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Go-to your lord, your paramour, begone!
Lisp in his ear, hang wanton on his neck,
And play your monkey gambols over to him.
You know my purpose, look that you pursue it,
And make him yield obedience to my will.
Do it or woe upon thy harlot's head!
J. Sh. Oh, that my tongue had every grace of speech,
Great and commanding as the breath of kings,
Sweet as the poet's numbers, and prevailing
As soft persuasion to a love-sick maid;
That I had art and eloquence divine,
To pay my duty to my master's ashes,
And plead, till death, the cause of injured innocence!
Glost. Ha! Dost thou brave me, minion! Dost thou know
How vile, how very a wretch, my power can make thee?
That I can let loose fear, distress, and famine, To hunt thy heels, like hell-hounds, through the world;
That I can place thee in such abject state,
As help shall never find thee; where, repining,
Thou shalt sit down and gnaw the earth for an-
Groan to the pitiless winds without return;
Howl like the midnight wolf amidst the desert,
And curse thy life, in bitterness and misery!
J. Sh. Let me be branded for the public scorn, Turned forth and driven to wander like a vagabond,
Be friendless and forsaken, seek my bread
Upon the barren wild, and desolate waste,
Feed on my sighs, and drink my falling tears,
E'er I consent to teach my lips injustice,
Or wrong the orphan who has none to save him!
Glost. 'Tis well-we'll try the temper of your
What hoa! who waits without?
Enter RATCLIFFE, CATESBY, and Attendants. Rat. Your highness' pleasure
Glost. Go, some of you, and turn this strumpet forth!
Spurn her into the street; there, let her perish,
And rot upon a dung-hill. Through the city
See it proclaimed, that none, on pain of death,
Presume to give her comfort, food, or harbour;
Who ministers the smallest comfort, dies.
Her house, her costly furniture and wealth,
The purchase of her loose luxurious life,
We seize on, for the profit of the state.
J. Sh. Oh, thou most righteous judge—
Humbly behold, I bow myself to thee,
And own thy justice in this hard decree :
No longer, then, my ripe offences spare,
But what I merit, let me learn to bear.
Yet, since 'tis all my wretchedness can give,
For my past crimes my forfeit life receive;
No pity for my sufferings here I crave,
And only hope forgiveness in the grave. [Exit Shore, guarded by Catesby and others. Glost. So much for this. Your project's at an end. [To Ratcliffe. This idle toy, this hilding scorns my power, And sets us all at naught. See that a guard Be ready at my call.
Rat. The council waits Upon your highness' leisure. Glost. Bid them enter.
Enter the Duke of BUCKINGHAM, Earl of DER-
Bishop of ELY, Lord HASTINGS, and others,
as to the council. The Duke of GLOSTER takes
his place at the upper end, then the rest sit.
Derb. In happy times we are assembled here,
To point the day, and fix the solemn pomp
For placing England's crown, with all due rites,
Upon our sovereign Edward's youthful brow.
Hast. Some busy meddling knaves, 'tis said,
As such will still be prating, who presume
To carp and cavil at his royal right;
Therefore, I hold it fitting, with the soonest,
To appoint the order of the coronation.
So to approve our duty to the king,
And stay the babbling of such vain gainsayers.
Derb. We all attend to know your highness"
Glost. My lords, a set of worthy men you are,
Prudent and just, and careful for the state;
Therefore, to your most grave determination,
I yield myself in all things; and demand
What punishment your wisdom shall think meet
To inflict upon those damnable contrivers,
Who shall, with potions, charms, and witching
Practise against our person and our life?
Hast. So much I hold the king your highness'
So precious are you to the common weal,
That I presume, not only for myself,
But in behalf of these my noble brothers,
To say, whoe'er they be, they merit death.
Glost. Then judge yourselves, convince your eyes of truth:
Behold my arm, thus blasted, dry, and, withered,
[Pulling up his sleeve.
Shrunk like a foul abortion, and decayed,
Like some untimely product of the seasons,
Robbed of its properties of strength and office.
This is the sorcery of Edward's wife,
Who, in conjunction with that harlot Shore,
And other like confederate midnight hags,
By force of potent spells, of bloody characters,
And conjurations horrible to hear,
Call fiends and spectres from the yawning deep,
And set the ministers of hell at work,
To torture and despoil me of my life.
Hast. If they have done this deed--
Glost. If they have done it!
Talk'st thou to me of If's, audacious traitor!
Thou art that strumpet witch's chief abettor,
The patron and complotter of her mischiefs,
And joined in this contrivance for my death.
Nay start not, lords--What ho! a guard there!
