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by John Dryden

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Title: The  Works  Of  John Dryden, Vol. 7 (of 18)
       The Duke of Guise; Albion and Albanius; Don Sebastian

Author: John Dryden

Editor: Walter Scott, Esq.

Release Date: July 31, 2005 [EBook #16402]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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Ουτως δε φιλοτιμοι φυσεις εν ταις πολιτειαις το αγαν μη φυλαξαμεναι, τωι
αγαθου μειζον το κακον εχουσι.

Plutarch. in Agesilao.



In the latter part of Charles the Second's reign, the stage, as well as every other engine which could affect the popular mind, was eagerly employed in the service of the contending factions. Settle and Shadwell had, in tragedy and comedy, contributed their mite to the support of the popular cause. In the stormy session of parliament, in 1680, the famous bill was moved, for the exclusion of the Duke of York, as a papist, from the succession, and accompanied by others of a nature equally peremptory and determined. The most remarkable was a bill to order an association for the safety of his majesty's person, for defence of the protestant religion, for the preservation of the protestant liege subjects against invasion and opposition, and for preventing any papist from succeeding to the throne of England. To recommend these rigid measures, and to keep up that zealous hatred and terror of the catholic religion, which the plot had inspired, Settle wrote his forgotten tragedy of "Pope Joan," in which he revives the old fable of a female pope, and loads her with all the crimes of which a priest, or a woman, could possibly be guilty. Shadwell's comedy of the "Lancashire Witches" was levelled more immediately at the papists, but interspersed with most gross and scurrilous reflections upon the English divines of the high church party. Otway, Lee, and Dryden were the formidable antagonists, whom the court opposed to the whig poets. Thus arrayed and confronted, the stage absolutely foamed with politics; the prologues and epilogues, in particular formed channels, through which the tenets of the opposite parties were frequently assailed, and the persons of their leaders and their poets exposed to scandal and derision.

In the middle of these political broils, Dryden was called upon, as he informs us, by Lee, to return the assistance which that poet had afforded in composing "Œdipus." The history of the Duke of Guise had formerly occupied his attention, as an acceptable subject to the court after the Restoration. A League, formed under pretence of religion, and in defence of the king's authority, against his person, presented facilities of application to the late civil wars, to which, we may be sure, our poet was by no 004 means insensible. But however apt these allusions might have been in 1665, the events which had taken place in 1681-2 admitted of a closer parallel, and excited a deeper interest. The unbounded power which Shaftesbury had acquired in the city of London, and its state of factious fermentation, had been equalled by nothing but the sway exercised by the leaders of the League in the metropolis of France. The intrigues by which the Council of Sixteen placed and displaced, flattered or libelled, those popular officers of Paris, whom the French call echevins, admitted of a direct and immediate comparison with the contest between the court and the whigs, for the election of the sheriffs of London; contests which attained so great violence, that, at one time, there was little reason to hope they would have terminated without bloodshed. The tumultuous day of the barricades, when Henry the second, after having in vain called in the assistance of his guards, was obliged to abandon his capital to the Duke of Guise and his faction, and assemble the states of his kingdom at Blois, was not entirely without a parallel in the annals of 1681. The violence of the parliament at London had led to its dissolution; and, in order to insure the tractability of their successors, they were assembled, by the king, at Oxford, where a concurrence of circumstances rendered the royal authority more paramount than in any other city of the kingdom. To this parliament the members came in an array, which more resembled the parliament of the White Bands, in the reign of Edward the second, than any that had since taken place. Yet, though armed, and attended by their retainers and the more ardent of their favourers, the leaders of opposition expressed their apprehensions of danger from the royal party. The sixteen whig peers, in their memorable petition against this removal, complained, that the parliament would at Oxford be exposed to the bloody machinations of the papists and their adherents, "of whom too many had crept into his majesty's guards." The aid of ballads and libellous prints was called in, to represent this alteration of the usual place of meeting as a manœuvre to throw the parliament, its members, and its votes, at the feet of an arbitrary monarch[1]. It is probable that this meeting, 005 which rather resembled a Polish diet than a British parliament, would not have separated without some signal, and perhaps bloody catastrophe, if the political art of Halifax, who was at the head of the small moderate party, called Trimmers, joined to the reluctance of either faction to commence hostilities against an enemy as fully prepared as themselves, had not averted so eminent a crisis. 006 In all particulars, excepting the actual assassination, the parliament of Oxford resembled the assembly of the States General at Blois. The general character of the Duke of Monmouth certainly had not many points of similarity to that of the Duke of Guise; but in one particular incident his conduct had been formed on that model, and it is an incident which makes a considerable figure in 007 the tragedy. In September l679, after the king's illness, Monmouth was disgraced, and obliged to leave the kingdom. He retired to Holland, where he resided until the intrigues of Shaftesbury assured him the support of a party so strongly popular, that he might return, in open defiance of the court. In the November following, he conceived his presence necessary to animate his partizans; and, without the king's permission for his return, he embarked at the Brill, and landed at London on the 27th, at midnight, where the tumultuous rejoicings of the popular party more than compensated for the obscurity of his departure[2]. This 008 bold step was, in all its circumstances, very similar to the return of the Duke of Guise from his government to Paris, against the express command of Henry the second, together with his reception by the populace, whom he came prepared to head in insurrection. Above all, the bill of exclusion bore a striking resemblance to the proceedings of the League against the King of Navarre, presumptive heir of the throne, whom, on account of his attachment to the protestant faith, they threatened to deprive of the succession.

The historical passages, corresponding in many particulars with such striking accuracy, offered an excellent groundwork for a political play, and the "Duke of Guise" was composed accordingly; Dryden making use of the scenes which he had formerly written on the subject, and Lee contributing the remainder, which he eked out by some scenes and speeches adopted from the "Massacre of Paris," then, lying by him in manuscript. The court, however, considered the representation of the piece as at least of dubious propriety. The parallel was capable of being so extended as to exhibit no very flattering picture of the king's politics; and, on the other hand, it is possible, that the fate of the Duke of Guise, as identified with Monmouth, might shock the feelings of Charles, and the justice of the audience.

Accordingly, we learn from the "Vindication," that the representation of the piece was prohibited; that it lay in the hands of the lord chamberlain (Henry Lord Arlington) from before mid-summer, 1682, till two months after that term; and that orders were not finally given for its being acted until the month of December in the same year. The king's tenderness for the Duke of Monmouth had by this time so far given way, that he had ordered his arrest at Stafford; and, from the dark preparations on both sides, it was obvious, that no measures were any longer to be kept betwixt them. All the motives of delicacy and prudence, which had prevented the representation of this obnoxious party performance, were now therefore annihilated or overlooked.

Our author's part of the "Duke of Guise" is important, though not of great extent, as his scenes contain some of the most striking political sketches. The debate of the Council of Sixteen, with which the play opens, was his composition; the whole of the fourth act, which makes him responsible for the alleged parallel betwixt Guise and Monmouth, and the ridicule cast upon the sheriffs and citizens of the popular party, with the first part of the fifth, which implicates him in vindicating the assassination of Guise. The character and sentiments of the king, in these scenes, are drawn very closely after Davila, as the reader will easily see, from the Italian original subjoined in the notes. That picturesque historian had indeed anticipated almost all that even a poet could do, in conveying a portraiture, equally minute and striking, of the stormy period which he had undertaken to describe; and, had his powers of description 009 been inferior, it is probable, that Dryden, hampered as he was, by restraints of prudence and delicacy, would not have chosen to go far beyond the authority to which he referred the lord chamberlain. The language of the play, at least in these scenes, seldom rises above that of the higher tone of historical oratory; and the descriptions are almost literally taken from Davila, and thrown into beautiful verse. In the character of Marmoutiere, there seems to be an allusion to the duchess of Buccleuch and Monmouth, whose influence was always, and sometimes successfully, used to detach her husband from the desperate schemes of Shaftesbury and Armstrong. The introduction of the necromancer, Malicorn, seems to refer to some artifices, by which the party of Monmouth endeavoured to call to their assistance the sanction of supernatural powers[3]. The particular story of Malicorn is said to be taken from a narrative in Rosset's Histoires Tragiques, a work which the present editor has never seen. In the conference between Malicorn and Melanax, Dryden has made much use of his astrological knowledge; and its mystical terms give a solemnity to the spirit's predictions, which was probably deepened by the poet's secret belief in this visionary study. As he borrowed liberally from Davila in the other parts of the play, he has not here disdained to use the assistance of Pulci, from whose romantic poem he has translated one or two striking passages, as the reader will find upon consulting the notes. The last scene betwixt the necromancer and the fiend is horribly fine: 010 the description of the approach of the Evil One, and the effect which his presence produces upon the attendants, the domestic animals, and the wizard himself, is an instance, amongst many, of the powerful interest which may be produced by a judicious appeal to the early prejudices of superstition. I may be pardoned, however, when I add, that such scenes are, in general, unfit for the stage, where the actual appearance of a demon is apt to excite emotions rather ludicrous than terrific. Accordingly, that of Dryden failed in the representation. The circumstance, upon which the destruction of the wizard turns, is rather puerile; but there are many similar fables in the annals of popular superstition[4].

Lee's part of this play is, in general, very well written, and contains less rant than he usually puts in the mouths of his characters.

The factions have been long at rest which were so deeply agitated by the first representation of this performance; yet some pains has been taken to trace those points of resemblance, which gave so much offence to one party, and triumph to the other. 011 Many must doubtless have escaped our notice; but enough remains to shew the singular felicity with which Dryden, in the present instance, as in that of "Absalom and Achitophel," could adapt the narrative of ancient or foreign transactions to the political events of his own time, and "moralize two meanings in one word." Altogether abstracted from this consideration, the "Duke of Guise," as a historical play, possesses merit amply sufficient to rescue it from the oblivion into which it has fallen.

The play was first acted 4th December, 1682, and encountered a stormy and dubious, if not an unfavourable, reception. But as, the strength of the court party increased, the piece was enabled to maintain its ground with more general approbation. It was performed by the united companies, and printed in 1683.


  1. I cannot resist transcribing that ballad, which cost poor College, the protestant joiner, so extremely dear. It is extracted from Mr Luttrell's collection, who has marked it thus. "A most scandalous libel against the government, for which, with other things, College was justly executed." The justice of the execution may, I think, be questioned, unless, like Cinna the poet, the luckless ballad-monger was hanged for his bad verses. There is prefixed a cut, representing the king with a double face, carrying the house of commons in a shew-box at his back. In another copartment, he sticks fast in the mud with his burden. In another, Topham, the serjeant of the house of commons, with the other officers of parliament, liberate the members, and cram the bishops into the shew-box.


    To the tune of—"I am a senseless thing."


    Come hither, Topham, come, with a hey, with a hey;

    Bring a pipe and a drum, with a ho;

    Where'er about I go,

    Attend my raree show,

    With a hey, trany, nony, nony, no.


    That monstrous foul beast, with a hey, with a hey,

    Has houses twain in's chest, with a ho;

    O Cowper, Hughes, and Snow,

    Stop thief with raree show,

    With a hey, &c.

    For if he should escape, with a hey, with a hey,

    With Halifaxe's trap, with a ho,

    He'll carry good Dom. Com.

    Unto the pope of Rome,

    With a hey, &c.


    Be quiet, ye dull tools, with a hey, with a hey,

    As other free-born fools, with a ho,

    Do not all gaping stand

    To see my slight of hand.

    With a hey, &c.

    'Tis not to Rome that I, with a hey, with a hey,

    Lug about my trumpery, with a ho,

    But Oxford, York, Carlisle,

    And round about the isle,

    With a hey, &c.

    But if they would come out, with a hey, with a hey,

    Let them first make a vote, with a ho.

    To yield up all they have,

    And Tower lords to save,

    With a hey, &c.


    Now that is very hard, with a hey, with a hey,

    Thou art worse than cut-nose guard, with a ho.

    And Clifford, Danby, Hide,

    Halifax does all outride,

    With a hey, &c.

    Holy Ghost, in bag of cloak, with a hey, with a hey,

    Quaking King in royal oak, with a ho.

    And Rosamond in bower,

    All badges are of power.

    With a hey, &c.

    And popularity, with a hey, with a hey,

    Adds power to majesty, with a ho;

    But Dom. Com. in little ease,

    Will all the world displease,

    With a hey, &c.


    Let 'um hate me, so they fear, with a hey, with a hey,

    Curst fox has the best cheer, with a ho;

    Two states, in blind house pent,

    Make brave strong government.

    With a hey, &c.


    But child of heathen Hobbes, with a hey, with a hey,

    Remember old Dry Bobs, with a ho,

    For fleecing England's flocks.

    Long fed with bits and knocks,

    With a hey, &c.


    What's past is not to come, with a hey, with a hey,

    Now safe is David's bum, with a ho;

    Then hey for Oxford ho,

    Strong government, raree show,

    With a hey, &c.

    Raree show is resouled, with a hey, with a hey,

    This is worse than desouled, with a ho;

    May the mighty weight at's back

    Make's lecherous loins to crack,

    With a hey, &c.

    Methinks he seems to stagger, with a hey, with a hey,

    Who but now did so swagger, with a ho;

    God's fish he's stuck in the mire,

    And all the fat's in the fire,

    With a hey, &c.

    Help Cooper, Hughs, and Snow, with a hey, with a hey,

    To pull down raree show, with a ho:

    So, so, the gyant's down,

    Let's masters out of pound,

    With a hey, &c.

    And now you've freed the nation, with a hey, with a hey,

    Cram in the convocation, with a ho,

    With pensioners all and some.

    Into this chest of Rome,

    With a hey, &c.

    And thrust in six-and-twenty, with a hey, with a hey.

    With not guilties good plenty, with a ho,

    And hoot them hence away

    To Cologn or Breda,

    With a hey, &c.

    Haloo, the hunt's begun, with a hey, with a hey,

    Like father like son, with a ho;

    Raree show in French lap

    Is gone to take a nap,

    And succession has the clap,

    With a hey, trany, nony, nony, no.

  2. "The news of his landing being reported by the watch, it soon spread abroad through the whole city; insomuch, that before day-light they rang the bells at St Giles in the Fields, placing several flambeaus on the top of the steeple, and divers great bonefires were made, two of which were very large, one in the Palace-yard at Westminster, and the other in Thames-street, near the custom-house, which was kindled in the morning, and maintained burning all day till evening, and then the universal joy of the people was expressed in most of the streets throughout London and Westminster by bone-fires, fireworks, and ringing of bells, accompanied with loud acclamations of joy, to the great grief of the papists." An Account of the heroick Life and magnanimous Actions of the most illustrious Protestant Prince, James, Duke of Monmouth. London, 1683. p. 95.

  3. "A relation was published in the name of one Elizabeth Freeman, afterwards called the mayor of Hatfield, setting forth, that, on the 24th of January, the apparition of a woman, all in white [the Duke of Monmouth's mother was here to be understood], with a white veil over her face, accosted her with these words; 'Sweetheart, the 15th of May is appointed for the blood-royal to be poisoned. Be not afraid, for I am sent to tell thee.' That on the 27th the same appearance stood before her again, and she having then acquired courage enough to lay it under the usual adjuration, in the name, &c. it assumed a more glorious shape, and said in a harsher tone of voice, 'Tell King Charles from me, and bid him not remove his parliament (i.e. from London to Oxford), and stand to his council;' adding, 'Do as I bid you.' That on the 26th, it appeared to her a third time, but said only, 'Do your message;' and that on the next night, when she saw it for the last time, it said nothing at all. Those, who depend upon the people for support, must try all manner of practices upon them, and such fooleries as these sometimes operate more forcibly than experiments of a more rational kind. Care was besides taken to have this relation attested by Sir Joseph Jordan, a justice of peace, and the rector of Hatfield, Dr Lee, who was one of the king's chaplains. Nay, the message was actually sent to his majesty, and the whole forgery very officially circulated over the kingdom." RALPH'S History Vol. I. p. 562.

  4. In truth, the devil and the conjuror did not always play upon the square, but often took the most unfair advantages of each other. There is more than one instance of bad faith in the history of that renowned enchanter, Peter Fabel. On one occasion, he prevailed upon the devil, when he came to carry him off, to repose himself in an enchanted chair, from which he refused to liberate him, until he had granted him an additional lease of seven years. When this term was also expired, he had the eloquence and art to prevail on the fiend to allow him a farther respite, till a wax taper, then nearly expiring, was burned out. This boon being granted, he instantly put out the light, and deposited the taper in the church at Edmonton. Hence, in Weiver's "Funeral Monuments," he is thus mentioned: "Here (at Edmonton) lieth interred, under a seemly tombe without inscription, the body of Peter Fabell, as the report goes, upon whom this fable was fathered, that he, by his wittie devices, beguiled the devill." p 514. See also the Book of his Merry Prankes. Another instance occurs, in the famous history of Friar Bacon, (London 1666) where that renowned conjurer is recorded to have saved a man, that had given himself to the devil on condition of his debts being paid. "The case was referred to the friar. 'Deceiver of mankind, said he (speaking to the devil), it was thy bargain never to meddle with him so long as he was indebted to any; now how canst thou demand of him any thing, when he is indebted for all he hath to thee? When he payeth thee thy money, then take him as thy due; till then thou hast nothing to do with him; and so I charge thee to be gone.' At this the devil vanished with great horrour; but Fryar Bacon comforted the gentleman, and sent him home with a quiet conscience, bidding him never to pay the devil's money back, as he tendred his own safety, which he promised for to observe." From these instances, Melanax might have quoted precedent for insisting on the literal execution of his stipulation with Malicorn, since, to give the devil his due, the strict legal interpretation appears always to have been applied to bargains of that nature.



My Lord,

The authors of this poem present it humbly to your lordship's patronage, if you shall think it worthy 014 of that honour. It has already been a confessor, and was almost made a martyr for the royal cause: but having stood two trials from its enemies,—one before it was acted, another in the representation,—and having been in both acquitted, it is now to stand the public censure in the reading: where since, of necessity, it must have the same enemies, we hope it may also find the same friends; and therein we are secure, not only of the greater number, but of the more honest and loyal party. We only expected bare justice in the permission to have it acted; and that we had, after a severe and long examination, from an upright and knowing judge, who, having heard both sides, and examined the merits of the cause, in a strict perusal of the play, gave sentence for us, that it was neither a libel, nor a parallel of particular persons[2]. In the representation itself, it was persecuted with so notorious malice by one side, that it procured us the partiality of the other; so that the favour more than recompensed the prejudice. And it is happier to have been saved (if so we were) by the indulgence of our good and faithful fellow-subjects, than by our own deserts; because, thereby the weakness of the faction is discovered, which, in us, at that time attacked the government, and stood combined, like the members of the rebellious League, against the lawful sovereign authority. To what topic will they have recourse, when they are manifestly beaten from their chief post, which has always been popularity, and majority of voices? They will tell us,—that the voices of a people are not to be gathered in a play-house; and yet, even there, the enemies, as well as friends, have free admission: but, 015 while our argument was serviceable to their interests, they could boast, that the theatres were true protestant; and came insulting to the plays, when their own triumphs were represented[3]. But let them now assure themselves, that they can make the major part of no assembly, except it be of a meeting-house[4]. Their tide of popularity is spent; 016 and the natural current of obedience is, in spite of them, at last prevalent. In which, my lord, after the merciful providence of God, the unshaken resolution, and prudent carriage of the king, and the inviolable duty, and manifest innocence of his royal highness,—the prudent management of the ministers is also most conspicuous. I am not particular in this commendation, because I am unwilling to raise envy to your lordship, who are too just, not to desire that praise should be communicated to others, which was the common endeavour and co-operation of all. It is enough, my lord, that your own part was neither obscure in it, nor unhazardous. And if ever this excellent government, so well established by the wisdom of our forefathers, and so much shaken by the folly of this age, shall recover its ancient splendour, posterity cannot be so ungrateful as 017 to forget those, who, in the worst of times, have stood undaunted by their king and country, and, for the safeguard of both, have exposed themselves to the malice of false patriots, and the madness of an headstrong rabble. But since this glorious work is yet unfinished, and though we have reason to hope well of the success, yet the event depends on the unsearchable providence of Almighty God, it is no time to raise trophies, while the victory is in dispute; but every man, by your example, to contribute what is in his power to maintain so just a cause, on which depends the future settlement and prosperity of three nations. The pilot's prayer to Neptune was not amiss in the middle of the storm: "Thou mayest do with me, O Neptune, what thou pleasest, but I will be sure to hold fast the rudder." We are to trust firmly in the Deity, but so as not to forget, that he commonly works by second causes, and admits of our endeavours with his concurrence. For our own parts, we are sensible, as we ought, how little we can contribute with our weak assistance. The most we can boast of, is, that we are not so inconsiderable as to want enemies, whom we have raised to ourselves on no other account than that we are not of their number; and, since that is their quarrel, they shall have daily occasion to hate us more. It is not, my lord, that any man delights to see himself pasquined and affronted by their inveterate scribblers; but, on the other side, it ought to be our glory, that themselves believe not of us what they write. Reasonable men are well satisfied for whose sakes the venom of their party is shed on us; because they see, that at the same time our adversaries spare not those to whom they owe allegiance and veneration. Their despair has pushed them to break those bonds; and it is observable, that the lower they are driven, the 018 more violently they write; as Lucifer and his companions were only proud when angels, but grew malicious when devils. Let them rail, since it is the only solace of their miseries, and the only revenge which, we hope, they now can take. The greatest and the best of men are above their reach; and, for our meanness, though they assault us like footpads in the dark, their blows have done us little harm: we yet live to justify ourselves in open day, to vindicate our loyalty to the government, and to assure your lordship, with all submission and sincerity, that we are

Your Lordship's

Most obedient, faithful servants,

John Dryden.

Nat. Lee.


  1. Lawrence Hyde, created Earl of Rochester in 1682, was the second son of the famous Lord Clarendon, and affords a rare instance of the son of a disgraced minister recovering that favour at court, which had been withdrawn from his father. He was now at the head of the Commissioners for the Treasury, and a patron of our poet; as appears from the terms of Dryden's letter, soliciting his interest in very affecting terms, and from the subsequent dedication of "Cleomenes," where he acknowledges his lordship's goodness during the reign of two masters; and that, even from a bare treasury, his success was contrary to that of Mr Cowley; Gideon's fleece having been moistened, when all the ground was dry around it. The Earl of Rochester was the more proper patron for the "Duke of Guise," as he was a violent opponent of the bill of exclusion. He was Lord High Treasurer in the reign of James II., and died in 1711.

  2. Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington, then Lord Chamberlain.

  3. Dryden seems here to allude to the triumphant strain in which Shadwell mentions the reception of "The Lancashire Witches:" "I could not imagine," he says, "till I heard that great opposition was designed against the play a month before it was acted, by a party who, being ashamed to say it was for the sake of the Irish priest, pretended that I had written a satire on the Church of England; and several profest Papists railed at it violently before they had seen it, alleging that for a reason, such dear friends they are to our Church: and, notwithstanding all was put out that could any way be wrested to an offence against the Church, yet they came with the greatest malice in the world to hiss it; and many, that called themselves Protestants, joined with them in that noble enterprise.

    "But, for all this, they came resolved to hiss it, right or wrong, and had gotten mercenary fellows, who were such fools they did not know when to hiss; and this was evident to all the audience. It was wonderful to see men of great quality, and gentlemen, in so mean a combination; but, to my great satisfaction, they came off as meanly as I could wish. I had so numerous an assembly of the best sort of men, who stood so generously in my defence for the three first days, that they quashed all the vain attempts of my enemies; the inconsiderable party of hissers yielded, and the play lived in spite of them.

    "Had it been never so bad, I had valued the honour of having so many and such friends as eminently appeared for me, above that of excelling the most admirable Jonson, if it were possible to be done by me."

    This flourish of exultation contains many things which were doubtless offensive to Dryden's jealousy of dramatic fame, as well as to his political principles. Nor was he probably insensible to the affected praise bestowed on Jonson, whose merit, it was fashionable to say, he had attempted to depreciate.

  4. The greater, and, perhaps, the most formidable, part of those who now opposed the court, were the remnants of the old fanatics, whose religious principles were shocked by the dissolute manners of Charles and his courtiers. These, of course, added little to the force of the party in the theatres, which they never frequented. Shadwell seems to acknowledge this disadvantage in the epilogue to "The Lancashire Witches:"

    Our Popes and friars on one side offend,

    And yet, alas! the city's not our friend:

    The city neither like us nor our wit,

    They say their wives learn ogling in the pit;

    They're from the boxes taught to make advances,

    To answer stolen sighs and naughty glances.

    We virtuous ladies some new ways must seek,

    For all conspire our playing trade to break.

    But although the citizens declined to frequent even the plays written on their own side of the question, Armstrong, and the personal followers of Monmouth, were of a gayer complexion, and doubtless, as they were not inferior to the courtiers in the licence assumed by the age, formed the principal part of the audience at the protestant plays. The discovery of the Rye-house Plot broke the strength of this part of the confederacy, and the odium attending that enterprise rendered their opposition to the court in public assemblies both fruitless and dangerous.



Our play's a parallel: the Holy League

Begot our Covenant: Guisards got the whig:

Whate'er our hot-brained sheriffs did advance,

Was, like our fashions, first produced in France;

And, when worn out, well scourged, and banished there,

Sent over, like their godly beggars, here.

Could the same trick, twice played, our nation gull?

It looks as if the devil were grown dull;

Or served us up, in scorn, his broken meat,

And thought we were not worth a better cheat.

The fulsome Covenant, one would think in reason,

Had given us all our bellies full of treason;

And yet, the name but changed, our nasty nation

Chews its own excrements, the Association[1].

'Tis true, we have not learned their poisoning way,

For that's a mode but newly come in play;

Resides, your drug's uncertain to prevail,

But your true protestant can never fail

With that compendious instrument, a flail[2].


Go on, and bite, even though the hook lies bare;

Twice in one age expel the lawful heir;

Once more decide religion by the sword,

And purchase for us a new tyrant lord.

Pray for your king, but yet your purses spare;

Make him not two-pence richer by your prayer.

To show you love him much, chastise him more,

And make him very great, and very poor.

Push him to wars, but still no peace advance;

Let him lose England, to recover France.

Cry freedom up, with popular noisy votes,

And get enough to cut each other's throats.


Lop all the rights that fence your monarch's throne;

For fear of too much power, pray leave him none.

A noise was made of arbitrary sway;

But, in revenge, you whigs have found a way

An arbitrary duty now to pay.

Let his own servants turn to save their stake,

Glean from his plenty, and his wants forsake;

But let some Judas near his person stay,

To swallow the last sop, and then betray.

Make London independent of the crown;

A realm apart; the kingdom of the town.

Let ignoramus juries find no traitors[3],

And ignoramus poets scribble satires.

And, that your meaning none may fail to scan,

Do what in coffee-houses you began,—

Pull down the master, and set up the man.


  1. The association proposed in parliament was, by the royalists, said to be, a revival of the Solemn League and Covenant. But the draught of an association, found in Lord Shaftesbury's cabinet, and produced on his trial, in which that memorable engagement seems to be pretty closely copied, was probably what our poet alludes to.

  2. The protestant flail was a kind of bludgeon, so jointed as to fold together, and lie concealed in the pocket. They are supposed to have been invented to arm the insurgents about this period. In the trial of Braddon and Spoke for a misdemeanor, the recorder offered to prove, that Braddon had bragged, that "he was the only inventor of the protestant flails; an instrument you have heard of, gentlemen, and for what use designed." This circumstance was not omitted by Jefferies, in his characteristic address to the prisoner. "But oh what a happiness it was for this sort of people, that they had got Mr Braddon, an honest man and a man of courage, says Mr Speke, a man a propos! and pray, says he to his friend, give him the best advice you can, for he is a man very fit for the purpose; and pray secure him under a sham name, for I'll undertake there are such designs upon pious Mr Braddon, such connivances to do him mischief, that, if he had not had his protestant flail about him, somebody or other would have knocked him on the head; and he is such a wonderful man, that all the king's courts must needs conspire to do Mr Braddon a mischief. A very pretty sort of man, upon my word, and he must be used accordingly." State Trials, Vol. III. p. 897. In one of the scarce medals struck by James II. Justice is represented weighing mural crowns, which preponderate against a naked sword, a serpent, and a protestant flail: on each side of the figure are a head and trunk, representing those of Argyle and Monmouth. An accurate description of this weapon occurs in the following passage from Roger North: "There was much recommendation of silk armour, and the prudence of being provided with it against the time protestants were to be massacred. And accordingly there were abundance of these silken backs, breasts, and pots (i.e. head-pieces), made and sold, that were pretended to be pistol proof; in which any man dressed up was as safe as in a house, for it was impossible any one could go to strike him for laughing. So ridiculous was the figure, as they say, of hogs in armour; an image of derision, insensible but to the view, as I have had it. This was armour of defence; but our sparks were not altogether so tame as to carry their provisions no farther, for truly they intended to be assailants upon fair occasion, and had for that end recommended also to them a certain pocket weapon, which, for its design and efficacy, had the honour to be called a protestant flail. It was for street and crowd-work; and the engine lying perdue in a coat pocket, might readily sally out to execution, and by clearing a great hall, a piazza, or so, carry an election by a choice way of polling, called knocking down. The handle resembled a farrier's blood-stick, and the fall was joined to the end by a strong nervous ligature, that in its swing fell just short of the hand, and was made of lignum vitæ, or rather, as the poet termed it, mortis." Examen. p. 572. The following is the first stanza of "The Protestant Flail; an excellent new song, to the tune of, Lacy's Maggot, or the Hobby Horse." It is thus labelled by Luttrell: "A bonny thing, 14 June, 1632."

    Listen a while, and I'll tell you a tale

    Of a new device of a protestant flail;

    With a thump, thump, thump a thump.

    Thump a thump, thump.

    This flail it was made of the finest wood,

    All lined with lead, and notable good

    For splitting of bones, and shedding the blood

    Of all that withstood,

    With a thump, &c.

  3. Shaftesbury, College, and others, were liberated by grand juries, who refused to find bills against them, bringing in what are technically called verdicts of ignoramus. It was here that the whig sheriffs were of most consequence to their party; for by their means the juries were picked from the very centre of the faction; and although they included many men of eminence, both for rank and talents, yet they were generally such as had made up their minds to cast the bill long before they came into court. This gave great offence to the royalists. North says, "There lay the barrier of the faction; and that stately word (ignoramus) became the appellative of the whole corrupt practice, and the infamous title of all the persons concerned in it." In Luttrell's Collection I find, "Ignoramus, an excellent new song, to the tune of Lay by your Pleading, Law lies a Bleeding." 15 Dec. 1681.

    At the Old Bailey,

    Where rogues flock daily,

    A greater rogue far than Coleman, White, or Stayley,

    Was late indicted.

    Witnesses cited,

    But then he was set free, so the king was righted.

    'Gainst princes offences

    Proved in all senses,

    But 'gainst a whig there is no truth in evidences;

    They sham us, and flam us,

    And ram us, and damn us.

    And then, in spite of law, come off with ignoramus, &c.

    This song, according to the invariable practice of the scribblers on both sides, was answered by a new Ignoramus.



The King of France.

Duke of Guise.

Duke of Mayenne.

Grillon, Colonel of the Guard.

Alphonso Corso, a Colonel.

Belleure, a Courtier.

Abbot del Bene,
M. Monfert,
The Cardinal of Guise.
Archbishop of Lyons.
The Curate of St Eustace,
Malicorn, a Necromancer,
Melanax, a Spirit,
Of Guise's Faction.

Two Sheriffs,

Citizens and Rabble, &c.

Queen Mother.

Marmoutiere, Niece to Grillon.




SCENE I.—The Council of Sixteen seated; an empty Chair prepared for the Duke of Guise.

Bussy and Polin, two of the Sixteen.

Buss. Lights there! more lights! What, burn the tapers dim,
When glorious Guise, the Moses, Gideon, David,
The saviour of the nation, makes approach?

Pol. And therefore are we met; the whole sixteen,
That sway the crowd of Paris, guide their votes,
Manage their purses, persons, fortunes, lives,
To mount the Guise, where merit calls him, high,
And give him a whole heaven for room to shine.

Enter Curate of St Eustace.

Buss. The curate of St Eustace comes at last:
But, father, why so late?

024 Cur. I have been taking godly pains to satisfy some scruples raised amongst weak brothers of our party, that were staggering in the cause.

Pol. What could they find to object?

Cur. They thought, to arm against the king was treason.

Buss. I hope you set them right?

Cur. Yes; and for answer, I produced this book.
A Calvinist minister of Orleans
Writ this, to justify the admiral
For taking arms against the king deceased;
Wherein he proves, that irreligious kings
May justly be deposed, and put to death.

Buss. To borrow arguments from heretic books,
Methinks, was not so prudent.

Cur. Yes; from the devil, if it would help our cause.
The author was indeed a heretic;
The matter of the book is good and pious.

Pol. But one prime article of our Holy League
Is to preserve the king, his power, and person.

Cur. That must be said, you know, for decency;
A pretty blind to make the shoot secure.

Buss. But did the primitive Christians e'er rebel,
When under heathen lords? I hope they did.

Cur. No sure, they did not; for they had not power;
The conscience of a people is their power.

Pol. Well; the next article in our solemn covenant
Has cleared the point again.

Buss. What is't? I should be glad to find the king
No safer than needs must.

Pol. That, in case of opposition from any person whatsoever—

Cur. That's well, that well; then the king is not excepted, if he oppose us.—

Pol. We are obliged to join as one, to punish
All, who attempt to hinder or disturb us.

025 Buss. 'Tis a plain case; the king's included in the punishment, in case he rebel against the people.

Pol. But how can he rebel?

Cur. I'll make it out: Rebellion is an insurrection against the government; but they that have the power are actually the government; therefore, if the people have the power, the rebellion is in the king.

Buss. A most convincing argument for faction.

Cur. For arming, if you please, but not for faction:
For still the faction is the fewest number:
So what they call the lawful government,
Is now the faction; for the most are ours.

Pol. Since we are proved to be above the king, I would gladly understand whom we are to obey, or, whether we are to be all kings together?

Cur. Are you a member of the League, and ask that question? There's an article, that, I may say, is as necessary as any in the creed; namely, that we, the said associates, are sworn to yield ready obedience, and faithful service, to that head which shall be deputed.

Buss. 'Tis most manifest, that, by virtue of our oath, we are all subjects to the Duke of Guise. The king's an officer that has betrayed his trust; and therefore we have turned him out of service.

Omn. Agreed, agreed.

Enter the Duke of Guise, Cardinal of Guise, Aumale: Torches before them. The Duke takes the Chair.

Buss. Your highness enters in a lucky hour;
The unanimous vote you heard, confirms your choice.
As head of Paris and the Holy League.

Card. I say amen to that.

Pol. You are our champion, buckler of our faith.

