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Henry VIII

Henry VIII Translation Act 2, Scene 3

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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.

ANNE

No, that's not it. This is what bothers me: the king has lived with her for so long and she's such a good wife that no one could ever speak badly of her. I swear she's never hurt anyone. Oh, now she's shared the king's throne for so long and grown so powerful and majestic that it will be a thousand times more sad for him to leave her than it was delightful for him to get her at first. Kicking her out after all this time! Even a monster would pity her.

OLD LADY

Hearts of most hard temperMelt and lament for her.

OLD LADY

Even the hardest hearts melt and are sad 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.

ANNE

Oh, I wish she had never been in power. Power is just a temporary worldly good, but being separated from it by bad fortune hurts as badly as death.

OLD LADY

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

OLD LADY

Poor woman! Now she's a stranger in this country 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.

ANNE

So much the more reason to pity her. I swear it's better to be low-born and wander around happily with other humble  people than to be dressed up in glittering costumes but be sad, as if you were wearing sadness made of gold.

OLD LADY

Our contentIs our best having.

OLD LADY

Happiness is our most important possession.

ANNE

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

ANNE

I swear by my faithfulness and virginity I wouldn't want to 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.

OLD LADY

Damn me, I would, and I would give my virginity to become one. And so would you, even though you're being a hypocrite about it. You have all the attractive parts a woman should have including a woman's heart, which always wants high status, wealth, and power. And those things really are blessings. You would be able to fit all those gifts in your soft conscience if you were willing to stretch it out like a kid-skin glove.

ANNE

Nay, good troth.

ANNE

Goodness, no.

OLD LADY

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

OLD LADY

Goodness yes, and say yes. You don't want to be a queen?

ANNE

No, not for all the riches under heaven.

ANNE

No, not for all the wealth in the world.

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?

OLD LADY

It's strange. I could be hired to be a queen with a three-penny coin, old as I am. But what do you think of being a duchess? Would you be strong enough to bear that title?

ANNE

No, in truth.

ANNE

Really, no.

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.

OLD LADY

Then you're weak. Come on. I wouldn't want to be a young count going after you: he wouldn't get any more than blushing from you. If your back can't bear this burden of a title it's too weak for you to lie on it to conceive a boy.

ANNE

How you do talk!I swear again, I would not be a queenFor all the world.

ANNE

You say such terrible things! I promise again, I wouldn't agree to be queen for everything in 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?

OLD LADY

For little England, you'd dare to bear an emballing. I would just for Carnarvonshire, even if the king didn't own anything more than that.

Enter Chamberlain

CHAMBERLAIN

Good morrow, ladies. What were't worth to knowThe secret of your conference?

CHAMBERLAIN

Good morning, ladies. What would I have to give you to hear what you were talking about?

ANNE

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

ANNE

My good lord, don't even give us your question. It's not worth asking about. We were feeling sorry for our mistress.

CHAMBERLAIN

It was a gentle business, and becomingThe action of good women: there is hopeAll will be well.

CHAMBERLAIN

That was kind, and the right thing for good women to do. There's hope that everything will be fine.

ANNE

Now, I pray God, amen!

ANNE

I hope so!

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.

CHAMBERLAIN

You have a good mind. God blesses people like you. So that you know I'm speaking sincerely, beautiful lady, when I say that important people notice your virtue, the king says he thinks highly of you and wants to do you the honor of making you Marchioness of Pembroke. In addition to this title he kindly adds a thousand pounds a year as annual support.

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.

ANNE

I don't know how to show my gratefulness. Even giving him more than all I have would count for nothing. It's not that my prayers aren't holy words and my wishes are pointless, but prayers and wishes are all I can give him in return. Please, your lordship, tell the king that my thankfulness and obedience are as great as if I were just a blushing servant. I pray for his health and royalty.

CHAMBERLAIN

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

CHAMBERLAIN

Lady, I will confirm the king's good opinion of you.

[To himself]
I have examined her carefully. She has so much beauty and honor that she has captured the king's heart. Who knows, maybe this lady will have a child like a gem that will brighten this whole island.

[To Anne] I'll go to the king and say I spoke to you.

Exit Chamberlain

ANNE

My honour'd lord.

ANNE

Goodbye, my 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.

OLD LADY

See? See? This is it! I have been begging in court for sixteen years and I'm still a poor courtier and have never been in the right place at the right time to be given money. But you, oh this is fate! You're new here—damn, damn this fortune forced on you!—your mouth is filled with fortune before you even open it.

ANNE

This is strange to me.

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?

OLD LADY

How does it taste? Does it taste bad? I bet forty cents it doesn't. There was once a lady, it's an old story, who didn't want to be a queen, she didn't, for all the mud in Egypt. Have you heard it?

ANNE

Come, you are pleasant.

ANNE

Come on, you're joking.

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?

OLD LADY

With your gifts, I could rise higher in court than a lark rises in the sky. The Marchioness of Pembroke! A thousand pounds a year just because he respects you! No other obligations! By my life, that promises more thousands. Honor is like a dress with a longer back than front: more follows than came before this. By this time I know you will be able to bear the title of duchess. Tell me, aren't you already 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.

ANNE

My good lady, make yourself laugh with the things you imagine and leave me out of it. I'd rather die than feel excited about this. I'm scared to think about what will happen next. The queen is in despair and we are neglecting her by being gone so long. Please don't tell her what you heard here.

OLD LADY

What do you think me?

OLD LADY

What kind of person do you think I am?

Exeunt

Henry viii
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