Lord Hastings, I arrest thee of high treason.
Seize him, and bear him instantly away.
He shall not live an hour. By holy Paul,
I will not dine before his head be brought me.
Ratcliffe, stay you, and see that it be done :
The rest, that love me, rise and follow me.
[Exeunt Gloster and the lords following. Manent Lord HASTINGS, RATCLIFFE, and Guards.
Hast. What! and no more but this-How!
to the scaffold?
Oh, gentle Ratcliffe! tell me, do I hold thee?
Or if I dream, what shall I do to wake,
To break, to struggle through this dread confu-
For surely death itself is not so painful
As is this sudden horror and surprise.
Rat. You heard, the duke's commands to me were absolute.
Therefore, my lord, address you to your shrift, With all good speed you may. Summon your
And be yourself; for you must die this instant. Hast. Yes, Ratcliffe, I will take thy friendly counsel,
And die as a man should; 'tis somewhat hard
To call my scattered spirits home at once:
But since what must be, must be let necessity
Supply the place of time and preparation,
And arm me for the blow. 'Tis but to die,
'Tis but to venture on that common hazard,
Which many a time in battle I have run;
'Tis but to do, what at that very moment,
In many nations of the peopled earth,
A thousand and a thousand shall do with me;
'Tis but to close my eyes and shut out day-light,
To view no more the wicked ways of men,
No longer to behold the tyrant Gloster,
And be a weeping witness of the woes,
The desolation, slaughter, and calamities,
Which he shall bring on this unhappy land.
Be quick, nor keep me longer in suspense;
Time presses, and a thousand crowding thoughts
Break in at once! this way and that they snatch,.
They tear my hurried soul: All claim attention,
And yet not one is heard. Oh! speak, and
For I have business would employ an age,
And but a minute's time to get it done in.
Alic. That, that's my grief-'tis. I that urge thee on,
That haunt thee to the toil, sweep thee from earth,
And drive thee down this precipice of fate.
Hast. Thy reason is grown wild. Could thy weak hand
Bring on this mighty ruin? If it could,
What have I done so grievous to thy soul,
So deadly, so beyond the reach of pardon,
That nothing but my life can make atonement?
Alic. Thy cruel scorn hath stung me to the
And set my burning bosom all in flames:
Raving and inad I flew to my revenge,
And writ I know not what-told the protector,
That Shore's detested wife, by wiles, had won
To plot against his greatness-He believed it,
(Oh, dire event of my pernicious counsel!)
And, while I meant destruction on her head,
He has turned it all on thine.
Hast. Accursed jealousy!
Oh, merciless, wild, and unforgiving fiend!
Blindfold it runs to undistinguished mischief,
And murders all it meets. Cursed be its rage,
For there is none so deadly; doubly cursed
Be all those easy fools who give it harbour;
Who turn a monster loose among mankind,
Fiercer than famine, war, or spotted pestilence;
Baneful as death, and horrible as hell!
Alic. If thou wilt curse, curse rather thine own
Curse the lewd maxims of thy perjured sex, Which taught thee first to laugh at faith and jus tice,
To scorn the solemn sanctity of oaths,
And make a jest of a poor woman's ruin:
Curse thy proud heart, and thy insulting tongue,
That raised this fatal fury in my soul,
And urged my vengeance to undo us both.
Hast. Oh, thou inhuman! Turn thy eyes a
And blast me not with their destructive beams: Why should I curse thee with my dying breath? Begone! and let me die in peace.
Alic. Can'st thou, Oh, cruel Hastings, leave me thus!
Hear me, I beg thee-I conjure thee, hear me !
While with an agonizing heart, I swear,
By all the pangs I feel, by all the sorrows,
The terrors and despair thy loss shall give me,
My hate was on my rival bent alone.
Oh! had I once divined, false as thou art,
A danger to thy life, I would have died,
I would have met it for thee, and made bare
My ready faithful breast, to save thee from it.
Hast. Now mark! and tremble at Heaven's
While thy insatiate wrath, and fell revenge,
Pursued the innocence which never wronged thee,
Behold the mischief falls on thee and me:
Remorse and heaviness of heart shall wait on
And everlasting anguish be thy portion:
For me, the snares of death are wound about me,
And now, in one poor moment, I am gone.
Oh! if thou hast one tender thought remaining,
Fly to thy closet, fall upon thy knees,
And recommend my parting soul to mercy.
Alic. Oh! yet before I go for ever from thee,
Turn thee, in gentleness and pity, to me,
And, in compassion of my strong affliction,
Say, is it possible you can forgive
The fatal rashness of ungoverned love?
