Henry VIII

by William Shakespeare

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Act Three, Scene I

Enter Queene and her Women as at worke.

  Queen. Take thy Lute wench,
My Soule growes sad with troubles,
Sing, and disperse 'em if thou canst: leaue working.
Orpheus with his Lute made Trees,
And the Mountaine tops that freeze,
Bow themselues when he did sing.
To his Musicke, Plants and Flowers
Euer sprung; as Sunne and Showers,
There had made a lasting Spring.
Euery thing that heard him play,
Euen the Billowes of the Sea,
Hung their heads, & then lay by.
In sweet Musicke is such Art,
Killing care, & griefe of heart,
Fall asleepe, or hearing dye.
Enter a Gentleman.
  Queen. How now?
  Gent. And't please your Grace, the two great Cardinals
Wait in the presence
   Queen. Would they speake with me?
  Gent. They wil'd me say so Madam
   Queen. Pray their Graces
To come neere: what can be their busines
With me, a poore weake woman, falne from fauour?
I doe not like their comming; now I thinke on't,
They should bee good men, their affaires as righteous:
But all Hoods, make not Monkes.
Enter the two Cardinalls, Wolsey & Campian.
Wols. Peace to your Highnesse

   Queen. Your Graces find me heere part of a Houswife,
(I would be all) against the worst may happen:
What are your pleasures with me, reuerent Lords?
  Wol. May it please you Noble Madam, to withdraw
Into your priuate Chamber; we shall giue you
The full cause of our comming
   Queen. Speake it heere.
There's nothing I haue done yet o' my Conscience
Deserues a Corner: would all other Women
Could speake this with as free a Soule as I doe.
My Lords, I care not (so much I am happy
Aboue a number) if my actions
Were tri'de by eu'ry tongue, eu'ry eye saw 'em,
Enuy and base opinion set against 'em,
I know my life so euen. If your busines
Seeke me out, and that way I am Wife in;
Out with it boldly: Truth loues open dealing
Card. Tanta est erga te mentis integritas Regina serenissima

   Queen. O good my Lord, no Latin;
I am not such a Truant since my comming,
As not to know the Language I haue liu'd in:
A strange Tongue makes my cause more strange, suspitious:
Pray speake in English; heere are some will thanke you,
If you speake truth, for their poore Mistris sake;
Beleeue me she ha's had much wrong. Lord Cardinall,
The willing'st sinne I euer yet committed,
May be absolu'd in English
   Card. Noble Lady,
I am sorry my integrity should breed,
(And seruice to his Maiesty and you)
So deepe suspition, where all faith was meant;
We come not by the way of Accusation,
To taint that honour euery good Tongue blesses;
Nor to betray you any way to sorrow;
You haue too much good Lady: But to know
How you stand minded in the waighty difference
Betweene the King and you, and to deliuer
(Like free and honest men) our iust opinions,
And comforts to our cause
   Camp. Most honour'd Madam,
My Lord of Yorke, out of his Noble nature,
Zeale and obedience he still bore your Grace,
Forgetting (like a good man) your late Censure
Both of his truth and him (which was too farre)
Offers, as I doe, in a signe of peace,
His Seruice, and his Counsell
   Queen. To betray me.
My Lords, I thanke you both for your good wills,
Ye speake like honest men, (pray God ye proue so)
But how to make ye sodainly an Answere
In such a poynt of weight, so neere mine Honour,
(More neere my Life I feare) with my weake wit;
And to such men of grauity and learning;
In truth I know not. I was set at worke,
Among my Maids, full little (God knowes) looking
Either for such men, or such businesse;
For her sake that I haue beene, for I feele
The last fit of my Greatnesse; good your Graces
Let me haue time and Councell for my Cause:
Alas, I am a Woman frendlesse, hopelesse
   Wol. Madam,
You wrong the Kings loue with these feares,
Your hopes and friends are infinite
   Queen. In England,
But little for my profit can you thinke Lords,
That any English man dare giue me Councell?
Or be a knowne friend 'gainst his Highnes pleasure,
(Though he be growne so desperate to be honest)
And liue a Subiect? Nay forsooth, my Friends,
They that must weigh out my afflictions,
They that my trust must grow to, liue not heere,
They are (as all my other comforts) far hence
In mine owne Countrey Lords
   Camp. I would your Grace
Would leaue your greefes, and take my Counsell
   Queen. How Sir?
  Camp. Put your maine cause into the Kings protection,
Hee's louing and most gracious. 'Twill be much,
Both for your Honour better, and your Cause:
For if the tryall of the Law o'retake ye,
You'l part away disgrac'd
Wol. He tels you rightly

