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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.

Enter BURLEIGH.

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.
Ha! was it not? You dare not say it was not.

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.
I’llnurse no party, but will reign o’er all,

And my sole -rule shall be to bless my people:

Who serves them best, has still my highest favour :
This Essex ever did.

Enter SOUTHAMPTON.

Behold, Southampton,

What a base portrait's here! The faithful Essex
Here drawn at large, associating with rebels,

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,
And every falsehood, like his foes, shall fly.

Qu. Eliz. To me you seem to recommend strict
justice,

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,
Nor envy deck her in the borrow’d guise.

Rancour has often darken'd reason's eye,
Andjudgment winks, when passion holds the scale.
Impeach the very man to whom I owe

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
Conf’rence.—I see this base c'ontrivance plain.
Your jealousy and pride, your envy of

His shining merit, brought this bill to light.

1

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,
And therefore you must end it.

Bur. lobey.

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, ‘
Ere he presume to quit the Irish coast.

Bur. Madam, my duty now compels me to-
Qu. Eliz. No more! see that my orders be obéy'd.
[Exit BURLEIGH.

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.

SCENE I.

I

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, \
Perhaps, a punctual order, to return.

He lurks too near her heart.—What's to be done?
Now is th’ important crisis-

Keep up thy usual strength ; my better genius,
Direct my steps to crush my mortal foe.

U

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 !
Nay, more; we have advices from the borders,

Of sudden risings, near the banks of Tweed!

’T is thought, to favour an attempt from Scotland.
Meanwhile, Tyrone embarks six thousand men

To land at Milford, and to march where Essex
Shall join them with his friends.

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.
The rest, if true, or false, it matters not.

What's to be done ?—admit him to my presence ?
No, no—my dignity, my pride forbid it.
Ungrateful man, approach me not; rise, rise,
Resentment, and support my soul ! Disdain,

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.

Enter SOUTHAMPTON.

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.
He begs, most gracious queen, to fall before

Your royal feet, to clear him to his sovereign,
Whom, next to Heav’n, he wishes most to please.

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