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Anne. Arrière, effroyable ministre de l'enfer! ce corps, de son vivant, fut soumis à ta puissance; mais tu n'as point juridiction sur son âme ; ainsi, éloigne-toi.
Gloster. Bel ange, par charité, pas tant de colèrc.
Anne. Démon impur, au nom de Dieu, va-t'en, et laisse nous en paix. Tu as fait de cette heureuse terre un enfer d'où s'élève, grace à toi, un concert de gémissements et de malédictions. Si tu te délectes au spectacle de tes forfaits, contemple cet échantillon de tes assassinats.Oh! voyez, messieurs, voyez ! les blessures glacées du cadavre de Henri se sont rouvertes, et son sang coule de nouveau!--Rougis, rougis, ignoble amas de difformités; c'est ta présence qui fait couler du sang de ces veines refroidies qui n'en contiennent plus. Ton forfait inhumain et dénaturé provoque cet épanchement contraire aux lois de la nature. O Dieu, qui formas ce sang, venge la mort de la victime! O terre, qui bois son sang, venge sa mort! Ciel, écrase de ta foudre le meurtrier! Terre, ouvre tes abîmes, et dévore-le vivant, de même que tu engloutis le sang de ce bon roi qu'a massacré son bras conduit par l'enfer.
RICHARD III.-Acte I. Scène II.
QUEEN KATHERINE-ANNE BULLEN.
"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?
Almost forgot my prayers to content him?
And am I thus rewarded ?"
THE historical plays of Shakspeare are of decp interest to the British reader,
as he did, near the times when many of the incidents described took place, we feel as if talking with one who, by his own experience, could lift the veil of the past, and thus open out to us details which general history leaves untouched.
QUEEN KATHERINE and ANNE BULLEN are the heroines of the play. The Queen is introduced as the loving, faithful, and obedient wife; she, however, becomes the victim of the jealousy and arrogance of WOLSEY, whose character, by contrast of its own darkness, made the worst sins of other men appear almost as virtues.
By the wiles of this man, HENRY's affection for KATHERINE wanes. Shakspeare introduces ANNE BULLEN, her waiting-maid, at a feast given by WOLSEY; at which HENRY enters, and is struck with the beauty of ANNE. The plot against the Queen is gradually developed, and at last she is put on her trial; where she nobly pleads her own cause, as a woman and wife, before the deceitful prelate and her conscience-stricken husband. A painfully interesting scene is afforded by the visit of WOLSEY and CAMPEIUS to KATHERINE in her apartment, where she rebukes them fearlessly, and with queen-like dignity, and pleads her past life in justification of her character.
ANNE BULLEN rises continually in favour with HENRY, who has created her Duchess of Pembroke. She is represented by Shakspeare as hating earthly dignities; but the divorce of KATHERINE paves the way for her to the crown. WOLSEY, however, opposes the marriage; and this, together with the enmity of the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk towards him, leads to his downfall; the circumstances of which are minutely depicted at the end of the third act.
The coronation of ANNE as Qucen, is represented in the fourth act. From its grandeur, we pass on to the sick chamber of poor KATHERINE, who, true to her principles, generously grieves for the fate and death of her bitter enemy, WOLSEY. She is interrupted by the entrance of a messenger from the King, who professes to "grieve much" for her weakness. She commends to HENRY her young daughter— "To love her for her mother's sake; that lov'd him Heaven knows how dearly."
And next beseeches his kind thoughts for the servants who had so faithfully waited on her. She ends the interview by entreating the messenger to deliver her last words to the King, feeling herself, as she does, to be near death
In all humility to his highness:
Out of this world: tell him, in death I bless'd him."
And thus the last scene closes over this faithful but unfortunate woman.
The fifth act introduces the birth and christening of Elizabeth, the daughter of ANNE BULLEN; and the blessing of the child, by CRANMER, concludes the play.