Henry VIII


Text

Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V

Enter Katherine, Dowager, sick, led between

Griffith, her gentleman usher, and Patience, her

woman


GRIFFITH

How does your grace?


KATHERINE

                         O Griffith, sick to death.

My legs, like loaden branches bow to th' earth,
loaden (adj.) laden, weighed down

Willing to leave their burden. Reach a chair.
leave (v.) 2 abandon, forsake, relinquish

So: now, methinks, I feel a little ease.
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count

Didst thou not tell me, Griffith, as thou ledst me,

That the great child of honour, Cardinal Wolsey,
child (n.) 2 heir, scion, inheritor

Was dead?


GRIFFITH

                         Yes, madam; but I think your grace,

Out of the pain you suffered, gave no ear to't.


KATHERINE

Prithee, good Griffith, tell me how he died.

If well, he stepped before me happily
happily (adv.) 3 fittingly, appropriately, aptly

For my example.
voice (n.) 4 talk, rumour, opinion


GRIFFITH

                         Well, the voice goes, madam:

For after the stout Earl Northumberland
stout (adj.) 1 brave, valiant, resolute

Arrested him at York, and brought him forward,

As a man sorely tainted, to his answer,
answer (n.) 2 interrogation, cross-examination, appearance in court, trial
sorely (adv.) 1 severely, intensely, very greatly
tainted (adj.) 3 disgraced, discredited, dishonoured

He fell sick suddenly, and grew so ill

He could not sit his mule.


KATHERINE

                         Alas, poor man.


GRIFFITH

At last, with easy roads, he came to Leicester,
road (n.) 4 period of travel, stage

Lodged in the abbey, where the reverend abbot,

With all his covent, honourably received him;
covent (n.) convent, community

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,
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

About the hour of eight, which he himself

Foretold should be his last, full of repentance,

Continual meditations, tears, and sorrows,
sorrow (n.) mourning, lamentation

He gave his honours to the world again,

His blessed part to heaven, and slept in peace.


KATHERINE

So may he rest; his faults lie gently on him!

Yet thus far, Griffith, give me leave to speak him,
speak (v.) 1 give an account of, report, describe

And yet with charity. He was a man

Of an unbounded stomach, ever ranking
stomach (n.) 6 pride, obstinacy, stubbornness

Himself with princes; one that by suggestion
suggestion (n.) temptation, instigation, prompting towards evil

Tied all the kingdom. Simony was fair play;
simony (n.) trading in ecclesiastical appointments
tie (v.) 2 bring into subjection, put in bondage

His own opinion was his law. I'th' presence
presence (n.) 1 royal assembly, eminent company

He would say untruths, and be ever double
double (adj.) 1 equivocal, ambiguous

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
ill (adj.) 2 evil, wicked, immoral

The clergy ill example.
ill (adj.) 1 bad, adverse, unfavourable See Topics: Frequency count


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?
speak (v.) 1 give an account of, report, describe


KATHERINE

                         Yes, good Griffith,

I were malicious else.


GRIFFITH

                         This Cardinal,

Though from an humble stock, undoubtedly

Was fashioned to much honour. From his cradle

He was a scholar, and a ripe and good one,

Exceeding wise, fair-spoken, and persuading;
exceeding (adv.) exceedingly, extremely, very

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 –
getting (n.) 2 covetousness, acquiring things
unsatisfied (adj.) 1 unsatisfiable, insatiable

Which was a sin – yet in bestowing, madam,
bestowing (n.) 2 giving, benevolence, philanthropy

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;
do (v.) 3 organize, arrange, manage
good (n.) 1 goodwill, goodness

The other, though unfinished, yet so famous,

So excellent in art, and still so rising,
art (n.) 1 knowledge, learning, scholarship, science

That Christendom shall ever speak his virtue.

His overthrow heaped 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.


KATHERINE

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,
modesty (n.) 1 moderation, restraint, discipline
religious (adj.) 1 devout, conscientious, scrupulous

Now in his ashes honour. Peace be with him!

Patience, be near me still, and set me lower;
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

I have not long to trouble thee. Good Griffith,

Cause the musicians play me that sad note
note (n.) 11 melody, tune, music, song
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count

I named my knell, whilst I sit meditating

On that celestial harmony I go to.

Sad and solemn music
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count
wench (n.) girl, lass See Topics: Frequency count


GRIFFITH

She is asleep. Good wench, let's sit down quiet,

For fear we wake her. Softly, gentle Patience.
gentle (adj.) 6 soft, tender, kind

The vision:
bay (n.) 3 leaf of the bay-tree [used as a herb; symbol of triumph]
change (n.) 5 [dancing] round, turn
congee, congie (v.) 2 curtsy reverently, make a formal bow
vizard (n.) mask, visor

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


KATHERINE

Spirits of peace, where are ye? Are ye all gone,

And leave me here in wretchedness behind ye?


