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Henry VIII

Henry VIII Translation Act 5, Scene 3

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Enter Chancellor; places himself at the upper end of the table on the left hand; a seat being left void above him, as for CRANMER's seat. SUFFOLK, NORFOLK, SURREY, Chamberlain, GARDINER, seat themselves in order on each side. CROMWELL at lower end, as secretary. Keeper at the door

CHANCELLOR

Speak to the business, master-secretary:Why are we met in council?

CHANCELLOR

Tell us about this business, secretary. Why has the council met?

CROMWELL

Please your honours,The chief cause concerns his grace of Canterbury.

CROMWELL

Your honors, the main reason is the archbishop of Canterbury.

GARDINER

Has he had knowledge of it?

GARDINER

Does he know about it?

CROMWELL

Yes.

CROMWELL

Yes.

NORFOLK

Who waits there?

NORFOLK

Who's waiting there?

KEEPER

Without, my noble lords?

KEEPER

Outside, my noble lords?

GARDINER

Yes.

GARDINER

Yes.

KEEPER

My lord archbishop;And has done half an hour, to know your pleasures.

KEEPER

The archbishop. He's waited half an hour to hear what you want.

CHANCELLOR

Let him come in.

CHANCELLOR

Let him in.

KEEPER

Your grace may enter now.

KEEPER

You can enter now, your grace.

CRANMER enters and approaches the council-table

CHANCELLOR

My good lord archbishop, I'm very sorry To sit here at this present, and behold That chair stand empty: but we all are men, In our own natures frail, and capable Of our flesh; few are angels: out of which frailty And want of wisdom, you, that best should teach us, Have misdemean'd yourself, and not a little, Toward the king first, then his laws, in filling The whole realm, by your teaching and your chaplains, For so we are inform'd, with new opinions, Divers and dangerous; which are heresies, And, not reform'd, may prove pernicious.

CHANCELLOR

My lord archbishop, I'm very sorry to sit here now and see that chair remain empty. But we are all men with weak natures and our bodies can have power over us. There aren't many angels. It's this weakness, as well as a lack of wisdom, that made you act badly, very badly, towards the king and his laws—you, who should provide a good example for us all. We've been told you've filled the whole country, by teaching and appointing priests who agree with you, with new opinions that are different and dangerous. They're heresies and if they're not stopped they might be bad for the country.

GARDINER

Which reformation must be sudden too, My noble lords; for those that tame wild horses Pace 'em not in their hands to make 'em gentle, But stop their mouths with stubborn bits, and spur 'em, Till they obey the manage. If we suffer, Out of our easiness and childish pity To one man's honour, this contagious sickness, Farewell all physic: and what follows then? Commotions, uproars, with a general taint Of the whole state: as, of late days, our neighbours, The upper Germany, can dearly witness, Yet freshly pitied in our memories.

GARDINER

They have to be stopped at once, my noble lords. People who tame wild horses don't lead them in their hands to tame them but they put hard bits in their mouths and spur them until they obey commands. If we allow this contagious sickness to go on without stopping it because we're too forgiving and childishly pity one man, medicine won't be able to help us. What then? Riots, uproar, complete destruction of the whole country. Lately our neighbor, northern Germany, has shown us what happens when heresy takes over, and we're still pitying their recent disaster.

CRANMER

My good lords, hitherto, in all the progress Both of my life and office, I have labour'd, And with no little study, that my teaching And the strong course of my authority Might go one way, and safely; and the end Was ever, to do well: nor is there living, I speak it with a single heart, my lords, A man that more detests, more stirs against, Both in his private conscience and his place, Defacers of a public peace, than I do. Pray heaven, the king may never find a heart With less allegiance in it! Men that make Envy and crooked malice nourishment Dare bite the best. I do beseech your lordships, That, in this case of justice, my accusers, Be what they will, may stand forth face to face, And freely urge against me.

