Act V, Scene 2
The lobby before the council chamber.
- Pursuivants, Pages, etc., attending. Enter Cranmer,
- Archbishop of Canterbury.
Cranmer1 - 4
- I hope I am not too late, and yet the gentleman
- That was sent to me from the Council pray’d me
- To make great haste. All fast? What means this? Ho!
- Who waits there? Sure you know me?
- Enter Doorkeeper of the Council Chamber.
Doorkeeper5 - 6
- Yes, my lord;
- But yet I cannot help you.
- Your Grace must wait till you be call’d for.
- Enter Doctor Butts.
Doctor Butts10 - 12
- This is a piece of malice. I am glad
- I came this way so happily; the King
- Shall understand it presently.
- Exit Butts.
Cranmer13 - 22
- ’Tis Butts,
- The King’s physician. As he pass’d along,
- How earnestly he cast his eyes upon me!
- Pray heaven he sound not my disgrace! For certain
- This is of purpose laid by some that hate me
- (God turn their hearts! I never sought their malice)
- To quench mine honor; they would shame to make me
- Wait else at door, a fellow Councillor,
- ’Mong boys, grooms, and lackeys. But their pleasures
- Must be fulfill’d, and I attend with patience.
- Enter the King and Butts at a window above.
- I’ll show your Grace the strangest sight—
- What’s that, Butts?
- I think your Highness saw this many a day.
- Body a’ me, where is it?
Doctor Butts27 - 30
- There, my lord:
- The high promotion of his Grace of Canterbury,
- Who holds his state at door ’mongst pursuivants,
- Pages, and footboys.
King31 - 41
- Ha? ’Tis he indeed.
- Is this the honor they do one another?
- ’Tis well there’s one above ’em yet. I had thought
- They had parted so much honesty among ’em—
- At least good manners—as not thus to suffer
- A man of his place, and so near our favor,
- To dance attendance on their lordships’ pleasures,
- And at the door too, like a post with packets.
- By holy Mary, Butts, there’s knavery.
- Let ’em alone, and draw the curtain close;
- We shall hear more anon.
- Curtain, above, partially drawn, but the King and Butts
- remain listening.
- A council-table brought in with chairs and stools, and
- placed under the state.
- Enter Lord Chancellor; places himself at the upper end of
- the table on the left hand; a seat being left void above
- him, as for Canterbury’s seat.
- Duke of Suffolk, Duke of Norfolk, Surrey, Lord Chamberlain,
- Gardiner seat themselves in order on each side, Cromwell at
- lower end, as secretary.
Lord Chancellor42 - 43
- Speak to the business, Master Secretary.
- Why are we met in Council?
Cromwell44 - 45
- Please your honors,
- The chief cause concerns his Grace of Canterbury.
Bishop of Winchester46
- Has he had knowledge of it?
Duke of Norfolk48
- Who waits there?
- Without, my noble lords?
Bishop of Winchester50
Doorkeeper51 - 52
- My Lord Archbishop;
- And has done half an hour, to know your pleasures.
- Let him come in.
- Your Grace may enter now.
- Cranmer approaches the council-table.
Lord Chancellor55 - 66
- My good Lord Archbishop, I’m very sorry
- To sit here at this present, and behold
- That chair stand empty; but we all are men,
- In our own natures frail, and capable
- Of our flesh; few are angels; out of which frailty
- And want of wisdom, you, that best should teach us,
- Have misdemean’d yourself, and not a little:
- Toward the King first, then his laws, in filling
- The whole realm by your teaching and your chaplains’
- (For so we are inform’d) with new opinions,
- Divers and dangerous; which are heresies,
- And, not reform’d, may prove pernicious.
Bishop of Winchester67 - 78
- Which reformation must be sudden too,
- My noble lords; for those that tame wild horses
- Pace ’em not in their hands to make ’em gentle,
- But stop their mouths with stubborn bits and spur ’em
- Till they obey the manage. If we suffer,
- Out of our easiness and childish pity
- To one man’s honor, this contagious sickness,
- Farewell all physic! And what follows then?
