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These fears drive out the gentler thoughts of joy, Of courtship, and of love. Grant, Heaven, the
To fix in peace and safety once again;
Then speak your passion to the princely maid,
And fair success attend you. For myself,
My voice shall go as far for you, my lord,
As for my son; and beauty be the umpire.
But now a heavier matter calls upon us;
The king, with life just labouring; and I fear,
The council grow impatient at our stay.
Pem. One moment's pause, and I attend your
Old Winchester cries to me oft, Beware
Of proud Northumberland. The testy prelate,
Froward with age, with disappointed hopes,
And zealous for old Rome, rails on the duke,
Suspecting him to favour the new teachers:
Yet even in that, if I judge right, he errs.
But were it so, what are these monkish quarrels,
These wordy wars of proud ill-mannered school-
Oh, Guilford! just as thou wert entering here, My thought was running all thy virtues over, And wondering how thy soul could choose a partner,
So much unlike itself.
Guil. How could my tongue
Take pleasure and be lavish in thy praise! How could I speak thy nobleness of nature, Thy open manly heart, thy courage, constancy, And in-born truth, unknowing to dissemble! Thou art the man in whom my soul delights; In whom, next heaven, I trust.
Pem. Oh, generous youth!
What can a heart, stubborn and fierce, like mine,
Return to all thy sweetness?-Yet I would,
I would be grateful.—Oh, my cruel fortune!
Would I had never seen her, never cast
Mine eyes on Suffolk's daughter!
Since 'twas my fate to see and love her first.
Pem. Oh! Why should she, that universal
Like light, a common blessing to the world,
Rise, like a comet, fatal to our friendship,
And threaten it with ruin?
But tell me, Pembroke, is it not in virtue
To arm against this proud imperious passion?
Does holy friendship dwell so near to envy,
She could not bear to see another happy?
If blind mistaken chance, and partial beauty,
Should join to favour Guilford-
Pem. Name it not!
My fiery spirits kindle at the thought, And hurry me to rage.
Guil. And yet I think
I should not murmur, were thy lot to prosper, And mine to be refused. Though sure, the loss Would wound me to the heart.
Pem. Ha! Couldst thou bear it?
And yet perhaps thou mightst; thy gentle temper
Is formed with passions mixed with due proportion,
Where no one overbears, nor plays the tyrant,
But join in nature's business, and thy happiness:
While mine, disdaining reason and her laws,
Like all thou canst imagine wild and furious,
Now drive me headlong on, now whirl me back,
And hurl my unstable flitting soul
To every mad extreme. Then pity me,
And let my weakness stand-
Enter Sir JOHN GATES.
Gates. The lords of council
Wait with impatience.
Pem. I attend their pleasure.
This only, and no more, then. Whatsoever
Fortune decrees, still let us call to mind
Our friendship and our honour. And since love
Condemns us to be rivals for one prize,
Let us contend, as friends and brave men ought,
With openness and justice to each other;
That he, who wins the fair one to his arms,
May take her as the crown of great desert;
And if the wretched loser does repine,
His own heart and the world may all condemn
Guil. How cross the ways of life lie! While
We travel on direct in one high road,
And have our journey's end opposed in view,
A thousand thwarting paths break in upon us,
To puzzle and perplex our wandering steps;
Love, friendship, hatred, in their turns, mislead us,
And every passion has its separate interest:
Where is that piercing foresight can unfold
Where all this mazy error will have end,
And tell the doom reserved for me and Pem-
There is but one end certain, that is-Death:
Yet even that certainty is still uncertain.
For of these several tracks, which lie before us,
We know that one leads certainly to death,
But know not which that one is. 'Tis in vain,
This blind divining; let me think no more on it:
And see the mistress of our fate appear!
Enter Lady JANE GRAY. Attendants. Hail, princely maid! who, with auspicious beauty, Chearest every drooping heart in this sad place; Who, like the silver regent of the night, Lift'st up thy sacred beams upon the land, To bid the gloom look gay, dispel our horrors, And make us less lament the setting sun.
L. J. Gray. Yes, Guilford; well dost thou compare my presence
To the faint comfort of the waning moon;
Like her cold orb, a cheerless gleam I bring:
Silence and heaviness of heart, with dews
To dress the face of nature all in tears.
But say, how fares the king?
Guil. He lives as yet,
every moment cuts away a hope,
Adds to our fears, and gives the infant saint
Great prospect of his opening Heaven.
L. J. Gray. Descend, ye choirs of angels, to receive him!
your melodious harps to some high strain, And waft him upwards with a song of triumph; A purer soul, and one more like yourselves, Ne'er entered at the golden gates of bliss.
I charge thee touch the ungrateful theme no more;
Lead me to pay my duty to the king,
To wet his pale cold hand with these last tears,
And share the blessings of his parting breath.
