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The long-grown wounds of my intemperance:
If not, the end of life cancels all bands;
And I will die a hundred thousand deaths,
Ere break the smallest parcel of this vow.
K. Hen. A hundred thousand rebels die in this :-
Thou shalt have charge, and sovereign trust, herein.
Many of the incidents of this Play, and much of the dialogue, were taken by Shaks. neare from chronicles of Hollingshed and Stowe, who were themselves indebted to “Cavendish's Life of Wolsey" for most of the particulars they gave of the Cardinal's history.
Shakspeare has depicted the character of the gentle and noble-hearted Katharine of Arragon, with such felicitous skill, that the scenes in which she is introduced are considered among the finest efforts of the Poet's genius.
The haughty Wolsey, is also a powerfully drawn picture. Our selections are devoted to the display of these two master-pieces of historical dramatic composition.
KING HENRY THE EIGHTH.
CAPUCIUS, Ambassador from the Emperor, Charles V.
CRANMER, Archbishop of Canterbury.
DUKE OF NORFOLK.
DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.
DUKE OF SUFFOLK.
EARL OF SURREY.
GARDINER, Bishop of Winchester.
BISHOP OF LINCOLN.
Sir HENRY GUILFORD.
Sir THOMAS LOVELL.
Sir ANTHONY DENNY.
Sir NICHOLAS VAUX.
Secretaries to Wolsey.
CROMWELL, servant to Wolsey.
GRIFFITH, Gentleman-Usher to Queen Katharine.
Three other Gentlemen.
Doctor BUTTs, physician to the King.
Garter King at Arms.
Surveyor to the Duke of Buckingham.
Brandon, and a Sergeant at Arms.
Doorkeeper of the Council-Chamber.
Porter, and his man.
Page to Gardiner.
Queen KATHARINE, wife to King Henry, afterwards divorced.
ANNE BULLEN, her Maid of Honor, afterwards Queen.
An old Lady, friend to Anne Bullen.
PATIENCE, woman to Queen Katharine.
Several Lords and Ladies in the Dumb Shows; Women attending upon
the Queen ; Spirits which appear to her; Scribes, Officers, Guards,
anıl other Attendants. SCENE,-chiefly in London and WESTMINSTER, once at KIMBOLTON.
Queen Katharine incurred the jealousy and hatred of Wolsey, by her opposition to his overbearing arrogance, and the exactions he was continually enforcing on the people.
Shakspeare introduces the Queen, as a suitor to the King, on the subject of these oppressions of the people.
SCENE II.- The Council-Chamber.
Cornets. Enter KING HENRY, CARDINAL WOLSEY, the Lords of the
Council, Sir THOMAS LOVELL, Officers, and Attendants. The
KING enters, leaning on the CARDINAL's shoulder.
K. Hen. My life itself, and the best heart of it,
Thanks you for this great care : I stood i' the level
Of a full-charged confederacy, and give thanks
To you that chok'd it.
The King takes his State. The Lords of the Council take their several
places. The CARDINAL places himself under the King's feet, on his
A noise within, crying, Room for the Queen! Enter the QUEEN,
ushered by the DUKES OF NORFOLK and SUFFOLK : she kneels. The
King rises from his State, takes her up, kisses, and places her by
Q. Kath. Nay, we must longer kneel; I am a suitor.
K. Hen. Arise, and take place by us :-Half your suit
Never name to us; you have half our power;
The other moiety, ere you ask, is given;
Repeat your will, and take it.
Thank your majesty
That you would love yourself; and, in that love,
Not unconsider'd leave your honor, nor
The dignity of your office, is the point
Of my petition.
K. Hen. Lady mine, proceed.
Q. Kath. I am solicited, not by a w,
And those of true condition, that your subjects
Are in great grievance : there have been commissions
Sent down among them, which have flaw'd the heart
Of all their loyalties :—wherein, although,
My good lord cardinal, they vent reproaches
Most bitterly on you, as putter-on
Of these exactions, yet the king our master,
(Whose honor heaven shield from soil !) even he escapes na
Language unmannerly, yea, such which breaks
The sides of loyalty, and almost appears
In loud rebellion.
Not almost appears,
It doth appear : for upon these taxations,
'The clothiers all, not able to maintain
The many to them 'longing, have put off
The spinsters, carders, fullers, weavers, who,
Unfit for other life, compell’d by hunger,
And lack of other means, in desperate manner
Daring the event to the teeth, are all in uproar,
And Danger serves among them.
Wherein ? and what taxation ?--My lord cardinal,
You that are blam'd for it alike with us,
Know you of this taxation ?
Please you, sir,
I know but of a single part, in aught
Pertains to the state ; and front but in that file
Where others tell steps with me.
No, my lord,
You know no more than others : but you frame
Things, that are known alike; which are not wholesome
To those which would not know them, and yet must
Perforce be their acquaintance. These exactions
Whereof my sovereign would have note, they are
Most pestilent to the hearing; and to bear them,
The back is sacrifice to the load. They say,
They are devis’d by you; or else you suffer
Too hard an exclamation.
Still exaction !
The nature of it? In what kind, let's know,
Is this exaction ?
Q. Kath. I am much too venturous
In tempting of your patience; but am bolden'd
Under your promis’d pardon. The subject's grief
Comes through commissions, which compel from each
The sixth part of his substance, to be levied
Without delay; and the pretence for this
Is nam’d, your wars in France: This makes bold months;
Tongues spit their duties out, and cold hearts freeze
Allegiance in them; their curses now,
Live where their prayers did ; and it's come to pass,
That tractable obedience is a slave
To each incensed will. I would, your highness
Would give it quick consideration, for
There is no primer business.
By my life,
This is against our pleasure.
And for me,
I have no further gone in this, than by
A single voice; and that not pass'd me, but
By learned approbation of the judges.
If I am traduc'd by tongues, which neither know
My faculties, nor person, yet will be
The chronicles of my doing, let me say,
'Tis but the fate of place, and the rough brake
That virtue must go through. We must not stint
Our necessary actions, in the fear
To cope malicious censurers; which ever,
As ravenous fishes, do a vessel follow
That is new trimm'd; but benefit no further
Than vainly longing. What we oft do best,
By sick interpreters, once weak ones, is
Not ours, or not allow'd; what worst, as oft,
Hitting a grosser quality, is cried up
For our best act. “If we shall stand still,
In fear our motion will be mock'd or carp'd at,
We should take root here where we sit, or sit
State statues only.
Things done well,
And with a care, exempt themselves from fear;
Things done without example, in their issue
Are to be fear'd. Have you a precedent
Of this commission ? I believe, not any.
We must not rend our subjects from our laws,
And stick them in our will. Sixth part of each ?
A trembling contribution! Why, we take,
From every tree, lop, bark, and part o'the timber;
And, though we leave it with
a root, thus hack’d,
The air will drink the sap. To every county,
Where this is question’d, send our letters, with
Free pardon to each man that has denied