Henry VIII eText - Act I

Act I

Act I, Scene 1

ACT I.

SCENE 1. London. An ante-chamber in the palace.

[Enter the Duke of Norfolk at one door; at the other,
the Duke of Buckingham and the Lord Abergavenny.]

BUCKINGHAM.
Good morrow, and well met. How have ye done
Since last we saw in France?
NORFOLK. I thank your Grace,
Healthful; and ever since a fresh admirer
Of what I saw there.

BUCKINGHAM
An untimely ague
Stay'd me a prisoner in my chamber when
Those suns of glory, those two lights of men,
Met in the vale of Andren.

NORFOLK.
'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;
Which had they, what four thron'd ones could have weigh'd
Such a compounded one?

BUCKINGHAM
All the whole time
I was my chamber's prisoner.

NORFOLK.
Then you lost
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,
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,
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,
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--
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.

BUCKINGHAM
O, you go far!

NORFOLK.
As I belong to worship and affect
In honour honesty, the tract of ev'rything
Would by a good discourser lose some life,
Which action's self was tongue to. All was royal;
To the disposing of it nought rebell'd,
Order gave each thing view; the office did
Distinctly his full function.

BUCKINGHAM
Who did guide,
I mean, who set the body and the limbs
Of this great sport together, as you guess?

NORFOLK.
One, certes, that promises no element
In such a business.

BUCKINGHAM
I pray you, who, my lord?

NORFOLK.
All this was ord'red by the good discretion
Of the right reverend Cardinal of York.

BUCKINGHAM
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
Take up the rays o' th' beneficial sun,
And keep it from the earth.

NORFOLK.
Surely, sir,
There's in him stuff that puts him to these ends;
For, being not propp'd by ancestry, whose grace
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;
A gift that heaven gives for him, which buys
A place next to the King.

ABERGAVENNY.
I cannot tell
What heaven hath given him,--let some graver eye
Pierce into that; but I can see his pride
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.

BUCKINGHAM.
Why the devil,
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
He meant to lay upon; and his own letter,
The honourable board of council out,
Must fetch him in he papers.

ABERGAVENNY.
I do know
Kinsmen of mine, three at the least, that have
By this so sicken'd their estates, that never
They shall abound as formerly.

BUCKINGHAM.
O, many
Have broke their backs with laying manors on 'em
For this great journey. What did this vanity
But minister communication of
A most poor issue?

NORFOLK.
Grievingly I think
The peace between the French and us not values
The cost that did conclude it.

BUCKINGHAM.
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
The sudden breach on't.

NORFOLK.
Which is budded out;
For France hath flaw'd the league, and hath attach'd
Our merchants' goods at Bordeaux.

ABERGAVENNY.
Is it therefore
The ambassador is silenc'd?

NORFOLK.
Marry, is't.

ABERGAVENNY.
A proper title of a peace, and purchas'd
At a superfluous rate!

BUCKINGHAM.
Why, all this business
Our reverend Cardinal carried.

NORFOLK.
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
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,
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
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.]

WOLSEY.
The Duke of Buckingham's surveyor, ha?
Where's his examination?

SECRETARY.
Here, so please you.

WOLSEY.
Is he in person ready?

SECRETARY.
Ay, please your Grace.

WOLSEY.
Well, we shall then know more; and Buckingham
Shall lessen this big look.

[Exeunt Wolsey and his train.]

BUCKINGHAM.
This butcher's cur is venom-mouth'd, and I
Have not the power to muzzle him; therefore best
Not wake him in his slumber. A beggar's book
Outworths a noble's blood.

NORFOLK.
What, are you chaf'd?
Ask God for temp'rance; that's the appliance only
Which your disease requires.

BUCKINGHAM.
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;
I'll follow, and outstare him.

NORFOLK.
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
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.

BUCKINGHAM.
I'll to the King,
And from a mouth of honour quite cry down
This Ipswich fellow's insolence, or proclaim
There's difference in no persons.

NORFOLK.
Be advis'd;
Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot
That it do singe yourself. We may outrun,
By violent swiftness, that which we run at,
And lose by over-running. Know you not,
The fire that mounts the liquor till 't run o'er,
In seeming to augment it wastes it? Be advis'd.
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.

BUCKINGHAM.
Sir,
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
We see each grain of gravel, I do know
To be corrupt and treasonous.

NORFOLK.
Say not "treasonous."

BUCKINGHAM.
To the King I'll say't, and make my vouch as strong
As shore of rock. Attend. This holy fox,
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
As here at home, suggests the King our master
To this last costly treaty, the interview,
That swallowed so much treasure, and like a glass
Did break i' the rinsing.

NORFOLK.
Faith, and so it did.

BUCKINGHAM.
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
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,--
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
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,
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
And for his own advantage.

NORFOLK.
I am sorry
To hear this of him; and could wish he were
Something mistaken in't.

BUCKINGHAM.
No, not a syllable:
I do pronounce him in that very shape
He shall appear in proof.

[Enter Brandon, a Sergeant-at-arms before him,
and two or three of the Guard.]

BRANDON. Your office, sergeant; execute it.

SERGEANT.
Sir,
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.

BUCKINGHAM.
Lo, you, my lord,
The net has fall'n upon me! I shall perish
Under device and practice.

BRANDON.
I am sorry
To see you ta'en from liberty, to look on
The business present. 'Tis his Highness' pleasure
You shall to the Tower.

BUCKINGHAM.
It will help 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.
O my Lord Abergavenny, fare you well!

BRANDON.
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.

ABERGAVENNY.
As the Duke said,
The will of Heaven be done, and the King's pleasure
By me obey'd!

BRANDON.
Here is warrant from
The King to attach Lord Montacute, and the bodies
Of the Duke's confessor, John de la Car,
One Gilbert Peck, his chancellor,--

BUCKINGHAM.
So, so;
These are the limbs o' the plot. No more, I hope?

BRANDON.
A monk o' the Chartreux.

BUCKINGHAM
O, Nicholas Hopkins?

BRANDON.
He.

BUCKINGHAM.
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,
By dark'ning my clear sun. My lord, farewell.

[Exeunt.]

Act I, Scene 2

SCENE II. The same. The council-chamber.

[Cornets. Enter the King, leaning on the Cardinal's shoulder,
the Nobles, and Sir Thomas Lovell; the Cardinal places himself
under the King's feet on his right side.]

KING.
My life itself, and the best heart of it,
Thanks you for this great care. I stood i' the level
Of a full-charg'd confederacy, and give thanks
To you that chok'd it. Let be call'd before us
That gentleman of Buckingham's; in person
I'll hear his confessions justify;
And point by point the treasons of his master
He shall again relate.

[A noise within, crying "Room for the Queen!" Enter Queen
Katherine, ushered by the Duke of Norfolk, and the Duke of
Suffolk; she kneels. The King riseth from his state, takes her
up, kisses and placeth her by him.]

QUEEN KATHERINE.
Nay, we must longer kneel; I am a suitor.

KING.
Arise, and take place by us. Half your suit
Never name to us, you have half our power;
The other moiety, ere you ask, is given.
Repeat your will and take it.

QUEEN KATHERINE.
Thank your Majesty.
That you would love yourself, and in that love
Not unconsidered leave your honour, nor
The dignity of your office, is the point
Of my petition.

KING.
Lady mine, proceed.

QUEEN KATHERINE.
I am solicited, not by a few,
And those of true condition, that your subjects
Are in great grievance. There have been commissions
Sent down among 'em, which hath flaw'd the heart
Of all their loyalties; wherein, although,
My good Lord Cardinal, they vent reproaches
Most bitterly on you, as putter on
Of these exactions, yet the King our master--
Whose honour Heaven shield from soil!--even he escapes not
Language unmannerly, yea, such which breaks
The sides of loyalty, and almost appears
In loud rebellion.

NORFOLK.
Not "almost appears,"
It doth appear; for, upon these taxations,
The clothiers all, not able to maintain
The many to them longing, have put off
The spinsters, carders, fullers, weavers, who,
Unfit for other life, compell'd by hunger
And lack of other means, in desperate manner
Daring the event to the teeth, are all in uproar,
And danger serves among them.

KING.
Taxation!
Wherein? and what taxation? My Lord Cardinal,
You that are blam'd for it alike with us,
Know you of this taxation?

WOLSEY.
Please you, sir,
I know but of a single part, in aught
Pertains to the state, and front but in that file
Where others tell steps with me.