Card. The king, like Saul, is heaven's repented choice;
026 You his anointed one, on better thought.

Gui. I'm what you please to call me; any thing,
Lieutenant-general, chief, or constable,
Good decent names, that only mean—your slave.

Buss. You chased the Germans hence, exiled Navarre,
And rescued France from heretics and strangers.

Aum. What he, and all of us have done, is known.
What's our reward? Our offices are lost,
Turned out, like laboured oxen after harvest,
To the bare commons of the withered field.

Buss. Our charters will go next; because we sheriffs
Permit no justice to be done on those
The court calls rebels, but we call them saints.

Gui. Yes; we are all involved, as heads, or parties;
Dipt in the noisy crime of state, called treason;
And traitors we must be, to king, or country.

Buss. Why then my choice is made.

Pol. And mine.

Omn. And all.

Card. Heaven is itself head of the Holy League;
And all the saints are cov'nanters and Guisards.

Gui. What say you, curate?

Cur. I hope well, my lord.

Card. That is, he hopes you mean to make him abbot,
And he deserves your care of his preferment;
For all his prayers are curses on the government,
And all his sermons libels on the king;
In short, a pious, hearty, factious priest.

Gui. All that are here, my friends, shall share my fortunes:
There's spoil, preferments, wealth enough in France;
'Tis but deserve, and have. The Spanish king
Consigns me fifty thousand crowns a-week
To raise, and to foment a civil war.
'Tis true, a pension, from a foreign prince,
027 Sounds treason in the letter of the law,
But good intentions justify the deed.

Cur. Heaven's good; the cause is good; the money's good;
No matter whence it comes.

Buss. Our city-bands are twenty thousand strong,
Well-disciplined, well-armed, well-seasoned traitors,
Thick-rinded heads, that leave no room for kernel;
Shop-consciences, of proof against an oath,
Preached up, and ready tined for a rebellion[1].

Gui. Why then the noble plot is fit for birth;
And labouring France cries out for midwife hands.
We missed surprising of the king at Blois,
When last the states were held: 'twas oversight;
Beware we make not such another blot.

Card. This holy time of Lent we have him sure;
He goes unguarded, mixed with whipping friars.
In that procession, he's more fit for heaven:
What hinders us to seize the royal penitent,
And close him in a cloister?

Cur. Or dispatch him; I love to make all sure.

Gui. No; guard him safe;
Thin diet will do well; 'twill starve him into reason,
'Till he exclude his brother of Navarre,
And graft succession on a worthier choice.
To favour this, five hundred men in arms
Shall stand prepared, to enter at your call,
And speed the work; St Martin's gate was named;
But the sheriff Conty, who commands that ward,
Refused me passage there.

Buss. I know that Conty;
028 A snivelling, conscientious, loyal rogue;
He'll peach, and ruin all.

Card. Give out he's arbitrary, a Navarist,
A heretic; discredit him betimes,
And make his witness void.

Cur. I'll swear him guilty.
I swallow oaths as easy as snap-dragon,
Mock-fire that never burns.

Gui. Then, Bussy, be it your care to admit my troops,
At Port St Honore: [Rises.] Night wears apace,
And day-light must not peep on dark designs.
I will myself to court, pay formal duty,
Take leave, and to my government retire;
Impatient to be soon recalled, to see
The king imprisoned, and the nation free[2].[Exeunt.


Enter Malicorn solus.

Mal. Each dismal minute, when I call to mind
The promise, that I made the Prince of Hell,
In one-and-twenty years to be his slave,
Of which near twelve are gone, my soul runs back,
The wards of reason roll into their spring.
029 O horrid thought! but one-and-twenty years,
And twelve near past, then to be steeped in fire,
Dashed against rocks, or snatched from molten lead,
Reeking, and dropping, piece-meal borne by winds,
And quenched ten thousand fathom in the deep!—
But hark! he comes: see there! my blood stands still,
[Knocking at the Door. My spirits start on end for Guise's fate.

A Devil rises.

Mal. What counsel does the fate of Guise require?

Dev. Remember, with his prince there's no delay.
But, the sword drawn, to fling the sheath away;
Let not the fear of hell his spirit grieve,
The tomb is still, whatever fools believe:
Laugh at the tales which withered sages bring,
Proverbs and morals; let the waxen king,
That rules the hive, be born without a sting;
Let Guise by blood resolve to mount to power.
And he is great as Mecca's emperor.
He comes; bid him not stand on altar-vows,
But then strike deepest, when he lowest bows;
Tell him, fate's awed when an usurper springs,
And joins to crowd out just indulgent kings.[Vanishes.


Enter the Duke of Guise, and Duke of Mayenne.

May. All offices and dignities he gives
To your profest and most inveterate foes;
But if he were inclined, as we could wish him,
There is a lady-regent at his ear,
That never pardons.

Gui. Poison on her name!
Take my hand on't, that cormorant dowager
Will never rest, till she has all our heads
In her lap. I was at Bayonne with her,
030 When she, the king, and grisly d'Alva met.
Methinks, I see her listening now before me,
Marking the very motion of his beard,
His opening nostrils, and his dropping lids.
I hear him croak too to the gaping council,—
Fish for the great fish, take no care for frogs,
Cut off the poppy-heads, sir;—madam, charm
The winds but fast, the billows will be still[3].

May. But, sir, how comes it you should be thus warm,
Still pushing counsels when among your friends;
Yet, at the court, cautious, and cold as age,
031 Your voice, your eyes, your mien so different,
You seem to me two men?

Gui. The reason's plain.
Hot with my friends, because, the question given,
I start the judgment right, where others drag.
This is the effect of equal elements,
And atoms justly poised; nor should you wonder
More at the strength of body than of mind;
'Tis equally the same to see me plunge
Headlong into the Seine, all over armed,
And plow against the torrent to my point,
As 'twas to hear my judgment on the Germans,
This to another man would be a brag;
Or at the court among my enemies,
To be, as I am here, quite off my guard,
Would make me such another thing as Grillon,
A blunt, hot, honest, downright, valiant fool.

May. Yet this you must allow a failure in you,—
You love his niece; and to a politician
All passion's bane, but love directly death.

Gui. False, false, my Mayenne; thou'rt but half Guise again.
Were she not such a wond'rous composition,
A soul, so flushed as mine is with ambition,
Sagacious and so nice, must have disdained her:
But she was made when nature was in humour,
As if a Grillon got her on the queen,
Where all the honest atoms fought their way,
Took a full tincture of the mother's wit,
But left the dregs of wickedness behind.

May. Have you not told her what we have in hand?

Gui. My utmost aim has been to hide it from her,
But there I'm short; by the long chain of causes
She has scanned it, just as if she were my soul;
And though I flew about with circumstances.
Denials, oaths, improbabilities;
032 Yet, through the histories of our lives, she looked,
She saw, she overcame.

May. Why then, we're all undone.

Gui. Again you err.
Chaste as she is, she would as soon give up
Her honour, as betray me to the king:
I tell thee, she's the character of heaven;
Such an habitual over-womanly goodness,
She dazzles, walks mere angel upon earth.
But see, she comes; call the cardinal Guise,
While Malicorn attends for some dispatches,
Before I take my farewell of the court.[Exit May.

Enter Marmoutiere.

Mar. Ah Guise, you are undone!

Gui. How, madam?

Mar. Lost,
Beyond the possibility of hope:
Despair, and die.

Gui. You menace deeply, madam:
And should this come from any mouth but yours,
My smile should answer how the ruin touched me.

Mar. Why do you leave the court?

Gui. The court leaves me.

Mar. Were there no more, but weariness of state,
Or could you, like great Scipio, retire,
Call Rome ungrateful, and sit down with that;
Such inward gallantry would gain you more
Than all the sullied conquests you can boast:
But oh, you want that Roman mastery;
You have too much of the tumultuous times,
And I must mourn the fate of your ambition.

Gui. Because the king disdains my services,
Must I not let him know I dare be gone?
What, when I feel his council on my neck,
Shall I not cast them backward if I can,
033 And at his feet make known their villainy?

Mar. No, Guise, not at his feet, but on his head;
For there you strike.

Gui. Madam, you wrong me now:
For still, whate'er shall come in fortune's whirl,
His person must be safe.

Mar. I cannot think it.
However, your last words confess too much.
Confess! what need I urge that evidence,
When every hour I see you court the crowd,
When with the shouts of the rebellious rabble,
I see you borne on shoulders to cabals;
Where, with the traitorous Council of Sixteen,
You sit, and plot the royal Henry's death;
Cloud the majestic name with fumes of wine,
Infamous scrolls, and treasonable verse;
While, on the other side, the name of Guise,
By the whole kennel of the slaves, is rung.
Pamphleteers, ballad-mongers sing your ruin.
While all the vermin of the vile Parisians
Toss up their greasy caps where'er you pass,
And hurl your dirty glories in your face.

Gui. Can I help this?

Mar. By heaven, I'd earth myself,
Rather than live to act such black ambition:
But, sir, you seek it with your smiles and bows.
This side and that side congeing to the crowd.
You have your writers too, that cant your battles,
That stile you, the new David, second Moses,
Prop of the church, deliverer of the people.
Thus from the city, as from the heart, they spread
Through all the provinces, alarm the countries,
Where they run forth in heaps, bellowing your wonders;
Then cry,—The king, the king's a Hugonot,
And, spite of us, will have Navarre succeed,
Spite of the laws, and spite of our religion:
034 But we will pull them down, down with them, down[4].[Kneels.

Gui. Ha, madam! Why this posture?

Mar. Hear me, sir;
For, if 'tis possible, my lord, I'll move you.
Look back, return, implore the royal mercy,
Ere 'tis too late; I beg you by these tears,
These sighs, and by the ambitious love you bear me;
By all the wounds of your poor groaning country,
That bleeds to death. O seek the best of kings,
Kneel, fling your stubborn body at his feet:
Your pardon shall be signed, your country saved,
Virgins and matrons all shall sing your fame,
And every babe shall bless the Guise's name.

Gui. O rise, thou image of the deity!
You shall prevail, I will do any thing:
You've broke the very gall of my ambition,
And all my powers now float in peace again.
Be satisfied that I will see the king,
Kneel to him, ere I journey to Champaigne,
And beg a kind farewell.

Mar. No, no, my lord;
I see through that; you but withdraw a while,
To muster all the forces that you can,
And then rejoin the Council of Sixteen.
You must not go.

Gui. All the heads of the League
Expect me, and I have engaged my honour.

035 Mar. Would all those heads were off, so yours were saved!
Once more, O Guise, the weeping Marmoutiere
Entreats you, do not go.

Gui. Is't possible
That Guise should say, in this he must refuse you!

Mar. Go then, my lord. I late received a letter
From one at court, who tells me, the king loves me:
Read it,—there is no more than what you hear.
I've jewels offered too,—perhaps may take them;
And if you go from Paris, I'll to court.

Gui. But, madam, I have often heard you say,
You loved not courts.

Mar. Perhaps I've changed my mind:
Nothing as yet could draw me, but a king;
And such a king,—so good, so just, so great,
That, at his birth, the heavenly council paused,
And then, at last, cried out,—This is a man.

Gui. Come, 'tis but counterfeit; you dare not go.

Mar. Go to your government, and try.

Gui. I will.

Mar. Then I'll to court, nay—to the king.

Gui. By heaven,
I swear you cannot, shall not,—dare not see him.

Mar. By heaven, I can, I dare, nay—and I will;
And nothing but your stay shall hinder me;
For now, methinks, I long for't.

Gui. Possible!

Mar. I'll give you yet a little time to think;
But, if I hear you go to take your leave,
I'll meet you there; before the throne I'll stand,—
Nay you shall see me kneel and kiss his hand.[Exit.

Gui. Furies and hell! She does but try me,—Ha!
This is the mother-queen, and Espernon,
Abbot Delbene, Alphonso Corso too,
036 All packed to plot, and turn me into madness. [Reading the Letter.

Enter Cardinal Guise, Duke Of Mayenne, Malicorn, &c.

Ha! can it be! "Madam, the king loves you."—[Reads.
But vengeance I will have; to pieces, thus,
To pieces with them all.[Tears the Letter.

Card. Speak lower.

Gui. No;
By all the torments of this galling passion,
I'll hollow the revenge I vow, so loud,
My father's ghost shall hear me up to heaven.

Card. Contain yourself; this outrage will undo us.

Gui. All things are ripe, and love new points their ruin.
Ha! my good lords, what if the murdering council
Were in our power, should they escape our justice?
I see, by each man's laying of his hand
Upon his sword, you swear the like revenge.
For me, I wish that mine may both rot off—

Card. No more.

May. The Council of Sixteen attend you.

Gui. I go—that vermin may devour my limbs;
That I may die, like the late puling Francis[5],
Under the barber's hands, imposthumes choak me,—
If while alive, I cease to chew their ruin;
Alphonso Corso, Grillon, priest, together:
To hang them in effigy,—nay, to tread,
Drag, stamp, and grind them, after they are dead.[Exeunt.



Enter Queen-Mother, Abbot Delbene, and Polin.

Qu. M. Pray, mark the form of the conspiracy:
Guise gives it out, he journeys to Champaigne,
But lurks indeed at Lagny, hard by Paris,
Where every hour he hears and gives instructions.
Mean time the Council of Sixteen assure him,
They have twenty thousand citizens in arms.
Is it not so, Polin?

Pol. True, on my life;
And, if the king doubts the discovery,
Send me to the Bastile till all be proved.

Qu. M. Call colonel Grillon; the king would speak with him.

Ab. Was ever age like this?[Exit Polin.

Qu. M. Polin is honest;
Beside, the whole proceeding is so like
The hair-brained rout, I guessed as much before.
Know then, it is resolved to seize the king,
When next he goes in penitential weeds
Among the friars, without his usual guards;
Then, under shew of popular sedition,
For safety, shut him in a monastery,
And sacrifice his favourites to their rage.

Ab. When is this council to be held again?

Qu. M. Immediately upon the duke's departure.

Ab. Why sends not then the king sufficient guards,
To seize the fiends, and hew them into pieces?

Qu. M. 'Tis in appearance easy, but the effect
Most hazardous; for straight, upon the alarm,
The city would be sure to be in arms;
Therefore, to undertake, and not to compass,
Were to come off with ruin and dishonour.
038 You know the Italian proverb—Bisogna copriersi[6],—
He, that will venture on a hornet's nest,
Should arm his head, and buckler well his breast.

Ab. But wherefore seems the king so unresolved?

Qu. M. I brought Polin, and made the demonstration;
Told him—necessity cried out, to take
A resolution to preserve his life,
And look on Guise as a reclaimless rebel:
But, through the natural sweetness of his temper,
And dangerous mercy, coldly he replied,—
Madam I will consider what you say.

Ab. Yet after all, could we but fix him—

Qu. M. Right,—
The business were more firm for this delay;
For noblest natures, though they suffer long,
When once provoked, they turn the face to danger.
But see, he comes, Alphonso Corso with him;
Let us withdraw, and when 'tis fit rejoin him.[Exeunt.

Enter King, and Alphonso Corso.

King. Alphonso Corso.

Alph. Sir.

King. I think thou lovest me.

Alph. More than my life.

King. That's much; yet I believe thee.
039 My mother has the judgment of the world,
And all things move by that; but, my Alphonso,
She has a cruel wit.

Alph. The provocation, sir.

King. I know it well;
But,—if thou'dst have my heart within thy hand,—
All conjurations blot the name of kings.
What honours, interest, were the world to buy him,
Shall make a brave man smile, and do a murder?
Therefore I hate the memory of Brutus,
I mean the latter, so cried up in story.
Cæsar did ill, but did it in the sun,
And foremost in the field; but sneaking Brutus,
Whom none but cowards and white-livered knaves
Would dare commend, lagging behind his fellows,
His dagger in his bosom, stabbed his father.
This is a blot, which Tully's eloquence
Could ne'er wipe off, though the mistaken man
Makes bold to call those traitors,—men divine.

Alph. Tully was wise, but wanted constancy.

Enter Queen Mother, and Abbot Delbene.

Qu. M. Good-even, sir; 'tis just the time you ordered
To wait on your decrees.

King. Oh, madam!

Qu. M. Sir?

King. Oh mother,—but I cannot make it way;—
Chaos and shades,—'tis huddled up in night.

Qu. M. Speak then, for speech is morning to the mind;
It spreads the beauteous images abroad,
Which else lie furled and clouded in the soul.

King. You would embark me in a sea of blood.

Qu. M. You see the plot directly on your person;
But give it o'er, I did but state the case.
Take Guise into your heart, and drive your friends;
040 Let knaves in shops prescribe you how to sway,
And, when they read your acts with their vile breath,
Proclaim aloud, they like not this or that;
Then in a drove come lowing to the Louvre,
And cry,—they'll have it mended, that they will,
Or you shall be no king.

King. 'Tis true, the people
Ne'er know a mean, when once they get the power;
But O, if the design we lay should fail,
Better the traitors never should be touched,
If execution cries not out—'Tis done.

Qu. M. No, sir, you cannot fear the sure design:
But I have lived too long, since my own blood
Dares not confide in her that gave him being.

King. Stay, madam, stay; come back, forgive my fears,
Where all our thoughts should creep like deepest streams:
Know, then, I hate aspiring Guise to death;
Whored Margarita,—plots upon my life,—
And shall I not revenge?[7]

Qu. M. Why, this is Harry;
Harry at Moncontour, when in his bloom
He saw the admiral Coligny's back.[8]

King. O this whale Guise, with all the Lorrain fry!
Might I but view him, after his plots and plunges,
Struck on those cowring shallows that await him,—
This were a Florence master-piece indeed.

Qu. M. He comes to take his leave.

King. Then for Champaigne;
041 But lies in wait till Paris is in arms.
Call Grillon in. All that I beg you now,
Is to be hushed upon the consultation,
As urns, that never blab.

Qu. M. Doubt not your friends;
Love them, and then you need not fear your foes.

Enter Grillon.

King. Welcome, my honest man, my old tried friend.
Why dost thou fly me, Grillon, and retire?

Gril. Rather let me demand your majesty,
Why fly you from yourself? I've heard you say,
You'd arm against the League; why do you not?
The thoughts of such as you, are starts divine;
And when you mould with second cast the spirit,
The air, the life, the golden vapour's gone.

King. Soft, my old friend; Guise plots upon my life;
Polin shall tell thee more. Hast thou not heard
The insufferable affronts he daily offers,—
War without treasure on the Huguenots;
While I am forced against my bent of soul,
Against all laws, all custom, right, succession,
To cast Navarre from the Imperial line?

Gril. Why do you, sir? Death, let me tell the traitor—

King. Peace, Guise is going to his government;
You are his foe of old; go to him, Grillon;
Visit him as from me, to be employed
In this great war against the Huguenots;
And, pr'ythee, tell him roundly of his faults,
No farther, honest Grillon.

Gril. Shall I fight him?

King. I charge thee, not.

Gril. If he provokes me, strike him;
You'll grant me that?

King. Not so, my honest soldier;
042 Yet speak to him.

Gril. I will, by heaven, to the purpose;
And, if he force a beating, who can help it?[Exit.

King. Follow, Alphonso; when the storm is up,
Call me to part them.

Qu. M. Grillon, to ask him pardon,
Will let Guise know we are not in the dark.

King. You hit the judgment; yet, O yet, there's more;
Something upon my heart, after these counsels,
So soft, and so unworthy to be named!—

Qu. M. They say, that Grillon's niece is come to court,
And means to kiss your hand.[Exit.

King. Could I but hope it!
O my dear father, pardon me in this,
And then enjoin me all that man can suffer;
But sure the powers above will take our tears
For such a fault—love is so like themselves.[Exeunt.

SCENE II.—The Louvre.

Enter Guise, attended with his Family; Marmoutiere meeting him new drest, attended, &c.

Gui. Furies! she keeps her word, and I am lost;
Yet let not my ambition shew it to her;
For, after all, she does it but to try me,
And foil my vowed design.—Madam, I see
You're come to court; the robes you wear become you;
Your air, your mien, your charms, your every grace,
Will kill at least your thousand in a day.

Mar. What, a whole day, and kill but one poor thousand!
An hour you mean, and in that hour ten thousand.
Yes, I would make with every glance a murder.—
043 Mend me this curl.

Gui. Woman![Aside.

Mar. You see, my lord,
I have my followers, like you. I swear,
The court's a heavenly place; but—O, my heart!
I know not why that sigh should come uncalled;
Perhaps, 'twas for your going; yet I swear,
I never was so moved, O Guise, as now,
Just as you entered, when from yonder window
I saw the king.

Gui. Woman, all over woman![Aside.
The world confesses, madam, Henry's form
Is noble and majestic.

Mar. O you grudge
The extorted praise, and speak him but by halves.

Gui. Priest, Corso, devils! how she carries it!

Mar. I see, my lord, you're come to take your leave;
And were it not to give the court suspicion,
I would oblige you, sir, before you go,
To lead me to the king.

Gui. Death and the devil!

Mar. But since that cannot be, I'll take my leave
Of you, my lord; heaven grant your journey safe!
Farewell, once more. [Offers her hand.] Not stir! does this become you,—
Does your ambition swell into your eyes?—
Jealousy by this light; nay then, proud Guise,
I tell you, you're not worthy of the grace;
But I will carry't, sir, to those that are,
And leave you to the curse of bosom-war.[Exit.

May. Is this the heavenly—

Gui. Devil, devil, as they are all.
'Tis true, at first she caught the heavenly form,
But now ambition sets her on her head,
By hell, I see the cloven mark upon her.
Ha! Grillon here! some new court-trick upon me.

044 Enter Grillon.

Gril. Sir, I have business for your ear.

Gui. Retire.[Exeunt his Followers.

Gril. The king, my lord, commanded me to wait you,
And bid you welcome to the court.

Gui. The king
Still loads me with new honours; but none greater
Than this, the last.

Gril. There is one greater yet,
Your high commission 'gainst the Huguenots;
I and my family shall shortly wait you,
And 'twill be glorious work.

Gui. If you are there,
There must be action.

Gril. O, your pardon, sir;
I'm but a stripling in the trade of war:
But you, whose life is one continued broil,
What will not your triumphant arms accomplish!
You, that were formed for mastery in war.
That, with a start, cried to your brother Mayenne,—
"To horse!" and slaughtered forty thousand Germans[9].

Gui. Let me beseech you, colonel, no more.

Gril. But, sir, since I must make at least a figure
045 In this great business, let me understand
What 'tis you mean, and why you force the king
Upon so dangerous an expedition.

Gui. Sir, I intend the greatness of the king;
The greatness of all France, whom it imports
To make their arms their business, aim, and glory;
And where so proper as upon those rebels,
That covered all the state with blood and death?

Gril. Stored arsenals and armouries, fields of horse,
Ordnance, munition, and the nerve of war,
Sound infantry, not harassed and diseased,
To meet the fierce Navarre, should first be thought on.

Gui. I find, my lord, the argument grows warm,
Therefore, thus much, and I have done: I go
To join the Holy League in this great war,
In which no place of office, or command,
Not of the greatest, shall be bought or sold;
Whereas too often honours are conferred
On soldiers, and no soldiers: This man knighted,
Because he charged a troop before his dinner,
And sculked behind a hedge i'the afternoon:
I will have strict examination made
Betwixt the meritorious and the base.

Gril. You have mouthed it bravely, and there is no doubt
Your deeds would answer well your haughty words;
Yet let me tell you, sir, there is a man,
(Curse on the hearts that hate him!) that would better,
Better than you, or all your puffy race,
That better would become the great battalion;
That when he shines in arms, and suns the field,
Moves, speaks, and fights, and is himself a war.

Gui. Your idol, sir; you mean the great Navarre:
But yet—

Gril. No yet, my lord of Guise, no yet;
By arms, I bar you that; I swear, no yet;
For never was his like, nor shall again.
046 Though voted from his right by your cursed League.

Gui. Judge not too rashly of the Holy League,
But look at home.

Gril. Ha! darest thou justify
Those villains?

Gui. I'll not justify a villain,
More than yourself; but if you thus proceed,
If every heated breath can puff away,
On each surmise, the lives of free-born people,
What need that awful general convocation,
The assembly of the states?—nay, let me urge,—
If thus they vilify the Holy League,
What may their heads expect?

Gril. What, if I could,
They should be certain of,—whole piles of fire.

Gui. Colonel, 'tis very well I know your mind,
Which, without fear, or flattery to your person,
I'll tell the king; and then, with his permission,
Proclaim it for a warning to our people.

Gril. Come, you're a murderer yourself within,
A traitor.

Gui. Thou a —— hot old hair-brained fool.

Gril. You were complotter with the cursed League,
The black abettor of our Harry's death.

Gui. 'Tis false.

Gril. 'Tis true, as thou art double-hearted:
Thou double traitor, to conspire so basely;
And when found out, more basely to deny't.

Gui. O gracious Harry, let me sound thy name,
Lest this old rust of war, this knotty trifler,
Should raise me to extremes.

Gril. If thou'rt a man,
That didst refuse the challenge of Navarre,
Come forth[10].

047 Gui. Go on; since thou'rt resolved on death,
I'll follow thee, and rid thy shaking soul.

Enter King, Queen-Mother, Alphonso, Abbot, &c.

But see, the king: I scorn to ruin
thee, Therefore go tell him, tell him thy own story.

King. Ha, colonel, is this your friendly visit?
Tell me the truth, how happened this disorder?
Those ruffled hands, red looks, and port of fury?

Gril. I told him, sir, since you will have it so,
He was the author of the rebel-league;
Therefore, a traitor and a murderer.

King. Is't possible?

Gui. No matter, sir, no matter;
A few hot words, no more, upon my life;
The old man roused, and shook himself a little:
So, if your majesty will do me honour,
I do beseech you, let the business die.

King. Grillon, submit yourself, and ask his pardon.

Gril. Pardon me, I cannot do't.

King. Where are the guards!

Gui. Hold, sir;—come, colonel, I'll ask pardon for you;
This soldierly embrace makes up the breach;
We will be sorry, sir, for one another.

Gril. My lord, I know not what to answer you;
I'm friends,—and I am not,—and so farewell.[Exit.

King. You have your orders; yet before you go,
048 Take this embrace: I court you for my friend,
Though Grillon would not.

Gui. I thank you on my knees;
And still, while life shall last, will take strict care
To justify my loyalty to your person.[Exit.

Qu. M. Excellent loyalty, to lock you up!

King. I see even to the bottom of his soul;
And, madam, I must say the Guise has beauties,
But they are set in night, and foul design:
He was my friend when young, and might be still.

Ab. Marked you his hollow accents at the parting?

Qu. M. Graves in his smiles.

King. Death in his bloodless hands.—
O Marmoutiere! now I will haste to meet thee:
The face of beauty, on this rising horror,
Looks like the midnight moon upon a murder;
It gilds the dark design that stays for fate,
And drives the shades, that thicken, from the state.[Exuent.


Enter Grillon and Polin.

Gril. Have then this pious Council of Sixteen
Scented your late discovery of the plot?

Pol. Not as from me; for still I kennel with them.
And bark as loud as the most deep-mouthed traitor,
Against the king, his government, and laws;
Whereon immediately there runs a cry
Of,—Seize him on the next procession! seize him.
And clap the Chilperick in a monastery!
Thus it was fixt, as I before discovered;
But when, against his custom, they perceived
The king absented, strait the rebels met,
049 And roared,—they were undone.

Gril. O, 'tis like them;
'Tis like their mongrel souls: flesh them with fortune,
And they will worry royalty to death;
But if some crabbed virtue turn and pinch them,
Mark me, they'll run, and yelp, and clap their tails,
Like curs, betwixt their legs, and howl for mercy.

Pol. But Malicorn, sagacious on the point,
Cried,—Call the sheriffs, and bid them arm their bands;
Add yet to this, to raise you above hope,
The Guise, my master, will be here to-day.—
For on bare guess of what has been revealed,
He winged a messenger to give him notice;
Yet, spite of all this factor of the fiends
Could urge, they slunk their heads, like hinds in storms.
But see, they come.

Enter Sheriffs, with the Populace.

Gril. Away, I'll have amongst them;
Fly to the king, warn him of Guise's coming,
That he may strait despatch his strict commands
To stop him.[Exit Polin.

1 Sher. Nay, this is colonel Grillon,
The blunderbuss o'the court; away, away,
He carries ammunition in his face.

Gril. Hark you, my friends, if you are not in haste,
Because you are the pillars of the city,
I would inform you of a general ruin.

2 Sher. Ruin to the city! marry, heaven forbid!

Gril. Amen, I say; for, look you, I'm your friend.
'Tis blown about, you've plotted on the king,
To seize him, if not kill him; for, who knows,
When once your conscience yields, how far 'twill stretch;
Next, quite to dash your firmest hopes in pieces,
050 The duke of Guise is dead.

1 Sher. Dead, colonel!

2 Sher. Undone, undone!

Gril. The world cannot redeem you;
For what, sirs, if the king, provoked at last,
Should join the Spaniard, and should fire your city;
Paris, your head,—but a most venomous one,—
Which must be blooded?

1 Sher. Blooded, colonel!

Gril. Ay, blooded, thou most infamous magistrate,
Or you will blood the king, and burn the Louvre;
But ere that be, fall million miscreant souls,
Such earth-born minds as yours; for, mark me, slaves,
Did you not, ages past, consign your lives,
Liberties, fortunes, to Imperial hands,
Made them the guardians of your sickly years?
And now you're grown up to a booby's greatness,
What, would you wrest the sceptre from his hand?
Now, by the majesty of kings I swear,
You shall as soon be saved for packing juries.

1 Sher. Why, sir, mayn't citizens be saved?

Gril. Yes, sir,
From drowning, to be hanged, burnt, broke o'the wheel.

1 Sher. Colonel, you speak us plain.

Gril. A plague confound you,
Why should I not? what is there in such rascals,
Should make me hide my thought, or hold my tongue?
Now, in the devil's name, what make you here,
Daubing the inside of the court, like snails,
Sliming our walls, and pricking out your horns?
To hear, I warrant, what the king's a doing,
And what the cabinet-council; then to the city,
To spread your monstrous lies, and sow sedition?
Wild fire choke you!

1 Sher. Well, we'll think of this;
And so we take our leaves.

051 Gril. Nay, stay, my masters;
For I'm a thinking now just whereabouts
Grow the two tallest trees in Arden forest.

1 Sher. For what, pray, colonel, if we may be so bold?

Gril. Why, to hang you upon the highest branches.
'Fore God, it will be so; and I shall laugh
To see you dangling to and fro i'the air,
With the honest crows pecking your traitors' limbs.

All. Good colonel!

Gril. Good rats, my precious vermin.
You moving dirt, you rank stark muck o'the world,
You oven-bats, you things so far from souls,
Like dogs, you're out of Providence's reach,
And only fit for hanging; but be gone,
And think of plunder.—You right elder sheriff,
Who carved our Henry's image on a table,
At your club-feast, and after stabbed it through,—[11]

1 Sher. Mercy, good colonel.

Gril. Run with your nose to earth;
Run, blood-hound, run, and scent out royal murder.—
052 You second rogue, but equal to the first,
Plunder, go hang,—nay, take your tackling with you,
For these shall hold you fast,—your slaves shall hang you.
To the mid region in the sun:
Plunder! Begone, vipers, asps, and adders! [Exeunt Sheriffs and People.

Enter Malicorn.

Ha! but here comes a fiend, that soars above;
A prince o'the air, that sets the mud a moving.

Mal. Colonel, a word.

Gril. I hold no speech with villains.

Mal. But, sir, it may concern your fame and safety.

Gril. No matter; I had rather die traduced,
Than live by such a villain's help as thine.

Mal. Hate then the traitor, but yet love the treason.

Gril. Why, are you not a villain?

Mal. 'Tis confessed.

Gril. Then, in the name of all thy brother-devils,
What wouldst thou have with me?

Mal. I know you're honest;
Therefore it is my business to disturb you.

053 Gril. 'Fore God, I'll beat thee, if thou urge me farther.

Mal. Why, though you should, yet, if you hear me after,
The pleasure I shall take in your vexation,
Will heal my bruises.

Gril. Wert thou definite rogue,
I'faith, I think, that I should give thee hearing;
But such a boundless villainy as thine
Admits no patience.

Mal. Your niece is come to court,
And yields her honour to our Henry's bed.

Gril. Thou liest, damned villain.[Strikes him.

Mal. So: why this I looked for;
But yet I swear by hell, and my revenge,
'Tis true, as you have wronged me.

Gril. Wronged thee, villain!
And name revenge! O wert thou Grillon's match,
And worthy of my sword, I swear, by this
One had been past an oath; but thou'rt a worm,
And if I tread thee, darest not turn again.

Mal. 'Tis false; I dare, like you, but cannot act;
There is no force in this enervate arm.
Blasted I was ere born—curse on my stars!—
Got by some dotard in his pithless years,
And sent a withered sapling to the world.
Yet I have brain, and there is my revenge;
Therefore I say again, these eyes have seen
Thy blood at court, bright as a summer's morn,
When all the heaven is streaked with dappled fires.
And flecked with blushes like a rifled maid;
Nay, by the gleamy fires that melted from her,
Fast sighs and smiles, swol'n lips, and heaving breasts,
My soul presages Henry has enjoyed her.

Gril. Again thou liest! and I will crumble thee,
Thou bottled spider, into thy primitive earth,
Unless thou swear thy very thought's a lie.

054 Mal. I stand in adamant, and thus defy thee!
Nay, draw, and with the edge betwixt my lips,
Even while thou rak'st it through my teeth, I'll swear
All I have said is true, as thou art honest,
Or I a villain.

Gril. Damned infamous wretch!
So much below my scorn, I dare not kill thee;
And yet so much my hate, that I must fear thee.
For should it be as thou hast said, not all
The trophies of my laurelled honesty
Should bar me from forsaking this bad world,
And never draw my sword for Henry more.

Mal. Ha! 'tis well, and now I am revenged.
I was in hopes thou wouldst have uttered treason,
And forfeited thy head, to pay me fully.

Gril. Hast thou compacted for a lease of years
With hell, that thus thou ventured to provoke me?

Mal. Perhaps I have: (How right the blockhead hits!)
Yet more to rack thy heart, and break thy brain,
Thy niece has been before the Guise's mistress.

Gril. Hell-hound, avaunt!

Mal. Forgive my honest meaning.[Exit.

Gril. 'Tis hatched beneath, a plot upon mine honour;
And thus he lays his baits to catch my soul:—
Ha! but the presence opens; who comes here?
By heaven, my niece! led by Alphonso Corso!
Ha, Malicorn! is't possible? truth from thee!
'Tis plain! and I, in justifying woman,
Have done the devil wrong.

Enter Alphonso Corso, leading in Marmoutiere.

Alph. Madam, the king
(Please you to sit) will instantly attend you.[Exit.

