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Let faction load him with her labouring hand,
His innocence shall rise against the weight, '
If but his gracious mistress deign to smile; -
Qu. Eliz. Let him appear. [Exit SouTHameron.
Now to thy trying task,
My soul! Put forth, exert thy utmost strength,
Nor let an injur'd queen be tame.—Lie still,
My heart, I cannot listen to thee now.

Enter Essnx and SouTHamroir,

Essex. Forgive, thou injur'd majesty, thou best Of queens, this seeming disobedience. See, I bend submissive in your royal presence, With soul as penitent, as if before Th’ all-searching eye of Hcav’n. But, oh, that

frown !

My queen's resentment wounds -my inmost spirit, Strikes me like death, and pierces through my heart.

Qu. Eliz. You have obey'd, my lord! you've serv’d

me well !

My deadly foes are quell’d ! and you come home
A conqueror! Your country bids you welcome !
And I, your queen, applaud !—Triumphant man !
What! is it thus that Essex gains his laurels?
What ! is it thus you've borne my high commission ?
How durst you disregard your trusted duty,
Desert your province, and betray your queen?

Essex. I came to clear my injur'd name from guilt,
Imputed guilt, and slanderous accusations.
My shame was wafted in each passing gale,
Each swelling tide came loaded-with my wrongs;
And echo sounded forth, from faction's voice,
The traitor Essex.—Was’t not hard, my queen,
That, while I stood in danger's dreadful front,
Encountering death in every shape of terror,
And blot/ding for my country—Was’t not hard,
My mortal enemies at home, like cowards,
Should in my absence bascly blast my fame ?

Qu. Eliz. It is the godlike attribute of kings,

To raise the virtuous, and protect the brave.

I was the guardian of your reputation ;

What malice, or what faction, then, could reach you? My honour was expos’d, engag'd for yours :

But you fodnd reason to dislike my care,

And to yourself assum'd the wrested office.

_Fssex. If aught disloyal in this bosom dwells,

If aught of treason lodges in this heart,

May I to guilt and lasting shame be wedded,
The sport of faction, and the mark of scorn,
The world's derision, and my queen's abhorrence
Stand forth the villain, whose envenom’d tongue
Would taint my honour, and traduce-my name,
01' stamp my conduct with a rebel's brand !
Lives there a monster in the haunts of men,
Dares tear my trophies from their pillar'd base,
Eclipse my glory, and disgrace my deeds?

Qu. Eliz._'I’his ardent language, and this glow of
soul,

Were nobly; graceful in a better cause;

Where virtue warrants, and where truth inspires:
But injur'd truth, with brow invincible,

F rowns stern reproof upon the false assertion,
And contradicts it with the force of facts.

From me you have appeal’d, ungrateful man!
The laws, not I, must listen to your plea.

Go, stand the test severe, abide the trial,

And mourn, too late, the bounty you abus'd.

[Exeunt Qur.au ELIZABETH, SOUTHAMPTON’, LS'c|
E.s'se.t'. is this the just requital, then, of all

My patriot toils, and oft encounter'd perils,
Amidst th’ inclemencies of camps and climes?
Then be it so. Unmov’d and dauntless, let me
This shock of adverse fortune firmly stand.

[graphic]

Enter SourtIAmrros.

South. Alas, my lord! the queen's displeasure kin

dles

With warmth increasing; whilst Lord Burleigh labours

T'inflame her wrath, and make it still burn fiercer.

Essex. lseorn the blaze of courts, the pomp of

kings;

I give them to the winds, and lighter vanity;

Too long they've robb’d me of substantial bliss,

Ofsolid happiness, and true enjoyments.

But lead me to my mourning love; alas!

She sinks beneath oppressing ills; she fades,

She dies for my afflicting pangs, and seeks

Me, sorrowing, in the walks of woe.—Distraction !

‘ Oh, lead me to her, to my soul's desire. South. Let caution guide you in this dangerous

step.

