List iconHenry VIII:
Act 5, scene 1
List icon

Henry VIII
Act 5, 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 Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, a Page with a
torch before him, met by Sir Thomas Lovell.

 It’s one o’clock, boy, is ’t not?
PAGE  It hath struck.
 These should be hours for necessities,
 Not for delights; times to repair our nature
5 With comforting repose, and not for us
 To waste these times.—Good hour of night, Sir
 Whither so late?
LOVELL  Came you from the King, my lord?
10 I did, Sir Thomas, and left him at primero
 With the Duke of Suffolk.
LOVELL  I must to him too,
 Before he go to bed. I’ll take my leave.
 Not yet, Sir Thomas Lovell. What’s the matter?
15 It seems you are in haste. An if there be
 No great offense belongs to ’t, give your friend
 Some touch of your late business. Affairs that walk,
 As they say spirits do, at midnight have
 In them a wilder nature than the business
20 That seeks dispatch by day.

Henry VIII
ACT 5. SC. 1

LOVELL  My lord, I love you,
 And durst commend a secret to your ear
 Much weightier than this work. The Queen’s in
25 They say in great extremity—and feared
 She’ll with the labor end.
GARDINER  The fruit she goes with
 I pray for heartily, that it may find
 Good time and live; but for the stock, Sir Thomas,
30 I wish it grubbed up now.
LOVELL  Methinks I could
 Cry the amen, and yet my conscience says
 She’s a good creature and, sweet lady, does
 Deserve our better wishes.
GARDINER 35 But, sir, sir,
 Hear me, Sir Thomas. You’re a gentleman
 Of mine own way. I know you wise, religious;
 And let me tell you, it will ne’er be well,
 ’Twill not, Sir Thomas Lovell, take ’t of me,
40 Till Cranmer, Cromwell—her two hands—and she
 Sleep in their graves.
LOVELL  Now, sir, you speak of two
 The most remarked i’ th’ kingdom. As for Cromwell,
 Besides that of the Jewel House, is made Master
45 O’ th’ Rolls and the King’s secretary; further, sir,
 Stands in the gap and trade of more preferments,
 With which the time will load him. Th’ Archbishop
 Is the King’s hand and tongue, and who dare speak
 One syllable against him?
GARDINER 50 Yes, yes, Sir Thomas,
 There are that dare, and I myself have ventured
 To speak my mind of him. And indeed this day,
 Sir—I may tell it you, I think—I have
 Incensed the lords o’ th’ Council that he is—
55 For so I know he is, they know he is—

Henry VIII
ACT 5. SC. 1

 A most arch heretic, a pestilence
 That does infect the land; with which they, moved,
 Have broken with the King, who hath so far
 Given ear to our complaint, of his great grace
60 And princely care foreseeing those fell mischiefs
 Our reasons laid before him, hath commanded
 Tomorrow morning to the Council board
 He be convented. He’s a rank weed, Sir Thomas,
 And we must root him out. From your affairs
65 I hinder you too long. Goodnight, Sir Thomas.
 Many good nights, my lord. I rest your servant.
Gardiner and Page exit.

Enter King and Suffolk.

 Charles, I will play no more tonight.
 My mind’s not on ’t; you are too hard for me.
 Sir, I did never win of you before.
KING 70But little, Charles,
 Nor shall not when my fancy’s on my play.—
 Now, Lovell, from the Queen what is the news?
 I could not personally deliver to her
 What you commanded me, but by her woman
75 I sent your message, who returned her thanks
 In the great’st humbleness, and desired your Highness
 Most heartily to pray for her.
KING  What sayst thou, ha?
 To pray for her? What, is she crying out?
80 So said her woman, and that her suff’rance made
 Almost each pang a death.
KING  Alas, good lady!
 God safely quit her of her burden, and

Henry VIII
ACT 5. SC. 1

 With gentle travail, to the gladding of
85 Your Highness with an heir!
KING  ’Tis midnight, Charles.
 Prithee, to bed, and in thy prayers remember
 Th’ estate of my poor queen. Leave me alone,
 For I must think of that which company
90 Would not be friendly to.
SUFFOLK  I wish your Highness
 A quiet night, and my good mistress will
 Remember in my prayers.
KING  Charles, good night.
Suffolk exits.

Enter Sir Anthony Denny.

95 Well, sir, what follows?
 Sir, I have brought my lord the Archbishop,
 As you commanded me.
KING  Ha! Canterbury?
 Ay, my good lord.
KING 100 ’Tis true. Where is he, Denny?
 He attends your Highness’ pleasure.
KING  Bring him to us.
Denny exits.
LOVELL, aside 
 This is about that which the Bishop spake.
 I am happily come hither.

Enter Cranmer and Denny.

