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EARL OF WARWICK.
Severe each poet's lot; but sure most hard In Shakspeare's awful footsteps does not tread; Is the condition of the play-house bard :
Thro' the wild field of hist’ry fears to stray, Doom'd to hear all that would-be critics talk, And builds upon one narrow spot his play ; And in the go-cart of dull rules to walk !
Steps not from realm to realm, whole seas be* Yet authors multiply,' you say. 'Tis true,
tween, But what a numerous crop of critics too! But barely changes twice or thrice his scene: Scholars alone of old durst judge and write: While Shakspeare vaults on the poetic wire, But now each journalist turns Stagyrite; And pleas'd spectators fearfully admire, Quintilians in each coffee-house you meet, Our bard, a critic pole between his hands, And many a Longinus walks the street. On the tight rope, scarce balanc'd, trembling In Shakspeare's days, when his advent'rous stands; muse,
Slowly and cautiously his way he makes, A muse of fire ! durst each bold licence use, And fears to fall at every step he takes. Her noble ardour met no critic's phlegm, While then fierce Warwick he before you brings, To check wild fancy, or her fights condemn: That setter-up and puller-down of kings, Ariels and Calibans, unblam’d, she drew, With British candour dissipate his fear ! Or goblins, ghosts, and witches brought to yiew. An English story fits an English ear. If to historic truth she shap'd her verse,
Tho' hoarse and crude you deem his first essay, A nation's annals freely she'd rehearse ;
A second may your favours well repay : Bring Rome's or England's story on the stage, Applause may nerve his verse and cheer his heart, And run, in three short hours, thro' half an age. And teach the practice of this dangerous art, Our bard, all terror-struck, and fill’d with dread,
Officers, Altendants, Guards, sc.
SCENE I.-A Palace.
I shall provide her with a fitter husband,
A nobler far, and worthier of her charms Enter MARGARET of Anjou, and Lady CliF- Young Edward
Clif. Ha! the king! impossible! Clif. THANKS, gracious Heaven ! my royal Warwick, even now, commissioned by the state mistress smiles,
To treat with Lewis, offers England's throne Unusual gladness sparkles in her eye,
To France's daughter; and, ere this, perhaps, And bids
ine welcome in the stranger, Joy, Hath signed the solemn contract. To his new mansion.
Marg. Solemn trifles! Marg. Yes, my faithful Clifford,
Mere cobweb ties-Love's a despotic tyrant, Fortune is weary of oppressing me:
And laughs, like other kings, at public faith, Through my dark cloud of grief a cheerful ray When it opposes private happiness: Of light breaks forth, and gilds the whole horizon. Edward is yoạthful, gay, and amorous; Clif. Henry in chains, and Edward on the
His soul is ever open to the lure throne
Of beauty; and Elizabeth hath charms
Might shake a hermit's virtue.
Marg. Yes-by my. contrivance,
When last he hunted in the forest, some, Marg. That, which alone,
Whom I had planted there, as if by chance In sorrow's bitterest hour, can minister
Alone directed, led him cross the lawn Sweet comfort to the daughters of affliction, To Grafton. There, even as my soul had wished, And bid misfortune smile the hope of vengeance: The dazzling lustre of her charms surprised Vengeance ! benignant patron of distress, His unsuspecting heartThee I have oft invoked, propitious now
Clif. What followed ? Thou smil'st upon me; if I do not grasp
Marg. Oh! The glorious opportunity, henceforth
He gazed and wondered; for awhile his pride Indignant frown, and leave me to my fate ! Indignant rose, and struggled with his passion,
Clif. Unhappy princess! that deceiver, Hope, But love was soon victorious : and last night, Hath often flattered, and as oft betrayed thee; The earl of Suffolk-so my trusty spies What hast thou gained by all its promises ? Inform me--was dispatched, on wings of love, What's the reward of all thy toils ?