CRANMER

My good lords, so far, in both my daily life and my job, I have worked and studied hard to make my teaching and my power lead safely to one thing. This goal was always to do the right thing. There is no one alive, and I say this honestly my lords, who hates or works harder to stop people who cause public disruptions, either in his private thoughts or his public office, than I do. I pray to God the king will always be surrounded by people as loyal as I am to him! Men whose lives are full of envy and evil resentment dare to attack even the best people. I beg you, my lords, to bring my accusers (whoever they are) face to face with me to accuse me in this trial.

SUFFOLK

Nay, my lord,That cannot be: you are a counsellor,And, by that virtue, no man dare accuse you.

SUFFOLK

No, my lord, that can't happen. You're a councilor and because of that no one dares to accuse you.

GARDINER

My lord, because we have business of more moment, We will be short with you. 'Tis his highness' pleasure, And our consent, for better trial of you, From hence you be committed to the Tower; Where, being but a private man again, You shall know many dare accuse you boldly, More than, I fear, you are provided for.

GARDINER

My lord, we'll hurry this along because we have more important business. The king wishes and we agree that you should be imprisoned in the Tower. Then you'll be just a private citizen again and you'll find out who dares to accuse you. It'll be more people, I'm afraid, than you're ready to face.

CRANMER

Ah, my good Lord of Winchester, I thank you; You are always my good friend; if your will pass, I shall both find your lordship judge and juror, You are so merciful: I see your end; 'Tis my undoing: love and meekness, lord, Become a churchman better than ambition: Win straying souls with modesty again, Cast none away. That I shall clear myself, Lay all the weight ye can upon my patience, I make as little doubt, as you do conscience In doing daily wrongs. I could say more, But reverence to your calling makes me modest.

CRANMER

Ah, thank you, my good lord of Winchester. You have always been my good friend. If you do what you want, you're so merciful that you will act as both judge and jury to me. I see your goal: it's to destroy me. Love and humility are more fitting for a churchman than ambition, lord. Win back sinners by being modest: don't banish them. I have less doubt that I will clear my name, whatever you make me suffer in the meantime, than you have any doubts about whether you should be doing evil things every day. I could say more, but respect for your job makes me modest.

GARDINER

My lord, my lord, you are a sectary,That's the plain truth: your painted gloss discovers,To men that understand you, words and weakness.

GARDINER

My lord, my lord, you're a heretic. That's the simple truth. Men who understand you can see there's nothing under your false appearance but words and weakness.

CROMWELL

My Lord of Winchester, you are a little, By your good favour, too sharp; men so noble, However faulty, yet should find respect For what they have been: 'tis a cruelty To load a falling man.

CROMWELL

My Lord of Winchester, excuse me but you're a little too rude. Noble men, whatever their faults, should be respected for what they once were. It's cruel to kick a man when he's down.

GARDINER

Good master secretary,I cry your honour mercy; you may, worstOf all this table, say so.

GARDINER

Secretary, I'm sorry. You have the least right of anyone here to say that.

CROMWELL

Why, my lord?

CROMWELL

Why, my lord?

GARDINER

Do not I know you for a favourerOf this new sect? ye are not sound.

GARDINER

Don't I know you're a follower of this new religion? You are not trustworthy.

CROMWELL

Not sound?

CROMWELL

Not trustworthy?

GARDINER

Not sound, I say.

GARDINER

Not trustworthy, that's what I said.

CROMWELL

Would you were half so honest!Men's prayers then would seek you, not their fears.

CROMWELL

I wish you were half as honest as I am trustworthy! Then men would pray for you, not fear you.

GARDINER

I shall remember this bold language.

GARDINER

I'll remember this arrogant language.

CROMWELL

Do.Remember your bold life too.

CROMWELL

Do. Remember your arrogant life too.

CHANCELLOR

This is too much;Forbear, for shame, my lords.

CHANCELLOR

This is too much. Stop this—you should be ashamed of yourselves, my lords.

GARDINER

I have done.

GARDINER

I'm done.

CROMWELL

And I.

CROMWELL

So am I.

CHANCELLOR

Then thus for you, my lord: it stands agreed, I take it, by all voices, that forthwith You be convey'd to the Tower a prisoner; There to remain till the king's further pleasure Be known unto us: are you all agreed, lords?

