« PreviousContinue »
Mess. One from the lord Stanley.
Hast. [Within.] What is 't o'clock?
Mess. Upon the stroke of four.
Hast. Cannot my lord Stanley sleep these tedious nights ?
Mess. So it appears by that I have to say. First, he commends him to your noble self.
Hast. What then?
Mess. Then certifies your lordship, that this night
He dreamt the boar' had rased off his helm:
Besides, he says, there are two councils kept;
And that may be determin'd at the one,
Which may make you and him to rue at th' other.
Therefore he sends to know your lordship's pleasure,
If you will presently take horse with him,
And with all speed post with him toward the north,
To shun the danger that his soul divines.
Hast. Go, fellow, go, return unto thy lord :
Bid him not fear the separated councils :
His bonour and myself are at the one,
And at the other is my good friend Catesby;
Where nothing can proceed that toucheth us
Whereof I shall not have intelligence.
Tell him, his fears are shallow, without instance ::
And, for his dreams, I wonder he's so simple
To trust the mockery of unquiet slumbers :
To fly the boar, before the boar pursues,
Were to incense the boar to follow us,
And make pursuit where he did mean no chase.
Go, bid thy master rise and come to me;
And we will both together to the Tower,
Where, he shall see, the boar will use us kindly.
Mess. I'll go, my lord, and tell him what you say. (Exit.
Cate. Many good morrows to my noble lord !
Hast. Good morrow, Catesby; you are early stirring :
What news, what news, in this our tottering state?
Cate. It is a reeling world, indeed, my lord ;
And I believe will never stand upright
Till Richard wear the garland of the realm.
Hast. How ! wear the garland! dost thou mean the crown?
Cate. Ay, my good lord.
(1) The boar, i.e, the duke of Gloucester.
(2) Instance means proof.
Hast. I'll have this crown of mine cut from my shoulders
Before I 'll see the crown so foul misplac'd.
But canst thou guess that he doth aim at it?
Cate. Ay, on my life; and hopes to find you forward
Upon his party, for the gain thereof:
And, thereupon, he sends you this good news,
That, this same very day, your enemies,
The kindred of the queen, must die at Pomfret.
Hast. Indeed, I am no mourner for that news,
Because they have been still my adversaries :
But, that I'll give my voice on Richard's side,
To bar my master's heirs in true descent,
God knows, I will not do it, to the death.
Cate. God keep your lordship in that gracious mind!
Hast. But I shall laugh at this a twelvemonth hence,
That they which brought me in my master's hate,
I live to look upon their tragedy.
Well, Catesby, ere a fortnight make me older,
I'll send some packing that yet think not on 't.
Cate. 'Tis a vile thing to die, my gracious lord,
When men are unprepar'd, and look not for it.
Hast. O monstrous, monstrous ! and so falls it out
With Rivers, Vaughan, Grey: and so 'twill do
With some men else, who think themselves as safe
As thou and I ; who, as thou know'st, are dear
To princely Richard, and to Buckingham.
Cate. The princes both make high account of you,
For they account his head upon the bridge.
[Aside. Hast. I know they do ; and I have well deserv'd it.
Come on, come on; where is your boar-spear, man?
Fear you the boar, and go so unprovided ?
Stan. My lord, good morrow; and good morrow, Catesby:-
You may jest on, but, by the holy rood,
I do not like these several councils, I.
Hast. My lord, I hold my life as dear as yours;
And never, in my days, I do protest,
Was it so precious to me as'tis now:
Think you, but that I know our state secure,
I would be so triumphant as I am ?
Stan. The lords at Pomfret, when they rode from London,
Were jocund, and suppos'd their states were sure,
And they, indeed, had no cause to mistrust;
But yet, you see, how soon the day o'ercast.
(1) By the holy rood, i.e. by the cross : a common oath.
This sudden stab of rancour I misdoubt;
Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward !
What, shall we toward the Tower? the day is spent.
Hast. Come, come, have with you.--Wot you what, my
To-day the lords you talk of are beheaded.
Stan. They, for their truth, might better wear their heads,
Than some that have accus'd them wear their hats.
But come, my lord, let's away.
Enter a Pursuivant.
Hast. Go on before, I'll talk with this good fellow.
Exeunt STANLEY and CATESBY. How now, sirrah! how goes the world with thee?
Purs. The better that your lordship please to ask.
Hast. I tell thee, man, 'tis better with me now,
Than when thou mett'st me last where now we meet :
Then was I going prisoner to the Tower,
By the suggestion of the queen’s allies ;
But now, I tell thee, (keep it to thyself,)
This day those enemies are put to death,
And I in better state than e'er I was.
Purs. God hold it, to your honour's good content!
Hast. Gramercy, fellow : There, drink that for me.
[Throwing him his purse. Purs. I thank your honour.
Enter a Priest.