For, oh! 'tis certain, if I had not loved thee
Beyond my peace, my reason, fame, and life,
Desired to death, and doated to destraction,
This day of horror never should have known us.
Hast. Oh, rise, and let me hush thy stormy
Assuage thy tears, for I will chide no more,
No more upbraid thee, thou unhappy fair one.
I see the hand of Heaven is armed against me;
And, in mysterious Providence, decrees
To punish me by thy mistaken hand.
Most righteous doom! for, oh, while I behold
Thy wrongs rise up in terrible array,
And charge thy ruin on me; thy fair fame,
Thy spotless beauty, innocence, and youth,
Dishonoured, blasted, and betrayed by me.
Alic, And does thy heart relent for my
Oh, that inhuman Gloster could be moved,
But half so easily as I can pardon!
Rat. My lord, dispatch; the duke has sent to
For loitering in my duty.
Hast. I obey.
Alic. Insatiate, savage monster! Is a moment
So tedious to thy malice? Oh, repay him,
Thou great avenger! Give him blood for blood:
Guilt haunt him! fiends pursue him! lightnings
Some horrid, cursed kind of death o'ertake him,
Sudden, and in the fulness of his sins!
That he may know how terrible it is,
To want that moment he denies thee now.
Hast. This rage is all in vain, that tears thy
Like a poor bird, that flutters in its cage,
Thou beatest thyself to death. Retire, I beg
To see thee thus, thou knowest not how it wounds me;
Thy agonies are added to my own,
And make the burthen more than I can bear.
Farewell-Good angels visit thy afflictions,
And bring thee peace and comfort from above!
Alic. Oh! stab me to the heart, some pitying
Now strike me dead!
Hast. One thing I had forgot
I charge thee, by our present common miseries;
By our past loves, if yet they have a name;
By all thy hopes of peace here and hereafter,
Let not the rancour of thy hate pursue
The innocence of thy unhappy friend;
Thou knowest who 'tis I mean; Oh! should'st
thou wrong her,
Just Heaven shall double all thy woes upon thee,
And make them know no end-Remember this,
As the last warning of a dying man.
Farewell, for ever!
[The guards carry Hastings off.
Alic. For ever! Oh, for ever!
Oh, who can bear to be a wretch for ever!
My rival, too! His last thoughts hung on her,
And, as he parted, left a blessing for her:
Shall she be blest, and I be curst, for ever?
undo-No: since her fatal beauty was the cause
Of all my sufferings, let her share my pains;
Let her, like me, of every joy forlorn,
Devote the hour when such a wretch was born;
Hast. Here, then, exchange we mutually for- Like me, to deserts and to darkness run,
Abhor the day, and curse the golden sun;
Cast every good, and every hope behind;
Detest the works of nature, loath mankind:
Like me, with cries distracted, fill the air,
Tear her poor bosom, rend her frantic hair;
And prove the torments of the last despair!
Enter BELMOUR and DUMONT.
Dum. You saw her, then?
Bel. I met her, as returning, In solemn penance, from the public cross. Before her, certain rascal officers, Slaves in authority, the knaves of justice, Proclaimed the tyrant Gloster's cruel orders. On either side her marched an ill-looked priest, Who, with severe, with horrid haggard eyes, Did, ever and anon, by turns, upbraid her, And thunder, in her trembling ear, damnation. Around her, numberless, the rabble flowed, Shouldering each other, crowding for a view, Gaping and gazing, taunting and reviling. Some pitying-But those, alas! how few! The most-such iron hearts we are, and such The base barbarity of human kindWith insolence, and lewd reproach, pursued her, Hooting and railing, and, with villanous hands Gathering the filth from out the common ways, To hurl upon her head.
Dum. Inhuman dogs! How did she bear it?
Bel. With the gentlest patience;
Submissive, sad, and lowly, was her look;
A burning taper in her hand she bore,
And on her shoulders, carelessly confused,
With loose neglect, her lovely tresses hung;
Upon her cheek a faintish flush was spread;
Feeble she seemed, and sorely smit with pain,
While barefoot as she trod the flinty pavement,
Her footsteps all along were marked with blood.
Yet, silent still she passed, and unrepining;
Her streaming eyes bent ever on the earth,
Except, when in some bitter pang of sorrow,
To Heaven she seemed, in fervent zeal, to raise,
And beg that mercy man denied her here.
Dum. When was this piteous sight?
Bel. These last two days.
You know my care was wholly bent on you,
To find the happy means of your deliverance.
Which, but for Hastings' death, I had not gained.
