ye will not extend to me so much indifferent favour, your pleasure then be fulfilled and to God I commit my cause !' “And with that she rose up, making a low curtsy to the king, and so departed from thence. Many supposed that she would have resorted again to her former place ; but she took her way straight out of the house, leaning, as she was wont always to do, upon the arm of her general receiver, called Master Griffith. And the king being advertised of her departure, commanded the crier to call her again, who called her by the name of ‘Katherine queen of England, come into the court,’ &c. With that quoth Master Griffith, “Madam, ye be called again.” “On, on,' quoth she, “it maketh no matter, for it is no indifferent court for me, therefore I will not tarry. Go on your ways.” And thus she departed out of that court, without any farther answer at that time, or at any other, nor would never appear at any other court after. “The king, perceiving that she was departed in such sort, calling to his grace's memory all her lament words that she had pronounced before him and all the audience, said thus in effect :—‘Forasmuch,' quoth he, “as the queen is gone, I will, in her absence, declare unto you all my lords here present assembled, she hath been to me as true, as obedient, and as conformable a wife as I could in my fantasy wish or desire. She hath all the virtuous qualities that ought to be in a woman of her dignity, or in any other of baser estate. Surely she is also a noblewoman born ; if nothing were in her but only her conditions, will well declare the same.’ With that quoth my lord cardinal,—'Sir, I most humbly beseech your highness to declare me before all this audience, whether I have been the chief inventor or first mover of this matter unto your majesty: for I am greatly suspected of all men herein.” “My lord cardinal, quoth the king, “I can well excuse you herein. Marry,' quoth he, “ye have been rather against me in attempting or setting forth thereof. And to put you all out of doubt, I will declare unto you the special cause that moved me hereunto ; it was a certain scrupulosity that pricked my conscience upon divers words that were spoken at a certain time by the Bishop of Bayonne, the French king's ambassador, who had been here long upon the debating for the conclusion of a marriage to be concluded between the princess, our daughter Mary and the Duke of Orleans, the French king's second son. “And upon the resolution and determination thereof, he desired respite to advertise the king his master thereof, whether our daughter Mary should be legitimate in respect of the marriage which was sometime between the queen here and my brother the late prince Arthur. These words were so conceived within my scrupulous conscience, that it bred a doubt within my breast, which doubt pricked, vexed, and troubled so my mind, and so disquieted me, that I was in great doubt of God's indignation; which, as seemed me, appeared right well; much the rather for that he hath not sent me any issue male; for all such issue male as I have received of the queen died incontinent after they were born ; so that I doubt the punishment of God in that behalf. Thus being troubled in waves of a scrupulous conscience, and partly in despair of any issue male by her, it drave me at last to consider the estate of this realm, and the danger it stood in for lack of issue male to succeed me in this imperial dignity. I thought it good, therefore, in relief of the weighty burden of scrupulous conscience, and the quiet estate of this noble realm, to attempt the law therein, and whether I might take another wife in case that my first copulation with this gentlewoman were not lawful ; which I intend not for any carnal concupiscence, nor for any displeasure or mislike of the queen's person or age, with whom I could be as well content to continue during my life, if our marriage may stand with God's laws, as with any woman alive ; in which point consisteth all this doubt that we go now about to try by the learned wisdom and o O

