صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

For my past crimes my forfeit life receive;
No pity for my sufferings here I crave,
And only hope forgiveness in the grave.

[Exit J. Shore, guarded by Catesby and others. Glost. So much for this. Your project's at an end.

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

Rat. The council waits
Upon your highness' leisure.--

Glost. Bid them enter.

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Enter the Duke of BUCKINGHAM, Earl of Derby,

Bishop of Ely, Lord HASTINGS, and others as to the
council. The Duke of Gloster takes his place at the
upper end, then the rest sit.

Derb. In happy times we are assembled here,
To point the day, and fix the solemn pomp,
For placing England's crown, with all due rites,
Upon our sov’reign Edward's youthful brow.

Hast. Some busy meddling knaves, 'tis said, there are,
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.
Derb. We all attend to know your highness' pleasure.

[To Gloster

Glost. 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, Who shall with potions, charms, and witching drugs, Practise against our person and our life? Hast. So much I hold the king your highness'

debtor, So precious are you to the common-weal, That I presume, not only for myseli, But in behalf of these my noble brothers, To say, whoe'er they be, they merit death, Glost. Then judge yourselves, convince your eyes

of truth : ? Behold my arm, thus blasted, dry, and wither'd,

[Pulling up his sleeves. Shrunk like a foul abortion, and decay'd, Like some untimely product of the seasons. Robb’d of its properties of strength and office. This is the sorcery of Edward's wite, Who, in conjunction with that harlot Shore, And other like confed’rate midnight hags, By force of potent spells, of bloody characters, And conjurations horrible to hear, Call fiends and spectres ffom the yawning deep, And set the ministers of hell at work, To torture and despoil me of my life.

Hast. If they have done this deed

Glost. If they have done it! Talk'st thou to me of It's, audacious traitor! Thou art that strumpet witch's chief abettor, The patron and complotter of her mischiefs, And join'd in this contrivance for my death. Nay start not, lords-What ho! a guard there, Sirs !

Enter Guards.
Lord Hastings, I arrest thee of high treason.
Seize him, and bear him instantly away.
He sha'not live an hour. By holy Paul,
I will not dine before his head be brought me.
Ratcliffe, stay you, and see that it be done :
The rest that love me, rise and follow me.

[Exeunt GLOSTEK, and the Lords following.

Manent Lord HASTINGS, RATCLIFFE, and Guards. Hast. What! and no more but this-How ! to the

scaffold: Oh, gentle Ratcliffe ! tell me, do I hold thee? Or if I dream, what shall I do to wake, To break, to struggle thro' this dread confusion? For surely death itself is not so painful As is this sudden horror and surprise. Rat. You heard, the duke's commands to me were

absolute. Therefore, my lord, address you to your shrift, With all good speed you may. Summon your courage, And be yourself; for you must die this instant.

Hast. Yes, Ratcliffe, I will take thy friendly counsel

And die as a man should; 'tis somewhat hard,
To call my scatter'd spirits home at once :
But since what must be, must be let necessity
Supply the place of time and preparation,
And arm me for the blow. 'Tis but to die,
'Tis but to venture on that common hazard,
Which many a time in battle I have run;
« Tis but to do, what at that very moment,
“ In many nations of the peopled earth,
" A thousand and a thousand shall do with me;"
'Tis but to close my eyes and shut out day-light,
To view no more the wicked ways of

No longer to behold the tyrant Gloster,
And be a weeping witness of the woes,
The desolation, slaughter, and calamities,
Which he shall bring on this unhappy land.

Alic. Stand off, and let me pass I will I must
Catch him once more in these despairing arms,
And hold him to my heart- Hastings! Hastings !
Hast. Alas! why com'st thou at this dreadful mo-

To fill me with new terrors, new distractions;
To turn me wild with thy distemper'd rage,
And shock the peace of my departing soul?
Away, I prythee leave me !

Alic. Stop a minute-
Till my full griefs find passage-Oh, the tyrant !
Perdition fall on Gloster's head and mine.

thee on,

Hast. What means thy frantic grief?

Alić. I cannot speak
But I have murder'd thee-Oh, I could tell thee!

Hast. Speak and give ease to thy conflicting passion,
Be quick, nor keep me longer in suspense,
Time presses, and a thousand crowding thoughts
Break in at once! this way and that they snatch,
They tear my hurry'd soul: All claim attention,
And yet not one is heard. Oh! speak, and leave me,
For I have business would employ an age,
And but a minute's time to get it done in.

Alic. That, that's my grief-'tis I that urge
Thus haunt thee to the toil, sweep thee from earth,
And drive thee down this precipice of fate.
Hast. Thy reason is grown wild. Could thy weak

Bring on this mighty ruin ? If it could,
What have I done so grievous to thy soul,
So deadly, so beyond the reach of pardon,
That nothing but my life can make attonement ?

Alic. Thy cruel scorn hath stung me to the heart,
And set my burning bosom all in fames :
Raving and mad I flew to my revenge,
And writ I know not what-told the protector,
That Shore's detested wife, by wiles, had won thee
To plot against his greatness-He believ'd it,
(Oh, dire event of my pernicious counsel !)
And, while I meant destruction on her head,
H'has turn'd it all on thine.

Hast. Accursed jealousy!

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