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Henry VIII - Act 2, scene 2
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Navigate this workHenry VIII - Act 2, scene 2
Act 2, scene 2
Norfolk, Suffolk, and the Lord Chamberlain join in denouncing Wolsey. They hold him responsible for dividing Henry from Katherine, and see the threatened divorce as serving Wolsey’s desire that Henry marry the French king’s sister. When Norfolk and Suffolk break in on the king’s privacy, he rebukes them and sends them away while welcoming Wolsey and Cardinal Campeius, the papal legate. Henry is delighted that the divorce proceedings can go forward.Enter Lord Chamberlain, reading this letter.
⌜CHAMBERLAIN⌝ 0974 My lord, the horses your Lordship sent
0975 for, with all the care I had I saw well chosen, ridden,
0976 and furnished. They were young and handsome and
0977 of the best breed in the north. When they were ready
0978 5 to set out for London, a man of my Lord Cardinal’s,
0979 by commission and main power, took ’em from me
0980 with this reason: his master would be served before
0981 a subject, if not before the King, which stopped our
0982 mouths, sir.
0983 10 I fear he will indeed; well, let him have them.
0984 He will have all, I think.
Enter to the Lord Chamberlain, the Dukes
of Norfolk and Suffolk.
NORFOLK 0985 Well met, my Lord Chamberlain.
CHAMBERLAIN 0986 Good day to both your Graces.
0987 How is the King employed?
CHAMBERLAIN 0988 15 I left him private,
0989 Full of sad thoughts and troubles.
NORFOLK 0990 What’s the cause?
0991 It seems the marriage with his brother’s wife
0992 Has crept too near his conscience.
SUFFOLK 0993 20 No, his conscience
0994 Has crept too near another lady.
NORFOLK 0995 ’Tis so;
0996 This is the Cardinal’s doing. The king-cardinal,
0997 That blind priest, like the eldest son of Fortune,
0998 25 Turns what he list. The King will know him one day.
0999 Pray God he do! He’ll never know himself else.
1000 How holily he works in all his business,
1001 And with what zeal! For, now he has cracked the
1003 30 Between us and the Emperor, the Queen’s
1005 He dives into the King’s soul and there scatters
1006 Dangers, doubts, wringing of the conscience,
1007 Fears and despairs—and all these for his marriage.
1008 35 And out of all these to restore the King,
1009 He counsels a divorce, a loss of her
1010 That like a jewel has hung twenty years
1011 About his neck, yet never lost her luster;
1012 Of her that loves him with that excellence
1013 40 That angels love good men with; even of her
1014 That, when the greatest stroke of fortune falls,
1015 Will bless the King. And is not this course pious?
1016 Heaven keep me from such counsel! ’Tis most true:
1017 These news are everywhere, every tongue speaks ’em,
p. 771018 45 And every true heart weeps for ’t. All that dare
1019 Look into these affairs see this main end,
1020 The French king’s sister. Heaven will one day open
1021 The King’s eyes, that so long have slept upon
1022 This bold bad man.
SUFFOLK 1023 50And free us from his slavery.
NORFOLK 1024 We had need pray,
1025 And heartily, for our deliverance,
1026 Or this imperious man will work us all
1027 From princes into pages. All men’s honors
1028 55 Lie like one lump before him, to be fashioned
1029 Into what pitch he please.
SUFFOLK 1030 For me, my lords,
1031 I love him not nor fear him; there’s my creed.
1032 As I am made without him, so I’ll stand,
1033 60 If the King please. His curses and his blessings
1034 Touch me alike: they’re breath I not believe in.
1035 I knew him and I know him; so I leave him
1036 To him that made him proud, the Pope.
NORFOLK 1037 Let’s in,
1038 65 And with some other business put the King
1039 From these sad thoughts that work too much upon
1041 My lord, you’ll bear us company?
CHAMBERLAIN 1042 Excuse me;
1043 70 The King has sent me otherwhere. Besides,
1044 You’ll find a most unfit time to disturb him.
1045 Health to your Lordships.
NORFOLK 1046 Thanks, my good Lord
Lord Chamberlain exits; and the King draws
the curtain and sits reading pensively.
SUFFOLK, ⌜to Norfolk⌝
1048 75 How sad he looks! Sure he is much afflicted.
1049 Who’s there? Ha?
p. 79NORFOLK, ⌜to Suffolk⌝ 1050 Pray God he be not angry.
1051 Who’s there, I say? How dare you thrust yourselves
1052 Into my private meditations? Who am I, ha?
1053 80 A gracious king that pardons all offenses
1054 Malice ne’er meant. Our breach of duty this way
1055 Is business of estate, in which we come
1056 To know your royal pleasure.
KING 1057 You are too bold.
1058 85 Go to; I’ll make you know your times of business.
