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Wrench'd with an iron hand from firm array,
The enemy Bears his flaunt standard close upon their rear.
2nd Knight. Sure of a bloody prey, seeing the fens Will swamp them girth-deep. Stephen.
Over head and ears. No matter! 'Tis a gallant enemy; How like a comet he goes streaming on. But we must plague him in the flank,-hey, friends ? We are well breath'd,- follow!
Enter Earl Baldwin and Soldiers, as defeated. Stephen.
De Redvers ! What is the monstrous bugbear that can fright Baldwin ?
Baldwin. No scarecrow, but the fortunate star Of boisterous Chester, whose fell truncheon now Points level to the goal of victory. This way he comes, and if you would maintain Your person unaffronted by vile odds, Take horse, my Lord. Stephen.
And which way spur for life? Now I thank heaven I am in the toils, That soldiers may bear witness how my arm Can burst the meshes. Not the eagle more Loves to beat up against a tyrannous blast,
Than I to meet the torrent of my foes.
SCENE II.—Another part of the Field.
Trumpets sounding a Victory. Enter GLOCESTER,
Knights, and Forces.
Glocester. Now may we lift our bruised vizors up And take the flattering freshness of the air, While the wide din of battle dies away Into times past, yet to be echoed sure In the silent pages of our chroniclers. Ist Knight. Will Stephen's death be mark'd there,
my good Lord, Or that we give him lodging in yon towers ? Glocester. Fain would I know the great usurper's fate.
Enter two Captains severally. Ist Captain. My Lord! 2nd Captain. Most noble Earl ! Ist Captain. The King2nd Captain,
The Empress greetsGlocester. What of the King ?
Ist Captain. He sole and lone maintains A hopeless bustle 'mid our swarming arms, And with a nimble savageness attacks,
Escapes, makes fiercer onset, then anew
Now our dreaded Queen: What message from her Highness ? 2nd Captain.
Royal Maud From the throng'd towers of Lincoln hath look'd
down. Like Pallas from the walls of Ilion, And seen her enemies havock'd at her feet. She greets most noble Glocester from her heart, Intreating him, his captains, and brave knights, To grace a banquet. The high city gates Are envious which shall see your triumph pass; The streets are full of music.
Enter and Knight. Glocester.
Whence come you? 2nd Knight. From Stephen, my good Prince
Stephen! Stephen! Glocester. Why do you make such echoing of his
name? 2nd Knight. Because I think, my lord, he is no man, But a fierce demon, 'nointed safe from wounds, And misbaptized with a Christian name. Glocester. A mighty soldier!— Does he still hold
out? 2nd Knight. He shames our victory. His valour still Keeps elbow-room amid our eager swords,
And holds our bladed falchions all aloof.
Glocester. Did no one take him at a vantage then ? 2nd Knight. Three then with tiger leap upon
him flew, Whom, with his sword swift drawn and nimbly held, He stung away again, and stood to breathe, Smiling. Anon upon him rush'd once more A throng of foes, and in this renew'd strife My sword met his and snapp'd off at the hilt. Glocester. Come, lead me to this man—and let
us move In silence, not insulting his sad doom With clamourous trumpets. To the Empress bear My salutation as befits the time.
(Exeunt GLOCESTER and Forces.
SCENE III.—The Field of Battle. Enter STEPHEN,
Stephen. Another sword! And what if I could seize One from Bellona's gleaming armoury, Or choose the fairest of her sheaved spears! Where are my enemies? Here, close at hand, Here come the testy brood. O, for a sword ! I'm faint-a biting sword! A noble sword ! A hedge-stake-or a ponderous stone to hur!
With brawny vengeance, like the labourer Cain.
Enter De Kaims and Knights, &c.
Stephen. Do it, De Kaims, I will not budge an inch.
Stephen. What weapons has the lion but himself? Come not near me, De Kaims, for by the price Of all the glory I have won this day, Being a king, I will not yield alive To any but the second man of the realm, Robert of Glocester.
Thou shalt vail to me.