List iconHenry VIIIList icon

Henry VIII
Act 4, scene 2

Synopsis:

Contents

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

Include links to:

Images
Glosses
Audio
Video
Essays
Quill icon
Scene 2
Enter Katherine Dowager, sick, led between Griffith, her
gentleman usher, and Patience, her woman.


GRIFFITH 
 How does your Grace?
KATHERINE  O Griffith, sick to death.
 My legs like loaden branches bow to th’ earth,
 Willing to leave their burden. Reach a chair.
She sits.
5 So. Now, methinks, I feel a little ease.
 Didst thou not tell me, Griffith, as thou ledst me,
 That the great child of honor, Cardinal Wolsey,
 Was dead?
GRIFFITH  Yes, madam, but I think your Grace,
10 Out of the pain you suffered, gave no ear to ’t.
KATHERINE 
 Prithee, good Griffith, tell me how he died.
 If well, he stepped before me happily
 For my example.
GRIFFITH  Well, the voice goes, madam;
15 For after the stout Earl Northumberland
 Arrested him at York and brought him forward,
 As a man sorely tainted, to his answer,
 He fell sick suddenly and grew so ill
 He could not sit his mule.
KATHERINE 20 Alas, poor man!
GRIFFITH 
 At last, with easy roads, he came to Leicester,
 Lodged in the abbey, where the reverend abbot
 With all his convent honorably received him;
 To whom he gave these words: “O Father Abbot,
25 An old man, broken with the storms of state,
 Is come to lay his weary bones among you.
 Give him a little earth, for charity.”
 So went to bed, where eagerly his sickness

177
Henry VIII
ACT 4. SC. 2

 Pursued him still; and three nights after this,
30 About the hour of eight, which he himself
 Foretold should be his last, full of repentance,
 Continual meditations, tears, and sorrows,
 He gave his honors to the world again,
 His blessèd part to heaven, and slept in peace.
KATHERINE 
35 So may he rest. His faults lie gently on him!
 Yet thus far, Griffith, give me leave to speak him,
 And yet with charity. He was a man
 Of an unbounded stomach, ever ranking
 Himself with princes; one that by suggestion
40 Tied all the kingdom. Simony was fair play.
 His own opinion was his law. I’ th’ presence
 He would say untruths, and be ever double
 Both in his words and meaning. He was never,
 But where he meant to ruin, pitiful.
45 His promises were, as he then was, mighty,
 But his performance, as he is now, nothing.
 Of his own body he was ill, and gave
 The clergy ill example.
GRIFFITH  Noble madam,
50 Men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtues
 We write in water. May it please your Highness
 To hear me speak his good now?
KATHERINE  Yes, good Griffith;
 I were malicious else.
GRIFFITH 55 This cardinal,
 Though from an humble stock, undoubtedly
 Was fashioned to much honor. From his cradle
 He was a scholar, and a ripe and good one:
 Exceeding wise, fair-spoken, and persuading;
60 Lofty and sour to them that loved him not,
 But, to those men that sought him, sweet as summer.
 And though he were unsatisfied in getting,
 Which was a sin, yet in bestowing, madam,

179
Henry VIII
ACT 4. SC. 2

 He was most princely. Ever witness for him
65 Those twins of learning that he raised in you,
 Ipswich and Oxford, one of which fell with him,
 Unwilling to outlive the good that did it;
 The other, though unfinished, yet so famous,
 So excellent in art, and still so rising,
70 That Christendom shall ever speak his virtue.
 His overthrow heaped happiness upon him,
 For then, and not till then, he felt himself,
 And found the blessedness of being little.
 And, to add greater honors to his age
75 Than man could give him, he died fearing God.
KATHERINE 
 After my death I wish no other herald,
 No other speaker of my living actions,
 To keep mine honor from corruption
 But such an honest chronicler as Griffith.
80 Whom I most hated living, thou hast made me,
 With thy religious truth and modesty,
 Now in his ashes honor. Peace be with him!—
 Patience, be near me still, and set me lower.
 I have not long to trouble thee.—Good Griffith,
85 Cause the musicians play me that sad note
 I named my knell, whilst I sit meditating
 On that celestial harmony I go to.
Sad and solemn music.
GRIFFITH 
 She is asleep. Good wench, let’s sit down quiet,
 For fear we wake her. Softly, gentle Patience.
They sit.

The Vision.


Enter, solemnly tripping one after another, six
Personages clad in white robes, wearing on their
heads garlands of bays, and golden vizards on their
faces, branches of bays or palm in their hands. They

181
Henry VIII
ACT 4. SC. 2

first congee unto her, then dance; and, at certain
changes, the first two hold a spare garland over her
head, at which the other four make reverent curtsies.
Then the two that held the garland deliver the same
to the other next two, who observe the same order in
their changes and holding the garland over her head;
which done, they deliver the same garland to the last
two, who likewise observe the same order. At which,
as it were by inspiration, she makes in her sleep
signs of rejoicing and holdeth up her hands to
heaven; and so, in their dancing, vanish, carrying
the garland with them.

