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KINGSTON

KING.

With oars as musical—the people's shouts,

Whitehall. That call'd Heaven's blessings on my head, in sounds

KING HENRY and Attendants. That might have drown'd the thunders—I've more need

KING Of blessing now, and not a voice would say it. 'Sdeath! ye're all traitors: the King's bed defiled,

And by his grooms, and ye must pause and parley Your Grace, no doubt, will long survive this trial.

For proof and witness! Find me demonstration,

Or I'll be law, witness, and judge. A King
QUEEN.

Not to cast off a wanton from his bed,
Sir, Sir, it is too late to flatter me :

But must be trammel'd, thwarted, check’d, control'd Time was I trusted each fond possibility,

By quirks of law, old formal statutes, rolls For hope sate queen of all my golden fortunes; Of parchment scribled o'er with musty phrases ! But now

I'll let you know our will's this kingdom's law.
KINGSTON

Where's Norreys?
Day wears, and our imperious mandate

ATTENDANT.
Brooks no delay-advance.

He awaits your Highness' pleasure. QUEEN

Back, back, I say ! Come hither, Norreys: we have loved, have trusted I will not enter! Whither will ye plunge me?

you— Into what chamber, but the sickly air

Could you find out no nobler way than this
Smells all of blood—the black and cobweb'd walls Of being a traitor? could your daring lust
Are all o'ertraced by dying hand, who've noted Stoop to no humbler paramour than our Queen?
In the damp dews indelible their tale

NORREYS.
Of torture—not a bed nor straw-laid pallet
But bears th' impression of a wretch call'd forth

Your pardon, Sire, but save your Highness' presence, To execution. Will ye place me there,

Show me the man dare taint my name with treason, Where those poor babes, their crook-back'd uncle I'd dash my gauntlet in his face, and choke murder'd,

Th'audacious lie within his venomous throat. Still haunt ?-Inhuman hospitality!

And more, excepting still my Liege's person, Look there! look there! fear mantles o'er my soul

Whoe'er haih slander'd the Queen's honour, be it As with a prophet's robe, the ghostly walls

With me, or Knight far worthier of her favour, Are sentineld with mute and headless spectres,

I do defy that man to mortal battle. Whose lank and grief-attenuated fingers

Body to body, as a Knight-1 'll prove him Point to their gory and dissever'd necks,

The most convicted, recreant, foulest slanderer, The least and lordly noble, some like princes :

Whose breath e'er soil'd a Lady's spotless name! Through the dim loop-holes gleam the haggard faces Of those, whose dark unutterable fate

Thou hast done us service, Norreye; for that reason, Lies buried in your dungeons' depths; some wan

Though we impeach our honour by our mercy, With famine, some with writhing features fix’d

Confess, if treacherous opportunity In the agony of torture.—Back! I say:

Or her too easy virtue did allure thee, They beckon me across the fatal threshold,

(For in the heat and wild distemperature Which none may pass and live.

Of passion, noblest souls forget themselves).
KINGSTON.

Be bold, be dauntless, but be true: we pledge

The deaths of traitors, The honour of a king, to give thee back
If such have died within these gloomy towers, Thy forfeit life; for look ye, she shall die-
Should not appal your Grace with such vain terrors ; She and her minions -Stand thou forth our witness,
The chamber is prepared where slept your Highness Perchance, beside thy life, our grace may find
When last within the Tower.

Some meet return.
QUEEN.

NORREYS.
Oh! 't is too good

I do beseech your Highness,
For such a wretch-a death-doom'd wretch, as me. What act of mine in all my life avouches
My Lord, my Henry—he that call'd me forth The slanderous hope, to buy or life, or what
Even from that chamber, with a voice more gentle I value more, my Sov'reign's gracious favour,
Than flutes o'er calmest waters—will not wrong I'd perjure mine own soul, accuse the blameless ?
Th'eternal Justice-the great law of Kings! My Liege, you are abused-foully abused!
Let him arraign me-bribe as witnesses

Some devil hath beset your easy ear. The angels that behold our inmost thoughts,

If you strike off this unoffending head, He'll find no crime but loving him too fondly; Your Majesty will lose a faithful servantAnd let him visit that with his worst vengeance. That's soon replaced; but for the Queen, I say, Come, Sir, your wearied patience well may fail : And will maintain it with my life, the best, On to that chamber, where I slept so sweetly, The chastest Queen, the closest nun in Europe, When guiltier far than now. On-on, good Kingston. I Is Messalina to a Vestal

KING

KING,

KING.

