Henry VIII simplified

Synopsis

As the play opens, we learn that an ostentatious display of wealth and power between the French and English kings was recently conducted in France, each king attempting to outdo the other through garish displays of excess. We learn of this event through an emotional two-party conversation, one party having been an eyewitness. It was a-you-won’t-believe-what-I-just-saw type of conversation. Neither of the two friends holding the conversation is very happy about the event or how it came to be.

The play opened in London in 1620 AD, the duke of Norfolk being the event’s eyewitness. The duke of Buckingham was the noble listening in disbelief to the tale being told by Norfolk, both standing there on center stage. The alternate title for the play, All Is True, could have come from the heated conversation conducted in the play’s first few minutes. Both dukes are close to the then king, Henry VIII. Taken back by Norfolk’s description of the event’s excesses, Buckingham asks “Who did guide this great sport together, as you guess?” Norfolk quickly responds “All this was ordered by the good discretion of the right reverend Cardinal of York.” The Cardinal of York is Cardinal Wolsey. Norfolk’s description of the event infuriates Buckingham, no love lost between Buckingham and Wolsey. Listening to Buckingham’s emotional reaction to his story, Norfolk cautions him not to get too angry with the Cardinal, he being the powerful man he is, saying “Like it your Grace, the state takes notice of the private difference betwixt you and the Cardinal.”

Cardinal Wolsey soon passes by and “in his passage fixeth his eye on Buckingham and Buckingham on him, both full of disdain.” As Wolsey moves on, Buckingham says to Norfolk “This butcher’s cur is venomed-mouthed, and I have not the power to muzzle him; a beggar’s book outworths a noble’s blood.” Norfolk replies “What, are you chafed? Ask God for temp’rance. That’s th’ medication your disease requires.” Sure enough, Buckingham is soon arrested by a guard who says “I arrest thee of high treason, in the name of our most sovereign king. ‘Tis his Highness’ pleasure you shall to th’ Tower.”

We soon find the king and Wolsey together in the king’s palace. Queen Katherine enters to tell the king how upset his subjects are with their tax increase, an issue catching the king by surprise, the result of a new tax initiated by the Cardinal. Receiving grief from the queen and then from the king, Wolsey defends his actions. He later tells his aide to revoke the taxes, but that in the doing to let the common people know that the revocation of the tax increase was his, the Cardinal’s idea.

Buckingham’s surveyor, whom Buckingham had earlier labeled as “false,” testifies before the king, the queen and Wolsey, telling them that Buckingham “did strive to gain the love o’ th’ commonalty” and that Buckingham had said “the Duke shall govern England.” Queen Katherine immediately comes to Buckingham’s defense saying “If I know you well, you were the Duke’s surveyor, and lost your office on the complaint o’ th’ tenants. Take good heed you charge not in your spleen a noble person and spoil your noble soul.” The king says “Let him on. Go forward.” The surveyor continues to falsely implicate Buckingham. The king ends the scene saying “By day and night, he’s traitor to th’ height!”

Wolsey soon throws an extravagant dinner party, where a noble says “He has money. In him, sparing would show a worse sin than ill doctrine.” Anne Bullen, the queen’s lady-in-waiting, and other young ladies arrive, a noble saying “By my life, they are a sweet society of fair ones.” The king and others enter in disguise, pretending to be shepherds. The king dances with Anne, unmasking when Wolsey identifies him. As they leave the room for the banquet, the love-struck king says to Anne “Sweet partner, I must not yet forsake you.”

Meanwhile Buckingham, having been accused of treason by his surveyor, offers an honorable and powerful defense at his trial, but is convicted and condemned to death.

Campeius, representing the Pope, and Wolsey, who continues to be accused of various dastardly tricks, visit the king who says, referring to his wife the queen “I must leave her.” Separately, Anne Bullen and an Old Lady grieve over the queen’s predicament, Anne saying “I would not be a queen for all the world.” A Lord Chamberlain enters to tell Anne that the king has honored her as the Marchioness of Pembroke, adding that the title includes “a thousand pounds a year annual support.” Anne responds “This is strange to me.” The Old Lady adds “Are you not stronger than you were?” Meanwhile Queen Katherine is called before the king and lets the king and Wolsey and others know how loyal she’s been, knowing she’s at serious risk. She does her best to protect her interests. Attempting to justify his interest in young Anne, the king lets us know as the queen leaves that he believes he needs a son because his kingdom is “well worthy to the best heir ‘o th’ world.” He and the queen have a daughter. The queen has had a number of miscarriages.

Wolsey and Campeius visit Queen Katherine to give her “the full cause of our coming;” their cause being to encourage her to quickly accept the king’s plan to divorce her. She puts up a good defense, scolding them, but in the end succumbs to the inevitable.

Norfolk, Suffolk, and others are discussing the trap Wolsey has set for himself, he having injudiciously, shall we say, suggested to the Pope that the king’s divorce be delayed. To Wolsey’s misfortune his letters to the Pope had been intercepted and turned over to the king. It’s here where we learn that the politically astute Cardinal Cranmer, just a regular cardinal, “supports the king’s quick divorce.” Wolsey enters, soon followed by the king, along with a number of other nobles, the king letting Wolsey know his time as Archbishop of Canterbury is about up. Wolsey makes a valiant defense saying “I can nothing render but allegiant thanks, my prayers to heaven for you, my loyalty shall be growing till death kill it.” The king responds “Fairly answered.” He then hands Wolsey papers saying “Read o’er this, and after, then to breakfast with what appetite you have.” The king and nobles exit. Norfolk, Suffolk and Surrey soon re-enter asking Wolsey “to render up the great seal.” Wolsey continues with his defense, but knows he is “undone.” As the nobles exit, Wolsey replays to himself his missteps.

Cromwell, Wolsey’s servant, enters, telling Wolsey that Cranmer has been “installed Lord Archbishop of Canterbury” and that the king and Lady Anne “in secrecy long married.” Wolsey offers Cromwell counsel and leaves, saying “My hopes in heaven do dwell.”

Two Gentlemen are waiting to view Queen Anne’s procession. They are joined street-side by a third Gentleman who had attended her coronation, the third Gentleman gushing over the beautiful Queen Anne, saying “Believe me, she is the goodliest woman. Such joy I never saw before.” He enthusiastically proceeds to tell them of the coronation. The young queen was crowned with Edward Confessor’s crown “where she kneeled and saintlike cast her fair eyes to heaven and prayed devoutly.” Edward the Confessor had been England’s king from 1042 to 1066. The three men then give us some insight into the deteriorating relationship between Gardiner, the Bishop of Winchester, and Cranmer, the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

Separately, an ill ex-queen Katherine is told about Wolsey’s death. She says “He gave the clergy ill example.” Capuchius, an ambassador from Katherine’s nephew, Charles V, the king of Spain, enters. Charles V is also known as Charles the Emperor, emperor of the Germanic Holy Roman Empire. She gives Capuchius written instructions to deliver to Spain’s king. He says “By heaven, I will.” Her written requests are to take care of her daughter Mary, to take care of her servants, and to “inter me like a queen.”

We learn that Queen Anne is having a difficult labor, and that the Bishop of Winchester has told members of the King’s Council that Cranmer “is a most arch heretic” and that “he’s a rank weed and we must root him out.” Separately, the king lets Cranmer, Cranmer being the king’s man, know that he has “heard many grievous complaints of you.” He gives him some suggestions on ways to deal with members of the Council when he appears before them. The king also gives him a ring to present to the Council members if push ever comes to shove. Cranmer is forced to wait outside the chamber when he arrives at the doors of the Privy Council, a major insult. In time he is permitted to enter and defends himself beautifully, but in spite of his convincing defense the members decide to send him to prison. At that moment Cranmer presents the king’s ring and the tone of the session changes. The king soon enters, berates the Council members, and tells Cranmer “There is a fair young maid that yet wants baptism.”

A huge and unruly crowd gathers at the king’s palace to view the christening. Soon the king, his very recently born daughter Elizabeth, along with Cranmer and others enter. Cranmer christens the young child. Shakespeare has Cranmer offer an extravagant prophecy for the young monarch-to-be, the baby Elizabeth becoming Queen Elizabeth I, the queen at the time Shakespeare was presenting most of his plays, she no doubt being one of his principal patrons. The king says simply to Cranmer “Thou speakest wonders.”

Principal Characters

Anne Bullen. Anne Bullen, Queen Katherine’s lady-in-waiting, first met King Henry early in the play when he masqueraded as a shepherd during Cardinal Wolsey’s extravagant dinner party, the king falling for her while they danced during the party. The king soon divorces Katherine and marries Anne. Late in the play Anne delivers the future-to-be Queen Elizabeth I.

Buckingham. Buckingham is the Duke of Buckingham, a title he inherited from his late father, the most loyal of aides to Richard Plantagenet, the Duke of Gloucester, who became the infamous King Richard III. Before having Buckingham executed, a result of Wolsey’s and the Surveyor’s doing, the king says “The gentleman is learned and a most rare speaker.”

Cranmer. Cranmer is a cardinal at the time Henry VIII meets and dances with Anne Bullen. Cranmer’s support of the king’s divorce from Katherine and marriage to Anne Bullen catapults him to prominence and to the exalted position of Archbishop of Canterbury. Shakespeare has Cranmer throw accolades at the very end of the play to the baby Elizabeth, who later becomes Elizabeth I and a principal supporter of Shakespeare while he was active as a playwright.

Gardiner. Gardiner is the king’s secretary and later becomes the Bishop of Winchester. He considers Cranmer a heretic and becomes his nemesis. Gardiner is better known late in the play simply as Winchester. Taking the lead before Council members, he accuses Cranmer of being a heretic, an accusation that leads Council members to decide to send Cranmer to prison, a decision abruptly cut short when the king enters and protects Cranmer.

Henry VIII. Henry VIII was the son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Henry VII was a Lancastrian; Elizabeth a Yorkist. Henry VII had been known earlier in his life as Henry Tudor, the Earl of Richmond, later becoming the first Tudor king. Henry VII’s son, Henry VIII, wanted a male heir and had an eye for the ladies, justifying for him his divorce from Queen Katherine and his marriage to the beautiful and young Anne Bullen. Shakespeare gives us reasons to think, however, that besides his romantic interests, he was on balance pretty reasonable. Their daughter Elizabeth becomes queen.

Katherine. Queen Katherine is Katherine of Aragon and is Henry VIII’s first wife. She was the widow of Henry VIII’s older brother Arthur who had died in 1502. Henry VIII married Katherine in 1509 when he became king. Shakespeare has her showing real insight with issues surrounding Henry VIII, Buckingham, Wolsey and others. Cardinal Wolsey, eager to be Pope, has reason not to see her and the king divorce, she being the aunt to Charles V, the king of Spain and emperor of the Germanic Holy Roman Empire, known as Charles the Emperor. Norfolk says, “Like a jewel (she) has hung twenty years about his (the king’s) neck, yet never lost her luster.” Shakespeare gives us every reason to believe she was a wonderful person, making it difficult we’re sure for the public to accept the divorce.

Wolsey. Wolsey is Cardinal Wolsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is also known as the Cardinal of York, Lord Chancellor, Cardinal York and Lord York. He is so close to the king that Norfolk calls him “The king-cardinal, that blind priest.” Wolsey abuses his powerful position and in the end loses favor with the king; losing favor when he fails to support the king’s planned divorce. Not supporting the king when you were a power player was not in contemporary terms politically correct, but he wanted to be pope, and gambled that he would improve his chances of becoming pope by asking the current pope to not permit or to at least delay Henry VIII’s divorce request. But when his papers to the Pope were intercepted by Henry VIII’s men, Wolsey was finished.

