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When insolence and barbarism triumphed, To think me yours, and rank me with your friends.
Of manners rude, and insolent of speech,
pliment And set once more that scene of blood before us! Is much against the plainness of my nature : Glost. How now! so hot!
I judge you by myself, a clear true spirit, Hast. So brave, and so resolved.
And, as such, once more join you to my bosom. Glost. Is then our friendship of so little mo- Farewell, and be my friend. [Erit Clost. ment,
Hast. I am not read, That you could arm your hand against my life? Nor skilled and practised in the arts of greatHast. I hope your highness does not think I ness, mean it;
To kindle thus, and give a scope to passion. No; Heaven forefend that e'er your princely per- The duke is surely noble; but he touched me
Even on the tenderest point; the master-string, Should come within the scope of my resentment. That makes most harmony or discord to me. Glost. Oh, noble Hastings ! Nay, I must em- I own the glorious subject fires my breast,
[Embraces him. And my soul's darling passion stands confessed. By holy Paul, y'are a right honest man ! Beyond or love's or friendship’s sacred band, The time is full of danger and distrust,
Beyond myself, I prize my native land : And warns us to be wary. Hold me not On this foundation would I build my fame, Too apt for jealousy and light surmise,
And emulate the Greek and Roman name; If, when I meant to lodge you near my heart, Think England's peace bought cheaply with my I put your truth to trial. Keep your loyalty,
blood, And live your king and country's best support: And die with pleasure for my country's good. For me, I ask no more than hononr gives,
This puling, whining harlot rules his reason,
And prompts his zeal for Edward's bastard brood. Enter Duke of GLOSTER, RATCLIFFE, and
Cat. If she have such dominion o'er his heart, CATESBY.
And turn it at her will, you rule her fate; Glost. This was the sum of all: that he would And should, by inference and apt deduction, brook
Be arbiter of his. Is not her bread, No alteration in the present state.
The very means immediate to her being, Marry, at last, the testy gentleman
The bounty of your hand? Why does she live, Was almost moved to bid us bold defiance; If not to yield obedience to your pleasure, But there I dropt the argument, and changing To speak, to act, to think as you command ? The first design and purport of my speech,
Rat. Let her instruct her tongue to bear your I praised his good affection to young Edward,
message ; And left him to believe my thoughts like his. Teach every grace to smile in your behalf, Proceed we then in this forementioned matter, And her deluding eyes to gloat for you; As nothing bound, or trusting to his friendship. His ductile reason will be wound about, Rat. Ill does it thus befall. I could have Be led and turned again, say and unsay, wished
Receive the yoke, and yield exact obedience. This lord had stood with us. His friends are Glost. Your counsel likes me well, it shall be wealthy;
[Exeunt Ratcliffe and Catesby. His name had been of vantage to your highness, How poor a thing is he, how worthy scorn, And stood our present purpose much in stead. Who leaves the guidance of imperial manhood Glost. This wayward and perverse declining To such a paltry piece of stuff as this is ! from us,
A moppet made of prettiness and pride; Has warranted at full the friendly notice, That oftener does her giddy fancies change, Which we this morn received. I hold it certain, Than glittering dew-drops in the sun do colours Now, shame upon it! was our reason given But give the realm much worthy cause to thank For such a use! To be thus puffed about
you. Like a dry leaf, an idle straw, a feather,
J. SK. Oh! where or how-Can my unworthy The sport of every whiffling blast that blows?
hand Beshrew my heart, but it is wondrous strange; Become an instrument of good to any? Sure there is something more than witchcraft in Instruct your lowly slave, and let me Ay them,
To yield obedience to your dread cominand. That masters even the wisest of us all.
Glost. Why, that's well said–Thus then-Ob
serve me well; Enter JANE SHORE.
The state, for many high and potent reasons, Oh! you are come most fitly. We have ponder- Deeming my brother Edward's sons unfit ed
For the imperial weight of England's crownOn this your grievance: and though some there J. Sh. Alas! for pity. are,
Glost. Therefore have resolved Nay, and those great ones too, who would enforce To set aside their unavailing infancy, The rigour of our power to afflict you,
And vest the sovereign rule in abler hands. And bear a heavy hand; yet fear not you: This, though of great importance to the public, We're ta'en you to our favour; our protection Hastings, for very peevishness and spleen, Shall stand between, and shield you from mis- Does stubbornly oppose. hap.
