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Nay, and those great ones, too, who would en- This, though of great importance to the public, force
Hastings, for very peevishness and spleen, The rigour of our power to afflict you,
Does stubbornly oppose. And bear a heavy hand; yet fear not you:
J. Sh. Does he? Does Hastings? We've ta’en you to our favour; our protection Glost. Ay, Hastings. Shall stand between, and shield you from mis- J. Sh. Reward him for the noble deed, just hap.
Heavens ! J. Sh. The blessings of a heart with anguish For this one action, guard him, and distinguish broken,
him And rescued from despair, attend your highness. With signal mercies, and with great deliverance! Alas! my gracious lord, what have I done Save him from wrong, adversity, and shame! To kindle such relentless wrath against me? Let never-fading honours flourish round him, If in the days of all my past offences,
And consecrate his name, even to time's end! When most my heart was lifted with delight, Let him know nothing else but good on earth, If I withheld my morsel from the hungry, And everlasting blessedness hereafter! Forgot the widow's want, and orphan's cry; Glost. How now ! If I have known a good I have not shared, J. Sh. The poor, forsaken, royal little ones! Nor called the poor to take his portion with me, Shall they be left a prey to savage power? Let my worst enemies stand forth, and now Can they lift up their harmless hands in vain, Deny the succour, which I gave not then. Or cry to Heaven for help, and not be heard? Glost. Marry, there are, though I believe them Impossible ! Oh, gallant, generous Hastings! not,
Go on, pursue ! assert the sacred cause : Who say you meddle in affairs of state;
Stand forth, thou proxy of all-ruling Providen«, That you presume to prattle, like a busy body, And save the friendless infants from oppression! Give your advice, and teach the lords o''th' Saints shall assist thee with prevailing prayers, council
And warring angels combat on thy side. What fits the order of the common-weal. Glost. You're passing rich in this same heaJ. Sh. Oh, that the busy world, at least in this,
venly speech, Would take example from a wretch like me! And spend it at your pleasure. Nay, but mark None then would waste their hours in foreign thoughts,
My favour is not bought with words like these. Forget themselves, and what concerns their peace, Go to—you'll teach your tongue
. To tread the mazes of fantastic falsehood, J. Sh. No, though the royal Edward has unTo haunt their idle sounds and flying tales, Through all the giddy, noisy courts of rumour; He was my king, my gracious master still ; Malicious slander never would have leisure He loved me, too, though 'twas a guilty flame, To search, with prying eyes, for faults abroad, And fatal to my peace, yet still he loved me; If all, like me, considered their own hearts, With fondness, and with tenderness, he deated, And wept the sorrows which they found at home. Dwelt in my eyes, and lived but in my smiles: Glost. Go to! I know your power; and though And can 1-o'my heart abhors the thought! I trust not
Stand by, and see his children robbed of right? To every breath of fame, I am not to learn Glost. Dare not, even for thy soul, to thwart That Hastings is professed your loving vassal.
me further! But fair befal your beauty: use it wisely, None of your arts, your feigning, and your foolery, And it may stand your fortunes much in stead, Your dainty squeamish coying it, to me; Give back your forfeit land with large increase, Go-to your lord, your paramour, begone! And place you high in safety and in honour. Lisp in his ear, hang wanton on his neck, Nay, I could point a way, the which pursuing, And play your monkey gambols o'er to him. You shall not only bring yourself advantage, You know my purpose, look that you pursue it, But give the realm much worthy cause to thank And make him yield obedience to my will
Do it—or woe upon thy harlot's head! J. Sh. Óh! where or how-Can my unworthy J. Sh. Oh, that my tongue had every grace of hand
speech, Become an instrument of good to any?
Great and commanding as the breath of kings, Instruct your lowly slave, and let me fly Sweet as the poet's numbers, and prevailing To yield obedience to your dread command. As soft persuasion to a love-sick maid; Glost. Why, that's well said— Thus then-Ob- That I had art and eloquence divine, serve me well;
To pay my duty to my master's ashes, The state, for many high and potent reasons, And plead, till death, the cause of injured innoDeeming my brother Edward's sons unfit
cence! For the imperial weight of England's crown- Glost. Ha! dost thou brave me, minion ! J. Sh. Alas! for pity.
