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Henry VIII

Henry VIII Translation Act 1, Scene 2

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Cornets. Enter KING HENRY VIII, leaning on CARDINAL WOLSEY's shoulder, the Nobles, and LOVELL; CARDINAL WOLSEY places himself under KING HENRY VIII's feet on his right side

KING HENRY VIII

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

KING HENRY VIII

I thank you with all my heart and my life itself for this great thing you've done. I was the target of a plot that was about to be carried out and I thank you for stopping it. Have Buckingham's servant called before me. I'll hear him speak for himself and he'll tell every detail of his master's treason again.

A noise within, crying 'Room for the Queen!' Enter QUEEN KATHARINE, ushered by NORFOLK, and SUFFOLK: she kneels. KING HENRY VIII riseth from his state, takes her up, kisses and placeth her by him

QUEEN KATHARINE

Nay, we must longer kneel: I am a suitor.

QUEEN KATHARINE

No, I have to kneel longer. I have a request.

KING HENRY VIII

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.

KING HENRY VIII

Get up and sit next to me. Don't tell me half your request, since you have half my power. I grant you the other half before you ask. Tell me your request and grant it yourself.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Thank your majesty. That you would love yourself, and in that love Not unconsider'd leave your honour, nor The dignity of your office, is the point Of my petition.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Thank you, your majesty. My request is that you love yourself and, by doing that, that you not neglect your honor or the dignity of your position.

KING HENRY VIII

Lady mine, proceed.

KING HENRY VIII

Go on, my lady.

QUEEN KATHARINE

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.

QUEEN KATHARINE

I am told by many people, important ones, that your subjects are unhappy. Taxes have been imposed on them that make them disloyal. So, although, my good lord cardinal, they reproach you bitterly for convincing the king to order these taxes, not even the king our master—may God protect his honor!—escapes their rude criticism. The language they use is too strong for loyal subjects and almost turns into a 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 then!

NORFOLK

It doesn't almost turn into that, it does. Because of these taxes, the makers of clothing can't afford to pay all those working for them and have dismissed the spinners, wool-combers, wool-cleaners, and weavers who don't have any other skills and who have become desperate from hunger and poverty. They're in an uproar, daring anyone to resist them, and they're putting us in danger!

KING HENRY VIII

Taxation! Wherein? and what taxation? My lord cardinal, You that are blamed for it alike with us, Know you of this taxation?

KING HENRY VIII

Taxes! On what? What taxes? My lord cardinal, you're being blamed too. Do you know about these taxes?

CARDINAL 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.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Sir, I know only a part of state business, and I am only the most important of the many people in charge of this business.

QUEEN KATHARINE

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 bearing; and, to bear 'em, The back is sacrifice to the load. They say They are devised by you; or else you suffer Too hard an exclamation.

QUEEN KATHARINE

No, my lord, you don't know any more than anyone else. But you cause things to happen that can be known about. These things are bad for those who don't want to know about them but have to. These taxes my king wants to know about are very hard to bear. For the people trying to bear them it's like they're laborers breaking their backs to carry their loads. They say the taxes were your idea. Or perhaps you're being unfairly talked about.

KING HENRY VIII

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

KING HENRY VIII

Taxes again! What is this? Tell me, what are these taxes?

QUEEN KATHARINE

I am much too venturous In tempting of your patience; but am bolden'd Under your promised pardon. The subjects' grief Comes through commissions, which compel from each The sixth part of his substance, to be levied Without delay; and the pretence for this Is named, 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.

QUEEN KATHARINE

I'm worried about boring you, but I take courage from your promise to forgive me. The subjects are suffering from taxes that take a sixth of each person's wealth, to be collected immediately. The excuse for this is said to be your wars in France. That makes people say bold things. People refuse to do their duties and no longer feel loyalty. Instead of praying for you, they curse you. And now their obedience has been overpowered by their anger. I would like you to think about this, your highness, because there's nothing more important.

KING HENRY VIII

By my life,This is against our pleasure.

KING HENRY VIII

I swear by my life, this is not what I wanted.

