Document:  All > Shakespeare > Histories > King Henry VIII > Act II, scene III



	[Enter ANNE and an Old Lady]

ANNE: Not for that neither: here's the pang that pinches:
	His highness having lived so long with her, and she
	So good a lady that no tongue could ever
	Pronounce dishonour of her; by my life,
	She never knew harm-doing: O, now, after
	So many courses of the sun enthroned,
	Still growing in a majesty and pomp, the which
	To leave a thousand-fold more bitter than
	'Tis sweet at first to acquire,--after this process,
	To give her the avaunt! it is a pity
	Would move a monster.

Old Lady: Hearts of most hard temper
	Melt and lament for her.

ANNE: O, God's will! much better
	She ne'er had known pomp: though't be temporal,
	Yet, if that quarrel, fortune, do divorce
	It from the bearer, 'tis a sufferance panging
	As soul and body's severing.

Old Lady: Alas, poor lady!
	She's a stranger now again.

ANNE: So much the more
	Must pity drop upon her. Verily,
	I swear, 'tis better to be lowly born,
	And range with humble livers in content,
	Than to be perk'd up in a glistering grief,
	And wear a golden sorrow.

Old Lady: Our content
	Is our best having.

ANNE: By my troth and maidenhead,
	I would not be a queen.

Old Lady: Beshrew me, I would,
	And venture maidenhead for't; and so would you,
	For all this spice of your hypocrisy:
	You, that have so fair parts of woman on you,
	Have too a woman's heart; which ever yet
	Affected eminence, wealth, sovereignty;
	Which, to say sooth, are blessings; and which gifts,
	Saving your mincing, the capacity
	Of your soft cheveril conscience would receive,
	If you might please to stretch it.

ANNE: Nay, good troth.

Old Lady: Yes, troth, and troth; you would not be a queen?

ANNE: No, not for all the riches under heaven.

Old Lady:: 'Tis strange: a three-pence bow'd would hire me,
	Old as I am, to queen it: but, I pray you,
	What think you of a duchess? have you limbs
	To bear that load of title?

ANNE: No, in truth.

Old Lady: Then you are weakly made: pluck off a little;
	I would not be a young count in your way,
	For more than blushing comes to: if your back
	Cannot vouchsafe this burthen,'tis too weak
	Ever to get a boy.

ANNE:                   How you do talk!
	I swear again, I would not be a queen
	For all the world.

Old Lady:                   In faith, for little England
	You'ld venture an emballing: I myself
	Would for Carnarvonshire, although there long'd
	No more to the crown but that. Lo, who comes here?

	[Enter Chamberlain]

Chamberlain: Good morrow, ladies. What were't worth to know
	The secret of your conference?

ANNE: My good lord,
	Not your demand; it values not your asking:
	Our mistress' sorrows we were pitying.

Chamberlain: It was a gentle business, and becoming
	The action of good women: there is hope
	All will be well.

ANNE:                   Now, I pray God, amen!

Chamberlain: You bear a gentle mind, and heavenly blessings
	Follow such creatures. That you may, fair lady,
	Perceive I speak sincerely, and high note's
	Ta'en of your many virtues, the king's majesty
	Commends his good opinion of you, and
	Does purpose honour to you no less flowing
	Than Marchioness of Pembroke: to which title
	A thousand pound a year, annual support,
	Out of his grace he adds.

ANNE: I do not know
	What kind of my obedience I should tender;
	More than my all is nothing: nor my prayers
	Are not words duly hallow'd, nor my wishes
	More worth than empty vanities; yet prayers and wishes
	Are all I can return. Beseech your lordship,
	Vouchsafe to speak my thanks and my obedience,
	As from a blushing handmaid, to his highness;
	Whose health and royalty I pray for.

Chamberlain: Lady,
	I shall not fail to approve the fair conceit
	The king hath of you.

	[Aside]

		I have perused her well;
	Beauty and honour in her are so mingled
	That they have caught the king: and who knows yet
	But from this lady may proceed a gem
	To lighten all this isle? I'll to the king,
	And say I spoke with you.

	[Exit Chamberlain]

ANNE: My honour'd lord.

Old Lady: Why, this it is; see, see!
	I have been begging sixteen years in court,
	Am yet a courtier beggarly, nor could
	Come pat betwixt too early and too late
	For any suit of pounds; and you, O fate!
	A very fresh-fish here--fie, fie, fie upon
	This compell'd fortune!--have your mouth fill'd up
	Before you open it.

ANNE: This is strange to me.

Old Lady: How tastes it? is it bitter? forty pence, no.
	There was a lady once, 'tis an old story,
	That would not be a queen, that would she not,
	For all the mud in Egypt: have you heard it?

ANNE: Come, you are pleasant.

Old Lady: With your theme, I could
	O'ermount the lark. The Marchioness of Pembroke!
	A thousand pounds a year for pure respect!
	No other obligation! By my life,
	That promises moe thousands: honour's train
	Is longer than his foreskirt. By this time
	I know your back will bear a duchess: say,
	Are you not stronger than you were?

ANNE: Good lady,
	Make yourself mirth with your particular fancy,
	And leave me out on't. Would I had no being,
	If this salute my blood a jot: it faints me,
	To think what follows.
	The queen is comfortless, and we forgetful
	In our long absence: pray, do not deliver
	What here you've heard to her.

Old Lady: What do you think me?

	[Exeunt]




	KING HENRY VIII






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