Dost thou know Glost. Therefore have resolved
How vile, how very a wretch, my power car To set aside their unavailing infancy,
make thee? And vest the sovereign rule in abler hands. That I can let loose fear, distress, and famine,
To hunt thy heels, like hell-hounds, through the To carp and cavil at Lis royal right; world;
Therefore, I hold it fitting, with the soonest, That I can place thee in such abject state, To appoint the order of the coronation; As help shall never find thee; where, repining, So to approve our duty to the king, Thou shalt sit down, and gnaw the earth for an. And stay the babbling of such vain
Derb. We all attend to know your highness' Groan to the pitiless winds without return;
(To Gloster. Howl like the midnight wolf amidst the desert, Glost. My lords, a set of worthy men you are, And curse thy life, in bitterness and misery? Prudent and just, and careful for the state;
J. Sh. Let me be branded for the public scorn, Therefore, to your most grave determination, Turned forth, and driven to wander like a vaga- 1 yield myself in all things; and demand bond,
What punishment your wisdom shall think meet Be friendless and forsaken, seek my bread To inflict upon those damnable contrivers, Upon the barren wild, and desolate waste, Who shall, with potions, charms, and witching Feed on my sighs, and drink my falling tears,
drugs, Ere I consent to teach my lips injustice, Practise against our person and our life? Or wrong the orphan who has none to save him! Hast. So much I hold the king your highness' Glost. 'Tis well-we'll try the temper of your
So precious are you to the common weal, What hoa! who waits without ?
That I presume, not only for myself,
But in behalf of these my noble brothers, Enter RATCLIFFE, CATESBY, and Attendants.
To say, whoe'er they be, they merit death. Rat. Your highness' pleasure
Glost. Then judge yourselves, convince your Glost. Go, some of you, and turn this strum
eyes of truth: pet forth!
Behold my arm, thus blasted, dry, and withered, Spurn her into the street; there let her perish,
[Pulling up his sleeve. And rot upon a dunghill
. Through the city Shrunk like a foul abortion, and decayed, See it proclaimed that none, on pain of death, Like some untimely product of the seasons, Presume to give her comfort, food, or harbour; Robbed of its properties of strength and office. Who ministers the smallest comfort, dies. This is the sorcery of Edward's wife, Her house, her costly furniture and wealth, Who, in conjunction with that harlot Shore, The purchase of her loose luxurious life, And other like confederate midnight hags, We seize on, for the profit of the state. By force of potent spells, of bloody characters, Away! Begone!
And conjurations horrible to hear, J. Sh. Oh, thou most righteous judge- Call fiends and spectres from the yawning deep, Humbly behold, I bow myself to thee,
And set the ministers of hell at work, And own thy justice in this hard decree : To torture and despoil me of my life. No longer, then, my ripe offences spare,
Hast. If they have done this deedBut what I merit, let me learn to bear.
Glost. If they have done it! Yet, since 'tis all my wretchedness can give, Talk'st thou to me of It's, audacious traitor! For my past crimes my forfeit life receive; Thou art that strumpet witch's chief abettor, No pity for my sufferings here I crave,
The patron and complotter of her mischiefs, And only hope forgiveness in the grave. And joined in this contrivance for my death. [Erit Shore, guarded by CATESBY and others. Nay start not, lords What ho! a guard, there, Glost. So much for this.—Your project's at an
sirs ! end.
[TO RATCLIFFE. This idle toy, this hilding, scorns my power,
Enter Guards. And sets us all at naught. See that a guard Lord Hastings, I arrest thee of high treason. Be ready at my call.
Seize him, and bear him instantly away. Rat. The council waits
He shall not live an hour. By holy Paul, Upon your highness' leisure.
I will not dine before his head be brought me! Glost. Bid them enter.
Ratcliffe, stay you, and see that it be done :
The rest, that love me, rise and follow me. Enter the Duke of BUCKINGHAM, Earl of Der
(Ereunt GLOSTER, and the lords following. BY, Bishop of Ely, Lord HASTINGS, and others, as to the council. The Duke of Glos- Manent Lord HASTINGS, RATCLIFFE, and Ter takes his place at the upper end, then the
Guards. rest sit.
Hast. What ! and no more but this-How ! Derb. In happy times we are assembled here,
to the scaffold? To 'point the day, and fix the solemn pomp. Oh, gentle Ratcliffe ! tell me, do I hold thee? For placing England's crown, with all due rites, Or if I dream, what shall I do to wake, Upon our sovereign Edward's youthful brow. To break, to struggle through this dread confuHast. Some busy meddling knaves, 'tis said,
sion ? there are,
For surely death itself is not so painful As such will still be prating, who presume As is this sudden horror and surprise.
Rat. You heard, the duke's commands to me And set my burning bosofh all in flames : were absolute,
Raving and mad, I flew to my revenge, Therefore, my lord, address you to your shrift, And writ I know not what-told the protector, With all good specd you may. Summon your That Shore's detested wife, by wiles, had won courage,
thee And be yourself; for you must die this instant. To plot against his greatness-He believed it, Hast. Yes, Ratcliffe, I will take thy friendly (Oh, dire event of my pernicious counsel !) counsel,
And, while I meant destruction on her bread, And die as a man should; 'tis somewhat hard He has turned it all on thine. To call my scattered spirits home at once :
Hast. Accursed jealousy ! But since what must be, must be let necessity Oh, merciless, wild, and unforgiving fiend ! Supply the place of time and preparation, Blindfold it runs to undistinguished mischief, And arm me for the blow. 'Tis but to die, And murders all it meets. Cursed be its rage, 'Tis but to venture on that common hazard, For there is none so deadly ; doubly cursed Which many
a time in battle I have run; Be all those easy fools who give it harbour; 'Tis but to do, what at that very moment,
Who turn a monster loose among mankind, In many nations of the peopled earth,
Fiercer than famine, war, or spotted pestilence; A thousand and a thousand shall do with me; Baneful as death, and horrible as hell! 'Tis but to close my eyes, and shut out day-light, Alic. If thou wilt curse, curse rather thine own To view no more the wicked ways of men,
falsehood; No longer to behold the tyrant Gloster, Curse the lewd maxims of thy perjured sex, And be a weeping witness of the woes, Which taught thee first to laugh at faith and jusThe desolation, slaughter, and calamities,
tice, Which he shall bring on this unhappy land. To scorn the solemn sanctity of oaths,
And make a jest of a poor woman's ruin: Enter Alicia.
Curse thy proud heart, and thy insulting tongue, Alic. Stand off, and let me pass--I will, I must That raised this fatal fury in my soul, Catch him once more in these despairing arms, And urged my vengeance to undo us both. And hold him to my heart-Hastings, Hastings! last. Oh, thou inhuman ! turn thy eyes awer, Hast. Alas! why com'st thou at this dreadful And blast me not with their destructive beans: moment,
Why should I curse thee with my dying breath? To fill me with new terrors, new distractions; Begone! and let me die in peace. To turn me wild with thy distempered rage, Alic. Canst thou, Oh, cruel Hastings, leate And shock the peace of my departing soul ?
me thus ! Away! I prithee leave me!
Hear me, I beg thee I conjure thee, hear me, Alic. Stop a minute
While with an agonizing heart, I swear, Till full griefs find passage-Oh, the tyrant! By all the pangs I feel, by all the sorrows, Perdition fall on Gloster's head and mine! The terrors and despair thy loss shall give me Hast. What means thy frantic grief?
My hate was on my rival bent alone. Alic. I cannot speak
Oh! had I once divined, false as thou art, But I have murdered thee-Oh, I could tell thee! A danger to thy life, I would have died, Hust. Speak, and give ease to thy conflicting I would have met it for thee, and made bare passion;
My ready faithful breast, to save thee from it. Be quick, nor keep me longer in suspense; Hast. Now mark ! and tremble at Heaven's Time presses, and a thousand crowding thoughts
just award: Break'in at once! this way and that they snatch, While thy insatiate wrath, and fell revenge, They tear my hurried soul: all claim attention, Pursued the innocence which never wronged And yet not one is heard. Oh! speak, and leave
Behold the mischief falls on thee and me: For I have business would employ an age, Remorse and heaviness of heart shall wait thes, And but a minute's time to get it done in. And everlasting anguish be thy portion : Alic. That, that's my grief-'tis I that urge For me, the snares of death are wound about me,
And now, in one poor moment, I am gone. Thus haunt thee to the toil, sweep thee from Oh! if thou hast one tender thought remaine, earth,
Fly to thy closet, fall upon thy knees, And drive thee down this precipice of fate. And recommend my parting soul to merty. Hast. Thy reason is grown wild. Could thy Alic. Oh! yet before I go for ever from theca weak band
Turn thee, in gentleness and pity, to me, Bring on this mighty ruin? If it could, What have I done so grievous to thy soul, And, in compassion of my strong affliction, So deadly, so beyond the reach of pardon, Say, is it possible you can forgive That nothing but my life can make atonement ? The fatal rashness of ungoverned love! Alic. Thy cruel scorn hath stung me to the For, oh! 'tis certain, if I had not loved the heart,
Beyond my peace, my reason, fame, and life,
Desired to death, and doated to distraction, Like a poor bird, that futters in its
(Raising her. To see thee thus, thou know'st not how it Assuage thy tears, for I will chide no more,
wounds me; No more upbraid thee, thou unhappy fair one. Thy agonies are added to my own, I see the hand of Heaven is armed against me, And make the burthen more than I can bear. And, in mysterious providence, decrees
Farewell—Good angels visit thy afflictions, To punish me by thy mistaken hand.
