Tom and Harry

   






Tom and Harry
A play by Gareth Calway

Characters
Professor Harriet Tom, celebrity historian
Henry VIII 
Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk
Sir Thomas Wyatt
Henry Howard Earl of Surrey
Anne Boleyn, Queen of England
The Common Man  (gender-free role)
Tableau of Boleyn Ghosts
A vampire 
This play has 8 speaking parts.  Each Act is a self-contained story, though linked by common themes. If played entire, the vampire should play Norfolk and Wyatt, Surrey. 
Music
Original music has been written for this play and recordings of performances are available on request.   

Hear an extended (live) extract from Act 1 here


Act One. 
Blickling Hall, Norfolk, May 19 2036.  Little Jack Horner plays- a deliciously 'period' Tudor arrangement. Low light. Life-size portraits of the Boleyns hang on the walls, Queen Anne and her father Tom prominent. If available, actors should (and Anne must) play these Boleyn portraits as a tableau, watching and reacting to the lecture. CS Henry VIII's throne. USL a cell with a Great Bible. Enter to spotlit in front of the throne, Professor Harriet Tom, reigning rock queen of celebrity historians. The music is joined by Tudor voices.

Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner
Eating a Christmas pie
He put in his thumb
And pulled out a plumb
And said what a good boy am I.
Harriet        Thank you. Viewers of TheMatter of Brexilemy box set TV series chronicling the history of these islands have asked many times over the years about that theme tune. Like Ring a Ring o Roses- actually about the Black Death - or Who Killed Cock Robin- about the Fall of Britain's first and longest-serving Prime Minister the Lynn MP Robert Walpole - not to mention all the other gnomic nursery nasties of profound national trauma we cheerfully pass on to our children - it is dark with meaning. The last Abbot of Glastonbury at the time of the Dissolution, hoping to appease Henry VIII, sent his steward Jack Horner to London with a Christmas gift, a pie. Hidden in the pie were the deeds of twelve manors. On the journey, Jack opened the pie and removed the deeds of one - Mells Manor, in the village of Mells near Glastonbury in Somerset. Instead of handing them over, he kept them, and the manor remains in the hands of his family until this day. Jack Horner thus stole the best part of a village and set his family up for life. King Henry VIII did something similar on a national scale, effectively pocketing all the manors, holy buildings, objects, libraries and lands of the English Church and putting the enormous loot raised into his own coffers. This 'Dissolution of the Monasteries' made him the richest King in Europe at the time. It was either the greatest act of vandalism in English history or an act of political genius, depending on your spiritual persuasion. It created a vested interest in the Reformation: those new Protestant families now owning monastic lands simply couldn’t afford to return to the Catholic Church. Henry had created his own new Tudor tribe, secured his own enduring political nation. Of course as soon as you know that, it's a very different nursery rhyme. (mischievously)   Let's hear it again.

Music, with period voices as before

Great King Harry
Was happy as Larry
Gorging the wealth of the Church
Till the size of his belly
And his breath foul and smelly
Put his wives' breeding gears in reverse.

Harriet        Thank you. What is Tudor history? A Great Train Robbery? A Spy Thriller? Detective Story? Gothic horror? Romance? Super Scary Bank Holiday Serial Psycho-Chiller? A continuing soap opera that changes like a man for all seasons, pitching a dreamy Sir Thomas More against a real-politicking Thomas Cromwell in Robert Bolt's Tudor tragedy in the 1960s and reversing the masks in Hilary Mantel's human comedy 40 years later? All the above and a Ghost Story that still haunts us all. The seismic unearthing of Richard III's hastily hidden corpse from under Shakespeare's mesmerising Tudor propaganda and a Leicester carpark in 2015, spookily close to where the original life and soul of the Tudor party Cardinal Wolsey was hounded to death, changed our view of the Tudors yet again. And the skeletons continue to emerge from the closet. And nowhere more than here at the perennially voted National Trust  Survey 's MOST HAUNTED HOUSE IN BRITAIN - Blickling Hall, the probable birthplace of Anne Boleyn. And never more so than tonight, May 19, 2036, the 500th anniversary of her execution. 

A deathly sigh from the portraits. 

Harriet        (disturbed) These5000 acres of parkland, with their hedges, tree-lined lanes, manor and woodlands  mesmerise us like the riddle of England itself, a riddle wrapped up in a mystery inside an enigma, with the added intrigue of top secret work carried out by the RAF during the Middle World War, the one Tommy lost the World to Win. (pause)By way of Anne, the future mother of the Great Elizabeth, these time-struck Norfolk lanes led us all the way from Little England to Henry The Tudor Tomcat's creaking bedsprings to the first Elizabethan Age, and from thence on to Great Britain, that long island civilisation that in its finest hour ruled the waves and saved Europe in the Tommy trenches and from the skies, before The Brexit Crisis finally reversed the process at a stroke on March 29 2019, leaving us a laughing stock on the world stage, prey to a host of enemies on every front without and a fatal labyrinth of tribal self-absorptions within.  By way of Anne's birth here in 1507, you could fancy Blickling Hall the cradle of it all. Like Tudor history, Blickling takes us back where we started. A great place to re-root yourself. 

The ghosts gather around her.

Harriet      (shivering slightly)Tonight, though, its native ghosts are restless and Anne's certainly has good cause. Her failure to provide a male heir for the Tudor dynasty convinced Henry VIII his marriage was cursed by God. We may ask what on earth gave that morbidly ulcerated colossus bestriding the gulf between mediaeval and modern the idea that his wife was a she-devil? Apart that is from her multiple miscarriages, defective births, a sixth finger, a glaring neck mole the size of witch's teat and the notorious erotic magnetism of her unfashionable dark looks and shrewish frame? Well, her avid book-reading, particularly of advanced Protestant texts, including Henry's English Bible,  didn’t help. And nor did the Enlightenment presented by her patient learned defence - that she could not be placed at any of the scenes of the ‘crime’ with any of the six ‘adulterers’ accused - when countered by the pre-Enlightenment prosecution that a witch can materialise anywhere, anytime. 
Anne moves. Harriet does a double take but Ann is still again.
Harriet      (getting up and moving to Anne)At her trial for treason, presided over by her uncle Duke of Norfolk, she was accused of 'acting the libertine' before her marriage to Henry, and of being a disciple of Satan who had 'bewitched' Henry, 'seducing' him with sorcery.

As soon as she looks away, Anne moves again.

Harriet      Imprisoned in the Tower in May 1536 -  in the very state rooms she had spent her happy coronation  - this so-called 'unfeeling witch' enquired anxiously about her father and her 'sweet broder' and lamented that her mother would die of 'sorrow' for her. Which - a year after Anne, of a broken heart, she did, and her father soon followed. 

Harriet moves to the portrait of Tom Boleyn

Harriet      Local legend has it that, as penance for the untimely deaths of two of his children, his ghost crosses 12 bridges before cockcrow every 19th May. With a coach of headless horses, he starts at Blickling and crosses bridges at Aylsham, Belaugh, Burg, Buxton, Coltishall, Hautbois, Meyton, Oxnead and Wroxham.

