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No. 397. Eighth, and Mother to Queen Elizabeth, which is still
Shakespear himself could not have made her talk in a Strain so suitable to her Condition and Character. One sees in it the Expostulations of a slighted Lover, the Resentments of an injured Woman, and the Sorrows of an imprisoned Queen, I need not acquaint my Reader that this Princess was then under Prosecution for Disloyalty to the King's Bed, and that she was afterwards publickly beheaded upon the same Account, though this Prosecution was believed by many to pro ceed, as she herself intimates, rather from the King's Love to Jane Seymour, than from any actual Crime in Ann of Bologne,
'Queen Ann Boleyn's last Letter to King Henry,
Your Grace's Displeasure, and my Imprison Otho C. 10, ment, are things so strange unto me, as what to write, or what to excuse, I am altogether ignorant. Whereas you send unto me (willing me to confess a Truth, and so obtain your Favour) by such an one, whom you know to be mine ancient professed Enemy, I no sooner receiv'd this Message by him, than I rightly conceived your Meaning; and if, as you say, confessing a Truth indeed may procure my Safety, I shall with all Willingness and Duty perform your Command,
But let not your Grace ever imagine, that your poor Wife will ever be brought to acknowledge a Fault, where not so much as a Thought thereof preceded, And to speak a Truth, never Prince had Wife more Loyal in all Duty, and in all true Affection, than you have ever found in Anne Boleyn; with which Name and Place I could willingly have contented my self, if God and your Grace's Pleasure had been so pleased. Neither did I at any time so far forget my self in my Exaltation, or received Queenship, but that I always looked for such an Alteration as now I find; for the Ground of my Preferment being on no surer Foundation than your Grace's Fancy, the least Alteration I knew was fit and sufficient
to draw that Fancy to some other Subject. You have No. 397, chosen me, from a low Estate, to be your Queen and Thursday, Companion, far beyond my Desert or Desire. If then June 5, you found me worthy of such Honour, good your Grace let not any light Fancy, or bad Counsel of mine Enemies, withdraw your Princely Favour from me; neither let that Stain, that unworthy Stain, of a Disloyal Heart towards your good Grace, ever cast so foul a Blot on your most Dutiful Wife, and the Infant-Princess your Daughter, Try me, good King, but let me have a lawful Tryal, and let not my sworn Enemies sit as my Accusers and Judges; Yea let me receive an open Tryal, for my Truth shall fear no open Shame; then shall you see either mine Innocency cleared, your Suspicion and Con science satisfied, the Ignominy and Slander of the World stopped, or my Guilt openly declared. So that whatsoever God or you may determine of me, your Grace may be freed from an open Censure, and mine Offence being so lawfully proved, your Grace is at Liberty, both before God and Man, not only to execute worthy Punishment on me as an unlawful Wife, but to follow your Affection, already settled on that Party, for whose sake I am now as I am, whose Name I could some good while since have pointed unto, your Grace being not ignorant of my Suspicion therein.
But if you have already determined of me, and that not only my Death, but an Infamous Slander must bring you the enjoying of your desired Happiness; then I desire of God, that he will pardon your great Sin therein, and likewise mine Enemies, the Instruments thereof; and that he will not call you to a strict Account for your unprincely and cruel Usage of me, at his general Judg ment Seat, where both you and myself must shortly appear, and in whose Judgment I doubt not (whatsoever the World may think of me) mine Innocence shall be openly known, and sufficiently cleared.
