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My Lord of Hunsdon,” said the Dean of Saint Asaph, “ 1 speak it not in defamation of his more noble qualities, hath a broad license in speech, and garnishes his discourse somewhat too freely with the cruel and superstitious oaths which savor both of profaneness and of old papistrie.”
“ It is the fault of his blood, Mr. Dean,” said the Queen, turning sharply round upon the reverend dignitary as he spoke; “and you may blame mine for the same distemperature. The Boleyns were ever a hot and plain-spoken race, more hasty to speak their mind than careful to choose their expressions. And, by my word — I hope there is no sin in that affirmation
-I question if it were much cooled by mixing with that of Tudor.”
As she made this last observation, she smiled graciously and stole her eyes almost insensibly round to seek those of the Earl of Leicester, to whom she now began to think she had spoken with hasty harshness upon the unfounded suspicion of a moment.
The Queen's eye found the Earl in no mood to accept the implied offer of conciliation. His own looks had followed, with late and rueful repentance, the faded form which Hunsdon had just borne from the presence; they now reposed gloomily on the ground, but more so at least it seemed to Elizabeth with the expression of one who has received an unjust affront, than of him who is conscious of guilt. She turned her face angrily from him, and said to Varney, “ Speak, Sir Richard, and explain these riddles -- thou hast sense and the use of speech, at least, which elsewhere we look for in vain."
As she said this, she darted another resentful glance toward Leicester, while the wily Varney hastened to tell his own story.
“Your Majesty's piercing eye,” he said, “has already detected the cruel malady of my beloved lady; which, unhappy that I am, I would not suffer to be expressed in the certificate of her physician, seeking to conceal what has now broken out with so much the more scandal."
“She is then distraught?” said the Queen—"indeed we doubted not of ither whole demeanor bears it out. I found her moping in a corner of yonder grotto; and every word she spoke – which indeed I dragged from her as by the rack — she instantly recalled and forswore. But how came ahe bither? Why had you her not in safe keeping ?"
My gracious Liege," said Varney, “the worthy gentleman under whose charge I left her, Master Anthony Foster, has come hither but now, as fast as man and horse can travel, to show me of her escape, which she managed with the art peculiar to many who are afflicted with this malady. He is at hand for examination."
“Let it be for another time," said the Queen. " But, Sir Richard, we envy you not your domestic felicity; your lady railed on you bitterly, and seemed ready to swoon at beholding you.”
"It is the nature of persons in her disorder, so please your Grace,” answered Varney, “to be ever most inveterate in their spleen against those whom, in their better moments, they hold nearest and dearest.”
“We have heard so, indeed,” said Elizabeth, “and give faith to the saying.”
• May your Grace then be pleased,” said Varney, “ to command my unfortunate wife to be delivered into the custody of her friends ?”
Leicester partly started; but, making a strong effort, he subdued his emotion, while Elizabeth answered sharply, “ You are something too hasty, Master Varney; we will have first a report of the lady's health and state of mind from Masters, our own physician, and then determine what shall be thought just. You shall have license, however, to see her, that if there be any matrimonial quarrel betwixt you — such things we have heard do occur, even betwixt a loving couple —you may make it up, without further scandal to our court, or trouble to ourselves.
Varney bowed low, and made no other answer.
Elizabeth again looked toward Leicester, and said, with a degree of condescension which could only arise out of the most heartfelt interest, “Discord, as the Italian poet says, will find her way into peaceful convents, as well as into the privacy of families ; and we fear our own guards and ushers will hardly exclude her from courts. My Lord of Leicester, you are offended with us, and we have right to be offended with you. We will take the lion's part upon us, and be the first to forgive."
Leicester smoothed his brow, as if by an effort, but the trouble was too deep-seated that its placidity should at once return. He said, however, that which fitted the occasion, " that he could not have the happiness of forgiving, because she who commanded him to do so could commit no injury toward him."
Elizabeth seemed content with this reply, and intimated her pleasure that the sports of the morning should proceed. The bugles sounded—the hounds bayed — the horses pranced - but the courtiers and ladies sought the amusements to which they were summoned with hearts very different from those which had leaped to the morning's réveil. There was doubt, and fear, and expectation on every brow, and surmise and intrigue in every whisper.
Blount took an opportunity to whisper into Raleigh's ear, “ This storm came like a levanter in the Mediterranean.
“Varium et mutabile," answered Raleigh, in a similar tone.
POEMS BY RONSARD.
[PIERRE DE RONSARD, one of the greatest of French lyric poets, was born near Vendôme, September 11, 1524. He was educated at court as page to the Duke of Orleans ; spent several years in the service of James V. of Scotland; and on his return to France was employed on various diplomatic missions. Becoming deaf from illness, he withdrew from court and devoted seven years to the study of the classics. Here he became the head of a group of poets, styling themselves “ La Pléiade," who aimed at regenerating the language and creating a new literature on classic models. Ronsard's popularity and prosperity during his life were very great. Henry II. and Francis II. covered him with honors and pensions ; Charles IX. added priories and abbacies; and Queen Elizabeth presented him with a set of diamonds. His works comprise: “Odes,” “Hymnes," “ Amours," “ La Franciade" (an unfinished epic), sonnets, elegies, etc. He died at his priory St. Côme, Touraine, December 27, 1585.)
To His YOUNG MISTRESS.
(Translated by Andrew Lang.)
Holding his misery for gain,
Her purple mantle to the light,
Her color, bright as yours is bright?
All have faded, fallen, died !
'Twixt matin song and eventide. Hear me, Darling! speaking sooth: Gather the fleet flower of your youth !
Take ye your pleasure at the best!
Like roses that were loveliest.
WELCOME TO SPRING.
(Translated by H. F. Cary.) God shield ye, heralds of the spring, Ye faithful swallows fleet of wing,
Hoops, cuckoos, nightingales,
Turtles and every wilder bird,
Through the green woods and dales.
God shield ye, Easter daisies all,
whom erst the gore
I welcome ye once more.
God shield ye, bright embroidered train
Of each sweet herblet sip;
To kiss them with your lip.
A hundred thousand times I call -
This season how I love!
Forbade my steps to rove.
OF HIS LADY'S OLD AGE.
(Translated by Andrew Lang.) When you are very old, at evening
You'll sit and spin beside the fire, and say,
Humming my songs, “Ah well, ah well-a-day! When I was young, of me did Ronsard sing.” None of your maidens that doth hear the thing,
Albeit with her weary task foredone,
But wakens at my name, and calls you one Blest, to be held in long remembering.
I shall be low beneath the earth, and laid
While you beside the fire, a grandame gray,
And gather roses, while 'tis called to-day.