Page images

That are, or should be, eyes of commonweal,
Seeing his Highness' reckless course of youth,
His lawless and unbridled vein in love,
His too intentive trust to flatterers,
His abject care of counsel and his friends,
Cannot but grieve; and since we cannot draw
His eye or judgment to discern his faults,
Since we have spoke* and counsel is not heard,
I for my part, let others as they list
Will leave the court, and leave him to his will,
Lest with a ruthful eye I should behold
His overthrow, which, sore I fear, is nigh.

Dor. Ah father, are you so estrang'd from love,
From due allegiance to your prince and land,
To leave your king, when most he needs your help?
The thrifty husbandmen are never wont,
That see their lands unfruitful, to forsake them ;
But when the mould is barren and unapt,
They toil, they plough, and make the fallow fat :
The pilot in the dangerous seas is known;
In calmer waves the silly sailor strives.
Are you not members, lords, of commonweal,
And can your head, your dear anointed king,
Default ye, lords, except yourselves do fail ?
0, stay your steps, return, and counsel him!

Doug. Men seek not moss upon a rolling stone, Or water from the sieve, or fire from ice, Or comfort from a reckless monarch's hands. Madam, he sets us light, that serv'd in court, In place of credit, in his father's days : If we but enter presence of his Grace, Our payment is a frown, a scoff, a frump;t Whilst flattering Gnatho pranks it by his side, Soothing the careless king in his misdeeds: * spoke] The 4to. spake." .

frump] i.e. flout. + Gnatho] i.e. A teukin : Gnatho is the parasite in the Eunuchus of Terence.

And if your Grace consider your estate,
His life should urge you too, if all be true.

Dor. Why, Douglas, why?

Doug. As if you have not heard His lawless love to Ida grown of late, His careless estimate of your estate.

Dor. Ah Douglas, thou misconst'rest* his intent! He doth but tempt his wife, he tries my love : This injury pertains to me, not to you. The king is young, and if he step awry, He may amend, and I will love him still. Should we disdain our vines, because they sprout Before their time? or young men, if they strain Beyond their reach ? No; vines that bloom and spread, Do promise fruits, and young men that are wild, In age grow wise. My friends, and Scottish peers, If that an English princess may prevail, Stay, stay with him : lo, how my zealous prayer Is plead with tears! fie, peers, will you hence ? Bp. of St. And. Madam, ʼtis virtue in your Grace

to plead; But we that see his vain untoward course, Cannot but fly the fire before it burns, And shun the court before we see his fall. swell.

Dor. Will you not stay? then, lordings, fare you Though you forsake your king, the heavens, I hope, Will favour him through mine incessant prayer.

Nano. Content you, madam ; thus old Ovid sings, 'Tis foolish to bewail recureless things.

Dor. Peace, dwarf; these words my patience move. Nano. Although you charm my speech, charm

not my love. [Exeunt Queen and Nano.t * misconst'rest] From misconster, not misconstrue : « wherein, lest any one should misconster my meaning, (as I hope none will,)” &c. Preface to Barnfield's Cynthia, 1595. See too my note on Peele's Works, vol. i. p. 24, ed. 1829.

+ Nano] The 4to.Dwarfs :" see note * p. 103.

Enter the King of Scots; the Nobles* [spying

him as they are about to go of] return. K. of Scots. Douglas, how now? why changest

thou thy chear? Doug. My private troubles are so great, my liege, As I must crave your licence for a while, For to intend mine own affairs at home.

K. Of Scots. You may depart. [Exit Douglas. But why is Morton sad ?

Mor. The like occasion doth import me too, So I desire your Grace to give me leave. K. Of Scots. Well, sir, you may betake you to your ease.

[Exit Morton. When such grim sirs are gone, I see no let To work my will.

BP. OF St. And.t What, like the eagle then With often flight wilt thou thy feathers lose? O king, canst thou endure to see thy court Of finest wits and judgments dispossest, Whilst cloaking craft with soothing climbs so high, As each bewails ambition is so bad ? Thy father left thee with estate and crown, A learned council to direct thy court : These carelessly, O king, thou castest off, To entertain a train of sycophants. Thou well may’st see, although thou wilt not see, That every eye and ear both sees and hears The certain signs of thine incontinence. Thou art allied unto the English king By marriage ; a happy friend indeed, If used well, if not, a mighty foe.

* Enter the King of Scots, the Nobles, &c.] The 4to.“ Enter the King of Scots, Arius, the nobles," &c.

+ Bp. of St. And.] The 4to. “8 Atten.” but it is plain, from the King's reply, that the Bishop of St. Andrews is the speaker.

Thinketh your Grace, he can endure and brook
To have a partner in his daughter's love?
Thinketh your Grace the grudge of privy wrongs
Will not procure him change his smiles to threats ?
0, be not blind to good! call home your lords,
Displace these flattering Gnathoes, drive them hence;
Love, and with kindness take your wedlock wife :-
Or else, which God forbid, I fear a change;
Sin cannot thrive in courts without a plague.
K. OF Scots. Go, pack thou too, unless thou mend

thy talk : On pain of death, proud bishop, get you gone, Unless you headless mean to hop away. Bp. of St. AND.* Thou God of heaven prevent my country's fall !

[Exit. K. of Scots. These stays and lets to pleasure

plague my thoughts, Forcing my grievous wounds anew to bleed : But care that hath transported me so far, Fair Ida, is dispers'd in thought of thee, Whose answer yields me life, or breeds my death. Yond comes the messenger of weal or woe.

Enter Ateukin.
Ateukin, what news ?

Ateu. The adamant, О king, will not be fild
But by itself, and beauty that exceeds,
By some exceeding favour must be wrought.
Ida is coy as yet, and doth repine,
Objecting marriage, honour, fear, and death :
She's holy, wise, and too precise for me.

K. of Scots. Are these thy fruits of wits, thy sight Thine eloquence, thy policy, thy drift, [in art,

[ocr errors]

To mock thy prince? Then, caitiff, pack thee hence, And let me die devoured in my love.

Ateu. Good Lord, how rage gainsayeth reason's My dear, my gracious, and beloved prince, [power ! The essence of my suit, my god on earth, Sit down, and rest yourself: appease your wrath, Lést with a frown ye wound me to the death. 0, that I were included in my grave, That either now, to save my prince's life, Must counsel cruelty, or lose my king! K. of Scots. Why, sirrah, is there means to move

her mind ? Atev. O, should I not offend my royal lieger K. of Scots. Tell all, spare nought, so I may gain

my love. Ateu. Alas, my soul, why art thou torn in twain, For fear thou talk a thing that should displease! K. OF Scots. Tut, speak what so thou wilt, I par

don thee. ATEU. How kind a word, how courteous is his Grace! Who would not die to succour such a king? My liege, this lovely maid of modest mind, Could well incline to love, but that she fears Fair Dorothea's power: your Grace doth know, Your wedlock is a mighty let to love. Were Ida sure to be your wedded wife, That then the twig would bow, you might command : Ladies love presents, pomp, and high estate. K. of Scots. Ah Ateukin, how should we displace *

this let ? Areu. Tut, mighty prince,-0, that I might be K. OF Scots. Why dalliest thou? (whist! to Ateu. I will not move my prince:

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »