Document:  All > Shakespeare > Histories > King Henry VIII > Act II, scene IV

	[Trumpets, sennet, and cornets. Enter two Vergers,
	with short silver wands; next them, two Scribes, in
	the habit of doctors; after them, CANTERBURY alone;
	after him, LINCOLN, Ely, Rochester, and Saint
	Asaph; next them, with some small distance, follows
	a Gentleman bearing the purse, with the great seal,
	and a cardinal's hat; then two Priests, bearing
	each a silver cross; then a Gentleman-usher
	bare-headed, accompanied with a Sergeant-at-arms
	bearing a silver mace; then two Gentlemen bearing
	two great silver pillars; after them, side by side,
	with the sword and mace. KING HENRY VIII takes
	place under the cloth of state; CARDINAL WOLSEY and
	CARDINAL CAMPEIUS sit under him as judges. QUEEN
	KATHARINE takes place some distance from KING
	HENRY VIII. The Bishops place themselves on each
	side the court, in manner of a consistory; below
	them, the Scribes. The Lords sit next the Bishops.
	The rest of the Attendants stand in convenient
	order about the stage]

CARDINAL WOLSEY: Whilst our commission from Rome is read,
	Let silence be commanded.

KING HENRY VIII: What's the need?
	It hath already publicly been read,
	And on all sides the authority allow'd;
	You may, then, spare that time.

CARDINAL WOLSEY: Be't so. Proceed.

Scribe: Say, Henry King of England, come into the court.

Crier: Henry King of England, &c.


Scribe: Say, Katharine Queen of England, come into the court.

Crier: Katharine Queen of England, &c.

	[QUEEN KATHARINE makes no answer, rises out of her
	chair, goes about the court, comes to KING HENRY
	VIII, and kneels at his feet; then speaks]

QUEEN KATHARINE: Sir, I desire you do me right and justice;
	And to bestow your pity on me: for
	I am a most poor woman, and a stranger,
	Born out of your dominions; having here
	No judge indifferent, nor no more assurance
	Of equal friendship and proceeding. Alas, sir,
	In what have I offended you? what cause
	Hath my behavior given to your displeasure,
	That thus you should proceed to put me off,
	And take your good grace from me? Heaven witness,
	I have been to you a true and humble wife,
	At all times to your will conformable;
	Ever in fear to kindle your dislike,
	Yea, subject to your countenance, glad or sorry
	As I saw it inclined: when was the hour
	I ever contradicted your desire,
	Or made it not mine too? Or which of your friends
	Have I not strove to love, although I knew
	He were mine enemy? what friend of mine
	That had to him derived your anger, did I
	Continue in my liking? nay, gave notice
	He was from thence discharged. Sir, call to mind
	That I have been your wife, in this obedience,
	Upward of twenty years, and have been blest
	With many children by you: if, in the course
	And process of this time, you can report,
	And prove it too, against mine honour aught,
	My bond to wedlock, or my love and duty,
	Against your sacred person, in God's name,
	Turn me away; and let the foul'st contempt
	Shut door upon me, and so give me up
	To the sharp'st kind of justice. Please you sir,
	The king, your father, was reputed for
	A prince most prudent, of an excellent
	And unmatch'd wit and judgment: Ferdinand,
	My father, king of Spain, was reckon'd one
	The wisest prince that there had reign'd by many
	A year before: it is not to be question'd
	That they had gather'd a wise council to them
	Of every realm, that did debate this business,
	Who deem'd our marriage lawful: wherefore I humbly
	Beseech you, sir, to spare me, till I may
	Be by my friends in Spain advised; whose counsel
	I will implore: if not, i' the name of God,
	Your pleasure be fulfill'd!

CARDINAL WOLSEY: You have here, lady,
	And of your choice, these reverend fathers; men
	Of singular integrity and learning,
	Yea, the elect o' the land, who are assembled
	To plead your cause: it shall be therefore bootless
	That longer you desire the court; as well
	For your own quiet, as to rectify
	What is unsettled in the king.

