Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

i

140.—THE DEATH OF CLARENCE.

SHAKSPERS.
SCENE. A Room in the Tower.

Enter Clarence and Brakenbury.
Brak. Why looks your grace so heavily to-day?

Clar. O, I have pass'd a miserable night,
So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights,
That, as I am a christian faithful man,
I would not spend another such a night
Though 't were to buy a world of happy days:
So full of dismal terror was the time.

Brak. What was your dream, my lord? I pray you tell me.

Clar. Methought that I had broken from the Tower,
And was embark'd to cross to Burgundy ;
And in my company my brother Gloster
Who from my cabin tempted me to walk
Upon the hatches; there we look'd toward England,
And cited up a thousand heavy times,
During the wars of York and Lancaster
That had befall’n us. As we pac'd along
Upon the giddy footing of the hatches,
Methought that Gloster stumbled; and, in falling,
Struck me, that thought to stay him, over-board,
Into the tumbling billows of the main.
O Lord ! methought what pain it was to drown !
What dreadful noise of water in mine ears !
What sights of ugly death within mine eyes !
Methought I saw a thousand fearful wracks:
A thousand men that fishes gnaw'd upon;
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels,
All scatter'd in the bottom of the sea.
Some lay in dead men's skulls ; and in those holes
Where eyes did once inhabit there were crept,
As 't were in scorn of eyes, reflecting gems,
That woo'd the slimy bottom of the deep,
And mock'd the dead bones that lay scatter'd by.

Brak. Had you such leisure in the time of death,
To gaze upon these secrets of the deep ?

Clar. Methought I had ; and often did I strive
To yield the ghost: but still the envious flood
Stopt in my soul, and would not let it forth
To find the empty, vast, and wand'ring air ;
But smother'd it within my panting bulk,
Which almost burst to belch it in the sea.

Brak. Awak’d you not in this sore agony?

Clar. No, no, my dream was lengthen'd after life;
O, then began the tempest to my soul !
I pass'd, methought, the melancholy flood
With that sour ferryman which poets writo of,
Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.

The first that there did greet my stranger soul,
Was my great father-in-law, renowned Warwick;
Who spake aloud,—'What scourge for perjury
Can this dark.monarchy afford false Clarence ?'
And so he vanishd: Then came wandering by
A shadow like an angel with bright hair
Dabbled in blood; ho shriek'd out aloud, -
Clarence is come,-false, fleeting, perjur'd Clarence,
That stabb'd me in the field by Tewkesbury ;-
Seize on him, furies, take him unto torment !!
With that, methought, a legion of foul fiends
Environ'd me, and howled in mine ears
Such hideous cries, that, with the very noise
I trembling wak'd, and, for a season after,
Could not believe but that I was in Lell;
Such terrible impression made my dream.

Brak. No marvel, lord, though it affrighted you ;
I am afraid, methinks, to hear you tell it.

Clar. O, Brakenbury, I have done these things,
That now give evidence against my soul,-
For Edward's sake ; and see how he requites me!
O God ! if my deep prayers cannot caapease thee,
But thou wilt be reveng'd on my misdeeds,
Yet execute thy wrath on me alone :
O, spare my guiltless wife and my poor children !
I pray thee, gentle keeper, stay by me;
My soul is heavy, and I fain would sleep.
Brak. I will, my lord : God give your grace good rest ! -

[Clarence retires.
Sorrow breaks seasons and reposing hours,—
Makes the night morning, and the noon-tide night.
Princes have but their titles for their glories,
An outward honour for an inward toil;
And, for unfelt imaginations,
They often feel a world of restless cares :
So that, between their titles, and low name,
There's nothing differs but the outward fame.

Enter the two Murderers. 1 Murd. Ho! who's here? Brak. What wouldst thou, fellow ? and how cam'st thou hither ? 1 Murd. I would speak with Clarence, and I came hither on my legs. Brak. What, so brief? 2 Murd. 'T is better, sir, than to be tedious :- let him see our commission, and talk no more.

[A paper is delivered to Brakenbury, who reads it. Brak. I am in this, commanded to deliver The noble duke of Clarence to your hands : I will not reason what is meant hereby, Because I will be guiltless of the meaning. There lies the duke asleep,—and there, the keys.

I'll to the king ; and signify to him
That thus I have resign'd to you my charge.

1 Murd. You may, sir ; 't is a point of wisdom : Fare you well.

[Exit Brakenbury. * 1 Murd. Soft! he wakes. 2 Murd. Strike. 1 Murd. No, we 'll reason with him. Clar. Where art thou, keeper i give me a cup of wine. 1 Murd. You shall have wine enough, my lord, anon. Clar. In God's name, what art thou ? 1 Murd. A man, as you are. Clar. But not, as I am, royal. 1 Murd. Nor you, as we are, loyal. Clar. Thy voice is thunder, but thy looks are humble. 1 Murd. My voice is now the king's, my looks mine own.

Clar. How darkly, and how deadly dost thou speak!
Your eyes do menace me: Why look you pale ?
Who sent you hither? Wherefore do you come

2 Murd. To, to, to-
Clar. To murther me ?
Both Murd. Ay, ay.

Clar. You scarcely have the hearts to tell me so,
And therefore cannot have the hearts to do it.
Wherein, my friends, have I offended you ?

1 Murd. Offended us you have not, but the king.
Clar. I shall be reconcil'd to him again.
2 Murd. Never, my lord ; therefore, prepare to die.

