Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Dick. I'm not to be frighted, my lord. I dare fpeak truth at any time.

Lure. Whatever ftains my honour must be false.

King. I know it must, my lord: yet has this man, not knowing who I was, presumed to charge your lord. ship, not only with great injustice to himfelf, but also with ruining an innocent virgin whom he lov'd, and who was to have been his wife; which, if true, were bafe and treacherous: but I know 'tis false, and therefore leave it to your lordship to say what punishment I shall inflict upon him for the injury done to your honour.

Lure. I thank your Majesty. I will not be severe; he fall only ask my pardon, and to-morrow morning be oblig'd to marry the creature he has traduced me with.

King. This is mild. Well, your hear your sentence. Dick. May I not have leave to speak before your

Ma. jefty?

King. What canft thou say?

Dick. If I had your Majesty's permiffion, I believe I have certain witnesses which will undeniably prove the truth of all I have accus'd his lordship of.

King. Pruduce them.
Dick. Peggy!

Enter Peggý.
King. Do you know this woman, my lord?

Lure. I know her, please your Majesty, by fight; she is a tenant's daughter.

Peggy. (afide.) Majefty! what, is this the king ?
Dick. Yes.
King. Have you no particular acquaintance with her?

Lure. Hum I have not seen her thefe several months. Dick. True, my lord; and that is part of

your accu. sation; for, I believe, I have some letters which will prove your lordthip once had a more particular acquaintance with her. Here is one of the firit his lordship wrote to her, full of the tenderest and most folemn protesta. tions of love and conttancy; here is another, which will inform your Majesty of the pains he took to ruin her ; there is an absolute promise of marriage before he could accomplish it. King. What say you, my lord; are these your hand?

Lure.

Lure. I believe, please your Majesty, I might have a little affair of gallantry with the girl some time ago.

King. It was a little affair, my lord; a mean affair; and what you call gallantry, I call infamy. Do you think, my lord, that greatness gives a fan&tion to wickedness? or that it is the prerogative of lords to be unjust and inhuman? You remember the sentence which yourself pronounced upon this innocent man; you cannot think it hard that it should pass on you who are guilty.

Lure. I hope your Majesty will consider my rank, and not oblige me to marry her.

King. Your rank, my lord! Greatness that stoops to actions base and low, deserts its rank, and pulls its ho. nours down. What makes your lordship great? Is it your gilded equipage and dress ? then put it on your meanett Nave, and he's as great as you. Is it your

riches or estate? the villain that should plunder you of all, would then be as great as you. No, my lord, he that acts greatly, is the true great man. I therefore think you ought, in juftice, to marry her you have thus wrong'd.

Peggy. Let my tears thank your Majesty. But, alas! I am afraid to marry this young lord: that would only give him power to use me worse, and still increase my misery: I therefore beg your Majesty will not command him to do it.

King. Rise then, and hear me. My lord, you see how low the greatest noblemen may be reduced by ungene. rous actions. Here is, under your own hand, an absolute promise of marriage to this young woman, which, from a thorough knowledge of your unworthiness, she has prudently declined to make you fulfil. I fall there. fore not infift upon it; but I command you, upon pain of my difpleasure, immediately to settle on her three hun. dred pounds a year.

Peggy. May heaven reward your Majesty's goodness. 'Tis too much for me; but if your Majesty thinks fit, let it be settled upon this much-injured man, to make fome satisfaction for the wrongs which have been done him. As to myself, I only sought to clear the innocence of him I lov'd and wrong'd, then to hide me from the world, and die forgiven.

Dick. This act of generous virtue cancels all past failings; come to my arms, and he as dear as ever.

Peggy. You cannot, sure, forgive me!
Bick. I can, I do, and still will make

you

mine. Peggy. O! why did ever I wrong such generous love?

Dick. Talk no more of it. Here let us kneel, and thank the goodness which has made us bleit.

King. May you be happy. Mil

. (kneels.) After I have seen so much of your Majesty's goodness, I cannot despair of pardon, even for the rough usage your Majesty receiv'd from me. [The King draws his sword; the Miller is frighted and

rises up, thinking he was going to kill hiin.] What have I done that I should lose

my

life? King. Kneel without fear. No, my good hoft; fo far are you from having any thing to pardon, that I am much your debtor. I cannot think but so good and honest a man will make a worthy and honourable knight: So rise up, Sir John Cockle; and, to support your itate, and in fome sort requite the pleasure you have done us, a thousand merks a year shall be your revenue.

Mil. Your Majesty's bounty I receive with thankfulness; I have been guilty of 110 meanness to obtain it, and I hope I shall not be obliged to keep it upon base condi. tions; for though I am willing to be a faithful subject, I am refoly'd to be a free and an honest man.

King: I rely !pon your being so: and to gain the friendihip of such a ane, 1 thall always think an addition to my happiness, though a king.

Worth, in whatever {tate, is fure a prize,
Which kings, of all men, ought not to defpife;
By selfish sycophants so close besieg'd,
'Tis by mere chance a worthy man's oblig'd;
But hence, to every courtier be it known,
Virtue shall find protection from the throne.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

T

SCENE, A Garden belonging to Don Diego's House,

Don Diego enters mufing.
HOUGHTS to councillet me see-

Hum-to be or not to be
A husband, is the question.
A cuckold! muit that follow?

Say what men will,

Wedlock’s a pill
Bitter to swallow,

And hard of digestion.
But fear makes the danger feen double.
Say, Hymen, what mischief can trouble

My

My peace, should I venture to try you?

My doors shall be lock'd,
My windows be block'd;
No male in my house,

Not so much as a mouse:
Then horns, horns, I defy you.
Dieg. Ursula!

Enter Ursula.
Urs. Here, an't please your worship.
Dieg. Where is Leonora ?
Urf. In her chamber, Sir.

Dieg. There is the key of it; there the key of the best hall; there the key of the door upon the firit Aight of ftairs; there the key of the door upon the second; this double-locks the hatch below, and this the door that opens into that entry.

Urf. I am acquainted with every ward of them."

Dieg. You know, Ursula, when I took "Leonora from her father and mother, she was to live in the house with me three months; at the expiration of which time, I en. tered into a hond of four thousand pistoles, either to return her to them spotless, with half that sum for a dowry, or make her my true and lawful wife.

Urs. And, I warrant you, they came fecretly to inquire of me whether they might venture to trust your worship. Lord! said I, I have lived with the gentleman nine years and three quarters, come Lammas, and never saw any thing uncivil by him in my life; nor no more I ever did: and to let your worship know if I had, you would have mistaken your person; for I bless heaven, tho' I'm poor, I'm honeft, and would not live with any man alive that should want to handle me unlawfully.

Dieg. Ursula, I do believe it: and you are particularly happy, that both your age and your person exempt you from any such temptation. But, be this as it will, Leonora's parents, after some little difficulty, consented to comply with my proposal; and, being fully satisfied with their daughter's temper and conduct, which I want. ed to be acquainted with, this day being the expiration of the term, I am resolved to fulfil my bond, by marry. ing her to-morrow. Urf. Heaven bless you together.

Dies

2 2

« ZurückWeiter »