judgment of you our prelates and pastors of this realm here assembled for that purpose; to whose conscience and judgment I have committed the charge, according to the which, God willing, we will be right well contented to submit ourself, to obey the same for our part. Wherein after I once perceived my conscience wounded with the doubtful case herein, I moved first this matter in confession to you, my Lord of Lincoln, my ghostly father. And forasmuch as then yourself were in some doubt to give me counsel, moved me to ask further counsel of all you, my lords; wherein I moved you first, my lord of Canterbury, axing your licence (forasmuch as you were our metropolitan) to put this matter in question; and so I did of all you, my lords, to the which ye have all granted by writing under all your seals, the which I have here to be showed.’ ‘That is truth, if it please your highness,” quoth the bishop of Canterbury; “I doubt not but all my brethren here present will affirm the same.’ ‘No, sir, not I,’ quoth the bishop of Rochester, ‘ye have not my consent thereto.” “No! ha’ the l’ quoth the king; ‘look here upon this: is not this your hand and seal?" and showed him the instrument with seals. ‘No, forsooth, sire, quoth the bishop of Rochester, “it is not my hand nor seal ' To that quoth the king to my Lord of Canterbury, “Sir, how say ye f is it not his hand and seal?" Yes, sir, quoth my Lord of Canterbury. “That is not so, quoth the bishop of Rochester, “for indeed you were in hand with me to have both my hand and seal, as other of my lords had already done; but then I said to you that I would never consent to no such act, for it were much against my conscience; nor my hand and seal should never be seen at any such instrument, God willing; with much more matter touching the same communication between us.’ ‘You say truth, quoth the bishop of Canterbury; “such words ye said unto me; but at the last ye were fully persuaded that I should for you subscribe your name, and put to a seal myself, and ye would allow the same.’ ‘All which words and matter, quoth the bishop of Rochester, “under your correction, my lord, and supportation of this noble audience, there is nothing more untrue.” “Well, well, quoth the king, “it shall make no matter; we will not stand with you in argument herein, for you are but one man.’ And with that the court was adjourned until the next day of this session.”

152.--THE FALL OF WOLSEY. SHAksperse.

SCENE–The Palace.

The King goes out, frowning upon Cardinal Wolsey: the Nobles throng after him, smiling, and whispering.

Wol. What should this mean
What sudden anger's this 7 how have I reap'd it !
He parted frowning from me, as if ruin
Leap'd from his eyes: So looks the chafed lion
Upon the daring huntsman that has gall'd him;
Then makes him nothing. I must read this paper:
I fear, the story of his anger.—"Tis so
This paper has undone me: 'Tis the account
Of all that world of wealth I have drawn together
For mine own ends; indeed, to gain the popedom,
And fee my friends in Rome. Onegligence,
Fit for a fool to fall by What cross devil

Made me put this main secret in the packet
I sent the king? Is there no way to cure this?
No new device to beat this from his brains
I know ’t will stir him strongly; Yet I know
A way, if it take right, in spite of fortune
Will bring me off again. What's this—“To the Pope l’
The letter, as I live, with all the business
I writ to his holiness. Nay then, farewell
I have touch'd the highest point of all my greatness:
And, from that full meridian of my glory,
I haste now to my setting. I shall fall
Like a bright exhalation in the evening,
And no man see me more.

Re-enter the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, the Earl of Surrey, and the Lord Chamberlain.

Nor. Hear the king's pleasure, cardinal: who commands you
To render up the great seal presently
Into our hands; and to confine yourself
To Asher-house, my lord of Winchester's,
Till you hear further from his highness.

Wol. Stay,
Where's your commission, lords? words cannot carry
Authority so weighty.

Suf. Who dare cross them,
Bearing the king's will from his mouth expressly

Wol. Till I find more than will, or words, to do it,
(I mean, your malice,) know, officious lords,
I dare, and must deny it. Now I feel
Of what coarse metal ye are moulded, envy.
How eagerly ye follow my disgraces,
As if it fed ye 1 and how sleek and wanton
Ye appear in everything may bring my ruin

Follow your envious courses, men of malice ;

You have christian warrant for them, and, no doubt,
In time will find their fit rewards. That seal
You ask with such a violence, the king,
(Mine, and your master) with his own hand gave me:
Bade me enjoy it, with the place and honours,
During my life, and, to confirm his goodness,
Tied it by letters patent: Now, who'll take it !

Sur. The king, that gave it.

Wol. It must be himself then.
Sur. Thou art a proud traitor, priest.
Wol. Proud lord, thou liest : *

Within these forty hours Surrey durst better
Have burnt that tongue than said so.

Sur. - Thy ambition,
Thou scarlet sin, robb'd this bewailing land
Of noble Buckingham, my father-in-law:
The heads of all thy brother cardinals,
(With thee, and all thy best parts bound together)

Weigh’d not a hair of his. Plague of your policy
You sent me deputy for Ireland:
Far from his succour, from the king, from all
That might have mercy on the fault thou gav'st him ;
Whilst your great goodness, out of holy pity,
Absolv'd him with an axe.

