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An Ante-chamber in the Queen's Apartments.
Enter ANNE BULLEN, and an old Lady. ANNE. Not for that neither ;-Here's the pang
that pinches : His highness having liv'd 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 enthron’d, Still growing in a majesty and pomp,-the which To leave is 5 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. OLD L.
Hearts of most hard temper Melt and lament for her. ANNE.
0, God's will! much better, She ne'er had known pomp: though it be temporal, Yet, if that quarrel, fortune," do divorce
5 To leave is-] The latter word was added by Mr. Theobald. MALONE.
To give her the avaunt!] To send her away contemptuously; to pronounce against her a sentence of ejection.
JOHNSON. ? Yet, if that quarrel, fortune,] She calls Fortune a quarrel or arrow, from her striking so deep and suddenly. Quarrel was a large arrow so called. Thus Fairfax: twang'd the string, out flew the quarrel long."
WARBURTON, Such is Dr. Warburton's interpretation. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads :
That quarreller Fortune.
It from the bearer, 'tis a sufferance, panging
Alas, poor lady! She's a stranger now again.”
I think the poet may be easily supposed to use quarrel for quarreller, as murder for the murderer, the act for the agent.
JOHNSON, Dr. Johnson may be right. So, in Antony and Cleopatra :
but that your royalty
6. For Idleness itself.” Like Martial's—“ Non vitiosus homo es, Zoile, sed Vitium." We might, however, read:
Yet if that quarrel fortune to divorce
It from the bearer. i. e. if any quarrel happen or chance to divorce it from the bearer. To fortune is a verb used by Shakspeare in The Two Gentlemen of Verona :
I'll tell you as we pass along, “ That you will wonder what hath fortuned." Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. I. c. ii: “ It fortuned (high heaven did so ordaine)” &c.
STEEVENS. - panging As soul and body's severing.] So Bertram, in All's well that ends well : “ I grow to you, and our parting is a torturid body." STEEVENS. Again, in Antony and Cleopatra :
“ The soul and body rive not more at parting,
stranger now again.] _Again an alien ; not only no longer queen, but no longer an Englishwoman. Johnson.
It rather means, she is alienated from the King's affection, is a stranger to his bed; for she still retained the rights of an Englishwoman, and was princess dowager of Wales. So, in the second scene of the third Act:
Katharine no more
“ And widow to prince Arthur.” TOLLET. Dr. Johnson's interpretation appears to me to be the true one.
So much the more
By my troth, and maidenhead,
Beshrew me, I would, And venture maidenhead fort; 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. ANNE.
Nay, good troth, OLD L. Yes, troth, and troth,—You would not
be a queen?
I agree with Mr. Tollet. So, in King Lear : “ Dower'd with our curse, and stranger'd with our
oath,”i. e. the revocation of my love has reduced her to the condition of an unfriended stranger. STEEVENS.
our best having.] That is, our best possession. So, in Macbeth:
“ Of noble having and of royal hope." In Spanish, hazienda. JOHNSON.
-cheveril--] is kid-skin, soft leather. JOHNSON. So, in Histriomastix, 1610: “ The cheveril conscience of corrupted law."
ANNE. No, not for all the riches under heaven.
OLD L.'Tis strange; a three-pence bowed would 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 L. Then you are weakly made: Pluck off a
little ;3 I would not be a young count in your way, For more than blushing comes to: if your
How you do talk !
OLD L. In faith, for little England
Pluck off a little ; &c.] What must she pluck off? I think we may better read :
Pluck up a little.
JOHNSON, The old lady first questions Anne Bullen about being a queen, which she declares her aversion to; she then proposes the title of a duchess, and asks her if she thinks herself equal to the task of sustaining it; but as she still declines the offer of greatness,
Pluck off a little, says she; i. e. let us still further divest preferment of its glare, let us descend yet lower, and more upon a level with your own quality; and then adds: I would not be a young
your way, which is an inferior degree of honour to any before enumerated.
STEEVENS. * In faith, for little England
You'd venture an emballing: I myself
No more to the crown but that. Lo, who comes
properly opposed to all the world; but what has Carnarvonshire to do here? Does it refer to the birth of Edward II. at Carnarvon? or may not this be the allusion? By little England is meant, perhaps, that territory in Pembrokeshire, where the Flemings settled in Henry Ist's time, who speaking a language very different from the Welsh, and bearing some affinity to the English, this fertile spot was called by the Britons, as we are told by Camden, Little England beyond Wales; and, as it is a very fruitful country, may be justly opposed to the mountainous and barren county of Carnarvon. WHALLEY.
So, in A short Relation of a long Journey &c. by John Taylor the Water Poet: “Concerning Pembrookskire, the people do speak English in it almost generally, and therefore they call it Little England beyond Wales, it being the farthest south and west county in the whole principality." STEEVENS.
You'd venture an emballing:] You would venture to be distinguished by the ball, the ensign of royalty. JOHNSON.
Dr. Johnson's explanation cannot be right, because a queenconsort, such as Anne Bullen was, is not distinguished by the ball, the ensign of royalty, nor has the poet expressed that she was so distinguished. TOLLET.
Mr. Tollet's objection to Johnson's explanation is an hypercriticism. Shakspeare did not probably consider so curiously his distinction between a queen consort and a queen regent.
M. Mason. Might we read
You'd venture an empalling; i. e. being invested with the pall or robes of state? The word occurs in the old tragedy of King Edward III. 1596:
“ As with this armour I impall thy breast—," And, in Macbeth, the verb to pall'is used in the sense of enrobe: “ And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell."
MALONE. The word recommended by Mr.Malone occurs also in Chapman's version of the eighth Book of Homer's Odyssey:
such a radiance as doth roạnd empall “ Crown's Cytherea,-" STEEVENS. Might .we not read an embalming ? A queen consort is VOL. XV.