Henry VIII

by William Shakespeare

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Act Five, Scene II

Enter Cranmer, Archbyshop of Canterbury.

  Cran. I hope I am not too late, and yet the Gentleman
That was sent to me from the Councell, pray'd me
To make great hast. All fast? What meanes this? Hoa?
Who waites there? Sure you know me?
Enter Keeper.
  Keep. Yes, my Lord:
But yet I cannot helpe you
   Cran. Why?
  Keep. Your Grace must waight till you be call'd for.
Enter Doctor Buts.
Cran. So

   Buts. This is a Peere of Malice: I am glad
I came this way so happily. The King
Shall vnderstand it presently.
Exit Buts

  Cran. 'Tis Buts.
The Kings Physitian, as he past along
How earnestly he cast his eyes vpon me:
Pray heauen he found not my disgrace: for certaine
This is of purpose laid by some that hate me,
(God turne their hearts, I neuer sought their malice)
To quench mine Honor; they would shame to make me
Wait else at doore: a fellow Councellor
'Mong Boyes, Groomes, and Lackeyes.
But their pleasures
Must be fulfill'd, and I attend with patience.
Enter the King, and Buts, at a Windowe aboue.
Buts. Ile shew your Grace the strangest sight

   King. What's that Buts?
  Butts. I thinke your Highnesse saw this many a day
   Kin. Body a me: where is it?
  Butts. There my Lord:
The high promotion of his Grace of Canterbury,
Who holds his State at dore 'mongst Purseuants,
Pages, and Foot-boyes
   Kin. Ha? 'Tis he indeed.
Is this the Honour they doe one another?
'Tis well there's one aboue 'em yet; I had thought
They had parted so much honesty among 'em,
At least good manners; as not thus to suffer
A man of his Place, and so neere our fauour
To dance attendance on their Lordships pleasures,
And at the dore too, like a Post with Packets:
By holy Mary (Butts) there's knauery;
Let 'em alone, and draw the Curtaine close:
We shall heare more anon.
A Councell Table brought in with Chayres and Stooles, and placed
the State. Enter Lord Chancellour, places himselfe at the vpper end
of the
Table, on the left hand: A Seate being left void aboue him, as for
Canterburies Seate. Duke of Suffolke, Duke of Norfolke, Surrey,
Chamberlaine, Gardiner, seat themselues in Order on each side.
Cromwell at
lower end, as Secretary.
  Chan. Speake to the businesse, M[aster]. Secretary;
Why are we met in Councell?
  Crom. Please your Honours,
The chiefe cause concernes his Grace of Canterbury
   Gard. Ha's he had knowledge of it?
  Crom. Yes
   Norf. Who waits there?
  Keep. Without my Noble Lords?
  Gard. Yes
   Keep. My Lord Archbishop:
And ha's done halfe an houre to know your pleasures
Chan. Let him come in

Keep. Your Grace may enter now.

Cranmer approches the Councell Table.

  Chan. My good Lord Archbishop, I'm very sorry
To sit heere at this present, and behold
That Chayre stand empty: But we all are men
In our owne natures fraile, and capable
Of our flesh, few are Angels; out of which frailty
And want of wisedome, you that best should teach vs,
Haue misdemean'd your selfe, and not a little:
Toward the King first, then his Lawes, in filling
The whole Realme, by your teaching & your Chaplaines
(For so we are inform'd) with new opinions,
Diuers and dangerous; which are Heresies;
And not reform'd, may proue pernicious
   Gard. Which Reformation must be sodaine too
My Noble Lords; for those that tame wild Horses,
Pace 'em not in their hands to make 'em gentle;
But stop their mouthes with stubborn Bits & spurre 'em,
Till they obey the mannage. If we suffer
Out of our easinesse and childish pitty
To one mans Honour, this contagious sicknesse;
Farewell all Physicke: and what followes then?
Commotions, vprores, with a generall Taint
Of the whole State; as of late dayes our neighbours,
The vpper Germany can deerely witnesse:
Yet freshly pittied in our memories
   Cran. My good Lords; Hitherto, in all the Progresse
Both of my Life and Office, I haue labour'd,
And with no little study, that my teaching
And the strong course of my Authority,
Might goe one way, and safely; and the end
Was euer to doe well: nor is there liuing,
(I speake it with a single heart, my Lords)
A man that more detests, more stirres against,
Both in his priuate Conscience, and his place,
Defacers of a publique peace then I doe:
Pray Heauen the King may neuer find a heart
With lesse Allegeance in it. Men that make
Enuy, and crooked malice, nourishment;
Dare bite the best. I doe beseech your, Lordships,
That in this case of Iustice, my Accusers,
Be what they will, may stand forth face to face,
And freely vrge against me
   Suff. Nay, my Lord,
That cannot be; you are a Counsellor,
And by that vertue no man dare accuse you
   Gard. My Lord, because we haue busines of more moment,
We will be short with you. 'Tis his Highnesse pleasure
And our consent, for better tryall of you,
From hence you be committed to the Tower,
Where being but a priuate man againe,
You shall know many dare accuse you boldly,
More then (I feare) you are prouided for
   Cran. Ah my good Lord of Winchester: I thanke you,
You are alwayes my good Friend, if your will passe,
I shall both finde your Lordship, Iudge and Iuror,
You are so mercifull. I see your end,
'Tis my vndoing. Loue and meekenesse, Lord
Become a Churchman, better then Ambition:
Win straying Soules with modesty againe,
Cast none away: That I shall cleere my selfe,
Lay all the weight ye can vpon my patience,
I make as little doubt as you doe conscience,
In doing dayly wrongs. I could say more,
But reuerence to your calling, makes me modest
   Gard. My Lord, my Lord, you are a Sectary,
That's the plaine truth; your painted glosse discouers
To men that vnderstand you, words and weaknesse
   Crom. My Lord of Winchester, y'are a little,
By your good fauour, too sharpe; Men so Noble,
How euer faulty, yet should finde respect
For what they haue beene: 'tis a cruelty,
To load a falling man
   Gard. Good M[aster]. Secretary,
I cry your Honour mercie; you may worst
Of all this Table say so
   Crom. Why my Lord?
  Gard. Doe not I know you for a Fauourer
Of this new Sect? ye are not sound
   Crom. Not sound?
  Gard. Not sound I say
   Crom. Would you were halfe so honest:
Mens prayers then would seeke you, not their feares
Gard. I shall remember this bold Language

