Imatges de pÓgina
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And thank the mercy of insulted Heaven
That sin and wrongs wound as an orphan's cry,
The patience of the great avenger's ear.

THIRD SPEAKER (a youth).

Yet, father, 'tis a happy sight to see,
Beautiful, innocent, and unforbidden

By God or man;-'tis like the bright procession
Of skiey visions in a solemn dream

From which men wake as from a paradise,

And draw new strength to tread the thorns of life.
If God be good, wherefore should this be evil?
And if this be not evil, dost thou not draw
Unseasonable poison from the flowers

Which bloom so rarely in this barren world?

O, kill these bitter thoughts which make the present Dark as the future!—

When avarice and tyranny, vigilant fear,

And open-eyed conspiracy lie sleeping

As on Hell's threshold; and all gentle thoughts
Waken to worship him who giveth joys

With his own gift.

SECOND SPEAKER.

How young art thou in this old age of time!
How green in this grey world! Canst thou not think
Of change in that low scene in which thou art

Not a spectator but an actor?

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The day that dawns in fire will die in storms,

Even though the noon be calm. My travel's done; Before the whirlwind wakes I shall have found

My inn of lasting rest, but thou must still

Be journeying on in this inclement air.

That

FIRST SPEAKER.

Is the Archbishop.

SECOND SPEAKER.

Rather say the Pope.

London will be soon his Rome: he walks

As if he trod upon the heads of men.

He looks elate, drunken with blood and gold;
Beside him moves the Babylonian woman
Invisibly, and with her as with his shadow,
Mitred adulterer! he is joined in sin,

Which turns Heaven's milk of mercy to revenge.

ANOTHER CITIZEN [lifting up his eyes].

Good Lord! rain it down upon him. [
Amid her ladies walks the papist queen,

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As if her nice feet scorned our English earth.

There's old Sir Henry Vane, the Earl of Pembroke,

Lord Essex, and Lord Keeper Coventry,
And others who make base their English breed
By vile participation of their honours

With papists, atheists, tyrants, and apostates.
When lawyers mask 'tis time for honest men
To strip the vizor from their purposes.

FOURTH SPEAKER (a pursuivani).

Give place, give place!

You torch-bearers advance to the great gate,
And then attend the Marshal of the Masque
Into the Royal presence.

FIFTH SPEAKER (a law student).

What thinkest thou

Of this quaint show of ours, my aged friend?

FIRST SPEAKER.

I will not think but that our country's wounds May yet be healed-The king is just and gracious, Though wicked counsels now pervert his will: These once cast off

SECOND SPEAKER.

As adders cast their skins

And keep their venom, so kings often change;
Councils and counsellors hang on one another,
Hiding the loathsome [

Like the base patchwork of a leper's rags.

THIRD SPEAKER.

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O, still those dissonant thoughts--List! loud music Grows on the enchanted air! And see, the torches Restlessly flashing, and the crowd divided

Like waves before an Admiral's prow.

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How glorious! See those thronging chariots
Rolling like painted clouds before the wind:
Some are

Like curved shells dyed by the azure depths
Of Indian seas; some like the newborn moon:
And some like cars in which the Romans climbed
(Canopied by Victory's eagle wings outspread)
The Capitolian-See how gloriously

The mettled horses in the torchlight stir
Their gallant riders while they check their pride,
Like shapes of some diviner element !

SECOND SPEAKER.

Ay, there they are

Nobles, and sons of nobles, patentees,
Monopolists, and stewards of this poor farm,
On whose lean sheep sit the prophetic crows.
Here is the pomp that strips the houseless orphan,
Here is the pride that breaks the desolate heart,
These are the lilies glorious as Solomon,
Who toil not, neither do they spin,-unless
It be the webs they catch poor rogues withal.
Here is the surfeit which to them who earn
The niggard wages of the earth, scarce leaves
The tithe that will support them till they crawl
Back to its cold hard bosom. Here is health
Followed by grim disease, glory by shame,
Waste by lame famine, wealth by squalid want,
And England's sin by England's punishment.
And, as the effect pursues the cause foregone,
Lo, giving substance to my words, behold
At once the sign and the thing signified—
A troop of cripples, beggars, and lean outcasts,
Horsed upon stumbling shapes, carted with dung,
Dragged for a day from cellars and low cabins
And rotten hiding-holes to point the moral
Of this presentiment, and bring up the rear
Of painted pomp with misery!

