Page images
PDF
EPUB

No;

To purge the world from heresy by blood; The great Alcides of our state, is present.
To massacre a nation, and believe it

Whatever dangers menace prince or people,
An act well pleasing to the Lord of Mercy : Our great Northumberland is armed to meet
These are thy gods, oh, Rome, and this thy faith!

them : North. And shall we tamely yield ourselves to The ablest hand, and firmest heart you bear, bondage ?

Nor need a second in the glorious task ; Bow down before these holy purple tyrants, Equal yourself to all the toils of empire. And bid them tread upon our slavish necks? Norih. No; as I honour virtue, I have tried,

let this faithful free-born English hand And know my strength too well; nor can the First dig my grave in liberty and honour;

voice And though I found but one more thus resolved, of friendly flattery, like yours, deceive me. That honest man and I would die together. I know my temper liable to passions, Suff. Doubt not, there are ten thousand and And all the frailties common to our nature; ten thousand,

Blind to events, too easy of persuasion, To own a cause so just.

And often, too, too often, have I erred : Gates. The list I gave

Much therefore have I need of some good man, Into your grace's hand last night, declares Some wise and honest heart, whose friendly aid My power and friends at full. [To NORTH. Might guide my treading through our present North. Be it your care,

dangers ; Good Sir John Gates, to see your friends ap- And, by the honour of my name I swear, pointed,

I know not one of all our English peers, And ready for the occasion. Haste this instant; Whom I would choose for that best friend, like Lose not a moment's time.

Pembroke. Gates. I go, my lord. [Exit GATES. Pem. What shall I answer to a trust so noble, North. Your grace's princely daughter, lady This prodigality of praise and honour? Jane,

Were not your grace too generous of soul, Is she yet come to court?

To speak a language differing from your heart, Suff. Not yet arrived,

How might I think you could not mean this But with the soonest I expect her here.

goodness I know her duty to the dying king,

To one, whom his ill fortune has ordained
Joined with my strict commands to hasten hither, The rival of your son.
Will bring her on the wing.

North. No more; I scorn a thought
North. Beseech your grace,

So much below the dignity of virtue. To speed another messenger to press her; 'Tis true, I look on Guilford like a father, For on her happy presence all our counsels Lean to his side, and see but half his failings: Depend, and take their fate.

But, on a point like this, when equal merit Suff . Upon the instant

Stands forth to make its bold appeal to honour, Your grace shall be obeyed. I go to summon her. And calls to have the balance held in justice;

(Exit SUFFOLK. Away with all the fondnesses of nature ! North. What trivial influences hold dominion I judge of Pembroke and my son alike. O'er wise men's counsels, and the fate of em Pem. I ask no more to bind me to your ser

vice. The greatest schemes that human wit can forge, North. The realm is now at hazard, and bold Or bold ambition dares to put in practice,

factions Depend upon our husbanding a moment, Threaten change, tumult, and disastrous days. And the light lasting of a woman's will; These fears drive out the gentler thoughts of joy, As if the Lord of Nature should delight Of courtship, and of love. Grant, Heaven, the To hang this ponderous globe upon a hair,

state And bid it dance before a breath of wind. To fix in peace and safety once again ; She must be here, and lodged in Guilford's arms, Then speak your passion to the princely maid, Ere Edward dies, or all we have done is marred. And fair success attend you. For myself, Ha! Pembroke! that's a bar which thwarts my My voice shall go as far for you, my lord, way!

As for my son ; and beauty be the umpire. His fiery temper brooks not opposition,

But now a heavier matter calls upon us; And must be met with soft and supple arts, The king, with life just labouring; and, I fear, With crouching courtesy, and honeyed words, The council grow impatient at our stay. Such as assuage the fierce, and bend the strong. Pem. One moment's pause, and I attend your

grace.

(Exit North. Enter the Earl of PEMBROKE.

Old Winchester cries to me oft, Beware Good morrow, noble Pembroke: : we have staid

Of proud Northumberland. The testy prelate, The meeting of the council for your presence.

Froward with age, with disappointed hopes, Pem. For mine, my lord ! you mock your And zealous for old Rome, rails on the duke, servant, sure,

Suspecting him to favour the new teachers : To say that I am wanted, where yourself, Yet even in that, if I judge right, he errs.

pire !

comes.

