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Rather than dim the splendour of his


I fain would treble and quadruple it With revenues, realms, and golden prov

inces So that were done in equity. Fülsurse.

You have broken Your bond of peace, your treaty with the

King -Wakening such brawls and loud disturb


In England, that he calls you oversea
To answer for it in his Norman courts.
Becket. Prate not of bonds, for never,

oh, never again Shall the waste voice of the bond-break

ing sea Divide me from the mother church of

England, My Canterbury. Loud disturbances ! Oh, ay — the bells rang out even to

deafening, Organ and pipe, and dulcimer, chants

and hymns In all the churches, trumpets in the halls, Sobs, laughter, cries: they spread their

raiment down Before me — would have made my path

way flowers, Save that it was mid-winter in the street, But full mid-summer in those honest

hearts. Fitzurse. The King commands you

to absolve the bishops Whom you have excommunicated. Becket.

I? Not I, the Pope. Ask him for absolution.

Fitzurse. But you advised the Pope.

And so I did. They have but to submit.

The four Knights. The King com

Fitzurse. What! dare you charge

the King with treachery? He sanction thee to excommunicate The prelates whom he chose to cross

his son! Becket. I spake no word of treachery,

Reginald. But for the truth of this I make appeal To all the archbishops, bishops, prelates,

barons, Monks, knights, five hundred, that were

there and heard. Nay, you yourself were there : you heari

Fitsurse. I was not there.

I saw you there.

I was not
Becket. You were. I never forget

anything Fitzurse. He makes the King a

traitor, me a liar. How long shall we forbear him? John of Salisbury (drawing Becket aside).

O my good lord Speak with them privately on this here

after. You see they have been revelling, and !

fear Are braced and brazen'd up with

Christmas wines For any murderous brawl. Becket.

And yet they prate Of mine, my brawls, when those, that

name themselves Of the King's part, have broken down

our barns, Wasted our diocese, outraged our tenants Listed our produce, driven our cleris

outWhy they, your friends, those ruffias

the De Brocs, They stood on Dover beach to murder

me, They slew my stags in mine own man x

here, Mutilated, poor brute, my sumpter-mule, Plunder'd the vessel full of Gascon wine, The old King's present, carried off the

casks, Kill'd half the crew, dungeon'd the other

half In Pevensey Castle

De Morville. Why not rather than

mands you.

We are all King's men.

King's men at least should know That their own King closed with me last

July That I should pass the censures of the

Church On those that crown'd young Henry in

this realm, And trampled on the rights of Canter


If this be so, complain to your young

King, Not punish of your own authority? Becket. Mine enemies barr'd all access

to the boy. They knew he loved me. Hugh, Hugh, how proudly you exalt

your head!

Never again, and you — I marvel at you Ye know what is between us. Ye have

sworn Yourselves my men when I was Chan

cellor -My vassals -- and yet threaten your

Archbishop In his own house.

Knights. Nothing can be between us That goes against our fealty to the King. Fitzurse. And in his name we charge

you that ye keep This traitor from escaping. Becket.

Rest you easy, For I am easy to keep. I shall not fly. Here, here, here will you find me. De Morville.

know you not You have spoken to the peril of your

life? Becket. As I shall speak again. Fitzurse, De Tracy, and De Brito.

To arms! [ They rush out, De Morville lingers. Becket.

De Morville, I had thought so well of you; and even


Nay, when they seek to overturn our

I ask no leave of king, or mortal man,
To set them straight again. Alone I do it.
Give to the King the things that are the

And those of God to God.

Threats! threats ! ye hear him. What will he excommunicate all the


[The Knights come round Becket. De Tracy. He shall not. De Brito.

Well, as yet — I should be grateful – He hath not excommunicated me. Becket. Because thou wast born ex

communicate. I never spied in thee one gleam of grace. De Brito. Your Christian's Christian

charity! Becket.

By St. Denis De Brito. Ay, by St. Denis, now will

he flame out, And lose his head as old St. Denis did. Becket. Ye think to scare me from

my loyalty To God and to the Holy Father. No! Tho' all the swords in England flash'd

above me Ready to fall at Henry's word or yoursTho' all the loud-lung'd trumpets upon

earth Blared from the heights of all the thrones

of her kings, Blowing the world against me, I would

stand Clothed with the full authority of Rome, Mail'd in the perfect panoply of faith, First of the foremost of their files, who

die For God, to people heaven in the great

day When God makes up his jewels. Once

I fled

- upon the

You seem the least assassin of the four.
Oh, do not damn yourself for company!
Is it too late for me to save your soul?
I pray you for one moment stay and

De Morville. Becket, it is too late.

