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Incline thy pitying ear to my complaint;
A poor, undone, forsaken, helpless woman,
Entreats a little bread for charity,
To feed her wants, and save her life from perishing.
Glos. Arise, fair dame, and dry your wat'ry eyes.
(Receiving the paper, and raising her.)

Beshrew me, but 'twere pity of his heart
That could refuse a boon to such a suitress.
You've got a noble friend to be your advocate;
A worthy and right gentle lord he is,

And to his trust most true. This present now
Some matters of the state detain our leisure?
Those once despatch'd, we'll call for you anon,
And give your griefs redress. Go to !-be comforted.
Jane S. Good heavens repay your highness for
this pity,

And show'r down blessings on your princely head!
Come, my Alicia, reach thy friendly arm,
And help me to support this feeble frame,
That nodding, totters with oppressive woe,
And sinks beneath its load.

[Exeunt Jane S. and Alic.
Glos. Now, by my holidame!
Heavy of heart she seems, and sore afflicted.
But thus it is when rude calamity
Lays its strong gripe upon these mincing minions;
The dainty gew-gaw forms dissolye at once,
And shiver at the shock. What says this paper?
(Perusing it.)
Ha! What is this? Come nearer, Ratcliffe!
Catesby !

Mark the contents, and then divine the meaning.
(He reads.)

Wonder not, Princely Gloster, at the notice
This paper brings you from a friend unknown;
Lord Hastings is inclin'd to call you master,
And kneel to Richard as to England's king;
But Shore's bewitching wife misleads his heart,
And draws his service to king Edward's sons:

Drive her away, you break the charm that holds him,
And he, and all his powers, attend on you.

Sir R. "Tis wonderful!

Cates. The means by which it came

Yet stranger too.

Glos. You saw it givin, but now.

Sir R. She could not know the purport,
Glos. No, 'tis plain

She knows it not, it levels at her life;

Should she presume to prate of such high matters, The meddling harlot, dear she should abide it. Cates. What hand soe'er it comes from, be asIt means your highness well.

Glos. Upon the instant,

[sur'd

Lord Hastings will be here; this morn I mean
To prove him to the quick; then, if he flinch,
No more but this,-away with him at once:
He must be mine or nothing.-But he comes!
Draw nearer this way, and observe me well.
(They whisper.)

Enter LORD HASTINGS.
Has. This foolish woman hangs about my heart,
Lingers and wanders in my fancy still;
This coyness is put on, 'tis art and cunning,
And worn to urge desire;-I must possess her.
The groom, who lift his saucy hand against me,
Ere this, is humbled, and repents his daring.
Perhaps, ev'n she may profit by th' example,
And teach her beauty not to scorn my pow'r.
Glos. This do, and wait me e'er the council sits.
[Exeunt Ratcliffe and Catesby.
My lord, you're well encounter'd; here has been
A fair petitioner this morning with us;
Believe me, she has won me much to pity her:
Alas! her gentle nature was not made

To buffet with adversity. I told her

How worthily her cause you had befriended; How much for your good sake we meant to do, That you had spoke, and all things should be well. Has. Your highness binds me ever to your service. [with us,

Glos. Your know your friendship is most potent
And shares our power. But of this enough,
For we have other matters for your ear;
The state is out of tune: distracting fears,
And jealous doubts, jar in our public councils;
Amidst the wealthy city, murmurs rise,
Lewd railings, and reproach on those that rule,
With open scorn of government; hence credit,
And public trust 'twixt man and man, are broke
The golden streams of commerce are withheld,
Which fed the wants of needy hinds, and artizans,
Who, therefore, curse the great, and threat re-
bellion.

Has. The resty-knaves are over-run with ease,
As plenty ever is the nurse of faction;
If in good days, like these, the headstrong herd
Grow madly wanton and repine, it is
Because the reins of power are held too slack,
And reverend authority, of late,

Has worn a face of mercy more than justice.
Glos. Beshrew my heart! but you have well
diyin'd

The source of these disorders. Who can wonder?
If riot and misrule o'erturn the realm,
When the crown sits upon a baby brow?
Plainly to fpeak, hence comes the gen'ral cry,
And sum of all complaint: "Twill ne'er be well
With England (thus they talk,) while children
govern.

fthat?

