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That I may live to see your Grace eminent for the love of your country, for your service and duty to your prince, and, in convenient time, adorned with all the honours that have ever been conferred upon your noble family: that you may be distinguish'd to posterity, as the bravest, greatest, and the best man of the age you live in, is the hearty wish and prayer of,
Your Grace's most obedient, and
most faithful, humble servant,
To night, if you have brought your good old taste,
We'll treat you with a downright English feast,
A tale, which told long since in homely wise,
Hath never fail'd of melting gentle eyes.
Let no nice Sir despise our hapless dame,
Because recording ballads chaunt her name;
Those venerable ancient song-inditers
many a pitch above our modern writers :
They told their tale in no romantic ditty,
Sighing for Phillis's or Chloe's pity.
Justly they drew the fair, and spoke her plain,
sung her by her christian name- -'twas Jane.
Our numbers may be more refin'd than those,
But what we've gain'd in verse, we've lost in prose.
Their words no shuffling, double meaning knew,
Their speech was homely, but their hearts were true.
In such an age, immortal Shukspeare wrote,
By no quaint rules, nor hampering critics taught:
With rough majestic force he mov'd the heart,
And strength and nature made amends for art.
Our humble author does his steps pursue,
He owns he had the mighty bard in view;
And in these scenes has made it more his care
To rouse the passions, than to charm the ear.
Yet for those gentle Beaux who love the chime,
The ends of acts still gingle into rhime.
The ladies, too, he hopes will not complain,
Flere are some subjects for a softer strain,
A nymph forsaken, and a perjur'd swain.
What most he fears, is, lest the dames should frown,
The dames of wit and pleasure about town,
To see our picture drawn, unlike their own.
He bid me say in our Jane Shore's defence,
She dol'd about the charitable pence,
And in sincere repentance died long since.
For her example, whatso'er we make it,
They have their choice to let alone,
Richard Duke of GLOSTER.
William Lord HASTINGS.
Earl of DERBY.*
Sir William CATESBY.
Sir Richard RATCLIFFE.
William SHORE,+ under the assumed
name of DUMONT.
Servant to Jane Shore.
Servant to Alicia.
Several Lords of the Council, Guards, and Attendants.
Enter the Duke of Gloster, Sir Richard RATCLIFFE,
and Sir William CATESBY.
Glos. Thus far success attends upon our counsels,
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.
Ratc. 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 common-weal does her dependance make,
And leans upon your highness' able hand.
* The reader is desired to compare these facts witb the dates in the Preface, p. 91.
Cate. And yet to-morrow does the council meet
To fix a day for Edward's coronation.
Who can expound this riddle?
Glos. 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.
Cate. Yet there is one,
And he amongst the foremost in his pow'r,
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.
Glos. I guess the man at whom your words would
Cate. The same.
Glos. He bears me great good will.
Cate. 'Tis true, to you, as to the Lord Protector,
And Gloster's Duke, he bows with lowly service;
But were he bid to cry, God save King Richard,
Then, tell me, in what terms he would reply.
me, I have prov'd the man, and found him.
I know he bears a most religious* rev’rence
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.
Glos. And yet this tough impracticable heart
Is govern’d by a dainty-finger'd girl;
Such flaws are found in natures else most worthy;
A laughing, toying, wheedling, whimp’ring she,
Shall make him amble on a gossip's 'message,
And take the distaff with a hand as patient
As e'er did Hercules.