To plead his master's cause, and offer her Marg. Experience
The throne of England. Yes, Clifford, I have read the instructive volume
Clif. What if she refuse Of human nature, there long since have learned, The golden bribe? The way to conquer men is by their passions ; Marg. No matter; all I wish Catch but the ruling foible of their hearts, Is but to make thein foes : the generous WarAnd all their boasted virtues shrink before you.
wick Edward and Warwick, those detested names, Is fiery, and impatient of reproof; Too well thou know'st, united to destroy me. He will not brook a rival in his love,
Clif. That was, indeed, a fatal league. Though seated on a throne; besides, thou know'st, Murg. But mark me;
The haughty earl looks down with scorn on Ede If we could break this adamantine chain,
ward, We might again be free: this mighty warrior, As the mere work of his all-powerful hand, This dread of kings, the unconquerable Warwick, The baby monarch of his own creation. Is plighted to the fair Elizabeth.
Clif. Believe me, madam, Edward still reveres Clif. The lady Gray, you mean, the beauteous And loves him ; still, as conscious of the debt, widow,
Pays him with trust and confidence; their souls Whose husband fell in arms for Lancaster?
Are linked together in the strictest bonds Marg. The same, my Clifford—Warwick long Of sacred friendship. has loved
Marg. That but serves my cause : Clif. And means to wed her
Where ties are close, and interests united, Murg. But if I have art,
The:slightest injuries are severely felt; Or she ambition, that shall never be.
Offended friendship never can forgive. Clif. Canst thou prevent it?
Clif. Now the full prospect opens to my view; Marg. Yes, my Clifford ; Warwick
I see thy distant aim, and trace the paths Were a mean choice for such transcendent beauty; Of vengeance : England soon will be a scene
Of blood and horror; discord's fatal torch I grant it-from this moment you are free; Once lit up in this devoted land,
But for your son, I cannot part with him. What power shall e'er extinguish it? Alas! Marg. I scorn your bounties, scorn your profI tremble at the consequence.
fered freedom. Marg. And I
What's liberty to me without my child? Enjoy it :-Oh! 'twill be a noble contest But fate will place us soon above thy reach: of pride 'gainst pride, oppression 'gainst oppres. Thy short-lived tyranny is almost past, sion ;
The storm is gathering round thee, and will burst Rise but the storm, and let the waves beat high, With tenfold vengeance on thy guilty head. The wreck may be our own: in the warm struggle, Edw. I am not to be talked into submission, Who knows but one or both of them may fall, Nor dread the menace of a clamorous woman. And Margaret rise triumphant on their ruin ! Marg. Thou may'st have cause to dread a woIt must be so; and see the king approaches : This way he passes from the council-Mark The time may come-mark my prophetic word His downcast eye! he is a stricken deer, When wayward beauty shall repay with scorn The arrow's in his side-he cannot ’scape : Thy fruitless vows, and vindicate my wrongs : We'll meet and speak to him.
The friend thou lean'st on, like a broken reed, Clif. What mean you, madam?
Shall pierce thy side, and fill thy soul with anMarg. To ask him—what, I know, he will re- guish,
Keen as the pangs I feel: York's perjured house That gives me fair pretext to break with him, Shall sink to rise no more, and Lancaster And join the man I hate, vindictive Warwick. With added lustre reassume the throne, But soft, he comes
Hear this and tremble-give me back my son
Or dread the vengeance of a desperate mother. Enter King EDWARD, and an Officer.
(Erit MARGARET. Edw. Is Suffolk yet returned ? [To an Officer. Edw. Imperious woman! but the voice of woe Offi . No, my good liege.
Is ever clamorous: 'tis the privilege, Edw. Go, wait and bring him to me.
The charter of affliction to complain.
[Exit Offi. This tardy Suffolk ! how I long to know, E I'll to my closet. Pardon me, fair lady, Yet dread to hear my fate! Elizabeth, I saw you not.
On thee the colour of my future life Mary. Perhaps it is beneath
Depends, for thou alone canst make me blest, A
conqueror to look down upon his slave; Or cursed for ever! O! this cruel doubt But I've a boon to ask.
Is worse than all my tortures: but he comes, Edw. Whate'er it is,
The ambassador of love.
Enter the Earl of SUFFOLK.
Shall I be happy? O! I'm on the rack
Suf. My royal liege-
The forms of dull respect; be brief, and tell me, Edw. Since the hour,
Speak, hast thou seen her? Will she be my When fortune shone propitious on the cause Of justice, and gave victory to our arms, Quick, tell me every circumstance, each word, You have been treated with all due respect, Each look, each gesture : didst thou mark them, Served like a queen, and lodged within our pa- Suffolk? lace:
Suf. I did, and will recount it all : last night, Is there aught more, you can, with reason, ask, By your command, in secret I repaired Or I, in prudence, grant you?