!

QUEEN.

KING.

KING.
Off!

Now, hy St. Paul! thou wear'st our patience.-Speak, Away with him to the Tower.-What! have we

How got ye this ? look ye confirm it. stoop'd

GARDINER.

Sire,
Thus to be gracious, to be scorn'd and rated,
And by our slaves ?

May 't please your Highness, that a holy Friar,

Albeit I know your Grace for weightiest reasons
The above. WINCHESTER.

Mistrusts their order, hath perpetual access

Unto the prisoner Smeaton.
Why how now, Winchester ?
Another Churchman come t'impeach his King,

Ha! a priest
And with mock charitable incredulity

l'the plot-why then 't is ripe and pregnant. Gardiner Arraign his justice? I'd but now a missive

We are bound to thee. My Lord of Winchester, From Cranmer ;-he, forsooth, good blameless man,

Look thou make good this charge against our Queen, Knowing no sin himself, believes there's none

Or, by St. Paul! thou shalt have cause to rue it. In others.—'Sdeath! I'll hear no more excuses;

So, back to Greenwich; we 'll go hunt the deer! The fact 's as clear, or shall be, as yon Sun.

Blow horns-yell dogs-we'll have a gorgeous day! Thou think'st her guiltless ?

The sun is in the Heavens, and our high heart

Is mounting with him. Off-to horse-to horse.
GARDINER.

Till this hour, my Liege,
I could have pledged my life, sworn strongest oaths

The Tower.
That such a monstrous sin-a sin that darkens
The annals of mankind, makes us suspect
Some moral plague broke out in human nature-

· Blessed are those that weep."-Oh! truth of truths, Had been impossible. Oh! best and greatest,

Not understood till fell—thou grace of Heaven, That best and greatest to ungrateful men

Spirit of Christ, thou didst not all forsake me, Should be a license thus to wrong the bounties

When my whole life was like a banquet-served By which they lived!—And that the Queen-raised up By Pride and Luxury-dangerous cup-bearers

. From a Knight's daughter to the throne of England Prayers, all unwonted on the dainty couch, A partner of King Henry's bed—the strange,

Where Queens are lapt in purple, failid not me; Th’unnatural act doth give itself the lie!

Mine heart, a place forbid to pain or sorrow, It doth outargue closest demonstration,

Thou didst incline to other's grief: I read And make us rather deem our senses traitors

In the deep lines of woe-worn cheeks, the bliss Than trust the assurance of most damning proofs.

Of resignation to the Eternal will;

And felt, admired, adored the Christian beauty Ha! proofs ?

Of graces that I had no scope to practise.

But now, oh Christ! that thou vouchsafest me
GARDINER.
Would there were none, my Liege, who bears of prayer that burns upon my lips, the deep,

The mercy of affliction--oh! the warmth
Tidings of shame to an abused husband,
That husband too a King, a glorious King-

The full religion that o'erflows my heart.

My cited thoughts stand ready at my call,
Sire, my ungracious presence still will seem
A base remembrancer of these foul deeds,

And undistracted memory ranges o'er
Odious as they —

My map of life—where it is wilderness

Or weed-o'ergrown, pour streams of penitence;
Your proofs, good Prelate, proofs.

But where the sunshine of Heaven's grace, though

crossd GARDINER.

By hasty clouds of earthly passion, gleams Is the confession of the guilty, forced

Upon the golden harvest of good deeds, By no stern tension of the searching rack,

It glorifies that Sun in humblest thankfulness. Nor laceration of the bleeding flesh,

Thee, therefore, amiable prison, thee But free, unbribed, unsought

Oh! Solitude-dreadful in apprehension ;

When present, to the friendless, the best friend!
Ha! which!

Henceforth will I esteem, as much beyond

The pride and press of courts, as I feel nearer

My Liege, To Heaven within you. 'Tis that outdoes all record of old crime,

QUEEN, CRANMER.
Makes true ail tales of fabulous wantonness;
It is the boy-We beardless boy !-Oh! lust,

QUEEN.
Blind as unbrid.ed, frantic as impure,

Good my Lord Archbishop That no discrimination knows, nor choice

I will not wrong thee by the idle question or base from noble, foul from fair-to fall

Why here? 'T is sorrow's dwelling, and thou art here From the allow'd embrace of such a king

But in obedience to thy heart and function.

KING.

KING

KING.

GARDINER.

CRANMER.

CRANMER.

QUEEN.

CRANMER.

