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  • Enter Chamberlain, reading a letter

  • 'My lord, the horses your lordship sent for, with
    all the care I had, I saw well chosen, ridden, and
    furnished. They were young and handsome, and of the
    best breed in the north. When they were ready to
    set out for London, a man of my lord cardinal's, by
    commission and main power, took 'em from me; with
    this reason: His master would be served before a
    subject, if not before the king; which stopped our
    mouths, sir.'
    I fear he will indeed: well, let him have them:
    He will have all, I think.

  • Enter, to Chamberlain, NORFOLK and SUFFOLK

  • Well met, my lord chamberlain.

  • Good day to both your graces.

  • How is the king employ'd?

  • I left him private,
    Full of sad thoughts and troubles.

  • What's the cause?

  • It seems the marriage with his brother's wife
    Has crept too near his conscience.

  • No, his conscience
    Has crept too near another lady.

  • 'Tis so:
    This is the cardinal's doing, the king-cardinal:
    That blind priest, like the eldest son of fortune,
    Turns what he list. The king will know him one day.

  • Pray God he do! he'll never know himself else.

  • How holily he works in all his business!
    And with what zeal! for, now he has crack'd the league
    Between us and the emperor, the queen's great nephew,
    He dives into the king's soul, and there scatters
    Dangers, doubts, wringing of the conscience,
    Fears, and despairs; and all these for his marriage:
    And out of all these to restore the king,
    He counsels a divorce; a loss of her
    That, like a jewel, has hung twenty years
    About his neck, yet never lost her lustre;
    Of her that loves him with that excellence
    That angels love good men with; even of her
    That, when the greatest stroke of fortune falls,
    Will bless the king: and is not this course pious?

  • Heaven keep me from such counsel! 'Tis most true
    These news are every where; every tongue speaks 'em,
    And every true heart weeps for't: all that dare
    Look into these affairs see this main end,
    The French king's sister. Heaven will one day open
    The king's eyes, that so long have slept upon
    This bold bad man.

  • And free us from his slavery.

  • We had need pray,
    And heartily, for our deliverance;
    Or this imperious man will work us all
    From princes into pages: all men's honours
    Lie like one lump before him, to be fashion'd
    Into what pitch he please.

  • For me, my lords,
    I love him not, nor fear him; there's my creed:
    As I am made without him, so I'll stand,
    If the king please; his curses and his blessings
    Touch me alike, they're breath I not believe in.
    I knew him, and I know him; so I leave him
    To him that made him proud, the pope.

  • Let's in;
    And with some other business put the king
    From these sad thoughts, that work too much upon him:
    My lord, you'll bear us company?

  • Excuse me;
    The king has sent me otherwhere: besides,
    You'll find a most unfit time to disturb him:
    Health to your lordships.

  • Thanks, my good lord chamberlain.

  • Exit Chamberlain; and KING HENRY VIII draws the
    curtain, and sits reading pensively

  • How sad he looks! sure, he is much afflicted.

  • Pray God he be not angry.

  • Who's there, I say? How dare you thrust yourselves
    Into my private meditations?
    Who am I? ha?

  • A gracious king that pardons all offences
    Malice ne'er meant: our breach of duty this way
    Is business of estate; in which we come
    To know your royal pleasure.

  • Ye are too bold:
    Go to; I'll make ye know your times of business:
    Is this an hour for temporal affairs, ha?
    a commission

    Who's there? my good lord cardinal? O my Wolsey,
    The quiet of my wounded conscience;
    Thou art a cure fit for a king.
    You're welcome,
    Most learned reverend sir, into our kingdom:
    Use us and it.
    My good lord, have great care
    I be not found a talker.

  • Sir, you cannot.
    I would your grace would give us but an hour
    Of private conference.

    We are busy; go.

  • Aside to SUFFOLK
    This priest has no pride in him?

  • Aside to NORFOLK Not to speak of:
    I would not be so sick though for his place:
    But this cannot continue.

  • Aside to SUFFOLK If it do,
    I'll venture one have-at-him.

  • Aside to NORFOLK I another.

  • Exeunt NORFOLK and SUFFOLK

  • Your grace has given a precedent of wisdom
    Above all princes, in committing freely
    Your scruple to the voice of Christendom:
    Who can be angry now? what envy reach you?
    The Spaniard, tied blood and favour to her,
    Must now confess, if they have any goodness,
    The trial just and noble. All the clerks,
    I mean the learned ones, in Christian kingdoms
    Have their free voices: Rome, the nurse of judgment,
    Invited by your noble self, hath sent
    One general tongue unto us, this good man,
    This just and learned priest, Cardinal Campeius;
    Whom once more I present unto your highness.

  • And once more in mine arms I bid him welcome,
    And thank the holy conclave for their loves:
    They have sent me such a man I would have wish'd for.

  • Your grace must needs deserve all strangers' loves,
    You are so noble. To your highness' hand
    I tender my commission; by whose virtue,
    The court of Rome commanding, you, my lord
    Cardinal of York, are join'd with me their servant
    In the unpartial judging of this business.

  • Two equal men. The queen shall be acquainted
    Forthwith for what you come. Where's Gardiner?

  • I know your majesty has always loved her
    So dear in heart, not to deny her that
    A woman of less place might ask by law:
    Scholars allow'd freely to argue for her.

  • Ay, and the best she shall have; and my favour
    To him that does best: God forbid else. Cardinal,
    Prithee, call Gardiner to me, my new secretary:
    I find him a fit fellow.



  • Aside to GARDINER Give me your hand much joy and
    favour to you;
    You are the king's now.

    But to be commanded
    For ever by your grace, whose hand has raised me.

  • Come hither, Gardiner.

  • Walks and whispers

  • My Lord of York, was not one Doctor Pace
    In this man's place before him?

  • Was he not held a learned man?

  • Believe me, there's an ill opinion spread then
    Even of yourself, lord cardinal.

  • They will not stick to say you envied him,
    And fearing he would rise, he was so virtuous,
    Kept him a foreign man still; which so grieved him,
    That he ran mad and died.

  • Heaven's peace be with him!
    That's Christian care enough: for living murmurers
    There's places of rebuke. He was a fool;
    For he would needs be virtuous: that good fellow,
    If I command him, follows my appointment:
    I will have none so near else. Learn this, brother,
    We live not to be grip'd by meaner persons.

  • Deliver this with modesty to the queen.
    The most convenient place that I can think of
    For such receipt of learning is Black-Friars;
    There ye shall meet about this weighty business.
    My Wolsey, see it furnish'd. O, my lord,
    Would it not grieve an able man to leave
    So sweet a bedfellow? But, conscience, conscience!
    O, 'tis a tender place; and I must leave her.