« PreviousContinue »
[Gloster.] I cannot tell ;—the world is grown so bad,
That wrens may prey where eagles dare not perch :
Since every Jack became a gentleman,
There's many' a gentle person made a Jack,
[ther Gloster; [Q. Elizabeth.] Come, come; we know your meaning, broYou envy my advancement, and
friends'; Heaven grant we never may have need of you ! [Gloster.] Meantime, heaven grants that we have need of you:
Our brother is imprison’d by your means,
Myself disgrac'd, and the nobility
Held in contempt; while great promotions
Are daily given to ennoble those
Who scarce, some two days since, were worth a noble. [Q. Elizabeth.] By Him that rais’d me to this careful height
From that contented hap which I enjoy'd,
I never did incense his majesty
Against the duke of Clarence, but have been
An earnest advocate to plead for him
My lord, you do me shameful injury.
[Gloster.] You may perhaps deny you were the cause
Of my lord Hastings' late imprisonment. [Rivers.] She may, my lord; for[Gloster.] She may, lord Rivers ?—why, who knows not so ? She may
do more, sir, than denying that:
She may help you to many fair preferments,
And then deny her aiding hand was there:
may-ay, marry, may she [Rivers.] What, marry, may she? [Gloster.] What, marry, may she? marry with a king,
A batchelor, a handsome stripling too:
I wis, your grandam match'd a little worse. [Q. Elizabeth.] My lord of Gloster, I have borne too long
Your blunt upbraidings, and your bitter scoffs :
By heaven, I will acquaint his majesty
With those gross taunts I often have endur'd.
I ha'd rather be a country servant-maid
queen of England to be baited thus. [Gloster.] What threat you me with telling of the king ?
Tell him and spare not: look, what I have said,
I will avouch in presence of the king :
'Tis time to speak: my pains are quite forgot.
Ere you were queen, ay, or my brother king,
To royalize his blood, I spilt my own:
In all which time, you, and your husband Grey,
Were factious for the house of Lancaster;
And, Rivers, so were you.
- There's Clarence, too, forsook his father Warwick,
Ay, and forswore himself, which heaven pardon,
To fight on Edward's party for the crown,
And, for his meed, poor lord, he is imprison'd.
I would to heaven my heart were flint, like Edward's,
Or Edward's soft and pitiful, like mine:
I am too childish foolish for this world.
[Rivers.] My lord of Gloster, in those busy days
Which here you urge to prove us enemies,
We follow'd then our king, our lawful king :
So should we you, if you should be our king.
[Gloster.) If I should be? I ha'd rather be a pedlar;
Far be it from my heart the thought thereof! A message comes from the king to require them all in his chamber : Gloster lingers when the others are gone, as in expectation of some one, and soliloquizes meanwhile :
I do the wrong, and first begin to brawl ;
I make my gulls, -as Stanley, Hastings, Buckingham,-
Believe it is the queen and her allies
That stir the king against the duke my
And they believe it, and withal do whet me
To be reveng'd on Rivers, Vaughan, and Grey :
And when I sigh, and, with a piece of Scripture,
Tell them,-God bids us to do good for evil, —
The fools are caught : but soft, here comes a pair
Of hardy villains whom I need not cheat :
How now, my stout, resolved mates ?-come nearer:
Are you now going to despatch this thing?
[warrant. [One of the men.! We are, my lord, and come to have the [Gloster.) I have it for you : mind that you are sudden;
And do not hear him plead : Clarence talks well,
do mark him, melt your hearts. [One of the men.] Tut, tut, my lord, we will not stand to We
go to use our hands, and not our tongues. [prate. [Gloster.] Your eyes drop millstones, when fools' eyes drop
I like you, lads; about your business straight, [tears.
And, having done 't, repair to Crosby-place :
Go, go : despatch! We hasten, in imagination, to the Tower, while these men are receiving their instructions: the lieutenant has just entered the chamber of the duke to make his morning inquiries. [Brakenbury.] Why looks your grace so heavily to-day? [Clarence.] Oh, I have pass'd a miserable night!
