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• Apart, like striken deer-while he in sport,
• At his balcony revellid, 'midst a throng
• Of ladies, praising his dexterity,
• Taught, like himself, by his more cruel mother,
• From early youth, to jest at homicide.
Eliz. No more, the tale's too dreadful, I'll re.
May heav'n preserve my people from this curse i
War, famine, pestilence, are triffes all
Compar'd to this corruption of the mind,
This degradation of humanity.
I'll to my closet; let none dare approach;
No cares of state presume to interrupt
My holy folitude.-
Dav. The Queen's retir'd
Moft opportunely, for I've that to tell,
Which to no ear but thine-
Cecil. What, Davison?
Halt thou that can the least attention claim
After thy dreadful.tale ?
Dav. That which demands
All your dispatch, prudence, activity,
The Queen's in danger, and each hour loft
Appears an age, ruffians there are
Cecil. How's this ?
Her life in danger ? say by whom and how ?
Dav. These ruffians came from Rheims, à fèmi.
nary • Intoxicated with th' omnipotence • Of papal power, and Rome's accurs'd decrees,
Thinking that if they perish'd in the attempt, • They gain’d a glorious crown of martyrdom. • This motely crew compos'd of soldiers, priests « Of various orders, mad enthusiasts, • So confident in their iniquity, • Calt lots for weapons; then in full career • Of riot 'midst their cups, for frolick sake, • Were painted in one portrait, each with th' arms
That fell to him by lot'. --These villains all Are feiz'd.
Cecil. Can you no further trace the plot ? • Are you so slack a friend? till now I chought
• That if you gain'd the clue your zeal would foon « Tread back the windings of the labyrinth, • And from her dark recess drag forth to light ó This sorceress:
Dav. Mistrust not yet that zeal ; · Behold this fruit of it.'-These lines I've gain'd
[Delivering Letters. From Gifford, a corrupt, abandon'd priest, Who fold his fellow traitors these are said To be the writing of Queen Mary's hand; And whether true--
Cecil. Enough! they trongly bear The semblance-now 'ris done--thanks Davison ! I'll to the Queen nor heed her prohibition. [Cecil krocks at the closet door, Elizabeth
enters from thence.] Eliz. who dares with facrilegious steps approach And intervene betwixt his sovereign's pray'rs, And Heaven's impending vengeance on our race ?
Cecil. 'Twas not without just cause-
Eliz. No cause, I trust,
Warrants plain disobedience of my word,
My strict commands-Sir!-
Cecil. Madam, these events
Brook no delay.
Eliz, Events! why what events?
Canst thou add flames to Etna's raging fire?
Imagination can no sequel find
Worthy the tale be told.
Cecil. This hour Davison
Fears for your royal felf.
Eliz. Speak Davison !
Dav, - I trust
All will be well, for the conspirators
Are almost all secur'd.
Dav, Aye, most inveterate, implacable !
Sell never sent fuch fiends to curse mankind,
Taught by religious zeal to emulate,
Nay to contest the prize of parricide.
Eliz, You say they are secur’d ?
scil. Know you their names?
Dav. Their chief is Babington; a youth whose
6 zeal • For Mary springs from a distemper'd brain, · Infiam'd by love.' And more 'tis fully provid That Mary's in the league.
Cecil, -An associate
In this conspiracy.
Eliz. Remove her straight
From gentle Shrewsbury's care to Fotheringay:
Let her no more be treated as a Queen.
Cecil, am I not just? why to what length
Will she abuse my patience?
Cecil. How many crimes
Which now difgrace the annals of the world
Owe their existence to false clemency,
And weak procrastination? She must die ;
Or, you, a willing facrifice, mult yield
Your life to save her.
Eliz. Mean you, that thro' fear,
I shou'd assume her part, and basely turn
Cecil. Heav'n forbid ! are we then funk
Below the level of the Pagan world?
For they have justice ; Justice is the right
Of all beneath the sun ; and shall not you,
The source and fountain of it, be allow'd
What you dispense to all ? Are royal lives
Worth less than those of subjects ? or is she,
This mighty captive, paramount to laws,
Divine and human ?
Eliz. Whither tends this theme?
Cecil. To justice; to the fair impartial course
Eliz. Cecil! you forget yourself,
And her whom you address : Is this your zeal, .
Your reverence for royalty? What law
Can render her amenable to me?
Cecil. Nature has laws; instinct, alike to all
Promulgates them-Asfallipation needs
• No human statutes to declare its guilt;
• They are but feeble, artificial props,
· The patch work of society, which ferve
• Only to swell the catalogue of crimes,
• By inefficient sanguinary means.'
Thank Heav'n no mortal is exempt from law
Who shall attempt the life of England's Queen.
Eliz. Aye, in this island; but the general voice
Of Europe wou'd cry shame! Presumptuous man!
No more--Let not your forwardness o'erstep
The bounds of our forbearance, nor abuse
Your sovereign's ear with base suggestions;, cease!
What fresh disaster now? hate, fear, and death,
Revolt, and treason, mark thy ominous steps.
Dav. No prince was ever more belov'd and fear’d;
Your people in one bond associated
Join to defend your life, and, with one voice,
Call for immediate justice on her head,
Whose life is incompatiable with yours
Eliz. For that alternative, if that were all,
Freely I'd pardon all her injuries :
But for my people's fake it cannot be :
Heav'n has entrusted them, and their true faith,
To my defence.
Dav. Our lives, religion, all !
Grant, oh! grant justice!
Eliz. Have I not sworn to it,
When I succeeded to th’imperial Crown?
You have our leave, our Royal warrant, Davison.
[Exit Davifon. [Afide.) Heav'ns, what have I pronounc'd! I dare
Then I must ad, and leave now timorous thought ;
This is no time for scruples and remorse.
Cecil, 'tis done! fince nothing but her blood
Can satisfy your thirsty fouls
Cecil. My liege,
Your grateful people will applaud the deed;
Bless the defender of their faith.
Eliz. 'Tis false;
The universal world will curse the deed;
All future ages execrate the name
Of her who brought anointed royalty
To such disgrace : yet there is time--who waits ?
Fly quickly; call back Davison-Alas!
[Exit Servant. Alas, poor Queen! Cruel, perfidious man! Your bapeful counsel prompted me to this,
Oh, are you come ? -Davison ! I recal
The horrid sentence-
Cecil. Such are now the thanks,
And ever were, of those who weakly strive
To save a Prince determin'd on his fall.
Madam! since, inattentive to my prayers,
You thus devote yourself—let me retire
Unaccessary to your fate.
I must not lose your service.
Cecil. Why should I
Stay to endure that yengeance, which will fa!!
On all your Ministers, when Mary's plots
Rob England of her Queen ?
Dav. Till that's atchiev'd,
She'll never rest; her object is your
Has she renounced her claim? NO; to this hour
She sometimes boasts her title to your Throne,
As confidently as the us'd in France,
When she, with her first husband's fleurs de lys,
Quarter'd the arms of England.
Eliz. That, indeed
That was an early pledge; with her first milk
She drank the feeds of hate ; Aill, as she grew,
Th’inveterate poison spread ; and now the pours,
Full in my bosom all the venomous store.
Cecil. Oh, 'tis not mercy, it is cruelty To fpare her when the safety of your realm