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Q. Kath. My lord, my lord,
I am a simple woman, much too weak
To oppose your cunning. You are meek, and humble-
Yon sign your place and calling, in full seeming,
With meekness and humility: but your heart
Is cramm'd with arrogancy, spleen, and pride.
You have, by fortune, and his highness' favours.
Gone slightly o'er low steps; and now are mounted.
Where powers are your retainers: and your words,
Domesticks to you, serve your will, as't please
Yourself pronounce their office. I must tell you,
You tender more your person's honour, than
Your high profession spiritual: That again
J do refuse you for my judge; and here,
Before you all, appeal unto the pope,
To bring my whole cause 'fore his holiness,
And to be judg'd by him.
[SAe 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.
Grif. Madam, yon are call'd back.
Q. Kath. What need you note it? pray you, keep your way:
When you are call'd, return.—Now the Lord help,
They vex me past my patience!—pray you, pass on:
I will not tarry; no, nor ever more,
Upon this business, my appearance make
In any of their courts.
[Exeunt Queen, Griffith, and tier other Attendants. K. Hen. Go they 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.
Wai. Most gracious sir,
In humblest manner I require your highness,
That it shall please you to declare, in hearing
Of all these ears, (for where 1 am robb'd and bound,
There must I be unloos'd; although not there
At once and fully satisfied,) whether ever I
Did broach this business to your highness; or
Laid any scruple in your way, which might
Induce you to the question on't? or ever
Have to you,—but with thanks to God for such
A royal lady,— spake one the least word, might
Be to the prejudice of her present state,
Or touch of her good person?
K. Hen. My lord cardinal,
I do excuse you; yea, upon mine honour,
I free you from't. You are not to be taught
That you have many enemies, that know not
Why they are so, but, like to village curs,
Bark when their fellows do: by some of these
The queen is put in anger. You are excus'd:
But will you be more justify'd? you ever
Have wish'd the sleeping of this business; never
Desir'd it to be stirr'd; but oft have hinder'd; oft
The passages made toward it:—on my honour,
T speak my good lord cardinal to this point,
And thus far clear him. Now, what mov'd me
I will be bold with time, and your attention:—
Then mark the inducement. Thus it came;—give
My conscience first receiv'd a tenderness,
Scruple, and prick, on certain speeches utter'd
By the bishop of Bayonne, then French ambassador;
Who had been hither sent on the debating
A marriage, 'twixt the duke of Orleans and
Our daughter Mary: I'the progress of this business,
Ere a determinate resolution, he
(I mean, the bishop) did require a respite;
Wherein he might the king his lord advertise
Whether our daughter were legitimate,
Respecting this our marriage with the dowager,
Sometimes our brother's wife. This respite shook
The bosom of my conscience, enter'd me.
Yea, with a splitting power, and made to tremble
The region of my breast; which forc'd such way,
That many maz'd considerings did throng,
And press'd in with this caution. First, me-
I stood not in the smile of heaven; who had
Commanded nature, that my lady's womb,
If it conceiv'd a male child by me, should
Do no more offices of life to't, than
The grave does to the dead: for her male issue
Or died where they were made, or shortlv after
This world had air'd them: Hence I took a thought.
This was a judgement on me; that my kingdom,
Well worthy the best heir o'the world, should not
Be gladded in't by me: Then follows, that
I weigh'd the danger which my realms stood in
By this my issue's fail -. and that gave to me
Many a groaning throe. Thus "hulling in
The wild sea of my conscience, I did steer
Toward this remedy, whereupon we are
Now present here together; that's to say,
I meant to rectify my conscience,—which
I then did feel full sick, and yet not well,—
By all the reverend fathers of the land,
And doctors learn'd.—First, I began in private
With you, my lord of Lincoln; you remember
How under my oppression I did reek,
When I first mov'd you.
Lin. Very well, my liege.
K. Hen. I have spoke long; be pleas'd yourself to say How far you satisfy'd me.
Lin. So please your highness,
The question did at first so stagger me,—
Bearing a state of mighty moment in't,
And consequence of dread,—that I committed
The daring'st counsel which I had, to doubt;
And did entreat your highness to this course,
Which you are running here.
K. Hen. I then mov'd you,
My lord of Canterbury; and got your leave
To make this present summons:—Unsolicited
I left no reverend person in this court;
But by particular consent proceeded,
Under your hands and seals. Therefore, go on:
For no dislike i'the world against the person
Of the good queen, but the sharp thorny points
Of my alledged reasons, drive this forward:
Prove but our marriage lawful, by my life,
And kingly dignity, we are contented
To wear our mortal state to come, with her,
Katharine our queen, before the primest creature
That's paragon'd o'the world.
Cam. So please your highness,
The queen being absent, 'tis a needful fitness
That we adjourn this court till further day:
Mean while must be an earnest motion
Made to the queen, to call back her appeal
She intends unto his holiness. [They rise to depart.