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Henry VIII

Henry VIII Translation Act 4, Scene 2

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Enter KATHARINE, Dowager, sick; led between GRIFFITH, her gentleman usher, and PATIENCE, her woman

GRIFFITH

How does your grace?

GRIFFITH

How are you, your grace?

KATHARINE

O Griffith, sick to death! My legs, like loaden branches, bow to the earth, Willing to leave their burthen. Reach a chair: So; now, methinks, I feel a little ease. Didst thou not tell me, Griffith, as thou led'st me, That the great child of honour, Cardinal Wolsey, Was dead?

KATHARINE

Oh, Griffith, I'm terminally ill! My legs are like branches weighed down by something and bow to the earth, trying to put down the weight they carry. Get me a chair. Ahh, now, I think, I feel a little better. Didn't you tell me, Griffith, as you led me, that that honorable man, Cardinal Wolsey, was dead?

GRIFFITH

Yes, madam; but I think your grace,Out of the pain you suffer'd, gave no ear to't.

GRIFFITH

Yes, ma'am. But I think you were in too much pain to listen.

KATHARINE

Prithee, good Griffith, tell me how he died:If well, he stepp'd before me, happilyFor my example.

KATHARINE

Please, good Griffith, tell me how he died. If he died well, I'm lucky in that he's given me an example to follow.

GRIFFITH

Well, the voice goes, madam: For after the stout Earl Northumberland Arrested him at York, and brought him forward, As a man sorely tainted, to his answer, He fell sick suddenly, and grew so ill He could not sit his mule.

GRIFFITH

They say he did die well, ma'am. After the brave Earl of Northumberland arrested him at York and brought him to court to answer for the terrible crimes he was accused of, he suddenly got sick and became so unwell he couldn't even sit up on his donkey.

KATHARINE

Alas, poor man!

KATHARINE

Poor man!

GRIFFITH

At last, with easy roads, he came to Leicester, Lodged in the abbey; where the reverend abbot, With all his covent, honourably received him; To whom he gave these words, 'O, father abbot, An old man, broken with the storms of state, Is come to lay his weary bones among ye; Give him a little earth for charity!' So went to bed; where eagerly his sickness Pursued him still: and, three nights after this, About the hour of eight, which he himself Foretold should be his last, full of repentance, Continual meditations, tears, and sorrows, He gave his honours to the world again, His blessed part to heaven, and slept in peace.

GRIFFITH

At last, he took easy roads to Leicester and stayed in the abbey. The respected abbot and all the monks received him honorably there. He said to the abbot, "Oh, father abbot, an old man injured by the uproars of politics has come to die among you. Be kind enough to give him a grave!" So he went to bed, where his sickness eagerly attacked him. Three nights later, around eight, which was the time he had foretold he would die, full of repentance, continual meditation, tears, and sadness, he gave back his honors to the world and his soul to heaven and slept peacefully.

KATHARINE

So may he rest; his faults lie gently on him! Yet thus far, Griffith, give me leave to speak him, And yet with charity. He was a man Of an unbounded stomach, ever ranking Himself with princes; one that, by suggestion, Tied all the kingdom: simony was fair-play; His own opinion was his law: i' the presence He would say untruths; and be ever double Both in his words and meaning: he was never, But where he meant to ruin, pitiful: His promises were, as he then was, mighty; But his performance, as he is now, nothing: Of his own body he was ill, and gave The clergy in example.

KATHARINE

May he rest in peace and not be punished harshly for his faults! Let me say just this about him, Griffith, but I'll speak it kindly. He was a man with boundless appetites, always thinking he was equal to kings. He ruled the kingdom with his words. He was fine with buying and selling public offices. His own opinion was the law for him. He would lie to the king and was always ambiguous in what he said. He never pitied anyone except when he meant to destroy them. He promised great things and he was great, but he did nothing and he is nothing now. He treated his own body badly and was a bad example to churchmen.

GRIFFITH

Noble madam, Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues We write in water. May it please your highness To hear me speak his good now?

