1. SCENE I. London. An ante-chamber in the King's palace.
[Enter the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Ely.]
My lord, I'll tell you: that self bill is urg'd,
Which in the eleventh year of the last king's reign
Was like, and had indeed against us pass'd,
But that the scambling and unquiet time
Did push it out of farther question.
But how, my lord, shall we resist it now?
It must be thought on. If it pass against us,
We lose the better half of our possession;
For all the temporal lands, which men devout
By testament have given to the Church,
Would they strip from us; being valu'd thus:
As much as would maintain, to the King's honour,
Full fifteen earls and fifteen hundred knights,
Six thousand and two hundred good esquires;
And, to relief of lazars and weak age,
Of indigent faint souls, past corporal toil,
A hundred almshouses right well suppli'd;
And to the coffers of the King beside,
A thousand pounds by the year. Thus runs the bill.
This would drink deep.
'Twould drink the cup and all.
But what prevention?
The King is full of grace and fair regard.
And a true lover of the holy Church.
The courses of his youth promis'd it not.
The breath no sooner left his father's body,
But that his wildness, mortifi'd in him,
Seem'd to die too; yea, at that very moment
Consideration like an angel came
And whipp'd the offending Adam out of him,
Leaving his body as a paradise
To envelope and contain celestial spirits.
Never was such a sudden scholar made;
Never came reformation in a flood
With such a heady currance, scouring faults;
Nor never Hydra-headed wilfulness
So soon did lose his seat, and all at once,
As in this king.
We are blessed in the change.