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It back again, she'd freely grant wh.ite'er
Not. Give, give it me,
Ester. Oh! take it then—it is the pledge of life! Oh! it is my dear Southampton's Last, last remaining stay! his thread of being, Which, more than worlds, 1 prize!—Oh, take it
then; Take it. thou guardian angel of my life, And offer up the incense of my prayer! Oh beg, entreat, implore her majesty, From public shame, and ignominious death, And from the obdurate axe, to save my friend.
Not. My lord, with all the powers that nature gave, And friendship can inspire, I'll urge the queen To grant you your request.
Essex. Kind Nottingham! Your pious offices shall ever be My fervent theme; and if my doubtful span Relenting Heaven should stretch to years remote, Each passing hour shall still remind my thoughts, And tell me, that I owe my all to thee: My friend shall thank you too for lengthen'd life. And now I fly with comfort to his arms, To let hint know the mercy that you bring.
SCENE II.—The Court.
Enter Queen ELIZABETH and BUBXEIOH.
Qu. Eliz. I la! is not Nottingham returned?
Bur. No, madam.
Qu. Eliz. Dispatch a speedv messengerto haste her — My agitated heart can find no rest. So near the brink of fate—unhappy man!
Enter Lady NOTTINGHAM.
How now, my Nottingham—what news from
Not. 1 wish, with all my soul,
Qu. Eliz. What ncans this mystery, this strange behaviour! Pronounce—declare at once j what said the earl?
Not. Alas, iny queen! I fear to say; his mind Is in the strangest mood, that ever pride
On blackest thoughts begot. He scarce would
Qu. Ktiz. Amazing!
Au(. He rather seem'd insensible to both, And with a cold indifference heard your offer; Till wanning up by slow degrees, risentraent Began to swell bis restless, haughty mind;
And proud disdain provok'd him to exclaim
Qu. Eliz. Ha!
Not. None, madam! But, with contemptuous front, disclaim'd At once Your protter'd grace; and scorn'd, he said, a life Upon such terms bestow'd.
Qu. Eliz. Impossible! Could Essex treat me thus ?—You basely wrong
him, And wrest his meaning from the purpos'd point. Recall betimes the horrid words you ve utter'd: Confess, and own the whole you've said, was false.
Not. Madam, by truth, and duty, both compell'd, Against the pleadings of my pitying soul, I must declare, (Heaven knows with what reluctance) That never pride insulted mercy more. He ran o'er all the dangers he had past; His mighty deeds; his service to the state: Accus'd your majesty of partial leaning To favourite lords, to whom he falls a sacrifice; Appeals to justice, and to future times, How much he feels from proud oppression's arm: Nay, something too he darkly hinted at, Ofjealous disappointment, and revenge.
Qu. E'iz. Eternal silence seal thy venom'd lips! What hast thou utter'd, wretch, to rouse at once A whirlwind in my soul, which roots up pity, And destroys my peace'. Let him tins instant to the block be led.
[Exit Not. Upbraid mc with my fatal fondness for him! Ungrateful, barbarous ruffian! O, Elizabeth I Remember now thy long-cstablish'd fame, Thy env/d glory, and thy father's spirit. Accuse me of injustice too, and cruelty! Yes, I'll this instant to the Tower, forget My regal state, and to his face confront him: <Jonfound th' audacious villain with my presence, And add new terrors to the uplifted axe. [Exit.
SCENE III.—The Tower.
Eater Essex and Southampton.
Essex. Oh, name it not! my friend shall livehe shall! I know her loyal mercy, and her goodness, Will give you back to life, to length of days, And me to honour, loyalty, and truth. Death is still distant far.
South. In life's first spring, Our green affections grew apace and prosper'd; The genial summer swell'd our joyful hearts, To meet and mix each growing 'fruitful wish. We're now cmbark'd upon that stormy flood, Where all the wise and brave are gone before us, E'er since the birth of time, to meet eternity.
And what is death, did we consider right?
Essex. Yet, still I trust long years remain of
South. Count not on hope— We never can take leave, my friend, of life, On nobler terms. Life! what is life? A shadow! Its date is but the immediate breath we draw; Kor have we surety for a second gale; Ten thousand accidents in ambush lie For the embodied dream. A frail and fickle tenement it is. Which, like the brittle glass, that measures time, Is often broke, ere half its sands are run.
Essex. Such cold philosophy the heart disdains, And friendship shudders at the moral tale. My friend, the fearful precipice is past, And danger dare not meet us more. Fly swift, Ye better angels, waft the welcome tidings Of pardon to my friend—of life and joy I
Lieut. I grieve to be the messenger of woe, But must, mv lords, entreat you to prepare For instant death. Here is the royal mandate, That orders your immediate execution.