Has. 'Tis true, the king is young: but what of We feel no want of Edward's riper years, While Gloster's valour, and most princely wisdom So well support our infant sov'reign's place, His youth's support, and guardian to his throne.

Glos. The council (much I'm bound to think 'em Have placed a pageant sceptre in my hand, [for't,) Barren of pow'r, and subject to control; Scorn'd by my foes, and useless to my friends. Oh, worthy lord! were mine the rule indeed, I think I should not suffer rank offence At large to lord it in the commonwealth; Nor would the realm be rent by discord thus, Thus fear and doubt, betwixt disputed titles.

Has. Of this I am to learn; as not supposing A doubt like this.

Glos. Ay, marry, but there is-
And that of much concern. Have you not heard
How, on a late occasion, doctor Shaw

Has moved the people much about the lawfulness
Of Edward's issue? By right grave authority
Of learning and religion, plainly proving,
A bastard scion never should be grafted
Upon a royal stock; from thence at full
Discoursing on my brother's former contract
To Lady Elizabeth Lucy, long before

His jolly match with that same buxom widow,
The queen he left behind him-

Has. Ill befall

Such meddling priests, who kindle up confusion,
And vex the quiet world with their vain scruples!
By heav'n, 'tis done in perfect spite of peace.
Did not the king,

Our royal master, Edward, in concurrence
With his estates assembled, well determine'
What course the sov'reign rule shall take hence

forward?

When shall the deadly hate of faction cease? When shall our long-divided land have rest,

If every peevish, moody malcontent,
Shall set the senseless rabble in an uproar?
Fright them with dangers, and perplex their brains,
Each day with some fantastic giddy change?

Glos. What if some patriot for the public good, Should vary from your scheme, new-mould the state?

Has. Curse on the innovating hand attempts it!
Remember him, the villain, righteous heaven,
In thy great day of vengeance! blast the traitor
And his pernicious counsels; who, for wealth,
For pow'r, the pride of greatness, or revenge,
Would plunge his native land in civil wars!
Glos. You go too far, my lord.
Has. Your highness' pardon.-

Have we so soon forgot those days of ruin,
When York and Lancaster drew forth their battles;
When, like a matron butcher'd by her sons,
Our groaning country bled at every vein:
When murders, rapes, and massacres prevail'd;
When churches, palaces, and cities blaz'd;
When insolence and barbarism triumph'd,
And swept away distinction: peasants trod
Upon the necks of nobles: low were laid
The reverend crosier and the holy mitre,
And desolation covered all the land?
Who can remember this, and not, like me,
Here vow to sheath a dagger in his heart,
Whose damn'd ambition would renew those horrors,
And set once more that scene of blood before us?
Glos. How now? so hot!

Has. So brave, and so resolv'd.

Glos. Is then our friendship of so little moment, That you could arm your hand against my life? Has. I hope your highness does not think I mean it;

No, heaven forfend that e'er your princely person Should come within the scope of my resentment. Glos. O noble Hastings! Nay, I must embrace (Embraces him.)

you;

By holy Paul, you're a right honest man!
The time is full of danger and distrust,
And warns us to be wary. Hold me not,
Too apt for jealousy, and light surmise,
If, when I meant to lodge you next my heart,
I put your truth to trial. Keep your loyalty,
And live your king and country's best support:
For me, I ask no more than honour gives, [friends.
To think me yours, and rank me with your
[Exit.

Has. I am not read,
Nor skill'd and practis'd in the arts of greatness,
To kindle thus, and give a scope to passion.
The duke is surely noble; but he touch'd me
Ev'n on the tend'rest point; the master-string
That makes most harmony or discord to me,
I own the glorious subject fires my breast,
And my soul's darling passion stands confess'd;
Beyond or love's or friendship's sacred band,
Beyond myself, I prize my native land:
On this foundation would I build my fame,
And emulate the Greek and Roman name; [blood,
Think England's peace bought cheaply with my
And die with pleasure for my country's good.

