Henry VIII


Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V

Enter the Lord Chamberlain, reading this letter


My lord, the horses your lordship

sent for, with all the care I had I saw well chosen, ridden,
ride (v.) 2 manage, conduct, control

and furnished. They were young and handsome, and of the
furnished (adj.) equipped, fitted out, outfitted

best breed in the north. When they were ready to set out for

London, a man of my lord Cardinal's, by commission and
commission (n.) 1 warrant, authority [to act]

main power, took 'em from me, with this reason: his
main (adj.) 1 very great, major, considerable
power (n.) 4 force, strength, might

master would be served before a subject, if not before the

King; which stopped our mouths, sir.

I fear he will indeed. Well, let him have them.

He will have all, I think.

Enter to the Lord Chamberlain the Dukes of Norfolk

and Suffolk


Well met, my Lord Chamberlain.


Good day to both your graces.


How is the King employed?


                         I left him private,

Full of sad thoughts and troubles.
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count


                         What's the cause?


It seems the marriage with his brother's wife

Has crept too near his conscience.



                         No, his conscience

Has crept too near another lady.


                         'Tis so;

This is the Cardinal's doing; the King-Cardinal,

That blind priest, like the eldest son of fortune,

Turns what he list. The King will know him one day.
list (v.) 1 wish, like, please


Pray God he do! He'll never know himself else.


How holily he works in all his business,

And with what zeal! For, now he has cracked the league

Between us and the Emperor, the Queen's great nephew,

He dives into the King's soul and there scatters

Dangers, doubts, wringing of the conscience,

Fears, and despairs – and all these for his marriage.

And out of all these to restore the King,

He counsels a divorce, a loss of her

That like a jewel has hung twenty years

About his neck, yet never lost her lustre;

Of her that loves him with that excellence

That angels love good men with; even of her

That, when the greatest stroke of fortune falls,

Will bless the King – and is not this course pious?
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count


Heaven keep me from such counsel! 'Tis most true

These news are everywhere, every tongue speaks 'em,

And every true heart weeps for't. All that dare
true (adj.) 1 loyal, firm, faithful in allegiance

Look into these affairs see this main end,

The French King's sister. Heaven will one day open

The King's eyes, that so long have slept upon
sleep upon (v.) disregard, ignore, pay no attention to

This bold bad man.


                         And free us from his slavery.


We had need pray,

And heartily, for our deliverance,

Or this imperious man will work us all

From princes into pages. All men's honours

Lie like one lump before him, to be fashioned

Into what pitch he please.
pitch (n.) 1 height [to which a bird of prey soars before swooping]


                         For me, my lords,

I love him not, nor fear him – there's my creed.

As I am made without him, so I'll stand,
stand (v.) 2 continue, remain, wait, stay put

If the King please. His curses and his blessings

Touch me alike; they're breath I not believe in.
touch (v.) 3 affect, move, stir

I knew him, and I know him; so I leave him

To him that made him proud – the Pope.


                         Let's in,

And with some other business put the King

From these sad thoughts that work too much upon him.
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count

My lord, you'll bear us company?


                         Excuse me,

The king has sent me otherwhere. Besides,
otherwhere (adv.) elsewhere, somewhere else

You'll find a most unfit time to disturb him.

Health to your lordships!


                         Thanks, my good Lord Chamberlain.

Exit Lord Chamberlain

The King draws the curtain and sits reading pensively
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count


How sad he looks; sure he is much afflicted.


Who's there, ha?


                         Pray God he be not angry.


Who's there, I say? How dare you thrust yourselves

Into my private meditations?

Who am I, ha?


A gracious king that pardons all offences

Malice ne'er meant. Our breach of duty this way

Is business of estate, in which we come
estate (n.) 4 state, kingdom

To know your royal pleasure.


                         Ye are too bold.

Go to; I'll make ye know your times of business.

Is this an hour for temporal affairs, ha?
temporal (adj.) secular, civil, worldly

Enter Wolsey and Campeius with a commission

Who's there? My good lord Cardinal? O my Wolsey,

The quiet of my wounded conscience,
quiet (n.) calmness, peace of mind, serenity

Thou art a cure fit for a king. (to Campeius) You're welcome,

Most learned reverend sir, into our kingdom;

Use us, and it. (to Wolsey) My good lord, have great care

I be not found a talker.
talker (n.) someone of words but not deeds


                         Sir, you cannot.

