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About this text

  • Title: Henry The Eighth (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Diane Jakacki
  • Research assistant: Beth Norris
  • Research assistant (proof): Simon Carpenter

  • Copyright Diane Jakacki. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Diane Jakacki
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Henry The Eighth (Folio 1, 1623)

    1200Scena Tertia.
    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
    1205Pronounce 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
    1210'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.
    1215An. 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.
    1220Old 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,
    1225And 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.
    1230Anne. 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:
    1235You 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
    1240Of 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.
    1245Old. 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.
    1250Old. 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.
    1255An. 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
    1260Would 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?
    1265An. 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
    1270All 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
    1275Tane 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,
    1280Out 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
    1285More 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.
    1290Cham. 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
    1295But 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.
    1300Old. 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)
    1305A 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:
    1310There 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
    1315O'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
    1320I 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
    1325If 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.
    1330Old L. What doe you thinke me --- Exeunt.