Psychotic laughter off

Harriet      How had it come to this? It was all going so well. With a flying head start as a diplomat and linguist at Henry VII's court, Sir Thomas Boleyn 's calculated marriage to the royally-connected Howards, dukes of Norfolk, had  secured him a friend in the highest of high places.  Like Norfolk, the only way was up. Tom's three children, George, Mary and Anne, were all an extremely well-educated part of his grand plan to conquer. The girls spent their teenage years in France as ladies-in-waiting to Henry's sister the French Queen, then consecutively joined Queen Katherine of Aragon’s household, as Henry-bewitching maids of honour.  Anne played rather harder to get than Mary. The two heads of her extended family - father Tom and uncle Thomas Howard - strained furiously at the traditional bridles by which a lesser woman might have been broken. But they had to give her her head. And she was right. In the heat of that thrilling royal chase, father Tom was created Earl of Wiltshire and brother Lord George Rochford appointed to the Royal Privy Chamber. 

Harriet sits back on the throne

Harriet      And with her secret wedding to the rampant King of a rampant new England, on 25th of January, 1533, she ascended a peak beyond even her heady father and uncle's ambitions - and they all rose with her.

A vampire in a high necked cloak ghosts on behind and unseen by Harriet.
                    
Harriet      (shuddering unconsciously)Though often presented as the simple conquest of a lusting tom by a sex cat, it was arguably the most brilliant four year political campaign of the Tudor era. She kept her head through years of brinkmanship, achieving more in her brief hour upon the main stage than her heady father or for that matter her Uncle Norfolk; a female career comparable, while it lasted, more with Sir Thomas Wolsey's and Sir Thomas Cromwell's than with her sister's. 

Pause. She stands.

Harriet      But no friend  - or high place - or head - was secure in Henry Tudor's wake. Not even a head as prettily screwed on as Anne's. Not while Thomas the 3rd duke of Norfolk, the conservative hand of the undead past, was for brutal hire whenever Henry needed it! 

The vampire comes closer

Harriet      (unconsciously rubbing her neck and moving away). The fairy tale castle that Tom built - his life's work - was swept away in 1536 in one appalling May tide.  Within eight years, not one member of the immediate Boleyn household survived. The remaining relatives, stigmatised by 'The Curse of the Boleyns' disappeared, reportedly to Ireland. Even Norfolk, rapidly sentencing Anne to death to avoid association with her fall, was contaminated - his niece Catherine Howard - Anne’s cousin - exactly duplicating Anne's fate. After Thomas Boleyn’s death in 1539, Blickling passed through his brother’s hand to his relatives, the impressively wealthy Cleres. Yet - by the Curse of the Boleyns - even Sir Edward Clere died a bankrupt in 1605 and eleven years later his widow sold the whole Estate. However brilliantly Anne gave her head to the task, it was all undone by a womb that failed its most basic job description: a male heir.

Resuming the throne

Harriet      But what of her heart? Was there, as a distraught Henry later bewailed, onlycalculating head in Anne’s requited troth?  She denied it, to the very end, but we can never know for sure. Henry was certainly not her first love. Cardinal Wolsey - on the King’s orders - terminated her betrothal to Lord Henry Percy. 

Enter Sir Thomas Wyatt 
Harriet      And, in an alleged 'adultery before the fact' had inspired court poet Sir Thomas Wyatt’s rhyme-royals, long before Henry’s. Taking him the brink of extinction in the Tower. 

Wyatt        (to audience)Sir Thomas Wyatt. Soldier, poet, envoy, ambassador. Renaissance man. Born Allington Castle, Kent, 1503.  Died 1542, Dorset, of a violent fever but fret ye not (smiles reassuringly) ‘tis no longer contagious . Educated Cambridge. Formally accompanied Henry VIII and my old flame Anne to France before their marriage -  awkward.  In between successful missions on Henry’s behalf abroad:  knighted; imprisoned in the Tower– along with Anne -  released, unlike Anne; promoted to French ambassador; imprisoned in the Tower again, royally pardoned just before dying in the king's pay. At 39. Serving Harry 8 was a tricky business. 

Harriet      Poor Tom. (an analogy unconsciously revealing a pre-show incident) Like that life-consummating moment the wife of the celebrity TV director claps all her champagne attention on you

Wyatt        They f-

Harriet      until a whisper disabuses her (bitterly, the analogy becoming too personal) whose stunning gaze then drifts over your shoulder to someone else…  

Wyatt       They flee from me that sometime did me seek
With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild and do not remember
That sometime they put themselves in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
Busily seeking with a continual change.
Thanked be fortune it hath been otherwise
Twenty times better; but once in special,
In thin array after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small;
Therewithall sweetly did me kiss,
And softly said, “Dear heart, how like you this?”
(It is now)It wasno dream: I lay broad waking.
But all is turned thorough my gentleness
Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
And I have leave to go of her goodness,
And she also, to use newfangleness
But since that I so kindly am served,
I would fain know what she hath deserved.  (sits)
Harriet      Atriumph as absolute and brief as a May Queen's, perhaps? And her uncle Tom proclaiming the death sentence upon it with, as he claimed-

Vampire    (enjoying the lie) Tears in my eyes.  (mouth an open coffin, laughs. Exit)
                    
Harriet      (stands) On Friday 19 May, at 8.00am, aged 29, Anne took her place on a scaffold, dressed in a robe of black damask covered by an ermine mantle of white. Her brother and the other ‘adulterers’ had been executed horribly the day before. Instead of denying her guilt as an adulteress and disciple of witchcraft, she delivered a lover's speech, eulogising her former lord.  And on every May 19 since, a carriage pulled by six headless horses with a headless coachman reportedly carries Anne to the door of Blickling Hall and gets out brandishing her crowned severed head!  She then roams the hall’s corridors until daybreak when she disappears.  ( a 'risqué' joke which comes back to haunt her) Not the best night to burgle the place!

Singing off. The Common Man sings.

She gave her head to King Harry,
She gave her heart to Sir Tom,
The nobs of the copybook be-headings
Sold them on to me for a song.

Enter the Common Man as a burglar

Harriet    Who the hell are you?

C. Man     (indignant)I am the Common Man. (extends hand) Dick.

Harriet    A burglar more like. Get out - this is a history lecture.

C. Man     You can't exclude real folk from history any more.  

Harriet    You're 30 years out of date, comrade. That 'everything and everyone is history' is so last century. (indicates audience)People haven’t got time. They want headlines. Headliners. (on phone)Security. We have an intruder.

C. Man     That's not what meant by real folk.I can take you back there.

Harriet    (suddenly terrified) Oh God - come quickly. He's got a guitar. I think he's going to sing!

C. Man     (sings)I stole to the door of Blickling Hall         
On the nineteenth night of a moonlit May
And met the ghost of Anne Boleyn
Shining bright as day.

Six headless horses drew her coach
A haunted headless coachman drove,
Give them their head!’ she laughed, then turned
On me her look of love.

‘I lost my hart in the darkest chase,
On the dying fall of a hunting horn.
I lost my head for the rose of the world
And the rose withered on the thorn.

‘A death-white moon with a raven head 
And a smile like a blossom of lovely May
I sold my heart for a worldly crown
And I’ll take your breath away.’

‘I’m not your True Thomas!’ I cried in dread
And her witch head turned in its rotting shroud
‘Ah! You’ve named the angel who guards my grave,’
And she hid her moon face in a cloud.

