Henry VIII

by William Shakespeare

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Act One, Scene I

Enter the Duke of Norfolke at one doore. At the other, the Duke of
Buckingham, and the Lord Aburgauenny.
  Buckingham. Good morrow, and well met. How haue ye done
Since last we saw in France?
  Norf. I thanke your Grace:
Healthfull, and euer since a fresh Admirer
Of what I saw there
   Buck. An vntimely Ague
Staid me a Prisoner in my Chamber, when
Those Sunnes of Glory, those two Lights of Men
Met in the vale of Andren
   Nor. 'Twixt Guynes and Arde,
I was then present, saw them salute on Horsebacke,
Beheld them when they lighted, how they clung
In their Embracement, as they grew together,
Which had they,
What foure Thron'd ones could haue weigh'd
Such a compounded one?
  Buck. All the whole time
I was my Chambers Prisoner
   Nor. Then you lost
The view of earthly glory: Men might say
Till this time Pompe was single, but now married
To one aboue it selfe. Each following day
Became the next dayes master, till the last
Made former Wonders, it's. To day the French,
All Clinquant all in Gold, like Heathen Gods
Shone downe the English; and to morrow, they
Made Britaine, India: Euery man that stood,
Shew'd like a Mine. Their Dwarfish Pages were
As Cherubins, all gilt: the Madams too,
Not vs'd to toyle, did almost sweat to beare
The Pride vpon them, that their very labour
Was to them, as a Painting. Now this Maske
Was cry'de incompareable; and th' ensuing night
Made it a Foole, and Begger. The two Kings
Equall in lustre, were now best, now worst
As presence did present them: Him in eye,
Still him in praise, and being present both,
'Twas said they saw but one, and no Discerner
Durst wagge his Tongue in censure, when these Sunnes
(For so they phrase 'em) by their Heralds challeng'd
The Noble Spirits to Armes, they did performe
Beyond thoughts Compasse, that former fabulous Storie
Being now seene, possible enough, got credit
That Beuis was beleeu'd
Buc. Oh you go farre

   Nor. As I belong to worship, and affect
In Honor, Honesty, the tract of eu'ry thing,
Would by a good Discourser loose some life,
Which Actions selfe, was tongue too
   Buc. All was Royall,
To the disposing of it nought rebell'd,
Order gaue each thing view. The Office did
Distinctly his full Function: who did guide,
I meane who set the Body, and the Limbes
Of this great Sport together?
  Nor. As you guesse:
One certes, that promises no Element
In such a businesse
   Buc. I pray you who, my Lord?
  Nor. All this was ordred by the good Discretion
Of the right Reuerend Cardinall of Yorke
   Buc. The diuell speed him: No mans Pye is freed
From his Ambitious finger. What had he
To do in these fierce Vanities? I wonder,
That such a Keech can with his very bulke
Take vp the Rayes o'th' beneficiall Sun,
And keepe it from the Earth
   Nor. Surely Sir,
There's in him stuffe, that put's him to these ends:
For being not propt by Auncestry, whose grace
Chalkes Successors their way; nor call'd vpon
For high feats done to'th' Crowne; neither Allied
To eminent Assistants; but Spider-like
Out of his Selfe-drawing Web. O giues vs note,
The force of his owne merit makes his way
A guift that heauen giues for him, which buyes
A place next to the King
   Abur. I cannot tell
What Heauen hath giuen him: let some Grauer eye
Pierce into that, but I can see his Pride
Peepe through each part of him: whence ha's he that,
If not from Hell? The Diuell is a Niggard,
Or ha's giuen all before, and he begins
A new Hell in himselfe
   Buc. Why the Diuell,
Vpon this French going out, tooke he vpon him
(Without the priuity o'th' King) t' appoint
Who should attend on him? He makes vp the File
Of all the Gentry; for the most part such
To whom as great a Charge, as little Honor
He meant to lay vpon: and his owne Letter
The Honourable Boord of Councell, out
Must fetch him in, he Papers
   Abur. I do know
Kinsmen of mine, three at the least, that haue
By this, so sicken'd their Estates, that neuer
They shall abound as formerly
   Buc. O many
Haue broke their backes with laying Mannors on 'em
For this great Iourney. What did this vanity
But minister communication of
A most poore issue
   Nor. Greeuingly I thinke,
The Peace betweene the French and vs, not valewes
The Cost that did conclude it
   Buc. Euery man,
After the hideous storme that follow'd, was
A thing Inspir'd, and not consulting, broke
Into a generall Prophesie; That this Tempest
Dashing the Garment of this Peace, aboaded
The sodaine breach on't
   Nor. Which is budded out,
For France hath flaw'd the League, and hath attach'd
Our Merchants goods at Burdeux
   Abur. Is it therefore
Th' Ambassador is silenc'd?
  Nor. Marry is't
   Abur. A proper Title of a Peace, and purchas'd
At a superfluous rate
   Buc. Why all this Businesse
Our Reuerend Cardinall carried
   Nor. Like it your Grace,
The State takes notice of the priuate difference
Betwixt you, and the Cardinall. I aduise you
(And take it from a heart, that wishes towards you
Honor, and plenteous safety) that you reade
The Cardinals Malice, and his Potency
Together; To consider further, that
What his high Hatred would effect, wants not
A Minister in his Power. You know his Nature,
That he's Reuengefull; and I know, his Sword
Hath a sharpe edge: It's long, and't may be saide
It reaches farre, and where 'twill not extend,
Thither he darts it. Bosome vp my counsell,
You'l finde it wholesome. Loe, where comes that Rock
That I aduice your shunning.
Enter Cardinall Wolsey, the Purse borne before him, certaine of
the Guard,
and two Secretaries with Papers: The Cardinall in his passage,
fixeth his
eye on Buckingham, and Buckingham on him, both full of
  Car. The Duke of Buckinghams Surueyor? Ha?
Where's his Examination?
  Secr. Heere so please you
   Car. Is he in person, ready?
  Secr. I, please your Grace
   Car. Well, we shall then know more, & Buckingham
Shall lessen this bigge looke.
Exeunt. Cardinall, and his Traine.

  Buc. This Butchers Curre is venom'd-mouth'd, and I
Haue not the power to muzzle him, therefore best
Not wake him in his slumber. A Beggers booke,
Out-worths a Nobles blood
   Nor. What are you chaff'd?
Aske God for Temp'rance, that's th' appliance onely
Which your disease requires
   Buc. I read in's looks
Matter against me, and his eye reuil'd
Me as his abiect obiect, at this instant
He bores me with some tricke; He's gone to'th' King:
Ile follow, and out-stare him
   Nor. Stay my Lord,
And let your Reason with your Choller question
What 'tis you go about: to climbe steepe hilles
Requires slow pace at first. Anger is like
A full hot Horse, who being allow'd his way
Selfe-mettle tyres him: Not a man in England
Can aduise me like you: Be to your selfe,
As you would to your Friend
   Buc. Ile to the King,
And from a mouth of Honor, quite cry downe
This Ipswich fellowes insolence; or proclaime,
There's difference in no persons
   Norf. Be aduis'd;
Heat not a Furnace for your foe so hot
That it do sindge your selfe. We may out-runne
By violent swiftnesse that which we run at;
And lose by ouer-running: know you not,
The fire that mounts the liquor til't run ore,
In seeming to augment it, wasts it: be aduis'd;
I say againe there is no English Soule
More stronger to direct you then your selfe;
If with the sap of reason you would quench,
Or but allay the fire of passion
   Buck. Sir,
I am thankfull to you, and Ile goe along
By your prescription: but this top-proud fellow,
Whom from the flow of gall I name not, but
From sincere motions, by Intelligence,
And proofes as cleere as Founts in Iuly, when
Wee see each graine of grauell; I doe know
To be corrupt and treasonous
Norf. Say not treasonous

   Buck. To th' King Ile say't, & make my vouch as strong
As shore of Rocke: attend. This holy Foxe,
Or Wolfe, or both (for he is equall rau'nous
As he is subtile, and as prone to mischiefe,
As able to perform't) his minde, and place
Infecting one another, yea reciprocally,
Only to shew his pompe, as well in France,
As here at home, suggests the King our Master
To this last costly Treaty: Th' enteruiew,
That swallowed so much treasure, and like a glasse
Did breake ith' wrenching
Norf. Faith, and so it did

   Buck. Pray giue me fauour Sir: This cunning Cardinall
The Articles o'th' Combination drew
As himselfe pleas'd; and they were ratified
As he cride thus let be, to as much end,
As giue a Crutch to th' dead. But our Count-Cardinall
Has done this, and tis well: for worthy Wolsey
(Who cannot erre) he did it. Now this followes,
(Which as I take it, is a kinde of Puppie
To th' old dam Treason) Charles the Emperour,
Vnder pretence to see the Queene his Aunt,
(For twas indeed his colour, but he came
To whisper Wolsey) here makes visitation,
His feares were that the Interview betwixt
England and France, might through their amity
Breed him some preiudice; for from this League,
Peep'd harmes that menac'd him. Priuily
Deales with our Cardinal, and as I troa
Which I doe well; for I am sure the Emperour
Paid ere he promis'd, whereby his Suit was granted
Ere it was ask'd. But when the way was made
And pau'd with gold: the Emperor thus desir'd,
That he would please to alter the Kings course,
And breake the foresaid peace. Let the King know
(As soone he shall by me) that thus the Cardinall
Does buy and sell his Honour as he pleases,
And for his owne aduantage
   Norf. I am sorry
To heare this of him; and could wish he were
Somthing mistaken in't
   Buck. No, not a sillable:
I doe pronounce him in that very shape
He shall appeare in proofe.
Enter Brandon, a Sergeant at Armes before him, and two or three
of the
Brandon. Your Office Sergeant: execute it

   Sergeant. Sir,
My Lord the Duke of Buckingham, and Earle
Of Hertford, Stafford and Northampton, I
Arrest thee of High Treason, in the name
Of our most Soueraigne King
   Buck. Lo you my Lord,
The net has falne vpon me, I shall perish
Vnder deuice, and practise
   Bran. I am sorry,
To see you tane from liberty, to looke on
The busines present. Tis his Highnes pleasure
You shall to th' Tower
   Buck. It will helpe me nothing
To plead mine Innocence; for that dye is on me
Which makes my whit'st part, black. The will of Heau'n
Be done in this and all things: I obey.
O my Lord Aburgany: Fare you well
   Bran. Nay, he must beare you company. The King
Is pleas'd you shall to th' Tower, till you know
How he determines further
   Abur. As the Duke said,
The will of Heauen be done, and the Kings pleasure
By me obey'd
   Bran. Here is a warrant from
The King, t' attach Lord Mountacute, and the Bodies
Of the Dukes Confessor, Iohn de la Car,
One Gilbert Pecke, his Councellour
   Buck. So, so;
These are the limbs o'th' Plot: no more I hope
Bra. A Monke o'th' Chartreux

   Buck. O Michaell Hopkins?
  Bra. He
   Buck. My Surueyor is falce: The oregreat Cardinall
Hath shew'd him gold; my life is spand already:
I am the shadow of poore Buckingham,
Whose Figure euen this instant Clowd puts on,
By Darkning my cleere Sunne. My Lords farewell.



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