« PreviousContinue »
The force of this commission : Pray, look to't;
I put it to your care.
A word with you.
[To the Secretary
Let there be letters writ to every shire,
Of the king's grace and pardon. The griev'd commons
JIardly conceive of me; let it be nois’d,
That, through our intercession, this revokement
And pardon comes : I shall anon advise you
Further in the proceeding.
ACT II. King Henry VIII. having determined to divorce Katharine, obtains a commission from Rome, to try the causes which have induced him to dissolve his marriage. The Pope rends Cardinal Campeius, who in conjunction with Wolsey are appointed to act as judges at the Queen's trial.
SCENE IV.-A Hall in Black-Friars.
Court assembled for the Trial.
Wol. Whilst our commission from Rome is read,
Let silence be commanded.
What's the need
It hath already publicly been read,
And on all sides the authority allow'd;
You may then spare that time.
Scribe. Say, Henry king of England, come into the court.
Crier. Henry king of England, come into court.
K. Hen. Here.
Scribe. Say, Katharine queen of England, come into court.
Crier. Katharine queen of England, come into court. [The QUEEN makes no answer, rises out of her chair, goes about the
court, comes to the KING, and kneels at his feet; then speaks.
Q. Kath. Sir, I desire you, do me right and justice;
And to bestow your pity on me : for
I am a most poor woman, and a stranger,
Born out of your dominions; having here
No judge indifferent, nor no more assurance
Of equal friendship and proceeding. Alas, sir,
In what have I offended you? what cause
behavior given to your displeasure,
That thus you should proceed to put me off,
And take your good grace from me? Heaven witness,
I have been to you a true and humble wife,
At all times to your will conformable :
Ever in fear to kindle your dislike,
Yea, subject to your countenance; glad, or sorry,
As I saw it inclin'd. When was the hour,
I ever contradicted your desire,
Or made it not mine too? Or which of
Have I not strove to love, although I knew
He were mine enemy? what friend of mine
That had to him deriv'd your anger, did I
Continue in my liking? nay, gave notice
He was from thence discharg'd ? Sir, call to mind
That I have been your wife, in this obedience,
Upwards of twenty years. If, in the course
And process of this time, you can report,
And prove it too, against mine honor aught,
My bond to wedlock, or my love and duty,
Against your sacred person, in God's name,
Turn me away; and let the foul'st contempt
Shut door upon me, and so give me up
To the sharpest kind of justice. Please you, sir
The king, your father, was reputed for
A prince most prudent, of an excellent
And unmatch'd wit and judgment : Ferdinand,
My father, king of Spain, was reckond one
The wisest prince, that there had reign’d by many
A year before : It is not to be question’d
That they had gather'd a wise council to them
Of every realm, that did debate this business,
Who deem'd our marriage lawful : Wherefore I humbly
Beseech you, sir, to spare me, till I may
Be by my friends in Spain advis'd; whose counsel
I will implore; if not, i' the name of God,
Your pleasure be fulfillid !
You have here, lady,
(And of your choice,) these reverend fathers; men
Of singular integrity and learning,
Yea, the elect of the land, who are assembled
To plead your cause; It shall be therefore bootless,
That longer you desire the court; as well
For your own quiet, as to rectify
What is unsettled in the king.
Hath spoken well, and justly: Therefore, madam,
It's fit this royal session do proceed ;
And that, without delay, their arguments
Be now produc'd, and heard.
To you I speak.
Your pleasure, madam ?
I am about to weep; but, thinking that:
We are a queen, (or long have dream'd so,) certain,
The daughter of a king, my drops of tears
I'll turn to sparks of fire.
Be patient yet.
Q. Kath. I will, when you are humble; nay, before,
Or Heaven will punish me. I do believe,
Induc'd by potent circumstances, that
You are mine enemy; and make my challenge ;
You shall not be my judge : for it is you
Have blown this coal betwixt my lord and me.-
Therefore, I say again,
I utterly abhor, yea, from my soul,
Refuse you for my judge: whom, yet once more,
I hold my most malicious foe, and think not
At all a friend to truth.
I do profess,
You speak not like yourself; who ever yet
Have stood to charity, and display'd the effects
Of disposition gentle, and of wisdom
O’ertopping woman's power. Madam, you do me wrong;
I have no spleen against you; nor injustice
For you, or any : how far I have proceeded,
Or how far further shall, is warranted
By a commission from the consistory,
Yea, the whole consistory of Rome. You charge me,
That I have blown this coal : I do deny it.
