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Henry VIII - Act 1, scene 1
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Navigate this workHenry VIII - Act 1, scene 1
Act 1, scene 1
The Duke of Buckingham, learning the details of the costly and ultimately fruitless meeting of French and English at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, threatens to expose the powerful Cardinal Wolsey, whose manipulation of the event and of the failed treaty makes him a traitor in Buckingham’s eyes. Before Buckingham can act, Wolsey has him arrested.Enter the Duke of Norfolk at one door; at the other, the
Duke of Buckingham and the Lord Abergavenny.
0033 Good morrow, and well met. How have you done
0034 Since last we saw in France?
NORFOLK 0035 I thank your Grace,
0036 Healthful, and ever since a fresh admirer
0037 5 Of what I saw there.
BUCKINGHAM 0038 An untimely ague
0039 Stayed me a prisoner in my chamber when
0040 Those suns of glory, those two lights of men,
0041 Met in the vale of Andren.
NORFOLK 0042 10 ’Twixt Guynes and Arde.
0043 I was then present, saw them salute on horseback,
0044 Beheld them when they lighted, how they clung
0045 In their embracement, as they grew together—
0046 Which had they, what four throned ones could have
0047 15 weighed
0048 Such a compounded one?
BUCKINGHAM 0049 All the whole time
0050 I was my chamber’s prisoner.
NORFOLK 0051 Then you lost
0052 20 The view of earthly glory. Men might say
0053 Till this time pomp was single, but now married
0054 To one above itself. Each following day
p. 110055 Became the next day’s master, till the last
0056 Made former wonders its. Today the French,
0057 25 All clinquant, all in gold, like heathen gods,
0058 Shone down the English, and tomorrow they
0059 Made Britain India: every man that stood
0060 Showed like a mine. Their dwarfish pages were
0061 As cherubins, all gilt. The madams too,
0062 30 Not used to toil, did almost sweat to bear
0063 The pride upon them, that their very labor
0064 Was to them as a painting. Now this masque
0065 Was cried incomparable; and th’ ensuing night
0066 Made it a fool and beggar. The two kings,
0067 35 Equal in luster, were now best, now worst,
0068 As presence did present them: him in eye
0069 Still him in praise; and being present both,
0070 ’Twas said they saw but one, and no discerner
0071 Durst wag his tongue in censure. When these suns—
0072 40 For so they phrase ’em—by their heralds challenged
0073 The noble spirits to arms, they did perform
0074 Beyond thought’s compass, that former fabulous story,
0075 Being now seen possible enough, got credit
0076 That Bevis was believed.
BUCKINGHAM 0077 45 O, you go far.
0078 As I belong to worship, and affect
0079 In honor honesty, the tract of everything
0080 Would by a good discourser lose some life
0081 Which action’s self was tongue to. All was royal;
0082 50 To the disposing of it naught rebelled.
0083 Order gave each thing view. The office did
0084 Distinctly his full function.
BUCKINGHAM 0085 Who did guide,
0086 I mean who set the body and the limbs
0087 55 Of this great sport together, as you guess?
0088 One, certes, that promises no element
0089 In such a business.
p. 13BUCKINGHAM 0090 I pray you who, my lord?
0091 All this was ordered by the good discretion
0092 60 Of the right reverend Cardinal of York.
0093 The devil speed him! No man’s pie is freed
0094 From his ambitious finger. What had he
0095 To do in these fierce vanities? I wonder
0096 That such a keech can with his very bulk
0097 65 Take up the rays o’ th’ beneficial sun
0098 And keep it from the Earth.
NORFOLK 0099 Surely, sir,
0100 There’s in him stuff that puts him to these ends;
0101 For, being not propped by ancestry, whose grace
0102 70 Chalks successors their way, nor called upon
0103 For high feats done to th’ crown, neither allied
0104 To eminent assistants, but spiderlike,
0105 Out of his self-drawing web, ⌜he⌝ gives us note
0106 The force of his own merit makes his way—
0107 75 A gift that heaven gives for him which buys
0108 A place next to the King.
ABERGAVENNY 0109 I cannot tell
0110 What heaven hath given him—let some graver eye
0111 Pierce into that—but I can see his pride
0112 80 Peep through each part of him. Whence has he that?
0113 If not from hell, the devil is a niggard,
0114 Or has given all before, and he begins
0115 A new hell in himself.
BUCKINGHAM 0116 Why the devil,
0117 85 Upon this French going-out, took he upon him,
0118 Without the privity o’ th’ King, t’ appoint
0119 Who should attend on him? He makes up the file
0120 Of all the gentry, for the most part such
0121 To whom as great a charge as little honor
0122 90 He meant to lay upon; and his own letter,
0123 The honorable board of council out,
0124 Must fetch him in he papers.
p. 15ABERGAVENNY 0125 I do know
0126 Kinsmen of mine, three at the least, that have
0127 95 By this so sickened their estates that never
0128 They shall abound as formerly.
BUCKINGHAM 0129 O, many
0130 Have broke their backs with laying manors on ’em
0131 For this great journey. What did this vanity
0132 100 But minister communication of
0133 A most poor issue?
NORFOLK 0134 Grievingly I think
0135 The peace between the French and us not values
0136 The cost that did conclude it.
BUCKINGHAM 0137 105 Every man,
0138 After the hideous storm that followed, was
0139 A thing inspired and, not consulting, broke
0140 Into a general prophecy: that this tempest,
0141 Dashing the garment of this peace, aboded
0142 110 The sudden breach on ’t.
NORFOLK 0143 Which is budded out,
0144 For France hath flawed the league and hath attached
0145 Our merchants’ goods at Bordeaux.
ABERGAVENNY 0146 Is it therefore
0147 115 Th’ ambassador is silenced?
NORFOLK 0148 Marry, is ’t.
0149 A proper title of a peace, and purchased
0150 At a superfluous rate!
BUCKINGHAM 0151 Why, all this business
0152 120 Our reverend cardinal carried.
NORFOLK 0153 Like it your Grace,
0154 The state takes notice of the private difference
0155 Betwixt you and the Cardinal. I advise you—
0156 And take it from a heart that wishes towards you
0157 125 Honor and plenteous safety—that you read
0158 The Cardinal’s malice and his potency
0159 Together; to consider further that
p. 170160 What his high hatred would effect wants not
0161 A minister in his power. You know his nature,
0162 130 That he’s revengeful, and I know his sword
0163 Hath a sharp edge; it’s long, and ’t may be said
0164 It reaches far, and where ’twill not extend,
0165 Thither he darts it. Bosom up my counsel;
0166 You’ll find it wholesome. Lo where comes that rock
0167 135 That I advise your shunning.
Enter Cardinal Wolsey, the purse borne before him,
certain of the Guard, and two Secretaries with papers.
The Cardinal in his passage fixeth his eye on Buckingham,
and Buckingham on him, both full of disdain.
WOLSEY, ⌜aside to a Secretary⌝
0168 The Duke of Buckingham’s surveyor, ha?
0169 Where’s his examination?
SECRETARY 0170 Here, so please you.
⌜He hands Wolsey a paper.⌝
0171 Is he in person ready?
SECRETARY 0172 140 Ay, please your Grace.
0173 Well, we shall then know more, and Buckingham
0174 Shall lessen this big look.
Cardinal ⌜Wolsey⌝ and his train exit.
0175 This butcher’s cur is venomed-mouthed, and I
0176 Have not the power to muzzle him; therefore best
0177 145 Not wake him in his slumber. A beggar’s book
0178 Outworths a noble’s blood.
NORFOLK 0179 What, are you chafed?
0180 Ask God for temp’rance. That’s th’ appliance only
0181 Which your disease requires.
BUCKINGHAM 0182 150 I read in ’s looks
0183 Matter against me, and his eye reviled
0184 Me as his abject object. At this instant
p. 190185 He bores me with some trick. He’s gone to th’ King.
0186 I’ll follow and outstare him.
NORFOLK 0187 155 Stay, my lord,
0188 And let your reason with your choler question
0189 What ’tis you go about. To climb steep hills
0190 Requires slow pace at first. Anger is like
0191 A full hot horse who, being allowed his way,
0192 160 Self-mettle tires him. Not a man in England
0193 Can advise me like you; be to yourself
0194 As you would to your friend.
BUCKINGHAM 0195 I’ll to the King,
0196 And from a mouth of honor quite cry down
0197 165 This Ipswich fellow’s insolence, or proclaim
0198 There’s difference in no persons.
NORFOLK 0199 Be advised.
0200 Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot
0201 That it do singe yourself. We may outrun
0202 170 By violent swiftness that which we run at
0203 And lose by overrunning. Know you not
0204 The fire that mounts the liquor till ’t run o’er
0205 In seeming to augment it wastes it? Be advised.
0206 I say again there is no English soul
0207 175 More stronger to direct you than yourself,
0208 If with the sap of reason you would quench
0209 Or but allay the fire of passion.
BUCKINGHAM 0210 Sir,
0211 I am thankful to you, and I’ll go along
0212 180 By your prescription. But this top-proud fellow—
0213 Whom from the flow of gall I name not, but
0214 From sincere motions—by intelligence,
0215 And proofs as clear as founts in July when
0216 We see each grain of gravel, I do know
0217 185 To be corrupt and treasonous.
NORFOLK 0218 Say not “treasonous.”
0219 To th’ King I’ll say ’t, and make my vouch as strong
p. 210220 As shore of rock. Attend. This holy fox,
0221 Or wolf, or both—for he is equal rav’nous
0222 190 As he is subtle, and as prone to mischief
0223 As able to perform ’t, his mind and place
0224 Infecting one another, yea reciprocally—
0225 Only to show his pomp as well in France
0226 As here at home, suggests the King our master
0227 195 To this last costly treaty, th’ interview
0228 That swallowed so much treasure and like a glass
0229 Did break i’ th’ rinsing.
NORFOLK 0230 Faith, and so it did.
0231 Pray give me favor, sir. This cunning cardinal
0232 200 The articles o’ th’ combination drew
0233 As himself pleased; and they were ratified
0234 As he cried “Thus let be,” to as much end
0235 As give a crutch to th’ dead. But our Count Cardinal
0236 Has done this, and ’tis well, for worthy Wolsey,
0237 205 Who cannot err, he did it. Now this follows—
0238 Which, as I take it, is a kind of puppy
0239 To th’ old dam treason: Charles the Emperor,
0240 Under pretense to see the Queen his aunt—
0241 For ’twas indeed his color, but he came
0242 210 To whisper Wolsey—here makes visitation;
0243 His fears were that the interview betwixt
0244 England and France might through their amity
0245 Breed him some prejudice, for from this league
0246 Peeped harms that menaced him; privily
0247 215 Deals with our cardinal and, as I trow—
0248 Which I do well, for I am sure the Emperor
0249 Paid ere he promised, whereby his suit was granted
0250 Ere it was asked. But when the way was made
0251 And paved with gold, the Emperor thus desired
0252 220 That he would please to alter the King’s course
0253 And break the foresaid peace. Let the King know—
0254 As soon he shall by me—that thus the Cardinal
p. 230255 Does buy and sell his honor as he pleases
0256 And for his own advantage.
NORFOLK 0257 225 I am sorry
0258 To hear this of him, and could wish he were
0259 Something mistaken in ’t.
BUCKINGHAM 0260 No, not a syllable.
0261 I do pronounce him in that very shape
0262 230 He shall appear in proof.
Enter Brandon, a Sergeant-at-Arms before him, and two
or three of the Guard.
0263 Your office, Sergeant: execute it.
SERGEANT, ⌜to Buckingham⌝ 0264 Sir,
0265 My lord the Duke of Buckingham and Earl
0266 Of Hertford, Stafford, and Northampton, I
0267 235 Arrest thee of high treason, in the name
0268 Of our most sovereign king.
BUCKINGHAM, ⌜to Norfolk⌝ 0269 Lo you, my lord,
0270 The net has fall’n upon me. I shall perish
0271 Under device and practice.
BRANDON 0272 240 I am sorry
0273 To see you ta’en from liberty, to look on
0274 The business present. ’Tis his Highness’ pleasure
0275 You shall to th’ Tower.
BUCKINGHAM 0276 It will help me nothing
0277 245 To plead mine innocence, for that dye is on me
0278 Which makes my whit’st part black. The will of heaven
0279 Be done in this and all things. I obey.
0280 O my Lord Abergavenny, fare you well.
0281 Nay, he must bear you company.—The King
0282 250 Is pleased you shall to th’ Tower, till you know
0283 How he determines further.
ABERGAVENNY 0284 As the Duke said,
0285 The will of heaven be done, and the King’s pleasure
0286 By me obeyed.
p. 25BRANDON 0287 255 Here is a warrant from
0288 The King t’ attach Lord Mountacute, and the bodies
0289 Of the Duke’s confessor, John de la Car,
0290 One Gilbert Peck, his counselor—
BUCKINGHAM 0291 So, so;
0292 260 These are the limbs o’ th’ plot. No more, I hope.
0293 A monk o’ th’ Chartreux.
BUCKINGHAM 0294 O, Michael Hopkins?
BRANDON 0295 He.
0296 My surveyor is false. The o’ergreat cardinal
0297 265 Hath showed him gold. My life is spanned already.
0298 I am the shadow of poor Buckingham,
0299 Whose figure even this instant cloud puts on
0300 By dark’ning my clear sun. ⌜To Norfolk.⌝ My ⌜lord,⌝