Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

and all the fools laugh at it. (Let the] wise and goodly slit each other's noses and ears (having no need of any sense of discernment in their craft); and the knaves, to marshal them, join in a procession to Bedlam, to intreat the madmen to omit their sublime Platonic contemplations, and manage the state of England. Let all the honest men who lie pinched up at the prisons or the pillories, in custody of the pursuivants of the High Commission Court, marshal them.

575

Enter Secretary LYTTELTON, with papers.
KING (looking over the papers).

These stiff Scots
His Grace of Canterbury must take order
To force under the Church's yoke,– You,

Wentworth, Shall be myself in Ireland, and shall add Your wisdom, gentleness, and energy, To what in me were wanting.-My Lord

Weston, Look that those merchants draw not without loss Their bullion from the Tower; and, on the

payment Of ship-money, take fullest compensation For violation of our royal forests, Whose limits, from neglect, have been o'er

grown With cottages and cornfields. The uttermost Farthing exact from those who claim exemption From knighthood : that which once was a reward

89 Shall thus be made a punishment, that subjects May know how majesty can wear at will The rugged mood.—My Lord of Coventry,

Lay my command upon the Courts below
That bail be not accepted for the prisoners
Under the warrant of the Star Chamber.
The people shall not find the stubbornness
Of Parliament a cheap or easy method
Of dealing with their rightful sovereign :
And doubt not this, my Lord of Coventry,
We will find time and place for fit rebuke- 100
My Lord of Canterbury.

ARCHY.

The fool is here.

LAUD.
I crave permission of your Majesty
To order that this insolent fellow be
Chastised: he mocks the sacred character,
Scoffs at the state, and

KING.

What, my Archy? He mocks and mimics all he sees and hears, Yet with a quaint and graceful license.-

Prithee For this once do not as Prynne would, were he

108 Primate of England. With your Grace's leave, He lives in his own world ; and, like a parrot Hung in his gilded prison from the window Of a queen's bower over the public way, Blasphemes with a bird's mind :-his words,

like arrows Which know no aim beyond the archer's wit, Strike sometimes what eludes philosophy.(TO ARCHY) Go, sirrah, and repent of your

offence Ten minutes in the rain : be it your penance

To bring news how the world goes there.

[Exit Archy.

Poor Archy! He weaves about himself a world of mirth Out of the wreck of ours.

120

LAUD.
I take with patience, as my Master did,
All scoffs permitted from above.

KING.

My lord, Pray overlook these papers. Archy's words Had wings, but these have talons.

QUEEN.

And the lion That wears them must be tamed. My dearest

lord, I see the new-born courage in your eye Armed to strike dead the spirit of the time, Which spurs to rage the many-headed beast. Do thou persist: for, faint but in resolve, 129 And it were better thou hadst still remained The slave of thine own slaves, who tear like

curs

The fugitive, and flee from the pursuer;
And Opportunity, that empty wolf,
Flies at his throat who falls. Subdue thy

actions
Even to the disposition of thy purpose,
And be that tempered as the Ebro's steel;
And banish weak-eyed Mercy to the weak,
Whence she will greet thee with a gift of peace,
And not betray thee with a traitor's kiss,
As when she keeps the company of rebels, 140
Who think that she is Fear. This do, lest we

Should fall as from a glorious pinnacle
In a bright dream, and wake as from a dream
Out of our worshipped state.

KING.

Beloved friend, God is my witness that this weight of power, Which he sets me my earthly task to wield Under his law, is my delight and pride Only because thou lovest that and me. For a king bears the office of a God To all the under world ; and to his God 150 Alone he must deliver up his trust, Unshorn of its permitted attributes. [It seems] now as the baser elements Had mutinied against the golden sun That kindles them to harmony, and quells Their self-destroying rapine. The wild million Strike at the eye that guides them; like as

humours Of the distempered body that conspire Against the spirit of life throned in the heart,And thus become the prey of one another, 160 And last of death. ...

STRAFFORD. That which would be ambition in a subject Is duty in a sovereign ; for on him, As on a keystone, hangs the arch of life, Whose safety is its strength. Degree and form, And all that makes the age of reasoning man More memorable than a beast's, depend on

thisThat Right should fence itself inviolably With power; in which respect the state of

England From usurpation by the insolent commons 170 Cries for reform.

Get treason, and spare treasure. Fee with coin
The loudest murmurers ; feed with jealousies
Opposing factions,— be thyself of none;
And borrow gold of many, for those who lend
Will serve thee till thou payest them; and thus
Keep the fierce spirit of the hour at bay,
Till time, and its coming generations
Of nights and days unborn, bring some one

chance,

Or war or pestilence or Nature's self, 180
By some distemperature or terrible sign,
Be as an arbiter betwixt themselves.

Nor let your Majesty
Doubt here the peril of the unseen event.
How did your brother kings, coheritors
In your high interest in the subject earth,
Rise past such troubles to that height of

power

190

Where now they sit, and awfully serene
Smile on the trembling world ? Such popular

storms Philip the second of Spain, this Lewis of

France, And late the German head of many bodies, And every petty lord of Italy, Quelled or by arts or arms. Is England poorer Or feebler ? or art thou who wield'st her

power
Tamer than they? or shall this island be-
[Girdled] by its inviolable waters-
To the world present and the world to come
Sole pattern of extinguished monarchy ?
Not if thou dost as I would have thee do.

King.
Your words shall be my deeds:

200

200

« PoprzedniaDalej »