페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

TIE

EARL OF WARWICK.

ACT THE FIRST.

SCENE I.

A Palare.

Enter MARGARET of Anjou, and LADY CLIFFORD.
Lady C. Thanks, gracious Heaven ! my royal mis-

tress smiles;
Unusual gladness sparkles in her eye,
And bids new welcome in the stranger, joy,
To his new mansion.

Marg. Yes, my faithful Clifford,
Fortune is weary of oppressing me:
Through my dark cloud of grief, a cheerful ray
Of light breaks forth, and gilds the whole horizon.
Lady C. Henry in chains, and Edward on the

throne
Of Lancaster; thyself a pris'ner here;
Thy captive son torn from his mother's arms,
And in the tyrant's power; a kingdom lost:-
Amidst so many sorrows, what new hope
Has wrought this wondrous change?

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Marg. That, which alone,
In sorrow's bitt'rest hour, can minister
Sweet comfort to the daughters of affliction,
And bid misfortune smile--the hope of vengeance:
Vengeance, benignant patron of distress,
Thee I have oft invok’d, propitious now
Thou smil'st upon me; if I do not grasp
The glorious opportunity, henceforth
Indignant frown, and leave me to my fate!

Lady C. Unhappy princess! that deceiver, hope,
Hath often flatter'd, and as oft betray'd thee :
What hast thou gain'd by all its promises ?
What's the reward of all thy toils ?

Marg. Edward and Warwick, those detested names,
Too well thou know'st, united to destroy me.

Lady C. That was, indeed, a fatal league.

Marg. But mark me ;-
If we could break this adamantine chain,
We might again be free: this mighty warrior,
This dread of kings, th' unconquerable Warwick,
Is plighted to the fair Elizabeth.
Lady C. The Lady Gray, you mean, the beauteous

widow,
Whose husband fell in arms for Lancaster.

Marg. The same.- Warwick long has lov'd-
Lady C. And means to wed her.

Marg. But if I have art,
Or she ambition, that shall never be.

Lady C. Canst thou prevent it?

Marg. Yes, my Clifford,
I shall provide her with a fitter husband,
A nobler far, and worthier of her charms
Young Edward.

Lady C. Ha !, the king! impossible!
Warwick, ev'n now, commission'd by the state,
To treat with Lewis, offers England's throne
To France's daughter, and ere this, perhaps,
Hath sign’d the solemn contract.

[merged small][ocr errors]

Marg. Solemn trifles!
Mere cobweb ties–Love's a despotic tyrant!
Edward is youthful, gay, and amorous ;
His soul is ever open to the lure
Of beauty, and Elizabeth has charms
Might shake a hermit's virtue.

Lady C. Hath he seen
This peerless fair one?

Marg. Yes—by my contrivance,
When last he hunted in the forest, some,
Whom I had planted there, as if by chance
Alone directed, led him cross the lawn
To Grafton; there-even as my soul had wish'd,
Elizabeth surpris'd
His unsuspecting heart-

Lady C. What follow'd ?

Marg. O!
He gaz'd, and wonder'd; for a while, his pride
Indignant rose, and struggled with his passion;
Bui love was soon victorious; and, last night,
The Earl of Suffolk, so my trusty spies
Inform me, was despatch'd, on wings of love,
To plead his master's cause, and offer her
The throne of England.

Ludy C. What, if she refuse
The golden bribe ?

Marg. No matter; all I wish Is but to make them foes.-Warwick Is fiery, and impatient of reproof; He will not brook a rival in his love, Though seated on the throne; besides, thou know'st The haughty earl looks down with scorn on Edward, As the mere work of his all-powerful hand, The baby monarch of his own creation.

Lady C. Believe me, madam, Edward still reveres And loves him, still, as conscious of the debt, Pays him with trust and confidence ; their souls

Are link'd together in the strictest bonds
Of sacred friendship.

Marg. That but serves my cause :
Where ties are close, and interests united,
The slightest injuries are severely felt;
Offended friendship never can forgive.
Lady C. Now the full prospect

opens to my view : I see thy distant aim, and trace the paths Of vengeance: England will soon be a scene Of blood and horror; discord's fatal torch Once lit

up,

in this devoted land, What pow'r shall e'er extinguish it? Alas! I tremble at the consequence.

Marg. And I Enjoy it: 0! 'twill be a noble contest Of pride 'gainst pride, oppression 'gainst oppression ; Rise but the storm, and let the waves beat high, The wreck

may

be our own :-
And see, the king approaches ;
This
way

he
passes

from the council-Mark
His downcast eye; he is a stricken deer;
He cannot 'scape;
We'll meet and speak to him.

Lady C. What mean you, madam ?
Marg. To ask him—what, I know, he will refuse;
That gives me fair pretext to break with him,
And join the man I hate, vindictive Warwick;
But soft-he comes-

Enter King EDWARD and an OfficeR. King E. Is Suffolk yet return’d?

[To the OFFICER, Offi. No, my good liege.

King E. Go, wait and bring him to me, [Exit. I'll to my closet. Pardon me, fair lady, I saw you not.

Marg. Perhaps it is beneath

A conqu’ror to look down upon his slave;
But I've a boon to ask.

King E. Whate’er it is,
Within the limits of fair courtesy,
Which honour can bestow, I'll not refuse thee.

Marg. There was a time, when Margaret of Anjou
Would not have deign’d to ask of Edward aught;
Nor was there aught that Edward dar'd refuse her;
But that is past-great Warwick's arm prevail’d,
And I am now your pris’ner.

King E. Since the hour
When fortune smild propitious on the cause
Of justice, and gave vict'ry to our arms,
You have been treated with all due respect,
Or your condition, or your sex could claim;
Serv'd like a queen, and lodg’d within our palace,
Is there aught more you can with reason ask,
Or I, in prudence, grant you

Marg. Give me back
The liberty 1 lost-restore my son,
And I may then, perhaps, be reconcild
To an usurper; may withhold my vengeance,
And let thee sit, unpunish’d, on-my throne.

King E. You talk too proudly, madam; but ta

show you

I cannot fear, you have your liberty.
Letters this morning I receiv'd from France,
Have offer'd noble ransom for your person;
Without that ransom (for the soul of Edward
Is far above the sordid lust of gold)
I grant it--from this moment you are free;
But for your son–I cannot part with him.
Marg: 1 scorn your bounties-scorn your prof-

fer'd freedom !
What's liberty to me without my child ?
But fate will place us soon above thy reach;
Thy short-liv'd tyranny is almost past;

« 이전계속 »