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MAGDALENE.

ANGELO.

MARK

Of note scarce higher in her royal court This awful man again!-must we ne'er meet Than thou in England's-so, once more beware. But his appalling look, inscrutable

There is no price man's enemy will not pay Yet scrutinizing all, must cite to judgment

For one immortal soul. Now, the good AbbessEach passing thought, each word, each wish

Daughter, advance—how fares it with your charge!

MAGDALENE.

Mark, Mark, Do any but the guilty dread the presence

Sir, longing for your presence, as the blind Of holiest men? He comes to visit here

For light: your holy words breathe deeper calmness

O'er all her frame, than medicine's opiate drugs; The mother of my youth, whose outcast age Hath none but me, of all our scatter'd convent,

Her only fear of death is lest she want To smooth her dying pillow, watch her wants ;

Your parting benediction. And none but Father Angelo t'attend her,

ANGELO. So constantly as though no soul but hers

In-I 'll follow.
Needed his zealous function.

MARK.
ANGELO. The above.

Will he not warn me not to wing the air,
Lest I should fly too near the parching Sun.

And shrivel into dust ?—To doubt his wisdom
So, fair youth,

Were to impeach man's general estimate;
Our prophecies fall true—thou ’rt i' the sunshine.

T'arraign his charity would give the lie Last eve, I ask not, if the dangerous song

To a whole life of painful sanctity, Beseem'd a son of Holy Church-that sin

And slur th'anointed Priesthood with contempt. Be theirs, not thine.

Yet her-of her to speak, to think, t'imagine

Less than the purest, chastest, holiest, best-
How knew he this?

An Angel, but without an Angel's wings,

Lest, weary of this tainting world, she fly

Had those Untimely to her native skies; and I, That take in charge th' eternal souls of men

A poor, unknown, a homeless, friendless borNo ways of knowledge to the vulgar eye

The more I think the wilder grow my thoughts, Inscrutable, our task were ill fulfill'd.

And every thought is stamp'd with her brig So tell me, youth, and look that thou speak truth, She is my world of fantasy, each sound Truth to the word, the letter, even the tone

Is as her voice, each gleam of light her look,
Fell no peculiar private passages,

And midnight hath no vision but of her.
Nor word, nor sign, nay, nor familiar motion,
Emphatic tone, nor more expressive pause,
Between thyself and the Queen's Grace?

Whitehall.
Good Sir,

QUEEN and Ladies.
Think on my baseness and her state-

SIR HENRY NORREYS, Sir FRANCIS WESTON, Sis

Willias BRERETON, MARK SMEATON.

MARK

'ANGELO.

image;

MARK.

ANGELO.

So young

NORREYS.

Your Majesty will grace the tilt today?

QUEEN.

And so dishonest! Boy, look to't! Thy soul,
Thy soul that lives in bliss or dies for ever,
Is on the hazard (hut I speak in love,
And not in anger) spake she not more gently?
Glanced not her eye more kindly than 't was wont?
Drank not her ears thy songs with longer rapture ?
Awes not her presence less, and charms the more ?-
Boy, boy, take heed—be warn'd, be wise.

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MARK.

Sir, Sir,
Is 't possible, in human nature! where,
In History or Legend, wild and marvellous,
Is 't written, that a Queen-a Queen like her-
The Queen of Queens in beauty and in goodness,
Stoop'd to consider one like me?

To hope that he, your Grace has deign'd to name
Your Knight, being Champion of the ring, your

Highness
Had given him victory by your presence.
QUEEN,

Norreys
Trust me, I wish thee all that proud success
Thy valour and thy truth deserve.

NORREYS.

That wish
Is triumph-and my vaunting adversaries
Are strewn already at my feet.

ANGELO.

This life
Hath strange vicissitudes. This Queen, this partner
Of England's throne, I can remember well
Tne Duchess of Alençon once esteemid

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QUEEN.

