Henry VIII

Abridged Henry VIII/#1/Background/Act 1, Scene 1.1

The Dukes of Norfolk and Buckingham are on stage, Norfolk
letting Buckingham know of the ostentatious display of wealth he recently viewed
while in France; a gaudy scene provided by the Kings of England and France, led
and guided by Cardinal Wolsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Buckingham, who has no love for Wolsey, asks
Norfolk “What had he to do in these fierce inanities?”  Buckingham goes on, saying “He makes up the
file of all the noblemen, intending to burden them with great expense with
little honor.”  He asks “What did this
worthless action afford but conversation and little action? “  Norfolk replies “Grievingly I think the peace
between the French and us not values the cost that did conclude it.  As expected, the French hath flawed the peace
treaty and have seized our merchants’ goods at Bordeaux.”  Buckingham says “Why, all this business,
purchased at this inordinate price, our reverend cardinal carried?”  Norfolk warns Buckingham: “Like it your Grace,
the state takes notice of the private difference betwixt you and the
Cardinal.  You know his nature, that he’s
revengeful, and I know his sword has a sharp edge; it’s long and it may be said
it reaches far.  Take to heart my
counsel; you’ll find it wholesome.”

Abridged Henry VIII/#2/Consequence/Act 1, Scene 1.2

Cardinal Wolsey and two of his secretaries pass over the
stage.  “The Cardinal in his passage
fixeth his eye on Buckingham, and Buckingham on him, both full of disdain.”  Wolsey and his train exit.  Buckingham says “This vicious dog is
venomed-mouthed, and I have not the power to muzzle him.”  Norfolk asks “What, are you angry?”  Buckingham says “I read in ‘s looks matter
against me, and his eye reviled me as his despised object.  He’s gone to th’ King.  I’ll follow and outstare him.”  Norfolk tires his best to warn Buckingham to
be careful; Wolsey, he says, is a powerful and vindictive man.  Norfolk counsels Buckingham that “To climb
steep hills requires slow pace at first.
Anger is like a full hot horse, being allowed his way, his natural vigor
and spirit tires him.”  Buckingham says “Sir,
I’ll go along by your prescription.  But
this too-proud fellow I do know to be corrupt and treasonous.”  Norfolk says “Say not treasonous.”  Buckingham goes on, saying “This holy fox, or
wolf, or both — for he is equal rav’nous as he is subtle, and as prone to
mischief as able to perform it.”  An aide
to the King enters and tells Buckingham “I arrest thee of high treason, in the
name of our most sovereign king.”
Buckingham turns to Norfolk, saying “My lord, the net has fall’n upon
me.  I shall perish under plot and
trickery.”  The aide says “You shall to
th’ Tower.”  Buckingham acknowledges his
position, saying “It will help me nothing to plead my innocence, for that dye
is on me which makes my whit’st part black.”
Brandon says “Here is a warrant from the King.”  He lists names, one being “a monk o’ th’
Chartreux.”  Buckingham says “O, Michael
Hopkins?”  The aide says “He.”  Buckingham says “My surveyor is false.  The o’ergreat cardinal hath showed him
gold.  My life is measured out already. I
am the shadow of poor Buckingham, this instant cloud dark’ning my clear

Abridged Henry VIII/#3/Confrontation/Act 1. Scene 2.1

In the king’s court, the King asks Wolsey to “call before
us that gentleman of Buckingham’s; in person I’ll hear him his confessions
justly, and point by point the treasons of his master he shall again
relate.”  Queen Katherine enters. She
says “I am a suitor.”  The King says
“Lady mine, proceed.”  She says “Your
subjects are in great grievance.  There
have been orders sent down among ‘em, which have damaged the heart of their
loyalties, wherein, although Lord Cardinal, they vent most bitterly on you, yet
the King escapes not language unmannerly.”
Norfolk says “upon these taxations, the clothiers all, have put off the
spinsters, fullers, weavers, who, unfit for other life, are in an uproar, and
danger serves among them.  The King says
“Taxation?  My Lord Cardinal, know you of
this taxation?”  Wolsey says “I know but
of a single part.”  The Queen cries “You
know no more than others?  They say they
are devised by you.  The pretense for
this is named your wars in France.”  She
turns to the King, saying “I would your Highness would give it quick
consideration, for there is no greater meanness.”  The King cries “This is against our
pleasure.”  Wolsey glibly defends his
actions.  The King isn’t convinced.  He tells Wolsey “Pray look to ‘t; I put it to
your care.”  Aside, Cardinal Wolsey tells
his secretary to “let there be letters writ to every county of the King’s grace
and pardon.  Let it be known that through
our intercession this revokement and pardon (of the taxes) comes.”