But now shall irreligious Avarice I come not, Lady, to erect anew

Pluck from his lips the Scholar's dole—the Temples The much misused Confessional, where Sins Lie desecrate in ruin-or the night Best hid in shameful silence, or wrung forth of ancient ignorance and error sink la voiceless anguish, to Heaven's midnight ear, On the dark land for ever and for ever. Are acted o'er again in foul recital :

QUEEN. But oh, if thou art fallen, the saintliest pupil

Alas! Sir, why enamour me with life, In our young school of Christian graces, thou

Making me deem myself of value here, That to the living fountain of the Gospel

Here in this world, which I must leave?-So young Camest duly, to draw forth the eternal waters,

To be cut off, and so untimely! cast What infamy will blacken o'er our cause !

A blooming branch to the cold grave! Yet Heaven, A horror of deep darkness hath oppress'd

Whose cause it is, will raise defenders up.
The Church, that waits in awful hope th' event.

My child ! my daughter! oh prophetic soul!
QUEEN.

I dare not trust, yet will not disbelieve
Cranmer, behold this book, my sole companion,

Thy glorious omens. Good my Lord Archbishop, Yet whose sweet converse makes my prison day Thou 'lt not endure these knees should grow to earth, So short, I'm fain t' encroach upon the night. To less than Heaven; but I adjure thee, watch Şir, were I guilty (and in truth I know

Her ripening spirit, sow the seed, ne'er lost My crime but vaguely), there's a passage here

Though cast on the waste waters. or one detected in such nameless sin, That had been blotted with my scalding tears:

Heaven but grant "Tis stainless, and in truth unread; nor ask I

The life and power!
If my accusers are less deep in sin.

QUEEN.
If I am guilty, let who will cast first
The avenging stone, and heap the death upon me.

T' another subject now,

My sins, my sins ! Heaven's Grace be praised! but oh! the obdurate King.

CRANMER.

Of them to Christ alorie ;QUEEN. There 's death in thy sad looks: speak, I 'll endure it. That heart bleeds freeliest that inly bleeds. He that has placed this cross upon my shoulders Will give me strength to bear it. I defy not, Bear with me yet, my Lord, for I must tax With boastfulness unfeminine, the shame,

Your kindness further. There is one, but one The agony; nor yet ungrateful speak

In all this world, my memory names, hath cause As weary of a world only too full

To think of me as of her enemy, Of joyance. Thou, my child, wouldst well rebuke

The Lady Mary; for a dying woman Thy mother's selfish soul if she could leave thee

Entreat her pardon. I've a letter here, Without a rending of her heart-strings: thou Written to the King with such poor eloquence Not less, my mother! most of all, my husband !

As I am mistress of; beseech thee hear it;
If unreluctant I could load thy soul

Then, if thou wilt, be thou the bearer of it.
With the foul crime of my judicial murder;
Even our afflicted Church may ill sustain

The Letter. (4)
The loss of my unworthy aid.

“Sire, your displeasure and imprisonment

Are all so strange to me, that what to write
Oh! rate not

I know not, what t' excuse : you sent erewhile
Thus low your faithful service : farewell now Mine enemy to urge me to confess,
Vain bope, that the whole land should hear the Word And so secure your favour;-willingly,
Of God go forth on all the winds; no more If to confess a truth might purchase me
Fatigue the deaf cold Saint with fruitless pray'r, My ne'er-despised safety—but imagine not
Or kiss with pilgrim lips the unheeding shrine: Your wife will own a siu ne'er soil'd her thoughts.
That not a village, not a silent bamlet

Never had Prince a wife so loyal-duteous, In mountain solitude, or glen, of traveller

So to affection true, as your Anne Boleyn. Untrod, should want its sabbath bell to knoll That name and place had been my life's content, To porest worship: that a holy priesthood,

God and your Grace so willing it; yet ne'er Chaste, simple, to themselves alone severe,

Forgot I, that the fancy which had raised me Poor below luxury, rich beyond contempt,

Might wander to another fairer object. Environd with their heaven-led families,

You chose me, nor deserving, nor desiring, Should with their lives’ most saintly eloquence Your Queen and Partner :-having so honour'd me Preach Christ – Christ only:— while all reverend Good, your Grace, let no light unworthy motive, Learning

Nor my malicious enemies' false counsel,
In arch'd cathedral cloister, or the grove

Withdraw your favour from me. lest the stain,
That bosoms deep the calm and thoughtful college, Th’indelible stain of a disloyal heart,
Should heavenward roediate, and bring to earth Attaint your duteous wife and royal daughter.
The knowledge learnt amid the golden stars. Try me, good King, but with a lawful trial,

CRANMER.