Essex. Immediate execution! what, so sudden?— No message from the queen, or Nottingham?
Lieut. None, sir.
Essex. Deluded hopes! Oh, worse than death! Perfidious queen! to make a mock of life! My friend—my friend destroyed! Why could
not mine— My life atone for both—my blood appease? Can you, my friend, forgive me?
South. Yes, oh yes, My bosom's better half, I can.—With thee, I'll gladly seek the coast unknown, and leave The lessening mark of irksome life behind. With thee, mv friend, 'tis joy to die !—'tis glory! For who would wait the tardy stroke of time? Or cling, like reptiles, to the verge of being, When we can bravely leap from life at once, And spring, triumphant, in a friend's embrace?
Rul. To you, my lord Southampton, from the queen, A pardon comes: your life, her mercy spares.
Essex. For ever blest be that indulgent power Which saves my friend! This weight ta en off,
my soul Shall upward spring, and mingle with the blessed.
South. All-ruling Heavens! can this—can the be just? Support me! hold, ye straining heart-strings,
hold, And keep my sinking frame from dissolution! Oh, 'tis too much for mortal strength to bear, Or thought to suffer!—Xo, I'll die with thee! They shall not part us, Essex!
Essex. Live, oh, live! Thou noblest, bravest, best of men and friends! Whilst life is worth thy wish—till time and thou Agree to part, and nature send thee to me!
Thou generous soul, farewell! Live, and be
Lieut. My lord, my warrant
South. Ob, must we part for ever? Cruel for-
Essex. Oh, my friend! we'll meet Again, where virtue finds a just reward !— Where factious malice never more can reach us.' I need not bid thee guard my fame from wrongs: And, oh! a dearer treasure to thy care I trust, than either life or fame—my wife! Oh, she will want a friend! Then take her to thy care—do thou pour balm On her deep-wounded spirit, and let her find My tender helps in thee!—I must be gone, My ever faithful and my gallant friend! I pr*ythee, leave this woman's work.—Farewell! Take this last, dear embrace—Farewell for ever!
South. My bursting breast! I fain would speak, but words Are poor—Farewell!— But we shall meet again—embrace in one Eternal band, which never shall be loosed.
Essex. To death's concluding stroke, lead on, lieutenant. My wife!—Now reason, fortitude, support me! For now, indeed, comes on my sorest trial.
Enter Countess ofRuTLAND.
Oh, thou last, dear reserve of fortune's malice!
Rut. Thou sole delight—
Essex. Too much, thou partner of this dismal hour, Thy generous soul would prompt thee to endure'
Nor can thy tender, trembling heart sustain it.
Rut. Thou cruel comforter!
Essex. Oh, strain not thus the little strength
Rut. Why wilt thou still Of parting talk? Oh, that the friendly hand of Heaven would
snatch Us both at once, above the distant stars, Where fortune's venomed shafts can never pierce, Nor cruel queens destroy!
Essex. The awful Searcher, whose impartial eye Explores the secrets of each human heart, And every thought surveys, can witness for me, How close thy image clings around my soul! Retards each rising wish, and draws me back To life, entangled by that loved idea.
Lieut. My ford, It now grows late.
Essex. Lead on.
Rut. Stay, stay, my love! my dearest, dying lord! Ah ! whither wouldst thou go ? Ah, do not leave me I [Faints.
Esses. Thou sinking excellence! thou matchless woman! Shall fortune rob me of thy dear embrace, Or earth's whole power, or death divide us now? Stay, stay, thou spotless injured saint!
Lieut. My lord, already you have been indulged Beyond what I can warrant by my orders.
Essex. One moment more Afford me to my sorrows—Oh, look there! Could bitter anguish pierce your heart, like mine, You'd pity now the mortal pangs I feel, The throbs that tear my vital strings away, And rend my agonizing soul!
Lieut. My lord
Essex. But one short moment, and I will attend. Ye sacred ministers, that virtue guard, And shield the righteous in the paths of peril, Restore her back to life, and lengthened years Of joy! dry up her bleeding sorrows all! Oh, cancel from her thoughts this dismal hour, And blot my image from her sad remembrance! 'Tis done.—
And now, ye trembling cords of life, give way! Nature ana time, let go your hold !—eternity Demands me. [Exeunt Essex and Lieut.
Rut. Where has my lost, benighted soul, been
wandering ?— What means this mist, that hangs about my
mind, Through which reflection's painful eye discerns Imperfect forms, and horrid shapes of woe ?— The cloud dispels, the shades withdraw, and all My dreadful fate appears.—Oh! where's my
lord.'— My life! my Essex 1 Oh! whither have they
ta'en him i
Enter Queen Elizabeth and Attendants.
