A line-by-line translation

Henry VIII

Henry VIII Translation Act 1, Scene 3

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

Enter Chamberlain and SANDS

CHAMBERLAIN

Is't possible the spells of France should juggleMen into such strange mysteries?

CHAMBERLAIN

Is it possible that France could enchant men to do such strange things?

SANDS

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

SANDS

New fashions are being followed, however ridiculous or even unmanly they are.

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.

CHAMBERLAIN

As far as I can see, the only good thing our Englishmen got from the recent voyage was a few new facial expressions. But they're good ones. When they put on those expressions, you would swear their noses had been counsellors to kings Pepin or Clotharius because they look so dignified.

SANDS

They have all new legs, and lame ones: one would take it,That never saw 'em pace before, the spavinOr springhalt reign'd among 'em.

SANDS

They have new ways of walking, and they seem lame. You would think if you had never seen them walk like that before that they had leg diseases.

CHAMBERLAIN

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

CHAMBERLAIN

For the love of God! My lord, their clothes look like pagan clothes. They don't look like Christians anymore.

Enter LOVELL

CHAMBERLAIN

How now!What news, Sir Thomas Lovell?

CHAMBERLAIN

Hello! What's the news, Sir Thomas Lovell?

LOVELL

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

LOVELL

Truly, my lord, I haven't heard about anything except the new proclamation that's been put up on the gate to the court.

CHAMBERLAIN

What is't for?

CHAMBERLAIN

What is it for?

LOVELL

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

LOVELL

To reform the returned travelers who fill the court with quarrels, talk, and tailors.

CHAMBERLAIN

I'm glad 'tis there: now I would pray our monsieursTo think an English courtier may be wise,And never see the Louvre.

CHAMBERLAIN

I'm glad it's there. I want these courtiers who act French to think that an English courtier can be wise even if he's never seen 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 point 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 blister'd 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.

LOVELL

The proclamation asks that they give up those scraps of foolish cloth and feathers they got in France along with all their pointless knowledge, or rather ignorance, about them. They must also give up fights and fireworks and insulting better men than they can ever be for not knowing about foreign things. They must completely renounce their faithfulness to tennis and tall stockings, short pants that look like they have blisters on them, and that sort of thing they picked up from traveling, and act like honest men again. Or head back to their old playmates in France. There, as I understand, the proclamation allows them "freely" to indulge in the rest of their foolishness and be laughed at.

SANDS

'Tis time to give 'em physic, their diseasesAre grown so catching.

SANDS

It's time to give them medicine, as their diseases have become so contagious.

CHAMBERLAIN

What a loss our ladiesWill have of these trim vanities!

CHAMBERLAIN

The ladies will miss these neat pointless things!

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.

LOVELL

Yes, it's true. There will be sadness about that, lords. The clever bastards have figured out a quick trick to make ladies go to bed with them. You can't compete with a French song and a fiddle.

SANDS

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.

SANDS

May the devil fiddle them! I am glad they are going because it's impossible to change them. Now an honest country noblemen like me, who couldn't compete, can bring my church songs and be listened to for an hour. And, by the virgin Mary, it will be considered fashionable music too.

CHAMBERLAIN

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

CHAMBERLAIN

Well said, Lord Sands. You're still a wild young colt with all its teeth.

SANDS

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

SANDS

Yes, my lord, and I'll keep at it while I still have a tooth in my head.

CHAMBERLAIN

Sir Thomas,Whither were you a-going?

CHAMBERLAIN

Sir Thomas, where were you headed?

LOVELL

To the cardinal's:Your lordship is a guest too.

LOVELL

To the cardinal's. You're a guest there 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.

CHAMBERLAIN

Oh, it's true. Tonight he's having a dinner, a huge one, for many lords and ladies. All the beauties in the kingdom will be there, I assure you.

LOVELL

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

LOVELL

That churchman has a generous mind and gives as freely as the land that grows food for us. His gifts go everywhere.

CHAMBERLAIN

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

CHAMBERLAIN

No doubt he's noble. Anyone who says otherwise has an evil mouth.

SANDS

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.

SANDS

They may, my lord, and probably do. Hoarding would be a worse sin for him than a wrong belief. Men like him should be generous. They are put on this earth as examples to the rest.

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.

CHAMBERLAIN

It's true, they are. But few men now are such great examples. My barge is waiting. You'll come with me. Come, Sir Thomas, or we'll be late. I wouldn't want to be, because I was asked (along with Sir Henry Guildford) to be a master of ceremonies.

SANDS

I am your lordship's.

SANDS

I'm at your service.

Exeunt

Henry viii
Join LitCharts A+ and get the entire Henry VIII Translation as a printable PDF.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
  • Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
  • Downloads of 1173 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 25,867 quotes covering 1173 books
  • Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
  • PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms