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 II. Scene I.
 
Westminster.  A Street.
 
Enter two Gentlemen, meeting.
  First Gent.  Whither away so fast?
  Sec. Gent.        O! God save ye.
E’en to the hall, to hear what shall become        5
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 prisoner.
  Sec. Gent.        Were you there?        10
  First Gent.  Yes, indeed, was I.
  Sec. Gent.  Pray speak what has happen’d.
  First Gent.  You may guess quickly what.
  Sec. Gent.        Is he found guilty?
  First Gent.  Yes, truly is he, and condemn’d upon ’t.        15
  Sec. Gent.  I am sorry for ’t.
  First Gent.        So are a number more.
  Sec. Gent.  But, pray, how pass’d it?
  First Gent.  I’ll tell you in a little. The great duke
Came to the bar; where, to his accusations        20
He pleaded still not guilty, and alleg’d
Many sharp reasons to defeat the law.
The king’s attorney on the contrary
Urg’d on the examinations, proofs, confessions
Of divers witnesses, which the duke desir’d        25
To have brought, vivâ voce, to his face:
At which appear’d against him his surveyor;
Sir Gilbert Peck his chancellor; and John Car,
Confessor to him; with that devil-monk,
Hopkins, that made this mischief.        30
  Sec. Gent.        That was he
That fed him with his prophecies?
  First Gent.        The same.
All these accus’d him strongly; which he fain
Would have flung from him, but, indeed, he could not:        35
And so his peers, upon this evidence,
Have found him guilty of high treason. Much
He spoke, and learnedly, for life; but all
Was either pitied in him or forgotten.
  Sec. Gent.  After all this how did he bear himself?        40
  First Gent.  When he was brought again to the bar, to hear
His knell rung out, his judgment, he was stirr’d
With such an agony, he sweat extremely,
And something spoke in choler, ill, and hasty:
But he fell to himself again, and sweetly        45
In all the rest show’d a most noble patience.
  Sec. Gent.  I do not think he fears death.
  First Gent.        Sure, he does not;
He never was so womanish; the cause
He may a little grieve at.        50
  Sec. Gent.        Certainly
The cardinal is the end of this.
  First Gent.        ’Tis likely
By all conjectures: first, Kildare’s attainder,
Then deputy of Ireland; who, remov’d,        55
Earl Surrey was sent thither, and in haste too,
Lest he should help his father.
  Sec. Gent.        That trick of state
Was a deep envious one.
  First Gent.        At his return,        60
No doubt he will requite it. This is noted,
And generally, whoever the king favours,
The cardinal instantly will find employment,
And far enough from court too.
  Sec. Gent.        All the commons        65
Hate him perniciously, and o’ my conscience,
Wish him ten fathom deep: this duke as much
They love and dote on; call him bounteous Buckingham,
The mirror of all courtesy;—
  First Gent.        Stay there, sir,        70
And see the noble ruin’d man you speak of.
 
