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Cec. Rest, and refer this matter to your council : Something may be in this, but more design. Mor. If all's not true, I'll give my body up To torments, to be rack'd, and die a villain : Or stand the test with any he that dares. 3co Nor. Quick, let me take him at his word Oh, that I had thee in some desert wild, As far from man as thou art from humanity, “Where none could save thee but thy fellow-monsters! “I’d crush the treason from thy venom'd throat, “As I would do its poison from a toad. o “Mor. My lord— “Qu. El. My lord of Norfolk, you are to blame. “Nor.” I beg your Majesty to grant the combat; And I, as champion for that injur’d saint, I, Thomas Norfolk, with this arm, will prove That Mary, queen of Scotland, is abus'd, “That she is innocent, and all is forg’d, “Nay, 'till I have made him own to all the world, “That he's not born of noble blood, but that “Some ruffian stept into his father's place, “And more than half begot him.
“Mor. Gracious queen 3 *
And trample o'er so rudely, in my presence,
Your head as high as your aspiring thoughts—
Qu. El. Alas, what mean'st thou, Norfolk Nor. Then she sigh'd, and said, Go to the queen, perhaps upon her throne; Tell her, mine is an humble floor, my palace An old dark tower, that threat’ning dares the sky, 360 And seems at war with heaven to keep day out : For eighteen years of winter, I ne'er saw The grass embroider'd o'er with icy spangles, Nor trees majestic in their snowy robes; Nor yet in summer, how the fields were clad, And how soft nature gently shifts the scene, From heavy vestment to delightful green. Qu. El. Oh, duke, enough, thy language stabs my soul. Nor. No feather'd choristers of chearful note, Salute my dusky gate to bring the morn, But birds of frightful omen. “Screech owls, bats, “And ravens, such as haunt old ruin’d castles, “ Make no distinčtion here 'twixt sun and moon, “But join their clattering wings with their loud creaks,” That sing hoarse midnight dirges all the hours. Qu. El. Oh, horror! Cecil, stop thy ears and mine. Now, cruel Morton, is she guilty now She cannot be ambitious of my crown; For though it be a glorious thing to sight, Yet, like a glittering, gaudy snake, it sits, 38o Wreathing about a prince's tortur’d brow : And, oh, it has a thousand stings as fatal. Thou hast no more to say *
“ Nor. I found this mourning excellence alone. “She was asleep, not on a purple bed, “A gorgeous palate, but upon the floor, “Which a mean carpet clad, whereon she sat, “And on a homely couch did lean her head: “Two winking tapers, at a distance stood; “For other light ne'er bless'd that dismal place, “Which made the room look like some sacred urn, “And she, the sad effigies of herself.
“Qu. El. No more; alas! I cannot hear thee out—” Pray, rise my lord.
Nor. Oh, ne'er till you have pity.
“Her face and breast I might discover bare;
“Qu. El. Oh, I am drown'd I’m melted all to
pity. 400 “Nor. Quickly she wak'd, for grief ne'er rested long,
“And starting at my sight, she blush'd and said,
Qu. El. “My breast, like a full prophet, is o'er
charg’d, “A sea of pity rages to get out, “And must have way.”—Rise, Norfolk, run, haste all, Fly, with the wings of darting meteors, fly “Swift as the merciful decree; above 2
“Are glided down the battlements of bliss: