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The genius of our isle is shook with sorrow;
He bows his venerable head with pain,
And labours with the sickness of his lord.
Religion melts in every holy eye;
All comfortless, afflicted, and forlorn,
She sits on earth, and weeps upon her cross,
Weary of man, and his detested ways:
Even now she seems to meditate her flight,
And waft her angels to the thrones above.
North. Ay, there, my lord, you touch our hea-
With him our holy faith is doomed to suffer;
With him our church shall veil her sacred front,
That late from heaps of Gothic ruins rose,
In her first native simple majesty;
Shall fail with Edward, and again old Rome
The toil of saints, and price of martyrs' blood,
Shall spread her banners; and her monkish host,
Pride, ignorance, and rapine, shall return;
Blind bloody zeal, and cruel priestly power,
Shall scourge the land for ten dark ages more.
Gates. Is there no help in all the healing art,
No potent juice or drug to save a life
So precious, and prevent a nation's fate?
North. What has been left untried, that art
The hoary wrinkled leech has watched and toiled,
Tried every health-restoring herb and gum,
And wearied out his painful skill in vain.
Close, like a dragon folded in his den,
Some secret venom preys upon his heart;
A stubborn and unconquerable flame
Creeps in his veins, and drinks the streams of life;
His youthful sinews are unstrung; cold sweats
And deadly paleness sit upon his visage;
And every gasp we look shall be his last.
Gates. Doubt not, your graces, but the Popish
Will at this juncture urge their utmost force.
All on the princess Mary turn their eyes,
Well hoping she shall build again their altars,
And bring their idol-worship back in triumph.
North. Good Heaven, ordain some better fate
Suff. What better can we hope, if she should
I know her well; a blinded zealot is she;
A gloomy nature, sullen and severe;
Nurtured by proud presuming Romish priests,
Taught to believe they only cannot err,
Because they cannot err; bred up in scorn
Of reason, and the whole lay world; instructed
To hate whoe'er dissent from what they teach;
To purge the world from heresy by blood;
To massacre a nation, and believe it
An act well pleasing to the Lord of Mercy:
These are thy gods, oh, Rome, and this thy faith!
North. And shall we tamely yield ourselves to
Bow down before these holy purple tyrants,
And bid them tread upon our slavish necks?
No; let this faithful free-born English hand
First dig my grave in liberty and honour;
And though I found but one more thus resolved,
That honest man and I would die together.
Suff. Doubt not, there are ten thousand and
To own a cause so just.
Gates. The list I gave
your grace's hand last night, declares My power and friends at full.
North. Be it your care,
Good Sir John Gates, to see your friends appointed,
And ready for the occasion.
Lose not a moment's time.
Gates. I go, my lord.
North. Your grace's princely daughter, lady
Is she yet come to court?
Suff. Not yet arrived,
But with the soonest I expect her here.
I know her duty to the dying king,
Joined with my strict commands to hasten hither, Will bring her on the wing.
North. Beseech your grace,
To speed another messenger to press her;
For on her happy presence all our counsels
Depend, and take their fate.
Suff. Upon the instant
Your grace shall be obeyed. I go to summon her. [Exit Suffolk. North. What trivial influences hold dominion O'er wise men's counsels, and the fate of empire!
The greatest schemes that human wit can forge,
Or bold ambition dares to put in practice,
Depend upon our husbanding a moment,
And the light lasting of a woman's will;
As if the lord of nature should delight
To hang this ponderous globe upon a hair,
And bid it dance before a breath of wind.
She must be here, and lodged in Guilford's arms,
Ere Edward dies, or all we have done is marred.
Ha! Pembroke! that's a bar which thwarts my
His fiery temper brooks not opposition,
And must be met with soft and supple arts,
With crouching courtesy, and honeyed words,
Such as assuage the fierce, and bend the strong.
Enter the Earl of PEMBROKE.