The deepest, darkest, most infuriate pit,
Sir Henry,

Th' abyss of all abysses, blackest blackness,
Sach language breathes of the blithe air of France; Where that most damning sin, the damning others,
It brings back recollections of my youth,

With direst, most remorseless expiation,
When all my life was like a jocund dream,

Howls out its drear eternity, arouse
Or air of gayest music :-but, time presses The myriad voices of your wailing; loud
So Gentlemen, in the old Knightly phrase,

As when the fleshly Luther, or the chief
Go bear you bravely for your Mistress' sake. Of his cursed crew have one by one gone down,
WESTON,

To tread your furnace chambers !-Rise! prepare Our Mistress thus commanding, what true Knight

The throne of fire, the crown of eating flames ! Can fail or falter ?

She comes-the Queen, the fatal Queen, whose beauty

Hath been to England worse, more full of peril, QUEEN.

Than Helen's was to Troy, hath seal'd for death, Courteous words, Sir Francis ;

For death eternal, irremediable, But I mistake me or that name calls up

Whole generations of her godless sons, Another-and, in truth, a fairer lady.

And made her stately church a heap of ruin!

WESTON.

GARDINER.

I am no heretic: why keep me thus
Upon the rack?

ANGELO.

When slightest accidents
Lead to effects that change the doom of nations,
Dost thou not read the visible hand of Heaven?

Not-as I live.

QUEEN

Take heed! false oath, false Knight: Enough of this,

NORREYS.

We kiss your Highness' hands, And with this talisman of strength set forth.

QUEEN. Heaven prosper you!

(Mark SMEATON kneels also.

How now? thou 'rt over-hold:
Thou dost forget thy rank and station, youth;
Thou 'rt not, I deem, of gentle blood.

GARDINER,

Who questions it?

ANGELO.

Why then behold-adore it!
My Lord, we're wise and politic, but yet
A foolish kerchief falling to the ground
Shall more advance our high and righteous cause
Than months of subtlest craft.

MARK.

No, no,

GARDINER.

A look suffices me.

Explain

QUEEN.

ANGELO.

Truth, noble Sirs,

I stood
Your gallantry 's infectious ; this poor youth Within the tilt-yard, not to take delight
Must needs admire and imitate your courtesies : Carnal, unpriestly, in the worldly pageant :
Take heed that thou offend no more-be modest,

Though, Heaven forgive me! when the trumpets blew,
As thou wert wont. And now to horse, Sir Knights, And the lists fell, and Knights as brave, and full
Go forward, and Heaven speed the brave and noble ! Of valour as their steeds of fire, wheelforth,
So now to Greenwich, to look gay and light

And moved in troops or single, orderly

As youths and maidens in a village dance, As this May morning, with a heart as heavy

Or shot, like swooping hawks, in straight career; As dull November; to be thought the happiest,

The old Caraffa rose within my breastBe the most wretched of all womankind.

[Exeunt.

Struggled my soul with haughty recollections
of when I rode through the outpour'd streets of Rome,

Enamouring all the youth of Italy
Near Whitehalt.

With envy of my noble horsemanship.
GARDINER and ANGELO.

But I rebuked myself, and thought how Heaven
Had taught me loftier mastery, 10 rein

And curb with salutary governance
My Lord of Winchester—thou 'st seen the King ?

Th' unmanaged souls of men. But to our purpose;

Even at the instant, when all spears were levellid,
I've seen a raging madman loose ; he came And rapid as the arblast bolt, the Knights
From Greenwich at full speed; their horses seem'd Spurr'd one by one to the ring, when breathless leant
Like those who ride for life from a fost battle : The Ladies from their galleries—from the Queen's
What hath befallen?

A handkerchief was seen to fall; but while
ANGELO.

Floating it dallied on the air, a Knight,
The game is won ere play'd! Sir Henry Norreys, as I learnt, stoop'd down,
It fires beyond our hopes, the sulphurous train Caught, wreath'd it in his plume, regain'd his spear,
Flames up, they 're hurl'd aloft, but not to Heaven. And smote right home the quivering ring : th' acclaim
Wake, Hell! and lift thy gates; and ye, that tenant Burst forth like roaring waters, but the King

ANGELO.

