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ACT I.

me

SCENE I.-The Tower.

Glost. And yet this tough impracticable heart

Is governed by a dainty-fingered girl. Enter the Duke of GLOSTER, Sir RICHARD

Such flaws are found in the most worthy naRATCLIFFE, and CATESBY.

tures ; Glost. Thus far success attends upon our A laughing, toying, wheedling, whimpering she councils,

Shall make him amble on a gossip's message, And each event has answered to my wish; And take the distaff with a hand as patient The queen and all her upstart race are quelled; As e'er did Hercules. Dorset is banished, and her brother Rivers, Rat. The fair Alicia, Ere this, lies shorter by the head at Pomfret. Of noble birth and exquisite of feature, The nobles have, with joint concurrence, named Has held him long a vassal to her beauty.

Cat. I fear, he fails in his allegiance there; Protector of the realın. My brother's children, Or my intelligence is false, or else Young Edward, and the little York, are lodged The dame has been too lavish of her feast, Here, safe within the Tower. How

say you, sirs, And fed him till he loathes. Does not this business wear a lucky face?

Glost. No more, he comes.
The sceptre and the golden wreath of loyalty
Seem hung within my reach.

Enter Lord HASTINGS.
Rat. Then take them to you,

Hast. Health, and the happiness of many days And wear them long and worthily. You are Attend upon your grace. The last remaining male of princely York, Glost. My good lord chamberlain, (For Edward's boys, the state esteems not of We're much beholden to your gentle friendship

. them,)

Hast. My lord, I come an humble suitor to And therefore on your sovereignty and rule,

you. The common weal does her dependence make, Glost. In right good time. Speak out your And leans upon your highness' able hand.

pleasure freely. Cat. And yet to-morrow does the council meet, Hast. I am to move your highness in behalf To fix a day for Edward's coronation.

Of Shore's unhappy wife. Who can expound this riddle?

Glost. Say you, of Shore? Glost. That can I.

Hast. Once a bright star, that held her place Those lords are each one my approved good

on high; friends,

The first and fairest of our English dames, Of special trust and nearness to my bosom; While royal Edward held the sovereign rule

. And howsoever busy they may seem,

Now sunk in grief, and pining with despair, And diligent to bustle in the state,

Her waning form no longer shall incite
Their zeal goes on no farther than we lead, Envy in woman, or desire in man.
And at our bidding stays.

She never sees the sun, but through her tears, Cat. Yet there is one,

And wakes to sigh the live-long night away. And he amongst the foremost in his power, Glost. Marry! the times are badly changed Of whom I wish your highness were assured.

with her, For me, perhaps it is my nature's fault, From Edward's days to these. Then all was jolI own, I doubt of his inclining, much.

lity, Glost. I guess the man at whom your words Feasting and mirth, light wantonness and laugtwould point:

ter, Hastings

Piping and playing, minstrelsy and masquing; Cat. The same.

Till life fled from us like an idle dream, Glost. He bears me great good-will.

A shew of mummery without a meaning, Cat. 'Tis true, to you, as to the lord protec- My brother,-rest and pardon to his soul! tor,

Is

gone to his account; for this his minion, And Gloster's duke, he bows with lowly service: The revel rout is done But you were speaking But were he bid to cry, God save king Richard, Concerning her--I have been told, that you Then tell me in what terms he would reply? Are frequent in your visitation to her. Believe me, I have proved the man, and found Hast. No farther, my good lord, than friendly him:

pity, I know he bears a most religious reverence And tender-hearted charity allow, To his dead master Edward's royal memory, Glost. Go to; I did not mean to cliide you And whither that may lead him is most plain.

for it. Yet more-One of that stubborn sort he is, For, sooth to say, I hold it noble in you Who, if they once grow fond of an opinion, To cherish the distressed On with your tale

. They call it honour, honesty, and faith,

Hast. Thus it is, gracious sir, that certain ottiAnd sooner part with life than let it go.

cers,

1

answer

for mercy,

(feeping.