GRIFFITH

Madam, we are here.


KATHERINE

                         It is not you I call for.

Saw ye none enter since I slept?


GRIFFITH

                         None, madam.


KATHERINE

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.


GRIFFITH

I am most joyful, madam, such good dreams

Possess your fancy.
fancy (n.) 4 imagination, mind, mental state
leave (v.) 1 cease, stop, give up
music (n.) 1 musicians, players


KATHERINE

                         Bid the music leave,

They are harsh and heavy to me.

Music ceases
heavy (adj.) 6 tedious, tiresome, uninteresting


PATIENCE

                         Do you note

How much her grace is altered on the sudden?

How long her face is drawn? How pale she looks?

And of an earthy colour? Mark her eyes.
cold (n.) coldness, chill
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count


GRIFFITH

She is going, wench. Pray, pray.


PATIENCE

                         Heaven comfort her!

Enter a Messenger
like (v.) 1 please, suit See Topics: Politeness
saucy (adj.) 1 insolent, impudent, presumptuous, defiant


MESSENGER

An't like your grace –


KATHERINE

                         You are a saucy fellow!

Deserve we no more reverence?


GRIFFITH

(to Messenger)
blame, to to be blamed, blameworthy

                         You are to blame,

Knowing she will not lose her wonted greatness,
lose (v.) 1 part with, let go of, give up
wonted (adj.) accustomed, usual, customary

To use so rude behavior. Go to, kneel.
rude (adj.) 5 impolite, offensive


MESSENGER

I humbly do entreat your highness' pardon;

My haste made me unmannerly. There is staying

A gentleman sent from the King, to see you.


KATHERINE

Admit him entrance, Griffith; but this fellow

Let me ne'er see again.

Exit Messenger

Enter Lord Capuchius

                         If my sight fail not,

You should be lord ambassador from the Emperor,

My royal nephew, and your name Capuchius.


CAPUCHIUS

Madam, the same: your servant.


KATHERINE

                         O my lord,

The times and titles now are altered strangely
strangely (adv.) 5 very greatly, extremely

With me since first you knew me. But I pray you,

What is your pleasure with me?


CAPUCHIUS

                         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,
commendation (n.) 3 (plural) regards, compliments, greetings

And heartily entreats you take good comfort.


KATHERINE

O my good lord, that comfort comes too late,

'Tis like a pardon after execution.

That gentle physic, given in time, had cured me,
gentle (adj.) 6 soft, tender, kind
physic (n.) 1 medicine, healing, treatment See Topics: Frequency count

But now I am past all comforts here but prayers.

How does his highness?


CAPUCHIUS

                         Madam, in good health.


KATHERINE

So may he ever do, and ever flourish,

When I shall dwell with worms, and my poor name

Banished the kingdom. Patience, is that letter

I caused you write yet sent away?


PATIENCE

                         No, madam.

She gives it to Katherine


KATHERINE

Sir, I most humbly pray you to deliver

This to my lord the King.


CAPUCHIUS

                         Most willing, madam.


KATHERINE

In which I have commended to his goodness
commend (v.) 2 commit, entrust, hand over

The model of our chaste loves, his young daughter –
model (n.) 1 replica, image, copy

The dews of heaven fall thick in blessings on her! –

Beseeching him to give her virtuous breeding.
breeding (n.) 1 raising, upbringing

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 followed 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,
carriage (n.) 1 bearing, demeanour, manner of behaviour
decent (adj.) satisfying propriety, observing conformity
honesty (n.) 1 virtue, chastity

A right good husband, let him be a noble;

And sure those men are happy that shall have 'em.
happy (adj.) 1 fortunate, lucky, favoured

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.


CAPUCHIUS

                         By heaven, I will,

Or let me lose the fashion of a man!
fashion (n.) 7 title, name, character


KATHERINE

I thank you, honest lord. Remember me
remember (v.) 4 mention, make known

In all humility unto his highness.

Say his long trouble now is passing

Out of this world. Tell him in death I blessed 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,
wench (n.) girl, lass See Topics: Frequency count

Let me be used with honour; strew me over
use (v.) 2 treat, deal with, manage

With maiden flowers, that all the world may know
maiden (adj.) 2 befitting chastity

I was a chaste wife to my grave. Embalm me,

Then lay me forth; although unqueened, yet like
unqueened (adj.) removed from the position of queen

A queen, and daughter to a king, inter me.

I can no more.
can (v.) 1 be skilled [in], have ability [in]

Exeunt, leading Katherine

 
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