So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights,
That, as I am a christian faithful
I would not spend another such a night,
Though 'twere to buy a world of happy days;
So full of dismal terror was the time.
[you tell me. [Brakenbury.] What was your dream, my lord ? I pray [Clarence.] Methought that I had broken from the Tower,
And was embark'd to cross to Burgundy;
And in my company my brother Gloster,
Who, from my cabin, tempted me to walk
Upon the hatches: thence, we look'd toward England,
And cited up a thousand heavy times,
During the wars of York and Lancaster,
That had befall’n us. As we pac'd along
Upon the giddy footing of the hatches
Methought that Gloster stumbled : and, in falling,
Struck me, that sought to stay him, overboard
Into the tumbling billows of the main.
O heaven, methought what pain it was to drown!
What dreadful noise of waters in mine ears!
What sights of ugly death within mine eyes !
Methought I saw a thousand fearful wrecks ;
A thousand men that fishes gnaw'd upon;
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl,
Inestimable stones, unvalu'd jewels :
Some lay in dead men's sculls; and in those holes
Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept,
As 'twere in scorn of eyes, reflecting gems,
That mock'd the dead bones which lay scatter'd by. [Brakenbury.] Had you such leisure in the time of death
To gaze upon these secrets of the deep ?
[Clarence.] Methought I had; and often did I strive
To yield the ghost; but still the envious flood
Kept in my soul, and would not let it forth
To seek the empty, vast, and wandering air;
But smother'd it within my panting bulk,
Which almost burst to heave it in the sea. [Brakenbury.] Awak'd you not with this sore agony? ? [Clarence.] Oh, no; my dream was lengthen'd after life:
Oh, then began the tempest to my soul !
I pass'd, methought, the melancholy flood,
With that grim ferryman that poets write of,
Unto the kingdom of perpetual night.
The first that there did greet my stranger soul,
Was my great father-in-law, renowned Warwick ;
Who cried aloud—“What scourge for perjury
Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence ?"
And so he vanish'd : then came wandering by
A shadow like an angel, with bright hair
Dabbled in blood; and he shriek'd out aloud,
“ Clarence is come,-false, fleeting, perjur'd Clarence,
That stabb'd me in the field by Tewkesbury ;-
Seize on him furies ; take him to your torments !”
With that, methought, a legion of foul fiends
Environ’d me, and howled in mine ears
Such hideous cries, that, with the very noise,
I trembling wak’d, and, for a season after,
Could not believe but that I was in hell;
Such terrible impression made my dream.
[Brakenbury.] No marvel, lord, that it affrighted vou ;
I am afraid, methinks, to hear you tell it.
[Clarence.] 0, Brakenbury, I have done those things
That now give evidence against my soul
For Edward's sake, and see, how he requites me.
Oh heaven, if thou wilt be aveng'd on my misdeeds,
Spare, spare my guiltless wife, and my poor children!
I pray thee, gentle keeper, stay by me
My soul is heavy, and I fain would sleep.
[good rest! [Brakenbury.] I will, my lord : Heaven give your grace
Already doth he sleep: sorrow breaks seasons,
Makes the night morning, and the noon-tide, night.
Princes have but their titles for enjoyment,
An outward honour for an inward toil.
And, for unfelt imaginations,
They often feel a world of restless cares.
Ho! who is there? Who gave you two admittance ?
Thou that seem'st foremost, say, how cam’st thou hither? [One of the men.] I came hither on my legs; and we would speak with Clarence: there is our commission.
[a pause.) [Brakenbury.] I am in this commanded to deliver
The noble duke of Clarence to your hands;
I will not reason what is meant hereby,
Because I will be guiltless of the meaning.
Here are the keys, there sits the duke asleep:
I'll to the king; and signify to him
That thus I have resign'd to you my charge.