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Would it not grieve an able man, to leave
So sweet a bedfellow? But, conscience, conscience,—
O, 'tis a tender place, and I must leave her. [Exeunt.
An Antechamber in the Queen's Apartments.
Enter Anne Bullen, and an old Lady.
Anne. Not for that neither ;—Here's the pang that
His highness having liv'd 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 enthron'd,
Still growing in a majesty and pomp,— the which
To leave is 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 L. Hearts of most hard temper
Melt and lament for her.
Anne. O, God's will! much better.
She ne'er had known pomp: though it be temporal,
Yet, if that quarrel, fortune, do divorce
It from the bearer, 'tis a sufferance, panging
As soul and body's severing.
Old L. 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 L. Our content
Is our best havingls.
Anne. By my troth, and maidenhead,
I would not be a queen.
Old L. Beshrew me, I would,
And venture maidenhead fort; 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 '9 conscience would receive,
If you might please to stretch it.
Anne. Nay, good troth,—
Old L. Yes, troth, and troth,—You would not be a queen?
Anne. No, not for all the riches under heaven.
Old L. 'Tis strange; a three-pence bow'd would
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?
Annt. No, in truth.
Old L. Then you are weakly made: Pluck off a
I would not be a young count in your way,
For more than blushing comes to: if your back
Cannot vouchsafe this burden, '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 L. In faith, for little England
You'd venture an emballing: I myself
Would for Carnarvonshire, although there 'long'd
No more to the crown but that. Lo, who comes
Enter the Lord Chamberlain.
Cham. 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.
Cham. 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!
Cham. You bear a gentle mind, and heavenly
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 to 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 nay prayers
Are not words duly hallow'd, nor my wishes
More worth than empty vanities; yet prayers, and
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.
I shall not fail to approve the fair conceit,
The king hath of you.— I have perus'd 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.
Anne. My honour'd lord.
, [Exit Lord Chamberlain.
'013 L. 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, (fye, fye upon
This compell'd fortune!) have your mouth fill'd up,
Before you open it.
Anne. This is strange to me.
Old L. 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?
Anni. Come, you are pleasant.
Old L. . With your theme, I could
O'ermount (he lark. The marchioness of Pembroke!
A thousand pounds a year! for pure respect;
No other obligation: By my life,
That promises more thousands: Honour's train
Is longer than his foreskin. 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 have heard, to her.
Old L. What do you think me?