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And feels, ev’n now, his trait'rous deeds with pity?
Enter Bu RLEIGH.
Bur.‘ Illustrious queen ! the traitors all are seiz’d. Their black debates Were held at ‘Drury House. The dine result Was this : that Essex should alarm the citizens To open mutiny and bold rebellion.
Their purpose w,as to seize your royal palace,
And sacred person; but your faithful people,
As by one mind inform _d, one _zea_l inspir d,
Rose up atonce, and with their virtue quell’d them.
Qu. ElZ1liz.tT'hanks to their honest, to their loyal
ear s . But say,_were any persons else concern'd, Of high distinction, or of noted rank?
Bur. Yes, madam, many more;
’Mong whom, the bold Southampton foremost stands. They're now our pris’ners, and are safe secur'd ;
But Essex, with Southampton, and the rest
Of greater note, I would not dare dispose of
Attend without, to know your final pleasure.
Qu. Eliz. is this thejuat return of all my care? My anxious toilsome days, and watchful nights? Have I sent forth a wish, that went not freighted \(?)Vitlh allkmyfpieopltgs gopjdi O2, haylel lifp‘, ?
r engt 0 ays esir , ut or t err sa e The public good is all my private care !
Then couldI think this grateful isle
You see, we dare abide your dang’rous presence,
How low the traitor can degrade the soldier !-
How mean is fraud !—How base ingratitude !
Essex. Forbear reproach, thou injur'd majesty, Nor wound, with piercing loo_ks,a heart already -Wiih anguish torn, and bleeding with remorse. Your awful looks, alone, are arm’d with death, And _]\1SUC€ gives them terror. Qu. Eliz. Hapless man! What caiuse could prompt, what fiend could‘ urge t ee on
To this detested deed 2 Could I from thee
Expect to meet this base return? from thee,
To whom I ought to fly with all the confidence
Or seeming gratitude and worth could promise ?_
Essex. Alas! I own my crimes, and feel my treasons ' ' They press the down beneath the reach of pity. Despair alone can shield me from myself. Qu. Eliz. My pride forbids me to reproach thee more;
My pity, rather, would relieve thy sorrow.
The eople's clamours, and my special safety,
Call oud foi‘J\iS[iC€, and demand your life.
But if forgiveness- from an iiijur'd queen
Can make the few short hours you live more easv,
Essex. Oh, let me prostrate thus before you fall,
My better angel, and my guardian gemus!
Permit me, royal mistress, to announce
My faithful sentiments, my soul's true dictates;
Qu. Eliz. Rise, my lord!
If aught you have to offer, can allay
Your woes, and reconcile you to your fate,
Essex. My real errors, and my seeming crimes,
Would weary mercy, and make goodness poor:
Was loyalty misled, and duty in extreme. ' .
So jealous was my sanguine heart, so warm
This drove me from my high command in Ireland;
And this, O fatal rashness! made me think
My queen had given her Essex up, a victim
To statesmen's schemes, and wicked policy,
Stung by that piercing thought, my madness flew Beyond all bounds, and now, alas ! has brought me To this most shameful fall; and, what's still worse, My own reproaches, and my queen's displeasure.
touch’d, And pity pleads thy cause within my breast. Essex. Say, but, my gracious sovereign, ere I go
For ever from your presence, that you think me
Guilbless of all attempts against your throne,
And sacred life. Your faithful Essex, ne'er
Could harbour in his breast so foul a thought.
Believe it not, my queen. By Heav’n, I swear,
When in my highest pitch of glory rais’d,—
The splendid noon of Fortune's brightest sunshine,—~ Not ages of reno\'vn,—could yield me half
The joy, nor make my life so greatly blest,
As saving yours, though for a single hour.
Qu. Elilz. My lord, I would convince you, that I sti l
Regard your life, and labour to preserve it ;
But cannot screen you from a public trial.
With prudence make your best defence: but should Severity her iron jurisdiction , '
Extend too far, and give thee up condemn'd
To angry laws, thy queen will not forget thee.
Yet, lest you then should want a faithful friend,
(For friends will fly you in the time of need)
Here, from my finger, take this ring, a pledge
Of mercy; having this, you ne'er shall need
An advocate with me; for whens'oe'er
You give, or send it back, by Heav’n, I swear,
As I do hope for mercy on my soul,
Thatl will grant whatever boon you ask.
Essex. Oh, grace surprising! most amazing goodness .
Words cannot paint the transports of my soul !
Let me receive it/on my grateful knees,
At once to thank, and bless the hand that gives it.
Qu. Eliz. Depend, my lord, on this—’twixt you _ and me, This ring shall be a private mark of faith [Gives the Ring.
Inviolate. Be confident; cheer up;
Dispel‘each melancholy fear, and trust
Your soven.-ign's promise—she will ne'er forsake you.
Essex. Let Providence dispose my lot as ’twill,
May watchful angels ever guard my queen;
May healing wisdom in her counci s reign,
And firm fidelity surround her throne;
May victory her dreaded banners hear,
And joyful conquests crown her soldiers’ brow ;
Let every bliss be mingled in her cup,
Qu. Eliz. ’Tis done;
And yet foreboding tremors shake my heart.
My spirits with its weight. What can it mean ?
Is plighted for his life; his enemies,
No doubt, will censure much.—No matter; let them; I know him honest, and despise their malice.
Enter CoUnrass or Rurmmn.
Rut. Where is the queen? l'll fall before her feet Prostrate; implore, besiege her royal heart, And force her to forgive.
Qu. Eliz. What means this phrensy ? ,
Rut. Oh, gracious queen! if ever pity touch’d Your generous breast, let not the cruel axe Destroy his precious life; preserve my Essex, My life, my hope, my joy, my all, my husband! ‘
Qu. El-iz. Husband !—What sudden, deadly ‘blow
is this !
Hold up, my soul, nor sink beneath this wound.
Rut. Oh, gracious queen !
Rut. I cannot let you go. . Hold off your hands !—-Here on this spot I'll fix— Here lose all sense. Still let me stretch these arms, Inexorable queen!—He yet may live. Oh, give him to my poor, atfiicted heart! One pitying look, to save me from distraction.