Oil on canvas, approximately 19.5 x 21.5 inches. Royal Academy of Arts, London.
In Act III, Scene i, of Henry VIII, a dejected and pensive Queen Katherine, who in the previous scene rejected the authority of the Cardinals Wolsey and Campeius to pass judgment on the legality of her marriage to the King, asks her maid to sing to her: "Take thy lute, wench: my soul grows sad with troubles; / Sing, and disperse 'em, if thou canst: leave working." Katherine's maid Patience sings this song:
Orpheus with his lute made trees,
And the mountain tops that freeze,
Bow themselves when he did sing:
To his music plants and flowers
Ever sprung; as sun and showers
There had made a lasting spring.
Every thing that heard him play,
Even the billows of the sea,
Hung their heads, and then lay by.
In sweet music is such art,
Killing care and grief of heart
Fall asleep, or hearing, die.
After the song, the Cardinals enter once again to ask Katherine to see reason and to submit herself to the King's will.
This painting is the first Leslie exhibited at the Royal Academy after he was admitted a full member in 1825. The picture, depicting a popular scene from a play familiar to the public, was reproduced as an engraving.