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True, I had forgot.
A crown and cowl do equally sear up
The natural issues of affection.
Is 't so?
Urs. Aye, truly.
But although I climb
Mountingly o'er the body of this youth,
A round is out of the ladder, and I stop
Mid way; so high, 'twere giddy to look down.
A round, -I scarce conceive-
Dull, froward priest !
What boots that Perkin fill a grave as deep
As the earth's centre, if survive that other,
That Warwick, son of malmsey-drinking Clarence,
Heir of the throne, if York were moved from his path ?
Urswick, why all the labours I've gone through,
And this the happiest labour of them all,
Were but to lift the crown from Richard's head,
To place it upon Edward's ; While our own,
Bent reverent and bare !-A game's half lost
When but half won. How say you ?
He's a youth
Tender and timid, the young Earl of Warwick.
And if this Richard-
[He stops confused. Hen. Pause not for a name.
Urs. Who is of manlier thews, were safely sped,
That other might be moved to turn his mind
From earthly things, to scorn the pomp and toys
Of this vain world, and don the peaceful gown
Of our meek church.
A priest ? Nay, Heav'n forefend !
Ambition may be quelled in a lay heart,
But when it fires a Churchman's,-never, never !
When will this Perkin forth ?
Ere sound of twelve,
The Abbot says.
Hen. What says the minster clock ?
Urs. It wants two minutes.
Hen. (To himself)
Our wife, were but to see him, patural blood
Would warm to him. White roses grow in groups.
She shall not see him, for the sound of his voice,
They say, is like his father's, and his eyes
Have the same look.
The clock strikes—the doors open-—the procession begins.
I would not change this hour
Of vengeance on the hated Yorks, the foes
Of me and mine, for all that earth can give !
York and the Duchess advance from the gate.
Here comes the villain Edward's son. Thank heaven,
The fools are blind !
(Aloud) Bring me this Warbeck forward !
Urs. (to York.) His grace will see you.
So Sir, so—you 're come !
You set a price upon our head. We thank you,
You valued it so high. What value, Sir.
Place you upon your own ?
The life of others.
Grant me their lives; they were misled, deceived ;
Pardon them, Sir! And take this worthless head
Bent at your feet.
His father's second self!
(Aloud.) You bargain well. Have you forgotten, Sir,
Your head is ours already, yours and theirs.
York. I might have kept my sanctuary, Sir,
And wandered from this land untouched, unscathed,
Carrying where'er I went, for forty days,
The Church's holy helm upon my head.
I lift the Church's helm, my head is bare ;
Take it,-but spare these men.
What are you, Sir ?
We thought you were our royal cousin of York,
King Edward's son, true brother of our wife,
True prince, true king. What! Have you changed your note ?
Are you our rightful Lord ?
York. I thought so, Sir.
Hen. But you confess you now ?—Listen, my Lords,
Listen, good gentlemen, followers of this man.
Now Sir, say on. Are you of royal blood ?
Hen. Then who was your father ?
Hen. How dare you, Sir !_base, recreant, renegade,
Traitor! How dare you come into our realm,
You, that confess,—that, now the game is lost
Tell your poor dupes--you 're but a cozening knave ;
And now make bargain for your life.
My life I give-as freely give it, Sir,
As Heaven gives light. These, my companions,
Are still within the safeguard of the shrine.
Hen. Are they? Ha! who's that woman ? Bring her hither.
Who are you, Mistress ?
This man's wife.
Oh! Thus I vail to you; you bear true blood.
But for this insolent-
My husband, Sir,
Were he indeed what once he thought he was
Were he a king, with nations at his feet,
He'd have no higher name.
Hen. Psha ! Sunder them.
Duch. Dear Warbeck ! Oh! I love the name, since yours,
Better than York, since it is yours no longer ;
They shall not part us! He's no traitor, Sir !
Hen. Then he is worse our prisoner, our sworn foc
York. Ah ! Catherine, plead for me no more,
My friends, lift up the banners once again,
And wend you forth.
Not so ! We take your head
Ransom for theirs.—You're pardoned, gentlemen ;
Depart in peace. [to Urswick.] If they get thro' the forest,
Your life shall answer,
The procession exit. Urswick follows, and returns.
For me, Sir, here I stand,
Willing to die: and if 'twill speed your purpose,
Know that I own that it is just I die ;
I, that have caused so many nobler deaths,
So many broken hopes! Give but the word,
Duch. Husband !
Look around you, Kate ;
Eyes are upon us—cold and cruel eyes.
Let us part nobly. Bear a proud heart, wife!
Let me not hear one tremble in your voice,
It might give triumph.
Duch. to Hen. Sir, you owned my rank,
Grant me one favour, let us die together!
Duch. Let not Death come like an envious blighit,
That nips but half the blossom. Let us die
Thus, linked together.
