Saturday, June 26, 2010

Katherine of Aragon before the Legatine Court

Author Stephanie Mann quotes Shakespeare's rendition of the dramatic moment when Queen Katherine appealed to Henry VIII. (Painting by Frank O. Salisbury)
QUEEN CATHERINE
Sir, I desire you do me right and justice;
And to bestow your pity on me: for
I am a most poor woman, and a stranger,
Born out of your dominions; having here
No judge indifferent, nor no more assurance
Of equal friendship and proceeding. Alas, sir,
In what have I offended you? what cause
Hath my behavior given to your displeasure,
That thus you should proceed to put me off,
And take your good grace from me?
Heaven witness,I have been to you a true and humble wife,
At all times to your will conformable;
Ever in fear to kindle your dislike,
Yea, subject to your countenance, glad or sorry
As I saw it inclined: when was the hour
I ever contradicted your desire,
Or made it not mine too? Or which of your friends
Have I not strove to love, although I knew
He were mine enemy? what friend of mine
That had to him derived your anger, did I
Continue in my liking? nay, gave notice
He was from thence discharged. Sir, call to mind
That I have been your wife, in this obedience,
Upward of twenty years, and have been blest
With many children by you: if, in the course
And process of this time, you can report,
And prove it too, against mine honour aught,
My bond to wedlock, or my love and duty,
Against your sacred person, in God's name,
Turn me away; and let the foul'st contempt
Shut door upon me, and so give me up
To the sharp'st kind of justice. Please you sir,
The king, your father, was reputed for
A prince most prudent, of an excellent
And unmatch'd wit and judgment: Ferdinand,
My father, king of Spain, was reckon'd one
The wisest prince that there had reign'd by many
A year before: it is not to be question'd
That they had gather'd a wise council to them
Of every realm, that did debate this business,
Who deem'd our marriage lawful: wherefore I humbly
Beseech you, sir, to spare me, till I may
Be by my friends in Spain advised; whose counsel
I will implore: if not, i' the name of God,
Your pleasure be fulfill'd!
 Stephanie also writes about the royal couple's happier days, when Henry thought his Queen to be "bonnier than any."
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11 comments:

Stephanie A. Mann said...

Thanks for the (double) post! The month of June--in different years--is so important in the saga of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon.

Christina said...

I love the painting. Poor Catherine, loyal to the end.

elena maria vidal said...

You are welcome, Stephanie.

Isn't it the truth, Christina!

Julygirl said...

I do not understand why she could not just been sent back to Spain rather than being sent off to die in a remote, cold and drafty castle. She did nothing to deserve that kind of punishment. But in the end whose soul was begging for a drop of water to quench the fires of hell? However, being who she was, she probably prayed for him during all those years of imprisonment.

elena maria vidal said...

Oh, Katherine was too dangerous to be left at large in Spain.

Christina said...

"However, being who she was, she probably prayed for him during all those years of imprisonment."

I am sure she did. Her last will and testament is so moving. "...mine eyes desire you above all things."

Gareth Russell said...

Katherine also couldn't have been sent to Spain because she did not accept the annulment. Unlike her daughter, Mary, Katherine knew that to even attempt to ask for political asylum outside of England would have voided her entire argument that she was still queen.

elena maria vidal said...

Very true, Gareth. And she would never have willingly gone anywhere without her daughter.

Gregory said...

i hope everyone here - who has a common sympathy for queen katharine, will check out my website for her cause.

www.katharineofaragon.com

Gregory said...

i hope all will check out my website to plead the cause for queen katharine of aragon.

www.katharineofaragon.com

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you, Gregory, I will!