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Act III, Scene 1

ACT THIRD

SCENE I. London. The Queen's apartments.

[The Queen and her women, as at work.]

QUEEN KATHERINE.
Take thy lute, wench; my soul grows
sad with troubles.
Sing, and disperse 'em, if thou canst. Leave working.

SONG

Orpheus with his lute made trees
And the mountain tops that freeze
Bow themselves when he did sing.
To his music plants and flowers
Ever sprung; as sun and showers
There had made a lasting spring.

Every thing that heard him play,
Even the billows of the sea,
Hung their heads, and then lay by.
In sweet music is such art,
Killing care and grief of heart
Fall asleep, or hearing, die.

[Enter a Gentleman.]

QUEEN KATHERINE.
How now!

GENTLEMAN.
An't please your Grace, the two great Cardinals
Wait in the presence.

QUEEN KATHERINE.
Would they speak with me?

GENTLEMAN.
They will'd me say so, madam.

QUEEN KATHERINE.
Pray their Graces
To come near. [Exit Gentleman.] What can be their business
With me, a poor weak woman, fallen from favour?
I do not like their coming. Now I think on't,
They should be good men, their affairs as righteous.
But all hoods make not monks.

[Enter the two Cardinals, Wolsey and Campeius.]

WOLSEY.
Peace to your Highness!

QUEEN KATHERINE.
Your Graces find me here part of housewife;
I would be all, against the worst may happen.
What are your pleasures with me, reverend lords?

WOLSEY.
May it please you, noble madam, to withdraw
Into your private chamber, we shall give you
The full cause of our coming.

QUEEN KATHERINE.
Speak it here;
There's nothing I have done yet, o' my conscience,
Deserves a corner. Would all other women
Could speak this with as free a soul as I do!
My lords, I care not, so much I am happy
Above a number, if my actions
Were tried by every tongue, every eye saw 'em,
Envy and base opinion set against 'em,
I know my life so even. If your business
Seek me out, and that way I am wife in,
Out with it boldly. Truth loves open dealing.

WOLSEY.
Tanta est erga te mentis integritas, regina serenissima,--

QUEEN KATHERINE.
O, good my lord, no Latin;
I am not such a truant since my coming,
As not to know the language I have liv'd in.
A strange tongue makes my cause more strange, suspicious;
Pray, speak in English. Here are some will thank you,
If you speak truth, for their poor mistress' sake.
Believe me, she has had much wrong. Lord Cardinal,
The willing'st sin I ever yet committed
May be absolv'd in English.

WOLSEY.
Noble lady,
I am sorry my integrity should breed,
And service to his Majesty and you,
So deep suspicion, where all faith was meant.
We come not by the way of accusation
To taint that honour every good tongue blesses,
Nor to betray you any way to sorrow;
You have too much, good lady; but to know
How you stand minded in the weighty difference
Between the King and you; and to deliver,
Like free and honest men, our just opinions
And comforts to your cause.

CAMPEIUS.
Most honour'd madam,
My Lord of York, out of his noble nature,
Zeal and obedience he still bore your Grace,
Forgetting, like a good man, your late censure
Both of his truth and him, which was too far,
Offers, as I do, in a sign of peace,
His service and his counsel.

QUEEN KATHERINE.
[Aside.] To betray me.--
My lords, I thank you both for your good wills.
Ye speak like honest men; pray God, ye prove so!
But how to make ye suddenly an answer,
In such a point of weight, so near mine honour,--
More near my life, I fear,--with my weak wit,
And to such men of gravity and learning,
In truth I know not. I was set at work
Among my maids; full little, God knows, looking
Either for such men or such business.
For her sake that I have been,--for I feel
The last fit of my greatness--good your Graces,
Let me have time and counsel for my cause.
Alas, I am a woman, friendless, hopeless!

WOLSEY.
Madam, you wrong the King's love with these fears.
Your hopes and friends are infinite.

QUEEN KATHERINE.
In England
But little for my profit. Can you think, lords,
That any Englishman dare give me counsel?
Or be a known friend, 'gainst his Highness' pleasure,
Though he be grown so desperate to be honest,
And live a subject? Nay, forsooth; my friends,
They that much...

(The entire section is 5,604 words.)