During that time, although I have not seen her,
Yet divers trusty messengers I have sent,
To wait about, and watch a fit convenience
To give her some relief; but all in vain;
A churlish guard attend upon her steps,
Who menace those with death that bring her
And drive all succour from her.
Dum. Let them threaten;
Let proud oppression prove its fiercest malice;
So Heaven befriend my soul, as here I vow
To give her help, and share one fortune with her.
Bel. Mean you to see her, thus, in your own
To arm you for the meeting: better were it
Never to see her, than to let that name
Recall forgotten rage, and make the husband
Destroy the generous pity of Dumont.
Dum. O thou hast set my busy brain at work,
And now she musters up a train of images,
Which, to preserve my peace, I had cast aside,
And sunk in deep oblivion-Oh, that form!
That angel face on which my dotage hung!
How have I gazed upon her, till my soul
With very eagerness went forth towards her,
And issued at my eyes-Was there a gem
Which the sun ripens in the Indian mine,
Or the rich bosom of the ocean yields;
What was there art could make, or wealth could
Which I have left unsought to deck her beauty?
What could her king do more?-And yet she fled.
Bel. Away with that sad fancy-
Dum. Oh, that day!
The thought of it must live for ever with me.
I met her, Belmour, when the royal spoiler
Bore her in triumph from my widowed home!
Within his chariot, by his side she sat,
And listened to his talk with downward looks,
'Till sudden, as she chanced aside to glance,
Her eyes encountered mine-Oh! then, my friend!
Oh! who can paint my grief and her amaze-
As at the stroke of death, twice turned she pale,
And twice a burning crimson blushed all o'er her;
Then, with a shriek, heart-wounding, loud she
While down her cheeks two gushing torrents ran,
Fast falling on her hands, which thus she wrung-
Moved at her grief, the tyrant ravisher,
With courteous action, wooed her oft to turn;
Earnest he seemed to plead, but all in vain;
Even to the last she bent her sight towards me, And followed me-till I had lost myself.
Bel. Alas! for pity! Oh! those speaking tears! Could they be false? Did she not suffer with you?
For though the king by force possessed her per
Her unconsenting heart dwelt still with you;
If all her former woes were not enough,
Look on her now; behold her where she wanders,
Hunted to death, distressed on every side,
With no one hand to help; and tell me then,
If ever misery were known like hers?
Dum. And can she bear it? Can that delicate
Endure the beating of a storm so rude?
Car she, for whom the various seasons changed,
To court her appetite and crown her board,
For whom the foreign vintages were pressed,
For whom the merchant spread his silken stores,
Entreat for bread, and want the needful raiment,
To wrap her shivering bosom from the weather?
When she was mine, no care came ever nigh her;
I thought the gentlest breeze, that wakes the
Too rough to breathe upon her; chearfulness
Danced all the day before her, and at night
Soft slumbers waited on her downy pillow
Now sad and shelterless, perhaps, she lies,
Where piercing winds blow sharp, and the chill
Drops from some pent-house on her wretched
Drenches her locks, and kills her with the cold. It is too much-Hence with her past offences! They are atoned at full-Why stay we, then? Oh! let us haste, my friend, and find her out.
Bel. Somewhere about this quarter of the town, I hear the poor abandoned creature lingers: Her guard, though set with strictest watch to keep
All food and friendship from her, yet permit her To wander in the streets, there choose her bed, And rest her head on what cold stone she pleases. Dum. Here let us then divide; each in his round
To search her sorrows out; whose hap it is First to behold her, this way let him lead Her fainting steps, and meet we here together. [Exeunt. Enter JANE SHORE, her hair hanging loose on her shoulders, and bare-footed.
J. Sh. Yet, yet endure, nor murmur, oh, my soul!
Do they not cover thee like rising floods,
And press thee like a weight of waters down?
Does not the hand of righteousness afflict thee?
And who shall plead against it? Who shall say
To power almighty, thou hast done enough;'
When this unfriendly door, that bars my passage,
Flew wide, and almost leaped from off its hinges,
To give me entrance here; when this good house
Has poured forth all its dwellers to receive me :
When my approaches made a little holiday,
And every face was dressed in smiles to meet me :
But now 'tis otherwise; and those, who blessed me,
Now curse me to my face. Why should I wan-
Stray further on, for I can die even here!
[She sits down at the door.
Enter ALICIA in disorder, two Servants follow-
Alic. What wretch art thou, whose misery and
Hang on my door; whose hateful whine of woe
Breaks in upon my sorrows, and distracts
My jarring senses with thy beggar's cry?