[Exit.

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The first design and purport of my speech,
I prais'd his good affection to young Edward,
And left him to believe my thoughts like his.
Proceed we then in this fore-mentioned matter,
As nothing bound or trusting to his friendship.
Sir R. Ill does it thus befall. I could have wish'd
This lord had stood with us.
His name had been of 'vantage to your highness,
And stood our present purpose much in stead.

Glos. This wayward and perverse declining from
Has warranted at full the friendly notice, [us,
Which we this morn receiv'd. I hold it certain,
This puling, whining harlot rules his reason,
And prompts his zeal for Edward's bastard brood.
Cates. If she have such dominion o'er his heart,
And turn it at her will, you rule her fate;
And should, by inference and apt deduction,
Be arbiter of his. Is not her bread,
The very means immediate to her being,
The bounty of your hand? Why does she live,
If not to yield obedience to your pleasure,
To speak, to act, to think as you command?
Sir R. Let her instruct her tongue to bear your
message;

Teach every grace to smile in your behalf,
And her deluded eyes to gloat for you;
His ductile reason will be wound about,
Be led and turn'd again, say and unsay,
Receive the yoke, and yield exact obedience.
Glos. Your counsel likes me well; it shall be
follow'd;

She waits without, attending on her suit:
Go, call her in, and leave us here alone.

[Exeunt Ratcliffe and Catesby.
How poor a thing is he, how worthy scorn,
Who leaves the guidance of imperial manhood
To such a paltry piece of stuff as this is!
A moppet made of prettiness and pride;
That oftener does her giddy fancies change,
Than glittering dew-drops in the sun do colours.
Now, shame upon it! was our reason given
For such a use? To be thus puff'd about. [them,
Sure there is something more than witchcraft in
That masters e'en the wisest of us all.
Enter JANE SHORE.

are,

Oh! you are come most fitly. We have ponder'd
On this your grievance: and though some there
Nay, and those great ones too, who would enforce
The rigour of our power to afflict you,
And bear a heavy hand; yet fear not you:
We've ta'en you to our favour; our protection
Shall stand between, and shield you from mishap.
Jane S. The blessings of a heart, with anguish

broken,

And rescu'd from despair, attend your highness.
Alas! my gracious lord, what have I done
To kindle such relentless wrath against me?

Glos. Marry, there are, though I believe them not,
Who say you meddle in affairs of state:
That you presume to prattle like a busy-body,
Give your advice, and teach the lords o' the council
What fits the order of the commonweal.

Jane S. Oh, that the busy world, at least in this,
Would take example from a wretch like me!
None then would waste their hours in foreign
thoughts,

Forget themselves, and what concerns their peace,
To search, with prying eyes, for faults abroad,
If all, like me, consider' their own hearts,
And wept their sorrows which they found at home.
Glos. Go to; I know your pow'r; and though I
trust not

To ev-ry breath of fame, I'm not to learn

That Hastings is profess'd your loving vassal.
But fair befall your beauty: use it wisely,
And it may stand your fortunes much in stead,
Give back your forfeit land with large increase,
And place you high in safety and in honour.
Nay, I could point a way, the which pursuing,
You shall not only bring yourself advantage,
But give the realm much worthy cause to thank you.
Jane S. Oh! where or how can my unworthy
Become an instrument of good to any?
Instruct your lowly slave; and let me fly
To yield obedience to your dread command.
Glos. Why, that's well said:-Thus then,-ob-
serve me well.

The state, for many high and potent reasons,
Deeming my brother Edward's sons unfit
For the imperial weight of England's crown-
Jane S. Alas, for pity!

Glos. Therefore have resolv'd

[hand

To set aside their unavailing infancy,
And vest the sov'reign rule in abler hands.
This, though of great importance to the public,
Hastings, for very peevishness and spleen,
Does stubbornly oppose.

Jane S. Does he? Does Hastings?
Glos. Ay, Hastings.

