Anna Bolena Libretto
English Translation

Anna Bolena
Gaetano Donizetti
Act 1
Scene 1
A room in Windsor castle in the apartments of the Queen. The place is lit up.
Numerous people come and go on every side: some walk and talk together: some remain seated etc.

CHORUS I OF KNIGHTS:
(in low voices)

Is the King coming?

CHORUS II OF KNIGHTS:
Nothing but silence.
He hasn’t come yet.

CHORUS I OF KNIGHTS:
And she?

CHORUS II OF KNIGHTS:
Her heart groans but she covers it up.

CHORUS I OF KNIGHTS:
Her star is setting now.

ALL:
Henry’s fickle heart
burns with another love.

CHORUS I OF KNIGHTS:
Everyone is talking about it.

CHORUS II OF KNIGHTS:
The dark
looks of the Sovereign…

CHORUS I OF KNIGHTS:
His short manner of speech…

CHORUS II OF KNIGHTS:
The way he suddenly
keeps his distance from her…

ALL:
A sudden calming
of his jealous mood.

TOGETHER:
Oh, how swiftly the lightening
descends on her head!
How justice avenges
the banished Aragon!
Perhaps, poor woman,
there is stored up for her
greater shame and pain…

Scene 2
Giovanna Seymour and above

JANE:
She has asked for me
more eagerly than usually.
She…why? what a fearful thing!
What a doubt has arisen within me!
Before my victim
my heart loses all courage.
Either render me deaf to remorse
or extinguish yourself in me, Love.

Scene 3
Anna appears from the back followed by her ladies, pages and servants. All make way for her and respectfully form a circle around her. Smeton is in the cortege. Silence.

ANNA:
So silent and sad
have I never seen the assembly…
Even you,
once so happy, cannot summon

(to Seymour)

a smile to your lips.

JANE:
And who could show themselves
to be serene
when they see their Queen afflicted

ANNA:
Afflicted I truly am…
Nor do I know why…
an unknown, uneasy restlessness
has stolen my peace for a few days.

SMEATON:
(Poor woman!)

JANE:
(I fear every word of hers)

ANNA:
Smeton, where is he?

SMEATON:
My Queen!

ANNA:
Come close to me.
Do you now wish for a short time
to cheer my court with your melodies
until the king has arrived?

JANE:
(My heart, you can breathe again.)

ANNA:
Ladies, take your places.

SMEATON:
(Oh! love, inspire me.)

(All sit. The courtiers arrange themselves here and there in groups. A harp is given to Smeton. He plays for a while then sings the following ballad.)

Ah! Do not desire to constrain
your face to feigned joy:
your sorrow is as lovely
as your smile.
Thus is the dawn still beautiful
when girded with clouds,
the melancholy moon
is lovely in its pallor.

(Anna becomes more thoughtful.
Smeton continues in a more animated voice)

Who beholds you thus pensive and silent, would believe you
to be an innocent maiden who sighs for her first love:
and forgetting the crown which covers your head, will sigh
with you, and he would feel that he was that first love.

ANNA:
(rises, moved)

Cease…Alas! Cease…

SMEATON:
My Queen! Oh heavens!

CHORUS:
(She is troubled, oppressed.)

ANNA:
(How that innocent boy,
how he has shaken my heart!
The ashes of my first love
are still warm!
Ah! if my heart was not open
to another attachment,
I would not be so unhappy
in this vain splendour of mine.)

(to the onlookers)

But little remains of the night now
I believe.

CHORUS:
Dawn is close to breaking…

ANNA:
Sirs, I give you your leave.
It is vain to wait in hope any more
that the King will come now.
Let us go, Seymour.

(leans towards her)

JANE:
What troubles you?

ANNA:
Could you but read it within me!
To no gaze has it been granted
to penetrate this sad heart;
An incomprehensible
cruel fate condemns me
to sigh in sorrow.
Ah! if ever the splendour
of the royal throne
seduces you,
remember my pain
don’t let yourself be dazzled.

JANE:
(I dare not raise my eyes to her,
nor can I make bold to speak)

CHORUS:
(A few moments of rest
might give her some sleep.)

(Anna leaves, accompanied by Seymour and by the maids. The company depart gradually. The stage empties and there remains no light but one large lamp stand which lights the room.)

Scene 4
Giovanna returns from the departments of the Queen. She is disturbed.

JANE:
Oh! what words were hers!
My heart condemned me!
Betrayed perhaps,
will I be discovered?
Did she read the misdeed
on my countenance? Ah, no, she clasped me
tenderly to her bosom;
she remains ignorant that
she has clasped a serpent.
Would that I could at least
have withdrawn
my feet from this abyss;
and have prevented the time
from happening; Ah! my fate is sealed,
sealed in Heaven as the final day.

(there is a knocking at the door, she goes to open it)

Behold…behold the King…

Scene 5
Enrico and above.

HENRY:
Are you trembling?

JANE:
Yes, I'm trembling.

HENRY:
What is she doing?

JANE:
She is resting.

HENRY:
I'm not.

JANE:
Do you think that I am at rest?
Let this be our last colloquy…
the last, o Sire:
I implore you…

HENRY:
And that it will be.
We must see each other
in plain daylight
Heaven and Earth must know
that I love you.

JANE:
Never, never…
I would want to hide my shame
beneath the earth.

