London. An ante-chamber in the palace.
(Duke of Norfolk; Duke of Buckingham; Lord Abergavenny; Cardinal Wolsey; Guards; Brandon; Sergeant-at-Arms; Wolsey’s First Secretary; Wolsey’s Second Secretary)
The Duke of Buckingham hears from the Duke of Norfolk about the meeting between King Henry VIII and the French king. On hearing that the stunning entertainments provided were set up by Cardinal Wolsey, Buckingham erupts, as he hates and despises the Cardinal as an over-proud, lower-class upstart, a corrupt man slowly taking over all power in the state. Norfolk advises Buckingham to be careful. Wolsey enters, and he and Buckingham glare at one another. The Cardinal goes to interrogate a servant of Buckingham’s. Buckingham guesses that Wolsey is planning to make a move against him, and hotheadedly swears that he will denounce the Cardinal to the King for treason. Before he can do so, he is arrested for treason himself, and learning that his surveyor has talked, realizes that he is done for. (268 lines)
Enter the Duke of Norfolk at one door; at the other, the Duke of Buckingham and the Lord Abergavenny.
Good morrow, and well met. How have ye done
Since last we saw in France?
I thank your Grace:
Healthful, and ever since a fresh admirer
Of what I saw there.
An untimely ague
Stay’d me a prisoner in my chamber when
Those suns of glory, those two lights of men,
Met in the vale of Andren.
’Twixt Guynes and Arde—
I was then present, saw them salute on horseback,
Beheld them when they lighted, how they clung
In their embracement, as they grew together,
Which had they, what four thron’d ones could have weigh’d
Such a compounded one?
All the whole time
I was my chamber’s prisoner.
Then you lost
The view of earthly glory. Men might say
Till this time pomp was single, but now married
To one above itself. Each following day
Became the next day’s master, till the last
Made former wonders its. Today the French,
All clinquant, all in gold, like heathen gods,
Shone down the English; and, tomorrow, they
Made Britain India: every man that stood
Show’d like a mine. Their dwarfish pages were
As cherubins, all gilt; the madams too,
Not us’d to toil, did almost sweat to bear
The pride upon them, that their very labor
Was to them as a painting. Now this masque
Was cried incomparable; and th’ ensuing night
Made it a fool and beggar. The two kings,
Equal in lustre, were now best, now worst,
As presence did present them: him in eye
Still him in praise, and being present both,
’Twas said they saw but one, and no discerner
Durst wag his tongue in censure. When these suns
(For so they phrase ’em) by their heralds challeng’d
The noble spirits to arms, they did perform
Beyond thought’s compass, that former fabulous story,
Being now seen possible enough, got credit,
That Bevis was believ’d.
O, you go far.
As I belong to worship and affect
In honor honesty, the tract of ev’ry thing
Would by a good discourser lose some life,
Which action’s self was tongue to. All was royal;
To the disposing of it nought rebell’d,
Order gave each thing view; the office did
Distinctly his full function.
Who did guide—
I mean, who set the body and the limbs
Of this great sport together, as you guess?
One, certes, that promises no element
In such a business.
I pray you, who, my lord?
All this was ord’red by the good discretion
Of the right reverend Cardinal of York.
The devil speed him! No man’s pie is freed
From his ambitious finger. What had he
To do in these fierce vanities? I wonder
That such a keech can with his very bulk
Take up the rays o’ th’ beneficial sun,
And keep it from the earth.
There’s in him stuff that puts him to these ends;
For being not propp’d by ancestry, whose grace
Chalks successors their way, nor call’d upon
For high feats done to th’ crown, neither allied
To eminent assistants, but spider-like
Out of his self-drawing web, ’a gives us note
The force of his own merit makes his way—
A gift that heaven gives for him, which buys
A place next to the King.
I cannot tell
What heaven hath given him—let some graver eye
Pierce into that—but I can see his pride
Peep through each part of him. Whence has he that?
If not from hell, the devil is a niggard,
Or has given all before, and he begins
A new hell in himself.
Why the devil,
Upon this French going out, took he upon him
(Without the privity o’ th’ King) t’ appoint
Who should attend on him? He makes up the file
Of all the gentry; for the most part such
To whom as great a charge as little honor
He meant to lay upon; and his own letter,
The honorable Board of Council out,
Must fetch him in he papers.
I do know
Kinsmen of mine, three at the least, that have
By this so sicken’d their estates, that never
They shall abound as formerly.
Have broke their backs with laying manors on ’em
For this great journey. What did this vanity
But minister communication of
A most poor issue?
Grievingly I think
The peace between the French and us not values
The cost that did conclude it.
After the hideous storm that follow’d, was
A thing inspir’d, and, not consulting, broke
Into a general prophecy: that this tempest,
Dashing the garment of this peace, aboded
The sudden breach on’t.
Which is budded out,
For France hath flaw’d the league, and hath attach’d
Our merchants’ goods at Burdeaux.
Is it therefore
Th’ ambassador is silenc’d?
A proper title of a peace, and purchas’d
At a superfluous rate!
Why, all this business
Our reverend Cardinal carried.
Like it your Grace,
The state takes notice of the private difference
Betwixt you and the Cardinal. I advise you
(And take it from a heart that wishes towards you
Honor and plenteous safety) that you read
The Cardinal’s malice and his potency
Together; to consider further, that
What his high hatred would effect wants not
A minister in his power. You know his nature,
That he’s revengeful; and I know his sword
Hath a sharp edge; it’s long, and’t may be said
It reaches far, and where ’twill not extend,
Thither he darts it. Bosom up my counsel,
You’ll find it wholesome. Lo, where comes that rock
That I advise your shunning.
