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Duke of GLOSTER,
Sir Richard RATCLIFFE
Mrs. Ward. JANE SHORE,
Mrs. Siddons. Several lords of the council, guards, and attendants.
Miss Brunton. JANE SHORE,
Mrs. Pope. Several lords of the council, guards, and attendants.
The Tower. Enter the Duke of Glocester, Sir
RICHARD RATCLIFFE, and CATESBY.
Thus far success attends upon our councils,
And each event has answer'd to my wish;
queen and all her upstart race are quellid;
Dorset is banish’d, and her brother Rivers,
Ere this, lies shorter by the head at Pomfret,
The nobles have, with joint concurrence, nam’d me
Protector of the realm. My brother's children,
Young Edward and the little York, are lodg'd
Here, safe within the Tower. How say you, sirs,
Does not this business wear a lucky face?
The sceptre and the golden wreath of royalty
Seem hung within my reach.
Rat. Then take 'em to you,
And wear 'em long and worthily. You are
The last remaining male of princely York,
(For Edward's boys, the state esteems not of them,)
And therefore on your sov'reignty and rule,
The common-weal does her dependence make,
And leans upon your highness' able hand.
Cat. And yet to-morrow does the council meet,
To fix a day for Edward's coronation.
Who can expound this riddle ?
Glost. That can I.
Those lords are each one my approv'd good friends,
Of special trust and nearness to my bosom;
And howsoever busy they may seem,
And diligent to bustle in the state,
Their zeal goes on no farther than we lead,
And at our bidding stays.
Cat. Yet there is one,
And he amongst the foremost in his
Of whom I wish your highness were assur'd.
For me, perhaps it is my nature's fault,
I own, I doubt of his inclining, much.
Glost. I guess the man at whom your words would
Cat. The same.
Glost. He bears me great good-will.
Cat. 'Tis true, to you, as to the lord protector,
And Gloster's duke, he bows with lowly service:
But were he bid to cry, God save King Richard,
Then tell me in what terms he would reply?
Believe me, I have prov'd the man, and found him:
I know he bears a most religious reverence
To his dead master Edward's royal memory,
And whither that may lead him is most plain.
Yet more-One of that stubborn sort he is,
Who, if they once grow fond of an opinion,
They call it honour, honesty, and faith,
And sooner part with life than let it go.
Glost. And yet this tough impracticable heart,
Is govern’d by a dainty-finger'd girl ;
Such flaws are found in the most worthy natures;
A laughing, toying, wheedling, whimpering she
Shall make him amble on a gossip's message,
And take the distaff with a hand as patient
As e'er did Hercules.
Rat. The fair Alicia,
Of noble birth and exquisite of feature,
Has held him long a vassal to her beauty.
Cat. I fear, he fails in his allegiance there;
Or my intelligence is false, or else
The dame has been too lavish of her feast,
And fed him till he loathes.
Glost. No more, he comes.
Enter Lord HASTINGS. Hast. Health, and the happiness of many days, Attend upon your grace.
Glost. My good lord chamberlain, We're much beholden to your gentle friendship.
Hast. My lord, I come an humble suitor to you,
Glost. In right good time. Speak out your plea
Hast. I am to move your highness in behalf
Of Shore's-unhappy wife.
Glost. Say you, of Shore?
Hast. Once a bright star, that held her place on
The first and fairest of our English dames,
While royal Edward held the sov'reign rule.
Now sunk in grief, and pining with despair,
Her waining form no longer shall incite
Envy in woman, or desire in man.
She never sees the sun, but thro' her tears,
And wakes to sigh the live-long night away.
Glost. Marry! the times are badly chang'd with
her, From Edward's days to these. Then all was jollity, Feasting and mirth, light wantonness and laughter, Piping and playing, minstrelsy and masquing; 'Till life fled from us like an idle dream, A shew of mommery without a meaning. My brother, rest and pardon to his soul, Is gone to his account; for this his minion, The revel rout is done—But you were speaking Concerning her-I have been told, that you Are frequent in your visitation to her.
Hast. No farther, my good lord, than friendly pity, And tender-hearted charity allow.
Glost. Go to; I did not mean to chide you for it.