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In tempting of your patience; but am bolden'd
Under your promis'd pardon. The subject's grief
Comes through commissions, which compel from each
The sixth part of his substance, to be levied
Without delay; and the pretence for this

Is nam'd, your wars in France: This makes bold mouths;
Tongues spit their duties out, and cold hearts freeze
Allegiance in them; their curses now,

Live where their prayers did; and it's come to pass,
That tractable obedience is a slave
To each incensed will. I would, your highness
Would give it quick consideration, for

There is no primer business.

K. Hen.

By my life,

And for me,

I have no further gone in this, than by
A single voice; and that not pass'd me, but
By learned approbation of the judges.

If I am traduc'd by tongues, which neither know

This is against our pleasure.

My faculties, nor person, yet will be

The chronicles of my doing,-let me say,

'Tis but the fate of place, and the rough brake
That virtue must go through. We must not stint
Our necessary actions, in the fear

To cope malicious censurers; which ever,
As ravenous fishes, do a vessel follow
That is new trimm'd; but benefit no further
Than vainly longing. What we oft do best,
By sick interpreters, once weak ones, is
Not ours, or not allow'd; what worst, as oft,
Hitting a grosser quality, is cried up
For our best act. If we shall stand still,
In fear our motion will be mock'd or carp'd at,
We should take root here where we sit, or sit
State statues only.

K. Hen.

Things done well,

And with a care, exempt themselves from fear;
Things done without example, in their issue
Are to be fear'd. Have you a precedent
Of this commission? I believe, not any.
We must not rend our subjects from our laws,
And stick them in our will. Sixth part of each?
A trembling contribution! Why, we take,
From every tree, lop, bark, and part o' the timber;
And, though we leave it with a root, thus hack'd,
The air will drink the sap. To every county,
Where this is question'd, send our letters, with
Free pardon to each man that has denied

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
Hardly conceive of me; let it be nois'd,
That, through our intercession, this revokement
And pardon comes: I shall anon advise you
Further in the proceeding.


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..

[To the Secretary.

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?

K. Hen.

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


Be't so:-Proceed.

Scribe. Say, Henry king of England, come into the court.
Crier. Henry king of England, come into court.
K. Hen. Here.

Scribe. Say, Katharine queen of England, come into court.
Crier. 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;
And to bestow your pity on me: for
I am a most poor woman, and a stranger,
Born 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
behavior 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 friends
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,
Upwards of twenty years. If, in the course
And process of this time, you can report,
And prove it too, against mine honor 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 judgment: 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!


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.



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.

To you I speak.

Lord cardinal.—

Your pleasure, madam?

Q. Kath.

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.


Be patient yet.

Q. Kath. I will, when you are humble; nay, before,
Or Heaven 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.-
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.


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 no more.
Q. Kath.

My lord, my lord,
I am a simple woman, much too weak

To oppose your cunning. You are meek, and humble-mouth'd;
You 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' favors,
Gone slightly o'er low steps; and now are mounted
Where powers are your retainers: and your words,
Domestics to you, serve your will, as't please
Yourself pronounce their office. I must tell you,
You tender more your person's honor, than

Your high profession spiritual: That again
I 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.

[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.
Grif. Madam, you 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.

K. Hen.

[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.



Nor. Observe, observe, he's moody.

Wol. The packet, Cromwell, gave it you the king?
Crom. To his own hand, in his bedchamber.
Wol. Look'd he o' the inside of the paper?


He did unseal them: and the first he view'd,
He did it with a serious mind; a heed

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