Act IV. Scene V. The Same. A Room In The Bishop Of Winchester's House.

[Enter Gardiner in his study, and his man.]

GARDINER.
Sirra, where be those men I caused to stay?

SERVANT.
They do attend your pleasure, sir, within.

GARDINER.
Bid them come hither, and stay you without:--
For by those men, the Fox of this same land,
That makes a Goose of better than himself,
We'll worry him unto his latest home,
Or Gardiner will fail in his intent.
As for the Dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk,
Whom I have sent for to come speak with me,
Howsoever, outwardly they shadow it,
Yet in their hearts I know they love him not:
As for the Earl of Bedford, he is but one,
And dares not gainsay what we do set down.

[Enter the two witnesses.]

Now, my friends, you know I saved your lives,
When by the law you had deserved death,
And then you promised me upon your oaths,
To venture both your lives to do me good.

BOTH WITNESSES.
We swore no more than that we will perform.

GARDINER.
I take your words; and that which you must do
Is service for your God, and for your King:
To root a rebel from this flourishing land,
One that's an enemy unto the Church:
And therefore must you take your solemn oaths,
That you heard Cromwell, the Lord Chancellor,
Did wish a dagger at King Henry's heart.
Fear not to swear it, for I heard him speak it;
Therefore we'll shield you from ensuing harms.

SECOND WITNESS.
If you will warrant us the deed is good,
We'll undertake it.

GARDINER.
Kneel down, and I will here absolve you both.
This Crucifix I lay upon your head,
And sprinkle holy-water on your brows.
The deed is meritorious that you do,
And by it shall you purchase grace from heaven.

FIRST WITNESS.
Now, sir, we'll undertake it, by our souls.

SECOND WITNESS.
For Cromwell never loved none of our sort.

GARDINER.
I know he doth not, and for both of you,
I will prefer you to some place of worth:
Now get you in, until I call for you,
For presently the Dukes means to be here.

[Exit witnesses.]

Cromwell, sit fast, thy time's not long to reign.
The Abbeys that were pulled down by thy means
Is now a mean for me to pull thee down:
Thy pride also thy own head lights upon,
For thou art he hath changed religion:--
But now no more, for here the Dukes are come.

[Enter Suffolk, Norfolk, and the Earl of Bedford.]

SUFFOLK.
Goodden to my Lord Bishop.

NORFOLK.
How fares my Lord? what, are you all alone?

GARDINER.
No, not alone, my Lords; my mind is troubled;
I know your honours muse wherefore I sent,
And in such haste. What, came you from the King?

NORFOLK.
We did, and left none but Lord Cromwell with him.

GARDINER.
O, what a dangerous time is this we live in!
There's Thomas Wolsey, he's already gone,
And Thomas More, he followed after him:
Another Thomas yet there doth remain,
That is far worse than either of those twain,
And if with speed, my Lords, we not pursue it,
I fear the King and all the land will rue it.

BEDFORD.
Another Thomas! pray God it be not Cromwell.

GARDINER.
My Lord of Bedford, it is that traitor Cromwell.

BEDFORD.
Is Cromwell false? my heart will never think it.

SUFFOLK.
My Lord of Winchester, what likelihood,
Or proof have you of this his treachery?

GARDINER.
My Lord, too much.--Call in the men within.

[Enter witnesses.]

These men, my Lord, upon their oaths affirm,
That they did hear Lord Cromwell in his garden,
Wished a dagger sticking at the heart
Of our King Henry. What is this but treason?

BEDFORD.
If it be so, my heart doth bleed with sorrow.

SUFFOLK.
How say you friends? what, did you hear these words?

FIRST WITNESS.
We did, and like your grace.

NORFOLK.
In what place was Lord Cromwell when he spake them?

SECOND WITNESS.
In his Garden, where we did attend a suit,
Which we had waited for two year and more.

SUFFOLK.
How long ist since you heard him speak these words?

SECOND WITNESS.
Some half year since.

BEDFORD.
How chance that you concealed it all this time?

FIRST WITNESS.
His greatness made us fear, that was the cause.

GARDINER.
Aye, aye, his greatness; that's the cause indeed;
And to make his treason here more manifest,
He calls his servants to him round about,
Tells them of Wolsey's life, and of his fall,
Says that himself hath many enemies,
And gives to some of them a Park or Manor,
To others Leases, Lands to other some:
What need he do thus in his prime of life,
And if he were not fearful of his death?

SUFFOLK.
My Lord, these likelihoods are very great.

BEDFORD.
Pardon me, Lords, for I must needs depart;
Their proofs are great, but greater is my heart.

[Exit Bedford.]

NORFOLK.
My friends, take heed of that which you have said.
Your souls must answer what your tongues reports:
Therefore, take heed, be wary what you do.

SECOND WITNESS.
My Lord, we speak no more but truth.

NORFOLK.
Let them
Depart.--My Lord of Winchester, let these men
Be close kept until the day of trial.

GARDINER.
They shall, my Lord: ho, take in these two men.

[Exit witnesses.]

My Lords, if Cromwell have a public trial,
That which we do is void by his denial;
You know the king will credit none but him.

NORFOLK.
Tis true, he rules the King even as he pleases.

SUFFOLK.
How shall we do for to attach him, then?

GARDINER.
Marry, my Lords, thus: by an Act he made himself,
With an intent to entrap some of our lives,
And this it is: If any Counsellor
Be convicted of high treason, he shall
Be executed without a public trial.
This Act, my Lords, he caused the King to make.

SUFFOLK.
A did indeed, and I remember it,
And now it is like to fall upon himself.

NORFOLK.
Let us not slack it, tis for England's good.
We must be wary, else he'll go beyond us.

GARDINER.
Well hath your Grace said, my Lord of Norfolk;
Therefore let us presently to Lambeth.
Thether comes Cromwell from the Court to night.
Let us arrest him, send him to the Tower,
And in the morning, cut off the traitor's head.

NORFOLK.
Come, then, about it, let us guard the town.
This is the day that Cromwell must go down.

GARDINER.
Along, my Lords.--Well, Cromwell is half dead;
He shaked my heart, but I will shave his head.

[Exeunt.]
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