To Grafton's tufted bower, the happy seat Marg. Give me back
Of innocence and beauty; there I found The liberty I lost-restore my son,
Thy soul's best hope, the fair Elizabeth; And I may then, perhaps, be reconciled Ne'er did these eyes behold such sweet perTo an usurper, may withhold my vengeance,
fection! And let thee sit unpunished on—my throne. I found her busied in the pious office Edw. You ask too proudly, madam; but to Of filial duty, tending her sick father.
Edw. That was a lucky moment, to prefer I cannot fear, you have your liberty.
My humble suit: touch but the tender string Letters this morning I received from France, of soft compassion in the heart, and love Have offered noble ransom for your person; Will quickly vibrate to its kindred passion; Without that ransom-for the soul of Edward You urged our royal purpose, then? Is far above the sordid lust of gold,
Suf. I did,
With all the warmth of friendship; dwelt with Her wounds scarce closed, shall Edward open pleasure
them, On every princely virtue, that adorns
And bid them bleed afresh? believe me, Suffolk, Your noble heart; she listened with attention, I would not be the cause of new divisions And echoed back your praises.
Amongst my people, for a thousand kingdoms. Edw. Was not that
Suf. 'Tis nobly said, and may thy grateful subA kind propitious omen?
jects Suf. Such indeed
Revere thy virtues, and reward thy love! Hoping to find it, I called in the powers
Edw. 0! Suffolk, did they know but half the Offlattery to my aid, and gazed upon her,
cares, As if confounded by her dazzling beauties That wait on royalty, they would not grudge Conscious she smiled; but when, at length, I Their wretched master a few private hours spake
Of social happiness. If France consents, Of England's monarch sighing at her feet, I am undone; and Warwick hath, ere this, The crimson glow of modesty o'erspread Enslaved me: curse on this state policy, Her cheek, and gave new lustre to her charms: That binds us thus to love at second hand ! She turned aside, and, as she silent bowed Who knows but he may link me to a wretch, Her doubtful thanks, I marked the pearly tear Wed me to folly, ignorance, and pride, Steal down its secret track, and from her breast Ill-nature, sickness, or deformity; Heard a deep sigh, she struggled to conceal. And, when I'm chained to misery, coldly tell me, If I have any judgment, or can trace
To sooth my grief, 'twas for the public good! The hidden feelings of a woman's heart,
Suf. How far you have commissioned him, I ! Her's is already fixed : I fear, my liege,
know not; With all that England, all that thou could'st give, But were I worthy to advise, my liege, The crown would sit but heavy on her brow. I would not be the dupe of his ambition,
Edw. Not heavier, Suffolk, than it sits on mine : But follow nature's dictates, and be happy: My throne is irksome to me; who would wish England has charms beside Elizabeth's, To be a sovereign, when Elizabeth
And beauties that Prefers a subject ? Then the impetuous Warwick, Edw. No more; my heart is fixed His awful virtue will chastise my weakness. On her alone ; find out this powerful rival, I dread his censure, dread his keen reproaches; I charge thee, Suffolk : yet why wish to find, And dread them more, because they will be just. What, found, will make me wretched ! were he I've promised Lewis to espouse his daughter,
bound To strengthen our alliance: would to Heaven In cords of tenderest friendship round my heart
, I had not ! If I seek this coy refuser,
Dearer than Warwick, dearer than thyself
, And break with France, Varwick will take the Forgive me, but I fear I should abhor him. alarm;
O think on something that may yet be done, If once offended, he's inexorable.
To win her to my heart ere Warwick comes! Suf. I know him well-Believe me, sir, the Suf: I hear he is expected every hour. high
Edw. Grant, Heaven, some friendly storm may And haughty spirit, when it meets rebuke,
yet retard him!
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My liege, the earl Open to folly; Warwick is not free
Of Warwick is arrived. From human frailties.
