Henry VIII


Text

Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V

Enter Anne Bullen and an Old Lady
pinch (v.) 1 torment, pain, torture


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
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

To leave a thousand-fold more bitter than

'Tis sweet at first t' acquire – after this process,
process (n.) 1 progress, course, path

To give her the avaunt, it is a pity
avaunt (n.) order to be gone, farewell

Would move a monster.
temper (n.) 2 quality, constitution, condition


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,
temporal (adj.) secular, civil, worldly

Yet, if that quarrel, Fortune, do divorce
quarrel (n.) cause of complaint, reason for hostility, difference, claim

It from the bearer, 'tis a sufferance panging
bearer (n.) possessor, owner, holder
pang (v.) afflict with pangs, torture, torment
sufferance (n.) 1 distress, suffering, hardship

As soul and body's severing.


OLD LADY

                         Alas, poor lady!

She's a stranger now again.
stranger (n.) foreigner, alien, outsider


ANNE

                         So much the more

Must pity drop upon her. Verily,
verily (adv.) in truth, truly, indeed See Topics: Swearing

I swear, 'tis better to be lowly born,

And range with humble livers in content,
content (n.) 2 contentment, peace of mind
range (v.) 1 wander freely, roam, rove

Than to be perked up in a glistering grief
glistering (adj.) glittering, shining, sparkling
perk up (v.) make smart, deck out, spruce up

And wear a golden sorrow.
content (n.) 2 contentment, peace of mind


OLD LADY

                         Our content

Is our best having.
maidenhead (n.) 1 virginity


ANNE

                         By my troth and maidenhead,

I would not be a queen.
beshrew, 'shrew (v.) 1 curse, devil take, evil befall See Topics: Frequency count


OLD LADY

                         Beshrew me, I would,

And venture maidenhead for't; and so would you,

For all this spice of your hypocrisy.
spice (n.) touch, trace, dash

You that have so fair parts of woman on you
part (n.) 1 quality, attribute, gift, accomplishment [of mind or body]

Have too a woman's heart, which ever yet

Affected eminence, wealth, sovereignty;
affect (v.) 5 cultivate, aim at, seek out

Which, to say sooth, are blessings; and which gifts,

Saving your mincing, the capacity
mincing (n.) affected movement, pretentious manner

Of your soft cheveril conscience would receive,
cheveril (adj.) flexible, yielding, pliant

If you might please to stretch it.


ANNE

                         Nay, good troth.


OLD LADY

Yes, troth and troth. You would not be a queen?
troth (n.) 1 truth, good faith See Topics: Swearing


ANNE

No, not for all the riches under heaven.


OLD LADY

'Tis strange: a threepence bowed would hire me,
bowed (adj.) bent, crooked

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;
pluck off (v.) come down [in level of aspiration], look lower

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
vouchsafe (v.) 4 cope with, sustain, be prepared to bear

Ever to get a boy.
get (v.) 1 beget, conceive, breed


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'd venture an emballing. I myself
emballing (n.) investment with the orb [as a mark of sovereignty]

Would for Caernarvonshire, although there 'longed

No more to th' crown but that. Lo, who comes here?

Enter the Lord Chamberlain
morrow (n.) morning See Topics: Frequency count


LORD CHAMBERLAIN

Good morrow, ladies. What were't worth to know

The secret of your conference?
conference (n.) 1 conversation, talk, discourse


ANNE

                         My good lord,

Not your demand; it values not your asking.
demand (n.) 1 question, enquiry, request

Our mistress' sorrows we were pitying.


LORD CHAMBERLAIN

It was a gentle business, and becoming
gentle (adj.) 6 soft, tender, kind

The action of good women. There is hope

All will be well.


ANNE

                         Now I pray God, amen!


LORD CHAMBERLAIN

You bear a gentle mind, and heavenly blessings
gentle (adj.) 6 soft, tender, kind

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
commend (v.) 3 present, introduce, bring [for favourable acceptance]
commend (v.) 6 declare, offer, direct

Does purpose honour to you no less flowing
flowing (adj.) bountiful, abundant, copious
purpose (v.) 1 intend, plan

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.
kind (n.) 2 manner, way, state
tender (v.) 1 offer, give, present

More than my all is nothing; nor my prayers

Are not words duly hallowed, nor my wishes

More worth than empty vanities; yet prayers and wishes
vanity (n.) 4 trifle, folly, vain thing

Are all I can return. Beseech your lordship,

Vouchsafe to speak my thanks and my obedience,
vouchsafe (v.) 1 allow, permit, grant See Topics: Politeness

As from a blushing handmaid, to his highness,

Whose health and royalty I pray for.


LORD CHAMBERLAIN

                         Lady,

I shall not fail t' approve the fair conceit
approve (v.) 1 prove, confirm, corroborate, substantiate
conceit (n.) 4 view, opinion, judgement

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
catch (v.) 4 catch the attention of, attract the notice of

But from this lady may proceed a gem

To lighten all this isle? (to them) I'll to the King,

And say I spoke with you.


ANNE

                         My honoured lord.

Exit Lord Chamberlain


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
pat (adv.) 1 neatly, opportunely, aptly
pound (n.) 2 (plural) sum of money

For any suit of pounds; and you – O fate! –
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count

A very fresh fish here – fie, fie, fie upon

This compelled fortune! – have your mouth filled up
compelled (adj.) 1 constrained, forced, of necessity
compelled (adj.) 2 enforced, involuntary, unsought

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.
pleasant (adj.) 1 facetious, joking, droll
theme (n.) 2 reason for acting, ground of belief


OLD LADY

                         With your theme I could

O'ermount the lark. The Marchioness of Pembroke!
overmount (v.) transcend, rise above, soar higher than

A thousand pounds a year for pure respect!
respect (n.) 3 regard, admiration, favour, opinion

No other obligation! By my life,

That promises more thousands: honour's train
mo, moe (adj.) more [in number]

Is longer than his foreskirt. By this time
foreskirt (n.) front skirts

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,
fancy (n.) 5 imagining, flight of fancy, fanciful thought

And leave me out on't. Would I had no being,

If this salute my blood a jot; it faints me
blood (n.) 1 passion, feeling, strong emotion [especially sexual]
faint (v.) 2 make faint, depress
salute (v.) 4 affect, act upon, excite

To think what follows.

The Queen is comfortless, and we forgetful

In our long absence. Pray do not deliver
deliver (v.) 1 report [to], communicate [to], tell, describe

What here you've heard to her.


OLD LADY

                         What do you think me?

Exeunt

 
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