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There is none,
Adversity is the ordeal of character, and those who through calumny and injustice support their integrity, and rise superior to affliction, usually deserve the pity and esteem they excite.
Many very advantageous circumstances, and extraordinary successes combined in the life of Anne Boleyn, and yet it was to her misfortunes she owed her chief celebrity, and all her eulogiums. Nature gave her beauty and talents, and she was highly educated—she was the beloved of a powerful king, and by her marriage with him, exalted from the station of a private gentlewoman to the rank of queen of England. But in the manner of her marriage with Henry the VIII., there was injury inflicted on the divorced Catharine; and there was also in the treatment of the young and then innocent Mary, an illiberal and jealous policy on the part of Anne, which, had she always maintained her grandeur, would have prevented the world from doing justice to her many amiable qualities. But when the days of terror came, the resignation and cheerfulness with which she supported the reverse, caused her merits to shine so VOL. IV.NO. I.
conspicuously; and, contrasted with the punishment she suffered, her errors seemed so trifling, that the sympathy of all hearts was excited in her favor, and poets and painters have availed themselves of her touching history, till her name will always be remembered and her fate regretted.
But it is not as the beauty, queen, or victim, we introduce her portrait in our work. She has a more sacred claim to the regards of her own sex. She was a mother, and the closing scene of her life was beautified by a sublime triumph of maternal love which can never be too deeply admired. To her maternal love she sacrificed all her pride of innocence, and subdued all resentment against the unjust sentence by which her blood was to be shed; she even submitted to the humiliation of flattering the tyrant, her murderer; she remembered he was the father of her child, that the child must be left to his protection, and that, if he were exasperated, the revenge would probably fall on the defenceless infant.
Thousands have died in defence of what they esteemed to be the truth; and such martyrs exhibited great constancy and strength of mind; but there is little doubt the pride of maintaining their own opinions wonderfully stimulated their courage.
They gave their bodies to be burned, but supported their own principles and honor inviolable. Anne Boleyn exhibited a far more devoted sacrifice of self. She seemed willing, on the scaffold, to submit to the imputation of guilt, so she might shield her daughter from Henry's rage.
It would not have been possible thus to have subdued her desire to maintain her innocence before the world, (for that she was innocent there is no doubt,) had she not been strengthened by the faith, which trust in a merciful God inspires, and felt the consolation of confiding her cause to Him who “seeth in secret, and rewardeth openly.” Might some angel then have whispered to the poor mother, of the brilliant destiny awaiting her daughter Elizabeth, death would have seemed a triumph. But this she was not to enjoy. She must suffer and trust; she did both heroically, and meekly; and it is these traits in the conduct of Anne Boleyn which make the dignity and loveliness of her example and character.
Many a lesson of warning might be drawn from this sad story of disappointed ambition, but they are unnecessary. The dreams of queenly grandeur are not cherished in our republican