[heav'ns:
Jane S. Reward him for the noble deed, just
For this one action guard him and distinguish him
With signal mercies, and with great deliverance;
Save him from wrong, adversity, and shame,
Let never fading honours flourish round him,
And consecrate his name, ev'n to time's end.
Glos. How now!

Jane S. The poor, forsaken, royal little ones!
Shall they be left a prey to savage power?
Can they lift up their harmless hands in vain,
Or cry to heaven for help, and not be heard?
Impossible: O gallant, generous Hastings,
Go on, pursue, assert the sacred cause!
Stand forth, thou proxy of all-ruling Providence,
And save the friendless infants from oppression.
Saints shall assist thee with prevailing prayers,
And warring angels combat on thy side.

[speech,
Glos. You're passing rich in this same heav'nly
And spend it at your pleasure. Nay, but mark me!
My favour is not bought with words like these.
Go to:-You'll teach my tongue another tale. [me,
Jane S. No, though the royal Edward has undone
He was my king, my gracious master still;
He lov'd me too, though 'twas a guilty flame;
And can I-(O my heart abhors the thought!)
Stand by and see his children robb'd of right?
Glos. Dare not, e'ven for thy soul, to thwart me
further!

None of your arts, your feigning, and your foolery;
Your dainty squeamish coying it to me;
Go-to your lord, your paramour, be gone!
Lisp in his ear, hang wanton on his neck,
And play your monkey gambols o'er to him.
You know my purpose, look that you pursue it,
And make him yield obedience to my will,
Do it or woe upon the harlot's head.

[speech, Jane S. Oh that my tongue had every grace of Great and commanding, as the breath of kings;That I had heart and eloquence divine, To pay my duty to my master's ashes, [cence. And plead, till death, the cause of injur'd innoGlos. Ha! Dost thou brave me, minion? Dost thou know [thee? How vile, how very a wretch, my pow'r can make That I can place thee in such abject state, As help shall never find thee; where repining, Thou shalt sit down and gnaw the earth for anguish;

Groan to the pitiless winds without return: Howl, like the midnight wolf amidst the desert, And curse thy life, in bitterness and misery!

Jane S. Let me be branded for the public scorn,
Turn'd forth and driv'n to wander like a vagabond,
Be friendless and forsaken, seek my bread
Upon the barren wild and desolate waste,
Feed on my sighs, and drink my falling tears,
Ere I consent to teach my lips injustice,
Or wrong the orphan who has none to save him.
Glos. 'Tis well:-we'll try the temper of your
What, hoa! Who waits without?
[heart.
Enter RATCLIFFE, CATESBY, and Attendants.
Glos. Go, some of you, and turn this strumpet
forth!

Spurn her into the street; there let her perish,
And rot upon a dughill. Through the city
See it proclaim'd, that none, on pain of death,
Presume to give her comfort, food, or harbour;
Who ministers the smallest comfort, dies.
Her house, her costly furniture and wealth,
We seize on, for the profit of the state.
Away! Be gone!

Jane S. Oh, thou most righteous Judge-
Humbly behold, I bow myself to thee, (kneels)
And on thy justice in this hard decree:
No longer, then, my ripe offences spare,
But what I merit let me learn to bear.
Yet, since 'tis all my wretchedness can give,
For my past crimes my forfeit life receive;

(They raise her.)

No pity for my sufferings here I crave,
And only hope forgiveness in the grave.

[Exit Jane Shore, guarded by Catesby. Glos. So much for this. Your project's at an end, (To Sir Richard

This idle toy, this hilding, scorns my power,
And sets us all at nought. See that a guard
Be ready at my call.

Sir R. The council waits
Upon your highness' leisure.
Glos. I'll attend them.

SCENE II.-The Council Chamber. The DUKE of BUCKINGHAM. EARL of DERBY, BISHOP of ELY, LORD HASTINGS, and others discovered in Council. The DUKE of GLOSTER enters, and takes his place at the upper end. Der. In happy times we are assembled here, T'appoint the day, and fix the solemn pomp For placing England's crown, with all due rites, Upon our sovereign Edward's youthful brow. Lord H. Some busy, meddling knaves, 'tis said there are,

pleasure.