QUEEN KATHERINE.
No, my lord?
You know no more than others? But you frame
Things that are known alike, which are not wholesome
To those which would not know them, and yet must
Perforce be their acquaintance. These exactions,
Whereof my sovereign would have note, they are
Most pestilent to the hearing; and, to bear 'em,
The back is sacrifice to the load. They say
They are devis'd by you; or else you suffer
Too hard an exclamation.

KING.
Still exaction!
The nature of it? In what kind, let's know,
Is this exaction?

QUEEN KATHERINE.
I am much too venturous
In tempting of your patience; but am bold'ned
Under your promis'd pardon. The subjects' grief
Comes through commissions, which compels from each
The sixth part of his substance, to be levied
Without delay; and the pretence for this
Is nam'd, your wars in France. This makes bold mouths;
Tongues spit their duties out, and cold hearts freeze
Allegiance in them; their curses now
Live where their prayers did; and it's come to pass
This tractable obedience is a slave
To each incensed will. I would your Highness
Would give it quick consideration, for
There is no primer business.

KING.
By my life,
This is against our pleasure.

WOLSEY.
And for me,
I have no further gone in this than by
A single voice; and that not pass'd me but
By learned approbation of the judges. If I am
Traduc'd by ignorant tongues, which neither know
My faculties nor person, yet will be
The chronicles of my doing, let me say
'Tis but the fate of place, and the rough brake
That virtue must go through. We must not stint
Our necessary actions, in the fear
To cope malicious censurers; which ever,
As ravenous fishes, do a vessel follow
That is new-trimm'd, but benefit no further
Than vainly longing. What we oft do best,
By sick interpreters, once weak ones, is
Not ours, or not allow'd; what worst, as oft,
Hitting a grosser quality, is cried up
For our best act. If we shall stand still,
In fear our motion will be mock'd or carp'd at,
We should take root here where we sit, or sit
State-statues only.

KING.
Things done well,
And with a care, exempt themselves from fear;
Things done without example, in their issue
Are to be fear'd. Have you a precedent
Of this commission? I believe, not any.
We must not rend our subjects from our laws,
And stick them in our will. Sixth part of each?
A trembling contribution! Why, we take
From every tree lop, bark, and part o' the timber;
And, though we leave it with a root, thus hack'd,
The air will drink the sap. To every county
Where this is question'd send our letters, with
Free pardon to each man that has deni'd
The force of this commission. Pray, look to't;
I put it to your care.

WOLSEY.
A word with you. [To the Secretary, aside.]
Let there be letters writ to every shire,
Of the King's grace and pardon. The grieved commons
Hardly conceive of me; let it be nois'd
That through our intercession this revokement
And pardon comes. I shall anon advise you
Further in the proceeding.

[Exit Secretary.]

[Enter Surveyor.]

QUEEN KATHERINE.
I am sorry that the Duke of Buckingham
Is run in your displeasure.

KING.
It grieves many.
The gentleman is learn'd, and a most rare speaker;
To nature none more bound; his training such
That he may furnish and instruct great teachers,
And never seek for aid out of himself. Yet see,
When these so noble benefits shall prove
Not well dispos'd, the mind growing once corrupt,
They turn to vicious forms, ten times more ugly
Than ever they were fair. This man so complete,
Who was enroll'd 'mongst wonders, and when we,
Almost with ravish'd list'ning, could not find
His hour of speech a minute; he, my lady,
Hath into monstrous habits put the graces
That once were his, and is become as black
As if besmear'd in hell. Sit by us; you shall hear--
This was his gentleman in trust--of him
Things to strike honour sad. Bid him recount
The fore-recited practices, whereof
We cannot feel too little, hear too much.

WOLSEY.
Stand forth, and with bold spirit relate what you,
Most like a careful subject, have collected
Out of the Duke of Buckingham.

KING.
Speak freely.

SURVEYOR.
First, it was usual with him, every day
It would infect his speech, that if the King
Should without issue die, he'll carry it so
To make the sceptre his. These very words
I've heard him utter to his son-in-law,
Lord Abergavenny; to whom by oath he menac'd
Revenge upon the Cardinal.

WOLSEY.
Please your Highness, note
This dangerous conception in this point.
Not friended by his wish, to your high person
His will is most malignant; and it stretches
Beyond you, to your friends.

QUEEN KATHERINE.
My learn'd Lord Cardinal,
Deliver all with charity.