Edw. Ha! when : how? where? Edw. No; Ambition fires
Would he were buried in the rapid waves His noble breast, love triumphs over mine: That brought him hither! comes he here to-night? But well thou know'st, our eyes are ever open Mess. My liege, ere now he might have reacho To others' faults, and shut against our own.
ed the palace, We seldom pity woes we ne'er experienced, But that the shouting multitudes press
bard Or pardon weakness which we do not feel: On every side, and seem to worship him. (Exit. He is a hero.
Suf. Such adoration Suf. Heroes are but men;
But ill befits the idol, that receives it. I have some cause to think so—but of that
Edw. What's to be done? I cannot, must not We'll talk another time: meanwhile, my liege,
sce him, I think lord Warwick is a useful friend. Till all is fixed; once more, my best-loved SufEdu. Aye, and a dangerous foe; the people folk, love,
Try the soft arts of thy persuasive tongue; To adoration love him ; if he falls
What method canst thou think on, to evade From his allegiance, crowds will follow him. This promised marriage with ambitious France ? England has long been rent by civil broils, Suf. Summon your council, lay your thoughts And fain would rest her in the arms of peace;
Meet Warwick there, and urge a sovereign's I'm busy-stay-remember what I told you, right,
Touching the earldom, which I mean to give To please himself in that, which should concern Her father ; that may bring her to the court; Himself alone—firm Buckingham and I
You understand me, Suffolk-fare thee well. Will plead your cause against the haughty War.
(Exit SUF. wick,
Why should I dread to see the man I loveWhom I would treat with cold civility,
The man I reverence- -Warwick is not changed, And distant state, which ever angers more But Edward is--Suffolk, I know, abhors himResentful spirits than the warmth of passion.
A favourite must be hated—if he urges Edu. 'Tis well advised !-mean time, if pos- This dreadful contract, I shall hate him too : sible,
I cannot live without Elizabeth:
the choice is made. I am not well—I'm hunting in the forest
Or my good fearful lord of Suffolk here,
Who knows so well, or would be thought to Enter WARWICK, speaking to an Officer.
know, Waru. 'Tis well: I shall attend his highness? What France will do hereafter : yet I think, pleasure.
(Comes forward. The faith of nations is a thing so sacred, Meet me i' th council! Warwick might have it ought not to be trilled with--I hate, claimed
As much as you, the unnatural forced alliance; A private audience-After all my toils, And yet, my lords, if Warwick is empowered, My perils in his service, 'tis a cold,
For so I hear he is, to treat with Lewis, Unkind reception : some base whisperer, I know not how in honour you can swerve Some needy sycophant, perhaps, hath poisoned From his conditions.
(Shouting My royal master's ear–or, do I judge
Hark! the hero comes; Too rashly? As my embassy concerns
These shouts proclaim him near : the joyful The public welfare, he would honour me
As he deserves.
Edw. Thrice welcome, noble Warwick !
(To CLAR. PEM. de.
Suf. You've had, my lord, I fear,
Alike distinguished, and alike successful. Edw. Good Buckingham, I thank thee for thy Edw. What says our cousin France ? counsel,
Warw. By me, my liege, Nor blame thy honest warmth; I love this free- He greets you well, and hopes, in closer ties dom;
United, soon to wear a dearer name. It is the birthright of an Englishman,
At length, thank Heaven ! the iron gates of war And doth become thee: what says noble Suffolk ? | Are closed, and Peace displays her silken ban
Suf. I would not cross my royal master's will; But, on my soul, I think this nuptial league O’er the contending nations ; every doubt With France preposterous and impolitic! Is now removed, and confidence established, It cannot last; we are by nature foes,
I hope, to last for ages. And nought but mutual poverty and weakness Edw. Peace, lord, Can ever make us friends-she wants our aid Is ever welcome; 'tis the gift of Heaven, Against the powerful Burgundy, and therefore The nurse of science, art's fair patroness, Throws out this lure of beauty to ensnare you. And merit's best protector; but if France That purpose gained, she turns her arms against Would chain us down to ignominious terms,
Cramp our free commerce, and infringe the rights Pem. Why, let her: if she comes with hostile of our liege subjects, England may repent arm,
Too late her rash credulity, and peace, England, thank Heaven, is ready to receive her: With all her blessings, may be bought too dear. I love my country, and revere my king,
Warw. The shame would then be his, who As much, perhaps, as honest Buckingham,
made the purchase. VOL. II.