Henry VIII - Act 5, scene 4
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Act 5, scene 4
At Princess Elizabeth’s christening, Cranmer prophesies a magnificent reign for the future Queen Elizabeth I and an equally successful one for her successor King James I.Enter Trumpets, sounding. Then two Aldermen, Lord
Mayor, Garter, Cranmer, Duke of Norfolk with his
marshal’s staff, Duke of Suffolk, two Noblemen bearing
great standing bowls for the christening gifts; then four
Noblemen bearing a canopy, under which the Duchess
of Norfolk, godmother, bearing the child richly habited
in a mantle, etc., train borne by a Lady. Then follows the
Marchioness Dorset, the other godmother, and Ladies.
The troop pass once about the stage, and Garter speaks.
GARTER 3190 Heaven, from thy endless goodness, send
3191 prosperous life, long, and ever happy, to the high
3192 and mighty princess of England, Elizabeth.
Flourish. Enter King and Guard.
3193 And to your royal Grace and the good queen,
3195 All comfort, joy, in this most gracious lady
3196 Heaven ever laid up to make parents happy
3197 May hourly fall upon you!
KING 3198 Thank you, good lord
3199 10 Archbishop.
3200 What is her name?
CRANMER 3201 Elizabeth.
KING 3202 Stand up, lord.
3203 With this kiss take my blessing.⌜King kisses infant.⌝
3204 15 God protect thee,
3205 Into whose hand I give thy life.
CRANMER 3206 Amen.
KING, ⌜to the two godmothers⌝
3207 My noble gossips, you’ve been too prodigal.
3208 I thank you heartily; so shall this lady
3209 20 When she has so much English.
CRANMER 3210 Let me speak, sir,
3211 For heaven now bids me; and the words I utter
3212 Let none think flattery, for they’ll find ’em truth.
3213 This royal infant—heaven still move about her!—
3214 25 Though in her cradle, yet now promises
3215 Upon this land a thousand thousand blessings,
3216 Which time shall bring to ripeness. She shall be—
3217 But few now living can behold that goodness—
3218 A pattern to all princes living with her
3219 30 And all that shall succeed. Saba was never
3220 More covetous of wisdom and fair virtue
3221 Than this pure soul shall be. All princely graces
3222 That mold up such a mighty piece as this is,
3223 With all the virtues that attend the good,
3224 35 Shall still be doubled on her. Truth shall nurse her;
3225 Holy and heavenly thoughts still counsel her.
3226 She shall be loved and feared. Her own shall bless her;
3227 Her foes shake like a field of beaten corn
3229 40 her.
3230 In her days every man shall eat in safety
3231 Under his own vine what he plants and sing
3232 The merry songs of peace to all his neighbors.
3233 God shall be truly known, and those about her
3234 45 From her shall read the perfect ⌜ways⌝ of honor
3235 And by those claim their greatness, not by blood.
3236 Nor shall this peace sleep with her; but, as when
3237 The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phoenix,
3238 Her ashes new create another heir
3239 50 As great in admiration as herself,
3240 So shall she leave her blessedness to one,
3241 When heaven shall call her from this cloud of darkness,
3242 Who from the sacred ashes of her honor
3243 Shall starlike rise as great in fame as she was
3244 55 And so stand fixed. Peace, plenty, love, truth, terror,
3245 That were the servants to this chosen infant,
3246 Shall then be his, and like a vine grow to him.
3247 Wherever the bright sun of heaven shall shine,
3248 His honor and the greatness of his name
3249 60 Shall be, and make new nations. He shall flourish,
3250 And like a mountain cedar reach his branches
3251 To all the plains about him. Our children’s children
3252 Shall see this and bless heaven.
KING 3253 Thou speakest wonders.
3254 65 She shall be to the happiness of England
3255 An agèd princess; many days shall see her,
3256 And yet no day without a deed to crown it.
3257 Would I had known no more! But she must die,
3258 She must, the saints must have her; yet a virgin,
3259 70 A most unspotted lily, shall she pass
3260 To th’ ground, and all the world shall mourn her.
3263 Thou hast made me now a man. Never before
3264 75 This happy child did I get anything.
3265 This oracle of comfort has so pleased me
3266 That when I am in heaven I shall desire
3267 To see what this child does and praise my Maker.—
3268 I thank you all.—To you, my good lord mayor
3269 80 And you, good brethren, I am much beholding.
3270 I have received much honor by your presence,
3271 And you shall find me thankful. Lead the way, lords.
3272 You must all see the Queen, and she must thank you;
3273 She will be sick else. This day, no man think
3274 85 ’Has business at his house, for all shall stay.
3275 This little one shall make it holiday.