Imagens das páginas

A serpent that will sting thee to the heart.

Boling. O heinous, strong, and bold conspiracy!---O loyal father of a treacherous son!

Thou sheer, immaculate, and silver fountain,
From whence this stream through muddy passages,
Hath held his current, and defil'd himself!
Thy overflow of good converts to bad;
And thy abundant goodness shall excuse
This deadly blot in thy digressing son.*

York. So shall my virtue be his vice's bawd;
And he shall spend mine honour with his shame,
As thriftless sons their scraping fathers' gold.
Mine honour lives when his dishonour dies,
Or my sham'd life in his dishonour lies:
Thou kill'st me in his life; giving him breath,
The traitor lives, the true man's put to death.
Duch. [Within.] What ho, my liege! for God's
sake let me in.

Boling. What shrill-voic'd suppliant makes this eager cry?

Duch. A woman, and thine aunt, great king; 'tis I. Speak with me, pity me, open the door; A beggar begs, that never begg'd before.

Boling. Our scene is alter'd,-from a serious thing,

And now chang'd to The Beggar and the King.5-
My dangerous cousin, let your mother in;
I know, she's come to pray for your foul sin,
York. If thou do pardon, whosoever pray,
More sins, for this forgiveness, prosper may.
This fester'd joint cut off, the rest rests sound;
This, let alone, will all the rest confound,

• Thou sheer, immaculate, &c.] Sheer is pellucid, transparent.. digressing son.] deviating from what is right.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The Beggar and the King.] The King and the Beggar seems to have been an interlude or song, well known in the time of our author, who has alluded to it more than once.

Enter Duchess.

Duch. O king, believe not this hard-hearted man; Love, loving not itself, none other can.

York. Thou frantick woman, what dost thou make here?

Shall thy old dugs once more a traitor rear?

Duch. Sweet York, be patient: Hear me, gentle [Kneels.


Boling. Rise up, good aunt.


Not yet, I thee beseech:

For ever will I kneel upon my knees,

And never see day that the happy sees,

Till thou give joy; until thou bid me joy,

By pardoning Rutland, my transgressing boy.
Aum. Unto my mother's prayers, I bend my



York. Against them both, my true joints bended


[Kneels. Ill may'st thou thrive, if thou grant any grace!

Duch. Pleads he in earnest? look upon his face; His eyes do drop no tears, his prayers are in jest ; His words come from his mouth, ours from our breast:


prays but faintly, and would be denied;

We pray with heart, and soul, and all beside:

His weary joints would gladly rise, I know;

Our knees shall kneel till to the ground they grow: His prayers are full of false hypocrisy;

Ours, of true zeal and deep integrity.

Our prayers do out-pray his; then let them have
That mercy, which true prayers ought to have.
Boling. Good aunt, stand up.

Nay, do not say—stand up;
But, pardon, first; and afterwards, stand up.
An if I were thy nurse, thy tongue to teach,
Pardon-should be the first word of thy speech.

I never long'd to hear a word till now;
Say-pardon, king; let pity teach thee how:
The word is short, but not so short as sweet;
No word like, pardon, for kings' mouths so meet.
York. Speak it in French, king; say, pardonnez



Duch. Dost thou teach pardon pardon to destroy? Ah, my sour husband, my hard-hearted lord, That set'st the word itself against the word!Speak, pardon, as 'tis current in our land; The chopping French we do not understand. Thine eye begins to speak, set thy tongue there: Or, in thy piteous heart plant thou thine ear; That, hearing how our plaints and prayers do pierce, Pity may move thee, pardon to rehearse.

Boling. Good aunt, stand up.


I do not sue to stand, Pardon is all the suit I have in hand.

Boling. I pardon him, as God shall pardon me. Duch. O happy vantage of a kneeling knee!

Yet am I sick for fear: speak it again;

Twice saying pardon, doth not pardon twain,
But makes one pardon strong.


I pardon him.


With all



A god on earth thou art.

Boling. But for our trusty brother-in-law,—and the abbot,

With all the rest of that consorted crew,

Destruction straight shall dog them at the heels.Good uncle, help to order several


6 — pardonnez moy.] That is, excuse me, a phrase used when any thing is civilly denied. The whole passage is such as I could well wish away. JOHNSON.

7 But for our trusty brother-in-law,] The brother-in-law, was John Duke of Exeter and Earl of Huntingdon (own brother to King Richard II.) and who had married with the lady Elizabeth, sister of Henry Bolingbroke.

To Oxford, or where'er these traitors are:
They shall not live within this world, I swear,
But I will have them, if I once know where.
Uncle, farewell,-and cousin too, adieu:
Your mother well hath pray'd, and prove you true.
Duch. Come, my old son;-I pray God make
thee new.


Enter EXTON, and a Servant.

Exton. Didst thou not mark the king, what words he spake?

Have I no friend will rid me of this living fear?
Was it not so?


Those were his very words. Exton. Have I no friend? quoth he: he spake it twice,

And urg'd it twice together; did he not?

Serv. He did.

Exton. And, speaking it, he wistfully look'd on


As who should say,-I would, thou wert the man That would divorce this terror from my heart; Meaning, the king at Pomfret. Come, let's go; I am the king's friend, and will rid his foe.



Pomfret. The Dungeon of the Castle.

Enter King RICHARD.

K. Rich. I have been studying how I may


This prison, where I live, unto the world:
And, for because the world is populous,
And here is not a creature but myself,
I cannot do it;-Yet I'll hammer it out.
My brain I'll prove the female to my soul;
My soul, the father: and these two beget
A generation of still-breeding thoughts,
And these same thoughts people this little world;"
In humours, like the people of this world,
For no thought is contented. The better sort,-
As thoughts of things divine,-are intermix'd
With scruples, and do set the word itself
Against the word:9

As thus,-Come, little ones; and then again,-
It is as hard to come, as for a camel
To thread the postern of a needle's eye.
Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot
Unlikely wonders: how these vain weak nails
May tear a passage through the flinty ribs
Of this hard world, my ragged prison walls;
And, for they cannot, die in their own pride.
Thoughts tending to content, flatter themselves,-
That they are not the first of fortune's slaves,
Nor shall not be the last; like silly beggars,
Who, sitting in the stocks, refuge their shame,—
That many have, and others must sit there:
And in this thought they find a kind of ease,
Bearing their own misfortune on the back
Of such as have before endur'd the like.

Thus play I, in one person, many people,
And none contented: Sometimes am I king;


-people this little world;] i. e. his own frame;" the state of man;" which in our author's Julius Cæsar is said to be "like to a little kingdom."


the word itself

Against the word:] By the word, probably, is meant, the holy word.

« AnteriorContinuar »