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TO-NIGHT, if you have brought your good old taste, | He owns he had the mighty bard in view;
Here are some subjects for a softer strain, Soar'd many a pitch above our modern writers: A nymph forsaken, and a perjur'd swain. They caterwaul'd in no romantic ditty,
What most he fears, is, lest the dames should Sighing for Phillis's or Chloe's pity.
frown, Justly they drew the fair, and spoke her plain, The dames of wit and pleasure about town, And sung her by her Christian namem-'twas Jane. To see our picture drawn unlike their own. Our numbers may be more refined than those, But, lest that error should provoke to fury But what we've gained in verse, we've lost in The hospitable hundreds of Old Drury, prose.
He bid me say, in our Jane Shore's defence, Their words no shuffling double-meaning knew, She doled about the charitable pence, Their speech was homely, but their hearts were Built hospitals, turn'd saint, and dy'd long since. true.
For her example, whatsoe'er we make it, In such an age, immortal Shakespeare wrote, They have their choice to let alone or take it. By no quaint rules, nor hampering critics taught; Though few, as I conceive, will think it meet, With rough majestic force he mov'd the heart, To weep so sorely for a sin so sweet ; And strength and nature made amends for art. Or mourn and mortify the pleasant sense, Our humble author does his steps pursue, To rise in tragedy two ages hence.
SCENE I. - The Tower.
Glost. And yet this tough impracticable heart
Is governed by a dainty-fingered girl. Enter the Duke of GLOSTER, Sir RICHARD
Such flaws are found in the most worthy naRATCLIFFE, and CATESBY.
tures; Glost. Thus far success attends upon our A laughing, toying, wheedling, whimpering she councils,
Shall make him amble on a gossip's message, And each event has answered to my wish; And take the distaff with a hand as patient The queen and all her upstart race are quelled; As e'er did Hercules. Dorset is banished, and her brother Rivers, Rat. The fair Alicia, Ere this, lies shorter by the head at Pomfret. Of noble birth and exquisite of feature, The nobles have, with joint concurrence, named Has held him long a vassal to her beauty.
Cut. I fear, he fails in his allegiance there;
Glost. No more, he comes.
Enter Lord HASTINGS.
Hast. Health, and the happiness of many days, And wear them long and worthily. You are Attend upon your grace. The last remaining male of princely York, Glost. My good lord chamberlain, (For Edward's boys, the state esteems not of We're much beholden to your gentle friendship. them,)
Hast. My lord, I come an humble suitor to And therefore on your sovereignty and rule,
you. The common weal does her dependence make, Glost. In right good time. Speak out your And leans upon your highness' able hand.
pleasure freely Cat, And yet to-morrow does the council meet, Hast. I am to move your highness in behalf To fix a day for Edward's coronation.
Of Shore's unhappy wife. Who can expound this riddle?
Glost. Say you, of Shore? Glost. That can I.
Hast. Once a bright star, that held her place Those lords are each one my approved good
on high; friends,
The first and fairest of our English dames, Of special trust and nearness to my bosom; While royal Edward held the sovereign rule. And howsoever busy they may seem,
Now sunk in grief, and pining with despair, And diligent to bustle in the state,
Her waning form no longer shall incite
She never sees the sun, but through her tears, Cat, Yet there is one,
And wakes to sigh the live-long night away. And he amongst the foremost in his power, Glost. Marry the times are badly changed Of whom I wish your highness were assured.
with her, For me, perhaps it is my nature's fault, From Edward's days to these. Then all was jolI own, I doubt of his inclining, much.
lity, Glost. I guess the man at whom your words Feasting and mirth, light wantonness and laughwould point:
Piping and playing, minstrelsy and masquing; Cat. The same.
Till life fled from us like an idle dream, Glost. He bears me great good-will.