Enter Cardinal Wolsey, the purse borne before him, certain of the Guard, and two Secretaries with papers.
The Cardinal in his passage fixeth his eye an Buckingham, and Buckingham on him, both full of disdain.
The Duke of Buckingham’s surveyor? Ha?
Where’s his examination?
Here, so please you.
Is he in person ready?
Ay, please your Grace.
Well, we shall then know more, and Buckingham
Shall lessen this big look.
Exeunt Cardinal and his Train.
This butcher’s cur is venom’d-mouth’d, and I
Have not the power to muzzle him, therefore best
Not wake him in his slumber. A beggar’s book
Outworths a noble’s blood.
What, are you chaf’d?
Ask God for temp’rance, that’s th’ appliance only
Which your disease requires.
I read in ’s looks
Matter against me, and his eye revil’d
Me as his abject object; at this instant
He bores me with some trick. He’s gone to th’ King;
I’ll follow and outstare him.
Stay, my lord,
And let your reason with your choler question
What ’tis you go about: to climb steep hills
Requires slow pace at first. Anger is like
A full hot horse, who being allow’d his way,
Self-mettle tires him. Not a man in England
Can advise me like you; be to yourself
As you would to your friend.
I’ll to the King,
And from a mouth of honor quite cry down
This Ipswich fellow’s insolence; or proclaim
There’s difference in no persons.
Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot
That it do singe yourself. We may outrun
By violent swiftness that which we run at,
And lose by overrunning. Know you not
The fire that mounts the liquor till’t run o’er
In seeming to augment it wastes it? Be advis’d;
I say again, there is no English soul
More stronger to direct you than yourself,
If with the sap of reason you would quench,
Or but allay, the fire of passion.
I am thankful to you, and I’ll go along
By your prescription; but this top-proud fellow,
Whom from the flow of gall I name not, but
From sincere motions, by intelligence,
And proofs as clear as founts in July when
We see each grain of gravel, I do know
To be corrupt and treasonous.
Say not treasonous.
To th’ King I’ll say’t, and make my vouch as strong
As shore of rock. Attend. This holy fox,
Or wolf, or both (for he is equal rav’nous
As he is subtile, and as prone to mischief
As able to perform’t), his mind and place
Infecting one another, yea, reciprocally,
Only to show his pomp as well in France
As here at home, suggests the King our master
To this last costly treaty—th’ interview
That swallowed so much treasure, and like a glass
Did break i’ th’ wrenching.
Faith, and so it did.
Pray give me favor, sir: this cunning Cardinal
The articles o’ th’ combination drew
As himself pleas’d; and they were ratified
As he cried, “Thus let be!” to as much end
As give a crutch to th’ dead. But our count-cardinal
Has done this, and ’tis well; for worthy Wolsey
(Who cannot err), he did it. Now this follows
(Which, as I take it, is a kind of puppy
To th’ old dam, treason), Charles the Emperor,
Under pretense to see the Queen his aunt
(For ’twas indeed his color, but he came
To whisper Wolsey), here makes visitation—
His fears were that the interview betwixt
England and France might through their amity
Breed him some prejudice; for from this league
Peep’d harms that menac’d him—privily
Deals with our Cardinal, and, as I trow—
Which I do well, for I am sure the Emperor
Paid ere he promis’d, whereby his suit was granted
Ere it was ask’d—but when the way was made
And pav’d with gold, the Emperor thus desir’d,
That he would please to alter the King’s course,
And break the foresaid peace. Let the King know
(As soon he shall by me) that thus the Cardinal
Does buy and sell his honor as he pleases,
And for his own advantage.
I am sorry
To hear this of him; and could wish he were
Something mistaken in’t.
No, not a syllable:
I do pronounce him in that very shape
He shall appear in proof.
Enter Brandon, a Sergeant-at-Arms before him, and two or three of the Guard.
Your office, sergeant; execute it.
My lord the Duke of Buckingham and Earl
Of Herford, Stafford, and Northampton, I
Arrest thee of high treason, in the name
Of our most sovereign King.
Lo you, my lord,
The net has fall’n upon me! I shall perish
Under device and practice.
I am sorry
To see you ta’en from liberty, to look on
The business present. ’Tis his Highness’ pleasure
You shall to th’ Tower.
It will help me nothing
To plead mine innocence; for that dye is on me
Which makes my whit’st part black. The will of heav’n
Be done in this and all things! I obey.
O my Lord Aburga’ny, fare you well!
Nay, he must bear you company.
Is pleas’d you shall to th’ Tower, till you know
How he determines further.
As the Duke said,
The will of heaven be done, and the King’s pleasure
By me obey’d!
Here is a warrant from
The King t’ attach Lord Montacute, and the bodies
Of the Duke’s confessor, John de la Car,
One Gilbert Perk, his chancellor—
These are the limbs o’ th’ plot. No more, I hope?
A monk o’ th’ Chartreux.
O, Nicholas Hopkins?
My surveyor is false; the o’er-great Cardinal
Hath show’d him gold; my life is spann’d already.
I am the shadow of poor Buckingham,
Whose figure even this instant cloud puts on
By dark’ning my clear sun. My lord, farewell.