ACT I
Scene 4.
 

London. The Presence Chamber in York Place

Hautboys. A small table under a state for the Cardinal, a longer table for the guests. Then enter ANNE BULLEN, and divers other LADIES and GENTLEMEN, as guests, at one door; at another door enter SIR HENRY GUILDFORD

GUILDFORD
Ladies, a general welcome from his Grace
Salutes ye all; this night he dedicates
To fair content and you. None here, he hopes,
In all this noble bevy, has brought with her
One care abroad; he would have all as merry
As, first, good company, good wine, good welcome,
Can make good people.

Enter LORD CHAMBERLAIN, LORD SANDYS, and SIR THOMAS LOVELL

O, my lord, y'are tardy,
The very thought of this fair company
Clapp'd wings to me.

CHAMBERLAIN
You are young, Sir Harry Guildford.

SANDYS
Sir Thomas Lovell, had the Cardinal
But half my lay thoughts in him, some of these
Should find a running banquet ere they rested
I think would better please 'em. By my life,
They are a sweet society of fair ones.

LOVELL
O that your lordship were but now confessor
To one or two of these!

SANDYS
I would I were;
They should find easy penance.

LOVELL
Faith, how easy?

SANDYS
As easy as a down bed would afford it.

CHAMBERLAIN
Sweet ladies, will it please you sit? Sir Harry,
Place you that side; I'll take the charge of this.
His Grace is ent'ring. Nay, you must not freeze:
Two women plac'd together makes cold weather.
My Lord Sandys, you are one will keep 'em waking:
Pray sit between these ladies.

SANDYS
By my faith,
And thank your lordship. By your leave, sweet ladies.

[Seats himself between ANNE BULLEN and another lady]

If I chance to talk a little wild, forgive me;
I had it from my father.

ANNE
Was he mad, sir?

SANDYS
O, very mad, exceeding mad, in love too.
But he would bite none; just as I do now,
He would kiss you twenty with a breath.

[Kisses her]

CHAMBERLAIN
Well said, my lord.
So, now y'are fairly seated. Gentlemen,
The penance lies on you if these fair ladies
Pass away frowning.

SANDYS
For my little cure,
Let me alone.

Hautboys. Enter CARDINAL WOLSEY, attended; and takes his state

WOLSEY
Y'are welcome, my fair guests. That noble lady
Or gentleman that is not freely merry
Is not my friend. This, to confirm my welcome-
And to you all, good health!

[Drinks]

SANDYS
Your Grace is noble.
Let me have such a bowl may hold my thanks
And save me so much talking.

WOLSEY
My Lord Sandys,
I am beholding to you. Cheer your neighbours.
Ladies, you are not merry. Gentlemen,
Whose fault is this?

SANDYS
The red wine first must rise
In their fair cheeks, my lord; then we shall have 'em
Talk us to silence.

ANNE
You are a merry gamester,
My Lord Sandys.

SANDYS
Yes, if I make my play.
Here's to your ladyship; and pledge it, madam,
For 'tis to such a thing-

ANNE
You cannot show me.

SANDYS
I told your Grace they would talk anon.

[Drum and trumpet. Chambers discharg'd]

WOLSEY
What's that?

CHAMBERLAIN
Look out there, some of ye.

Exit a SERVANT

WOLSEY
What warlike voice,
And to what end, is this? Nay, ladies, fear not:
By all the laws of war y'are privileg'd.

Re-enter SERVANT

CHAMBERLAIN
How now! what is't?

SERVANT
A noble troop of strangers-
For so they seem. Th' have left their barge and landed,
And hither make, as great ambassadors
From foreign princes.

WOLSEY
Good Lord Chamberlain,
Go, give 'em welcome; you can speak the French tongue;
And pray receive 'em nobly and conduct 'em
Into our presence, where this heaven of beauty
Shall shine at full upon them. Some attend him.

Exit CHAMBERLAIN attended. All rise, and tables remov'd

You have now a broken banquet, but we'll mend it.
A good digestion to you all; and once more
I show'r a welcome on ye; welcome all.

Hautboys. Enter the KING, and others, as maskers, habited like shepherds, usher'd by the LORD CHAMBERLAIN. They pass directly before the CARDINAL, and gracefully salute him

A noble company! What are their pleasures?

CHAMBERLAIN
Because they speak no English, thus they pray'd
To tell your Grace, that, having heard by fame
Of this so noble and so fair assembly
This night to meet here, they could do no less,
Out of the great respect they bear to beauty,
But leave their flocks and, under your fair conduct,
Crave leave to view these ladies and entreat
An hour of revels with 'em.

WOLSEY
Say, Lord Chamberlain,
They have done my poor house grace; for which I pay 'em
A thousand thanks, and pray 'em take their pleasures.

[They choose ladies. The KING chooses ANNE BULLEN]

KING
The fairest hand I ever touch'd! O beauty,
Till now I never knew thee!

[Music. Dance]

WOLSEY
My lord!

CHAMBERLAIN
Your Grace?

WOLSEY
Pray tell 'em thus much from me:
There should be one amongst 'em, by his person,
More worthy this place than myself; to whom,
If I but knew him, with my love and duty
I would surrender it.

CHAMBERLAIN
I will, my lord.

[He whispers to the maskers]

WOLSEY
What say they?

CHAMBERLAIN
Such a one, they all confess,
There is indeed; which they would have your Grace
Find out, and he will take it.

WOLSEY
Let me see, then. [Comes from his state]
By all your good leaves, gentlemen, here I'll make
My royal choice.

KING
[Unmasking] Ye have found him, Cardinal.
You hold a fair assembly; you do well, lord.
You are a churchman, or, I'll tell you, Cardinal,
I should judge now unhappily.

WOLSEY
I am glad
Your Grace is grown so pleasant.

KING
My Lord Chamberlain,
Prithee come hither: what fair lady's that?

CHAMBERLAIN
An't please your Grace, Sir Thomas Bullen's
daughter-
The Viscount Rochford-one of her Highness' women.

KING
By heaven, she is a dainty one. Sweet heart,
I were unmannerly to take you out
And not to kiss you. A health, gentlemen!
Let it go round.

WOLSEY
Sir Thomas Lovell, is the banquet ready
I' th' privy chamber?

LOVELL
Yes, my lord.

WOLSEY
Your Grace,
I fear, with dancing is a little heated.

KING
I fear, too much.

WOLSEY
There's fresher air, my lord,
In the next chamber.

KING
Lead in your ladies, ev'ry one. Sweet partner,
I must not yet forsake you. Let's be merry:
Good my Lord Cardinal, I have half a dozen healths
To drink to these fair ladies, and a measure
To lead 'em once again; and then let's dream
Who's best in favour. Let the music knock it.

Exeunt, with trumpets