HENRY:
It is glory, the love of Henry
And thus it was for Anna
in the eyes of all of England.

JANE:
After marriage it was…
Only after marriage.

HENRY:
And does Seymour love me
in this guise?

JANE:
And does the King also love me thus?

HENRY:
Thankless girl, and what do you desire?

JANE:
Love and honour.

HENRY:
Honour! Yes: you will have it and such
that in the world there is no equal;
my splendour will pour out over you completely
only on you.
Seymour will have no rival,
as the sun has no rival.

JANE:
My honour is at the feet of the alter:
elsewhere shame is put by for me:
and that altar is forbidden to me,
Heaven knows that, the King knows it.
Ah! If it is true
that I am dear to the King
then my honour too will be dear.

HENRY:
(resentfully)

Yes…I understand you.

JANE:
Oh Heavens! And are you so full
of disdain?

HENRY:
It is disdain and pain.

JANE:
Sire!

HENRY:
Do you only love the King?

JANE:
I?...

HENRY:
Does the throne alone concern you?
Anna too offered me love,
longing for the English throne,
she too coveted the crown
of the lofty lady of Aragon…
She had it at last,
but she no sooner had it,
than it tottered on her head,
to her cost, to her grief
my heart was tempted by another lady.

JANE:
Ah! not I, I did not offer to you
this heart to cause wrongful offense…
My King took it from me,
let my King give it back to me.
More unhappy than Bolena
I will cry more.
I will have the pain of repudiation,
without having offended a husband.

(Jane goes off weeping)

HENRY:
You are leaving me?

JANE:
I must.

HENRY:
Stop.

JANE:
I cannot.

HENRY:
Stop: I wish it.
The altar is already prepared for you:
you will have a husband
and sceptre and a throne.

JANE:
Heavens! And Anna?

HENRY:
Heavens! And Anna?

JANE:
Ah! Sire

HENRY:
The day has arrived for her punishment.

JANE:
Ah! For what crime?

HENRY:
The blackest.
She gave me a heart that was not hers…
she deceived me
before she was my wife;
as my wife she deceives me still.

JANE:
And your bond to her?

HENRY:
The King unties it.

JANE:
By what means?

HENRY:
I alone know how.

JANE:
Ah! what they might be
I dare not seek to know…
The oppressed heart doesn't permit it.
but let me hope
that it might not be by cruelty.
May a royal husband
not cost me further remorse
I beg of you.

HENRY:
Reassure your doubtful heart,
let your King set your mind at rest…
that he may see you
happier from now on
with the love that made you his.
Your peace, your quiet,
I want it to be complete,
and thus it will be.

(Henry leaves by the secret door. Jane enters the apartments.)

Scene 6
A park in Windsor castle. It is day. Percy and Rochefort from different directions.

ROCHEFORT:
(on meeting)

Who do I see?…In England

(they embrace)

You, my Percy!

PERCY:
I was recalled here, friend
by an order from Henry…
and my decision is
to present myself to him
on his passage to the hunt.
After such a long exile,
breathing the ancient airs
and the native skies
are sweet to every heart
but bitter to mine.

ROCHEFORT:
Dear Percy, sorrow
has not so changed you
that I was not quick
to recognise you.

PERCY:
My sorrow is not one
that is matched by my face:
everything is gathered
deep in my heart.
I dare not, my friend,
enquire about the fate of your sister…

ROCHEFORT:
She is Queen. This is all her joy.

PERCY:
And does rumour speak true?
That she is unhappy?
That the King has changed?

ROCHEFORT:
Does happiness ever last?

PERCY:
Well said…let him live
without hope, as I do.

ROCHEFORT:
Lower your voice.

PERCY:
What should I fear?
From that day in which I lost her
I went in desperation, into exile,
from that day when I crossed the sea,
my death began
Every ray of light was changed for me
I separated myself from the living,
every land on which I came to rest
seemed a tomb to me.

ROCHEFORT:
And you’ve come
to make your condition worse
close to her?

PERCY:
Without mind, without heart,
blindly I follow my destiny.
It's just that sometimes,
in my fiercest pain
the certainty smiles into my thoughts
that fortune
will vindicate my sufferings.

(the sound of the hunt is heard)

ROCHEFORT:
The hunt is assembling…
Be quiet: someone could hear you.

Scene 7
Troops of huntsmen enter from every side: all is movement at the back of the stage, pages, stable hands, men armed with pikes, etc

CHORUS:
Look out! the pages, the stable hands
are running around…
the greyhounds are ready
saddle the chargers…
more eagerly than usual
the King rides out today.

PERCY:
And Anna also!…

ROCHEFORT:
Calm down.
Perhaps she is not with him

PERCY:
Ah! thus in those smiling days
of my first happy love
I felt my heart beat
when I had to see her.
Merciful Heaven, give me back
just one of those
sweet and lovely moments;
then take my life from me again
that I might die in peace.

CHORUS:
The King is approaching: line up...
Give honour to the King.

Scene 8
All those present array themselves in two lines. Rochefort takes Percy to one side with him. Enter Enrico and passes in the middle of the rows. Meanwhile, amongst them, Anna is revealed with her ladies. Little by little, Percy places himself so that Henry can see him.
Hervey and the guards.

HENRY:
Awake so early, and taken today
from your rest.