No, my Catherine, no !
Live to be guardian of your husband's name ;
Live to live down the baseless calumnies,
That power and hatred will conjoin to fling
On the poor heart that only beat for you,
For you and honour.
Duch. I will live for these.
York. Then let us part. No tear! I thank you, Sir,
That you preserve this life. Here, with this hand,
I give you from me, Catherine ! Say farewell,
Calmly as I do.
Farewell Sir ! more loved
In your defeat, than ’mid the brightest hopes
That gilt our fortunes in the years gone by!
York. Lead to the scaffold !
No. To the Tower-to the Tower
Lead him-quick-hence! And you, fair Catherine,
You shall to Westminster-Nay, answer not.
Lead off that man ! and take the lady away. [Exeunt York, Duch, da
Hen. Urswick, come near. How like a York he look'd ! Place him beside his cousin in the Tower,
Lord Warwick. 'Tis but one of the Hydra heads.
Let them be close companions. If one lives,
The other may live as well—both—both.
Tho' eighteen years, is but a child in thought,
Playmate of Digby's pretty daughter, Mabel ;
And 'tis a pleasant sight to see the twain ;
For he is innocent as she. He has been
Prison'd so long, he's lost all sense and manhood.
Hen. He has enough of both to sit on a throne,
And give his name to a shilling. Let them meet,
They will hatch treason soon. And now for London. [Exeunt.
SCENE II. Westminster. Three weeks have elapsed. The Duchess has had intimation, through the Earl of Warwick's fool, of Warbeck's intended escape. The message is conveyed in the Jester's Bauble, which he leaves behind him; and while the Duchess is weeping with delight at the prospect of joining her husband in his flight,
Have you not wept enough yet ?
Where is your mistress? Where's the Queen, fair lady?
Duch. Your pardon, Sir. You shall not see me weep
Again. I think I've done with tears.
It only hurts the eyes, and does no good.
Where is your mistress ?
She's this moment gone.
Hen. Go to her. [She is going.] Ho! come back. Well, look at me :
I am the King.
Duch. I know you, Sir.
Is that the whole? A word of mine has power
To doom or pardon. Have you nought to ask ?
No favour? You once loved a husband, Madam.
Duch. I have no favour, Sir, to ask of you.
Hen. Go then.
Three little weeks are past, that's all,
And York's forgotten ; she scarce deems his life
Worth asking, or his death worth caring for.
I spoke to try her. He was noble, too,
And loved her. Pah! She'll turn her widow's weeds
Into a net, with meshes villainous close,
To catch another husband. 'Twould be shame
To balk her angling.–Urswick !
[Sees the bauble.
What is this?
The bauble of a jester! The poor symbol
Of a poor trade. Yet what a look it has !
How mirthful! And its voice how full of glee !
Round it is clustered, laugh, and quip, and song.
A sovran nod to claim the authority
That willing liegemen own. What more than this
The crozier of the pope, the general's sword,
The crown itself ? No rival for its keeping,
No fear to lose it, no remorse, no pang.
Lie there,—the sceptre of a merrier king
Than sits on any throne in Christendom
How fares he in his prison ?
Bears himself loftily, yet humbly too;
Subdued, but not disgraced.
He must be that.
We must break down his honor, sink him low
In all men's eyes. Will he be bribed, wiled, driven,
To play the spy on Warwick, to betray him ?
We'll promise all things, freedom, riches, rank.
How say you?
Urs. He'll not yield.
Then he shall die !
Digby (hurriedly) My liege-
Hen. What pow? Be calm as I am. What ?
Know you not yet that the quick hurried speech
Is but for fools—to speak or listen to ?
What is it? Take your breath. What is it, sir !
Dig. My liege, prince Edward and the duke of York.
Hen. You mean lord Warwick, sir, and Perkin Warbeck.
Dig. Pardon, your grace. They hatch a plot between them.
Hen. Fear not: that egg will addle. What's the plot ?
Dig. To fly, my liege. They've tampered with the guards;
Four they have now.
'Twill cost four ropes, sir John, To hang them. And when thought they to escape ?
Hen. How know you this?
My daughter, sir,
Has been lord Warwick's playmate-loves him, sir,
As children love their fellows.
Well, sir John,
What is all this? What has this tale to do
With Perkin's plot ?
My Mabel, please your grace,
Is of so loving a nature and so kind !
She's kissed me with more heart-love than of wont
Hung over me before she went to bed,
And clung again to me i' the morning, sir,
And wept, and had a heaving at her heart
When she looked on me. And at last, your grace,
For she in her fond fealty to her frierd
Was minded to go with them, -she knelt down
And begged my blessing,—weeping fast, and sobs
Choking her voice,--for it might chance, she said,
We should not meet again,