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JANE SHORE.

ACT THE FIRST.

SCENE I.

The Tower.

Enter the DUKE OF GLOSTER, Sir RICHARD

RATCLIFF, and CATESBY.

Glo. Thus far success attends upon our councils, And each event has answer'd to my

wish; The Queen and all her upstart race are quell’d; Dorset is banish'd, and her brother Rivers, Ere this, lies shorter by the head at Pomfret. The nobles have, with joint concurrence, nam'd me Protector of the realm. My brother's children, Young Edward and the little York, are lodg’d Here, safe within the Tower.—How say you, sirs, Does not this business wear a lucky face? The sceptre and the golden wreath of royalty Seem hung within my

reach. Rat. Then take them to you, And wear them long and worthily. You are The last remaining male of princely York, (For Edward's boys, the state esteems not of them,) And therefore on your sov'reignty and rule,

The commonweal does her dependence make,
And leans upon your highness' able hand.

Cat. And yet to-morrow does the council meet,
To fix a day for Edward's coronation.
Who can expound this riddle ?

Glo. That can I.
Those lords are each one my approv'd good friends
Of special trust and nearness to my bosom;
And howsoever busy they may seem,
And diligent to bustle in the state,
Their zeal goes on no further than we lead,
And, at our bidding, stays.

Cat. Yet there is one,
And he amongst the foremost in his power,
Of whom I wish your highness were assur’d.
For me, perhaps it is my nature's fault,
I own, I doubt of his inclining much.
Glo. I

guess the man, at whom your words wou'd

point: Hastings

Cat. The same.
Glo. He bears me great good will.

Cat. 'Tis true, to you as to the Lord Protector,
And Gloster's Duke, he bows with lowly service:
And were he bid to cry, “God save King Richard!"
Then tell me in what terms he would reply?
Believe me, I have prov'd the man, and found him :
I know he bears a most religious reverence
To his dead master Edward's royal memory,
And whither that may lead him is most plain.
Yet more- -One of that stubborn sort he is,
Who, if they once grow fond of an opinion,
They call it honour, honesty, and faith,
And sooner part with life than let it go.

Glo. And yet this tough impracticable heart
Is govern’d by a dainty-finger'd girl:
Such Alaws are found in the most worthy natures;
A laughing, toying, wheedling, whimpering she
Shall make him amble on a gossip's message,

And take the distaff with a hand as patient
As e'er did Hercules.

Rat. The fair Alicia,
Of noble birth and exquisite of feature,
Has held him long a vassal to her beauty.

Cat. I fear, he fails in his allegiance there;
Or my intelligence is false, or else
The dame has been too lavish of her feast,
And fed him, till he loaths.
Glo. No more, he comes.

Enter LORD HASTINGS.
Hast. Health, and the happiness of many days,
Attend upon your grace.

Glo. My good Lord Chamberlain,
We're much beholden to your gentle friendship.

Hast. My lord, I come an humble suitor to you.
Glo. In right good time. Speak out your pleasure

freely.
Hast. I am to move your highness in behalf
Of Shore's unhappy wife,

Glo. Say you, of Shore?
Hast. Once a bright star, that held her place on

high :
The first and fai rest of our English dames,
While royal Edward held the sov'reign rule.
Now sunk in grief, and pining with despair,
Her waining form no longer shall incite
Envy in woman, or desire in man.
She never sees the sun, but thro' her tears,
And wakes to sigh the live long night away.
Glo. Marry! the times are badly chang’d with

her, From Edward's days to these. Then all was jollity, Feasting and mirth, light wantonness and laughter, Piping and playing, minstrelsy and masquing: "Till life fled from us like an idle dream, A show of mummery without a meaning.

My brother, rest and pardon to his soul!
Is gone to his account; for this his minion,
The revel-rout is done-But you were speaking
Concerning her. I have been told, that you
Are frequent in your visitation to her.
Hast. No farther, my good lord, than friendly

pity,
And tender-hearted charity allow.

Glo. Go to; I did not mean to chide you for it. For, sooth to say, I hold it noble in you To cherish the distress'd- -On with

your

tale. Hast. Thus it is, gracious sir, that certain officers, Using the warrant of your mighty name, With insolence unjust, and lawless power, Have seiz'd upon the lands, which late she held By grant from her great master Edward's bounty.

Glo. Somewhat of this, but slightly, have I heard;
And tho' some counsellors of forward zeal,
Some of most ceremonious sanctity,
And bearded wisdom, often have provok'd
The hand of justice to fall heavy on her;
Yet still, in kind compassion of her weakness,
And tender memory of Edward's love,
I have with held the merciless stern law
From doing outrage on her helpless beauty.
Hast. Good Heav'n, who renders mercy back for

mercy,
With open-handed bounty shall repay you:
This gentle deed shall fairly be set foremost,
To screen the wild escapes of lawless passion,
And the long train of frailties flesh is heir to.

Glo. Thus far, the voice of pity pleaded only:
Our farther and more full extent of grace
Is given to your request. Let her attend.
And to ourself deliver up her griefs.
She shall be heard with patience, and each wrong
At full redress’d. But I have other news,
Which much imports us both; for still my

fortunes

Go hand in hand with yours : our common foes,
The queen's relations, our new-fangled gentry,
Have fall’n their haughty crests—That for your pri-
vacy.

[Exeunt.

SCENE II.

An Apartment in JANE SHORE's House.

Enter BELMOUR and DUMONT.

Bel. How she has liv'd you have heard my tale al

ready, The rest your own attendance in her family, Where I have found the means this day to place you, And nearer observation, best will tell you. See, with what sad and sober cheer she comes.

fair lady,

Enter Jane SHORE. Sure, or I read her visage much amiss, Or grief besets her hard. Save

you, The blessings of the cheerful morn be on you, And greet your beauty with its opening sweets. J. Shore. My gentle neighbour, your good wishes

still
Pursue my hapless fortunes! Ah, good Belmour!
How few, like thee, inquire the wretched out,
And court the offices of soft humanity !
Like thee reserve their raiment for the naked,
Reach out their bread to feed the crying orphan,
Or mix their pitying tears with those that weep !
Thy praise deserves a better tongue than mine,
To speak and bless thy name. Is this the gentleman,
Whose friendly service you commended to me?

Bel. Madam, it is.
J. Shore. A venerable aspect.

(Aside. Age sits with decent grace upon

his visage,

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