J. Sh. Does he? Does Hastings ? J. Sh. The blessings of a heart with anguish Glost. Ay, Flastings. broken,
J. Sh. Reward him for the noble deed, just And rescued from despair, attend your highness. Heavens! Alas! my gracious lord, what have I done For this one action, guard him, and distinguish To kindle such relentlesz wraih against me?
him If in the days of all my past oftences,
With signal mercies, and with great deliverance ! When most my heart was lifted with delight, Save him from wrong, adversity, and shame ! If I withheld my morsel from the hungry, Let never-fading honours flourish round him, Forgot the widow's want, and orphan's cry; And consecrate his name, even to time's end ! If I have known a good I have not shared, Let him know nothing else but good on earth, Nor called the poor to take his portion with me, And everlasting blessedness hereafter ! Let my worst enemies stand forth, and now
Glost. How now! Deny the succour, which I gave not then.
J. Sh. The poor, forsaken, royal little ones! Glost. Marry there are, though I believe them Shall they be left a prey to savage power? not,
Can they lift up their harmless hands in vain, Who say you meddle in affairs of state :
Or cry to Ileaven for help, and not be heard ? That you presume to prattle, like a busy body, Impossible! Oh, gallant, generous Hastings, Give your advice, and teach the lords o'th' coun- Go on, pursue ! assert the sacred cause : cil
Stand forth, thou proxy of all-ruling Providence, What fits the order of the common-weal. And save the friendless infants from oppression!
J. Sh. Oh, that the busy world, at least in this, Saints shall assist thee with prevailing prayers, Would take example from a wretch like me! And warring angels combat on thy side. None then would waste their hours in foreign Glost. You are passing rich in this same heathoughts,
venly speech, Forget themselves, and what concerns their peace, And spend it at your pleasure. Nay, but mark To tread the mazes of fantastic falsehood,
me! To haunt their idle sounds and Aying tales, My favour is not bought with words like these. Through all the giddy, noisy courts of rumour; Go to-you'll teach your tongue another tale. Malicious slander never would have leisure J. Sh. No, though the royal Edward has unTo search, with prving eyes, for faults abroad, If all, like me, considered their own hearts, He was my king, my gracious master still; And wept the sorrows which they found at home. He loved me too, though 'twas a guilty flame, Glost. Go to! I know your power; and though And fatal to my peace, yet still he loved me; I trust not
With fondness, and with tenderness he doated, To every breath of fame, I am not to learn Dwelt in my eyes, and lived but in my smiles : That Hastings is professed your loving vassal. And can I-O my heart abhors the thought ! But fair betal your beauty: use it wisely, Stand by, and see his children robbed of right? And it may stand your fortunes much in stead, Glost. Dare not, even for thy soul, to thwart Give back your forfeit land with large increase,
me further! And place vou high in safety and in honour. None of your arts, your feigning and your foolNav, I could point a way, the which pursuing,
ery; You shall not only bring yourself advantage, Your dainty squeamish coying it to me;
Go to your lord, your paramour, begone ! And only hope forgiveness in the grave.
[Erit Shore, guarded by Catesby and others. And play your monkey gambols over to him. Glost. So much for this. Your project's at an You know my purpose, look that you pursue it,
[To Ratcliffe. And make him yield obedience to my will. This idle toy, this hilding scorns my power, Do it-or woe upon thy harlot's head!
And sets us all at naught. See that a guard J. Sh. Oh, that my tongue had every grace of Be ready at my call. speech,
Rat. The council waits
Enter the Duke of BUCKINGHAM, Earl of De. To pay my duty to my master's ashes,
BY, Bishop of Ely, Lord Hastings, and others, And plead, till death, the cause of injured inno
as to the council. The Duke of GLOSTER takes cence!
his place at the upper end, then the rest sit. Glost. Ha! Dost thou brave me, minion! Derb. In happy times we are assembled here, Dost thou know
To point the day, and fix the solemn pomp How vile, how very a wretch, my power can For placing England's crown, with all due rites, make thee?
Upon our sovereign Edward's youthful brow. That I can let loose fear, distress, and famine, Hast. Some busy meddling knaves, 'tis said, To hunt thy heels, like hell-hounds, through the world;
As such will still be prating, who presume
and cavil at his royal right; As help shall never find thee; where, repining, Therefore, I hold it fitting, with the soonest, Thou shalt sit down and gnaw the earth for an- To appoint the order of the coronation, guish;
So to approve our duty to the king, Groan to the pitiless winds without return; And stay the babbling of such vain gainsayers. Howl like the midnight wolf amidst the desert, Derb. We all attend to know your highness' And curse thy life, in bitterness and misery!
[To Gloster. J. Sh. Let me be branded for the public scorn,
Glost. My lords, a set of worthy men you are, Turned forth and driven to wander like a vaga- Prudent and just, and careful for the state; bond,
Therefore, to your most grave determination, Be friendless and forsaken, seek my bread I yield myself in all things; and demand Upon the barren wild, and desolate waste, What punishment your wisdom shall think meet Feed on my sighs, and drink my falling tears, To inflict upon those damnable contrivers, E’er I consent to teach my lips injustice, Who shall, with potions, charms, and witching Or wrong the orphan who has none to save him! drugs, Glost. 'Tis well-we'll try the temper of your Practise against our person and our life? heart.
