Page images

Within the guilty closure of thy walls,
Richard the second here was hack'd to death :
And, for more slander to thy dismal seat,
We give thee up our guiltless blood to drink.

Grey. Now Margaret's curse is fallen upon our heads,
When she exclaim'd on Hastings, you, and I,
For standing by when Richard stabb'd her son.
Riv. Then curs'd she Hastings, then curs'd she

Buckingham, .
Then curs'd she Richard :-0, remember, God,
To hear her prayers for them, as now for us!
And for my sister, and her princely sons,-
Be satisfied, dear God, with our true bloods,
Which, as thou kuow'st, unjustly must be spilt!

Rat. Make haste, the hour of death is expiate.
Riv. Come, Grey,-come, Vaughan,—let us here

embrace: Farewell, until we meet again in heaven. (Exeunt.

SCENE IV. LONDON. A Room in the Tower. BUCKINGHAM, STANLEY, Hastings, the Bishop of · Ely, CATESBY, LOVEL, and others, sitting at a

Table : Officers of the Council attending.

Hast. Now, noble peers, the cause why we are met
Is--to determine of the coronation:
In God's name, speak, when is the royal day?

Buck. Are all ihings ready for that royal time?
Stan. They are ; and wants but nomination.
Ely. To-morrow then I judge a happy day.

Buck. Who knows the lord protector's mind herein? Who is most inward with the noble duke? [mind.

Ely. Your grace, we think, should soonest know his

Buck. We know each other's faces: for our hearts, He knows no more of mine, than I of yours; Nor I, of his, my lord, than you of mine: Lord Hastings, you and he are near in love.

Hast. I thank his grace, I know he loves me well; But, for his purpose in the coronation, I have not sounded him, nor he deliver'd

His gracious pleasure any way therein:
But you, my noble lord, may name the time;
And in the duke's behalf I'll give my voice,
Which, I presume, he'll take in gentle part.

Ely. In happy time, here comes the duke himself.
Glo. My noble lords and cousins, all, good morrow:
I have been long a sleeper; but, I trust,
My absence doth neglect no great design,
Which by my presence might have been concluded.

Buck. Had you not come upon your cue, my lord, William, lord Hastings, had pronounc'd your part,I mean, your voice,--for crowning of the king.

Glo. Than my lord Hastings, no man might be bolder; His lordship knows me well, and loves me well.My lord of Ely, when I was last in Holborn, I saw good strawberries in your garden there; : I do beseech you, send for some of them. Ely. Marry, and will, my lord, with all my heart.

Exit Ely. Glo. Cousin of Buckingham, a word with you.

[Takes him aside. Catesby hath sounded Hastings in our business; And finds the testy gentleman so hot, That he will lose his head, ere give consent, His master's child, as worshipfully he terms it, Shall lose the royalty of England's throne. Buck. Withdraw yourself awhile, I'll go with you.

[Exeunt Gloster and Buckingham. Stan. We have not yet set down this day of triumph. To-morrow, in my judgment, is too sudden; For I myself am not so well provided, As else I would be, were the day prolong'd..

Re-enter Bishop of Ely. Ely. Where is my lord protector? I have sent For these strawberries. Hast. His grace looks cheerfully and sinooth this


There's some conceit or other likes him well,
When be doth bid good morrow with such spirit.
I think, there's ne'er a man in Christendom,
Can lesser hide his love, or hate, than he;
For by his face straight shall you know his heart.

Stan. What of his heart perceive you in his face, Bv anv likelihood he show'd to-day

Hast. Marry, that with no man here he is offended; For, were he, he had shown it in his looks.

'Re-enter Gloster and Buckingham. Glo. I pray you all, tell me what they deserve, · That do conspire my death with devilish plots ·

Of damned witchcraft; and that have prevailid
Upon my body with their hellish charms ?

Hast. The tender love I bear your grace, my lord,
Makes me most forward in this noble presence
To doom the offenders : Whosoe'er they be,
I say, my lord, they have deserved death.

Glo. Then he your eyes the witness of their evil, Look how I am bewitch'd; behold mine arm Is, like a blasted sapling, wither'd up: Aud this is Edward's wife, that monstrous witch, Consorted witb that harlot, strumpet Shore, That by their witchcraft thus have marked me.

