Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
The Trial of Queen Katharine
By Raphael Holinshed (c. 1515–1573)
THE JUDGES commanded silence while their commission was read both to the court and to the people assembled. That done the scribes commanded the crier to call the King by the name of “King Henry of England, come into the Court!” etc. With that the King answered and said “Here!” Then called he the Queen by the name of “Katharine, Queen of England, come into the Court!” etc. Who made no answer but rose out of her chair.  1
  And because she could not come to the king directly for the distance severed between them, she went about by the court and came to the king, kneeling down at his feet, to whom she said in effect as followeth: “Sir,” (quoth she) “I desire you to do me justice and right, and take some pity upon me, for I am a poor woman and a stranger, born out of your dominion, having here no indifferent counsel and less assurance of friendship. Alas, sir, what have I offended you, and what occasion of displeasure have I showed you, intending thus to put me from you after this sort? I take God to my judge, I have been to you a true and humble wife, ever conformable to your will and pleasure, that never contraried or gainsaid anything thereof, and being always contented with all things wherein you had any delight, whether little or much, without grudge or displeasure. I loved for your sake all them whom you loved, whether they were my friends or enemies.  2
  I have been your wife these twenty years and more, you have had by me divers children. If there be any just cause that you can alledge against me, either of dishonesty or matter lawful to put me from you; I am content to depart to my shame and rebuke: and if there be none, then I pray you to let me have justice at your hand. The king, your father, was in his time of excellent wit, and the King of Spain, my father Ferdinando, was reckoned one of the wisest princes that reigned in Spain many years before. It is not to be doubted, but that they had gathered as wise counsellors unto them of every realm as to their wisdoms they thought meet, who deemed the marriage between you and me good and lawful, etc. Wherefore I humbly desire you to spare me until I may know what counsel my friends in Spain will advertise me to take. And if you will not, then your pleasure be fulfilled.” With that she arose up, making a low curtsey to the king, and departed from thence.  3
  The king being advertised that she was ready to go out of the house, commanded the crier to call her again, who called her by these words: “Katharine, Queen of England, come into the Court!” With that, quoth Master Griffith—“Madam, you be called again.” “On, on! (quoth she) it maketh no matter. I will not tarry. Go on your ways.” And thus she departed, making no further answer at that time, or any other, and never would appear after in any court. The king perceiving she was departed said these words in effect: “Forasmuch (quoth he) as the Queen is gone, I will in her absence declare to you all that she hath been to me as true, as obedient, and as conformable a wife as I would wish or desire. She hath all the virtuous qualities that ought to be in a woman of her dignity, or in any other of a baser estate; she is also surely a noble woman born, her conditions will well declare the same.”  4

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.