ANNA:
In me, the desire to see you
was stronger than the desire to rest.
Several days have now passed
without my enjoying
the appearance of my lord.

HENRY:
Many serious cares weigh on my heart. Now my attention
is completely on you: my vigilant gaze does not turn from you
for one single moment.
You here, Percy?

ANNA:
(Heavens! What do I see!…Riccardo!)

HENRY:
Come closer.

PERCY:
(I'm afraid)

HENRY:
You were truly prompt…

PERCY:
Each moment, o Sire
that I was delayed in revealing
my thankful heart, might seem an error to others'
to me it seemed a crime.
The hand which when I was banished
gave me back my homeland and old home,
I kiss in devotion…

HENRY:
Not the hand of Henry.
Assurance was given
of your innocence a long time ago
by one who being nourished and brought up with you
knew the purity of your spirit.
It was Anna, in fact…

PERCY:
Anna!

ANNA:
(Do not betray me, O my heart!)

PERCY:
You, the Queen!…Then it was really true
that you took thought of me!

ANNA:
Innocent…the whole kingdom believes you to be and defends you…

HENRY:
And innocent I believed you to be,
since thus you seemed to her…
All the kingdom, believe me,
was surety for you in vain.

PERCY:
Ah, Queen?

(He kneels at her feet and kisses her hand)

ANNA:
Oh God! Get up.

ROCHEFORT:
(He losing control!)

HENRY:
(with the greatest indifference)

Hervey.

HERVEY:
Sire.

(Percy approaches Rochefort. Enrico withdraws in the opposite direction with Hervey. Ann in the middle, forces herself to hide her perturbation.)

ANNA:
(I felt his tear flow
on my hand…
and an even hotter flame
spreads though my heart.)

PERCY:
(to Rochefort)

(Ah! She thought of me far away:
she couldn’t bear my wandering
my heart forgets every anguish
I am born again, I hope once more)

ROCHEFORT:
(to Percy)

(Ah! What are you doing? Control yourself, madman.
Every eye is turned on you,
you’ve turned pale, on your face is written
the disorder of your heart.)

HENRY:
To you awaits the task
of ensuring that the great design is not in vain;
be the constant examiner
of every step, of every word.

HERVEY:
(to Henry)

(Not in vain does my Sovereign
entrust in me his design;
I will be, I pledge my oath,
the executor of his orders.)

CHORUS:
(Whatever is happening? Why is the King so mild
to humane today, so happy of countenance?
His smile is deceptive,
precursor of fury.)

HENRY:
(to Percy with the greatest kindness)

Now so that you may be delivered back to the shores
of your homeland and fully absolved,
I very much hope that you will remain
in my court amongst my most faithful men.

PERCY:
Gloomy, O Sire, by nature,
destined to an obscure life…
I would ill know how…

HENRY:
(interrupting him)

No, no, I desire it.
Rochefort, I entrust him to you.
Let us now leave for the hunt…

(with indifference)

Anna, farewell.

ANNA:
(curtseying)

I am beside myself with sorrow.

(The horns give the signal of the hunt. All move having formed into various groups.)

ALL:
May this day which dawned
with such happy and lucky auspices,
shine, crowned
with even happier successes.

PERCY and ANNA:
(Ah! may there not be trouble for me
by the time that the day ends.
May a friendly fate guide another prey
into my nets.)

(Anna leaves with her ladies, Henry with all the followers of the hunt.
Rochefort takes Percy with him in another direction.)

Scene 9
A room in the castle which leads into the rooms of Anna

SMEATON:
(alone)

All is deserted…Intent on their duties
the maids are in other rooms…
and if any should see me here she knows
that in these innermost rooms,
once Anna invited me
to sing to her privately.
This which I took

(he reveals a portrait in his breast)

her beloved image, I must return
before my boldness is discovered,
one more kiss, a kiss,
beloved countenance…Farewell beauty
which rested on my heart,
and which seemed to beat with my heart
Ah! it seems as if by magic
it had responded to your sufferings:
every tear drop of mine
was aroused by one of your sighs.
To such a sight, a bold heart
full of hope and desire
unveiled its hungry ardour
which I dare not reveal any other way.

(goes to re-enter the apartments)

I hear a sound…someone
is approaching this room…I delayed too long.

(he hides behind a curtain)

Scene 10
Anna and Rochefort.

ANNA:
Watch out, watch out
you are going too far…
you persist too much, O brother….

ROCHEFORT:
Let it please you to listen to him
for a single moment: believe it, you
cannot run into any danger
though he does, and grave danger,
your strictness combined with sorrow
overcomes all reason in him.

ANNA:
Stop it! To think that I was the cause of his return!
Well…lead him to me, and keep
careful watch that no one gets to us
who isn't faithful to me.

ROCHEFORT:
Rely on me.

(exits)

Scene 11
Anna and Smeton, hidden.

SMEATON:
(appearing, cautiously)

(Can’t I come out? What’s to be done!)

ANNA:
I was weak…I should have firmly denied him...
Never to see him… Alas! in vain
does reason advise me:
the craven heart does not listen to its voice.

Scene 12
Percy and Anna.

ANNA:
There he is! I’m trembling! I’m cold!

PERCY:
Anna!…

ANNA:
Riccardo! Let our words be brief,
cautious, low. Have you come perhaps
to reproach me with my broken pledge? The penalty, you see,
I have paid the full penalty for it: ambitious, I wanted a crown,
and a crown I received, of thorns.