The Play


  • Prologue
  •  
  • Weighty matters that bear a wrinkled brow,
  • Full of stateliness and woe, which allow
  • Such noble scenes as draw the eye to flow
  • We now present; here too truth may be found
  • By pitying souls sympathetic. So,
  • Therefore, for goodness sake, you, who do sound
  • Like the happiest hearers of the town,
  • Be sad, as this play’s set to make ye frown;
  • Just as those who came to see a bawdy
  • Play will be deceived. Great nobles you’ll see
  • Followed with a thousand friends; then soon we
  • Sadly see the mighty and misery
  • Meet. If you then can be merry, we’d say
  • A man could weep upon his wedding day.
  • Act 1, Scene 1
  • Norfolk, Buckingham and Abergavenny enter. Abergavenny is one of Buckingham’s two sons-in-law.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • Good morrow, and well met. How have you done since last we saw in France?
  • NORFOLK
  • Healthful, and ever since a fresh admirer of what I saw there.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • An untimely fever staved me a prisoner in my chamber when Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France met in the vale of Andren.
  • NORFOLK
  • I was then present, saw them salute on horseback, beheld them when they alighted.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • All the whole time I was my chamber’s prisoner.
  • NORFOLK
  • Then you lost the view of earthly glory. One moment the French, all glittering, all in gold, shown down the English; the next moment they made Britain India: every man that stood showed like a gold mine. The two kings, equal in luster, and being present both, ‘twas said they saw but one, and no observer dared wag his tongue in disagreement with this judgment.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • O, you go far. Who did guide this great tournament, as you guess?
  • NORFOLK
  • All of this was ordered by the good discretion of the right reverend Cardinal of York.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • The devil destroy him. No man’s pie is freed from his ambitions finger. What had he to do in these fierce wastes of time.
  • NORFOLK
  • Surely, sir, there’s in him stuff that puts him to these ends; for, being not propped by ancestry, he gives us note the force of his own merit makes his way --- a gift that heaven gives for him which buys a place second only to the king’s.
  • ABERGAVENNY
  • I cannot tell what heaven hath given him.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • Why the devil, upon this French expedition, took he upon him, without the privity o’ th’ King, t’ appoint who should attend on him? What did this worthless action but minister communication of a most poor issue?
  • NORFOLK
  • Grievingly I think the peace between the French and us not values the cost that conclude it.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • Why, all this business our reverend cardinal carried.
  • NORFOLK
  • Like it your Grace, the state takes notice of the private difference betwixt you and the Cardinal. I advise you --- that you read the Cardinal’s malice and his potency together. You know his nature, that he’s revengeful, hath a sharp edge, and ‘t may be said it reaches far. Take to heart my counsel; you’ll find it wholesome.
  • Cardinal Wolsey enters. The Cardinal in his passage fixes his eye on Buckingham and Buckingham on him, both full of disdain. Cardinal Wolsey and his train exit.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • This butcher’s cur is venomed-mouthed, and I have not the power to muzzle him. A beggar’s learning outworths a noble’s blood. I read in ‘s looks matter against me, and his eye reviled me as his despised object. He’s gone to th’ King. I’ll follow and outstare him.
  • NORFOLK
  • Stay my lord.
  •  
  •  
  • Norfolk to Buckingham
  •  
  • What, are you angry? Ask God for temp’rance;
  • That is the medicine required to lance
  • Your disease. Let reason with your choler
  • Question what ‘tis you go about. Advise
  • Yourself as you might advise me. Vigor
  • In a full hot horse, unbridled by ties,
  • Exhausts him. Heat not a furnace for your
  • Foe so hot that it doth singe you. The more
  • Boiled a liquid, the more it doth o’erflow,
  • Wasting it; through violent swiftness one can
  • O’errun that which is attacked. There is no
  • English soul stronger to direct you than
  • Yourself. With the fluid of good reason
  • Douse the fire of too spirited passion.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • Sir, I am thankful to you, and I’ll go along by your prescription. But this top-proud fellow --- I do know to be corrupt and treasonous.
  • NORFOLK
  • Say not “treasonous.”
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • To th’ King I’ll say ‘t, and make my vouch as strong as shore of rock. This holy fox, or wolf, or both, for he is as prone to mischief as he is subtle, and as prone to mischief as able to perform it, only to show his pomp as well in France as here at home, suggests the King to this last costly treaty, the ceremony that swallowed so much treasure and like a glass did break i’ th’ rinsing.
  • NORFOLK
  • Faith, and so it did.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • Pray give me favor, sir. This cunning cardinal the articles o’ th’ combination drew as himself pleased; and they were ratified as he cried “Thus let be,” to as much end as give a crutch to th’ dead. Let the King know --- as soon he shall by me --- that thus the Cardinal does buy and sell his honor as he pleases and for his own advantage.
  • NORFOLK
  • I am sorry to hear this of him.
  • Brandon enters.
  • BRANDON
  • Your office, Sergeant: execute it.
  • SERGEANT TO BUCKINGHAM
  • Sir, my lord the Duke of Buckingham and Earl of Hertford, Stafford, and Northampton, I arrest thee of high treason, in the name of our most sovereign king.
  • BUCKINGHAM TO NORFOLK
  • Lo you, my lord, the net has fall’n upon me. I shall perish under device and practice.
  • BRANDON
  • ‘Tis his Highness’ pleasure you shall to th’ Tower.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • It will help me nothing to plead mine innocence. The will of heaven be done in this and all things. I obey. O my Lord Abergavenny, fare you well.
  • BRANDON
  • Nay, he must bear you company. The King is pleased you shall to th’ Tower, till you know how he determines further.
  • ABERGAVENNY
  • As the Duke said, the will of heaven be done, and the King’s pleasure by me obeyed.
  • BRANDON
  • Here is a warrant from a monk o’ th’ Chartreux.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • O, Michael Hopkins?
  • BRANDON
  • He.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • My surveyor is false. The o’ergreat cardinal hath showed him gold. My life is spanned already.
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 2
  • King Henry and Cardinal Wolsey with other nobles enter. They are in the King’s palace.
  • KING TO WOLSEY
  • My life itself, and the best heart of it, thanks you for this great care. That gentleman of Buckingham’s; in person I’ll hear him his confessions justify, and point by point the treasons of his master he shall again relate.
  • Queen Katherine enters along with Norfolk and Suffolk. She kneels.
  • KING
  • Arise, and take place by us.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • Thank your Majesty.
  • KING
  • Lady mine, proceed.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • I am solicited, not by a few, that your subjects are in great grievance. There have been orders sent down among ‘em which hath flawed the heard of all their loyalties, wherein, although my good Lord Cardinal, they vent reproaches most bitterly on you as putter-on of these taxes, yet the King escapes not language unmannerly.
  • NORFOLK
  • The clothiers all, not able to maintain those dependent on them have put off the spinsters, carders, weavers, who, unfit for other life in desperate manner are all in uproar, and danger serves among them.
  • KING
  • Taxation? My Lord Cardinal, know you of this taxation?
  • WOLSEY
  • Please you, sir, I know but of a single part in aught pertains to th’ state.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • No, my lord? You know no more than others? They say they are devised by you, or else you suffer too hard a derogatory outcry.
  • KING
  • What kind of tax is it?
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • The subjects’ grief comes through commissions which compels from each the sixth part of his substance, to be levied without delay, and the pretense for this is named your wars in France. This makes bold mouths. Their curses now live where their prayers did. I would your Highness would give it quick consideration, for there is no greater contemptible meanness.
  • KING
  • By my life, this is against our desire.
  •  
  •  
  • Wolsey to Henry VIII
  •  
  • If I am here misrepresented by
  • These ignorant tongues, which neither know my
  • Qualities nor person, yet will be the
  • Spokesmen of my doing, let me say ‘tis
  • But the fate of service to the crown, a
  • Rough thicket that virtue must go through. Is
  • The thought of coping with these censurers
  • Consuming us with alarm that defers
  • Necessary action; letting them make
  • Mischief while we seem the envious and
  • Vainly longing weaker ones? If we take
  • Not root here where we sit, but rather stand
  • Still in fear our motion will be mocked, then
  • We are but mere images of statesmen.
  • KING
  • Have you a precedent of this tax? I believe, not any. We must not rend our subjects from our laws and stick them in our will. Sixth part of each? A tax to be trembled at with fear. Pray look to ‘t; I put it to your care.
  • WOLSEY ASIDE TO HIS SECRETARY
  • Let there be letters writ to every shire of the King’s grace and pardon. Let it be spread about that through our intercession this revokement and pardon comes.
  • Secretary exits. Buckingham’s Surveyor enters.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • I am sorry that the duke of Buckingham is run in your displeasure.
  • KING
  • It grieves many. The gentleman is learned and a most rare speaker; to nature none more bound. Yet see, when these so noble benefits shall prove not well disposed, the mind growing once corrupt, they turn to vicious forms ten times more ugly than ever they were fair. He, my lady, hath into monstrous habits put the graces that once were his. This was his gentleman in trust, whereof we cannot feel too little, hear too much.
  • WOLSEY
  • Stand forth, and with bold spirit relate what you most like a careful subject have collected out of the Duke of Buckingham.
  • KING
  • Speak freely.
  •  
  •  
  • Surveyor to the King, Queen and Wolsey
  •  
  • First, every day he would inflect his speech
  • That if the King should without issue reach
  • Death, he’d move forward to make the scepter
  • His. These very words, and to seek to ban
  • The Lord Cardinal, I’ve heard him utter
  • To Abergavenny. Through a holy man
  • I was told “Neither the King nor his heirs
  • Shall prosper and that the Lord Duke who cares
  • For the commons shall govern England. Should
  • The King’s health fail, the Cardinal’s head goes.” Quoth
  • He, “If I were sent to prison I would
  • Play the part my father meant through his oath
  • To play against Richard, the usurper,
  • And put a knife into him, if I were.”
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • If I know you well, you were the Duke’s surveyor, and lost your office on the complaint o’ th’ tenants. Take good heed and charge not in your spleen a noble person and spoil your nobler soul.
  • SURVEYOR
  • On my soul, I’ll speak but truth.
  • WOLSEY
  • Now, madam, may his Highness live in freedom and this man out of prison?
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • God mend all.
  • KING TO SURVEYOR
  • There’s something more would out of thee. What sayst?
  • SURVEYOR
  • After “the Duke his father” with “the knife,” he stretched himself, and with one hand on his dagger, raising his eyes, he did discharge a horrible oath whose tenor was he would surpass his father by as much as an act does an irresolute purpose.
  • KING
  • There’s his conclusion, to sheathe his knife in us! Call him to present trial. By day and night, he’s traitor to th’ height!
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 3
  • Lord Chamberlain and Lord Sands enter.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • Is ‘t possible the spells of France should change men into such strange mysteries?
  • SANDS
  • New customs, though they be never so ridiculous, yet are followed.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • My lord, their clothes are after such a pagan cut to ‘t, that, sure, they’ve worn out Christendom.
  • Sir Thomas Lovell enters.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • What news, Sir Thomas Lovell?
  • LOVELL