CHANCELLOR

So as for you, my lord, I take it we've all agreed that you'll be taken immediately to the Tower as a prisoner. You'll stay there as a prisoner until we know what the king wants. Have you all agreed, lords?

ALL

We are.

ALL

We have.

CRANMER

Is there no other way of mercy,But I must needs to the Tower, my lords?

CRANMER

Is there no other way? Do I have to go to the Tower, my lords?

GARDINER

What otherWould you expect? you are strangely troublesome.Let some o' the guard be ready there.

GARDINER

What other way do you expect? You're unusually annoying. Let's have some guards in here.

Enter Guard

CRANMER

For me?Must I go like a traitor thither?

CRANMER

For me? Must I be led there like a traitor?

GARDINER

Receive him,And see him safe i' the Tower.

GARDINER

Take him and put him safely in the Tower.

CRANMER

Stay, good my lords, I have a little yet to say. Look there, my lords; By virtue of that ring, I take my cause Out of the gripes of cruel men, and give it To a most noble judge, the king my master.

CRANMER

Wait, my good lords, I still have a few things to say. Look here, my lords. By the power of this ring, I take my cause out of the hands of cruel men and give it to a noble judge, the king my master.

CHAMBERLAIN

This is the king's ring.

CHAMBERLAIN

This is the king's ring.

SURREY

'Tis no counterfeit.

SURREY

It's not a fake.

SUFFOLK

'Tis the right ring, by heaven: I told ye all,When ye first put this dangerous stone a-rolling,'Twould fall upon ourselves.

SUFFOLK

That's the ring, by heaven. I told you when you started this dangerous business that it would backfire on us.

NORFOLK

Do you think, my lords,The king will suffer but the little fingerOf this man to be vex'd?

NORFOLK

My lords, do you think the king will allow even this man's little finger to get hurt?

CHANCELLOR

'Tis now too certain:How much more is his life in value with him?Would I were fairly out on't!

CHANCELLOR

Now it's all too clear. His life is worth so much more to the king than his little finger! I wish I had nothing to do with this!

CROMWELL

My mind gave me, In seeking tales and informations Against this man, whose honesty the devil And his disciples only envy at, Ye blew the fire that burns ye: now have at ye!

CROMWELL

I was already worried, looking for stories and information against this man who's so honest that the devil and his minions can only envy him, not hurt him. You're the reason I'm in trouble now, damn you!

Enter KING, frowning on them; takes his seat

GARDINER

Dread sovereign, how much are we bound to heaven In daily thanks, that gave us such a prince; Not only good and wise, but most religious: One that, in all obedience, makes the church The chief aim of his honour; and, to strengthen That holy duty, out of dear respect, His royal self in judgment comes to hear The cause betwixt her and this great offender.

GARDINER

Powerful king, we're so grateful every day to God for giving us a king like you! You're not just good and wise, but very religious. You're someone who obediently works for the good of the church. And, to strengthen that holy tie between the king and the church, you come yourself as a judge to hear the case between it and this terrible criminal.

KING HENRY VIII

You were ever good at sudden commendations, Bishop of Winchester. But know, I come not To hear such flattery now, and in my presence; They are too thin and bare to hide offences. To me you cannot reach, you play the spaniel, And think with wagging of your tongue to win me; But, whatsoe'er thou takest me for, I'm sure Thou hast a cruel nature and a bloody. [To CRANMER] Good man, sit down. Now let me see the proudest He, that dares most, but wag his finger at thee: By all that's holy, he had better starve Than but once think this place becomes thee not.

KING HENRY VIII

You were always good at sudden flattery, Bishop of Winchester. But I haven't come to be flattered to my face like that now. That flattery is too thin and bare to hide crimes behind. You can't reach me like that. You act like a dog and think wagging your tongue will win me over. But, whatever you take me for, I'm sure you have a cruel and bloody nature.

[To CRANMER] Sit down, you good man. Now let me just see a man arrogant enough even just to wag his finger at you. By everything that's holy, he would be better off starving to death than even thinking once that you don't deserve to sit here.