Enter BUCKINGHAM from his arraignment; Tipstaves before him; the axe with the edge towards him; halberds on each side: with him SIR THOMAS LOVELL, SIR NICHOLAS VAUX, SIR WILLIAM SANDS, and common people.
  Sec. Gent.  Let’s stand close, and behold him.
  Buck.        All good people,
You that thus far have come to pity me,        75
Hear what I say, and then go home and lose me.
I have this day receiv’d a traitor’s judgment,
And by that name must die: yet, heaven bear witness,
And if I have a conscience, let it sink me,
Even as the axe falls, if I be not faithful!        80
The law I bear no malice for my death,
’T has done upon the premises but justice;
But those that sought it I could wish more Christians:
Be what they will, I heartily forgive ’em.
Yet let ’em look they glory not in mischief,        85
Nor build their evils on the graves of great men;
For then my guiltless blood must cry against ’em.
For further life in this world I ne’er hope,
Nor will I sue, although the king have mercies
More than I dare make faults. You few that lov’d me,        90
And dare be bold to weep for Buckingham,
His noble friends and fellows, whom to leave
Is only bitter to him, only dying,
Go with me, like good angels, to my end;
And, as the long divorce of steel falls on me,        95
Make of your prayers one sweet sacrifice,
And lift my soul to heaven. Lead on, o’ God’s name.
  Lov.  I do beseech your Grace, for charity,
If ever any malice in your heart
Were hid against me, now to forgive me frankly.        100
  Buck.  Sir Thomas Lovell, I as free forgive you
As I would be forgiven: I forgive all.
There cannot be those numberless offences
’Gainst me that I cannot take peace with: no black envy
Shall mark my grave. Commend me to his Grace;        105
And, if he speak of Buckingham, pray, tell him
You met him half in heaven. My vows and prayers
Yet are the king’s; and, till my soul forsake,
Shall cry for blessings on him: may he live
Longer than I have time to tell his years!        110
Ever belov’d and loving may his rule be!
And when old time shall lead him to his end,
Goodness and he fill up one monument!
  Lov.  To the water side I must conduct your Grace;
Then give my charge up to Sir Nicholas Vaux,        115
Who undertakes you to your end.
  Vaux.        Prepare there!
The duke is coming: see the barge be ready;
And fit it with such furniture as suits
The greatness of his person.        120
  Buck.        Nay, Sir Nicholas,
Let it alone; my state now will but mock me.
When I came hither, I was Lord High Constable,
And Duke of Buckingham; now, poor Edward Bohun:
Yet I am richer than my base accusers,        125
That never knew what truth meant: I now seal it;
And with that blood will make them one day groan for ’t.
My noble father, Henry of Buckingham,
Who first rais’d head against usurping Richard,
Flying for succour to his servant Banister,        130
Being distress’d, was by that wretch betray’d,
And without trial fell: God’s peace be with him!
Henry the Seventh succeeding, truly pitying
My father’s loss, like a most royal prince,
Restor’d me to my honours, and, out of ruins,        135
Made my name once more noble. Now his son,
Henry the Eighth, life, honour, name, and all
That made me happy, at one stroke has taken
For ever from the world. I had my trial,
And, must needs say, a noble one; which makes me        140
A little happier than my wretched father:
Yet thus far we are one in fortunes; both
Fell by our servants, by those men welov’d most:
A most unnatural and faithless service!
Heaven has an end in all; yet, you that hear me,        145
This from a dying man receive as certain:
Where you are liberal of your loves and counsels
Be sure you be not loose; for those you make friends
And give your hearts to, when they once perceive
The least rub in your fortunes, fall away        150
Like water from ye, never found again
But where they mean to sink ye. All good people,
Pray for me! I must now forsake ye: the last hour
Of my long weary life is come upon me.
Farewell:        155
And when you would say something that is sad,
Speak how I fell. I have done; and God forgive me!  [Exeunt BUCKINGHAM and Train.
  First Gent.  O! this is full of pity! Sir, it calls,
I fear, too many curses on their heads
That were the authors.        160
  Sec. Gent.        If the duke be guiltless,
’Tis full of woe; yet I can give you inkling
Of an ensuing evil, if it fall,
Greater than this.
  First Gent.        Good angels keep it from us!        165
What may it be? You do not doubt my faith, sir?
  Sec. Gent.  This secret is so weighty, ’twill require
A strong faith to conceal it.
  First Gent.        Let me have it;
I do not talk much.        170
  Sec. Gent.        I am confident:
You shall, sir. Did you not of late days hear
A buzzing of a separation
Between the king and Katharine?
  First Gent.        Yes, but it held not;        175
For when the king once heard it, out of anger
He sent command to the lord mayor straight
To stop the rumour, and allay those tongues
That durst disperse it.
  Sec. Gent.        But that slander, sir,        180
Is found a truth now; for it grows again
Fresher than e’er it was; and held for certain
The king will venture at it. Either the cardinal,
Or some about him near, have, out of malice
To the good queen, possess’d him with a scruple        185
That will undo her: to confirm this too,
Cardinal Campeius is arriv’d, and lately;
As all think, for this business.
  First Gent.        ’Tis the cardinal;
And merely to revenge him on the emperor        190
For not bestowing on him, at his asking,
The archbishopric of Toledo, this is purpos’d.
  Sec. Gent.  I think you have hit the mark: but is ’t not cruel
That she should feel the smart of this? The cardinal
Will have his will, and she must fall.        195
  First Gent.        ’Tis woeful.
We are too open here to argue this;
Let’s think in private more.  [Exeunt.
 
 
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