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King Henry VIII

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ACT IV SCENE II Kimbolton.
[ Enter KATHARINE, Dowager, sick; led between GRIFFITH, her gentleman usher, and PATIENCE, her woman ]
GRIFFITHHow does your grace?
KATHARINEO Griffith, sick to death!
My legs, like loaden branches, bow to the earth,
Willing to leave their burthen. Reach a chair:
So; now, methinks, I feel a little ease.5
Didst thou not tell me, Griffith, as thou led'st me,
That the great child of honour, Cardinal Wolsey, Was dead?
GRIFFITHYes, madam; but I think your grace,
Out of the pain you suffer'd, gave no ear to't.
KATHARINEPrithee, good Griffith, tell me how he died:10
If well, he stepp'd before me, happily
For my example.
GRIFFITHWell, the voice goes, madam:
For after the stout Earl Northumberland
Arrested him at York, and brought him forward,15
As a man sorely tainted, to his answer,
He fell sick suddenly, and grew so ill
He could not sit his mule.
KATHARINEAlas, poor man!
GRIFFITHAt last, with easy roads, he came to Leicester,20
Lodged in the abbey; where the reverend abbot,
With all his covent, honourably received him;
To whom he gave these words, 'O, father abbot,
An old man, broken with the storms of state,
Is come to lay his weary bones among ye;25
Give him a little earth for charity!'
So went to bed; where eagerly his sickness
Pursued him still: and, three nights after this,
About the hour of eight, which he himself
Foretold should be his last, full of repentance,30
Continual meditations, tears, and sorrows,
He gave his honours to the world again,
His blessed part to heaven, and slept in peace.
KATHARINESo may he rest; his faults lie gently on him!
Yet thus far, Griffith, give me leave to speak him,35
And yet with charity. He was a man
Of an unbounded stomach, ever ranking
Himself with princes; one that, by suggestion,
Tied all the kingdom: simony was fair-play;
His own opinion was his law: i' the presence40
He would say untruths; and be ever double
Both in his words and meaning: he was never,
But where he meant to ruin, pitiful:
His promises were, as he then was, mighty;
But his performance, as he is now, nothing:45
Of his own body he was ill, and gave
The clergy in example.
GRIFFITHNoble madam,
Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues
We write in water. May it please your highness50
To hear me speak his good now?
KATHARINEYes, good Griffith;
I were malicious else.
GRIFFITHThis cardinal,
Though from an humble stock, undoubtedly55
Was fashion'd to much honour from his cradle.
He was a scholar, and a ripe and good one;
Exceeding wise, fair-spoken, and persuading:
Lofty and sour to them that loved him not;
But to those men that sought him sweet as summer.60
And though he were unsatisfied in getting,
Which was a sin, yet in bestowing, madam,
He was most princely: ever witness for him
Those twins Of learning that he raised in you,
Ipswich and Oxford! one of which fell with him,65
Unwilling to outlive the good that did it;
The other, though unfinish'd, yet so famous,
So excellent in art, and still so rising,

