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Henry VIII
Act 4, scene 1



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…


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 1
Enter two Gentlemen, meeting one another, the First
Gentleman carrying a paper.

 You’re well met once again.
 You come to take your stand here and behold
 The Lady Anne pass from her coronation?
5 ’Tis all my business. At our last encounter,
 The Duke of Buckingham came from his trial.
 ’Tis very true. But that time offered sorrow,
 This general joy.
SECOND GENTLEMAN  ’Tis well. The citizens
10 I am sure have shown at full their royal minds,
 As, let ’em have their rights, they are ever forward
 In celebration of this day with shows,
 Pageants, and sights of honor.
FIRST GENTLEMAN  Never greater,
15 Nor, I’ll assure you, better taken, sir.
 May I be bold to ask what that contains,
 That paper in your hand?
FIRST GENTLEMAN  Yes, ’tis the list

Henry VIII
ACT 4. SC. 1

 Of those that claim their offices this day
20 By custom of the coronation.
 The Duke of Suffolk is the first, and claims
 To be High Steward; next, the Duke of Norfolk,
 He to be Earl Marshal. You may read the rest.
He offers him the paper.
 I thank you, sir. Had I not known those customs,
25 I should have been beholding to your paper.
 But I beseech you, what’s become of Katherine,
 The Princess Dowager? How goes her business?
 That I can tell you too. The Archbishop
 Of Canterbury, accompanied with other
30 Learnèd and reverend fathers of his order,
 Held a late court at Dunstable, six miles off
 From Ampthill, where the Princess lay, to which
 She was often cited by them, but appeared not;
 And, to be short, for not appearance and
35 The King’s late scruple, by the main assent
 Of all these learnèd men she was divorced,
 And the late marriage made of none effect;
 Since which she was removed to Kymmalton,
 Where she remains now sick.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 40 Alas, good lady!
Hautboys. A lively flourish of trumpets.
 The trumpets sound. Stand close. The Queen is coming.

Then, enter two Judges; Lord Chancellor, with purse
and mace before him. Choristers singing. Music.
Enter Mayor of London, bearing the mace. Then
Garter, in his coat of arms, and on his head he wore a
gilt copper crown.

 A royal train, believe me! These I know.

Henry VIII
ACT 4. SC. 1

Enter Marques Dorset, bearing a scepter of gold; on his
head a demi-coronal of gold. With him, the Earl of
Surrey, bearing the rod of silver with the dove, crowned
with an earl’s coronet. Collars of S’s.

 Who’s that that bears the scepter?
FIRST GENTLEMAN  Marques Dorset,
45 And that the Earl of Surrey with the rod.
 A bold brave gentleman.

Enter Duke of Suffolk, in his robe of estate, his
coronet on his head, bearing a long white wand, as High
Steward. With him, the Duke of Norfolk, with the rod of
Marshalship, a coronet on his head. Collars of S’s.

 That should be
 The Duke of Suffolk.
FIRST GENTLEMAN  ’Tis the same: High Steward.
50 And that my Lord of Norfolk?

Enter a canopy, borne by four of the Cinque-ports,
under it the Queen in her robe, in her hair, richly
adorned with pearl, crowned. On each side her, the
Bishops of London and Winchester.

SECOND GENTLEMAN  Heaven bless thee!
 Thou hast the sweetest face I ever looked on.—
 Sir, as I have a soul, she is an angel.
55 Our king has all the Indies in his arms,
 And more, and richer, when he strains that lady.
 I cannot blame his conscience.
FIRST GENTLEMAN  They that bear
 The cloth of honor over her are four barons
60 Of the Cinque-ports.
 Those men are happy, and so are all are near her.

Henry VIII
ACT 4. SC. 1

Enter the Old Duchess of Norfolk, in a coronal of
gold wrought with flowers, bearing the Queen’s train.
Certain Ladies or Countesses, with plain circlets of gold
without flowers.

 I take it she that carries up the train
 Is that old noble lady, Duchess of Norfolk.
 It is, and all the rest are countesses.
65 Their coronets say so. These are stars indeed.
 And sometimes falling ones.
SECOND GENTLEMAN  No more of that.
The Coronation procession exits, having
passed over the stage in order and state, and then
a great flourish of trumpets.

Enter a third Gentleman.

 God save you, sir. Where have you been broiling?
 Among the crowd i’ th’ Abbey, where a finger
70 Could not be wedged in more. I am stifled
 With the mere rankness of their joy.
 The ceremony?
FIRST GENTLEMAN 75 How was it?
 Well worth the seeing.
SECOND GENTLEMAN  Good sir, speak it to us!
 As well as I am able. The rich stream
 Of lords and ladies, having brought the Queen

Henry VIII
ACT 4. SC. 1

80 To a prepared place in the choir, fell off
 A distance from her, while her Grace sat down
 To rest awhile, some half an hour or so,
 In a rich chair of state, opposing freely
 The beauty of her person to the people.
85 Believe me, sir, she is the goodliest woman
 That ever lay by man, which when the people
 Had the full view of, such a noise arose
 As the shrouds make at sea in a stiff tempest—
 As loud and to as many tunes. Hats, cloaks,
90 Doublets, I think, flew up, and had their faces
 Been loose, this day they had been lost. Such joy
 I never saw before. Great-bellied women
 That had not half a week to go, like rams
 In the old time of war, would shake the press
95 And make ’em reel before ’em. No man living
 Could say “This is my wife there,” all were woven
 So strangely in one piece.
SECOND GENTLEMAN  But what followed?
 At length her Grace rose, and with modest paces
100 Came to the altar, where she kneeled and saintlike
 Cast her fair eyes to heaven and prayed devoutly,
 Then rose again and bowed her to the people.
 When by the Archbishop of Canterbury
 She had all the royal makings of a queen—
105 As, holy oil, Edward Confessor’s crown,
 The rod, and bird of peace, and all such emblems—
 Laid nobly on her; which performed, the choir,
 With all the choicest music of the kingdom,
 Together sung Te Deum. So she parted,
110 And with the same full state paced back again
 To York Place, where the feast is held.
 You must no more call it “York Place”; that’s past,

Henry VIII
ACT 4. SC. 1

 For since the Cardinal fell, that title’s lost.
115 ’Tis now the King’s and called “Whitehall.”
 But ’tis so lately altered that the old name
 Is fresh about me.
SECOND GENTLEMAN  What two reverend bishops
120 Were those that went on each side of the Queen?
 Stokeley and Gardiner, the one of Winchester,
 Newly preferred from the King’s secretary,
 The other London.
SECOND GENTLEMAN  He of Winchester
125 Is held no great good lover of the Archbishop’s,
 The virtuous Cranmer.
THIRD GENTLEMAN  All the land knows that.
 However, yet there is no great breach. When it comes,
 Cranmer will find a friend will not shrink from him.
130 Who may that be, I pray you?
THIRD GENTLEMAN  Thomas Cromwell,
 A man in much esteem with th’ King, and truly
 A worthy friend. The King has made him
 Master o’ th’ Jewel House,
135 And one already of the Privy Council.
 He will deserve more.
THIRD GENTLEMAN  Yes, without all doubt.
 Come, gentlemen, you shall go my way,
 Which is to th’ court, and there you shall be my
140 guests,
 Something I can command. As I walk thither,
 I’ll tell you more.
BOTH  You may command us, sir.
They exit.