1059 Is this an hour for temporal affairs, ha?
Enter Wolsey and Campeius, with a commission.
1060 Who’s there? My good Lord Cardinal? O my Wolsey,
1061 The quiet of my wounded conscience,
1062 Thou art a cure fit for a king. ⌜To Campeius.⌝ You’re
1063 90 welcome,
1064 Most learnèd reverend sir, into our kingdom.
1065 Use us and it.—My good lord, have great care
1066 I be not found a talker.
WOLSEY 1067 Sir, you cannot.
1068 95 I would your Grace would give us but an hour
1069 Of private conference.
KING, ⌜to Norfolk and Suffolk⌝ 1070 We are busy. Go.
NORFOLK, ⌜aside to Suffolk⌝
1071 This priest has no pride in him?
SUFFOLK, ⌜aside to Norfolk⌝ 1072 Not to speak of.
1073 100 I would not be so sick, though for his place.
1074 But this cannot continue.
NORFOLK, ⌜aside to Suffolk⌝ 1075 If it do,
1076 I’ll venture one have-at-him.
SUFFOLK, ⌜aside to Norfolk⌝ 1077 I another.
Norfolk and Suffolk exit.
1078 105 Your Grace has given a precedent of wisdom
p. 811079 Above all princes in committing freely
1080 Your scruple to the voice of Christendom.
1081 Who can be angry now? What envy reach you?
1082 The Spaniard, tied by blood and favor to her,
1083 110 Must now confess, if they have any goodness,
1084 The trial just and noble; all the clerks—
1085 I mean the learnèd ones in Christian kingdoms—
1086 Have their free voices; Rome, the nurse of judgment,
1087 Invited by your noble self, hath sent
1088 115 One general tongue unto us, this good man,
1089 This just and learnèd priest, Cardinal Campeius,
1090 Whom once more I present unto your Highness.
1091 And once more in mine arms I bid him welcome,
1092 And thank the holy conclave for their loves.
1093 120 They have sent me such a man I would have wished
1094 for.⌜He embraces Campeius.⌝
CAMPEIUS, ⌜handing the King a paper⌝
1095 Your Grace must needs deserve all strangers’ loves,
1096 You are so noble. To your Highness’ hand
1097 I tender my commission—by whose virtue,
1098 125 The court of Rome commanding, you, my Lord
1099 Cardinal of York, are joined with me their servant
1100 In the unpartial judging of this business.
1101 Two equal men. The Queen shall be acquainted
1102 Forthwith for what you come. Where’s Gardiner?
1103 130 I know your Majesty has always loved her
1104 So dear in heart not to deny her that
1105 A woman of less place might ask by law:
1106 Scholars allowed freely to argue for her.
1107 Ay, and the best she shall have, and my favor
1108 135 To him that does best. God forbid else. Cardinal,
p. 831109 Prithee call Gardiner to me, my new secretary.
1110 I find him a fit fellow.⌜Wolsey goes to the door.⌝
Enter Gardiner ⌜to Wolsey.⌝
WOLSEY, ⌜aside to Gardiner⌝
1111 Give me your hand. Much joy and favor to you.
1112 You are the King’s now.
GARDINER, ⌜aside to Wolsey⌝ 1113 140 But to be commanded
1114 Forever by your Grace, whose hand has raised me.
KING 1115 Come hither, Gardiner.
⌜The King and Gardiner⌝ walk and whisper.
1116 My lord of York, was not one Doctor Pace
1117 In this man’s place before him?
WOLSEY 1118 145 Yes, he was.
1119 Was he not held a learnèd man?
WOLSEY 1120 Yes, surely.
1121 Believe me, there’s an ill opinion spread, then,
1122 Even of yourself, Lord Cardinal.
WOLSEY 1123 150 How? Of me?
1124 They will not stick to say you envied him
1125 And, fearing he would rise—he was so virtuous—
1126 Kept him a foreign man still, which so grieved him
1127 That he ran mad and died.
WOLSEY 1128 155 Heav’n’s peace be with him!
1129 That’s Christian care enough. For living murmurers,
1130 There’s places of rebuke. He was a fool,
1131 For he would needs be virtuous. That good fellow
1132 If I command him follows my appointment.
1133 160 I will have none so near else. Learn this, brother:
1134 We live not to be griped by meaner persons.
p. 85KING, ⌜to Gardiner⌝
1135 Deliver this with modesty to th’ Queen.
1136 The most convenient place that I can think of
1137 For such receipt of learning is Blackfriars.
1138 165 There you shall meet about this weighty business.
1139 My Wolsey, see it furnished. O, my lord,
1140 Would it not grieve an able man to leave
1141 So sweet a bedfellow? But, conscience, conscience!
1142 O, ’tis a tender place, and I must leave her.