Wol. This, and all else
This talking lord can lay upon my credit,
I answer is most false. The duke by law
Found his deserts: how innocent I was
From any private malice in his end,
His noble jury and foul cause can witness.
If I lov'd many words, lord, I should tell you,
You have as little honesty as honour,
That in the way of loyalty and truth
Toward the king, my ever royal master,
Dare mate a sounder man than Surrey can be,
And all that love his follies.

Sur. By my soul,
Your long coat, priest, protects you; thou should'st feel
My sword i' the life-blood of thee else.—My lords,
Can ye endure to hear this arrogance 1
And from this fellow If we live thus tamely
To be thus jaded by a piece of scarlet,
Farewell nobility; let his grace go forward,
And dare us with his cap, like larks.

Wol. . All goodness
Is poison to thy stomach.
Sur. Yes, that goodness

Of gleaning all the land's wealth into one,
Into your own hands, cardinal, by extortion
The goodness of your intercepted packets,
You writ to the pope, against the king : your goodness,
Since you provoke me, shall be most notorious.
My lord of Norfolk, as you are truly noble,
As you respect the common good, the state
Of our despis'd nobility, our issues,
Who, if he live, will scarce be gentlemen,
Produce the grand sum of his sins, the articles
Collected from his life :-I’ll startle you
Worse than the sacring bell, when the brown wench
Lay kissing in your arms, lord cardinal.

Wol. How much, methinks, I could despise this man, But that I am bound in charity against it !

Mor. Those articles, my lord, are in the king's hand: But, thus much, they are foul ones.

Wol. So much fairer,
And spotless, shall mine innocence arise, -
When the king knows my truth.

Sur. This cannot save you:
I thank my memory, I yet remember
Some of these articles; and out they shall.

Now, if you can blush, and cry guilty, cardinal,
You'll show a little honesty

Wol. Speak on, sir;
I dare your worst objections: if Iblush,
It is, to see a nobleman want manners.

Suf. I'd rather want those than my head. Have at you.
First, that, without the king's assent or knowledge,
You wrought to be a legate; by which power
You maim'd the jurisdiction of all bishops.

Mor. Then, that, in all you writ to Rome, or else
To foreign princes, Ego et Rew meus
Was still inscrib'd; in which you brought the king
To be your servant.

Suf. Then, that, without the knowledge
Either of king or council, when you went
Ambassador to the emperor, you made bold
To carry into Flanders the great seal.

Sur. Item, you sent a large commission
To Gregory de Cassalis, to conclude,
Without the king's will, or the state's allowance,
A league between his highness and Ferrara.

Suf. That, out of mere ambition, you have caused
Your holy hat to be stamp'd on the king's coin. -

Sur. Then, that you have sent innumerable substance,
(By what means got, I leave to your own conscience,)
To furnish Rome, and to prepare the ways
You have for dignities; to the mere undoing
Of all the kingdom. Many more there are;
Which, since they are of you, and odious,
I will not taint my mouth with.

Cham. O my lord,
Press not a falling man too far; "t is virtue:
His faults lie open to the laws; let them,
Not you, correct him. My heart weeps to see him
So little of his great self.

Sur. I forgive him.

Suf. Lord cardinal, the king's further pleasure is,
Because all those things, you have done of late
By your power legatine within this kingdom,
Fall into the compass of a praemunire,
That therefore such a writ be sued against you ;
To forfeit all your goods, lands, tenements,
Chattels, and whatsoever, and to be
Out of the king's protection:—This is my charge.

Mor. And so we'll leave you to your meditations
How to live better. For your stubborn answer,
About the giving back the great seal to us,
The king shall know it, and, no doubt, shall thank you.
So fare you well, my little good lord cardinal.

[Ereunt all but Wolsey.

Wol. So farewell to the little good you bear me.

Farewell, a long farewell, to all my greatness!

« ForrigeFortsett »