[Exit. Becket.

Is it too late? Too late on earth may be too soon in

hell. Knights (in the distance). Close the

great gate -- ho, there

town. Becket's Retainers. Shut the hall

[A pause. Becket. You hear them, brother John; Why do you stand so silent, brother

John of Salisbury. For I was musing

on an ancient saw, Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re, Is strength less strong when hand-in

hand with grace? Gratior in pulchro corpore virtus.

Thomas, Why should you heat yourself for such as



Becket. Methought I answer'd mod

erately enough. John of Salisbury. As one that blows

the coal to cool the fire. My lord, I marvel why you never lean On any man's advising but your own. Becket. Is it so, Dan John? well,

what should I have done? John of Salisbury. You should have

taken counsel with your friends Before these bandits brake into your

presence. They seek --- you make -- occasion for

your death.

Becket. My counsel is already taken,

I am prepared to die.

John of Salisbury. We are sinners all, The best of all not all-prepared to die.

Becket. God's will be done!
John of Salisbury.

Ay, well.
God's will be done!
Grim (re-entering): My lord, the

knights are arming in the garden Beneath the sycamore. Becket.

Good! let them arm. Grim. And one of the De Brocs is

with them, Robert, The apostate monk that was with Ran

dull here. He knows the twists and turnings of the

Becket. No sear!

No fear, my lord. [Crashes on the hall-doors. The

Monks flee. Becket (rising). Our dovecote flown! I cannot tell why monks should all be

cowards. John of Salisbury. Take refuge in

your own cathedral, Thomas. Becket. Do they not fight the Great

Fiend day by day? Valour and holy life should go together. Why should all monks be cowards?

John of Salisbury. Are they so? I say, take refuge in your own cathedral. Becket. Ay, but I told them I would

wait them here. Grim. May they not say you dared

not show yourself In your old place? and vespers are


[Bell rings for vespers till end of scene You should attend the office, give them

heart. They fear you slain: they dread they

know not what. Becket. · Ay, monks, not men. Grim.

I am a monk, my lord. Perhaps, my lord, you wrong us. Some would stand by you to the death Becket.

Your pardo John of Salisbury. He said, . Atten

the office.' Becket.

Attend the office? Why then - The Cross ! — who bears ng

Cross before me? Methought they would have brain'd me with it, John.

[Grim takes Grim. I! Would that I could bear

thy cross indeed! Becket. The Mitre ! John of Salisbury. Will you wear it? - there!

[Becket puts on the mitz. Becket.

The Fall I go to meet my King!

[Puts on the Grim.

To meet the King! [Crashes on the doors as they go out John of Salisbury. Why do you move

with such a stateliness? Can you not hear them yonder like a

storm, Battering the doors, and breaking thru'

the walls? Becket. Why do the heathen rage?

My two good friends, What matters murder'd here, or murderd

there? And yet my dream foretold my martyr.

dom In mine own church. It is God's ril

Go on. Nay, drag me not. We must not seem

to fly.


CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL. On the right hand a flight of steps leadis

to the Choir, another flight on the leto leading to the North Aisie. Wir afternoon slowly darkening,

thunder now and then of an approaching storm.

Monks heard chanting the service. ROSAMUND kneeling.



Rosamund. O blessed saint, O glori

ous Benedict, These arm’d men in the city, these fierce

faces Thy holy follower founded Canterbury Save that dear head which now is Can

terbury, Save him, he saved my life, he saved my

child, Save him, his blood would darken

Henry's name; Save him till all as saintly as thyself He miss the searching flame of purgatory, And pass at once perfect to Paradise.

[Noise of steps and voices in the cloisters. Hark! Is it they? Coming! He is not

here Not yet, thank heaven. O save him!

[Goes up steps leading to choir. Becket (entering, forced along by John

of Salisbury and Grim). No, I

tell you! I cannot bear a hand upon my person, Why do you force me thus against my

will? Grim. My lord, we force you from

your enemies. Becket. As you would force a king

from being crown'd. John of Salisbury. We must not force

the crown of martyrdom. [Service stops. Monks come down from

the stairs that lead to the choir. Monks. Here is the great Archbishop!

