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LADY JANE GRAY.
SCENE, The Court* Enter the Duke of NortUUMBERLAND,+ Duke of
SUFFOLK, and Sir John Gates. Nor. 'Tis all in vain; Heav'n seems to claim its pledge, And he must die.
Suff. Is there an honest heart, That loves England, does not mourn for Edward ? Our isle itself seems as if shook with sorrow,
Bowing his venerable head with pain,
And labouring with the sickness of his Lord.' Religion melts in ev'ry holy eye,
All comfortless, afflicted, and forlorn • She sits on earth, and weeps upon her cross :
Weary of man, and his detested ways, « Ev’n now she seems to meditate her flight, And waft her fav’rite to the thrones above."
Nor. Ay, there, my Lord, you touch our heaviest With him our holy faith is like to suffer; [loss, With him our church shall veil her sacred front, That late from heaps of Gothic ruins rose, In her first native simple majesty : The toil of saints, and price of martyrs' blood, Shall fail with Edward, and again old Rome Sball spread her banners, and her monkish host; Pride, ignorance, and rapine shall return; Blind bloody zeal and cruel priestly pow'r, May scourge the land for ten dark ages more.
* At Greenwich. + See the Editor's Preface, p. 328.
# Ibid, p. 323, 328.
Gates. Is there no help in all the healing art,
Nor. What has been left untried that art can do? 6 The hoary wrinkled leech has watch'd and toil'd, • Tried every health-restoring herb and gum,
And wearied out his painful skill in vain. • Close, like a dragon folded in his den, 6 Some secret venom preys upon his heart; 6 A stubborn and unconquerable flame ' Creeps in hís veins, and drinks the streams of life;'* His youthful sinews are unstrung, cold sweats, And deadly paleness sit upon his visage, And every gasp we look shall be his last.
Gates. Doubt not, your graces, but the popish faction, Will at this juncture urge their utmost force. All on the Princess Mary turn their eyes, Well hoping she shall build again their altars, And bring their idol-worship back in triumph. 6 Nor. Good Heav'n ordain some better fate for
England ! Suf. What better can we hope, if she should reign? . I know her well, a blinded zealot is she, 6 A gloomy nature, sullen and severe, "Nurtur'd by proud presuming Romish priests, ( Taught to believe they only cannot err,
Because they cannot err; bred up in scorn • Of reason, and the whole lay-world; instructed
To hate whoe'er dissent from what they teach,
To purge the world from heresy by blood, “ To massacre a nation, and believe it
An act well-pleasing to the Lord of Mercy. - These are thy gods, Oh Rome! and this thy faith.'
Nor. And shall we tamely yield ourselves to bondage, Bow down before the holy purple tyrants, And bid them tread upon our slavish necks?
*“ Sorbent avidæ præcordia flammæ."
Ovid. Metam, lib. IX. 1. 172. See a Note on these two lines in the Euryc. Brit. Vol. XIII. Pt. II. p. 562. arb. Metaphor,
No; let this faithful free-born English hand
Suf. Doubt not, there are ten thousand, and ten To own a cause so just.
[thousand, Gates. The list I gave Into your grace's hand last night, declares My pow'r and friends at full.
[To Northumb. Nor. Be it your care, Good Sir John Gates, to see your friends appointed, And ready for the occasion. Haste this instant, Lose not a moment's time. Gates. I go, my Lord.
[Erit. Nor. Your grace's princely daughter, Lady Jane, Is she yet come to court?
Suf. Not yet arriv'd,
Nor. Beseech your grace,
Suf. Upon the instant
[Exit Suffolk. Nor. What seeming-trivial causes hold dominion O'er wise men's counsels, and the fate of empire? " The greatest schemes that human wit can forge, 6 Or bold ambition dares to put in practice,
Depend upon our husbanding a moment.' She must be here, and lodg'd in Guilford's arms, Ere Edward dies, or all we've done is marrd. Ha! Pembroke! that's a bar which thwarts my way. His fiery temper brooks not opposition, And must be met with soft and supple arts; 6 With crouching courtesy, and honey'd words, Such as assuage the fierce, and bend the strong.
Enter the Earl of PEMBROKE.* Good morrow, noble Pembroke, we have staid The meeting of the council for your presence.
Pem. For mine, my Lord! you mock your servant, To say that I am wanted, where yourself, (sure, The mighty champion of our state, is present; Whatever dangers menace prince or people, Our great Northumberland is arm'd to meet them; The ablest head, and firmest heart you bear, Nor need a second in the glorious task; Equal yourself to all the toils of empire.
Nor. No; as I honour virtue, I have tried, And know my strength too well ; nor can the voice Of friendly flattery, like yours, deceive me. I know my temper liable to passions, And all the frailties common to our nature; < Blind to events, too easy of persuasion, ' And often, too, too often, have I err’d.' Much therefore have I need of some good man, Some wise and honest heart, whose friendly aid Might guide my treading thro' the hour of dangers; And (on the honour of my name I say it) I know not one of all our English peers Whom I would choose for that best friend, like Pembroke.
Pem. " What shall I answer to a trust so noble,
Nor. No more! I scorn a thought
* See the Editor's Preface, p. 346.
Away with all the fondnesses of nature!
service. Nor. The realm is now at hazard, and bold factions Threaten change, tumult, and disastrous days. These fears drive out the gentler thoughts of joy, Of courtship, and of love. Grant Heaven the state To fix in peace and safety once again; Then speak your passion to the princely maid, And fair success attend you. For myself, My voice shall go as far for you, my lord, As for my son, and beauty be the umpire. But now a heavier matter calls upon us; The king with life just lab'ring; and I fear The council grow impatient at our stay. Pem. One' moment's pause, and I attend your grace.
[Exit Northumb. Ord Winchester cries to me oft, Beware Of proud Northumberland. The testy prelate, Froward with age, with disappointed hopes, And zealous for old Rome, rails on the duke, Suspecting him to favour the new teachers : Yet e'en in that, if I judge right, he errs. But, were it so, what are these monkish quarrels, These wordy wars of proud ill-manner'd schoolmen, To us and our lay-interest? Let them rail And worry one another at their pleasure. This duke, of late, by many worthy offices, Has sought my friendship; and, yet more, his son, The noblest youth our England has to boast of, The gentlest nature and the bravest spirit, Has made me long the partner of his breast.
Nay, when he found, in spite of the resistance
My struggling heart had made to do him justice, (That I was grown his rival; he strove hard, 6 And would not turn me forth from out his bosom, But call'd me still his friend.' And see! he comes.
Enter Lord Guilford DUDLEY. Oh, Guilford, just as thou wert ent’ring here, My thought was running all thy virtues o'er,