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Henry VIII Scenes

Scene 1

London. A gallery in the palace.

(Gardiner; Bishop of Winchester; Gardiner’s Page; Sir Thomas Lovell; King Henry; Suffolk; Sir Anthony Denny; Cranmer; Old Lady)

Lovell reports to Gardiner that Anne is in labor, and that it is feared she may day. Gardiner says that things won’t be right until Anne and her two agents, Cranmer and Cromwell are dead. The King, anxious, walks the halls, and meets the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Cranmer. He informs Cranmer that he is to be tried for heresy. The man’s steadfastness moves Henry, who promises to protect him. The Old Lady brings news to Henry that Anne has given birth to a daughter. (209 lines)

Enter Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, Gardiner’s Page with a torch before him, met by Sir Thomas Lovell.


It’s one a’ clock, boy, is’t not?


It hath struck.


These should be hours for necessities,

Not for delights; times to repair our nature

With comforting repose, and not for us

To waste these times. Good hour of night, Sir Thomas!

Whither so late?


Came you from the King, my lord?


I did, Sir Thomas, and left him at primero

With the Duke of Suffolk.


I must to him too,

Before he go to bed. I’ll take my leave.


Not yet, Sir Thomas Lovell. What’s the matter?

It seems you are in haste. And if there be

No great offense belongs to’t, give your friend

Some touch of your late business. Affairs that walk

(As they say spirits do) at midnight, have

In them a wilder nature than the business

That seeks dispatch by day.


My lord, I love you;

And durst commend a secret to your ear

Much weightier than this work. The Queen’s in labor,

They say in great extremity, and fear’d

She’ll with the labor end.


The fruit she goes with

I pray for heartily, that it may find

Good time, and live; but for the stock, Sir Thomas,

I wish it grubb’d up now.


Methinks I could

Cry the amen, and yet my conscience says

She’s a good creature, and, sweet lady, does

Deserve our better wishes.


But, sir, sir,

Hear me, Sir Thomas, y’ are a gentleman

Of mine own way; I know you wise, religious,

And, let me tell you, it will ne’er be well—

’Twill not, Sir Thomas Lovell, take’t of me—

Till Cranmer, Cromwell, her two hands, and she

Sleep in their graves.


Now, sir, you speak of two

The most remark’d i’ th’ kingdom. As for Cromwell,

Beside that of the Jewel House, is made Master

O’ th’ Rolls, and the King’s secretary; further, sir,

Stands in the gap and trade of more preferments,

With which the time will load him. Th’ Archbishop

Is the King’s hand and tongue, and who dare speak

One syllable against him?


Yes, yes, Sir Thomas,

There are that dare, and I myself have ventur’d

To speak my mind of him; and indeed this day,

Sir (I may tell it you), I think I have

Incens’d the lords o’ th’ Council that he is

(For so I know he is, they know he is)

A most arch-heretic, a pestilence

That does infect the land; with which they moved

Have broken with the King, who hath so far

Given ear to our complaint, of his great grace

And princely care foreseeing those fell mischiefs

Our reasons laid before him, ’hath commanded

Tomorrow morning to the Council-board

He be convented. He’s a rank weed, Sir Thomas,

And we must root him out. From your affairs

I hinder you too long. Good night, Sir Thomas.


Many good-nights, my lord! I rest your servant.

Exeunt the Bishop of Winchester, and Gardiner’s Page.

Enter King and Suffolk.


Charles, I will play no more tonight,

My mind’s not on’t, you are too hard for me.


Sir, I did never win of you before.


But little, Charles,

Nor shall not, when my fancy’s on my play.

Now, Lovell, from the Queen what is the news?


I could not personally deliver to her

What you commanded me, but by her woman

I sent your message, who return’d her thanks

In the great’st humbleness, and desir’d your Highness

Most heartily to pray for her.


What say’st thou? Ha?

To pray for her? What, is she crying out?


So said her woman, and that her suff’rance made

Almost each pang a death.


Alas, good lady!


God safely quit her of her burden, and

With gentle travail, to the gladding of

Your Highness with an heir!


’Tis midnight, Charles,

Prithee to bed, and in thy pray’rs remember

Th’ estate of my poor queen. Leave me alone,

For I must think of that which company

Would not be friendly to.


I wish your Highness

A quiet night, and my good mistress will

Remember in my prayers.


Charles, good night.

Exit Suffolk.

Enter Sir Anthony Denny.

