Page images
PDF
EPUB

SCENE IV.

A Hall in Black-Fryars.

Trumpets, "sennet, and cornets. Enter two Vergers, .with short silver wands; next them, two Scribes, in the habits of doctors; after them, the Archbishop of Canterbury alone; after him, the llishops of Lincoln, Ely, Rochester, and Saint Asaph; next them, with some small distance, follows a gentleman bearing the purse, with the great seal, and a cardinal's hat; then two Priests, bearing each a silver cross; then a Gentleman-vsher bare-headed, accompanied with a Sergeant at arms, bearing a silver mace; then two Gentlemen, bearing two great silver pillars44; after them, side by side, the two Cardinals Wolsey and Campeius; two Noblemen with the sword and mace. Then enter the King and Queen, and their trains. The King takes place under the cloth of state; the two Cardinals sit under him, as judges. The Queen takes place, at some distance from the King. The Bishops place themselves on each side the court, in manner iff a consistory; below them, the Scribes. The Lords sit next the Bishops. The Ciitr and the rest of the attendants stand in convenient ordir about the stage.

Wol. Whilst our commission from Rome is read, Let silence be commanded.

K. Hen. What's the need?

It hath already publickly been read,
And on all sides the authority allow'd;
You may then spare that time.

WoL Be't so: —Proceed.

Scribe. Say, Henry king of England, come into the court.

Crier. Henry king of England, &c.

K. Hen. Here.

Scribe. Say, Katharine queen of England, come into court.

Crier. Katharine queen of England, &c.

[The queen makes no answer, rises out of her chair, gori 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; And to bestow your pity on me: for I am a most poor woman, and a stranger, Bom out of your dominions; having here No judge indifferent, nor no more assurance Of equal friendship and proceeding. Alas, sir, In what have I offended you? what cause Hath my behaviour given to your displeasure, That thus you should proceed to put me off, And take your good grace from me? Heaven witness, I have been to you a true and humble wife, At all times to your will conformable: Ever in fear to kindle your dislike. Yea, subject to your countenance; glad, or sorry,

As I saw it inclin'd. When was the hour,

I ever contradicted your desire,

Or made it not mine too? Or which of your friend*

Have I not strove to love, although I knew

He were mine enemy? what friend of mine,

That had to him deriv'd your anger, did I

Continue in my liking? nay, gave notice

He was from thence discharg'd? Sir, call to mind

That I have been your wife, in this obedience,

Upward of twenty years, and have been blest

With many children by you: If, in the course

And process of this time, you can report,

And prove it too, against mine honour aught,

My bond to wedlock, or my love and duty,

Against your sacred person, in God's name,

Turn me away; and let the foul'st contempt

Shut door upon me, and so give me up

To the sharpest kind of justice. Please you, sir,

The king, your father, was reputed for

A prince most prudent, of an excellent

And unmatch'd wit and judgement: Ferdinand,

My father, king of Spain, was reckon'd one

The wisest prince, that there had reign'd by many

A year before: It is not to be question'd

That they had gather'd a wise council to them

Of every realm, that did debate this business,

Who deem'd our marriage lawful: Wherefore I

humbly

Beseech you, sir, to spare me, till I may
Be by my friends in Spain advis'd; whose counsel
I will implore: if not; i'the name of God,
Your pleasure be fulfill'd!

Wol. 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,
That longer you desire the court; as well
For your own quiet, as to rectify
What is unsettled in the king.

Cam. His grace

Hath spoken well, and justly: Therefore, madam,
It's fit this royal session do proceed;
And that, without delay, their arguments
Be now produc'd, and heard.

Q. Kath. Lord cardinal,—

To you I speak.

Wol. Your pleasure, madam?

Q. Kath. Sir,

I am about to weep; but, thinking that
We are a queen, (or long have dream'd so,) certain,
The daughter of a king, my drops of tears
I'll turn to sparks of fire.

Wol. Be patient yet.

Q Kath. I will, when you are humble; nay,

before,

Or God will punish me. I do believe,
Induc'd by potent circumstances, that
You are mine enemy; and make my challenge,
You shall not be my judge: for it is you

Have blown this coal betwixt my lord and me,—

Which God's dew quench !—Therefore, I say again,

I utterly abhor, yea, from my soul

Refuse you for my judge; whom, yet once more,

I hold my most malicious foe, and think not

At all a friend to truth.

Wol. I do profess,

You speak not like yourself; who ever yet
Have stood to charity, and display'd the effects
Of disposition gentle, and of wisdom
O'ertopping woman's power. Madam, you do me

wrong:

I have no spleen against you; nor injustice
For you, or any: how far I have proceeded,
Or how far further shall, is warranted
By a commission from the consistory,
Yea, the whole consistory of Rome. You charge me,
That I have blown this coal: I do deny it:
The king is present: If it be known to him,
That I gainsay my deed, how may he wound,
And worthily, my falsehood? yea, as much
As you have done my truth. But if he know
That I am free of your report, he knows,
I am not of your wrong. Therefore in him
It lies, to cure me: and the cure is, to
Remove these thoughts from you: The which before
His highness shall speak in, I do beseech
You, gracious madam, to unthink your speaking,
And to say so no more.

« PreviousContinue »