105 Avoid the gallery.Lovell seems to stay.
 Ha! I have said. Be gone!
 What!Lovell and Denny exit.

Henry VIII
ACT 5. SC. 1

CRANMER, aside  I am fearful. Wherefore frowns he thus?
 ’Tis his aspect of terror. All’s not well.
110 How now, my lord? You do desire to know
 Wherefore I sent for you.
CRANMER, kneeling  It is my duty
 T’ attend your Highness’ pleasure.
KING  Pray you arise,
115 My good and gracious Lord of Canterbury.
 Come, you and I must walk a turn together.
 I have news to tell you. Come, come, give me your
 hand.Cranmer rises.
 Ah, my good lord, I grieve at what I speak,
120 And am right sorry to repeat what follows.
 I have, and most unwillingly, of late
 Heard many grievous—I do say, my lord,
 Grievous—complaints of you, which, being
125 Have moved us and our Council that you shall
 This morning come before us, where I know
 You cannot with such freedom purge yourself
 But that, till further trial in those charges
 Which will require your answer, you must take
130 Your patience to you and be well contented
 To make your house our Tower. You a brother of us,
 It fits we thus proceed, or else no witness
 Would come against you.
CRANMER, kneeling  I humbly thank your
135 Highness,
 And am right glad to catch this good occasion
 Most throughly to be winnowed, where my chaff
 And corn shall fly asunder. For I know
 There’s none stands under more calumnious tongues
140 Than I myself, poor man.
KING  Stand up, good Canterbury!
 Thy truth and thy integrity is rooted

Henry VIII
ACT 5. SC. 1

 In us, thy friend. Give me thy hand. Stand up.
Cranmer rises.
 Prithee, let’s walk. Now by my halidom,
145 What manner of man are you? My lord, I looked
 You would have given me your petition that
 I should have ta’en some pains to bring together
 Yourself and your accusers and to have heard you
 Without endurance further.
CRANMER 150 Most dread liege,
 The good I stand on is my truth and honesty.
 If they shall fail, I with mine enemies
 Will triumph o’er my person, which I weigh not,
 Being of those virtues vacant. I fear nothing
155 What can be said against me.
KING  Know you not
 How your state stands i’ th’ world, with the whole
 Your enemies are many and not small; their practices
160 Must bear the same proportion, and not ever
 The justice and the truth o’ th’ question carries
 The due o’ th’ verdict with it. At what ease
 Might corrupt minds procure knaves as corrupt
 To swear against you? Such things have been done.
165 You are potently opposed, and with a malice
 Of as great size. Ween you of better luck,
 I mean in perjured witness, than your master,
 Whose minister you are, whiles here he lived
 Upon this naughty earth? Go to, go to.
170 You take a precipice for no leap of danger
 And woo your own destruction.
CRANMER  God and your Majesty
 Protect mine innocence, or I fall into
 The trap is laid for me.
KING 175 Be of good cheer.
 They shall no more prevail than we give way to.

Henry VIII
ACT 5. SC. 1

 Keep comfort to you, and this morning see
 You do appear before them. If they shall chance,
 In charging you with matters, to commit you,
180 The best persuasions to the contrary
 Fail not to use, and with what vehemency
 Th’ occasion shall instruct you. If entreaties
 Will render you no remedy, this ring
 Deliver them, and your appeal to us
185 There make before them.He gives Cranmer a ring.
Aside. Look, the good man weeps!
 He’s honest, on mine honor! God’s blest mother,
 I swear he is truehearted, and a soul
 None better in my kingdom.—Get you gone,
190 And do as I have bid you.Cranmer exits.
 He has strangled
 His language in his tears.
LOVELL (within)  Come back! What mean you?

Enter Old Lady, followed by Lovell.

 I’ll not come back! The tidings that I bring
195 Will make my boldness manners.—Now, good angels
 Fly o’er thy royal head and shade thy person
 Under their blessèd wings!
KING  Now by thy looks
 I guess thy message. Is the Queen delivered?
200 Say “Ay, and of a boy.”
OLD LADY  Ay, ay, my liege,
 And of a lovely boy. The God of heaven
 Both now and ever bless her! ’Tis a girl
 Promises boys hereafter. Sir, your queen
205 Desires your visitation, and to be
 Acquainted with this stranger. ’Tis as like you
 As cherry is to cherry.

Henry VIII
ACT 5. SC. 2

KING  Lovell.
210 Give her an hundred marks. I’ll to the Queen.
King exits.
 An hundred marks? By this light, I’ll ha’ more.
 An ordinary groom is for such payment.
 I will have more or scold it out of him.
 Said I for this the girl was like to him?
215 I’ll have more or else unsay ’t. And now,
 While ’tis hot, I’ll put it to the issue.
Old Lady exits, with Lovell.