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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 honour heaven shield from soil!) even he escapes not
Language unmannerly, yea, such which breaks
The sides of loyalty, and almost appears
In loud rebellion.
Nor. 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.
K. Hen. Taxation!
Wherein? and what taxation ?-My lord cardinal,
You that are blamed for it alike with us,
Know you of this taxation?
Wol. 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.
Q. Kath. 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 devised by you; or else you suffer
Too hard an exclamation.
K. Hen. 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 promised 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 named, your wars in France: This makes bold mouths:
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
* I am only one among the other counsellors.
Would give it quick consideration, for
There is no primer* business.
K. Hen. By my life,
This is against our pleasure.
Wol. And for me,
I have no farther gone in this, than by
A single voice; and that not pass'd me, but
By learned approbation of the judges.
If I am traduced 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 braket
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 trimmed; but benefit no further
Than vainly longing. What we oft do best,
By sick interpreters, once weak ones, is
Not ours, or not allowed; 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.
K. Hen. 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'
The force of this commission: Pray, look to't;
I put it to your care.
Wol. A word with you.
Let there be letters writ to every shire,
Of the king's grace and pardon. The grieved commons
Hardly conceive of me; let it be noised,
That, through our intercession, this revokement
And pardon comes: I shall anon advise you
Further in the proceeding.
Q. Kath. I am sorry, that the duke of Buckingham Is run in your displeasure.
K. Hen. It grieves many:
The gentleman is learn'd, and a most rare speaker,
To nature none more bound; his training such,
That he may furnish and instruct great teachers,
And never seek for aid out of himself.
When these so noble benefits shall prove
Not well dispos'd, the mind growing once corrupt,
They turn to vicious forms, ten times more ugly
Than ever they were fair. This man so cómplete,
Who was enroll'd 'mongst wonders, and when we,
Almost with ravish'd list'ning, could not find
His hour of speech a minute; he, my lady,
Hath into monstrous habits put the graces
That once were his, and is become as black
As if besmear'd in hell. Sit by us; you shall hear
(This was his gentleman in trust,) of him
Things to strike honour sad.-Bid him recount
The fore-recited practices; whereof
We cannot feel too little, hear too much.
Wol. Stand forth; and with bold spirit relate what you,
Most like a careful subject, have collected
Out of the duke of Buckingham.
K. Hen. Speak freely.
Surv. First, it was usual with him, every day
It would infect his speech, That if the king
Should without issue die, he'd carry it so
To make the sceptre his: These very words
I have heard him utter to his son-in-law,
Lord Aberga'ny; to whom by oath he menaced
Revenge upon the cardinal.
Wol. Please your highness, note
This dangerous conception in this point.
Not friended by his wish, to your high person
His will is most malignant; and it stretches
Beyond you, to your friends.
Q. Kath. My learn'd lord cardinal,
Deliver all with charity.
K. Hen. Speak on:
How grounded he his title to the crown,
Upon our fail; to this point hast thou heard him
At any time speak aught?
Surv. He was brought to this
By a vain prophecy of Nicholas Hopkins.
K. Hen. What was that Hopkins?
Surv. Sir, a Chartreux friar,
His confessor; who fed him every minute
With words of sovereignty.
K. Hen. How know'st thou this?
Surv. Not long before your highness sped to France, The duke being at the Rose,† within the parish
* Conduct, manage.
† Now Merchant Taylors' School.
Saint Lawrence Poultney, did of me demand
What was the speech amongst the Londoners
Concerning the French journey: I replied,
Men fear'd, the French would prove perfidious,
To the king's danger. Presently the duke
Said, "Twas the fear, indeed; and that he doubted,
"Twould prove the verity of certain words
Spoke by a holy monk; That oft, says he,
Hath sent to me, wishing me to permit
John de la Court, my chaplain, a choice hour
To hear from him a matter of some moment :
Whom after under the confession's seal
He solemnly had sworn, that, what he spoke,
My chaplain to no creature living, but
To me, should utter, with demure confidence
This pausingly ensued,-Neither the king, nor his heirs,
(Tell you the duke,) shall prosper: bid him strive
To gain the love of the commonalty; the duke
Shall govern England.
Q. Kath. If I know you well,
You were the duke's surveyor, and lost your office
On the complaint o' the tenants: Take good heed,
You charge not in your spleen a noble person,
And spoil your nobler soul! I say, take heed;
Yes, heartily beseech you.
K. Hen. Let him on:
Surv. On my soul, I'll speak but truth.
I told my lord the duke, By the devil's illusions
The monk might be deceived; and that 'twas dang'rous for him, To ruminate on this so far, until
It forged him some design, which, being believed,
It was much like to do: He answer'd, Tush!
It can do me no damage: adding further,
That, had the king in his last sickness fail'd,
The cardinal's and Sir Thomas Lovell's heads
Should have gone off.
K. Hen. Ha! what, so rank ?* Ah, ha!
There's mischief in this man :-
Surv. I can, my liege.
K. Hen. Proceed.
Surv. Being at Greenwich,
After your highness had reproved the duke
About Sir William Blomer,-
K. Hen. I remember,
Of such a time-Being my servant sworn,
The duke retain'd him his.-
Surv. If, quoth he, I for this had been committed,
As to the Tower, I thought,-I would have play'd
The part my father meant to act upon
The usurper Richard: who, being at Salisbury,
*I. e. as strong weeds.
Made suit to come in his presence; which if granted,
As he made semblance of his duty, would
Have put his knife into him.
K. Hen. A giant traitor!
Wol. Now, madam, may his highness live in freedom, And this man out of prison?
Kath. God mend all!
K. Hew. There's something more would out of thee; What say'st!
Surv. After-the duke his father, with the knife,-
He stretch'd him, and, with one hand on his dagger,
Another spread on his breast, mounting his eyes,
He did discharge a horrible oath; whose tenour
Was,-Were he evil used, he would outgo
His father, by as much as a performance
Does an irresolute purpose.
K. Hen. There's his period,
To sheath his knife in us. He is attach'd;
Call him to present trial: if he may
Find mercy in the law, 'tis his; if none,
Let him not seek't of us: By day and night!
He's traitor to the height.
SCENE III-A Room in the Palace.
Enter the LORD CHAMBERLAIN and LORD SANDS.
Cham. Is it possible, the spells of France should juggle Men into such strange mysteries?*
That never saw them pace before, the spavin
And springhalt reign'd among them.
Sands. New customs,
Though they be never so ridiculous,
Nay, let them be unmanly, yet are follow'd.
Cham. As far as I see, all the good our English
Have got by the late voyage, is but merely
A fitt or two o' the face; but they are shrewd ones;
For when they hold them, you would swear directly,
Their very noses had been counsellors
To Pepin, or Clotharius, they keep state so.
Sands. They have all new legs, and lame ones; one would take it,
Cham. Death! my lord,
Their clothes are after such a pagan cut too,
That, sure, they have worn out Christendom, How now?
What news, Sir Thomas Lovell?
Lov. 'Faith, my lord,
I hear of none but the new proclamation
That's clapp'd upon the court-gate.
* Artificial fashions.