Guil, Were I like dying Edward, sure a touch
Of this dear hand would kindle life anew.
But I obey, I dread that gathering frown;
And, oh! whene'er my bosom swells with pas-
full heart is pained with ardent love,
Allow me but to look on you, and sigh;
'Tis all the humble joy that Guilford asks.
L. J. Gray. Still wilt thou frame thy speech to this vain purpose,
When the wan king of terrors stalks before us, When universal ruin gathers round,
And no escape is left us? Are we not
Oh, Guilford! What remains for wretched Eng-Like wretches in a storm, whom every moment
When he, our guardian angel, shall forsake us? For whose dear sake Heaven spared a guilty land,
And scattered not its plagues while Edward reigned!
Guil. I own my heart bleeds inward at the thought,
And rising horrors crowd the opening scene.
And yet, forgive me, thou, my native country,
Thou land of liberty, thou nurse of heroes,
Forgive me, if, in spite of all thy dangers,
New springs of pleasure flow within my bosom,
When thus 'tis given me to behold those eyes,
The greedy deep is gaping to devour?
Around us see the pale despairing crew
Wring their sad hands, and give their labour
The hope of life has every heart forsook,
And horror sits on each distracted look;
One solemn thought of death does all employ,
And cancels, like a dream, delight and joy;
One sorrow streams from all their weeping eyes,
And one consenting voice for mercy cries;
Trembling, they dread just Heaven's avenging
Mourn their past lives, and wait the fatal hour, [Exeunt.
Enter the Duke of NORTHUMBERLAND, and the Duke of SUFFOLK.
Nor. YET then be cheered, my heart, amidst
Though fate hang heavy o'er us, though pale fear
And wild distraction sit on every face;
Though never day of grief was known like this,
Let me rejoice, and bless the hallowed light,
Whose beams auspicious shine upon our union,
And bid mé call the noble Suffolk brother.
Suff. I know not what my secret soul presages,
But something seems to whisper me within,
That we have been too hasty. For myself,
I wish this matter had been yet delayed;
That we had waited some more blessed time,
Some better day, with happier omens hallowed,
For love to kindle up his holy flame.
But you, my noble brother, would prevail,
And I have yielded to you.
North. Doubt not any thing;
Nor hold the hour unlucky, that good Heaven,
Who softens the corrections of his hand,
And mixes still a comfort with afflictions,
Has given to-day a blessing in our children,
To wipe away our tears for dying Edward.
Suff. In that I trust. Good angels be our guard,
And make my fears prove vain! But see! My wife!
With her, your son, the generous Guilford, comes; She has informed him of our present purpose.
Enter the Duchess of SUFFOLK, and Lord GUILFORD.
Guil. How shall I speak the fulness of my heart?
What shall I say to bless you for this goodness?
Oh, gracious princess! But my life is yours,
And all the business of my years to come,
Is, to attend with humblest duty on you,
And pay my vowed obedience at your feet.
To bid farewell to thee, my gentle cousin ;
To speak a few short words to thee, and dic.
With that he prest my hand, and, oh!--he said,
When I am gone, do thou be good to England,
Keep to that faith in which we both were bred,
Duch. Suff. Yes, noble youth, I share in all And to the end be constant. More I would,
In all the joys which this sad day can give.
The dear delight I have to call thee son,
Comes like a cordial to my drooping spirits;
It broods with gentle warmth upon my bosom,
And melts that frost of death which hung about
But haste! Inform my daughter of our pleasure:
Let thy tongue put on all its pleasing eloquence,
Instruct thy love to speak of comfort to her,
To soothe her griefs, and cheer the mourning
North. All desolate and drowned in flowing
By Edward's bed the pious princess sits;
Fast from her lifted eyes the pearly drops
Fall trickling o'er her cheek, while holy ardour
And fervent zeal pour forth her labouring soul;
And every sigh is winged with prayers so potent,
As strive with Heaven to save her dying lord.
Duch, Suf. From the first early days of infant
A gentle band of friendship grew betwixt them;
And while our royal uncle Henry reigned,
As brother and as sister bred together,
Beneath one common parent's care they lived.
North. A wondrous sympathy of souls con-
To form the sacred union. Lady Jane
Of all his royal blood was still the dearest;
In every innocent delight they shared;
They sung, and danced, and sat, and walked together;
Nay, in the graver business of his youth,
When books and learning called him from his
Even there the princely maid was his companion.
She left the shining court to share his toil,
To turn with him the grave historian's page,
And taste the rapture of the poet's song;
To search the Latin and the Grecian stores,
And wonder at the mighty minds of old.
Enter Lady Jane GRAY, weeping.
L. J. Gray. Wilt thou not break, my heart!
Suff. Alas! What meanest thou?
Guil. Oh! speak!
Duch. Suff. How fares the king?
North. Say, is he dead?