                  ‘I lost your heart in the darkest chase
On the dying fall of a hunting horn.
I lost my head for the rose of the world
And the rose withered on the thorn.' (exit)

The ghosts come to life during the song, bearing Harriet off. Anne Boleyn and Thomas Wyatt sit separated by the throne in separate cells in the Tower USL and USR. Henry VIII enters and occupies the throne at the centre, lounging at the audience with open legs. 
Henry VIII   (with the bluster of a lifelong inferiority complex) You’re looking at the biggest in England, whatever MistressBoleyn said to her ladies of the bedchamber. The first thing I learned was never trust a courtier. They didn’t even announce my father’s death for two days.  Hyper-cautious Henry VII is Dead, Long Live the Courtiers Consolidating their Positions! I couldn’t even sign my name to royal gifts or letters patent without the counter-signature of my father’s minders, back-watching ministers like Sir Henry Wyatt feathering his own nest. Until Wolsey set me free of all such constraints (repressing a regret)in the days when he served his king before his God. My skinflint father united the bloodlines of York and Lancaster in marriage after centuries of blood and fire and married the new house of Tudor to the might of Old Spain – twice: the pope ruled that my brother the real-King-Arthur-who-never-was died before he mounted Catherine’s bed. Dad guarded my inheritance and filled the royal coffers with his mean hands, at a price. I grew up over-protected, watchful, wary. But they’re all wary of menow.
Wyatt looks wary 
Henry VIII   What Dad grabbed at Bosworth wasn’t the glorious England of Henry V. It was a farmyard stuck in the Middle Ages: deserted, backward, inward, a dunghill on France’s doorstep still recovering from the Black Death about 100 years slower than the rest of Europe.  Edward III ruled five million people. Richard II, twenty five years of Black Death later, half that.  Now, after twenty five years of me, everything’s soaring: population, rents, prices, land speculation, commerce, enclosures, evictions. Consumables at 231%. Uprooted peasants flooding the towns and wages falling. But mypeople: the landowners, commercial farmers, property investors, the nobility, the gentry, the merchants, the land-grabbers making it yield:  all rich and getting richer.  We’ll be conquering Europe again soon like the knights of old. Meanwhile, myRenaissance men – handsome soldier- scholars strutting Italy and France  -  sing Italian sonnets to my Tudor rose 
Both men look at the rose on Anne’s table 
Henry VIII   and their hearts out to ladies theycan’t have! Hands off, Master Wyatt, she’s mine! (laughs)
Wyatt            (in prison)
Whoso list to hunt: I know where is an hind.
But as for me, alas I may no more:
The vain travail hath wearied me so sore,
I am of them that farthest cometh behind.
Yet may I by no means my wearied mind
Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore
Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore,
Sithens in a net I seek to hold the wind.
Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt,
As well as I may spend his time in vain,
And graven with diamonds in letters plain
There is written her fair neck round about:
Noli me tangere, for Caesar’s I am,
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.

Henry VIII   (Brendan Behan voice)  ‘The foundation stone of the Protestant Church are the balls of King Henry VIII’ ? If that’s true I’m a Dutchman. Erasmuswaswriting his Greek and Latin New Testaments at Cambridge when I was a young king dancing Spanish steps on the graves of my father’s councillors.  John Colet was attacking priests, monks, superstition, even the papacy, from the lecterns and pulpits of Cambridge years before I needed to ditch Catherine. More was sweet-reasoning his Utopia (a pang of regret) long before he put his conscience before my friendship.  The Renaissance had come to Little England, closely followed by Luther’s Reformation, not mine. My papal legate, Wolsey, was burning books and imprisoning men, albeit too late. But he didn’t imprison the ideas and he balked at burning the heretics who spread them. Luther gave men’s loathing of papal monarchy and church power a doctrine. I did it without the doctrine. Ann’s circle brought Lutherism to my court but it wasn’t her Bible I married her for. Luther said priests should give up their concubines and marry: their balls, not mine.
Pause
Henry VIII   Catherine bore me five children. Eighteen years serving the royal codpiece and past it.  Only Mary survived. (lewd)A king must protect his dynasty.  Enter the lovely Boleyn with her Bible.
Both men’s eyes are riveted on the Bible on the table. They are seeing Ann Boleyn, the flower of the court, playing demure and chaste to perfection. Wyatt notices the competition, drops his.
Wyatt            For to love her for her looks lovely
My heart was set in thought right firmly,
Trusting by truth to have had redress.
But she hath given me leave full honestly.
Yet I do not rejoice it greatly,
For on my faith I loved too surely.
But reason will that I do cease
    For to love her.

Since that in love the pains been deadly,
Me think it best that readily
I do return to my first address
For at this time too great is the press,
And perils appear too abundantly
    For to love her.

Henry sings Parla Più Piano(‘Speak softly love’ – the theme from the Godfather) in Italian. (Hear him sing the burglar ballad here)

