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Shall never hurt your quiet; but, once known, Shall sit upon your heart, pinch it with pain, And banish the sweet sleep for ever from you. Go to-be yet advised—
Alic. Dost thou, in scorn,
Preach patience to my rage, and bid me tamely Sit like a poor contented idiot down,
Nor dare to think thou'st wronged me? Ruin seize thee,
And swift perdition overtake thy treachery!
Have I the least remaining cause to doubt?
Hast thou endeavoured once to hide thy false-
To hide it might have spoke some little tenderness,
And shewn thee half unwilling to undo me:
But thou disdainest the weakness of humanity;
Thy words, and all thy actions, have confessed it;
Even now thy eyes avow it, now they speak,
And insolently own the glorious villany.
Hast. Well, then! I own my heart has broke your chains.
Patient I bore the painful bondage long;
At length my generous love disdains your ty-
Shall visit the presuming sons of men,
But perjury, like thine, shall dwell in safety.
Hast. Whate'er my fate decrees for me here-
Be present to me now, my better angel!
Preserve me from the storm that threatens now,
And if I have beyond atonement sinned,
Let any other kind of plague o'ertake me,
So I escape the fury of that tongue.
Alic. Thy prayer is heard-I go-but know,
Howe'er thou scorn'st the weakness of my sex, This feeble hand may find the means to reach thee,
Howe'er sublime in power and greatness placed,
With royal favour guarded round and graced;
On eagle's wings my rage shall urge her flight,
And hurl thee headlong from thy topmost height;
Then, like thy fate, superior will I sit,
And view thee fallen, and grovelling at my feet;
See thy last breath with indignation go,
And tread thee sinking to the shades below.
Hast. How fierce a fiend is passion! with what wildness,
What tyranny untamed it reigns in woman!
Unhappy sex! whose easy yielding temper
Gives way to every appetite alike:
Each gust of inclination, uncontrouled,
Sweeps through their souls, and sets them in an
Each motion of the heart rises to fury,
And love, in their weak bosoms, is a rage
As terrible as hate, and as destructive.
So the wind roars o'er the wide fenceless ocean,
And heaves the billows of the boiling deep,
Alike from north, from south, from east, from
With equal force the tempest blows, by turns,
From every corner of the seaman's compass.
But soft ye now-for here comes one, disclaims
Strife and her wrangling train; of equal elements,
Without one jarring atom, was she formed,
And gentleness and joy make up her being.
Forgive me, fair one, if officious friendship
Intrudes on your repose, and comes thus late
To greet you with the tidings of success.
The princely Gloster has vouchsafed you hear
To-morrow he expects you at the court;
There plead your cause, with never-failing beauty,
Speak all your griefs, and find a full redress.
J. Sh. Thus humbly let your lowly servant bend, [Kneeling.
Thus let me bow my grateful knee to earth,
And bless your noble nature for this goodness.
Hast. Rise, gentle dame; you wrong my mean-
Think me not guilty of a thought so vain,
To sell my courtesy for thanks like these!
J. Sh. 'Tis true, your bounty is beyond my
But though my mouth be dumb, my heart shall thank you;
And when it melts before the throne of mercy,
Mourning and bleeding for my past offences,
My fervent soul shall breathe one prayer for you,
If prayers of such a wretch are heard on high,
That Heaven will pay you back, when most you
The grace and goodness you have shewn to me.
Hast. If there be ought of merit in my service, Impute it there, where most 'tis due, to love; Be kind, my gentle mistress, to my wishes, And satisfy my panting heart with beauty. J. Sh. Alas! my lord
Hast. Why bend thy eyes to earth? Wherefore these looks of heaviness and sorrow? Why breathes that sigh, my love? And wherefore falls
This trickling shower of tears, to stain thy sweetness?
J. Sh. If pity dwells within your noble breast, (As sure it does) Oh, speak not to me thus!
Hast. Can I behold thee, and not speak of love?
Even now, thus sadly as thou stand'st before me,
Thus desolate, dejected, and forlorn,
Thy softness steals upon my yielding senses,
Till my soul faints, and sickens with desire;
How canst thou give this motion to my heart,
And bid my tongue be still?
J. Sh. Cast round your eyes
Upon the high-born beauties of the court;
Behold, like opening roses, where they bloom,
Sweet to the sense, unsullied all, and spotless;
There chuse some worthy partner of your heart,
To fill your arms, and bless your virtuous bed;
Nor turn your eyes this way, where sin and
Like loathsome weeds, have over-run the soil,
And the destroyer, Shame, has laid all waste.
