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visit Francis. The field of the cloth of gold, in the summer of 1520, at which Henry met Francis in person, and where tournaments were held for many successive days with unexampled magnificence, is the fact which ushers us to the opening of the last of Shakspeare's Chronicle Plays.
THE COURT OF HENRY VIII. IN WOLSEY'S PLENITUDE OF POWER;
THE HAUGHTY AND OVERBEARING SPIRIT OF THAT MINISTER,
HISTORICAL MEMORANDA. Edward duke of Buckingham was executed in 1521. He inherited the office of lord high constable from the Bohuns, earls of Hereford, which office, after his death, was never revived in England. Shaks. peare makes him wrongly call himself Buhun :-he was a Stafford. Henry's scruples concerning his marriage were seriously taken up in 1527, at the same period that the beauty of Anne Boleyn made an impression on him. Wolsey, unaware of this attachment, promoted the divorce as a means of seconding his own policy, one point of which was, the marrying of Henry to the sister of Francis I.
We are to imagine the dukes of Norfolk and Buckingham meeting in an ante-chamber in the palace. Buckingham is the first speaker. (Bucking.] Good morrow, and well met. How have
done Since last we saw in France ? [Norfolk.] I thank your grace:
Healthful, and an untir'd admirer still
Of what I saw there.
Stay'd me a priso'ner in my chamber, when
[Norfolk.] Nay, then, you lost
The view of earthly glory. Men might say,–
As presence did present them. All was royal.
Of this great sport together, as you guess ? [Norfolk.] One, certainly, that promises no element
In such a busi’ness. [Buckingham.] 'Pray you, who, my lord ? [Norfolk.] All this was order'd by the good discretion
Of the right reverend cardinal of York. [Buckingham.] The devil speed him! no man's pie is freed
From his ambitious finger. What had he
It seems, then, that our reverend cardi'nal carried. [Norfolk.] The state, my lord, takes notice of the difference
Between you and the cardi’nal. I advise you
Cardinal Wolsey in state passes through the chamber, fixing his eye with disdain on Buckingham, and Buckingham on him: he asks aloud of one of his secretaries, whether the examination of the duke of Buckinghan's surveyor is put into writing, and whether the surveyor is ready to attend in person : being answered affirmatively, he nioves on, saying[Wolsey.] Well, we shall soon know more; and Buckingham Shall lessen this big look.
[a pause.] [Buckingham.] This butcher's cur is venom-mouth'd, and I
Have no't the power to muzzle him : at this instant
I 'll follow, and outstare him. [Norfolk.] Stay, my lord,
And let your reason question with your anger,
friend. [Buckingham.] I'll to the king,
And, from a mouth of honour, quite cry down
This Ipswich fellow's insolence. [Norfolk.] Be' advis'd:
Heat not a furnace for yourself so hot
reason, you would quench,
I a'm thankful to you, and I'll go along
To be corrupt and treaso'nous. [Norfolk.] Say not treaso'nous.
[this cardinal [Buckingham.] To'the king I'll say't. I'll let him know
Doth buy and sell his honour as he pleases,
And for his own advantage. Brandon here enters with a serjeant at arms and a guard, and addresses the last speaker. [Brandon.] My lord the duke of Buckingham, and earl
Of Hereford, Stafford, and Southampton, I
Of our most sovereign king.
The net has fallen upon me: I shall perish
my whitest part black : the will of heaven Be done in this, and all things :- I obey. [Brandon.] My lord, you do not go alone. The king
Is pleas'd lord Aberga'ny shall to' the Tower
your confessor, John de la Court; and
Gilbert Peck, your chancellor. [Buckingham.] So, so;
These are the limbs of the plot: no more, I hope ? [Brandon.] A monk of the Chartreux. [Buckingham.] Oh, Nicholas Hopkins ? [Brandon.) He. [Buckingham.] My súrveyor is false : the o'ergreat cardinal
Hath shown him gold: my life is spann'd already:
My lord, farewell ! We are to imagine a short interval of time, and a change of place to a street in the approach to Westminster Hall: two gentlemen meet each other, and enter into conversation.
[First Gent.) Whither away so fast?
Even to the hall, to hear what shall become
Of the great duke of Buckingham. [First Gent.] I'll save you
That labour, sir. All's now done, but the ceremony
Of bringing back the priso’ner. [Second Gent.) What has happen'd ? [First Gent.) He is found guilty, and condemn’d upon it. [Second Gent.) I am sorry for 't. [First Gent.) So are a number more. [Second Gent.] The cardi'nal is the end of this. [First Gent.) 'Tis likely :
For mark you this, that on Kildare's attainder,
Lest he should help his noble father-in-law. [Second Gent.] This is noted,—whoever the king favours,
Is sure to get employment through the cardinal,
They love and dote on.
And see the noble ruin'd man you speak of. Buckingham is brought in from his arraignment : the axe, with the edge towards him, is carried in front; and men with halberds are on each side of him : Sir Thornas Lovell and Sir Nicholas Vaux are the persons who hace the conduct of him to the Tower : a multitude of people must enter into the picture which the imagination has to form : Buckingham speaks : [Buckingham.] All good people,
You that thus far have come to pity me,