KING.
Speak on.
How grounded he his title to the crown?
Upon our fail? To this point hast thou heard him
At any time speak aught?

SURVEYOR.
He was brought to this
By a vain prophecy of Nicholas Henton.

KING.
What was that Henton?

SURVEYOR.
Sir, a Chartreux friar,
His confessor; who fed him every minute
With words of sovereignty.

KING.
How know'st thou this?

SURVEYOR.
Not long before your Highness sped to France,
The Duke being at the Rose, within the parish
Saint Lawrence Poultney, did of me demand
What was the speech among the Londoners
Concerning the French journey. I repli'd,
Men fear the French would prove perfidious,
To the King's danger. Presently the Duke
Said, 'twas the fear, indeed; and that he doubted
'Twould prove the verity of certain words
Spoke by a holy monk, "that oft," says he,
"Hath sent to me, wishing me to permit
John de la Car, my chaplain, a choice hour
To hear from him a matter of some moment;
Whom after under the confession's seal
He solemnly had sworn, that what he spoke
My chaplain to no creature living but
To me should utter, with demure confidence
This pausingly ensu'd: 'Neither the King nor's heirs,
Tell you the Duke, shall prosper. Bid him strive
To gain the love o' the commonalty. The Duke
Shall govern England."'

QUEEN KATHERINE.
If I know you well,
You were the Duke's surveyor, and lost your office
On the complaint o' the tenants. Take good heed
You charge not in your spleen a noble person
And spoil your nobler soul; I say, take heed;
Yes, heartily beseech you.

KING.
Let him on.
Go forward.

SURVEYOR.
On my soul, I'll speak but truth.
I told my lord the Duke, by the devil's illusions
The monk might be deceiv'd; and that 'twas dangerous for him
To ruminate on this so far, until
It forg'd him some design; which, being believ'd,
It was much like to do. He answer'd, "Tush,
It can do me no damage;" adding further
That, had the King in his last sickness fail'd,
The Cardinal's and Sir Thomas Lovell's heads
Should have gone off.

KING.
Ha! what, so rank? Ah ha!
There's mischief in this man. Canst thou say further?

SURVEYOR.
I can, my liege.

KING.
Proceed.

SURVEYOR.
Being at Greenwich,
After your Highness had reprov'd the Duke
About Sir William Bulmer,--

KING.
I remember
Of such a time; being my sworn servant,
The Duke retain'd him his. But on; what hence?

SURVEYOR.
"If," quoth he, "I for this had been committed,"
--As, to the Tower, I thought,--"I would have play'd
The part my father meant to act upon
The usurper Richard; who, being at Salisbury,
Made suit to come in 's presence; which if granted,
As he made semblance of his duty, would
Have put his knife into him."

KING.
A giant traitor!

WOLSEY.
Now, madam, may his Highness live in freedom,
And this man out of prison?

QUEEN KATHERINE.
God mend all!

KING.
There's something more would out of thee; what say'st?

SURVEYOR.
After "the Duke his father," with "the knife,"
He stretch'd him, and, with one hand on his dagger,
Another spread on 's breast, mounting his eyes,
He did discharge a horrible oath; whose tenour
Was, were he evil us'd, he would outgo
His father by as much as a performance
Does an irresolute purpose.

KING.
There's his period,
To sheathe his knife in us. He is attach'd.
Call him to present trial. If he may
Find mercy in the law, 'tis his; if none,
Let him not seek 't of us. By day and night,
He's traitor to th' height.

[Exeunt.]

Act I, Scene 3

SCENE III. An ante-chamber in the palace.

[Enter the Lord Chamberlain and Lord Sandys.]

CHAMBERLAIN.
Is't possible the spells of France should juggle
Men into such strange mysteries?

SANDYS.
New customs,
Though they be never so ridiculous,
Nay, let 'em be unmanly, yet are follow'd.

CHAMBERLAIN.
As far as I see, all the good our English
Have got by the late voyage is but merely
A fit or two o' the face; but they are shrewd ones;
For when they hold 'em, you would swear directly
Their very noses had been counsellors
To Pepin or Clotharius, they keep state so.

SANDYS.
They have all new legs, and lame ones. One would take it,
That never saw 'em pace before, the spavin
Or springhalt reign'd among 'em.

CHAMBERLAIN.
Death! my lord,
Their clothes are after such a pagan cut too,
That, sure, they've worn out Christendom.