Hast. What means this peevish, this fantastic change?
Where is thy wonted pleasantness of face,
Tay wonted graces, and thy dimpled smiles?
Where hast thou lost thy wit, and sportive mirth?
That chearful heart, which used to dance for
And cast a day of gladness all around thee?
J. Sh. Yes, I will own I merit the reproach; And for those foolish days of wanton pride, My soul is justly humbled to the dust:
All tongues, like yours, are licensed to upbraid
Still to repeat my guilt, to urge my infamy,
And treat me like that abject thing I have been.
Yet let the saints be witness to this truth,
That now, though late, I look with horror back,
That I detest my wretched self, and curse
My past polluted life. All-judging Heaven,
Who knows my crimes, has seen my sorrow for
Hast. No more of this dull stuff. 'Tis time enough
To whine and mortify thyself with penance,
When the decaying sense is palled with pleasure,
And weary nature tires in her last stage;
Then weep and tell thy beads, when altering
Haye stained the lustre of thy starry eyes,
And failing palsies shake thy withered hand.
The present moment claims more generous use;
Thy beauty, night, and solitude, reproach me,
For having talked thus long-come let me press
[Laying hold of her.
Pant on thy bosom, sink into thy arms,
And lose myself in the luxurious flood!
J. Sh. Never! by those chaste lights above, I
And blots a long illustrious line of ancestry,
By poorly daring thus to wrong a woman.
Hast. 'Tis wonderous well! I see, my saint-like dame,
You stand provided of your braves and ruffians, To man your cause, and bluster in your brothel. Dum. Take back the foul reproach, unmannered railer!
Nor urge my rage too far, lest thou should'st find
I have as daring spirits in my blood
As thou or any of thy race e'er boasted;
And though no gaudy titles graced my birth,
Titles, the servile courtier's lean reward,
Sometimes the pay of virtue, but more oft
The hire which greatness gives to slaves and
Yet Heaven, that made me honest, made me more
Than ever king did, when he made a lord.
An arm resolved can guard its master's life.
J. Sh. Oh my distracting fears! hold, for
Sweet Heaven. [Runs off distractedly.
[They fight, Dumont disarms Lord Hastings.
Hast. Confusion! baffled by a base-born
Dum. Now, haughty sir, where is our difference
Your life is in my hand, and did not honour,
The gentleness of blood, and inborn virtue,
(Howe'er unworthy I may seem to you)
Plead in my bosom, I should take the forfeit.
But wear your sword again; and know, a lord
Opposed against a man, is but a man.
Hast. Curse on my failing arm! Your better
Has given you vantage o'er me; but perhaps
Your triumph may be bought with dear
J. Sh. Where should I fly, thus helpless and forlorn,
Of friends, and all the means of life bereft?
Dum. Belmour, whose friendly care still wakes
to serve you,
Has found you out a little peaceful refuge,
Far from the court and the tumultuous city.
Within an ancient forest's ample verge,
There stands a lonely but a healthful dwelling,
Built for convenience and the use of life:
Around it fallows, meads, and pastures fair,
A little garden, and a limpid brook,
By nature's own contrivance seems disposed;
No neighbours, but a few poor simple clowns,
Honest and true, with a well meaning priest:
No faction, or domestic fury's rage,
Did e'er disturb the quiet of that place,
When the contending nobles shook the land
repent-With York and Lancaster's disputed sway.
Your virtue there may find a safe retreat
From the insulting powers of wicked greatness.
J. Sh. Can there be so much happiness in
J. Sh. Alas! what have ye done? Know the power,
The mightiness, that waits upon this lord?
Dum. Fear not, my worthiest mistress; 'tis a
In which Heaven's guards shall wait you.
Pursue the sacred counsels of your soul,
Which urge you on to virtue; let not danger,
Nor the incumbering world, make faint your pur-
Assisting angels shall conduct your steps,
Bring you to bliss, and crown your days with
J. Sh. Oh, that my head were laid, my sad eyes
And my cold corse wound in my shroud to rest!
My painful heart will never cease to beat,
Will never know a moment's peace till then.
Dum. Would you be happy, leave this fatal
Fly from the court's pernicious neighbourhood;
Where innocence is shamed, and blushing mo-
A cell like that is all my hopes aspire to.
