‘Anne of the Thousand Days’ is a play that chronicles the story of Anne Boleyn, famously beheaded by her tyrannical husband, King Henry VIII. In this speech, Anne knows what fate awaits her and imagines what it will be like to die. She makes an astute analysis of her husband’s character and finishes by telling him that he already ‘died’, some time ago, although his heart is still technically beating. 

Will you give back what you stole from the monasteries, and the men executed? Will you resume with Rome? When you do that I’ll take your word again, But you won’t do it. And what you truly want— you may not know it— Is a fresh, frail, innocent maid who’ll make you feel fresh and innocent again, and young again; Jane Seymour is the name. It could be anyone. Only virginal and sweet. And when you’ve had her you’ll want someone else. Meanwhile, to get her, you’ll murder if you must. (Lashing out.) Before you go, perhaps You should hear one thing— I lied to you. I loved you, but I lied to you! I was untrue! Untrue with many! You may think this is a lie. But is it? Take it to your grave! Believe it! I was untrue! Only what I take to my grave you take to yours! With many! Not with one! Many! I’ve never thought what it was like to die. To become meat that rots. Then food for shrubs, and the long roots of vines. The grape could reach me. I may make him drunk before many years. Some one told me the story of the homely daughter of Sir Thomas More, climbing at night up the trestles of London Bridge where they’d stuck her father’s head on a spike, and hunting among the stinking and bloody heads, of criminals, ’till she found her father’s head, his beard matted and hard with blood. And climbing down with it, and taking it home. To bury in the garden, perhaps. Would they fIx my head up on London Bridge? No.
Even Henry would object to that. I’ve been his queen. He’s kissed my lips. He wouldn*t want it. I’ll lie in lead—or brass. Meat. Dead meat. But if my head were on the Bridge he wouldn’t climb to take it down. Nobody’d climb for me. I could stay and face up the river, and my long hair blow out and tangle round the spikes—and my small neck. Till the sea birds took me, and there was nothing but a wisp of hair and a cup of bone. I must think of something to say when the time comes. If I could say it—with the axe edge toward me, Could I do it? Could I lay my head down— and smile, and speak? Till the blow comes? They say it’s subtle. It doesn’t hurt. There’s no time. No time. That’s the end of time. Go your way, and I’ll go mine. You to your death, and I to my expiation. For there is such a thing as expiation. It involves dying to live. Death is a thing the coroner can see. I’ll stick by that. A coroner wouldn’t know you died young, Henry. And yet you did.