Henry VIII

by William Shakespeare

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Act Four, Scene II

Enter Katherine Dowager, sicke, lead betweene Griffith, her
Vsher, and Patience her Woman.
  Grif. How do's your Grace?
  Kath. O Griffith, sicke to death:
My Legges like loaden Branches bow to'th' Earth,
Willing to leaue their burthen: Reach a Chaire,
So now (me thinkes) I feele a little ease.
Did'st thou not tell me Griffith, as thou lead'st mee,
That the great Childe of Honor, Cardinall Wolsey
Was dead?
  Grif. Yes Madam: but I thinke your Grace
Out of the paine you suffer'd, gaue no eare too't
   Kath. Pre'thee good Griffith, tell me how he dy'de.
If well, he stept before me happily
For my example
   Grif. Well, the voyce goes Madam,
For after the stout Earle Northumberland
Arrested him at Yorke, and brought him forward
As a man sorely tainted, to his Answer,
He fell sicke sodainly, and grew so ill
He could not sit his Mule
Kath. Alas poore man

   Grif. At last, with easie Rodes, he came to Leicester,
Lodg'd in the Abbey; where the reuerend Abbot
With all his Couent, honourably receiu'd him;
To whom he gaue these words. O Father Abbot,
An old man, broken with the stormes of State,
Is come to lay his weary bones among ye:
Giue him a little earth for Charity.
So went to bed; where eagerly his sicknesse
Pursu'd him still, and three nights after this,
About the houre of eight, which he himselfe
Foretold should be his last, full of Repentance,
Continuall Meditations, Teares, and Sorrowes,
He gaue his Honors to the world agen,
His blessed part to Heauen, and slept in peace
   Kath. So may he rest,
His Faults lye gently on him:
Yet thus farre Griffith, giue me leaue to speake him,
And yet with Charity. He was a man
Of an vnbounded stomacke, euer ranking
Himselfe with Princes. One that by suggestion
Ty'de all the Kingdome. Symonie, was faire play,
His owne Opinion was his Law. I'th' presence
He would say vntruths, and be euer double
Both in his words, and meaning. He was neuer
(But where he meant to Ruine) pittifull.
His Promises, were as he then was, Mighty:
But his performance, as he is now, Nothing:
Of his owne body he was ill, and gaue
The Clergy ill example
   Grif. Noble Madam:
Mens euill manners, liue in Brasse, their Vertues
We write in Water. May it please your Highnesse
To heare me speake his good now?
  Kath. Yes good Griffith,
I were malicious else
   Grif. This Cardinall,
Though from an humble Stocke, vndoubtedly
Was fashion'd to much Honor. From his Cradle
He was a Scholler, and a ripe, and good one:
Exceeding wise, faire spoken, and perswading:
Lofty, and sowre to them that lou'd him not:
But, to those men that sought him, sweet as Summer.
And though he were vnsatisfied in getting,
(Which was a sinne) yet in bestowing, Madam,
He was most Princely: Euer witnesse for him
Those twinnes of Learning, that he rais'd in you,
Ipswich and Oxford: one of which, fell with him,
Vnwilling to out-liue the good that did it.
The other (though vnfinish'd) yet so Famous,
So excellent in Art, and still so rising,
That Christendome shall euer speake his Vertue.
His Ouerthrow, heap'd Happinesse vpon him:
For then, and not till then, he felt himselfe,
And found the Blessednesse of being little.
And to adde greater Honors to his Age
Then man could giue him; he dy'de, fearing God
   Kath. After my death, I wish no other Herald,
No other speaker of my liuing Actions,
To keepe mine Honor, from Corruption,
But such an honest Chronicler as Griffith.
Whom I most hated Liuing, thou hast made mee
With thy Religious Truth, and Modestie,
(Now in his Ashes) Honor: Peace be with him.
Patience, be neere me still, and set me lower,
I haue not long to trouble thee. Good Griffith,
Cause the Musitians play me that sad note
I nam'd my Knell; whil'st I sit meditating
On that Coelestiall Harmony I go too.
Sad and solemne Musicke.

  Grif. She is asleep: Good wench, let's sit down quiet,
For feare we wake her. Softly, gentle Patience.
The Vision. Enter solemnely tripping one after another, 
sixe Personages, clad in white Robes, wearing on their
heades Garlands of Bayes, and golden Vizards on their faces, 
Branches of Bayes or Palme in their hands. They first Conge 
vnto her, then Dance: and at certaine Changes, the first two hold 
a spare Garland ouer her Head, at which the other foure make 
reuerend Curtsies. Then the two that held the Garland, deliuer 
the same to the other next two, who obserue the same order in 
their Changes, and holding the Garland ouer her head. Which done, 
they deliuer the same Garland to the last two: who likewise obserue 
the same Order. At which (as it were by inspiration) she makes 
(in her sleepe) signes of reioycing, and holdeth vp her hands to 
heauen. And so, in their Dancing vanish, carrying the Garland 
with them. The Musicke continues.

  Kath. Spirits of peace, where are ye? Are ye all gone?
And leaue me heere in wretchednesse, behinde ye?
  Grif. Madam, we are heere
   Kath. It is not you I call for,
Saw ye none enter since I slept?
  Grif. None Madam
   Kath. No? Saw you not euen now a blessed Troope
Inuite me to a Banquet, whose bright faces
Cast thousand beames vpon me, like the Sun?
They promis'd me eternall Happinesse,
And brought me Garlands (Griffith) which I feele
I am not worthy yet to weare: I shall assuredly
   Grif. I am most ioyfull Madam, such good dreames
Possesse your Fancy
   Kath. Bid the Musicke leaue,
They are harsh and heauy to me.
Musicke ceases.

  Pati. Do you note
How much her Grace is alter'd on the sodaine?
How long her face is drawne? How pale she lookes,
And of an earthy cold? Marke her eyes?
  Grif. She is going Wench. Pray, pray
   Pati. Heauen comfort her.
Enter a Messenger.
  Mes. And't like your Grace -
  Kath. You are a sawcy Fellow,
Deserue we no more Reuerence?
  Grif. You are too blame,
Knowing she will not loose her wonted Greatnesse
To vse so rude behauiour. Go too, kneele
   Mes. I humbly do entreat your Highnesse pardon,
My hast made me vnmannerly. There is staying
A Gentleman sent from the King, to see you
   Kath. Admit him entrance Griffith. But this Fellow
Let me ne're see againe.
Exit Messeng.

Enter Lord Capuchius.

If my sight faile not,
You should be Lord Ambassador from the Emperor,
My Royall Nephew, and your name Capuchius
Cap. Madam the same. Your Seruant

   Kath. O my Lord,
The Times and Titles now are alter'd strangely
With me, since first you knew me.
But I pray you,
What is your pleasure with me?
  Cap. Noble Lady,
First mine owne seruice to your Grace, the next
The Kings request, that I would visit you,
Who greeues much for your weaknesse, and by me
Sends you his Princely Commendations,
And heartily entreats you take good comfort
   Kath. O my good Lord, that comfort comes too late,
'Tis like a Pardon after Execution;
That gentle Physicke giuen in time, had cur'd me:
But now I am past all Comforts heere, but Prayers.
How does his Highnesse?
  Cap. Madam, in good health
   Kath. So may he euer do, and euer flourish,
When I shall dwell with Wormes, and my poore name
Banish'd the Kingdome. Patience, is that Letter
I caus'd you write, yet sent away?
  Pat. No Madam
   Kath. Sir, I most humbly pray you to deliuer
This to my Lord the King
Cap. Most willing Madam

   Kath. In which I haue commended to his goodnesse
The Modell of our chaste loues: his yong daughter,
The dewes of Heauen fall thicke in Blessings on her,
Beseeching him to giue her vertuous breeding.
She is yong, and of a Noble modest Nature,
I hope she will deserue well; and a little
To loue her for her Mothers sake, that lou'd him,
Heauen knowes how deerely.
My next poore Petition,
Is, that his Noble Grace would haue some pittie
Vpon my wretched women, that so long
Haue follow'd both my Fortunes, faithfully,
Of which there is not one, I dare auow
(And now I should not lye) but will deserue
For Vertue, and true Beautie of the Soule,
For honestie, and decent Carriage
A right good Husband (let him be a Noble)
And sure those men are happy that shall haue 'em.
The last is for my men, they are the poorest,
(But pouerty could neuer draw 'em from me)
That they may haue their wages, duly paid 'em,
And something ouer to remember me by.
If Heauen had pleas'd to haue giuen me longer life
And able meanes, we had not parted thus.
These are the whole Contents, and good my Lord,
By that you loue the deerest in this world,
As you wish Christian peace to soules departed,
Stand these poore peoples Friend, and vrge the King
To do me this last right
   Cap. By Heauen I will,
Or let me loose the fashion of a man
   Kath. I thanke you honest Lord. Remember me
In all humilitie vnto his Highnesse:
Say his long trouble now is passing
Out of this world. Tell him in death I blest him
(For so I will) mine eyes grow dimme. Farewell
My Lord. Griffith farewell. Nay Patience,
You must not leaue me yet. I must to bed,
Call in more women. When I am dead, good Wench,
Let me be vs'd with Honor; strew me ouer
With Maiden Flowers, that all the world may know
I was a chaste Wife, to my Graue: Embalme me,
Then lay me forth (although vnqueen'd) yet like
A Queene, and Daughter to a King enterre me.
I can no more.

Exeunt. leading Katherine.


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