[Enter Sir Thomas Lovell.]

How now!
What news, Sir Thomas Lovell?

LOVELL.
Faith, my lord,
I hear of none, but the new proclamation
That's clapp'd upon the court-gate.

CHAMBERLAIN.
What is't for?

LOVELL.
The reformation of our travell'd gallants,
That fill the court with quarrels, talk, and tailors.

CHAMBERLAIN.
I'm glad 'tis there. Now I would pray our monsieurs
To think an English courtier may be wise,
And never see the Louvre.

LOVELL.
They must either,
For so run the conditions, leave those remnants
Of fool and feather that they got in France,
With all their honourable 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," wear away
The lag end of their lewdness and be laugh'd at.

SANDYS.
'Tis time to give 'em physic, their diseases
Are grown so catching.

CHAMBERLAIN.
What a loss our ladies
Will have of these trim vanities!

LOVELL.
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.

SANDYS.
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 plainsong
And have an hour of hearing; and, by 'r Lady,
Held current music too.

CHAMBERLAIN.
Well said, Lord Sandys;
Your colt's tooth is not cast yet.

SANDYS.
No, my lord;
Nor shall not, while I have a stump.

CHAMBERLAIN.
Sir Thomas,
Whither were you a-going?

LOVELL.
To the Cardinal's.
Your lordship is a guest too.

CHAMBERLAIN.
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.

LOVELL.
That churchman bears a bounteous mind indeed,
A hand as fruitful as the land that feeds us;
His dews fall everywhere.

CHAMBERLAIN.
No doubt he's noble;
He had a black mouth that said other of him.

SANDYS.
He may, my lord; has 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.

CHAMBERLAIN.
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 Guildford,
This night to be comptrollers.

SANDYS.
I am your lordship's.

[Exeunt.]

Act I, Scene 4

SCENE IV. A Hall in York Place.

[Hautboys. A small table under a state for the Cardinal,
a longer table for the guests. Then enter Anne Bullen
and divers other Ladies and Gentlemen as guests, at one
door; at another door, enter Sir Henry Guildford.]

GUILDFORD.
Ladies, a general welcome from his Grace
Salutes ye all; this night he dedicates
To fair content and you. None here, he hopes,
In all this noble bevy, has brought with her
One care abroad. He would have all as merry
As, first, good company, good wine, good welcome,
Can make good people.

[Enter Lord Chamberlain, Lord Sandys, and Sir Thomas Lovell.]

O, my lord, you're tardy;
The very thought of this fair company
Clapp'd wings to me.

CHAMBERLAIN.
You are young, Sir Harry Guildford.

SANDYS.
Sir Thomas Lovell, had the Cardinal
But half my lay thoughts in him, some of these
Should find a running banquet ere they rested,
I think would better please 'em. By my life,
They are a sweet society of fair ones.

LOVELL.
O, that your lordship were but now confessor
To one or two of these!

SANDYS.
I would I were;
They should find easy penance.

LOVELL.
Faith, how easy?

SANDYS.
As easy as a down-bed would afford it.

CHAMBERLAIN.
Sweet ladies, will it please you sit? Sir Harry,
Place you that side; I'll take the charge of this.
His Grace is ent'ring. Nay, you must not freeze;
Two women plac'd together makes cold weather.
My Lord Sandys, you are one will keep 'em waking;
Pray, sit between these ladies.

SANDYS.
By my faith,
And thank your lordship. By your leave, sweet ladies.
If I chance to talk a little wild, forgive me;
I had it from my father.

ANNE.
Was he mad, sir?

SANDYS.
O, very mad, exceeding mad; in love too;
But he would bite none. Just as I do now,
He would kiss you twenty with a breath.

[Kisses her.]

CHAMBERLAIN.
Well said, my lord.
So, now you're fairly seated. Gentlemen,
The penance lies on you, if these fair ladies
Pass away frowning.

SANDYS.
For my little cure,
Let me alone.

[Hautboys. Enter Cardinal Wolsey, and takes his state.]

WOLSEY.
You're welcome, my fair guests. That noble lady
Or gentleman that is not freely merry
Is not my friend. This, to confirm my welcome;
And to you all, good health.

[Drinks.]

SANDYS.
Your Grace is noble.
Let me have such a bowl may hold my thanks,
And save me so much talking.