Haste, then, and thither let us take our flight,
Ere the clouds gather, and the wintery sky
Descends in storms to intercept our passage.
Dum. Will you then go! You glad my very
Banish your fears, cast all your cares on me;
Plenty and ease, and peace of mind shall wait
And make your latter days of life most happy.
Oh, lady! but I must not, cannot tell you,
How anxious I have been for all your dangers,
And how my heart rejoices at your safety.
So when the spring renews the flowery field,
And warns the pregnant nightingale to build,
She seeks the safest shelter of the wood,
Where 'she may trust her little tuneful brood;
Where no rude swains her shady cell may know,
No serpents climb, nor blasting winds may
Fond of the chosen place, she views it o'er,
Sits there, and wanders through the grove no
Warbling she charms it cach returning night,
And loves it with a mother's dear delight.
Alic. THIS paper to the great protector's
With care and secrecy, must be conveyed;
His bold ambition now avows its aim,
To pluck the crown from Edward's infant brow,
And fix it on his own. I know he holds
My faithless Hastings adverse to his hopes,
And much devoted to the orphan king;
On that I build: this paper meets his doubts,
And marks my hated rival as the cause
Of Hastings' zeal for his dead master's sons.
Oh, jealousy! thou bane of pleasing friendship,
Thou worst invader of our tender bosoms,
How does thy rancour poison all our softness,
And turn our gentle natures into bitterness?
Has drawn the vengeance of Lord Hastings on him.
Alic. Lord Hastings! Ha!
J. Sh. Some fitter time must tell thee
The tale of my hard hap. Upon the present
Hang all my poor, my last remaining hopes.
Within this paper is my suit contained;
Here, as the princely Gloster passes forth,
I wait to give it on my humble knees,
And move him for redress.
[She gives the paper to Alicia, who opens
and seems to read it.
Alic. [Aside.] Now for a wile, To sting my thoughtless rival to the heart; To blast her fatal beauties, and divide her For ever from my perjured Hastings' eyes! The wanderer may then look back to me, And turn to his forsaken home again. Their fashions are the same, it cannot fail. [Pulling out the other paper. J. Sh. But see, the great protector comes this
Attended by a train of waiting courtiers.
Give me the paper, friend.
Alic. [Aside.] For love and vengeance!
[She gives her the other paper.
Enter the Duke of GLOSTER, Sir RICHARD RATCLIFFE, CATESBY, Courtiers, and other Attendants.
To feed her wants, and save her life from perishing.
Glost. Arise, fair dame, and dry your watery
[Receiving the paper, and raising her. Beshrew me, but 'twere pity of his heart That could refuse a boon to such a suitress. You have got a noble friend to be your advocate; A worthy and right gentle lord he is, And to his trust most true. This present now, Some matters of the state detain our leisure; Those once dispatched, we'll call for you anon, And give your griefs redress. Go to! be comforted.
J. Sh. Good Heavens repay your highness for this pity,
And shower down blessings on your princely head.
Come, my Alicia, reach thy friendly arm,
And help me to support this feeble frame,
That nodding totters with oppressive woe,
And sinks beneath its load.
[Exeunt J. Sh. and Alic. Glost. Now, by my holidame! Heavy of heart she seems, and sore afflicted. But thus it is when rude calamity Lays its strong gripe upon these mincing minio ns The dainty gew-gaw forms dissolve at once, And shiver at the shock. What says her paper? [Seeming to read. Ha! what is this? Come nearer, Ratcliffe! Catesby !
Mark the contents, and then divine the meaning.
'Wonder not, princely Gloster, at the notice
This paper brings you from a friend unknown;
'Lord Hastings is inclined to call you master,
'And kneel to Richard, as to England's king;
But Shore's bewitching wife misleads his heart,
And draws his service to king Edward's sons:
'Drive her away, you break the charm that holds
And he, and all his powers, attend you.'
Rat. 'Tis wonderful!
Cat. The means by which it came
Yet stranger too!
Glost. You saw it given, but now.
Rat. She could not know the purport.
Glost. No, 'tis plain——
She knows it not, it levels at her life;
Should she presume to prate of such high mat-
The meddling harlot! dear she should abide it. Cat. What hand soe'er it comes from, be as sured,
It means your highness well
Glosc. Upon the instant,
Lord Hastings will be here; this morn I mean
J. Sh. [Kneeling.] Oh, noble Gloster, turn thy To prove him to the quick; then if he flinch,
Incline thy pitying ear to my complaint!