Clar. Are you drawn forth among a world of men,
To slay the innocent ? What is my offence?
Where is the evidence that doth accuse me?
What lawful quest have given their verdict up
t'nto the frowning judge? or who pronounc'd
The bitter sentence of poor Clarence' death?
Before I be convict by course of law,
To threaten me with death is most unlawful.
I charge you, as you hope for any goodness,
That you depart, and lay no hands on me ;
The deed you undertake is damnable.

1 Murd. What we will do we do upon command.
2 Murd. And he that hath commanded is our king.

Clar. Erroneous vassal! the great King of kings
Hath in the table of his law commanded,
That thou shalt do no murther : Will you then
Spust at his edict, and fulfil a man's ?
Take heed; for he holds vengeance in his hand,
To hurl upon their heads that break his law.

2 Murd. And that same vengeance doth he hurl on tince,
For false forswearing, and for murther too:
Thou didst receive the sacrament to fight
In quarrel of the house of Lancaster.

1 Murd. And, like a traitor to the name of God,

Didst break that vow; and with thy treacherous blade
Unrip'dst the bowels of thy sovereign's son,

2 Murd. Whom thou was sworn to cherish and defend.

1 Murd. How canst thou urge God's dreadful law to us, When thou hast broke it in such dear degree?

Clar. Alas ! for whose sake did I that ill deed ?
For Edward, for my brother, for his sake:
He sends you not to murther me for this;
For in that sin he is as deep as I.
If God will be avenged for the deed,
0, know you, yet he doth it publicly ;
Take not the quarrel from his powerful arm ;
He needs no indirect or lawless course,
To cut off those that have offended him,

1 Murd. Who made thee then a bloody minister,
When gallant-springing, brave Plantagenet,
That princely novice, was struck dead by thee ?

Clar. My brother's love, the devil, and my rage,

1 Murd. Thy brother's love, our duty, and thy faults, Provoke us hither now to slaughter thee.

Clar. If you do love my brother, hate not me;
I am his brother, and I love him well.
If you are hir'd for meed, go back again,
And I will send you to my brother Gloster ;
Who shall reward you better for my life
Than Edward will for tidings of my death.

2 Murd. You are deceiv'd, your brother Gloster hates you.

Clar. O, no; he loves me, and he holds me dear;
Go you to him from me.
Both Murd.

Ay, so we will.
Clar. Tell him, when that our princely father York
Bless'd his three sons with his victorious arm,
And charg'd us from his soul to love each other,
He little thought of this divided friendship:
Bid Gloster think on this, and he will weep.

1 Murd. Ay, mill-stones ; as he lesson'd us to weep. Clar. O, do not slander him, for he is kind. 1 Murd. Right, as snow in harvest.--Come, you deceive yourself 'T is he that sends us to destroy you here.

Clar. It cannot be, for he bewept my fortune. And hugg'd me in his arms, and swore, with sobs, That he would labour my delivery.

1 Murd. Why, so he doth, when he delivers you From this earth’s thraldom to the joys of heaven.

2 Murd. Make peace with God, for you must die, my lord.

Clar. Have you that holy feeling in your souls,
To counsel me to make my peace with God,
And are you get to your own souls so blind,
That you will war with God, by murthering me ?
Oh, sirs, consider, they that set you on
To do this deed will hate you for the deed.

2 Murd. What shall we do

Clar,

Relent, and save your souls.
1 Murd. Relent! No. 'Tis cowardly and womanish.

Clar. Not to relent, is beastly, savage, devilish.
My friend, I spy some pity in thy looks ;
0, if thine eye be not a flatterer,
Come thou on my side, and entreat for me:
A begging prince, what beggar pities not?
Which of you, if you were a prince's son,
Being pent from liberty, as I am now,
If two such murtherers as yourselves came to you,
Would not entreat for life, -as you would beg
Were you in my distress?

2 Murd. Look behind you, my lord.
1 Murd. Take that, and that; if all this will not do,

[Stabs him. I'll drown you in the malmsey-butt within.

[Exit, with the body. 2 Murd. A bloody deed, and desperately despatch'd ! How fain, like Pilate, would I wash my hands of this most grievous murder !

141.-THE DEATH OF LORD HASTINGS.

SIR THOMAS MORE The lord protector caused a council to be set at the Tower on the Friday the thirteenth day of June, where was much communing for the honourable solemnity of the coronation, of the which the time appointed approached so near that the pageants were a making day and night at Westminster, and victual killed which afterward was cast away.

These lords thus sitting communing of this matter, the protector came in among them about nine of the clock, saluting them courteously, excusing himself that he had been from them so long, saying merely that he had been a sleeper that day; and after a little talking with them he said to the Bishop of Ely, My lord, you have very good strawberries in your garden at Holborn, I require you let us have a mess of them. Gladly, my lord, (qd he,) I would I had some better thing as ready to your pleasure as that: and with that in all haste he sent his servant for a dish of strawberries. The protector set the lords fast in communing, and thereupon prayed them to spare him a little, and so he departed, and came again between ten and eleven of the clock into the chamber all changed, with a sour angry countenance, knitting the brows, frowning, and fretting, and gnawing on his lips, and so set him down in his place. All the lords were dismayed, and sore marvelled of this manner and sudden change, and what thing should him ail. When he had sitten a while, thus he began : What were they worthy to have that compass and imagine the destruction of me, being so near of blood to the king, and protector of this his royal realm ? At which question all the lords sat sore astonished, pusing much by whom the question should be meant, of which every man knew himself clear.

Then the Lord Hastings, as he that for the familiarity that was between them thought he might be boldest with him, answered and said, That they were worthy to be punished as heinous traitors, whatsoever they were: and all the other affirmel

« AnteriorContinuar »