The music continues.
KATHERINE, waking 
90 Spirits of peace, where are you? Are you all gone,
 And leave me here in wretchedness behind you?
GRIFFITH 
 Madam, we are here.
KATHERINE  It is not you I call for.
 Saw you none enter since I slept?
GRIFFITH 95 None, madam.
KATHERINE 
 No? Saw you not, even now, a blessed troop
 Invite me to a banquet, whose bright faces
 Cast thousand beams upon me, like the sun?
 They promised me eternal happiness
100 And brought me garlands, Griffith, which I feel
 I am not worthy yet to wear. I shall, assuredly.
GRIFFITH 
 I am most joyful, madam, such good dreams
 Possess your fancy.
KATHERINE  Bid the music leave.
105 They are harsh and heavy to me.Music ceases.
PATIENCE, aside to Griffith  Do you note
 How much her Grace is altered on the sudden?

183
Henry VIII
ACT 4. SC. 2

 How long her face is drawn? How pale she looks,
 And of an earthy cold? Mark her eyes.
GRIFFITH, aside to Patience 
110 She is going, wench. Pray, pray.
PATIENCE  Heaven comfort her!

Enter a Messenger.

MESSENGER, to Katherine 
 An ’t like your Grace—
KATHERINE  You are a saucy fellow.
 Deserve we no more reverence?
GRIFFITH, to Messenger 115 You are to blame,
 Knowing she will not lose her wonted greatness,
 To use so rude behavior. Go to. Kneel.
MESSENGER, kneeling 
 I humbly do entreat your Highness’ pardon.
 My haste made me unmannerly. There is staying
120 A gentleman sent from the King to see you.
KATHERINE 
 Admit him entrance, Griffith.Messenger rises.
 But this fellow
 Let me ne’er see again.Messenger exits.

Enter Lord Capuchius.

 If my sight fail not,
125 You should be Lord Ambassador from the Emperor,
 My royal nephew, and your name Capuchius.
CAPUCHIUS 
 Madam, the same. Your servant.
KATHERINE  O my lord,
 The times and titles now are altered strangely
130 With me since first you knew me. But I pray you,
 What is your pleasure with me?
CAPUCHIUS  Noble lady,
 First, mine own service to your Grace; the next,
 The King’s request that I would visit you,

185
Henry VIII
ACT 4. SC. 2

135 Who grieves much for your weakness, and by me
 Sends you his princely commendations,
 And heartily entreats you take good comfort.
KATHERINE 
 O, my good lord, that comfort comes too late;
 ’Tis like a pardon after execution.
140 That gentle physic given in time had cured me.
 But now I am past all comforts here but prayers.
 How does his Highness?
CAPUCHIUS  Madam, in good health.
KATHERINE 
 So may he ever do, and ever flourish,
145 When I shall dwell with worms, and my poor name
 Banished the kingdom.—Patience, is that letter
 I caused you write yet sent away?
PATIENCE  No, madam.
She presents a paper to Katherine, who gives
it to Capuchius.

KATHERINE 
 Sir, I most humbly pray you to deliver
150 This to my lord the King—
CAPUCHIUS  Most willing, madam.
KATHERINE 
 In which I have commended to his goodness
 The model of our chaste loves, his young daughter—
 The dews of heaven fall thick in blessings on her!—
155 Beseeching him to give her virtuous breeding—
 She is young and of a noble, modest nature;
 I hope she will deserve well—and a little
 To love her for her mother’s sake that loved him,
 Heaven knows how dearly. My next poor petition
160 Is that his noble Grace would have some pity
 Upon my wretched women, that so long
 Have followed both my fortunes faithfully,
 Of which there is not one, I dare avow—
 And now I should not lie—but will deserve,

187
Henry VIII
ACT 4. SC. 2

165 For virtue and true beauty of the soul,
 For honesty and decent carriage,
 A right good husband. Let him be a noble;
 And sure those men are happy that shall have ’em.
 The last is for my men—they are the poorest,
170 But poverty could never draw ’em from me—
 That they may have their wages duly paid ’em,
 And something over to remember me by.
 If heaven had pleased to have given me longer life
 And able means, we had not parted thus.
175 These are the whole contents. And, good my lord,
 By that you love the dearest in this world,
 As you wish Christian peace to souls departed,
 Stand these poor people’s friend, and urge the King
 To do me this last right.
CAPUCHIUS 180 By heaven, I will,
 Or let me lose the fashion of a man!
KATHERINE 
 I thank you, honest lord. Remember me
 In all humility unto his Highness.
 Say his long trouble now is passing
185 Out of this world. Tell him in death I blessed him,
 For so I will. Mine eyes grow dim. Farewell,
 My lord.—Griffith, farewell.—Nay, Patience,
 You must not leave me yet. I must to bed;
 Call in more women. When I am dead, good wench,
190 Let me be used with honor. Strew me over
 With maiden flowers, that all the world may know
 I was a chaste wife to my grave. Embalm me,
 Then lay me forth. Although unqueened, yet like
 A queen and daughter to a king inter me.
195 I can no more.
They exit, leading Katherine.