Hast. So much I hold the king your highness' What hoa! who waits without ?
So precious are you to the common weal, Enter RatclIFFE, Catesby, and Attendants.
That I presume, not only for myself, Rat. Your highness' pleasure
But in behalf of these my noble brothers, Glost. Go, some of you, and turn this strum- To say, whoe'er they be, they merit death.
Glost. Then judge yourselves, convince your Spurn her into the street; there, let her perish,
eyes of truth: And rot upon a dung-hill. Through the city Behold my arm, thus blasted, dry, and, withered, See it proclaimed, that none, on pain of death,
[Pulling up his sleeve. Presume to give her comfort, food, or harbour; Shrunk like a foul abortion, and decayed, Who ministers the smallest comfort, dies. Like some untimely product of the seasons, Her house, her costly furniture and wealth, Robbed of its properties of strength and office. The purchase of her loose luxurious life, This is the sorcery of Edward's wife, We seize on, for the profit of the state.
Who, in conjunction with that harlot Shore, Away! Begone!
And other like confederate midnight hags, J. Sh. Oh, thou most righteous judge
By force of potent spells, of bloody characters, Humbly behold, I bow myself to thee,
And conjurations horrible to hear, And own thy justice in this hard decree: Call fiends and spectres from the yawning deep, No longer, then, my ripe offences spare,
And set the ministers of hell at work,
To torture and despoil me of my life.
Talk'st thou to me of If's, audacious traitor!
Thou art that strumpet witch's chief abettor, Perdition fall on Gloster's head and mine!
Hast. Speak and give ease to thy conflicting
passion; Lord Hastings, I arrest thee of high treason. Be quick, nor keep me longer in suspense; Seize him, and bear him instantly away.
Time presses, and a thousand crowding thoughts He shall not live an hour. By holy Paul, Break in at once! this way and that they snatch, I will not dine before his head be brought me. They tear my hurried soul: All claim attention, Ratcliffe, stay you, and see that it be done : And yet not one is heard. Oh! speak, and The rest, that love me, rise and follow me.
And but a minute's time to get it done in.
Alic. That, that's my grief—'tis. I that urge Guards. Hast. What! and no more but this—How! That haunt thee to the toil, sweep thee from to the scaffold?
earth, Oh, gentle Ratcliffe ! tell me, do I hold thee? And drive thee down this precipice of fate. Or if I dream, what shall I do to wake,
Hast. Thy reason is grown wild. Could thy To break, to struggle through this dread confu- weak hand sion?
Bring on this mighty ruin? If it could, For surely death itself is not so painful
What have I done so grievous to thy soul, As is this sudden horror and surprise.
So deadly, so beyond the reach of pardon, Rat. You heard, the duke's commands to me That nothing but my life can make atonement ? were absolute.
Alic. Thy cruel scorn hath stung me to the Therefore, my lord, address you to your shrift,
heart, With all good speed you may. Suminon your And set my burning bosom all in flames: courage,
Raving and inad I flew to my revenge, And be yourself; for you must die this instant. And writ I know not what--told the protector, Hast. Yes, Ratcliffe, I will take thy friendly That Shore's detested wife, by wiles, had won counsel,
thee And die as a man should; 'tis somewhat hard To plot against his greatness--Ile believed it, To call my scattered spirits home at once: (Oh, dire event of my pernicious counsel !) But since what must be, must be let necessity And, while I meant destruction on her head, Supply the place of time and preparation, He has turned it all on thine. And arm me for the blow. Tis but to die, Hast. Accursed jealousy ! Tis but to venture on that common hazard, Oh, merciless, wild, and unforgiving fiend! Which many a time in battle I have run; Blindfold it runs to undistinguished mischief, Tis but to do, what at that very inoment, And murders all it meets. Cursed be its rage, In many nations of the peopled earth,
For there is none so deadly; doubly cursed A thousand and a thousand shall do with me; Be all those easy fools who give it harbour; Tis but to close my eyes and shut out day-light, Who turn a monster loose among mankind, To view no more the wicked ways of men, Fiercer than famine, war, or spotted pestilence; No longer to behold the tyrant Gloster,
Baneful as death, and horrible as hell! And be a weeping witness of the woes,
Alic. If thou wilt curse, curse rather thine own The desolation, slaughter, and calamities,
falsehood; Which he shall bring on this unhappy land. Curse the lewd maxims of thy perjured sex, Enter AưCIA.
Which taught thee first to laugh ai faith and jus
tice, Alic. Stand off, and let me pass--I will, I must To scorn the solemn sanctity of oaths, Catch him once more in these despairing arms, And make a jest of a poor woman's ruin : And hold him to my heart-Q Hastings! Has- Curse thy proud heart, and thy insulting tongue, tings !