   Crom. Doe.
Remember your bold life too
   Cham. This is too much;
Forbeare for shame my Lords
Gard. I haue done

Crom. And I

   Cham. Then thus for you my Lord, it stands agreed
I take it, by all voyces: That forthwith,
You be conuaid to th' Tower a Prisoner;
There to remaine till the Kings further pleasure
Be knowne vnto vs: are you all agreed Lords
All. We are

   Cran. Is there no other way of mercy,
But I must needs to th' Tower my Lords?
  Gard. What other,
Would you expect? You are strangely troublesome:
Let some o'th' Guard be ready there.
Enter the Guard.
  Cran. For me?
Must I goe like a Traytor thither?
  Gard. Receiue him,
And see him safe i'th' Tower
   Cran. Stay good my Lords,
I haue a little yet to say. Looke there my Lords,
By vertue of that Ring, I take my cause
Out of the gripes of cruell men, and giue it
To a most Noble Iudge, the King my Maister
Cham. This is the Kings Ring

Sur. 'Tis no counterfeit

   Suff. 'Ts the right Ring, by Heau'n: I told ye all,
When we first put this dangerous stone a rowling,
'Twold fall vpon our selues
   Norf. Doe you thinke my Lords
The King will suffer but the little finger
Of this man to be vex'd?
  Cham. Tis now too certaine;
How much more is his Life in value with him?
Would I were fairely out on't
   Crom. My mind gaue me,
In seeking tales and Informations
Against this man, whose honesty the Diuell
And his Disciples onely enuy at,
Ye blew the fire that burnes ye: now haue at ye.
Enter King frowning on them, takes his Seate.
  Gard. Dread Soueraigne,
How much are we bound to Heauen,
In dayly thankes, that gaue vs such a Prince;
Not onely good and wise, but most religious:
One that in all obedience, makes the Church
The cheefe ayme of his Honour, and to strengthen
That holy duty out of deare respect,
His Royall selfe in Iudgement comes to heare
The cause betwixt her, and this great offender
   Kin. You were euer good at sodaine Commendations,
Bishop of Winchester. But know I come not
To heare such flattery now, and in my presence
They are too thin, and base to hide offences,
To me you cannot reach. You play the Spaniell,
And thinke with wagging of your tongue to win me:
But whatsoere thou tak'st me for; I'm sure
Thou hast a cruell Nature and a bloody.
Good man sit downe: Now let me see the proudest
Hee, that dares most, but wag his finger at thee.
By all that's holy, he had better starue,
Then but once thinke his place becomes thee not
   Sur. May it please your Grace; -
  Kin. No Sir, it doe's not please me,
I had thought, I had had men of some vnderstanding,
And wisedome of my Councell; but I finde none:
Was it discretion Lords, to let this man,
This good man (few of you deserue that Title)
This honest man, wait like a lowsie Foot-boy
At Chamber dore? and one, as great as you are?
Why, what a shame was this? Did my Commission
Bid ye so farre forget your selues? I gaue ye
Power, as he was a Counsellour to try him,
Not as a Groome: There's some of ye, I see,
More out of Malice then Integrity,
Would trye him to the vtmost, had ye meane,
Which ye shall neuer haue while I liue
   Chan. Thus farre
My most dread Soueraigne, may it like your Grace,
To let my tongue excuse all. What was purpos'd
Concerning his Imprisonment, was rather
(If there be faith in men) meant for his Tryall,
And faire purgation to the world then malice,
I'm sure in me
   Kin. Well, well my Lords respect him,
Take him, and vse him well; hee's worthy of it.
I will say thus much for him, if a Prince
May be beholding to a Subiect; I
Am for his loue and seruice, so to him.
Make me no more adoe, but all embrace him;
Be friends for shame my Lords: My Lord of Canterbury
I haue a Suite which you must not deny mee.
That is, a faire young Maid that yet wants Baptisme,
You must be Godfather, and answere for her
   Cran. The greatest Monarch now aliue may glory
In such an honour: how may I deserue it,
That am a poore and humble Subiect to you?
  Kin. Come, come my Lord, you'd spare your spoones;
You shall haue two noble Partners with you: the old
Duchesse of Norfolke, and Lady Marquesse Dorset? will
these please you?
Once more my Lord of Winchester, I charge you
Embrace, and loue this man
   Gard. With a true heart,
And Brother; loue I doe it
   Cran. And let Heauen
Witnesse how deare, I hold this Confirmation
   Kin. Good Man, those ioyfull teares shew thy true hearts,
The common voyce I see is verified
Of thee, which sayes thus: Doe my Lord of Canterbury
A shrewd turne, and hee's your friend for euer:
Come Lords, we trifle time away: I long
To haue this young one made a Christian.
As I haue made ye one Lords, one remaine:
So I grow stronger, you more Honour gaine.



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