PERCY:
I see you unhappy, and my anger has an end;
you see my brow furrowed with sorrow:
I pardon you for it:
I feel that close to you,
I could forget the anguish of the past
as the shipwrecked pilot
forgets the billows
when he reaches the shore.
Every cruel tempest calms itself near you
and from you comes my light.

ANNA:
Wretch, what hope now seduces you?
Don’t you know that I am a wife, that I am the Queen?

PERCY:
Ah! do not say it, I must not,
I do not want to know.
To me you are Anna, only Anna,
and am I not your same Riccardo
who loved you for so long,
who first taught you to love?…
And does not the King hate you?

ANNA:
He hates me, it is true.

PERCY:
If he hates you, I still love you
as I first loved you in your lowly state
Forget with me your ungrateful husband’s
contempt and sternness

ANNA:
Ah! you do not know that my bonds
are as sacred as they are dreadful,
that beside me on the throne
are seated suspicion and terror.
Ah! never again, if it is true that you love me,
speak with me of love.

PERCY:
Ah! Cruel woman.

ANNA:
Madman.
Flee, I beg you to.

PERCY:
No, never…

ANNA:
Fate places between us
an invincible barrier.

PERCY:
I scorn it.

ANNA:
Let the new dawn
not find you in England.

PERCY:
Ah! Let it find me a corpse under the ground
and yet with you.

ANNA:
Flee.

PERCY:
No.

ANNA:
Riccardo! Ah!
From pity for my fear,
for the horror in which you see me
give way to my please, to my tears give way;
earth and sea divide us.
Seek elsewhere a contentment for your heart
which isn’t a bitter pleasure.

PERCY:
At your feet, pierced and dead
I will fall if you ask for it
but grant only that I remain and sigh
Near to you , suffering and pain
are contentment to me.

ANNA:
(resolved)

Leave, I wish it;
another could hear you within these walls.

PERCY:
I will leave, but first tell me,
will I see you? Promise…swear.

ANNA:
No: never again.

PERCY:
Never again! Let this
be my reply to your oath.

(unsheathes his sword to stab himself)

ANNA:
(letting out a cry)

Ah! What are you doing! Pitiless man.

Scene 13
Smeton and above.

SMEATON:
Stop!

ANNA:
Righteous Heavens!

PERCY:
Don’t come any closer.

(They want to throw themselves at each other.)

ANNA:
Alas! Stop…I am lost.
Someone is coming…I can bear no more.

(she falls onto a seat)

Scene 14
Rochefort runs in, terrified.

ROCHEFORT:
Ah! sister…

SMEATON:
She has fainted.

ROCHEFORT:
The King is coming.

PERCY and ROCHEFORT:
The King!

Scene 15
Enter Enrico and Hervey.

HENRY:
What do I see?
Hands bearing weapons within these portals!
Drawn swords in my palace!
Ho! Guards!

Scene 16
At the voice of the King, courtiers, ladies, pages and soldiers come running. Later Giovanna Seymour.

PERCY:
Contrary fate!!

CHORUS:
Whatever is happening?

SMEATON and ROCHEFORT:
What to say? What to do?

(a short silence)

HENRY:
Everyone is silent and everyone trembles!
What misdeed is taking place here?
I read in your countenance
that my shame is complete:
the whole kingdom is witness
that she has betrayed the King.

SMEATON:
Sire…Ah! Sire…It isn’t true.
I swear it at your feet.

HENRY:
Are you so brazen. So expert already
at betrayal, O youth?

SMEATON:
Kill me if I’m lying;
bared and unarmed
I offer you my breast.

(Anna’s portrait falls out)

HENRY:
What ornament is this?

SMEATON:
Oh heavens!

HENRY:
What I see
my own eyes can scarcely believe.
Behold the true accuser
of his bold betrayal

PERCY and ANNA:
Oh! What anguish!

SMEATON and ROCHEFORT:
Oh! What terror!

ANNA:
Where am I! Oh my lord!

(Recovers herself, approaches Henry: he is fuming. All are silent and lower their eyes.)

Stamped on these faces
I see your suspicion;
but I ask for mercy,
do not condemn me, O King.
Let this oppressed heart
recover itself for a bit.

HENRY:
In my hand behold the proof
of your abominable intemperance.
Tears won't help;
depart far from me.
It would be better for you now
if you were able to die.

PERCY:
(Heavens! A rival in him.
A rival of mine happy!
And the deceiver wanted
to banish me from her?
Let all the wrath of fate
be poured out on you, in me now.)

JANE:
May I be able to find myself
close to the unhappy ones, O Heaven.
Is not my heart as if overtaken
by horror, by ice?
My black excesses
extinguished every virtue in me.

SMEATON and ROCHEFORT:
Ah! I myself have ruined her,
I have intensified her misfortune!
The day turns to darkness for me.
I can barely stand up.
It would be better for me
if I could die now

HENRY:
To separate prisons
let them be taken.

ANNA:
All! Alas! Sire…

HENRY:
Go away!

ANNA:
Only one word…

HENRY:
Get back!
Not I, the judges alone
should hear your excuses.

ANNA:
Judges…for Anna!

PERCY, SMEATON and ROCHEFORT:
Alas, poor girl!

JANE and CHORUS:
(Her death is marked!)

ANNA:
(Ah! My fate is sealed,
if the one who accuses me is the one who condemns me.
Ah! I will succumb to the power
of such a tyrannical law.
But after my death
I will one day be exculpated and absolved.)

HENRY:
(Yes, your fate is sealed,
if only I could have a suspect
Whoever shares my throne
can have no stain on earth.
I will feel sorry for your death
but I will still give you death.)

PERCY, JANE,SMEATON and ROCHEFORT:
(Ah! My fate is sealed; every attempt to escape it is vain.
No skill on earth or human strength can allay it now.
Death is already in my heart and I'm not even dead yet.)

CHORUS:
(Ah! By how many adverse evil fates is the English throne
afflicted. A more deadly one has not descended on it
than that which has broken forth here.
Innocence has the death here which sin plotted.)

Act 2
Scene 1
An entrance hall which leads to Anna's rooms and to a room where the Counsel is gathered with guards at the entrance.

CHORUS:
Oh! wherever have the sycophantic crowds gone,
who gathered around her in her happy days!
Seymour, Seymour herself has distanced herself from her.
But we will always be with you, unhappy girl.
Either your triumph or your ultimate disaster prepares itself:
Fate has left you few hearts but they are tender ones.
Behold her…afflicted and pale, she drags her feet wearily.

Scene 2
Enter Anna. All gather around her. She sits.
Anna and above. Hervey with soldiers

CHORUS:
Queen! Take heart,
put your faith in Heaven,
let tears be banished,
virtue cannot die.

ANNA:
O my faithful ones, o the only ones
who remain as consolation to me in my misfortune,
every hope, it is true,
is placed in Heaven and in it alone…On earth
there is no remedy for my ruin.

(Hervey enters)

What do you carry, Hervey?

HERVEY:
Queen!…
The bitter commission pains me to which
the Counsel of Parliament elected me.

ANNA:
Well, speak.

HERVEY:
He calls these servants
before him.

CHORUS:
Us!

ANNA:
Then the King is firm in his resolution?
He will require so much
from my wounded heart.

HERVEY:
What can I say?

ANNA:
I needs must bow my head
to the royal will, whatsoever it might be.
Be you the witnesses
of my innocence
tender friends.

CHORUS:
Oh! What a terrible day!

ANNA:
(embracing them)

Go.

(Partono con Hervey)

Scene 3
Anna, then Giovanna Seymour

ANNA:
(after the servants have left she raises her hands to Heaven, kneels and says.)

God who sees within my heart,
I turn to you…judge you
if I deserve this shame.

(sits and weeps)

JANE:
The afflicted lady weeps…Alas! how
will I bear her gaze?

ANNA:
Ah! yes: the anguish
of the unhappy lady of Aragon
must not be in vain, and your severity
has determined a terrible punishment for me…
But it is too terrible…

JANE:
(approaches weeping: kneels at her feet and kisses her hand)

Oh, my Queen!

ANNA:
Seymour…returned to me!
Have you not forgotten me? Arise…What do I see?
You are pale! Are you trembling?
Are you bringing me
new misfortune perhaps?

JANE:
Dreadful…extreme!
Could I give you joy?
Ah! no…listen to me.
The trap is thus laid
that you are lost. At any cost
the King wants to shatter
the unfortunate knots
that bind you to him…
your life at least…
if not your royal name,
alas, save your life at least!

ANNA:
And how? Explain yourself.

JANE:
I tremble to say it…
yet say it I must. Confessing yourself to be guilty
will unbind you from the King and rescue you from death.

ANNA:
What are you saying?

JANE:
The fate which pursues you,
leaves no other means
of escape to you.

ANNA:
And thus you can advise me, my Seymour…

JANE:
Alas, have mercy.

ANNA:
That I should purchase my life with infamy?

JANE:
Do you wish infamy and death?
Queen, oh Heavens, give in…
The King advises you to do it…the wretched woman
who Henry has destined for the throne
implores you.

ANNA:
Oh! Who is this woman? Do you know her?
Speak. Was she so impudent
as to advise me to villainy? Villainy
to her Queen! Speak: who is she?

JANE:
(sobbing)

An unhappy woman.

ANNA:
And she is doing this to me.
Let God place on her head
his punishing arm.

JANE:
Alas! Listen to me.

ANNA:
Let her vile heart be tortured
just as mine is.

JANE:
Ah! Pardon!

ANNA:
Let the crown with which she coveted for her head
be of thorns;

(in growing fury. Jane little by little is bewildered)

let watchfulness and suspicion
lie on the pillow of the royal bed….
let a menacing spectre arise
between her and her husband the king…
and let the axe which is assigned to me
more cruelly deny her the King.

JANE:
(A cruel sentence! I feel like I'm dying…)

Ah! Cease!
Alas, have pity, pity…on me!

(kneeling and clasping Anna's knees)

ANNA:
You! What do I hear!

JANE:
Ah!…yes, prostrate at your feet
is the traitress.

ANNA:
My rival!…

JANE:
But tortured by remorse and unhappy.

ANNA:
Go away…go away…

JANE:
Forgive me:
I am punished by my heart

(with growing passion. Anna, little by little, softens)

Inexperienced…enticed…
I was seduced and dazzled…
I love Henry…and it embarrasses me…
My torture is this love…
I groan and weep, and yet love
is not smothered by my tears.

ANNA:
Get up! Ah! get up…
The only one who is guilty
is the one who lit such a flame in you.

(raises her and embraces her)

Go unhappy girl, to you is given
the pardon of Bolena.
in my furious and blind sorrow
I cursed you with terrible suffering…
Now I ask for your pardon from God,
and it will be granted to you.
In this farewell there remains to you
my love and my pity.

JANE:
Ah! worse is your pardon
than the scorn which I feared,
You leave me a throne as a punishment
for the crime of which I am guilty.
There a great God awaits me
who will punish the sin.
Ah! This farewell is the first
of the torments which he gives me.

(Anna goes back into her rooms. Jane leaves greatly afflicted)

Scene 4
Chorus of courtiers then Hervey

FIRST CHORUS:
Well? which of the villains
was taken before the judges?

SECOND CHORUS:
Smeton.

FIRST CHORUS:
Has the lad perhaps
revealed some misdeed?…

SECOND CHORUS:
No one knows the outcome of the investigation.
He's been enclosed with them for a whole hour.

ALL:
Ah! Heaven prevent the weak
and inexperienced heart
from letting itself be either seduced or overcome
by hope or by fear;
let it never allow him to forget
that the accuser is the King.

(The doors open, enter Hervey.)

CHORUS:
Behold, behold Hervey.

HERVEY:
(to the soldiers who are leaving)

Let Anna and Percy be led in.

CHORUS:
(surrounding him)

What is happening?

HERVEY:
Smeton has spoken.

CHORUS:
Has he accidentally accused Anna?

HERVEY:
He confessed a crime
which makes one tremble and blush.
She is lost.

CHORUS:
Alas! Poor girl!
(The accuser is the King.)

Scene 5
Enrico, Hervey and the chorus

HERVEY:
Go away…the King is arriving…

(the chorus retreat)

And who drives you away from the meeting?

HENRY:
My presence would be inappropriate.
The first blow has descended;
the one who stuck it hides himself.

HERVEY:
Oh! how Smeton fell into the trap!

HENRY:
The blind boy returns to his prison,
and he still believes,
since the hour of my vengeance
has been suspended, that he has saved
the life of Anna. Let her come forward.

HERVEY:
And hence
Percy comes, brought in by his guards.

HENRY:
(about to leave)

I'll avoid them.

Scene 6
Anna and Percy from opposite ends between guards. Enrico and Hervey.

ANNA:
(from a distance)

Stop, Henry!

(Henry wants to leave; she approaches with dignity)

Stop…and hear me.

HENRY:
The Counsel will hear you.

ANNA:
I prostrate myself at your feet.
Slay me yourself but don't exhibit me, O Sire,
to the shame of judgement:
ensure that my royal name is respected.

HENRY:
Have you respected
the royal rank? The wife of Henry
to descend to a Percy.

PERCY:
(who had drawn apart, at these words comes forward)

and yet you didn't disdain
to make this despised Percy your rival…
and take his lover from him

HENRY:
Felon! How dare you?

PERCY:
I speak the truth to you, listen
Soon I will be before a tribunal
more holy and more terrible
than yours is. By that I swear…I swear
that she did not offend you…that she drove me away,
that she burnt with indignation against my impudent hopes…

HENRY:
She made a vile page
more worthy of her love…he confessed it…

ANNA:
(fiercely)

Cease
with this vile accusation
I claim back my dignity, and rather than Smeton, I loudly decry you, Sire,
as a seducer

HENRY:
Impudent woman!

ANNA:
I defy the powerful fear.
It can give me death
but not infamy. My crime
is to have sacrificed for the throne
such a noble heart
as that of Percy; to have thought it
supreme happiness
to be the King's consort.

PERCY:
Oh, extreme joy!
No, you did not nourish
such a base affection…
I am certain of it; and happy
in that certainty I await my fate…
but you will live…yes, you will live.

HENRY:
What do I hear!
Both of you will die, O traitors;
what can deliver you from death

PERCY:
Justice can…

ANNA:
Justice!!
It is silent in the court of Henry!

HENRY:
It learnt to be silent
when on the English throne
a Queen
had to surrender her place to you.

PERCY:
But she will soon speak
and you must listen to her, O King.
if for a betrayed nuptial bed
rightful vengeance might be given,
only mine may be avenged…
it is written in Heaven.
We were betrothed.

HENRY:
You betrothed!

ANNA:
Ah! What are you saying?

HENRY:
Are you so bold?

PERCY:
I take back my rights.
let her be returned to me.

HENRY:
And you are his wife!…

ANNA:
(faltering)

I…

PERCY:
Can you deny it?…

ANNA:
(Alas!…)

PERCY:
From your most tender years
you were mine, you know it;
you betrayed me; wretch that I am
I loved you even though unfaithful.
As he betrayed me, he has betrayed you
he takes from you honour and life…
I open my arms to you; I wish to give back to you
life and honour.

ANNA:
Ah, what proof you give to me
of your generous heart!
Perish the day when, as a traitor
I left you for that cruel man!
Righteous Heaven has punished me
for that betrayed faith…
I found nothing on the throne
other than anguish and horror.

HENRY:
(The deception is clear, futile
the conspiracy is clear enough…
But, you treacherous pair, do not think
that I would ever retract…
You will still be punished
for your cunning deceits…
You will never have a grief more cruel
you will never have greater torment.)
Let them be taken to the Council, O guards.