Abridged Henry VIII/#4/Performance/Act 1, Scene 2.2

Buckingham’s Surveyor enters the courtroom.  The Queen says “I am sorry the Duke of
Buckingham is run in your displeasure.”
The King acknowledges Buckingham’s strengths, but says “he, my lady,
hath into monstrous habits put the graces that once were his.”  Speaking of the Surveyor, the King says “This
was his gentleman in trust, whereof we cannot feel too little, hear too
much.”  Wolsey tells the Surveyor to
“Stand forth.”  The King says “Speak
freely.”  The Surveyor says “First, every
day he (Buckingham) would say, that if the King should without issue die, he’ll
carry it so to make the scepter his.”
The King says “Speak on.  How
grounded he his title to the crown upon our fail?”  The Surveyor says “By a vain prophecy of
Nicholas Henton, a Chartreux friar, who fed him every minute with words of
sovereignty.”  The King asks “How know’st
thou this?”  He says certain words spoke
by a holy monk with solemn assurance to my chaplain who told me to tell the
Duke that he should strive to gain the love o’ th’ commonalty; the Duke shall
govern England.”  Queen Katherine jumps
in saying “If I know you well, you lost your office on the complaint o’ th’
tenants.”  The King tells him to “Go forward.”  The Surveyor offers more purported actions by
Buckingham, irritating the King.  The
King says “There’s mischief in this man!”
Getting worked up, the Surveyor tells more tales of Buckingham’s
misdeeds.  The King cries “A giant
traitor!”  Wolsey turns to the Queen and
says “Now, madam, may his Highness live in freedom with this man out of
prison?”  She says “God mend all.”  After more of the Surveyor’s theatrics, the
King says “By day and night, he’s traitor to th’ height!”

Abridged Henry VIII/#5/Gossip/Act 1, Scene 3

Three courtiers, Chamberlain, Lovell and Sands, are on
stage ridiculing some of England’s young men, who, returning from France, adopt
contemporary French fashion as their own, including “tall stockings and short
ornamented breeches.”  Chamberlain says
“What a loss our ladies will have of these trim vanities.”  They turn their talk to the extravagant
dinner party Cardinal Wolsey has planned for that evening, Chamberlain noting
“There will be the beauty of this kingdom, I’ll assure you.”  The men plan to attend.

Abridged Henry VIII/#6/Infatuation/Act 1, Scene 4

The scene opens at Cardinal Wolsey’s dinner party.  Anne Bullen and friends enter.  The courtiers, Chamberlain, Lovell and Sands,
enter and are seated in-between the young women, Chamberlain noting “two women
placed together makes cold weather.”
Cardinal Wolsey enters, saying “You’re welcome, my fair guests.”  A Servant enters, letting Cardinal Wolsey
know that “a noble troop of strangers” have arrived.  Wolsey says “Go, give ‘em welcome.  Some attend him.”  The King and some of his entourage enter,
disguised as shepherds.  Wolsey asks
Chamberlain “What are their pleasures?”
Chamberlain says “They speak no English,” but it seems they have arrived
to “view these ladies and entreat an hour of revels with ‘em.”  Wolsey says “They have done my house grace,
for which I pay ‘em a thousand thanks.”
The disguised King chooses Anne Bullen, saying “the fairest hand I ever
touched!  O beauty, till now I never knew
thee.”  They dance.  Wolsey tells Chamberlain that “there should
be one amongst ‘em by his person more worthy this place than myself.”  The King unmasks.  The King asks Chamberlain “what fair lady’s
that?”  He tells him “An’t please your
Grace, Sir Thomas Bullen’s daughter, one of her Highness’ women.”  The King turns to Anne, saying “Sweetheart, I
were unmannerly to take you out and not to kiss you.”  He kisses her.  He drinks a toast. They prepare to leave for
the banquet chamber.  The King says “Lead
in your ladies ev’ry one.  I have half a
dozen healths to drink to these fair ladies, and dream who’s best in