That Christendom shall ever speak his virtue.
His overthrow heap'd happiness upon him;70
For then, and not till then, he felt himself,
And found the blessedness of being little:
And, to add greater honours to his age
Than man could give him, he died fearing God.
KATHARINEAfter my death I wish no other herald,75
No other speaker of my living actions,
To keep mine honour from corruption,
But such an honest chronicler as Griffith.
Whom I most hated living, thou hast made me,
With thy religious truth and modesty,80
Now in his ashes honour: peace be with him!
Patience, be near me still; and set me lower:
I have not long to trouble thee. Good Griffith,
Cause the musicians play me that sad note
I named my knell, whilst I sit meditating85
On that celestial harmony I go to.
[Sad and solemn music]
GRIFFITHShe is asleep: good wench, let's sit down quiet,
For fear we wake her: softly, gentle Patience.
[ The vision. Enter, solemnly tripping one after another, six personages, clad in white robes, wearing on their heads garlands of bays, and golden vizards on their faces; branches of bays or palm in their hands. They first congee unto her, then dance; and, at certain changes, the first two hold a spare garland over her head; at which the other four make reverent curtsies; then the two that held the garland deliver the same to the other next two, who observe the same order in their changes, and holding the garland over her head: which done, they deliver the same garland to the last two, who likewise observe the same order: at which, as it were by inspiration, she makes in her sleep signs of rejoicing, and holdeth up her hands to heaven: and so in their dancing vanish, carrying the garland with them. The music continues ]
KATHARINESpirits of peace, where are ye? are ye all gone,
And leave me here in wretchedness behind ye?90
GRIFFITHMadam, we are here.
KATHARINEIt is not you I call for:
Saw ye none enter since I slept?
GRIFFITHNone, madam.
KATHARINENo? Saw you not, even now, a blessed troop95
Invite me to a banquet; whose bright faces
Cast thousand beams upon me, like the sun?
They promised me eternal happiness;
And brought me garlands, Griffith, which I feel
I am not worthy yet to wear: I shall, assuredly.100
GRIFFITHI am most joyful, madam, such good dreams
Possess your fancy.
KATHARINEBid the music leave,
They are harsh and heavy to me.
[Music ceases]
PATIENCEDo you note105
How much her grace is alter'd on the sudden?
How long her face is drawn? how pale she looks,
And of an earthy cold? Mark her eyes!
GRIFFITHShe is going, wench: pray, pray.
PATIENCEHeaven comfort her!110
[Enter a Messenger]
MessengerAn't like your grace,--
KATHARINEYou are a saucy fellow:
Deserve we no more reverence?
GRIFFITHYou are to blame,
Knowing she will not lose her wonted greatness,115
To use so rude behavior; go to, kneel.
MessengerI humbly do entreat your highness' pardon;
My haste made me unmannerly. There is staying
A gentleman, sent from the king, to see you.
KATHARINEAdmit him entrance, Griffith: but this fellow120
Let me ne'er see again.
[Exeunt GRIFFITH and Messenger]
[Re-enter GRIFFITH, with CAPUCIUS]
If my sight fail not,
You should be lord ambassador from the emperor,
My royal nephew, and your name Capucius.
CAPUCIUSMadam, the same; your servant.125
KATHARINEO, my lord,
The times and titles now are alter'd strangely
With me since first you knew me. But, I pray you,
What is your pleasure with me?
CAPUCIUSNoble lady,130
First mine own service to your grace; the next,
The king's request that I would visit you;
Who grieves much for your weakness, and by me
Sends you his princely commendations,
And heartily entreats you take good comfort.135
KATHARINEO my good lord, that comfort comes too late;
'Tis like a pardon after execution:
That gentle physic, given in time, had cured me;
But now I am past an comforts here, but prayers.
How does his highness?140
CAPUCIUSMadam, in good health.
KATHARINESo may he ever do! and ever flourish,
When I shall dwell with worms, and my poor name
Banish'd the kingdom! Patience, is that letter,
I caused you write, yet sent away?145
PATIENCENo, madam.
[Giving it to KATHARINE]
KATHARINESir, I most humbly pray you to deliver
This to my lord the king.
CAPUCIUSMost willing, madam.
KATHARINEIn which I have commended to his goodness150
The model of our chaste loves, his young daughter;
The dews of heaven fall thick in blessings on her!
Beseeching him to give her virtuous breeding--
She is young, and of a noble modest nature,
I hope she will deserve well,--and a little155
To love her for her mother's sake, that loved him,
Heaven knows how dearly. My next poor petition
Is, that his noble grace would have some pity
Upon my wretched women, that so long
Have follow'd both my fortunes faithfully:160
Of which there is not one, I dare avow,
And now I should not lie, but will deserve
For virtue and true beauty of the soul,
For honesty and decent carriage,
A right good husband, let him be a noble165
And, sure, those men are happy that shall have 'em.
The last is, for my men; they are the poorest,
But poverty could never draw 'em from me;
That they may have their wages duly paid 'em,
And something over to remember me by:170
If heaven had pleased to have given me longer life
And able means, we had not parted thus.
These are the whole contents: and, good my lord,
By that you love the dearest in this world,
As you wish Christian peace to souls departed,175
Stand these poor people's friend, and urge the king
To do me this last right.
CAPUCIUSBy heaven, I will,
Or let me lose the fashion of a man!
KATHARINEI thank you, honest lord. Remember me180
In all humility unto his highness:
Say his long trouble now is passing
Out of this world; tell him, in death I bless'd him,
For so I will. Mine eyes grow dim. Farewell,
My lord. Griffith, farewell. Nay, Patience,185
You must not leave me yet: I must to bed;
Call in more women. When I am dead, good wench,
Let me be used with honour: strew me over
With maiden flowers, that all the world may know
I was a chaste wife to my grave: embalm me,190
Then lay me forth: although unqueen'd, yet like
A queen, and daughter to a king, inter me.
I can no more.
[Exeunt, leading KATHARINE]

Continue to Henry VIII, Act 5, Scene 1


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