  • The reformation of our traveled gallants that fill the court with quarrels, talk, and tailors. They must either renounce clean the faith they have in tennis and tall stockings, and understand again like honest men, or be off to their old playfellows.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • What a loss our ladies will have of these trim vanities!
  • LOVELL
  • Ay, there will be woe indeed, lords.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • Sir Thomas, whither were you a-going?
  • LOVELL
  • To the Cardinal’s. Your Lordship is a guest too.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • O, ‘tis true. This night he makes a supper, and a great one.
  • LOVELL
  • That churchman bears a bounteous mind indeed, a hand as fruitful as the land that feeds us.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • No doubt he’s noble.
  • LOVELL
  • He may be, my lord. He has money. In him, sparing would show a worse sin than ill doctrine.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • Come, good Sir Thomas. We shall be late else, which I would not be.
  • They exit.
  • Act 1, Scene 4
  • Anne Bullen and other ladies and gentlemen as guests enter the Cardinal’s residence at one door; Sir Henry Guilford at another.
  • GUILFORD
  • Ladies, a general welcome from the Cardinal salutes you all. This night he dedicates to fair content and you all.
  • Lord Chamberlain, Lord Sands, and Sir Thomas Lovell enter.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • You are young, Sir Harry Guilford.
  • SANDS
  • By my life, they are a sweet society of fair ones.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • Sweet ladies, will it please you sit? Sir Harry, place you that side; I’ll take the charge of this.
  • The guests are seated.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • His Grace is ent’ring. My Lord Sands, you are one will keep ‘em waking. Pray sit between these ladies.
  • Sands sits between Anne Bullen and another lady.
  • SANDS
  • If I chance to talk a little wild, forgive me; I had it from my father.
  • ANNE
  • Was he mad, sir?
  • SANDS
  • O, very mad, exceeding mad, in love too.
  • He kisses Anne.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • Well said, my lord.
  • Cardinal Wolsey and attendants enter.
  • WOLSEY
  • You’re welcome, my fair guests. This to confirm my welcome, and to you all good health.
  • He drinks to them.
  • WOLSEY
  • Ladies, you are not merry. Gentlemen, whose fault is this?
  • SANDS
  • The red wine first must rise in their fair cheeks, my lord.
  • ANNE
  • My Lord Sands!
  • A Servant enters.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • How now, what is ‘t?
  • SERVANT
  • A noble troop of strangers, for so they seem.
  • WOLSEY
  • Good Lord Chamberlain, go give ‘em welcome. Receive ‘em nobly, and conduct ‘em into our presence, where this heaven of beauty shall shine at full upon them.
  • Lord Chamberlain exits. The King and others enter with masks, dressed as shepherds.
  • WOLSEY
  • What are their pleasures?
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • Because they speak no English, they prayed to tell you Grace, that, leaving their flocks and, under your fair conduct, crave leave to view these ladies and for an hour join them.
  • WOLSEY
  • They have done my poor house grace, for which I pay them a thousand thanks.
  • The Masquers choose ladies. The King chooses Anne Bullen.
  • KING
  • The fairest hand I ever touched! O beauty, till now I never knew thee.
  • Music and Dance
  • WOLSEY
  • My lord!
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • Your Grace?
  • WOLSEY
  • Pray tell ‘em thus much from me: there should be one amongst ‘em by his person more worthy this place than myself.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • I will, my lord.
  • He whispers with the masquers.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • Such a one they all confess there is indeed, which they would have your Grace find out, and he will take it.
  • WOLSEY
  • Let me see, then.
  • He bows before the King. The King unmasks.
  • KING
  • You have found him, cardinal. You are a churchman, or I’ll tell you, cardinal, I should judge now unhappily.
  • KING TO CHAMBERLAIN
  • Prithee come hither. What fair lady’s that?
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • Sir Thomas Bullen’s daughter, one of her Highness’ women.
  • KING
  • By heaven, she is a dainty one. Sweetheart, I were unmannerly to take you out and not to kiss you.
  • He kisses Anne. He drinks a toast.
  • WOLSEY
  • Sir Thomas Lovell, is the banquet ready?
  • LOVELL
  • Yes, my lord.
  • WOLSEY
  • I fear, with dancing is a little heated.
  • KING
  • I fear, too much.
  • WOLSEY
  • There’s fresher air, my lord, in the next chamber.
  • KING
  • Lead in your ladies ev’ry one. Sweet partner, I must not yet forsake you.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 1
  • Two gentlemen are on stage.
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • All’s now done but the ceremony of bringing back the prisoner.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • Is he found guilty?
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • Yes, truly, is he, and condemned upon ‘t.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • But pray, how passed it?
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • I’ll tell you briefly. He pleaded still not guilty. Appearing against him his surveyor, Sir Gilbert Peck his chancellor, and John Car, confessor to him, with that devil monk, Hopkins, that made this mischief.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • That was he that fed him with his prophecies?
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • The same. His peers have found him guilty of high treason.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • After all this, how did he bear himself?
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • When he was brought again to th’ bar to her his knell rung out, he sweetly showed a most noble patience.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • Certainly the Cardinal is the root cause of this.
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • ‘Tis likely.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • All the commons hate him perniciously and wish him ten fathom deep. This duke as much they love and dote on; call him bounteous Buckingham, the mirror of all courtesy.
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • Stay there, sir, and see the noble ruined man you speak of.
  •  
  •  
  • Buckingham to All, No. 1
  •  
  • All good people, prithee hear what I say;
  • Then leave and forget me. I have this day
  • Received a traitor’s judgment and must die;
  • Yet let God and His heaven bear witness:
  • Destroy my conscience and my soul, if I
  • Be not true. The law I bear no malice
  • For my death, but do pray those few who willed
  • It seek neither glory in harm nor build
  • Their evil on the graves of great men, for
  • Then my guiltless blood cries against them. You
  • Who love me, who dare to weep, who show more
  • Mercy than fear, whom to leave is course to
  • Me only, ‘tis my death, go with me, then,
  • To the end, and lift my soul to heaven.
  • LOVELL
  • O do beseech your Grace, for charity, if ever any malice in your heart were hid against me, now to forgive me frankly.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • Sir Thomas Lovell, I forgive you as I would be forgiven. I forgive you. Commend me to his Grace. And if he speak of Buckingham, pray tell him you met him half in heaven; ever beloved and loving may his rule be.
  • LOVELL
  • To th’ waterside I must conduct your Grace, then give my charge up to Sir Nicholas Vaux, who undertakes you to your end.
  • Vaux calls to officers offstage.
  • VAUX TO OFFICERS
  • Prepare there! The Duke is coming. See the barge be ready, and fit it with such furniture as suites the greatness of his person.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • Nay, Sir Nicholas, let it alone. My state now will but mock me.
  •  
  •  
  • Buckingham to All, No. 2
  •  
  • When I came hither I was the Duke of
  • Buckingham; now Edward Bohun; above,
  • However, base accusers who ne’er
  • Knew what truth meant. My brave father, Henry
  • Of Buckingham, aiding his servant there
  • At Bosworth, was betrayed by the lowly
  • Wretch, and without a trial, fell. Succeeding
  • Richard, Henry the Seventh, pitying
  • My father’s loss restored my honors. Now
  • At one stroke the Seventh’s son hath taken
  • From this world my name, honor and all that
  • Made me happy; yet thus we are one in
  • Fortunes, both felled by servants, both remiss.
  • We loved these men, a most faithless service.
  • BUCKINGHAM
  • Where you are liberal of your loves and counsels be sure you be not careless; for those you make friends and give your hearts to, when they once perceive the least weakness in your fortunes, fall away like water from you, never found again but where they mean to sink you. All good people pray for me; I must leave you entirely. When you would say something that is sad, speak how I fell. God forgive me.
  • The Duke and train exit.
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • O, this is full of pity, sir! It calls, I fear, too many curses on their heads that were the authors.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • If the Duke be guiltless, ‘tis full of woe. Yet I can give you inkling of an ensuing evil, if it fall, greater than this.
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • Let me have it. I do not talk much.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • Did you not of late days hear a buzzing of a separation between the King and Katherine?
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • Yes, but it held not; for when the King once heard it he sent command to the Lord Mayor to stop the rumor.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • But that slander, sir, is found a truth now. Either the Cardinal, or some about him near, have, out of malice to the good queen, possessed him with a scruple that will undo her.
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • ‘Tis the Cardinal; and merely to revenge him on the Emperor for not bestowing on him at his asking the archbishopric of Toledo this is purposed.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • I think you have hit the mark. The Cardinal will have his will, and she must fall.
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • ‘Tis woeful. Let’s consider this in private more.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 2
  • Lord Chamberlain is on stage, reading a letter. Norfolk and Suffolk enter. Later in the scene, Campeius, a representative of the Pope and one of Wolsey’s close friends enters. Campeius’ role seems to be as Wolsey’s puppet.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • It seems the marriage with his brother’s wife has crept too near his conscience.
  • SUFFOLK
  • No, his conscience has crept too near another lady.
  • NORFOLK
  • ‘Tis so; this is the Cardinal’s doing. The king-cardinal, that blind priest, turns what he chooses. How holily he works in all his business. And with what zeal! To restore the King, he counsels a divorce, a loss of her that like a jewel has hung twenty years about his neck, yet never lost her luster; of her that loves him with that excellence that angels love good men with.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • Heaven keep me from such counsel! These news are everywhere, every tongue speaks ‘em, and every true heart weeps for ‘t. Heaven will one day open the King’s eyes, that so long have slept upon this bold bad man.
  • SUFFOLK
  • And free us from his slavery.
  • NORFOLK
  • All men’s honors lie like one lump before him, to be fashioned into what pitch he please.
  • SUFFOLK
  • His curses and his blessings touch me alike: they’re breath I not believe in. I knew him and I know him; so I leave him that made him proud, the Pope.
  • NORFOLK
  • Let’s go in and from these sad thoughts. My lord, you’ll bear us company?
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • Excuse me; the King has sent me otherwhere.
  • Lord Chamberlain exits. The King draws the curtain and reads pensively.
  • SUFFOLK TO NORFOLK
  • How sad he looks!
  • KING
  • Who’s there? How dare you thrust yourselves into my private meditations?
  • NORFOLK
  • Our breach of duty this way is business of estate, in which we come to know your royal pleasure.
  • KING
  • You are too bold.
  • Wolsey and Campeius, with a commission, enter.
  • KING
  • My good Lord Cardinal? O my Wolsey. Thou art a cure fit for a king.
  • KING TO CAMPEIUS
  • You’re welcome, most learned reverend sir, into our kingdom.
  • WOLSEY
  • I would your Grace would give us but an hour of private conference.
  • Norfolk and Suffolk exit.
  • WOLSEY
  • Rome, the nurse of judgment, invited by your noble self, hath sent one general tongue unto us, this good man, Cardinal Campeius, whom once more I present unto your Highness.
  • KING