L. J. Gray. The saints and angels have him.
Duch. Suff. When I left him,
He seemed a little cheered, just as you entered. L. J. Gray. As I approached to kneel and pay my duty,
He raised his feeble eyes, and faintly smiling,
Are you then come? he cried: I only lived,
But cannot There his faltering spirits failed,
And turning every thought from earth at once,
To that blest place where all his hopes were
Earnest he prayed ;- -Merciful, great defender!
Preserve thy holy altars undefiled,
Protect this land from bloody men and idols,
Save my poor people from the yoke of Rome,
And take thy painful servant to thy mercy!
Then, sinking on his pillow, with a sigh,
He breathed his innocent and faithful soul
Into his hands who gave it.
Guil. Crowns of glory,
Such as the brightest angels wear, be on him!
Peace guard his ashes here, and paradise,
With all its endless bliss, be open to him!
North. Our grief be on his grave. Our pre-
Enjoins to see his last commands obeyed.
I hold it fit his death be not made known
To any but our friends. To-morrow, early,
The council shall assemble at the Tower.
Mean while, I beg your grace would strait in-
[To the Duchess of Suffolk.
Your princely daughter of our resolution;
Our common interest in that happy tie
Demands our swiftest care to see it finished.
Duch. Suff. My lord, you have determined well.
Be it your task to speak at large our purpose.
Daughter, receive this lord as one whom I,
Your father, and his own, ordain your husband:
What more concerns our will and your obedience,
We leave you to receive from him at leisure.
[Exeunt Duke and Duchess of Suffolk,
and Duke of Northumberland.
Guil. Wilt thou not spare a moment from thy
And bid these bubbling streams forbear to flow?
Wilt thou not give one interval to joy,
One little pause, while humbly I unfold
The happiest tale my tongue was ever blest with?
L. J. Gray. My heart is dead within me; evc-
Is dead to joy: but I will hear thee, Guilford;
Nay, I must hear thee, such is her command,
Whom early duty taught me still to obey.
Yet, oh! forgive me, if to all the story,
Though eloquence divine attend thy speaking,
Though every muse, and every grace, do crown
Forgive me, if I cannot better answer,
Than weeping- -thus, and thus-
Guil. If I offend thee,
Let me be dumb for ever: Let not life
Inform these breathing organs of my voice,
If any sound from me disturb thy quiet.
What is my peace or happiness to thine?
No; though our noble parents had decreed,
And urged high reasons, which import the state,
This night to give thee to my faithful arms,
My fairest bride, my only earthly bliss-
L. J. Gray. How! Guilford! on this night?
Guil. This happy night;
Yet, if thou art resolved to cross my fate,
If this, my utmost wish, shall give thee pain,
Now rather let the stroke of death fall on me,
And stretch me out a lifeless corpse before thee!
Let me be swept away, with things forgotten,
Be huddled up in some obscure blind
Ere thou shouldst say my love has made thee
Or drop one single tear for Guilford's sake.
L. J. Gray. Alas! I have too much of death
And want not thine to furnish out new horror.
Oh! dreadful thought, if thou wert dead indeed!
What hope were left me then? Yes, I will own,
Spite of the blush that burns my maiden cheek,
My heart has fondly leaned towards thee long:
Thy sweetness, virtue, and unblemished youth,
Have won a place for thee within my bosom:
And if my eyes look coldly on thee now,
And shun thy love on this disastrous day,
It is because I would not deal so hardly,
To give thee sighs for all thy faithful vows,
And pay thy tenderness with nought but tears.
As yet, 'tis all I have.
Let me but call thee mine, confirm that hope,
To charm the doubts which vex my anxious soul;
For all the rest, do thou allot it for me,
And, at thy pleasure, portion out my blessings.
My eyes shall learn to smile or weep from thine,
Nor will I think of joy while thou art sad.
Nay, couldst thou be so cruel to command it,
I will forego a bridegroom's sacred right,
And sleep far from thee, on the unwholesome
Where damps arise, and whistling winds blow loud;
Then, when the day returns, come drooping to thee,
My locks still drizzling with the dews of night, And cheer my heart with thee, as with the morning.
L. J. Gray. Say, wilt thou consecrate this night
And be a very faithful partner to thee.
Near thee I will complain in sighs, as number-
As murmurs breathing in the leafy grove:
My eyes shall mix their falling drops with thine,
Constant, as never-ceasing waters roll,
That purl and gurgle o'er their sands for ever.
The sun shall see my grief through all his course;
And, when night comes, sad Philomel, who 'plains
From starry vesper to the rosy dawn,
Shall cease to tune her lamentable song,
Ere I give o'er to weep and mourn with thee.
L. J. Gray. Here, then, I take thee to my
heart for ever,
[Giving her hand.