- Commotions, uproars, with a general taint
- Of the whole state; as of late days our neighbors,
- The upper Germany, can dearly witness,
- Yet freshly pitied in our memories.
Cranmer79 - 95
- My good lords: hitherto, in all the progress
- Both of my life and office, I have labor’d,
- And with no little study, that my teaching
- And the strong course of my authority
- Might go one way, and safely; and the end
- Was ever to do well; nor is there living
- (I speak it with a single heart, my lords)
- A man that more detests, more stirs against,
- Both in his private conscience and his place,
- Defacers of a public peace than I do.
- Pray heaven the King may never find a heart
- With less allegiance in it! Men that make
- Envy and crooked malice nourishment
- Dare bite the best. I do beseech your lordships,
- That, in this case of justice, my accusers,
- Be what they will, may stand forth face to face,
- And freely urge against me.
Duke of Suffolk96 - 98
- Nay, my lord,
- That cannot be; you are a Councillor,
- And by that virtue no man dare accuse you.
Bishop of Winchester99 - 105
- My lord, because we have business of more moment,
- We will be short with you. ’Tis his Highness’ pleasure
- And our consent, for better trial of you,
- From hence you be committed to the Tower,
- Where being but a private man again,
- You shall know many dare accuse you boldly,
- More than (I fear) you are provided for.
Cranmer106 - 117
- Ah, my good Lord of Winchester—I thank you,
- You are always my good friend; if your will pass,
- I shall both find your lordship judge and juror,
- You are so merciful. I see your end,
- ’Tis my undoing. Love and meekness, lord,
- Become a churchman better than ambition;
- Win straying souls with modesty again,
- Cast none away. That I shall clear myself,
- Lay all the weight ye can upon my patience,
- I make as little doubt as you do conscience
- In doing daily wrongs. I could say more,
- But reverence to your calling makes me modest.
Bishop of Winchester118 - 120
- My lord, my lord, you are a sectary,
- That’s the plain truth. Your painted gloss discovers,
- To men that understand you, words and weakness.
Cromwell121 - 125
- My Lord of Winchester, y’ are a little,
- By your good favor, too sharp; men so noble,
- However faulty, yet should find respect
- For what they have been. ’Tis a cruelty
- To load a falling man.
Bishop of Winchester126 - 128
- Good Master Secretary,
- I cry your honor mercy; you may worst
- Of all this table say so.
- Why, my lord?
Bishop of Winchester130 - 131
- Do not I know you for a favorer
- Of this new sect? Ye are not sound.
- Not sound?
Bishop of Winchester133
- Not sound, I say.
Cromwell134 - 135
- Would you were half so honest!
- Men’s prayers then would seek you, not their fears.
Bishop of Winchester136
- I shall remember this bold language.
Cromwell137 - 138
- Remember your bold life too.
Lord Chancellor139 - 140
- This is too much.
- Forbear for shame, my lords.
Bishop of Winchester141
- I have done.
- And I.
Lord Chancellor143 - 147
- Then thus for you, my lord, it stands agreed,
- I take it, by all voices: that forthwith
- You be convey’d to th’ Tower a prisoner;
- There to remain till the King’s further pleasure
- Be known unto us. Are you all agreed, lords?
All Duke of Suffolk, Duke of Norfolk, Earl of Surrey, and Lord Chamberlain148
- We are.
Cranmer149 - 150
- Is there no other way of mercy
- But I must needs to th’ Tower, my lords?
Bishop of Winchester151 - 153
- What other
- Would you expect? You are strangely troublesome.
- Let some o’ th’ guard be ready there.
- Enter the Guard.
Cranmer154 - 155
- For me?
- Must I go like a traitor thither?
Bishop of Winchester156 - 157
- Receive him,
- And see him safe i’ th’ Tower.
Cranmer158 - 162
- Stay, good my lords,
- I have a little yet to say. Look there, my lords;
- By virtue of that ring, I take my cause
- Out of the gripes of cruel men, and give it
- To a most noble judge, the King my master.
- This is the King’s ring.