Henry VIII   Was it love? Was it ever love, that witchcraft in her eyes? That song in my heart? Yes, surely. A young woman’s open-eyed admiration behind the queen’s ageing back. It is a magic mightier than kings. It turns the world around. ... (disillusioned) But truelove is kind, does not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own. Becomes not a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.(pause, a king again)The pope would have to challenge his own authority to un-permit my marriage to Catherine. That put me with the radicals who said popes could be fallible.  Lucius, the legendary first Christian King of England, was also its vicar - ‘Give the king thy judgements, oh God.’ Why should I kneel to the bishop of Rome to free me from the daughter of Spain? I too was my own man in my own empire at the head of my own church. I needed a papal legate like a knife in the neck. And then More also let me down. So I convened the most powerful law-making parliament in English history, as long as it did my will. The Act of Annates; the Act of Appeals; the First Act of Succession; the Act of Supremacy, the Treasons Act - farewell, Thomas More -the Act Against the Pope’s Authority. After centuries of nothing much,  a completed Revolution in Six Acts, in four years. My precedents were King David, King Solomon; Emperor Constantine, Emperor Justinian: Heads of Church andState. God ordained it. Parliament, belatedly, recognised it. The bishops nodded it through, cowed by taxes and threats and fear of the alternative: permanent subordination to Parliament. What was it? A temporary squabble of king and pope, not worth being burned for. Wasn’t I more Catholic than most of northern Europe, a Defender of the Faith?(pause)But what if my heirs to an independent English church were Protestant? A church given a royal head as Lutheran as Boleyn? Think about it. Most of them didn’t at the time. 
Wyatt picks up letter and begins to read. 
Anne             (in her pomp as queen of the hive) The queen bee must provide an heir to the colony in earnest and lead the dance of the hive in the game of courtly love.  Like the king, I flirt with everyone but in earnest I am faithful. (darker, privately).Unlike the king.
Henry VIII   As a boy, I trained for the priesthood; as a married man, a defender of the faith, I agonised over whether my serial lack of male heirs was God's judgement on the unholiness of each of the unions. Though I sacrificed four wives on the altar of Tudor permanence, I lived, married and died, a Catholic.
He indicates a Great Bible.
Henry VIII   MyChurch of England wasa Catholic one shorn of priest-cults  - saints, intercessions, images, pilgrimages. And with an English Bible. My gift, the people eating the Word from my hand. Anne read from it every day, like it was hers. Master Cromwell used it as a rod for the church’s back, stripped the church of idols, sacraments, ceremonies, emphasised faith and sermons and got close to altar-smashing if not the Lutheran extremes of justification by faith alone and denying Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. That cunning Puritan served Protestantism not me. That’s why I let the old Catholic guard have him in the end, did him for heresy as well as treason. He’d dissolved the monasteries by then anyway. I plundered 560 monastic institutions of stone, gold, lead, plate and benefices and bought myself a new political nation:  no family enfranchised by church loot is going back to Rome. The north rose in rebellion – The Pilgrimage of Grace  - I crushed them with martial law, public hangings and broken promises.  In three years I broke centuries of church power forever, two fifths of the country passing to the Crown. The England you know was born.  Which is more than you can say for the son Boleyn miscarried in our third, and last, year of marriage. And the pre-nuptial nothing she conceived in our first. (dismissive)Elizabeth. (pause)God was damning my second marriage so (repressing regret)I let the Seymour faction destroy her.  Love had nothing to do with it.
Wyatt opens the letter. Yearning Tudor court music. Over it:
Henry VIII   Blame them for cutting off the pretty head of the Boleyns before it turned on them. I’d already divorced her ‘for marrying within prohibited degrees’ not for adultery. Ididn’t need to kill her. 
Wyatt reads the letter. Anne speaks it
Anne             ‘How quickly it changes. God blessed Jane Seymour with a son and killed her with Tudor surgery 12 days later.   Four short months ago, Henry and I wore yellow to celebrate Catherine’s death and he stroked my pregnant belly. And waking beside him the next day, the terrible truth dawned: with Catherine gone, he no longer needed me. (holds empty womb)Then my last best hope miscarried.   When he came to me at Easter, he was already gone. At the May jousts, as I Queened it for the third and last time, six gentlemen and pages were arrested for plots against the king and carnal knowledge of me. Including you, Tom, Esquire of the Body and master of mine long before Henry knew it. They will let you go, after watching me die: you have Cromwell as your pillar. They wracked confessions from the others. Yesterday, on the scaffold, my brother Rochford, also accused of being my lover, said  “From my mishap learn not to set your thoughts upon the vanities of the world, and least of all upon the flatteries of the court. (Wyatt says this last sentence with her) The higher we rise, the harder we fall.” (pause) Keep your head down, Tom, lest you lose it.
Henry VIII   Let that ring out around my realm.  
Wyatt goes to the grated window of his cell. 
Wyatt            Who list his wealth and ease retain
Himself let him unknown contain;
Press not too fast in at that gate
Where the return stands by disdain:
For sure, circa Regna tonat.

The high mountains are blasted oft
When the low valley is mild and soft;
Fortune with health stands at debate,
The fall is grievous from aloft:
And sure, circa Regna tonat.

These bloody days have broken my heart:
My lust, my youth did them depart,
And blind desire of estate.
Who hastes to climb seeks to revert:
Of truth, circa Regna tonat.

The bell-tower showed me such sight
That in my head sticks day and night:
There did I learn out of a grate 
For all favour, glory or might,
That yet,circa Regna tonat.

By proof, I say, there did I learn
Wit helpeth not defence to earn.
Of innocency to please or prate:
Bear low, therefore, give God the stern.
For sure, circa Regna tonat.

Anne             All six of my ‘lovers’ died confessing their sins, though not the ‘sin’ they were executed for.  Here today, dead tomorrow, I swore on the sacrament, that I am pure. Shall I die without justice?I asked and the lieutenant said the poorest suggest the king hath, hath justice. And I laughed. A dying old Lady of the  bedchamber whom I never meant to offend, Lady Wingfield, called me a whore on her deathbed. She told our young love story, Tom, as if it were happening now.  Blame the Duke of Suffolk, my sworn enemy, for your arrest: the Wingfield family are his clients.  I am 29, too young to die, guilty of nothing but youth. I indulged ‘pastime in the queen’s chamber’ giggled at tales of the king’s impotence. Henry said I was unfaithful with a hundred men and this last six no worse than the rest. Truer than he meant.
Wyatt            What vaileth truth? Or by it to take pain?
To strive by steadfastness for to attain
To be just, true and free from doubleness?
Sithens all alike where ruleth craftiness:
Rewarded is both false and plain,
Soonest he speedeth that most can feign.
True meaning heart is had in disdain.
Against deceit and doubleness
    What vaileth truth?

Why would Henry arrest six adulterers to destroy Anne when one would do? That was the Seymours, annihilating the competition. Jane Seymour – by refusing him hers - had his lips; her faction his ears. The court flew from Anne’s weakness. She felt his jousting fall deep in her heart: it cost her the baby. A boy. She refused to smile on Henry’s little affairs.  Jane Seymour showed ‘gentleness’ in this, Anne ‘cursedness’ – like Catherine. Bad move.  They say Henry never spared a man his fury or a woman his lust. (bitter)That is the hand that pulled the strings of the English Reformation. 
Anne             But I know his hand.  It lures, ignores, manipulates, leads, abandons. 
Henry  egresses singing his own composition Greensleeves.

Alas, my love, you do me wrong
To cast me off discourteously
For I have lovéd you so long
Delighting in your company
Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight
Greensleeves was my heart of gold
And who but the lady greensleeves

Your vows you've broken, like my heart
Oh, why did you so enrapture me?
Now I remain in a world apart
But my heart remains in captivity

Greensleeves was all my joy
Greensleeves was my delight
Greensleeves was my heart of gold
And who but the lady greensleeves. (exit)
Anne             It’s his other hand you’ve got to watch, the one stroking a pregnant belly. The world he imagined he made real:  plots everywhere, the strong to his side, or his bed, the weak to the scaffold.  The only defence is to counter-attack first, like Thomas Cromwell. We Boleyns were too slow. I watched my brother hanged, drawn and quartered, spilling the guts he’d shown before.  This morning, I will ‘be beheaded or burned at the king’s pleasure.’ All the pleasure I once gave Henry’s body has won me this mercy: a blade instead of the flames. The king never had my heart, he says, and he will have my clever head on its stiff Protestant neck for it, while Norfolk my accuser blooms like a rose in June, all the offices, grants and honours in the world vouchsafed  by that one failsafe: royal favour. Tom, you had my fickle heart once and kissed my neck like you meant it, praising its yielding softness. Pray for that softness now. 
Wyatt puts hand on to his neck, in shared terror. The door opens and he expects to be led to the block.   The Common Man sings. 
Common Man  A moon of May and a shining hour
Hunted hind harried in the gloom
And passing fair is the fading flower
Fa la la la la la la la la la.

You stalked me softly who later flew
Hunted hind harried in the gloom
And kissed me bold, wild and free and new.
Fa la la la la la la la la la.

                       With lips of young, sweet and dangerous rose
Hunted hind harried in the gloom
That like the blood-red of summer blows.
Fa la la la la la la la la la.

                       So wild to hold though I seem so tame;
Hunted hind harried in the gloom
I lost my heart when I won the game.
Fa la la la la la la la la la.