As such will still be prating, who presume
To carp and cavil at his royal right;
Therefore, I hold it fitting, with the soonest,
T'appoint the order of the coronation:
So to approve our duty to the king,
And stay the babbling of such vain gainsayers.
Der. We all attend to know your highness'
(To Gloster.)
Glos. My lords, a set of worthy men you are,
Prudent and just, and careful for the state;
Therefore, to your most grave determination
I yield myself in all things; and demand
What punishment your wisdom shall think meet
T' inflict upon those damnable contrivers, [drugs,
Who shall with potions, charms, and witching
Practise against our person and our life! [debtor,
Has. So much I hold the king your highness'
So precious are you to the commonweal,
That I presume, not only for myself,
But in behalf of these my noble brothers,
To say, whoe'er they be, they merit death.

And now 'tis out, and I am drown'd in blood.
Ha! what art thou! thou horrid headless trunk?
It is my Hastings! see, he wafts me on!
Away! I go! Ifly! I follow thee. (Rushes off.)
Jane S. Alas! she raves! her brain I fear is turn'd.
In mercy look upon her, gracious heav'n,
Nor visit her for any wrong to me!
Sure I am near upon my journey's end:
My head runs round, my eyes begin to fail,
And dancing shadows swim before my sight.
I can no more; (lies down,) receive me, thou cold
earth,

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Cast thy black veil upon my shame, O night!
And shield me with thy sable wing for ever.

Jane S. Oh! thou most injur'd-dost thou live, inFall then, ye mountains, on my guilty head: [deed? Hide me, ye rocks, within your secret caverns;

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(Breaks from the Guards.) Stand off the agonies of death are on her! She pulls, she gripes me hard with her cold hand. [prise. Jane S. Was this blow wanting to complete my sur-Oh! let me go, ye ministers of terror, He shall offend no more, for I will die, And yield obedience to your cruel master Tarry a little, but a little longer, And take my last breath with you.

[ruin?

Shore. Oh, my love!

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(Following him as he is carried off-she falls.) Shore. Inhuman villains!

Why dost thou fix thy dying eyes upon me,
With such an earnest, such a piteous look,
As if thy heart were full of some sad meaning
Thou couldst not speak?-

Jane S. Forgive me!-but forgive me!
Shore. Be witness for me, ye celestial host,
Such mercy and such pardon as my soul
Accords to thee, and begs of heav'n to show thee,
May such befall me at my latest hour,
And make my portion blest or curst for ever.

Jane S. Then all is well, and I shall sleep in
peace;-

'Tis very dark, and I have lost you now :-
[you?
Was there not something I would have bequeath'd
But I have nothing left me to bestow,
Nothing but one sad sigh. Oh! mercy, heav'n:
(Dics.)

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[me;

To see thee thus, thou know'st not how it wounds
Thy agonies are added to my own,
And make the burden more than 1 can bear.
Farewell:-good angels visit thy afflictions,
And bring thee peace and comfort from above.

[Exit. Alic. Oh! stab me to the Leart, some pitying Now strike me dead. [hand,

Re-enter LORD HASTINGS.

Has. One thing I had forgot;

I charge thee, by our present common miseries;
By our past loves, if they have yet a name';
By all thy hopes of peace here and hereafter,
Let not the rancour of thy hate pursue

The innocence of thy unhappy friend; [wrong her,
Thou know'st who 'tis I mean: Oh! shouldst thou
Just heav'n shall double all thy woes upon thee,
And make 'em know no end;-remember this,
As the last warning of a dying man.
Farewell, for ever! (The Guards carry Hastings off.)
Alic. For ever! Oh, for ever!

Oh, who can bear to be a wretch for ever?
My rival, too! His last thoughts hung on her,
And, as he parted, left a blessing for her?
Shall she be blest, and I be curst, for ever?
No; since her fatal beauty was the cause
Of all my suff'rings, let her share my pains;
Let her, like me, of ev'ry joy forlorn,
Devote the hour when such a wretch was born;
Cast ev'ry good, and ev'ry hope behind:
Detest the works of nature, loathe mankind:
Like me, with cries distracted, fill the air,
Tear her poor bosom, rend her frantic hair,
And prove the torment of the last despair.