WOLSEY.
My Lord Sandys,
I am beholding to you; cheer your neighbours.
Ladies, you are not merry. Gentlemen,
Whose fault is this?

SANDYS.
The red wine first must rise
In their fair cheeks, my lord; then we shall have 'em
Talk us to silence.

ANNE.
You are a merry gamester,
My Lord Sandys.

SANDYS.
Yes, if I make my play.
Here's to your ladyship; and pledge it, madam,
For 'tis to such a thing,--

ANNE.
You cannot show me.

SANDYS.
I told your Grace they would talk anon.

[Drum and trumpet, chambers discharged.]

WOLSEY.
What's that?

CHAMBERLAIN.
Look out there, some of ye.

[Exit Servant.]

WOLSEY.
What warlike voice,
And to what end, is this? Nay, ladies, fear not;
By all the laws of war you're privileg'd.

[Re-enter Servant.]

CHAMBERLAIN.
How now! what is't?

SERVANT.
A noble troop of strangers,
For so they seem. They've left their barge and landed,
And hither make, as great ambassadors
From foreign princes.

WOLSEY.
Good Lord Chamberlain,
Go, give 'em welcome; you can speak the French tongue;
And, pray, receive 'em nobly, and conduct 'em
Into our presence, where this heaven of beauty
Shall shine at full upon them. Some attend him.

[Exit Chamberlain, attended. All rise, and tables remov'd.]

You have now a broken banquet; but we'll mend it.
A good digestion to you all; and once more
I shower a welcome on ye. Welcome all!

[Hautboys. Enter the King, and others, as masquers, habited like
shepherds, usher'd by the Lord Chamberlain. They pass directly
before the Cardinal, and gracefully salute him.]

A noble company! What are their pleasures?

CHAMBERLAIN.
Because they speak no English, thus they pray'd
To tell your Grace, that, having heard by fame
Of this so noble and so fair assembly
This night to meet here, they could do no less,
Out of the great respect they bear to beauty,
But leave their flocks; and, under your fair conduct,
Crave leave to view these ladies and entreat
An hour of revels with 'em.

WOLSEY.
Say, Lord Chamberlain,
They have done my poor house grace; for which I pay 'em
A thousand thanks, and pray 'em take their pleasures.

[They choose ladies for the dance. The King chooses Anne Bullen.]

KING.
The fairest hand I ever touch'd! O beauty,
Till now I never knew thee!

[Music. Dance.]

WOLSEY.
My lord!

CHAMBERLAIN.
Your Grace?

WOLSEY.
Pray, tell 'em thus much from me:
There should be one amongst 'em, by his person,
More worthy this place than myself; to whom,
If I but knew him, with my love and duty
I would surrender it.

CHAMBERLAIN.
I will, my lord.

[Whispers the Masquers.]

WOLSEY.
What say they?

CHAMBERLAIN.
Such a one, they all confess,
There is indeed; which they would have your Grace
Find out, and he will take it.

WOLSEY.
Let me see, then.
By all your good leaves, gentlemen; here I'll make
My royal choice.

KING.
Ye have found him, Cardinal. [Unmasking.]
You hold a fair assembly; you do well, lord.
You are a churchman, or, I'll tell you, Cardinal,
I should judge now unhappily.

WOLSEY.
I am glad
Your Grace is grown so pleasant.

KING.
My Lord Chamberlain,
Prithee come hither. What fair lady's that?

CHAMBERLAIN.
An't please your Grace, Sir Thomas Bullen's daughter,--
The Viscount Rochford,--one of her Highness' women.

KING.
By heaven, she is a dainty one. Sweetheart,
I were unmannerly to take you out
And not to kiss you. A health, gentlemen
Let it go round.

WOLSEY.
Sir Thomas Lovell, is the banquet ready
I' the privy chamber?

LOVELL.
Yes, my lord.

WOLSEY.
Your Grace,
I fear, with dancing is a little heated.

KING.
I fear, too much.

WOLSEY.
There's fresher air, my lord,
In the next chamber.

KING.
Lead in your ladies, every one. Sweet partner,
I must not yet forsake you; let's be merry.
Good my Lord Cardinal, I have half a dozen healths
To drink to these fair ladies, and a measure
To lead 'em once again; and then let's dream
Who's best in favour. Let the music knock it.

[Exeunt with trumpets.]