GARDINER.

GARDINER.

ANGELO.

LADY WILTSHIRE.

ANGELO.

GARDINER.

QUEEN.

ANGELO.

Sprang up, and callid to horse, while tumult wild Sate upon brows that turn'd aside to avoid me.
Broke up the marr'd and frighted ceremony.

The menials are infected : not a groom,

As I descended from my litter, lent Something of this I augurd: as the King

His hand to aid me; and my ante-rooms Swept furious by, he beckond me; yet seem'd Are mute and empty, even as though the plague Too busied with his wrathful thoughts to heed Had tainted all the air. Well, what of this ! Whom thus he summond ; and I heard him mutter Oh, God of Grace! thou 'rt bounteous still! Fall of “The saucy groom !" and terms, which to repeat The cumbrous trappings and appendages Were not o'erfitting priestly lips, but coupled Of mine uneasy state, thou leavest me yet With the Queen's name most strangely. Seeing this, One far too old and one too young to change: I thought it in mine office to administer

My child, my Mother, and my Innocence, Grave ghostly admonition, mingled well

Shall make me up a blest society, With certain homily and pulpit phrases

An Empress girt about with handmaid-queens Of man's ingratitude, and gracious Kings

Might envy.—At her charge I left my Mother, Whose bounties are abused; the general looseness Her charge, whose joy renews her youth, and makes her Of the age. The more I spake, the more he madden'd, Like some fond nurse o'er her first-bornAs though my words were oil on fire.

LADY WILTSHIRE

"T was well, But must be better: I have further tidings.

Come, code, I pass'd the Tower, and saw Sir William Kingston, She sleeps—thyself, dear Anne, not half so lovely: Summond 't was said, with special haste, come forth Come sit by her, and gaze on her, for hours Among his archers.

For days: a violet on a bed of snow,
GARDINER.

A pearl in ivory set, the brightest star
Ha! there's more in this. Where all are bright in the soft milky way-

There's no similitude she doth not shame.
Prelate, there shall be-where's the King ?

Her forehead arch'd by Heaven to fit a crown!

I've almost wish'd thou ne'er shouldst bear a boy, I left him

Dear Anne, to bar her from the throne she's born to Near the apartment of Jane Seymour.

Mother, I follow thee.
Good!

The above. KINGSTON and GUARD
The field of battle where we have them all
At vantage.—Lead me to him.

QUEEN.

Ha! in my chamber
Thee?

Arm'd men! Sir William Kingston, thou 'rt o'erbold

To press unbidden on our privacy. What! jealous still? Then go thyself—be speedy.

KINGSTON
Thou lovest the King, my Lord of Winchester :

By the King's special mandate, I attach
Suits it thy reverence, then, and holy station, Your Highness.
Nearest his heart, and in his closet counsels,

QUEEN.
That he retain a wanton in his bosom,

Stay, Sir, as you hope for mercy. When there is one hath damning evidence

My mother! she is old and fond-her heart At peril of his life?

Will break. Dear mother-back-go back-the King,

Willing to do your daughter honour, sends
Where? who?

Good Kingston and his guard. God pardon me!
The Man

The first untruth that e'er defiled my lips. Am I.-Thou seest, my Lord, thine all the glory,

Now, Sir, your message: the King's Grace, I heard, The gratitude for this great service-mine

In his displeasure for some weighty cause,
The peril. Strike, strike now, strike home, my Lord. Commands his Queen to prison; I obey, Sir.

GARDINER.
I see it: as we pass, thou shalt unfold

Your Majesty must hold yourself in readiness All that remains behind ; and, trust me, Brother,

T' embark on the instant for the Tower. Thou shalt have thy reward.

QUEEN

The Tower!
I shall-in Heaven.

Oh, mother! mother! that the time should come
When I should wish thee in thy quiet grave.

My child—that I should wish thee yet unborn ;-
Whitehall

Shall I find justice, Sir ? (3)
QUEEN.