  • And once more I bid him welcome.
  • Campeius hands the King a paper.
  • CAMPEIUS
  • I tender my commission, by whose virtue, the court of Rome commanding, you, my Lord Cardinal of York, are joined with me in the unpartial judging of this business.
  • KING
  • Two equal men. The Queen shall be acquainted forthwith for what you come. Where’s Gardiner? Prithee call Gardiner to me, my new secretary. I find him a fit fellow.
  • Wolsey goes to the door. Gardiner enters with Wolsey.
  • KING
  • Come hither, Gardiner.
  • The King and Gardiner walk and whisper.
  • CAMPEIUS
  • My lord of York, was not one Doctor Pace in this man’s place before him?
  • WOLSEY
  • Yes, he was.
  • CAMPEIUS
  • Believe me, there’s an ill opinion spread, then, even of yourself, Lord Cardinal
  • WOLSEY
  • How? Of me?
  • CAMPEIUS
  • Some say you regarded him with dislike and, fearing he would rise, kept him a foreign man still.
  • WOLSEY
  • He was a fool. That good fellow if I command him follows my appointment. I will have none so near else. Learn this, brother: we live not to be pulled down by those of lower status.
  • KING TO GARDINER
  • Deliver this with modesty to th’ Queen.
  • Gardiner exits.
  • KING
  • O, my lord would it not grieve an able man to leave so sweet a bedfellow? But, conscience, conscience! O, ‘tis a tender place, and I must leave her.
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 3
  • Anne Bullen and an old Lady are on stage.
  • ANNE
  • Here’s the pang that pinches; his Highness having lived so long with her, and she go good a lady that no tongue could ever pronounce dishonor of her. O, now, after so many courses of the sun enthroned, to give her order to leave. It is cause for pity that would move a monster.
  • OLD LADY
  • Hearts of most hard temper melt and lament for her.
  • ANNE
  • Alas, poor lady, she’s a foreigner now again! I swear, ‘tis better to be lowly born and range with those of no status in contentment than to be perked up in a glist’ring grief and wear a golden sorrow.
  • OLD LADY
  • Our contentment is our best having.
  • ANNE
  • By my troth I would not be a queen.
  • OLD LADY
  • Beshrew me, I would, and so would you, for all this spice of your hypocrisy. You, that have so fair parts of woman on you, have too a woman’s heart.
  • ANNE
  • Nay, good troth.
  • OLD LADY
  • Yes, troth, and troth. You would not be a queen?
  • ANNE
  • No, not for all the riches under heaven.
  • OLD LADY
  • But I pray you, what think you of being a duchess? Have you limbs to bear that load of title?
  • ANNE
  • No, in truth.
  • OLD LADY
  • Then you are weakly made.
  • ANNE
  • How you do talk! I swear again, I would not be a queen for all the world.
  • OLD LADY
  • Lo, who comes here?
  • Lord Chamberlain enters.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • Good morrow, ladies. What were ‘t worth to know the secret of your conference?
  • ANNE
  • My good lord, our mistress’ sorrows we were pitying.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • You bear a gentle mind, and heav’nly blessings follow such creatures. The King’s Majesty does purpose honor to you no less flowing than Marchioness of Pembroke, to which title a thousand pounds a year annual support out of his favor he adds.
  • ANNE
  • I do not know what kind of my obedience I should tender. Prayers and wishes are all I can return. I beseech your Lordship, be so good as to speak my thanks.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • Lady, I shall not fail ‘t approve the fair conception the King hath of you.
  • CHAMBERLAIN ASIDE
  • Beauty and honor in her are so mingled that they have caught the King. And who knows yet but from this lady may proceed a gem to lighten all this isle?
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • I’ll to the King and say I spoke with you.
  • Lord Chamberlain exits.
  • OLD LADY
  • Why, this it is! O fate! Fie, fie upon this good fortune forced upon you.
  • ANNE
  • This is strange to me.
  • OLD LADY
  • The Marchioness of Pembroke? A thousand pounds a year for mere respect? No other obligation? By my life that promises more thousands. Say, are you not stronger than you were?
  • ANNE
  • Good lady, make yourself mirth with your particular fancy, and leave me out of it. The Queen is comfortless. Pray do not deliver what here you’ve heard to her.
  • OLD LADY
  • What do you think me?
  • They exit.
  • Act 2, Scene 4
  • The scene is the court at Blackfriars. Blackfriars was a Dominican friary that had a great hall that was used for various purposes.
  • WOLSEY
  • Whilst our commission from Rome is read, let silence be commanded.
  • KING
  • What’s the need? It hath already publicly been read.
  • WOLSEY
  • Be ‘t so. Proceed.
  • CRIER
  • Katherine Queen of England, come into the court.
  • The Queen kneels at the King’s feet and speaks.
  •  
  •  
  • Queen Katherine to Henry VIII
  •  
  • Sir, I desire you do me justice and
  • Bestow pity, for born out of your land
  • I am a foreigner, having here no
  • Judge indifferent nor no assurance
  • Of equal friendship. Alas, let me know
  • In what I offended you; of your sense
  • Of my behavior that should take your good
  • Grace from me; that gave you displeasure? Could
  • I have been a more true and humble wife,
  • Conforming to your will, glad or sorry
  • As expressed in your look, making your life
  • With mine one of peace? Call to mind that I
  • For these twenty years your wife and we two
  • Blessed as parents of these children by you.
  • KATHERINE
  • I humbly beseech you, sir, to spare me till I may be by my friends in Spain advised, whose counsel I will implore. If not, i’ th’ name of God, your pleasure be fulfilled.
  • WOLSEY
  • You have here, lady, these reverend fathers, men of singular integrity and learning, who are assembled to plead your cause. It shall be therefore to no purpose that longer you desire the court.
  • CAMPEIUS
  • His Grace hath spoken well and justly.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • Lord Cardinal, to you I speak.
  • WOLSEY
  • Your pleasure, madam.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • Sir, I am about to weep; but thinking that we are a queen, certain the daughter of a king, my drops of tears I’ll turn to sparks of fire.
  • WOLSEY
  • Be patient yet.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • I do believe you are mine enemy, and make my challenge you shall not be my judge; for it is you who hath stirred up this strife betwixt my lord and me. Therefore I say again, I utterly abhor, yea, from my soul refuse you for my judge, whom I hold my most malicious foe and think not at all a friend in truth.
  • WOLSEY
  • Madam, you do me wrong. I have no spleen against you, nor injustice for you or any. You charge me that I “hath stirred up this strife.” I do deny it. I do beseech you, gracious madam, to unthink your speaking and to say so no more.
  •  
  •  
  • Queen Katherine to Wolsey
  •  
  • My lord, I am a simple woman, much
  • Too weak to oppose your cunning. You’re such
  • A meek and humble-mouthed man, signing your
  • Calling with meekness and humility,
  • But with a revengeful heart that doth soar
  • With arrogance and pride. You’ve come to be
  • Cardinal through fortune and the King’s favors,
  • With well-placed people as your followers,
  • And your words as your domestics, to serve
  • Your will and let you know their actions. You
  • Hold your fame dearer than it doth deserve;
  • Dearer than your high profession’s call to
  • Us. I refuse you for my judge, and here
  • Appeal unto Rome for the Pope to hear.
  • She curtsies to the King, and offers to depart.
  • CAMPEIUS
  • The Queen is obstinate, stubborn to justice, and disdainful to be tried by ‘t. She’s going away.
  • KING
  • Call her again.
  • CRIER
  • Katherine, Queen of England, come into the court.
  • GENTLEMAN USHER
  • Madam, you are called back.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • What need you note it? When you are called, return. Now, the Lord help! They vex me past my patience. I will not tarry.
  • The Queen and her attendants exit.
  • KING
  • Go thy ways, Kate. That man i’ th’ world who shall report he has a better wife, let him in naught be trusted. She’s noble born, and like her true nobility she has carried herself towards me.
  • WOLSEY
  • Most gracious sir, in humblest manner I require your Highness that it shall please you to declare in hearing of all these ears whether ever I did broach this business with your Highness, or ever have to you spake one the least word that might be to the prejudice of her present state, or touch of her good person?
  • KING
  • My Lord Cardinal, I do excuse you; yea, upon mine honor, I free you from ‘t. Now, what moved me to it, I will be bold with time and your attention. Give heed to the incentive. Thus it came; give heed to ‘t.
  •  
  •  
  • Henry VIII to Wolsey
  •  
  • My conscience was wakened when I did gauge
  • The French ambassador hinted marriage
  • ‘twixt the Duke of Orleans and Mary,
  • Our daughter, during certain speeches. But
  • He sought delay, inquiring whether she
  • Was legitimate, Katherine being what
  • She was: our brother’s widow. First, methought
  • I stood not in God’s favor; one that ought
  • Not have a son; with a kingdom worthy
  • Of the world’s best heir; a failing that’s been
  • My doing. Weighing the danger to me
  • And my realm led to anguish. Drifting in
  • The wild sea of my conscience, I did steer
  • Toward this remedy, finding us here.
  • KING
  • First, I began in private with you, my Lord of Lincoln. You remember how under my oppression I did reek when I first moved you.
  • LINCOLN
  • Very well, my liege.
  • KING
  • I have spoke long. Be pleased yourself to say how far you satisfied me.
  • LINCOLN
  • So please your Highness, the question did at first so stagger me, that I committed the daring’st counsel which I had to doubt, and did entreat your Highness to this course which you are running here.
  • KING
  • I then moved you, my Lord of Canterbury, and got your leave to make this present summons. Therefore go on, for no dislike i’ th’ world against the person of the good queen, but the sharp thorny points of my alleged reasons drives this forward.
  • CAMPEIUS
  • So please your Highness, ‘tis a needful fitness that we adjourn this court till further day. Meanwhile must be an earnest motion made to the Queen to call back her appeal she intends unto his Holiness.
  • KING ASIDE
  • I may perceive these cardinals trifle with me. I abhor this dilatory sloth and tricks of Rome.
  • KING
  • My learned and well-beloved servant Cranmer, prithee return. Break up the court. I say, move on.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 1
  • The Queen is on stage as a Gentleman enters.
  • GENTLEMAN
  • An ‘t please your Grace, the two great cardinals wait in the presence.
  • Gentleman exits.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • What can be their business with me, a poor weak woman, fall’n from favor?
  • Wolsey and Campeius enter.
  • WOLSEY
  • Peace to your Highness.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • What are your pleasures with me, reverend lords?
  • WOLSEY
  • May it please you, noble madam, to withdraw into your private chamber, we shall give you the full cause of our coming.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • Speak it here. There’s nothing I have done yet, o’ my conscience, deserves a corner. Truth loves open dealing.
  • WOLSEY
  • Noble lady, we come to know how you stand minded in the weighty difference between the King and you, and to deliver our just opinions and comforts to your cause.
  • CAMPEIUS
  • Most honored madam, my Lord of York offers, as I do, in a sign of peace, his service and his counsel.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE ASIDE
  • To betray me.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • My lords, I thank you both for your good wills. You speak like honest men; pray God you prove so. Good your Graces, let me have time and counsel for my cause. Alas, I am a woman friendless, hopeless.
  • WOLSEY
  • Madam, your hopes and friends are infinite.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • Can you think, lords, that any Englishman dare give me counsel ‘gainst his Highness’ pleasure? My friends live not here. They are far hence in mine own country, lords.
  • CAMPEIUS
  • Put your main cause into the King’s protection. ‘Twill be much both for your honor better and your cause, for if the trial of the law o’ertake you, you’ll part away disgraced.
  • WOLSEY
  • He tells you rightly.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • You tell me what you wish for both: my ruin. Is this your Christian counsel? Out upon you! Heaven is above all yet; there sits a judge that no king can corrupt.
  • CAMPEIUS
  • Your rage mistakes us.
  •  
  •  
  • Queen Katherine to Wolsey and Campeius
  •  
  • The more shame for you. Is this your comfort?