But were it so, what are these monkish quarrels, | Like all thou canst imagine wild and furious, These wordy wars of proud ill-mannered school- Now drive me headlong on, now whirl me back, men,

And hurl my unstable fitting soul
To us and our lay interest ? Let them rail, To every mad extreme. Then pity me,
And worry one another at their pleasure. And let my weakness stand-
This duke, of late, by many worthy offices,
Has sought my friendship. And yet more, his

Enter Sir John GATES.
son,

Gates. The lords of council The noblest youth our England has to boast of, Wait with impatience. Has made me long the partner of his breast. Pem. I attend their pleasure. Nay, when he found, in spite of the resistance This only, and no more, then. Whatsoever My struggling heart had made to do him justice, Fortune decrees, still let us call to mind That I was grown his rival, he strove hard, Our friendship and our honour. And since love And would not turn me forth from out his bosom, Condemns us to be rivals for one prize, But called me still his friend. And see! He Let us contend, as friends and brave men ought,

With openness and justice to each other;

That he, who wins the fair one to his arms, Enter Lord GUILFORD.

May take her as the crown of great desert; Oh, Guilford ! just as thou wert entering here,

And if the wretched loser does repine, My thought was running all thy virtues over, His own heart and the world may all condemn And wondering how thy soul could choose a

him.

(Erit Pex. partner,

Guil. How cross the ways of life lie! While So much unlike itself.

we think Guil. How could my tongue

We travel on direct in one high road, Take pleasure and be lavish in thy praise ! And have our journey's end opposed in view, How could I speak thy nobleness of nature,

A thousand thwarting paths break in upon us, Thy open manly heart, thy courage, constancy, To puzzle and perplex our wandering steps ; And in-born truth, unknowing to dissemble ! Love, friendship, hatred, in their turns, mislead us Thou art the man in whom my soul delights ; And every passion has its separate interest: In whom, next Heaven, I trust.

Where is that piercing foresight can unfold Pem. Oh, generous youth !

Where all this mazy error will have end, What can a heart, stubborn and fierce, like mine, And tell the doom reserved for me and PenReturn to all thy sweetness ?-Yet I would,

broke? I would be grateful.--Oh, my cruel fortune ! There is but one end certain, that is death: Would I had never seen her, never cast

Yet even that certainty is still uncertain. Mine eyes on Suffolk's daughter !

For of these several tracks, which lie before us, Guil. So would I !

We know that one leads certainly to death, Since 'twas my fate to see and love her first. But know not which that one is. 'Tis in vain, Pem. Oh! Why should she, that universal | This blind divining ; let me think no more on't: goodness,

And see the mistress of our fate appear !
Like light, a common blessing to the world,
Rise, like a comet, fatal to our friendship,

Enter Lady JANE GRAY. Attendants. And threaten it with ruin?

Hail, princely maid! who, with auspicious beauty, Guil. Heaven forbid !

Chear'st every drooping heart in this sad place; But tell me, Pembroke, is it not in virtue Who, like the silver regent of the night, To arm against this proud imperious passion ? Lift'st up thy sacred beams upon the land, Does holy friendship dwell so near to envy, To bid the gloom look gay, dispel our horrors, She could not bear to see another happy? And make us less lament the setting sun. If blind mistaken chance, and partial beauty, L. J. Gray. Yes, Guilford; well dost thou Should join to favour Guilford

compare my presence Pem. Name it not !

To the faint comfort of the waning moon: My fiery spirits kindle at the thought,

Like her cold orb, a cheerless gleam I bring: And hurry me to rage.

Silence and heaviness of heart, with dews
Guil. And yet I think

To dress the face of nature all in tears.
I should not murmur, were thy lot to prosper, But say, how fares the king?
And mine to be refused. Though sure, the loss

Guil. He lives as yet,
Would wound me to the heart.

But every moment cuts away a hope, Pem. Ha ! Couldst thou bear it?

Adds to our fears, and gives the infant saint And yet perhaps thou mightst; thy gentle tem- Great prospect of his opening Heaven. per

L. J. Gruy. Descend, ye choirs of angels, to Is formed with passions mixed with due propor

receive him! tion,

Tune your melodious harps to some high strain, Where no one overbears, nor plays the tyrant, And waft him upwards with a song of triumphi ; But join in nature's business, and thy happiness: A purer soul, and one more like yourselves, While mine, disdaining reason and her laws, Ne'er entered at the golden gates of bliss.

[ocr errors]

Oh, Guilford! what remains for wretched Eng Of this dear hand would kindle life anew. land,

But I obey, I dread that gathering frown; When he, our guardian angel, shall forsake us ? And, oh! whene'er my bosom swells with pasFor whose dear sake Heaven spared a guilty land, sion, And scattered not its plagues while Edward And my full heart is pained with ardent love, reigned!

