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Henry VIII

Henry VIII Translation Act 2, Scene 4

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Trumpets, sennet, and cornets. Enter two Vergers, with short silver wands; next them, two Scribes, in the habit of doctors; after them, CANTERBURY alone; after him, LINCOLN, Ely, Rochester, and Saint Asaph; next them, with some small distance, follows a Gentleman bearing the purse, with the great seal, and a cardinal's hat; then two Priests, bearing each a silver cross; then a Gentleman-usher bare-headed, accompanied with a Sergeant-at-arms bearing a silver mace; then two Gentlemen bearing two great silver pillars; after them, side by side, CARDINAL WOLSEY and CARDINAL CAMPEIUS; two Noblemen with the sword and mace. KING HENRY VIII takes place under the cloth of state; CARDINAL WOLSEY and CARDINAL CAMPEIUS sit under him as judges. QUEEN KATHARINE takes place some distance from KING HENRY VIII. The Bishops place themselves on each side the court, in manner of a consistory; below them, the Scribes. The Lords sit next the Bishops. The rest of the Attendants stand in convenient order about the stage

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Whilst our commission from Rome is read,Let silence be commanded.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Silence while our warrant from Rome is being read.

KING HENRY VIII

What's the need? It hath already publicly been read, And on all sides the authority allow'd; You may, then, spare that time.

KING HENRY VIII

Why? It has already been read publicly and its authority has been accepted by everyone. So don't waste that time.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Be't so. Proceed.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Very well. Go on.

SCRIBE

Say, Henry King of England, come into the court.

SCRIBE

Say, Henry King of England, come into the court.

CRIER

Henry King of England, & c.

CRIER

Henry King of England, come into the court.

KING HENRY VIII

Here.

KING HENRY VIII

Here.

SCRIBE

Say, Katharine Queen of England, come into the court.

SCRIBE

Say, Katharine Queen of England, come into the court.

CRIER

Katharine Queen of England, & c.

CRIER

Katharine Queen of England, come into the court.

QUEEN KATHARINE makes no answer, rises out of her chair, goes about the court, comes to KING HENRY VIII, and kneels at his feet; then speaks

QUEEN KATHARINE

Sir, I desire you do me right and justice; And to bestow your pity on me: for I am a most poor woman, and a stranger, Born out of your dominions; having here No judge indifferent, nor no more assurance Of equal friendship and proceeding. Alas, sir, In what have I offended you? what cause Hath my behavior given to your displeasure, That thus you should proceed to put me off, And take your good grace from me? Heaven witness, I have been to you a true and humble wife, At all times to your will conformable; Ever in fear to kindle your dislike, Yea, subject to your countenance, glad or sorry As I saw it inclined: when was the hour I ever contradicted your desire, Or made it not mine too? Or which of your friends Have I not strove to love, although I knew He were mine enemy? what friend of mine That had to him derived your anger, did I Continue in my liking? nay, gave notice He was from thence discharged. Sir, call to mind That I have been your wife, in this obedience, Upward of twenty years, and have been blest With many children by you: if, in the course And process of this time, you can report, And prove it too, against mine honour aught, My bond to wedlock, or my love and duty, Against your sacred person, in God's name, Turn me away; and let the foul'st contempt Shut door upon me, and so give me up To the sharp'st kind of justice. Please you sir, The king, your father, was reputed for A prince most prudent, of an excellent And unmatch'd wit and judgment: Ferdinand, My father, king of Spain, was reckon'd one The wisest prince that there had reign'd by many A year before: it is not to be question'd That they had gather'd a wise council to them Of every realm, that did debate this business, Who deem'd our marriage lawful: wherefore I humbly Beseech you, sir, to spare me, till I may Be by my friends in Spain advised; whose counsel I will implore: if not, i' the name of God, Your pleasure be fulfill'd!

QUEEN KATHARINE

Sir, I ask you to do what is right and just by me and to pity me. I am a very miserable woman and a stranger born outside your land. I have no unbiased judge here and no guarantee of fair treatment. Sir, how have I offended you? What cause has my behavior given you to be angry and to divorce me and take away your kindness from me? May heaven be my witness, I have been a faithful and humble wife to you and have always done what you wanted. I have always been afraid of making you dislike me and have been guided by your appearance: I have been happy or sad according to how happy or sad you seemed. When have I ever refused anything you desired or not also desired it for you? Or which of your friends have I not tried to love even if I knew he was my enemy? What friend of mine who had made you angry did I continue to like? No, I always had him sent away. Sir, remember I have been your wife, obedient to you in this way, for more than twenty years and have been blessed in becoming pregnant with many of your children. If, in the course of all this time, you can report and prove anything against my honor, my faithfulness in marriage, or my love and duty to you, in God's name, send me away. Hate me, shut your door to me, and give me up to the law's punishment. Please sir, the king your father was known as a very wise king, of excellent and unequalled intelligence and judgement. Ferdinand, my father, king of Spain, was thought to be one of the wisest princes to have ruled Spain for many years. Undoubtedly they gathered wise advisers from every country to debate this business and they thought it would be legal for us to marry. So I humbly ask you, sir, to wait until I can be advised by my friends in Spain. I will beg for their advice. If not, in the name of God, I hope you will do what gives you pleasure!

