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Go! and be wary. (GIFFORD retires. That stoop to be mine instruments; to Now am I in mine element,
blow The world of subtle thought; ay, thoughts Their flames on high, as doth the cunning that soar
smith Like eagles, ’mid the lightning-parted Until his work be forged-then-quench clouds,
them, haply And play amid their flashes. Hover now With blood instead of water. --Fools ! but Round me, ye demons that o'er-rule the
ask them storm ;
What brings them to this venture; one That point the lightning at the stagg’ring
shall talk bark;
Of loyalty, another whine of love, Or urge the rushing clouds; or, laugh. Another friendship, and a fourth religion ; ing, stride
Ay, marry,-even so. If they will play The billow that engulphs the struggling Without a stake, they get their rubs for wretch,
nothing. Aad grin in his drench'd face.
Of all Love's, Loyalty's, or Religion's Come to my breast, jokes, Thou spirit, that can'st ride upon the Your martyrs are the sorriest. I must be waves
gone. (BALLARD goes out. Calmly, as if they roll'd not, and impel The buried helm with an untrembling
The fraudful hypocrisy of the Jehand;
suit, and the fiendlike joy, heightened For 'tis thytime ;-now, when the lower. by jealousy, (for he too loves Agnes,) ing clouds
with which he lures on Babington to And troubled ocean darkly seem to meet, destruction, are depicted with the Brewing the coming tempest. Let it fall hand of a master-but the web he As 'twill-small care of mine! I am the weaves cannot be judged of without master
more “verge” than we can well afford In this momentous chase, and can un- to give. Babington, in a converse with leash
Ballard, thus speaks, My hounds on whom I will. Eye sees Bab. Sir, this is too lowlythem not.
You are my bosom friend and counsellor, Darkly they sweep, like the wild Indian Nor shall be counted less : no more of
dog, Through trackless forests and eternal It grieves me more than I shall speak of
sbades; Aghast the trav’ller hears th’approach. My friends, this cloud being happily o'ering bay,
past, The savage rusb, and headlong flying game, We will to business. And all is still again ; por sees he whence Wherefore we meet is known unto you It came, nor whither it goes-no matter whither,
A general wrong needs no interpreter. So that the spoil be mine.
Have we not seen the ruin that hath
I have two paths roll'd Before me, and but pause which I must O’er our dear country; Pestilent heresy take.
Flame like a brand cast in the autumn There was a time when, if I were but high, corn, I would have sat me on the rugged rock Till all the goodly harvest is burn'd up; As soon as the soft sward; 'tis not so now. Holy Religion turn'd to robbery! I have drank new passion since I saw this Her sacred shrines unroofd, and made house :
the haunts Ambition stoops to take a yoke-fellow; of th' unclean fox and owl; PenanceAnd the strong speed of iron Resolution worn Age Lags for a flower i’ th’ way. Why should Chased forth to die beside some bypath it not?
ditch; Say that there be two heights which I And stainless Innocence turn'd loose to may scale,
shiver, Still shall I choose the greenest; and And starve i’ the causeway-Destitution where'er
nipt ; The flowers of dalliance shall the soonest Honour betray'd for of her sister Faith ; bud.
Beauty oppressid, because she is not There do I fix my climate. (A clock strikes.
false; 'Tis the hour ;- Goodness proscribed, because it will not And now to govern the hot fiery spirits change ?
