A Councell Table brought in with Chayres and Stooles, and placed vnder the State. Enter Lord Chancellour, places himselfe at the vpper end of the Table, on the left hand: A Seate being left void aboue him, as for Canterburies Seate. Duke of Suffolke, Duke of Norfolke, Surrey, Lord Chamberlaine, Gardiner, seat themselues in Order on each side. Cromwell at lower end, as Secretary.

Chan. Speake to the businesse, M[aster]. Secretary; Why are we met in Councell? Crom. Please your Honours, The chiefe cause concernes his Grace of Canterbury

Gard. Ha's he had knowledge of it? Crom. Yes

Norf. Who waits there? Keep. Without my Noble Lords? Gard. Yes

Keep. My Lord Archbishop: And ha's done halfe an houre to know your pleasures

Chan. Let him come in

Keep. Your Grace may enter now.

Cranmer approches the Councell Table.

Chan. My good Lord Archbishop, I'm very sorry To sit heere at this present, and behold That Chayre stand empty: But we all are men In our owne natures fraile, and capable Of our flesh, few are Angels; out of which frailty And want of wisedome, you that best should teach vs, Haue misdemean'd your selfe, and not a little: Toward the King first, then his Lawes, in filling The whole Realme, by your teaching & your Chaplaines (For so we are inform'd) with new opinions, Diuers and dangerous; which are Heresies; And not reform'd, may proue pernicious

Gard. Which Reformation must be sodaine too My Noble Lords; for those that tame wild Horses, Pace 'em not in their hands to make 'em gentle; But stop their mouthes with stubborn Bits & spurre 'em, Till they obey the mannage. If we suffer Out of our easinesse and childish pitty To one mans Honour, this contagious sicknesse; Farewell all Physicke: and what followes then? Commotions, vprores, with a generall Taint Of the whole State; as of late dayes our neighbours, The vpper Germany can deerely witnesse: Yet freshly pittied in our memories

Cran. My good Lords; Hitherto, in all the Progresse Both of my Life and Office, I haue labour'd, And with no little study, that my teaching And the strong course of my Authority, Might goe one way, and safely; and the end Was euer to doe well: nor is there liuing, (I speake it with a single heart, my Lords) A man that more detests, more stirres against, Both in his priuate Conscience, and his place, Defacers of a publique peace then I doe: Pray Heauen the King may neuer find a heart With lesse Allegeance in it. Men that make Enuy, and crooked malice, nourishment; Dare bite the best. I doe beseech your, Lordships, That in this case of Iustice, my Accusers, Be what they will, may stand forth face to face, And freely vrge against me

Suff. Nay, my Lord, That cannot be; you are a Counsellor, And by that vertue no man dare accuse you

Gard. My Lord, because we haue busines of more moment, We will be short with you. 'Tis his Highnesse pleasure And our consent, for better tryall of you, From hence you be committed to the Tower, Where being but a priuate man againe, You shall know many dare accuse you boldly, More then (I feare) you are prouided for

Cran. Ah my good Lord of Winchester: I thanke you, You are alwayes my good Friend, if your will passe, I shall both finde your Lordship, Iudge and Iuror, You are so mercifull. I see your end, 'Tis my vndoing. Loue and meekenesse, Lord Become a Churchman, better then Ambition: Win straying Soules with modesty againe, Cast none away: That I shall cleere my selfe, Lay all the weight ye can vpon my patience, I make as little doubt as you doe conscience, In doing dayly wrongs. I could say more, But reuerence to your calling, makes me modest

The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight Page 37

William Shakespeare Plays

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book