CARDINAL 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 Traduced 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.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

As for me, I haven't been any more responsible for it than a single man giving his opinion can be. And I only approved it because wise judges agreed it was a good idea. If I have been betrayed by ignorant people who don't know me or my good qualities but insist on reporting what I do, let me say that that's the fate of important people and the rough obstacle that virtue has to face. We must do what is necessary to stop evil-minded critics. These people are like hungry sharks following a newly-loaded ship, who can do nothing but wish the boat would sink and provide them with food. Weak interpreters say that the good things we do are either not our doing or just not true. What's worse, just as often, they choose something unpleasant about us and say it's our greatest act. If we stand still, fearing that we'll be mocked or complained about for moving, we'll grow roots where we sit and become silent trees, or just sit like powerful statues.

KING HENRY VIII

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 denied The force of this commission: pray, look to't; I put it to your care.

KING HENRY VIII

Things done well and carefully give you nothing to fear. You should fear the consequences of things that have never been done before. Do you have a precedent for this tax? I don't think you have one. We must not break our own laws to make our subjects do what we want. A sixth of each one's property? That's a terrible contribution! It's like we're taking the top, the bark, and part of the stump from every tree! And, although we leave each one with a root once it's been hacked, the air will dry its sap. Send a letter to every county where this tax was taken with a free pardon for every man who refused to pay this tax. Do it, I trust you to take care of it.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

A word with you. [To the Secretary] 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 noised That through our intercession this revokement And pardon comes: I shall anon advise you Further in the proceeding.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

I would like a word with you.

[To the SECRETARY] Let there be letters written to every part of the country announcing the king's kindness and pardon. The unhappy commoners think badly of me. Let it be said that I asked for this retraction and pardon. Then I will tell you what to do next.

Exit Secretary. Enter Surveyor

QUEEN KATHARINE

I am sorry that the Duke of BuckinghamIs run in your displeasure.

QUEEN KATHARINE

I'm sorry you're unhappy with the Duke of Buckingham.

KING HENRY VIII

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 disposed, 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 listening, 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 practises; whereof We cannot feel too little, hear too much.

KING HENRY VIII

Many people are. The gentleman is well-read and a very good speaker. No one has better natural qualities. He's educated enough to teach great teachers all by himself without asking for help. But see, when these noble qualities are not well put together in a man and the mind is corrupted, they turn into bad qualities, ten times uglier than they were beautiful. This perfect man was thought to be a wonder of nature. He could make an hour of speaking seem like a minute because we were listening in such fascination. He, my lady, has put all the energy that once made him good into monstrous habits and has become as evil as if he had been smeared with hell's ashes. Sit next to me and you will hear things that will make an honorable person sad. This was his trusted servant. Tell him to repeat the things he told us before about Buckingham's actions. I can't feel too little or hear too much about them.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

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

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Stand up and bravely tell what you observed about the Duke of Buckingham, like a good subject should.

KING HENRY VIII

Speak freely.

KING HENRY VIII

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 menaced Revenge upon the cardinal.

SURVEYOR

First, it was a habit with him, every day he would infect his speech by saying it, that if the king died without an heir, he would take power himself. I've heard him say these very words to his son-in-law, Lord Abergavenny, and he promised him he would take revenge on the cardinal.

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.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Please, your highness, pay attention to this dangerous idea. He means you harm. He wants to do evil to you, and his anger stretches beyond you, to your friends.

QUEEN KATHARINE

My learn'd lord cardinal,Deliver all with charity.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Wise lord cardinal, speak charitably.

KING HENRY VIII

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?

KING HENRY VIII

Go on. How did he justify his claim to the crown when I die? Have you heard him say anything about that point at any time?

SURVEYOR

He was brought to thisBy a vain prophecy of Nicholas Hopkins.

SURVEYOR

He thought of this because of Nicholas Hopkins's meaningless prophecy.

KING HENRY VIII

What was that Hopkins?

KING HENRY VIII

Who was Hopkins?

