« AnteriorContinuar »
SCENE I.-The Tower.
(For Edward's boys, the state esteems not of
them,) Enter the Duke of Gloster, Sir RICHARD And therefore on your sovereignty and rule, RATCLIFFE, and CATESBY.
The common weal does her dependance make, Glost. Thus far success attends upon our And leans upon your highness' able hand. councils,
Cat. And yet to-morrow does the council meet, And each event has answered to my wish; To fix a day for Edward's coronation. The queen and all her upstart race are quelled; Who can expound this riddle? Dorset is banished, and her brother Rivers,
Glost. That can I. Ere this, lies shorter by the head at Pomfret. These lords are each one my approved good The nobles have, with joint concurrence, named friends,
Of special trust and nearness to my bosom; Protector of the realm. My brother's children, And howsoever busy they may seem, Young Edward, and the little York, are lodged And diligent to bustle in the state, Here, safe within the Tower. How say you, sirs, Their zeal goes on no farther than we lead, Does not this business wear a lucky face? And at our bidding stays. The sceptre and the golden wreath of royalty Cat. Yet there is one, Seem hung within my reach.
And he amongst the foremost in his power, Rat. Then take them to you,
Of whom I wish your highness were assured. And wear them long and worthily. You are For me, perhaps it is my nature's fault, The last remaining male of princely York, I own, I doubt of his inclining, much.
Glost. I guess the man at whom your words | Till life Aed from us like an idle dream, would point:
A shew of mummery without a meaning. Hastings
My brother, rest and pardon to his soul! Cat. The same.
Is gone to his account; for this his minion, Glost. He wears me great good-will.
The revel rout is done-—But you were speaking Cat. 'Tis true, to you, as to the lord protector, Concerning her–1 have been told, that you And Gloster's duke, he bows with lowly service: Are frequent in your visitation to her. But were he bid to cry, God save king Richard, Hast. No farther, my good lord, than friendly Then tell me in what terms he would reply?
pity, Believe me, I have proved the man, and found and tender-hearted charity allow.
Glost. Go to; I did not mean to chide you I know he bears a most religious reverence
for it. To his dead master Edward's royal memory, for, sooth to say, I hold it noble in you And whither that may lead him is most plain. To cherish the distressed -On with
your tale. Yet more-One of that stubborn sort he is, Hust. Thus it is, gracious sir, that certain offiWho, if they once grow fond of an opinion,
cers, They call it honour, honesty, and faith,
Using the warrant of your mighty name, And sooner part with life than let it go. With insolent, unjust, and lawless power,
Glost. And yet this tough impracticable heart Have seized upon the lands which late she held Is governed by a dainty-fingered girl.
By grant, from her great master Edward's bounty. Such Aaws are found in the most worthy na Glost. Somewhat of this, but slightly, have I tures;
heard; A laughing, toying, wheedling, whimpering she And though some counsellors of forward zcal, Shall make him amble on a gossip's message, Some of most ceremonious sanctity, And take the distaff with a hand as patient And bearded wisdom, often have provoked As e'er did Hercules.
The hand of justice to fall hesty on her; Rat. The fair Alicia,
Yet still, in kind compassion of her weakness, Of noble birth and exquisite of feature,
And tender memory of Edward's love, Has held him long a vassal to her beauty. I have withheld the merciless stern law
Cat. I fear, he fails in his allegiance there; From doing outrage on her helpless beauty. Or my intelligence is false, or else
Hast. Good Heaven, who renders mercy back The dame has been too lavish of her feast, And fed him till he loathes.
With open-handed bounty shall repay you : Glost. No more, he comes.
This gentle deed shall fairly be set foremost,
To screen the wild escapes of lawless passion, Enter LORD HASTINGS.
And the long train of frailties flesh is heir to. Hast. Ilealth, and the happiness of many days, Glost. Thus far, the voice of pity pleaded only: Attend upon your grace.
Our farther and more full extent of grace Glost. My good lord chamberlain,
Is given to your request. Let her attend, We're much beholden to your gentle friendship. And to ourself deliver up her griefs. Hast. My lord, I come an humble suitor to She shall be heard with patience, and cach wrong you.