He lives! he lives! Die with him, and be glorified together. Becket. Together? . . . get you back!

go on with the office. Monks. Come, then, with to

vespers. Becket. How can I come When you so block the entry? Back, I

And hiss'd against the sun?

[Noise in the cloisters. Monks.

The murderers, hark ! Let us hide! let us hide!

Becket. What do these people fear?
Monks. Those arm'd men in the


Be not such cravens ! I will go out and meet them.

Grim and others. Shut the doors! We will not have him slain before our

face. [ They close the doors of the transept.

Knocking: Fly, fly, my lord, before they burst the doors!

[K'nocking Becket. Why, these are

monks who follow'd us! And will you bolt them out, and have

them slain? Undo the doors: the church is not a

castle: Knock, and it shall be open'd. Are you

deaf? What, have I lost authority among you? Stand by, make way!

[Opens the doors. Enter Monks

from cloister.

Come in, my friends, come in! Nay, faster, faster!

Monks. Oh, my lord Archbishop, A score of knights all arm'd with swords

and axes — To the choir, to the choir !

[Monks divide, part flying by the

stairs on the right, part by those on the left. The rush of these last bears Becket along with them some way up the steps, where he is left

standing alone. Becket. Shall I too pass to the choir, And die upon the Patriarchal throne Of all my predecessors?

John of Salisbury. No, to the crypt ! Twenty steps down. Stumble not in the

darkness, Lest they should seize thee.

Grim. To the crypt? no — no, To the chapel of St. Blaise beneath the

roof! John of Salisbury (pointing upward

and downward). That way, or this! Save thyself either way.



Go on with the office. Shall not Heaven

be served Tho' earth's last earthquake clash'd the

minster-bells, And the great deeps were broken up


Becket. Oh, no, not either way, nor

any way Save by that way which leads thro' night

to light. Not twenty steps, but one. And fear not I should stumble in the

darkness, Not tho' it be their hour, the power of

darkness, But my hour too, the power of light in

darkness! I am not in the darkness but the light, Seen by the Church in Heaven, the

Church on earth The power of life in death to make her

free! [Enter the four Knights. John of

Salisbury flies to the altar of St.

Benedict. Fitzurse. Here, here, King's men! [Catches hold of the last flying Monk.

Where is the traitor Becket? Monk. I am not he! I am not he,

my lord.

I am not he indeed!

Hence to the fiend!

[Pushes him away. Where is this treble traitor to the King? De Tracy. Where is the Archbishop,

Thomas Becket?

No traitor to the King, but Priest of

God, Primate of England. [Descending into the transept.

I am he ye seek.
What would ye have of me?

Your life.
De Tracy.

Your life.
De Morville. Save that you will ab-

solve the bishops. Becket.

Never,Except they make submission to the

Church. You had my answer to that cry before. De Morville. Why, then you are a

dead man; flee! Becket.

I will not. I am readier to be slain, than thou to slay. Hugh, I know well thou hast but half a

heart To bathe this sacred pavement with my


God pardon thee and these, but Gods

full curse Shatter you all to pieces if ye harm One of my flock! Fitsurse. Was not the great gat?

skut? They are thronging in to vespers - ha!

the town. We shall be overwhelm'd. Seize hir

and carry him! Come with us — nay — thou art our pro

oner - come! De Morville. Ay, make him prisota

do not harm the man. [Fitzurse lays hold of the Arce

bishop's pall. Becket. Touch me not! De Brito.

How the gove priest gods himself! He is not yet ascended to the Father. Fitzurse. I will not only touch, but

drag thee hence. Becket. Thou art my man, thou ar.

my vassal. Away! [Flings him off till he reels, ale.

to falling; De Tracy (lays hold of the 49

Come; as he said, thou art of

prisoner. Becket.


[Throws him headas Fitzurse (advances with drauen sneri

I told thee that I should re

member thee!
Becket. Profligate pander!

Do you hear that?
strike, strike.
[Strikes off the Archbishop's si:.

and wounds him in the fores Becket (covers his eyes with his ker I do commend my cause to God, the

Virgin, St. Denis of France and St. Alphegeu

And all the tutelar Saints of Cantes

(Grim wraps his arms about

Spare this desence, dear brother.

[Tracy has arisen, and anarside

hesitatingly, with his

raised. Fitxurse.

Strike him, Tracy:

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