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My good lord Archbishop, I’m very sorry

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 misdemeaned 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 informed—with new opinions,
Divers and dangerous, which are heresies
And, not reformed, may prove pernicious.

’Tis a cruelty
To load a falling man.

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.
My good lords, hitherto, in all the progress
Both of my life and office, I have labored,
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 crookèd 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.
Nay, my lord,
That cannot be. You are a councillor,
And by that virtue no man dare accuse you.
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.
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 you 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.
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.
My Lord of Winchester, you’re 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.

Act 5
Scene 2
Line 58

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