At full redressed. But I have other news, Glost. In right good time. Speak out your Which much import us both; for still my fortunes pleasure freely.
Go hand in hand with yours: our common foes, Hast. I am to move your highness in behalf The queen's relations, our new-fangled gentry, Of Shore's unhappy wife.
Ilave fallen their haughty crests—That for your Glost. Say you, of Shore?
[Ereunt. Hust. Once a bright star, that held her place on high :
SCENE II.-An apartment in Jane Shore's The first and fairest of our English dames,
house. While royal Edward held the sovereign rule.
Enter BELMOUR and DUMONT.
Bel. Low she has lived, you have heard my Envy in woman, or desire in man.
tale already; She never sees the sun, but through her tears, The rest your own attendance in her family, And wakes to sigh the live-long night away. Where I have found the means this day to place Glost. Marry the times are badly changed you, with her,
And nearer observation, best will tell you. From Edward's days to these. Then all was jol See, with what sad and sober cheer she comes. lity,
Enter Jane SHone. Feasting and mirth, light wantonness and laughter,
Sure, or I read her visage much amiss, Piping and playing, minstrelsy and masquing; Or grief besets her hard. Save you, fair lady!
The blessings of the cheerful morn be on you,
Enter e Servant.
Attends your leisure.
I'll wait you on the instant, and inform you Like thee reserve their raiment for the naked, Of each unhappy circumstance, in which Reach out their bread to feed the crying orphan, Your friendly aid and counsel much may stead Or mix their pitying tears with those that weep!
[Exeunt Belmour and Dumont. Thy praise deserves a better tongue than mine,
Enter ALICIA. To speak and bless thy name. Is this the gentleman,
Alic. Still, my fair friend, still shall I find you Whose friendly service you commended to me?
thus? Bel. Madam, it is:
Still shall these sighs heave after one another, J. Sh. A venerable aspect.
[Aside. These trickling drops chase one another still, Age sits with decent grace upon his visage, As if the posting messengers of grief And worthily becomes his silver locks ;
Could overtake the hours fled far away, He wears the marks of many years well spent,
And make old Time come back? Of virtue, truth well tried, and wise experience; J. Sh. No, my Alicia, A friend like this would suit my sorrows well. Heaven and his saints be witness to my thoughts, Fortune, I fear me, sir, has meant you ill, (To Dum. There is no hour of all my life o'er past, Who pays your merit with that scanty pittance, That I could wish to take its turn again. Which my poor
hand and humble roof can give. Alic. And yet some of those days my friend But to supply these golden vantages,
has known, Which elsewhere you might find, expect to meet some of those years might pass for golden ones, A just regard and value for your worth, At least if womankind can judge of happiness. The welcome of a friend, and the free partner- What could we wish, we, who delight in empire, ship
Whose beauty is our sovereign good, and gives Of all that little good the world allows me. Dum. You over-rate me much; and all my Our reasons to rebel, and power to reign,
What could we more than to behold a monarch, Must be my future truth; let them speak for me, Lovely, renowned, a conqueror, and young, And make up my deserving.
Bound in our chains, and sighing at our feet? J. Sh. Are you of England ?
J. Sh. 'Tis true, the royal Edward was a wonDum. No, gracious lady, Flanders claims my der, birth;
The goodly pride of all our English youth; At Antwerp has my constant biding been, He was the very joy of all that saw him ; Where sometimes I have known more plénteous Formed to delight, to love, and to persuade. days
Impassive spirits and angelic natures Than these which now my failing age affords. Might have been charmed, like yielding human J. Sh. Alas! at Antwerp!Oh, forgive my weakness, tears!
[Weeping. Stooped from their heaven, and listened to his They fall for my offences and must fall
talking. Long, long ere they shall wash my
away. But what had I to do with kings and courts? You knew perhaps-Oh grief! oh shame ! 'my My humble lot had cast me far beneath him; husband.
And that he was the first of all mankind, Dum. I knew him well--but stay this flood of The bravest, and most lovely, was my curse. anguish!
