Page images


A PLAY called Henry VIII or All is True was being played in the Globe Theatre on June 29, 1613, when the theatre caught fire and was burned down. Contemporary descriptions of this piece fit the present history so exactly that there remains little doubt that the Shakespearean drama is meant. We have here, then, a later limit for its composition. Wotton, writing of the burning of the Globe, calls All is True“ a new play." The chief reason urged against taking this literally lies in the reference to Elizabeth in nu. ii. 50–52, and in the eulogy in v. v. 18-39, 58-63, to which the praise of James may have been added later. But eulogies of the great queen did not cease with her death ; and there is much in the treatment of her parents that could hardly have been pleasing to her. In the style and metre of the undoubted Shakespearean part of the drama we find nothing pointing to a date before 1603, but much to the latest years of his activity; and it is a fairly safe conclusion that in the parts of the present play written by him we have the last of his extant work.

No edition of Henry VIII appeared till it was published in the First Folio, and on that version the present text is based.

The chief historical basis for the play is Holinshed's Chronicles. Some details seem to have come direct from Halle; and the scenes presenting the attempt to crush Cranmer (v. i., ii., iii.) are taken from Foxe's Actes and Monuments, better known as The Book of Martyrs. These sources are followed at times almost slavishly, much of the actual diction being derived from the prose narratives. Yet with all this borrowing of detail, much freedom is used in the selection and arrangement of incident, historical time is disregarded, and even the identity of personages is confused.

The characterization of Queen Katherine alone shows any great creative imagination. Though all her acts and much of her language are taken from the Chronicles, the dramatist has bestowed on her a pathetic dignity which elevates her to such a pitch that in spite of her passive rôle she stands out as the real heroine of the play. Wolsey's farewell speech (except 111. ii. 455–457) is also invented; but his other important utterances and almost all his actions are based directly on Holinshed, who here drew from a variety of sources varying much in their estimate of the Cardinal. Some details seem to have been suggested by Samuel Rowley's When You See Me You Know Me (printed 1605). The low comedy scenes in the palace yard and Cranmer's closing prophecies are, of course, without historical basis.

This drama is singularly lacking in unity. The material is simply translated into dialogue or pageant; and there results a succession of brilliant stage pictures, sketches of character, and fine speeches, entirely without dramatic coherence. Buckingham, Katherine, the King, Wolsey, and Cranmer hold in succession the centre of the stage, but no causal connection is apparent in the sequence ; nor is there consistency in the demand for sympathy with men or factions. This fragmentary quality alone is sufficient to suggest a doubt as to unity of authorship; and examination of the technical qualities of style and metre has confirmed this suspicion. It is now fairly generally, though not universally, conceded that the greater number of scenes are to be credited to John Fletcher, and to Shakespeare only 1. i., ii.; 11. iii., iv.; 11. ii. 1-203; and with less assurance of purity, v. i.

Attempts have been made to deny to Shakespeare any share in the authorship, and to assign it to other authors, especially to Massinger. But various internal reasons, besides the unchallenged appearance of the play in the First Folio, prevent the acceptance of this extreme view.

No speculation on the method of collaboration has resulted in anything more than mere conjecture.

The pronunciation of “Abergavenny” is indicated by the spelling found in the Folio, Aburgany."


[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]



Secretaries to Wolsey.

GRIFFITH, gentleman usher to Queen Katherine.
CAPUCIUS, ambassador from the Emperor Charles V. Three Gentlemen.
CRANMER, archbishop of Canterbury.

DOCTOR BUTTS, physician to the King.

Garter King-at-Arms. DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM.

Surveyor to the Duke of Buckingham. DUKE OF SUFFOLK.

BRANDON, and a Sergeant-at-Arms. EARL OF SURREY.

Door-keeper of the Council-chamber. Porter, and his Lord Chamberlain.

Lord Chancellor.

Page to Gardiner. A Crier.
GARDINER, bishop of Winchester.
Bishop of Lincoln.

QUEEN KATHERINE, wife to King Henry, afterwards LORD A BERGAVENNY.

divorced. LORD SANDYS (called also SIR WILLIAM SANDYS). ANNE BULLEN, her Maid of Honour, afterwards Queen. SIR HENRY GUILDFORD.

An old Lady, friend to Anne Bullen.

PATIENCE, woman to Queen Katherine.

Several Lords and Ladies in the Dumb Shows; Women attending upon the Queen ; Scribes, Officers, Guards, and

other Attendants.

SCENE : London; Westminster; Kimbolton.]


And, if you can be merry then, I'll say
A man may weep upon his wedding-day.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]



SCENE I. (London. An ante-chamber in the

Enter the DUKE OF NORFOLK at one door; at

the other, the DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM and the
Buck. Good morrow, and well met. Hor

have ye done
Since last we saw in France ?

I thank your Grace,
Healthful; and ever since a fresh admirer
Of what I saw there.

An untimely ague
Stay'd me a prisoner in my chamber when
Those suns of glory, those two lights of men,
Met in the vale of Andren.

'Twixt Guynes and Arde. I was then present, saw them salute on horse

Beheld them, when they lighted, how they clung
In their embracement, as they grew together;
Which had they, what four thron'd ones could

have weigh'd
Such a compounded one?

All the whole time
I was my chamber's prisoner.

Then you lost
The view of earthly glory. Men might say,
Till this time pomp was single, but now married

[ocr errors]

Only a show or two, and so agree
The play may pass, if they be still and willing,
I'll undertake may see away their shilling
Richly in two short hours. Only they
That come to hear a merry bawdy play,
A noise of targets, or to see a fellow
In a long motley coat guarded with yellow,
Will be deceiv'd ; for, gentle hearers, know,
To rank our chosen truth with such a show
As fool and fight is, beside forfeiting
Our own brains, and the opinion that we bring
To make that only true we now intend,
Will leave us never an understanding friend.
Therefore, for goodness' sake, and as you are

The first and happiest hearers of the town,
Be sad, as we would make ye ; think ye see 25
The very persons of our noble story
As they were living ; think you see them great,
And follow'd with the general throng and sweat
Of thousand friends ; then, in a moment, see
How soon mightiness meets misery ;




[ocr errors]







[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


To one above itself. Each following day Became the next day's master, till the last Made former wonders its. To-day the French, All clinquant, all in gold, like heathen gods, Shone down' the English ; and, to-morrow,

they Made Britain India : every man that stood Show'd like a mine. Their dwarfish pages As cherubins, all gilt; the madams too, Not us'd to toil, did almost sweat to bear The pride upon them, that their very labour 25 Was to them as a painting. Now this masque Was cried incomparable ; and the ensuing night Made it a fool and beggar. The two kings, Equal in lustre, were now best, now worst, As presence did present them; him in eye, Still him in praise ; and, being present both, 'T was said they saw but one; and no dis

cerner Durst wag his tongue in censure. When these For so, they phrase 'em – by their heralds

challengd The noble spirits to arms, they did perform 35 Beyond thought's compass, that former fabu

lous story,
Being now seen possible enough, got credit,
That Bevig was believ'd.

0, you go far.
Nor. As I belong to worship and affect
In honour honesty, the tract of everything
Would by a good discourser lose some life,
Which action's self was tongue to. All was

To the disposing of it nought rebell’d,
Order gave each thing view; the office did
Distinctly his full function.

Who did guide, 4
I mean, who set the body and the limbs
Of this great sport together, as you guess ?

Nor. One, certes, that promises no element In such a business. Buck.

I pray you, who, my lord ? Nor. All this was ord'red by the good dis

cretion Of the right reverend Cardinal of York, Buck. The devil speed him! no man's pie is

From his ambitious finger. What had he
To do in these fierce vanities? I wonder
That such a keech can with his very bulk
Take up the rays o' the beneficial sun
And keep it from the earth.

Surely, sir, , There's in him stuff that puts him to these

ends ; For, being not propp'd by ancestry, whose grace Chalks successors their way, nor call'd upon 60 For high feats done to the crown; neither al

lied To eminent assistants; but, spider-like, Out of his self-drawing web, he gives us note, The force of his own merit makes his way; A gift that heaven gives for him, which buys 66 A place next to the King. Aber.

I cannot tell

What heaven hath given him, --- let some graver

eye Pierce into that; but I can see his pride Peep through each part of him. Whence has he

If not from hell, the devil is a niggard,
Or has given all before, and he begins
A new hell in himself.

Why the devil,
Upon this French going out, took he upon him,
Without the privity o' the King, to appoint
Who should attend on him? He makes up the

Of all the gentry, for the most part such
To whom as great a charge as little honour
He meant to lay upon; and his own letter,
The honourable board of council out,
Must fetch him in he papers.

