Study Guide

Henry VIII Act 5, Scene 1

By William Shakespeare

Act 5, Scene 1

Read the full text of Henry VIII Act 5 Scene 1 with a side-by-side translation HERE.


  • Gardiner runs into Lovell, who's running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Why the rush? Lovell is on his way to help, because Anne is in labor.
  • That's all very well, says Gardiner, but he's got more pressing issues: he's worried about the kingdom. He doesn't think they're safe until Anne, Cranmer, and Cromwell are all dead.
  • That might be, but they're the king's faves, replies Lovell.
  • Gardiner isn't so sure: he's already started badmouthing Cranmer because of his religious beliefs, and Cromwell won't be too far behind.
  • Gardiner leaves, and on his tail, the king and Suffolk enter.
  • Henry is desperate to know about his wife's labor.
  • Lovell reports that his messenger sent word to pray for Anne because she's in a lot of pain. You don't say: she's in labor, after all.
  • Henry sends Suffolk away, and Sir Antony Denny enters with news that Cranmer is about to arrive. He bring Cranmer in; then Henry tells Denny and Lovell to scram.
  • Finally alone with Cranmer, Henry brings up all the complaints he's heard about Cranmer. Hmm... where have we heard all this before?
  • Gardiner has been badmouthing Cranmer all over town, and others are starting to join in.
  • Henry decides that while Cranmer is being investigated, he'll have to be relocated… to the Tower (translation: to prison). Don't worry, it's just until we sort this whole thing out, Henry tells him.
  • Cranmer kneels and thanks Henry for the warning. Cranmer says he's honest and truthful, but he has enemies. He doesn't understand why someone would complain about him, but he knows the truth will come out eventually.
  • Henry tells Cranmer to be patient, and he says that he believes in the guy. Cranmer thinks a trap has already been set for him.
  • Henry tells Cranmer not to worry: Cranmer's a good guy, he says, and he tries to do the right thing all the time.
  • Henry promises to help Cranmer out if he is convicted of anything.
  • Then the Old Lady enters with news of Anne's delivery. Henry is worried and asks if she has had a baby. On top of that, he's all, "Please say it's a boy. Pretty please? With a cherry on top?"
  • Well, the Old Lady can only do half of that: Anne is safe, and she had a baby girl. The Old Lady reports that the little baby girl is way cute.
  • Henry instructs Lovell to give the Old Lady 100 marks (coins) while he goes off to the Queen.
  • Alone, the Old Lady wishes she got more than a measly old 100 marks. She knows it's such a small sum because the baby turned out to be a girl.