Fallen Greatness


The play "Henry VIII" was first published in the Folio of 1623, its principal character being Cardinal Wolsey, and the most brilliant speech being that in which the Cardinal laments over his fallen greatness, in the following lines:

"O Cromwell, Cromwell!
Had I but serv'd my God with half the zeal
I served my King, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies."
Act 3, Scene 2

Bacon fell from power in 1621, and a few months afterwards wrote a letter to King James in which he says: "Cardinal Wolsey said that if he had pleased God as he had pleased the King he had not been ruined."

Is it a coincidence that Cardinal Wolsey's lament over the fallen greatness in "Henry VIII" exactly fits Bacon's personal experience?

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