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Henry VIII :: Scenes :: Henry VIII: Act I, Scene 4

Scene 4

A hall in York Place.

(Cardinal Wolsey; Anne Bullen; Ladies; Gentlemen; Sir Henry Guilford; Lord Chamberlain; Lord Sands; Lovell; Servant; King Henry; Maskers)

The Cardinal and guests, including Anne Bullen are feasting when they are interrupted by a troop of masked revellers—it is the King and others in shepherd’s disguise. The King, still masked, dances with Anne Bollen. Wolsey recognizes Henry and gives him his seat of state. Henry is rather taken with Anne. ( line)

Hoboys. A small table under a state for the Cardinal, a longer table for the guests.

Then enter Anne Bullen and divers other Ladies and Gentlemen as guests, at one door; at another door, enter Sir Henry Guilford.

GUIL.

Ladies, a general welcome from his Grace

Salutes ye all; this night he dedicates

To fair content and you. None here, he hopes,

In all this noble bevy, has brought with her

One care abroad. He would have all as merry

As, first, good company, good wine, good welcome,

Can make good people.

Enter Lord Chamberlain, Lord Sands, and Lovell.

O my lord, y’ are tardy;

The very thought of this fair company

Clapp’d wings to me.

CHAM.

You are young, Sir Harry Guilford.

SAN.

Sir Thomas Lovell, had the Cardinal

But half my lay-thoughts in him, some of these

Should find a running banquet, ere they rested,

I think would better please ’em. By my life,

They are a sweet society of fair ones.

LOV.

O that your lordship were but now confessor

To one or two of these!

SAN.

I would I were,

They should find easy penance.

LOV.

Faith, how easy?

SAN.

As easy as a down-bed would afford it.

CHAM.

Sweet ladies, will it please you sit? Sir Harry,

Place you that side, I’ll take the charge of this.

His Grace is ent’ring. Nay, you must not freeze,

Two women plac’d together makes cold weather.

My Lord Sands, you are one will keep ’em waking;

Pray sit between these ladies.

SAN.

By my faith,

And thank your lordship. By your leave, sweet ladies.

If I chance to talk a little wild, forgive me;

I had it from my father.

ANNE.

Was he mad, sir?

SAN.

O, very mad, exceeding mad, in love too;

But he would bite none. Just as I do now,

He would kiss you twenty with a breath.

Kisses her.

CHAM.

Well said, my lord.

So now y’ are fairly seated. Gentlemen,

The penance lies on you, if these fair ladies

Pass away frowning.

SAN.

For my little cure,

Let me alone.

Hoboys. Enter Cardinal Wolsey and takes his state.WOL.

WOL.

Y’ are welcome, my fair guests. That noble lady

Or gentleman that is not freely merry

Is not my friend. This, to confirm my welcome,

And to you all good health.

Drinks.WOL.

SAN.

Your Grace is noble.

Let me have such a bowl may hold my thanks,

And save me so much talking.

WOL.

My Lord Sands,

I am beholding to you; cheer your neighbors.

Ladies, you are not merry. Gentlemen,

Whose fault is this?

SAN.

The red wine first must rise

In their fair cheeks, my lord, then we shall have ’em

Talk us to silence.

ANNE.

You are a merry gamester,

My Lord Sands.

SAN.

Yes, if I make my play.

Here’s to your ladyship, and pledge it, madam,

For ’tis to such a thing—

ANNE.

You cannot show me.

SAN.

I told your Grace they would talk anon.

Drum and trumpet; chambers discharg’d.

WOL.

What’s that?

CHAM.

Look out there, some of ye.

Exit a Servant.SERV.

WOL.

What warlike voice,

And to what end is this? Nay, ladies, fear not;

By all the laws of war y’ are privileg’d.

Enter a Servant.SERV.

CHAM.

How now, what is’t?

SERV.

A noble troop of strangers,

For so they seem. Th’ have left their barge and landed,

And hither make, as great ambassadors

From foreign princes.

WOL.

Good Lord Chamberlain,

Go, give ’em welcome: you can speak the French tongue;

And pray receive ’em nobly and conduct ’em

Into our presence, where this heaven of beauty

Shall shine at full upon them. Some attend him.

Exit Chamberlain attended.CHAM.

All rise, and tables remov’d.

You have now a broken banquet, but we’ll mend it.

A good digestion to you all; and once more

I show’r a welcome on ye. Welcome all!

Hoboys. Enter King and others as Maskers, habited like shepherds, usher’d by the Lord Chamberlain.

They pass directly before the Cardinal and gracefully salute him.

A noble company! What are their pleasures?

CHAM.

Because they speak no English, thus they pray’d

To tell your Grace, that having heard by fame

Of this so noble and so fair assembly

This night to meet here, they could do no less

(Out of the great respect they bear to beauty)

But leave their flocks, and under your fair conduct

Crave leave to view these ladies, and entreat

An hour of revels with’em.

WOL.

Say, Lord Chamberlain,

They have done my poor house grace; for which I pay ’em

A thousand thanks, and pray ’em take their pleasures.

Choose ladies; King and Anne Bullen.

KING.

The fairest hand I ever touch’d! O Beauty,

Till now I never knew thee!

Music. Dance.

WOL.

My lord!

CHAM.

Your Grace?

WOL.

Pray tell ’em thus much from me:

There should be one amongst ’em, by his person

More worthy this place than myself, to whom

(If I but knew him) with my love and duty

I would surrender it.

CHAM.

I will, my lord.

Whisper with the Maskers.

WOL.

What say they?

CHAM.

Such a one, they all confess,

There is indeed, which they would have your Grace

Find out, and he will take it.

WOL.

Let me see then,

By all your good leaves, gentlemen; here I’ll make

My royal choice.

KING.

Ye have found him, Cardinal.

Unmasking.

You hold a fair assembly; you do well, lord.

You are a churchman, or I’ll tell you, Cardinal,

I should judge now unhappily.

WOL.

I am glad

Your Grace is grown so pleasant.

KING.

My Lord Chamberlain,

Prithee come hither. What fair lady’s that?

CHAM.

An’t please your Grace, Sir Thomas Bullen’s daughter—

The Viscount Rochford—one of her Highness’ women.

KING.

By heaven, she is a dainty one. Sweet heart,

I were unmannerly to take you out

And not to kiss you. A health, gentlemen!

Let it go round.

WOL.

Sir Thomas Lovell, is the banquet ready

I’ th’ privy chamber?

LOV.

Yes, my lord.

WOL.

Your Grace,

I fear, with dancing is a little heated.

KING.

I fear, too much.

WOL.

There’s fresher air, my lord,

In the next chamber.

KING.

Lead in your ladies, ev’ry one. Sweet partner,

I must not yet forsake you. Let’s be merry,

Good my Lord Cardinal: I have half a dozen healths

To drink to these fair ladies, and a measure

To lead ’em once again, and then let’s dream

Who’s best in favor. Let the music knock it.

Exeunt with Trumpets.

 
 
 
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