Page images

Guil. Oh, teach me! sure, an energy divine
Inspires thy softer sex, and tender
With such unshaken courage?


L. J. Gray. Yes, I trust and truth and innocence; A conscious knowledge rooted in my heart, That to have sav'd my country was my duty. Yes, England, yes, my country, I would save thee; But Heav'n forbids, Heav'n disallows my weakness, And to some dear selected hero's hand

Reserves the glory of thy great deliverance.
Lieut. My lords, my orders-

Guil. See, we must-must part.

L. J. Gray. Yet surely we shall meet again.
Guil. Oh! Where?

L. J. Gray. If not on earth, above yon golden stars, Where other suns arise on other earths,

And happier beings rest on happier seats:

Where, with a reach enlarg'd, our souls shall sing
The great Creator's never-ceasing love,

< Pour forth new songs in the Redeemer's praise, And see the blessed Godhead face to face.'


Guil. Fain would I cheer my heart with hopes like But my sad thoughts turn ever to the grave; To that dark dwelling, whither now we haste ;* Where the black shade shall interpose betwixt us, And veil thee from these loving, longing eyes.

L. J. Gray. 'Tis true, by those dark paths our journey And through the vale of death we pass to life.+ [leads, But what is there in death to blast our hopes? Behold the universal works of nature, Where life still springs from death. To us the sun 'Dies ev'ry night, and ev'ry morn revives:

The flow'rs, which Winter's icy hand destroy'd, 'Lift their fair heads, and live again in Spring.' Mark with what hopes, upon the furrow'd plain, The careful ploughman casts the pregnant grain ;

* See p. 282, Note *.

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of ❝ death, I will fear no evil." Psalm XXIII. 4.


There hid, as in a grave, a-while it lies, Till the revolving season bids it rise; 'Till nature's genial pow'rs command a birth And potent, call it from the teeming earth :' Then large increase the buried treasures yield, And with full harvest crown the plenteous field.* [Exeunt severally with the Guards.

[ocr errors]


SCENE I. The Scene continues.

Enter GARDINER, as Lord Chancellor,+ and the LIEUTENANT of the Tow ER, SERVANTS with lights before them.

Lieut. Good morning to your Lordship; you rise early.

Gard. Nay, in good truth, there are too many sleepers: Some must stir early, or the state shall suffer. Did you, as yesterday our mandate bade, Inform your pris'ners, Lady Jane and Guilford, They were to die this day?

Lieut. My Lord, I did.

Gard. 'Tis well. But say, How did your message like them?+

Lieut. My Lord, they met the summons with a temper, That shew'd a sole serious sense of death, Mix'd with a noble scorn of all its terrors. In short, they heard me with the self-same patience With which they still have borne them in their prison. In one request they both concurr'd: each begg'd To die before the other.

Gard. That dispose As you think fitting.

"Thou visitest the earth and blessest it: thou makest it very "plenteous."- "Thou crownest the year with thy goodness: and "thy clouds drop fatness." Psalm LXV. 9, 12.

p. 380, Note.

+ See the Editor's Preface, p. 348, and
See p. 137, Note *.

Licut. The Lord Guilford only
Implor'd another boon, and urg'd it warmly:
That ere he suffer'd, he might see his wife,
And take a last farewel.

Gard. That's not much,
That grace may be allow'd him:
How goes the morning?

Lieut. Not yet four,* my Lord.


Gard. By ten* they meet their fate. Yet one thing You know 'twas order'd that the Lady Jane Should suffer here within the Tower. Take care No crowds may be let in, no maudlin gazers To wet their handkerchiefs, and make report How like a saint she ended. Some fit number, And those too of our friends, were most convenient: But, above all, see that good guard be kept: You know the queen is lodg'd at present here. Take care that no disturbance reach her highness. And so good morning, good master Lieutenant.t [Exit Lieutenant.

See you

to it.

How now! What light comes here!

Ser. So please your lordship,

If I mistake not, 'tis the Earl of Pembroke. Gard. Pembroke! 'Tis he! what calls him forth 'thus early:

Somewhat he seems to bring of high import;

Some flame uncommon kindles up his soul,
And flashes forth impetuous at his eyes.'

Enter PEMBROKE, a PAGE with a light before him. Good morrow, noble Pembroke! What importunate And strong necessity breaks on your slumbers, And rears your youthful‡ head from off your pillow At this unwholsome hour; while yet the night "Lasts in her latter course, and with her raw

And rheumy damps infests the dusky air?'

*From the mention of these different hours it appears that this act is supposed to occupy the space of more than six hours.

+ See a remark on this line, p. 101.

The Earl of Pembroke was now about the age of 52, see p. 346.

Pemb. Oh, rev'rend Winchester! my beating heart Exults and labours with the joy it bears: The news I bring shall bless the breaking morn. This coming day the sun shall rise most glorious, As when his maiden-beams first gilded o'er The rich immortal greens, the flow'ry plains, And fragant bow'rs of paradise new-born.' Gard. What happiness is this? Pemb. 'Tis mercy! mercy,


The mark of Heav'n impress'd on human kind;
'Mercy, that glads the world, deals joy around;
6 Mercy, that smooths the dreadful brow of power,
• And makes dominion light; mercy, that saves,
Binds up the broken heart, and heals despair.'
Mary, our royal, ever-gracious mistress,
Has to my services and humblest prayers
Granted the lives of Guilford and his wife;
Full and free pardon!

Gard. Ha! what said you? Pardon !
But, sure, you cannot mean it; could not urge
The Queen to such a rash and ill-tim'd grace?
What! save the lives of those who wore her crown!
My lord, 'tis most unweigh'd pernicious counsel,
And must not be complied with.

Pemb. Not complied with!

And who shall dare to bar her sacred pleasure,
And stop the stream of mercy?

Gard. That will I:

Who wo'not see her gracious disposition
Drawn to destroy herself.

Pemb. Thy narrow soul

Knows not the god-like glory of forgiving:
Nor can thy cold, thy ruthless heart conceive,
How large the power, how fix'd that empire is,
Which benefits confer on generous minds:
'Goodness prevails upon the stubborn'st foes,

And conquers more than ever Cæsar's sword did.'

"He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that 66 are bound," Isaiah LXI. 1. See also Luke iv. 18.



Gard. These are romantic, light, vain-glorious dreams.
Have you consider'd well upon the danger?
How dear to the fond many, and how popular
These are whom you would spare? Have you forgot,
When at the bar, before the seat of judgment,
This Lady Jane, this beauteous trait'ress, stood,
With what command she charm'd the whole assembly?
With silent grief the mournful audience sat,
Fix'd on her face, and list'ning to her pleading.
Her very judges wrung their hands for pity;
Their old hearts melted in them as she spoke,
And tears ran down upon their silver beards.
Ev'n I myself was mov'd, and for a moment
Felt wrath suspended in my doubtful breast,
And question'd if the voice I heard was mortal.
But, when her tale was done, what loud applause,
Like bursts of thunder, shook the spacious hall!
At last, when sore constrain'd, th' unwilling lords
Pronounc'd the fatal sentence on her life,
A peal of groans ran thro' the crowded court,
As ev'ry heart were broken, and the doom,
Like that which waits the world, were universal.

Pemb. And can that winning form, that voice of sweetWhich mov'd the hearts of a rude ruthless crowd, [ness, Nay, mov'd ev'n thine, now sue in vain for pity?

Gard. Alas! you look on her with lover's eyes:
I hear and see through reasonable organs,
Where passion has no part. Come, come, my lord,
You have too little of the statesman in you.

Pemb. And you, my lord, too little of the churchman.
Is not the sacred purpose of our faith

Peace and good-will to man?* The hallow'd hand,
Ordain'd to bless, should know no stain of blood.
'Tis true, I am not practis'd in your politics;
'Twas your pernicious counsel led the Queen
To break her promise with the men of Suffolk,+
To violate, what in a prince should be
Sacred above the rest, her royal word.

+ See Burnet, Vol. II. p. 246.

* See Luke 11. 14.


« PreviousContinue »