A Tudor rose and a May queen’s throne.
Hunted hind harried in the gloom
I plucked them both and now both are gone.
Fa la la la la la la la la la.

I lost my soul for a golden band
Hunted hind harried in the gloom
That bows the neck as it forced the hand.
Fa la la la la la la la la la.

I lost my head for a peerless hour
Hunted hind harried in the gloom
And my True Thomas in the tower.
Fa la la la la la la la la la.

                       Six headless horses to lead her home;
Hunted hind harried in the gloom
A headless coachman; a hollow crown.
Fa la la la la la la la la la. (exit)




Act 2. May 19 2053.  As Act 1, though the throne is gone. The Grand Old Duke of York plays. Thomas Howard the 3rd duke of Norfolk materialises in the upstage cell wearing the high necked cloak worn by the vampire in Act 1, seated.  He adopts a superior pose. He is invisible to Harriet who enters CS, 17 years older and looking it, no longer famous or fashionable.  

Oh the Grand Old Duke of York
He had 10,00 men.
He marched them up to the top of the hill
And he marched them down again.
And when they were up they were up
And when they were down they were down
And when they were only half way up
They were neither up nor down.

Harriet         Good evening ladies and gentleman. Thank  you for supporting this fundraiser. Though no longer the head of Tudor History or the face of Tudor TV, I can still string the odd death sentence together. Some believe the nursery rhyme you've just heard is about the Plantagenet Richard Duke of York, Protector of England and Pretender to the throne, during the Wars of the Roses. In 1460, he marched his white rose army against a red rose Lancastrian army all the way up a massive Norman earthworks to Sandal, his impregnable castle stronghold, then, in a moment of madness, he marched them all down again in a direct attack and was killed.  If so, the conservative lesson of remaining in one's stronghold was not lost on he subject of tonight's lecture. "How Were The Mighty Fallen? The Strange Tale of Thomas Howard, the 3rd Duke of Norfolk." I should of course be delivering it at Kenninghall Palace, the imposing family seat of the Howards, not here at Blickling Village Hall, near the seat of their relatively poor cousins the Boleyns. But you wouldn't find the seat very comfortable - in a classic case of fallen might, history has reduced Kenninghall to three broken stones in the corner of a Norfolk field. (shows an image of an empty field) Built by the 3rd duke on the site of 'Cynning-Halla' seat of East Anglia's ancient kings; Kenninghall was seized by Henry VIII; restored to the 3rd and 4th dukes by Queen Mary; re-seized at Bloody Mary's death by Elizabeth I and then dissolved like a monastery, and its broken materials sold off, as Elizabeth died and the Tudors' roller-coaster 118 years came to an end.Though not before they had serially crushed, serially resurrected and finally wiped the Howards from the face of Norfolk.
Switches off the image
Harriet         So - how werethe mighty fallen? The actor who plays the 3rd Duke of Norfolk in the 1970 BBC series 'The Six Wives of King Henry VIII" also plays the 2nd Dr Who. Appropriately, he (Patrick Troughton) plays Howard like a creature from another planet or age; a Spectre at the Tudor feast. Craggy-faced, mad-eyed, madcapped, cadaverous, capering mournfully in the shadowy margins to David Munrow's dance-of-death theme tune piped on 'authentic' period instruments, he looked like a ghost. And he was. The ghost of an England that died at Bosworth in 1485.
Dr Who music. Norfolk bares vampire teeth
Harriet         History is written not so much by the victor as by the present, retelling the story in its own image and for its own purposes. Without the lifeblood of the present, history is dead.  The rehabilitation and unprecedented veneration, for instance, as we rejoin European civilisation after 20 years of Brexile, of Harold Wilson's 1964 -1970 rewriting of the nation: repealing the Death Penalty; refusing, unlike his weaker successors, to join the USA's clownish invasions, in his case of of Vietnam; passing, to an uplifting Beatles soundtrack, a rainbow of Racial, Gender and Sexual Equality Acts; an Open University; free student grants and votes for teenagers; securing for the first time in history, an inspiring leadership of by a post War Grammar-school educated Common Man of culture, fashion, popular music, business and government. Only now  in 2053 do we finally appreciate how, 90 years ago, Wilson marched a nation 9 steps forward while its conservative party tried to drag it 39 steps back. Wilson is now credited, like Thomas Cromwell, with the brilliant foundation of a modern nation. And, like Cromwell, he came up against-
The historian indicates Norfolk in his cell, half lit and statuesque. The tableau can't move but his face is a picture of repressed fury as he listens. If she gets too close to his dark presence, he will bite her.
Harriet         This. This Owner of the Previous Establishment. This All Our Yesterdays Man. This Old Noble Money. This eternally side-lined, bluecheese, toffee-nosed, dried-up, stiff-jointed, tweed-capped, absolute reactionary, gothic mediaeval villain of every piece. This upstaged splenetic crosspatch. This clock-stopped Time Lord.  This no-can do.  This petrified might of Old England.
Norfolk almost breaks out of his tableau in fury. But can't.
Harriet         Or, in Cromwell's case, Thomas Howard of Norfolk: 1473-1554, and all of it lived in the previous century. His father and grandfather - the first and second dukes - fought on the wrong side at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, white rose Yorkists sharing Richard III's defeat. After his father's four wilderness years under the new Tudor regime - imprisonment, attainted titles and slow return from the dead - he achieved military glory under both Tudor Henrys. He helped Dad the restored 2nd Duke heroically save the kingdom from Scottish invasion at Flodden, striking the fear of an English God into the Irish and the French. He helped save the kingdom from real peril at home while King Harry 8 played out fantasy 'invasions' of France on his 'Arthurian' horse. He loyally supported the crowing Tudor upstart against even his Old Catholic Family's religious principles, albeit on the holy principle of relentless self-advancement.
Norfolk makes a spleen-bursting face at this presumption, all the more furious because he's got to keep still.
Harriet         And his reward was - to lose his second son to the scaffold.  And his own head in the Tower. Only keeping it at the last moment because Harry 8 died first. All those decades of unswerving loyalty to every swerve of Harry 8's progress never won him Henry's love.  (pause) After Wolsey's fall - which as temporarily restored head of the council Norfolk devised as assiduously as Thomas Cromwell's and for the same reason - he tried just as hard as the cardinal to juggle Harry free from Katherine of Aragon and the Pope while playing off France against Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. He was just much less good at it than Wolsey - who against the laws of possibility very nearly pulled it off - and Cromwell, who actually did. He was better at killing people than negotiating with them. He was Old Winter caught in an English renaissance spring, out-skilled, out-thought and alienated from the power and royal favour he saw as his birth-right by two starry Toms of common birth - Cardinal 'Almost Pope' Wolsey and Sir Thomas Cromwell - opposing revolutions they led, not so much on religious grounds as on a settled hatred of common humanity setting the national agenda. Too short on ideas - and too mediaeval in instincts - to help establish a modern England or to find constructive solutions to Henry's tangled progressions and predicaments, this fossil, this black hole in the air, nevertheless hurried England's brilliant last cardinal to an early grave at Leicesterand viciously despatched the genius of its Reformation. (pause)Like a vacuum. Like the great self-glorifying 'seat' of Kenninghall the Dukes of 'Norfolk' now occupy in our Norfolk landscape.   A vacuum that, for all its loyalty, took him inexorably to this cold, dark, damp, black hole of London for 7 years, mourning the death of his son and of all his hopes. (She fatally enters his space) One can only imagine his thoughts. 
He lunges at her, they struggle, he bites her neck and sucks. Dr Who music. She runs off screaming, holding the wound. Norfolk stretches himself in his chair after his long wait. The inflexibility of his movements is not just the result of age and 7 years confined but the rigor mortis of his outlook. After a life of the highest military and courtly rank it does not sit comfortably to be imprisoned and he still addresses the audience as if from a judge's chair.  But he also looks cell-worn and all of his 79 years.  Enter Henry VIII as a self satisfied, taunting portrait on the wall.
Norfolk         (addressing the portrait) Fortune thou hast usurped me. Fortune thy name is Tudor. They even place thy smirking portrait here to mock me! But for thou, this cell in the Tower would have been Hampton Court Palace; this stool the throne of England. 