Using the warrant of your mighty name, He wears the marks of many years well spent,
With insolent, unjust, and lawless power, Of virtue, truth well tried, and wise experience;
Have seized upon the lands which late she held A friend like this would suit my sorrows well.
By grant, from her great master Edward's bounty. Fortune, I fear me, sir, has meant you ill,
Glost. Somewhat of this, but slightly, have I

(To Dum. heard;

Who pays your merit with that scanty pittance,
And though some counsellors of forward zeal, Which my poor hand and humble root can give.
Some of most ceremonious sanctity,

But to supply these golden 'vantages,
And bearded wisdom, often have provoked Which elsewhere you might find, expect to meet
The hand of justice to fall heavy on her; A just regard and value for your worth,
Yet still, in kind compassion of her weakness, The welcome of a friend, and the free partner.
And tender memory of Edward's love,

ship
I have withheld the merciless stern law . Of all that little good the world allows me.
From doing outrage on her helpless beauty. Dum. You over-rate me much; and all my
Hast. Good Heaven, who renders mercy back

Must be my future truth; let them speak for me,
With open-handed bounty shall repay you: And make up my deserving.
This gentle deed shall fairly be set foremost, J. Sh. Are you of England ?
To screen the wild escapes of lawless passion, Dum. No, gracious lady, Flanders claims my
And the long train of frailties flesh is heir to.

birth;
Glost. Thus far the voice of pity pleaded only: At Antwerp has my constant biding been,
Our farther and more full extent of grace Where sometimes I have known niore plenteous
Is given to your request. Let her attend,

days
And to ourself deliver up her griefs.

Than these which now my failing age affords.
She shall be heard with patience, and each wrong J. Sh. Alas! at Antwerp !-Oh, forgive my
At full redressed. Bụt I have other news,

tears!
Which much import us both; for still my fortunes They fall for my offences—and must fall
Go hand in hand with yours: our common foes, Long, long ere they shall wash my stains away.
The queen's relations, our new-fangled gentry, You knew perhaps-Oh grief ! oh shame !-my
Have fallen their haughty crests—That for your

husband ?
privacy.

(Exeunt. Dum. I knew him well—but stay this flood of

anguish! SCENE II.-An Apartment in JANE SHORE's The senseless grave feels not your pious sorrows: House.

Three years and more are past, since I was bid,

With many of our common friends, to wait him Enter BELMOUR and DUMONT.

To his last peaceful mansion. I attended, Bel. How she has lived, you have heard my Sprinkled his clay-cold corse with holy drops tale already ;

According to our church's rev’rend rite,
The rest your own attendance in her family, And saw him laid in hallow'd ground, to rest.
Where I have found the means this day to place J. Sh. Oh, that my soul had known no joy but
you,

him! And nearer observation, best will tell you.

That I had lived within his guiltless arms, See, with what sad and sober cheer she comes. And, dying, slept in innocence beside him!

But now his dust abhors the fellowship,
Enter JANE SHORE.

And scorns to mix with mine.
Sure, or I read her visage much amiss,

Enter a Servant. Or grief besets her hard. Save you, fair lady! The blessings of the cheerful morn be on you, Ser. The lady Alicia And greet your beauty with its opening sweets ! Attends your leisure. J. Sh. My gentle neighbour, your good wishes J. Sh. Say I wish to see her.-[Erit Servant. still

Please, gentle sir, one moment to retire: Pursue my hapless fortunes. Ah, good Belmour! I'll wait you on the instant, and inform you How few, like thee, inquire the wretched out, Of each unhappy circumstance, in which And court the offices of soft humanity!

Your friendly aid and counsel much may stead me. Like thee reserve their raiment for the naked,

[Exeunt BELMOUR and Dumont. Reach out their bread to feed the crying orphan,

Enter ALICIA. Or mix their pitying tears with those that weep! Thy praise deserves a better tongue than mine, Alic. Still, my fair friend, still shall I find you To speak and bless thy name. Is this the gentle

thus! man,

Still shall these sighs heave after one another, Whose friendly service you commended tome ? These trickling drops chase one another still, Bel. Madam, it is.

As if the posting messengers of grief
J. Sh. A venerable aspect.