That raised this fatal fury in my soul, Hast. Alas! why comest thou at this dreadful And urged my vengeance to undo us both. moment,
Hast. "Oh, thou inhuman! Turn thy eyes aTo fill me with new terrors, new distractions ;
way, To turn me wild with thy distempered rage, And blast me not with their destructive beams : And shock the peace of my departing soul? Why should I curse thee with my dying breath? Away! I prithee leave me!
Begone! and let me die in peace. Alic. Stop a minute
Alic. Can'st thou, Oh, cruel llastings, leare Till my full griefs find passage -Oh, the tyrant! me thus!
Hear me, I beg thee-I conjure thee, hear me ! Rat. My lord, dispatch; the duke has sent to
For loitering in my duty.
Hust. I obey. My hate was on my rival bent alone.
Alic. Insatiate, savage monster! Is a moment Oh! bad I once divined, false as thou art, So tedious to thy malice ? Oh, repay him, A danger to thy life, I would have died,
Thou great avenger! Give him blood for blood : I would have met it for thee, and made bare Guilt haunt him! fiends pursue him ! lightnings My ready faithful breast, to save thee from it.
blast hiin! Hast. Now mark! and tremble at Heaven's Some horrid, cursed kind of death o'ertake him, just award :
Sudden, and in the fulness of his sins! While thy insatiate wrath, and fell revenge, That he may know how terrible it is, Pursued the innocence which never wronged thee, To want that moment he denies thee now. Behold the mischief falls on thee and me:
Hast. This rage is all in vain, that tears thy Remorse and heaviness of heart shall wait on bosom; thee,
Like a poor bird, that Autters in its cage, And everlasting anguish be thy portion: Thou beatest thyself to death. Retire, I beg For me, the snares of death are wound about me, thee; And now, in one poor moment, I am gone.
thee thus, thou knowest not how it Oh! if thou hast one tender thought remaining,
wounds me; Fly to thy closet, fall upon thy knees,
Thy agonies are added to my own, And recoinmend my parting soul to mercy.
And make the burthen more than I can bear. Alic. Oh! yet before I go for ever from thee, Farewell—Good angels visit thy afflictions, Turn thee, in gentleness and pity, to me, And bring thee peace and comfort from above!
(Kneeling. Alic. Oh! stab me to the heart, some pitying And, in compassion of my strong affliction,
hand! Say, is it possible you can forgive
Now strike me dead !The fatal rashness of ungoverned love?
Hast. One thing I had forgotFor, oh ! 'tis certain, if I had not loved thee I charge thee, by our present common miseries; Beyond my peace, my reasori, fame, and life, By our past loves, if yet they have a name; Desired to death, and doated to destraction, By all thy hopes of peace bere and hereafter, This day of horror never should have known us. Let not the rancour of thy hate pursue Hast. Oh, rise, and let me hush thy stormy The innocence of thy unhappy friend; sorrows !
(Raising her. Thou knowest who'tis I mean; Oh! should'st Assuage thy tears, for I will chide no more,
thou wrong her, No more upbraid thee, thou unhappy fair one. Just Heaven shall double all thy woes upon thee, I see the hand of Heaven is armed against me; And make them know no end-Remember this, And, in mysterious Providence, decrees
As the last warning of a dying man. To punish me by thy mistaken hand.
Farewell, for ever! Most righteous doom! for, oh, while I behold
[The guards carry Hastings off thee,
Alic. For ever! Oh, for ever ! Thy wrongs rise up in terrible array,
Oh, who can bear to be a wretch for ever! And charge thy ruin on me; thy fair fame, My rival, too! His last thoughts hung on her, Thy spotless beauty, innocence, and youth, And, as he parted, left a blessing for her: Dishonoured, blasted, and betrayed by me. Shall she be blest, and I be curst, for ever? Alic. And does thy heart relent for my undo No: since her fatal beauty was the cause ing?
Of all my sufferings, let her share my pains; Oh, that inhuman Gloster could be moved, Let her, like me, of every joy forlorn, But half so easily as I can pardon!
Devote the hour when such a wretch was born; Hast. Here, then, exchange we mutually for- Like me, to deserts and to darkness run, giveness :
Abhor the day, and curse the golden sun; So may the guilt of all my broken vows, Cast every good, and every hope behind; My perjuries to thee, be all forgotten,
Detest the works of nature, loath mankind : As here my soul acquits thee of my death, Like me, with cries distracted, fill the air, As here I leave thee with the softest tenderness, Tear her poor bosom, rend her frantic hair; Mourning the chance of our disastrous loves, And prove the torments of the last despair! And bogging Heaven to bless and to support thee.