Consider well, my lord, the consequence—

For should the queen (forbid it, Heaven !) discover,

Your private loves, your plighted hands, no power

On earth could step between you and destruction.

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Bur. My lord of Essex, ’tis the queen's command, That you forthwith resign your staff of ofiice ; And further, she confines you to your palace.

Essex. Welcome, my fate! Let fortune do her ut

most;

I know the worst, and will confront her malice,
And bravely bear the unexpected blow.

Bur. The queen, my lord, demands your quick

compliance.

Essex. Go, then, thou gladsome messenger of ill,
And,joyful, feast thy fierce rapacious soul
With Essex’ sudden and accomplish’d fall.
The trampled curse of all his envy’d greatness,

Lies prostrate now beneath thy savage feet;

But still th’ exalted spirit moves above thec.

Go, tell the queen thy own detested story:

Pull in her sight disclose the snaky labyrihths,

And lurking snares, you plant in virtue'S path,

To catch integrity's unguarded step.

Bur. Your country has impeach’d, your queen accus’d you;

To these address your best defence, and clear

Your question'd conduct from disloyal guilt.

What answer to the queen shall 1 return?

Essex. My staff of office I from her receiv’d, And will to her, and her alone, resign it. Bur. This bold refusal will incense the queen. This arrogance will make your guilt the stronger. Exit. South. Sustain, my noble friend, thy wonted greatness ;

Collect thy fortitude, summon all

Thy soul, to bear with strength this crushing weight, Which falls severe upon thee; whilst my friendship Shall lend a helping hand, and share the burden.

l'll hence with speed, and to the queen repair,

And all the power of warmest words employ,

To gain you yet one audience more, and bring

Her majesty to milder thoughts. Farewell. [E.rit.

Essex. As newly wak'd from all my dreams of glory,

Those gilded visions of deceitful joys,

I stand confounded at the unlook’d-for change,

And scarcely feel this thunderbolt of fate.

The painted clouds, which bore my hopes aloft,

Alas, are now vanish’d to yielding air,

And I am fall'n indeed!
How weak is resaon, when affection pleads !
How hard to turn the fond, deluded heart
From tlatt'ring toys, which sooth’d its vanity!
The laurell’d trophy, and the loud applause,
The vict01"s triumph, and the people's gaze;

n

[graphic]

The high-hung banner, and recording gold,
Snbdue me still, still cling around my heart,
And pull my reason down.

Enter LADY RUTLAND.

Rztt. Oh, let me fly,‘
To clasp, embrace, the lord of my desires,
My soul's delight, my utmost joy, my husband!
Once more '1 hold him in my eager arms,
Behold his face, and lose my soul in rapture!

Essex. Transporting bliss! my richest, dearest trea

sure !

My mourning turtle, my long absent peace,
Oh, come yet nearer, nearer to my heart !
My raptur'd soul springs forward, to receive thee:
Thou heav’n on earth, thou balm of all my woe!

Rut. Oh, shall I credit, then, each ravish’d sense?
Has pitying Heav’n consented to my prayer?
It has, it has; my Essex is return'd!
But language poorly speaks the joys I feel;
Let passion paint, and looks express‘my soul.

Essex. With thee, my sweetest comfort, I'll retire From splendid palaces, and glitlfring throngs,

' To live embosom’d in the shades of joy,

Where sweet content extends herfriendly arms,

And gives increasing love a lasting welcome.

With thee, I'll timely fly from proud oppression,
Forget our sorrows, and be bless’d for ever.

Rut. Oh! let us hence, beyond thereach of power;

Where fortune's hand shall never part us more,

In this calm state of innocence and joy,

l'll press thee to my -throbbing bosom close. Ambition's voice shall call in vain; the world,

The thankless world, shall never claim thee more, And all thy business shall be love and me. '

Essex. The queen, incens’d at my return, abandons me ' To Cecil's malice, and the rage of faction.

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