|ACT II SCENE III
|An ante-chamber of the QUEEN'S apartments.
|[Enter ANNE and an Old Lady]
|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.
|Hearts of most hard temper
|Melt and lament for her.
|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.
|Alas, poor lady!
|She's a stranger now again.
|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.
|Is our best having.
|By my troth and maidenhead,
|I would not be a queen.
|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.
|Nay, good troth.
|Yes, troth, and troth; you would not be a queen?
|No, not for all the riches under heaven.
|'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?
|No, in truth.
|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.
|How you do talk!
|I swear again, I would not be a queen
|For all the world.
|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?
|Good morrow, ladies. What were't worth to know
|The secret of your conference?
|My good lord,
|Not your demand; it values not your asking:
|Our mistress' sorrows we were pitying.
|It was a gentle business, and becoming
|The action of good women: there is hope
|All will be well.
|Now, I pray God, amen!
|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.
|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.
|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.
|My honour'd lord.
|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.
|This is strange to me.
|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?
|Come, you are pleasant.
|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?
|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.
|What do you think me?