Page images

Tread on me, buffet me, heap wrongs on wrongs
On my poor head; I'll bear it all with patience :
I'll weary out thy most friendly cruelty :
Lie at thy feet and kiss 'em, though they spurn me,
Till wounded by my sufferings thou relent,
And raise me to thy arms with dear forgiveness.

Pier. Art thou not-
JAFF. What?
Pier. A traitor ?
JAFF. Yes.
Pier. A villain?!
JAFF. Granted.

PIER. A coward, a mol scandalous coward,
Spiritless, void of honour, one who has fold
Thy everlasting fame for shameless life?
JAFF. All, all, and more, much more my faults are num-

berless. Pier. And would'I thou have me live on terms like thine; Base as thou'rt falle

JAFF. No; 'tis to me that's granted :
The safety of thy life was all I aim'd at,
In recompence for faith and trust fo broken.

PIER. I scorn it more, because preserv'd by thee :
And as when first my foolish heart took pity
On thy misfortunes, fought thee in thy miseries,
Reliev'd thy wants, and rais’d thee from thy state
Of wretchedness, in which thy fate had plung'd thee,
To rank thee in my lift of noble friends :
All I receiv'd, in furety for thy truth,
Were unregarded oaths, and this, this dagger,
Given with a worthless pledge thou since hait stol'n:
So I restore it back to thee again ;

R 3


Swearing by all those powers which thou haft violated,
Never from this curs'd hour to hold communion,
Friendship, or interest with thee, tho' our years
Were to exceed those limited the world.
Take it-Farewel, for now I owe thee nothing.

JAFF. Say, wilt thou live then.

Pier. For my life, dispose of it
Just as wilt thou, because 'tis what I'm tir'd with.

JAFF. Oh, Pierre !
Pier. No more.

JAFF. My eyes won't lose the fight of thee,
But languish after thine, and ache with gazing.
Pier. Leave me. -Nay, then thus, thus I throw

thee from me ; And curfes, great as is thy falsehood, catch thee.


C H A P. XI.


Let me have no intruders ; above all,
Keep Warwick from my fight

War. Behold him here ;
No welcome guest, it seems, unless I ak
My lord of Suffolk's leave there was a time
When Warwick wanted not his aid to gain
Admission here.

Edw. There was a time, perhaps,
When Warwick more desir'd and more deferv'd it.

WAR. Never ; I've been a foolish, faithful Nave; All my best years, the morning of my life,


Hath been devoted to your service : what
Are now the fruits ? Disgrace and infamy;
My spotless name, which never yet the breath
Of Calumny had tainted, made the mock
For foreign fools to carp at : But 'iis fit
Who trust in princes, should be thus rewarded.

Edw. I' thought, my lord, I had full well repay'd
Your services with honours, wealth, and pow'r
Unlimited: thy all-directing hand
Guided in secret ev'ry latent wheel
Of government, and mov'd the whole machine :
Warwick was all in all, and pow'rless Edward
Stood like a cypher in the great account.

WAR. Who gave that cypher worth, and feated the
On England's throne ? Thy undiftinguish'd name
Had rotted in the dart from whence it sprang,
And moulder'd in oblivion, had not Warwick
Dug from its sordid mine the useless ore
And stamp'd it with a diadem. Thou know'st
This wretched country, doom’d, perhaps, like Rome,
To fall by its own self-destroying hand,
Toft for so many years in the rough sea
Of civil discord, but for me had perith’d.
In that distressful hour 1 reiz'd the helm,
Bade the rough waves subside in peace, and steer'd
Your. shatter'd vefsel safe into the harbour.
You may despise, perhaps, that useless aid
Which you no longer want; but know, proud youth !
He who forgets a friend, sleserves a foe,

Edw. Know too, reproach for benefits receiv'd
Pays ev'ry debt, and cancels obligation.
War. Why, that indeed is frugal honesty,

A thrifty

[ocr errors]

A thrifty saving knowledge : when the debt,
Grows burthensome and cannot be discharg'd,
A sponge will wipe out all, and cost you nothing.

Edw. When you have counted o'er the num'rous train
Of mighty gifts your bounty lavish'd on me,
You may remember next the injuries
Which I have done you: let me know them all,
And I will make you ample satisfaction.

War. Thou canst not; thou haft robb’d me of a jewel
Ii is not in thy power to restore:
I was the first, thall future annals say,
That broke the facred bond of public trust
And mutual confidence; amba:Tadors,
In after-times, mere inftruments, perhaps
Of venal statelinen, shall recal my name
To witness, that they want not an example,
And plead my guilt, to fanétify their own.
Amidit the herd of mercenary slaves
That haunt your court, could none be found but Warwick,
To be the shamelefs herald of a lie?

Edw. And wouldst thou turn the vile reproach on me?
If I have broke my faith, and stain'd the name
Of England, thank thy own pernicious counsels
That urged me to it, and extorted from me
A cold consent to what my heart abhorr’d.

WAR. I have been abus'd, insulted, and betray'd;
My injur'd honour cries aloud for vengeance
Her wounds will never close !

Epw. These gulls of paffion
Will but inflame them; if I have been right
Inform'd, my lord, besides these dangerous scars
Of bleeding honour, you have other wounds,



As deep, tho' not fo fatal : such perhaps
As none but fair Elizabeth can cure.

WAR. Elizabeth !

Edw. Nay, start not, I have cause
To wonder moft: I little thought indeed
When Warwick told me I might learn to love,
He was himself so able to intruct me:
But I have discover'd all.-

War. And so have I;
Too well I know thy breach of friendship there,'
Thy fruitless, base endeavours to supplant me.

Edw. I fcorn it, Sir, Elizabeth hath charms,
And I have equal right with you to admire them :
Nor see I'ought so godlike in the form,
So all commanding in the name of Warwick,
That he alone should revel in the charms
Of beauty, and monopolize perfection.
I knew not of


War. By Heav'n 'tis false !
You knew it all, and meanly took occasion,
Whilft I was bufied in the noble office
Your grace thought fit to honour me withal,
To tamper

with a weak unguarded woman,
To bribe her passions high, and bafely steal
A treafure which your kingdom could not purchase.

EĐw. How know you that? But be it as it may,
I had a right, nor will I tamely yield
My claim to happiness, the privilege
To choose the partner of my throne and bed;
It is a branch of my prerogative.

WAR. Prerogative! what's that? the boaft of tyrants ;
A borrow'd jewel, glitt'ring in the crown


« PreviousContinue »