   Queen. Ye tell me what ye wish for both, my ruine:
Is this your Christian Councell? Out vpon ye.
Heauen is aboue all yet; there sits a Iudge,
That no King can corrupt
Camp. Your rage mistakes vs

   Queen. The more shame for ye; holy men I thought ye,
Vpon my Soule two reuerend Cardinall Vertues:
But Cardinall Sins, and hollow hearts I feare ye:
Mend 'em for shame my Lords: Is this your comfort?
The Cordiall that ye bring a wretched Lady?
A woman lost among ye, laugh't at, scornd?
I will not wish ye halfe my miseries,
I haue more Charity. But say I warn'd ye;
Take heed, for heauens sake take heed, least at once
The burthen of my sorrowes, fall vpon ye
   Car. Madam, this is a meere distraction,
You turne the good we offer, into enuy
   Quee. Ye turne me into nothing. Woe vpon ye,
And all such false Professors. Would you haue me
(If you haue any Iustice, any Pitty,
If ye be any thing but Churchmens habits)
Put my sicke cause into his hands, that hates me?
Alas, ha's banish'd me his Bed already,
His Loue, too long ago. I am old my Lords,
And all the Fellowship I hold now with him
Is onely my Obedience. What can happen
To me, aboue this wretchednesse? All your Studies
Make me a Curse, like this
Camp. Your feares are worse

   Qu. Haue I liu'd thus long (let me speake my selfe,
Since Vertue findes no friends) a Wife, a true one?
A Woman (I dare say without Vainglory)
Neuer yet branded with Suspition?
Haue I, with all my full Affections
Still met the King? Lou'd him next Heau'n? Obey'd him?
Bin (out of fondnesse) superstitious to him?
Almost forgot my Prayres to content him?
And am I thus rewarded? 'Tis not well Lords.
Bring me a constant woman to her Husband,
One that ne're dream'd a Ioy, beyond his pleasure;
And to that Woman (when she has done most)
Yet will I adde an Honor; a great Patience
   Car. Madam, you wander from the good
We ayme at
   Qu. My Lord,
I dare not make my selfe so guiltie,
To giue vp willingly that Noble Title
Your Master wed me to: nothing but death
Shall e're diuorce my Dignities
Car. Pray heare me

   Qu. Would I had neuer trod this English Earth,
Or felt the Flatteries that grow vpon it:
Ye haue Angels Faces; but Heauen knowes your hearts.
What will become of me now, wretched Lady?
I am the most vnhappy Woman liuing.
Alas (poore Wenches) where are now your Fortunes?
Shipwrack'd vpon a Kingdome, where no Pitty,
No Friends, no Hope, no Kindred weepe for me?
Almost no Graue allow'd me? Like the Lilly
That once was Mistris of the Field, and flourish'd,
Ile hang my head, and perish
   Car. If your Grace
Could but be brought to know, our Ends are honest,
Youl'd feele more comfort. Why shold we (good Lady)
Vpon what cause wrong you? Alas, our Places,
The way of our Profession is against it;
We are to Cure such sorrowes, not to sowe 'em.
For Goodnesse sake, consider what you do,
How you may hurt your selfe: I, vtterly
Grow from the Kings Acquaintance, by this Carriage.
The hearts of Princes kisse Obedience,
So much they loue it. But to stubborne Spirits,
They swell and grow, as terrible as stormes.
I know you haue a Gentle, Noble temper,
A Soule as euen as a Calme; Pray thinke vs,
Those we professe, Peace-makers, Friends, and Seruants
   Camp. Madam, you'l finde it so:
You wrong your Vertues
With these weake Womens feares. A Noble Spirit
As yours was, put into you, euer casts
Such doubts as false Coine from it. The King loues you,
Beware you loose it not: For vs (if you please
To trust vs in your businesse) we are ready
To vse our vtmost Studies, in your seruice
   Qu. Do what ye will, my Lords:
And pray forgiue me;
If I haue vs'd my selfe vnmannerly,
You know I am a Woman, lacking wit
To make a seemely answer to such persons.
Pray do my seruice to his Maiestie,
He ha's my heart yet, and shall haue my Prayers
While I shall haue my life. Come reuerend Fathers,
Bestow your Councels on me. She now begges
That little thought when she set footing heere,
She should haue bought her Dignities so deere.



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