SURVEYOR

Sir, a Chartreux friar,His confessor, who fed him every minuteWith words of sovereignty.

SURVEYOR

A Chartreux friar, sir, his confessor, who told him every minute he'd be king.

KING HENRY VIII

How know'st thou this?

KING HENRY VIII

How do you know 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 replied, Men fear'd 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 ensued: 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.'

SURVEYOR

Not long before you went to France, your Highness, the duke was at the Rose in the town of Saint Lawrence Poultney. He asked me what the Londoners were saying about the French journey. I replied that men were afraid the French would be treacherous and harm the king. Then the duke said that this was indeed what people were afraid of, and that he thought it would prove the truth of some words spoken by a holy monk. "This monk often," he said, "has written to me asking me to allow him to meet with John de la Car, my priest, for an hour to hear about an important matter. Under the safety of confession he said that my priest should repeat what he said to no one except me. He hesitantly said this: tell the duke that neither the king nor his heirs will prosper. Tell him to try to gain the people's affection. The duke will govern England."

QUEEN KATHARINE

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.

QUEEN KATHARINE

If I recognize you, you were the duke's surveyor and lost your job because of his tenants' complaints. Take care you don't accuse a noble person out of anger and damn your soul, which is even nobler. Watch out, I beg you.

KING HENRY VIII

Let him on.Go forward.

KING HENRY VIII

Let him go on. Come 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 deceived; and that 'twas dangerous for him To ruminate on this so far, until It forged him some design, which, being believed, 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.

SURVEYOR

I swear on my soul, I'll tell the truth. I told my lord the duke that the monk might have been deceived by the devil's tricks and that it was dangerous for him to think about this so much because it would make him start thinking about a plot. This was likely to happen if he believed it. He answered, "Shh, it can't do me any harm." He added that if the king had died of his last sickness the cardinal's and Sir Thomas Lovell's heads would have come off.

KING HENRY VIII

Ha! what, so rank? Ah ha!There's mischief in this man: canst thou say further?

KING HENRY VIII

What! He said this so openly? Aha! That man is trouble. Can you say anything more?

SURVEYOR

I can, my liege.

SURVEYOR

I can, my king.

KING HENRY VIII

Proceed.

KING HENRY VIII

Go on.

SURVEYOR

Being at Greenwich,After your highness had reproved the dukeAbout Sir William Blomer,—

SURVEYOR

At Greenwich, when you had scolded the duke about Sir William Blomer—

KING HENRY VIII

I rememberOf such a time: being my sworn servant,The duke retain'd him his. But on; what hence?

KING HENRY VIII

I remember that. He was my servant and the duke hired him. But go on, what happened then?

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 to him.'

SURVEYOR

He said, "If I had been imprisoned for this in the Tower, as I thought I might be, I would have done what my father meant to do to the usurper Richard. When the king was at Salisbury my father asked to be brought into his presence. If this had been allowed, he would have stabbed him as he pretended to kiss his hand.

KING HENRY VIII

A giant traitor!

KING HENRY VIII

What a giant traitor!

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Now, madam, may his highness live in freedom,and this man out of prison?

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Now, ma'am, can the king live safely if this man is not in jail?

QUEEN KATHARINE

God mend all!

QUEEN KATHARINE

May God make all this better!

KING HENRY VIII

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

KING HENRY VIII

There's something more you want to say. What is it?

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 tenor Was,—were he evil used, he would outgo His father by as much as a performance Does an irresolute purpose.

SURVEYOR

After he said these things about "the duke his father" and "the knife," he stretched himself out and, with one hand on his dagger and another on his chest, he rolled his eyes and let out a horrible curse. The gist of it was that, if he were badly treated, he would do so much better than his father: as if he were going to do what his father only sort of wished he could do.

KING HENRY VIII

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 the height.

KING HENRY VIII

That's what he wants, to stab me. He has been arrested. Call him to trial at once. If he can find any mercy for himself in the law, it's his. If not, he won't get any from me. I swear by day and night, he's the worst of traitors.

Exeunt

Henry viii
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