KINGSTON
What can it mean? Each face as I pass`d by

The meanest subject Was gathering blackness; and a silent pity

In all the realm would not impeach the equity

GARDINER.

ANGELO.

GARDINER.

ANGELO

KINGSTON.

ANGELO.

KINGSTON.

MARK.

ANGELO.

Of the King's Grace with such a dangerous doubt. Most true; yet know'st thou not the worst : the King Your Highness!

Has changed to such a deadly hate against her,
QUEEN.

That she must die
Start ye thus to see me laugh?

MARK
There's laughter that is grief's most bitter language,

Die! die! -No, Sir, no soul Laughter that hath no mirth—and such is mine. Will load itself with such a deep damnation : Lieutenant of the Tower, I tell thee this:

Earth would break out in execration, Heaven
I've done, Sir, in my days, some good, through Christ; With unexampled thunders interdict
If they misjudge my cause, yea, but a jot,

The horrible sentence!
The fiery indignation from above

ANGELO. Shall blast the bosom of this land, the skies

Youth, I 'll trust thee farther. Shall be as brass, nor rain nor drop of dew

Come hither, close—thy love 10 thy lost mistress Shall moisten the adust and gaping earth.

Warrants my somewhat dangerous confidence:

She stands between the King and a new lustI would beseech your Highness to compose

He must be widow'd, e'er his guilty heart
Your too distemper'd mind.

Glut ils foul appetite.
QUEEN.
Where are the Bishops,

Oh! reverend Father,
The holy Bishops? They will plead my cause,

Does not thy flesh grow cold, thy holy heart

Sicken still more and more at this bad world?
And make my enemies kneel at my foolstool.
I needs must laugh, Sir, but I'll weep anon,

For me, for me, she will so hallow death
Weep floods, weep life-blood, weep till every heart

She will so darken and make void this earth Shall ache and burst to see me. Now I'll kneel

At her departure-I and all true servants Behold me kneel!—and imprecate Heaven's vengeance

Will seek out our untimely graves, to attend, If I'm not guiltless. Come-away-away

Adore her, in a better world ; at least,
Is your barge ready? Sooner to my judgment,

Not live in this, when sunless of her presence.
Sooner to my deliverance.--So, back
To those I dare not name, I dare not think of.

Now, as a heretic I love her not,
But yet my charity would not she were cast,

Where she must perish body and soul in hell;
The Garden as before.

I'd have her live-live on, in shame and sorrow;

For sorrow is the mother of true penitence.
ANGELO, MARK SMEATON.

Is there no way to save her?
Good youth, I know not if it grieve me more,

None.
Thy fair prefermeni thus is nipp'd i’ the bud,
Or give me joy that thou hast ‘scaped the snares
That might have limed thy soul.

Then, farewell
All hope, all joy in this world's wilderness,

A barren waste of sand, the fountain dried

Is it then true, Sir? That was its life and gladness.Is't possible? Thou art all truth, thou wilt not

ANGELO. Torture my heart with such a hideous falsehood.

None, but that There was a rude tall fellow with a halberd,

At which our nature shudders, which would damn Who spake of it, and with his villanous jests

The name to blackest branded infamy, And fiendish langhter tainted the Queen's name,

Would peril the eternal soul, would give Her snowy, spotless, air-embalming name!

The fiends such awful vantage, by a crime, I told him to his teeth he lied; and if

A wilful crime, so like th'accursed Judas, His scoffing fellows had not troop'd around him,

That good men would not stay to seek the cause, I'd struck bim to the earth.

But heap the head with merciless execration.

Where shall we find, in these degenerate days, Rash boy, beware! Devotion more than Roman ?-Who will risk This sounds like treason.

His fame, his soul, to save a woman's life,

And give a heretic time to pluck the brand
If the King himself Of her lost soul out of hell fire ?
Set such example to high heaven, cast off
Its richest bounties with such insolent scorn,

Good Father,
What wonder if ingratitude become

Wrap not thy speech in darkness. The fashion of this court, and the most favour'd

ANGELO.
Change to the blackest traitors ?

If the King,
On some just plea (and these new Gospellers

Mark, 't is true Do admit none but foul adultery) The Queen is order'd prisoner to the Tower | Were but divorced-how long, how honourably 29*

353

MARK.

ANGELO.

ANGELO.

MARK.

MARK.

ANGELO.

MARK

MARK.

ANGELO.

Do with me as thou wilt-I 'll speak, I'll swear,
I'll pull down good men's imprecations, Heaven's
No, Heaven will pardon if I save the heavenly!
Upon my head rain curses, contumelies,
She will erewhile be taught to bless me; ways
Will sure be found to teach her why I've dared
Thus 'gainst my nature, bold and false—she 'll know it
She'll know it all--my pains, my hopes, my truth!

Lived the Imperial Catherine !-which were best-
Her spoiless name be tainted, or her body
Writhe on a scaffold, and her soul in flames ?

MARK.
Horrible! horrible !-to live with name
Spotted with shame, or die for aye!-

ANGELO.

E'en soTo bear a branded life, nor maid, nor widow, Nor wife; for who would wed a tainted outcast? She were beneath the lowest groom.

MARK.

True, true. On, I beseech you, Sir.

ANGELO.

Do we not force
The deadliest poison down the best-loved lips,
If, by its wholesome intervention, life
Be prison'd in the mortal frame? We hate
At first the stern physician, but erewhile
The wiser heart o'erflows with grateful love.

MARK.
Good reverend Sir, tell me at onee—directly,
With no prudential riddling in thy phrase,
What must he do would save the Queen ?

ANGELO.

Avouch,
And with a solemn oath, in the face of Heaven,
That they have done together that foul sin
That taints the lips to speak, the heart to think on.

MARK
Oh! but 't must be a nobler perjury.
Who would believe th' impossible falsity
Averr'd by baser lips ?

ANGELO.

Those that would fain Believe, are ne'er o'er-nice or scrupulous.

ANNE BOLEyn landing at the Tower.
SIR WILLIAM KINGSTON, Guards

QUEEN.
Here-here, then, all is o'er-Oh! awful walls,
Oh! sullen towers, relentless gates, that open
Like those of Hell, but to receive the doom'd,
The desperate-Oh! ye black and massy barriers,
But broken by yon barr'd and narrow loop-holes,
How do ye coop from this God's sunshine world
Of freedom and delight, your world of woe,
Your midnight world, where all that live, live on
In hourly agony of death! Vast dungeon,
Populous as vast, of your devoted tenants!
Long ere our bark had touch'd the fatal strand,
I felt your ominous shadow's darken o'er me,
And close me round; your thick and clammy air,
As though 't were loaded with dire imprecations,
Wailings of dying and of tortured men,
Tainted afar the wholesome atmosphere.

KINGSTON (to the Guard). Advance your halberds.

QUEEN.

Oh! Sir, pause-one look, One last long look, to satiate all my senses. Oh! thou blue cloudless canopy, just tinged With the faint amber of the setting sun, Where one by one steal forth the modest stars To diadem the sky :-thou noble river, Whose quiet ebb, not like my fortune, sinks With gentle downfall, and around the keels Of those thy myriad barks makest passing musie: Oh! thou great silent city, with thy spires And palaces, where I was once the greatest, The happiest-I, whose presence made a tumult In all your wondering streets and jocund marts :But most of all, thou cool and iwilight air, That art a rapture to the breath! The slave, The beggar, the most base down-irodden outcast, The plague-struck livid wreich, there's none so vile So abject, in your streets, that swarm with lifeThey may inhale the liquid joy Hearen breathesThey may behold the rosy evening skyThey may go rest their free limbs where they will: But I-but I, to whom this summer world Was all bright sunshine; I, whose time was noted But by succession of delights-Oh! Kingston, Thou dost remember, thou wert then Lieutenant, "T is now-how many years ?-my memory wanders Since I set forth from yon dark low-brow'd porch, A bride-a monarch's bride- King Henry's bride! Oh! the glad pomp, that burn'd upon the watersOh! the rich streams of music that kept time

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