Henry VIII

by William Shakespeare

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Act Two, Scene II

Enter Lord Chamberlaine, reading this Letter.

My Lord, the Horses your Lordship sent for, with 
all the care I had, I saw well chosen, ridden, and furnish'd. 
They were young and handsome, and of the best breed 
in the North. When they were ready to set out for London, 
a man of my Lord Cardinalls, by Commission, and maine
 power tooke 'em from me, with this reason: his maister 
would bee seru'd before a Subiect, if not before the King, 
which stop'd our mouthes Sir. I feare he will indeede; well, 
let him haue them; hee will haue all I thinke. Enter to the 
Lord Chamberlaine, the Dukes of Norfolke and Suffolke.

Norf. Well met my Lord Chamberlaine

Cham. Good day to both your Graces

   Suff. How is the King imployd?
  Cham. I left him priuate,
Full of sad thoughts and troubles
   Norf. What's the cause?
  Cham. It seemes the Marriage with his Brothers Wife
Ha's crept too neere his Conscience
   Suff. No, his Conscience
Ha's crept too neere another Ladie
   Norf. Tis so;
This is the Cardinals doing: The King-Cardinall,
That blinde Priest, like the eldest Sonne of Fortune,
Turnes what he list. The King will know him one day
   Suff. Pray God he doe,
Hee'l neuer know himselfe else
   Norf. How holily he workes in all his businesse,
And with what zeale? For now he has crackt the League
Between vs & the Emperor (the Queens great Nephew)
He diues into the Kings Soule, and there scatters
Dangers, doubts, wringing of the Conscience,
Feares, and despaires, and all these for his Marriage.
And out of all these, to restore the King,
He counsels a Diuorce, a losse of her
That like a Iewell, ha's hung twenty yeares
About his necke, yet neuer lost her lustre;
Of her that loues him with that excellence,
That Angels loue good men with: Euen of her,
That when the greatest stroake of Fortune falls
Will blesse the King: and is not this course pious?
  Cham. Heauen keep me from such councel: tis most true
These newes are euery where, euery tongue speaks 'em,
And euery true heart weepes for't. All that dare
Looke into these affaires, see this maine end,
The French Kings Sister. Heauen will one day open
The Kings eyes, that so long haue slept vpon
This bold bad man
Suff. And free vs from his slauery

   Norf. We had need pray,
And heartily, for our deliuerance;
Or this imperious man will worke vs all
From Princes into Pages: all mens honours
Lie like one lumpe before him, to be fashion'd
Into what pitch he please
   Suff. For me, my Lords,
I loue him not, nor feare him, there's my Creede:
As I am made without him, so Ile stand,
If the King please: his Curses and his blessings
Touch me alike: th'are breath I not beleeue in.
I knew him, and I know him: so I leaue him
To him that made him proud; the Pope
   Norf. Let's in;
And with some other busines, put the King
From these sad thoughts, that work too much vpon him:
My Lord, youle beare vs company?
  Cham. Excuse me,
The King ha's sent me otherwhere: Besides
You'l finde a most vnfit time to disturbe him:
Health to your Lordships
   Norfolke. Thankes my good Lord Chamberlaine.
Exit Lord Chamberlaine, and the King drawes the Curtaine and sits
Suff. How sad he lookes; sure he is much afflicted

   Kin. Who's there? Ha?
  Norff. Pray God he be not angry
   Kin. Who's there I say? How dare you thrust your selues
Into my priuate Meditations?
Who am I? Ha?
  Norff. A gracious King, that pardons all offences
Malice ne're meant: Our breach of Duty this way,
Is businesse of Estate; in which, we come
To know your Royall pleasure
   Kin. Ye are too bold:
Go too; Ile make ye know your times of businesse:
Is this an howre for temporall affaires? Ha?
Enter Wolsey and Campeius with a Commission.
Who's there? my good Lord Cardinall? O my Wolsey,
The quiet of my wounded Conscience;
Thou art a cure fit for a King; you'r welcome
Most learned Reuerend Sir, into our Kingdome,
Vse vs, and it: My good Lord, haue great care,
I be not found a Talker
   Wol. Sir, you cannot;
I would your Grace would giue vs but an houre
Of priuate conference
Kin. We are busie; goe

   Norff. This Priest ha's no pride in him?
  Suff. Not to speake of:
I would not be so sicke though for his place:
But this cannot continue
Norff. If it doe, Ile venture one; haue at him

Suff. I another.

Exeunt. Norfolke and Suffolke.

  Wol. Your Grace ha's giuen a President of wisedome
Aboue all Princes, in committing freely
Your scruple to the voyce of Christendome:
Who can be angry now? What Enuy reach you?
The Spaniard tide by blood and fauour to her,
Must now confesse, if they haue any goodnesse,
The Tryall, iust and Noble. All the Clerkes,
(I meane the learned ones in Christian Kingdomes)
Haue their free voyces. Rome (the Nurse of Iudgement)
Inuited by your Noble selfe, hath sent
One generall Tongue vnto vs. This good man,
This iust and learned Priest, Cardnall Campeius,
Whom once more, I present vnto your Highnesse
   Kin. And once more in mine armes I bid him welcome,
And thanke the holy Conclaue for their loues,
They haue sent me such a Man, I would haue wish'd for
   Cam. Your Grace must needs deserue all strangers loues,
You are so Noble: To your Highnesse hand
I tender my Commission; by whose vertue,
The Court of Rome commanding. You my Lord
Cardinall of Yorke, are ioyn'd with me their Seruant,
In the vnpartiall iudging of this Businesse
   Kin. Two equall men: The Queene shall be acquainted
Forthwith for what you come. Where's Gardiner?
  Wol. I know your Maiesty, ha's alwayes lou'd her
So deare in heart, not to deny her that
A Woman of lesse Place might aske by Law;
Schollers allow'd freely to argue for her
   Kin. I, and the best she shall haue; and my fauour
To him that does best, God forbid els: Cardinall,
Prethee call Gardiner to me, my new Secretary.
I find him a fit fellow.
Enter Gardiner.
  Wol. Giue me your hand: much ioy & fauour to you;
You are the Kings now
   Gard. But to be commanded
For euer by your Grace, whose hand ha's rais'd me
Kin. Come hither Gardiner.

Walkes and whispers.

  Camp. My Lord of Yorke, was not one Doctor Pace
In this mans place before him?
  Wol. Yes, he was
   Camp. Was he not held a learned man?
  Wol. Yes surely
   Camp. Beleeue me, there's an ill opinion spread then,
Euen of your selfe Lord Cardinall
   Wol. How? of me?
  Camp. They will not sticke to say, you enuide him;
And fearing he would rise (he was so vertuous)
Kept him a forraigne man still, which so greeu'd him,
That he ran mad, and dide
   Wol. Heau'ns peace be with him:
That's Christian care enough: for liuing Murmurers,
There's places of rebuke. He was a Foole;
For he would needs be vertuous. That good Fellow,
If I command him followes my appointment,
I will haue none so neere els. Learne this Brother,
We liue not to be grip'd by meaner persons
Kin. Deliuer this with modesty to th' Queene.

Exit Gardiner.

The most conuenient place, that I can thinke of
For such receipt of Learning, is Black-Fryers:
There ye shall meete about this waighty busines.
My Wolsey, see it furnish'd, O my Lord,
Would it not grieue an able man to leaue
So sweet a Bedfellow? But Conscience, Conscience;
O 'tis a tender place, and I must leaue her.



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