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THIRD SPEAKER (а 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? Oh, 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.
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?
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.
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
him. Amid her ladies walks the papist queen 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 made 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 their vizor from their purposes.
FOURTH SPEAKER (a pursuivant).
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?
I will not think but that our country's wounds May yet be healed-The king is just and gracious,
Though wicked councils now pervert his will:
These once cast off
As adders cast their skins
And keep their venom, so kings often change;
Councils and councillors hang on one another,
Hiding the loathsome [
Like the base patchwork of a leper's rags.
Oh, 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
How glorious! See those thronging chariots
Rolling like painted clouds before the wind :
Like curved shells dyed by the azure depths
Of Indian seas ; some like the new-born 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 !
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 lank 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!
'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?
Enter the KING, QUEEN, LAUD, WENTWORTH, and ARCHY.
Thanks, gentlemen. I heartily accept
This token of your service : your gay masque
Was performed gallantly.
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 task,
The careful weight of this great monarchy.
There, gentlemen, between the sovereign's pleasure
And that which it regards, no clamour lifts
Its proud interposition.
I crave permission of your Majesty
To order that this insolent fellow be
Chastised: he mocks the sacred character,
Scoffs at the stake, and