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Henry VIII - Act 2, scene 1
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Navigate this workHenry VIII - Act 2, scene 1
Act 2, scene 1
Buckingham, convicted of treason, is led to execution. He declares his innocence, forgives his enemies, and vows his loyalty to Henry. Two gentlemen then discuss the rumor that Henry is separating from Katherine.Enter two Gentlemen at several doors.
0777 Whither away so fast?
SECOND GENTLEMAN 0778 O, God save you.
0779 E’en to the Hall to hear what shall become
0780 Of the great Duke of Buckingham.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 0781 5 I’ll save you
0782 That labor, sir. All’s now done but the ceremony
0783 Of bringing back the prisoner.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 0784 Were you there?
0785 Yes, indeed was I.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 0786 10 Pray speak what has happened.
0787 You may guess quickly what.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 0788 Is he found guilty?
0789 Yes, truly, is he, and condemned upon ’t.
0790 I am sorry for ’t.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 0791 15 So are a number more.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 0792 But pray, how passed it?
0793 I’ll tell you in a little. The great duke
0794 Came to the bar, where to his accusations
p. 630795 He pleaded still not guilty and alleged
0796 20 Many sharp reasons to defeat the law.
0797 The King’s attorney on the contrary
0798 Urged on the examinations, proofs, confessions
0799 Of divers witnesses, which the Duke desired
0800 To him brought viva voce to his face;
0801 25 At which appeared against him his surveyor,
0802 Sir Gilbert Peck his chancellor, and John Car,
0803 Confessor to him, with that devil monk,
0804 Hopkins, that made this mischief.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 0805 That was he
0806 30 That fed him with his prophecies?
FIRST GENTLEMAN 0807 The same.
0808 All these accused him strongly, which he fain
0809 Would have flung from him, but indeed he could not.
0810 And so his peers upon this evidence
0811 35 Have found him guilty of high treason. Much
0812 He spoke, and learnèdly, for life, but all
0813 Was either pitied in him or forgotten.
0814 After all this, how did he bear himself?
0815 When he was brought again to th’ bar to hear
0816 40 His knell rung out, his judgment, he was stirred
0817 With such an agony he sweat extremely
0818 And something spoke in choler, ill and hasty.
0819 But he fell to himself again, and sweetly
0820 In all the rest showed a most noble patience.
0821 45 I do not think he fears death.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 0822 Sure he does not;
0823 He never was so womanish. The cause
0824 He may a little grieve at.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 0825 Certainly
0826 50 The Cardinal is the end of this.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 0827 ’Tis likely,
p. 650828 By all conjectures; first, Kildare’s attainder,
0829 Then Deputy of Ireland, who, removed,
0830 Earl Surrey was sent thither, and in haste too,
0831 55 Lest he should help his father.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 0832 That trick of state
0833 Was a deep envious one.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 0834 At his return
0835 No doubt he will requite it. This is noted,
0836 60 And generally: whoever the King favors,
0837 The Card’nal instantly will find employment,
0838 And far enough from court too.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 0839 All the commons
0840 Hate him perniciously and, o’ my conscience,
0841 65 Wish him ten fathom deep. This duke as much
0842 They love and dote on, call him bounteous
0844 The mirror of all courtesy.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 0845 Stay there, sir,
0846 70 And see the noble ruined man you speak of.
Enter Buckingham from his arraignment, Tipstaves before
him, the ax with the edge towards him, Halberds on each
side, accompanied with Sir Thomas Lovell, Sir Nicholas
Vaux, Sir Walter Sands, and Common People, etc.
0847 Let’s stand close and behold him.
BUCKINGHAM 0848 All good people,
0849 You that thus far have come to pity me,
0850 Hear what I say, and then go home and lose me.
0851 75 I have this day received a traitor’s judgment,
0852 And by that name must die. Yet heaven bear witness,
0853 And if I have a conscience, let it sink me
0854 Even as the ax falls, if I be not faithful!
0855 The law I bear no malice for my death;
0856 80 ’T has done, upon the premises, but justice.
0857 But those that sought it I could wish more ⌜Christian.⌝
p. 670858 Be what they will, I heartily forgive ’em.
0859 Yet let ’em look they glory not in mischief,
0860 Nor build their evils on the graves of great men,
0861 85 For then my guiltless blood must cry against ’em.
0862 For further life in this world I ne’er hope,
0863 Nor will I sue, although the King have mercies
0864 More than I dare make faults. You few that loved me
0865 And dare be bold to weep for Buckingham,
0866 90 His noble friends and fellows, whom to leave
0867 Is only bitter to him, only dying,
0868 Go with me like good angels to my end,
0869 And as the long divorce of steel falls on me,
0870 Make of your prayers one sweet sacrifice,
0871 95 And lift my soul to heaven.—Lead on, a’ God’s name.
0872 I do beseech your Grace, for charity,
0873 If ever any malice in your heart
0874 Were hid against me, now to forgive me frankly.
0875 Sir Thomas Lovell, I as free forgive you
0876 100 As I would be forgiven. I forgive all.
0877 There cannot be those numberless offenses
0878 ’Gainst me that I cannot take peace with. No black
0880 Shall make my grave. Commend me to his Grace.
0881 105 And if he speak of Buckingham, pray tell him
0882 You met him half in heaven. My vows and prayers
0883 Yet are the King’s and, till my soul forsake,
0884 Shall cry for blessings on him. May he live
0885 Longer than I have time to tell his years.
0886 110 Ever beloved and loving may his rule be;
0887 And when old Time shall lead him to his end,
0888 Goodness and he fill up one monument!
0889 To th’ waterside I must conduct your Grace,
0890 Then give my charge up to Sir Nicholas Vaux,
0891 115 Who undertakes you to your end.
p. 69VAUX, ⌜calling as to Officers offstage⌝ 0892 Prepare there!
0893 The Duke is coming. See the barge be ready,
0894 And fit it with such furniture as suits
0895 The greatness of his person.
BUCKINGHAM 0896 120 Nay, Sir Nicholas,
0897 Let it alone. My state now will but mock me.
0898 When I came hither, I was Lord High Constable
0899 And Duke of Buckingham; now, poor Edward Bohun.
0900 Yet I am richer than my base accusers,
0901 125 That never knew what truth meant. I now seal it,
0902 And with that blood will make ’em one day groan for ’t.
0903 My noble father, Henry of Buckingham,
0904 Who first raised head against usurping Richard,
0905 Flying for succor to his servant Banister,
0906 130 Being distressed, was by that wretch betrayed,
0907 And, without trial, fell. God’s peace be with him.
0908 Henry the Seventh, succeeding, truly pitying
0909 My father’s loss, like a most royal prince
0910 Restored me to my honors and out of ruins
0911 135 Made my name once more noble. Now his son,
0912 Henry the Eighth, life, honor, name, and all
0913 That made me happy at one stroke has taken
0914 Forever from the world. I had my trial,
0915 And must needs say a noble one, which makes me
0916 140 A little happier than my wretched father.
0917 Yet thus far we are one in fortunes: both
0918 Fell by our servants, by those men we loved most—
0919 A most unnatural and faithless service.
0920 Heaven has an end in all; yet, you that hear me,
0921 145 This from a dying man receive as certain:
0922 Where you are liberal of your loves and counsels
0923 Be sure you be not loose; for those you make friends
0924 And give your hearts to, when they once perceive
0925 The least rub in your fortunes, fall away
0926 150 Like water from you, never found again
p. 710927 But where they mean to sink you. All good people,
0928 Pray for me. I must now forsake you. The last hour
0929 Of my long weary life is come upon me.
0930 Farewell. And when you would say something that
0931 155 is sad,
0932 Speak how I fell. I have done; and God forgive me.
Duke and train exit.
0933 O, this is full of pity, sir! It calls,
0934 I fear, too many curses on their heads
0935 That were the authors.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 0936 160 If the Duke be guiltless,
0937 ’Tis full of woe. Yet I can give you inkling
0938 Of an ensuing evil, if it fall,
0939 Greater than this.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 0940 Good angels keep it from us!
0941 165 What may it be? You do not doubt my faith, sir?
0942 This secret is so weighty ’twill require
0943 A strong faith to conceal it.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 0944 Let me have it.
0945 I do not talk much.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 0946 170 I am confident;
0947 You shall, sir. Did you not of late days hear
0948 A buzzing of a separation
0949 Between the King and Katherine?
FIRST GENTLEMAN 0950 Yes, but it held not;
0951 175 For when the King once heard it, out of anger
0952 He sent command to the Lord Mayor straight
0953 To stop the rumor and allay those tongues
0954 That durst disperse it.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 0955 But that slander, sir,
0956 180 Is found a truth now, for it grows again
0957 Fresher than e’er it was, and held for certain
0958 The King will venture at it. Either the Cardinal,
0959 Or some about him near, have, out of malice
p. 730960 To the good queen, possessed him with a scruple
0961 185 That will undo her. To confirm this too,
0962 Cardinal Campeius is arrived, and lately,
0963 As all think, for this business.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 0964 ’Tis the Cardinal;
0965 And merely to revenge him on the Emperor
0966 190 For not bestowing on him at his asking
0967 The archbishopric of Toledo this is purposed.
0968 I think you have hit the mark. But is ’t not cruel
0969 That she should feel the smart of this? The Cardinal
0970 Will have his will, and she must fall.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 0971 195 ’Tis woeful.
0972 We are too open here to argue this.
0973 Let’s think in private more.