Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Henry VIII.
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eighth
 
Act I. Scene IV.
 
The Presence-chamber in York-Place.
 
Hautboys.  A small table under a state for CARDINAL WOLSEY, a longer table for the guests.  Enter, at one door, ANNE BULLEN, and divers Lords, Ladies, and Gentlewomen, as guests; at another door, enter SIR HENRY GUILDFORD.
  Guild.  Ladies, a general welcome from his Grace
Salutes ye all; this night he dedicates
To fair content and you. None here, he hopes,        5
In all this noble bevy, has brought with her
One care abroad; he would have all as merry
As, first, good company, good wine, good welcome
Can make good people.
 
Enter Lord Chamberlain, LORD SANDS, and SIR THOMAS LOVELL.
        10
        O, my lord! you’re tardy:
The very thought of this fair company
Clapp’d wings to me.
  Cham.  You are young, Sir Harry Guildford.
  Sands.  Sir Thomas Lovell, had the cardinal        15
But half my lay-thoughts in him, some of these
Should find a running banquet ere they rested,
I think would better please ’em: by my life,
They are a sweet society of fair ones.
  Lov.  O! that your lordship were but now confessor        20
To one or two of these!
  Sands.        I would I were;
They should find easy penance.
  Lov.        Faith, how easy?
  Sands.  As easy as a down-bed would afford it.        25
  Cham.  Sweet ladies, will it please you sit? Sir Harry,
Place you that side, I’ll take the charge of this;
His Grace is ent’ring. Nay you must not freeze;
Two women plac’d together makes cold weather:
My Lord Sands, you are one will keep ’em waking;        30
Pray, sit between these ladies.
  Sands.        By my faith,
And thank your lordship. By your leave, sweet ladies:  [Seats himself between ANNE BULLEN and another Lady.
If I chance to talk a little wild, forgive me;
I had it from my father.        35
  Anne.        Was he mad, sir?
  Sands.  O! very mad, exceeding mad; in love too:
But he would bite none; just as I do now,
He would kiss you twenty with a breath.  [Kisses her.
  Cham.        Well said, my lord.        40
So, now you’re fairly seated. Gentlemen,
The penance lies on you, if these fair ladies
Pass away frowning.
  Sands.        For my little cure,
Let me alone.        45
 
Hautboys.  Enter CARDINAL WOLSEY, attended, and takes his state.
  Wol.  You’re welcome, my fair guests: that noble lady,
Or gentleman, that is not freely merry,
Is not my friend: this, to confirm my welcome;
And to you all, good health.  [Drinks.        50
  Sands.        Your Grace is noble:
Let me have such a bowl may hold my thanks,
And save me so much talking.
  Wol.        My Lord Sands,
I am beholding to you: cheer your neighbours.        55
Ladies, you are not merry: gentlemen,
Whose fault is this?
  Sands.        The red wine first must rise
In their fair cheeks, my lord; then, we shall have ’em
Talk us to silence.        60
  Anne.        You are a merry gamester,
My Lord Sands.
  Sands.        Yes, if I make my play.
Here’s to your ladyship; and pledge it, madam,
For ’tis to such a thing,—        65
  Anne.        You cannot show me.
  Sands.  I told your Grace they would talk anon.  [Drum and trumpets within; chambers discharged.
  Wol.        What’s that?
  Cham.  Look out there, some of ye.  [Exit a Servant.
  Wol.        What war-like voice,        70
And to what end, is this? Nay, ladies, fear not;
By all the laws of war you’re privileg’d.
 
Re-enter Servant.
  Cham.  How now, what is ’t?
  Serv.        A noble troop of strangers;        75
For so they seem: they’ve left their barge and landed;
And hither make, as great ambassadors
From foreign princes.
  Wol.        Good Lord Chamberlain,
Go, give ’em welcome; you can speak the French tongue;        80
And, pray, receive ’em nobly, and conduct ’em
Into our presence, where this heaven of beauty
Shall shine at full upon them. Some attend him.  [Exit the Lord Chamberlain, attended.  All arise, and tables removed.
You have now a broken banquet; but we’ll mend it.
A good digestion to you all; and once more        85
I shower a welcome on ye; welcome all.
 
Hautboys.  Enter the KING, and Others, as masquers, habited like shepherds, ushered by the Lord Chamberlain.  They pass directly before the CARDINAL, and gracefully salute him.
A noble company! what are their pleasures?
  Cham.  Because they speak no English, thus they pray’d
To tell your Grace: that, having heard by fame        90
Of this so noble and so fair assembly
This night to meet here, they could do no less,
Out of the great respect they bear to beauty,
But leave their flocks; and, under your fair conduct,
Crave leave to view these ladies, and entreat        95
An hour of revels with ’em.
  Wol.        Say, Lord Chamberlain,
They have done my poor house grace; for which I pay ’em
A thousand thanks, and pray ’em take their pleasures.  [They choose Ladies for the dance.  The KING chooses ANNE BULLEN.
  K. Hen.  The fairest hand I ever touch’d! O beauty,        100
Till now I never knew thee!  [Music.  Dance.
  Wol.  My lord.
  Cham.        Your Grace?
  Wol.        Pray tell them thus much from me:
There should be one amongst ’em, by his person,        105
More worthy this place than myself; to whom,
If I but knew him, with my love and duty
I would surrender it.
  Cham.        I will, my lord.  [Whispers the Masquers.
  Wol.  What say they?        110
  Cham.        Such a one, they all confess,
There is, indeed; which they would have your Grace
Find out, and he will take it.
  Wol.        Let me see then.  [Comes from his state.
By all your good leaves, gentlemen, here I’ll make        115
My royal choice.
  K. Hen.  [Unmasking.]  You have found him, cardinal.
You hold a fair assembly; you do well, lord:
You are a churchman, or, I’ll tell you, cardinal,
I should judge now unhappily.        120
  Wol.        I am glad
Your Grace is grown so pleasant.
  K. Hen.        My Lord Chamberlain,
Prithee, come hither. What fair lady’s that?
  Cham.  An ’t please your Grace, Sir Thomas Bullen’s daughter,        125
The Viscount Rochford, one of her highness’ women.
  K. Hen.  By heaven, she is a dainty one. Sweetheart,
I were unmannerly to take you out,
And not to kiss you. A health, gentlemen!
Let it go round.        130
  Wol.  Sir Thomas Lovell, is the banquet ready
I’ the privy chamber?
  Lov.        Yes, my lord.
  Wol.                Your Grace,
I fear, with dancing is a little heated.        135
  K. Hen.  I fear, too much.
  Wol.        There’s fresher air, my lord,
In the next chamber.
  K. Hen.  Lead in your ladies, every one. Sweet partner,
I must not yet forsake you. Let’s be merry:        140
Good my Lord Cardinal, I have half a dozen healths
To drink to these fair ladies, and a measure
To lead ’em once again; and then let’s dream
Who’s best in favour. Let the music knock it.  [Exeunt with trumpets.
 
 
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