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History of Henry VIII

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Act V, Scene 5

The palace.


[Enter trumpets, sounding; then two Aldermen, Lord] [p]Mayor, Garter, CRANMER, NORFOLK with his marshal's [p]staff, SUFFOLK, two Noblemen bearing great [p]standing-bowls for the christening-gifts; then [p]four Noblemen bearing a canopy, under which the [p]Duchess of Norfolk, godmother, bearing the child [p]richly habited in a mantle, &c., train borne by a [p]Lady; then follows the Marchioness Dorset, the [p]other godmother, and Ladies. The troop pass once [p]about the stage, and Garter speaks]

  • Garter. Heaven, from thy endless goodness, send prosperous
    life, long, and ever happy, to the high and mighty
    princess of England, Elizabeth! 3380

[Flourish. Enter KING HENRY VIII and Guard]

  • Archbishop Cranmer. [Kneeling] And to your royal grace, and the good queen,
    My noble partners, and myself, thus pray:
    All comfort, joy, in this most gracious lady,
    Heaven ever laid up to make parents happy, 3385
    May hourly fall upon ye!
  • Henry VIII. Thank you, good lord archbishop:
    What is her name?
  • Henry VIII. Stand up, lord. 3390
    [KING HENRY VIII kisses the child]
    With this kiss take my blessing: God protect thee!
    Into whose hand I give thy life.
  • Henry VIII. My noble gossips, ye have been too prodigal: 3395
    I thank ye heartily; so shall this lady,
    When she has so much English.
  • Archbishop Cranmer. Let me speak, sir,
    For heaven now bids me; and the words I utter
    Let none think flattery, for they'll find 'em truth. 3400
    This royal infant—heaven still move about her!—
    Though in her cradle, yet now promises
    Upon this land a thousand thousand blessings,
    Which time shall bring to ripeness: she shall be—
    But few now living can behold that goodness— 3405
    A pattern to all princes living with her,
    And all that shall succeed: Saba was never
    More covetous of wisdom and fair virtue
    Than this pure soul shall be: all princely graces,
    That mould up such a mighty piece as this is, 3410
    With all the virtues that attend the good,
    Shall still be doubled on her: truth shall nurse her,
    Holy and heavenly thoughts still counsel her:
    She shall be loved and fear'd: her own shall bless her;
    Her foes shake like a field of beaten corn, 3415
    And hang their heads with sorrow: good grows with her:
    In her days every man shall eat in safety,
    Under his own vine, what he plants; and sing
    The merry songs of peace to all his neighbours:
    God shall be truly known; and those about her 3420
    From her shall read the perfect ways of honour,
    And by those claim their greatness, not by blood.
    Nor shall this peace sleep with her: but as when
    The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phoenix,
    Her ashes new create another heir, 3425
    As great in admiration as herself;
    So shall she leave her blessedness to one,
    When heaven shall call her from this cloud of darkness,
    Who from the sacred ashes of her honour
    Shall star-like rise, as great in fame as she was, 3430
    And so stand fix'd: peace, plenty, love, truth, terror,
    That were the servants to this chosen infant,
    Shall then be his, and like a vine grow to him:
    Wherever the bright sun of heaven shall shine,
    His honour and the greatness of his name 3435
    Shall be, and make new nations: he shall flourish,
    And, like a mountain cedar, reach his branches
    To all the plains about him: our children's children
    Shall see this, and bless heaven.
  • Archbishop Cranmer. She shall be, to the happiness of England,
    An aged princess; many days shall see her,
    And yet no day without a deed to crown it.
    Would I had known no more! but she must die,
    She must, the saints must have her; yet a virgin, 3445
    A most unspotted lily shall she pass
    To the ground, and all the world shall mourn her.
  • Henry VIII. O lord archbishop,
    Thou hast made me now a man! never, before
    This happy child, did I get any thing: 3450
    This oracle of comfort has so pleased me,
    That when I am in heaven I shall desire
    To see what this child does, and praise my Maker.
    I thank ye all. To you, my good lord mayor,
    And your good brethren, I am much beholding; 3455
    I have received much honour by your presence,
    And ye shall find me thankful. Lead the way, lords:
    Ye must all see the queen, and she must thank ye,
    She will be sick else. This day, no man think
    Has business at his house; for all shall stay: 3460
    This little one shall make it holiday.
  • Chorus. 'Tis ten to one this play can never please
    All that are here: some come to take their ease, 3465
    And sleep an act or two; but those, we fear,
    We have frighted with our trumpets; so, 'tis clear,
    They'll say 'tis naught: others, to hear the city
    Abused extremely, and to cry 'That's witty!'
    Which we have not done neither: that, I fear, 3470
    All the expected good we're like to hear
    For this play at this time, is only in
    The merciful construction of good women;
    For such a one we show'd 'em: if they smile,
    And say 'twill do, I know, within a while 3475
    All the best men are ours; for 'tis ill hap,
    If they hold when their ladies bid 'em clap.