Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

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 prevert 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.

[ocr errors]

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.

[blocks in formation]

To the Marshal of the Masque !

THIRD SPEAKER.

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 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 !

SECOND SPEAKER.

Aye, 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 [

2 F2

] the task,

The careful weight of this great monarchy.

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

[blocks in formation]

I crave permission of your Majesty

To order that this insolent fellow be

Chastised, he mocks the sacred character,
Scoffs at the state, and-

KING.

What, my Archy!
He mocks and mimics all he sees and hears,
Yet with a quaint and graceful license-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. Poor Archy! 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.

KING.

My Lord,

Pray overlook these papers. Archy's words

Had wings, but these have talons.

QUEEN.

And the lion

That wears them must be tamed. My dearest lord, I see the new-born 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 fall.

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.

« AnteriorContinuar »