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Because the reins of power are held too slack,
And reverend authority of late
Has worn a face of mercy more than justice,

Glo. Beshrew my heart! but you have well divin'd
The source of these disorders. Who can wonder
If riot and misrule o'erturn the realm,
When the crown sits upon a baby brow?
Plainly to speak: hence comes the gen’ral cry,
And sum of all complaint : 'twill ne'er be well
With England (thus they talk) while children govern.
Hast. ”Tis true, the King is young; but what of

that?
We feel no want of Edward's riper years,
While Gloster's valour and most princely wisdom
So well supply our infant sov’reign's place,
His youth's support, and guardian to his throne.
Glo. The council (much I'm bound to thank them

for't)
Have plac'd a pageant sceptre in my hand,
Barren of power, and subject to control;
Scorn’d by my foes, and useless to my friends.
O, worthy lord ! were mine the rule indeed,
I think I should not suffer rank offence
At large to lord it in the commonweal ;
Nor would the realm be rent by discord thus,
Thus fear and doubt betwixt disputed titles.

Hast. Of this I am to learn; as not supposing
A doubt like this

Glo. Ay, marry, but there is-
And that of much concern. Have you not heard
How, on a late occasion, Doctor Shaw
Has mov'd the people much about the lawfulness
Of Edward's issue? By right grave authority
Of learning and religion, plainly proving,
A bastard scion never should be grafted
Upon a royal stock; from thence, at full
Discoursing on my brother's former contract
To Lady Elizabeth Lucy, long before

His jolly match with that same buxom widow,
The queen, he left behind him.

Hast. Ill befall
Such meddling priests, who kindle up confusion,
And vex the quiet world with their vain scruples !
By Heav'n 'tis done in perfect spite to peace.
Did not the King,
Our royal master, Edward, in concurrence
With his esta tes assembled, well determine
What course the sov’reign rule should take hencefor-

ward ? When shall the deadly hate of faction cease, When shall our long-divided land have rest, If ev'ry peevish, moody malecontent Shall set the senseless rabble in an uproar, Fright them with dangers, and perplex their brains, Each day with some fantastic giddy change!

Glo. What if some patriot, for the public good, Should vary

from your scheme, new-mould the state? Hast. Curse on the innovating hand, attempts it! Remember him, the villain, righteous Heav'n, In thy great day of vengeance ! Blast the traitor And his pernicious councils; who for wealth, For pow'r, the pride of greatness, or revenge, Would plunge his native land in civil wars !

Glo. You go too far, my lord.

Hast. Your highness' pardonHave we so soon forgot those days of ruin, When York and Lancaster drew forth the battles; When, like a matron butcher'd by her sons, Our groaning country bled at ev'ry vein; When murders, rapes, and massacres prevail'd; When churches, palaces, and cities blaz'd; When insolence and barbarism triumph'd, And swept away distinction; peasants trod Upon the necks of nobles : low were laid The reverend crosier, and the holy mitre, And desolation cover'd all the land;

Who can remember this, and not, like me,
Here vow to sheath a dagger in his heart
Whose damn'd ambition would renew those horrors,
And set once more that scene of blood before us :

Glo. How now! so hot!
Hast.. So brave, and so resolv'd.
Glo. Is then our friendship of so little moment,
That you could arm your hand against my life

Hast. I hope you highness does not think I mean it;
No, Heav'n forbid, that e'er your princely person
Should come within the scope of my resentment.
Glo. Oh, noble Hastings ! Nay, I must embrace
you;

[Embraces him. By holy Paul, y're a right honest man ! The time is full of danger and distrust, And warns us to be wary. Hold me not Too apt for jealousy and light surmise, If , when I meant to lodge you next my heart, I put your truth to trial. Keep your loyalty, And live, your king and country's best support: For me, I ask no more than honour gives, To think me yours, and rank me with your friends.

[Exit GLOSTER. Hast. I am not read, Nor skilld and practis'd in the arts of greatness, To kindle thus, and give a scope to passion. The Duke is surely noble; but he touch'd me Ev'n on the tend'rest point; the master-string That makes most harmony or discord to me. I own the glorious subject fires my breast, And my soul's darling passion stands confess'd ; Beyond or love's or friendship's sacred band, Beyond myself, I prize my native land : On this foundation would I build

my

fame, And emulate the Greek and Roman name; Think England's peace bought cheaply with my

blood, And die with pleasure for my country's good. [Exit.

ACT THE FOURTH.

SCENE I.

The Court.
Enter DUKE OF GLOSTER, RATCLIFF, and

CATESBY.
Glo. This was the sum of all: that he would brook
No alteration in the present state.
Marry, at last, the testy gentleman
Was alınost mov'd to bid us bold defiance;
But there I dropt the argument, and changing
The first design and purport of my speech,
I prais'd his good affection to young Edward,
And left him to believe my thoughts like his.
Proceed we then in the foremention'd matter,
As nothing bound or trusting to his friendship.

Rat. Ill does it thus befall. I could have wish'd This lord had stood with us. His name had been of vantage to your highness, And stood our present purpose much in stead.

Glo. This wayward and perverse declining from us
Has warranted at full the friendly notice,
Which we this morn receiv'd. I hold it certain,
This puling whining harlot rules his reason,
And prompts his zeal for Edward's bastard brood.

Cat. If she have such dominion o'er his heart,
And turn it at her will, you rule her fate;
And should, by inference and apt deduction,
Be arbiter of his. Is not her bread,
The very means immediate to her being.
The bounty of your hand? Why does she live,
If not to yield obedience to your pleasure,
To speak, to act, to think as you command ?

Rat. Let her instruct her tongue to bear your mes.

sage;
Teach ev'ry grace to smile in your

behalf.
And her deluded eyes to gloat for you ;
His ductile reason will be wound about,
Be led and turn'd again, say and unsay,
Receive the yoke, and yield exact obedience.

Glo. Your council likes me well, it shall follow'd.
She waits without, attending on her suit.
Go call her in, and leave us here alone.

[Exeunt RATCLIFF and CATESBY, How poor a thing is he, how worthy scorn, Who leaves the guidance of imperial manhood To such a paltry piece of stuff as this is ! A moppet made of prettiness and pride ; That oftener does her giddy fancies change, Than glittering dew-drops in the sun do colourNow, shame upon it! was our reason given For such a use ! Sure there is something more than witchcraft in them, That masters ev'n the wisest of us all.

Enter JANE SHORE.

Oh!

you are come most fitly. We have ponder’d
On this your grievance: and tho' some there are,
Nay, and those great ones too, who wou'd enforce
The rigour of our power to afflict you,
And bear a heavy hand, yet fear not you :
We've ta’en you to our favour: our protection
Shall stand between, and shield you from mishap.
J. Shore. The blessings of a heart with anguish

broken,
And rescu'd from despair, attend your highness.
Alas! my gracious lord, what have I done,
To kindle such relentless wrath against me?

Glo. Marry there are, tho' I believe them not,
Who say you meddle in affairs of state :

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