A shew of mummery without a meaning. Cat. 'Tis true, to you, as to the lord protec- My brother,-rest and pardon to his soul! tor,
Is gone to his account; for this his minion, And Gloster's duke, he bows with lowly service: The revel rout is done-But you were speaking But were he bid to cry, God suve king Richard, Concerning her—I have been told, that you Then tell me in what terms he would reply? Are frequent in your visitation to her. Believe me, I have proved the man, and found Hast. No farther, my good lord, than friendly him :
pity, I know he bears a most religious reverence And tender-hearted charity allow, To his dead master Edward's royal memory,
Glost. Go to; I did not mean to chide you And whither that may lead him is most plain.
for it. Yet more-One of that stubborn sort he is, For, sooth to say, I hold it noble in you Who, if they once grow fond of an opinion, To cherish the distressed- -On with your tale. They call it honour, honesty, and faith,
Hast. Thus it is, gracious sir, that certain offiAnd sooner part with life than let it go.
Using the warrant of your mighty name, He wears the marks of many years well spent,
(To Dum. heard;
Who pays your merit with that scanty pittance, And though some counsellors of forward zeal, Which my poor hand and humble root can give. Some of most ceremonious sanctity,
But to supply these golden 'vantages, And bearded wisdom, often have provoked Which elsewhere you might find, expect to meet The hand of justice to fall heavy on her; A just regard and value for your worth, Yet still, in kind compassion of her weakness, The welcome of a friend, and the free partnerAnd tender memory of Edward's love,
ship I have withheld the merciless stern law
Of all that little good the world allows me. From doing outrage on her helpless beauty. Dum. You over-rate me much; and all my Hast. Good Heaven, who renders mercy back for mercy,
Must be my future truth; let them speak for me, With open-handed bounty shall repay you: And make up my deserving. This gentle deed shall fairly be set foremost, J. Sh. Are you of England? To screen the wild escapes of lawless passion, Dum. No, gracious lady, Flanders claims my And the long train of frailties flesh is heir to.
birth; Glost. Thus far the voice of pity pleaded only: At Antwerp has my constant biding been, Our farther and more full extent of grace Where sometimes I have known more plenteous Is given to your request. Let her attend,
days And to ourself deliver up her griefs.
Than those which now my failing age affords. She shall be heard with patience, and each wrong J. Sh. Alas! at Antwerp !-Oh, forgive my At full redressed. But I have other news,
[lVeeping. Which much import us both; for still my fortunes They fall for my offences—and must fall Go hand in hand with yours: our common foes, Long, long ere they shall wash my stains away. The queen's relations, our new-fangled gentry, You knew perhaps-Oh grief ! oh shame !-my Have fallen their haughty crests—That for your
husband ? privacy.
(Exeunt. Dum. I knew him well—but stay this flood of
anguish! SCENE II.-An Apartment in JANE SHORE's The senseless grave feels not your pious sorrows: House.
Three years and more are past, since I was bid,
With many of our common friends, to wait him Enter BELMOUR and DUMONT.
To his last peaceful mansion. I attended, Bel. How she has lived, you have heard my Sprinkled his clay-cold corse with holy drops tale already;
According to our church's rev'rend rite, The rest your own attendance in her family, And saw him laid in hallow'd ground, to rest. Where I have found the means this day to place J. Sh. Oh, that my soul had known no joy but you,
him ! And nearer observation, best will tell you.
That I had lived within his guiltless arms,
But now his dust abhors the fellowship,
And scorns to mix with mine.
Enter a Servant, Or grief besets her hard. Save you, fair lady! The blessings of the cheerful morn be on you, Ser. The lady Alicia And greet your beauty with its opening sweets ! Attends your leisure. J. Sh. My gentle neighbour, your good wishes J. Sh. Say I wish to see her.-[Erit Servant. still
Please, gentle sir, one moment to retire ; Pursue my hapless fortunes. Ah, good Belmour! I'll wait you on the instant, and inform you How few, like thee, inquire the wretched out, Of each unhappy circumstance, in which And court the offices of soft humanity!
