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CARDINAL WOLSEY AND CROMWELL.
Wolsey. Farewell, a long farewell to all my 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 him;
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 shoot,
And then he falls — as I do. I have ventured
Like little wanton boys, that swim on bladders,
These many summers in a sea of glory,
But far beyond my depth; my high-blown pride,
At length 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 the world, I hate ye ;
I feel my heart new opened. Oh, how wretched
Is that poor man who hangs on princes' favors !
There is betwixt that smile he would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and his ruin,
More pangs and fears than war or women have ;
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again.
Why, how now, Cromwell ?
Cromwell. I have no power to speak, sir. Wol. What! amazed at my misfortunes ? Can thy spirit wonder A great man should decline? Nay, if you weep, I'm fallen indeed.
Crom. How does your Grace ?
Wol. Why, well ; —
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 cured me,
I humbly thank his grace; and, from these shoulders,
These ruined 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'm glad your Grace has made that right use of it.
Wol. I hope I have: I'm 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 ?
Crom. The heaviest and the worst
Is your displeasure with the king.
Wol. God bless him.
Crom. The next is, that Sir Thomas More is chosen
Lord Chancellor in your place.
Wol. 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 him !
Crom. That Cranmer is returned with welcome;
Installed Lord Archbishop of Canterbury.
Wol. That's news indeed.
Crom. Last, that the Lady Anne,
Whom the king hath in secrecy long married,
This day was viewed in open as his queen,
Going to chapel ; and the voice is now
Only about her coronation.
Wol. There was the weight that pulled me down, O Cromwell ! The king has gone beyond me : all my glories
In that one woman I have lost for ever!
No sun shall ever usher forth my honors,
Or gild again the noble troops that waited
Upon my smiles. Go, get thee from me, Cromwell ;
I am a poor, fallen man, unworthy now
To be thy lord and master. Seek the king,
That sun I pray may never set ; I've told him
What and how true thou art; he will advance thee:
Some little memory of me will stir him,
I know his noble nature, not to let
Thy hopeful service perish too. Good Cromwell,
Neglect him not; make use now, and provide
For thine own future safety.
Crom. O my lord,
Must I then leave you ? Must I needs forego
So good, so noble, and so true a master ?
Bear witness, all that have not hearts of iron,
With what a sorrow Cromwell leaves his lord.
The king shall have my service ; but my prayers
For ever, and for ever, shall be yours.
Wol. Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear
In all my miseries, but thou hast forced me,
Out of thy honest truth, to play the woman —
Let’s dry our eyes; and thus far hear me, Cromwell,
And when I am forgotten, as I shall be,
And sleep in dull, cold marble, where no mention
Of me must more be heard, say then I taught thee-
Say, Wolsey, that once rode the waves of glory,
And sounded all the depths and shoals of honor,
Found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rise in ;
A sure and safe one, though thy master missed it.
Mark but my fall, and that which ruined me:
Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition ;
By that sin fell the angels : how can man then,
Though the image of his Maker, hope to win by’t ?
Love thyself last; cherish those hearts that wait thee;
Corruption wins not more than honesty.
Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace,
To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not.
Let all the ends thou aim’st at, be thy country's,
Thy God's, and truth’s; then, if thou fall’st, O Cromwell,
Thou fall’st a blessed martyr. Serve the king
And prithee lead me in —
There take an inventory of all I have,
To the last penny — 'tis the king's. My robe,
And my integrity to heaven, are all
I dare now call my own. O Cromwell, Cromwell,
Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.
Crom. Good sir, have patience.
Wol. So I have. Farewell
The hopes of court! My hopes in heaven do dwell.
Cassius. Will you go see the order of the course ?
Brutus. Not I.
Cas. I pray you, do..
Bru. I am not gamesome; I do lack some part
Of that quick spirit that is in Anthony;
Let me not hinder, Cassius, your desires ;
I'll leave you.
Cas. Brutus, I do observe you now of late ;
I have not from your eyes that gentleness,
And show of love, as I was wont to have :
You bear too stubborn and too strange a hand
Over your friend that loves you.
Be not deceived; if I have veiled my look,
I turn the trouble of my countenance
Merely upon myself. Vexed I am,
Of late, with passions of some difference,
Conceptions only proper to myself,
Which give some soil perhaps to my behaviours :
But let not therefore my good friends be grieved ;
Among which number, Cassius, be you one;
Nor construe any further my neglect,
Than that poor Brutus, with himself at war,
Forgets the shows of love to other men.
Cas. Then, Brutus, I have much mistook your passion;
By means whereof, this breast of mine hath buried
Thoughts of great value, worthy cogitations.
Tell me, good Brutus, can you see your face?
Bru. No Cassius, for the eye sees not itself,
But by reflection by some other things.
Cas. 'Tis just;
And it is very much lamented, Brutus,
That you have no such mirrors as will turn
Your hidden worthiness into your eye,
That you might see your shadow. I have heard
Where many of the best respect in Rome,
(Except immortal Cæsar) speaking of Brutus,
And groaning underneath this age's yoke,
Have wished that noble Brutus had his eyes.
Bru. Into what dangers would you lead me, Cassius,
That you would have me seek into myself
For that which is not in me ?
Cas. Therefore, good Brutus, be prepared to hear,
And since you know you cannot see yourself
So well as by reflection, I, your glass,
Will modestly discover to yourself
That of yourself which you yet know not of.
And be not jealous of me, gentle Brutus;