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13-23



The Marital Machinations of King Henry, Number Eight

One queen.
Two queen.
Dead queen.
New queen.

This one cannot have a son
So she is replaced with another one.
This one—well, the Pope's incapacitated,
But eventually she is decapitated.

This one finally has little Edward.
Sadly she gets sick and is soon sent dead-ward.
This one is German, and certainly smart,
But her pockmarked face doesn't warm the king's heart.

This one was pretty, Henry thought she was swell...
Until she had two affairs and killed her off as well.
This one outlived him (for once, a wife stayed safe!),
Taught him social skills and sealed England's fate.

Catherine of Aragon,
Annulled and abandoned.
Anne Boleyn after,
Accused almost as random.

Jane Seymour next.
A former lady-in-waiting.
Anne of Cleves, then,
A real friend of the king.

Catherine Howard,
Who was second-to-last,
And Catherine Parr,
Survived—though Henry passed.

Henry liked girls who had certain names.
Three Catherines, two Annes, though only one Jane.
His daughters' names were equally British:
Elizabeth and Mary, one loud and one skittish.

Henry VIII was a rather big man
Whose family rarely got in on his game plan.
Edward was sickly and died, far too frail,
Leaving Mary and Elizabeth, who were—ugh!—female.

But that's not the story we want to tell.
Let's get back to Henry, let's run pell-mell.
His life was complicated, and so were his wives.
Two annulled, two divorced, and two sent to die.

When he divorced Mary's mother, boy, was she mad;
After Anne Boleyn's death, poor Liz was left sad.
The last Catherine helped the three to reconcile,
But no one really forgot that Henry was vile.

This was the strange tale of King Henry, number eight,
A man who ate everything they'd put on his plate.
He liked his wives pretty, he liked them obedient.
When they rebelled, he found his threats were expedient.

Catherine of Aragon,
Catholic, devout.
Anne Boleyn after,
Drove Catholicism out.

Jane Seymour next,
Who bore him a son.
Anne of Cleves, then,
A platonic loved one.

Catherine Howard,
Who was a little too friendly,
And Catherine Parr,
The last of this medley.


by Adriana Tosun

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Adriana Tosun used to live on a boat. Now she lives in Paris and has indoor plumbing, which hopefully means she's moving up in the world. Her work has been published in Defenestration Magazine, Cannoli Pie Magazine, Corvus Magazine, and (the sadly defunct) Divine Dirt Quarterly, which means she occasionally likes to toss her hair back and claim superiority over all her friends.