Your friendly aid and counsel much may stead me. Like thee reserve their raiment for the naked,
[Ercunt BELMOUR and Dumont. Reach out their bread to feed the crying orphan,
Enter Alicia. Or mix their pitying tears with those that weep! Thy praise deserves a better tongue than mine, Alic. Still, my fair friend, still shall I find you To speak and bless thy name. Is this the gentle
Still shall these sighs heave after one another, Whose friendly service you commended tome? These trickling drops chase one another still, Bel. Madam, it is.
As if the posting messengers of grief J. Sh. A venerable aspect.
(Aside. Could overtake the hours fled far away, Age sits with decent grace upon his visage, And make old Time come back ? And worthily becomes his silver locks;
J. Sh. No, my Alicia,
Heaven and his saints be witness to my thoughts, | And move my humble suit to angry Gloster. There is no hour of all my life o'er past,
Alic. Does Hastings undertake to plead your That I could wish to take its turn again.
cause ! Alic. And yet some of those days my friend But wherefore should he not? Hastings has eyes; has known,
The gentle lord has a right tender heart, Some of those years might pass for golden ones, Melting and easy, yielding to impression, At least if womankind can judge of happiness. And catching the soft fame from each new What could we wish, we, who delight in empire,
beauty; Whose beauty is our sovereign good, and gives us But yours shall charm him long. Our reasons to rebel, and power to reign,
J. Sh. Away, you flatterer! What could we more than to behold a monarch, Nor charge his generous meaning with a weakLovely, renowned, a conqueror, and young,
ness, Bound in our chains, and sighing at our feet? Which his great soul and virtue must disdain. J. Sh. 'Tis true, the royal Edward was a won- Too much of love thy hapless friend has proved, der,
Too many giddy foolish hours are gone, The goodly pride of all our English youth;
And in fantastic measures danced away: He was the very joy of all that saw him; May the remaining few know only friendship! Formed to delight, to love, and to persuade. So thou, my dearest, truest, best Alicia, Impassive spirits and angelic natures
Vouchsafe to lodge me in thy gentle heart, Might have been charmed, like yielding human A partner there, I will give up mankind, weakness,
Forget the transports of increasing passion, Stooped from their heaven, and listened to his And all the pangs we feel for its decay. talking
Alic. Live! live and reign for ever in my bo But what had I to do with kings and courts?
[Embracing. My humble lot had cast me far beneath him; Safe and unrivalled there, possess thy own; And that he was the first of all mankind, And you, the brightest of the stars above, The bravest, and most lovely, was my cursé. Ye saints, that once were women here below, Alic. Sure, something more than fortune Be witness of the truth, the holy friendship, joined your loves :
Which here to this my other self I vow!
Let poverty, deformity, and shame,
Distraction and despair seize me on earth! J. Sh. Name him no more!
Let not my faithless ghost have peace hereafter, He was the bane and ruin of my peace.
Nor taste the bliss of your celestial fellowship! This anguish and these tears, these are the lega- J. Sh. Yes, thou art true, and only thou art cies
true; His fatal love has left me. Thou wilt see me, Therefore these jewels, once the lavish bounty Believe me, my Alicia, thou wilt see me, Of royal Edward's love, I trust to thee; E’er yet a few short days pass o'er my head,
(Giving a casket. Abandoned to the very utmost wretchedness. Receive this, all that I can call my own, The hand of power has seized almost the whole And let it rest unknown, and safe with thee: Of what was left for needy life's support;
That if the state's injustice should oppress me, Shortly thou wilt behold me poor, and kneeling Strip me of all, and turn me out a wanderer, Before thy charitable door for bread.