SURREY

May it please your grace,—

SURREY

Please, your grace—

KING HENRY VIII

No, sir, it does not please me. I had thought I had had men of some understanding And wisdom of my council; but I find none. Was it discretion, lords, to let this man, This good man,—few of you deserve that title,— This honest man, wait like a lousy footboy At chamber—door? and one as great as you are? Why, what a shame was this! Did my commission Bid ye so far forget yourselves? I gave ye Power as he was a counsellor to try him, Not as a groom: there's some of ye, I see, More out of malice than integrity, Would try him to the utmost, had ye mean; Which ye shall never have while I live.

KING HENRY VIII

No, sir, it does not please me. I thought I had men of some intelligence and wisdom on my council, but I can't see any. Was it wise, lords, to let this man, this good man—few of you deserve that title—this honest man, wait like a lice-covered servant at the door? A man as important as you are? What a shameful thing to do! Did I give you permission to do something so unworthy of you? I gave you power to try his case as a councilor, not a servant. There are some of you, I see, who would give him the death penalty if you could, more out of resentment than honesty. You will never be able to do that while I am alive.

CHANCELLOR

Thus far, My most dread sovereign, may it like your grace To let my tongue excuse all. What was purposed Concerning his imprisonment, was rather, If there be faith in men, meant for his trial, And fair purgation to the world, than malice, I'm sure, in me.

CHANCELLOR

My extremely powerful king, please let me tell you our excuses. We meant to imprison him more, I swear, because we needed to try him and show that we had done so fairly, than out of resentment—at least on my part, I'm sure.

KING HENRY VIII

Well, well, my lords, respect him; Take him, and use him well, he's worthy of it. I will say thus much for him, if a prince May be beholding to a subject, I Am, for his love and service, so to him. Make me no more ado, but all embrace him: Be friends, for shame, my lords! My Lord of Canterbury, I have a suit which you must not deny me; That is, a fair young maid that yet wants baptism, You must be godfather, and answer for her.

KING HENRY VIII

All right, my lords, respect him. Take him and treat him well—he deserves it. I will say this much for him: if a prince can owe anything to a subject, I owe him for his love and service to me. Don't make any more fuss, but hug him, all of you. Be friends, my lords, honestly! My Lord of Canterbury, I have a request you can't deny. That is, there's a beautiful young girl who still needs to be baptized. You must be her godfather in the ceremony.

CRANMER

The greatest monarch now alive may gloryIn such an honour: how may I deserve itThat am a poor and humble subject to you?

CRANMER

The greatest king alive would be proud of this honor. How can I deserve it, when I am just a poor, humble, subject of yours?

KING HENRY VIII

Come, come, my lord, you'ld spare your spoons: you shall have two noble partners with you; the old Duchess of Norfolk, and Lady Marquess Dorset: will these please you? Once more, my Lord of Winchester, I charge you, Embrace and love this man.

KING HENRY VIII

Come, come, my lord, you just don't want to pay for a gift. There will be two other nobles as godparents too: the old Duchess of Norfolk and Lady Marquess Dorset. Do they sound good to you? Once more, my Lord of Winchester, I command you to hug and love this man.

GARDINER

With a true heartAnd brother-love I do it.

GARDINER

I do it with an honest heart and brotherly love.

CRANMER

And let heavenWitness, how dear I hold this confirmation.

CRANMER

Let God be my witness that I am very happy about this confirmation of friendship.

KING HENRY VIII

Good man, those joyful tears show thy true heart: The common voice, I see, is verified Of thee, which says thus, 'Do my Lord of Canterbury A shrewd turn, and he is your friend for ever.' Come, lords, we trifle time away; I long To have this young one made a Christian. As I have made ye one, lords, one remain; So I grow stronger, you more honour gain.

KING HENRY VIII

Good man, your happy tears show your honesty. I see that everyone is right in saying about you, "Do a favor for my Lord of Canterbury and he will be your friend forever." Come on, lords, we're wasting time. I can't wait for this young one to be made a Christian. Now that I've united all of you, lords, stay that way. That'll make me stronger and you more honorable.

Exeunt

Henry viii
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