And who have done these things ? not Might bought the rubied hills of Samar. savage Goths,
cand, Who conquer only that themselves are Ay, or the golden bosom of Peru; strong,
Rifest of sweets, since our first mother, Who know not light because themselves Eve; are dark;
Save, haply, one: but she, as thou, was But the wolf Lucre, vested like the lamb;
humble ; And bat-like Sophistry, whose filmed eyes And all these charms did dedicate to God. Find day in twilight, and whose leathern -But not the sanctity of holy walls; wings
Nor the heaven-melting breath of choral Flit ever round the ruins that it loves ;
praise; Amphibious, miscreaté; loathsome alike No; nor the awful shadow of the Cross, To those who crawl, as well as those who Could drown her accents in one eager ear,
Nor blind the gaze of an unhallow'd eye. Is this not so ? If then, or blood will Ay; for the sake of those rare lineaments, quench
The sight of which had palsied Phidias' This fiery pestilence, or fire burn out
hand, The hideous reptiles that infest our fields, And hue, at which the roses might outWhy should we pause or start? If that
Themselves for envy, God's eternal Faith, Have ta’eň a fèverish, or an aguish taint, Which heretofore had bound the world, Do ye not lancé them? If a rabid tooth
almost Hath torn ye, sear ye not the wound ? In one unbroken bond of joy and love; My friends,
Even as the silken cincture round that Which of us here shall not do for his country
Was torn and trampled on, and made the What for himself he doth ?
of the fierce passion of that aweless We have said that Ballard loves
monk, Agnes, and certainly he urges his suit Who drank his frenzy from her eyes—his in a most Jesuitical spirit.
name? Agnes. What mean you, Father? What was't?-come, tell thou me. Bal. He that hath drunk new wine in Agnes.
I know not, Father. Paradise,
What mean you ? And banquetted upon immortal fruits, Bal. Thou dost know his name was And lived upon the breath that angels
(He pauses.) What follows upon this? If And tasted of the sleep where Death is 'twas permittednot;
For evil is permitted, even as good Couch'd 'mid the fadeless amaranthine It 'twas permitted that one fatal face flowers;
Should be the cause why sacrilegious Not having loved, nor been beloved of
Have broken the communion of the Hath known not what bliss is!
What course is this? And bent the very word of God himself, Your practice, holy sir, should not be Unto the impious glosses of bold men, false,
Who dare cross-question the Redeemer's Nor yet your words be true-l am un
And make his laws a peg, whereon to To such a tone-much less from such a
Blasphemous cavils—If 'twas so permitBal. Hark thee: I'll tell a tale. Nay,
ted, shrink not from me ;
What glory shall be hers who brings the As if or distance had the power to blunt
balm Th' impressure of thine eyes, or time to To heal the wound again? Who would henl
not pledge The gazer's hurt, -—There sometime was Her soul, however priceless, for the hope a maid,
Of such a ransom? Thou do'st answer Named Katharineay, De Boria was her
Deem that the fate of millions may be set Narsed in the German fields, by Wittem. Upon that brow-thine eyes two conberg,
stellations And she did-spring the wonder of all eyes, That tell of change and herald destiny.Till, in her womanhood, her estate of Oh! but methinks that I could foot the beauty
Or pass unscathed into the furnace jaws; Or rest mid myrtle groves, where no leaf Yea, live where all created beings else
stirs, Die ere they can breathe twice so that Onwoven beds of languid odour'd flowers, this hand
Have left their haunts, thus to o'ersway Did point me to the way-Nay, scorn
my senses. me not,
-Whence comes this calmness else? Nor play the prude with Fateby Hea
Oh! Babington, ven, I'll have't !
Have I not drank from thy beloved eyes -I am not that I seem
Some of their high resolve mix'd with Agnes. Thou'rt not indeed!
their softness ? Unhand me-monstrous and unhallow'd Methinks I am with thee still, and still villain
sball be, Methinks the sight of thee e'en doth pol- And therefore do I sink not-There's a lute
shore The eye that sees.-0! what a film hath Beyond this troublous sea, where we shall lain
rest; Upon our sight-Hence! ere that Ba- So sorrow loves to dream.Is it not bington
so? Hath found that Treach'ry and Ingrati. I have heard that men, deep bowell’d in tade
the earth, Are nestling at bis very hearth, to sting Can see the stars at mid-day-even so him.
grief, - Begone-or ere I breathe what thing When we are deepest plunged in tlie thou art
abyss, That mercy I afford thee.
Points to the world beyond, and heavy (She is going out.)
Yea-90 high? See clearest through their tears. Why, then, I must let fly another falcon.