Not with my foes my judges-try me openly; And Hell made rich with everlasting souls.-
So shall my innocence shine forth as day,

Here are but two: one guiltless, and one guilty.
Your nice and jealous honour be absolved,

On—and be fearless--on, my soul! Th'opprobrious voice of the world's slander silenced:

He sleeps; Or by the undoubted plainness of my guilt,

Poor wretch, thou 'lt sleep ere long more deep-he Your Grace escape all censure of rash harshness,

dreams. And God and man approve th' extremest rigour

MARK (in his sleep.)
Of vengeance on a lawless wife :—then freely
Your Grace may follow that your heart's affection,

Her voice—her voice-ye heard her lute-like voice,
Fix'd where I know, but where I may not name.

Who loosed these bonds, who led me forth from death But if my death, worse than my death, my shame,

"T was I, your servant, I

Where am [!-who
In your high councils is already doond,

And what art thou ?—The Father Angelo!
I make my prayer to God to pardon you,
To blot this most unprincely usage of me

Oh! sleep, sweet sleep, art thou a prophetess,
From your account, when thou and I shall meet

Or but a gracious and most kind deceiver! Before his judgment throne, where I shall stand,

Oh! palace-builder-oh! thou Queen of bridals,

That in the silent prison makest the bells
Judge howsoe'er the world, in saintly whiteness.
I've but one more request; on me alone,

Sound for the jocund marriage-oh! magician,

With realm of witchcrafi wide as thought-time, place
If it must fall, fall all thy wrath-Oh! touch not
The innocent lives of those poor gentlemen

And circumstance, combine, and shift, and change,
In prison for my sake. If e'er thy wife

Like spirits on thy sorcerous wand that wait, Found favour in thy sight—if e'er thine ear

And all things are that are not-night is day,
Found music in Anne Boleyn's name-deny not

Grief joy, death life, th' impossible becomes
This last, this dying prayer. No more I trouble thee. Breathing reality; thou dost take up
The Holy Trinity keep your good Grace

Th' unpillow'd beggar, and dost proudly seat him
In health, life, happiness, and holiness.

Upon a throne-dost bring the Queen of queens Written from my doleful prison in the Tower,

Down to the level of a boy like me. Your loyal and most faithful wife, Anne Boleyn."

Mark Smeaton, I am here to know thy purpose,

Thy calm deliberate purpose : yet 't is time God, that can make the marble heart like wax,

To disavow thy dangerous evidence-
Make this his instrument of grace!

Yet, but not long : I saw the Judges pass
QUEEN.

Across the court, and one that bare an axe
Amen.

Went first, as to denote they sate in judgment
Upon a capital crime.

ANGELO.

CRANMER.

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MARK.

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ANGELO.

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MARK.

A Prison in the Tower.

Then she must die
ANGELO.

If by mine oath she is found guilty, who

Shall intercept that bloody instrument?-
Down, impotent remorse! temptation, down!
My soul abjures thee! and thon, carnal pride, There has been stir and parleying to and fro
That wilt not use the means this world calls base Concerning a pre-contract, said to exist
For that great end, t' advance the faith of Christ! Between the Queen, when young, and the Lord Piercy
What if the span of some few mortal lives

And wherefore this, but the relenting King
Be somewhat shrunk, some eyes untimely closed Would be content to break the chain asunder
On this world's Sun, will not ten thousand souls That galls him.
Live through eternity's unfathom'd years,
And a whole nation walk in mortal light?

Yet to swear-before high Heaven"Tis but the wise relentlessness of Heaven.

All-seeing Heaven !-Heaven, that in thunder spake Doth the dread earthquake feel remorse, that makes The stern command, “Thou shalt not bear false witA populous city one vast tomb, where Guilt

ness!""
And Innocence lie side by side ? Does Pity
Pale the blue cheek of pestilence, that blasts 'T is well :-what is 't to thee if the fierce King
Whole nations? Doth the sweeping deluge pause, Add to his ruthless soul the crime of murder?
And hold suspended its vast weight of waters, And one unhousel'd heretic more bear down,
To give the righteous time to fly the ruin?