Allow me but to look on you, and sigh ; Guil. I own my heart bleeds inward at the 'Tis all the humble joy that Guilford asks. thought,

L. J. Gray. Still wilt thou frame thy speech And rising horrors crowd the opening scene.

to this vain

purpose, And yet, forgive me, thou, my native country, When the wan king of terrors stalks before us, Thou land of liberty, thou nurse of heroes, When universal ruin gathers round, Forgive me, if, in spite of all thy dangers, And no escape is left us? Are we not New springs of pleasure flow within my bosom, Like wretches in a storm, whom every moment When thus 'tis given me to behold those eyes, The greedy deep is gaping to devour?" Thus gaze, and wonder, how excelling nature Around us see the pale despairing crew Can give each day new patterns of her skill, Wring their sad hands, and give their labour o'er; And yet at once surpass them.

The hope of life has every heart forsook, LJ. Gray. Oh, vain flattery!

And horror sits on each distracted look; Harsh and ill-sounding ever to my ear;

One solemn thought of death does all employ, But on a day like this, the raven's note

And cancels, like a dream, delight and joy; Strikes on my sense more sweetly. But no more; One sorrow streams from all their weeping eyes, I charge thee touch theungrateful theme no more; And one consenting voice for mercy cries; Lead me to pay my duty to the king,

Trembling, they dread just Heaven's avenging To wet his pale cold hand with these last tears, power, And share the blessings of his parting breath. Mourn their past lives, and wait the fatal hour. Guil. Were I like dying Edward, sure a touch

(Ereunt.

ACT II.

thy joys,

me.

SCENE I.-Continues.

What shall I say to bless you for this goodness? Enter the Duke of NORTHUMBERLAN D, and th And all the business of my years to come,

Oh, gracious princess ! But my life is yours, Dukc of SUFFOLK.

Is, to attend with humblest duty on you, Nor. Yet then be cheered, my heart, amidst And pay my vowed obedience at your feet. thy mourning.

Duch. Suff

. Yes, noble youth, I share in all Though fate hang heavy o'er us, though pale fear Ard wild distraction sit on every face;

In all the joys which this sad day can give. Though never day of grief was known like this, The dear delight I have to call thee son, Let me rejoice, and bless the hallowed light, Comes like a cordial to my drooping spirits ; Whose beams auspicious shine upon our union, It broods with gentle warmth upon my bosom, And bid me call the noble Suffolk brother. And melts that frost of death which hung about

Suff. I know not what my secret soul presages, But something seems to whisper me within, But haste! inform my daughter of our pleasure: That we have been too hasty. For myself, Let thy tongue put on all its pleasing eloquence, I wish this matter had been yet delayed ; Instruct thy love to speak of comfort to her, That we had waited some more blessed time, To soothe her griefs, and cheer the mourning Some better day, with happier omens hallowed, maid. For love to kindle up his holy flame.

North. All desolate and drowned in flowing But you, my noble brother, would prevail,

tears, And I have yielded to you.

By Edward's bed the pious princess sits ; Nor. Doubt not any thing;

Fast from her lifted eyes the pearly drops Nor hold the hour unlucky, that good Heaven, Fall trickling o'er her cheek, while holy ardour Who softens the corrections of his hand, And fervent zeal pour forth her labouring soul; And mixes still a comfort with afflictions, And every sighis winged with prayers so Has given to-day a blessing in our children,

potent, To wipe away our tears for dying Edward. As strive with Heaven to save her dying lord.

Suff. In that I trust. Good angels be our guard, Duch. Suff. From the first early days of infant And make my fears prove vain! but see, my wife! life, With her, your son, the generous Guilford comes; A gentle band of friendship grew betwixt them; She has informed him of our present purpose. And while our royal uncle Henry reigned,

As brother and as sister bred together, Enter the Duchess of SUFFOLK, and Lord

Beneath one common parent's care they lived. GUILFORD.

