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Sergeant-at-arms

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Sergeant-at-arms

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    The Life of King Henry the Eighth

    ACT I

    PROLOGUE

    I come no more to make you laugh: things now, That bear a weighty and a serious brow, Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe, Such noble scenes as draw the eye to flow, We now present. Those that can pity, here May, if they think it well, let fall a tear; The subject will deserve it. Such as give Their money out of hope they may believe, May here find truth too. Those that come to see 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 deceived; 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 known The first and happiest hearers of the town, Be sad, as we would make ye: think ye see 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 this mightiness meets misery: And, if you can be merry then, I'll say A man may weep upon his wedding-day.

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

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    Enter NORFOLK at one door; at the other, BUCKINGHAM and

    ABERGAVENNY

    BUCKINGHAM

    Good morrow, and well met. How have ye done

    Since last we saw in France?

    NORFOLK

    I thank your grace,

    Healthful; and ever since a fresh admirer

    Of what I saw there.

    BUCKINGHAM

    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.

    NORFOLK

    'Twixt Guynes and Arde:

    I was then present, saw them salute on horseback;

    Beheld them, when they lighted, how they clung

    In their embracement, as they grew together;

    Which had they, what four throned ones could have weigh'd

    Such a compounded one?

    BUCKINGHAM

    All the whole time

    I was my chamber's prisoner.

    NORFOLK

    Then you lost

    The view of earthly glory: men might say,

    Till this time pomp was single, but now married

    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

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    Show'd like a mine. Their dwarfish pages were As cherubins, all guilt: the madams too, Not used to toil, did almost sweat to bear The pride upon them, that their very labour 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 'Twas said they saw but one; and no discerner Durst wag his tongue in censure. When these suns-- For so they phrase 'em--by their heralds challenged The noble spirits to arms, they did perform Beyond thought's compass; that former fabulous story, Being now seen possible enough, got credit, That Bevis was believed.

    BUCKINGHAM

    O, you go far.

    NORFOLK

    As I belong to worship and affect

    In honour honesty, the tract of every thing Would by a good discourser lose some life, Which action's self was tongue to. All was royal; To the disposing of it nought rebell'd. Order gave each thing view; the office did Distinctly his full function.

    BUCKINGHAM

    Who did guide,

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

    NORFOLK

    One, certes, that promises no element In such a business.

    BUCKINGHAM

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    I 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 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.

    NORFOLK

    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 For high feats done to the crown; neither allied For 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 A place next to the king.

    ABERGAVENNY

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

    BUCKINGHAM

    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 file

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    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 the papers.

    ABERGAVENNY

    I do know

    Kinsmen of mine, three at the least, that have

    By this so sickened their estates, that never

    They shall abound as formerly.

    BUCKINGHAM

    O, many

    Have broke their backs with laying manors on 'em

    For this great journey. What did this vanity

    But minister communication of

    A most poor issue?

    NORFOLK

    Grievingly I think,

    The peace between the French and us not values

    The cost that did conclude it.

    BUCKINGHAM

    Every man,

    After the hideous storm that follow'd, was

    A thing inspired; and, not consulting, broke

    Into a general prophecy; That this tempest,

    Dashing the garment of this peace, aboded

    The sudden breach on't.

    NORFOLK

    Which is budded out;

    For France hath flaw'd the league, and hath attach'd

    Our merchants' goods at Bourdeaux.

    ABERGAVENNY

    Is it therefore

    The ambassador is silenced?

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    NORFOLK

    Marry, is't.

    ABERGAVENNY

    A proper title of a peace; and purchased

    At a superfluous rate!

    BUCKINGHAM

    Why, all this business

    Our reverend cardinal carried.

    NORFOLK

    Like it your grace,

    The state takes notice of the private difference

    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 'twill 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.

    Enter CARDINAL WOLSEY, the purse borne before him, certain

    of the Guard, and two Secretaries with papers. CARDINAL

    WOLSEY in his passage fixeth his eye on BUCKINGHAM, and

     BUCKINGHAM on him, both full of disdain

    CARDINAL WOLSEY

    The Duke of Buckingham's surveyor, ha?

    Where's his examination?

    First Secretary

    Here, so please you.

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    CARDINAL WOLSEY

    Is he in person ready?

    First Secretary

    Ay, please your grace.

    CARDINAL WOLSEY

    Well, we shall then know more; and Buckingham

    Shall lessen this big look.

    Exeunt CARDINAL WOLSEY and his Train

    BUCKINGHAM

    This butcher's 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.

    NORFOLK

    What, are you chafed?

    Ask God for temperance; that's the appliance only

    Which your disease requires.

    BUCKINGHAM

    I read in's looks

    Matter against me; and his eye reviled

    Me, as his abject object: at this instant

    He bores me with some trick: he's gone to the king;

    I'll follow and outstare him.

    NORFOLK

    Stay, my lord,

    And let your reason with your choler question

    What 'tis 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.

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    BUCKINGHAM

    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.

    NORFOLK

    Be advised;

    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 til run o'er, In seeming to augment it wastes it? Be advised: 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.

    BUCKINGHAM

    Sir,

    I am thankful to you; and I'll go along By your prescription: but this top-proud fellow, 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.

    NORFOLK

    Say not 'treasonous.'

    BUCKINGHAM

    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

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    As here at home, suggests the king our master To this last costly treaty, the interview, That swallow'd so much treasure, and like a glass Did break i' the rinsing.

    NORFOLK

    Faith, and so it did.

    BUCKINGHAM

    Pray, give me favour, sir. This cunning cardinal The articles o' the combination drew

    As himself pleased; and they were ratified 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 'tis well; for worthy Wolsey, 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 emperor, Under pretence to see the queen his aunt-- For 'twas 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 amity, Breed him some prejudice; for from this league Peep'd harms that menaced him: he privily Deals with our cardinal; and, as I trow,-- Which I do well; for I am sure the emperor Paid ere he promised; whereby his suit was granted Ere it was ask'd; but when the way was made, And paved with gold, the emperor thus desired, 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.

    NORFOLK

    I am sorry

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

    BUCKINGHAM

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    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

    BRANDON

    Your office, sergeant; execute it. Sergeant

    Sir,

    My lord the Duke of Buckingham, and Earl

    Of Hereford, Stafford, and Northampton, I

    Arrest thee of high treason, in the name

    Of our most sovereign king.

    BUCKINGHAM

    Lo, you, my lord,

    The net has fall'n upon me! I shall perish

    Under device and practise.

    BRANDON

    I am sorry

    To see you ta'en from liberty, to look on

    The business present: 'tis his highness' pleasure

    You shall to the Tower.

    BUCKINGHAM

    It will help me nothing

    To plead mine innocence; for that dye is on me

    Which makes my whitest part black. The will of heaven

    Be done in this and all things! I obey.

    O my Lord Abergavenny, fare you well! BRANDON

    Nay, he must bear you company. The king

    To ABERGAVENNY

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