SPEAKER.

Tis but

The anti-masque, and serves as discords do

In sweetest music. Who would love May flowers

If they succeeded not to Winter's flaw;

Or day unchanged by night; or joy itself
Without the touch of sorrow?

SCENE II.-A Chamber in Whitehall.

Enter the KING, QUEEN, LAUD, WENTWORTH, and ARCHY.

KING.

Thanks, gentlemen, I heartily accept

This token of your service: your gay masque

Was performed gallantly.

QUEEN.

And, gentlemen,

Call your poor Queen your debtor. Your quaint pageant
Rose on me like the figures of past years,

Treading their still path back to infancy,

More beautiful and mild as they draw nearer
The quiet cradle. I could have almost wept
To think I was in Paris, where these shows
Are well devised-such as I was ere yet
My young heart shared with [
The careful weight of this great monarchy.

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There, gentlemen, between the sovereign's pleasure
And that which it regards, no clamour lifts

Its proud interposition.

KING.

My lord of Canterbury.

ARCHY.

The fool is here.

LAUD.

I crave permission of your Majesty

To order that this insolent fellow be
Chastised, he mocks the sacred character,
Scoffs at the stake, and-

KING.

What, my Archy !

He mocks and mimics all he sees and hears,
Yet with a quaint and graceful licence--Prithee
For this once do not as Prynne would, were he
Primate of England.

He lives in his own world; and, like a parrot,

Hung in his gilded prison from the window

Of a queen's bower over the public way,

Blasphemes with a bird's mind:-his words, like arrows
Which know no aim beyond the archer's wit,
Strike sometimes what eludes philosophy.

QUEEN.

Go, sirrah, and repent of your offence
Ten minutes in the rain: be it your penance
To bring news how the world goes there.
He weaves about himself a world of mirth
Out of this wreck of ours.

LAUD.

I take with patience, as my master did,
All scoffs permitted from above.

Poor Archy !

KING.

My Lord,

Pray overlook these papers. Archy's words

Had wings, but these have talons.

QUEEN.

That wears them must be tamed.

And the lion

My dearest lord,

I see the newborn courage in your eye
Armed to strike dead the spirit of the time.

Do thou persist: for, faint but in resolve,
And it were better thou hadst still remained

The slave of thine own slaves, who tear like curs
The fugitive, and flee from the pursuer;
And Opportunity, that empty wolf,

Flies at his throat who falls. Subdue thy actions,
Even to the disposition of thy purpose,
And be that tempered as the Ebro's steel;
And banish weak-eyed Mercy to the weak
Whence she will greet thee with a gift of peace,
And not betray thee with a traitor's kiss,
As when she keeps the company of rebels,
Who think that she is fear. This do, lest we
Should fall as from a glorious pinnacle

In a bright dream, and wake as from a dream
Out of our worshipped state.

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Unleash the sword and fire, that in their thirst
They may lick up that scum of schismatics.
I laugh at those weak rebels who, desiring
What we possess, still prate of Christian peace,
As if those dreadful messengers of wrath,
Which play the part of God 'twixt right and wrong,
Should be let loose against innocent sleep
Of templed cities and the smiling fields,
For some poor argument of policy
Which touches our own profit or our pride,
Where it indeed were Christian charity

To turn the cheek even to the smiter's hand :
And when our great Redeemer, when our God
Is scorned in his immediate ministers,

They talk of peace!

Such peace as Canaan found, let Scotland now.

My beloved lord,

QUEEN.

Have you not noted that the fool of late
Has lost his careless mirth, and that his words
Sound like the echoes of our saddest fears?
What can it mean? I should be loth to think
Some factious slave had tutored him.

KING.

It partly is,

That our minds piece the vacant intervals
Of his wild words with their own fashioning;
As in the imagery of summer clouds,

Or coals in the winter fire, idlers find

The perfect shadows of their teeming thoughts:
And partly that the terrors of the time

Are sown by wandering Rumour in all spirits
And in the lightest and the least, may best

Be seen the current of the coming wind.

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