North. A wondrous sympathy of souls conGuil. How shall I speak the fulness of my heart? spired

my duty,

To form the sacred union. Lady Jane Your father, and his own, ordain your husband: Of all his royal blood was still the dearest; What more concerns our will and your obedience, In every innocent delight they shared;

We leave you to receive from win at leisure. They sung, and danced, and sat, and walked to [Ereunt Duke and Duchess of SUFFOLK, gether;

and Duke of NORTHUMBERLAND. Nay, in the graver business of his youth,

Guil. Wilt thou not spare a noment from thy When books and learning called him from his

sorrows, sports,

And bid these bubbling streams forbear to flow? Even there the princely maid was his companion. Wilt thou not give one interval to joy, She left the shining court to share his toil, One little pause, while humbly I untold To turn with him the grave historian's page, The happiest tale my tongue was ever blest with? And taste the rapture of the poet's song;

L. J. Gray. My heart is dead within me ; eveTo search the Latin and the Grecian stores,

ry sense And wonder at the mighty minds of old. Is dead to joy: but I will hear thee, Guilford; Enter Lady JANE GRAY, weeping.

Nay, I must hear thee, such is her command,

Whom early duty taught me still to obey. L. J. Gray. Wilt thou not break, my beart! Yet, oh! forgive me, if to all the story, Sutf: Alas, what mean'st thou?

Though eloquence divine attend thy speaking, Guil. Oh, speak!

Though every muse, and every grace, do crowa Duch. Suff. How fares the king?

thee, North. Say, is he dead?

Forgive me, if I cannot better answer, L. J. Gray. The saints and angels have him. Than weeping thus, and thusDuch. Suff. When I left him,

Guil. If I offend thee, He seemed a little cheered, just as you entered. Let me be dumb for ever: Let not life L. J. Gray. As I approached to kneel and pay Inform these breathing organs of my voice,

If any sound from me disturb thy quiet. :He raised his feeble eyes, and faintly smiling, What is my peace or happiness to thine? Are you

then come? he cried: I only lived, No; though our noble parents had decreed, To bid farewell to thee, my gentle cousin; And urged high reasons, which import the state, To speak a few short words to thee, and die. This night to give thee to my faithful arms, With that he prest my hand, and, oh !-- he said, My fairest bride, my only earthly blissWhen I am gone, do thou be good to England, L. J. Gray. How! Guilford ! on this night? Keep to that faith in which we both were bred, Guild. This happy night; And to the end be constant. More I would, Yet, if thou art resolved to cross my fate, But cannot—There his faultering spirits failed, if this, my utmost wish, shall give thee pain, And turning every thought from earth at once, Now rather let the stroke of death fall on me, To that blest place where all his hopes were And stretch me out a lifeless corse before thee! fixed,

Let me be swept away, with things forgotten, Earnest he prayed ;-Merciful, great defender! Be huddled up in some obscure blind grave, Preserve thy holy altars undefiled,

Ere thou shouldst say my love has made the Protect this land from bloody men and idols,

wretched, Save my poor people from the yoke of Rome,

Or drop one single tear for Guilford's sake. And take thy painful servant to thy mercy ! L. J. Gray. Alas ! I have too much of death Then, sinking on his pillow, with a sigh,

already, He breathed his innocent and faithful soul And want not thine to furnish out new horror. Into his hands who gave it.

Oh! dreadful thought, if thou wert dead indeed Guil. Crowns of glory,

What hope were left me then? Yes, I will owv, Such as the brightest angels wear, be on him! Spite of the blush that burns my maiden cheek, Peace guard his ashes here, and paradise, My heart has fondly leaned towards thee long: With all its endless bliss, be open to him! Thy sweetness, virtue, and unblemished youth, North. Our grief be on his grave. Our pre- Have won a place for thee within my boson: sent duty

And if my eyes look coldly on thee now, Enjoins to see his last commands obeyed. And shun thy love on this disastrous day, I hold it fit his death be not made known It is because I would not deal so hardly, To any but our friends. To-morrow, early, To give thee sighs for all thy faithful vows, The council shall assemble at the Tower. And pay thy tenderness with nought but tears. Mean while, I beg your grace would strait inform And yet, 'tis all I have.

[To the Duchess of SUFFOLK. Guil. I ask no more; Your princely daughter of our resolution; Let me but call thee mine, confirm that hope, Our common interest in that happy tie

To charm the doubts which vex my anxious sou; Demands our swiftest care to see it finished. For all the rest, do thou allot it for me, Duch. Suff. My lord, you have determined well. And, at thy pleasure, portion out my blessings Lord Guilford,

My eyes shall learn to smile or weep from thix, Be it your task to speak at large our purpose. Nor will I think of joy while thou art sad; Daughter, receive this lord as one whom I, Nay, couldst thou be so cruel to command it,

I will forego a bridegroom's sacred right, Restore thy gentle bosom's native peace And sleep far from thee, on the unwholesome Lift up the light of gladness in thy eyes. earth,