I do know
Kinsmen of mine, three at the least, that have
By this so sicken'd their estates, that never
They shall abound as formerly.

O, many Have broke their backs with laying manors

'em For this great journey. What did this vanity 86 But minister communication of A most poor issue ? Nor.

Grievingly I think
The peace between the French and us not values
The cost that did conclude it.

Every man,
After the hideous storm that follow'd, was
A thing inspir'd ; and, not consulting, broke
Into a general prophecy, that this tempest,
Dashing the garment of this peace, aboded
The sudden breach on 't.

Which is budded out; For France hath flaw'd the league, and hath

attach'd Our merchants' goods at Bourdeaux. Aber.

Is it therefore The ambassador is silenc'd ? Nor.

Marry, is 't. Aber. A proper title of a peace, and purchas'd At a superfluous rate! Buck.

Why, all this business Our reverend Cardinal carried. Nor.

Like it your Grace, 100 The state takes notice of the private differ

ence Betwixt you and the Cardinal. I advise you And take it from a heart that wishes towards

you Honour and plenteous safety. — that you read The Cardinal's malice and his potency Together, to consider further that What his high hatred would effect wants not A minister in his power. You know his nature, That he's revengeful, and I know his sword Hath a sharp edge; 'it's long, and, 't may be

said, It reaches far, and where 't will not extend, Thither he darts it. Bosom up my counsel, You'll find it wholesome. Lo, where comes

that rock That I advise your shunning

[ocr errors]









Enter CARDINAL WOLSEY, the purse borne before

him, certain of the Guard, and two SECRETARIES, with papers. The Cardinal in his passage fixeth his eye on Buckingham, and Buckingham on him, both full of disdain. Wol. The Duke of Buckingham's surveyor,

ha ? Where's his examination ? 1. Secr.

Here, so please you. Wol. Is he in person ready? 1. Secr.

Ay, please your Grace.
Wol. Well, we shall then know more ; and

Shall lessen this big look.

(Exeunt Wolsey and his train. Buck. This butcher'o cur is venom-mouth'd,

and I Have not the power to muzzle him; therefore

best Not wake him in his slumber. A beggar's book Outworths a noble's blood. Nor.

What, are you chaf'd ? Ask God for temperance; that's the appliance

only Which your disease requires. Buck.

I read in 's looks
Matter against me, and his eye revil'd
Me as his abject object. At this instant
He bores me with some trick. He's gone to the

I'll follow and outstare him.

Stay, my lord, 129
And let your reason with your choler question
What 't is you go about. To climb steep hills
Requires slow pace at first. Anger is like
A full hot horse, who being allow'd his way,
Self-mettle tires him. Not a man in England
Can advise me like you ; be to yourself
As you would to your friend.

I'll to the King ; And from a mouth of honour quite cry down This Ipswich fellow's insolence, or proclaim There's difference in no persons.

Be advis'd; Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot That it do singe yourself. We may outrun, By violent swiftness, that which we run at, And lose by over-running. Know you not, The fire that mounts the liquor till 't run

o'er, In seeming to augment it wastes it? Be ad

I say again, there is no English soul
More stronger to direct you than yourself,
If with the sap of reason you would quench,
Or but allay, the fire of passion.

I am thankful to you ; and I'll go along
By your prescription; but this top-proud fel-

Whom from the flow of gall I name not, but
From sincere motions, by intelligence,
And proofs as clear as founts in July when
We see each grain of gravel, I do know
To be corrupt and treasonous.

Say not treasonous.'

Buck. To the King I'll say 't, and make my

vouch as strong As shore of rock. Attend. This holy fox, Or wolf, or both, - for he is equal ravenous As he is subtle, and as prone to mischief As able to perform 't; his mind and place Infecting one another, yea, reciprocally Only to show his pomp as well in France As here at home, suggests the King our master To this last costly treaty, the interview, That swallowed so much treasure, and like a

glass Did break i' the rinsing. Nor.

