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Henry VIII Scenes

Scene 3

London. An ante-chamber in the palace.

(Lord Chamberlain; Lord Sands; Sir Thomas Lovell)

Two Lords discuss slightingly the French mannerisms some Englishmen have brought back from the trip to France, and are delighted when they hear that they are to be banned. They leave to go to a great feast given by Wolsey, speaking well of him as they go. (83 lines)

Enter Lord Chamberlain and Lord Sands.


Is’t possible the spells of France should juggle

Men into such strange mysteries?


New customs,

Though they be never so ridiculous

(Nay, let ’em be unmanly), yet are follow’d.


As far as I see, all the good our English

Have got by the late voyage is but merely

A fit or two o’ th’ face—but they are shrewd ones,

For when they hold ’em, you would swear directly

Their very noses had been councillors

To Pepin or Clotharius, they keep state so.


They have all new legs, and lame ones. One would take it,

That never see ’em pace before, the spavin

And springhalt reign’d among ’em.


Death, my lord,

Their clothes are after such a pagan cut to’t,

That sure th’ have worn out Christendom.

Enter Sir Thomas Lovell.

How now?

What news, Sir Thomas Lovell?


Faith, my lord,

I hear of none but the new proclamation

That’s clapp’d upon the court gate.


What is’t for?


The reformation of our travel’d gallants,

That fill the court with quarrels, talk, and tailors.


I’m glad ’tis there. Now I would pray our monsieurs

To think an English courtier may be wise

And never see the Louvre.


They must either

(For so run the conditions) leave those remnants

Of fool and feather that they got in France,

With all their honorable points of ignorance

Pertaining thereunto, as fights and fireworks,

Abusing better men than they can be

Out of a foreign wisdom, renouncing clean

The faith they have in tennis and tall stockings,

Short blist’red breeches, and those types of travel,

And understand again like honest men,

Or pack to their old playfellows. There, I take it,

They may, cum privilegio, “oui” away

The lag end of their lewdness and be laugh’d at.


’Tis time to give ’em physic, their diseases

Are grown so catching.


What a loss our ladies

Will have of these trim vanities!


Ay, marry,

There will be woe indeed, lords; the sly whoresons

Have got a speeding trick to lay down ladies.

A French song and a fiddle has no fellow.


The devil fiddle ’em! I am glad they are going,

For sure there’s no converting of ’em. Now

An honest country lord, as I am, beaten

A long time out of play, may bring his plain-song

And have an hour of hearing, and, by’r lady,

Held current music too.


Well said, Lord Sands,

Your colt’s tooth is not cast yet?


No, my lord,

Nor shall not while I have a stump.


Sir Thomas,

Whither were you a-going?


To the Cardinal’s.

Your lordship is a guest too.


O, ’tis true;

This night he makes a supper, and a great one,

To many lords and ladies; there will be

The beauty of this kingdom, I’ll assure you.


That churchman bears a bounteous mind indeed,

A hand as fruitful as the land that feeds us;

His dews fall every where.


No doubt he’s noble;

He had a black mouth that said other of him.


He may, my lord, h’as wherewithal: in him

Sparing would show a worse sin than ill doctrine.

Men of his way should be most liberal,

They are set here for examples.


True, they are so;

But few now give so great ones. My barge stays;

Your lordship shall along. Come, good Sir Thomas,

We shall be late else, which I would not be,

For I was spoke to, with Sir Henry Guilford

This night to be comptrollers.


I am your lordship’s.



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