	Hath spoken well and justly: therefore, madam,
	It's fit this royal session do proceed;
	And that, without delay, their arguments
	Be now produced and heard.

QUEEN KATHARINE: Lord cardinal,
	To you I speak.

CARDINAL WOLSEY:                   Your pleasure, madam?

	I am about to weep; but, thinking that
	We are a queen, or long have dream'd so, certain
	The daughter of a king, my drops of tears
	I'll turn to sparks of fire.

CARDINAL WOLSEY: Be patient yet.

QUEEN KATHARINE: I will, when you are humble; nay, before,
	Or God will punish me. I do believe,
	Induced by potent circumstances, that
	You are mine enemy, and make my challenge
	You shall not be my judge: for it is you
	Have blown this coal betwixt my lord and me;
	Which God's dew quench! Therefore I say again,
	I utterly abhor, yea, from my soul
	Refuse you for my judge; whom, yet once more,
	I hold my most malicious foe, and think not
	At all a friend to truth.

	You speak not like yourself; who ever yet
	Have stood to charity, and display'd the effects
	Of disposition gentle, and of wisdom
	O'ertopping woman's power. Madam, you do me wrong:
	I have no spleen against you; nor injustice
	For you or any: how far I have proceeded,
	Or how far further shall, is warranted
	By a commission from the consistory,
	Yea, the whole consistory of Rome. You charge me
	That I have blown this coal: I do deny it:
	The king is present: if it be known to him
	That I gainsay my deed, how may he wound,
	And worthily, my falsehood! yea, as much
	As you have done my truth. If he know
	That I am free of your report, he knows
	I am not of your wrong. Therefore in him
	It lies to cure me: and the cure is, to
	Remove these thoughts from you: the which before
	His highness shall speak in, I do beseech
	You, gracious madam, to unthink your speaking
	And to say so no more.

QUEEN KATHARINE: My lord, my lord,
	I am a simple woman, much too weak
	To oppose your cunning. You're meek and
	You sign your place and calling, in full seeming,
	With meekness and humility; but your heart
	Is cramm'd with arrogancy, spleen, and pride.
	You have, by fortune and his highness' favours,
	Gone slightly o'er low steps and now are mounted
	Where powers are your retainers, and your words,
	Domestics to you, serve your will as't please
	Yourself pronounce their office. I must tell you,
	You tender more your person's honour than
	Your high profession spiritual: that again
	I do refuse you for my judge; and here,
	Before you all, appeal unto the pope,
	To bring my whole cause 'fore his holiness,
	And to be judged by him.

	[She curtsies to KING HENRY VIII, and offers to depart]

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS: The queen is obstinate,
	Stubborn to justice, apt to accuse it, and
	Disdainful to be tried by't: 'tis not well.
	She's going away.

KING HENRY VIII: Call her again.

Crier: Katharine Queen of England, come into the court.

GRIFFITH: Madam, you are call'd back.

QUEEN KATHARINE: What need you note it? pray you, keep your way:
	When you are call'd, return. Now, the Lord help,
	They vex me past my patience! Pray you, pass on:
	I will not tarry; no, nor ever more
	Upon this business my appearance make
	In any of their courts.

	[Exeunt QUEEN KATHARINE and her Attendants]

KING HENRY VIII: Go thy ways, Kate:
	That man i' the world who shall report he has
	A better wife, let him in nought be trusted,
	For speaking false in that: thou art, alone,
	If thy rare qualities, sweet gentleness,
	Thy meekness saint-like, wife-like government,
	Obeying in commanding, and thy parts
	Sovereign and pious else, could speak thee out,
	The queen of earthly queens: she's noble born;
	And, like her true nobility, she has
	Carried herself towards me.

CARDINAL WOLSEY: Most gracious sir,
	In humblest manner I require your highness,
	That it shall please you to declare, in hearing
	Of all these ears,--for where I am robb'd and bound,
	There must I be unloosed, although not there
	At once and fully satisfied,--whether ever I
	Did broach this business to your highness; or
	Laid any scruple in your way, which might
	Induce you to the question on't? or ever
	Have to you, but with thanks to God for such
	A royal lady, spake one the least word that might
	Be to the prejudice of her present state,
	Or touch of her good person?