ANNA:
Do you still insist on that?

PERCY:
Let the Council hear of it.

HENRY:
Go, confess your former bond,
Do not fear that I might want to undo it.

ANNA:
Heaven! Explain yourself…repressed fury
most terrible is displayed in your face.

HENRY:
False pain! Your own deceit
will fall on your hated heads!
On the throne of England
another lady will ascend more worthy of affection:
abhorred, infamous, false, outcast
your name, your blood will be.

ANNA and PERCY:
May another woman never learn
how deadly, alas! how deadly your gift is!
May England never hear again
of the wicked destruction which was brought on Anna.

(Anna and Percy leave between the soldiers)

Act 3
Scene 1
Enrico then Giovanna Seymour.

HENRY:
She was the wife of Percy
before she was that of Henry!
The wife of Percy!
No, never: this is a lie
with which to save themselves
from the terrible law
which condemns my guilty wife.
And if it was true,
a not less terrible law
will take hold of her…
and her daughter too
would be involved in her ruin.

JANE:
Sire...

HENRY:
Come, Seymour…you are queen.

JANE:
Ah! Sire…my remorse
guides me to your feet.

(per prostrarsi:
Henry la solleva)

HENRY:
Remorse…

JANE:
Bitter, extreme, horrible.
I saw Anna. I heard her;
I have her tears in my heart,
have pity on her
and thus on me; I do not want to be
the cause of her death, nor can I be…
My king must have
my final farewell.

HENRY:
More than your King, I am your lover,
I am your lover
who had your oaths,
and who soon, before the altar
will have others more sacred.

JANE:
Ah! If only I had never
offered you those deadly oaths
which doomed me;
to expiate them, O Sire
I will go into a remote exile
where no living glance may reach
where no one may hear
the sound of my sighs but Heaven

HENRY:
Are you mad?
And from where in you comes such a strange
proposal, O lady?
And do you hope by leaving
that Anna will be saved?
I hate her all the more henceforth.
I hate her now more that she thus afflicts you, and troubles you.
That she went so far as to extinguish your love for me.

JANE:
Ah! it is not extinguished…
It consumes my heart!
By the indomitable flame
to deep-rooted virtue.
by these bitter pangs,
by the tears which it cost me…
hear my prayer…
don't let Anna die for me…
Before Heaven and before men
don't make me any more guilty.

HENRY:
Silly girl! You are not…

(the doors to the rooms open)

But refrain yourself:
The Counsel have finished.

JANE:
Ah! Listen to me…

HENRY:
Restrain yourself.

(severely; Jane remains, greatly afflicted)

Scene 2
Hervey with the sheriffs who are carrying the sentence of the Counsel, courtiers and ladies run up from every side.

HERVEY:
Parliament has unanimously
unbound the royal knot…
Anna, an unfaithful wife,
is condemned to death,
and with her,
everyone who was an accomplice
and instigator.

CHORUS:
To you, Supreme Judge, the sentence is committed.
The only hope to the unfortunate ones, is the royal clemency:
merciful kings are the images of Heaven above.

HENRY:
I will reflect on it: justice
is the primary virtue of kings.

(Takes the sentence from the hands of the sheriffs. Jane approaches Henry with dignity. The Chorus stop at a distance.)

JANE:
Ah! Think that heaven and earth
have their eyes turned on you;
since every heart has its faults
it has a duty to have mercy on others.
Let Henry listen to pity
though the King is pushed to severity.

HENRY:
Enough: go out and let Parliament
be gathered before me again.

CHORUS:
Let Henry listen to pity
though the King is pushed to severity.

(They leave. Henry enters into the Counsel chamber.)

Scene 3
Enrico enters into the Counsel chamber.
A hall in the prison in the Tower of London. The back and the doors and occupied by soldiers.
Percy escorted by the guards, then Rochefort.

PERCY:
Are you condemned to death too,
you who are guilty of no fault?

ROCHEFORT:
My fault is serious,
that of being Anna's brother.

PERCY:
Oh! what a terrible abyss
you are drawn into.

ROCHEFORT:
I deserve to fall.
I, who was goaded by blind ambition,
seduced Anna to aspire to the throne.

PERCY:
Oh! friend…to my sorrow
yours is added. Ah! if I could still hope
for you to be saved, this hope would make death
less painful and less bitter to me.

ROCHEFORT:
Let us share our strength…someone is coming.

Scene 4
Hervey and above.

HERVEY:
I am the messenger of glad tidings to you.
The King has mercifully granted
life to you both.

PERCY:
Life to us! And Anna?…

HERVEY:
She must submit
to her just condemnation.

PERCY:
And does he hold me to be so cowardly,
so false, that I would want to live when she dies,
she who is innocent! Return to him and tell him
that I refuse such a deadly gift.
Tell him that in this heart
the flame is as sacred as my love is pure
which is born of virtue, tell him that in my heart
amidst my woes, honour speaks.
Come, unhappy friend, this is the only comfort
which remains to me,
to embrace you and die.
Alas, restrain your tears.
Preserve yourself so that you can remember the dreadful fate
of us both, and then let the knowledge console you
that Percy, after the last innocent embrace
of tender friendship
thinking of her, of her…at least died, with her name
on his lips and moreover, in his heart.
Live, I entreat you,
seek a land less sad
less painful, in which an innocent man
might have safe asylum;
seek a shore in which it might not be forbidden to you
to pray for us.
Ah! let someone remain on earth
to bewail our fate.