Gril. Death, hell, and furies! ha! she comes to seek him!—
O prostitute!—and, on her prodigal flesh,
055 She has lavished all the diamonds of the Guise,
To set her off, and sell her to the king.

Mar. O heavens! did ever virgin yet attempt
An enterprise like mine? I, that resolved
Never to leave those dear delightful shades,
But act the little part that nature gave me,
On the green carpets of some guiltless grove,
And having finished it, forsake the world;
Unless sometimes my heart might entertain
Some small remembrance of the taking Guise:
But that far, far from any darkening thought,
To cloud my honour, or eclipse my virtue.

Gril. Thou liest! and if thou hadst not glanced aside,
And spied me coming, I had had it all.

Mar. By heaven! by all that's good—

Gril. Thou hast lost thy honour.
Give me this hand, this hand by which I caught thee
From the bold ruffian in the massacre,
That would have stained thy almost infant honour,
With lust, and blood;—dost thou remember it?

Mar. I do, and bless the godlike arm, that saved me.

Gril. 'Tis false! thou hast forgot my generous action;
And now thou laugh'st, to think how thou hast cheated,
For all his kindness, this old grisled fool.

Mar. Forbid it heaven!

Gril. But oh, that thou hadst died
Ten thousand deaths, ere blasted Grillon's glory;
Grillon, that saved thee from a barbarous world.
Where thou hadst starved, or sold thyself for bread;
Took thee into his bosom, fostered thee
As his own soul, and laid thee in his heart-strings;
And now, for all my cares, to serve me thus!
O 'tis too much, ye powers! double confusion
056 On all my wars; and oh,—out, shame upon thee!
It wrings the tears from Grillon's iron heart,
And melts me to a babe.

Mar. Sir! father! hear me!
I come to court, to save the life of Guise.

Gril. And prostitute thy honour to the king.

Mar. I have looked, perhaps, too nicely for my sex,
Into the dark affairs of fatal state;
And, to advance this dangerous inquisition,
I listened to the love of daring Guise.

Gril. By arms, by honesty, I swear thou lovest him!

Mar. By heaven, that gave those arms success, I swear
I do not, as you think! but take it all.
I have heard the Guise, not with an angel's temper,
Something beyond the tenderness of pity,
And yet, not love.
Now, by the powers that framed me, this is all!
Nor should the world have wrought this close confession,
But to rebate your jealousy of honour.

Gril. I know not what to say, nor what to think;
There's heaven still in thy voice, but that's a sign
Virtue's departing; for thy better angel
Still makes the woman's tongue his rising ground,
Wags there a while, and takes his flight for ever.

Mar. You must not go.

Gril. Though I have reason, plain
As day, to judge thee false, I think thee true:
By heaven, methinks I see a glory round thee!
There's something says, thou wilt not lose thy honour:—
Death and the devil! that's my own honesty;
My foolish open nature, that would have
All like myself;—but off; I'll hence and curse thee!

Mar. O, stay!

Gril. I will not.

057 Mar. Hark! the king's coming.
Let me conjure you, for your own soul's quiet,
And for the everlasting rest of mine,
Stir not, till you have heard my heart's design.

Gril. Angel, or devil, I will.—Nay, at this rate,
She'll make me shortly bring him to her bed.—
Bawd for him? no, he shall make me run my head
Into a cannon, when 'tis firing, first;
That's honourable sport. But I'll retire,
And if she plays me false, here's that shall mend her.
[Touching his Dagger, exit. Marmoutiere sits. Song and Dance.

Enter the King.

King. After the breathing of a love-sick heart
Upon your hand, once more,—nay twice,—forgive me.

Mar. I discompose you, sir.

King. Thou dost, by heaven;
But with such charming pleasure,
I love, and tremble, as at angels' view.

Mar. Love me, my lord?

King. Who should be loved, but you?
So loved, that even my crown, and self are vile,
While you are by. Try me upon despair;
My kingdom at the stake, ambition starved,
Revenge forgot, and all great appetites
That whet uncommon spirits to aspire,
So once a day I may have leave—
Nay, madam, then you fear me.

Mar. Fear you, sir! what is there dreadful in you?
You've all the graces that can crown mankind;
Yet wear them so, as if you did not know them;
So stainless, fearless, free in all your actions,
As if heaven lent you to the world to pattern.

King. Madam, I find you are no petitioner;
My people would not treat me in this sort,
Though 'twere to gain a part of their design;
058 But to the Guise they deal their faithless praise
As fast, as you your flattery to me;
Though for what end I cannot guess, except
You come, like them, to mock at my misfortunes.

Mar. Forgive you, heaven, that thought! No, mighty monarch,
The love of all the good, and wonder of the great;
I swear, by heaven, my heart adores, and loves you.

King. O madam, rise.

Mar. Nay, were you, sir, unthroned
By this seditious rout that dare despise you,
Blast all my days, ye powers! torment my nights;
Nay, let the misery invade my sex,
That could not for the royal cause, like me,
Throw all their luxury before your feet,
And follow you, like pilgrims, through the world.

Gril. Sound wind and limb! 'fore God, a gallant girl! [Aside.

King. What shall I answer to thee, O thou balm
To heal a broken, yet a kingly heart!
For, so I swear I will be to my last.
Come to my arms, and be thy Harry's angel,
Shine through my cares, and make my crown sit easy.

Mar. O never, sir.

King. What said you, Marmoutiere?
Why dost thou turn thy beauties into frowns?

Mar. You know, sir, 'tis impossible; no more.

King. No more?—and with that stern resolved behaviour?
By heaven! were I a dying, and the priest
Should urge my last confession, I'd cry out,
Oh Marmoutiere! and yet thou say'st,—No more!

Mar. 'Tis well, sir; I have lost my aim, farewell.

King. Come back! O stay, my life flows after you.

Mar. No, sir, I find I am a trouble to you;
You will not hear my suit.

King. You cannot go,
059 You shall not.—O your suit, I kneel to grant it;
I beg you take whatever you demand.

Mar. Then, sir, thus low, or prostrate if you please,
Let me intreat for Guise.

King. Ha, madam, what!
For Guise; for Guise! that stubborn arrogant rebel,
That laughs at proffered mercy, slights his pardon,
Mocks royal grace, and plots upon my life?
Ha! and do you protect him? then the world
Is sworn to Henry's death: Does beauty too,
And innocence itself conspire against me?
Then let me tamely yield my glories up,
Which once I vowed with my drawn sword to wear
To my last drop of blood.—Come Guise, come cardinal,
All you loved traitors, come—I strip to meet you;
Sheathe all your daggers in curst Henry's heart.

Mar. This I expected; but when you have heard
How far I would intreat your majesty,
Perhaps you'll be more calm.

King. See, I am hushed;
Speak then; how far, madam, would you command?

Mar. Not to proceed to last extremities,
Before the wound is desperate. Think alone,
For no man judges like your majesty:
Take your own methods; all the heads of France
Cannot so well advise you, as yourself.
Therefore resume, my lord, your god-like temper,
Yet do not bear more than a monarch should;
Believe it, sir, the more your majesty
Draws back your arm, the more of fate it carries.

King. Thou genius of my state, thou perfect model
Of heaven itself, and abstract of the angels,
Forgive the late disturbance of my soul!
I'm clear by nature, as a rockless stream;
But they dig through the gravel of my heart,
And raise the mud of passions up to cloud me;
Therefore let me conjure you, do not go;
060 'Tis said, the Guise will come in spite of me;
Suppose it possible, and stay to advise me.

Mar. I will; but, on your royal word, no more.

King. I will be easy,
To my last gasp, as your own virgin thoughts,
And never dare to breathe my passion more;
Yet you'll allow me now and then to sigh
As we discourse, and court you with my eyes?

Enter Alphonso.

Why do you wave your hand, and warn me hence?
So looks the poor condemned,
When justice beckons, there's no hope of pardon.
Sternly, like you, the judge the victim eyes,
And thus, like me, the wretch, despairing, dies. [Exit with Alphonso.

Enter Grillon.

Gril. O rare, rare creature! By the power that made me,
Wer't possible we could be damned again
By some new Eve, such virtue might redeem us.
Oh I could clasp thee, but that my arms are rough,
Till all thy sweets were broke with my embraces,
And kiss thy beauties to a dissolution!

Mar. Ah father, uncle, brother, all the kin,
The precious blood that's left me in the world,
Believe, dear sir, whate'er my actions seem,
I will not lose my virtue, for a throne.

Gril. Why, I will carve thee out a throne myself;
I'll hew down all the kings in Christendom,
And seat thee on their necks, as high as heaven.

Enter Abbot Delbene.

Abb. Colonel, your ear.

Mar. By these whispering councils,
My soul presages that the Guise is coming.
If he dares come, were I a man, a king,
061 I'd sacrifice him in the city's sight.—
O heavens! what was't I said? Were I a man,
I know not that; but, as I am a virgin,
If I would offer thee, too lovely Guise,
It should be kneeling to the throne of mercy.—
Ha! then thou lovest, that thou art thus concerned.
Down, rising mischief, down, or I will kill thee,
Even in thy cause, and strangle new-born pity!—
Yet if he were not married!—ha, what then?
His charms prevail;—no, let the rebel die.
I faint beneath this strong oppression here;
Reason and love rend my divided soul;
Heaven be the judge, and still let virtue conquer.
Love to his tune my jarring heart would bring,
But reason over-winds, and cracks the string.[Exit.

Abb. The king dispatches order upon order,
With positive command to stop his coming.
Yet there is notice given to the city;
Besides, Belleure brought but a half account,
How that the Guise replied, he would obey
His majesty in all; yet, if he might
Have leave to justify himself before him,
He doubted not his cause.

Gril. The axe, the axe:
Rebellion's pampered to a pleurisy,
And it must bleed.[Shout within.

Abb. Hark, what a shout was there!
I'll to the king; it may be, 'tis reported
On purpose thus.
Let there be truth or lies
In this mad fame, I'll bring you instant word.[Exit Abbot.

Manet Grillon: Enter Guise, Cardinal, Mayenne, Malicorn, Attendants, &c. Shouts again.

Gril. Death, and thou devil Malicorn, is that
Thy master?

Gui. Yes, Grillon, 'tis the Guise;
062 One, that would court you for a friend.

Gril. A friend!
Traitor thou mean'st, and so I bid thee welcome;
But since thou art so insolent, thy blood
Be on thy head, and fall by me unpitied.[Exit.

Gui. The bruises of his loyalty have crazed him. [Shouts louder.

Spirit within sings.

Malicorn, Malicorn, Malicorn, ho!
If the Guise resolves to go,
I charge, I warn thee let him know,
Perhaps his head may lie too low.

Gui. Why, Malicorn.

Mal. [Starting.] Sir, do not see the king.

Gui. I will.

Mal. 'Tis dangerous.

Gui. Therefore I will see him,
And so report my danger to the people.
Halt—to your judgment.—[Malicorn makes signs of Assassination.] Let him, if he dare.—
But more, more, more;—why, Malicorn!—again?
I thought a look, with us, had been a language;
I'll talk my mind on any point but this
By glances;—ha! not yet? thou mak'st me blush
At thy delay; why, man, 'tis more than life,
Ambition, or a crown[12].

063 Mal. What, Marmoutiere?

Gui. Ay, there a general's heart beat like a drum!
Quick, quick! my reins, my back, and head and breast
Ache, as I'd been a horse-back forty hours.

Mal. She has seen the king.

Gui. I thought she might. A trick upon me; well.

Mal. Passion o' both sides.

Gui. His, thou meanest.

Mal. On hers.
Down on her knees.

Gui. And up again; no matter.

Mal. Now all in tears, now smiling, sad at parting.

Gui. Dissembled, for she told me this before;
'Twas all put on, that I might hear and rave.

Mal. And so, to make sure work on't, by consent
Of Grillon, who is made their bawd,—

Gui. Away!

Mal. She's lodged at court.

Gui. 'Tis false, they do belie her.

Mal. But, sir, I saw the apartment.

Gui. What, at court?

Mal. At court, and near the king; 'tis true, by heaven:
I never play'd you foul, why should you doubt me?

Gui. I would thou hadst, ere thus unmanned my heart!
Blood, battles, fire, and death! I run, I run!
With this last blow he drives me like a coward;
Nay, let me never win a field again,
If, with the thought of these irregular vapours,
The blood ha'nt burst my lips.

Card. Peace, brother.

Gui. By heaven, I took thee for my soul's physician,
And dost thou vomit me with this loathed peace?
064 'Tis contradiction: no, my peaceful brother,
I'll meet him now, though fire-armed cherubins
Should cross my way. O jealousy of love!
Greater than fame! thou eldest of the passions,
Or rather all in one, I here invoke thee,
Where'er thou'rt throned in air, in earth, or hell,
Wing me to my revenge, to blood, and ruin!

Card. Have you no temper?

Gui. Pray, sir, give me leave.
A moment's thought;—ha, but I sweat and tremble,
My brain runs this and that way; it will not fix
On aught but vengeance.—Malicorn, call the people. [Shouts within.
But hark, they shout again: I'll on and meet them;
Nay, head them to his palace, as my guards.
Yet more, on such exalted causes borne,
I'll wait him in his cabinet alone,
And look him pale; while in his courts without,
The people shout him dead with their alarms,
And make his mistress tremble in his arms.[Exeunt.


Enter King and Council.

[Shouts without.

King. What mean these shouts?

Abb. I told your majesty,
The sheriffs have puffed the populace with hopes
Of their deliverer.[Shouts again.

King. Hark! there rung a peal
Like thunder: see, Alphonso, what's the cause.

Enter Grillon.

Gril. My lord, the Guise is come.

King. Is't possible! ha, Grillon, said'st thou, come?

Gril. Why droops the royal majesty? O sir!

King. O villain, slave, wert thou my late-born heir,
065 Given me by heaven, even when I lay a-dying—
But peace, thou festering thought, and hide thy wound;—
Where is he?

Gril. With her majesty, your mother;
She has taken chair, and he walks bowing by her,
With thirty thousand rebels at his heels.

King. What's to be done? No pall upon my spirit;
But he that loves me best, and dares the most
On this nice point of empire, let him speak.

Alph. I would advise you, sir, to call him in,
And kill him instantly upon the spot.

Abb. I like Alphonso's counsel, short, sure work;
Cut off the head, and let the body walk.

Enter Queen-Mother.

Qu. M. Sir, the Guise waits.

King. He enters on his fate.

Qu. M. Not so,—forbear; the city is up in arms;
Nor doubt, if, in their heat, you cut him off,
That they will spare the royal majesty.
Once, sir, let me advise, and rule your fury.

King. You shall: I'll see him, and I'll spare him now.

Qu. M. What will you say?

King. I know not;—
Colonel Grillon, call the archers in,
Double your guards, and strictly charge the Swiss
Stand to their arms, receive him as a traitor.[Exit Grillon.
My heart has set thee down, O Guise, in blood,—
Blood, mother, blood, ne'er to be blotted out.

Qu. M. Yet you'll relent, when this hot fit is over.

King. If I forgive him, may I ne'er be forgiven!
No, if I tamely bear such insolence,
What act of treason will the villains stop at?
Seize me, they've sworn; imprison me is the next,
066 Perhaps arraign me, and then doom me dead.
But ere I suffer that, fall all together,
Or rather, on their slaughtered heaps erect
My throne, and then proclaim it for example.
I'm born a monarch, which implies alone
To wield the sceptre, and depend on none.[Exeunt[13].

SCENE I.—The Louvre.

A Chair of State placed; the King appears sitting in it; a Table by him, on which he leans; Attendants on each Side of him; amongst the rest, Abbot, Grillon, and Bellieure. The Queen-Mother enters, led by the Duke of Guise, who makes his Approach with three Reverences to the King's Chair; after the third, the King rises, and coming forward, speaks.

King. I sent you word, you should not come.

Gui. Sir, that I came—

067 King. Why, that you came, I see.
Once more, I sent you word, you should not come.

Gui. Not come to throw myself, with all submission,
Beneath your royal feet! to put my cause
And person in the hands of sovereign justice!

King. Now 'tis with all submission,—that's the preface,—
Yet still you came against my strict command;
You disobeyed me, duke, with all submission.

068 Gui. Sir, 'twas the last necessity that drove me,
To clear myself of calumnies, and slanders,
Much urged, but never proved, against my innocence;
Yet had I known 'twas your express command,
I should not have approached.

King. 'Twas as express, as words could signify;—
Stand forth, Bellieure,—it shall be proved you knew it,—
Stand forth, and to this false man's face declare
Your message, word for word.

Bel. Sir, thus it was. I met him on the way,
And plain as I could speak, I gave your orders,
Just in these following words:—

King. Enough, I know you told him;
But he has used me long to be contemned,
And I can still be patient, and forgive.

Gui. And I can ask forgiveness, when I err;
But let my gracious master please to know
The true intent of my misconstrued faith.
Should I not come to vindicate my fame
From wrong constructions? And—

King. Come, duke, you were not wronged; your conscience knows
You were not wronged; were you not plainly told,
That, if you dared to set your foot in Paris,
069 You should be held the cause of all commotions
That should from thence ensue? and yet you came.

Gui. Sir, will you please with patience but to hear me?

King. I will; and would be glad, my lord of Guise,
To clear you to myself.

Gui. I had been told,
There were in agitation here at court,
Things of the highest note against religion,
Against the common properties of subjects,
And lives of honest well-affected men;
I therefore judged,—

King. Then you, it seems, are judge
Betwixt the prince and people? judge for them,
And champion against me?

Gui. I feared it might be represented so,
And came resolved,—

King. To head the factious crowd.

Gui. To clear my innocence.

King. The means for that,
Had been your absence from this hot-brained town,
Where you, not I, are king!—
I feel my blood kindling within my veins;
The genius of the throne knocks at my heart:
Come what may come, he dies.

Qu. M. [Stopping the king.] What mean you, sir?
You tremble and look pale; for heaven's sake think,
'Tis your own life you venture, if you kill him.

King. Had I ten thousand lives, I'll venture all.
Give me way, madam!

Qu. M. Not to your destruction.
The whole Parisian herd is at your gates;
A crowd's a name too small, they are a nation,
Numberless, armed, enraged, one soul informs them.

King. And that one soul's the Guise. I'll rend it out,
070 And damn the rabble all at once in him.

Gui. My fate is now in the balance; fool within,
I thank thee for thy foresight.[Aside.

Qu. M. Your guards oppose them!

King. Why not? a multitude's a bulky coward.

Qu. M. By heaven, there are not limbs in all your guards,
For every one a morsel.

King. Cæsar quelled them,
But with a look and word.

Qu. M. So Galba thought.

King. But Galba was not Cæsar.

Gui. I must not give them time for resolution.—[Aside.
My journey, sir, has discomposed my health,[To the king.
I humbly beg your leave, I may retire,
Till your commands recall me to your service.[Exit[14].

King. So, you have counselled well; the traitor's gone,
To mock the meekness of an injured king.[To Qu. M.
071 Why did not you, who gave me part of life,
Infuse my father stronger in my veins?
But when you kept me cooped within your womb,
You palled his generous blood with the dull mixture
Of your Italian food, and milked slow arts
Of womanish tameness in my infant mouth.
Why stood I stupid else, and missed a blow,
Which heaven and daring folly made so fair?

Qu. M. I still maintain, 'twas wisely done to spare him.

072 Gril. A pox on this unseasonable wisdom!
He was a fool to come; if so, then they,
Who let him go, were somewhat.

King. The event, the event will shew us what we were;
For, like a blazing meteor hence he shot,
And drew a sweeping fiery train along.—
O Paris, Paris, once my seat of triumph,
But now the scene of all thy king's misfortunes;
Ungrateful, perjured, and disloyal town,
Which by my royal presence I have warmed
So long, that now the serpent hisses out,
And shakes his forked tongue at majesty,
While I—

Qu. M. While you lose time in idle talk,
And use no means for safety and prevention.

King. What can I do? O mother, Abbot, Grillon!
All dumb! nay, then 'tis plain, my cause is desperate.
Such an overwhelming ill makes grief a fool,
As if redress were past.

Gril. I'll go to the next sheriff,
And beg the first reversion of a rope:
Dispatch is all my business; I'll hang for you.

Abb. 'Tis not so bad, as vainly you surmise;
Some space there is, some little space, some steps
Betwixt our fate and us: our foes are powerful,
But yet not armed, nor marshalled into order;
Believe it, sir, the Guise will not attempt,
Till he have rolled his snow-ball to a heap.

King. So then, my lord, we're a day off from death:
What shall to-morrow do?

Abb. To-morrow, sir,
If hours between slide not too idly by,
You may be master of their destiny,
Who now dispose so loftily of yours.
Not far without the suburbs there are quartered
073 Three thousand Swiss, and two French regiments.

King. Would they were here, and I were at their head!

Qu. M. Send Mareschal Byron to lead them up.

King. It shall be so: by heaven there's life in this!
The wrack of clouds is driving on the winds,
And shews a break of sunshine—
Go Grillon, give my orders to Byron,
And see your soldiers well disposed within,
For safeguard of the Louvre.

Qu. M. One thing more:
The Guise (his business yet not fully ripe,)
Will treat, at least, for shew of loyalty;
Let him be met with the same arts he brings.

King. I know, he'll make exorbitant demands,
But here your part of me will come in play;
The Italian soul shall teach me how to sooth:
Even Jove must flatter with an empty hand,
'Tis time to thunder, when he gripes the brand.[Exeunt.

SCENE II.—A Night Scene.

Enter Malicorn solus.

Mal. Thus far the cause of God; but God's or devil's,—
I mean my master's cause, and mine,—succeed,
What shall the Guise do next?[A flash of lightning.

Enter the spirit Melanax.

Mel. First seize the king, and after murder him.

Mal. Officious fiend, thou comest uncalled to-night.

Mel. Always uncalled, and still at hand for mischief.

Mal. But why in this fanatic habit, devil?
Thou look'st like one that preaches to the crowd;
Gospel is in thy face, and outward garb,
074 And treason on thy tongue.

Mel. Thou hast me right:
Ten thousand devils more are in this habit;
Saintship and zeal are still our best disguise:
We mix unknown with the hot thoughtless crowd,
And quoting scriptures, (which too well we know,)
With impious glosses ban the holy text,
And make it speak rebellion, schism, and murder;
So turn the arms of heaven against itself.

Mal. What makes the curate of St. Eustace here?

Mel. Thou art mistaken, master; 'tis not he,
But 'tis a zealous, godly, canting devil,
Who has assumed the churchman's lucky shape,
To talk the crowd to madness and rebellion.

Mal. O true enthusiastic devil, true,—
(For lying is thy nature, even to me,)
Did'st thou not tell me, if my lord, the Guise,
Entered the court, his head should then lie low?
That was a lie; he went, and is returned.

Mel. 'Tis false; I said, perhaps it should lie low;
And, but I chilled the blood in Henry's veins,
And crammed a thousand ghastly, frightful thoughts,
Nay, thrust them foremost in his labouring brain,
Even so it would have been.

Mal. Thou hast deserved me,
And I am thine, dear devil: what do we next?

Mel. I said, first seize the king.

Mal. Suppose it done:
He's clapt within a convent, shorn a saint,
My master mounts the throne.

Mel. Not so fast, Malicorn;
Thy master mounts not, till the king be slain.

Mal. Not when deposed?

Mel. He cannot be deposed:
He may be killed, a violent fate attends him;
But at his birth there shone a regal star.

Mal. My master had a stronger.

075 Mel. No, not a stronger, but more popular.
Their births were full opposed, the Guise now strongest
But if the ill influence pass o'er Harry's head,
As in a year it will, France ne'er shall boast
A greater king than he; now cut him off,
While yet his stars are weak.

Mal. Thou talk'st of stars:
Can'st thou not see more deep into events,
And by a surer way?

Mel. No, Malicorn;
The ways of heaven are broken since our fall,
Gulph beyond gulph, and never to be shot.
Once we could read our mighty Maker's mind,
As in a crystal mirror, see the ideas
Of things that always are, as he is always;
Now, shut below in this dark sphere,
By second causes dimly we may guess,
And peep far off on heaven's revolving orbs,
Which cast obscure reflections from the throne.

Mal. Then tell me thy surmises of the future.

Mel. I took the revolution of the year,
Just when the Sun was entering in the Ham:
The ascending Scorpion poisoned all the sky,
A sign of deep deceit and treachery.
Full on his cusp his angry master sate,
Conjoined with Saturn, baleful both to man:
Of secret slaughters, empires overturned,
Strife, blood, and massacres, expect to hear,
And all the events of an ill-omened year.

Mal. Then flourish hell, and mighty mischief reign!
Mischief, to some, to others must be good.
But hark! for now, though 'tis the dead of night,
When silence broods upon our darkened world,
Methinks I hear a murmuring hollow sound,
Like the deaf chimes of bells in steeples touched.

Mel. It is truly guessed;
076 But know, 'tis from no nightly sexton's hand.
There's not a damned ghost, nor hell-born fiend,
That can from limbo 'scape, but hither flies;
With leathern wings they beat the dusky skies,
To sacred churches all in swarms repair;
Some crowd the spires, but most the hallowed bells,
And softly toll for souls departing knells:
Each chime, thou hear'st, a future death foretells,
Now there they perch to have them in their eyes,
'Till all go loaded to the nether skies[15].


Mal. To-morrow then.

Mel. To-morrow let it be;
Or thou deceiv'st those hungry, gaping fiends,
And Beelzebub will rage.

Mal. Why Beelzebub? hast thou not often said,
That Lucifer's your king?

Mel. I told thee true;
But Lucifer, as he who foremost fell,
So now lies lowest in the abyss of hell,
Chained till the dreadful doom; in place of whom
Sits Beelzebub, vicegerent of the damned,
Who, listening downward, hears his roaring lord,
077 And executes his purpose.—But no more[16].
The morning creeps behind yon eastern hill,
And now the guard is mine, to drive the elves,
And foolish fairies, from their moonlight play,
And lash the laggers from the sight of day.[Descends.
[Exit Mal.


Enter Guise, Mayenne, Cardinal, and Archbishop.

May. Sullen, methinks, and slow the morning breaks,
As if the sun were listless to appear,
And dark designs hung heavy on the day.

Gui. You're an old man too soon, you're superstitious;
I'll trust my stars, I know them now by proof;
The genius of the king bends under mine:
Environed with his guards, he durst not touch me;
But awed and cravened, as he had been spelled,
Would have pronounced, Go kill the Guise, and durst not.

Card. We have him in our power, coop'd in his court.
Who leads the first attack? Now by yon heaven,
That blushes at my scarlet robes, I'll doff
This womanish attire of godly peace,
And cry,—Lie there, Lord Cardinal of Guise.

078 Gui. As much too hot, as Mayenne is too cool.
But 'tis the manlier fault of the two.

Arch. Have you not heard the king, preventing day,
Received the guards into the city gates,
The jolly Swisses marching to their fifes?
The crowd stood gaping, heartless and amazed,
Shrunk to their shops, and left the passage free.

Gui. I would it should be so, 'twas a good horror[17].
First let them fear for rapes, and ransacked houses;
That very fright, when I appear to head them,
Will harden their soft city courages:
Cold burghers must be struck, and struck like flints,
Ere their hid fire will sparkle.

Arch. I'm glad the king has introduced these guards.

Card. Your reason.

Arch. They are too few for us to fear;
Our numbers in old martial men are more,
The city not cast in; but the pretence,
That hither they are brought to bridle Paris,
Will make this rising pass for just defence.

May. Suppose the city should not rise?

Gui. Suppose, as well, the sun should never rise:
He may not rise, for heaven may play a trick;
But he has risen from Adam's time to ours.
079 Is nothing to be left to noble hazard?
No venture made, but all dull certainty?
By heaven I'll tug with Henry for a crown,
Rather than have it on tame terms of yielding:
I scorn to poach for power.

Enter a Servant, who whispers Guise.

A lady, say'st thou, young and beautiful,
Brought in a chair?
Conduct her in.—[Exit Servant.

Card. You would be left alone?

Gui. I would; retire.[Exeunt May. Card. &c.

Re-enter Servant with Marmoutiere, and exit.

Starting back.] Is't possible? I dare not trust my eyes!
You are not Marmoutiere?

Mar. What am I then?

Gui. Why, any thing but she:
What should the mistress of a king do here?

Mar. Find him, who would be master of a king.

Gui. I sent not for you, madam.

Mar. I think, my lord, the king sent not for you.

Gui. Do you not fear, your visit will be known?

Mar. Fear is for guilty men, rebels, and traitors:
Where'er I go, my virtue is my guard.

Gui. What devil has sent thee here to plague my soul?
O that I could detest thee now as much
As ever I have loved, nay, even as much
As yet, in spite of all thy crimes, I love!
But 'tis a love so mixt with dark despair,
The smoke and soot smother the rising flame,
And make my soul a furnace. Woman, woman,
What can I call thee more? if devil, 'twere less.
Sure, thine's a race was never got by Adam,
But Eve played false, engendering with the serpent,
Her own part worse than his.

080 Mar. Then they got traitors.

Gui. Yes, angel-traitors, fit to shine in palaces,
Forked into ills, and split into deceits;
Two in their very frame. 'Twas well, 'twas well,
I saw thee not at court, thou basilisk;
For if I had, those eyes, without his guards,
Had done the tyrant's work.

Mar. Why then it seems
I was not false in all: I told you, Guise,
If you left Paris, I would go to court:
You see I kept my promise.

Gui. Still thy sex:
Once true in all thy life, and that for mischief.

Mar. Have I said I loved you?

Gui. Stab on, stab:
'Tis plain you love the king.

Mar. Nor him, nor you,
In that unlawful way you seem to mean.
My eyes had once so far betrayed my heart,
As to distinguish you from common men;
Whate'er you said, or did, was charming all.

Gui. But yet, it seems, you found a king more charming.

Mar. I do not say more charming, but more noble,
More truly royal, more a king in soul,
Than you are now in wishes.

Gui. May be so:
But love has oiled your tongue to run so glib,—
Curse on your eloquence!

Mar. Curse not that eloquence that saved your life:
For, when your wild ambition, which defied
A royal mandate, hurried you to town;
When over-weening pride of popular power
Had thrust you headlong in the Louvre toils,
Then had you died: For know, my haughty lord,
Had I not been, offended majesty
081 Had doomed you to the death you well deserved.

Gui. Then was't not Henry's fear preserved my life?

Mar. You know him better, or you ought to know him:
He's born to give you fear, not to receive it.

Gui. Say this again; but add, you gave not up
Your honour as the ransom of my life;
For, if you did, 'twere better I had died.

Mar. And so it were.

Gui. Why said you, so it were?
For though 'tis true, methinks 'tis much unkind.

Mar. My lord, we are not now to talk of kindness.
If you acknowledge I have saved your life,
Be grateful in return, and do an act,
Your honour, though unasked by me, requires.

Gui. By heaven, and you, whom next to heaven I love,
(If I said more, I fear I should not lie,)
I'll do whate'er my honour will permit.

Mar. Go, throw yourself at Henry's royal feet,
And rise not till approved a loyal subject.

Gui. A duteous loyal subject I was ever.

Mar. I'll put it short, my lord; depart from Paris.

Gui. I cannot leave
My country, friends, religion, all at stake.
Be wise, and be before-hand with your fortune;
Prevent the turn, forsake the ruined court;
Stay here, and make a merit of your love.

Mar. No; I'll return, and perish in those ruins.
I find thee now, ambitious, faithless, Guise.
Farewell, the basest and the last of men!

Gui. Stay, or—O heaven!—I'll force you: Stay—

Mar. I do believe
So ill of you, so villainously ill,
That, if you durst, you would:
082 Honour you've little, honesty you've less;
But conscience you have none:
Yet there's a thing called fame, and men's esteem,
Preserves me from your force. Once more, farewell.
Look on me, Guise; thou seest me now the last;
Though treason urge not thunder on thy head,
This one departing glance shall flash thee dead.[Exit.

Gui. Ha, said she true? Have I so little honour?
Why, then, a prize so easy and so fair
Had never 'scaped my gripe: but mine she is;
For that's set down as sure as Henry's fall.
But my ambition, that she calls my crime;—
False, false, by fate! my right was born with me.
And heaven confest it in my very frame;
The fires, that would have formed ten thousand angels,
Were crammed together for my single soul.

Enter Malicorn.

Mal. My lord, you trifle precious hours away;
The heavens look gaudily upon your greatness,
And the crowned moments court you as they fly.
Brisac and fierce Aumale have pent the Swiss,
And folded them like sheep in holy ground;
Where now, with ordered pikes, and colours furled,
They wait the word that dooms them all to die:
Come forth, and bless the triumph of the day.

Gui. So slight a victory required not me:
I but sat still, and nodded, like a god,
My world into creation; now 'tis time
To walk abroad, and carelessly survey
How the dull matter does the form obey.[Exit with Malicorn.


Enter Citizens, and Melanax, in his fanatic Habit, at the head them.

Mel. Hold, hold, a little, fellow citizens; and you, 083 gentlemen of the rabble, a word of godly exhortation to strengthen your hands, ere you give the onset.

1 Cit. Is this a time to make sermons? I would not hear the devil now, though he should come in God's name, to preach peace to us.

2 Cit. Look you, gentlemen, sermons are not to be despised; we have all profited by godly sermons that promote sedition: let the precious man hold forth.

Omn. Let him hold forth, let him hold forth.

Mel. To promote sedition is my business: It has been so before any of you were born, and will be so, when you are all dead and damned; I have led on the rabble in all ages.

1 Cit. That's a lie, and a loud one.

2 Cit. He has led the rabble both old and young, that's all ages: A heavenly sweet man, I warrant him; I have seen him somewhere in a pulpit.

Mel. I have sown rebellion every where.

1 Cit. How, every where? That's another lie: How far have you travelled, friend?

Mel. Over all the world.

1 Cit. Now, that's a rapper.

2 Cit. I say no: For, look you, gentlemen, if he has been a traveller, he certainly says true, for he may lie by authority.

Mel. That the rabble may depose their prince, has in all times, and in all countries, been accounted lawful.

1 Cit. That's the first true syllable he has uttered: but as how, and whereby, and when, may they depose him?

Mel. Whenever they have more power to depose, than he has to oppose; and this they may do upon the least occasion.

1 Cit. Sirrah, you mince the matter; you should 084 say, we may do it upon no occasion, for the less the better.

Mel. [Aside.] Here's a rogue now, will out-shoot the devil in his own bow.

2 Cit. Some occasion, in my mind, were not amiss: for, look you, gentlemen, if we have no occasion, then whereby we have no occasion to depose him; and therefore, either religion or liberty, I stick to those occasions; for when they are gone, good night to godliness and freedom.

Mel. When the most are of one side, as that's our case, we are always in the right; for they, that are in power, will ever be the judges: so that if we say white is black, poor white must lose the cause, and put on mourning; for white is but a single syllable, and we are a whole sentence. Therefore, go on boldly, and lay on resolutely for your Solemn League and Covenant; and if here be any squeamish conscience who fears to fight against the king,—though I, that have known you, citizens, these thousand years, suspect not any,—let such understand that his majesty's politic capacity is to be distinguished from his natural; and though you murder him in one, you may preserve him in the other; and so much for this time, because the enemy is at hand.

2 Cit. [Looking out.] Look you, gentlemen, 'tis Grillon, the fierce colonel; he that devours our wives, and ravishes our children.

1 Cit. He looks so grum, I don't care to have to do with him; would I were safe in my shop, behind the counter.

2 Cit. And would I were under my wife's petticoats. Look you, gentlemen.

Mel. You, neighbour, behind your counter, yesterday paid a bill of exchange in glass louis d'ors; 085 and you, friend, that cry, look you, gentlemen, this very morning was under another woman's petticoats, and not your wife's.

2 Cit. How the devil does he know this?

Mel. Therefore, fight lustily for the cause of heaven, and to make even tallies for your sins; which, that you may do with a better conscience, I absolve you both, and all the rest of you: Now, go on merrily; for those, that escape, shall avoid killing; and those, who do not escape, I will provide for in another world.
[Cry within, on the other side of the stage, Vive le Roi, vive le Roi!

Enter Grillon, and his Party.

Gril. Come on, fellow soldiers, Commilitones; that's my word, as 'twas Julius Cæsar's, of pagan memory. 'Fore God, I am no speech maker; but there are the rogues, and here's bilbo, that's a word and a blow; we must either cut their throats, or they cut ours, that's pure necessity, for your comfort: Now, if any man can be so unkind to his own body,—for I meddle not with your souls,—as to stand still like a good Christian, and offer his weasand to a butcher's whittle,—I say no more, but that he may be saved, and that's the best can come on him.
[Cry on both sides, Vive le Roi, vive Guise! They fight.

Mel. Hey, for the duke of Guise, and property! Up with religion and the cause, and down with those arbitrary rogues there! Stand to't, you associated cuckolds. [Citizens go back.] O rogues! O cowards!—Damn these half-strained shopkeepers, got between gentlemen and city wives; how naturally they quake, and run away from their own fathers! 086 twenty souls a penny were a dear bargain of them.
[They all run off, Melanax with them; the 1st and 2d Citizens taken.

Gril. Possess yourselves of the place, Maubert, and hang me up those two rogues, for an example.

1 Cit. O spare me, sweet colonel; I am but a young beginner, and new set up.

Gril. I'll be your customer, and set you up a little better, sirrah;—go, hang him at the next sign-post:—What have you to say for yourself, scoundrel? why were you a rebel?

2 Cit. Look you, colonel, 'twas out of no ill meaning to the government; all that I did, was pure obedience to my wife.

Gril. Nay, if thou hast a wife that wears the breeches, thou shalt be condemned to live: Get thee home for a hen-pecked traitor.—What, are we encompassed? Nay, then, faces this way; we'll sell our skins to the fairest chapmen.

Enter Aumale and Soldiers, on the one side, Citizens on the other. Grillon, and his Party, are disarmed.

1 Cit. Bear away that bloody-minded colonel, and hang him up at the next sign-post: Nay, when I am in power, I can make examples too.

Omn. Tear him piece-meal; tear him piece-meal. [Pull and haul him.

Gril. Rogues, villains, rebels, traitors, cuckolds! 'Swounds, what do you make of a man? do you think legs and arms are strung upon a wire, like a jointed baby? carry me off quickly, you were best, and hang me decently, according to my first sentence.

2 Cit. Look you, colonel; you are too bulky to be carried off all at once; a leg or an arm is one man's burden: give me a little finger for a sample 087 of him, whereby I'll carry it for a token to my sovereign lady.

Gril. 'Tis too little, in all conscience, for her; take a bigger token, cuckold. Et tu, Brute, whom I saved? O the conscience of a shopkeeper!

2 Cit. Look you, colonel, for your saving of me, I thank you heartily, whereby that debt's paid; but for speaking treason against my anointed wife, that's a new reckoning between us.

Enter Guise, with a General's Staff in his Hand; Mayenne, Cardinal, Archbishop, Malicorn, and Attendants.

Omn. Vive Guise!

Gui. [Bowing, and bareheaded.]
I thank you, countrymen: the hand of heaven
In all our safeties has appeared this day.
Stand on your guard, and double every watch,
But stain your triumph with no Christian blood;
French we are all, and brothers of a land.

Card. What mean you, brother, by this godly talk,
Of sparing Christian blood? why, these are dogs;
Now, by the sword that cut off Malchus' ear,
Mere dogs, that neither can be saved nor damned.

Arch. Where have you learnt to spare inveterate foes?

Gui. You know the book.

Arch. And can expound it too:
But Christian faith was in the nonage then,
And Roman heathens lorded o'er the world.
What madness were it for the weak and few,
To fight against the many and the strong?
Grillon must die, so must the tyrant's guards,
Lest, gathering head again, they make more work.

Mal. My lord, the people must be fleshed in blood,
To teach them the true relish; dip them with you,
Or they'll perhaps repent.

088 Gui. You are fools; to kill them, were to shew I feared them;
The court, disarmed, disheartened and besieged,
Are all as much within my power, as if
I griped them in my fist.

May. 'Tis rightly judged:
And, let me add, who heads a popular cause,
Must prosecute that cause by popular ways:
So, whether you are merciful or no,
You must affect to be.

Gui. Dismiss those prisoners.—Grillon, you are free;
I do not ask your love, be still my foe.

Gril. I will be so: but let me tell you, Guise,
As this was greatly done, 'twas proudly too:
I'll give you back your life when next we meet;
'Till then I am your debtor.

Gui. That's till dooms-day. [Grillon and his Party exeunt one way, Rabble the other.
Haste, brother, draw out fifteen thousand men,
Surround the Louvre, lest the prey should 'scape.
I know the king will send to treat;
We'll set the dice on him in high demands,
No less than all his offices of trust;
He shall be pared, and cantoned out, and clipped
So long, he shall not pass.

Card. What! do we talk
Of paring, clipping, and such tedious work,
Like those that hang their noses o'er a potion,
And qualm, and keck, and take it down by sips!

Arch. Best make advantage of this popular rage,
Let in the o'erwhelming tide on Harry's head;
In that promiscuous fury, who shall know,
Among a thousand swords, who killed the king?

Mal. O my dear lord, upon this only day
089 Depends the series of your following fate:
Think your good genius has assumed my shape,
In this prophetic doom.

Gui. Peace, croaking raven!—
I'll seize him first, then make him a led monarch;
I'll be declared lieutenant-general
Amidst the three estates, that represent
The glorious, full, majestic face of France,
Which, in his own despite, the king shall call:
So let him reign my tenant during life,
His brother of Navarre shut out for ever,
Branded with heresy, and barred from sway;
That, when Valois consumed in ashes lies,
The Phœnix race of Charlemain may rise.[Exeunt.

SCENE V.—The Louvre.

Enter King, Queen-Mother, Abbot, and Grillon.

King. Dismissed with such contempt?

Gril. Yes, 'faith, we past like beaten Romans underneath the fork.

King. Give me my arms.

Gril. For what?

King. I'll lead you on.

Gril. You are a true lion, but my men are sheep;
If you run first, I'll swear they'll follow you.

King. What, all turned cowards? not a man in France
Dares set his foot by mine, and perish by me?

Gril. Troth, I can't find them much inclined to perishing.

King. What can be left in danger, but to dare?
No matter for my arms, I'll go barefaced,
And seize the first bold rebel that I meet.

Abb. There's something of divinity in kings,
That sits between their eyes, and guards their life.

090 Gril. True, Abbot; but the mischief is, you churchmen
Can see that something further than the crowd;
These musket bullets have not read much logic,
Nor are they given to make your nice distinctions: [One enters, and gives the Queen a Note, she reads—
One of them possibly may hit the king
In some one part of him that's not divine;
And so that mortal part of his majesty would draw
the divinity of it into another world, sweet Abbot.

Qu. M. 'Tis equal madness to go out or stay;
The reverence due to kings is all transferred
To haughty Guise; and when new gods are made,
The old must quit the temple; you must fly.

King. Death! had I wings, yet would I scorn to fly.

Gril. Wings, or no wings, is not the question:
If you won't fly for't, you must ride for't,
And that comes much to one.

King. Forsake my regal town!

Qu. M. Forsake a bedlam;
This note informs me fifteen thousand men
Are marching to inclose the Louvre round.

Abb. The business then admits no more dispute,
You, madam, must be pleased to find the Guise;
Seem easy, fearful, yielding, what you will;
But still prolong the treaty all you can,
To gain the king more time for his escape.

Qu. M. I'll undertake it.—Nay, no thanks, my son.
My blessing shall be given in your deliverance;
That once performed, their web is all unravelled,
And Guise is to begin his work again.[Exit Q.M.

King. I go this minute.


Nay, then another minute must be given.—
O how I blush, that thou shouldst see thy king
Do this low act, that lessens all his fame:
Death, must a rebel force me from my love!
If it must be—

Mar. It must not, cannot be.

Gril. No, nor shall not, wench, as long as my soul wears a body.

King. Secure in that, I'll trust thee;—shall I trust thee?
For conquerors have charms, and women frailty:—
Farewell thou mayst behold me king again;
My soul's not yet deposed:—why then farewell!—
I'll say't as comfortably as I can:
But O cursed Guise, for pressing on my time,
And cutting off ten thousand more adieus!

Mar. The moments that retard your flight are traitors.
Make haste, my royal master, to be safe,
And save me with you, for I'll share your fate.

King. Wilt thou go too?
Then I am reconciled to heaven again:
O welcome, thou good angel of my way,
Thou pledge and omen of my safe return!
Not Greece, nor hostile Juno could destroy
The hero that abandoned burning Troy;
He 'scaped the dangers of the dreadful night,
When, loaded with his gods, he took his flight. [Exuent, the King leading her.


SCENE I.—The Castle of Blois.


Gril. Welcome, colonel, welcome to Blois.

Alph. Since last we parted at the barricadoes,
The world's turned upside down.

Gril. No, 'faith, 'tis better now, 'tis downside up:
Our part o'the wheel is rising, though but slowly.

Alph. Who looked for an assembly of the States?

Gril. When the king was escaped from Paris, and got out of the toils, 'twas time for the Guise to take them down, and pitch others: that is, to treat for the calling of a parliament, where, being sure of the major part, he might get by law what he had missed by force.

Alph. But why should the king assemble the States, to satisfy the Guise, after so many affronts?

Gril. For the same reason, that a man in a duel says he has received satisfaction, when he is first wounded, and afterwards disarmed.

Alph. But why this parliament at Blois, and not at Paris?

Gril. Because no barricadoes have been made at Blois. This Blois is a very little town, and the king can draw it after him; but Paris is a damned unwieldy bulk; and when the preachers draw against the king, a parson in a pulpit is a devilish fore-horse. Besides, I found in that insurrection what dangerous beasts these townsmen are; I tell you, colonel, a man had better deal with ten of their wives, than with one zealous citizen: O your inspired cuckold is most implacable.

Alph. Is there any seeming kindness between the king and the duke of Guise?

093 Gril. Yes, most wonderful: they are as dear to one another as an old usurer, and a rich young heir upon a mortgage. The king is very loyal to the Guise, and the Guise is very gracious to the king: Then the cardinal of Guise, and the archbishop of Lyons, are the two pendants that are always hanging at the royal ear; they ease his majesty of all the spiritual business, and the Guise of all the temporal; so that the king is certainly the happiest prince in Christendom, without any care upon him; so yielding up every thing to his loyal subjects, that he's infallibly in the way of being the greatest and most glorious king in all the world.

Alph. Yet I have heard he made a sharp reflecting speech upon their party at the opening of the parliament, admonished men of their duties, pardoned what was past, but seemed to threaten vengeance if they persisted for the future.

Gril. Yes; and then they all took the sacrament together: he promising to unite himself to them, and they to obey him, according to the laws; yet the very next morning they went on, in pursuance of their old commonwealth designs, as violently as ever.

Alph. Now, I am dull enough to think they have broken their oath.

Gril. Ay, but you are but one private man, and they are the three States; and if they vote that they have not broken their oaths, who is to be judge?

Alph. There's one above.

Gril. I hope you mean in heaven; or else you are a bolder man than I am in parliament time[18]; but here comes the master and my niece.

094 Alph. Heaven preserve him! if a man may pray for him without treason.

Gril. O yes, you may pray for him; the preachers of the Guise's side do that most formally; nay, 095 you may be suffered civilly to drink his health; be of the court, and keep a place of profit under him: for, in short, 'tis a judged case of conscience, to make your best of the king, and to side against him.

Enter King and Marmoutiere.

King. Grillon, be near me,
There's something for my service to be done,
Your orders will be sudden; now, withdraw.

Gril. [Aside.] Well, I dare trust my niece, even though she comes of my own family; but if she cuckolds my good opinion of her honesty, there's a whole sex fallen under a general rule, without one exception.
[Exeunt Gril. and Alph.

Mar. You bid my uncle wait you.

King. Yes.

Mar. This hour?

King. I think it was.

Mar. Something of moment hangs upon this hour.

King. Not more on this, than on the next, and next.
My time is all ta'en up on usury;
I never am beforehand with my hours,
But every one has work before it comes.

096 Mar. "There's something for my service to be done;"—
Those were your words.

King. And you desire their meaning?

Mar. I dare not ask, and yet, perhaps, may guess.

King. 'Tis searching there where heaven can only pry,
Not man, who knows not man but by surmise;
Nor devils, nor angels of a purer mould,
Can trace the winding labyrinths of thought.
I tell thee, Marmoutiere, I never speak,
Not when alone, for fear some fiend should hear,
And blab my secrets out.

Mar. You hate the Guise.

King. True, I did hate him.

Mar. And you hate him still.

King. I am reconciled.

Mar. Your spirit is too high,
Great souls forgive not injuries, till time
Has put their enemies into their power,
That they may shew, forgiveness is their own;
For else, 'tis fear to punish, that forgives;
The coward, not the king.

King. He has submitted.

Mar. In show; for in effect he still insults.

King. Well, kings must bear sometimes.

Mar. They must, till they can shake their burden off;
And that's, I think, your aim.

King. Mistaken still:
All favours, all preferments, pass through them;
I'm pliant, and they mould me as they please.

Mar. These are your arts, to make them more secure;
Just so your brother used the admiral.
Brothers may think, and act like brothers too.

King. What said you, ha! what mean you, Marmoutiere?

097 Mar. Nay, what mean you? that start betrayed you, sir.

King. This is no vigil of St Bartholomew,
Nor is Blois Paris.

Mar. 'Tis an open town.

King. What then?

Mar. Where you are strongest.

King. Well, what then?

Mar. No more; but you have power, and are provoked.

King. O, thou hast set thy foot upon a snake!
Get quickly off, or it will sting thee dead.

Mar. Can I unknow it?

King. No, but keep it secret.

Mar. Think, sir, your thoughts are still as much your own,
As when you kept the key of your own breast;
But since you let me in, I find it filled
With death and horror: you would murder Guise.

King. Murder! what, murder! use a softer word,
And call it sovereign justice.

Mar. Would I could!
But justice bears the godlike shape of law,
And law requires defence, and equal plea
Betwixt the offender, and the righteous judge.

King. Yes, when the offender can be judged by laws:
But when his greatness overturns the scales,
Then kings are justice in the last appeal,
And, forced by strong necessity, may strike;
In which, indeed, they assert the public good,
And, like sworn surgeons, lop the gangrened limb:
Unpleasant, wholesome, work.

Mar. If this be needful.

King. Ha! didst not thou thyself, in fathoming
The depth of my designs, drop there the plummet?
098 Didst thou not say—Affronts so great, so public,
I never could forgive?

Mar. I did; but yet—

King. What means, but yet? 'tis evidence so full,
If the last trumpet sounded in my ears,
Undaunted I should meet the saints half way,
And in the face of heaven maintain the fact.

Mar. Maintain it then to heaven, but not to me.
Do you love me?

King. Can you doubt it?

Mar. Yes, I can doubt it, if you can deny;
Love begs once more this great offender's life.
Can you forgive the man you justly hate,
That hazards both your life and crown to spare him?
One, whom you may suspect I more than pity,—
For I would have you see, that what I ask,
I know, is wondrous difficult to grant,—
Can you be thus extravagantly good?

King. What then? for I begin to fear my firmness,
And doubt the soft destruction of your tongue.

Mar. Then, in return, I swear to heaven and you,
To give you all the preference of my soul;
No rebel rival to disturb you there;
Let him but live, that he may be my convert! [King walks awhile, then wipes his eyes, and speaks.

King. You've conquered; all that's past shall be forgiven.
My lavish love has made a lavish grant;
But know, this act of grace shall be my last.
Let him repent, yes, let him well repent;
Let him desist, and tempt revenge no further:
For, by yon heaven, that's conscious of his crimes,
I will no more by mercy be betrayed.

099 Deputies appearing at the Door.

The deputies are entering; you must leave me.
Thus, tyrant business all my hours usurps,
And makes me live for others.

Mar. Now heaven reward you with a prosperous reign,
And grant, you never may be good in vain![Exit.

Enter Deputies of the Three States: Cardinal of Guise, and Archbishop of Lyons, at the head of them.

King. Well, my good lords, what matters of importance
Employed the States this morning?

Arch. One high point
Was warmly canvassed in the Commons House,
And will be soon resolved.

King. What was't?

Card. Succession.

King. That's one high point indeed, but not to be
So warmly canvassed, or so soon resolved.

Card. Things necessary must sometimes be sudden.

King. No sudden danger threatens you, my lord.

Arch. What may be sudden, must be counted so.
We hope and wish your life; but yours and ours
Are in the hand of heaven.

King. My lord, they are;
Yet, in a natural way, I may live long,
If heaven, and you my loyal subjects, please.

Arch. But since good princes, like your majesty,
Take care of dangers merely possible,
Which may concern their subjects, whose they are,
And for whom kings are made—

King. Yes; we for them,
And they for us; the benefits are mutual,
100 And so the ties are too.

Card. To cut things short,
The Commons will decree, to exclude Navarre
From the succession of the realm of France.

King. Decree, my lord! What! one estate decree?
Where then are the other two, and what am I?
The government is cast up somewhat short,
The clergy and nobility cashiered,
Five hundred popular figures on a row,
And I myself, that am, or should be, king,
An o'ergrown cypher set before the sum:
What reasons urge our sovereigns for the exclusion?

Arch. He stands suspected, sir, of heresy.

King. Has he been called to make his just defence?

Card. That needs not, for 'tis known.

King. To whom?

Card. The Commons.

King. What is't those gods, the Commons, do not know?
But heresy, you churchmen teach us vulgar,
Supposes obstinate, and stiff persisting
In errors proved, long admonitions made,
And all rejected: Has this course been used?

Arch. We grant it has not; but—

King. Nay, give me leave,—
I urge, from your own grant, it has not been.
If then, in process of a petty sum,
Both parties having not been fully heard,
No sentence can be given;
Much less in the succession of a crown,
Which, after my decease, by right inherent,
Devolves upon my brother of Navarre.

Card. The right of souls is still to be preferred;
Religion must not suffer for a claim.

King. If kings may be excluded, or deposed,
Whene'er you cry religion to the crowd;
That doctrine makes rebellion orthodox,
101 And subjects must be traitors, to be saved.

Arch. Then heresy's entailed upon the throne.

King. You would entail confusion, wars, and slaughters:
Those ills are certain; what you name, contingent.
I know my brother's nature; 'tis sincere,
Above deceit, no crookedness of thought;
Says what he means, and what he says performs;
Brave, but not rash; successful, but not proud;
So much acknowledging, that he's uneasy,
Till every petty service be o'erpaid.

Arch. Some say, revengeful.

King. Some then libel him;
But that's what both of us have learned to bear.
He can forgive, but you disdain forgiveness.
Your chiefs are they no libel must profane;
Honour's a sacred thing in all but kings;
But when your rhymes assassinate our fame,
You hug your nauseous, blundering ballad-wits,
And pay them, as if nonsense were a merit,
If it can mean but treason.

Arch. Sir, we have many arguments to urge—

King. And I have more to answer: Let them know,
My royal brother of Navarre shall stand
Secure by right, by merit, and my love.
God, and good men, will never fail his cause,
And all the bad shall be constrained by laws.

Arch. Since gentle means to exclude Navarre are vain,
To-morrow, in the States, 'twill be proposed,
To make the duke of Guise lieutenant-general;
Which power, most graciously confirmed by you,
Will stop this headlong torrent of succession,
That bears religion, laws, and all before it.
In hope you'll not oppose what must be done,
We wish you, sir, a long and prosperous reign. [Exeunt all but the King.

102 King. To-morrow Guise is made lieutenant-general;—
Why, then, to-morrow I no more am king.
'Tis time to push my slackened vengeance home,
To be a king, or not to be at all.
The vow that manacled my rage is loosed;
Even heaven is wearied with repeated crimes,
Till lightning flashes round, to guard the throne,
And the curbed thunder grumbles to be gone.

Enter Grillon to him.

Gril. 'Tis just the appointed hour you bid me wait.

King. So just, as if thou wert inspired to come;
As if the guardian-angel of my throne,
Who had o'erslept himself so many years,
Just now was roused, and brought thee to my rescue.

Gril. I hear the Guise will be lieutenant-general.

King. And canst thou suffer it?

Gril. Nay, if you will suffer it, then well may I. If kings will be so civil to their subjects, to give up all things tamely, they first turn rebels to themselves, and that's a fair example for their friends. 'Slife, sir, 'tis a dangerous matter to be loyal on the wrong side, to serve my prince in spite of him; if you'll be a royalist yourself, there are millions of honest men will fight for you; but if you will not, there are few will hang for you.

King. No more: I am resolved.
The course of things can be with-held no longer
From breaking forth to their appointed end:
My vengeance, ripened in the womb of time,
Presses for birth, and longs to be disclosed.
Grillon, the Guise is doomed to sudden death:
The sword must end him:—has not thine an edge?

Gril. Yes, and a point too; I'll challenge him.

King. I bid thee kill him.[Walking.

Gril. So I mean to do.

103 King. Without thy hazard.

Gril. Now I understand you; I should murder him:
I am your soldier, sir, but not your hangman.

King. Dost thou not hate him?

Gril. Yes.

King. Hast thou not said,
That he deserves it?

Gril. Yes; but how have I
Deserved to do a murder?

King. 'Tis no murder;
'Tis sovereign justice, urged from self-defence.

Gril. 'Tis all confest, and yet I dare not do't.

King. Go; thou art a coward.

Gril. You are my king.

King. Thou say'st, thou dar'st not kill him.

Gril. Were I a coward, I had been a villain,
And then I durst have done't.

King. Thou hast done worse, in thy long course of arms.
Hast thou ne'er killed a man?

Gril. Yes, when a man would have killed me.

King. Hast thou not plundered from the helpless poor?
Snatched from the sweating labourer his food?

Gril. Sir, I have eaten and drank in my own defence, when I was hungry and thirsty; I have plundered, when you have not paid me; I have been content with a farmer's daughter, when a better whore was not to be had. As for cutting off a traitor, I'll execute him lawfully in my own function, when I meet him in the field; but for your chamber-practice, that's not my talent.

King. Is my revenge unjust, or tyrannous?
Heaven knows I love not blood.

Gril. No, for your mercy is your only vice. You may dispatch a rebel lawfully, but the mischief is, that rebel has given me my life at the barricadoes, 104 and, till I have returned his bribe, I am not upon even terms with him.

King. Give me thy hand; I love thee not the worse:
Make much of honour, 'tis a soldier's conscience.
Thou shalt not do this act; thou art even too good;
But keep my secret, for that's conscience too.

Gril. When I disclose it, think I am a coward.

King. No more of that, I know thou art not one.
Call Lognac hither straight, and St Malin;
Bid Larchant find some unsuspected means,
To keep guards doubled at the council-door,
That none pass in or out, but those I call:
The rest I'll think on further; so farewell.

Gril. Heaven bless your majesty! Though I'll not kill him for you, I'll defend you when he's killed: For the honest part of the job let me alone[19].
[Exeunt severally.


SCENE II.—Scene opens, and discovers Men and Women at a Banquet, Malicorn standing by.

Mal. This is the solemn annual feast I keep,
As this day twelve year, on this very hour,
I signed the contract for my soul with hell.
I bartered it for honours, wealth, and pleasure,
Three things which mortal men do covet most;
And 'faith, I over-sold it to the fiend:
What, one-and-twenty years, nine yet to come!
How can a soul be worth so much to devils?
O how I hug myself, to out-wit these fools of hell!
And yet a sudden damp, I know not why,
Has seized my spirits, and, like a heavy weight,
Hangs on their active springs. I want a song
To rouse me; my blood freezes.—Music there.



Tell me, Thyrsis, tell your anguish,

Why you sigh, and why you languish;

When the nymph whom you adore,

Grants the blessing

Of possessing,

What can love and I do more?


Think it's love beyond all measure,

Makes me faint away with pleasure;

106 Strength of cordial may destroy.

And the blessing

Of possessing,

Kills me with excess of joy.


Thyrsis, how can I believe you!

But confess, and I'll forgive you;

Men are false, and so are you,

Never nature

Framed a creature

To enjoy, and yet be true.


Mine's a flame beyond expiring,

Still possessing, still desiring,

Fit for love's imperial crown;

Ever shining,

And refining,

Still the more 'tis melted down.

Chorus together.

Mine's a flame beyond expiring.

Still possessing, still desiring,

Fit for love's imperial crown;

Ever shining,

And refining,

Still the more 'tis melted down.

After a Song and Dance, loud knocking at the Door,

Enter a Servant.

Mal. What noise is that?

Serv. An ill-looked surly man,
With a hoarse voice, says he must speak with you.

Mal. Tell him I dedicate this day to pleasure.
107 I neither have, nor will have, business with him.[Exit Serv.
What, louder yet? what saucy slave is this?[Knock louder.

Re-enter Servant.

Serv. He says you have, and must have, business with him.
Come out, or he'll come in, and spoil your mirth.

Mal. I will not.

Serv. Sir, I dare not tell him so;
[Knocking again more fiercely.
My hair stands up in bristles when I see him;
The dogs run into corners; the spay'd bitch
Bays at his back, and howls[20].

Mal. Bid him enter, and go off thyself.[Exit Serv.

Scene closes upon the company.

108 Enter Melanax, an hour-glass in his hand, almost empty.

How dar'st thou interrupt my softer hours?
By heaven, I'll ram thee in some knotted oak,
Where thou shalt sigh, and groan to whistling winds,
Upon the lonely plain.
Or I'll confine thee deep in the red sea, groveling on the sands,
Ten thousand billows rolling o'er thy head.

Mel. Hoh, hoh, hoh!

Mal. Laughest thou, malicious fiend?
I'll ope my book of bloody characters,
Shall rumple up thy tender airy limbs,
Like parchment in a flame.

Mel. Thou can'st not do it.
Behold this hour-glass.

Mal. Well, and what of that?

Mel. Seest thou these ebbing sands?
They run for thee, and when their race is run,
Thy lungs, the bellows of thy mortal breath,
Shall sink for ever down, and heave no more.

Mal. What, resty, fiend?
Nine years thou hast to serve.

Mel. Not full nine minutes.

Mal. Thou liest; look on thy bond, and view the date.

Mel. Then, wilt thou stand to that without appeal?

Mal.. I will, so help me heaven!

Mel. So take thee hell.[Gives him the bond.
There, fool; behold who lies, the devil, or thou?

Mal. Ha! one-and-twenty years are shrunk to twelve!
Do my eyes dazzle?

Mel. No, they see too true:
109 They dazzled once, I cast a mist before them,
So what was figured twelve, to thy dull sight
Appeared full twenty-one.

Mal. There's equity in heaven for this, a cheat.

Mel. Fool, thou hast quitted thy appeal to heaven,
To stand to this.

Mal. Then I am lost for ever!

Mel. Thou art.

Mal. O why was I not warned before?

Mel. Yes, to repent; then thou hadst cheated me.

Mal. Add but a day, but half a day, an hour:
For sixty minutes, I'll forgive nine years.

Mel. No, not a moment's thought beyond my time.
Dispatch; 'tis much below me to attend
For one poor single fare.

Mal. So pitiless?
But yet I may command thee, and I will:
I love the Guise, even with my latest breath,
Beyond my soul, and my lost hopes of heaven:
I charge thee, by my short-lived power, disclose
What fate attends my master.

Mel. If he goes
To council when he next is called, he dies.

Mal. Who waits?

Enter Servant.

Go, give my lord my last adieu;
Say, I shall never see his eyes again;
But if he goes, when next he's called, to council,
Bid him believe my latest breath, he dies.—[Exit Serv.
The sands run yet.—O do not shake the glass!— [Devil shakes the glass.
I shall be thine too soon!—Could I repent!—
Heaven's not confined to moments.—Mercy, mercy!

Mel. I see thy prayers dispersed into the winds,
And heaven has past them by.
I was an angel once of foremost rank,
110 Stood next the shining throne, and winked but half;
So almost gazed I glory in the face,
That I could bear it, and stared farther in;
'Twas but a moment's pride, and yet I fell,
For ever fell; but man, base earth-born man,
Sins past a sum, and might be pardoned more:
And yet 'tis just; for we were perfect light,
And saw our crimes; man, in his body's mire,
Half soul, half clod, sinks blindfold into sin,
Betrayed by frauds without, and lusts within.

Mel. Then I have hope.

Mal. Not so; I preached on purpose
To make thee lose this moment of thy prayer.
Thy sand creeps low; despair, despair, despair!

Mal. Where am I now? upon the brink of life,
The gulph before me, devils to push me on,
And heaven behind me closing all its doors.
A thousand years for every hour I've past,
O could I 'scape so cheap! but ever, ever!
Still to begin an endless round of woes,
To be renewed for pains, and last for hell!
Yet can pains last, when bodies cannot last?
Can earthy substance endless flames endure?
Or, when one body wears and flits away,
Do souls thrust forth another crust of clay,
To fence and guard their tender forms from fire?
I feel my heart-strings rend!—I'm here,—I'm gone!
Thus men, too careless of their future state,
Dispute, know nothing, and believe too late. [A flash of lightning, they sink together.

SCENE III.—Enter Duke of Guise; Cardinal, and Aumale.

Card. A dreadful message from a dying man,
A prophesy indeed!
For souls, just quitting earth, peep into heaven,
Make swift acquaintance with their kindred forms,
111 And partners of immortal secrets grow.

Aum. 'Tis good to lean on the securer side:
When life depends, the mighty stake is such,
Fools fear too little, and they dare too much.

Enter Arch-Bishop.

Gui. You have prevailed, I will not go to council.
I have provoked my sovereign past a pardon,
It but remains to doubt if he dare kill me:
Then if he dares but to be just, I die.
'Tis too much odds against me; I'll depart,
And finish greatness at some safer time.

Arch. By heaven, 'tis Harry's plot to fright you hence,
That, coward-like, you might forsake your friends.

Gui. The devil foretold it dying Malicorn.

Arch. Yes, some court-devil, no doubt:
If you depart, consider, good my lord,
You are the master-spring that moves our fabric,
Which once removed, our motion is no more.
Without your presence, which buoys up our hearts,
The League will sink beneath a royal name;
The inevitable yoke prepared for kings
Will soon be shaken off; things done, repealed;
And things undone, past future means to do.

Card. I know not; I begin to taste his reasons.

Arch. Nay, were the danger certain of your stay,
An act so mean would lose you all your friends,
And leave you single to the tyrant's rage:
Then better 'tis to hazard life alone,
Than life, and friends, and reputation too.

Gui. Since more I am confirmed, I'll stand the shock.
Where'er he dares to call, I dare to go.
My friends are many, faithful, and united;
He will not venture on so rash a deed:
And now, I wonder I should fear that force,
Which I have used to conquer and contemn.

112 Enter Marmoutiere.

Arch. Your tempter comes, perhaps, to turn the scale,
And warn you not to go.

Gui. O fear her not,
I will be there.[Exeunt Arch-Bishop and Cardinal.
What can she mean?—repent?
Or is it cast betwixt the king and her
To sound me? come what will, it warms my heart
With secret joy, which these my ominous statesmen
Left dead within me;—ha! she turns away.

Mar. Do you not wonder at this visit, sir?

Gui. No, madam, I at last have gained the point
Of mightiest minds, to wonder now at nothing.

Mar. Believe me, Guise, 'twere gallantly resolved,
If you could carry it on the inside too.
Why came that sigh uncalled? For love of me,
Partly, perhaps; but more for thirst of glory,
Which now again dilates itself in smiles,
As if you scorned that I should know your purpose.

Gui. I change, 'tis true, because I love you still;
Love you, O heaven, even in my own despite;
I tell you all, even at that very moment,
I know you straight betray me to the king.

Mar. O Guise, I never did; but, sir, I come
To tell you, I must never see you more.

Gui. The king's at Blois, and you have reason for it;
Therefore, what am I to expect from pity,—
From yours, I mean,—when you behold me slain?

Mar. First answer me, and then I'll speak my heart.
Have you, O Guise, since your last solemn oath,
Stood firm to what you swore? Be plain, my lord,
Or run it o'er a while, because again
I tell you, I must never see you more.

Gui. Never!—She's set on by the king to sift me.
113 Why, by that never then, all I have sworn
Is true, as that the king designs to end me.

Mar. Keep your obedience,—by the saints, you live.

Gui. Then mark; 'tis judged by heads grown white in council,
This very day he means to cut me off.

Mar. By heaven, then you're forsworn; you've broke your vows.

Gui. By you, the justice of the earth, I have not.

Mar. By you, dissembler of the world, you have.
I know the king.

Gui. I do believe you, madam.

Mar. I have tried you both.

Gui. Not me, the king you mean.

Mar. Do these o'erboiling answers suit the Guise?
But go to council, sir, there shew your truth;
If you are innocent, you're safe; but O,
If I should chance to see you stretched along,
Your love, O Guise, and your ambition gone,
That venerable aspect pale with death,
I must conclude you merited your end.

Gui. You must, you will, and smile upon my murder.

Mar. Therefore, if you are conscious of a breach,
Confess it to me. Lead me to the king;
He has promised me to conquer his revenge,
And place you next him; therefore, if you're right,
Make me not fear it by asseverations,
But speak your heart, and O resolve me truly!

Gui. Madam, I've thought, and trust you with my soul.
You saw but now my parting with my brother,
The prelate too of Lyons; it was debated
Warmly against me, that I should go on.

Mar. Did I not tell you, sir?

Gui. True; but in spite
114 Of those imperial arguments they urged,
I was not to be worked from second thought:
There we broke off; and mark me, if I live,
You are the saint that makes a convert of me.

