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Papers of state he sent me to peruse,
As I requir’d; And, wot you, what I found
There; on my conscience, put unwittingly?
Forsooth, an inventory, thus importing,—
The several parcels of his plate, his treasure,
Rich stuffs, and ornaments of household; which
I find at such proud rate, that it out-speaks
Posession of a subject.
It's Heaven's will ;
Some spirit put this paper in the packet
To bless your eye withal.
If we did think
His contemplation were above the earth,
And fix'd on spiritual object, he should still
Dwell in his musings : but, I am afraid,
His thinkings are below the moon, not worth
His serious considering,
[He takes his seat, and whispers LOVELL, who goes to WOLSEY. Wol.
Heaven forgive me !
Ever Heaven bless your highness !
Good my lord,
You are full of heavenly stuff, and bear the inventory
Of your best graces in your mind; the which
You were now running o'er; you have scarce time
To steal from spiritual leisure a brief span
To keep your earthly audit: Sure, in that
I deem you an ill husband : and am glad
To have you therein my companion.
For holy offices I have a time; a time
upon the part of business, which
I bear i' the state ; and nature does require
Her times of preservation, which, perforce,
I her frail son, amongst my brethren mortal,
Must give my tendance to.
You have said well.
Wol. And ever may your highness yoke together
As I will lend you cause, my doing well
With my well-saying.
'Tis well said again ; And ’tis a kind of good deed, to say
And yet words are no deeds. My father lov'd you:
He said, he did; and with his deed did crown
His word upon you. Since I had my office,
I have kept you next my heart; have not alone
Employ'd you where high profits might come home,
But pard my present havings, to bestow
My bounties upon you.
What should this mean?
Have I not made you
The prime man of the state ? I pray you, tell me,
If what I now pronounce, you have found true:
And, if you may confess it, say withal,
If you are bound to us, or no.
What say you
Wol. My sovereign, I confess, your royal graces,
Shower'd on me daily, have been more, than could
My studied purposes requite; which went
Beyond all man's endeavors :—my endeavors
Have ever come too short of my desires,
Yet, fill’d with my abilities : Mine own ends
Have been mine so, that evermore they pointed
To the good of your most sacred person, and
The profit of the state. For your great graces
Heap'd upon me, poor undeserver, I
Can nothing render but allegiant thanks ;
My prayers to heaven for you; my loyalty,
Which ever has, and ever shall be growing,
Till death, that winter, kill it.
A loyal and obedient subject is
Therein illustrated; the honor of it
Does pay the act of it; as i' the contrary,
The foulness is the punishment. I presume
That, as my hand has open’d bounty to you,
My heart dropp'd love, my power rain'd honor more
than any; so your hand, and heart,
Your brain, and every function of your power,
Should, notwithstanding that your bond of duty,
As 'twere in love's particular, be more
To me, your friend, than any.
I do profess,
That for your highness' good I ever labor'd
More than mine own; that am, have, and will be,
Though all the world should crack their duty to you,
And throw it from their soul; though perils did
Abound, as thick as thought could make them, and
Appear in forms more horrid; yet my duty,
As doth a rock against the chiding flood,
Should the approach of this wild river break, -
And stand unshaken yours.
'Tis nobly spoken:
Take notice, lords, he has a loyal breast,
For you have seen him open 't.—Read o'er this ;
(Giving him papers. And, after, this : and then to breakfast, with What appetite you have.
[Exit King, frowning upon CARDINAL WOLSEY ; the
Nobles throng after him, smiling, and whispering.
What should this inean?
What sudden anger's this; how have I reap'd it?
He parted frowning from me, as if ruin
Leap'd from his eyes : so looks the chafed lion
Jpon the daring huntsman that has gall’d him;
Then makes him nothing. I must read this paper;
I fear, the story of his anger.—'Tis so;
This paper has undone me:"Tis the account
Of all that world of wealth I have drawn together
For mine own ends; indeed, to gain the popedom,
And fee my friends in Rome. O negligence,
Fit for a fool to fall by! What cross devil
Made me put this main secret in the packet
I sent the king? Is there no way to cure this ?
No new device to beat this from his brains ?
I know, 'twill stir him strongly; yet I know
A way, if it take right, in spite of fortune
Will bring me off again. What's this—To the Pope !
The letter, as I live, with all the business
I writ to his holiness. Nay then, farewell !
I have touchd the highest point of all my greatness :
And, from that full meridian of my glory,
I haste now to my setting. I shall fall
Like a bright exhalation in the evening,
And no man see me more.
Re-enter the DUKES OF NORFOLK and SUFFOLK, the EARL OF SURREY,
and the Lord Chamberlain.
Nor. Hear the king's pleasure, cardinal : who commands you
To render up the great seal presently
Into our hands; and to confine yourself
To Asher-house, my lord of Winchester's,
Till you hear further from his highness.
Where's your commission, lords ? words cannot carry
Authority so weighty.
Who dare cross them,
Bearing the king's will from his mouth expressly ?
Wol. Till I find more than will, or words, to do it,
(I mean, your malice,) know, officious lords,
I dare, and must deny it. Now I feel
Of what coarse metal ye are moulded, -envy.
How eagerly ye follow my disgraces,
As if it fed ye! and how sleek and wanton
Ye appear in every thing may bring my ruin !
Follow your envious courses, men of malice;
You have Christian warrant for them, and, no doubi,
In time will find their fit rewards. That seal,
You ask with such a violence, the king,
(Mine, and your master,) with his own hand gave mo.
Bade me enjoy it, with the place and honors,
During my life, and, to confirm his goodness,
Tied it by letters patent: Now, who'll take it ?
Sur. The king that gave it.
It must be himself then.
Sur. Thou art a proud traitor, priest.
Proud lord, thou liest;
Within these forty hours Surrey durst better
Have burnt that tongue, than said so.
Can ye endure to hear this arrogance ?
And from this fellow? If we live thus tamely
To be thus jaded by a piece of scarlet,
Farewell nobility ; let his grace go forwarå,
And dare us with his cap, like larks.
Is poison to thy stomach.
Yes, that goodness
Of gleaning all the land's wealth into one,
Into your own hands, cardinal, by extortion.
Wol. How much, methinks, I could despise this man,
But that I'm bound in charity against it !
Suf. Lord cardinal, the king's further pleasure is,-
Because all those things, you have done of late
By your power legatine within this kingdom,
Fall into the compass of a præmunire, -
That therefore such a writ be sued against you ;
To forfeit all your goods, lands, tenements,
Chattels, and whatsoever, and to be
Out of the king's protection :- This is my charge.
Nor. And so'we'll learre you to your meditations
How to live better. For your stubborn answer
About the giving back the great seal to us,
The king shall know it, and, no doubt, shall thank you,
So fare you well, my little good lord cardinal.
[Exeunt all but WOLSEY.
Wol. So farewell to the little good you bear me.
Farewell, a long farewell, to all iny greatness !
This is the state of man; To-day he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope, to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honors thick upon
The third day, comes a frost, a killing frost ;
And,—when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a ripening,-nips his root,
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventur'd,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory;
But far beyond my depth : my high-blown pride
At lengih broke under me; and now has left me,
Weary, and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must for ever hide me.
Vain pomp, and glory of this world, I hate ye ;
I feel my heart new opened: 0, how wretched
Is that poor man, that hangs on princes' favors !
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
More pangs and fears than wars or women have;
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again.-
Enter CROMWELL, amazedly.
Why, how now, Cromwell ?
Crom. I have no power to speak, sir.
At my misfortunes ? can thy spirit wonder,
A great man should decline ? Nay, an you weep,
I am fallen indeed.
How does your grace ?
Never so truly happy, my good Cromwell.
I know myself now; and I feel within me
A peace above all earthly dignities,
A still and quiet conscience. The king has curd me,
I humbly thank his grace; and from these shoulders,
These ruin'd pillars, out of pity, taken
A load would sink a navy,—too much honor:
O, 'tis a burden, Cromwell, 'tis a burden,
Too heavy for a man that hopes for heaven.
Crom. I am glad, your grace has made that right use of it
Wol. I hope, I have: I am able now, methinks,
(Out of a fortitude of soul I feel.)
To endure more miseries, and greater far,
Than my weak-hearted enemies dare offer.
What news abroad ?
The heaviest and the worst,
Is your displeasure with the king.
God bless him
Crom. The next is that Sir Thomas More is chosen
Lord chancellor in your place.
That's somewhat sudden:
But he's a learned man. May he continue
Long in his highness' favor, and do justice
For truth's sake, and his conscience; that his bones,
When he has run his course, and sleeps in blessings,
May have a tomb of orphans' tears wept on 'em !