[Aside. Could overtake the hours fled far away,
Age sits with decent grace upon his visage, And make old Time come back?
And worthily becomes his silver locks;

J. Sh. No, my Alicia,

3

ness

Heaven and his saints be witness to my thoughts, | And move my humble suit to angry Gloster

. There is no hour of all my life o'er past,

Alic. Does Hastings undertake to plead your That I could wish to take its turn again.

cause ! Alic. And yet some of those days my friend But wherefore should he not? Hastings has eyes; has known,

The gentle lord has a right tender heart, Some of those years might pass for golden ones, Melting and easy, yielding to impression, At least if womankind can judge of happiness. And catching the soft fame from each ner What could we wish, we, who delight in empire,

beauty; Whose beauty is our sovereign good, and gives us But yours shall charm him long. Our reasons to rebel, and power to reign,

J. Sh. Away, you flatterer! What could we more than to behold a monarch, Nor charge his generous meaning with a weakLovely, renowned, a conqueror, and young,

ness, Bound in our chains, and sighing at our feet? Which his great soul and virtue must disdain. J. Sh. 'Tis true, the royal Edward was a won- Too much of love thy hapless friend has proved, der,

Too many giddy foolish hours are gone, The goodly pride of all our English youth; And in fantastic measures danced away: He was the very joy of all that saw him; May the remaining few know only friendship Formed to delight, to love, and to persuade. So thou, my dearest, truest, best Alicia, Impassive spirits and angelic natures

Vouchsafe to lodge me in thy gentle heart, Might have been charmed, like yielding human A partner there, I will give up mankind, weakness,

Forget the transports of increasing passion, Stooped from their heaven, and listened to his And all the pangs we feel for its decay. talking.

Alic. Live! live and reign for ever in my bo But what had I to do with kings and courts?

som!

[Embracing. My humble lot had cast me far beneath him; Safe and unrivalled there, possess thy own; And that he was the first of all mankind, And you, the brightest of the stars above, The bravest, and most lovely, was my curse. Ye saints, that once were women here below, Alic. Sure, something more than fortune Be witness of the truth, the holy friendship, joined your loves :

Which here to this my other self I vow! Nor could his greatness, and bis gracious form, If I not hold her nearer to my soul, Be elsewhere matched so well, as to the sweet- Than every other joy the world can give;

Let poverty, deformity, and shame, And beauty of my friend.

Distraction and despair seize me on earth! J. Sh. Name him no more!

Let not my faithless ghost have peace hereafter

, He was the bane and ruin of my peace.

Nor taste the bliss of your celestial fellowship! This anguish and these tears, these are the lega- J. Sh. Yes, thou art true, and only thou art cies

true; His fatal love has left me. Thou wilt see me, Therefore these jewels, once the lavish bounty Believe me, my Alicia, thou wilt see me, Of royal Edward's lave, I trust to thee; E'er yet a few short days pass o'er my head, Abandoned to the very utmost wretchedness. Receive this, all that I can call my own, The hand of power has seized almost the whole And let it rest unknown, and safe with thee: Of what was left for needy life's support; That if the state's injustice should oppress me, Shortly thou wilt behold me poor, and kneeling Strip me of all, and turn me out a wanderer

, Before thy charitable door for bread.

My wretchedness may find relief from thee, Alic. Joy of my life, my dearest Shore, forbear And shelter from the storm. To wound my heart with thy foreboding sorrows! Alic. My all is thine; Raise thy sad soul to better hopes than these; One common hazard shall attend us both, Lift up thy eyes, and let them shine once more, And both be fortunatė, or both be wretched. Bright as the morning sun above the mist. But let thy fearful doubting heart be still ; Exert thy charms, seek out the stern protector, The saints and angels have thee in their charge

, And soothe his savage temper with thy beauty

And all things shall be well. Think not, the Spite of his deadly, unrelenting nature,

good, Ile shall be moved to pity, and redress thee. The gentle deeds of mercy thou hast dove,

J. Sh. My form, alas! has long forgot to please; Shall die forgotten all; the poor, the prisoner, The scene of beauty and delight is changed; The fatherless, the friendless, and the widow, No roses bloom upon my fading cheek,

Who daily own the bounty of thy hand, Nor laughing graces wanton in my eyes ; Shall cry to Heaven, and pull a blessing op But baggard grief, lean-looking sallow care,

thee; And pining discontent, a rueful train,

Even man, the merciless insulter man, Dwell on my brow, all hideous and forlorn. Man, who rejoices in our sex's weakness, One only shadow of a hope is left me;

Shall pity thee, and with unwonted goodness The noble-minded Hastings, of his goodness, Forget thy failings, and record thy praise. Has kindly underta’en to be my advocate,

J. Sh. Why should I think that man will do

(Giving a casket

for me,

What yet he never did for wretches like me?
Mark by what partial justice we are judged :
Such is the fate unhappy women find,
And such the curse entailed upon our kind,
That man, the lawless libertine, may rove,
Free and unquestioned through the wilds of love;
While woman, sense and nature's easy fool,
If poor weak woman swerve from virtue's rule,

If, strongly charmed, she leave the thorny way,
And in the softer paths of pleasure stray,
Ruin ensues, reproach and endless shame,
And one false step entirely damns her fame :
In vain with tears the loss she may deplore,
In vain look back on what she was before;
She sets, like stars that fall, to rise no more.