Abridged Henry VIII/#7/Graciousness/Act 2, Scene 1

Two Gentlemen are on stage discussing the fate of the
Duke of Buckingham.  The Second Gentleman
asks “Is he found guilty?”  The First
Gentleman says “Yes, truly, is he, and condemned upon ‘t.  I’ll tell you briefly.  His surveyor, his chancellor, his confessor,
with that devil monk, Hopkins, made this mischief.”  The Second Gentleman says “Certainly the
Cardinal is the root cause of this.”  The
First Gentleman replies “’Tis likely.
Generally, whoever the King favors, the Cardinal instantly will find
employment.”  The Second Gentleman says
“All the commons hate him perniciously and wish him then fathom deep.  They love and dote on this duke, calling him
bounteous Buckingham, the mirror of all courtesy.”  A guarded Buckingham enters.  Buckingham speaks to the crowd, saying “All
good people, I have this day received a traitor’s judgment, and by that name
must die.  You that loved me, go with me
like good angels to my end, and lift my soul to heaven.”  He then tells his friends “Commend me to his
Grace; tell him my vows and prayers are the King’s; and may he live ever
beloved and loving may his rule be.”
Lovell says “To th’ waterside I must conduct your Grace, then give my
charge to him who undertakes you to your end.”
Buckingham goes on, offering a history lesson, ending the lesson with
“All good people, pray for me.  And when
you would say something that is sad, speak how I fell.”  He exits.
The two Gentlemen return to gossiping.
The Second Gentleman says “Did you not of late days hear a buzzing of a
separation between the King and Katherine?
The First Gentleman says “Yes, but the King commanded straight to stop
the rumor.”  The Second Gentleman then
says “But the slander, sir, is found a truth now, and held for certain the King
will venture at it.  The Cardinal or some
about him near, have, out of malice to the good queen, possessed him with a
scruple that will undo her.  To confirm
this, Cardinal Campeius is arrived for this business.”  The First Gentleman responds “It is the
Cardinal who is responsible, merely to avenge himself.”  The Second Gentleman replies “I think you
have hit the mark.  The Cardinal will
have his will, and she must fall.”  They

Abridged Henry VIII/#8/Influence/Act 2, Scene 2

Chamberlain, Norfolk and Suffolk are on stage.  Suffolk asks “How is the King employed?”  Chamberlain says “It seems his marriage has
crept too near his conscience.”  Suffolk
adds “No, his conscience has crept too near another lady.”  Norfolk says “’Tis so; this is the Cardinal’s
doing.  How holily he works in all his
business.  And with what zeal!”  He goes on to tell us how wonderful Queen
Katherine has been; she “that loves him with that excellence that angels love
good men.”  Chamberlain calls the
Cardinal “This bold bad man.”  Chamberlain
exits.  The King is nearby, reading.  He sees the men, saying “How dare you thrust
yourselves into my private meditations.”
Wolsey and Campeius enter.
Campeius is the Pope’s representative.
The King says “My good Lord Cardinal.
Thou art a cure fit for a king.”
The King turns to Campeius, saying “You’re welcome, most learned
reverend sir, into our kingdom.”  Norfolk
and Suffolk exit.  Wolsey introduces
Campeius to the King, saying “Rome, the nurse of judgment, this good man, this
just and learned priest, Cardinal Campeius, whom once more I present unto your
Highness.”  The King embraces
Campeius.  Campeius hands the King a
paper and then flatters the King.  The
King asks for Gardiner, his secretary.
Gardiner enters. The two of them walk aside and whisper.  Campeius asks about Gardiner.  Wolsey responds “This good fellow if I
command him follows my direction.  I will
have none so near else.”  The King says
to Gardiner “Make this known with modesty to th’ Queen.”  Gardiner exits.  The King says to Wolsey and Campeius “I must
leave her.”  They exit.