Faith, and so it did. Buck. Pray, give me favour, sir. This cun

ning Cardinal The articles o' the combination drev As himself pleas'd ; and they were ratified a As he cried, “Thus let be,' to as much end As give a crutch to the dead. But our count

cardinal Has done this, and 't is well; for worthy Wol

sey, Who cannot err, he did it. Now this follows,Which, as I take it, is a kind of puppy To the old dam, treason, - Charles the Em

peror, Under pretence to see the Queen his aunt,For 't was indeed his colour, but he came To whisper Wolsey, - here makes visitation. His fears were, that the interview betwixt England and France might, through their Breed him some prejudice; for from this

league Peep'd harms that menac'd him. He privily Deals with our Cardinal; and, as I trow, Which I do well, for I am sure the Emperor 18 Paid ere he promis'd, whereby his suit was

granted Ere it was ask'd – but when the way was made, And pav'd with gold, the Emperor thus de

sir'd, That he would please to alter the King's course, And break the foresaid peace. Let the King

know, As soon he shall by me, that thus the Cardinal Does buy and sell his honour as he pleases And for his own advantage. Nor.

I am sorry To hear this of him ; and could wish he were Something mistaken in 't. Buck.

No, not a syllable: I do pronounce him in that very shape He shall appear in proof. Enter BRANDON, a SERGEANT-AT-ARMS before

him, and two or three of the Guard. Bran. Your office, sergeant; execute it. Serg.

Sir, My lord the Duke of Buckingham, and Earl Of Hereford, Stafford, and Northampton, I 200 Arrest thee of high treason, in the name Of our most sovereign king. Buck.

Lo, you, my lord. The net has fall'n upon me! I shall perish Under device and practice.







[ocr errors]









[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


I am sorry To see you ta'en from liberty, to look on The business present. 'Tis his Highness' pleaYou shall to the Tower. Buck.

It will help me nothing To plead mine innocence; for that dye is on Which makes my whit'st part black. The will

of Heaven Be done in this and all things! I obey. O my Lord Abergavenny, fare you well ! Bran. Nay, he must bear you company, The King

(To Abergavenny.] Is pleas'd you shall to the Tower, till you know How he determines further. Aber.

As the Duke said, The will of Heaven be done, and the King's

pleasureBy me obey'd! Bran.

Here is a warrant from
The King to attach Lord Montacate, and the

Of the Duke's confessor, John de la Car,
One Gilbert Peck, his chancellor,

So, so; These are the limbs o' the plot. No more, I

hope? Bran. A monk o' the Chartreux. Buck,

0, (Nicholas] Hopkins ? Bran.

He. Buck. My surveyor is false ; the o'er-great

Cardinal Hath show'd him gold; my life is spann'd

already. I am the shadow of poor Buckingham, Whose figure even this instant cloud puts on, By dark'ning my clear sun. My lord, farewell.

[Exeunt. 226 SCENE II. (The same. The council-chamber.) Cornets. Enter the KING, leaning on the CARDI

NAL's shoulder, the Nobles, and Sir Thomas LOVELL; the Cardinal places himself under the King's feet on his right side. King. My life itself, and the best heart of it, Thanks you for this great care. I stood i' the

level Of a full-charg'd confederacy, and give thanks To you that chok'd it. Let be call'd before us That gentleman of Buckingham's; in person 6 I'll hear him his confessions justify, And point by point the treasons of his master He shall again relate. A noise within, crying, “Room for the Queen!"

Enter QUEEN KATHERINE, ushered by the DUKE OF NORFOLK, and the DUKE OF SUFFOLK : she kneels. The King riseth from his state, takes her up, kisses and placeth her by him. Q. Kath. Nay, we must longer kneel; I am

a suitor. King. Arise, and take place by us. Half your

guit Never name to us, you have half our power;

The other moiety, ere you ask, is given.
Repeat your will and take it.
Q. Kath.

Thank your Majesty.
That you would love yourself, and in that love
Not unconsidered leave your honour, nor
The dignity of your office, is the point
Of my petition.

King; Lady mine, proceed.

Q. Kath. I am solicited, not by a few, And those of true condition, that your subjects Are in great grievance. There have been com

missions Sent down among 'em, which hath 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 - 25 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 up

roar, And danger serves among them. King.

Taxation ! Wherein ? and what taxation ? My Lord

You that are blam'd for it alike with us,
Know you of this taxation ?

Please you, sir, 40
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 exac

tions, Whereof my sovereign would have note, they Most pestilent to the hearing ; and, to bear 'em, The back is sacrifice to the load. They say They are devis'd by you; or else you suffer Too hard an exclamation. King.

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 bold'ned Under your promis'd pardon. The subjects'

grief Comes through commissions, which compels

from each The sixth part of his substance, to be levied



[ocr errors]



« PreviousContinue »