I would your grace would give us but an hour

Of private conference.


(to Norfolk and Suffolk)

                         We are busy; go.


(aside to Suffolk)

This priest has no pride in him!


(aside to Norfolk)

                         Not to speak of!

I would not be so sick though for his place.
sick (adj.) 1 longing, pining, avid

But this cannot continue.


(aside to Suffolk)

                         If it do,

I'll venture one have-at-him.


(aside to Norfolk)

                         I another.

Exeunt Norfolk and Suffolk


Your grace has given a precedent of wisdom

Above all princes, in committing freely

Your scruple to the voice of Christendom.
scruple (n.) 2 suspicion, misgiving, doubt
voice (n.) 3 authoritative opinion, judgement

Who can be angry now? What envy reach you?
envy (n.) 1 malice, ill-will, enmity

The Spaniard, tied by blood and favour to her,

Must now confess, if they have any goodness,

The trial just and noble. All the clerks –
clerk (n.) 1 scholar, sage, man of learning

I mean the learned ones in Christian kingdoms –

Have their free voices. Rome, the nurse of judgement,
voice (n.) 3 authoritative opinion, judgement

Invited by your noble self, hath sent

One general tongue unto us, this good man,
general (adj.) 3 joint, common, communal

This just and learned priest, Cardinal Campeius,

Whom once more I present unto your highness.


And once more in mine arms I bid him welcome,

And thank the holy conclave for their loves.

They have sent me such a man I would have wished for.


Your grace must needs deserve all strangers' loves,
stranger (n.) foreigner, alien, outsider

You are so noble. To your highness' hand

I tender my commission, by whose virtue,

The court of Rome commanding, you, my lord

Cardinal of York, are joined with me their servant

In the unpartial judging of this business.
unpartial (adj.) impartial, detached, neutral


Two equal men. The Queen shall be acquainted
equal (adj.) 1 fair, equitable, evenhanded

Forthwith for what you come. Where's Gardiner?


I know your majesty has always loved her

So dear in heart not to deny her that

A woman of less place might ask by law –

Scholars allowed freely to argue for her.


Ay, and the best she shall have, and my favour

To him that does best, God forbid else. Cardinal,

Prithee call Gardiner to me, my new secretary;

I find him a fit fellow.
fit (adj.) 1 suited, fitting, appropriate

Exit Wolsey

Enter Wolsey, with Gardiner


(aside to Gardiner)

Give me your hand: much joy and favour to you.

You are the King's now.


(aside to Wolsey)

                         But to be commanded

For ever by your grace, whose hand has raised me.


Come hither, Gardiner.

Walks and whispers


My Lord of York, was not one Doctor Pace

In this man's place before him?


                         Yes, he was.


Was he not held a learned man?


                         Yes, surely.


Believe me, there's an ill opinion spread then,

Even of yourself, lord Cardinal.
ill (adj.) 1 bad, adverse, unfavourable See Topics: Frequency count


                         How? Of me?


They will not stick to say you envied him,
stick (v.) 7 hesitate, linger, think twice

And fearing he would rise, he was so virtuous,

Kept him a foreign man still, which so grieved him
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

That he ran mad and died.


                         Heaven's peace be with him!

That's Christian care enough. For living murmurers

There's places of rebuke. He was a fool,

For he would needs be virtuous. That good fellow,

If I command him, follows my appointment;
appointment (n.) 3 order, direction, arrangement

I will have none so near else. Learn this, brother,
near (adj.) 2 intimate, familiar

We live not to be griped by meaner persons.
gripe (v.) clutch, grasp, seize
mean (adj.) 1 of low rank, inferior in position, less important


Deliver this with modesty to th' Queen.
modesty (n.) 2 propriety, protocol, seemly behaviour

Exit Gardiner

The most convenient place that I can think of

For such receipt of learning is Blackfriars;
learning (n.) 1 scholarship, learned opinion
receipt (n.) 2 reception, receiving venue

There ye shall meet about this weighty business.

My Wolsey, see it furnished. O, my lord,

Would it not grieve an able man to leave
able (adj.) 2 strong, vigorous, powerful

So sweet a bedfellow? But conscience, conscience!

O, 'tis a tender place, and I must leave her.


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