Imatges de pàgina
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SIR PHILIP. Give over!

LADY Anne. I will.

SIR PHILIP.
I want a friend, dear Lady Anne.

LADY ANNE.
A friend ?
And come you to a woman for a friend ?
Better you seek a man.

SIR PHILIP.
He cannot help me,
A woman can; she knows a woman's mind,
And how 'tis hit; which being done, they say,
Her heart's in jeopardy!

LADY ANNE.
Who say so ? They
Who do not know her! Hit her heart, you are sure
Of her mind.

SIR PHILIP.
No easy thing to do! For, now,
Three years and upwards have I tried to hit
The heart of Lady Blanche!

Lady Anne.
I know you have.

SiR PHILIP.
Three years are past, yet am I now as wide
As ever of the mark.

Lady Anne.
Had you guess'd that
At setting out, what labour had you spared,
Or spent perhaps to more account, employ'd
On some one else! Sir Philip!

Sir PHILIP.
Lady Anne ?

LADY Anne. For three years have you been my fair acquaintance; And if I err not, all that lapse of time You have enjoy'd good health !

SIR Philip. Nay; no man better!

LADY Anne. Your appetite has never fail'd you ?

Sir Philip. Never!

LADY Anne. So I should think !-You have always slept o' nights ?

SiR PHILIP.
From laying down my head to lifting it!

LADY ANNE.
Sound sleep ?-No trouble in the shape of dreams?

Sir PHILIP.
None that I recollect.

LADY ANNE.
And yet in love!
And not successfully!—'Tis very strange!

SIR PHILIP. 'Tis very strange.

Lady Anne.
Come, tell me how you feel
Towards Lady Blanche? What are the signs whereby
You know you love her ? When you think of her,
Do you sigh very deeply?

Sir PHILIP.
I'm not sure
That I do sigh at all-but I'm in love.

LADY Anne.
You cannot be in love, unless you sigh.

SiR PHILIP.
A man may sigh, without his knowing it.

LADY ANNE.
That's true. How feel you when another man
Detains her ear aloof?

Sir Philip.
How feel I then?
How should I feel ?

Lady Anne.
Do you not purse your brows?

SIR Philip. No!

LADY ANNE. No !-Do you not bite your lip?

Sir Philip.
No!

LADY ANNE.
No?
Nor clench your hand ?

SIR PHILIP.
Nor clench my hand !- Why should I?

LADY ANNE,
Could you not knock him down?

SIR PAILIP.
I'd like to know
For what?

LADY ANNE.
You would like to know for what? You are deep,
You are very deep in love. What would you do
With Lady Blanche, suppose you married her ?

SiR PHILIP.
Show her to court and town—go everywhere,
And take her with me, that the world might see
She that rejected scores of suits was mine.

Lady Anne. It is his vanity that loves, not he! (aside.)" From these specimens, the reader will understand somewhat of the psychological analysis which pervades this exceedingly beautiful poem. But the crowning specimen of this kind is in the last act, when the failure of their mutual schemes forces both the “old maids" to selfexamination :

(LADY BLANCHE sits disconsolately. Enter LADY ANNE,
who draws a chair beside her, and likewise sits.)

LADY Anne.
Well, Blanche.

LADY Blanche.
Well, Anne. You have quarrell’d with Sir Philip.

LADY ANNE.
And you have lost your pains with Colonel Blount.

LADY Blanche.
We have play'd our cards like fools.

LADY ANNE.
I fear we have.

LADY BLANCHE.
I know we have. My game is gone.

Lady Anne.
And so
I fear is mine.

LADY BLANCHE.
Why, Anne, you're not in love?

LADY ANNE.
I doubt I am. Are you in love, dear Blanche ?

LADY BLANCHE.
I know I am. What could possess you, Anne,
To set yourself up at an age like yours
For an old maid? Would you be wiser than
Your mother was ? Had she been of your mind,
Where had you been?

LADY ANNE.
What could possess you, Anne,
To give me credit for't, and you yourself
A woman? Think you there was ever one

Who led a life of single blessedness,
And with her will? You did forget your mother
As well as I. Children had better take
Example from their parents; they are copies
More like to spoil than mend by altering.

LADY BLANCHE.
My mother was a wife at twenty-four.
Past that, I'm like to be no wife at all.
This comes of scorning men. How could you think
Women were e'er design'd to live without them?
Look at men's trades—no woman e'er could follow,
A pretty smith you'd make to blow a bellows,
And set an anvil ringing with a hammer.

LADY Anne.
Or you a pretty mason with a mallet
Shaping a block of freestone with a chisel !

LADY BLANCHE.
You could not be a doctor, nor a surgeon.

LADY ANNE.
Nor you a lawyer-would you wear the wig ?

LADY BLANCHE.
I'd starve first. You would never make a sailor.

LADY ANNE.
Nor you a soldier.

LADY BLANCHE.
I could fight. I'd like
To fight with Colonel Blount.

Lady Anne.
What! has he chafed you?

Lady BlanchE.
Mortally! Of my beauty made as light
As 'twere a dress would only wear a day!
Averr'd I painted, which, although I did,
Designing not to show, how durst he see?
Denied that I had eyes. Have I not eyes ?
Calld me coquette, anatomized me so,
My heart is all one mortifying sore,
Rankling with pain, which, 'gainst all equity,
I pay him for with love, instead of hate.

LADY ANNE.
Why, Blanche, can it be you?

LADY Blanche. Can you believe That love could be constrain'd? That one could love Against one's will ? That one could spite one's self To love another ? Love and hate at once ?

I could kill Colonel Blount-could hack him up!
Make mincemeat of him and could kill myself
For thinking I could do it, he is so full
Of wisdom, goodness, manliness, and grace!
I honour him, admire him, yea, affect him ;
Yet more than him affect the 'prentice boy,
Whose blushing cheek attested for his heart
That love was an unknown, unlook'd-for guest,
Ne'er entertained before, and greeted, now,
With most confused, overpower'd welcome!

LADY ANNE.
You loved the 'prentice boy!—you thought not that
Before.

Lady Blanche.
Because it seem'd too slight for thought.
A spark I did not heed, because a spark!
Never suspected 'twould engender flame
That kept in secret kindling, nor was found
Before the blaze that now keeps raging on,
As from the smother springs the fiercest fire.

LADY Anne.
Well! make confession to him.

LADY Blanche. Make my will And die. He loves no more. The fire is out! Vanish'd !-the very embers blown away! The memory even of my features gone, At sight of which it burst with such a glare As crimson'd all the welkin of his face, And mock'd as you would think, extinguishing! Nor rests it there-another fire is lit And blazes to another deity ! There is the altar burn'd before for me, But to another does the incense rise. There is the temple where I once was shrined, But to another's image sacred now; And mine profaned, unbased, cast down, cast out, Never to know its worshipper again!

LADY ANNE. Thou dost not weep?

LADY BLANCHE. I do!

LADY ANNE. You are in love!

LADY BLANCHE. To be sure I am, and like to be! ne'er woman more Deceived themselves than we did! To believe It rested with ourselves to love or not; As we at once could have and lack a heart;

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