  • Your cardinal sins and hollow hearts do court
  • My fear. Is this the soothing medicine
  • You bring a woman lost among you, scorned,
  • Laughed at? Those who profess to be Christian,
  • Woe upon you. Take heed and say I warned
  • You, lest the burden of my sorrows fall
  • Upon you. This is my sick cause, and all
  • The contact I have with him to the end
  • Will be from obedience. Having here
  • Lived thus a true wife, without a friend,
  • Shall I hang my head and perish, with fear
  • Of tomorrow, when contenting him did
  • Forget my prayers? Am I thus rewarded?
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • ‘Tis not well, lords. Bring me a constant woman to her husband, one that ne’er dreamed a joy beyond his pleasure, yet will I add an honor: a great patience.
  • WOLSEY
  • Madam, you wander from the good we aim at.
  • CAMPEIUS
  • I would your Grace would leave your griefs and take my counsel.
  • KATHERINE
  • My lord, I dare not make myself so guilty to give up willingly that noble title your master wed me to. Nothing but death shall e’er divorce my dignities.
  • WOLSEY
  • Pray hear me.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • Would I had never trod this English earth or felt the flatteries that grow upon it!
  • WOLSEY
  • If your Grace could be brought to know our ends are honest, you’d feel more comfort. Why should we, good lady, upon what cause, wrong you? Alas, our places, the way of our profession, is against it. Pray think us those we profess: peacemakers, friends, and servants.
  • CAMPEIUS
  • Madam, you’ll find it so. You wrong your virtues with these weak women’s fears. The King loves you; beware you lose it not. For us, if you please to trust us in your business, we are ready to use our utmost studies in your service.
  • QUEEN KATHERINE
  • Pray forgive me if I have used myself unmannerly. You know I am a woman, lacking wit to make a seemly answer to such persons. Pray do my service to his Majesty. Come, reverend fathers, bestow your counsels on me.
  • They exit.
  • Act 3, Scene 2
  • Norfolk, Suffolk, Lord Surrey and Lord Chamberlain are on stage. Surrey is the late Buckingham’s other son-in-law.
  • NORFOLK
  • If you will now unite in your complaints and force them with a constancy, the Cardinal cannot stand under them. If you omit the offer of this time, I cannot promise but that you shall sustain more new disgraces with these you bear already.
  • SURREY
  • I am joyful to meet the least occasion that may give me remembrance of my father-in-law the duke, to be revenged on him.
  • SUFFOLK
  • When did he regard the stamp of nobleness in any person out of himself?
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • If you cannot bar his access to th’ King, never attempt anything on him.
  • NORFOLK
  • O, fear him not. His spell in that is out. The King hath found matter against him that forever mars the honey of his language.
  • SURREY
  • Sir, I should be glad to hear such news as this once every hour.
  • NORFOLK
  • Believe it, this is true. In the divorce his contrary proceedings are all unfolded, wherein he appears as I would wish mine enemy. How came his practices to light?
  • SUFFOLK
  • Most strangely.
  •  
  •  
  • Suffolk to Nobles
  •  
  • The Cardinal’s letters to the Pope, now
  • Seen by the King, having been seized, read how
  • The Cardinal did beg his Holiness
  • To delay the judgment of the divorce,
  • The King being trapped in a tangled mess
  • Of affection for the young Anne, a course
  • That’s led him to marry her. She’s a fine
  • Looking woman with good features to mine
  • Eye. Cardinal Campeius has now stolen
  • Away to Rome, backing York’s plot. Cranmer
  • Supports the King’s quick divorce; Katherine
  • Will be princess dowager to Arthur.
  • I believe from Anne shall fall some blessing
  • To this grateful land worth remembering.
  • NORFOLK
  • This same Cranmer’s a worthy fellow, and hath ta’en much pain in the King’s business.
  • SUFFOLK
  • He has, and we shall see him for it an archbishop.
  • NORFOLK
  • So I hear.
  • SUFFOLK
  • ‘Tis so.
  • Wolsey and Cromwell enter. The other nobles stand aside.
  • WOLSEY
  • The packet, Cromwell; gave ‘t you the King?
  • CROMWELL
  • To his own hand, in ‘s bedchamber.
  • WOLSEY
  • Looked he o’ th’ inside of the paper?
  • CROMWELL
  • Presently he did unseal them. You he bade attend him here this morning.
  • WOLSEY
  • Leave me awhile.
  • Cromwell exits.
  • WOLSEY ASIDE
  • It shall be to the Duchess of Alencon, the French king’s sister; he shall marry her. Anne Bullen? There’s more in ‘t than a beautiful face. Bullen? Speedily I wish to hear from Rome. The Marchioness of Pembroke!
  • NORFOLK
  • He’s discontented.
  • WOLSEY ASIDE
  • The late queen’s gentlewoman, a knight’s daughter, to be her mistress’ mistress? The Queen’s queen? This candle burns not clear. ‘Tis I must snuff it; then out it goes. Yet I know her not wholesome to our cause that she should lie i’ th’ bosom of our hard-ruled king. Again, there is sprung up an heretic, a chief one, Cranmer, one hath crawled into the favor of the King and is his oracle.
  • NORFOLK
  • He is vexed at something.
  • SUFFOLK
  • The King, the King!
  • The King enters reading a schedule, accompanied by Lovell and attendants.
  • KING
  • Now, my lords, saw you the Cardinal?
  • NORFOLK
  • My lord, we have stood here observing him. Some strange commotion is in his brain. In most strange postures we have seen him set himself.
  • KING
  • It may well be there is contention in his mind. This morning papers of state he sent me to peruse, as I required, and wot you what I found? There, his treasure, rich stuffs, which I find at such proud rate that it outspeaks possession of a subject.
  • NORFOLK
  • It’s heaven’s will. Some spirit put this paper in the packet to bless your eye withal.
  • The King takes his seat. Lovell goes to the Cardinal. Wolsey enters.
  • WOLSEY
  • Heaven forgive me! Ever God bless your Highness.
  • KING
  • Good my lord, you have scarce time to steal from spiritual leisure a brief span to keep your earthly audit.
  • WOLSEY
  • Sir, for holy offices I have a time; a time to think upon the part of business which I bear i’ th’ state; and Nature does require her times of preservation which I must give my tendance to.
  • KING
  • You have said well.
  • WOLSEY
  • I will lend you cause, my doing well with my well saying.
  • KING
  • ‘Tis well said again, and yet words are no deeds. My father loved you. Since I had my office I have kept you next my heart.
  • WOLSEY ASIDE
  • What should this mean?
  • KING
  • Have I not made you the prime man of the state? I pray you tell me if you are bound to us or no. What say you?
  •  
  •  
  • Wolsey to Henry VIII, No. 2
  •  
  • My sovereign, your royal graces that you would
  • Shower on me have been more than I could
  • Return, my efforts ever short of my
  • Desires, yet lined with my abilities,
  • Evermore pointed to th’ good of thy
  • Sacred person and the profit of these
  • Lands. For your great graces heaped upon me,
  • I can only render thanks, and shall be
  • Most allegiant; one whose loyalty should
  • Grow evermore till death doth kill it. I
  • Do profess that for your Highness’ good
  • I have labored more than for my own. My
  • Duty, as doth a defending rock when
  • A chiding river floods, stands unshaken.
  • KING
  • Fairly answered. A loyal and obedient subject is therein illustrated. I pressure that, as my hand has opened bounty to you, my heart dropped love, my power rained honor, more on you than any, so your hand and heart, your brain, and every function of your power should be more to me, your friend, than any.
  • He hands Wolsey papers.
  • KING
  • Read o’er this, and then to breakfast with what appetite you have.
  • King, frowning upon the Cardinal, exits. The nobles throng after him smiling and whispering.
  • WOLSEY
  • What should this mean? He parted frowning from me, as if ruin leaped from his eyes. I must read this paper --- I fear, the story of his anger.
  • He reads one of the papers.
  • WOLSEY
  • This paper has undone me. ‘Tis th’ account of all that world of wealth I have drawn together for mine own ends --- indeed, to gain the popedom and fee my friends in Rome. O negligence, fit for a fool to fall by!
  • He looks at another paper.
  • WOLSEY
  • What’s this? The letter with all the business I writ to ‘s Holiness. Nay then, farewell! I have touched the highest point of all my greatness, and from that full meridian of my glory I haste now to my setting. I shall fall like a bright exhalation in the evening and no man see me more.
  • Norfolk, Suffolk, the Earl of Surrey and Lord Chamberlain enter.
  • NORFOLK
  • Hear the King’s pleasure, cardinal, who commands you to render up the great seal presently into our hands, and to confine yourself to Asher House till you hear further from his Highness.
  • WOLSEY
  • Stay. Where’s your commission, lords?
  • SUFFOLK
  • Who dare cross ‘em, bearing the King’s will from his mouth expressly.
  • WOLSEY
  • Till I find more than will or words to do it --- I dare and must deny it. That seal you ask with such a violence, the King with his own hand gave me; bade me enjoy it during my life. Now, who’ll take it?
  • SURREY
  • The King that gave it.
  • WOLSEY
  • It must be himself, then.
  • SURREY
  • Thou art a proud traitor, priest.
  • WOLSEY
  • Proud lord, thou liest.
  • SURREY
  • Thy ambition, thou scarlet sin, robbed this bewailing land of noble Buckingham, my father-in-law.
  • WOLSEY
  • This is most false. The Duke by law found his deserts. If I loved many words, lord, I should tell you you have as little honesty as honor.
  • SURREY
  • By my soul, your long coat, priest, protects you; thou shouldst feel my sword i’ th’ life blood of thee else. If we live to be thus jaded by a piece of scarlet, farewell, nobility.
  • WOLSEY
  • All goodness is poison to thy stomach.
  • SURREY
  • Yes, that goodness of gleaning all the land’s wealth into your own hands, card’nal, by extortion; the goodness of your intercepted packets you writ to th’ Pope against the King.
  • WOLSEY
  • How much, methinks, I could despise this man, but that I am bound in charity against it!
  • NORFOLK
  • Those articles, my lord, are in the King’s hand.
  • WOLSEY
  • So much fairer shall mine innocence arise when the King knows my truth.
  • SURREY
  • This cannot save you. I thank my memory I yet remember some of these articles, and out they shall.
  • WOSLEY
  • Speak on, sir.
  • NORFOLK
  • In all you writ to Rome, “I and my king” was still inscribed, in which you brought the King to be your servant.
  • SUFFOLK
  • That out of mere ambition you have caused your holy hat to be stamped on the King’s coin.
  • SURREY
  • Many more there are which, since they are of you, and odious, I will not taint my mouth with.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • O, my lord, press not a falling man too far! His faults lie open to the laws; let them, not you, correct him. My heart weeps to see him so little of his great self.
  • SURREY
  • I forgive him.
  • SUFFOLK
  • Lord Cardinal, the King’s further pleasure is that such a writ be sued against you, to forfeit all your goods, lands, tenements, and whatsoever. This is my charge.
  • NORFOLK
  • For your stubborn answer about the giving back the great seal to us, the King shall know it and, no doubt, shall thank you. So, fare you well.
  • WOLSEY
  • So, farewell to the little good you bear me.
  • All exit but Wolsey.
  •  
  •  
  • Wolsey to himself
  •  
  • Farewell? A long farewell to my greatness!
  • Man’s state of being is as a leafless
  • Tree where tender buds of hope soon blossom
  • Bearing blushing honors thick upon him;
  • Then comes the first killing frost that doth doom
  • His dream, nipping this thoughts-of-greatness whim,
  • And then he falls. I have ventured many
  • Summers swimming like young boys in a sea
  • Far beyond their depth. My high-blown pride at
  • Length broke under me and has left me to
  • The mercy of the uncivil stream that
  • Must forever hide me. That poor man who
  • Hangs on princes’ favors risks his ruin,
  • For if he falls he’ll never hope again.
  • Cromwell enters, standing amazed.
  • WOLSEY
  • Why, how now, Cromwell?
  • CROMWELL
  • I have no power to speak, sir.
  • WOLSEY
  • What, amazed at my misfortunes? Can thy spirit wonder a great man should decline? Why, well. I know myself now, and I feel within me a peace above all earthly dignities, a still and quiet conscience. The King has from these shoulders taken a load would sink a navy: too much honor.
  • CROMWELL
  • I am glad your Grace has made that right use of it.
  • WOLSEY
  • I hope I have. What news abroad?
  • CROMWELL
  • The heaviest and the worst is your displeasure with the King.
  • WOLSEY
  • God bless him.
  • CROMWELL
  • The next is that Sir Thomas More is chosen Lord Chancellor in your place.
  • WOLSEY
  • That’s somewhat sudden. But he’s a learned man. May he continue long in his Highness’ favor. What more?