Mar. Go then:—O heaven! Why must I still suspect you?
Why heaves my heart, and overflow my eyes?
Yet if you live, O Guise,—there, there's the cause,—
I never shall converse, nor see you more.

Gui. O say not so, for once again I'll see you.
Were you this very night to lodge with angels,
Yet say not never; for I hope by virtue
To merit heaven, and wed you late in glory.

Mar. This night, my lord, I'm a recluse for ever.

Gui. Ha! stay till morning: tapers are too dim;
Stay till the sun rises to salute you;
Stay till I lead you to that dismal den
Of virgins buried quick, and stay for ever.

Mar. Alas! your suit is vain, for I have vowed it:
Nor was there any other way to clear
The imputed stains of my suspected honour.

Gui. Hear me a word!—one sigh, one tear, at parting,
And one last look; for, O my earthly saint,
I see your face pale as the cherubins'
At Adam's fall.

Mar. O heaven! I now confess,
My heart bleeds for thee, Guise.

Gui. Why, madam, why?

Mar. Because by this disorder,
And that sad fate that bodes upon your brow,
I do believe you love me more than glory.

Gui. Without an oath I do; therefore have mercy,
And think not death could make me tremble thus;
Be pitiful to those infirmities
Which thus unman me; stay till the council's over;
If you are pleased to grant an hour or two
115 To my last prayer, I'll thank you as my saint:
If you refuse me, madam, I'll not murmur.

Mar. Alas, my Guise!—O heaven, what did I say?
But take it, take it; if it be too kind,
Honour may pardon it, since 'tis my last.

Gui. O let me crawl, vile as I am, and kiss
Your sacred robe.—Is't possible! your hand! [She gives him her hand.
O that it were my last expiring moment,
For I shall never taste the like again.

Mar. Farewell, my proselyte! your better genius
Watch your ambition.

Gui. I have none but you:
Must I ne'er see you more?

Mar. I have sworn you must not:
Which thought thus roots me here, melts my resolves,[Weeps.
And makes me loiter when the angels call me.

Gui. O ye celestial dews! O paradise!
O heaven! O joys, ne'er to be tasted more!

Mar. Nay, take a little more: cold Marmoutiere,
The temperate, devoted Marmoutiere
Is gone,—a last embrace I must bequeath you.

Gui. And O let me return it with another!

Mar. Farewell for ever; ah, Guise, though now we part,
In the bright orbs, prepared us by our fates,
Our souls shall meet,—farewell!—and Io's sing above,
Where no ambition, nor state-crime, the happier spirits prove,
But all are blest, and all enjoy an everlasting love. [Exit Marmoutiere.

Guise solus.

Gui. Glory, where art thou? fame, revenge, ambition,
Where are you fled? there's ice upon my nerves;
My salt, my metal, and my spirits gone,
116 Palled as a slave, that's bed-rid with an ague,
I wish my flesh were off.[Blood falls from his nose.
What now! thou bleed'st:—
Three, and no more!—what then? and why, what then?
But just three drops! and why not just three drops,
As well as four or five, or five and twenty?

Enter a Page.

Page. My lord, your brother and the arch-bishop wait you.

Gui. I come;—down, devil!—ha! must I stumble too?
Away, ye dreams! what if it thundered now,
Or if a raven crossed me in my way?
Or now it comes, because last night I dreamt
The council-hall was hung with crimson round,
And all the ceiling plaistered o'er with black.
No more!—Blue fires, and ye dull rolling lakes,
Fathomless caves, ye dungeons of old night,
Phantoms, be gone! if I must die, I'll fall
True politician, and defy you all.[Exit.

SCENE II.—The Court before the Council-hall.

Grillon, Larchant, Soldiers placed, People crowding

Gril. Are your guards doubled, captain?

Larch. Sir, they are.

Gril. When the Guise comes, remember your petition.—
Make way there for his eminence; give back.—
Your eminence comes late.

Enter two Cardinals, Counsellors, the Cardinal of Guise, Arch-bishop of Lyons, last the Guise.

Gui. Well, colonel, are we friends?

Gril. 'Faith, I think not.

117 Gui. Give me your hand.

Gril. No, for that gives a heart.

Gui. Yet we shall clasp in heaven.

Gril. By heaven, we shall not,
Unless it be with gripes.

Gui. True Grillon still.

Larch. My lord.

Gui. Ha! captain, you are well attended:
If I mistake not, sir, your number's doubled.

Larch. All these have served against the heretics;
And therefore beg your grace you would remember
Their wounds and lost arrears[21].

Gui. It shall be done.—
Again, my heart! there is a weight upon thee,
But I will sigh it off.—Captain, farewell. [Exeunt Cardinal, Guise, &c.

Gril. Shut the hall-door, and bar the castle-gates:
March, march there closer yet, captain, to the door.[Exeunt.

SCENE III.—The Council-hall.

Gui. I do not like myself to-day.

Arch. A qualm! he dares not.

Card. That's one man's thought; he dares, and that's another's.

Enter Grillon.

Gui. O Marmoutiere! ha, never see thee more?
118 Peace, my tumultuous heart! why jolt my spirits
In this unequal circling of my blood?
I'll stand it while I may. O mighty nature!
Why this alarm? why dost thou call me on
To fight, yet rob my limbs of all their use?[Swoons.

Card. Ha! he's fallen, chafe him. He comes again.

Gui. I beg your pardons; vapours, no more.

Gril. The effect
Of last night's lechery with some working whore[22].

Enter Revol.

Rev. My lord of Guise, the king would speak with you.

Gui. O cardinal, O Lyons!—but no more;
Yes, one word more: thou hast a privilege[To the Cardinal.
To speak with a recluse; O therefore tell her,
If never thou behold'st me breathe again,
Tell her I sighed it last.—O Marmoutiere![Exit bowing.

Card. You will have all things your own way, my lord.
By heaven, I have strange horror on my soul.

Arch. I say again, that Henry dares not do it.

Card. Beware, your grace, of minds that bear like him.
I know he scorns to stoop to mean revenge;
But when some mightier mischief shocks his toure,
119 He shoots at once with thunder on his wings,
And makes it air.—hut hark, my lord, 'tis doing!

Guise within.] Murderers, villains!

Arch. I hear your brother's voice; run to the door.

Card. and Arch. run to the door.

Card. Help, help, the Guise is murdered!

Arch. Help, help!

Gril. Cease your vain cries, you are the king's prisoners;—
Take them, Dugast, into your custody.

Card. We must obey, my lord, for heaven calls us. [Exeunt.

The Scene draws, behind it a Traverse.

The Guise is assaulted by eight. They stab him in all parts, but most in the head.

Gui. O villains! hell-hounds! hold. [Half draws his sword, is held.
Murdered, O basely, and not draw my sword!—
Dog, Lognac,—but my own blood choaks me.
Down, villain, down!—I'm gone,—O Marmoutiere! [Flings himself upon him, dies[23].

120 The Traverse is drawn.

The King rises from his Chair, comes forward with his Cabinet-council.

King. Open the closet, and let in the council;
Bid Dugast execute the cardinal;
Seize all the factious leaders, as I ordered,
And every one be answered, on your lives.

Enter Queen-Mother followed by the Counsellors.

O, madam, you are welcome; how goes your health?

Qu. M. A little mended, sir.—What have you done?

King. That which has made me king of France; for there
The king of Paris at your feet lies dead.

Qu. M. You have cut out dangerous work, but make it up
With speed and resolution[24].

King. Yes, I'll wear
The fox no longer, but put on the lion;
And since I could resolve to take the heads
Of this great insurrection, you, the members,
Look to it; beware, turn from your stubbornness,
And learn to know me, for I will be king.

Gril. 'Sdeath, how the traitors lower, and quake, and droop,
And gather to the wing of his protection,
121 As if they were his friends, and fought his cause!

King. [Looking upon Guise.]
Be witness, heaven, I gave him treble warning!
He's gone—no more.—Disperse, and think upon it.
Beware my sword, which, if I once unsheath,
By all the reverence due to thrones and crowns,
Nought shall atone the vows of speedy justice,
Till fate to ruin every traitor brings,
That dares the vengeance of indulgent kings.[Exuent.


  1. The Council of Sixteen certainly offered to place twenty thousand disciplined citizens of Paris at the devotion of the Duke of Guise; and here the intended parallel came close: for Shaftesbury used to boast, that he could raise the like number of brisk boys in the city of London, by merely holding up his finger.

  2. During the cabals of the Council of Sixteen, the Duke of Aumale approached Paris with five hundred veteran horse, levied in the disaffected province of Picardy. Jean Conti, one of the sheriffs (Echevins) of Paris, was tampered with to admit them by St Martin's gate; but as he refused, the leaguers stigmatised him as a heretic and favourer of Navarre. Another of these officers consented to open to Aumale the gate of St Denis, of which the keys were intrusted to him.

    The conspirators had determined, as is here expressed, to seize the person of the king, when he should attend the procession of the Flagellants, as he was wont to do in time of Lent. But he was apprised of their purpose by Poltrot, one of their number, and used the pretext of indisposition to excuse his absence from the penitential procession. Davila, lib. viii.

  3. In the year 1565, an interview took place at Bayonne between Catharine of Medicis, her son Charles IX., and the Queen of Spain, attended by the famous Duke of Alva, and the Count of Benevento. Many political discussions took place; and the opinion of Alva, as expressed in the text, is almost literally versified from Davila's account of the conference. "Il Duca D'Alva, uomo di veemente natura risolutamente diceva, che per distruggere la novità della fede, e le sollevazioni di stato, bisognava levare le teste de' papaveri, pescare i pesci grossi e non si curare di prendere le ranocchie: erano questi i concetti proferiti da lui; perchè cessati i venti, l'onde della plebe facilmente si sarebbono da se stesse composte e acquietate: aggiugneva, che un prencipe non può far cosa più vituperosa nè più dannosa a se stesso, quanto il permettere al popolo il vivere secondo la loro coscienza, ponendo tanta varietà di religioni in uno stato, quanto sono i capricci degli huomini e le fantasíe delle persone inquiete, aprendo la porta alla discordia e alla confusione: e dimostrava con lunga commemorazione di segnalati esempj, che la diversità della fede aveva sempre messo l'arme in mano ai sudditi, e sempre sollevate atroci perfidie e funeste rebellioni contra i superiori: onde conchiudeva nel fine, che siccome le controversie della fede avevan sempre servito di pretesto e di argumento alle sollevazioni de' mal contenti, così era necessario rimovere a primo tratto questa coperta, e poi con severi rimedj, e senza riguardo di ferro, nè di fuoco, purgare le radici di quel male, il quale colla dolcezza e con la sofferenza perniciosamente germogliando si dilatava sempre, e si accresceva."—Delle Guerre Civili di Francia, lib. iii.

  4. The popular arts of the Duke of Monmouth are here alluded to, which his fine person and courteous manners rendered so eminently, and for himself so unfortunately, successful. The lady, in whose mouth these remonstrances are placed, may be supposed to be the duchess, by whose prayers and tears he was more than once induced to suspend his career.

  5. Francis II. of France, a prince of delicate health and mean talents, died of an imposthume in the head.

  6. When Poltrot had discovered the intentions of the Council of Sixteen against the king's person, it was warmly debated in the council of Henry, whether the persons of the conspirators ought not to be seized at their next meeting. But, upon considering the numbers of the citizens, and their zeal for the League, together with the small number of the king's guards and adherents, this advice was rejected as too hazardous. It was upon this occasion that Catherine quoted the Tuscan proverb in the text,—"Bisogna copriersi bene il viso inanzi che struzzicare il vespaio;" Davila, lib. IX.

  7. Margaret of Navarre, sister of Henry II., was suspected of an intrigue with the Duke of Guise.

  8. Henry II., when Duke of Anjou, defeated the Huguenots, commanded by the famous Admiral Coligni, with very great loss, taking all his artillery and baggage, with two hundred standards and colours, 1569.

  9. Alluding to a celebrated battle fought near Montargis, in 1587, when Guise, with very disproportioned forces, surprised and cut to pieces a large army of German auxiliaries, who had advanced into France to join the king of Navarre, afterwards Henry IV. Upon that occasion, the Duke of Guise kept his resolution to fight a profound secret till the very day of the attack, when, after having dined, and remained thoughtful and silent for a few minutes, he suddenly ordered the trumpets to sound to horse, and, to the astonishment of the Duke of Mayenne, and his other generals, who had never suspected his intention, instantly moved forward against the enemy.—Davila, lib. viii.

  10. The king of Navarre (Henry IV.), by his manifesto, published in 1585, after discussing sundry points of state with the leaguers, defied the Duke of Guise, their loader, to mortal combat, body to body, or two to two, or ten to ten, or twenty to twenty. To this romantic defiance the Duke returned no direct answer; but his partizans alleged, that as the quarrel betwixt the king of Navarre and their patron did not arise from private enmity, it could not become the subject of single combat. Davila lib. vii.

  11. This alludes to the defacing the Duke of York's picture at Guildhall; an outrage stigmatized in the epilogue to "Venice Preserved," where Otway says,

    Nothing shall daunt his pen, when truth does call;

    No, not the picture-mangler at Guildhall.

    The rebel tribe, of which that vermin's one.

    Have now set forward, and their course begun;

    And while that prince's figure they deface,

    As they before had massacred his name,

    Durst their base fears but look him in the face,

    They'd use his person as they've used his fame;

    A face, in which such lineaments they read

    Of that great Martyr's, whose rich blood they shed.

    The picture-mangler is explained by a marginal note to be, "the rascal, that cut the Duke of York's picture." The same circumstance is mentioned in "Musa Præfica, or the London Poem, or a humble Oblation on the sacred Tomb of our late gracious Monarch King Charles II., of ever blessed and eternal Memory; by a Loyal Apprentice of the honourable City of London." The writer mentions the Duke of York as

    —loaded with indignity,

    Already martyred in effigy.

    O blast the arm, that dared that impious blow!

    Let heaven reward him with a vengeance meet,

    Who God's anointed dared to overthrow!

    His head had suffered, when they pierced his feet.

    Explained to allude to the Duke of York's "picture in Guildhall, cut from the legs downward undiscovered."

    In another tory ballad, we have this stanza in the character of a fanatic:

    We'll smite the idol in Guildhall,

    And then, as we are wont,

    We'll cry it was a Popish plot,

    And swear these rogues have done't.

  12. This speech depends on the gesticulation of the sorcerer: Guise first desires him report the danger to the people,—then bids him halt, and express his judgment more fully. Malicorn makes signs of assassination.—Guise goes on—

    —Let him if he dare.

    But more, more, more;—

    i.e. I have a further reason than state policy for my visit.—Malicorn makes repeated signs of ignorance and discontent; and Guise urges him to speak out on a subject, which he himself was unwilling to open.

  13. The business of this scene is taken from the following passage.

    "Entrò il Duca di Guisa in Parigi il Lunedì nono giorno di Maggio, ch' era gia vicino il mezzogiorno, non con maggior comitiva che di sette cavalli tra gentiluomini e servitori: ma come una piccolo palla di neve, che discende dall' erto si va tanto ingrossando, che nel fine diviene quasi una montagna eminente; così abandonando il popolo le case e le botteghe, con plauso e con allegrezza, per seguitarlo, non fu a mezzo la città, che aveva dietro più di trentamila persone, ed era tanta la calca, che a pena egli medesimo poteva seguitare la sua strada. Andavan le grida del popolo insino al cielo, nè mai fu con tanto plauso gridato, "Vita il Re" con quanto ora si gridava "Vita Guisa." Chi lo sulutava, chi lo ringraziava, chi se gl' inchinava, chi gli baciava le falde de' vestimenti, chi, non potendo accostarsi, con le mani e con i gesti di tutto il corpo dava segui profusi d' allegrezza; e furono veduti di quelli che, adorandolo come santo, lo toccavano con le corone, e le medesime poi o baciavano, o con esse si toccavano gli occhi e la fronte; e sino le donne dalle finestra, spargendo fiori e fronde, onoravano e benedicevano la sua venuta. Egli all' incontro, con viso popolare e con faccia ridente, altri accarezzava con le parole, altri risalutava con i gesti, altri rallegrava con l' occhio, e traversando le caterve del popolo con la testa scoperta, non permetteva cosa alcuna, che fosse a proposito per finire a conciliarsi la benevolenza e l' applauso popolare. In questa maniera, senza fermarsi alla sua casa, andò a dirittura a smontare a Sant' Eustachio al palazzo della Reina Madre, la quale mezza attonita per il suo venire improvviso; perchè Monsignor di Bellieure arrivato tre ore innanzi aveva posto in dubbio la sua venuta; lo ricevè pallida nel volto, tutta tremante e contra l' ordinario costume della natura sua quasi smarrita. Le dimostrazioni del Duca di Guisa furono piene d' affettuosa umiltà e di profonda sommissione: le parole della Reina ambigue, dicendoli; che lo vedeva volentieri, ma che molto più volontieri l' arebbe veduto in altro tempo; alla quale egli rispose con sembiante modestissimo ma con parole altiere: Ch' egli era buon servitore del Re, e che avendo intese le calunnie date all' innocenza sua, e le cose che si trattavano contra la religione e contra gli uomini dabbene di quel popolo, era venuto, o per divertire il male, e espurgarese stesso, ovvero per lasciar la vita in servizio di Santa Chiesa e della salute universale. La Reina, interrotto il ragionamento, mentre egli salutava, come è solito, le altre Dame della corte, chiamò Luigi Davila suo Gentiluomo d' onore, e gli commise, che facesse intendere al Re, ch' era arrivato il Duca di Guisa, e ch' ella fra poco l' arebbe condotto al Lovero personalmente. Si commosse di maniera il Re, ch' era nel suo gabinetto con Monsignore di Villaclera, con Bellieure e con l' abbate del Bene, che fu costretto appogiarsi col braccio, coprendosi la faccia, al tavolino, e interrogato il Davila d' ogni particolare, gli commandò, che dicesse segretamente alla Reina, che framettesse più tempo che fosse possibile alla venuta. L' Abbate del Bene e il Colonello Alfonso Corso, il quale entrò in questo punto nel gabinetto, e era confidentissimo, servitore del Re, e pieno di merito verso la corona, lo consigliavano, che ricevendo il Duca di Guisa nel medesimo gabinetto, lo facese uccidere subito nell' istesso luogo, dicendo l' abbate questo Percutiam pastorem, et dispergentur oves. Ma Villaclera, Bellieure, e il gran Cancelliere che sopravvenne, furono di contrario parere allegando esesr tanta la commozione del popolo, che in caso tale, sprezzando la Maestà regia, e rompendo tutti i vincoli delle leggi, sarebbe corso a precipitosa vendetta, e che non essendo le cose ancora apparecchiate per la difesa propria, e per frenare il furore della città le forze de' Parigini erano troppo poderose parole per stuzzicarle." Lib. ix.

  14. For this scene also, which gave great offence to the followers of Monmouth, our author had the authority of Davila in the continuation of the passage already quoted.

    "Mentre il Re sta dubbioso nell' animo, sopraggiunse la Reina, che conduceva il Duca di Guisa essendo venuta nella sua seggetta, e il Duca accompagnatala sempre a piedi; ma con tanto seguito e frequenza di gente, che tutta la Città pareva ridotta nel giro del cortile del Lovero e nelle strade vicine. Traversarono fra la spalliera de' soldati, essendo presente Monsignor di Griglione maestro di campo della guardia, il quale uomo libero e militare, e poco amico del Duca di Guisa, mentre egli s' inchina ad ogni privato soldato, fece pochissimo sembiante di riverirlo, il che da lui fu con qualche pallidezza del volto ben osservato, la quale continuò maggiormente, poichè vide gli Suizzeri far spalliera con l'arme a piedi della scala, e nella sala gli arcieri, e nelle camere i gentiluomini tutti radunati per aspettarlo. Entrarono nella camera del Re, il quale mentre il Duca di Guisa con profonda riverenza se gl' inchinò, con viso scorrucciato gli disse; Io v' avevo fatto intendere, che non veniste. A queste parole il Duca con l' istessa sommissione, che aveva fatto alla Reina, ma con parole più ritenute, rispose. Ch' Egli era venuto a mettersi nelle braccia della giustitia di Sua Maestà, per iscolparsi delle calunnie, che gli erano apposte da' suoi nemici, e che nondimeno non sarebbe venuto, quando gli fosse stato detto chiaramente, che Sua Maestà comandata, che non venisse. Il Re rivolto a Bellieure, alteratamente lo domandò s' era vero, che gli avesse data commissione di dire al Duca di Guisa, che non venisse, se non voleva esser tenuto per autore delli scandali, e delle sollevazioni de' Parigini. Monseignor di Bellieure si feceinnanzi, e volle render conto dell' ambasciata sua; ma nel principio del parlare, il Re l' interruppe, dicendogli, che bastava, e rivolto al Duca di Guisa disse; che non sapeva, ch' egii fosse stato calunniato da persona alcuna, ma che la sua innocenza sarebbe apparsa chiara, quando dalla sua venuta non fosse nata alcuna novità, e interrotta la quiete del governo, come si prevedeva. La Reina pratica della natura del Re, conoscendolo dalla faccia inclinato a qualche gagliarda risoluzione, lo tirò da parte, e gli disse in sostanza quel che aveva veduto della concorrenza del popolo, e che non pensasse a deliberazioni precipitose, perchè non era tempo. Il medesimo soggiunse la Duchessa d' Uzes, che gli era vicina, e il Duca di Guisa osservando attentamente ogni minuzia, come vide questa fluttazione, per non dar tempo al Re di deliberare, si finse stracco dal viaggio, e licenziandosi brevemente da lui, accompagnato dall' istessa frequenza di popolo, ma da niuno di quelli della corte, si ritirò nella strada di Sant' Antonio alle sue case." Lib. ix.

  15. See the speech of Ashtaroth and his companions, on taking leave of Rinaldo, whom they had transported to the field of Roncisvalles:

    Noi ce n' andremo or, io e Farfarello,

    Tra le campane, e soneremo a festa,

    Quando vedrem, che tu farai macello.

    In Roncisvalle una certa chiesetta

    Era in quel tempo, ch' avea due campane,

    Quivi stetton coloro alla veletta,

    Per ciuffar di quell' anime pagane,

    Come sparvier tra ramo e ramo aspetta;

    E bisognò, che menassin le mane,

    E che e' batessin tutto il giorno l' ali,

    A presentarle a' guidici infernali.

    Il Morgante Maggiore, Canto XXVI. St. 82, 89.

  16. See the speech of Ashtaroth to Rinaldo, in the Morgante Maggiore.

    Noi abbiam come voi principe e duce

    Giù nell' Inferno, e 'l primo è Belzebue,

    Chi una cosa, e chi altra conduce,

    Ognuno attende alle faccende sue;

    Ma tutto a Belzebù, poi si riduce

    Perchè Lucifer relegato fue

    Ultimo a tutti, e nel centro più imo,

    Poi ch' egli intese esser nel Ciel su primo.

    Canto XV. St. 207.

  17. This striking account of the entry of the guards is literally from DAVILA.

    "La mattina del Giovedi duodecimo giorno dì maggio, un' ora innanzi giorno, si sentirono i pifferi e i tamburi degli Suizzeri, che battendo l' ordinanza entrarono nella città per la porta di Sant' Onorato, precedendo il Maresciallo di Birone a cavallo, e conseguentamente sotto i loro capitani entrarono con le corde accese le compagníe de' Francesi."—"All' entrare della milizia, nota a tutta la città per lo strepito de' tamburi, il popolo pieno di spavento, e già certo, che la fama divolgata dell' intenzione del re era più che sicura, cominciò a radunarsi, serrando le porte delle case, e chiudendo l'entrate delle botteghe, che conforme all' uso della città di lavorare innanzi giorno, già s' erano cominciare ad aprire, e ognuno si messe a preparare l'armi, apettando l'ordine di quello si dovesse operare." Lib. IX.

  18. It was a frequent complaint of the tories at this period, that the commons, in zeal for their own privileges and immunities, were apt sometimes to infringe the personal liberties of the subject. This is set forth with some humour in a political pamphlet of the day, called, "A Dialogue betwixt Sam, the ferryman of Datchet, Will, a waterman of London, and Tom, a bargeman of Oxford;" upon the king's calling a parliament to meet at Oxford, London, 1681. "As to their own members, they turned them out, and took others in at their will and pleasure; and if they made any fault, they expelled them; and wherever any stood in competition for any town, him they knew would give his vote along with them was admitted, right or wrong. And then they terrified all the sheriffs, mayors, and bailiffs in the kingdom, besides abundance of gentlemen and other honest countrymen. For, on the least complaint of any man's misdemeanour, or information from any member, immediately a serjeant at arms was sent for them, and so much a mile and hour paid, and down on their marrowbones to their worships, and a sound scolding from Mr Speaker, or else to the Tower or Gatehouse they went. The king, God bless him, never took a quarter of that state on him they did ... It was brought to that pass, that two footboys, boxing one day in the Palace-yard, he that was beaten proved to belong to a member, and told the other boy, if he knew his master, he would cause him to be sent for in custody, for keeping such a rogue as he was, that had committed a breach of privilege in beating a member's servant. The boy replied, if it would do him any kindness, he would beat him again, and tell him his master's name into the bargain; and would lay him a crown, that, though his master should bid the Speaker, and all the House of Commons, kiss, &c, they durst not send a serjeant at arms for him. The beaten boy, much nettled at his speech, laid down his money, as the other did: now, said the boy, my master is the king of France, and I am come over with some of his servants to fetch horses out of England; go, bid thy master and the House of Commons send a serjeant at arms to fetch him over.—Sam. Before my heart it was a good answer; I hope he won his monies?—Will. So he did; but it was put into a waterman's hands, and when it was demanded, says the beaten boy, Sirrah, give it him, if you dare; if his master be the king of France, I'll make you answer it before the House of Commons. The waterman durst do no other, but gave either their own monies. There's no contending with parliament men, or parliament men's men, nor boys."

    Some occasion was given for these reproaches by the summary and arbitrary commitment of many individuals, who had addressed the king in terms expressing their abhorrence of the vehement petitions presented by the other party for the sitting of parliament, and were thence distinguished by the name of Abhorrers. This course was ended by the sturdy resistance of one Stowell, who had, as foreman of the grand jury at Exeter, presented an abhorring address to the king. A serjeant at arms having been sent to apprehend him, he refused to submit, and bid the officer take his course, adding, he knew no law which made him accountable for what he did as a grand juryman. The House were so much embarrassed by his obstinacy, that they hushed up the matter by voting that he was indisposed, and adjourning the debate sine dic.

  19. This famous interview betwixt Grillon and the king deserved to have been brought on the stage, in a nobler strain, and free from the buffoonery, by which the veteran's character is degraded. It is thus told by Davila: "Trattandosi delle persone, che avessero da eseguire il fatto, il Re elesse di fidarsene nel Maestro di campo della sua guardia Griglione, uomo feroce e ardito e per molte cagioni nemico del Duca di Guisa. Fattolo perciò venire, gli espose con accomodate parole il suo pensiero, e gli significò aver disegnato, che egli fosse quello, che eseguisse l' impresa, nella quale consisteva tutta la sua salute. Griglione rispose con brevi e significanti parole: Sire, Io sono ben servitore a Vostra Maestà di somma fedeltà e divozione, ma faccio professione di soldato, e di cavuliero; s' ella vuoles ch' io vada a sfidare il Duca di Guisa, e che mi ammazzi a corpo a corpo con lui, son pronto a farlo in questo istesso punto; ma ch' io serva di manigoldo, mentre la giustizia sua determina di farlo morire, questo non si conviene a par mio, nè sono per farlo giammai. Il Re non si stupì molto della libertà di Griglione, noto a lui e a tutta la corte per uomo schietto, e che libramente diceva i suoi sensi senza timore alcuno, e però replicò; che gli bastava, che tenesse segreta questo pensiero, perchè non l' aveva communicato ad alcun altro, e divulgandosi egli sarebbe stato colpevole d' averlo palesato. A questo rispose Griglione: Essere servitore di fede, d' onore, nè dover mai ridire i segreti interessi del padrone, e partito lasciò il Re grandemente dubbioso di quello dovesse operare." Lib. ix.

  20. A similar assemblage of terrific circumstances announces the arrival of a fiend upon a similar errand, in the old play, entitled, the "Merry Devil of Edmonton."

    What means the trolling of this fatal chime?

    O what a trembling horror strikes my heart!

    My stiffened hair stands upright on my head,

    As do the bristles of a porcupine.

       *   *   *   *   *

    Coreb, is't thou?

    I know thee well; I hear the watchful dogs,

    With hollow howling, tell of thy approach.

    The lights burn dim, affrighted with thy presence,

    And this distempered and tempestuous night

    Tells me the air is troubled with some devil!

    Dryden certainly appears to have had the old play in his memory though he has far excelled it.

  21. On the evening previous to the assassination, the Seigneur de Larchant accosted the duke as he passed from his own lodging to the king's, accompanied by a body of soldiers, who, he pretended, were petitioners for the duke's interest, to obtain payment of their arrears, and would attend at the door of the council next day, to remind him of their case. This pretext was to account for the unusual number of guards, which might otherwise have excited Guise's suspicion.

  22. Intanto il Duca entrato nel consiglio, e pustosi in una sedia vicina al fuoco si sentì un poco di svenimento, o che allora, gli sovcenisse il pericolo, net quale si ritrovava, separato e diviso da tutti i suoi, o che natura, come bene spesso avviene, presaga del mal futuro da se medesima allora si risentizze, o come dissero i suoi malevoli, per essere stato la medesima notte con Madama di Marmoutiere amata grandemente da lui, e essersi soverchiamente debilitato. Davila, Lib. ix.

  23. The murder of Guise was perpetrated in the Anti-chamber, before the door of the king's cabinet. Lognac, a gentleman of the king's chamber, and a creature of the late duke de Joyeuse, commanded the assassins, who were eight in number. The duke never was able to unsheath his sword, being slain with many wounds as he grappled with Lognac. The king himself was in the cabinet, and listened to the murderous scuffle, till the noise of Guise's fall announced its termination. The cardinal of Guise, and the archbishop of Lyons were also within hearing, and were arrested, while they were endeavouring to call their attendants to Guise's assistance. The cardinal was next day murdered by Da Gast, to whose custody he had been commuted.

  24. Literally from Davila: "Ora comparse il Re, le dimanda egli primo, come ella stava; al quale avendo risposto che si sentisse meglio, egli ripigliò: Ancor io mi trovo ora molto meglio, perchè questa mattina son fatto Re di Francia avendo fatto morire il Re di Parigi. Alle quali parole, replicò la Reina: Voi avete fatto morire il Duca di Guisa, ma Dio voglia che non siate ora fatto Re da niente; avete tagliato bene, non so, se cucirete così bene. Avete voi preveduti i mali, che sono per succedere? Provvedetevi diligentemente. Due cose sono necessarie, prestezza e risoluzione." Lib. ix.



Much time and trouble this poor play has cost;

And, 'faith, I doubted once the cause was lost.

Yet no one man was meant, nor great, nor small;

Our poets, like frank gamesters, threw at all.

They took no single aim:—

But, like bold boys, true to their prince, and hearty,

Huzza'd, and fired broadsides at the whole party.

Duels are crimes; but, when the cause is right,

In battle every man is bound to fight.

For what should hinder me to sell my skin,

Dear as I could, if once my hand were in?

Se defendendo never was a sin.

'Tis a fine world, my masters! right or wrong,

The Whigs must talk, and Tories hold their tongue.

They must do all they can,

But we, forsooth, must bear a christian mind;

And fight, like boys, with one hand tied behind;

Nay, and when one boy's down, 'twere wond'rous wise,

To cry,—box fair, and give him time to rise.

When fortune favours, none but fools will dally;

Would any of you sparks, if Nan, or Mally,

Tip you the inviting wink, stand, shall I, shall I?

A Trimmer cried, (that heard me tell this story)

Fie, mistress Cook, 'faith you're too rank a Tory!

Wish not Whigs hanged, but pity their hard cases;

You women love to see men make wry faces.—

Pray, sir, said I, don't think me such a Jew;

I say no more, but give the devil his due.—

123 Lenitives, says he, suit best with our condition.—

Jack Ketch, says I, is an excellent physician.—

I love no blood.—Nor I, sir, as I breathe;

But hanging is a fine dry kind of death.—

We Trimmers are for holding all things even.—

Yes; just like him that hung 'twixt hell and heaven.—

Have we not had men's lives enough already?—

Yes, sure: but you're for holding all things steady.

Now since the weight hangs all on one side, brother,

You Trimmers should, to poize it, hang on t'other.

Damned neuters, in their middle way of steering,

Are neither fish, nor flesh, nor good red-herring:

Not Whigs, nor Tories they; nor this, nor that;

Not birds, nor beasts; but just a kind of bat:

A twilight animal, true to neither cause,

With Tory wings, but Whigish teeth and claws[2].




  1. There is in Mr Bindley's collection another Epilogue, which appears to have been originally subjoined to the "Duke of Guise." It is extremely coarse; and as the author himself suppressed it, the editor will not do his better judgment the injustice to revive it.

  2. The Trimmers, a body small and unpopular, as must always be the case with those, who in violent times declare for moderate and temporising measures, were headed by the ingenious and politic Halifax. He had much of the confidence, at least of the countenance of Charles, who was divided betwixt tenderness for Monmouth, and love of ease, on the one hand, and, on the other, desire of arbitrary power, and something like fear of the duke of York. Halifax repeatedly prevented each of these parties from subjugating the other, and his ambidexter services seem to have been rewarded by the sincere hatred of both. In 1688 was published a vindication of this party, entitled, "the Character of a Trimmer;" and his opinion of,—I. The laws of government. II. Protestant Religion. III. Foreign affairs. By the Hon. Sir William Coventry.





Turno tempus erit magno cum optaverit emptum
Intactum Pallanta: et cum spolia ista, diemque



It was easy to foresee, that a play, which professed to be a broadside discharged at the whole popular party, would not long remain uncensured. The satire being derived from a historical parallel of some delicacy, offered certain facilities of attack to the critics. It was only stretching the resemblance beyond the bounds to which Dryden had limited it, and the comparison became odious, if not dangerous. The whig writers did not neglect this obvious mode of attack, now rendered more popular by the encroachment lately attempted by the court upon the freedom of the city, whose magistrates had been exposed to ridicule in the play.

Our readers cannot but remember, that, in order to break the spirit of the city of London, a writ of quo warranto was issued against the incorporation, by which was instituted a vexatious and captious inquiry into the validity of the charter of London. The purpose of this process was to compel the city to resign their freedom and immunities into the king's hands, and to receive a new grant of them, so limited, as might be consistent with the views of the crown, or otherwise to declare them forfeited. One Thomas Hunt, a lawyer of some eminence, who had been solicitor for the Viscount Stafford when that unfortunate nobleman was tried for high treason, and had written upon the side of the tories, but had now altered his principles, stepped forward upon this occasion as the champion of the immunities of the city of London[1]. 128 The ludicrous light in which the sheriffs are placed, during the scene with Grillon in the third act, gave great offence to this active partizan; and he gives vent to his displeasure in the following attack upon the author, and the performance.

