« PreviousContinue »
I'd rather be a bird, to fly away,
Eliz. The serpent's eye of fire,
With slow and deadly glare, poor bird, I fear,
Is fixed on thee and Edward-God avert it!
Rich. And therefore must not I go out to play?
Eliz. Go, play among the tombs- I will go too
Go, play with sculls and bones, or see the train
Of sceptred kings' come slowly through the gloom,
And widowed queens move in the shroud of death
Along the glimmering aisles, and hollow vaults ;-
Would I were with them I shall be so soon.
Rich. Mother, methought I saw him yesterday—
Eliz. Saw whom ?
Rich. My father-and he seemed to look-
I cannot say how sadly—could it be
His spirit? He was armed, but very pale,
And sorrowful his countenance. I heard
No sound of footsteps when he moved away,
And disappeared among the distant tombs
In further darkness.--
Oh! my son-my son ; Thou hadst a king thy father-he is dead ;Thou hadst been happier as a peasant's child.
Kich. Oh! how I wish I was a shepherd's boy! For then, dear mother, I would run and play With Edward, and we two, in primrose-time, Would wander out among the villages,
Or go a maying, by some river's side,
And mark the minnow-shoals, when morning shone
Upon the yellow gravel, shoot away
Beneath the old gray arch, or bring home cowslips
For all my sisters-for Elizabeth,
And you, dear mother, if you would not weep so.
Eliz. Richard, break not my heart; give me your
And kneel with me by this cold monument. [hand,
Spirit of my loved husband, now in heaven,
If, at this moment, thou dost see thy son,
And me, thus broken-hearted-oh! if aught
Yet human touches thee, assist these prayers,
That him, and me, and my poor family,
God, in the hour of evil, may protect !
Let not my heart yet break-
Come, my poor boy.
SCENE III. The CARDINAL OF YORK*-QUEEN-RICHARD. Eliz, Now, my Lord Cardinal, what is the will Of our great Lords with me?-Your Grace well knows I am a helpless woman-have no powerI only wish, for what of my life remains,
Prayer and repose, and for my poor child here,
Car. The Council, Madam, wish no less;
But, for your son, they deem his durance here
Breeds ill report—this separation too
Of those in blood allied, almost of years
The same, who have been cradled in one lap;
What can it say, but that one brother stands
In peril of the other? -and besides,
Were it not for the comfort of them both,
That they should be together? Sport, not care,
Becomes their early years.-
I say not NAY
It is most fitting that my youngest son
Were with the King, his brother-in good faith,
I know it would be comfort to them both;
But, when I think upon the teuder years,
Even of the eldest, I must also think
A mother's custody were best for either.
You have no children, else, I would not ask,
“ Is there a guardian like a mother's love?”
Richard, look up!--This good man here intends
No harm to me or you-look up, my boy-
No power on earth-nothing but death itself
Shall sever us-
What would you more, my Lord? Car. Madam, no man contendeth that your Grace Is not the fittest guardian of your child,
And tenderest; but, if so it pleases you
Here to lie hid, shut out from all the world,
Be it for humour or for jealousy,
We hold it meetest, that " no power on earth"
Should so detain a brother of the King's.
And let me add, when reasons of the State
Required the absence of your eldest son,
Yourself were well content-
Not very well ;-
Nor is the case the same ;-one was in health,
The other here declines; and let me marvel
That He, the Lord Protector of this realm,
Should wish him out; for, should aught ill betide,
Suspicion, in some tempers, might arise
Against the keeping of his Grace :-My Lord,
Do they complain that my child Richard here
Is with his desolate and widowed mother, w
Who has no other comfort ?-Do they claim
His presence, for that here his residence
Consorts not with his fortunes ? I am fixed
Not to come forth and jeopardy his life.
Car. Jeopardy!—where? and how ?-why should,
Your friends have any fears ?--can you say why?
Eliz. Truly, nor why in prison they should be,
As now they are-I know no reason why.
But this I know, that they who, without colour,
Have cast them into prison, if they will,
Their death may compass with as little cause. .
My Lord, no more of this.
My gracious Queen,
This only let me say—If, by arrest
Your Grace's high and honourable kin
Be now confined, when trial has been had,
They shall do well; and, for your Grace's self,
There never was, nor can be, jeopardy.
Eliz. Why should I trust? That I am innocent!
And were they guilty ? that I am more loved,
Even by those enemies, who only hate
Them for my sake!
Therefore I will not forth, Nor shall my son :-here will we both abideThese shrines shall be the world to him and me-These monuments our sad companions ; Or when, as now, the morning sunshine streams 'Slant from the rich-bued window's height, and rests On yonder tomb, it shall discourse to me Of the brief sunshine in the gloom of life! No, of Heaven's light upon the silent grave Of the tired traveller's eternal homeOf hope and joy beyond this vale of tears.
Car. Then pardon me.-We will not bandy words Further--if it shall please you, generous Queen, To yield your son, I pledge my life and soul,. Not only for a surety, but estate ; If resolutely still you answer “ No,"