What was that noise ? In faith 'tis time! I hardly thought that A footstep sure-It is-He comes, and
ali Had been so hard to deal with.
Is over, ere 'tis spoken. (He seizes her arm, and leads her back.) Soft you, lady,
Enter PLASKET. A word or two or ere ye go, and in
Thou hang'st back, Another key, since this doth please you As if a freight of grief did clog thy steps.
Whate'er thou say'st say quickly-out! -Sit there-nay, sit, I say I will be
alack ! plain,
Methinks thy speech is figured-in thine Since Flattery's out of fashion-Do not
eye ; tremble
And both are full of death. (He seats himself at a little distance.) Plask. Compose yourself, Now what d'ye think me, lady? Beseech you, dearest lady. The plot is discovered—the conspi, No hope ? no stay? no way of refuge
Agnes. Is there nonerators betrayed, and Babington, with
left? the others, doomed to die. What can
Their youth-their early time the subbe more beautiful than the following
tle poison dialogue between the orphan Agnes Wherewith that fiendish traitor blinded and Plasket?
them, SCENE II.--A mean Apartment in u House Might plead to let them live-but only in London:
breathe ; Agnes, (alone.) Darkness draws on- No matter how, or where. Hath not the ruthful day
Plask. I pray you, madam, Sunk faster than bis wont from out the Call up your fortitude to bear what must sky,
be. Because he would not look upon our Alas! too sure, there is no hope. tears?
Agnes. Oh God! -Yet am I calm-Methinks, these gen- How is it that presentiments of blessing tle elves,
So oft are vain, and presages of horror (If
, as they tell, such are our guardians) Be evermore fulfilled ? That love the ripple of the moonlight Plask. Madam, be calm,
Beseech you Or silver bosom of the sleeping lake ; Agnes. I am calm.-I have been calmOr stilly grot that shades some sacred Yet who can choose but shrink whom the spring
Hath dazzled almost blind ? 'Tis over Plusk. It is past now ; now
I could not bear to see the cruel herd Speak to me tell me what hath pass'd Heap contumelies on his dying head, -fear not.
And mock the patience of his gentleNow I am calm enough. Do ye not see? Look on my hand-methinks it trembles Stir not, dear lady. Oh! beseech ye, stir not.
(She holds out a miniature.) not, Mark ye- Thou know'st that brow? 'Tis It is a needless pang, and there's enough Babington's.
Of cruelty already. I beseech ye,
Agnes. Yes, I am calm.—'Tis past. Plask. Madam, he did.
Thou see'st that I am firm; and, were I Nor did his cheek blench colour. When
not, his judges
How should I bear that which is yet to Did tell him he must die, he answer'd
I would not die before him, if I might. • He did not fear to die. Had he fear'd There is yet much to do-Oh! much.that,
How much! He had not then stood there.'
And in how brief a time! What agonies, Agnes. Thank God! - Thank God! Tearings of heart-strings, mortal throbsof And how beseem'd the rest ?
the bosom, Plask. Even as he did.
Must make the business of a few short Little they said, all save the gallant Tich.
hours ! bou
I must act now-whatever pangs await, Who, being ask'd, why he did join him. They must not kill me in the thinking self
of; To such companionship? with brow and Beyond, I care not.
eyes Where indignation lighten'd, scornfully
The fifth act opens with a scene in Replied— For company !'
an apartment in the Tower, where What heard you, madam ?
Babington lies alone, about to be led
forth to execution.
SCENE I. --An Apartment in the
Tower. They drag them to their death-cells (BABINGTON alone. He starts from his through the streets !
couch.) Sweet Heav'ns, support me now.
Ha! burn the stars not dim 2-What is (Shouts drawing nearer. )
the hour? If that thou canst, Surely, methought, I heard the midnight Look forth, I pray, and tell me what
toll. thou see'st.
Wild fantasies spring in the troubled My limbs are powerless !—I am dead al
As meteors from the fen. Did I not If that we can die all but our despair.
dream Great God! 'tis Babington.-Support I saw my mother married ; and she stood him, Heavens,
Deck'd for the bridal in her winding And let me not faint yet-not yet—not
sheet ? yet!
