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The QUEEN discovered, sitting on her Throne. RA‘ LEIGH, Loans, and ATTENDANTs.
Qu. Eliz. Without consulting me! presumptuous man !
Who governs here ?—What! am not I your queen? ‘ You dar'd not, were he present, take this step. ‘
Ral. Dread sovereign, your ever faithful commons Have, in their gratitude and love for you, Preferred this salutary bill against him.
Qu. Eliz. You, my Lord Burleigh,- must have known of this.
The commons here impeach the Earl of Essex
Of practising against the state and me.
Methinks I might be trusted with the secret.
Speak, for I know it well, ’twas thy contrivance.
Bur. I own my judgment did concur with theirs.
His crimes, I fear, will justify the charge,
And vindicate their loyalty and mine.
Qu.Eliz. Ha! tell not me your smooth deceitful story !
I know your projects, and your close cabals.
You'd turn my favour into party feuds,
And use my sceptre as the rod of faction:
But Henry's daughter claims a nobler soul.
And my sole -rule shall be to bless my people:
Who serves them best, has still my highest favour :
What a base portrait's here! The faithful Essex
To spoil his country, and dethrone his queen !
South. It is not like.—By Heav’n, the hand of envy
Drew these false lines, distorted far from truth
And honour, and unlike my noble friend
As light to shade, or hell to highest heav’n.
Then suffer not, thou best of queens, this lord,
This valiant lord, to fall a sacrifice
To treachery and base designs; who now
Engages death in all his horrid shapes, _
Amidst a hardy race, inur’d to danger;
But let him, face to face, this charge encounter,
Qu. Eliz. To me you seem to recommend strict
In all her pomp of power. But are you sure
No subtle vice conceal’d assumes her garb ?
Take heed, that malice does not wear the mask,
Rancour has often darken'd reason's eye,
My brightest rays of glory! Look to it, lords ; Take care, be cautious on what ground you tread ; Let honest means alone secure your footing.
Raleigh and you withdraw, and wait our leisure.
[-E:z'eunt RALEIGH and SOUTHAMPTON.
Lord Burlcigh, stay; we must with you have farther
His shining merit, brought this bill to light.
But mark me, as you prize our high regard
And favour, I command you to suppress it:
Let not our name and power be embarrass’d
In your perplexing schemes. ’Twa.s you began,
Yet humbly would entreat you to consider
How new, unpopular, this step must be,
To stand between your parliament's inquiry
And this offending lord.—We have such proofs—
Qu. Eliz. Reserve your proofs to a more proper season,
And let them then appear. But once again
We chargeyou, on your duty and allegiance,
To stop this vile proceeding; and to wait
Till Essex can defend himself in person.
If then your accusations are of force,
The laws, and my consent, no doubt, are open.
He has my strict command, with menace mix’d,
To end effectually this hated war, ‘
Bur. Madam, my duty now compels me to-
Essex a traitor !—-it can never be-
His grateful and his honest soul disdains it.—
Can he prove false? so high advanc'd, so honour-‘d, So near my favour—and—l fear, so near
My heart !—Impossible.—-This Burleigh hates him, And, as his rival, therefore would destroy him ;
But he shall find his narrow schemes defeated.
In vain their fraudful efforts shall combine
To shake m settled soul, my firm design;
Resolv’d to ift bright virtue's palm on high,
Support her grandeur, and her foes defy. [Erik ACT THE SECOND.
An Antechamber in the Palace..
Enter BURLEIG H.
Bur. Essex arriv’d ! Confusion to my hopes!
His presence will destroy me with the queen.
I much suspect he had some private notice, \
He lurks too near her heart.—What's to be done?
Keep up thy usual strength ; my better genius,
Enter QUEEN ELIZABETH and RALEIGH.
Qu. Eliz. It cannot be! Return'd without my leave!
Against my strict command !—Impossible!
Ral. Madam, the earl is now at court, and begs An audience of your majesty.
Qu. Eliz. Amazing! What! break his trust ! desert his high command, Forsake his post, and disobey his queen ! ’T is false—i-nvented all.—You wish it so.
Bur. Madam, I_wish some other rumours false; Reports, I fear, of great concern to you.
Qu. Eliz. What rumours? what reports? your
frown would much
Denote : your preface seems irnportant.—Speak.
Bur. Some new commotions are of late sprung up
In Ireland, where the west is all in arms,
And moves_ with hasty march to join Tyrone,
And all his northern clans. A dreadful power !
Of sudden risings, near the banks of Tweed!
’T is thought, to favour an attempt from Scotland.
To land at Milford, and to march where Essex
Qu. Eliz. In league with James !
And plotting with Tyrone ! It cannot be.
His very pride disdains such perfidy.
But is not Essex here without my leave!
Against my strict command ! that, that's rebellion.
What's to be done ?—admit him to my presence ?
Do thou assist me--Yes, it shall be so.
Bur. l see she muses deep ; Tyrone's invasion wakes her fear and anger, And all her soul is one continued storm. Qu. Eliz. For once my pride shall stoop; and I will see This rash, audacious, this once favour'd man; But treat him as his daring crimes deserve.
South. [Kneelingu] Permit me, madam, to approach you thus;
Thus lowly to present the humble suit
Of the much injur'd, faithful, Earl of Essex,
Who dares not, unpermitted, meet your presence.
Your royal feet, to clear him to his sovereign,