Page images

And wond'ring how thy soul could choose a partner
So much unlike itself.

Guil. How could my tongue
Take pleasure, and be lavish in thy praise!
How could I speak thy nobleness of nature,
Thy open manly heart, thy courage, constancy,

in-born truth unknowing to dissemble ! Thou art the man in whom my soul delights, In whom, Dext Heav'n, I trust.

Pem. Oh! gen'rous youth!
What can a heart, stabborn and fierce, like mine,
* Return to all thy sweetness ? -Yet I would,
I would be grateful. Oh, hapless Pembroke !
Would I had never seen her, never cast
Mine eyes on Suffolk's daughter!

Guil. So would I;
Since it was mine to see and love her first.

Pem. Oh! Why should she, a good to all around hes
Like light, a common blessing to the world,
Rise like a blasting fatal to our friendship,
And threaten it with ruin?

Guil. Heaven forbid ! But tell me, Pembroke, is it not in virtue 'To arm against this proud imperious passion? • Does holy friendship dwell so near to envy,

She could not bear to see another happy ?"
If thro' some cause we see not, partial beauty
Should at length favour Guilford ?-

Pemb. Name it not,
My fiery spirits kindle at the thought,
And hurry me to rage.

Guil. And, yet, I think,
I shou'd not


were thy lot to prosper, And mine to be refuse. Tho', sure, the loss Would wound me to the heart.

Pemb. Ila! could'st thou bear it ? And, yet, perhaps, thou might'st: Thy gentle temper Is form’d with passions mix'd in due proportion, Where no one over-bears nor plays the tyrant,

But join in Nature's business and thy happiness :'

While mine, disdaining reason and her laws,
Like all thou can'st imagine wild and furious,
Now drive me headlong on, now whirl me back,
And hurry my unstable flitting soul.
Then pity me, and let my weakness stand.

Enter Sir John GATES.*
Gates. The lords of council
Wait with impatience.-

Pemb. I attend their pleasure. [Exit Sir J. G.
This only, and no more then. Whatsoever
Be the event, still let us call to mind
Our friendship and our honour. And, since love
Has caus'd us to be rivals for one prize,
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,
May take her as the crown of great desert:
And, if the wretched loser does repine,
His own heart and the world may all condemn him.

[Exit Pembroke: Guil. How cross the ways of life lie! While we think We travel on direct in one high road, And have our journey's end oppos’d in view, A thousand thwarting paths break in upon us, To puzzle and perplex our wand'ring steps. Love, friendship, hatred, in their turns mislead us, And ev'ry passion has its separate interest. Where is that piercing foresight can unfold Where all this mazy error will have end, And tell what will befall to me and Pembroke! - There is but one end certain, that is- -death: • Yet e'en that certainty is still uncertain.

For, of these several tracks which lie before us, (We know that one leads certainly to death, 6 But know not which that one is.' 'Tis in vain, This blind divining ; let me think no more on't: And, see, the mistress of our fate appears!


* In the 4to. it is Enter a Messenger.

Enter Lady JANE Gray with attendants. Hail, princely maid! who with auspicious beauty Cheer'st ev'ry drooping heart in this sad place, Who, like the silver regent of the night, Lift'st up thy beams benign upon the land, To bid the gloom look gay, dispel our horrors And make us less lament the setting sun. L. J. Gray. Yes, Guilford, well dost thou compare

my presence
To the faint comfort of the waning moon:
Like her cold orb, a cheerless gleam I bring,
• Silence and heaviness of heart, with dews
( To dress the face of nature all in tears.'
But, say, how fares the king?

Guil. He lives as yet,
But ev'ry moment cuts away a hope,
Adds to our fears, and gives the infant saint
Great prospect of his opening heaven.

L. J. Gray. May choirs of angels, waiting to receive “ Tune their melodious harps to some high strain, [him, • And waft him upwards with a song of triumph :' Oh, Guilford! what remams for wretched England, When he, our guard and growing hope, forsakes us?