My last and only Request shall be, that my self may only bear the Burthen of your Grace's Displeasure, and that it may not touch the innocent Souls of those poor Gentlemen, who (as I understand) are likewise in strait Imprisonment for my sake. If ever I have found Favour
No. 397. in your Sight, if ever the Name of Ann Boleyn hath Thursday, been pleasing in your Ears, then let me obtain this June 5, Request, and I will so leave to trouble your Grace any further, with mine earnest Prayers to the Trinity to have your Grace in his good Keeping, and to direct you in all your Actions, From my doleful Prison in the Tower, this sixth of May;
Your most Loyal
and ever Faithful Wife,
Friday, June 6,
Insanire paret certa ratione modoque,-Hor,
YNTHIO and Flavia are Persons of Distinction in this Town, who have been Lovers these ten Months last past, and writ to each other for Gallantry sake, under those feigned Names; Mr. Such a one and Mrs. Such a one not being capable of raising the Soul out of the ordinary Tracts and Passages of Life, up to that Elevation which makes the Life of the Enamoured so much superior to that of the rest of the World. But ever since the beauteous Cecília has made such a Figure as she now does in the Circle of charming Women, Cynthio has been secretly one of her Adorers, Laetitia has been the finest Woman in Town these three Months, and so long Cynthio has acted the Part of a Lover very aukwardly in the Presence of Flavia. Flavia has been too blind towards him, and has too sincere an Heart of her own to observe a thousand things which would have discovered this Change of Mind to any one less engaged than she was. Cynthio was musing Yesterday in the Piazza in Covent Garden, and was saying to him self that he was a very ill Man to go on in visiting and professing Love to Flavia, when his Heart was enthralled to another. It is an Infirmity that I am not constant to Flavia; but it would be still a greater Crime, since I cannot continue to love her, to profess that I do. To marry a Woman with the Coldness that usually indeed
comes on after Marriage, is ruining ones self with ones No. 398, Eyes open; besides it is really doing her an Injury, This Friday, last Consideration, forsooth, of injuring her in persisting, June 6, made him resolve to break off upon the first favourable Opportunity of making her angry, When he was in this Thought, he saw Robin the Porter, who waits at Will's Coffee-house, passing by, Robin, you must know, is the best Man in Town for carrying a Billet; the Fellow has a thin Body, swift Step, demure Looks, sufficient Sense, and knows the Town. This Man carry'd Cynthio's first Letter to Flavia, and by frequent Errands ever since, is well known to her. The Fellow covers his Knowledge of the Nature of his Messages with the most exquisite low Humour imaginable: The first he obliged Flavia to take, was by complaining to her that he had a Wife and three Children, and if she did not take that Letter, which, he was sure, there was no Harm in, but rather Love, his Family must go supperless to Bed, for the Gentleman would pay him according as he did his Business. Robin therefore Cynthio now thought fit to make use of, and gave him Orders to wait before Flavia's Door, and if she called him to her, and asked whether it was Cynthio who passed by, he should at first be_loth to own it was, but upon Importunity confess it. There needed not much
Search into that Part of the Town to find a well-dressed Hussey fit for the Purpose Cynthio designed her. As soon as he believed Robin was posted, he drove by Flavia's Lodgings in an Hackney-Coach and a Woman in it. Robin was at the Door talking with Flavia's Maid, and Cynthio_pull'd up the Glass as surprized, and hid his Associate, The Report of this Circumstance soon flew up Stairs, and Robin could not deny but the Gentleman favoured his Master; yet if it was he, he was sure the Lady was but his Cousin whom he had seen ask for him; adding that he believed she was a poor Relation, because they made her wait one Morning till he was awake. Flavia immediately writ the following Epistle, which Robin brought to Will's.
No. 398, Friday, June 6, 1712.
June 4, 1712.
It is in vain to deny it, basest, falsest of Mankind; my maid, as well as the Bearer, saw you,
The injured Flavia.'
After Cynthio had read the Letter, he asked Robin how she looked, and what she said at the Delivery of it. Robin said she spoke short to him, and called him back again, and had nothing to say to him, and bid him and all the Men in the World go out of her Sight; but the Maid followed, and bid him bring an Answer, Cynthio returned as follows.
June 4, Three Afternoon, 1712. That your Maid and the Bearer has seen me very often is very certain; but I desire to know, being engaged at Picket, what your Letter means by 'tis in vain to deny it. I shall stay here all the Evening,
Your amazed Cynthio' As soon as Robin arrived with this, Flavia answered; 'Dear Cynthio,
I have walked a Turn or two in my Anti-chamber since I writ to you, and have recovered my self from an impertinent Fit which you ought to forgive me; and de sire you would come to me immediately to laugh off a Jealousie that you and a Creature of the Town went by in a Hackney-Coach an Hour ago,
I am your most humble Servant,
I will not open the Letter which my Cynthio writ, upon the Misapprehension you must have been under when you writ for want of hearing the whole Circumstance,' Robin came back in an Instant, and Cynthio answered; Half an Hour, six Minutes after Three,
'Madam, It is certain I went by your Lodging with a Gentle woman to whom I have the Honour to be known; she is
June 4, Will's Coffee House.