My wretchedness may find relief from thee, Alic. Joy of my life, my dearest Shore, forbear and shelter from the storm. To wound my heart with thy foreboding sorrows! Alic. My all is thine; Raise thy sad soul to better hopes than these; One common hazard shall attend us both, Lift up thy eyes, and let them shine once more, And both be fortunate, or both be wretched. Bright as the morning sun above the mist. But let thy fearful doubting heart be still; Exert thy charms, seek out the stern protector, The saints and angels have thee in their charge, And soothe his savage temper with thy beauty : And all things shall be well. Think not, the Spite of his deadly, unrelenting nature,
good, He shall be moved to pity, and redress thee. The gentle deeds of mercy thou hast done,
J. Sh. My form, alas! has long forgot to please;. Shall die forgotten all; the poor, the prisoner, The scene of beauty and delight is changed ; The fatherless, the friendless, and the widow, No soses bloom upon my fading cheek,
Who daily own the bounty of thy hand, Nor laughing graces wanton in my eyes ; Shall cry to Heaven, and pull a blessing on But haggard grief, lean-looking sallow care,
thee; And pining discontent, a rueful train,
Even man, the merciless insulter man, Dwell on my brow, all hideous and forlorn. Man, who rejoices in our sex's weakness, One only shadow of a hope is left me;
Shall pity thee, and with unwonted goodness The noble-minded Hastings, of his goodness, Forget thy failings, and record thy praise. Has kindly underta’en to be my advocate,
J. Sh. Why should I think that man will do
The lord protector has received her suit,
And means to shew her grace.
Alic. My friend, my lord ! Enter ALICIA, speaking to JANE SHORE as en
Hast. Yes, lady, yours: none has a right more tering
ample Alic. No farther, gentle friend; good angels To task my power than you. guard you,
Alic. I want the words,
heart guesses at the friendly meaning,
But I would see your friend. Care only wakes, and moping pensiveness;
Alic. Oh, thou false lord ! With meagre discontented looks they sit, I would be mistress of my heaving heart, And watch the wasting of the midnight taper. Stifle this rising rage, and learn from thee Such vigils must I keep, so wakes my soul, To dress my face in easy dull indifference: Restless and self-tormented! Oh, false Hastings ! But 'twill not be; my wrongs will tear their way, Thou hast destroyed my peace.
And rush at once upon
thee. (Knocking within. Hast. Are you wise? What noise is that?
you the use of reason? Do you wake? What visitor is this, who, with bold freedom, What means this raving, this transporting passion? Breaks in upon the peaceful night and rest, Alic. Oh, thou cool traitor! thou insulting With such a rude approach ?
Dost thou behold my poor distracted heart, Enter a Servant.
Thus rent with agonizing love and rage, Ser. One from the court,
And ask me what it means? Art thou not false? Lord Hastings (as I think) demands my lady. Am I not scorned, forsaken, and abandoned, Alic. Hastings! Be still, my heart, and iry to Left, like a common wretch, to shame and inmeet him
famy, With his own arts : with falsehood-But he comes. Given up to be the sport of villains' tongues,
Of laughing parasites, and lewd buffoons ? Enter Lord HASTINGS, speaks to a Servant as
And all because my soul has doated on thee, entering
With love, with truth, and tenderness unutterable? Hast. Dismiss my train, and wait alone with- Hust. Are these the proofs of tenderness and out,
love? Alicia here ! Unfortunate encounter !
These endless quarrels, discontents, and jealousies, But be it as it may.
These never-ceasing wailings and complainings, Alic. When humbly, thus,
These furious starts, these whirlwinds of the soul, The great descend to visit the afflicted,
Which every other moment rise to madness? When thus, unmindful of their rest, they come Alic. What proof, alas! have I not given of To soothe the sorrows of the midnight mourner,
love? Comfort comes with them; like the golden sun, What have I not abandoned to thy arms? Dispels the sullen shades with her sweet influ- Have I not set at nought my noble birth, ence,
A spotless fame, and an unblemished race, And cheers the melancholy house of care. The peace of innocence, and pride of virtue? Hast. 'Tis true, I would not over-rate a cour- My prodigality has given thee all ; tesy,
And now I've nothing left me to bestow, Nor let the coldness of delay hang on it, You hate the wretched bankrupt you have made. To nip and blast its favour, like a frost;
Hast. Why am I thus pursued from place to But rather chose, at this late hour to come,
place, That your fair friend may know I have prevailed; | Kept in the view, and cross’d at every turn?