GRIFFITH

Noble lady, men's bad qualities are remembered as if they were engraved in metal, but their virtues are forgotten as quickly as if they were written on water. May I say good things about him now?

KATHARINE

Yes, good Griffith;I were malicious else.

KATHARINE

Yes, good Griffith, it would be cruel of me to refuse.

GRIFFITH

This cardinal, Though from an humble stock, undoubtedly Was fashion'd to much honour from his cradle. He was a scholar, and a ripe and good one; Exceeding wise, fair-spoken, and persuading: Lofty and sour to them that loved him not; But to those men that sought him sweet as summer. And though he were unsatisfied in getting, Which was a sin, yet in bestowing, madam, He was most princely: ever witness for him Those twins of learning that he raised in you, Ipswich and Oxford! one of which fell with him, Unwilling to outlive the good that did it; The other, though unfinish'd, yet so famous, So excellent in art, and still so rising, That Christendom shall ever speak his virtue. His overthrow heap'd happiness upon him; For then, and not till then, he felt himself, And found the blessedness of being little: And, to add greater honours to his age Than man could give him, he died fearing God.

GRIFFITH

This cardinal, although he came from a humble family, was undoubtedly meant to win great honor from the day he was born. He was a scholar, and an excellent one. He was very wise, well-spoken, and persuasive. He was proud and bitter towards those who hated him, but to those who wanted to be his friends he was as sweet as summer. And although he was never content with what he had, which was a sin, he was as generous in giving gifts as a king. Consider those two colleges he started in Ipswich and Oxford! One of them fell along with him, unwilling to outlive its benefactor. The other one, although not yet finished, is still so famous, so learned, and still getting better, that he will always be praised in Christian countries. His loss of power was a good thing for him, because it was not until then that he understood himself and found the joy in being unimportant. And it gave him greater honor in his old age than any man could give him that he died thinking of God.

KATHARINE

After my death I wish no other herald, No other speaker of my living actions, To keep mine honour from corruption, But such an honest chronicler as Griffith. Whom I most hated living, thou hast made me, With thy religious truth and modesty, Now in his ashes honour: peace be with him! Patience, be near me still; and set me lower: I have not long to trouble thee. Good Griffith, Cause the musicians play me that sad note I named my knell, whilst I sit meditating On that celestial harmony I go to.

KATHARINE

After my death I don't want anyone to talk about my actions when I was alive to praise me except an honest historian like Griffith. With your religious truth and modesty, you have made me honor the man I hated most when he was alive now that he is dead. May he rest in peace! Patience, stay near me and lower my chair. I won't bother you long. Good Griffith, have the musicians play me that sad song I called my funeral music, while I sit thinking about heaven, where I am going.

Sad and solemn music

GRIFFITH

She is asleep: good wench, let's sit down quiet,For fear we wake her: softly, gentle Patience.

GRIFFITH

She's asleep. Dear girl, let's sit down quietly, or we'll wake her. Quietly, dear Patience.

The vision. Enter, solemnly tripping one after another, six personages, clad in white robes, wearing on their heads garlands of bays, and golden vizards on their faces; branches of bays or palm in their hands. They first congee unto her, then dance; and, at certain changes, the first two hold a spare garland over her head; at which the other four make reverent curtsies; then the two that held the garland deliver the same to the other next two, who observe the same order in their changes, and holding the garland over her head: which done, they deliver the same garland to the last two, who likewise observe the same order: at which, as it were by inspiration, she makes in her sleep signs of rejoicing, and holdeth up her hands to heaven: and so in their dancing vanish, carrying the garland with them. The music continues.

KATHARINE

Spirits of peace, where are ye? are ye all gone,And leave me here in wretchedness behind ye?

KATHARINE

Peaceful spirits, where are you? Have you all gone and left me miserable behind you?

GRIFFITH

Madam, we are here.

GRIFFITH

Ma'am, we're here.

KATHARINE

It is not you I call for:Saw ye none enter since I slept?

