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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Cardinal Wolsey

  • [Thomas Wolsey, an English ecclesiastic and courtier; born at Ipswich, 1471; educated at Oxford; dean of Lincoln, 1508; rapidly promoted by Henry VIII., until he became Archbishop of York, 1514; cardinal and chancellor, 1515; built Hampton Court; lost the favor of the king, who, however, pardoned him for offences for which he had been indicted; arrested again on a charge of treason, he died before his trial, November, 1530.]
  • Ego et meus rex.

  • His formula when chancellor; thus to his secretary Gardiner: “Ego et meus rex, his Majesty and I, command you: this divorce is of more consequence to us than twenty popedoms.” By transposing in Latin the first and third persons, he was said to be a good scholar, but a poor courtier. It was remembered against him, and Shakespeare puts into the mouth of the Duke of Norfolk:—
  • “In all you writ to Rome or else
  • To foreign princes, Ego et meus rex
  • Was still inscribed; in which you brought the king
  • To be your servant.”
  • Henry VIII., III. 2.
  • Father abbot, I am come to lay my weary bones among you.

  • To the abbot and monks of Leicester Abbey, Nov. 26, 1529, after his fall; quoted by Cavendish, who was his secretary before becoming his historian.
  • His last words, not to Cromwell as Shakespeare gives them, but to the captain of the guard, Sir William Kingston, who arrested him, were: “Had I served God as diligently as I have the king, he would not have given me over in my gray hairs.”
  • “O Cromwell, Cromwell!
  • Had I but served my God with half the zeal
  • I served my king, he would not in mine age
  • Have left me naked to mine enemies.”
  • Henry VIII., III. 2.