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A subject of the rarest kind of pity
That hath in any age touch'd noble hearts,
The vulgar story of a prince's ruin,
Hath made it too apparent: Europe knows,
And all the western world, what persecution
Hath raged in malice against us, sole heir
To the great throne of th' old Plantagenets.
How, from our nursery, we have been hurried
Unto the sanctuary, from the sanctuary
Forced to the prison, from the prison haled
By cruel hands, to the tormentor's fury,
Is register'd already in the volume
Of all men's tongues; whose true relation draws
Compassion, melted into weeping eyes,
And bleeding souls : but our misfortunes since,
Have rang’d a larger progress thro’ strange lands,
Protected in our innocence by Heaven.
Edward the Fifth, our brother, in his tragedy,
Quench'd their hot thirst of blood, whose hire to
Paid them their wages of despair and horror;
The softness of
childhood smiled upon The roughness of their task, and robb’d them far
ther Of hearts to dare, or hands to execute.
always with the original in view. The speech before us opens thus in Bacon:
“ High and mighty king! your grace, and then your nobles here present, may be pleased to hear the tragedy of a young mantossed from misery to misery: You see before you the spectacle of a Plantagenet, who hath been carried from the nursery to the sanctuary, from the sanctuary to the dismal prison ; from the prison to the hands of the cruel tormentor, &c.
Great king, they spared my life, the butchers,
Return'd the tyrant, my unnatural uncle,
A truth of my dispatch; I was convey'd
With secrecy and speed to Tournay; foster'd
By obscure means, taught to unlearn myself:
But as I grew in years, I grew in sense
Of fear and of disdain; fear of the tyrant
Whose power sway'd the throne then: when dis-
Of living so unknown, in such a servile
And abject lowness, prompted me to thoughts
Of recollecting who I was, I shook off
My bondage, and made haste to let my aunt
Of Burgundy acknowledge me her kinsman;
Heir to the crown of England, snatch'd by Henry
From Richard's head; a thing scarce known i'th'
K. Ja. My lord, it stands not with your coun-
To fly upon invectives; if you can
Make this apparent what you have discours’d,
In every circumstance, we will not study
An answer, but are ready in your cause.
War. You are a wise and just king, by the
Above reserv’d, beyond all other aids,
To plant me in mine own inheritance:
marry these two kingdoms in a love Never to be divorced, while time is time. As for the manner, first of my escape,
Of my conveyance next, of my life since, ,
The means, and persons who were instruments,
Great sir, 'tis fit I over-pass in silence;
Reserving the relation to the secrecy
Of your own princely ear, since it concerns
Some great ones living yet, and others dead,
Whose issue might be question'd. For your
Royal magnificence to him that seeks it,
We vow hereafter to demean ourself,
As if we were your own and natural brother;
Omitting no occasion in our person,
To express a gratitude beyond example.
K. Ja. He must be more than subject who can
The language of a king, and such is thine.
Take this for answer; be whate'er thou art,
Thou never shalt repent that thou hast put
Thy cause and person into my protection.
Cousin of York, thus once more we embrace thee;
Welcome to James of Scotland! for thy safety,
Know, such as love thee not shall never wrong
thee. Come, we will taste a while our court-delights, Dream hence afflictions past, and then proceed To high attempts of honour. On, lead on! Both thou and thine are ours, and we will guard you.
[Exeunt all but the ladies. Countess. I have not seen a gentleman Of a more brave aspect, or goodlier carriage;
His fortunes move not him—Madam, you are
passionate. Kath. Beshrew me, but his words have touch'd
me home, As if his cause concern'd me; I should pity him, If he should prove another than he seems.
Enter CRAWFORD. Craw. Ladies, the king commands your pre
For entertainment of the duke.
Kath. “ The duke"
Must then be entertain'd, the king obey'd;
It is our duty.
Countess. We will all wait on him. [Exeunt.
London.--The Tower. A Flourish. -Enter King HENRY, OXFORD, Dur
K. Hen. Have
chamberlain ? Dur. His treasons Condemn'd him, sir; which were as clear and
As foul and dangerous: besides, the guilt
Of his conspiracy prest him so nearly,
That it drew from him free confession,
Without an importunity.
* Madam, you are passionate.) i. e. distressed, deeply affected: the Countess had observed Katherine weeping.
K. Hen. Oh, lord bishop,
This argued shame and sorrow for his folly,
And must not stand in evidence against
Our mercy, and the softness of our nature;
The rigour and extremity of law
Is sometimes too too bitter; but we carry
A Chancery of pity in our bosom.
I hope we may reprieve him from the sentence
Of death; I hope we may.
Dur. You may, you may;
And so persuade your subjects that the title
Of York is better, nay, more just and lawful,
Than yours of Lancaster! so Stanley holds:
Which if it be not treason in the highest,
Then we are traitors all, perjured, and false,
Who have took oath to Henry, and the justice
Of Henry's title ; Oxford, Surrey, Dawbeney,
With all your other peers of state and church,
Forsworn, and Stanley true alone to Heaven,
And England's lawful heir!
Oxf. By Vere's old honours,
I'll cut his throat dares speak it.
Sur. 'Tis a quarrel To engage a soul in.
K. Hen. What a coil is here To keep my gratitude sincere and perfect! Stanley was once my friend,' and came in time
s Stanley was once my friend, fc.] Much of this is from the noble historian. The king certainly bolds a very different language from that which we had in a former page ; but it is characteristic of his close, cold, and selfish nature. “ As a little leaven (Bacon