Alic. Sure, something more than fortune joined The senseless grave feels not your pious sorrows: Three years and more are past, since I was bid, Nor could his greatness, and his gracious form, With
many of our common friends, to wait him Be elsewhere matched so well, as to the sweetTo his last peaceful mansion. I attended, Sprinkled his clay-cold corse with holy drops, And beauty of my friend. According to our church's rev'rend rite,
J. Sh. Name him no more! And saw him laid in hallow'd ground, to rest. He was the bane and ruin of my peace. J. Sh. Oh, that my soul had known no joy but This anguish and these tears, these are the legahim!
cies That I had lived within his guiltless arms, His fatal love has left me. Thou wilt see me, And, dying, slept in innocence beside him! Believe me, my Alicia, thou wilt see me, But now his dust abhors the fellowship, E'er yet a few short days pass o'er my head, And scorps to mix with mine.
Abandoned to the very utmost wretchedness.
your loves :
The hand of power has seized almost the whole If I not hold her nearer to my soul,
Distraction and despair seize me on earth! Alic. Joy of my life, my dearest Shore, forbear Let not my
hereafter, To wound my heart with thy foreboding sorrows; Nor taste the bliss of your celestial fellowship ! Raise thy sad soul to better hopes than these; J. Sh. Yes, thou art true, and only thou art Lift up thy eyes, and let them shine once more,
true; Bright as the morning sun above the mist. Therefore these jewels, once the lavish bounty Exert thy charms, seek out the stern protector, Of royal Edward's love, I trust to thee; And soothe his savage temper with thy beauty :
[Giving a casket. Spite of his deadly, unrelenting nature,
Receive this, all that I can call my own, He shall be moved to pity, and redress thee. And let it rest unknown, and safe with thee :
J. Sh. My form, alas! has long forgot to please; That if the state's injustice should oppress me, The scene of beauty and delight is changed; Strip me of all, and turn me out a wanderer, No roses bloom upon my fading cheek,
My wretchedness may find relief from thee, Nor laughing graces wanton in my eyes;
And shelter from the storm. But haggard grief, lean-looking sallow care, Alic. My all is thine; And pining discontent, a rueful train,
One common hazard shall attend us both, Dwell on my brow, all hideous and forlorn, And both be fortunate, or both be wretched. One only shadow of a hope is left me;
But let thy fearful doubting heart be still; The noble-minded Hastings, of his goodness, The saints and angels have thee in their charge, Has kindly undertaken to be my advocate, And all things shall be well. Think not, the And move my humble suit to angry Gloster.
good, Alic. Does Hastings undertake to plead your The gentle deeds of mercy thou hast done, cause ?
Shall die forgotten all; the poor, the prisoner, But wherefore should he not? Hastings has eyes; The fatherless, the friendless, and the widow, The gentle lord has a right tender heart, Who daily own the bounty of thy hand, Melting and easy, yielding to impression, Shall cry to Heaven, and pull a blessing on And catching the soft flame from each new beauty;
Even man, the merciless insulter man, But yours shall charm him long.
Man, who rejoices in our sex's weakness, J. Sh. Away, you flatterer!
Shall pity thee, and with unwonted goodness Nor charge his generous meaning with a weak- Forget thy failings, and record thy praise. ness,
J. Sh. Why should I think that man will do Which his great soul and virtue must disdain. Too much of love thy hapless friend has proved, What yet he never did for wretches like me? Too many giddy foolish hours are gone, Mark by what partial justice we are judged : And in fantastic measures danced away : Such is the fate unhappy women find, May the remaining few know only friendship! And such the curse entailed upon our kind, So thou, my dearest, truest, best Alicia,
That man, the lawless libertine, may rove, Vouchsafe to lodge me in thy gentle heart, Free and unquestioned through the wilds of love; A partner there; I will give up mankind, While woman, sense and nature's easy fool, Forget the transports of increasing passion, If poor weak woman swerve from virtue's rule, And all the pangs we feel for its decay. If, strongly charmed, she leave the thorny way, Alic. Live! live and reign for ever in my bo- And in the softer paths of pleasure stray, som!