"They have already condemned the charter and city, and have executed the magistrates in effigy upon the stage, in a play called "The Duke of Guise," frequently acted and applauded; intended most certainly, to provoke the rabble into tumults and disorder. The Roman priest had no success, (God be thanked,) when he animated the people not to suffer the same sheriffs to be carried through the city to the Tower, prisoners. Now the poet hath undertaken, for their being kicked three or four times a-week about the stage to the gallows, infamously rogued and rascalled, to try what he can do towards making the charter forfeitable, by some extravagancy and disorder of the people, which the authority of the best governed cities have not been able to prevent, sometimes under far less provocations.

"But this ought not to move the citizens, when he hath so maliciously and mischievously represented the king, and the king's son, nay, and his favourite the duke too, to whom he gives the worst strokes of his unlucky fancy.

"He puts the king under the person of Henry III. of France, who appeared in the head of the Parisian massacre; the king's son under the person of the Duke of Guise, who concerted it with the Queen-mother of France, and was slain in that very place, by the righteous judgment of God, where he and his mother had first contrived it.

"The Duke of Guise ought to have represented a great prince, that had inserved to some most detestable villany, to please the rage, or lust, of a tyrant.

"Such great courtiers have been often sacrificed, to appease the furies of the tyrant's guilty conscience, to expiate for his sin, and to atone the people.

129 "Besides, that a tyrant naturally stands in fear of ministers of mighty wickedness; he is always obnoxious to them, he is a slave to them, as long as they live they remember him of his guilt, and awe him. These wicked slaves become most imperious masters: they drag him to greater evils for their own impunity, than they first perpetrated for his pleasure, and their own ambition.

"But such are best given up to public justice, but by no means to be assassinated. Until this age, never before was an assassination invited, commended, and encouraged upon a public theatre.

"It is no wonder that Trimmers (so they call men of some moderation of that party) displease them; for they seem to have designs for which it behoves them to know their men; they must be perfectly wicked, or perfectly deceived; of the Catiline make; bold, and without understanding; that can adhere to men that publicly profess murders, and applaud the design.

"Caius Cæsar (to give unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's) was in the Catiline conspiracy; and then the word was, he that is not for us is against us; for the instruments of wickedness must be men that are resolute and forward, and without consideration; or they will deceive the design, and relent when they enterprize.

"But when he was made dictator, and had some pretences, and a probability by means less wicked and mischievous to arrive at the government, his words were, he that is not against us is with us. But to Pompey only it belonged, and to his cause, or the like cause, to the defenders of ancient established governments, of the English monarchy and liberties, to say, they that are not with us are against us. In internecino bello, in attacks upon government, medii pro hostibus habentur, neutral men are traitors, and assist, by their indifferency, to the destruction of the government. As many as applaud this play, ought to be put under sureties of the peace; and yet not one warrant, that we hear of yet, granted by the Lord Chief Justice.

"But it is not a Duke of Guise to be assassinated, a turbulent, wicked, and haughty courtier; but an innocent and gentle prince, as well as brave, and renowned for noble achievements: a prince, that hath no fault, but that he is the king's son; and the best too of all his sons; such a son, as would have made the best of emperors happy.

"Except it be, that the people honour him and love him, and every where publicly and loudly show it: But this they do, for that the best people of England have no other way left to show their loyalty to the king, and love to their religion and government, in long intervals of Parliament, than by prosecuting his son, for the sake of the king and his own merit, with all the demonstrations of the highest esteem.

130 "But he hath not used his patron Duke much better; for he hath put him under a most dismal and unfortunate character of a successor, excluded from the crown by act of state for his religion, who fought his way to the crown, changed his religion, and died by the hand of a Roman assassinate.

"It is enough to make his great duke's courage quail, to find himself under such an unlucky and disastrous representation, and thus personated; besides, he hath offered a justification of an act of exclusion against a popish successor, in a Protestant kingdom, by remembering what was done against the king of Navarre.

"The Popish religion, in France, did, de facto, by act of state, exclude a Protestant prince, who is under no obligation, from his religion, to destroy his Popish subjects.

"Though a Popish prince is, to destroy his Protestant subjects.

"A Popish prince, to a Protestant kingdom, without more, must be the most insufferable tyrant, and exceed the character that any story can furnish for that sort of monster: And yet all the while to himself a religious and an applauded prince; discharged from the tortures that ordinarily tear and rend the hearts of the most cruel princes, and make them as uneasy to themselves as they are to their subjects, and sometimes prevail so far as to lay some restraints upon their wicked minds.

"But this his patron will impute to his want of judgment; for this poet's heroes are commonly such monsters as Theseus and Hercules are, renowned throughout all ages for destroying.

"But to excuse him, this man hath forsaken his post, and entered upon another province. To "The Observator"[2] it belongs to confound truth and falsehood; and, by his false colours and impostures, to put out the eyes of the people, and leave them without understanding.

"But our poet hath not so much art left him as to frame any thing agreeable, or verisimilar, to amuse the people, or wherewith to deceive them.

"His province is to corrupt the manners of the nation, and lay waste their morals; his understanding is clapt, and his brains are vitiated, and he is to rot the age.

"His endeavours are more happily applied, to extinguish the little remains of the virtue of the age by bold impieties, and befooling religion by impious and inept rhymes, to confound virtue and vice, good and evil, and leave us without consciences.

"And thus we are prepared for destruction.

131 "But to give the world a taste of his atheism and impiety, I shall recite two of his verses, as recited upon the stage, viz.

For conscience, and heaven's fear, religious rules,

They are all state-bells to toll in pious fools;

which I have done the rather, that some honest judge, or justice, may direct a process against this bold impious man; or some honest surrogate, or official, may find leisure to proceed, ex officio, against him, notwithstanding at present they are so encumbered with the dissenters.

"Such public blasphemies against religion, never were unpunished in any country, or age, but this.

"But I have made too long a digression, but that it carries with it some instructions towards the preserving of the honour of your august city, viz.

"That you do not hereafter authorise the stage to expose and revile your great officers, and offices, by the indignities yourselves do them; whilst the Papists clap their hands, and triumph at your public disgraces, and in the hopes they conceive thereby of the ruin of your government, as if that were as sure and certain to them, as it is to us, without doubt, that they once fired it.

"And further, for that it was fit to set forth to the world, of what spirit our enemies are, how they intend to attack us; as also, how bold they are with his majesty, what false and dishonourable representations they make of him, and present to the world upon a public theatre; which, I must confess, hath moved me with some passion."

This angry barrister was not the only adversary whom Dryden had to encounter on this occasion. Thomas Shadwell, a man of some talents for comedy, and who professed to tread in the footsteps of Ben Jonson, had for some time been at variance with Dryden and Otway. He was probably the author of a poem, entitled, "A Lenten Prologue, refused by the Players;" which is marked by Mr Luttrel, 11th April, 1683, and contains the following direct attack on "The Duke of Guise," and the author:

Our prologue wit grows flat; the nap's worn off,

And howsoe'er we turn and trim the stuff,

The gloss is gone that looked at first so gaudy;

'Tis now no jest to hear young girls talk bawdry.

But plots and parties give new matters birth,

And state distractions serve you here for mirth.

At England's cost poets now purchase fame;

While factious heats destroy us, without shame,

These wanton Neroes fiddle to the flame;

The stage, like old rump-pulpits, is become

The scene of news, a furious party's drum:

Here poets beat their brains for volunteers,

And take fast hold of asses by their ears;

132 Their jingling rhimes for reason here you swallow,

Like Orpheus' music, it makes beasts to follow.

What an enlightening grace is want of bread!

How it can change a libeller's heart, and clear a laureat's head;

Open his eyes, till the mad prophet see

Plots working in a future power to be!

Traitors unformed to his second sight are clear.

And squadrons here and squadrons there appear;

Rebellion is the burden of the seer.

To Bayes, in vision, were of late revealed,

Whig armies, that at Knightsbridge lay concealed;

And though no mortal eye could see't before,

The battle just was entering at the door.

A dangerous association, signed by none,

The joiner's plot to seize the king alone.

Stephen with College[3] made this dire compact;

The watchful Irish took them in the fact.

Of riding armed; O traitorous overt act!

With each of them an ancient Pistol sided,

Against the statute in that case provided.

But, why was such a host of swearers pressed?

Their succour was ill husbandry at best.

Bayes's crowned muse, by sovereign right of satire,

Without desert, can dub a man a traitor;

And tories, without troubling law or reason,

By loyal instinct can find plots and treason.

(Medal, p. 14.)

A more formal attack was made in a pamphlet, entitled, "Some Reflections on the pretended parallel in the Play called the Duke of Guise." This Dryden, in the following Vindication, supposes to have been sketched by Shadwell, and finished by a gentleman of the Temple[4]. In these Reflections, the obvious ground of attack, 133 occupied by Hunt, is again resumed. The general indecency of a theatrical exhibition, which alluded to state-transactions of a grave and most important nature; the indecorum of comparing the king to such a monarch as Henry III., infamous for treachery, cruelty, and vices of the most profligate nature; above all, the parallel betwixt the Dukes of Monmouth and Guise, by which the former is exhibited as a traitor to his father, and recommended as no improper object for assassination—are topics insisted on at some length, and with great vehemence.

Our author was not insensible to these attacks, by which his loyalty to the king, and the decency of his conduct towards Monmouth, the king's offending, but still beloved, son, and once Dryden's own patron, stood painfully compromised. Accordingly, shortly after these pamphlets had appeared, the following advertisement was annexed to "The Duke of Guise:"

"There was a preface intended to this play in vindication of it, against two scurrilous libels lately printed; but it was judged, that a defence of this nature would require more room than a preface reasonably could allow. For this cause, and for the importunities of the stationers, who hastened their impression, it is deferred for some little time, and will be printed by itself. Most men are already of opinion, that neither of the pamphlets deserve an answer, because they are stuffed with open falsities, and sometimes contradict each other; but, for once, they shall have a day or two thrown away upon them, though I break an old custom for their sakes, which was,—to scorn them."

The resolution, thus announced, did not give universal satisfaction to our author's friends; one of whom published the following remonstrance, which contains some good sense, in very indifferent poetry:

An Epode to his worthy Friend John Dryden, to advise him not to answer two malicious Pamphlets against his Tragedy called "The Duke of Guise." (Marked by Luttrel, 10 March, 1683/4.)

Can angry frowns rest on thy noble brow

For trivial things;

Or, can a stream of muddy water flow

From the Muses' springs;

Or great Apollo bend his vengeful bow

'Gainst popular stings?

Desist thy passion then; do not engage

Thyself against the wittols of the age.

134 Should we by stiff Tom Thimble's faction fall,

Lord, with what noise

The Coffee throats would bellow, and the Ball

O' the Change rejoice,

And with the company of Pinner's Hall

Lift up their voice!

Once the head's gone, the good cause is secure;

The members cannot long resist our power.

Crop not their humours; let the wits proceed

Till they have thrown

Their venom up; and made themselves indeed

Rare fops o'ergrown:

Let them on nasty garbage prey and feed,

Till all is done;

And, by thy great resentment, think it fit

To crush their hopes, as humble as their wit.

Consider the occasion, and you'll find

Yourself severe,

And unto rashness much more here inclined,

By far, than they're:

Consider them as in their proper kind,

'Tween rage and fear,

And then the reason will appear most plain,—

A worm that's trod on will turn back again.

What if they censure without brain or sense,

'Tis now the fashion;

Each giddy fop endeavours to commence

A reformation.

Pardon them for their native ignorance,

And brainsick passion;

For, after all, true men of sense will say,—

Their works can never parallel thy play.

'Twere fond to pamper spleen, 'cause owls detest

The light of day;

Or real nonsense, which endures no test,

Condemns thy play.

Lodge not such petty trifles in thy breast,

But bar their sway;

And let them know, that thy heroic bays

Can scorn their censure, as it doth their praise.

Think not thy answer will their nice reclaim,

Whose heads are proof

Against all reason, and in spite of shame

Will stand aloof;

'Twould cherish further libels on thy fame,

Should these thee move.

Stand firm, my Dryden, maugre all their plots,

Thy bays shall flourish when their ivy rots.

135 But if you are resolved to break your use,

And basely sin,

In answer; I'll be sworn some haggard muse

Has you in her gin;

Or in a fit you venture to abuse

Your Polyhymn',

You may serve him so far: But if you do,

All your true friends, sir, will reflect on you.

The remonstrance of this friendly poet was unavailing; Dryden having soon after published the following Vindication.


  1. "A Defence of the Charter and Municipal Rights of the City of London, and the Rights of other Municipal Cities and Towns of England. Directed to the Citizens of London, by Thomas Hunt.

    Si populus vult decipi, decipiatur.

    London, printed, and to be sold, by Richard Baldwin." 4to, pages 46.

    Wood informs us, that Thomas Hunt, the author, was educated at Queen's College, Cambridge, and was esteemed a person of quick parts, and of a ready fluency in discourse, but withal too pert and forward. He was called to the bar, and esteemed a good lawyer. In 1659 he became clerk of the assizes at Oxford circuit, but was ejected from the office at the Restoration, to his great loss, to make room for the true owner. He wrote, "An Argument for the Bishops' right of judging in capital Cases in Parliament, &c.;" for which he expected (says Anthony) no less than to be made lord chief baron of the exchequer in Ireland. But falling short of that honourable office, which he too ambitiously catched at, and considering the loss of another place, which he unjustly possessed, he soon after appeared one of the worst and most inveterate enemies to church and state that was in his time, and the most malicious, and withal the most ignorant, scribbler of the whole herd; and was thereupon stiled, by a noted author, (Dryden, in the following Vindication,) Magni nominis umbra. Hunt also published, "Great and weighty Considerations on the Duke of York, &c." in favour of the exclusion. He had also the boldness to republish his high church tract in favour of the bishops' jurisdiction, with a whig postscript tending to destroy his own arguments.—Ath. Ox. II, p. 728.

  2. A tory paper, then conducted with great zeal, and some controversial talent, by Sir Roger L'Estrange.

  3. Alluding to the fate of Stephen College, the Protestant joiner; a meddling, pragmatical fellow, who put himself so far forward in the disputes at Oxford, as to draw down the vengeance of the court. He was very harshly treated during his trial; and though in the toils, and deprived of all assistance, defended himself with right English manliness. He was charged with the ballad on page 6. and with coming to Oxford armed to attack the guards. He said he did not deny he had pistols in his holsters at Oxford; to which Jefferies answered, indecently, but not unaptly, he "thought a chissel might have been more proper for a joiner." Poor College was executed; a vengeance unworthy of the king, who might have apostrophised him as Hamlet does Polonius:

    Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell;

    I took thee for thy betters—take thy fortune.

    Thou findst, to be too busy is some danger.

  4. Anthony Wood is followed by Mr Malone in supposing, that Hunt himself is the Templar alluded to. But Dryden seems obviously to talk of the author of the Defence, and the two Reflectors, as three separate persons. He calls them, "the sputtering triumvirate, Mr Hunt, and the two Reflectors;" and again, "What says my lord chief baron (i.e. Hunt) to the business? What says the livery-man Templar? What says Og, the king of Basan (i.e. Shadwell) to it?" The Templar may be discovered, when we learn, who hired a livery-gown to give a vote among the electors.



In the year of his majesty's happy Restoration, the first play I undertook was the "Duke of Guise;" as the fairest way, which the Act of Indemnity had then left us, of setting forth the rise of the late rebellion; and by exploding the villainies of it upon the stage, to precaution posterity against the like errors.

As this was my first essay, so it met with the fortune of an unfinished piece; that is to say, it was damned in private, by the advice of some friends to whom I shewed it; who freely told me, that it was an excellent subject; but not so artificially wrought, as they could have wished; and now let my enemies make their best of this confession.

The scene of the Duke of Guise's return to Paris, against the king's positive command, was then written. I have the copy of it still by me, almost the same which it now remains, being taken verbatim out of Davila; for where the action is remarkable, and the very words related, the poet is not at liberty to change them much; and if he will be adding 138 any thing for ornament, it ought to be wholly of a piece. This do I take for a sufficient justification of that scene, unless they will make the pretended parallel to be a prophecy, as well as a parallel of accidents, that were twenty years after to come.[1] Neither do I find, that they can suggest the least colour for it in any other part of the tragedy.

But now comes the main objection,—why was it stopt then? To which I shall render this just account, with all due respects to those who were the occasion of it.

Upon a wandering rumour (which I will divide betwixt malice and mistake) that some great persons were represented, or personated in it, the matter was complained of to my Lord Chamberlain; who, thereupon, appointed the play to be brought to him, and prohibited the acting of it until further order; commanding me, after this, to wait upon his lordship; which I did, and humbly desired him to compare the play with the history, from whence the subject was taken, referring to the first scene of the fourth act, whereupon the exception was grounded, and leaving Davila (the original) with his lordship. This was before midsummer; and about two months after, I received the play back again from his lordship, but without any positive order whether it should be acted or not; neither was Mr Lee, or myself, any way solicitous about it. But this indeed 139 I ever said, that it was intended for the king's service; and his majesty was the best judge, whether it answered that end or no; and that I reckoned it my duty to submit, if his majesty, for any reason whatsoever, should deem it unfit for the stage. In the interim, a strict scrutiny was made, and no parallel of the great person designed, could be made out. But this push failing, there were immediately started some terrible insinuations, that the person of his majesty was represented under that of Henry the Third; which if they could have found out, would have concluded, perchance, not only in the stopping of the play, but in the hanging up of the poets. But so it was, that his majesty's wisdom and justice acquitted both the one, and the other; and when the play itself was almost forgotten, there were orders given for the acting of it.

This is matter of fact; and I have the honour of so great witnesses to the truth of what I have delivered, that it will need no other appeal. As to the exposing of any person living, our innocency is so clear, that it is almost unnecessary to say, it was not in my thought; and, as far as any one man can vouch for another, I do believe it was as little in Mr Lee's. And now since some people have been so busy as to cast out false and scandalous surmises, how far we two agreed upon the writing of it, I must do a common right both to Mr Lee and myself, to declare publicly, that it was at his earnest desire, without any solicitation of mine, that this play was produced betwixt us. After the writing of Œdipus, I passed a promise to join with him in another; and he happened to claim the performance of that promise, just upon the finishing of a poem,[2] 140 when I would have been glad of a little respite before the undertaking of a second task. The person, that passed betwixt us, knows this to be true; and Mr Lee himself, I am sure, will not disown it; So that I did not "seduce him to join with me," as the malicious authors of the Reflections are pleased to call it; but Mr Lee's loyalty is above so ridiculous a slander. I know very well, that the town did ignorantly call and take this to be my play; but I shall not arrogate to myself the merits of my friend. Two-thirds of it belonged to him; and to me only the first scene of the play; the whole fourth act, and the first half, or somewhat more, of the fifth.

The pamphleteers, I know, do very boldly insinuate, that, "before the acting of it, I took the whole play to myself; but finding afterwards how ill success it had upon the stage, I threw as much of it as possibly I could upon my fellow." Now here are three damned lies crowded together into a very little room; first, that I assumed any part of it to myself, which I had not written; wherein I appeal, not only to my particular acquaintance, but to the whole company of actors, who will witness for me, that, in all the rehearsals, I never pretended to any one scene of Mr Lee's, but did him all imaginable right, in his title to the greater part of it. I hope I may, without vanity, affirm to the world, that I never stood in need of borrowing another man's reputation; and I have been as little guilty of the injustice, of laying claim to any thing which was not my own. Nay, I durst almost refer myself to some of the angry poets on the other side, whether I have not rather countenanced and assisted their beginnings, than hindered them from rising.[3] The two 141 other falsities are, the "ill success of the play," and "my disowning it." The former is manifestly without foundation; for it succeeded beyond my very hopes, having been frequently acted, and never without a considerable audience; and then it is a thousand to one, that, having no ground to disown it, I did not disown it; but the universe to a nutshell that I did not disown it for want of success, when it succeeded so much beyond my expectation. But my malignant adversaries are the more excusable for this coarse method of breaking in upon truth and good manners, because it is the only way they have to gratify the genius and the interest of the faction together; and never so much pains taken neither, to so very, very little purpose. They decry the play, but in such a manner, that it has the effect of a recommendation. They call it "a dull entertainment;" and that is a dangerous word, I must confess, from one of the greatest masters in human 142 nature, of that faculty. Now I can forgive them this reproach too, after all the rest; for this play does openly discover the original and root of the practices and principles, both of their party and cause; and they are so well acquainted with all the trains and mazes of rebellion, that there is nothing new to them in the whole history. Or what if it were a little insipid, there was no conjuring that I remember in "Pope Joan;" and the "Lancashire Witches" were without doubt the most insipid jades that ever flew upon a stage; and even these, by the favour of a party, made a shift to hold up their heads.[4] Now, if we have out-done these plays in their own dull way, their authors have some sort of 143 privilege to throw the first stone; but we shall rather chuse to yield the point of dulness, than contend for it, against so indisputable a claim.

But "matters of state (it seems) are canvassed on the stage, and things of the gravest concernment there managed;" and who were the aggressors, I beseech you, but a few factious, popular hirelings, that by tampering the theatres, and by poisoning the people, made a play-house more seditious than a conventicle; so that the loyal party crave only the same freedom of defending the government, which the other took beforehand of exposing and defaming it. There was no complaint of any disorders of the stage, in the bustle that was made (even to the forming of a party) to uphold a farce of theirs.[5] Upon the first day, the whole faction (in a manner) appeared; but after one sight of it, they sent their proxies of serving-men and porters, to clap in the right of their patrons; and it was impossible ever to have gotten off the nonsense of three hours for half-a-crown, but for the providence of so congruous an audience. Thus far, I presume, 144 the reckoning is even, for bad plays on both sides, and for plays written for a party. I shall say nothing of their poets' affection to the government; unless upon an absolute and an odious necessity. But to return to the pretended Parallel.

I have said enough already to convince any man of common sense, that there neither was, nor could be, any Parallel intended; and it will farther appear, from the nature of the subject; there being no relation betwixt Henry the Third and the Duke of Guise, except that of the king's marrying into the family of Lorraine. If a comparison had been designed, how easy had it been either to have found a story, or to have invented one, where the ties of nature had been nearer? If we consider their actions, or their persons, a much less proportion will be yet found betwixt them; and if we bate the popularity, perhaps none at all. If we consider them in reference to their parties, the one was manifestly the leader; the other, at the worst, is but misled. The designs of the one tended openly to usurpation; those of the other may yet be interpreted more fairly; and I hope, from the natural candour and probity of his temper, that it will come to a perfect submission and reconcilement at last. But that which perfectly destroys this pretended Parallel is, that our picture of the Duke of Guise is exactly according to the original in the history; his actions, his manners, nay, sometimes his very words, are so justly copied, that whoever has read him in Davila, sees him the same here. There is no going out of the way, no dash of a pen to make any by-feature resemble him to any other man; and indeed, excepting his ambition, there was not in France, or perhaps in any other country, any man of his age 145 vain enough to hope he could be mistaken for him.[6] So that if you would have made a Parallel, we could not. And yet I fancy, that where I make it my business to draw likeness, it will be no hard matter to judge who sate for the picture. For the Duke of Guise's return to Paris contrary to the king's order, enough already has been said; it was too considerable in the story to be omitted, because it occasioned the mischiefs that ensued. But in this likeness, which was only casual, no danger followed. I am confident there was none intended; and am satisfied that none was feared. But the argument drawn from our evident design is yet, if possible, more convincing. The first words of the prologue spake the play to be a Parallel, and then you are immediately informed how far that Parallel extended, and of what it is so: "The Holy League begot the Covenant, Guisards got the Whig, &c." So then it is not, (as the snarling authors of the Reflections tell you) a Parallel of the men, but of the times; a Parallel of the factions, and of the leaguers. And 146 every one knows that this prologue was written before the stopping of the play. Neither was the name altered on any such account as they insinuate, but laid aside long before, because a book called the Parallel had been printed, resembling the French League to the English Covenant; and therefore we thought it not convenient to make use of another man's title.[7] The chief person in the tragedy, or he whose disasters are the subject of it, may in reason give the name; and so it was called the "Duke of Guise." Our intention therefore was to make the play a Parallel betwixt the Holy League, plotted by the house of Guise and its adherents, with the Covenant plotted by the rebels in the time of king Charles I. and those of the new Association, which was the spawn of the old Covenant.

But this parallel is plain, that the exclusion of the lawful heir was the main design of both parties; and that the endeavours to get the lieutenancy of France established on the head of the League, is in effect the same with offering to get the militia out of the king's hand (as declared by parliament,) and consequently, that the power of peace and war should be wholly in the people. It is also true that the tumults in the city, in the choice of their officers, have had no small resemblance with a Parisian rabble: and I am afraid that both their faction and ours had the same good lord. I believe also, that if Julian had been written and calculated for the Parisians, as it was for our sectaries, one of their sheriffs might have mistaken too, and called him 147 Julian the Apostle.[8] I suppose I need not push this point any further; where the parallel was intended, I am certain it will reach; but a larger account of the proceedings in the city may be expected from a better hand, and I have no reason to forestall it.[9] In the mean time, because there has been no actual rebellion, the faction triumph in their loyalty; which if it were out of principle, all our divisions would soon be ended, and we the happy people, which God and the constitution of our government have put us in condition to be; but so long as they take it for a maxim, that the king is but an officer in trust, that the people, or their representatives, are superior to him, judges of miscarriages, and have power of revocation, it is a plain case, that whenever they please they may take up arms; and, according to their doctrine, lawfully too. Let them jointly renounce this one opinion, as in conscience and law they are bound to do, because both scripture and acts of parliament oblige them to it, and we will then thank their obedience for our quiet, whereas now we are only beholden to them for their fear. The miseries of the last war are yet too fresh in all men's memory; and they are not rebels, only because they have been so too lately. An author of theirs has told us roundly the west-country proverb; 148 Chud eat more cheese, and chad it; their stomach is as good as ever it was; but the mischief on't is, they are either muzzled, or want their teeth. If there were as many fanatics now in England, as there were christians in the empire, when Julian reigned, I doubt we should not find them much inclined to passive obedience; and, "Curse ye Meroz"[10] would be oftener preached upon, than "Give to Cæsar," except in the sense Mr Hunt means it.

Having clearly shewn wherein the parallel consisted, which no man can mistake, who does not wilfully, I need not justify myself, in what concerns the sacred person of his majesty. Neither the French history, nor our own, could have supplied me, nor Plutarch himself, were he now alive, could have found a Greek or Roman to have compared to him, in that eminent virtue of his clemency; even his enemies must acknowledge it to be superlative, because they live by it. Far be it from flattery, if I say, that there is nothing under heaven, which can furnish me with a parallel; and that, in his mercy, he is of all men the truest image of his Maker.

Henry III. was a prince of a mixed character; he had, as an old historian says of another, magnas virtutes, nec minora vitia; but amongst those virtues, 149 I do not find his forgiving qualities to be much celebrated. That he was deeply engaged in the bloody massacre of St Bartholomew, is notoriously known; and if the relation printed in the memoirs of Villeroy be true, he confesses there that the Admiral having brought him and the queen-mother into suspicion with his brother then reigning, for endeavouring to lessen his authority, and draw it to themselves, he first designed his accuser's death by Maurevel, who shot him with a carbine, but failed to kill him; after which, he pushed on the king to that dreadful revenge, which immediately succeeded. It is true, the provocations were high; there had been reiterated rebellions, but a peace was now concluded; it was solemnly sworn to by both parties, and as great an assurance of safety given to the protestants, as the word of a king and public instruments could make it. Therefore the punishment was execrable, and it pleased God, (if we may dare to judge of his secret providence,) to cut off that king in the very flower of his youth, to blast his successor in his undertakings, to raise against him the Duke of Guise, the complotter and executioner of that inhuman action, (who, by the divine justice, fell afterwards into the same snare which he had laid for others,) and, finally, to die a violent death himself, murdered by a priest, an enthusiast of his own religion.[11] From these premises, let it be concluded, if reasonably it can, that we could draw a parallel, where the lines were so diametrically opposite. We were indeed obliged, by the laws of poetry, to cast into shadows the vices of 150 this prince; for an excellent critic has lately told us, that when a king is named, a hero is supposed;[12] it is a reverence due to majesty, to make the virtues as conspicuous, and the vices as obscure, as we can possibly; and this, we own, we have either performed, or at least endeavoured. But if we were more favourable to that character than the exactness of history would allow, we have been far from diminishing a greater, by drawing it into comparison. You may see, through the whole conduct of the play, a king naturally severe, and a resolution carried on to revenge himself to the uttermost on the rebellious conspirators. That this was sometimes shaken by reasons of policy and pity, is confessed; but it always returned with greater force, and ended at last in the ruin of his enemies. In the mean time we cannot but observe the wonderful loyalty on the other side; that the play was to be stopped, because the king was represented. May we have many such proofs of their duty and respect! but there was no occasion for them here. It is to be supposed, that his majesty himself was made acquainted with this objection; if he were so, he was the supreme and only judge of it; and then the event justifies us. If it were inspected only by those whom he commanded, it is hard if his own officers and servants should not see as much ill in it as other men, and be as willing to prevent it; especially when there was no solicitation used to have 151 it acted. It is known that noble person,[13] to whom it was referred, is a severe critic on good sense, decency, and morality; and I can assure the world, that the rules of Horace are more familiar to him, than they are to me. He remembers too well that the vetus comædia was banished from the Athenian theatre for its too much licence in representing persons, and would never have pardoned it in this or any play.

What opinion Henry III. had of his successor, is evident from the words he spoke upon his deathbed: "he exhorted the nobility," says Davila, "to acknowledge the king of Navarre, to whom the kingdom of right belonged; and that they should not stick at the difference of religion; for both the king of Navarre, a man of a sincere noble nature, would in the end return into the bosom of the church, and the pope, being better informed, would receive him into his favour, to prevent the ruin of the whole kingdom." I hope I shall not need in this quotation to defend myself, as if it were my opinion, that the pope has any right to dispose of kingdoms; my meaning is evident, that the king's judgment of his brother-in-law, was the same which I have copied; and I must farther add from Davila, that the arguments I have used in defence of that succession were chiefly drawn from the king's answer to the deputies, as they may be seen more at large in pages 730, and 731, of the first edition of that history in English. There the three estates, to the wonder of all men, jointly concurred in cutting off the succession; the clergy, who were managed by the archbishop of Lyons and cardinal 152 of Guise, were the first who promoted it; and the commons and nobility afterwards consented, as referring themselves, says our author, to the clergy; so that there was only the king to stand in the gap; and he by artifice diverted that storm which was breaking upon posterity.

The crown was then reduced to the lowest ebb of its authority; and the king, in a manner, stood single, and yet preserved his negative entire; but if the clergy and nobility had been on his part of the balance, it might reasonably be supposed, that the meeting of those estates at Blois had healed the breaches of the nation, and not forced him to the ratio ultima regum, which is never to be praised, nor is it here, but only excused as the last result of his necessity. As for the parallel betwixt the king of Navarre, and any other prince now living, what likeness the God of Nature, and the descent of virtues in the same channel have produced, is evident; I have only to say, that the nation certainly is happy, where the royal virtues of the progenitors are derived on their descendants.[14]

In that scene, it is true, there is but one of the three estates mentioned; but the other two are virtually included; for the archbishop and cardinal are at the head of the deputies: And that the rest are mute persons every critic understands the reason, ne quarta loqui persona laboret. I am never willing to cumber the stage with many speakers, when I can reasonably avoid it, as here I might. And what if I had a mind to pass over the clergy and nobility of France in silence, and to excuse them from joining in so illegal, and so ungodly a decree? 153 Am I tied in poetry to the strict rules of history? I have followed it in this play more closely than suited with the laws of the drama, and a great victory they will have, who shall discover to the world this wonderful secret, that I have not observed the unities of place and time; but are they better kept in the farce of the "Libertine destroyed?"[15] It was our common business here to draw the parallel of the times, and not to make an exact tragedy. For this once we were resolved to err with honest Shakespeare; neither can "Catiline" or "Sejanus," (written by the great master of our art,) stand excused, any more than we, from this exception; but if we must be criticised, some plays of our adversaries may be exposed, and let them reckon their gains when the dispute is ended. I am accused of ignorance, for speaking of the third estate, as not sitting in the same house with the other two. Let not those gentlemen mistake themselves; there are many things in plays to be accommodated to the country in which we live; I spoke to the understanding of an English audience. Our three estates now sit, and have long done so, in two houses; but our records bear witness, that they, according to the French custom, have sate in one; that is, the lords spiritual and temporal within the bar, and the commons without it. If that custom had been still continued 154 here, it should have been so represented; but being otherwise, I was forced to write so as to be understood by our own countrymen. If these be errors, a bigger poet than either of us two has fallen into greater, and the proofs are ready, whenever the suit shall be recommenced.

Mr Hunt, the Jehu of the party, begins very furiously with me, and says, "I have already condemned the charter and city, and have executed the magistrates in effigy upon the stage, in a play called the Duke of Guise, frequently acted and applauded, &c.[16]"

Compare the latter end of this sentence with what the two authors of the Reflections, or perhaps the Associating Club of the Devil-tavern[17] write in the 155 beginning of their libel:—"Never was mountain delivered of such a mouse; the fiercest Tories have been ashamed to defend this piece; they who have any sparks of wit among them are so true to their pleasure, that they will not suffer dulness to pass upon them for wit, nor tediousness for diversion; which is the reason that this piece has not met with the expected applause: I never saw a play more deficient in wit, good characters, or entertainment, than this is."

For shame, gentlemen, pack your evidence a little better against another time. You see, my lord chief baron[18] has delivered his opinion, that the play was frequently acted and applauded; but you of the jury have found Ignoramus, on the wit and the success of it. Oates, Dugdale and Turberville, never disagreed more than you do; let us know at last, which of the witnesses are true Protestants, and which are Irish[19]. But it seems your authors had contrary 156 designs: Mr Hunt thought fit to say, "it was frequently acted and applauded, because," says he, "it was intended to provoke the rabble into tumults and disorder." Now, if it were not seen frequently, this argument would lose somewhat of its force. The Reflector's business went another way; it was to be allowed no reputation, no success; but to be damned root and branch, to prevent the prejudice it might do their party: accordingly, as much as in them lay, they have drawn a bill of exclusion for it on the stage. But what rabble was it to provoke? Are the audience of a play-house, which are generally persons of honour, noblemen, and ladies, or, at worst, as one of your authors calls his gallants, men of wit and pleasure about the town[20],—are these the rabble of Mr Hunt? I have seen a rabble at Sir Edmundbury Godfrey's night, and have heard of such a name as true Protestant meeting-houses; but a rabble is not to be provoked, where it never comes. Indeed, we had one in this tragedy, but it was upon the stage; and that's the reason why your Reflectors would break the glass, which has shewed them their own faces. The business of the theatre is to expose vice and folly; to dissuade men by examples from one, and to shame them out of the other. 157 And however you may pervert our good intentions, it was here particularly to reduce men to loyalty, by shewing the pernicious consequences of rebellion, and popular insurrections. I believe no man, who loves the government, would be glad to see the rabble in such a posture, as they were represented in our play; but if the tragedy had ended on your side, the play had been a loyal witty poem; the success of it should have been recorded by immortal Og or Doeg[21], and the rabble scene should have been true Protestant, though a whig-devil were at the head of it.

