« PreviousContinue »
The force of this commission: Pray, look to't;
I put it to your care.
A word with you. Let there be letters writ to every shire,
Of the king's grace and pardon. The griev'd commons
King Henry VIII. having determined to divorce Katharine, obtains a commission from Rome, to try the causes which have induced him to dissolve his marriage. The Pope sends Cardinal Campeius, who in conjunction with Wolsey are appointed to act as judges at the Queen's trial.
SCENE IV.-A Hall in Black-Friars.
Court assembled for the Trial.
Wol. Whilst our commission from Rome is read, Let silence be commanded.
What's the need?
[To the Secretary
It hath already publicly been read,
Scribe. Say, Henry king of England, come into the court.
K. Hen. Here.
Scribe. Say, Katharine queen of England, come into court.
[The QUEEN makes no answer, rises out of her chair, goes about the court, comes to the KING, and kneels at his feet; then speaks.
Q. Kath. Sir, I desire you, do me right and justice ;
At all times to your will conformable :
Yea, subject to your countenance; glad, or sorry,
I ever contradicted your desire,
Or made it not mine too? Or which of your friends
Who deem'd our marriage lawful: Wherefore I humbly
Your pleasure be fulfill'd!
You have here, lady, (And of your choice,) these reverend fathers; men Of singular integrity and learning,
Yea, the elect of the land, who are assembled
To plead your cause; It shall be therefore bootless,
For your own quiet, as to rectify
What is unsettled in the king.
To you I speak.
Your pleasure, madam?
I am about to weep; but, thinking that
We are a queen, (or long have dream'd so,) certain,
Be patient yet.
Q. Kath. I will, when you are humble; nay, before,
You are mine enemy; and make my challenge;
I utterly abhor, yea, from my soul,
I do profess,
O'ertopping woman's power. Madam, you do me wrong;
For you, or any how far I have proceeded,
By a commission from the consistory,
Yea, the whole consistory of Rome. You charge me,
Remove these thoughts from you; the which before
You, gracious madam, to unthink your speaking,
My lord, my lord,
To oppose your cunning. You are meek, and humble-mouth'd;
Your high profession spiritual: That again
[She curt'sies to the KING, and offers to depart. Cam. The queen is obstinate, Stubborn to justice, apt to accuse it, and Disdainful to be try'd by it; 'tis not well. She's going away. K. Hen.
Call her again.
Crier. Katharine queen of England, come into the court.
Q. Kath. What need you note it? pray you, keep your way
[Exeunt QUEEN, GRIFFITH, and her other Attendants. 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 is noble born; And, like her true nobility, she has Carried herself towards me.
Queen Katharine is divorced, and Henry marries Anne Bullen. The power of Wolsey over the King gradually declines, and the nobles of the Court plot against him. The lords of Suffolk and Norfolk are particularly his enemies; and learning that Wolsey has by accident given several documents to the King, containing private memorandums of his intrigues, and statements of his vast wealth, they are waiting to learn the effect of this disclosure.
WOLSEY and CROMWELL, SUFFOLK and NORFOLK.
Nor. Observe, observe, he's moody.
Wol. The packet, Cromwell, gave it you the king?
Crom. To his own hand, in his bedchamber.
He did unseal them and the first he view'd,
It shall be to the duchess of Alençon,
The French king's sister: he shall marry her.-
To hear from Rome.-The marchioness of Pembroke!
May be, he hears the king
Does whet his anger to him.
Lord, for thy justice!
Wol. The late queen's gentlewoman: a knight's daughter, To be her mistress' mistress! the queen's queen!This candle burns not clear; 'tis I must snuff it;
Then, out it goes.-What though I know her virtuous,
He is vex'd at something.
Suf. I would, 'twere something that would fret the string The master-cord of his heart!
Enter the KING, reading a schedule; and LovELL. Suf. The king, the king. K. Hen. What piles of wealth hath he accumulated To his own portion! and what expense by the hour Seems to flow from him! How, i' the name c1 thrift, Does he rake this together!-Now, my lords; Saw you the cardinal?
My lord, we have
Stood here observing him: Some strange commotion