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CHARLES THE FIRST. 9 dfragnunt.

ACT I.

SCENE I.

The Pageant to celebrate the arrival oj the Queen.

A PURSUIVANT.

Place for the Marshal of the Masque!

FIRST SPEAKER.

What thinkest thou of this quaint masque, which

turns
Like morning from the shadow of the night,
The night to day, and London to a place
Of peace and joy 1

SECOND SPEAKER.

And Hell to Heaven.
Eight years are gone,

And they seem hours, since in this populous street
I trod on grass made green by summer's rain,
For the red plague kept state within that palace
Where now reigns vanity—in nine years more
The roots will be refreshed with civil blood;
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 bo 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.

SECOND SPEAKER.

How young art thou in this old age of time I
How green in this grey world 1 Canst thou not think
Of change in that low scene, in which thou art
Not a spectator but an actor f
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.

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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, 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 the 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?

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 councillors hang on one another, Hiding the loathsome [ ]

Like the base patchwork of a leper's rags.

THIRD SPEAKER.

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 prow.

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Aye, there they i
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
Hack to its cold hard bosom. Hero is health
Followed by grim disease, glory by shame,
Waste by bulk 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!

Tisbut The anti-masque, and serves as discords do In sweetest music. Who would love May flo If they succeeded not to Winter's flaw; Or day unchanged by night; or joy itself Without the touch of sorrow?

SCENE II.
A Clamber In WhitekaU.

Enter the Kino, Quxen, Laud, Wkxtwchtth, and Abuht.

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 task.

The careful weight of this great monarchy.
There, gentlemen, between the sovereign's pie
And that which it regards, no clamour lifts
Its proud interposition.

KINO. My lord of Canterbury.

ARCHT.

The fool is here.

I crave permission of your Majesty
To order that this insolent fellow be
Chastised : he mocks the sacred character,
Seoffs at the stake, and—

What, my Archy '. He mocks and mimics all he Bees and hears, Yet with a quaint and graceful licence—Prithe« 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 prisou 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.

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

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 A rmed 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, ana wake as from a dream

Out of our worshipped state.

* * * And if this suffice not,

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 indeed it 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.

QUEEN.

My beloved lord,

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.

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.

QUEEN.

Your brain is overwrought with these deep

thoughts. Come, I will sing to you; let us go try These airs from Italy,—and you shall see A cradled miniature of yourself asleep, Stamped on the heart by never-erring love; Liker than any Vandyke ever made, A patteru to the unborn age of thee, Over whose sweet beauty I have wept for joy A thousand times, and now should weep for sorrow, Did I not think that after we were dead Our fortunes would spring high in him, and that The cares we waste upon our heavy crown Would make it light and glorious as a wreath Of heaven's beams for his dear innocent crow.

Dear Henrietta!

SCENE III.

Hampden, Pym, Cromwell, and the younger Vank.

HAMPDEN. England, farewell! thou, who hast been my cradle, Shalt never be my dungeon or my grave! I held what I inherited in thee As pawn for that inheritance of freedom Which thou bast sold for thy despoiler's smile :— How can I call thee England, or my country? Does the wind hold 1

The vanes sit steady Upon the Abbey-towers. The silver lightnings Of the evening star, spite of the city's smoke, ■" Tell that the north wind reigns in the upper air. Mark too that flock of fleecy-winged clouds Sailing athwart St. Margaret's.

HAMPDEN.

Hail, fleet herald Of tempest! that wild pilot who shall guide Hearts free as his, to realms as pure as thee.

Beyond the shot of tyranny! And thou,
Fair star, whose beam lies on the wide Atlantic,
Athwart its zones of tempest and of calm,
Bright as the path to a beloved home,
0 light us to the isles of th' evening land!
Like floating Edens, cradled in the glimmer
Of sunset, through the distant mist of years
Tinged by departing Hope, they gleam! Lone

regions, Where power's poor dupes and victims yet have

never Propitiated the savage fear of kings With purest blood of noblest hearts; whose dew Is yet unstained with tears of those who wake To weep each day the wrongs on which it dawns; Whose sacred silent air owns yet no echo Of formal blasphemies ; nor impious rites Wrest man's free worship from the God who loves Towards the worm, who envies us his love. Receive thou, young [ ] of Paradise,

These exiles from the old and sinful world!

This glorious clime, this firmament, whose lights

Dart mitigated influence through the veil

Of pale-blue atmosphere; whose tears keep greeo

The pavement of this moist all-feeding earth;

This vaporous horizon, whose dim round

Is bastioned by the circumfluous sea,

Repelling invasion from the sacred towers;

Presses upon me like a dungeon's grate,

A low dark roof, a damp and narrow vault:

The mighty universe becomes a cell

Too narrow for the soul that owns no master.

While the loathliest spot Of this wide prison, England, is a nest Of cradled peace built on the mountain tops, To which the eagle-spirits of the free, Which range through heaven and earth, and scon

the storm Of time, and gaze upon the light of truth, Return to brood over the [ ] thoughts

That cannot die, and may not he repelled.

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