ACT V.

SCENE I-A Street.

Enter BELMOUR and DUMONT.

Dum. You saw her, then?
Bel. I met her, as returning,

In solemn penance from the public cross.
Before her, certain rascal officers,

Slaves in authority, the knaves of justice,
Proclaim'd the tyrant Gloster's cruel orders.
Around her, numberless, the rabble flow'd,
Should'ring each other, crowding for a view,
Gaping and gazing, taunting and reviling;
Some pitying,-but those, alas! how few!
The most, such iron hearts we are, and such
The base barbarity of human kind,

[Exit.

With insolence and lewd reproach pursu'd her, Hooting and railing, and with villainous hands Gath'ring the filth from out the common ways, To hurl upon her head.

Dum. Inhuman dogs! How did she bear it?

Bel. With the gentlest patience; Submissive, sad, and lowly was her look; A burning taper in her hand she bore, And on her shoulders, carelessly confus'd, With loose neglect, her lovely tresses hung; Upon her cheek a faintish blush was spread; Feeble she seem'd, and sorely smit with pain; While barefoot as she trod the flinty pavement, Her footsteps all along were mark'd with blood. Yet, silent still she pass'd, and unrepining; Her streaming eyes bent ever on the earth, Except when in some bitter pang of sorrow, To heav'n she seem'd in fervent zeal to raise, And beg that mercy man deny'd her here. Dum. When was this piteous sight? Bel. These last two days,

You know my care was wholly bent on you,
To find the happy means of your deliverance;
Which, but for Hastings' death, I had not gain’d.
During that time, although I have not seen her,
Yet divers trusty messengers I've sent,
To wait about, and watch a fit convenience
To give her some relief, but all in vain;
A churlish guard attends upon her steps,
Who menace those with death, that bring her com-
And drive all succour from her.
Dum. Let 'em threaten;

[fort,

Let proud oppression prove its fiercest malice;
So heav'n befriend my soul, as here I vow
To give her help, and share one fortune with her.
Bel. Mean you to see her thus, in your own form?
Dum. I do.

Bel. And have you thought upon the consequence?
Dum. What is there I should fear?

Bel. Have you examin'd

Into your inmost heart, and try'd at leisure
The sev'ral secret springs that move the passions?
Has mercy fix'd her empire there so sure,
That wrath and vengeance never may return?
Can you resume a husband's name, and bid
That wakeful dragon, flerce resentment, sleep?

Dum. O thou hast set my busy brain at work,
And now she musters up a train of images,
Which, to preserve my peace, I had cast aside,
And sunk in deep oblivion.-Oh, that form!
That angel face on which my dotage hung!
How I have gaz'd upon her, till my soul
With very eagerness went forth towards her,
And issu'd at my eyes.-Was there a gem
Which the sun ripens in the Indian mine,
Or the rich bosom of the ocean yields?
What was there art could make, or wealth could
Which I have left unsought to deck her beauty?
What could her king do more?-And yet she fled.
Bel. Away with that sad fancy.

Dum. Oh, that day!

[buy,

The thought of it must live for ever with me.
I met her, Belmour, when the royal spoiler
Bore her in triumph from my widow'd home!
Within his chariot, by his side she sat,
And listen'd to his talk with downward looks,
"Till sudden as she chane'd aside to glance,
Her eyes encounter'd mine:-Oh! then, my friend!
Oh! who can paint my grief, and her amazement?
As at the stroke of death, twice turn'd she pale;
And twice a burning crimson blush'd all o'er her;
Then, with a shriek heart-wounding, loud she cry'd,
While down her cheeks two gushing torrents ran,
Fast falling on her hands, which thus she wrung :-
Mov'd at her grief, the tyrant ravisher,
With courteous action woo'd her oft to turn;
Earnest he seem'd to plead, but all in vain;
Ev'n to the last she bent her sight towards me,
And follow'd me,-till I had lost myself.

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