CARDINAL WOLSEY

You have here, lady, And of your choice, these reverend fathers; men Of singular integrity and learning, Yea, the elect o' the land, who are assembled To plead your cause: it shall be therefore bootless That longer you desire the court; as well For your own quiet, as to rectify What is unsettled in the king.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Lady, you have your choice of these wise scholars here. They're men of unmatched honesty and learning. They're the best in the country, assembled to argue the case for you. So it won't help you to keep asking the court for this; it won't help you either by making you feel better or solving the problem worrying the king.

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

His grace Hath spoken well and justly: therefore, madam, It's fit this royal session do proceed; And that, without delay, their arguments Be now produced and heard.

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

The cardinal has spoken the truth well. So, ma'am, this royal trial should go on. With no more delay, let the arguments be made and heard.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Lord cardinal,To you I speak.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Lord cardinal, I speak to you.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Your pleasure, madam?

CARDINAL WOLSEY

What would you like, ma'am?

QUEEN KATHARINE

Sir, I am about to weep; but, thinking that We are a queen, or long have dream'd so, certain The daughter of a king, my drops of tears I'll turn to sparks of fire.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Sir, I'm about to cry. But, considering that I am a queen, or at least have thought I was for a long time (certainly I am the daughter of a king), I'll turn my teardrops into fiery sparks.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Be patient yet.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Be patient.

QUEEN KATHARINE

I will, when you are humble; nay, before, Or God will punish me. I do believe, Induced by potent circumstances, that You are mine enemy, and make my challenge You shall not be my judge: for it is you Have blown this coal betwixt my lord and me; Which God's dew quench! Therefore I say again, I utterly abhor, yea, from my soul Refuse you for my judge; whom, yet once more, I hold my most malicious foe, and think not At all a friend to truth.

QUEEN KATHARINE

I will, when you are humble. No, before that, or God will punish me because that will never happen. I have strong reasons to believe you're my enemy, and I say you will not be my judge. You are the one who started this trouble between my husband and me, which I hope God will put an end to! So I say again, I hate, yes, I absolutely refuse you as my judge. Again, I think you are my worst enemy and not at all truthful.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

I do profess You speak not like yourself; who ever yet Have stood to charity, and display'd the effects Of disposition gentle, and of wisdom O'ertopping woman's power. Madam, you do me wrong: I have no spleen against you; nor injustice For you or any: how far I have proceeded, Or how far further shall, is warranted By a commission from the consistory, Yea, the whole consistory of Rome. You charge me That I have blown this coal: I do deny it: The king is present: if it be known to him That I gainsay my deed, how may he wound, And worthily, my falsehood! yea, as much As you have done my truth. If he know That I am free of your report, he knows I am not of your wrong. Therefore in him It lies to cure me: and the cure is, to Remove these thoughts from you: the which before His highness shall speak in, I do beseech You, gracious madam, to unthink your speaking And to say so no more.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

I think you don't sound like yourself. You've always been kind and good-natured and seemed wiser than other women. Ma'am, you're treating me badly. I don't have any anger towards you and I don't want to treat you or anyone unjustly. What I've done and will do is allowed by a warrant from the holy council, the whole holy council, of Rome. You accuse me of starting this trouble. I deny it. The king is here. If he knows that I'm lying about what I did, he can rightly punish me for my lie! Yes, he can punish me as much for lying as you have punished me for being true to him. If he knows that I am innocent of what you say, he knows you have been unfair to me. So it's up to him to help me. That help is, to stop you from believing this about me. Before he says anything about this, I beg you, ma'am, to change your mind and not say what you said again.

QUEEN KATHARINE

My lord, my lord, I am a simple woman, much too weak To oppose your cunning. You're meek and humble-mouth'd; You sign your place and calling, in full seeming, With meekness and humility; but your heart Is cramm'd with arrogancy, spleen, and pride. You have, by fortune and his highness' favours, Gone slightly o'er low steps and now are mounted Where powers are your retainers, and your words, Domestics to you, serve your will as't please Yourself pronounce their office. I must tell you, You tender more your person's honour than Your high profession spiritual: that again I do refuse you for my judge; and here, Before you all, appeal unto the pope, To bring my whole cause 'fore his holiness, And to be judged by him.

