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Henry VIII Scenes

Scene 1

Westminster. A street.

(Gentlemen; Two Judges; Lord Chancellor; Choristers; Mayor of London; Garter; Marquess Dorset; Duke of Suffolk; Duke of Norfolk; Cinque-Ports; >Queen; Bishop Stokesly of London; Bishop of Winchester; Duchess of Norfolk; Ladies; Countessess)

Two Gentlemen discuss Katherine’s divorce as they go to see the colorful coronation of Anne. (141 lines)

Enter two Gentlemen, meeting one another.

1. GENT.

Y’ are well met once again.

2. GENT.

So are you.

1. GENT.

You come to take your stand here, and behold

The Lady Anne pass from her coronation?

2. GENT.

’Tis all my business. At our last encounter,

The Duke of Buckingham came from his trial.

1. GENT.

’Tis very true; but that time offer’d sorrow,

This, general joy.

2. GENT.

’Tis well. The citizens

I am sure have shown at full their royal minds—

As, let ’em have their rights, they are ever forward

In celebration of this day with shows,

Pageants, and sights of honor.

1. GENT.

Never greater,

Nor, I’ll assure you, better taken, sir.

2. GENT.

May I be bold to ask what that contains,

That paper in your hand?

1. GENT.

Yes, ’tis the list

Of those that claim their offices this day

By custom of the coronation.

The Duke of Suffolk is the first, and claims

To be High Steward; next, the Duke of Norfolk,

He to be Earl Marshal. You may read the rest.

2. GENT.

I thank you, sir; had I not known those customs

I should have been beholding to your paper.

But I beseech you, what’s become of Katherine,

The Princess Dowager? How goes her business?

1. GENT.

That I can tell you too. The Archbishop

Of Canterbury, accompanied with other

Learned and reverend fathers of his order,

Held a late court at Dunstable—six miles off

From Ampthill, where the Princess lay—to which

She was often cited by them, but appear’d not;

And, to be short, for not appearance and

The King’s late scruple, by the main assent

Of all these learned men she was divorc’d,

And the late marriage made of none effect;

Since which she was remov’d to Kimmalton,

Where she remains now sick.

2. GENT.

Alas, good lady!


The trumpets sound; stand close, the Queen is coming.


The Order of the Coronation

1. A lively flourish of trumpets.

2. Then, two JUDGES.

3. LORD CHANCELLOR, with purse and mace before him.

4. CHORISTERS, singing.


5. MAYOR OF LONDON, bearing the mace. Then GARTER, in his coat of arms, and on his head he wore a gilt copper crown.

6. MARQUESS DORSET, bearing a sceptre of gold, on his head a demi-coronal of gold. With him, the EARL OF SURREY, bearing the rod of silver with the dove, crowned with an earl’s coronet. Collars of Esses.

7. DUKE OF SUFFOLK, in his robe of estate, his coronet on his head, bearing a long white wand, as High Steward. With him, the DUKE OF NORFOLK, with the rod of marshalship, a coronet on his head. Collars of Esses.

8. A canopy borne by four of the CINQUE-PORTS; under it, the QUEEN in her robe, in her hair, richly adorned with pearl, crowned. On each side her, the BISHOPS OF LONDON and WINCHESTER.

9. The old DUCHESS OF NORFOLK, in a coronal of gold, wrought with flowers, bearing the Queen’s train.

10. Certain LADIES or COUNTESSES, with plain circlets of gold without flowers.

Exeunt, first passing over the stage in order and state, and then a great flourish of trumpets.

2. GENT.

A royal train, believe me. These I know.

Who’s that that bears the sceptre?

1. GENT.

Marquess Dorset,

And that the Earl of Surrey, with the rod.

2. GENT.

A bold brave gentleman. That should be

The Duke of Suffolk.

1. GENT.

’Tis the same: High Steward.

2. GENT.

And that my Lord of Norfolk?

1. GENT.


2. GENT.

Heaven bless thee!

Looking on the Queen.

Thou hast the sweetest face I ever look’d on.

Sir, as I have a soul, she is an angel;

Our king has all the Indies in his arms,

And more and richer, when he strains that lady.

I cannot blame his conscience.

1. GENT.

They that bear

The cloth of honor over her, are four barons

Of the Cinque-Ports.

2. GENT.

Those men are happy, and so are all are near her.

I take it, she that carries up the train

Is that old noble lady, Duchess of Norfolk.

1. GENT.

It is, and all the rest are countesses.

2. GENT.

Their coronets say so. These are stars indeed.

1. GENT.

And sometimes falling ones.

2. GENT.

No more of that.

Exit the last of the procession; flourish of trumpets.

Enter a third Gentleman.

1. GENT.

God save you, sir! Where have you been broiling?

3. GENT.

Among the crowd i’ th’ Abbey, where a finger

Could not be wedg’d in more. I am stifled

With the mere rankness of their joy.

2. GENT.

You saw

The ceremony?

3. GENT.

That I did.

1. GENT.

How was it?

3. GENT.

Well worth the seeing.

2. GENT.

Good sir, speak it to us.

3. GENT.

As well as I am able. The rich stream

Of lords and ladies, having brought the Queen

To a prepar’d place in the choir, fell off

A distance from her; while her Grace sate down

To rest a while, some half an hour or so,

In a rich chair of state, opposing freely

The beauty of her person to the people.

Believe me, sir, she is the goodliest woman

That ever lay by man—which when the people

Had the full view of, such a noise arose

As the shrouds make at sea in a stiff tempest,

As loud and to as many tunes. Hats, cloaks

(Doublets, I think) flew up, and had their faces

Been loose, this day they had been lost. Such joy

I never saw before. Great-bellied women,

That had not half a week to go, like rams

In the old time of war, would shake the press

And make ’em reel before ’em. No man living

Could say, “This is my wife” there, all were woven

So strangely in one piece.

2. GENT.

But what follow’d?

3. GENT.

At length her Grace rose, and with modest paces

Came to the altar, where she kneel’d, and saint-like

Cast her fair eyes to heaven, and pray’d devoutly;

Then rose again and bow’d her to the people;

When by the Archbishop of Canterbury

She had all the royal makings of a queen,

As holy oil, Edward Confessor’s crown,

The rod, and bird of peace, and all such emblems

Laid nobly on her; which perform’d, the choir,

With all the choicest music of the kingdom,

Together sung Te Deum. So she parted,

And with the same full state pac’d back again

To York-place, where the feast is held.

1. GENT.


You must no more call it York-place, that’s past;

For since the Cardinal fell that title’s lost.

’Tis now the King’s, and call’d Whitehall.

3. GENT.

I know it;

But ’tis so lately alter’d that the old name

Is fresh about me.

2. GENT.

What two reverend bishops

Were those that went on each side of the Queen?

3. GENT.

Stokesly and Gardiner, the one of Winchester,

Newly preferr’d from the King’s secretary,

The other, London.

2. GENT.

He of Winchester

Is held no great good lover of the Archbishop’s,

The virtuous Cranmer.

3. GENT.

All the land knows that.

However, yet there is no great breach; when it comes,

Cranmer will find a friend will not shrink from him.

2. GENT.

Who may that be, I pray you?

3. GENT.

Thomas Cromwell,

A man in much esteem with th’ King, and truly

A worthy friend. The King has made him Master

O’ th’ Jewel House,

And one, already, of the Privy Council.

2. GENT.

He will deserve more.

3. GENT.

Yes, without all doubt.

Come, gentlemen, ye shall go my way, which

Is to th’ court, and there ye shall be my guests;

Something I can command. As I walk thither,

I’ll tell ye more.


You may command us, sir.



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