  • CROMWELL
  • That Cranmer is returned with welcome, installed Lord Archbishop of Canterbury.
  • WOLSEY
  • That’s news indeed.
  • CROMWELL
  • Last, that the Lady Anne, whom the King hath in secrecy long married, this day was viewed in open as his queen, going to chapel, and the voice is now only about her coronation.
  • WOLSEY
  • O Cromwell, the King has gone beyond me. All my glories in that one woman I have lost forever. Go, get thee from me, Cromwell. Seek the King; that sun, I pray, may never set! I have told him what and how true thou art. Make use now, and provide for thine own future safety.
  • Cromwell weeps.
  • CROMWELL
  • Must I then leave you? Must I forgo so good, so noble, and so true a master? The King shall have my service, but my prayers forever and forever shall be yours.
  • Wolsey weeps.
  • WOLSEY
  • Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear in all my miseries, but thou hast forced me. Let’s dry our eyes. Cromwell, when I am forgotten say I taught thee; say Wolsey, that once trod the ways of glory and measured the depths of honor, found thee a way though thy master missed it.
  •  
  •  
  • Wolsey to Cromwell
  •  
  • Cromwell, hear me: fling away ambition.
  • How can man, since angels fell by that sin,
  • Hope to win by it? Cherish hearts that hate
  • Thee; love thyself last. Honor’s better taught
  • Than deceit; carry gentle peace and wait
  • To silence searing tongues. Be true; fear not.
  • Let the just goals you seek be thy country’s,
  • Thy God’s, and truth’s; then a proud country sees
  • Thee a blessed martyr, if thy fall’st.
  • O Cromwell, count all I have as I laugh;
  • My cleric’s robe being all I dar’st
  • Call my own. If I had served my God with half
  • The zeal I served my king, I’d not have sown
  • This self-destruction, exposed and alone.
  • CROMWELL
  • Good sir, have patience.
  • WOLSEY
  • So I have. Farewell. My hopes in heaven do dwell.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 1
  • Two Gentlemen are on stage. Later in the scene we learn that Thomas Cromwell, Cardinal Wolsey’s servant, is named secretary of the Privy Council.
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • You’re well met once again.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • So are you.
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • You come to take your stand here and behold 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 offered sorrow, this general joy.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • ‘Tis well. The citizens are ever forward in celebration of this day.
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • Never greater, nor, I’ll assure you, better taken, sir.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • But I beseech you, what’s become of Katherine, the Princess Dowager? How goes her business?
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • That I can tell you too. The Archbishop of Canterbury held a late court at Dunstable, where the Princess lay. Since, she was removed to Kymmalton, where she remains now sick.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • Alas, good lady! Stand close. The Queen is coming.
  • Marques Dorset and the Earl of Surrey enter.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • Who’s that that bears the scepter?
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • Marques Dorset, and that the Earl of Surrey with the rod.
  • The Duke of Suffolk enters.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • That should be the Duke of Suffolk.
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • ‘Tis the same: High Steward.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • And that my Lord of Norfolk?
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • Yes.
  • The crowned Queen in her robe enters.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • Heaven bless thee! Thou hast the sweetest face I ever looked on. Sir, as I have a soul, she is an angel. I cannot blame his conscience.
  • The Coronation procession exits. A third Gentleman enters.
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • God save you, sir. Where have you been broiling?
  • THIRD GENTLEMAN
  • Among the crowd i’ th’ Abbey, where a finger could not be wedged in more. I am stifled with the mere rankness of their joy.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • You saw the ceremony?
  • THIRD GENTLEMAN
  • That I did.
  • FIRST GENTLEMAN
  • How was it?
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • Good sir, speak it to us!
  •  
  •  
  • Third Gentleman to the other two Gentlemen
  •  
  • When the lords and ladies who brought the Queen
  • Withdrew, her Grace sat to rest and was seen
  • For some half an hour or so, directly
  • Facing the beauty of her person to
  • The people. Believe me, sirs, she is the
  • Most beautiful woman. If both of you
  • Had seen what the people saw; what she wore;
  • Heard the cheers; joy I’ve never seen before.
  • O, yes, the ceremony. At length she
  • Rose, came to the alter, kneeled and cast her
  • Fair eyes to heaven and prayed devoutly.
  • With the crown of Edward the Confessor
  • Laid on her, the choir sang not at all odd
  • The hymn that begins “We praise thee, O God.”
  • THIRD GENTLEMAN
  • 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, for since the Cardinal fell, that title’s lost. ‘Tis now the King’s and called “Whitehall.”
  • THIRD GENTLEMAN
  • I know it, but ‘tis so lately altered that the old name is fresh about me.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • Who was the reverend bishop that went on one side of the Queen?
  • THIRD GENTLEMAN
  • Gardiner, of Winchester.
  • 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. When the breach comes, Cranmer will find a friend who will not shrink from him.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • Who may that be, I pray you?
  • THIRD GENTLEMAN
  • Thomas Cromwell, a man in much esteem with th’ King, and truly a worthy friend. The King has made him Master o’ th’ Jewel House, and one already of the Privy Council.
  • SECOND GENTLEMAN
  • He will deserve more.
  • THIRD GENTLEMAN
  • Yes, without all doubt. Come, gentlemen. As I walk thither, I’ll tell you more.
  • They exit.
  • Act 4, Scene 2
  • Katherine Dowager, sick, and led by Griffith, her gentleman usher, and Patience, her woman.
  • GRIFFITH
  • How does your Grace?
  • KATHERINE
  • O Griffith, sick to death.
  • She sits.
  • KATHERINE
  • Didst thou not tell me, Griffith, that the great child of honor, Cardinal Wolsey, was dead?
  • GRIFFITH
  • Yes, madam, but I think your Grace, out of pain you suffered, gave no ear to ‘t.
  • KATHERINE
  • Prithee, good Griffith, tell me how he died.
  • GRIFFITH
  • Well, after the stout Earl Northumberland arrested him at York, he fell sick suddenly and grew so ill he could not sit his mule.
  • KATHERINE
  • Alas, poor man!
  • GRIFFITH
  • At last he came to Leicester where he gave these words: “O Father Abbot, an old man is come to lay his weary bones among you. Give him a little earth, for charity.” Three nights after this, which he himself foretold should be his last, he gave his honors to the world again, and slept in peace.
  • KATHERINE
  • So may he rest. His faults lie gently on him! His promises were mighty, but his performance, as he is now, nothing. He gave the clergy ill example.
  • GRIFFITH
  • Noble madam, men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtues we write in water. May it please you Highness to hear me speak his good now?
  • KATHERINE
  • Yes, good Griffith.
  • GRIFFITH
  • This cardinal was a scholar, exceeding wise, fair-spoken, and persuading; lofty and sour to them that loved him not. But, to those men that sought him, sweet as summer. And, to add greater honors to his age than man could give him, he died fearing God.
  • KATHERINE
  • After my death I wish no other herald, no other speaker of my living actions, to keep mine honor from corruption but such an honest chronicler as Griffith. Peace be with him! Patience, be near me still, and set me lower. I have not long to trouble thee.
  • GRIFFITH
  • She is asleep. Let’s sit down quiet, for fear we wake her. Softly, gentle Patience.
  • They sit.
  • PATIENCE ASIDE TO GRIFFITH
  • Do you note how much her Grace is altered 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. Pray.
  • PATIENCE
  • Heaven comfort her!
  • Katherine wakens. A Messenger enters.
  • MESSENGER
  • A gentleman sent from the King to see you.
  • KATHERINE
  • Admit him entrance, Griffith.
  • Messenger exits. Lord Capuchius enters.
  • KATHERINE
  • You should be Lord Ambassador from the Emperor, my royal nephew, and your name Capuchius.
  • CAPUCHIUS
  • Madam, the same. Your servant.
  • KATHERINE
  • What is your pleasure with me?
  • CAPUCHIUS
  • Noble lady, the King’s request that I would visit you, who grieves much for your weakness. He heartily entreats you take good comfort.
  • KATHERINE
  • O, my good lord, that comfort comes too late; ‘tis like a pardon after execution. How does his Highness?
  • CAPUCHIUS
  • Madam, in good health.
  • KATHERINE
  • So may he ever do, and ever flourish, when my poor name banished the kingdom.
  • KATHERINE TO PATIENCE
  • Is that letter I caused you write yet sent away?
  • PATIENCE
  • No, madam.
  • She presents a paper to Katherine, who gives it to Capuchius.
  • KATHERINE
  • Sir, I most humbly pray you to deliver this to my lord the King.
  • CAPUCHIUS
  • Most willing, madam.
  •  
  •  
  • Katherine to Capuchius
  •  
  • I have commended to his goodness the
  • Image of our love, our daughter Mary,
  • Beseeching him to provide her a good
  • Upbringing, she being young and of a
  • Modest nature, and that his Highness would
  • Assure my loyal servants receive their pay.
  • For virtue, beauty of the soul, honor
  • And proper behavior, strew me over
  • With maiden flowers that all the world may
  • Know when I am dead a chaste wife they see
  • Goes to her grave. Though unqueened, yet like a
  • Queen and daughter to a king inter me.
  • As you wish Christian peace as souls take flight,
  • Urge the king to do me this final rite.
  • CAPUCHIUS
  • By heaven, I will, or let me lose the fashion of a man.
  • KATHERINE
  • I thank you honest lord. Remember me in all humility unto his Grace. Say his long trouble now is passing out of this world. When I am dead let me be used with honor. I can say no more.
  • Katherine and the others exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 1
  • Gardiner, the Bishop of Winchester, and a Page are on stage.
  • GARDINER
  • It’s one o’clock, boy, is ‘t not?
  • PAGE
  • It hath struck,
  • GARDINER
  • These should be hours of necessities, nor for delights; times to repair our nature with comforting repose, and not for us to waste these times.
  • Thomas Lovell enters.
  • GARDINER
  • Sir Thomas, whither so late?
  • LOVELL
  • Came you from the King, my lord?
  • GARDINER
  • I did, Sir Thomas.
  • LOVELL
  • I must to him too. I’ll take my leave.
  • GARDINER
  • Not yet. What’s the matter? It seems you are in haste.
  • LOVELL
  • The Queen’s in labor; they say near death --- and it is feared she’ll with the labor end.
  • GARDINER
  • The fruit she goes with I pray for heartily.
  • LOVELL
  • She’s a good creature and does deserve our better wishes.
  • GARDINER
  • But, hear me, Sir Thomas. Let me tell you, it will ne’er be well, till Cranmer, Cromwell --- her two hands --- and she sleep in their graves.
  • LOVELL
  • Now, sir, you speak of two the most noted i’ th’ kingdom. Cromwell is made the King’s secretary. Th’ Archbishop is the King’s hand and tongue. Who dare speak one syllable against him?
  • GARDINER
  • Yes, yes, Sir Thomas. Indeed this day I have incensed the lords o’ th’ Council that he is a most arch heretic, a pestilence that does infect the land. I have commanded tomorrow morning to the Council board he be summoned. He’s a rank weed, Sir Thomas, and we must root him out. Goodnight, Sir Thomas.
  • LOVELL
  • Many good nights, my lord, I remain your servant.
  • Gardiner and the Page exit. The King and Suffolk enter.
  • KING
  • Lovell, from the Queen what is the news?
  • LOVELL
  • I could not personally deliver to her what you commanded me, but her woman desired your Highness most heartily to pray for her.
  • KING
  • To pray for her? What, is she crying out?
  • LOVELL
  • So said her woman.
  • KING
  • Alas, good lady!
  • SUFFOLK
  • God safely quit her of her burden and to the gladding of your Highness with an heir!
  • KING
  • Prithee, to bed, and in thy prayers remember th’ estate of my poor queen.
  • SUFFOLK
  • I wish your Highness a quiet night.
  • Suffolk exits. Sir Anthony Denny enters.
  • KING
  • Well, sir, what follows?
  • DENNY
  • Sir, I have brought my lord the Archbishop, as you commanded me.
  • KING
  • Bring him to us.
  • Denny exits.
  • LOVELL ASIDE
  • This is about that which the Bishop spoke.