A poor, undone, forsaken, helpless woman, Intreats a little bread for charity,
No more but this-away with him at once!
He must be mine or nothing-But he comes!
Draw nearer this way, and observe me well.
Glost. The council (much I'm bound to thank them for't!)
Hast. This foolish woman hangs about my Have placed a pageant sceptre in my hand,
Lingers and wanders in my fancy still;
This coyness is put on; 'tis art and cunning;
And worn to urge desire- -I must possess her.
The groom, who lift his saucy hand against me,
Ere this, is humbled, and repents his daring.
Perhaps, even she may profit by the example,
And teach her beauty not to scorn my power.
Glost. This do, and wait me e'er the council
[Exeunt Rat. and Cat.
My lord, you are well encountered; here has
A fair petitioner this morning with us;
Believe me, she has won me much to pity her:
Alas! her gentle nature was not made
To buffet with adversity. I told her
How worthily her cause you had befriended;
How much for your good sake we mean to do,
That you had spoke, and all things should be
Hast. Your highness binds me ever to your
Glost. You know your friendship is most po-
tent with us,
And shares our power. But of this enough,
For we have other matters for your ear.
The state is out of tune: distracting fears,
And jealous doubts, jar in our public counsels;
Amidst the wealthy city, murmurs rise,
Lewd railings, and reproach on those that rule,
With open scorn of government; hence credit,
And public trust 'twixt man and man, are broke.
The golden streams of commerce are withheld,
Which fed the wants of needy hinds and artizans,
Who therefore curse the great, and threat re-
Hast. The resty knaves are over-run with ease,
As plenty ever is the nurse of faction;
If, in good days, like these, the headstrong herd
Grow madly wanton and repine; it is
Because the reins of power are held too slack,
And reverend authority, of late,
Has worn a face of mercy more than justice. Glost. Beshrew my heart! but you have well divined
The source of these disorders. Who can wonder,
If riot and misrule o'erturn the realm,
When the crown sits upon a baby brow?
Plainly to speak; hence comes the general cry,
And sum of all complaint; 'twill ne'er be well
With England (thus they talk) while children go-
Hast. Tis true, the king is young; but what of that?
We feel no want of Edward's riper years, While Gloster's valour, and most princely wisdom,
So well supply our infant sovereign's place,
His youth's support, and guardian to his throne.
Barren of power, and subject to controul;
Scorned by my foes, and useless to my friends.
Oh, worthy lord! were mine the rule indeed,
I think I should not suffer rank offence,
At large, to lord it in the common-weal;
Nor would the realm be rent by discord thus,
Thus fear and doubt, betwixt disputed titles.
Hast. Of this I am to learn; as not supposing
A doubt like this-
Glost. Ay marry, but there is-
And that of much concern. Have you not heard
How, on a late occasion, doctor Shaw
Has moved the people much about the lawful
Of Edward's issue? By right grave authority,
Of learning and religion, plainly proving,
A bastard scion never should be grafted
Upon a royal stock; from thence, at full
Discoursing on my brother's former contract
To lady Elizabeth Lucy, long before
His jolly match with this same buxom widow,
The queen he left behind him-
Such meddling priests, who kindle up confusion,
And vex the quiet world with their vain scruples!
By Heaven 'tis done in perfect spite to peace.
Did not the king,
Our royal master, Edward, in concurrence
With his estates assembled, well determine
What course the sovereign rule should take
When shall the deadly hate of faction cease,
When shall our long-divided land have rest,
If every peevish, moody malecontent
Shall set the senseless rabble in an uproar,
Fright them with dangers, and perplex their
Each day with some fantastic giddy change?
Glost. What if some patriot, for the public
Should vary from your scheme, new-mould the state?
Hast. Curse on the innovating hand attempts
Remember him, the villain, righteous Heaven, In thy great day of vengeance! Blast the traitor And his pernicious counsels, who, for wealth, For power, the pride of greatness, or revenge, Would plunge his native land in civil wars!
Glost. You go too far, my lord. Hast. Your highness' pardonHave we so soon forgot those days of ruin, When York and Lancaster drew forth the battles; When, like a matron butchered by her sons, And cast beside some common way, a spectacle Of horror and affright to passers by, Our groaning country bled at every vein; When murders, rapes, and massacres prevailed When churches, palaces, and cities blazed;