(Ereunt.

ACT II.

The lord protector has received her suit,
SCENE I.-Continues.

And means to shew her grace.

Alic. My friend, my lord ! Enter ALICIA, speaking to JANE SHORE as en

Hast. Yes, lady, yours: none has a right more tering.

ample
Alic. No farther, gentle friend; good angels To task my power than you.
guard you,

Alic. I want the words,
And spread their gracious wings about your To pay you back a compliment so courtly;
slumbers !

But my heart guesses at the friendly meaning, The drowsy night grows on the world, and now And will not die your debtor. The busy craftsman and o'er-laboured hind

Hast. 'Tis well, madam. Forget the travail of the day in sleep :

But I would see your friend. Care only wakes, and moping pensiveness;

Alic. Oh, thou false lord ! With meagre discontented looks they sit, I would be mistress of my heaving heart, And watch the wasting of the midnight taper. Stifle this rising rage, and learn from thee Such vigils must I keep, so wakes my soul, To dress my face in easy dull indifference: Restless and self-tormented! Oh, false Hastings ! But 'twill not be; my wrongs will tear their way, Thou hast destroyed my peace.

And rush at once upon thee.

(Knocking within. Hast. Are you wise? What noise is that?

Have you the use of reason? Do you wake? What visitor is this, who, with bold freedom, What means this raving, this transporting passion? Breaks in upon the peaceful night and rest, Alic. Oh, thou cool traitor ! thou insulting With such a rude approach?

tyrant !

Dost thou behold my poor distracted heart,
Enter a Serrant.

Thus rent with agonizing love and rage,
Ser. One from the court,

And ask me what it means? Art thou not false? Lord Hastings (as I think) demands my lady. Am I not scorned, forsaken, and abandoned, Alic. Hastings! Be still, my heart, and iry to Left, like a common wretch, to shame and inmeet him

famy, With his own arts : with falsehood—But he comes. Given up to be the sport of villains' tongues, Enter Lord Ilastings, speaks to a Servant as

Of laughing parasites, and lewd buffoons ?

And all because my soul has doated on thee, entering.

With love, with truth, and tenderness unutterable? Hast. Dismiss my train, and wait alone with- Hust. Are these the proofs of tenderness and out.

love? Alicia here! Unfortunate encounter !

These endless quarrels, discontents, and jealousies, But be it as it may.

These never-ceasing wailings and complainings, Alic. When humbly, thus,

These furious starts, these whirlwinds of the soul, The great descend to visit the afflicted,

Which every other moment rise to madness?
When thus, unmindful of their rest, they come Alic. What proof, alas ! have I not given of
To soothe the sorrows of the midnight mourner,

love?
Comfort comes with them; like the golden sun, What have I not abandoned to thy arms ?
Dispels the sullen shades with her sweet influ- Have I not set at nought my noble birth,
ence,

A spotless fame, and an unblemished race,
And cheers the melancholy house of care. The peace of innocence, and pride of virtue?
Hast. 'Tis true, I would not over-rate a cour- My prodigality has given thee all;
tesy,

And now I've nothing left me to bestow,
Nor let the coldness of delay hang on it, You hate the wretched bankrupt you have made.
To nip and blast its favour, like a frost;

Hast. Why am I thus pursued from place to
But rather chose, at this late hour to come,

place, That your fair friend may know I have prevailed; | Kept in the view, and cross’d at every turn?

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In vain I fly, and, like a hunted deer,

With royal favour guarded round and graced; Scud o'er the lawns, and hasten to the covert; On eagle's wings my rage shall urge her flight, E’er I can reach my safety, you o'ertake me And hurl thee headlong from thy topmost height; With the swift malice of some keen reproach, Then, like thy fate, superior will I sit, And drive the winged shaft deep in my heart. And view thee fallen, and grovelling at my feet;

Alic. Hither you fly, and here you seek repose; See thy last breath with indignation go, Spite of the poor deceit, your arts are known, And tread thee sinking to the shades below. Your pious, charitable, midnight visits !

