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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 coursels 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.

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0, 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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ANOTHER SPEAKER.
Give place
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 outspre:d)

The Capitolian-See how gloriously
The mettled horses in the torchlight stir
Their gallant riders, while they check their prido,
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 hy 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 cabing 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 ?

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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 [

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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.

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 state, and

KING.

What, ny Archy! He mocks and mimics all he sees and hears, Yet with a quaint and graceful license-Pritheo 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, Goy, sirrah, and repent of your offence Ten minutes in the rain : be it your penince 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 taluns.

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.

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*

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 fee from the pursues ;
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 wako as from a dream
Out of our worshipped state.

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