  • Cranmer and Denny enter.
  • KING
  • Be gone.
  • Lovell and Denny exit.
  • CRANMER ASIDE
  • I am fearful. Wherefore frowns he thus? All’s not well.
  • KING
  • How now, my lord? You do desire to know wherefore I sent for you.
  • Cranmer kneels.
  • CRANMER
  • It is my duty t’ attend your Highness’ pleasure.
  • KING
  • Pray you arise; I have news to tell you.
  • Cranmer rises.
  • KING
  • Ah, my good lord. I have of late heard many grievous complaints of you, which have moved us and our Council that you shall this morning come before us.
  • Cranmer kneels.
  • CRANMER
  • I am right glad to catch this good opportunity where my chaff and corn shall be separated.
  • KING
  • Stand up good Canterbury!
  • Cranmer rises.
  • KING
  • What manner of man are you? My lord, I looked you would have given me your petition that I should have ta’en some pains to bring together yourself and your accusers and to have heard you without further hardship.
  • CRANMER
  • The good I stand on is my truth and honesty. I fear nothing what can be said against me.
  • KING
  • Know you not how your state stands i’ th’ world?
  •  
  •  
  • King to Cranmer
  •  
  • Your enemies and their plots are many
  • And not small, and justice and truth carry
  • Often the wrong verdict in a dispute.
  • Corrupt minds might easily, as has been
  • Done, procure knaves as corrupt to refute
  • You, for you are potently opposed in
  • Support in proportion to their malice.
  • Do you expect better luck upon this
  • Wicked earth than your master received when
  • He here lived? This grave morning see you do
  • Appear before them. If they charge you, then
  • Fail not to use the best persuasion to
  • The contrary. If your replies render
  • You no remedy, this ring deliver.
  • The King gives him a ring.
  • KING ASIDE
  • Look, the good man weeps! He’s honest, on mine honor! God’s blest mother, I swear he is truehearted, and a soul none better in my kingdom.
  • KING
  • Get you gone, and do as I have bid you.
  • Cranmer exits.
  • KING
  • He has strangled his language in his tears.
  • An old lady followed by Lovell enters.
  • KING
  • Is the Queen delivered?
  • OLD LADY
  • The God of heaven both now and ever bless her! ‘Tis a girl promises boys hereafter.
  • KING
  • Lovell, give her an hundred marks. I’ll to the Queen.
  • He exits.
  • OLD LADY
  • An hundred marks. By this light, I’ll ha’ more. I will have more or scold it out of him.
  • The Old Lady with Lovell exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 2
  • Cranmer and others enter at the Council door.
  • CRANMER
  • All fast? What means this? Who waits there?
  • A keeper enters.
  • CRANMER
  • Sure you know me.
  • KEEPER
  • Yes, my lord, but yet I cannot help you. Your Grace must wait till you be called for.
  • Doctor Butts enters.
  • BUTTS
  • This is a piece of malice. The King shall understand it presently.
  • Butts exits.
  • CRANMER ASIDE
  • For certain this is of purpose laid by some that hate me.
  • The King and Butts enter at a window above.
  • BUTTS
  • I’ll show your Grace the strangest sight. There, my lord: his Grace of Canterbury ‘mongst attendants, pages and footboys.
  • KING
  • Ha! ‘Tis he indeed. Is this the honor they do one another? Butts, there’s knavery! Let ‘em alone, and draw the curtain close.
  • They draw the curtain. A table is brought in. Council members enter.
  • CHANCELLOR
  • Speak to the business, Master Secretary.
  • CROMWELL
  • Please your honors, the chief cause concerns his Grace of Canterbury.
  • GARDINER
  • Has he had knowledge of it?
  • CROMWELL
  • Yes.
  • CHANCELLOR
  • Let him come in.
  • Cranmer approaches the council table.
  • CHANCELLOR
  • My good lord Archbishop, I’m very sorry to sit here at this present and behold that chair stand empty. You have misdemeaned yourself toward the King first, then his laws, by your teaching and your chaplains’ --- for so we are informed --- with new opinions which are heresies and, not reformed, may prove destructive.
  • GARDINER
  • If we suffer, out of our easiness and childish pity to one man’s honor, this contagious sickness, farewell, all medical treatment. And what follows then? Commotions, uproars, with a general corrupting influence of the whole state.
  •  
  •  
  • Cranmer to Council members
  •  
  • My good lords, I have labored, and with no
  • Little study, that my teaching might go
  • Safely, and that I forever may do
  • Well. Nor is their living a man that more
  • Detests broken peace. I do beseech you,
  • My accusers, declare what you stand for
  • And freely urge against me. Winchester,
  • Friend, meekness becomes a churchman better
  • Than ambition beyond our calling. What
  • Better way to serve than to win straying
  • Souls with our love and leniency? But
  • I see your purpose: ‘tis my undoing.
  • I have little doubt, as some may have feared,
  • As some may have wished, that I shall be cleared.
  • GARDINER
  • My lord, my lord, you are a heretic. That’s the plain truth.
  • CROMWELL
  • My Lord of Winchester, you’re a little too sharp. Men so noble, however faulty, yet should find respect for what they have been. ‘Tis a cruelty to load a falling man.
  • GARDINER
  • Do not I know you for a favorer of this new sect? You are not sound.
  • CROMWELL
  • Not sound? Would you were half so honest! Men’s prayers then would seek you, not their fears.
  • CHANCELLOR
  • This is too much! Forbear, for shame, my lords.
  • GARDINER
  • I have done.
  • CROMWELL
  • And I.
  • CHANCELLOR TO CRANMER
  • Forthwith you be conveyed to th’ Tower a prisoner, there to remain till the King’s further pleasure be known unto us. Are you all agreed, lords?
  • ALL
  • We are.
  • CRANMER
  • Is there no other way of mercy but I must needs to th’ Tower, my lords?
  • GARDINER
  • What other would you expect?
  • CRANMER
  • Stay, good my lords, I have a little yet to say. Look there, my lords.
  • He holds out the ring.
  • CRANMER
  • By virtue of that ring, I take my cause out of the grips of cruel men and give it to a most noble judge, the King my master.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • This is the King’s ring.
  • SUFFOLK
  • ‘Tis the right ring, by heaven! I told you all, when we first put this dangerous stone a-rolling, ‘twould fall upon ourselves.
  • NORFOLK
  • Do you think, my lords, the King will suffer but the little finger of this man to be afflicted.
  • The King enters, frowning.
  • GARDINER
  • Dread sovereign, how much are we bound to heaven in daily thanks, that gave us such a prince not only good and wise, but most religious. His royal self in judgment comes to hear the case between the Church and this great offender.
  • KING
  • You were ever good at sudden compliments, Bishop of Winchester. But know I come not to hear such flattery now, and in my presence they are thin and base to hide offenses. Good man, sit down.
  • Cranmer takes his seat.
  • KING
  • Now let me see the proudest he, that dares most, but wag his finger at thee.
  • SURREY
  • May it please your Grace ---
  • KING
  • No, sir, it does not please me. I had thought I had had men of some understanding and wisdom of my Council, but I find none. Was it discretion, lords, to let this man wait like a lousy footboy at chamber door? Did my commission bid you so far forget yourselves? There’s some of you, I see, more out of malice than integrity, would try him to the utmost, had you the opportunity, which you shall never have while I live.
  • CHANCELLOR
  • Thus far, my sovereign, may it like your Grace to let my tongue excuse all. What was purposed was meant for his trial and clearing himself to the world than malice, I’m sure, in me.
  • KING
  • Well, well, my lords, respect him. If a prince may be beholding to a subject, I am, for his love and service, so to him. Be friends, for shame, my lords.
  • They embrace Cranmer.
  • KING
  • My Lord of Canterbury, there is a fair young maid that yet wants baptism. You must be godfather and answer for her.
  • CRANMER
  • The greatest monarch now alive may glory in such an honor.
  • KING
  • You shall have two noble partners with you: the old Duchess of Norfolk and Lady Marquess Dorset. Will these please you? Once more, my lord of Winchester, I charge you, embrace and love this man.
  • GARDINER
  • With a true heart and brother-love I do it.
  • He embraces Cranmer.
  • CRANMER WEEPING
  • And let heaven witness how dear I hold this confirmation.
  • KING
  • Good man, those joyful tears show thy true heart. Come, lords, I long to have this young one made a Christian. As I have made you one, lords, one remain.
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 3
  • Inside the King’s Palace a Porter and his Man enter. A crowd is eager to view the royal daughter’s christening.
  • PORTER
  • You rude slaves, leave your gaping!
  • ONE WITHIN
  • Good Master Porter, I belong to th’ palace.
  • PORTER
  • Belong to th’ gallows and be hanged, you rogue. Do you look for ale and cakes here, you rude rascals.
  • PORTER’S MAN
  • ‘Tis as much impossible --- unless we sweep ‘em from the door with cannons.
  • PORTER
  • How got they in?
  • PORTER’S MAN
  • Alas, I know not. How gets the tide in? I exercised no moderation.
  • PORTER
  • You did nothing, sir.
  • PORTER’S MAN
  • I am not Samson. What would you have me do?
  • PORTER
  • What should you do but knock ‘em down by th’ dozens.
  • PORTER’S MAN
  • There is a fellow somewhat near the door. They came to me with a broomstick. I defied ‘em still. I delivered such a shower of pebbles that I was fain to draw mine honor in and let ‘em win the work. The devil was amongst ‘em, I think, surely.
  • PORTER
  • These are the youths that thunder at a playhouse and fight for bitten apples.
  • Lord Chamberlain enters.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • Mercy o’ me, what a multitude are here! They grow still too. From all parts they are coming, as if we kept a fair here! Where are these porters, these lazy knaves?
  • PORTER
  • An ‘t please your Honor, we are but men. An army cannot rule ‘em.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • As I live, if the King blame me for ‘t, I’ll lay you all on your heads. You’re lazy knaves.
  • Trumpets sound.
  • CHAMBERLAIN
  • Hark, the trumpets sound! They’re come already from the christening.
  • PORTER
  • Make way there for the Princess!
  • They exit.
  • Act 5, Scene 4
  • Inside the King’s Palace, Cranmer, Suffolk, Norfolk, Garter, the King of Arms and others enter.
  • GARTER
  • Heaven, send prosperous life, long, and ever happy, to the high and mighty princess of England, Elizabeth.
  • The King enters. Cranmer kneels.
  • CRANMER
  • And to your royal Grace and the good queen, my noble partners and myself thus pray all comfort in this gracious lady may hourly fall upon you!
  • KING
  • Thank you, good lord Archbishop. What is her name?
  • CRANMER
  • Elizabeth.
  • Cranmer stands.
  • KING
  • With this kiss take my blessing
  • The King kisses the infant.
  • CRANMER
  • Amen. Let me speak, sir, for heaven now bids me; and the words I utter let none think flattery, for they’ll find ‘em truth.
  •  
  •  
  • Cranmer to the King and others, No. 1
  •  
  • This royal infant now promises upon
  • This land a set of blessings from this dawn,
  • That time alone shall bring to ripeness. She
  • Shall be a model for princes living
  • In her time and all that shall succeed. We
  • Shall soon see the princely graces forming
  • This masterpiece double, as if it were
  • Heaven spreading truths and counseling her.
  • She shall be loved and feared, and her people
  • Shall bless her; while her foes shall with sorrow
  • Hang their heads as weather-beaten corn, still
  • As night. In her days every man shall go
  • About life knowing safety shall not cease
  • And to all his neighbors sing songs of peace.
  • KING
  • Thou speakest wonders.
  •  
  •  
  • Cranmer to the King and others, No. 2
  •  
  • Those about her shall from her learn the ways
  • Of honor and by those ways in their days
  • Shall claim greatness, rather than by blood. Nor
  • Shall this peace die with her but as with the
  • Phoenix her ashes create another
  • Heir as admired as herself, so shall she
  • Leave her blessedness in time to one who
  • Shall star-like rise and like a vine grow to
  • Him. Love and truth that are hers shall be his,
  • Bringing honor to new lands wherever
  • The bright sun of heaven shall shine. What is
  • To be his is hers; the saints will have her
  • And all the world shall mourn her. The children
  • Of our children so blessed shall bless heaven.
  • KING
  • My lord Archbishop, thou hast made me now a man. I thank you all. To you, good lord mayor and you, good brethren, I am much beholding. You must all see the Queen, and she must thank you; she will be sick else. This day, no man think ‘has business at his house, for all shall stay. This little one shall make it holiday.
  • They exit.

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