Abridged Henry VIII/#9/Modesty/Act 2, Scene 3

Anne Bullen and an old Lady are on stage, talking about
the fate of Queen Katherine, sympathetic Anne saying “She so good a lady that
no tongue could ever pronounce dishonor of her.”  The Old Lady supports her, saying “Hearts of
most hard temper melt and lament for her.”
Anne adds “Much better she ne’er had known pomp.”  She adds “By my troth, I would not be a
queen.”  The Old Lady replies “I would,
and so would you, for all this touch of hypocrisy.  You, that have so fair parts of woman on you,
have too a woman’s heart, which are blessings.”
Anne says “Nay, good troth.”  The
Old Lady says “You would not be a queen?”
Anne replies “No, not for all the riches under heaven.”  The Old Lady comes back with “But I pray you,
what think you of a duchess?”  Anne says
“No, in truth.”  Lord Chamberlain enters.  They talk a little.  Chamberlain says “The King does purpose honor
to you no less flowing than Marchioness of Pembroke, to which title a thousand
pound a year annual support out of his grace he adds.”  Anne says “Beseech your Lordship, vouchsafe
to speak my thanks.”  Chamberlain says
“I’ll to the King and say I spoke with you.”
He exits.  The Old Lady cries
“Why, this it is!  See, see!  This fate!
This compelled fortune!”  Anne
says ‘This is strange to me.”  The Old
Lady says “The Marchioness of Pembroke?
A thousand pounds a year for pure respect?  No other obligation?  By my life that promises more
thousands.”  Anne says “Good lady, make
yourself mirth with your particular fancy, and leave me out on ‘t.  The queen is comfortless.  Pray do not report what here you’ve heard to
her.”  They exit.

Abridged Henry VIII/#10/Justification/Act 2, Scene 4.1

The stage is set as an ornate courtroom.  The Queen rises, goes to the King, and kneels
at his feet.  She says “I am a most poor
woman and a foreigner, born out of your dominions, having no judge indifferent
nor of equal friendship.  Alas, sir, in
what have I offended you?”  I have been
to you a true and humble wife, at all times to your will conformable.  Which of your friends have I not strove to
love, although I knew he were mine enemy?
I have been your wife in this obedience upward of twenty years.  My father, Ferdinand, King of Spain, was
reckoned the wisest prince.  Spare me
till I may be by my friends in Spain advised.”
Wolsey says “You have your choice, these reverend fathers, who are
assembled to plead your cause.”  Campeius
adds “It’s fit this royal session do proceed and without delay their arguments
heard.”  Queen Katherine says to Wolsey
“I do believe that you are my enemy, and make challenge you shall not be my
judge.”  Wolsey replies “I do profess you
speak not like yourself.  Madam, you do
me wrong.”  Queen Katherine says “I am a
simple woman, much too weak t’ oppose your cunning.  Here, before you all, I appeal unto the Pope,
and to be judged by him.”  She curtsies
to the King and offers to depart.
Campeius says “The Queen is obstinate, stubborn to justice, and
disdainful to be tried by ‘t.”  She
ignores the King, Campeius and others and exits.  The King showers tributes on his wife.  Wolsey jumps in, saying, “Have I ever not
spoken with thanks to God for such a royal lady, or spoken a word that might
prejudice her good person?”  The King
says “My Lord Cardinal, I do excuse you.
The King notes that his Queen’s male offspring had died at or near
birth. He very carefully defends “this remedy whereupon we are now present
together” on the basis that “my kingdom is well worthy the best heir o’ th’
world.” He also brings up the matter “whether our daughter Mary were
legitimate, with reference to this my marriage with the dowager (Katherine),
formerly my brother’s wife.”  He says
that Katherine is “the most excellent creature that’s set foot on the
world.”  In a carefully contrived way he
says his interest in Anne is because he and the Queen don’t have a male
heir.  Campeius says “we need adjourn
this court till further day.  Meanwhile there
must be an earnest motion made to the Queen to call back her appeal she intends
unto his Holiness.”  Aside the King says,
I abhor this dilatory sloth and tricks of Rome.
My learned servant Cranmer, prithee return.”