Well, sir, what follows?


Sir, I have brought my lord the Archbishop,

As you commanded me.


Ha? Canterbury?


Ay, my good lord.


’Tis true; where is he, Denny?


He attends your Highness’ pleasure.


Bring him to us.

Exit Denny.



This is about that which the Bishop spake.

I am happily come hither.

Enter Cranmer and Denny.


Avoid the gallery.

Lovell seems to stay.

Ha? I have said. Be gone.


Exeunt Lovell and Denny.



I am fearful; wherefore frowns he thus?

’Tis his aspect of terror. All’s not well.


How now, my lord? You do desire to know

Wherefore I sent for you.



It is my duty

T’ attend your Highness’ pleasure.


Pray you arise,

My good and gracious Lord of Canterbury.

Come, you and I must walk a turn together;

I have news to tell you. Come, come, give me your hand.

Ah, my good lord, I grieve at what I speak,

And am right sorry to repeat what follows.

I have, and most unwillingly, of late

Heard many grievous—I do say, my lord,

Grievous—complaints of you; which, being consider’d,

Have mov’d us and our Council, that you shall

This morning come before us, where I know

You cannot with such freedom purge yourself,

But that till further trial, in those charges

Which will require your answer, you must take

Your patience to you, and be well contented

To make your house our Tow’r. You, a brother of us

It fits we thus proceed, or else no witness

Would come against you.



I humbly thank your Highness,

And am right glad to catch this good occasion

Most throughly to be winnowed, where my chaff

And corn shall fly asunder; for I know

There’s none stands under more calumnious tongues

Than I myself, poor man.


Stand up, good Canterbury!

Thy truth and thy integrity is rooted

In us, thy friend. Give me thy hand, stand up;

Prithee let’s walk. Now, by my holidame,

What manner of man are you? My lord, I look’d

You would have given me your petition, that

I should have ta’en some pains to bring together

Yourself and your accusers, and to have heard you

Without indurance further.


Most dread liege,

The good I stand on is my truth and honesty.

If they shall fail, I, with mine enemies,

Will triumph o’er my person, which I weigh not,

Being of those virtues vacant. I fear nothing

What can be said against me.


Know you not

How your state stands i’ th’ world, with the whole world?

Your enemies are many, and not small; their practices

Must bear the same proportion, and not ever

The justice and the truth o’ th’ question carries

The due o’ th’ verdict with it. At what ease

Might corrupt minds procure knaves as corrupt

To swear against you? Such things have been done.

You are potently oppos’d, and with a malice

Of as great size. Ween you of better luck,

I mean in perjur’d witness, than your Master,

Whose minister you are, whiles here he liv’d

Upon this naughty earth? Go to, go to!

You take a precipit for no leap of danger,

And woo your own destruction.


God and your Majesty

Protect mine innocence, or I fall into

The trap is laid for me!


Be of good cheer,

They shall no more prevail than we give way to.

Keep comfort to you, and this morning see

You do appear before them. If they shall chance,

In charging you with matters, to commit you,

The best persuasions to the contrary

Fail not to use, and with what vehemency

Th’ occasion shall instruct you. If entreaties

Will render you no remedy, this ring

Deliver them, and your appeal to us

There make before them. Look, the good man weeps!

He’s honest, on mine honor. God’s blest Mother!

I swear he is true-hearted, and a soul

None better in my kingdom. Get you gone,

And do as I have bid you.

Exit Cranmer.

He has strangled

His language in his tears.

Enter Old Lady.



Come back! What mean you?


I’ll not come back, the tidings that I bring

Will make my boldness manners. Now good angels

Fly o’er thy royal head, and shade thy person

Under their blessed wings!


Now by thy looks

I guess thy message. Is the Queen deliver’d?

Say ay, and of a boy.


Ay, ay, my liege,

And of a lovely boy. The God of heaven

Both now and ever bless her! ’Tis a girl

Promises boys hereafter. Sir, your queen

Desires your visitation, and to be

Acquainted with this stranger. ’Tis as like you

As cherry is to cherry.



Enter Lovell.




Give her an hundred marks. I’ll to the Queen.

Exit King.


An hundred marks? By this light, I’ll ha’ more.

An ordinary groom is for such payment.

I will have more or scold it out of him.

Said I for this, the girl was like to him?

I’ll have more, or else unsay’t; and now,

While ’tis hot, I’ll put it to the issue.

Exit Lady with Lovell.


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