Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Henry VIII.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eighth
Act I. Scene I.
London.  An Antechamber in the Palace.
Enter at one door the DUKE OF NORFOLK; at the other, the DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM and the LORD ABERGAVENNY.
  Buck  Good morrow, and well met. How have you done,
Since last we saw in France?
  Nor.        I thank your Grace,        5
Healthful; and ever since a fresh admirer
Of what I saw there.
  Buck.        An untimely ague
Stay’d me a prisoner in my chamber, when
Those suns of glory, those two lights of men,        10
Met in the vale of Andren.
  Nor.        ’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;        15
Which had they, what four thron’d ones could have weigh’d
Such a compounded one?
  Buck.        All the whole time
I was my chamber’s prisoner.
  Nor.        Then you lost        20
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. To-day the French        25
All clinquant, all in gold, like heathen gods,
Shone down the English; and to-morrow they
Made Britain India: every man that stood
Show’d like a mine. Their dwarfish pages were
As cherubins, all gilt: the madams, too,        30
Not us’d to toil, did almost sweat to bear
The pride upon them, that their very labour
Was to them as a painting. Now this masque
Was cried incomparable; and the ensuing night
Made it a fool, and beggar. The two kings,        35
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—        40
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.        45
  Buck.        O! you go far.
  Nor.  As I belong to worship, and affect
In honour honesty, the tract of every thing
Would by a good discourser lose some life,
Which action’s self was tongue to. All was royal;        50
To the disposing of it nought rebell’d,
Order gave each thing view; the office did
Distinctly his full function.
  Buck.        Who did guide,
I mean, who set the body and the limbs        55
Of this great sport together, as you guess?
  Nor.  One certes, that promises no element
In such a business.
  Buck.        I pray you, who, my lord?
  Nor.  All this was order’d by the good discretion        60
Of the right reverend Cardinal of York.
  Buck.  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        65
Take up the rays o’ the beneficial sun,
And keep it from the earth.
  Nor.        Surely, sir,
There’s in him stuff that puts him to these ends;
For, being not propp’d by ancestry, whose grace        70
Chalks successors their way, nor call’d upon
For high feats done to the crown; neither allied
To eminent assistants; but, spider-like,
Out of his self-drawing web, he gives us note,
The force of his own merit makes his way;        75
A gift that heaven gives for him, which buys
A place next to the king.
  Aber.        I cannot tell
What heaven hath given him: let some graver eye
Pierce into that; but I can see his pride        80
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.
  Buck.        Why the devil,        85
Upon this French going-out, took he upon him,
Without the privity o’ the king, to 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 honour        90
He meant to lay upon: and his own letter,—
The honourable board of council out,—
Must fetch him in he papers.
  Aber.        I do know
Kinsmen of mine, three at the least, that have        95
By this so sicken’d their estates, that never
They shall abound as formerly.
  Buck.        O! many
Have broke their backs with laying manors on ’em
For this great journey. What did this vanity        100
But minister communication of
A most poor issue?
  Nor.        Grievingly I think,
The peace between the French and us not values
The cost that did conclude it.        105
  Buck.        Every man,
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        110
The sudden breach on ’t.
  Nor.        Which is budded out;
For France hath flaw’d the league, and hath attach’d
Our merchants’ goods at Bourdeaux.
  Aber.        Is it therefore        115
The ambassador is silenc’d?
  Nor.        Marry, is ’t.
  Aber.  A proper title of a peace; and purchas’d
At a superfluous rate!
  Buck.        Why, all this business        120
Our reverend cardinal carried.
  Nor.        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        125
Honour 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,        130
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        135
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 on BUCKINGHAM, and BUCKINGHAM on him, both full of disdain.
  Wol.  The Duke of Buckingham’s surveyor, ha?
Where’s his examination?
  First Secr.        Here, so please you.        140
  Wol.  Is he in person ready?
  First Secr.        Ay, please your Grace.
  Wol.  Well, we shall then know more; and Buckingham
Shall lessen this big look.  [Exeunt WOLSEY, and Train.
  Buck.  This butcher’s cur is venom-mouth’d, and I        145
Have not the power to muzzle him; therefore best
Not wake him in his slumber. A beggar’s book
Outworths a noble’s blood.
  Nor.        What! are you chaf’d?
Ask God for temperance; that’s the appliance only        150
Which your disease requires.
  Buck.        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 the king;        155
I’ll follow, and out-stare him.
  Nor.        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        160
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.
  Buck.        I’ll to the king;        165
And from a mouth of honour quite cry down
This Ipswich fellow’s insolence, or proclaim
There’s difference in no persons.
  Nor.        Be advis’d;
Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot        170
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 it run o’er,
In seeming to augment it wastes it? Be advis’d:        175
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.
  Buck.        Sir,        180
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        185
We see each grain of gravel,—I do know
To be corrupt and treasonous.
  Nor.        Say not, ‘treasonous.’
  Buck.  To the king I’ll say ’t; and make my vouch as strong
As shore of rock. Attend. This holy fox,        190
Or wolf, or both,—for he is equal ravenous
As he is subtle, 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        195
As here at home, suggests the king our master
To this last costly treaty, the interview,
That swallow’d so much treasure, and like a glass
Did break i’ the rinsing.
  Nor.        Faith, and so it did.        200
  Buck.  Pray give me favour, sir. This cunning cardinal
The articles o’ the 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 the dead. But our count-cardinal        205
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 the old dam, treason, Charles the emperor,
Under pretence to see the queen his aunt,—        210
For ’twas indeed his colour, 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        215
Peep’d harms that menac’d him. He 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,        220
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 honour as he pleases,        225
And for his own advantage.
  Nor.        I am sorry
To hear this of him; and could wish he were
Something mistaken in ’t.
  Buck.        No, not a syllable:        230
I do pronounce him in that very shape
He shall appear in proof.
Enter BRANDON; a Sergeant-at-Arms before him.
  Bran.  Your office, sergeant; execute it.
  Serg.        Sir,        235
My Lord the Duke of Buckingham, and Earl
Of Hereford, Stafford, and Northampton, I
Arrest thee of high treason, in the name
Of our most sovereign king.
  Buck.        Lo you, my lord,        240
The net has fall’n upon me! I shall perish
Under device and practice.
  Bran.        I am sorry
To see you ta’en from liberty, to look on
The business present. ’Tis his highness’ pleasure        245
You shall to the Tower.
  Buck.        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 heaven
Be done in this and all things! I obey.        250
O! my Lord Abergavenny, fare you well!
  Bran.  Nay, he must bear you company.  [To ABERGAVENNY.]  The king
Is pleas’d you shall to the Tower, till you know
How he determines further.
  Aber.        As the duke said,        255
The will of heaven be done, and the king’s pleasure
By me obey’d!
  Bran.        Here is a warrant from
The king to attach Lord Montacute; and the bodies
Of the duke’s confessor, John de la Car,        260
One Gilbert Peck, his chancellor,—
  Buck.        So, so;
These are the limbs o’ the plot: no more, I hope.
  Bran.  A monk o’ the Chartreux.
  Buck.        O! Nicholas Hopkins?        265
  Bran.                He.
  Buck.  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,        270
By dark’ning my clear sun. My lord, farewell.  [Exeunt.

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