Guil. I own my heart bleeds inward at the thought, ' And rising horrors crowd the opening scene.' And yet, forgive me, thou, my native country, Thou land of liberty, thou nurse of heroes, Forgive me, if, in spite of all thy dangers, New springs of pleasure flow within my bosom, When thus 'tis giv'n me to behold with wonder The excelling hand which moulds the human visage, • Giving each day new patterns of its skill, And yet at once surpassing them.' L. J. Gray. Vain flattery ! Harsh and ill-sounding ever to my ear; • But, on a day like this, the raven's note « Strikes on my sense more sweetly. But, no more, "I charge thee touch th' ungrateful theme no more;' Lead me to pay my duty to the king,


To wet his pale cold hand with these last tears,
And share the blessings of his parting breath.

Guil. Were I like dying Edward, sure a touch
Of this dear hand would kindle life a-new.
But I comply :Spare, spare that gath'ring frown;
And oh! whene'er my bosom swells with passion,

my full heart is pain’d with ardent love,
Allow me then to look on you, and sigh ;
This humble joy shall Guilford ask in vain ?
L. J. Gray. Still wilt thou frame thy speech to this

vain purpose, ( When the wan King of Terrors stalks before us,' When universal ruin gathers round, And no escape is left us? Are we not Like wretches in a storm, whom ev'ry moment The greedy deep is gaping to devour?

Around us see the pale despairing crew,
Wring their sad hands, and give their labour o'er;'
The hope of life has ev'ry heart forsook,
And horror sits on each distracted look ;

One solemn thought of death does all employ,
And cancels, like a dream, delight and joy ;
One sorrow streams from all their weeping eyes,
And one consenting voice for mercy cries ::
Trembling, they dread just Heav’n’s avenging power,
Mourn their past lives, and wait the fatal hour.



The SCENE continues.

Enter the Duke of NorthUMBERLAND, and the

Duke of SUFFOLK. North. Yet then be cheerd, my heart, amidst thy

mourning, Tho' gloom hang heavy o'er us, tho' pale fear "And wild distraction sit on ev'ry face;'.


Tho' never day of grief was known like this,
Let me rejoice, and bless the hallow'd light,
Whose beams auspicious shine upon our union,
And bid me call the noble Suffolk, brother.

Suff. I know not what my secret soul presages,
But something seems to whisper me within,
That we have been too hasty. "For myself,
• I wish this matter had been yet delay'd;
6 That we had waited for some happier time,

Some better day, some train of things concurring, 6 For love to kindle up a holy flame.

But, you, my noble brother, would prevail, 6 And I have yielded to you.'

North. Doubt not any thing; Nor hold the hour ill-suited. That good Hear'n, 6 Who softens the corrections of his hand, • And mixes still a comfort with afflictions," Has giv'n to-day a blessing in our children, To wipe away our tears for dying Edward.*

Suff. In that I trust. Good angels be our guard,
And make

fears prove

vain. But see! my wife!
With her, your son, the gen'rous Guilford, comes;
She has inform'd him of our present purpose.
Enter the Duchess of SUFFOLK and Lord GyILFORD
Guil. How shall I speak the fulness of my

heart? What shall I say, to bless you for this goodness ? Oh! gracious princess! But my life is yours, And all the business of my years to come, Is, to attend with humblest duty on you, And pay my

vow'd obedience at your feet. Duch. Suff. Yes, noble youth, I share in all thy joys, * In all the joys which this sad day can give. • The dear delight I have to call thee son,

* From this and the subsequent parts of the act it appears that Rowe makes the marriage of Lord Guilford Dudley with Lady Jane Gray and the death of Edward Vt. to have happened on the same day; but in reality the foriner took place towards the end of May, and the latter July 6, 1553, See the Editor's Preface, p. 328, 320, S47.

+ See the Editor's Preface, p. 323.

« PreviousContinue »