And bring thee peace and comfort from above ! Most righteous doom! for, oh, while I behold Alic. Oh! stab me to the heart, some pitying thee,
hand ! Thy wrongs rise up in terrible array,
Now strike me dead ! And charge thy ruin on me; thy fair fame, Hasi. One thing I had forgotThy spotless beauty, innocence, and youth, I charge thee, by our present common miseries ; Dishonoured, blasted, and betrayed by me. By our past loves, if yet they have a name; Alic. And does thy heart relent for my undo- By all thy hopes of peace here and hereafter, ing?
Let not the rancour of thy hate pursue Oh, that inhuman Gloster could be moved, The innocence of thy unhappy friend; But half so easily as I can pardon !
Thou know'st who'tis I mean ; Oh! should'st Hast. Here, then, exchange we mutually for
thou wrong her, giveness :
Just Heaven shall double all thy woes upon So may the guilt of all my broken vows,
thee, My perjuries to thee, be all forgotten,
And make them know no end-Remember this, As here my soul acquits thee of my death, As the last warning of a dying man. As here I part without one angry thought, Farewell, for ever! As here I leave thee with the softest tenderness,
(The guards carry HAŞTINGS off. Mourning the chance of our disastrous loves, Alic. For ever! Oh, for ever! And begging Heaven to bless and to support thee. Oh, who can bear to be a wretch for ever! Rat. My lord, dispatch; the duke has sent to My rival, too! His last thoughts hung on her,
And, as he parted, left a blessing for her: For loitering in my duty.
Shall she be blest, and I be curst, for eyer ? Hast. I obey.
No: since her fatal beauty was the cause Alic. Insatiate, savage monster! Is a moment of all my sufferings, let her share my pains; So tedious to thy malice ? Oh, repay him, Let her, like me, of every joy forlorn,
Thou great avenger ! Give him blood for blood: Devote the hour when such a wretch was born; Guilt haunt him! fiends pursue him! ligbtnings Like me, to deserts and to darkness fun, blast him !
Abhor the day, and curse the golulen sun; Some horrid, cursed kind of death o'ertake him, Cast every good, and every hope behind; Sudden, and in the fulness of his sins !
Detest the works of nature, loathe mankind; That he inay know how terrible it is,
Like me, with cries distracted, fill the air, To want that moment he denies thee now. Tear her poor bosom, rend her frantic hair ; Hast. This rage is all in vain, that tears thy And prove the torments of the last despair! bosom;
SCENE I. The Street.
The most--such iron hearts we are, and such
The base barbarity of human kind
With insolence, and lewd reproach, pursued her, Dum. You saw her, then ?
Hooting and railing, and, with villanous hands Bel. I met her, as returning,
Gathering the filth from out the common ways, In solemn penance, from the public cross. To hur) upon her head. Before her, certain rascal officers,
Dum. Inhuman dogs!-Slaves in authority, the knaves of justice, How did she bear it? Proclaimed the tyrant Gloster's cruel orders. Bel. With the gentlest patience; On either side her marched an ill-looked priest, Submissive, sad, and lowly, was her look; Who, with severe, with horrid haggard eyes, A burning taper in her hand she bore, Did, ever and anon, by turns, upbraid her, And on her shoulders, carelessly confused, And thunder, in her trembling ear, damnation. With loose neglect, her lovely tresses hung; Around her, numberless, the rabble flowed, Upon her cheek a faintish flush was spread; Shouldering each other, crowding for a view, Feeble she seemed, and sorely smit with pain, Gaping and gazing, taunting and reyiling. While barefoot as she trod the flinty pavement, Some pitying-But those, alas ! hov few! Her footsteps all along were marked with blood.