QUEEN KATHARINE

My lord, my lord, I am a simple woman, much too weak to fight your cleverness. You're quiet and speak humbly, you talk about your position and your job in public quietly and humbly. But your heart is stuffed with arrogance, anger, and pride. You have by fortune and with the help of powerful people risen quickly from the lower class and now you are in a high enough position that kings are your servants and your words, which are also your servants, do whatever you wish them to do. I must tell you, you care more about your own honor than your important religious position. Again, I say I refuse you as my judge. And here, before all of you, I appeal to the Pope. I'll bring my whole case to him and be judged by him.

She curtsies to KING HENRY VIII, and offers to depart

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

The queen is obstinate, Stubborn to justice, apt to accuse it, and Disdainful to be tried by't: 'tis not well. She's going away.

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

The queen is stubborn and refuses justice. She's quick to accuse it and unwilling to be judged by it. This is bad. She's going away.

KING HENRY VIII

Call her again.

KING HENRY VIII

Call her again.

CRIER

Katharine Queen of England, come into the court.

CRIER

Katharine Queen of England, come into the court.

GRIFFITH

Madam, you are call'd back.

GRIFFITH

Ma'am, you are being called back.

QUEEN KATHARINE

What need you note it? pray you, keep your way: When you are call'd, return. Now, the Lord help, They vex me past my patience! Pray you, pass on: I will not tarry; no, nor ever more Upon this business my appearance make In any of their courts.

QUEEN KATHARINE

Why do you have to point it out? Please, go away. Come back when you're called. Now, God help me, they're making me lose my patience! Please, go away. I won't stay. No, nor will I appear in any of their courts anymore about this business.

Exeunt QUEEN KATHARINE and her Attendants

KING HENRY VIII

Go thy ways, Kate: That man i' the world who shall report he has A better wife, let him in nought be trusted, For speaking false in that: thou art, alone, If thy rare qualities, sweet gentleness, Thy meekness saint-like, wife-like government, Obeying in commanding, and thy parts Sovereign and pious else, could speak thee out, The queen of earthly queens: she's noble born; And, like her true nobility, she has Carried herself towards me.

KING HENRY VIII

Go away, Kate. Don't trust anyone in the whole world who says he has a better wife, because he's lying about that. You alone would be declared the queen of earthly queens if your rare good qualities, sweet gentleness, saint-like patience, wife-like actions, obedience, and your other royal and holy qualities, could speak for you. She comes from a noble family and she has always acted towards me with true nobility.

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Most gracious sir, In humblest manner I require your highness, That it shall please you to declare, in hearing Of all these ears,— for where I am robb'd and bound, There must I be unloosed, although not there At once and fully satisfied,— whether ever I Did broach this business to your highness; or Laid any scruple in your way, which might Induce you to the question on't? or ever Have to you, but with thanks to God for such A royal lady, spake one the least word that might Be to the prejudice of her present state, Or touch of her good person?

CARDINAL WOLSEY

Dear sir, I humbly ask you to declare in front of everyone whether I first spoke of this business to you or put any doubt in your way that would make you think about it. It is as though I have been robbed and tied up by being accused of this and I have to be untied, even if not here at once, and repaid for it. Or have I ever spoken the smallest word to you that led you to question your marriage? Or have I ever said something that could hurt her or her character, without always also thanking God for giving you such a royal wife?

KING HENRY VIII

My lord cardinal, I do excuse you; yea, upon mine honour, I free you from't. You are not to be taught That you have many enemies, that know not Why they are so, but, like to village-curs, Bark when their fellows do: by some of these The queen is put in anger. You're excused: But will you be more justified? You ever Have wish'd the sleeping of this business; never desired It to be stirr'd; but oft have hinder'd, oft, The passages made toward it: on my honour, I speak my good lord cardinal to this point, And thus far clear him. Now, what moved me to't, I will be bold with time and your attention: Then mark the inducement. Thus it came; give heed to't: My conscience first received a tenderness, Scruple, and prick, on certain speeches utter'd By the Bishop of Bayonne, then French ambassador; Who had been hither sent on the debating A marriage 'twixt the Duke of Orleans and Our daughter Mary: i' the progress of this business, Ere a determinate resolution, he, I mean the bishop, did require a respite; Wherein he might the king his lord advertise Whether our daughter were legitimate, Respecting this our marriage with the dowager, Sometimes our brother's wife. This respite shook The bosom of my conscience, enter'd me, Yea, with a splitting power, and made to tremble The region of my breast; which forced such way, That many mazed considerings did throng And press'd in with this caution. First, methought I stood not in the smile of heaven; who had Commanded nature, that my lady's womb, If it conceived a male child by me, should Do no more offices of life to't than The grave does to the dead; for her male issue Or died where they were made, or shortly after This world had air'd them: hence I took a thought, This was a judgment on me; that my kingdom, Well worthy the best heir o' the world, should not Be gladded in't by me: then follows, that I weigh'd the danger which my realms stood in By this my issue's fail; and that gave to me Many a groaning throe. Thus hulling in The wild sea of my conscience, I did steer Toward this remedy, whereupon we are Now present here together: that's to say, I meant to rectify my conscience,—which I then did feel full sick, and yet not well,— By all the reverend fathers of the land And doctors learn'd: first I began in private With you, my Lord of Lincoln; you remember How under my oppression I did reek, When I first moved you.

