    A man of his place, and so near our favour,
    To dance attendance on their lordships' pleasures, 3040
    And at the door too, like a post with packets.
    By holy Mary, Butts, there's knavery:
    Let 'em alone, and draw the curtain close:
    We shall hear more anon.