Earl of Surrey164
- ’Tis no counterfeit.
Duke of Suffolk165 - 167
- ’Tis the right ring, by heav’n! I told ye all,
- When we first put this dangerous stone a-rolling,
- ’Twould fall upon ourselves.
Duke of Norfolk168 - 170
- Do you think, my lords,
- The King will suffer but the little finger
- Of this man to be vex’d?
Lord Chamberlain171 - 173
- ’Tis now too certain.
- How much more is his life in value with him!
- Exeunt King and Butts above.
- Would I were fairly out on’t!
Cromwell174 - 178
- My mind gave me,
- In seeking tales and informations
- Against this man, whose honesty the devil
- And his disciples only envy at,
- Ye blew the fire that burns ye. Now have at ye!
- Enter King frowning on them; takes his seat.
Bishop of Winchester179 - 186
- Dread sovereign, how much are we bound to heaven
- In daily thanks, that gave us such a prince,
- Not only good and wise but most religious;
- One that, in all obedience, makes the Church
- The chief aim of his honor, and to strengthen
- That holy duty, out of dear respect,
- His royal self in judgment comes to hear
- The cause betwixt her and this great offender.
King187 - 198
- You were ever good at sudden commendations,
- Bishop of Winchester. But know I come not
- To hear such flattery now, and in my presence
- They are too thin and base to hide offenses.
- To me you cannot reach you play the spaniel,
- And think with wagging of your tongue to win me;
- But whatsoe’er thou tak’st me for, I’m sure
- Thou hast a cruel nature and a bloody.
- To Cranmer.
- Good man, sit down. Now let me see the proudest
- He, that dares most, but wag his finger at thee.
- By all that’s holy, he had better starve
- Than but once think his place becomes thee not.
Earl of Surrey199
- May it please your Grace—
King200 - 213
- No, sir, it does not please me.
- I had thought I had had men of some understanding
- And wisdom of my Council; but I find none.
- Was it discretion, lords, to let this man,
- This good man (few of you deserve that title),
- This honest man, wait like a lousy footboy
- At chamber-door? And one as great as you are?
- Why, what a shame was this? Did my commission
- Bid ye so far forget yourselves? I gave ye
- Power as he was a Councillor to try him,
- Not as a groom. There’s some of ye, I see,
- More out of malice than integrity,
- Would try him to the utmost had ye mean,
- Which ye shall never have while I live.
Lord Chancellor214 - 220
- Thus far,
- My most dread sovereign, may it like your Grace
- To let my tongue excuse all. What was purpos’d
- Concerning his imprisonment was rather
- (If there be faith in men) meant for his trial
- And fair purgation to the world than malice,
- I’m sure, in me.
King221 - 230
- Well, well, my lords, respect him,
- Take him, and use him well; he’s worthy of it.
- I will say thus much for him, if a prince
- May be beholding to a subject, I
- Am for his love and service so to him.
- Make me no more ado, but all embrace him.
- Be friends, for shame, my lords! My Lord of Canterbury,
- I have a suit which you must not deny me:
- That is, a fair young maid that yet wants baptism,
- You must be godfather, and answer for her.
Cranmer231 - 233
- The greatest monarch now alive may glory
- In such an honor; how may I deserve it,
- That am a poor and humble subject to you?
King234 - 238
- Come, come, my lord, you’d spare your spoons. You shall have
- Two noble partners with you, the old Duchess of Norfolk
- And Lady Marquess Dorset. Will these please you?
- Once more, my Lord of Winchester, I charge you,
- Embrace and love this man.
Bishop of Winchester239 - 240
- With a true heart
- And brother-love I do it.
Cranmer241 - 242
- And let heaven
- Witness how dear I hold this confirmation.
King243 - 250
- Good man, those joyful tears show thy true heart.
- The common voice, I see, is verified
- Of thee, which says thus, “Do my Lord of Canterbury
- A shrewd turn, and he’s your friend forever.”
- Come, lords, we trifle time away; I long
- To have this young one made a Christian.
- As I have made ye one, lords, one remain:
- So I grow stronger, you more honor gain.