Gets up, stiffly. Checks for spying ears. Confides in audience.

Norfolk         Both my wives were royal; both my nieces were queens of England. When Fortune attainted us, sentenced us to death, my son's Howard blood stained the scaffold as blue as heaven. In Henry's hoary twilight, in 1547, Iwas deprived, on the crowing upstart's orders of all comforts, books, bedsheets, even the hangings for these moat-damp walls. (shows teeth)Until Fortune himself was taken to Judgement. The undead surviving the upstart.

Checks his appearance in the mirror. It isn't there. Exit Henry. Enter Anne with the tableau of Boleyn ghosts, forming a portrait gallery. He turns, seeing them.

Norfolk         (shock)Mouth of hell! 

Anne             You still think me in hell then uncle?  Isn't Blickling  hell enough? (surveys her space)But better appointed than yours I think.

Norfolk         Not from where I sit. So many accusing faces! 

Anne             The Norfolk Boleyns, clamouring for your ruin at Blickling every May 19. 

Norfolk         Tudor Parvenus, hitching your Norfolk wagon to my star.

Anne             Gentlemen and ladies in our own right, generations before we allied with our great Uncle Howard. But easier to accuse a Boleyn of witching a king's bed with sterility when you make-believe her blood had no place there anyway, eh uncle! (a judge of him in death as he of her in life)Your soul must be smelted of its mediaeval pride. That fossil you call a heart made to feel the flesh and blood it froze out.

Norfolk         (terror)Am I in purgatory?

Anne             There's been a Reformation. For you there is only hell. 

Norfolk         (triumphantly)Heresy! 

Anne             You are no longer the judge. I am.  

Norfolk         cannot be judged byan apostate.  (Catholic magic) Aroynt thee, witch!Proved so in court! 

Anne             (mocking the judgement)"The sulphurous looks; the extra finger; the devil's teat; the sable skin; the shrewish frame; the miscarriages; the defective births (worse)the reading(worst of all) the Biblereading!" (laughs) Even Thomas Cromwell couldn't find 'witchcraft' there, uncle.  Nor place me at any of the crime scenes.

Norfolk         (trotting this out professionally)"A witch may materialise anywhere." 

Anne             Oh please! This is the sixteenth century.

Norfolk         (not for him it isn't)You threatened all Government!  You were the only woman who everanswered Henry back. 

Re-enter Henry as a portrait. They look at him.

Anne             It was a marriage- a Protestant partnership. It's the future you and your land alliances fostered by fathers will never know. A marriage of true minds.

Norfolk         It was a country matter - like any other. Only in your case a country traded for the whole of England! The Maid of Honour to Queen Katherine turned Queen herself by the alchemy of the king's bewitched desire. And don't pretend you married the king for love! You lost your maidenhead-

Anne             my maiden heart-

Norfolk         to Sir Thomas Wyatt long before you pretended to give it to Henry. 

Anne             You men! My heart was mine to give. And my guardian uncle took my head for it! 

This moves him at last. 

Norfolk         I sentenced you with tears in my eyes.  

Anne             (reliving the terror of the scaffold)The mob went quiet. I was blindfolded. I didn't know where the executioner was. I prayed. Something sang in the air. An angel?

Exit Henry

Norfolk         The king's then. Who could afford to show a traitor witch the edge of his mercy, employing a professional executioner's sharp French sword. Ihad to harden my arteries against your family Curse.

Anne             YourHowardniece was the Curse. Catherine really did commit the adulteries and treason I was only accused of. (a judgement) And by your unrepentance, your lack of common humanity, you yourself have sealed your family's fate. Your grandson Tom will follow your Harry to the traitor's block. You're history, uncle! Like the dead knightin the ballad of the ravens.

Norfolk         As I recall, that dead knight is graciously mourned by his faithful lady, his pining hound, hawk and horse, and the ravens are unable to molest him.  (like a spell)"God send every gentleman,
Such hawks, such hounds, and such a leman." 

Anne             As I remember it (a counter-spell)"His hound is to the hunting gone
His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl home,
His lady taken another mate,
                       Of his flesh, they make their dinner sweet."

Norfolk hisses.

Anne             But you Howards never learn from your history! Your second son will repeat the same old testament of stupid mistakes, scheme to marry Mary Tudor and plot to make Mary Queen of Scots Catholic Queen of England. For which your family will be exiled forever from Kenninghall and Norfolk. While my daughter will rule a new Protestant England.  (quoting her Protestant Bible)"The stone which the builders refused becomes the head stone of the corner." 

Midnight chimes. Anne exits, leaving Norfolk to his agony. The ghost of the dashing soldier poet Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (Harry) appears as an angel.  
Surrey         (sings cheerfully) There were three ra'ens sat on a tree,
Down a down, hey down, hey down,
They were as black as black might be,
With a down.
The one of them said to his mate,
Where shall we our breakfast take?
With a down, derry, derry, derry down, down
Norfolk         (alarmed)Who's there? 

Surrey           (sings)Down in yonder green field,
Down, a down, hey down, hey down,
There lies a knight slain 'neath his shield,
With a down.
His hounds they lie down at his feet,
So well they do their master keep,
With a down, derry, derry, derry down, down.

His hawks they fly so eagerly,
Down a down, hey down, hey down,
No other fowl dare come him night,
With a down.
Down there comes a fallow doe
As great with young as might she go
With a down, derry, derry, derry down, down
She lifted up his bloody head,
Down a down, hey down, hey down,
And kissed his wounds that were so red,
With a down.
She got him up upon her back,
And carried him to earthen lake,
With a down, derry, derry, derry down, down
She buried him before the prime
Down a down, hey down, hey down,
She was dead herself ere e'en-song time,
With a down.
God send every gentleman,
Such hawks, such hounds, and such a leman.
With a down, derry, derry, derry down, down
Norfolk         I know that voice. Harry? 

Surrey           So old, father? And so ill housed! Have you seen a ghost!

Norfolk         Anne Boleyn's. Prophesying the end of our Howard world. 

Surrey           I have better news. 

Norfolk         Better news! Music to my ears. Sweet boy!(pause, delaying fatally, the old suspicion and calculation) Or some devil tricking me in my son's guise?

Surrey           One cannot lie in heaven. Test me.  