KATHARINE

I wasn't calling for you. Didn't you see anyone come in here while I was asleep?

GRIFFITH

None, madam.

GRIFFITH

No one, ma'am.

KATHARINE

No? Saw you not, even now, a blessed troop Invite me to a banquet; whose bright faces Cast thousand beams upon me, like the sun? They promised me eternal happiness; And brought me garlands, Griffith, which I feel I am not worthy yet to wear: I shall, assuredly.

KATHARINE

No? Didn't you see a holy band of angels—whose bright faces cast a thousand beams on me as if they were the sun—invite me to a feast just now? They promised me eternal happiness and brought me crowns, Griffith, that I think I'm not yet worthy enough to wear. I will, though. 

GRIFFITH

I am most joyful, madam, such good dreamsPossess your fancy.

GRIFFITH

I am very happy, ma'am, that you've had such good dreams.

KATHARINE

Bid the music leave,They are harsh and heavy to me.

KATHARINE

Have the music stop. It sounds harsh and slow to me.

Music ceases

PATIENCE

Do you note How much her grace is alter'd on the sudden? How long her face is drawn? how pale she looks, And of an earthy cold? Mark her eyes!

PATIENCE

Do you see how different she suddenly looks? How drawn her face seems? How pale she looks, and cold as earth? Look at her eyes!

GRIFFITH

She is going, wench: pray, pray.

GRIFFITH

She's dying, girl. Pray, pray.

PATIENCE

Heaven comfort her!

PATIENCE

God help her!

Enter a Messenger

MESSENGER

An't like your grace,—

MESSENGER

Your grace—

KATHARINE

You are a saucy fellow:Deserve we no more reverence?

KATHARINE

You're a rude fellow. Don't I deserve more politeness?

GRIFFITH

You are to blame,Knowing she will not lose her wonted greatness,To use so rude behavior; go to, kneel.

GRIFFITH

You should know she won't let you treat her so rudely, since she's used to being powerful. Go on, kneel.

MESSENGER

I humbly do entreat your highness' pardon;My haste made me unmannerly. There is stayingA gentleman, sent from the king, to see you.

MESSENGER

I beg your pardon, your highness. I was in a hurry and that made me rude. A gentleman sent from the king is waiting to see you.

KATHARINE

Admit him entrance, Griffith: but this fellowLet me ne'er see again.

KATHARINE

Let him in, Griffith, but let me never see this fellow again.

Exeunt GRIFFITH and Messenger. Re-enter GRIFFITH, with CAPUCIUS

KATHARINE

If my sight fail not,You should be lord ambassador from the emperor,My royal nephew, and your name Capucius.

KATHARINE

If I'm not going blind, you're the ambassador to the emperor, my royal nephew, and your name is Capucius.

CAPUCIUS

Madam, the same; your servant.

CAPUCIUS

That's right, ma'am. At your service.

KATHARINE

O, my lord, The times and titles now are alter'd strangely With me since first you knew me. But, I pray you, What is your pleasure with me?

KATHARINE

Oh, my lord, things have gone strangely since we first met, and I have a different title. But please tell me what you want from me.

CAPUCIUS

Noble lady, First mine own service to your grace; the next, The king's request that I would visit you; Who grieves much for your weakness, and by me Sends you his princely commendations, And heartily entreats you take good comfort.

CAPUCIUS

Noble lady, first, I wanted to see you on my own behalf. Second, the king asked me to visit you. He's very sad about your illness and sends you his best wishes through me and asks you to get better.

KATHARINE

O my good lord, that comfort comes too late; 'Tis like a pardon after execution: That gentle physic, given in time, had cured me; But now I am past an comforts here, but prayers. How does his highness?

KATHARINE

Oh, my good lord, it's too late to get better. That's like being pardoned after your execution. The sweet medicine of hearing from the king would have cured me if I'd gotten it in time. But now I am past all cures on earth except prayers. How is the king?

CAPUCIUS

Madam, in good health.

CAPUCIUS

He's in good health, ma'am.