Good morrow, noble Pembroke: we have staid The meeting of the council for your presence. Pem. For mine, my lord! you mock your servant sure,
say that I am wanted, where yourself, The great Alcides of our state, is present. Whatever dangers menace prince or people, Our great Northumberland is armed to meet them:
The ablest hand, and firmest heart you bear,
Nor need a second in the glorious task;
Equal yourself to all the toils of empire.
North. No; as I honour virtue, I have tried, And know my strength too well; nor can the voice
Of friendly flattery, like yours, deceive me.
I know my temper liable to passions,
And all the frailties common to our nature;
Blind to events, too easy of persuasion,
And often, too, too often, have I erred:
Much therefore have I need of some good man,
Some wise and honest heart, whose friendly aid
Might guide my treading through our present
And, by the honour of my name I swear,
I know not one of all our English peers,
Whom I would chuse for that best friend, like
Pem. What shall I answer to a trust so noble,
This prodigality of praise and honour?
Were not your grace too generous of soul,
To speak a language differing from your heart,
How might I think you could not mean this
To one, whom his ill-fortune has ordained
The rival of your son.
North. No more; I scorn a thought
So much below the dignity of virtue.
'Tis true, I look on Guilford like a father,
Lean to his side, and see but half his failings:
But, on a point like this, when equal merit
Stands forth to make its bold appeal to honour,
And calls to have the balance held in justice;
Away with all the fondnesses of nature!
I judge of Pembroke and my son alike.
Pem. I ask no more to bind me to your ser vice.
North. The realm is now at hazard, and bold factions
Threaten change, tumult, and disastrous days. Y y
These fears drive out the gentler thoughts of joy, Of courtship, and of love. Grant, Heaven, the
To fix in peace and safety once again;
Then speak your passion to the princely maid,
And fair success attend you. For myself,
My voice shall go as far for you, my lord,
As for my son; and beauty be the umpire.
But now a heavier matter calls upon us;
The king, with life just labouring; and I fear,
The council grow impatient at our stay.
Pem. One moment's pause, and I attend your
Old Winchester cries to me oft, Beware
Of proud Northumberland. The testy prelate,
Froward with age, with disappointed hopes,
And zealous for old Rome, rails on the duke,
Suspecting him to favour the new teachers:
Yet even in that, if I judge right, he errs.
But were it so, what are these monkish quarrels,
These wordy wars of proud ill-mannered school-
I should not murmur, were thy lot to prosper, And mine to be refused. Though sure, the loss Would wound me to the heart.
Pem. Ha! Couldst thou bear it?
And yet perhaps thou mightst; thy gentle temper
Is formed with passions mixed with due proportion,
Where no one overbears, nor plays the tyrant,
But join in nature's business, and thy happiness:
While mine, disdaining reason and her laws,
Like all thou canst imagine wild and furious,
Now drive me headlong on, now whirl me back,
And hurl my unstable flitting soul
To every mad extreme. Then pity me,
And let my weakness stand-
Enter Sir JOHN GATES.
Gates. The lords of council
Wait with impatience.
Pem. I attend their pleasure.
This only, and no more, then. Whatsoever
Fortune decrees, still let us call to mind
Our friendship and our honour. And since love
Condemns us to be rivals for one prize,
Let us contend, as friends and brave men ought,
With openness and justice to each other;
That he, who wins the fair one to his arms,
May take her as the crown of great desert;
And if the wretched loser does repine,
His own heart and the world may all condemn
Guil. How cross the ways of life lie! While
We travel on direct in one high road,
And have our journey's end opposed in view,
A thousand thwarting paths break in upon us,
To puzzle and perplex our wandering steps;
Love, friendship, hatred, in their turns, mislead us,
And every passion has its separate interest:
Where is that piercing foresight can unfold
Where all this mazy error will have end,
And tell the doom reserved for me and Pem-
There is but one end certain, that is-Death:
Yet even that certainty is still uncertain.
For of these several tracks, which he before us,
We know that one leads certainly to death,
But know not which that one is. "Tis in vain,
This blind divining; let me think no more on it:
And see the mistress of our fate appear!