In the mean time, pray, where lies the relation betwixt the "Tragedy of the Duke of Guise," and the charter of London? Mr Hunt has found a rare connection, for he tacks them together, by the kicking of the sheriff's. That chain of thought was a little ominous, for something like a kicking has succeeded the printing of his book; and the charter of London was the quarrel. For my part, I have not law enough to state that question, much less decide it; let the charter shift for itself in Westminster-hall the government is somewhat wiser than to employ my ignorance on such a subject. My promise to honest Nat. Lee, was the only bribe I had, to engage me in this trouble; for which he has the good fortune to escape Scot-free, and I am left in pawn for the reckoning, who had the least share in the entertainment. But the rising, it seems, should have been on the true protestant side; "for he has tried," says ingenious Mr Hunt, "what he could 158 do, towards making the charter forfeitable, by some extravagancy and disorder of the people." A wise man I had been, doubtless, for my pains, to raise the rabble to a tumult, where I had been certainly one of the first men whom they had limbed, or dragged to the next convenient sign-post.

But on second thought, he says, this ought not to move the citizens. He is much in the right; for the rabble scene was written on purpose to keep his party of them in the bounds of duty. It is the business of factious men to stir up the populace: Sir Edmond on horseback, attended by a swinging pope in effigy, and forty thousand true protestants for his guard to execution, are a show more proper for that design, than a thousand stage-plays[22].

Well, he has fortified his opinion with a reason, however, why the people should not be moved; "because I have so maliciously and mischievously represented the king, and the king's son; nay, and his favourite," saith he, "the duke too; to whom I give the worst strokes of my unlucky fancy."

This need not be answered; for it is already manifest that neither the king, nor the king's son, are represented; neither that son he means, nor any of the rest, God bless them all. What strokes of my unlucky fancy I have given to his royal highness, will be seen; and it will be seen also, who strikes him worst and most unluckily.

"The Duke of Guise," he tells us, "ought to have represented a great prince, that had inserved to some most detestable villainy, to please the rage or lust of a tyrant; such great courtiers have been often sacrificed, to appease the furies of the tyrant's guilty conscience; to expiate for his sin, and to attone 159 the people. For a tyrant naturally stands in fear of such wicked ministers, is obnoxious to them, awed by them, and they drag him to greater evils, for their own impunity, than they perpetrated for his pleasure, and their own ambition[23]."

Sure, he said not all this for nothing. I would know of him, on what persons he would fix the sting of this sharp satire? What two they are, whom, to use his own words, he "so maliciously and mischievously would represent?" For my part, I dare not understand the villainy of his meaning; but somebody was to have been shown a tyrant, and some other "a great prince, inserving to some detestable villainy, and to that tyrant's rage and lust;" this great prince or courtier ought to be sacrificed, to atone the people, and the tyrant is persuaded, for his own interest, to give him up to public justice. I say no more, but that he has studied the law to good purpose. He is dancing on the rope without a metaphor; his knowledge of the law is the staff that poizes him, and saves his neck. The party, indeed, speaks out sometimes, for wickedness is not always so wise as to be secret, especially when it is driven to despair. By some of their discourses, we may guess at whom he points; but he has fenced himself in with so many evasions, that he is safe in his sacrilege; and he, who dares to answer him, may become obnoxious. It is true, he breaks a little out of the clouds, within two paragraphs; for there he tells you, that "Caius Cæsar (to give into Cæsar the things that were Cæsar's,) was in the catiline 160 conspiracy;" a fine insinuation this, to be sneered at by his party, and yet not to be taken hold of by public justice. They would be glad now, that I, or any man, should bolt out their covert treason for them; for their loop-hole is ready, that the Cæsar, here spoken of, was a private man. But the application of the text declares the author's to be another Cæsar; which is so black and so infamous an aspersion, that nothing less than the highest clemency can leave it unpunished. I could reflect on his ignorance in this place, for attributing these words to Cæsar, "He that is not with us, is against us:" He seems to have mistaken them out of the New-Testament, and that is the best defence I can make for him; for if he did it knowingly, it was impiously done, to put our Saviour's words into Cæsar's mouth. But his law and our gospel are two things; this gentleman's knowledge is not of the bible, any more than his practice is according to it. He tells you, he will give the world a taste of my atheism and impiety; for which he quotes these following verses, in the second or third act of the "Duke of Guise."

For conscience or heaven's fear, religious rules,

Are all state bells, to toll in pious fools.

In the first place, he is mistaken in his man, for the verses are not mine, but Mr Lee's: I asked him concerning them, and have this account,—that they were spoken by the devil; now, what can either whig or devil say, more proper to their character, than that religion is only a name, a stalking-horse, as errant a property as godliness and property themselves are amongst their party? Yet for these two lines, which, in the mouth that speaks them, are of no offence, he halloos on the whole pack against me: judge, justice, surrogate, and official are to be employed, at his suit, to direct process; and boring 161 through the tongue for blasphemy, is the least punishment his charity will allow me.

I find it is happy for me, that he was not made a judge, and yet I had as lieve have him my judge as my council, if my life were at stake. My poor Lord Stafford was well helped up with this gentleman for his solicitor: no doubt, he gave that unfortunate nobleman most admirable advice towards the saving of his life; and would have rejoiced exeedingly, to have seen him cleared[24]. I think, I have disproved his instance of my atheism; it remains for him to justify his religion, in putting the words of Christ into a Heathen's mouth; and much more in his prophane allusion to the scripture, in the other text,—"Give unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's;" which, if it be not a profanation of the bible, for the sake of a silly witticism, let all men, but his own party, judge. I am not malicious enough to return him the names which he has called me; but of all sins, I thank God, I have always abhorred atheism; and I had need be a better Christian than Mr Hunt has shown himself, if I forgive him so infamous a slander.

But as he has mistaken our Saviour for Julius Cæsar, so he would Pompey too, if he were let alone; to him, and to his cause, or to the like cause it belonged, he says, to use these words:—"he that is not for us is against us." I find he cares not whose the expression is, so it be not Christ's. But how comes Pompey the Great to be a whig? He was, indeed, 162 a defender of the ancient established Roman government; but Cæsar was the whig who took up arms unlawfully to subvert it. Our liberties and our religion both are safe; they are secured to us by the laws; and those laws are executed under an established government, by a lawful king. The Defender of our Faith is the defender of our common freedom; to cabal, to write, to rail against this administration are all endeavours to destroy the government; and to oppose the succession, in any private man, is a treasonable practice against the foundation of it. Pompey very honourably maintained the liberty of his country, which was governed by a common-wealth: so that there lies no parallel betwixt his cause and Mr Hunt's, except in the bare notion of a common-wealth, as it is opposed to monarchy; and that's the thing he would obliquely slur upon us. Yet on these premises, he is for ordering my lord chief justice to grant out warrants against all those who have applauded the "Duke of Guise;" as if they committed a riot when they clapped. I suppose they paid for their places, as well as he and his party did, who hissed. If he were not half distracted, for not being lord chief baron, methinks he should be lawyer enough to advise my lord chief justice better. To clap and hiss are the privileges of a free-born subject in a playhouse: they buy them with their money, and their hands and mouths are their own property. It belongs to the Master of the Revels to see that no treason or immorality be in the play; but when it is acted, let every man like or dislike freely: not but that respect should be used too, in the presence of the king; for by his permission the actors are allowed: it is due to his person, as he is sacred; and to the successors, as being next related to him: there are opportunities enow for men to hiss, who are so 163 disposed, in their absence; for when the king is in sight, though but by accident, a malefactor is reprieved from death. Yet such is the duty, and good manners of these good subjects, that they forbore not some rudeness in his majesty's presence; but when his Royal Highness and his court were only there, they pushed it as far as their malice had power; and if their party had been more numerous, the affront had been greater.

The next paragraph of our author's is a panegyric on the Duke of Monmouth, which concerns not me, who am very far from detracting from him. The obligations I have had to him, were those of his countenance, his favour, his good word, and his esteem; all which I have likewise had, in a greater measure, from his excellent duchess, the patroness of my poor unworthy poetry. If I had not greater, the fault was never in their want of goodness to me, but in my own backwardness to ask, which has always, and, I believe, will ever, keep me from rising in the world. Let this be enough, with reasonable men, to clear me from the imputation of an ungrateful man, with which my enemies have most unjustly taxed me. If I am a mercenary scribbler, the lords commissioners of the treasury best know: I am sure, they have found me no importunate solicitor; for I know myself, I deserved little, and, therefore, have never desired much. I return that slander, with just disdain, on my accusers: it is for men who have ill consciences to suspect others; I am resolved to stand or fall with the cause of my God, my king, and country; never to trouble myself for any railing aspersions, which I have not deserved; and to leave it as a portion to my children,—that they had a father, who durst do his duty, and was neither covetous nor mercenary.

As little am I concerned at that imputation of 164 my back-friends, that I have confessed myself to be put on to write as I do. If they mean this play in particular, that is notoriously proved against them to be false; for the rest of my writings, my hatred of their practices and principles was cause enough to expose them as I have done, and will do more. I do not think as they do; for, if I did, I must think treason; but I must in conscience write as I do, because I know, which is more than thinking, that I write for a lawful established government, against anarchy, innovation, and sedition: but "these lies (as prince Harry said to Falstaff) are as gross as he that made them[25]." More I need not say, for I am accused without witness. I fear not any of their evidences, not even him of Salamanca; who though he has disowned his doctorship in Spain, yet there are some allow him to have taken a certain degree in Italy; a climate, they say, more proper for his masculine constitution[26]. To conclude this ridiculous accusation against me, I know but four men, in their whole party, to whom I have spoken for above this year last past; and with them neither, but casually and cursorily. We have been acquaintance of a long standing, many years before 165 this accursed plot divided men into several parties; I dare call them to witness, whether the most I have at any time said will amount to more than this, that "I hoped the time would come, when these names of whig and tory would cease among us; and that we might live together, as we had done formerly." I have, since this pamphlet, met accidentally with two of them; and I am sure, they are so far from being my accusers, that they have severally owned to me, that all men, who espouse a party, must expect to be blackened by the contrary side; that themselves knew nothing of it, nor of the authors of the "Reflections." It remains, therefore, to be considered, whether, if I were as much a knave as they would make me, I am fool enough to be guilty of this charge; and whether they, who raised it, would have made it public, if they had thought I was theirs inwardly. For it is plain, they are glad of worse scribblers than I am, and maintain them too, as I could prove, if I envied them their miserable subsistence. I say no more, but let my actions speak for me: Spectemur agendo,—that is the trial.

Much less am I concerned at the noble name of Bayes; that is a brat so like his own father, that he cannot be mistaken for any other body[27]. They 166 might as reasonably have called Tom Sternhold, Virgil, and the resemblance would have held as well.

As for knave, and sycophant, and rascal, and impudent, and devil, and old serpent, and a thousand such good morrows, I take them to be only names of parties; and could return murderer, and cheat, and whig-napper, and sodomite; and, in short, the goodly number of the seven deadly sins, with all their kindred and relations, which are names of parties too; but saints will be saints, in spite of villainy. I believe they would pass themselves upon us for such a compound as mithridate, or Venice-treacle; as if whiggism were an admirable cordial in the mass, though the several ingredients are rank poisons.

But if I think either Mr Hunt a villain, or know any of my Reflectors to be ungrateful rogues, I do not owe them so much kindness as to call them so; for I am satisfied that to prove them either, would but recommend them to their own party. Yet if some will needs make a merit of their infamy, and provoke a legend of their sordid lives, I think they must be gratified at last; and though I will not take the scavenger's employment from him, yet I may be persuaded to point at some men's doors, who have heaps of filth before them. But this must be when they have a little angered me; for hitherto I am provoked no further than to smile at them. And indeed, to look upon the whole faction in a lump, never was a more pleasant sight than to behold these builders of a new Babel, how ridiculously they are mixed, and what a rare confusion there is amongst them. One part of them is carrying stone and mortar for the building of a meeting-house; another sort understand not that language; they are for snatching away their work-fellows' materials 167 to set up a bawdy-house: some of them blaspheme, and others pray; and both, I believe, with equal godliness at bottom: some of them are atheists, some sectaries, yet all true protestants. Most of them love all whores, but her of Babylon. In few words, any man may be what he will, so he be one of them. It is enough to despise the King, to hate the Duke, and rail at the succession: after this it is no matter how a man lives; he is a saint by infection; he goes along with the party, has their mark upon him; his wickedness is no more than frailty; their righteousness is imputed to him: so that, as ignorant rogues go out doctors when a prince comes to an university, they hope, at the last day, to take their degree in a crowd of true protestants, and thrust unheeded into heaven[28].

It is a credit to be railed at by such men as these. The charter-man, in the very title-page, where he hangs out the cloth of the city before his book, gives it for his motto, Si populus vult decipi, decipiatur[29]; as if he should have said, "you have a mind to be cozened, and the devil give you good on't." If I cry a sirreverence, and you take it for honey, make the best of your bargain. For shame, good Christians, can you suffer such a man to starve, when you see his design is upon your purses? He is contented to expose the ears representative of your party on the pillory, and is in a way of doing you 168 more service than a worn-out witness, who can hang nobody hereafter but himself. He tells you, "The papists clap their hands, in the hopes they conceive of the ruin of your government:" Does not this single syllable your deserve a pension, if he can prove the government to be yours, and that the king has nothing to do in your republic? He continues, as if that were as sure and certain to them, as it is to us, without doubt, that they (the papists) once fired the city, just as certain in your own consciences. I wish the papists had no more to answer for than that accusation. Pray let it be put to the vote, and resolved upon the question, by your whole party, that the North-east wind is not only ill-affected to man and beast, but is also a tory or tantivy papist in masquerade[30]. I am satisfied, not to have "so much art left me, as to frame any thing agreeable, or verisimilar;" but it is plain that he has, and therefore, as I ought in justice, I resign my laurel, and my bays too, to Mr Hunt; it is he sets up for the poet now, and has the only art to amuse and to deceive the people. You may see how profound his knowledge is in poetry; for he tells you just before, "that my heroes are commonly such monsters as Theseus and Hercules; renowned throughout all ages for destroying[31]." Now Theseus and 169 Hercules, you know, have been the heroes of all poets, and have been renowned through all ages, for destroying monsters, for succouring the distressed, and for putting to death inhuman arbitrary tyrants. Is this your oracle? If he were to write the acts and monuments of whig heroes, I find they should be quite contrary to mine: Destroyers indeed,—but of a lawful government; murderers,—but of their fellow-subjects; lovers, as Hercules was of Hylas; with a journey at last to hell, like that of Theseus.

But mark the wise consequences of our author. "I have not," he says, "so much art left me to make any thing agreeable, or verisimilar, wherewith to amuse or deceive the people." And yet, in the very next paragraph, "my province is to corrupt the manners of the nation, and lay waste their morals, and my endeavours are more happily applied, to extinguish the little remainders of the virtue of the age." Now, I am to perform all this, it seems, without making any thing verisimilar or agreeable! Why, Pharaoh never set the Israelites such a task, to build pyramids without brick or straw. If the fool knows it not, verisimilitude and agreeableness are the very tools to do it; but I am willing to disclaim them both, rather than to use them to so ill purpose as he has done.

Yet even this their celebrated writer knows no more of stile and English than the Northern dictator; as if dulness and clumsiness were fatal to the name of Tom. It is true, he is a fool in three languages more than the poet; for, they say, "he understands 170 Latin, Greek, and Hebrew," from all which, to my certain knowledge, I acquit the other. Og may write against the king, if he pleases, so long as he drinks for him, and his writings will never do the government so much harm, as his drinking does it good; for true subjects will not be much perverted by his libels; but the wine-duties rise considerably by his claret. He has often called me an atheist in print; I would believe more charitably of him, and that he only goes the broad way, because the other is too narrow for him. He may see, by this, I do not delight to meddle with his course of life, and his immoralities, though I have a long bead-roll of them. I have hitherto contented myself with the ridiculous part of him, which is enough, in all conscience, to employ one man; even without the story of his late fall at the Old Devil, where he broke no ribs, because the hardness of the stairs could reach no bones; and, for my part, I do not wonder how he came to fall, for I have always known him heavy: the miracle is, how he got up again. I have heard of a sea captain as fat as he, who, to escape arrests, would lay himself flat upon the ground, and let the bailiffs carry him to prison, if they could. If a messenger or two, nay, we may put in three or four, should come, he has friendly advertisement how to escape them. But to leave him, who is not worth any further consideration, now I have done laughing at him,—would every man knew his own talent, and that they, who are only born for drinking, would let both poetry and prose alone[32]!

171 I am weary with tracing the absurdities and mistakes of our great lawyer, some of which indeed are wilful; as where he calls the Trimmers the more moderate sort of tories. It seems those politicians are odious to both sides; for neither own them to be theirs. We know them, and so does he too in his conscience, to be secret whigs, if they are any thing; but now the designs of whiggism are openly discovered, they tack about to save a stake; that is, they will not be villains to their own ruin. While the government was to be destroyed, and there was probability of compassing it, no men were so violent as they; but since their fortunes are in hazard 172 by the law, and their places at court by the king's displeasure, they pull in their horns, and talk more peaceably; in order, I suppose, to their vehemence on the right side, if they were to be believed. For in laying of colours, they observe a medium; black and white are too far distant to be placed directly by one another, without some shadowings to soften their contrarieties. It is Mariana, I think, (but am not certain) that makes the following relation; and let the noble family of Trimmers read their own fortune in it. "Don Pedro, king of Castile, surnamed the Cruel, who had been restored by the valour of our Edward the Black Prince, was finally dispossessed by Don Henry, the bastard, and he enjoyed the kingdom quietly, till his death; which when he felt approaching, he called his son to him, and gave him this his last counsel. I have (said he,) gained this kingdom, which I leave you, by the sword; for the right of inheritance was in Don Pedro; but the favour of the people, who hated my brother for his tyranny, was to me instead of title. You are now to be the peaceable possessor of what I have unjustly gotten; and your subjects are composed of these three sorts of men. One party espoused my brother's quarrel, which was the undoubted lawful cause; those, though they were my enemies, were men of principle and honour: Cherish them, and exalt them into places of trust about you, for in them you may confide safely, who prized their fidelity above their fortune. Another sort, are they who fought my cause against Don Pedro; to those you are indeed obliged, because of the accidental good they did me; for they intended only their private benefit, and helped to raise me, that I might afterwards promote them: you may continue them in their offices, if you please; but trust them no farther than you are forced; for what they did was 173 against their conscience. But there is a third sort, which, during the whole wars, were neuters; let them be crushed on all occasions, for their business was only their own security. They had neither courage enough to engage on my side, nor conscience enough to help their lawful sovereign: Therefore let them be made examples, as the worst sort of interested men, which certainly are enemies to both, and would be profitable to neither."

I have only a dark remembrance of this story, and have not the Spanish author by me, but, I think, I am not much mistaken in the main of it; and whether true or false, the counsel given, I am sure, is such, as ought, in common prudence, to be practised against Trimmers, whether the lawful or unlawful cause prevail. Loyal men may justly be displeased with this party, not for their moderation, as Mr Hunt insinuates, but because, under that mask of seeming mildness, there lies hidden either a deep treachery, or, at best, an interested luke-warmness. But he runs riot into almost treasonable expressions, as if "Trimmers were hated because they are not perfectly wicked, or perfectly deceived; of the Catiline make, bold, and without understanding; that can adhere to men that publicly profess murders, and applaud the design:" by all which villainous names he opprobriously calls his majesty's most loyal subjects; as if men must be perfectly wicked, who endeavour to support a lawful government; or perfectly deceived, who on no occasion dare take up arms against their sovereign: as if acknowledging the right of succession, and resolving to maintain it in the line, were to be in a Catiline conspiracy; and at last, (which is ridiculous enough, after so much serious treason) as if "to clap the Duke of Guise" were to adhere to men that publicly profess murders, and applaud the design of the assassinating poets.

174 But together with his villainies, pray let his incoherences be observed. He commends the Trimmers, (at least tacitly excuses them) for men of some moderation; and this in opposition to the instruments of wickedness of the Catiline make, that are resolute and forward, and without consideration. But he forgets all this in the next twenty lines; for there he gives them their own, and tells them roundly, in internecino bello, medii pro hostibus habentur. Neutral men are traitors, and assist by their indifferency to the destruction of the government. The plain English of his meaning is this; while matters are only in dispute, and in machination, he is contented they should be moderate; but when once the faction can bring about a civil war, then they are traitors, if they declare not openly for them.

"But it is not," says he, "the Duke of Guise who is to be assassinated, a turbulent, wicked, and haughty courtier, but an innocent and gentle prince." By his favour, our Duke of Guise was neither innocent nor gentle, nor a prince of the blood royal, though he pretended to descend from Charlemagne, and a genealogy was printed to that purpose, for which the author was punished, as he deserved; witness Davila, and the journals of Henry III. where the story is at large related. Well, who is it then? why, "it is a prince who has no fault, but that he is the king's son:" then he has no fault by consequence; for I am certain, that is no fault of his. The rest of the compliment is so silly, and so fulsome, as if he meant it all in ridicule; and to conclude the jest, he says, that "the best people of England have no other way left, to shew their loyalty to the king, their religion and government, in long intervals of parliament, than by prosecuting his son, for the sake of the king, and his own merit, with all the demonstrations of the highest esteem."

175 Yes, I can tell them one other way to express their loyalty, which is, to obey the king, and to respect his brother, as the next lawful successor; their religion commands them both, and the government is secured in so doing. But why in intervals of parliament? How are they more obliged to honour the king's son out of parliament, than in it? And why this prosecution of love for the king's sake? Has he ordered more love to be shewn to one son, than to another? Indeed, his own quality is cause sufficient for all men to respect him, and I am of their number, who truly honour him, and who wish him better than this miserable sycophant; for I wish him, from his father's royal kindness, what justice can make him, which is a greater honour than the rabble can confer upon him.

But our author finds, that commendation is no more his talent, than flattery was that of Æsop's ass; and therefore falls immediately, from pawing with his fore-feet, and grinning upon one prince, to downright braying against another.

He says, I have not used "my patron duke much better; for I have put him under a most dismal and unfortunate character of a successor, excluded from the crown by act of state, for his religion; who fought his way to the crown, changed his religion, and died by the hand of a Roman assassinate."

If it please his Royal Highness to be my patron, I have reason to be proud of it; because he never yet forsook any man, whom he has had the goodness to own for his. But how have I put him under an unfortunate character? the authors of the Reflections, and our John-a-Nokes, have not laid their noddles together about this accusation. For it is their business to prove the king of Navarre to have been a most successful, magnanimous, gentle, and grateful prince; in which character they have followed 176 the stream of all historians. How then happens this jarring amongst friends, that the same man is put under such dismal circumstances on one side, and so fortunate on the other, by the writers of the same party? The answer is very plain; that they take the cause by several handles. They, who will not have the Duke resemble the king of Navarre, have magnified the character of that prince, to debase his Royal Highness; and therein done what they can to shew the disparity. Mr Hunt, who will have it to be the Duke's character, has blackened that king as much as he is able, to shew the likeness. Now this would be ridiculous pleading at a bar, by lawyers retained for the same cause; and both sides would call each other fools, because the jury betwixt them would be confounded, and perhaps the judges too.

But this it is to have a bad cause, which puts men of necessity upon knavery; and that knavery is commonly found out. Well, Mr Hunt has in another place confessed himself to be in passion, and that is the reason he is so grosly mistaken in opening of the cause. For, first, the king of Navarre was neither under dismal, nor unfortunate circumstances: before the end of that very sentence, our lawyer has confessed, that he fought his way to the crown; that is, he gloriously vanquished all his rebels, and happily possessed his inheritance many years after he had regained it. In the next place, he was never excluded from the crown by act of state. He changed his religion indeed, but not until he had almost weathered the storm, recovered the best part of his estate, and gained some glorious victories in pitched battles; so that his changing cannot without injustice be attributed to his fear. Monsieur Chiverny, in his Memoirs of those times, plainly tells us, that he solemnly promised to his predecessor 177 Henry III. then dying, that he would become a Romanist; and Davila, though he says not this directly, yet denies it not. By whose hands Henry IV. died, is notoriously known; but it is invidiously urged, both by Mr Hunt and the Reflectors: for we may, to our shame, remember, that a king of our own country was barbarously murdered by his subjects, who professed the same religion; though I believe, that neither Jaques Clement, nor Ravaillac, were better papists, than the independents and presbyterians were protestants; so that their argument only proves, that there are rogues of all religions: Iliacos infra muros peccatur, et extra. But Mr Hunt follows his blow again, that I have "offered a justification of an act of exclusion against a popish successor in a protestant kingdom, by remembering what was done against the king of Navarre, who was de facto excluded by an act of state." My gentleman, I perceive, is very willing to call that an act of exclusion, and an act of state, which is only, in our language, called a bill; for Henry III. could never be gained to pass it, though it was proposed by the three estates at Blois. The Reflectors are more modest; for they profess, (though I am afraid it is somewhat against the grain,) that a vote of the House of Commons is not an act; but the times are turned upon them, and they dare speak no other language. Mr Hunt, indeed, is a bold republican, and tells you the bottom of their meaning. Yet why should it make the "courage of his Royal Highness quail, to find himself under this representation," which; by our author's favour, is neither dismal, nor disastrous? Henry IV. escaped this dreadful machine of the League; I say dreadful, for the three estates were at that time composed generally of Guisards, factious, hot-headed, rebellious interested 178 men. The king in possession was but his brother-in-law, and at the time publicly his enemy; for the king of Navarre was then in arms against him; and yet the sense of common justice, and the good of his people so prevailed, that he withstood the project of the states, which he also knew was levelled at himself; for had the exclusion proceeded, he had been immediately laid by, and the lieutenancy of France conferred on Guise; after which the rebel would certainly have put up his title for the crown. In the case of his Royal Highness, only one of the three estates have offered at the exclusion, and have been constantly opposed by the other two, and by his majesty. Neither is it any way probable, that the like will ever be again attempted; for the fatal consequences, as well as the illegality of that design, are seen through already by the people; so that, instead of offering a justification of an act of exclusion, I have exposed a rebellious, impious, and fruitless contrivance tending to it. If we look on the parliament of Paris, when they were in their right wits, before they were intoxicated by the League, (at least wholly) we shall find them addressing to king Henry III. in another key, concerning the king of Navarre's succession, though he was at that time, as they called it, a relapsed heretic. And to this purpose I will quote a passage out of the journals of Henry III. so much magnified by my adversaries.

Towards the end of September, 1585, there was published at Paris a bull of excommunication against the king of Navarre, and the prince of Condé. The parliament of Paris made their remonstrance to the king upon it, which was both grave, and worthy of the place they held, and of the authority they have in this kingdom; saying for conclusion, that "their court had found the stile of this 179 bull so full of innovation, and so distant from the modesty of ancient Popes, that they could not understand in it the voice of an Apostle's successor; forasmuch, as they found not in their records, nor in the search of all antiquity, that the princes of France had ever been subject to the justice or jurisdiction of the Pope, and they could not take it into consideration, until first he made appear the right which he pretended in the translation of kingdoms, established and ordained by Almighty God, before the name of Pope was heard of in the world." It is plain by this, that the parliament of Paris acknowledged an inherent right of succession in the king of Navarre, though of a contrary religion to their own. And though, after the duke of Guise's murder at Blois, the city of Paris revolted from their obedience to their king, pretending, that he was fallen from the crown, by reason of that and other actions, with which they charged him; yet the sum of all their power to renounce him, and create the duke of Mayenne lieutenant-general, depended ultimately on the Pope's authority; which, as you see, but three years before, they had peremptorily denied.

The college of Sorbonne began the dance, by their determination, that the kingly right was forfeited; and, stripping him of all his dignities, they called him plain Henry de Valois: after this, says my author, "sixteen rascals (by which he means the council of that number) having administered the oath of government to the duke of Mayenne, to take in quality of lieutenant-general of the estate and crown of France, the same ridiculous dignity was confirmed to him by an imaginary parliament, the true parliament being detained prisoners, in divers of the city gaols, and two new seals were ordered to be immediately made, with this inscription,—the 180 Seal of the Kingdom of France." I need not enlarge on this relation: it is evident from hence, that the Sorbonnists were the original, and our Schismatics in England were the copiers of rebellion; that Paris began, and London followed.

The next lines of my author are, that "a gentleman of Paris made the duke of Mayenne's picture to be drawn, with a crown imperial on his head;" and I have heard of an English nobleman, who has at this day a picture of old Oliver, with this motto underneath it,—Utinam vixeris. All this while, this cannot be reckoned an act of state, for the deposing king Henry III., because it was an act of overt rebellion in the Parisians; neither could the holding of the three estates at Paris, afterwards, by the same duke of Mayenne, devolve any right on him, in prejudice of king Henry IV.; though those pretended states declared his title void, on the account of his religion; because those estates could neither be called nor holden, but by, and under the authority of, the lawful king. It would take more time than I have allowed for this Vindication, or I could easily trace from the French history, what misfortunes attended France, and how near it was to ruin, by the endeavours to alter the succession. For first, it was actually dismembered, the duke of Mercæur setting up a principality in the dutchy of Bretagne, independent of the crown. The duke of Mayenne had an evident design to be elected king, by the favour of the people and the Pope: the young dukes of Guise and of Nemours aspired, with the interest of the Spaniards, to be chosen, by their marriage with the Infanta Isabella. The duke of Lorraine was for cantling out some part of France, which lay next his territories; and the duke of Savoy had, before the death of Henry III., actually possessed himself of the marquisate of Saluces. But 181 above all, the Spaniards fomented these civil wars, in hopes to reduce that flourishing kingdom under their own monarchy. To as many, and as great mischiefs, should we be evidently subject, if we should madly engage ourselves in the like practices of altering the succession, which our gracious king in his royal wisdom well foresaw, and has cut up that accursed project by the roots; which will render the memory of his justice and prudence immortal and sacred to future ages, for having not only preserved our present quiet, but secured the peace of our posterity.

It is clearly manifest, that no act of state passed, to the exclusion of either the King of Navarre, or of Henry the fourth, consider him in either of the two circumstances; but Oracle Hunt, taking this for granted, would prove à fortiori, "that if a protestant prince were actually excluded from a popish kingdom, then a popish successor is more reasonably to be excluded from a protestant kingdom; because," says he, "a protestant prince is under no obligation to destroy his popish subjects, but a popish prince is to destroy his protestant subjects:" Upon which bare supposition, without farther proof, he calls him insufferable tyrant, and the worst of monsters.

Now, I take the matter quite otherwise, and bind myself to maintain that there is not, nor can be any obligation, for a king to destroy his subjects of a contrary persuasion to the established religion of his country; for, quatenus subjects, of what religion soever he is infallibly bound to preserve and cherish, and not to destroy them; and this is the first duty of a lawful sovereign, as such, antecedent to any tie or consideration of his religion. Indeed, in those countries where the Inquisition is introduced, it goes harder with protestants, and the reason is 182 manifest; because the protestant religion has not gotten footing there, and severity is the means to keep it out; but to make this instance reach England, our religion must not only be changed, (which in itself is almost impossible to imagine,) but the council of Trent received, and the Inquisition admitted, which many popish countries have rejected. I forget not the cruelties, which were exercised in Queen Mary's time against the protestants; neither do I any way excuse them; but it follows not, that every popish successor should take example by them, for every one's conscience of the same religion is not guided by the same dictates in his government; neither does it follow, that if one be cruel, another must, especially when there is a stronger obligation, and greater interest to the contrary: for, if a popish king in England should be bound to destroy his protestant people, I would ask the question, over whom he meant to reign afterwards? And how many subjects would be left?

In Queen Mary's time, the protestant religion had scarcely taken root; and it is reasonable to be supposed, that she found the number of papists equalling that of the protestants, at her entrance to the kingdom; especially if we reckon into the account those who were the Trimmers of the times; I mean such, who privately were papists, though under her protestant predecessor they appeared otherwise; therefore her difficulties in persecuting her reformed subjects, were far from being so insuperable as ours now are, when the strength and number of the papists is so very inconsiderable. They, who cast in the church of England as ready to embrace popery, are either knaves enough to know they lie, or fools enough not to have considered the tenets of that church, which are diametrically 183 opposite to popery; and more so than any of the sects.

Not to insist on the quiet and security, which protestant subjects at this day enjoy in some parts of Germany, under popish princes; where I have been assured, that mass is said, and a Lutheran sermon preached in different parts of the same church, on the same day, without disturbance on either side; nor on the privileges granted by Henry the fourth of France to his party, after he had forsaken their opinions, which they quietly possessed for a long time after his death.

The French histories are full of examples, manifestly proving, that the fiercest of their popish princes have not thought themselves bound to destroy their protestant subjects; and the several edicts, granted under them, in favour of the reformed religion, are pregnant instances of this truth. I am not much given to quotations, but Davila lies open for every man to read. Tolerations, and free exercise of religion, granted more amply in some, more restrainedly in others, are no sign that those princes held themselves obliged in conscience to destroy men of a different persuasion. It will be said, those tolerations were gained by force of arms. In the first place, it is no great credit to the protestant religion, that the protestants in France were actually rebels; but the truth is, they were only Geneva protestants, and their opinions were far distant from those of the church of England, which teaches passive obedience to all her sons, and not to propagate religion by rebellion. But it is further to be considered, that those French kings, though papists, thought the preservation of their subjects, and the public peace, were to be considered, before the gratification of the court of Rome; and though the number of the papists exceeded that of the 184 protestants, in the proportion of three to one, though the protestants were always beaten when they fought, and though the pope pressed continually with exhortations and threatenings to extirpate Calvinism, yet kings thought it enough to continue in their own religion themselves, without forcing it upon their subjects, much less destroying them who professed another. But it will be objected, those edicts of toleration were not kept on the papists' side: they would answer, because the protestants stretched their privileges further than was granted, and that they often relapsed into rebellion; but whether or no the protestants were in fault, I leave history to determine. It is matter of fact, that they were barbarously massacred, under the protection of the public faith; therefore, to argue fairly, either an oath from protestants is not to be taken by a popish prince; or, if taken, ought inviolably to be preserved. For, when we oblige ourselves to any one, it is not his person we so much consider, as that of the Most High God, who is called to witness this our action; and it is to Him we are to discharge our conscience. Neither is there, or can be any tie on human society, when that of an oath is no more regarded; which being an appeal to God, He is immediate judge of it; and chronicles are not silent how often He has punished perjured kings. The instance of Vladislaus King of Hungary, breaking his faith with Amurath the Turk, at the instigation of Julian the Pope's legate, and his miserable death ensuing it, shews that even to infidels, much more to Christians, that obligation ought to be accounted sacred[33]. And I the rather urge this, because it is 185 an argument taken almost verbatim from a papist, who accuses Catharine de Medicis for violating her word given to the protestants during her regency of France. What securities in particular we have, that our own religion and liberties would be preserved though under a popish successor, any one may inform himself at large in a book lately written by the reverend and learned doctor Hicks, called Jovian, in answer to Julian the Apostate[34]; in which that truly Christian author has satisfied all scruples which reasonable men can make, and proved that we are in no danger of losing either; and wherein also, if those assurances should all fail, (which is almost morally impossible,) the doctrine of passive obedience is unanswerably demonstrated; a doctrine delivered with so much sincerity, and resignation of spirit, that it seems evident the assertor of it is ready, if there were occasion, to seal it with his blood.