(Shouts.) -The tapers flicker'd bluely—and, e'en And yet my heart, that even dies within
The choral voices ring within mine ear! Only to think of what I dare not look on, Methought they issued from the vaults Doth almost burst its worthless tene
And not the holy choir ; and, when they As that, perforce, it would be out of ceased, doors,
Died into sounds unearthly-horribleDespite its coward mistress.
That were not music—'Twas a ghastly (A very loud shout. AGNES screams.)
I'll walk and watch awhile to calm myWhy dost thou hide thine eyes thus with
self. thy hands?
This is the time, when round a wretch It is the savage throng have murder'd him !
Will hover those ill beings, whose bad Speak-speak--for mercy's sake!
Is human ruin such as crowd, they suy,
Look down, ye powers, To new-made graves ; or, like a wander. Sure I do know this hand. Oh speak! ing fire,
unveil ! Flit round the spot where murder hath That I may know what I must yet enmade feast;
dure. Or shroud them in the cloud, whose Agnes. (Faintly.) Babington! smouldering bolt
Bab. Agnes, speak! Alas! she's pale Hath struck to earth the thunder-black. As death were on her brow. What! en'd wretch;
have they sent thee Or, with unnatural fears and fiendish That it might kill thee, and thine innopromptings,
cent breath Infect the restless sleep of those who Be added to my debt. wake
Look up, dear saint, To suicide.
Unless I may die too. Doth not the lamp wax pale ? sure morn- Agnes. Where am I?- Babington! ing nears.
I shall be strong anon. 'Tis past; forWell; let it come. Haply they think to give me scare me
If, when I look'd upon this place, my By bringing death o'the sudden 'fore my
Did die within me--but forgive me, sir, As they would fright a child. 'Tis baf- It was a woman's weakness. fled malice.
Bab. Thou art all good Had not his visage been familiar to me, But who did guard thee here? Why I had not been thus. I am now calm
would'st thou come? again
This is no place for gentleness like thine. As yesternight, when at my grated win- Agnes. Ask'st thou who guarded hidow
ther, Babington ? I watch'd the sun go down, lovely as e'er Heaven! Wherefore I would come, oh He did in happier days-ere I knew sor.
ask me not! row
Bab. And wherefore not, dear child ? Yet did not shed one tear. Let them
Agnes. (Solemnly.) Because that wheredeny
fore A friendly voice to smooth my waning Is nothing now either to thee or me. hours,
No breath bath ever known't, and, there. And work my death with ore of cruel
Let it remain unbreathed, till breath goes And less of sympathy, than they'd be
God grant not long—no matter. Only Upon a thievish cur- I can bear all.
say Nor shall a dying eye 'mid all their tor. My presence comforts you-say, that to tures,
see me, Ask, “ How can ye do this ?'
Or hear my voice, gives but a single ray How now? Unto the darkness of extremity; Enter GAOLER.
Then you are answer'd, why I would I come
come here. To say that one would be admitted to Bab. Comfort me !-yea, I am amayou.
zed, blest creature, Bab. One? Who?
Wrapt and uplifted, at the very thought Goaler. She will not say her name. That excellence like thine should dare Bab. HER name!
these horrors Admit her straight, whoe'er she be ; and For my poor-ruin'd sake. 0! I do see who
A glimpse-a ray, to which I have been That bears a woman's heart, can seek this
Even like the fool, that gazing at the sun At such an hour as this?
O’ertrod the precious jewel at his feet. (GAOLER retires.) Look down, great God! But one half Enter AGNES.
Whoe'er thou art, The name of comfort to my loneliness That in an hour when others would for- Were as a very echo, but the shadow get,
Of that which in itself was scarce a sound Dost think of Babington-Welcome; -Oh! what an hour of contrarieties! and, lady,
Speak to me, Agnes. Let me in pity see one face whereon Agnes. And what should I say? Some pity must be writ.