Norfolk         What you thought of your rival. Truly.

Surrey           Wyatt resteth here, that quick could never rest;
Whose heavenly gifts increased by disdain,
And virtue sank the deeper in his breast;
Such profit he of envy could obtain.

A head, where wisdom mysteries did frame,
Whose hammers beat still in that lively brain
As on a stith, where some work of fame
Was daily wrought, to turn to Britain’s gain.

A visage, stern and mild; where both did grow,
Vice to condemn, in virtues to rejoice;
Amid great storms whom grace assured so,
To live upright and smile at fortune’s choice.

A hand that taught what might be said in rhyme;
That reft Chaucer the glory of his wit;
A mark the which unperfited, for time
Some may approach, but never none shall hit.

A tongue that served in foreign realms his king;
Whose courteous talk to virtue did enflame
Each noble heart; a worthy guide to bring
Our English youth, by travail unto fame.

An eye whose judgment no affect could blind,
Friends to allure, and foes to reconcile;
Whose piercing look did represent a mind
With virtue fraught, reposed, void of guile.

A heart where dread yet never so impressed
To hide the thought that might the truth avaunce;
In neither fortune lift, nor so repressed,
To swell in wealth, nor yield unto mischance.

A valiant corps, where force and beauty met,
Happy, alas! too happy, but for foes,
Lived, and ran the race that nature set;
Of manhood’s shape, where she the mold did lose.

But to the heavens that simple soul is fled,
Which left with such, as covet Christ to know
Witness of faith that never shall be dead:
Sent for our health, but not received so.

Thus, for our guilt, this jewel have we lost;
The earth his bones, the heavens possess his ghost.

Norfolk         So your funeral oration was true? 

Surrey           As true as poetry, which art in heaven. But father, I must give you the news-

Norfolk         And what does heaven say of me? 

Surrey           That time of year thou mayst in me behold 
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang 
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, 
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang- 
                       In me thou seest the twilight of such day 
As after sunset fadeth in the west, 
Which by and by black night doth take away, 
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest. 
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire 
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie, 
As the death-bed whereon it must expire 
Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by. 
   This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong, 
   To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Norfolk         You never wrote so tragically. Of the Dissolution, of Death.

Surrey           I still don't. It's not mine father, save that, in heaven, it belongs to All. Great words, great thoughts as yet unwilled, a new English Bible, live here like unspent spirit. The present is ever beautiful and stretches away beyond the limits of the past and the future-

Norfolk         (in consternation)An EnglishBible in heaven!

Surrey           Magnificent beyond Henry's or any Greek or Latin I read on Earth.  

Norfolk         Then you should have read more dead languages when you were alive. Instead of forever being walled up for violence.

Surrey           (recalls)'When Windsor walls sustain my weary arm-'… Was that really me?

Norfolk         Or blaming someone else. Convinced you were right, whatever you did.

Surrey           (remembering) "London hast thow accused me
Whose breast did boil to see
Thy dissolute life
Within thy wicked walls so rife!"
The truth of that, purged of its individual heat, remains. But listen, father-

Norfolk         Remember when Edward Seymour accused us of sympathising with the very Pilgrimage of Grace we put down. And you struck him - the king's new brother in law -in the precincts of the court! Always saying the right thing at the wrong time. (darkly, thinking of the scaffold)Or losing your head at the crisis.(exasperated and with real grief)You ruined us, Harry!  Just as the tide was turning in our favour. You were the king's 'Lt-General on Land and Sea of all the Continental Possessions of England'. Why thenassault a Seymour servant, lay us open to a charge of treason? announce that I your father should be Protector when Henry died, place the royal insignia in our coat of arms on your shield?

Surrey           The frozen past is what it is and no amount of anguish can make it other than it has been. I have news of what's to come. But I must be quick-

Norfolk         You showed our royal hand too soon! Somerset held two kings - the old and the new - in his and got every last scrap of us: your sweet life, my liberty, my position as Earl Marshall, lord high treasurer, all our chairs, seats, titles, lands, manors, everything - even our family jewelry and linen. 

Surrey           The Wheel of Fortune has taken Somerset down at the neck as it did me. But listen- (looks up)Ah! Dawn breaks. I must go.

Norfolk         Wait. You said  you had 'better news' for me?

Surrey           Quickly then!  Edward the boy king is dying and names Catholic Mary Tudor his heir. The old white lion of Norfolk can kneel for communion at a Catholic altar again without checking over his maned shoulder. 

Norfolk         (falls to his kneels in thankful prayer) Hail BloodyMary! 

Surrey           Tomorrow, Somerset's nemesis, Northumberland, the former Earl of Warwick, will marry his son to Henry's niece Lady Jane Grey, showing hisroyal hand too early. In due course, he'll be executed as a traitor against Henry Tudor's declared heir, just as I was, only more horribly, on your orders! The wheel of Fortune turns yet again.(hauls his father to his feet) And this summer, it will remount the country's warlord once again on a returning tide of Catholic Faith! 

Norfolk         (calculating already, as of old)Mary Tudor - a woman wedded to England's enemy, Spain - will need me, the old legitimate Plantaganet. The white lion of Norfolk will escape its cage, his neck maned again with a fleece of honours,  warm again with un-common Norfolk wool! (shivers)

Surrey           Under Mary, you will seize the reins of England once more and lead a royal army against the traitor son of Sir Thomas Wyatt!  You will be king, in all but name.  But, father-

The cock crows. Surrey exits. Enter the Common Man.

Norfolk         (his residual ambition)Perhaps in name too. 

Common Man  (sings)Oh the grand old Duke of Norfolk
Seven years in the Tower.
Blue in the joints and black in the heart
They brought him back to power.

When Northumberland pleaded quarter,
Queen Lady Jane Grey's case;
'My quarter's this - you'll be quartered, hanged
And your heart flung in your face!'

When Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger
And his seven thousand men
Rose up against their Catholic queen,
Old Norfolk rode again.

Up to Rochester Bridge on his high horse
With his gunners to the fore,
His London White Coats left behind
Turned like the tide of war.

"A Wyatt! A Wyatt! our war cry,
For church and liberty;
Against this queen and her Spanish crew,
All Englishmen are we!"

When Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger
And his seven thousand men
Rose up against their Catholic queen,
Old Norfolk rode again.

He thundered, 'turn those guns around!'
But his Londoners fled the field
Their coats all torn, their bows unstrung,
His Catherine wheels un-wheeled.

The Roman Candle's final blaze,
It won the day without him,
Till Bloody Mary, too, went down
In flames and rack and ruin.