KATHARINE

So may he ever do! and ever flourish, When I shal l dwell with worms, and my poor name Banish'd the kingdom! Patience, is that letter, I caused you write, yet sent away?

KATHARINE

I hope he always is! And that he's always well when I am dead and living with the worms and no one speaks my name anymore in this country! Patience, did you send that letter I had you write yet?

PATIENCE

No, madam.

PATIENCE

No, ma'am.

Giving it to KATHARINE

KATHARINE

Sir, I most humbly pray you to deliverThis to my lord the king.

KATHARINE

Sir, I ask you humbly to give this to the king.

CAPUCIUS

Most willing, madam.

CAPUCIUS

Willingly, ma'am.

KATHARINE

In which I have commended to his goodness The model of our chaste loves, his young daughter; The dews of heaven fall thick in blessings on her! Beseeching him to give her virtuous breeding— She is young, and of a noble modest nature, I hope she will deserve well,—and a little To love her for her mother's sake, that loved him, Heaven knows how dearly. My next poor petition Is, that his noble grace would have some pity Upon my wretched women, that so long Have follow'd both my fortunes faithfully: Of which there is not one, I dare avow, And now I should not lie, but will deserve For virtue and true beauty of the soul, For honesty and decent carriage, A right good husband, let him be a noble And, sure, those men are happy that shall have 'em. The last is, for my men; they are the poorest, But poverty could never draw 'em from me; That they may have their wages duly paid 'em, And something over to remember me by: If heaven had pleased to have given me longer life And able means, we had not parted thus. These are the whole contents: and, good my lord, By that you love the dearest in this world, As you wish Christian peace to souls departed, Stand these poor people's friend, and urge the king To do me this last right.

KATHARINE

In it I asked him to treat his young daughter well, who was created by our virtuous love. May heaven rain blessings on her! I ask him to raise her well—she is young and of a noble modest character, so I hope she will turn out well—and to love her a little for her mother's sake, who loved him so much. My next small request is that he'll take a little pity on my poor maids who have stuck by me for so long. There is not a single one, I swear, and I can't lie now that I'm dying, who doesn't deserve an excellent husband, a noble, for her virtue and true inner beauty and for honesty and decency. Certainly, the men who get them will be lucky. The last request is for my men. They are the poorest, but they never abandoned me despite their poverty. I ask that their wages be paid, and a little more be given to them to remember me by. If God had wished to give me a longer life and more money, I would not have parted with them like this. That's all that's in the letter. And, my good lord, if you love the best people in this world and wish Christian souls to rest in peace, be a friend to these poor people and encourage the king to do this last duty for me.

CAPUCIUS

By heaven, I will,Or let me lose the fashion of a man!

CAPUCIUS

I will, by God, or let me not be called a man anymore!

KATHARINE

I thank you, honest lord. Remember me In all humility unto his highness: Say his long trouble now is passing Out of this world; tell him, in death I bless'd him, For so I will. Mine eyes grow dim. Farewell, My lord. Griffith, farewell. Nay, Patience, You must not leave me yet: I must to bed; Call in more women. When I am dead, good wench, Let me be used with honour: strew me over With maiden flowers, that all the world may know I was a chaste wife to my grave: embalm me, Then lay me forth: although unqueen'd, yet like A queen, and daughter to a king, inter me. I can no more.

KATHARINE

Thank you, honest lord. Remind the king of me humbly. Tell him the trouble he's had for so long is passing away. Tell him I blessed him when I died, and I will do that. Death is clouding my eyes and making me blind. Goodbye, my lord. Griffith, goodbye. No, Patience, don't leave me yet. I have to go to bed. Call the other maids. When I am dead, dear girl, have me be treated honorably. Sprinkle flowers that symbolize virtue over me so the whole world knows I was a good wife up to the day I died. Embalm me, then put me in my coffin. Although I'm not a queen anymore, bury me like a queen and the daughter to a king. I can't say anything else.

Exeunt, leading KATHARINE

Henry viii
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