The king is present : if it be known to him,
That I gainsay my deed, how may he wound,
And worthily, my falsehood ? yea, as much
As you have done my truth. But if he know
That I am free of your report, he knows,
I am not of your wrong:
Therefore in him
It lies, to cure me; and the cure is, to
Remove these thoughts from you; the which before
His highness shall speak in, I do beseech
You, gracious madam, to unthink your speaking,
And to say no more.
My lord, my lord,
I am a simple woman, much too weak
To oppose your cunning. You are meek, and humble-mouth'd;
You sign your place and calling, in full seeming
With meekness and humility : but your hear
Is cramm’d with arrogancy, spleen, and pride.
You have, by fortune, and his highness' favors,
Gone slightly o’er low steps; and now are mounted
Where powers are your retainers: and your words,
Domestics to you, serve your will, as't please
Yourself pronounce their office. I must tell you,
You tender more your person's honor, than
Your high profession spiritual : That again
I do refuse you for my judge; and here,
Before you all, appeal unto the pope,
To bring my whole cause 'fore his holiness,
And to be judg’d by him.
[She curtsies to the King, and offers to depart. Cam.
The queen is obstinate,
Stubborn to justice, apt to accuse it, and
Disdainful to be try'd by it; 'tis not well.
She's going away.
Call her again.
Crier. Katharine queen of England, come into the court.
Grif. Madam, you are call’d back.
Q. Kath. What need you note it ? pray you, keep your way
When you are callid, return.—Now the Lord help,
They vex me past my patience !--pray you, pass on:
I will not tarry: no, nor ever more,
Upon this business, my appearance make
of their courts.
[Exeunt QUEEN, GRIFFITH,
and her other Attendants. K. Hen.
Go thy ways, Kate :
That man i’the world, who shall report he has
A better wife, let him in nought be trusted,
For speaking false in that: Thou art alone,
(If thy rare qualities, sweet gentleness,
Thy meekness saint-like, wife-like government,-
Obeying in commanding,—and thy parts
Sovereign and pious else, could speak thee out,)
The queen of earthly queens :—She is noble born;
And, like her true nobility, she has
Carried herself towards me.
Queen Katharine is divorced, and Henry marries Anne Bullen. The power of Wolsey over the King gradually declines, and the nobles of the Court plot against him. The lords of Suffolk and Norfolk are particularly his enemies; and learning that Wolsey has by accident given several documents to the King, containing private memorandums of his intrigues, and statements of his vast wealth, they are waiting to learn the effect of this disclosure.
WOLSEY and CROMWELL, SUFFOLK and NORFOLK.
Nor. Observe, observe, he's moody.
Wol. The packet, Cromwell
, gave it you the king ?
Crom. To his own hand, in his bedchamber.
Wol. Look'd he o’the inside of the paper ?
He did unseal them: and the first he view'd,
He did it with a serious mind; a heed
Was in his countenance! You, he bade
Attend him here this morning.
Is he ready
To come abroad ?
I think, by this he is.
Wol. Leave me a while,-
It shall be to the duchess of Alençon,
The French king's sister : he shall marry her.-
Anne Bullen! No; I'll no Anne Bullens for him,
There is more in it than fair visage.-Bullen!
No, we'll no Bullens.—Speedily I wish
To hear from Rome.-The marchioness of Pembroke !
Nor. He's discontented.
May be, he hears the king
Does whet his anger to him.
Lord, for thy justice !
Wol. The late queen's gentlewoman: a knight's daughter, To be her mistress' mistress! the queen's queen! This candle burns not clear; 'tis I must snuff it; Then, out it goes. What though I know her virtuous, And well deserving ? yet I know her for A spleeny Lutheran, and not wholesome to Our cause. Again, there is sprung up An heretic, an arch one, Cranmer; one Hath crawld into the favor of the king, And is his oracle. Nor.
He is vex'd at something. Suf. I would, 'twere something that would fret the string The master-cord of his heart!
Enter the King, reading a schedule ; anil L JELL. Suf.
The king, the binarz.
K. Hen. What piles of wealth hath he acorminated
To his own portion ! and what expense by the hour
Seems to flow from him! How, i' the same ci thrift,
Does he rake this together !--Now, my lords ;
Saw you the cardinal ?
My lord, we have
Stood here observing him : Some stringe commotion
Is in his brain: he bites his lip, and starts ;
Stops on a sudden, looks upon the ground,
Then, lays his finger on his te:nple; straight,
Springs out into fast guit; then, stops again,
Strikes his freast hord; and anon, he casts
His eye aç, ainst the racon: in most strange postures
We lare cecn him fet unself.
well be; Tiers is 7. r.viiry in his mind. This morning