quotes, notes, timelines & more

Home » Quotes » Henry VIII » How does your Grace?

How does your Grace?

How does your Grace?
O Griffith, sick to death.
My legs like loaden branches bow to th’ earth,
Willing to leave their burden. Reach a chair.
 She sits.
So. Now, methinks, I feel a little ease.
Didst thou not tell me, Griffith, as thou ledst me,
That the great child of honor, Cardinal Wolsey,
Was dead?

Men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtues
We write in water.

Yes, madam, but I think your Grace,
Out of the pain you suffered, gave no ear to ’t.
Prithee, good Griffith, tell me how he died.
If well, he stepped before me happily
For my example.
Well, the voice goes, madam;
For after the stout Earl Northumberland
Arrested him at York and brought him forward,
As a man sorely tainted, to his answer,
He fell sick suddenly and grew so ill
He could not sit his mule.
Alas, poor man!
At last, with easy roads, he came to Leicester,
Lodged in the abbey, where the reverend abbot
With all his convent honorably received him;
To whom he gave these words: “O Father Abbot,
An old man, broken with the storms of state,
Is come to lay his weary bones among you.
Give him a little earth, for charity.”
So went to bed, where eagerly his sickness
Pursued him still; and three nights after this,
About the hour of eight, which he himself
Foretold should be his last, full of repentance,
Continual meditations, tears, and sorrows,
He gave his honors to the world again,
His blessèd part to heaven, and slept in peace.
So may he rest. His faults lie gently on him!
Yet thus far, Griffith, give me leave to speak him,
And yet with charity. He was a man
Of an unbounded stomach, ever ranking
Himself with princes; one that by suggestion
Tied all the kingdom. Simony was fair play.
His own opinion was his law. I’ th’ presence
He would say untruths, and be ever double
Both in his words and meaning. He was never,
But where he meant to ruin, pitiful.
His promises were, as he then was, mighty,
But his performance, as he is now, nothing.
Of his own body he was ill, and gave
The clergy ill example.
Noble madam,
Men’s evil manners live in brass; their virtues
We write in water. May it please your Highness
To hear me speak his good now?
Yes, good Griffith;
I were malicious else.
This cardinal,
Though from an humble stock, undoubtedly
Was fashioned to much honor. From his cradle
He was a scholar, and a ripe and good one:
Exceeding wise, fair-spoken, and persuading;
Lofty and sour to them that loved him not,
But, to those men that sought him, sweet as summer.
And though he were unsatisfied in getting,
Which was a sin, yet in bestowing, madam,
He was most princely. Ever witness for him
Those twins of learning that he raised in you,
Ipswich and Oxford, one of which fell with him,
Unwilling to outlive the good that did it;
The other, though unfinished, yet so famous,
So excellent in art, and still so rising,
That Christendom shall ever speak his virtue.
His overthrow heaped happiness upon him,
For then, and not till then, he felt himself,
And found the blessedness of being little.
And, to add greater honors to his age
Than man could give him, he died fearing God.
After my death I wish no other herald,
No other speaker of my living actions,
To keep mine honor from corruption
But such an honest chronicler as Griffith.
Whom I most hated living, thou hast made me,
With thy religious truth and modesty,
Now in his ashes honor. Peace be with him!—
Patience, be near me still, and set me lower.
I have not long to trouble thee.—Good Griffith,
Cause the musicians play me that sad note
I named my knell, whilst I sit meditating
On that celestial harmony I go to.
 Sad and solemn music.
She is asleep. Good wench, let’s sit down quiet,
For fear we wake her. Softly, gentle Patience.
 They sit.

Act 4
Scene 2
Line 1

Source Type:

Spoken by: