Page images

In whose clear nature, as two suns, do rise
The attributes of merciful and wise;
Whose laws are so impartial, they must
Be counted heavenly, 'cause they're truly just:
Who does, with princely moderation, give
His subjects an example how to live;
Teaching their erring natures to direct
Their wills, to what it ought most to affect :
That, as the sun does unto all dispense
Heat, light, nay life, from his full influence:
Yet you, wild fools, possess'd with giant rage,
Dare, in your lawless fury, think to wage
War against Heaven; and from his shining throne
Pull Jove himself, for you to tread upon;
Were your heads circled with his own green oak,
Yet are they subject to his thunder stroke,
And he can sink such wretches as rebel,
From Heaven's sublime height to the depth of Hell.

1 Clown. The devil he can as soon! we fear no colours; let him do his worst; there's many a tall fellow, besides us, will rather die than see his living taken from them, nay, even eat up: all things are grown so dear, there's no enduring more mouths than our own, neighbour.

2 Clown. Thou'rt a wise fellow, neighbour; prate is but prate. They say this prince too would bring new laws upon us, new rites into the temples of our gods; and that's abominable; we'll all be hang'd first.

Win. A most fair pretence

To found rebellion upon conscience!

Dull, stubborn fools! whose perverse judgments still
Are govern'd by the malice of your will,
Not by indifferent reason, which to you
Comes, as in droughts the elemental dew

Does on the parch'd earth; wets, but does not give
Moisture enough to make the plants to live.
Things void of soul! can you conceive, that he,
Whose every thought's an act of piety,
Who's all religious, furnish'd with all good
That ever was comprised in flesh and blood,
Cannot direct you in the fittest way

To serve those Powers, to which himself does pay
True zealous worship, nay's so near allied
To them, himself must needs be deified?

Enter FOLLY.

Fol. Save you, gentlemen! 'Tis very cold; you live in frost; you've Winter still about you. 2 Clown. What are you, sir?

Fol. A courtier, sir; but, you may guess, a very foolish one, to leave the bright beams of my lord, the prince, to travel hither. I have an ague on me; do you not see me shake? Well, if our courtiers, when they come hither, have not warm young wenches, good wines and fires, to heat their blood, 'twill freeze into an apoplexy. Farewell, frost! I'll go seek a fire to thaw me; I'm all ice, I fear, already.


1 Clown. Farewell, and be hanged! ere such as these shall eat what we have sweat for, we'll spend our bloods. Come, neighbours, let's go

call our company together, and go meet this prince he talks so of.

3 Clown. Some shall have but a sour welcome of it, if my crabtree-cudgel hold here.

Win. 'Tis, I see,

Not in my power to alter destiny;

You're mad in your rebellious minds: but hear What I presage, with understanding clear,

As your black thoughts are misty; take from me
This, as a true and certain augury:

This prince shall come, and, by his glorious side,
Laurel-crown'd conquest shall in triumph ride,
Arm'd with the justice that attends his cause,
You shall with penitence embrace his laws:
He to the frozen northern clime shall bring
A warmth so temperate, as shall force the Spring
Usurp my privilege, and by his ray

Night shall be changed into perpetual day:
Plenty and happiness shall still increase,
As does his light; and turtle-footed peace
Dance like a fairy through his realms, while all
That envy him, shall like swift comets fall,
By their own fire consumed; and glorious he
Ruling, as 'twere, the force of destiny,
Shall have a long and prosperous reign on earth,
Then fly to Heaven, and give a new star birth.

And turtle-footed peace

Dance like a fairy, &c.] This, as well as several other expressions in this elegant " augury, is taken from the beautiful address to Elizabeth, in Jonson's Epilogue to Every Man out of his Humour.

The throat of war be stopp'd within her realm,
And turtle-footed peace dance fairy-rings

About her court, &c.


But see, our star appears; and from his eye
Fly thousand beams of sparkling majesty.
Bright son of Phoebus, welcome! I begin
To feel the ice fall from my crisled skin;7
For at your beams the waggoner might thaw
His chariot, axled with Riphæan snow;
Nay, the slow moving North-star, having felt
Your temperate heat, his icicles would melt.

Ray. What bold rebellious caitiffs dare disturb The happy progress of our glorious peace, Contemn the justice of our equal laws,

Profane those sacred rights, which still must be
Attendant on monarchal dignity?

I came to frolic with you, and to cheer
Your drooping souls by vigour of my beams,
And have I this strange welcome? Reverend

I'm come to be your guest; your bounteous, free
Condition does assure [me], I shall have

A welcome entertainment.

Win. Illustrious sir! I am [not] ignorant How much expression my true zeal will want To entertain you fitly; yet my love

And hearty duty shall be far above

To feel the ice fall from my crisled skin;] This word is familiar to me, though I can give no example of it. In Devonshire, where Ford must have often heard it, it means that roughening, shrivelling effect of severe cold upon the skin, known in other counties by the name of goose-flesh.

My outward welcome. To that glorious light
Of Heaven, the Sun, which chases hence the night,
I am so much a vassal, that I'll strive,

By honouring you, to keep my faith alive

To him, brave prince, through you, who do inherit
Your father's cheerful heat and quick'ning spirit.
Therefore, as I am Winter, worn and spent
So far with age, I am Time's monument,
Antiquity's example; in my zeal

I, from my youth, a span of time will steal
To open the free treasures of my court,

And swell your soul with my delights and sport.
Ray. Never till now

Did admiration beget in me truly

The rare-match'd twins at once, pity and pleasure. [Pity, that one3]

So royal, so abundant in earth's blessings,

Should not partake the comfort of those beams, With which the Sun, beyond extent, doth cheer The other seasons; yet my pleasures with you, From their false charms, do get the start, as far As Heaven's great lamp from every minor star.

Boun. Sir, you can speak well; if your tongue deliver

The message of your heart, without some cunning Of restraint, we may hope to enjoy

The lasting riches of your presence hence [forth] Without distrust or change.


Ray. Winter's sweet bride,

* Something is evidently lost in this place. I have merely inserted a word or two, to give meaning to what follows.

« PreviousContinue »