(Erit. Hast. If you are wise, and prize your peace of

Hast. How fierce a fiend is passion! with what mind,

wildness, Yet take the friendly counsel of my love; What tyranny untamed it reigns in woman! Believe me true, nor listen to your jealousy. Unhappy sex! whose easy yielding temper Let not that devil, which undoes your sex, Gives way to every appetite alike: That cursed curiosity, seduce you

Each gust of inclination, uncontrouled, To hunt for needless secrets, which, neglected, Sweeps through their souls, and sets them in an Shall never hurt your quiet: but, once known,

uproar; Shall sit upon your heart, pinch it with pain, Each motion of the heart rises to fury, And banish the sweet sleep for ever from you.

And love, in their weak bosoms, is a rage Go to-be yet advised

As terrible as hate, and as destructive. Alic. Dost thou, in scorn,

So the wind roars o'er the wide fenceless ocean, Preach patience to my rage, and bid me tamely And heaves the billows of the boiling deep, Sit like a poor contented idiot down,

Alike from north, from south, from east, from Nor dare to think thou'st wronged me? Ruin west; seize thee,

With equal force the tempest blows, by turns, And swift perdition overtake thy treachery! From every corner of the seaman's compass. Have I the least remaining cause to doubt? But soft ye now-for here comes one, disclaims Hast thou endeavoured once to hide thy false- Strife and her wrangling train ; of equal elements, hood?

Without one jarring atom, was she formed, To hide it might have spoke some little tender- And gentleness and joy make up her being.–

ness, And shewn thee half unwilling to undo me:

Enter JANE SHORE. But thou disdain'st the weakness of humanity; Forgive me, fair one, if officious friendship Thy words, and all thy actions, have confessed it; Intrudes on your repose, and comes thus late Even now thy eyes avow it, now they speak, To greet you with the tidings of success. And insolently own the glorious villainy. The princely Gloster has vouchsafed you heare Hast. Well, then! I own my heart has broke ing;

To-morrow he expects you at the court; Patient I bore the painful bondage long ; There plead your cause, with never-failing beauty, At length my generous love disdains your ty- Speak all your griefs, and find a full redress. ranny :

J. Sh. Thus humbly let your lowly servant bend, The bitterness and stings of taunting jealousy,

(Kneeling: Vexatious days, and jarring, joyless nights, Thus let me bow my grateful knee to earth, Have driven him forth to seek soine safer shelter, And bless your noble nature for this goodness. Where he may rest his weary wings in peace. Hast. Rise, gentle dame; you wrong my meanAlic. You triumph? do ! and, with gigantic ing much ; pride,

Think me not guilty of a thought so vain, Defy impending vengeance. Heaven shall wink; To sell my courtesy for thanks like these! No more his arm shall roll the dreadful thunder, J. Sh. 'Tis true, your bounty is beyond my Nor send his lightnings forth: no more his jus- speaking: tice

But though my mouth be dumb, my heart shal Shall visit the presuming sons of men,

thank you; But perjury, like thine, shall dwell in safety. And when it melts before the throne of mercy, Hast. Whate'er my fate decrees for me here- Mourning and bleeding for my past offences, after,

My fervent soul shall breathe one prayer for you, Be present to me now, my better angel ! If prayers of such a wretch are heard on high, Preserve me from the storm that threatens now, That Heaven will pay you back, when most you And if I have beyond atonement sinned,

need, Let any other kind of plague o’ertake me, The grace and goodness you have shewn to me. So I escape the fury of that tongue.

Hast. If there be aught of merit in my service, Alic. Thy prayer is heard—I go-but know, Impute it there, where most 'tis due to love; proud lord,

Be kind, my gentle mistress, to my wishes, Howe'er thou scorn'st the weakness of my sex, And satisfy my panting heart with beauty! This feeble hand may find the means to reach J. Sh. Alas! my lord thee,

Hast. Why bend thy eyes to earth? Howe'er sublime in power and greatness placed, | Wherefore these looks of heaviness and sorrow ?

your chains.

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