ROCHEFORT:
Oh Percy! I am no less strong,
No less constant than you.

HERVEY:
Have you decided?

ROCHEFORT:
You heard…

ROCHEFORT and HERVEY:
Death.

HERVEY:
Let them be separated.

PERCY and ROCHEFORT:
Friend!…farewell.

PERCY:
Seeing your constancy
reassures my heart,
I feared only your pain
I suffered only for your suffering
Both of us can face
the final hour which advances,
since we leave no-one here below,
nor fear, nor desire.

(They bid each other farewell and leave between the soldiers.)

Scene 5
The servants of Anna come out of the prison where is enclosed.

CHORUS (ALL):
Who can see her dry eyed
in such anguish, in such mourning
and not feel their heart break?

CHORUS (PART):
Now mute and motionless like cold stone;
now at length and suddenly studying the passage;
now sad now pale with a shadow over her face;
now composing her face into a smile:
her appearance changes as often
as thoughts and sentiments are aroused in her
in her frenzy, in her grief.

Scene 6
Anna comes from her prison. She appears in disordered dress, her head uncovered and moves forward slowly, sunk in deep thought. A universal silence. Servants surround her, strongly moved. She observes them attentively and seems to calm herself.

ANNA:
Are you weeping? whence such tears?
This is a wedding day. The King awaits me…the altar is lit up
and bedecked with flowers. Quickly, give me
my white cloak; decorate my hair
with my crown of roses…
Don't let Percy know of it…
The King demands it.

CHORUS:
Oh! What sad memories!

ANNA:
Oh! Who is mourning?

CHORUS:
Oh! What sad memories!

ANNA:
Oh! who is mourning?
Who spoke of Percy?…Don't let me see him.
Let me hide from his gaze. It is no use. He is coming…
He accuses me…he decries me. Oh! forgive me…
I am unhappy. Take me from this extreme misery.
Are you smiling? Oh joy! Don't let me die,
don't let me die alone.
Guide me to the sweet mansion of my birth,
to the green plane-trees
to the quiet river,
that still murmers
with our sighs.
There, I forget
the streams of anguish,
give me back one day
of my early years,
just one day
of our love.

CHORUS:
Who can see her dry eyed
in such anguish, in such mourning
and not feel their heart break?

Scene 7
The sound of drums can be heard. The guards present themselves. Hervey and the courtiers.

ANNA:
(shaking herself)

What is that gloomy sound?... what do I see?...
Hervey, the guards?

(observes them attentively. Awakes from her trance)

HERVEY:
(to the guards)

Go, let the prisoners
be brought from their cells.

ANNA:
Oh! You shake me from my trance
at such a moment, O Heaven!
To what are you awakening me…

(From various prisons come Rochefort, Percy and then finally Smeton.)

ROCHEFORT and PERCY:
Anna!

ANNA:
Brother!
And you, Percy! for me, for me you are dying!

SMEATON:
I alone ruined you, curse me…

(coming forward and kneeling at Anna's feet)

ANNA:
Smeton!

(he draws back as if terrified and covers his face with his cloak)

PERCY:
Wretch!

SMEATON:
Ah yes…I am…let me go down
into the shadows with that name, I let myself
be seduced by the King. I accused you believing
I would save your life, and I was pushed to lie
by an insane desire, a hope, which I have held
repressed in my heart for a whole year.
Curse me.

ANNA:
Smeton! Come here.
Get up, what are you doing? Why don't you tune your harp?
Who cut its cords?

(Smeton is still on his knees; she raises him.)

ROCHEFORT:
Anna.

PERCY:
What is she saying?

LADIES:
She returns to her delirium.

ANNA:
They convey a low sound
like the groan cut short
of a heart that dies…it is my broken heart
which sighs its last prayer to Heaven.
Hear it, all of you.

ROCHEFORT, PERCY and SMEATON:
Oh! cruel torment!

CHORUS:
She's dreaming.

ANNA:
Heaven: grant repose at last
to my long pangs
and at least let these last heartbeats
be ones of hope.

ALL:
Let her final delirium
be prolonged, merciful Heaven;
let her beautiful spirit
rise up to your bosom.

(Cannon shots are heard in the distance and the ringing of bells. Anna comes to, little by little.)

ANNA:
Who awoke me? Where am I? What do I hear?
A festive sound? what could it be? tell me..

CHORUS:
The Queen is acclaimed
by a happy people…

ANNA:
Be silent…cease.
There lacks, alas, there lacks only the blood of Anna
to complete the crime, and it will be spilt.

(she falls into the arms of her ladies)

ALL:
Heaven! Spare her wounded heart this blow
which she cannot bear.

ANNA:
False couple, I do not call down
the final vengeance in this terrible hour;
I go down into the open grave which awaits me
with pardon on my lips,
May they obtain mercy and favour for me
in the presence of a God of pity.

(swoons)

ALL:
Unfortunate woman…she faints…She is dying!

(The sheriffs appear to take the prisoners. Rochefort, Smeton and Percy go to meet them and indicating Ann exclaim:)

ALL:
The victim is already sacrificed.