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Henry VIII - Act 5, scene 2
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Navigate this workHenry VIII - Act 5, scene 2
Act 5, scene 2
Cranmer suffers the public humiliation of being locked out of a Privy Council meeting. Allowed in, he is then threatened with confinement in prison. He quells this threat by showing the king’s ring. The king then enters and orders his councillors to reconcile themselves to Cranmer and asks him to be godfather to the royal newborn.Enter Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury. ⌜(Pages,
Footboys, Grooms, and other servants attend at the
2835 I hope I am not too late, and yet the gentleman
2836 That was sent to me from the Council prayed me
2837 To make great haste.⌜He tries the door.⌝
2838 All fast? What means this? Ho!
2839 5 Who waits there?
2840 Sure you know me!
KEEPER 2841 Yes, my lord,
2842 But yet I cannot help you.
CRANMER 2843 Why?
2844 10 Your Grace must wait till you be called for.
CRANMER 2845 So.
p. 207Enter Doctor Butts.
2846 This is a ⌜piece⌝ of malice. I am glad
2847 I came this way so happily. The King
2848 Shall understand it presently.Butts exits.
CRANMER, ⌜aside⌝ 2849 15 ’Tis Butts,
2850 The King’s physician. As he passed along
2851 How earnestly he cast his eyes upon me!
2852 Pray heaven he sound not my disgrace. For certain
2853 This is of purpose laid by some that hate me—
2854 20 God turn their hearts! I never sought their malice—
2855 To quench mine honor. They would shame to make me
2856 Wait else at door, a fellow councillor,
2857 ’Mong boys, grooms, and lackeys. But their pleasures
2858 Must be fulfilled, and I attend with patience.
Enter the King and Butts at a window above.
2859 25 I’ll show your Grace the strangest sight.
KING 2860 What’s that,
2862 I think your Highness saw this many a day.
2863 Body o’ me, where is it?
BUTTS 2864 30 There, my lord:
2865 The high promotion of his Grace of Canterbury,
2866 Who holds his state at door, ’mongst pursuivants,
2867 Pages, and footboys.
KING 2868 Ha! ’Tis he indeed.
2869 35 Is this the honor they do one another?
2870 ’Tis well there’s one above ’em yet. I had thought
2871 They had parted so much honesty among ’em—
2872 At least good manners—as not thus to suffer
p. 2092873 A man of his place, and so near our favor,
2874 40 To dance attendance on their Lordships’ pleasures,
2875 And at the door, too, like a post with packets.
2876 By holy Mary, Butts, there’s knavery!
2877 Let ’em alone, and draw the curtain close.
2878 We shall hear more anon.⌜They draw the curtain.⌝
A council table brought in with chairs and stools and
placed under the state. Enter Lord Chancellor, places
himself at the upper end of the table on the left hand, a
seat being left void above him, as for Canterbury’s seat.
Duke of Suffolk, Duke of Norfolk, Surrey, Lord
Chamberlain, Gardiner seat themselves in order on each
side, Cromwell at lower end as secretary.
2879 45 Speak to the business, Master Secretary.
2880 Why are we met in council?
CROMWELL 2881 Please your honors,
2882 The chief cause concerns his Grace of Canterbury.
2883 Has he had knowledge of it?
CROMWELL 2884 50 Yes.
NORFOLK, ⌜to Keeper⌝ 2885 Who waits there?
2886 Without, my noble lords?
GARDINER 2887 Yes.
KEEPER 2888 My lord Archbishop,
2889 55 And has done half an hour, to know your pleasures.
2890 Let him come in.
KEEPER, ⌜at door⌝ 2891 Your Grace may enter now.
Cranmer approaches the council table.
2892 My good lord Archbishop, I’m very sorry
2893 To sit here at this present and behold
2894 60 That chair stand empty. But we all are men,
p. 2112895 In our own natures frail, and capable
2896 Of our flesh—few are angels—out of which frailty
2897 And want of wisdom you, that best should teach us,
2898 Have misdemeaned yourself, and not a little,
2899 65 Toward the King first, then his laws, in filling
2900 The whole realm, by your teaching and your
2902 For so we are informed—with new opinions,
2903 Divers and dangerous, which are heresies
2904 70 And, not reformed, may prove pernicious.
2905 Which reformation must be sudden too,
2906 My noble lords; for those that tame wild horses
2907 Pace ’em not in their hands to make ’em gentle,
2908 But stop their mouths with stubborn bits, and spur ’em
2909 75 Till they obey the manage. If we suffer,
2910 Out of our easiness and childish pity
2911 To one man’s honor, this contagious sickness,
2912 Farewell, all physic. And what follows then?
2913 Commotions, uproars, with a general taint
2914 80 Of the whole state, as of late days our neighbors,
2915 The upper Germany, can dearly witness,
2916 Yet freshly pitied in our memories.
2917 My good lords, hitherto, in all the progress
2918 Both of my life and office, I have labored,
2919 85 And with no little study, that my teaching
2920 And the strong course of my authority
2921 Might go one way and safely; and the end
2922 Was ever to do well. Nor is there living—
2923 I speak it with a single heart, my lords—
2924 90 A man that more detests, more stirs against,
2925 Both in his private conscience and his place,
2926 Defacers of a public peace than I do.
2927 Pray heaven the King may never find a heart
p. 2132928 With less allegiance in it! Men that make
2929 95 Envy and crookèd malice nourishment
2930 Dare bite the best. I do beseech your Lordships
2931 That, in this case of justice, my accusers,
2932 Be what they will, may stand forth face to face
2933 And freely urge against me.
SUFFOLK 2934 100 Nay, my lord,
2935 That cannot be. You are a councillor,
2936 And by that virtue no man dare accuse you.
2937 My lord, because we have business of more moment,
2938 We will be short with you. ’Tis his Highness’ pleasure,
2939 105 And our consent, for better trial of you
2940 From hence you be committed to the Tower,
2941 Where, being but a private man again,
2942 You shall know many dare accuse you boldly—
2943 More than, I fear, you are provided for.
2944 110 Ah, my good Lord of Winchester, I thank you.
2945 You are always my good friend. If your will pass,
2946 I shall both find your Lordship judge and juror,
2947 You are so merciful. I see your end:
2948 ’Tis my undoing. Love and meekness, lord,
2949 115 Become a churchman better than ambition.
2950 Win straying souls with modesty again;
2951 Cast none away. That I shall clear myself,
2952 Lay all the weight you can upon my patience,
2953 I make as little doubt as you do conscience
2954 120 In doing daily wrongs. I could say more,
2955 But reverence to your calling makes me modest.
2956 My lord, my lord, you are a sectary.
2957 That’s the plain truth. Your painted gloss discovers,
2958 To men that understand you, words and weakness.
2959 125 My Lord of Winchester, you’re a little,
2960 By your good favor, too sharp. Men so noble,
2961 However faulty, yet should find respect
2962 For what they have been. ’Tis a cruelty
2963 To load a falling man.
GARDINER 2964 130 Good Master Secretary—
2965 I cry your Honor mercy—you may worst
2966 Of all this table say so.
CROMWELL 2967 Why, my lord?
2968 Do not I know you for a favorer
2969 135 Of this new sect? You are not sound.
CROMWELL 2970 Not sound?
2971 Not sound, I say.
CROMWELL 2972 Would you were half so honest!
2973 Men’s prayers then would seek you, not their fears.
2974 140 I shall remember this bold language.
CROMWELL 2975 Do.
2976 Remember your bold life too.
⌜CHANCELLOR⌝ 2977 This is too much!
2978 Forbear, for shame, my lords.
GARDINER 2979 145 I have done.
CROMWELL 2980 And I.
⌜CHANCELLOR, to Cranmer⌝
2981 Then thus for you, my lord: it stands agreed,
2982 I take it, by all voices, that forthwith
2983 You be conveyed to th’ Tower a prisoner,
2984 150 There to remain till the King’s further pleasure
2985 Be known unto us.—Are you all agreed, lords?
2986 We are.
CRANMER 2987 Is there no other way of mercy
2988 But I must needs to th’ Tower, my lords?
p. 217GARDINER 2989 155 What other
2990 Would you expect? You are strangely troublesome.
2991 Let some o’ th’ guard be ready there.
Enter the Guard.
CRANMER 2992 For me?
2993 Must I go like a traitor thither?
GARDINER 2994 160 Receive him,
2995 And see him safe i’ th’ Tower.
CRANMER 2996 Stay, good my lords,
2997 I have a little yet to say. Look there, my lords.
⌜He holds out the ring.⌝
2998 By virtue of that ring, I take my cause
2999 165 Out of the grips of cruel men and give it
3000 To a most noble judge, the King my master.
3001 This is the King’s ring.
SURREY 3002 ’Tis no counterfeit.
