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Henry VIII
Act 1, scene 3

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Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Two stories dominate Henry VIII: the fall of Cardinal Wolsey, Henry’s powerful advisor, and Henry’s quest to divorce Queen Katherine, who…

Prologue

Act 1, scene 1

The Duke of Buckingham, learning the details of the costly and ultimately fruitless meeting of French and English at the…

Act 1, scene 2

Queen Katherine reveals that Wolsey is heavily taxing the English in the king’s name, and Henry pronounces a pardon to…

Act 1, scene 3

Three courtiers discuss the royal proclamation against young fops who have adopted French manners and dress after returning from France….

Act 1, scene 4

At the supper, Wolsey and his guests are visited by Henry and his courtiers, all disguised as shepherds. Henry dances…

Act 2, scene 1

Buckingham, convicted of treason, is led to execution. He declares his innocence, forgives his enemies, and vows his loyalty to…

Act 2, scene 2

Norfolk, Suffolk, and the Lord Chamberlain join in denouncing Wolsey. They hold him responsible for dividing Henry from Katherine, and…

Act 2, scene 3

Anne Bullen pities Katherine, now threatened with divorce. The Lord Chamberlain enters to announce that Henry has created Anne marchioness…

Act 2, scene 4

At the trial, Katherine refuses to have the validity of her marriage judged by the church court, given Wolsey’s malice…

Act 3, scene 1

Wolsey and Campeius visit Katherine to persuade her to contest the divorce no longer.

Act 3, scene 2

Courtiers assemble to discuss Wolsey’s sudden fall from Henry’s favor, Henry’s marriage to Anne Bullen, and plans for her coronation….

Act 4, scene 1

The procession returns from Anne’s coronation, which is then described by a gentleman who was in attendance.

Act 4, scene 2

The dying Princess Dowager Katherine and her attendant Griffith provide contrasting accounts of the character of the newly dead Wolsey….

Act 5, scene 1

The new archbishop of Canterbury, Cranmer, is under attack because his religious beliefs seem heretical. The king, after receiving news…

Act 5, scene 2

Cranmer suffers the public humiliation of being locked out of a Privy Council meeting. Allowed in, he is then threatened…

Act 5, scene 3

A porter and his assistant fight to control the crowd determined to view the royal daughter’s christening.

Act 5, scene 4

At Princess Elizabeth’s christening, Cranmer prophesies a magnificent reign for the future Queen Elizabeth I and an equally successful one…

Act 5, epilogue

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Scene 3
Enter Lord Chamberlain and Lord Sands.

CHAMBERLAIN 
 Is ’t possible the spells of France should juggle
 Men into such strange mysteries?
SANDS  New customs,
 Though they be never so ridiculous—
5 Nay, let ’em be unmanly—yet are followed.
CHAMBERLAIN 
 As far as I see, all the good our English
 Have got by the late voyage is but merely
 A fit or two o’ th’ face; but they are shrewd ones,
 For when they hold ’em, you would swear directly
10 Their very noses had been counselors
 To Pepin or Clotharius, they keep state so.
SANDS 
 They have all new legs and lame ones; one would
 take it,
 That never see ’em pace before, the spavin
15 Or springhalt reigned among ’em.
CHAMBERLAIN  Death! My lord,
 Their clothes are after such a pagan cut to ’t,
 That, sure, they’ve worn out Christendom.

43
Henry VIII
ACT 1. SC. 3

Enter Sir Thomas Lovell.

 How now?
20 What news, Sir Thomas Lovell?
LOVELL  Faith, my lord,
 I hear of none but the new proclamation
 That’s clapped upon the court gate.
CHAMBERLAIN  What is ’t for?
LOVELL 
25 The reformation of our traveled gallants
 That fill the court with quarrels, talk, and tailors.
CHAMBERLAIN 
 I’m glad ’tis there; now I would pray our monsieurs
 To think an English courtier may be wise
 And never see the Louvre.
LOVELL 30 They must either—
 For so run the conditions—leave those remnants
 Of fool and feather that they got in France,
 With all their honorable points of ignorance
 Pertaining thereunto, as fights and fireworks,
35 Abusing better men than they can be
 Out of a foreign wisdom, renouncing clean
 The faith they have in tennis and tall stockings,
 Short blistered breeches, and those types of travel,
 And understand again like honest men,
40 Or pack to their old playfellows. There, I take it,
 They may cum privilegio “oui” away
 The lag end of their lewdness and be laughed at.
SANDS 
 ’Tis time to give ’em physic, their diseases
 Are grown so catching.
CHAMBERLAIN 45 What a loss our ladies
 Will have of these trim vanities!
LOVELL  Ay, marry,
 There will be woe indeed, lords. The sly whoresons

45
Henry VIII
ACT 1. SC. 3

 Have got a speeding trick to lay down ladies.
50 A French song and a fiddle has no fellow.
SANDS 
 The devil fiddle ’em! I am glad they are going,
 For sure there’s no converting of ’em. Now
 An honest country lord, as I am, beaten
 A long time out of play, may bring his plainsong,
55 And have an hour of hearing, and, by ’r Lady,
 Held current music too.
CHAMBERLAIN  Well said, Lord Sands.
 Your colt’s tooth is not cast yet?
SANDS  No, my lord,
60 Nor shall not while I have a stump.
CHAMBERLAIN  Sir Thomas,
 Whither were you a-going?
LOVELL  To the Cardinal’s.
 Your Lordship is a guest too.
CHAMBERLAIN 65 O, ’tis true.
 This night he makes a supper, and a great one,
 To many lords and ladies. There will be
 The beauty of this kingdom, I’ll assure you.
LOVELL 
 That churchman bears a bounteous mind indeed,
70 A hand as fruitful as the land that feeds us.
 His dews fall everywhere.
CHAMBERLAIN  No doubt he’s noble;
 He had a black mouth that said other of him.
SANDS 
 He may, my lord. ’Has wherewithal. In him,
75 Sparing would show a worse sin than ill doctrine.
 Men of his way should be most liberal;
 They are set here for examples.
CHAMBERLAIN  True, they are so,
 But few now give so great ones. My barge stays.
80 Your Lordship shall along.—Come, good Sir Thomas,
 We shall be late else, which I would not be,

47
Henry VIII
ACT 1. SC. 4

 For I was spoke to, with Sir Henry Guilford
 This night to be comptrollers.
SANDS  I am your Lordship’s.
They exit.