[Embracing. Ruin ensues, reproach and endless shame, Safe and unrivalled there possess thy own; And one false step entirely damns her fame : And you, the brightest of the stars above, In vain with tears her loss she may deplore, Ye saints, that once were women here below, In vain look back on what she was before; Be witness of the truth, the holy friendship, She sets, like stars that fall, to rise no more. Which here to this my other self I vow !
But my heart guesses at the friendly meaning,
And will not die your debtor. Enter Alicia, speaking to Jane SHORE as en
Hast. 'Tis well, madam. tering.
But I would see your friend. Alic. No farther, gentle friend; good angels Alic. Oh, thou false lord ! guard you,
I would be mistress of my heaving heart, And spread their glorious wings about your Stifle this rising rage, and learn from thee slumbers.
To dress my face in easy dull indifference: The drowsy night grows on the world, and now But it will not be; my wrongs will tear their way, The busy craftsmen and o'er laboured hind And rush at once upon thee. Forget the travail of the day in sleep:
Hast. Are you wise? Care only wakes, and moping pensiveness; Have you the use of reason? Do you wake? With meagre discontented looks they sit,
What means this raving, this transporting pasAnd watch the wasting of the midnight taper.
sion? Such vigils must I keep, so wakes my soul, Alic. Oh, thou cool traitor ! thou insulting Restless and self-tormented! Oh, false lastings! tyrant! Thou hast destroyed iny peace.
Dost thou behold my poor
distracted heart, [Knocking within. Thus rent with agonizing love and rage, What noise is that?
And ask me what it means? Art thou not false? What visitor is this, who, with bold freedom, Am I not scorned, forsaken, and abandoned, Breaks in upon the peaceful night and rest, Left, like a common wretch, to shame and inWith such a rude approach?
Given up to be the sport of villains' tongues, Enter a Servant.
Of laughing parasites, and lewd buffoons ? Ser. One from the court,
And all because my soul has doated on thee Lord Hastings (as I think) demands my lady. With love, with truth, and tenderness unutterable! Alic. Hastings ! Be still, my heart, and try to Hast. Are these the proofs of tenderness and meet him
love? With his own arts : with falsehood-But he comes. These endless quarrels, discontents, and jealousies;
These never-ceasing wailings and complainings, Enter LORD HASTINGS, speaks to a Servant as
These furious starts, these whirlwinds of the soul,
Which every other moment rise to madness? Hast. Dismiss my train, and wait alone with Alic. What proof, alas ! have I not given of
love? Alicia here! Unfortunate encounter !
What have I not abandoned to thy arms? But be it as it may.
Have I not set at nought my poble birth, Alic. When humbly, thus,
A spotless fame, and an unblemished race, The great descend to visit the afflicted,
The peace of innocence, and pride of virtue? When thus, unmindful of their rest, they come My prodigality has given thee all ; To soothe the sorrows of the midnight mourner, And now, I've nothing left me to bestow, Comfort comes with them; like the golden sun, You hate the wretched bankrupt you have made. Dispels the sullen shades with her sweet influ Hast. Why am I thus pursued from place to erice,
place, And cheers the melancholy house of care. Kept in the view, and crossed at every turn? Hast. 'Tis true, I would not over-rate a cour In vain I fly, and, like a hunted deer, tesy,
Scud o'er the lawns, and hasten to the covert; Nor let the coldness of delay hang on it, E'er I can reach my safety, you o'ertake me To nip and blast its favour, like a frost; With the swift malice of some keen reproach, But rather chose, at this late hour to come, And drive the winged shaft deep in my heart, That your fair friend may know I have prevail Alic. Hither you fly, and here you seek repose;
Spite of the poor deceit, your arts are known, The lord protector has received her suit, Your pious, charitable, midnight visits ! And means to shew her grace.
Hast. If you are wise, and prize your peace of Alic. My friend! my lord.
mind, Hast. Yes, lady, yours: none has a right more Yet take the friendly counsel of my love; ample
Believe me true, nor listen to your jealousy. To task my power than you.
Let not that devil, which undoes your sex, Alic. I want the words,
That cursed curiosity seduce you, To pay you back a compliment so courtly; To hunt for needless secrets, which, neglected,