KING HENRY VIII: My lord cardinal,
	I do excuse you; yea, upon mine honour,
	I free you from't. You are not to be taught
	That you have many enemies, that know not
	Why they are so, but, like to village-curs,
	Bark when their fellows do: by some of these
	The queen is put in anger. You're excused:
	But will you be more justified? You ever
	Have wish'd the sleeping of this business; never desired
	It to be stirr'd; but oft have hinder'd, oft,
	The passages made toward it: on my honour,
	I speak my good lord cardinal to this point,
	And thus far clear him. Now, what moved me to't,
	I will be bold with time and your attention:
	Then mark the inducement. Thus it came; give heed to't:
	My conscience first received a tenderness,
	Scruple, and prick, on certain speeches utter'd
	By the Bishop of Bayonne, then French ambassador;
	Who had been hither sent on the debating
	A marriage 'twixt the Duke of Orleans and
	Our daughter Mary: i' the progress of this business,
	Ere a determinate resolution, he,
	I mean the bishop, did require a respite;
	Wherein he might the king his lord advertise
	Whether our daughter were legitimate,
	Respecting this our marriage with the dowager,
	Sometimes our brother's wife. This respite shook
	The bosom of my conscience, enter'd me,
	Yea, with a splitting power, and made to tremble
	The region of my breast; which forced such way,
	That many mazed considerings did throng
	And press'd in with this caution. First, methought
	I stood not in the smile of heaven; who had
	Commanded nature, that my lady's womb,
	If it conceived a male child by me, should
	Do no more offices of life to't than
	The grave does to the dead; for her male issue
	Or died where they were made, or shortly after
	This world had air'd them: hence I took a thought,
	This was a judgment on me; that my kingdom,
	Well worthy the best heir o' the world, should not
	Be gladded in't by me: then follows, that
	I weigh'd the danger which my realms stood in
	By this my issue's fail; and that gave to me
	Many a groaning throe. Thus hulling in
	The wild sea of my conscience, I did steer
	Toward this remedy, whereupon we are
	Now present here together: that's to say,
	I meant to rectify my conscience,--which
	I then did feel full sick, and yet not well,--
	By all the reverend fathers of the land
	And doctors learn'd: first I began in private
	With you, my Lord of Lincoln; you remember
	How under my oppression I did reek,
	When I first moved you.

LINCOLN: Very well, my liege.

KING HENRY VIII: I have spoke long: be pleased yourself to say
	How far you satisfied me.

LINCOLN: So please your highness,
	The question did at first so stagger me,
	Bearing a state of mighty moment in't
	And consequence of dread, that I committed
	The daring'st counsel which I had to doubt;
	And did entreat your highness to this course
	Which you are running here.

KING HENRY VIII: I then moved you,
	My Lord of Canterbury; and got your leave
	To make this present summons: unsolicited
	I left no reverend person in this court;
	But by particular consent proceeded
	Under your hands and seals: therefore, go on:
	For no dislike i' the world against the person
	Of the good queen, but the sharp thorny points
	Of my alleged reasons, drive this forward:
	Prove but our marriage lawful, by my life
	And kingly dignity, we are contented
	To wear our mortal state to come with her,
	Katharine our queen, before the primest creature
	That's paragon'd o' the world.

CARDINAL CAMPEIUS: So please your highness,
	The queen being absent, 'tis a needful fitness
	That we adjourn this court till further day:
	Meanwhile must be an earnest motion
	Made to the queen, to call back her appeal
	She intends unto his holiness.

	These cardinals trifle with me: I abhor
	This dilatory sloth and tricks of Rome.
	My learn'd and well-beloved servant, Cranmer,
	Prithee, return: with thy approach, I know,
	My comfort comes along. Break up the court:
	I say, set on.

	[Exeunt in manner as they entered]


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