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Shall make him amble on a gossip's message,
And take the distaff with a hand as patient
As e'er did Hercules.
Rat. The fair Alicia,
Of noble birth and exquisite of feature,
Has held him long a vassal to her beauty.
Cat. I fear, he fails in his allegiance there,
Or my intelligence is false, or else
The dame has been too lavish of her feast,
And fed him till he loaths.
Glo. No more, he comes.
Hast. Health, and the happiness of many days, Attend upon your grace. Glo. My good lord chamberlain, We're much beholden to your gentle friendship. Hast. My lord, I come an humble suitor to you. Glo. In right good time. Speak out your pleasure freely. Hast. I * move your highness in behalf Of Shore's unhappy wife. Glo. Say you, of Shore? Hast. Once a bright star, that held her place on - high; The first i fairest of our English dames, While royal Edward held the sov’reign rule. Now sunk in grief, and pining with despair, Her waning form no longer shall excite Envy in woman, or desire in man. She never sees the sun, but through her tears, And wakes to sigh the live-long night away. Glo. Marry I the times are badly changed with her, From Edward's days to these. Then all was jollity Feasting and mirth, light wantonness and laughter, Piping and playing, minstrelsy and masquing;
Till life fled from us like an idle dream,
A show of mummery without a meaning.
My brother, rest and pardon to his soul!
Is gone to his account; for this his minion,
The revel-rout is done—But you were speaking
Concerning her. I have been told, that you
Are frequent in your visitations to her.
Hast. No farther, my good lord, than friendly
And tender-hearted charity, allow.
Glo. Go to; I did not mean to chide you for it.
For, sooth to say, I hold it noble in you
To cherish the distress'd——On with your tale.
Hast. Thus it is, gracious sir, that certain officers
Using the warrant of your mighty name,
With insolence unjust, and lawless power,
Have seized upon the lands, which late she held
By grant from her great master Edward's bounty.
Glo. Somewhat of this, but slightly, I have heard;
And though some counsellors of forward zeal,
Some of most ceremonious sanctity,
And bearded wisdom, often have provoked
The hand of justice to fall heavy on her,
Yet still, in kind compassion of her weakness,
And tender memory of Edward's love,
I have withheld the merciless stern law
From doing outrage on her helpless beauty.
Hast. Good Heaven, who renders mercy back for
With open-handed bounty shall repay you :
This gentle deed shall fairly be set foremost,
To screen the wild escapes of lawless passion,
And the long train of frailties flesh is heir to.
Glo. Thus far, the voice of pity pleaded only:
Our farther and more full extent of grace
Is given to your request. Let her attend,
And to ourself deliver up her griefs;
She shall be heard with patience, and each wrong
At full redress'd. But I have other news,
Which much import us both; for still my fortunes
Gohand in hand with yours: our common foes,
The queen's relations, our new-fangled gentry,
Have fall'n their mighty crests—That for your pri-
An Apartment in JANE SHORE's House.
Enter BELMoUR and DUMONT.
Bel. How she has lived you have heard my tale
The rest your own attendance in her family,
Where I have found the means this day to place you,
And nearer observation, best will tell you.
See, with what sad and sober cheer she comes.
Sure, or I read her visage much amiss,
Or grief besets her hard.—Save you, fair lady |
The blessings of the cheerful morn be on you,
And greet your beauty with its opening sweets.
J. Shore. My gentle neighbour, your good wishes
Putsue my hapless fortunes | Ah, good Belmour !
How few, like thee, inquire the wretched out,
And court the offices of soft humanity
Like thee, reserve their raiment for the naked,
Reach out their bread to feed the crying orphan,
Or mix their pitying tears with those that weep
Thy praise deserves a better tongue than mine,
To speak and bless thy name. Is this the gentleman,
Whose friendly service you commended to me?
Bel. Madam, it is. J. Shore. A venerable aspect 1 [Aside. Age sits with decent grace upon his visage, And worthily becomes his silver locks; He wears the marks of many years well-spent, Of virtue, truth well-tried, and wise experience; A friend like this would suit my sorrows well.— Fortune, I fear me, sir, has meant you ill, - [To DuMonT. Who pays your merit with that scanty pittance Which my poor hand and humble roof can give. But to supply these golden vantages, Which elsewhere you might find, expect to meet A just regard and value for your worth, | The welcome of a friend, and the free partnership Of all that little good the world allows me. Dum. You over-rate me much; and all my answer Must be my future truth; let them speak for me, And make up my deserving. J. Shore. Are you of England? Dum. No, gracious lady, Flanders claims my birth; At Antwerp has my constant biding been, Where sometimes I have known more plenteous days Than these which now my failing age affords. J. Shore. Alas! at Antwerp !—Oh, forgive my tears | [Weeping. They fall for my offences—and must fall Long, long ere they wash my stains away. You knew, perhaps—Oh grief! Oh shame!—my husband? Dum. I knew him well—but stay this flood of anguish, The senseless grave feels not your pious sorrows: Three years and more are past, since I was bid, With many of our common friends, to wait him To his last peaceful mansion. I attended, Sprinkled his clay-cold corse with holy drops,
According to our church's rev'rend rite,
And saw him laid in hallow'd ground to rest.
J. Shore. Oh, that my soul had known no joy but
That I had lived within his guiltless arms,
And dying slept in innocence beside him
But now his dust abhors the fellowship,
And scorns to mix with mine.
Serv. The lady Alicia
Attends your leisure. t -
J. Shore. Say I wish to see her.—[Exit SERVANT.
Please, gentle sir, one moment to retire;
Tll wait you on the instant, and inform you
Of each unhappy circumstance, in which
Your friendly aid and counsel much may stead me.
[Exeunt BELMoUR and DUMONT.
Alicia. Still, my fair friend, still shall I find you thus?
Still shall these sighs heave after one another,
These trickling drops chase one another still,
As if the posting messengers of grief
Could overtake the hours fled far away,
And make old time come back?
J. Shore. No, my Alicia,
Heaven and his saints be witness to my thoughts,
There is no hour of all my life o'erpast,
That I could wish should take its turn again.
Alicia. And yet some of those days my friend has
Some of those years might pass for golden ones
At least if womankind can judge of happiness.
What could we wish, we who delight in empire,