Enter Lady JANE GRAY. Attendants. Hail, princely maid! who, with auspicious beauty, Chearest every drooping heart in this sad place; Who, like the silver regent of the night, Lift'st up thy sacred beams upon the land, To bid the gloom look gay, dispel our horrors, And make us less lament the setting sun.
L. J. Gray. Yes, Guilford; well dost thou compare my presence
To the faint comfort of the waning moon:
Like her cold orb, a cheerless gleam I bring:
Silence and heaviness of heart, with dews
To dress the face of nature all in tears,
But say, how fares the king?
But every moment cuts away a hope,
Adds to our fears, and gives the infant saint
Great prospect of his opening Heaven.
L. J. Gray. Descend, ye choirs of angels, to receive him!
Tune your melodious harps to some high strain,
And waft him upwards with a song of triumph;
A purer soul, and one more like yourselves,
Ne'er entered at the golden gates of bliss.
Oh, Guilford! What remains for wretched Eng-
When he, our guardian angel, shall forsake us? For whose dear, sake Heaven spared a guilty land,
And scattered not its plagues while Edward reigned!
Guil. I own my heart bleeds inward at the thought,
And rising horrors crowd the opening scene.
And yet, forgive me, thou, my native country,
Thou land of liberty, thou nurse of heroes,
Forgive me, if, in spite of all thy dangers,
New springs of pleasure flow within my bosom,
When thus 'tis given me to behold those eyes,
I charge thee touch the ungrateful theme no more;
Lead me to pay my duty to the king,
To wet his pale cold hand with these last tears,
And share the blessings of his parting breath.
Guil. Were I like dying Edward, sure a touch
Of this dear hand would kindle life anew.
But I obey, I dread that gathering frown;
And, oh! whene'er my bosom swells with pas-
And my full heart is pained with ardent love,
Allow me but to look on you, and sigh;
'Tis all the humble joy that Guilford asks.
L. J. Gray. Still wilt thou frame thy speech to this vain purpose,
When the wan king of terrors stalks before us,
When universal ruin gathers round,
And no escape is left us? Are we not
Like wretches in a storm, whom every moment
The greedy deep is gaping to devour?
Around us see the pale despairing crew
Wring their sad hands, and give their labour
The hope of life has every heart forsook,
And horror sits on each distracted look;
One solemn thought of death does all employ,
And cancels, like a dream, delight and joy;
One sorrow streams from all their weeping eyes,
And one consenting voice for mercy cries;
Trembling, they dread just Heaven's avenging
Mourn their past lives, and wait the fatal hour.
Enter the Duke of NORTHUMBERLAND, and the Duke of SUFFOLK.
Nor. YET then be cheered, my heart, amidst thy mourning.
Though fate hang heavy o'er us, though pale fear
And wild distraction sit on every face;
Though never day of grief was known like this,
Let me rejoice, and bless the hallowed light,
Whose beams auspicious shine upon our union,
And bid me call the noble Suffolk brother.
Suff. I know not what my secret soul presages,
But something seems to whisper me within,
That we have been too hasty. For myself,
I wish this matter had been yet delayed;
That we had waited some more blessed time,
Some better day, with happier omens hallowed,
For love to kindle up his holy flame.
But you, my noble brother, would prevail,
And I have yielded to you.
North. Doubt not any thing;
Nor hold the hour unlucky, that good Heaven,
Who softens the corrections of his hand,
And mixes still a comfort with afflictions,
Has given to-day a blessing in our children,
To wipe away our tears for dying Edward.
Suff. In that I trust. Good angels be our guard,
And make my fears prove vain! But see! My wife!
With her, your son, the generous Guilford, comes; She has informed him of our present purpose.
Enter the Duchess of SUFFOLK, and Lord GUILFORD.
Guil. How shall I speak the fulness of my heart?
What shall I say to bless you for this goodness?
Oh, gracious princess! But my life is yours,
And all the business of my years to come,
Is, to attend with humblest duty on you,
And pay my vowed obedience at your feet.
To bid farewell to thee, my gentle cousin;
To speak a few short words to thee, and die.
With that he prest my hand, and, oh!-he said,
When I am gone, do thou be good to England,
Keep to that faith in which we both were bred,
Duch. Suff. Yes, noble youth, I share in all And to the end be constant. More I would,
In all the joys which this sad day can give.
The dear delight I have to call thee son,
Comes like a cordial to my drooping spirits;
It broods with gentle warmth upon my bosom,
And melts that frost of death which hung about
But haste! Inform my daughter of our pleasure:
Let thy tongue put on all its pleasing eloquence,
Instruct thy love to speak of comfort to her,
To soothe her griefs, and cheer the mourning
North. All desolate and drowned in flowing tears,
By Edward's bed the pious princess sits;
Fast from her lifted eyes the pearly drops
Fall trickling o'er her cheek, while holy ardour
And fervent zeal pour forth her labouring soul;
And every sigh is winged with prayers so potent,
As strive with Heaven to save her dying lord.
Duch. Suff. From the first early days of infant
A gentle band of friendship grew betwixt them;
And while our royal uncle Henry reigned,
As brother and as sister bred together,
Beneath one common parent's care they lived.
North. A wondrous sympathy of souls con-
To form the sacred union. Lady Jane'
Of all his royal blood was still the dearest;
In every innocent delight they shared;
They sung, and danced, and sat, and walked together;
Nay, in the graver business of his youth,
When books and learning called him from his
Even there the princely maid was his companion.
She left the shining court to share his toil,
To turn with him the grave historian's page,
And taste the rapture of the poet's song;
To search the Latin and the Grecian stores,
And wonder at the mighty minds of old.
Enter Lady Jane GRAY, weeping.
L. J. Gray. Wilt thou not break, my
Suff. Alas! What meanest thou?
Duch. Suff. How fares the king? North. Say, is he dead?
1. J. Gray. The saints and angels have him, Duch. Suff. When I left him,
He seemed a little cheered, just as you entered. L. J. Gray. As I approached to kneel and pay my duty,
He raised his feeble eyes, and faintly smiling,
Are you then come? he cried: I only lived,
But cannot-There his faltering spirits failed,
And turning every thought from earth at once,
To that blest place where all his hopes were
Earnest he prayed ;- -Merciful, great defender!
Preserve thy holy altars undefiled,
Protect this land from bloody men and idols,
Save my poor people from the yoke of Rome,
And take thy painful servant to thy mercy!.
Then, sinking on his pillow, with a sigh,
He breathed his innocent and faithful soul
Into his hands who gave it.
Guil. Crowns of glory,
Such as the brightest angels wear, be on him!
Peace guard his ashes here, and paradise,
With all its endless bliss, be open to him!
North. Our grief be on his grave. Our pre
Enjoins to see his last commands obeyed.
I hold it fit his death be not made known
To any but our friends. To-morrow, early,
The council shall assemble at the Tower.
Mean while, I beg your grace would strait in-
[To the Duchess of Suffolk.
Your princely daughter of our resolution;
Our common interest in that happy tie
Demands our swiftest care to see it finished.
Duch. Suff. My lord, you have determined well.
Be it your task to speak at large our purpose.
Daughter, receive this lord as one whom I,
Your father, and his own, ordain your husband:
What more concerns our will and your obedience,
We leave you to receive from him at leisure.
[Exeunt Duke and Duchess of Suffolk, and Duke of Northumberland. Guil. Wilt thou not spare a moment from thy
Is dead to joy: but I will hear thee, Guilford;
Nay, I must hear thee, such is her command,
Whom early duty taught me still to obey.
Yet, oh! forgive me, if to all the story,
Though eloquence divine attend thy speaking,
Though every muse, and every grace, do crown
Forgive me, if I cannot better answer,
Than weeping- -thus, and thus-
Guil. If I offend thee,
Let me be dumb for ever: Let not life
Inform these breathing organs of my voice,