When Sir Thomas Wyatt the Younger
And his seven thousand men
Rose up against their Catholic queen,
Old Norfolk rode again. (watches)

Norfolk         (moves his cell chair to where Henry's throne was in Act I, mounts it like a horse,  addressing his people in deluded grandeur, where but for the grace of history, England might have gone…) Privy councillors, lords and commons of England, fellow East Anglians, Norfolk neighbours, city fathers of Norwich, Englishmen, fellow citizens of Christendom. Insteadof an Eden owned by landed noblesleased to yeoman farmers and worked by faithful villagerswith the right to graze animals on common land, Henry VIII unleashed his thin-blooded Tudorocracy on you. They seized common land for their own sheep; made wool-rush fortunes; built merchant empires and plague-infested towns; watched peasant and yeoman farmers go to the devil. And took away your faith. When the Tudor upstart split from our father in Rome, fleecing our monasteries of their riches, you all cheered, Little Jack Horners with hands in the church pie. But you didn't cheer when Cranmer's new Book of Common Prayer came out under the boy king Edward did you? Now it was crown against personal faith. Now it was yourcommon land not the Catholic Church's they were fleecing. You tore down the new fences. You complained about the new clergy. There was trouble in Protestant Paradise - there always is. In the East of England, instead of the generous rule of your Howard lord, gifting you government posts, grants of land, licenses, patronage, hospitality, charity and employment, Somerset and Northumberland gave you the power vacuum of my absence in the TowerThe tight East Anglian ship I ran, ran aground. You looked for a new lion to lead the pride. You looked for a future. You poor deluded fools, you thought you’d found one in Robert Kett.

Common Man  (as one of Kett's followers, to Norfolk) The third of our 29 grievances is this. We pray your grace that no lord of no manor shall common upon the common. The fourthof our 29 grievances-
Re-enter Harriet, deathly pale, drained, hand to her neck
Harriet         He can't hear you. He's not here. He's in the Tower.
Common Man… You’re not here either. 
Harriet         I'm an historian. I'm here to explain what happened.
Common Man… I know what happened.I'mhere, with Robert Kett. 
Harriet         Ah, but to really know, you need hindsight.
Common Man  …Well, what did happen? 
Harriet         Norfolk Yeoman Farmer Robert Kett and you, his Commoners in Arms, sought to limit the power of a gentry coked to the nostrils by Henry VIII's social revolution; keep them out of village life; put a brake on a runaway economy; protect common land and rights from enclosure and remind the clergy of their spiritual vocation.Unfortunately it all went  wrong. 
Common Man  Doesn't it always?
Harriet         Tell me about it. 
Common ManI will.(sings)     
                       As I lay down on Mousehold Heath,
I heard two corbies beak to beak,
‘It’s cold as death, fifteen below.
To Norwich Castle let us go.

‘Upon its wall, a traitor hangs
Who led last summer’s rebel gangs:
Twelve thousand men, a city strong,
Unfencing nine and twenty wrongs.’

The Commons’ land, he gave it back
Then led their time-honoured attack
And his bare bones shall be his plaque
Till crows are white and snows are black.

At Dussindale they broke his army;
His brother hanged on Wymondham Abbey;
His name is blood in church and state,
We’ll pick his bones to celebrate.

His brave old England: shabby crops
Outselling woollens in the shops;
The oak its heart until its bark
Is cut to build a new car park.’

The Commons’ land, he gave it back
Then led their time-honoured attack
And his bare bones shall be his plaque
Till crows are white and snows are black.

‘His brave new England on the hill
In narrow streets and arms fulfilled;
Its oak near Hethersett will stand
While people matter more than plans.’

The Commons’ land, he gave it back
Then led their time-honoured attack
And his bare bones shall be his plaque
Till crows are white and snows are black.

The cry of a racked prisoner off.  Norfolk approves. The Common Man is appalled. Harriet is the detached historian.

Norfolk         (enjoying this)3000 rebels were butchered. 300 were hanged. Robert Kett was run to earth a few miles from the battle site, dragged to the Tower, found guilty of treason and starved in chains from the walls of Norwich Castle, his crow-stripped bones a warning to all Norwich of the fate that awaits traitors. His brother William was hanged from the west tower of Wymondham church. Somerset was accused of sympathies with the anti-enclosers. Warwick became the new Protector, and, as Duke of Northumberland, the new thief of my positions, titles, lands, manors, jewels, plate, ducal coronet, collar and badge of the garter and clothes! MPs gave landlords the right to enclose common land and fixed the death penalty for fence-breakers. Northumberland's solution to all your discontent was to impose an even more fanatical Protestantism.

He makes the sign of the cross. Harriet checks her neck for blood.

Norfolk         Our Holy Mother Church, where each knew his place and the all-forgiving love of Mary, was not just sold off as in the days of Harry Eight and Tom the blacksmith's boy, but stripped bare and every Tom, Dick or Harry allowed to play God with her sacraments. This is what happens when you cage the Howard lion.(pause, shows vampire teeth in a politician's smile)Well the Howard lion is out of his cage again and he bequeaths you the opposite. Anne's ghost told me I was dead, I was history. Well, history is like that Three Ravens my boy sang me from heaven. To write history you have to win it. I have, by surviving it. The knight is shielded by his faithful lady, hound, hawk and horse and the ravens can't get near him. He who laughs last, laughs longest. (howl of grave-mouth Vincent Price laughter. He resumes his king's speech to the people) All this dissolution of trust between governing classes and people in Norwich wasn't caused by the solidified might of old certainties and the love of Mary but by Norfolk's long infestation with Lollards and dissent. And under the royal Howards, all your unhappiness and discontent will be… (chilling glare)crushed.

The cell door opens and Norfolk looks up, startled out of his reverie. Morning light and the people singing. It is his release.

Common Man  (sings) As I was walking a' alane,
I heard twa corbies makin' a mane.
The tane untae the tither did say,
Whaur sail we gang and dine the day, O.
Whaur sail we gang and dine the day?

                       It's in ahint yon auld fail dyke
I wot there lies a new slain knight;
And naebody kens that he lies there
But his hawk and his hound, and his lady fair, O.
But his hawk and his hound, and his lady fair.

As the song continues, Norfolk struggles to his feet, shoots his vampire collar, waves long and royally and finally hobbles out of the Tower cell towards his fool's 'restoration.' 

Harriet         (coming to the end of her lecture) … So, having spent most of his seventh decade and the whole the third Tudor King Edward's reign under a 7 year sentence of death in the Tower - as a 'traitor,'  Old Norfolk was restored under a fourth Tudor (Mary) at the head of a royal army, the 80 year old has-been he was born to be, the old implacable Power of stopping things happening, the immoveable object of every sentence, hired to put down a revolt led by Thomas Wyatt's son. And replaced when he failed. Finally put out to grass at a restored Kenninghall. It is incredible that one man could embrace so much triumph and disaster, all the proverbial 'ebbs and flows' of Tudor fortune and - unlike most of his enemies- die, a spent force at last, in his restored bed at Kenninghall. But he did. Thank you. There's no charge for tonight's lecture but a hungry donations bucket awaits your unwanted Euros. Thank you and good night, Blickling.

Common Man  (sings)

His hound is to the hunting gane
His hawk to fetch the wild-fowl hame,
His lady ta'en anither mate,
So we may mak' our dinner swate, O.
So we may mak' our dinner swate.

Ye'll sit on his white hause-bane,
And I'll pike oot his bonny blue e'en
Wi' ae lock o' his gowden hair
We'll theek oor nest when it grows bare, O.
We'll theek oor nest when it grows bare.

There's mony a ane for him maks mane
But nane sail ken whaur he is gane
O'er his white banes when they are bare
The wind sail blaw for evermair, O.
The wind sail blaw for evermair. 

                       (watching Norfolk go) He who laughs last … didn’t see the joke. 
Vincent Prince laughter off. Exit.

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