Page images
PDF
EPUB

Hangs on her fate; what if her voice shou'd pierce
The prison walls, and thro' the nation found
A signal for a second massacre ?
Eliz. Ah, there is the word! that word recalls my

mind,
Chills all my blood, and drives its current back.
Heav'n doth exact à facrifice to those
Who fell for our true faith: 'Tiş Heav'n's decreer
It is resolv'd-She dies--Fly, Davison !
Outstrip the winds, and with the winged speed
Of lightning, let the thunder-bolt of Heav'n
Strike her devoted head !--Away! Away!

[Exeunt.

Аст

A c TV,

SCENE I. FOTHERINGAY CASTLE.

Enter Lady Douglas and Beton.

LADY DOUGLAS.

Beton, alas! you prophecy too well ;

Each moment brings some melancholy proof
Of your forboding

spirit.
Beton. Cou'd I doubt
The consequence of such facility?
You know how oft and earnestly I urg'd
The danger of submission; but to plead,
A Queen, in her own person, thus to plead !
L. Doug Had she not pleaded, this pre-judging

Court,
As by confession, had pronounc'd her doom.
And yet, cou'd she suspect that such a list
Of all the great nobility, such names,
The warriors, heroes, patriots of the land,
Cou'd fo disgracefully be led to join
In concert to her ruin?

Beton. Oh! too oft

Servile compliances are brought about
By joining numbers and great names, where none,
No single, worthy individual
Would show his face, or lend his honeft fame.
Know you what urg'd her to appear in court?

L. Doug. 'Twas to defend her honour that she came
In all the majesty of innocence;
Descending from a throne, the offer'd up
Her dignity, a willing facrifice,
To her fair fame; impellid by conscious pride,
That inward pride which purity of mind
Inspires, and prompts to dare corruption's art,
To face, upon unequal terms, the wiles
Of perjur'ă treachery.--Oh! 'twas a figlit
New to the world; fo (trange, that inortal eyes
Their credit loft ; none who beheld, believed ;
But, Beton, such a mockery as this
Can ne'er be realiz'd?

Beton. Oh, surely not;
'Tis but an artifice to justify
Paft cruelties; and, what I fear the most,
Perhaps ftill clofer cuftody.

L. Doug: Alas !
They dare not sure proceed to take her life?
Beton.' Oh, no! 'twou'd rouse all Europe; shake

all chrones; Loosen the deepest-rooted monarchies :They dare not think of it-you see they're gone For farther counsel to the Star Chamber. L. Doug. 'Tis time t'attend the Queen, Heav'n guard heş Aill!

[Exit.

SCENE II. Mary's Chamber, Fother

ingay Castle.

Enter Lady Douglas to the Queen. Mary. Douglas ! come hither Douglas ! fit byr: Thou art the constant solace of my woes, I am almost worn out with grief and care;

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

And, as you sometimes hint, I plainly find
My health is much impair'd--I had not itrength
Or fpirits to do justice to my cause
Before this Court.

L Doug. Oh, my royal Mistress !
How cou'd you condescend to plead to them?

Mary. Alas! too confident in innocence,
I undervalued human treachery;
Suffer'd my ears to catch the specious sound
Of Hatton's foft perfuafive eloquence;
Who, fair and false as Belial, from his tongue
Shed manna, which beguild my filly heart,
• Brought me to compromise my dignity,

By condefcenfions, which the petulence

Of rancorous Burleigh's bitter enmity,
· Had ne'er effected.'-Oh, accursed fraud !
L. Doug. Fraud ! aye, and open force; did they

not seize
Your papers, burst your cabinet, and rob,
Aye, basely pilfer all your little hoard,
The remnant of your treasure, which you fav'd
To pay your poor domestics, and for acts
Of charity-

Mary. But that, you know, of late
Has been prohibited; because 'twas found
One still remaining fource of happiness.

L. Doug. Infernal, unexampled-infamy!
Yes, my dear Mistress, 'twas a cruelty
More felt by you than by the poor themselves
Who lost your daily charity.-

Mary. Douglas!
Forsaken as I ain, I cou'd not think
That my own Secretary wou'd have turn'd
Against his Mistress; and, in that, where he,
Above all others, knew me innocent:
I never much elteem'd the man; but yet
I did not think the viper wou'd have bit
The hand that fed it. He-first came to me
• From my poor uncle, the late Cardinal,
: My uncle was the prop of all my counsels;
• Alas! he's gone; and Charles, my brother, pow.
: No longer reigns in France-he too is los!

[ocr errors]

. His end was wretched and unnatural.'-
And for my son, my only child, he reigas
In Scotland, patient of a mother's wrongs;

I am forbid to hear from him.'-Alas!
Had he the heart or fpirit of a man

Enter BBTON.

Beton. Pardon the messenger of dismal news!
L Doug [Afide.Oh, me, what now!
Beton. And, oh, prepare to hear
The heaviest tidings

Mary. I've been long prepar'd.

Beton. Your own misfortunes you have ever bora With fortitude, but other's sufferings

Mary. What others? speak! alas, I guess
Beton. Too well, I fear-
Mary. The Duke ? -
Beton. His troubles are no more ;
He rests in peace, beyond the tyrant's sway,
• Where mortal envy cannot reach : alas !
Poor man! he fell a vi&tim to his love;
His dying breath ftill bless'd you.--

Mary. Oh, just Heavens !
• Since it has pleas'd you thus to visit him
• For
my offences- let

my prayers

ascend • In his behalf-yet Aay; he's risen now, • Whence he looks down with pity and contempt « On worldly cares ; views with serenity • Her despicable malice.-.-Oh, mean wretch! Why dar'd you not let fall your vengeance here? He dies at last in my defence!-- to save This poor forlorn existence. Fie upon't ! Why lingers yet my breath? - Out, out for shame Seek the wide air, and catch my Norfolk's soul.

SCENE III. The Hall.

Enter Beton, meeting Sir Amias Paulet.

Beton. [Aside.] Paulet arrived !--What is your

pleasure here?
Paul. I am about to seek your Mitress, Sir.
Beton. The Queen is ill at ease, and needs repose.
Paul. Sir, I have business to communicate
Beton. Concerning her -
Paulet. Aye, very nearly too.
Beton. From Westminfter?-

Paul. From the star Chamber, Sir ;
No less than that her Secrataries both
Have now confess’d the plot, and sworn to it.

Beton. Oh, perjur'd' venal Naves! They never Confront her with these murderous lies--the fight, Of injur'd innocence had choak'd their speech.

Paul, Say rather their repentence has produc'd Full proof to justify the course of law.

Beton. Who, but a judge determined to convict, Wou'd credit those whose faith is forfeited By plain, avow'd desertion of their trust? "Twere a judicial murder--the worst crime This finful world has known: first, as the Judge Is, for his purity and wisdom, plac'd In high authority and charg'd to guard Fair innocence: then, as the sufferer By such injustice, feels disgrace and shame Added to all the bittern:ss of death

Paul. Is she, who claims protection, above law?

Beton. Call you imprisonment protection? Oh! Mere fubterfuges, worthy of your Queen ; This lat exploit of bribing evidence Was an atchievement suiting her great power, Her riches, her wise MinistersOh, shame!

Paul. Is this the language, Sir, of Mary Stuart,

« PreviousContinue »