Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Henry VIII.
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eighth
 
Act I. Scene III.
 
A Room in the Palace.
 
Enter the Lord Chamberlain and LORD SANDS.
  Cham.  Is ’t possible the spells of France should juggle
Men into such strange mysteries?
  Sands.        New customs,        5
Though they be never so ridiculous,
Nay, let ’em be unmanly, yet are follow’d.
  Cham.  As far as I see, all the good our English
Have got by the late voyage is but merely
A fit or two o’ the face; but they are shrewd ones;        10
For when they hold ’em, you would swear directly
Their very noses had been counsellors
To Pepin or Clotharius, they keep state so.
  Sands.  They have all new legs, and lame ones: one would take it,
That never saw ’em pace before, the spavin        15
Or springhalt reign’d among ’em.
  Cham.        Death! my lord,
Their clothes are after such a pagan cut too,
That, sure, they’ve worn out Christendom.
 
Enter SIR THOMAS LOVELL.
        20
        How now!
What news, Sir Thomas Lovell?
  Lov.        Faith, my lord,
I hear of none, but the new proclamation
That’s clapp’d upon the court-gate.        25
  Cham.        What is ’t for?
  Lov.  The reformation of our travell’d gallants,
That fill the court with quarrels, talk, and tailors.
  Cham.  I am glad ’tis there: now I would pray our monsieurs
To think an English courtier may be wise,        30
And never see the Louvre.
  Lov.        They must either—
For so run the conditions—leave those remnants
Of fool and feather that they got in France,
With all their honourable points of ignorance        35
Pertaining thereunto,—as fights and fireworks;
Abusing better men than they can be,
Out of a foreign wisdom;—renouncing clean
The faith they have in tennis and tall stockings,
Short blister’d breeches, and those types of travel,        40
And understand again like honest men;
Or pack to their old playfellows: there, I take it,
They may, cum privilegio, wear away
The lag end of their lewdness, and be laugh’d at.
  Sands.  ’Tis time to give ’em physic, their diseases        45
Are grown so catching.
  Cham.        What a loss our ladies
Will have of these trim vanities!
  Lov.        Ay, marry,
There will be woe indeed, lords: the sly whoresons        50
Have got a speeding trick to lay down ladies;
A French song and a fiddle has no fellow.
  Sands.  The devil fiddle ’em! I am glad they’re going:
For, sure, there’s no converting of ’em: now
An honest country lord, as I am, beaten        55
A long time out of play, may bring his plainsong
And have an hour of hearing; and, by ’r lady,
Held current music too.
  Cham.        Well said, Lord Sands;
Your colt’s tooth is not cast yet.        60
  Sands.        No, my lord;
Nor shall not, while I have a stump.
  Cham.        Sir Thomas,
Whither were you a-going?
  Lov.        To the cardinal’s:        65
Your lordship is a guest too.
  Cham.        O! ’tis true:
This night he makes a supper, and a great one,
To many lords and ladies; there will be
The beauty of this kingdom, I’ll assure you.        70
  Lov.  That churchman bears a bounteous mind indeed,
A hand as fruitful as the land that feeds us;
His dews fall everywhere.
  Cham.        No doubt he’s noble;
He had a black mouth that said other of him.        75
  Sands.  He may, my lord; he has wherewithal: in him
Sparing would show a worse sin than ill doctrine:
Men of his way should be most liberal;
They are set here for examples.
  Cham.        True, they are so;        80
But few now give so great ones. My barge stays;
Your lordship shall along. Come, good Sir Thomas,
We shall be late else; which I would not be,
For I was spoke to, with Sir Henry Guildford,
This night to be comptrollers.        85
  Sands.        I am your lordship’s.  [Exeunt.
 
 
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