The dear companion of my future days:
Whatever Providence allots for each,
Be that the common portion of us both :
Share all the griefs of thy unhappy Jane;
But if good Heaven has any joys in store,
Let them be all thy own.
Guil. Thou wondrous goodness!
Heaven gives too much at once in giving thee;
And, by the common course of things below,
Where each delight is tempered with affliction,
Some evil, terrible and unforeseen,
Must sure ensue, and poise the scale against
This vast profusion of exceeding pleasure.
But be it so! let it be death and ruin!
On any terms I take thee.
L. J. Gray. Trust our fate
To him, whose gracious wisdom guides our ways,
And makes what we think evil turn to good.
Permit me now to leave thee and retire;
I'll summon all iny reason and my duty,
To soothe this storm within, and frame my heart
To yield obedience to my noble parents.
Guil. Good angels minister their comforts to
And, oh! if, as my fond belief would hope,
If any word of mine be gracious to thee,
I beg thee, I conjure thee, drive away
Those murderous thoughts of grief, that kill thy
Restore thy gentle bosom's native peace,
Lift up the light of gladness in thy eyes,
And cheer thy heaviness with one dear smile!
L.J. Gray. Yes, Guilford, I will study to forget
All that the royal Edward has been to me;
How we have loved, even from our very cradles.
My private loss no longer will I mourn,
But every tender thought to thee shall turn :
With patience I'll submit to Heaven's decree,
And what I lost in Edward find in thee.
But, oh! when I revolve what ruins wait
Our sinking altars and the falling state;
When I consider what my native land
Expected from her pious sovereign's hand ;
How formed he was to save her from distress,
A king to govern, and a saint to bless :
New sorrow to my labouring breast succeeds,
And my whole heart for wretched England
[Exit Lady Jane Gray.
Guil. My heart sinks in me, at her soft com-
And every moving accent, that she breathes,
Resolves my courage, slackens my tough nerves,
And melts me down to infancy and tears.
My fancy palls, and takes distaste at pleasure:
My soul grows out of tune, it loathes the world,
Sickens at all the noise and folly of it;
And I could sit me down in some dull shade,
Where lonely Contemplation keeps her cave,
And dwells with hoary hermits; there forget my-
There fix my stupid eyes upon the earth,
And muse away an age in deepest melancholy.
Pem. Edward is dead; so said the great
As now he shot along by me in haste.
To reach a hand, and save thee from adversity.
Guil. And wilt thou be a friend to me indeed?
And, while I lay my bosom bare before thee,
Wilt thou deal tenderly, and let thy hand
Pass gently over every painful part?
Wilt thou with patience hear, and judge with
And if, perchance, thou meet with something
Somewhat to rouse thy rage, and grate thy soul,
Wilt thou be master of thyself and bear it?
Pem. Away with all this needless preparation!
Thou knowest thou art so dear, so sacred to me,
That I can never think thee an offender.
If it were so, that I indeed must judge thee,
I should take part with thee against myself,
Nor-And call thy fault a virtue.
Guil. But suppose
He pressed my hand, and, in a whisper, begged
[Speaking to him.
Pem. Wherefore dost thou start?
Why sits that wild disorder on thy visage,
Somewhat, that looks like passions strange to
The paleness of surprize and ghastly fear?
Since I have known thee first, and called thee
I never saw thee so unlike thyself,
So changed upon a sudden,
Guil. How! so changed!
Pem. So to my eye thou seemest.
Guil. The king is dead.
Pem. I learned it from thy father,
Just as I entered here. But say, could that,
A fate which every moment we expected,
Distract thy thought, or shock thy temper, thus?
Guil. Oh, Pembroke! 'tis in vain to hide from
For thou hast looked into my artless bosom,
And seen at once the hurry of my soul.
'Tis true, thy coming struck me with surprize.
I have a thought-but wherefore said I one?
I have a thousand thoughts all up in arms,
Like populous towns disturbed at dead of night,
That, mixed in darkness, bustle to and fro,
As if their business were to make confusion.
Pem. Then sure our better angels called me
For this is friendship's hour, and friendship's of-
To come, when counsel and when help is want-
To share the pain of every gnawing care,
To speak of comfort in the time of trouble,
The thought were somewhat that concerned our love?
Pem. No more; thou knowest we spoke of
And on what terms we left it. 'Tis a subject,
Of which, if possible, I would not think;
I beg that we may mention it no more.
Guil. Can we not speak of it with temper?
Thou knowest I cannot. Therefore, prithee
Guil. Oh! could the secret I would tell thee
And the world never know it, my fond tongue
Should cease from speaking, ere I would unfold
Or vex thy peace with an officious tale!
But since, howe'er ungrateful to thy ear,
It must be told thee once, hear it from me.
Pem. Speak, then, and ease the doubts that
shock my soul!
Guil. Suppose thy Guilford's better stars pre-