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But it beginning had : and that was found
In rarity of nature, giving one
Advantage over many; aptitude
For arms, for counsel, so superlative
As baffled all competitors, and made
The many glad to follow him as guide
Or safeguard : “and with title to endow him,
· For his high honour, or to gain some end
Supposed propitious to the general weal,
“ On those who should descend from him entailed.”
Not in descent alone, then, lies degree,
Which from descent to nature may be traced,
fount? And that, which nature did,
You'll grant she may be like to do again;
And in a very peasant, yea, a slave,
Enlodge the worth that roots the noble tree.
The Countess eyes him. I trust I seem not bold, to argue so.
Coun. Sir, when to me it matters what you seem,
Make question on't. If you have more to say,
Proceed-yet mark you how the poet mocks
Himself your advocacy; in the sequel
His hero is a hind in masquerade !
He proves to be a lord.
Huon. The poet sinned
Against himself, in that! He should have known
A better trick, who had at hand his own
Excelling nature to admonish him,
Than the low cunning of the common craft.
A hind, his hero, won the lady's love :
He had worth enough for that!
Her heart was his.
Wedlock joins nothing, if it joins not hearts.
Marriage was never meant for coats of arms.
Heraldry flourishes on metal, silk,
Or wood. Examine as you will the blood,
No painting on't is there ?-as red, as warm,
The peasant's as the noble's !
Coun. Dost thou know
Thou speak’st to me?
Huon. 'Tis therefore so 1 speak. Coun. And know’st thy duty to me? lluon. Yes,
Coun. And see'st
My station, and thine own?
Huon. I see my own.
Coun. Not mine ?
Huon. I cannot, for the fair
O'ertopping height before.
Coun. What height?
Huon. Thyself, That towerest 'bove thy station !-Pardon me ! Oh, wouldst thou set thy rank before thyself? Wouldst thou be honoured for thyself, or that ? Rank that excels its wearer, doth degrade; Riches impoverish, that divide respect. Oh, to be cherished for oneself alone! To owe the love that cleaves to us to naught Which fortune's summer-winter-gives or takes ! To know that while we wear the heart and mind, Feature and form, high heaven endowed us with, Let the storm pelt us, or fair weather warm, We shall be loved! Kings, from their thrones cast down, Have blessed their fate, that they were valued for Themselves, and not their stations, when some knee, That hardly bowed to them in plentitude, Has kissed the dust before them, stripped of all !
Coun. (Confused.] I nothing see that's relative in this, That bears upon the argument.
Huon. Oh, much,
Durst but my heart explain.
Coun. Hast thou a heart ?
I thought thou wast a serf; and, as a serf,
Had'st thought and will none other than thy lord's,
And so no heart—that is, no heart of thine own.
But since thou say'st thou hast a heart, 'tis well,
Keep it a secret; let me not suspect
What, were it e'en suspicion, were thy death. [
(Huon Sir, did I name a banquet to thee now,
smiles. Thou lookedst so ?
Huon. To die for thee were such.
Huon. For his master oft a serf has died,
And thought it sweet ; and may not, then, a serf
Say, for his mistress 'twere a feast to die ?
Coun. Thou art presumptuous-very-so, no wonder If I misunderstood thee. Thou’dst do well To be thyself, and nothing more.
Huon. Myself !
Coun. Why, art thou not a serf? What right hast thou To set thy person off with such a bearing ? And move with such a gait? to give thy brow The set of noble s, and thy tongue his phrase ? Thy betters' clothes sit fairer
Than on themselves, “and they were made for them."
I have no patience with thee--can't abide thee!
There are no bounds to thy ambition, none !
How durst thou e'er adventure to bestride
The war-horse-sitting him, that people say
Thou, not the kuight, appear'st his proper load!
How durst thou touch the lance, the battle-axe,
And wheel the flaming falchion round thy head,
As thou would'st blaze the sun of chivalry ?
I know ! my father found thy aptitude,
And humoured it, to boast thee off! He
To rue it; and no wonder if he should,
If others' eyes see that they should not see,
Shown to them by his own.
For the future, no reply, when I remark.
Hear, but don't speak-unless you're told-and then
No more than you are told; what makes the answer up,
No syllable beyond.
(Huon retires up, c. Enter FALCONER, with hawk, R. My Falconer! So.
[Crosses, L An hour I'll fly my hawk.
Falconer. A noble bird,
My lady, knows his bells, is proud of them.
[Retires a little, L.
Coun. They are no portion of his excellence :
It is his own! 'Tis not by them he makes
His ample wheel; mounts up, and up, and up,
In spiry rings, piercing the firmament,
Till he o'ertops his prey; then gives his stoop,
More fleet and sure than ever arrow sped !
How nature fashioned him for his bold trade!
Gave him his stars of
abroad, His wings of glorious spread to mow the air, And breast of might to use them! I delight To fly my hawk. The hawk's a glorious bird ;
Fred. But where is it? None yet
Have found it out.
Ulrick. You mean, a heart to love?
Fred. If not such a heart, as well no heart at all!
Ulrick. Men tell mine a hundred fathoms deep,
By certain signs that near the surface lie:
Are flesh and blood more fallible than clay ?
Take but her face-there's not a feature on't,
But vouches for the mood. Require you more ?
Her limbs and body give you proof on proof.
If these convince you not, essay her voice ;
'Tis of the stop befits the melting vein.
There's naught without but with her sex consists,
Pronouncing her its pattern, passing rich !
And can she lack the heart, the want of which
Would turn such affluence to poverty?
Prove nature but a niggard, after all,
Where she should seem to be most beautiful ?
She has a heart, sir, and a heart to love !
Fred. How comes it, then, I plead a bootless suit,
And not a boy at wooing? Had I a chance
With a heart, were it not wholly occupied,
I never failed to find some footing in it,
If not instate myself with ease :-with dames,
I own, less lofty, though on lighter terms
Than gift of hand for life. Why fail I here ?
Ulrick. Hast thou no rival ?
Ulrick. Thou art sure ?
Fred. I am.
Disheartened at a race that hath no goal,
Or one that seems to distance on approach,
My rivals leave the field to me alone.
Ulrick. Thou mayst have rivals whom thou know'st not
Fred. No! I have pressed her father oft thereon,
And learned the history, beginning, close
Of every siege of wooing-ending each
In mortified retreat.
Ulrick. You may have rivals
Unknown to him. Love joys in mystery;
And when you think it countless miles away,
Is lurking close at hand.