Yet, silent still she passed, and unrepining; Dum. Oh, that day!
And listened to his talk with downward looks, Bcl. These last two days.
'Till sudden, as she chanced aside to glance, You know my care was wholly bent on you, Her eyes encountered mine-Oh! then, my friend! To find the happy means of your deliverance, Oh! who can paint my griet and her amazeWhich, but for Hastings' death, I had not gained. ment! During that time, although I have not seen her, As at the stroke of death, twice turned she pale
, Yet divers trusty messengers I've sent,
And twice a burning crimson blushed all o'er ber; To wait about, and watch a fit convenience Then, with a shriek, heart-wounding, loud she To give her some relief; but all in vain;
cried, A churlish guard attend upon her steps, While down her cheeks two gushing torrents ran, Who menace those with death that bring her Fast falling on her hands, which thus she wringcomfort,
Moved at her grief, the tyrant ravisher, And drive all succour from her.
With courteous action, wooed her oft to turn; Dum. Let them threaten;
Earnest he seemed to plead, but all in vain : Let proud oppression prove its fiercest malice; Even to the last she bent her sight towards me, So Heaven befriend my soul, as here I vow And followed me—ill I had lost myself. To give her help, and share one fortune with her. Bel. Alas! for pity! Oh! those speaking tears! Bel. Mean you to see her, thus, in your own Could they be false? Did she not suffer with form?
you? Dum. I do.
For though the king by force possessed her perBel. And have you thought upon the conse- son, quence?
Her unconsenting heart still dwelt with you: Dum. What is there I should fear?
If all her former woes were not enough, Bel. Have you examined
Look on her now; behold her where she wanInto your inmost heart, and tried at leisure
ders, The several secret springs that move the passions? Hunted to death, distressed on every side, Has mercy fixed her empire there so sure, With no one hand to help; and tell me tben, That wrath and vengeance never may return? If ever misery were known like hers? Can you resume a husband's name, and bid Dum. And can she bear it can that delicate That wakeful dragon, fierce resentment, sleep?
frame Dum. Why dost thou search so deep, and urge Endure the beating of a storm so rude? my memory
Can she, for whom the various seasons changed, To conjure up my wrongs to life again? To court her appetite and crown her board, I have long laboured to forget myself,
For whom the foreign vintages were pressed, To think on all time backward like a space For whom the merchant spread his silken stores, Idle and void, where nothing e'er had being;
Can she But thou hast peopled it again : Revenge
Entreat for bread, and want the needful raiment, And jealousy renew their horrid forms, To wrap her shivering bosom from the weather? Shoot all their fires, and drive me to distraction. When she was mine, no care came ever nigh her; Bel. Far be the thought from me! my care I thought the gentlest breeze, that wakes the was only
spring, To arm you for the meeting : better were it Too rough to breathe upon her; chearfulness Never to see her, than to let that name Danced all the day before her, and at night Recall forgotten rage, and make the husband Soft slumbers waited on her downy pillowDestroy the generous pity of Dumont.
Now sad and shelterless, perhaps, she lies, Dum. O thou hast set my busy brain at work, Where piercing winds blow sharp, and the chill And now she musters up a train of images,
rain Which, to preserve my peace, I had cast aside, Drops from some pent-house on her wretched And sunk in deep oblivion-Oh, that form!
head, That angel face on which my dotage hung! Drenches her locks, and kills her with the cold. How have I.gazed upon her, till my soul It is too much-Hence with her past offences! With very eagerness went forth towards her, They are atoned at full-Why stay we, then? And issued at my eyes--Was there a gem Oh ! let us haste, my friend, and find her out. Which the sun ripens in the Indian mine,
Bel. Somewhere about this quarter of the town, Or the rich bosom of the ocean yields;
I hear the poor abandoned creature lingers: What was there art could make, or wealth could Her guard, though set with strictest watch to buy,
keep Which I have left unsought to deck her beauty? All food and friendship from her, yet permit her What could her king do more ?-And yet she fled. To wander in the streets, there choose her bed, Bel. Away with that sad fancy
And rest her head on what cold stone she pleases