Hast. If they have done this deed, my noble lord, Glo. If! thou protector of this damned strumpet, Talk'st thou to me of ifs ?-Thou art a traitor :Off with his head :-now, by saint Paul I swear, I will not dine until I see the same.Lovel, and Catesby, look, that it be done; The rest, that love me, rise, and follow me..

[Exeunt Council, with Gloster and Buekingham. Hast. Woe, woe, for England ! not a whít for me; For I, too fond, might have prevented this: Stanley did dream, the boar did raze his helm; But I disdain'd it, and did scorn to fly. Three times to-day my foot-cloth horse did stumble, And startled, when he look'd upon the Tower, As loath to bear me to the slaughter-house.

0, now I want the priest that spake to me:
I now repent I told the pursuivant,
As too triumphing, how mine enemies,
To-day at Pomfret bloodily were butcher'd,
And I myself secure in grace and favour.
0, Margaret, Margaret, now thy heavy curse
Is lighted on poor Hastings' wre

ed head. Cate. Despatclf, my lord, the duke would be at dinner; Make a short shift, he longs to see your head.

Hust. O momentary grace of mortal men,
Which we more hunt for than the grace of God!
Who builds his hope in air of your fair looks,
Lives like a drunken sailor on a mast;
Ready, with every nod, to tumble down
Into the fatal bowels of the deep. "

Lov. Come, come, despatch; 'tis bootless to exclaim.

Hast. O, bloody Richard !-miserable England ! I prophesy the fearful'st time to thee, That ever wretched age hath look”d upon.Come, lead me to the block, bear him my head; They smile at me, who shortly shall be dead. [Exeunt.

SCENE V. The same. The Tower Walls. Enter Gloster and Buckingham, in rusty Armour,

· marvellous ill-favoured.. Glo. Come, cousin, canst thou quake, and change thy

Murder thy breath in middle of a word,
And then again begin,' and stop again,
As if thou wert distraught, and mad with terror?

Buck. Tut, I can counterfeit the deep tragedian;
Speak, and look back, and pry on every side,
Tremble and start at wagging of a straw,
Intending deep suspiciou: ghastly looks
Are at my service, like enforced smiles;
And botñ are ready in their offices,
At any time, to grace my stratagems. '
But what, is Catesby gone?

Glo. He is; and, see, he brings the mayor along.

Enter the LORD MAYOR and CATESBY. Buck. Let me alone to entertain him.-Lord mayor, Glo. Look to the draw-bridge there. Buck.

• Hark, hark! a drum. Glo. Catesby, o'erlook the walls. Buck. Lord'mayor, the reason we have sent for you,Glo. Look back, defend thee, here are enemies.

Buck. God and our innocence defend and guard us! Enter Lovel and RATCLIFF, with Hastings' Head. Glo. Be patient, they are friends ; Ratcliff and Lovel.

Lov. Here is the head of that ignoble traitor,
The dangerous and unsuspected Hastings.

Glo. So dear I lov'd the man, that I must weep.
I took him for the plainest harmless't creature,
That breath'd upon the earth a Christian;
Made hi

n my book, wherein my soul recorded
The history of all her secret thoughts :
So smooth he daub'd his vice with show of virtue,
That, his apparent open guilt omitted,--.
I mean, his conversation with Shore's wife,
He liv'd from all attainder of suspect.

Buck. Well, well, he was the covert'st shelter'd traitor
That ever liv'd.---Look you, my lord mayor,
Would you imagine, or almost believe
(Were't not, that by great preservation
We live to tell it you), the subtle traitor
This day had plotted in the council-house,
To murder me, and my good lord of Gloster?

May. What! had he so ?

Glo. What! think you we are Turks, or infidels?
Or that we would, against the form of law,
Proceed thus rashly in the villain's death;
But that the extreme peril of the case,
The peace of England, and our persons' safely,
Enforc'd us to this execution?

May. Now, fair befal you! he deserv'd his death ;
And your good graces both have well proceeded,
To warn false traitors from the like attempts.

« PreviousContinue »