And cheer thy heaviness with one dear smile! Where damps arise, and whistling winds blow L.J. Gray. Yes, Guilford, I will study to forget loud;

All that the royal Edward has been to me; Then, when the day returns, come drooping to How we have loved, even from our very cradles. thee,

My private loss no longer will I mourn, My locks still drizzling with the dews of night, But every tender thought to thee shall turn: And cheer my heart with thee, as with the morn With patience I'll submit to Heaven's decree, ing

And what I lost in Edward find in thee. L.J. Gray. Say, wilt thou consecrate this night But, oh! when I revolve what ruins wait to sorrow,

Our sinking altars and the falling state;
And give up every sense to solemn sadness ? When I consider what my native land
Wilt thou, in watching, waste the tedious hours, Expected from her pious sovereign's hand;
Sit silently, and careful, by my side,

How formed he was to save her from distress,
List to the rolling clocks, the cricket's cry, A king to govern, and a saint to bless :
And every melancholy midnight noise ?

New sorrow to my labouring breast succeeds, Say, wilt thou banish pleasure and delight? And my whole heart for wretched England Wilt thou forget that ever we had loved,

bleeds. [Erit Lady JANE GRAY. And only now and then let fall a tear,

Guil. My heart sinks in me, at her soft comTo mourn for Edward's loss, and England's fate?

plaining; Guil. Unwearied still, I will attend thy woes, And every moving accent, that she breathes, And be a very faithful partner to thee.

Resolves my courage, slackens my tough nerves, Near thee I will complain in sighs, as number. And melts me down to infancy and tears. less

My fancy palls, and takes distaste at pleasure: As murmurs breathing in the leafy grove: My soul grows out of tune, it loathes the world, My eyes shall mix their falling drops with thine, Sickens at all the noise and folly of it; Constant, as never-ceasing waters roll,

And I could sit me down in some dull shade, That purl and gurgle o'er their sands for ever. Where lonely Contemplation keeps her cave, The sun shall see my grief through all his course; And dwells with hoary hermits; there forget myAnd, when night comes, sad Philomel, who'plains,

self, From starry vesper to the rosy dawn,

There fix my stupid eyes upon the earth, Shall cease to tune her lamentable song, And muse away an age in deepest melancholy. Ere I give o'er to weep and mourn with thee.

Enter PEMBROKE. L. ). Gray. Here, then, I take thee to my

heart for ever, [Giving her hand. Pem. Edward is dead ; so said the great NorThe dear companion of my future days :

thumberland, Whatever Providence allots for each,

As now he shot along by me in haste. Be that the common portion of us both : He pressed my hand, and, in a whisper, begged Share all the griefs of thy unhappy Jane;

me But if good Heaven has any joys in store, To guard the secret carefully as life, Let them be all thy own.

Till some few hours should pass; for much hung Guil. Thou wondrous goodness! Heaven gives too much at once in giving thee; Much may indeed hang on it. See' my Guil. And, by the common course of things below,

ford! Where each delight is tempered with affliction, My friend!

[Speaking to him. Some evil, terrible and unforeseen,

Guil. Ha! Pembroke!

(Starting. Must sure ensue, and poise the scale against * Pem. Wherefore dost thou start? This vast profusion of exceeding pleasure. Why sits that wild disorder on thy visage, But be it so! let it be death and ruin!

Somewhat, that looks like passions strange to On any terms I take thee.

thee, . Gray. Trust our fate

The paleness of surprise and ghastly fear? To him, whose gracious wisdom guides our ways, Since I have known thee first, and called thee And makes what we think evil turn to good.

friend, Permit me now to leave thee and retire;

I never saw thee so unlike thyself, I'll summon all my reason and my duty,

So changed upon a sudden. To soothe this storm within, and frame my heart Guil. How! so changed ! To yield obedience to my noble parents.

Pem. So to my eye thou seem'st. Guil. Good angels minister their comforts to Guil. The king is dead. thee!

Pem. I learned it from thy father, And, oh!, if, as my fond belief would hope, Just as I entered here. But say, could that, If any word of mine be gracious to thee, A fate which every moment we expected, I beg thee, I conjure thee, drive away

Distract-thy thought, or shock thy temper, thus ? Those murderous thoughts of grief, that kill thy Guil. Oh, Pembroke ! 'tis in vain to bide from quiet!

if'') ; thee! VOL. I.

20

on it.

« PreviousContinue »