Henry VIII

by William Shakespeare

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Act Two, Scene III

Enter Anne Bullen, and an old Lady.

  An. Not for that neither; here's the pang that pinches.
His Highnesse, hauing liu'd so long with her, and she
So good a Lady, that no Tongue could euer
Pronounce dishonour of her; by my life,
She neuer knew harme-doing: Oh, now after
So many courses of the Sun enthroaned,
Still growing in a Maiesty and pompe, the which
To leaue, a thousand fold more bitter, then
'Tis sweet at first t' acquire. After this Processe.
To giue her the auaunt, it is a pitty
Would moue a Monster
   Old La. Hearts of most hard temper
Melt and lament for her
   An. Oh Gods will, much better
She ne're had knowne pompe; though't be temporall,
Yet if that quarrell. Fortune, do diuorce
It from the bearer, 'tis a sufferance, panging
As soule and bodies seuering
   Old L. Alas poore Lady,
Shee's a stranger now againe
   An. So much the more
Must pitty drop vpon her; verily
I sweare, tis better to be lowly borne,
And range with humble liuers in Content,
Then to be perk'd vp in a glistring griefe,
And weare a golden sorrow
   Old L. Our content
Is our best hauing
   Anne. By my troth, and Maidenhead,
I would not be a Queene
   Old.L. Beshrew me, I would,
And venture Maidenhead for't, and so would you
For all this spice of your Hipocrisie:
You that haue so faire parts of Woman on you,
Haue (too) a Womans heart, which euer yet
Affected Eminence, Wealth, Soueraignty;
Which, to say sooth, are Blessings; and which guifts
(Sauing your mincing) the capacity
Of your soft Chiuerell Conscience, would receiue,
If you might please to stretch it
Anne. Nay, good troth

   Old L. Yes troth, & troth; you would not be a Queen?
  Anne. No, not for all the riches vnder Heauen
   Old.L. Tis strange; a threepence bow'd would hire me
Old as I am, to Queene it: but I pray you,
What thinke you of a Dutchesse? Haue you limbs
To beare that load of Title?
  An. No in truth
   Old.L. Then you are weakly made; plucke off a little,
I would not be a young Count in your way,
For more then blushing comes to: If your backe
Cannot vouchsafe this burthen, tis too weake
Euer to get a Boy
   An. How you doe talke;
I sweare againe, I would not be a Queene,
For all the world
   Old.L. In faith, for little England
You'ld venture an emballing: I my selfe
Would for Carnaruanshire, although there long'd
No more to th' Crowne but that: Lo, who comes here?
Enter Lord Chamberlaine.
  L.Cham. Good morrow Ladies; what wer't worth to know
The secret of your conference?
  An. My good Lord,
Not your demand; it values not your asking:
Our Mistris Sorrowes we were pittying
   Cham. It was a gentle businesse, and becomming
The action of good women, there is hope
All will be well
An. Now I pray God, Amen

   Cham. You beare a gentle minde, & heau'nly blessings
Follow such Creatures. That you may, faire Lady
Perceiue I speake sincerely, and high notes
Tane of your many vertues; the Kings Maiesty
Commends his good opinion of you, to you; and
Doe's purpose honour to you no lesse flowing,
Then Marchionesse of Pembrooke; to which Title,
A Thousand pound a yeare, Annuall support,
Out of his Grace, he addes
   An. I doe not know
What kinde of my obedience, I should tender;
More then my All, is Nothing: Nor my Prayers
Are not words duely hallowed; nor my Wishes
More worth, then empty vanities: yet Prayers & Wishes
Are all I can returne. 'Beseech your Lordship,
Vouchsafe to speake my thankes, and my obedience,
As from a blushing Handmaid, to his Highnesse;
Whose health and Royalty I pray for
   Cham. Lady;
I shall not faile t' approue the faire conceit
The King hath of you. I haue perus'd her well,
Beauty and Honour in her are so mingled,
That they haue caught the King: and who knowes yet
But from this Lady, may proceed a Iemme,
To lighten all this Ile. I'le to the King,
And say I spoke with you.
Exit Lord Chamberlaine.

An. My honour'd Lord

   Old.L. Why this it is: See, see,
I haue beene begging sixteene yeares in Court
(Am yet a Courtier beggerly) nor could
Come pat betwixt too early, and too late
For any suit of pounds: and you, (oh fate)
A very fresh Fish heere; fye, fye, fye vpon
This compel'd fortune: haue your mouth fild vp,
Before you open it
An. This is strange to me

   Old L. How tasts it? Is it bitter? Forty pence, no:
There was a Lady once (tis an old Story)
That would not be a Queene, that would she not
For all the mud in Egypt; haue you heard it?
  An. Come you are pleasant
   Old.L. With your Theame, I could
O're-mount the Larke: The Marchionesse of Pembrooke?
A thousand pounds a yeare, for pure respect?
No other obligation? by my Life,
That promises mo thousands: Honours traine
Is longer then his fore-skirt; by this time
I know your backe will beare a Dutchesse. Say,
Are you not stronger then you were?
  An. Good Lady,
Make your selfe mirth with your particular fancy,
And leaue me out on't. Would I had no being
If this salute my blood a iot; it faints me
To thinke what followes.
The Queene is comfortlesse, and wee forgetfull
In our long absence: pray doe not deliuer,
What heere y'haue heard to her
Old L. What doe you thinke me -


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