KING HENRY VIII

My lord cardinal, I say you're innocent. Yes, I swear by my honor you're innocent of this. You don't need to be told you have many enemies who don't know why they're your enemies but, like village dogs, bark when the others do. The queen has been made angry by some of these. You're innocent. But do you want me to go on making excuses for you? You always wanted this business put to rest, never wanted it started, but have often slowed it down. On my honor, I'll say that for the good cardinal and clear him of the accusations. Now, I'll be so bold as to ask for your time and attention to tell you what made me want to do this. So listen to how this started. It came about like this. Listen. I had my first doubt because of some things the Bishop of Bayonne, then the French ambassador, said, who had been sent here to talk about a marriage between the Duke of Orleans and our daughter Mary. During this business, before a decision was made, he, I  mean the bishop, asked for a pause. He wanted to let the king his master find out whether my daughter was legitimate, given my marriage to the woman who was once my brother's wife. This pause shook me, entered into my conscience, yes, it almost split me in two and made my heart tremble. This thought forced its way into my conscience in such a way that many amazed considerations pushed and forced their way in along with it. First, I thought God wasn't happy with me. He had commanded nature that, if a male child was conceived in my wife's womb by me, the womb would not give life to him but instead would be his grave. Her male children either died where they were conceived or shortly after they were born. So I thought this was a punishment against me and that my kingdom, which deserves the best heir in the world, would not get one from me to make it happy. Then I considered the danger my kingdom was in because I didn't have a child. And that made me groan and suffer. So, thrown around in my conscience like a ship in a storm, I came up with this way to fix things that we are all engaged in today. That is, I wanted all the holy churchmen and learned academics in the country to cure my conscience, which felt sick then and isn't better yet. I began by speaking privately with you, my Lord of Lincoln. You remember how upset I was when I first spoke to you.

LINCOLN

Very well, my liege.

LINCOLN

Very clearly, my king.

KING HENRY VIII

I have spoke long: be pleased yourself to sayHow far you satisfied me.

KING HENRY VIII

I have spoken for a long time. Please tell me what you have done to satisfy my conscience.

LINCOLN

So please your highness, The question did at first so stagger me, Bearing a state of mighty moment in't And consequence of dread, that I committed The daring'st counsel which I had to doubt; And did entreat your highness to this course Which you are running here.

LINCOLN

Your highness, the matter was so important and had such terrible consequences that it amazed me at first. I worried I was advising you too boldly. I begged you to go about settling the matter in the way you are now.

KING HENRY VIII

I then moved you, My Lord of Canterbury; and got your leave To make this present summons: unsolicited I left no reverend person in this court; But by particular consent proceeded Under your hands and seals: therefore, go on: For no dislike i' the world against the person Of the good queen, but the sharp thorny points Of my alleged reasons, drive this forward: Prove but our marriage lawful, by my life And kingly dignity, we are contented To wear our mortal state to come with her, Katharine our queen, before the primest creature That's paragon'd o' the world.

KING HENRY VIII

I then convinced you, my Lord of Canterbury, and got your approval for summoning these people here. I talked to every wise person in this courthouse. But particularly I put myself in your hands and did what you advised. So, continue. It was not because I disliked my good queen but because of the terrible reasons I just told you that this is happening. Just prove our marriage to be legal and I swear by my life and my dignity as king that I will be happy to stay with her, Katharine my queen,  for the rest of my life, sooner than marry even the best woman in the world.

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

So please your highness, The queen being absent, 'tis a needful fitness That we adjourn this court till further day: Meanwhile must be an earnest motion Made to the queen, to call back her appeal She intends unto his holiness.

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS

Your highness, since the queen is absent it's necessary and right to adjourn this trial. Meanwhile someone should be sent to talk honestly to the queen to convince her not to appeal to the Pope.

KING HENRY VIII

[Aside] I may perceive These cardinals trifle with me: I abhor This dilatory sloth and tricks of Rome. My learn'd and well-beloved servant, Cranmer, Prithee, return: with thy approach, I know, My comfort comes along. Break up the court: I say, set on.

KING HENRY VIII

[To himself] I can see that these cardinals are playing with me. I hate the delaying laziness and tricks of Rome. Please come back, my learned and beloved servant Cranmer. When you come back, I know that my happiness will too.

[To the court] The court is dismissed. I said, go.

Exeunt in manner as they entered

Henry viii
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