3003 ’Tis the right ring, by heaven! I told you all,
3004 170 When we first put this dangerous stone a-rolling,
3005 ’Twould fall upon ourselves.
NORFOLK 3006 Do you think, my lords,
3007 The King will suffer but the little finger
3008 Of this man to be vexed?
CHAMBERLAIN 3009 175 ’Tis now too certain.
3010 How much more is his life in value with him!
3011 Would I were fairly out on ’t!
CROMWELL 3012 My mind gave me,
3013 In seeking tales and informations
3014 180 Against this man, whose honesty the devil
3015 And his disciples only envy at,
3016 You blew the fire that burns you. Now, have at you!
Enter King, frowning on them; takes his seat.
3017 Dread sovereign, how much are we bound to heaven
3018 In daily thanks, that gave us such a prince,
3019 185 Not only good and wise, but most religious;
3020 One that in all obedience makes the Church
3021 The chief aim of his honor, and to strengthen
3022 That holy duty out of dear respect,
3023 His royal self in judgment comes to hear
3024 190 The cause betwixt her and this great offender.
3025 You were ever good at sudden commendations,
3026 Bishop of Winchester. But know I come not
3027 To hear such flattery now, and in my presence
3028 They are too thin and base to hide offenses.
3029 195 To me you cannot reach. You play the spaniel,
3030 And think with wagging of your tongue to win me;
3031 But whatsoe’er thou tak’st me for, I’m sure
3032 Thou hast a cruel nature and a bloody.—
3033 Good man, sit down.⌜Cranmer takes his seat.⌝
3034 200 Now let me see the proudest
3035 He, that dares most, but wag his finger at thee.
3036 By all that’s holy, he had better starve
3037 Than but once think ⌜this⌝ place becomes thee not.
3038 May it please your Grace—
KING 3039 205 No, sir, it does not please
3041 I had thought I had had men of some understanding
3042 And wisdom of my Council, but I find none.
3043 Was it discretion, lords, to let this man,
3044 210 This good man—few of you deserve that title—
3045 This honest man, wait like a lousy footboy
3046 At chamber door? And one as great as you are?
3047 Why, what a shame was this! Did my commission
3048 Bid you so far forget yourselves? I gave you
3049 215 Power as he was a councillor to try him,
p. 2213050 Not as a groom. There’s some of you, I see,
3051 More out of malice than integrity,
3052 Would try him to the utmost, had you mean,
3053 Which you shall never have while I live.
CHANCELLOR 3054 220 Thus far,
3055 My most dread sovereign, may it like your Grace
3056 To let my tongue excuse all. What was purposed
3057 Concerning his imprisonment was rather,
3058 If there be faith in men, meant for his trial
3059 225 And fair purgation to the world than malice,
3060 I’m sure, in me.
KING 3061 Well, well, my lords, respect him.
3062 Take him, and use him well; he’s worthy of it.
3063 I will say thus much for him: if a prince
3064 230 May be beholding to a subject, I
3065 Am, for his love and service, so to him.
3066 Make me no more ado, but all embrace him.
3067 Be friends, for shame, my lords.
⌜They embrace Cranmer.⌝
3068 My Lord of Canterbury,
3069 235 I have a suit which you must not deny me:
3070 That is, a fair young maid that yet wants baptism.
3071 You must be godfather and answer for her.
3072 The greatest monarch now alive may glory
3073 In such an honor. How may I deserve it,
3074 240 That am a poor and humble subject to you?
KING 3075 Come, come, my lord, you’d spare your spoons.
3076 You shall have two noble partners with you: the
3077 old Duchess of Norfolk and Lady Marquess Dorset.
3078 Will these please you?—
3079 245 Once more, my lord of Winchester, I charge you,
3080 Embrace and love this man.
GARDINER 3081 With a true heart
3082 And brother-love I do it.⌜He embraces Cranmer.⌝
p. 223CRANMER, ⌜weeping⌝ 3083 And let heaven
3084 250 Witness how dear I hold this confirmation.
3085 Good man, those joyful tears show thy true ⌜heart.⌝
3086 The common voice, I see, is verified
3087 Of thee, which says thus: “Do my Lord of Canterbury
3088 A shrewd turn, and he’s your friend forever.”—
3089 255 Come, lords, we trifle time away. I long
3090 To have this young one made a Christian.
3091 As I have made you one, lords, one remain.
3092 So I grow stronger, you more honor gain.