Pr. Well met, my lord; I am glad to see your honour.
Hast. I thank thee, good sir John, with all my heart.
I am in your debt for your last exercise :
Come the next Sabbath, and I will content you.
Pr. I'll wait upon your lordship.
Buck. What, talking with a priest, lord chamberlain ?
Your friends at Pomfret they do need the priest;
Your honour hath no shriving work 2 in hand.
Hast. 'Good faith, and when I met this holy man,
The men you talk of came into my mind.
What, go you toward the Tower?
Buck. I do, my lord; but long I cannot stay there :
I shall return before your lordship thence.
Hast. Nay, like enough, for I stay dinner there. .
(1) Exercise,-- performance of divine service.
(2) No shriving work, i.e. confession.
Buck. And supper too, although thou know'st it not. [Aside. Come, will you go? Hast.
I'll wait upon your lordship. [Exeunt.
SCENE III.—Pomfret. Before the Castle.
Enter RATCLIFF, with a guard, conducting RIVERS, GREY, and
VAUGHAN, to execution.
Riv. Sir Richard Ratcliff, let me tell thee this,
To-day shalt thou behold a subject die,
For truth, for duty, and for loyalty.
Grey. God keep the prince from all the pack of you !
A knot you are of damned bloodsuckers.
Vaugh. You live that shall cry woe for this hereafter.
Rat. Despatch; the limit of your lives is out.
Riv. O Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison,
Fatal and ominous to noble peers!
Within the guilty closure of thy walls
Richard the second here was hack'd to death :
And, for more slander to thy dismal seat,
We give to thee our guiltless blood to drink.
Grey. Now Margaret's curse is fallen upon our heads,
When she exclaim'd on Hastings, you, and I,
For standing by when Richard stabb’d her son.
Riv. Then curs'd she Richard, then curs'd she Buckingham,
Then curs'd she Hastings :-0, remember, God,
To hear her prayer for them, as now for us !
And for my sister, and her princely sons,
Be satisfied, dear God, with our true blood,
Which, as thou know'st, unjustly must be spilt !
Rat. Make haste, the hour of death is expiate.1
Riv. Come, Grey,—come, Vaughan,-let us here embrace: Farewell, until we meet again in heaven.
[Exeunt. SCENE IV.-London. A Room in the Tower. BUCKINGHAM, STANLEY, HASTINGS, the BISHOP OF ELY,
RATCLIFF, LOVEL, and others, sitting at a table : Officers of the council attending.
Hast. Now, noble peers, the cause why we are met
Is, to determine of the coronation :
In God's name, speak, when is the royal day?
Buck. Are all things ready for that royal time?
Stan. They are; and wants but nomination.
Ely. To-morrow then I judge a happy day.
Buck. Who knows the lord protector's mind herein
(1) Is expiate, i.e. is up, is expired.
Who is most inward? with the noble duke?
Ely. Your grace, we think, should soonest know his mind.
Buck. We know each other's faces : for our hearts,
He knows no more of mine than I of yours;
Nor I of his, my lord, than you of mine :
Lord Hastings, you and he are near in love.
Hast. I thank his grace, I know he loves me well:
But, for his purpose in the coronation,
I have not sounded him, nor he deliver'd
His gracious pleasure any way therein :
But you, my honourable lords, may name the time;
And in the duke's behalf I'll give my voice,
Which, I presume, he'll take in gentle part.
Ely. In happy time, here comes the duke himself.
Gio. My noble lords and cousins all, good morrow :
I have been long a sleeper; but, I trust,
My absence doth neglect no great design,
Which by my presence might have been concluded.
Buck. Had you not come upon your cue,? my lord,
William lord Hastings had pronounc'd your part,-
I mean, your voice,-for crowning of the king.
Glo. Than my lord Hastings no man might be bolder ;
His lordship knows me well, and loves me well.
My lord of Ely, when I was last in Holborn, 3
I saw good strawberries in your garden there;
I do beseech you send for some of them.
Ely. Marry and will, my lord, with all my heart. [Exit ELY.
Glo. Cousin of Buckingham, a word with you.
[Takes him aside. Catesby hath sounded Hastings in our business; And finds the testy gentleman so hot That he will lose his head, ere give consent His master's child, as worshipfully he terms it, Shall lose the royalty of England's throne. Buck. Withdraw yourself awhile, I'll go with you.
[Exeunt GLOSTER and BUCKINGHAM. Stan. We have not yet set down this day of triumph. To-morrow, in my judgment, is too sudden; For I myself am not so well provided, As else I would be, were the day prolong'd.
(1) Most inward,-most intimate, confidential.
(2) Come upon your cue. An expression borrowed from the theatre, meaning to come just in time to take your proper part.
(3) In Holborn,—where there used to be the palace of the Bishop of Ely; Elyplace now stands on the spot.