List iconHenry VIII:
Act 5, scene 3
List icon

Henry VIII
Act 5, scene 3



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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Quill icon
Scene 3
Noise and tumult within. Enter Porter and his Man,
carrying cudgels.

PORTER You’ll leave your noise anon, you rascals! Do
 you take the court for Parish Garden? You rude
 slaves, leave your gaping!
ONE, (within) Good Master Porter, I belong to th’
5 larder.
PORTER Belong to th’ gallows and be hanged, you rogue!
 Is this a place to roar in?—Fetch me a dozen crab-tree
 staves, and strong ones. These are but switches
 to ’em.—I’ll scratch your heads! You must be seeing
10 christenings? Do you look for ale and cakes here,
 you rude rascals?
 Pray, sir, be patient. ’Tis as much impossible—
 Unless we sweep ’em from the door with cannons—
 To scatter ’em as ’tis to make ’em sleep
15 On May Day morning, which will never be.
 We may as well push against Paul’s as stir ’em.
PORTER How got they in, and be hanged?

Henry VIII
ACT 5. SC. 3

 Alas, I know not. How gets the tide in?
 As much as one sound cudgel of four foot—
20 You see the poor remainder—could distribute,
 I made no spare, sir.
PORTER  You did nothing, sir.
 I am not Samson, nor Sir Guy, nor Colbrand,
 To mow ’em down before me; but if I spared any
25 That had a head to hit, either young or old,
 He or she, cuckold or cuckold-maker,
 Let me ne’er hope to see a chine again—
 And that I would not for a cow, God save her!
ONE, (within) Do you hear, Master Porter?
PORTER 30I shall be with you presently, good master
 puppy.— Keep the door close, sirrah.
PORTER’S MAN What would you have me do?
PORTER What should you do but knock ’em down by
 th’ dozens? Is this Moorfields to muster in? Or have
35 we some strange Indian with the great tool come to
 court, the women so besiege us? Bless me, what a
 fry of fornication is at door! On my Christian conscience,
 this one christening will beget a thousand;
 here will be father, godfather, and all together.
PORTER’S MAN 40The spoons will be the bigger, sir. There is
 a fellow somewhat near the door—he should be a
 brazier by his face, for, o’ my conscience, twenty of
 the dog days now reign in ’s nose. All that stand
 about him are under the line; they need no other
45 penance. That fire-drake did I hit three times on the
 head, and three times was his nose discharged
 against me. He stands there like a mortar-piece, to
 blow us. There was a haberdasher’s wife of small
 wit near him that railed upon me till her pinked
50 porringer fell off her head for kindling such a
 combustion in the state. I missed the meteor once

Henry VIII
ACT 5. SC. 3

 and hit that woman, who cried out “Clubs!” when I
 might see from far some forty truncheoners draw to
 her succor, which were the hope o’ th’ Strand, where
55 she was quartered. They fell on; I made good my
 place. At length they came to th’ broomstaff to me;
 I defied ’em still, when suddenly a file of boys behind
 ’em, loose shot, delivered such a shower of
 pibbles that I was fain to draw mine honor in and
60 let ’em win the work. The devil was amongst ’em, I
 think, surely.
PORTER These are the youths that thunder at a playhouse
 and fight for bitten apples, that no audience
 but the tribulation of Tower Hill or the limbs of
65 Limehouse, their dear brothers, are able to
 endure. I have some of ’em in Limbo Patrum, and
 there they are like to dance these three days, besides
 the running banquet of two beadles that is to come.

Enter Lord Chamberlain.

 Mercy o’ me, what a multitude are here!
70 They grow still too. From all parts they are coming,
 As if we kept a fair here! Where are these porters,
 These lazy knaves?—You’ve made a fine hand, fellows!
 There’s a trim rabble let in. Are all these
 Your faithful friends o’ th’ suburbs? We shall have
75 Great store of room, no doubt, left for the ladies,
 When they pass back from the christening!
PORTER  An ’t please
 your Honor,
 We are but men, and what so many may do,
80 Not being torn a-pieces, we have done.
 An army cannot rule ’em.
 If the King blame me for ’t, I’ll lay you all
 By th’ heels, and suddenly, and on your heads

Henry VIII
ACT 5. SC. 4

85 Clap round fines for neglect. You’re lazy knaves,
 And here you lie baiting of bombards, when
 You should do service.Trumpets.
 Hark, the trumpets sound!
 They’re come already from the christening.
90 Go break among the press, and find a way out
 To let the troop pass fairly, or I’ll find
 A Marshalsea shall hold you play these two months.
 Make way there for the Princess!
PORTER’S MAN  You great fellow,
95 Stand close up, or I’ll make your head ache.
 You i’ th’ camlet, get up o’ th’ rail!
 I’ll peck you o’er the pales else.
They exit.