Her soul all leprous with its gangrene taint,
The best, the wisest, holiest Saints and Pontiffs To burn for endless ages ? I had brought
Have sent fierce war with undiscerning vengeance The deposition, that but wants thy signet
To waste the heretic's land; for though just Heaven And oath before some wilnesses that wait
Turn from the field of carnage—from the city l' the court without-but to flames with it,
Made desolate, far rather it beholds them,

And to the block with her—not worth the jeoparding Than the fierce tossings of the infernal pit,

The immortal spirit

ANGELO.

CRIER.

MARK.

MARK.

Earl Arundel, and certain other peers
Not worth !-if't were but death, Here present; ye are met in the Tower of London,
To go to sleep in the cold grave, and know

By special mandate from the King, t' arraign
That she walk'd harmless in the living world. Of certain dangerous and capital treasons
Oh! Sir, but Hell has some thrice darkest chamber, Against the peace and person of the King
Some outcast dwelling, where the perjured hear Anne, Queen of England.
The hissing and the execration of the damn'd.
ANGELO.

Come into the Court, Crime is not crime but in its motive thou

Anne, Queen of England. Art false but to be true-false to her fame,

QUEEN. True to her better interests. But I came not

Here. To argue. Yet when thou go'st hence, take heed

OFFICER. Thou pass not o'er the hill where Traitors die;

Anne, Queen of England Lest, trammeld in the press, thou 'rt forced to see, (Be seated, it beseems your Grace's station), From first to last, the hideous deed—the stroke, Look on this Court, these peers of England, met, The agony, the despair, the writhing hands,

By the King's high commission, to pass sentence The sever'd neck, the cry to Heaven, that Heaven Between thyself and the King's Grace-hast aught Shall turn away from, and

T" object ere thou 'rt arraign'd?

QUEEN.
Give me the paper;

I'd thought, my Lords, Let me not read it, lest its hideous falsehood

It had stood more with the King's justice, more Shake my saint resolution. There—'t is done! With the usage of the land, a poor weak woman ANGELO.

Had not been forced t’ abide your awful ordeal What, ho! within,-ye see this youth deliver

Alone and unadvised; that Counsel, learn'd This instrument as his own deed.

In forms of law, and versed by subtle practice

In forcing from the bribed or partial witnesses
WITNESSES.
We do.

Th'unwilling truth, had been assign'd me.-Well,

Be 't as it is—I have an advocate
ANGELO.
Now in and sleep again.

Gold cannot fee, nor circumstance appal :

An advocate, whose voiceless eloquence,
MARK.

If it should fail before your earthly court,
Sleep!-never more;

Shall in a higher gain me that acquittal
The perjured do not sleep; the slanderers, those
That bear false witness — yet Heaven knows, and

Mine enemies' malice may deny me here

Mine Innocence. Proceed.
Heaven

OFFICER,
Will pardon-and she too, like Heaven, will know,

Anne, Queen of England, Like Heaven will pardon! Sir, I cannot think Thou hast deceived me; if thou hast, the tortures

Thou stand'st arraign'd, that treasonously and foully

To the dishonour of his Highness' person Of all eternity will be too short

And slander of his issue, thou hast conspired T'avenge this wicked subornation!

With certain Traitors, now convict and sentencedANGELO.

George, Viscount Rochford, Henry Norreys, Knight, Peace!

Sir William Brereton, Francis Weston, Knights,

And one Mark Smeaton,Oh! pardon, Sir, my thoughts do swim so strangely;

QUEEN. Things all so monstrous and incredible

Pause, Sir; heard I rightly Have come to pass, there's nought that seems too My Brother's name, Lord Rochford's ? I beseech you, strange,

My Lords, what part bears he in this Indictment?
And nothing is but what could never be.
That thou, a man of such strict saintliness,

The same with all the rest.
Shouldst be so false, finds credit with me only
Becauwe it is impossible, and far

Great God of Thunder, Beyor is the reach and scope of our belief.

Refrain thy bolt!-my Lords, there are among ye

Have noble Sisters, if ye deem this possible,
Hall in the Tower.

I do consent ye deem it true. Go on, Sir.

OFFICER DUKE OF NORFOLK, DUKE OF SUFFOLK, MARQUIS And one Mark Smeaton. Exeter, and others as Judges. The Queen and

QUEEN. OFFICERS.

Would they make me smile NORFOLK

With iteration of that name-a meet
Read our commission.

And likely lover for King Henry's Queen!
OFFICER

NORFOLK
Thomas Duke of Norfolk, Read, now, the Depositions. Each and all,
The Duke of Suffolk, Marquis Exeter,

My Lords, ye have perused that dangerous paper

MARK.

OFFICER

QUEEN.

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