Qu. Eliz. To execution.—Fly with lightning's wing, And save him!
Be calm, he shall not die! Rise up—I came
Rut. 'Tis mercy's voice that speaks!—
Bur. Madam, your orders came, alas! too late. Ere they arrived, the axe had fallen on Essex.
Rut. Ha! dead! What hell is this, that opens round me? What fiend art thou, that draws the horrid scene? Ah! Burleigh! bloody murderer! where's my
husband? Oh! where's my lord, my Essex? Destruction seize, and madness rend, my brain! See—see, they bend him to the fatal block! Now—now the horrid axe is lifted high— It falls—it falls ! he bleeds—he bleeds! he dies!
Qu. Eliz. Alas! her sorrows pierce my suffering heart!
Rut. Eternal discord tear the social world, And nature's laws dissolve! expunge—erase The hated marks of time's engraving hand, And every trace destroy! Arise, despair! Assert thy rightful claim—possess me all! Bear, bear me to my murdered lord—to clasp His bleeding body in my dying arms! And, in the tomb, embrace his dear remains, And mingle with his dust—for ever! [Exit.
Qu. Eliz. Hapless woman! She sliall henceforth be partner of my sorrows; And we'll contend who most shall weep tor Essex. Oh, quick to kill, and ready to destroy!
[To Burleigh. Could no pretext be found—no cause appear, To lengthen mercy out a moment more, And stretch the span of grace!—Oh, cruel Burleigh! This, this, was thy dark work, unpitying man!
But. My gracious mistress, blame not thus my duty, My firm obedience to your high command. The laws condemned him first to die; nor think I stood between your mercy and his life. It was the lady Nottingham, not I. Herself confessed it all, in wild despair, That, from your majesty to Essex sent With terms of proffered grace, she then received, From his own hand, a fatal ring, a pledge, It seems, of much importance, which the earl, With earnest suit and warm entreaty, begged her, As she would prize his life, to give your majesty; In this she failed—In this she murdered Essex.
Qu. Eliz. Oh, barbarous woman!
From hence, let proud, resisting mortals know
BY AN UNKNOWN HAND.
News ! news! good folks, rare news, and you shall know it— I've got intelligence about the poet. Who do you think he is ?—You'll never guess; An Irish bricklayer, neither more nor less. And now the secret's out, you cannot wonder, That in commencing bard he makes a blunder. Has he not left the better for the worse, In quitting solid brick for empty verse? Can he believe the example of old Ben, Who changed, like him, the trowel for the pen, Will in his favour move your critic bowels ?— You rather wish most poet's pens were trowels. One man is honest, sensible, and plain, Nor has the poet made him pert, in vain: No beau, no courtier, nor conceited youth; But then so rude, he always speaks the truth. I told him he must flatter, learn address, And gain the heart of some rich patroness: 'Tis she, said I, your labours will reward, If you but join the bricklayer with the bard;
As thus—should she be old, and worse for wear,
WRITTEN BY DAVID GARRICK, ESQ. AND SPOKEM BY HIM IN THE CHARACTER OF A
Meaner! measter! Is not my measter here among you, pray? Nay, speak—my measter wrote this fine new
The actor-folks are making such a clatter!
pother! Fine lads and lasses! one o' top o' t' other.
[Pointing to the ro;es oj Pit and Gallery. I could for ever here with wonder geaze 1 I ne'er saw church so full in all my days! Your servant, surs !—what do you laugh for ? Eh I You donna take me sure for one o' the play?
You should not flout an honest country lad
You think me fool, and 1 think you half mad: You're all as strange as I, and stranger too, And if you laugh at me, I'll laugh at you.
[Laughing. I donna like your London tricks, not I, And since you rais'd my blood, 111 tell you why; And if you wuH, since now I am before ye, For want of pro-log, I'll relate my story.
I came from country here to try my fate, And get a place among the rich and great; But troth Pin sick o' th' journey I ha' ta'en,
I like it not would I were home again!
First, in the city I took up my station, And got a place with one o th' corporation,
A round big man he cat a plaguy deal,
Zooks, he'd have beat five plowmen at a meal!
But long with him I could not make abode,
For, could you think it I—he eat a great sea-toad!
He call'd it belly-patch and capapee!
Law, how I star'd—I thought—who knows but I
For want of monsters, may be made a pye!
Rather than tarry here for bribe or gain,
I'll back to whoumc, and country faro again.
I left toad-eater; then I served a lord. And there they promised—but ne'er kept their
word. While 'mong the great, this geaming work the
trade is, They mind no more poor servants, than their
She turn'd the world top down, as I may say,
Now I'm the poet's man—I find with wits