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You have too much, good lady: but to know
Most honour'd madam,
To betray me. [Aside. My lords, I thank you both for your good wills, Ye speak like honest men, (pray God, ye prove so !) But how to make you suddenly an answer, In such a point of weight, so near mine honour (More near my life, I fear), with my weak wit, And to such men of gravity and learning, In truth, I know not. I was set at work Among my maids; full little, God knows, looking Either for such men, or such business. For her sake that I have been 8 (for I feel The last fit of my greatness), good your graces, Let me have time, and counsel, for my cause; Alas! I am a woman, friendless, hopeless. Wol. Madam, you wrong the king's love with
these fears; Your hopes and friends are infinite. Q. Kath.
In England, But little for my profit: Can you think, lords, That any Englishman dare give me counsel? Or be a known friend, 'gainst his highness' pleasure (Though he be grown so desperate to be honest),
8 For the sake of that royalty which I have beretofore pos
And live a subject ? Nay, forsooth, my friends,
I would, your grace Would leave your griefs, and take my counsel
. Q. Kath.
He tells you rightly.
ruin : Is this
Christian counsel ? out upon ye!
mistakes us. Q. Kath. The more shame for ye 10; holy men I
my miseries, I have more charity: But say,
I warn'd ye;
9 Weigh out for out-weigh. In Macbeth we have overcome for
10 If I mistake you, it is by your fault, not mine; for I thought you good.
Take heed, for heaven's sake, take heed, lest at once The burden of my sorrows fall upon ye.
Wol. Madam, this is a mere distraction; You turn the good we offer into envy.
Q. Kath. Ye turn me into nothing: Woe upon ye, And all such false professors! Would ye have me (If you have any justice, any pity; If ye be any thing but churchmen's habits) Put my
sick cause into his hands that hates me? Alas! he has banish'd me his bed already; His love too long ago: I am old, my
lords, And all the fellowship I hold now with him Is only my obedience. What can happen To me, above this wretchedness? all your
studies Make me a curse like this. Cam.
Your fears are worse. Q. Kath. Have I liv'd thus long-(let me speak
myself, Since virtue finds no friends),-a wife, a true one? A woman (I dare say, without vain-glory), Never yet branded with suspicion? Have I with all my full affections Still met the king? lov'd him next heaven? obey'd
him? Been, out of fondness, superstitious to him 11? Almost forgot my prayers to content him? And am I thus rewarded ? 'tis not well, lords. Bring me a constant woman to her husband, One that ne'er dream'd a joy beyond his pleasure; And to that woman, when she has done most, Yet will I add an honour,-a great patience. Wol. Madam, you wander from the good we
aim at. Q. Kath. My lord, I dare not make myself so guilty,
11 Served him with superstitious attention:
To give up willingly that noble title
'Pray, hear me. Q. Kath. 'Would I had never trod this English
earth, Or felt the flatteries that grow upon
it! Ye have angels' faces 12, but heaven knows your
hearts. What will become of me now, wretched lady? I am the most unhappy woman living. Alas! poor wenches, where are now your fortunes?
[To her Women. Shipwreck'd upon a kingdom, where no pity, No friends, no hope; no kindred weep for me, Almost, no grave allow'd me:-Like the lily, That once was mistress of the field 13, and flourishid, I'll hang my head, and perish. Wol.
If your grace Could but be brought to know, our ends are honest, You'd feel more comfort: why should we, good lady, Upon what cause, wrong you? alas ! our places, The way of our profession is against it; We are to cure such sorrows, not to sow them. For goodness' sake, consider what you do; How you may hurt yourself, ay, utterly Grow from the king's acquaintance, by this carriage. The hearts of princes kiss obedience, So much they love it; but to stubborn spirits,
12 This is an allusion to the old jingle of Angli and Angeli. Thus Nashe in his Anatomy of Absurdity, 1589 :— For my part I meane to suspend my sentence, and let an author of late memorie be my speaker; who affirmeth that they carry angels in their faces, and devils in their devices.' 13 The lily, lady of the flow'ring field.'
Spenser, F. Q. b. ii. c. vi. st. 16.
They swell, and grow as terrible as storms
vants. Cam. Madam, you'll find it so. You wrong your
virtues With these weak women's fears. A noble spirit, As yours was put into you, ever casts Such doubts, as false coin, from it. The king loves
you; Beware, you
lose it not: For us, if you please To trust us in your business, we are ready To use our utmost studies in
service. Q. Kath. Do what ye will, my lords : And, pray,
forgive me, If I have us'd 15 myself unmannerly; You know, I am a woman, lacking wit To make a seemly answer to such persons. Pray, do my service to his majesty: He has my heart yet; and shall have my prayers, While I shall have my life. Come, reverend fathers, Bestow your counsels on me: she now. begs, That little thought, when she set footing here, : She should have bought her dignities so dear. :
14 It was one of the charges brought against Lord Essex, in the year before this play was written, by his ungrateful kiosman Sir Francis Bacon, when that nobleman, to the disgrace of humanity, was obliged by a junto of his enemies to kneel at the end of the council table for several hours, that in a letter written during his retirement in 1598 to the lord keeper, he had said, " There is no tempest to the passionate indignation of a prince.?