I have done with mannerly Mr Hunt, who is only magni nominis umbra; the most malicious, and withal, the most incoherent ignorant scribbler of the whole party. I insult not over his misfortunes, though he has himself occasioned them; and though I will not take his own excuse, that he is in passion, 186 I will make a better for him, for I conclude him cracked; and if he should return to England, am charitable enough to wish his only prison might be Bedlam. This apology is truer than that he makes for me; for writing a play, as I conceive, is not entering into the Observator's province; neither is it the Observator's manner to confound truth with falsehood, to put out the eyes of people, and leave them without understanding. The quarrel of the party to him is, that he has undeceived the ignorant, and laid open the shameful contrivances of the new vamped Association; that though he is "on the wrong side of life," as he calls it, yet he pleads not his age to be emeritus; that, in short, he has left the faction as bare of arguments, as Æsop's bird of feathers; and plumed them of all those fallacies and evasions which they borrowed from jesuits and presbyterians.

Now for my templar and poet in association for a libel, like the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in a fiery sign. What the one wants in wit, the other must supply in law. As for malice, their quotas are indifferently well adjusted; the rough draught, I take for granted, is the poet's, the finishings the lawyer's. They begin,—that in order to one Mr Friend's commands, one of them went to see the play. This was not the poet, I am certain; for nobody saw him there, and he is not of a size to be concealed. But the mountain, they say, was delivered of a mouse. I have been gossip to many such labours of a dull fat scribbler, where the mountain has been bigger, and the mouse less. The next sally is on the city-elections, and a charge is brought against my lord mayor, and the two sheriffs, for excluding true electors. I have heard, that a Whig gentleman of the Temple hired a livery-gown, to give 187 his voice among the companies at Guild-hall; let the question be put, whether or no he were a true elector?—Then their own juries are commended from several topics; they are the wisest, richest, and most conscientious: to which is answered, ignoramus. But our juries give most prodigious and unheard-of damages. Hitherto there is nothing but boys-play in our authors: My mill grinds pepper and spice, your mill grinds rats and mice. They go on,—"if I may be allowed to judge;" (as men that do not poetize may be judges of wit, human nature, and common decencies;) so then the sentence is begun with I; there is but one of them puts in for a judge's place, that is, he in the grey; but presently it is—men; two more in buckram would be judges too. Neither of them, it seems, poetize; that is true, but both of them are in at rhime doggrel; witness the song against the bishops, and the Tunbridge ballad[35]. By the way, I find all my scribbling enemies have a mind to be judges, and chief barons. Proceed, gentlemen:—"This play, as I am informed by some, who have a nearer communication with the poets and the players, than I have,—". 188 Which of the two Sosias is it that now speaks? If the lawyer, it is true he has but little communication with the players; if the poet, the players have but little communication with him; for it is not long ago, he said to somebody, "By G——, my lord, those Tory rogues will act none of my plays." Well, but the accusation,—that this play was once written by another, and then it was called the "Parisian Massacre." Such a play I have heard indeed was written; but I never saw it[36]. Whether this be any of it or no, I can say no more than for my own part of it. But pray, who denies the unparalleled villainy of the papists in that bloody massacre? I have enquired, why it was not acted, and heard it 189 was stopt by the interposition of an ambassador, who was willing to save the credit of his country, and not to have the memory of an action so barbarous revived; but that I tempted my friend to alter it, is a notorious whiggism, to save the broader word. The "Sicilian Vespers" I have had plotted by me above these seven years: the story of it I found under borrowed names in Giraldo Cinthio; but the rape in my tragedy of "Amboyna" was so like it, that I forbore the writing. But what had this to do with protestants? For the massacrers and the massacred were all papists.

But it is observable, they say, that "though the massacre could not be acted, as it was first written against papists, yet when it was turned upon protestants, it found reception."

Now all is come out; the scandal of the story turns at last upon the government: that patronizes popish plays, and forbids protestant[37]. Ours is to 190 be a popish play; why? Because it exposes the villainy of sectaries and rebels. Prove them first to be protestants, and see what you will get by it when you have done. Your party are certainly the men whom the play attacks, and so far I will help you; the designs and actions, represented in the play, are such as you have copied from the League; for though you have wickedness enough, yet you wanted the wit to make a new contrivance. But for shame, while you are carrying on such palpable villainy, do not assume the name of protestants. You will tell us, you are friends to the government, and the king's best subjects; but all the while you are aspersing both it and him. Who shall be judges, whether you are friends or not? The government or you? Have not all rebels always sung the same song? Was ever thief or murderer fool enough to plead guilty? For your love and loyalty to the king, they, who mean him best among you, are no better subjects than Duke Trinculo; they would be content he should be viceroy, so they may be viceroys over him[38].

The next accusation is particular to me,—"that I, the said Bayes, would falsely and feloniously have robbed Nat. Lee of his share in the representation of Œdipus." Now I am culprit; I writ the first and third acts of Œdipus, and drew the scenery of the whole play: whenever I have owned a farther proportion, 191 let my accusers speak: this was meant mischievously, to set us two at variance. Who is the old serpent and Satan now? When my friends help my barren fancy, I am thankful for it: I do not use to receive assistance, and afterwards ungratefully disown it.

Not long after, "exemplary punishment" is due to me for this most "devilish parallel." It is a devilish one indeed; but who can help it? If I draw devils like one another, the fault is in themselves for being so: I neither made their horns nor claws, nor cloven feet. I know not what I should have done, unless I had drawn the devil a handsome proper gentleman, like the painter in the fable, to have made a friend of him[39]; but I ought to be exemplarily punished for it: when the devil gets uppermost, I shall expect it. "In the mean time, let magistrates (that respect their oaths and office)"—which words, you see, are put into a parenthesis, as if (God help us) we had none such now,—let them put the law in execution against lewd scribblers; the mark will be too fair upon a pillory, for a turnip or a rotten egg to miss it. But, for my part, I have not malice enough to wish him so much harm,—not so much as to have a hair of his head perish, much less that one whole side of it should be dismantled. I am no informer, who writ such a song, or such a libel; if the dulness betrays him not, he is safe for me. And may the same dulness preserve him ever from public justice; it is a sufficient thick mud-wall betwixt him and law; it is his guardian angel, that protects him from punishment, because, in spite of 192 him, he cannot deserve it. It is that which preserves him innocent when he means most mischief, and makes him a saint when he intends to be a devil. He can never offend enough, to need the mercy of government, for it is beholden to him, that he writes against it; and he never offers at a satire, but he converts his readers to a contrary opinion.

Some of the succeeding paragraphs are intended for very Ciceronian: there the lawyer flourishes in the pulpit, and the poet stands in socks among the crowd to hear him. Now for narration, resolution, calumniation, aggravation, and the whole artillery of tropes and figures, to defend the proceedings at Guild-hall. The most minute circumstances of the elections are described so lively, that a man, who had not heard he was there in a livery-gown, might suspect there was a quorum pars magna fui in the case; and multitudes of electors, just as well qualified as himself, might give their party the greater number: but throw back their gilt shillings, which were told for guineas, and their true sum was considerably less. Well, there was no rebellion at this time; therefore, says my adversary, there was no parallel. It is true there was no rebellion; but who ever told him that I intended this parallel so far? if the likeness had been throughout, I may guess, by their good will to me, that I had never lived to write it. But, to show his mistake, which I believe wilful, the play was wholly written a month or two before the last election of the sheriffs. Yet it seems there was some kind of prophecy in the case; and, till the faction gets clear of a riot, a part of the comparison will hold even there; yet, if he pleases to remember, there has been a king of England forced by the inhabitants from his imperial town. It is true, the son has had better fortune than the father; but the reason is, that he has now a stronger party 193 in the city than his enemies; the government of it is secured in loyal and prudent hands, and the party is too weak to push their designs farther. "They rescued not their beloved sheriffs at a time (he tells you) when they had a most important use of them." What the importancy of the occasion was, I will not search: it is well if their own consciences will acquit them. But let them be never so much beloved, their adherents knew it was a lawful authority that sent them to the Tower; and an authority which, to their sorrow, they were not able to resist: so that, if four men guarded them without disturbance, and, to the contempt of their strength, at broad noon-day and at full exchange-time, it was no more their honesty to stand looking on with their hands in their pockets, than it is of a small band of robbers to let a caravan go by, which is too strong for them to assault.

After this, I am called, after the old rate, loose and infamous scribbler; and it is well I escape so cheap. Bear your good fortune moderately, Mr Poet; for, as loose and infamous as I am, if I had written for your party, your pension would have been cut off as useless. But they must take up with Settle, and such as they can get: Bartholomew-fair writers[40], and Bartholemew-close printers; there is a famine of wit amongst them, they are forced to give unconscionable rates, and, after all, to have only carrion for their money.

Then, I am "an ignorant fellow for not knowing there were no juries in Paris." I do not remember to have written any such thing; but whoever did, 194 I am confident it was not his ignorance. Perhaps he had a mind to bring the case a little nearer home: If they had not juries in Paris, we had them from the Normans, who were Frenchmen; and, as you managed them, we had as good have had none in London. Let it satisfy you we have them now; and some of your loose and infamous scribblers may come to understand it a little better.

The next is, the justification of a noble peer deceased; the case is known, and I have no quarrel to his memory: let it sleep; he is now before another judge. Immediately after, I am said to have intended an "abuse to the House of Commons;" which is called by our authors "the most august assembly of Europe." They are to prove I have abused that House; but it is manifest they have lessened the House of Lords, by owning the Commons to be the "more august assembly."—"It is an House chosen (they say) by every protestant who has a considerable inheritance in England;" which word considerable signifies forty shillings per annum of free land. For the interest of the loyal party, so much under-valued by our authors, they have long ago confessed in print, that the nobility and gentry have disowned them; and the yeomanry have at last considered, queis hæc consevimus arva? They have had enough of unlawful and arbitrary power; and know what an august assembly they had once without a King and House of Peers.

But now they have me in a burning scent, and run after me full cry: "Was ever such licence connived at, in an impious libeller and scribbler, that the succession, so solemn a matter, that is not fit to be debated of but in parliament, should be profaned so far as to be played with on the stage?"

Hold a little, gentlemen, hold a little; (as one of your fellow citizens says in "The Duke of Guise,") 195 is it so unlawful for me to argue for the succession in the right line upon the stage; and is it so very lawful for Mr Hunt, and the scribblers of your party, to oppose it in their libels off the stage? Is it so sacred, that a parliament only is suffered to debate it, and dare you run it down both in your discourses, and pamphlets out of parliament? In conscience, what can you urge against me, which I cannot return an hundred times heavier on you? And by the way, you tell me, that to affirm the contrary to this, is a præmunire against the statute of the 13th of Elizabeth. If such præmunire be, pray, answer me, who has most incurred it? In the mean time, do me the favour to look into the statute-book, and see if you can find the statute; you know yourselves, or you have been told it, that this statute is virtually repealed, by that of the 1st of king James, acknowledging his immediate lawful and undoubted right to this imperial crown, as the next lineal heir; those last words are an implicit anti-declaration to the statute in queen Elizabeth, which, for that reason, is now omitted in our books. The lawful authority of an House of Commons I acknowledge; but without fear and trembling, as my Reflectors would have it. For why should I fear my representatives? they are summoned to consult about the public good, and not to frighten those who chose them. It is for you to tremble, who libel the supreme authority of the nation. But we knavish coxcombs and villains are to know, say my authors, that "a vote is the opinion of that House." Lord help our understandings, that know not this without their telling! What Englishman, do you think, does not honour his representatives, and wish a parliament void of heat and animosities, to secure the quiet of the nation? You cite his majesty's declaration against those that dare trifle with parliaments; 196 a declaration, by the way, which you endeavoured not to have read publicly in churches, with a threatening to those that did it. "But we still declare (says his majesty) that no irregularities of parliament shall make us out of love with them." Are not you unfortunate quoters? why now should you rub up the remembrance of those irregularities mentioned in that declaration, which caused, as the king informs us, its dissolution?

The next paragraph is already answered; it is only a clumsy commendation of the Duke of Monmouth, copied after Mr Hunt, and a proof that he is unlike the Duke of Guise.

After having done my drudgery for me, and having most officiously proved, that the English duke is no parallel for the French, which I am sure he is not, they are next to do their own business, which is, that I meant a parallel betwixt Henry III. and our most gracious sovereign. But, as fallacies are always couched in general propositions, they plead the whole course of the drama, which, they say, seems to insinuate my intentions. One may see to what a miserable shift they are driven, when, for want of any one instance, to which I challenge them, they have only to allege, that the play SEEMS to insinuate it. I answer, it does not seem; which is a bare negative to a bare affirmative; and then we are just where we were before. Fat Falstaff was never set harder by the Prince for a reason, when he answered, "that, if reasons grew as thick as blackberries, he would not give one." Well, after long pumping, lest the lie should appear quite barefaced, they have found I said, that, at king Henry's birth, there shone a regal star; so there did at king Charles the Second's; therefore I have made a parallel betwixt Henry III. and Charles II. A 197 very concluding syllogism, if I should answer it no farther.

Now, let us look upon the play; the words are in the fourth act. The conjurer there is asking his devil, "what fortune attended his master, the Guise, and what the king?" The familiar answers concerning the king,—"He cannot be deposed, he may be killed; a violent fate attends him; but, at his birth, there shone a regal star."—Conj. "My master had a stronger."—Devil. "No, not a stronger, but more popular." Let the whole scene, (which is one of the best in the tragedy, though murdered in the acting) be read together, and it will be as clear as day light, that the Devil gave an astrological account of the French king's horoscope; that the regal star, then culminating, was the sun in the tenth house, or mid-heaven; which, cæteris paribus, is a regal nativity in that art. The rest of the scene confirms what I have said; for the Devil has taken the position of the heavens, or scheme of the world, at the point of the sun's entrance into Aries. I dispute not here the truth or lawfulness of that art; but it is usual with poets, especially the Italians, to mix astrology in their poems. Chaucer, amongst us, is frequent in it: but this revolution particularly I have taken out of Luigi Pulci; and there is one almost the same in Boiardo's "Orlando Inamorato." Now, if these poets knew, that a star were to appear at our king's birth, they were better prophets than Nostradamus, who has told us nothing of it. Yet this they say "is treason with a witness," and one of the crimes for which they condemned me to be hanged, drawn and quartered. I find they do not believe me to be one of their party at the bottom, by their charitable wishes to me; and am proud enough to think, I have done them some little mischief, because they are so desirous to be rid of me. But if 198 Jack Ketch must needs have the handling of us poets, let him begin first where he may take the deepest say[41]; let me be hanged, but in my turn; for I am sure I am neither the fattest scribbler, nor the worst; I'll be judged by their own party. But, for all our comforts, the days of hanging are a little out of date; and I hope there will be no more treason with a witness or witnesses; for now there is no more to be got by swearing, and the market is overstocked besides.

But are you in earnest when you say, I have made Henry III. "fearful, weak, bloody, perfidious, hypocritical, and fawning, in the play?" I am sure an unbiassed reader will find a more favourable image of him in the tragedy, whatever he was out of it. You would not have told a lie so shameless, but that you were resolved to second it with a worse—that I made a parallel of that prince. And now it comes to my turn, pray let me ask you,—why you spend three pages and a half in heaping up all the villainies, true or false, which you can rake together, to blast his memory? Why is all this pains taken to expose the person of king Henry III.? Are you leaguers, or covenanters, or associators? What has the poor dead man done to nettle you? Were his rebels your friends or your relations? Were your Norman ancestors of any of those families, which were conspirators in the play? I smell a rat 199 in this business; Henry III. is not taken thus to task for nothing. Let me tell you, this is little better than an implicit confession of the parallel I intended. This gentleman of Valois sticks in your stomachs; and, though I do not defend his proceedings in the States, any otherwise than by the inevitable necessity which caused them, yet acknowledging his crime does not extenuate their guilt that forced him to it. It was bad on both sides, but the revenge was not so wicked as the treason; for it was a voluntary act of theirs, and a compelled one of his. The short on't is, he took a violent course to cut up the Covenant by the roots; and there is your quarrel to him.

Now for a long-winded panegyric of the king of Navarre; and here I am sure they are in earnest, when they take such overpains to prove there is no likeness where they say I intended it. The hero, at whom their malice is levelled, does but laugh at it, I believe; and, amongst the other virtues of that predecessor, wants neither his justice nor his clemency, to forgive all the heads of the League, as fast as they submit. As for obliging them, (which our author would fain hook in for an ingredient) let them be satisfied, that no more enemies are to be bought off with places and preferments; the trial which has been made in two kings reigns, will warn the family from so fruitless and dangerous an expedient. The rest is already answered, in what I have said to Mr Hunt; but I thank them, by the way, for their instance of the fellow whom the king of Navarre had pardoned and done good to, "yet he would not love him;" for that story reaches home somewhere.

I must make haste to get out of hearing from this Billingsgate oratory; and, indeed, to make an end with these authors, except I could call rogue 200 and rascal as fast as they. Let us examine the little reason they produce concerning the Exclusion.

"Did the pope, the clergy, the nobility and commonalty of France think it reasonable to exclude a prince for professing a different religion; and will the papists be angry if the protestants be of the same opinion? No, sure, they cannot have the impudence."

First, here is the difference of religion taken for granted, which was never proved on one side, though in the king of Navarre it was openly professed. Then the pope, and the three estates of France had no power to alter the succession, neither did the king in being consent to it: or afterwards, did the greater part of the nobility, clergy, and gentry adhere to the Exclusion, but maintained the lawful king successfully against it; as we are bound to do in England, by the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, made for the benefit of our kings, and their successors? the objections concerning which oath are fully answered by Dr Hicks, in his preface to Jovian; and thither I refer the reader.

They tell us, that what it concerns protestants to do in that case, enough has been heard by us in parliament debates.

I answer, that debates coming not by an act to any issue, conclude, that there is nothing to be done against a law established, and fundamental of the monarchy. They dare not infer a right of taking up arms, by virtue of a debate or vote, and yet they tacitly insinuate this. I ask them, what it does concern protestants to do in this case, and whether they mean anything by that expression? They have hampered themselves before they were aware; for they proceed in the very next lines to tell us, they believe "the crown of England being hereditary, 201 the next in blood have an undoubted right to succeed, unless God make them, or they make themselves uncapable of reigning." So that according to them, if either of those two impediments shall happen, then it concerns the protestants of England to do that something, which, if they had spoken out, had been direct treason. Here is fine legerdemain amongst them: they have acknowledged a vote to be no more than the opinion of an house, and yet from a debate, which was abortive before it quickened into a vote, they argue after the old song, "that there is something more to be done, which you cannot chuse but guess." In the next place, there is no such thing as incapacity to be supposed, in the immediate successor of the crown. That is, the rightful heir cannot be made uncapable on any account whatsoever to succeed. It may please God, that he may be inhabilis, or inidoneus ad gerendam rempublicam,—unfit or unable to govern the kingdom; but this is no impediment to his right of reigning: he cannot either be excluded or deposed for such imperfection; for the laws which have provided for private men in this case, have also made provision for the sovereign, and for the public; and the council of state, or the next of blood, is to administer the kingdom for him. Charles the Sixth of France, (for I think we have no English examples which will reach it) forfeited not his kingdom by his lunacy, though a victorious king of England was then knocking at his gates; but all things under his name, and by his authority were managed. The case is the same, betwixt a king non compos mentis, and one who is nondum compos mentis; a distracted or an infant-king. Then the people cannot incapacitate the king, because he derives not his right from them, but from God only; neither can any action, much less opinion of a sovereign, render him uncapable, for the same reason; 202 excepting only a voluntary resignation to his immediate heir, as in the case of Charles the Fifth: for that of our Richard the Second was invalid, because forced, and not made to the next successor.

Neither does it follow, as our authors urge, that an unalterable succession supposes England to be the king's estate, and the people his goods and chattels on it. For the preservation of his right destroys not our propriety, but maintains us in it. He has tied himself by law, not to invade our possessions; and we have obliged ourselves as subjects to him, and all his lawful successors: by which irrevocable act of ours, both for ourselves and our posterity, we can no more exclude the successor, than we can depose the present king. The estate of England is indeed the king's; and I may safely grant their supposition, as to the government of England: but it follows not, that the people are his goods and chattels on it; for then he might sell, alienate, or destroy them as he pleased: from all which he has tied himself by the liberties and privileges which he has granted us by laws.

There is little else material in this pamphlet: for to say, "I would insinuate into the king a hatred to his capital city," is to say, he should hate his best friends, the last, and the present Lord Mayor, our two honourable Sheriffs, the Court of Aldermen, the worthy and loyal Mr Common Serjeant, with the rest of the officers, who are generally well affected and who have kept out their factious members from its government. To say, I would insinuate a scorn of authority in the city, is, in effect, to grant the parallel in the play: for the authority of tumults and seditions is only scorned in it,—an authority which they derived not from the crown, but exercised against it. And for them to confess I exposed this, is to confess, that London was like Paris.

203 They conclude with a prayer to Almighty God, in which I therefore believe, the poet did not club. To libel the king through all the pamphlet, and to pray for him in the conclusion, is an action of more prudence in them than of piety. Perhaps they might hope to be forgiven, as one of their predecessors was by king James; who, after he had railed at him abundantly, ended his lampoon with these two verses:

Now God preserve our king, queen, prince and peers,

And grant the author long may wear his ears[42].

To take a short review of the whole.—It is manifest, that there is no such parallel in the play, as the faction have pretended; that the story would not bear one where they have placed it; and that I could not reasonably intend one, so contrary to the nature of the play, and so repugnant to the principles of the loyal party. On the other side, it is clear that the principles and practices of the public enemies, have both formerly resembled those of the League, and continue to hold the same resemblance. It appears by the outcry of the party before the play was acted, that they dreaded and foresaw the bringing of the faction upon the stage: and by the hasty printing of Mr Hunt's libel, and the Reflections, before the tragedy was published, that they were infinitely concerned to prevent any farther operation of it. It appears from the general consent of the audiences, that their party were known to be represented; and themselves owned openly, by their hissings, that they were incensed at it, as an object which they could not bear. It is evident 204 by their endeavours to shift off this parallel from their side, that their principles are too shameful to be maintained. It is notorious, that they, and they only, have made the parallel betwixt the Duke of Guise and the Duke of Monmouth, and that in revenge for the manifest likeness they find in the parties themselves, they have carried up the parallel to the heads of the parties, where there is no resemblance at all; under which colour, while they pretend to advert upon one libel, they set up another. For what resemblance could they suggest betwixt two persons so unlike in their descent, the qualities of their minds, and the disparity of their warlike actions, if they grant not, that there is a faction here, which is like that other which was in France? so that if they do not first acknowledge one common cause, there is no foundation for a parallel. The dilemma therefore lies strong upon them; and let them avoid it if they can,—that either they must avow the wickedness of their designs, or disown the likeness of those two persons. I do further charge those audacious authors, that they themselves have made the parallel which they call mine, and that under the covert of this parallel they have odiously compared our present king with king Henry the Third; and farther, that they have forced this parallel expressly to wound His Majesty in the comparison: for, since there is a parallel (as they would have it) it must be either theirs or mine. I have proved that it cannot possibly be mine: and in so doing, that it must be theirs by consequence. Under this shadow all the vices of the French king are charged by those libellers (by a side-wind) upon ours; and it is indeed the bottom of their design to make the king cheap, his royal brother odious, and to alter the course of the succession.

205 Now, after the malice of this sputtering triumvirate (Mr Hunt, and the two Reflectors), against the person and dignity of the king, and against all that endeavour to serve him (which makes their hatred to his cause apparent), the very charging of our play to be a libel, and such a parallel as these ignoramuses would render it, is almost as great an affront to His Majesty, as the libellous picture itself, by which they have exposed him to his subjects. For it is no longer our parallel, but the king's, by whose order it was acted, without any shuffling or importunity from the poets. The tragedy (cried the faction) is a libel against such and such illustrious persons. Upon this the play was stopt, examined, acquitted, and ordered to be brought upon the stage: not one stroke in it of a resemblance, to answer the scope and intent of the complaint. There were some features, indeed, that the illustrious Mr Hunt and his brace of beagles (the Reflectors) might see resembling theirs; and no other parallel either found or meant, but betwixt the French leaguers and ours: and so far the agreement held from point to point, as true as a couple of tallies. But when neither the king, nor my lord chamberlain, with other honourable persons of eminent faith, integrity, and understanding, upon a strict perusal of the papers, could find one syllable to countenance the calumny; up starts the defender of the charter, &c. opens his mouth, and says, "What do ye talk of the king? he's abused, he's imposed upon. Is my lord chamberlain, and the scrutineers that succeed him, to tell us, when the king and the duke of York are abused?" What says my lord chief baron of Ireland to the business? What says the livery-man templer? What says Og the king of Basan to it? "We are men that stand up for the king's supremacy in all causes, and over 206 all persons, as well ecclesiastical as civil, next and immediately under God and the people. We are for easing His Royal Highness of his title to the crown, and the cares that attend any such prospect; and we shall see the king and the Royal Family paralleled at this rate, and not reflect upon it?"

But to draw to an end. Upon the laying of matters fairly together, what a king have these balderdash scribblers given us, under the resemblance of Henry the Third! How scandalous a character again, of His Majesty, in telling the world that he is libelled, and affronted to his face, told on't, pointed to it; and yet neither he, nor those about him, can be brought to see or understand it. There needs no more to expound the meaning of these people, than to compare them with themselves: when it will evidently appear, that their lives and conversations, their writings and their practices, do all take the same bias; and when they dare not any longer revile His Majesty or his government point blank, they have an intention to play the libellers in masquerade, and do the same thing in a way of mystery and parable. This is truly the case of the pretended parallel. They lay their heads together, and compose the lewdest character of a prince that can be imagined, and then exhibit that monster to the people, as the picture of the king in the "Duke of Guise." So that the libel passes for current in the multitude, whoever was the author of it; and it will be but common justice to give the devil his due. But the truth is, their contrivances are now so manifest, that their party moulders both in town and country; for I will not suspect that there are any of them left in court. Deluded well-meaners come over out of honesty, and small offenders out of common discretion or fear. None will shortly remain with them, but men of 207 desperate fortunes or enthusiasts: those who dare not ask pardon, because they have transgressed beyond it, and those who gain by confusion, as thieves do by fires: to whom forgiveness were as vain, as a reprieve to condemned beggars; who must hang without it, or starve with it.


  1. As the whole passage from Davila is subjoined to the text in the play, the reader may easily satisfy himself of the accuracy of what is here stated. But, although the scene may have been written in 1661, we must be allowed to believe, that its extreme resemblance to the late events occasioned its being revived and re-presented in 1682.

  2. The poem, alluded to, was probably the Religio Laici, first published in November l682.

  3. Dryden and Shadwell had once been friends. In the preface to "The Humourists," acted, according to Mr Malone, in 1676, Shadwell thus mentions his great contemporary:

    "And here I must make a little digression, and take liberty to dissent from my particular friend, for whom I have a very great respect, and whose writings I extremely admire; and, though I will not say, his is the best way of writing, yet, I am sure his manner of writing is much the best that ever was. And I may say of him, as was said of a celebrated poet, Cui unquam poetarum magis proprium fuit subito astro incalescere? Quis ubi incaluit, fortius et fæclicius debacchatur? His verse is smoother and deeper, his thoughts more quick and surprising, his raptures more mettled and higher, and he has more of that in his writings, which Plato calls σωφρονα μανιαν than any other heroic poet. And those who shall go about to imitate him, will be found to flutter and make a noise, but never to rise."

    Such a compliment, from a rival dramatist, could only have been extracted by previous good offices and kindly countenance. Accordingly we find, that Dryden, in 1678-9, wrote a prologue to Shadwell's play, of "The True Widow."

  4. "The Female Prelate, or Pope Joan," is a bombast, silly performance of Elkanah Settle; the catastrophe of which consists in the accouchement of the Pope in the streets of Rome. The aid necessary in the conclusion of an English tragedy, (usually loudly called for, but never brought) is of a surgical nature; but here Lucina was the deity to be implored, and the midwife's assistance most requisite.

    Shadwell's comedy of "The Lancashire Witches," was popular for many years after the Revolution, chiefly, because the papists were reflected upon in the character of Teague O'Divelly, an Irish Priest, the high-church clergy ridiculed under that of Smerk, and the whole Tory faction generally abused through the play. It is by no means one of Shadwell's happiest efforts. The introduction of the witches celebrating their satanical sabbath on the stage, besides that the scene is very poorly and lamely written, is at variance with the author's sentiments, as delivered through Sir Edward Hartfort, "a worthy, hospitable, true English gentleman, of good understanding and honest principles," who ridicules the belief in witches at all. A different and totally inconsistent doctrine is thus to be collected from the action of the piece and the sentiments expressed by those, whose sentiments are alone marked as worthy of being attended to. This obvious fault, with many others, is pointed out in a criticism on the "Lancashire Witches," published in the Spectator. The paper is said to have been written by Hughes, but considerably softened by Addison.

  5. Half-a-crown was then the box price.

    You visit our plays and merit the stocks,

    For paying half-crowns of brass to our box;

    Nay, often you swear when places are shewn ye,

    That your hearing is thick,

    And so by a love trick,

    You pass through our scenes up to the balcony.

    Epilogue to "The Man's the Master."

    The farce, alluded to, seems to have been "The Lancashire Witches." See Shadwell's account of the reception of that piece, from which it appears, that the charge of forming a party in the theatre was a subject of mutual reproach betwixt the dramatists of the contending parties.

  6. This single remark is amply sufficient to exculpate Dryden from having intended any general parallel between Monmouth and the Duke of Guise. To have produced such a parallel, it would have been necessary to unite, in one individual, the daring political courage of Shaftesbury, his capacity of seizing the means to attain his object, and his unprincipled carelessness of their nature, with the fine person, chivalrous gallantry, military fame, and courteous manners of the Duke of Monmouth. Had these talents, as they were employed in the same cause, been vested in the same person, the Duke of Guise must have yielded the palm. The partial resemblance, in one point of their conduct, is stated by our poet, not to have been introduced as an intended likeness, betwixt the Duke of Guise, and the Protestant Duke. We may observe, in the words of Bertran,

    The dial spoke not—but it made shrewd signs.

    Spanish Friar.

  7. Alluding to a book, called "The Parallel," published by J. Northleigh L.L.B. the same who afterwards wrote "the Triumph of the Monarchy," and was honoured by a copy of verses from our author.

  8. "Julian the Apostate, with a short account of his life, and a parallel betwixt Popery and Paganism," was a treatise, written by the Rev. Samuel Johnson, chaplain to Lord Russell, for the purpose of forwarding the bill of exclusion, by shewing the consequences to Christianity of a Pagan Emperor attaining the throne. It would seem, that one of the sheriffs had mistaken so grossly, as to talk of Julian the Apostle; or, more probably, such a blunder was circulated as true, by some tory wit. Wood surmises, that Hunt had some share in composing Julian. Ath. Ox. II. p. 729.

  9. This probably alludes to L'Estrange, who answered Hunt in the "Lawyer Outlawed."

  10. "Curse ye Meroz," was a text much in vogue among the fanatic preachers in the civil wars. It was preached upon in Guildhall, before the Lord Mayor, 9th May, 1630, by Edmund Hickeringill, rector of All Saints, in Colchester:

    There's Colchester Hickeringil, the fanatic's delight,

    Who Gregory Greybeard and Meroz did write,

    You may see who are saints in a pharisee's sight.

    The Assembly of the Moderate Divines, stanza 18.

    Gregory Greybeard was probably some ballad, alluding to the execution of Charles I, who was beheaded by a person disguised by a visor and greybeard. The name of the common hangman, at that time, was Gregory.

  11. Jaques Clement, a Jacobin Monk, stabbed Henry III. on the 1st of August, 1589. He expired the following day.

  12. "All crowned heads by poetical right are heroes. This character is a flower, a prerogative so certain, so inseparably annexed to the crown as by no poet, no parliament of poets, ever to be invaded." Rymer's Remarks on the Tragedies of the last age, p. 6l. This critical dogma, although here and else-where honoured by our author's sanction, fell into disuse with the doctrines of passive obedience, and indefeasible right.

  13. The Earl of Arlington, Lord Chamberlain.

  14. Charles II. and his brother the Duke of York, were grandchildren of Henry IV. of France, by their mother Henrietta Maria.

  15. A very poor imitation of Moliere's "Festin de Pierre;" with the story of which the admirers of mute-shew have since been entertained, under the title of Don Juan. In the preface, Shadwell, after railing abundantly at Settle, is at the pains to assure us, there is no act in the piece which cost him above four days writing, and the last two (the play-house having great occasion for a play) were both written in four days. The Libertine, and his companions, travel by sea and land over the whole kingdom of Spain.

  16. See the full passage prefixed to the Vindication.

  17. The club alluded to seems to be the same which originally met at the King's-Head tavern, of which North gives the following lively account. "The gentlemen of that worthy society held their evening session continually at the King's-Head tavern, over against the Inner Temple gate. But upon occasion of the signal of a green ribbon, agreed to be worn in their hats in the days of secret engagements, like the coats of arms of valiant knights of old, whereby all the warriors of the society might be distinguished, and not mistake friends for enemies, they were called also the Green Ribbon Club. Their seat was in a sort of carrefour, at Chancery-Lane end, a centre of business and company, most proper for such anglers of fools. The house was double-balconied in front, as may be yet seen, for the clubsters to issue forth, in fresco, with hats and no peruques, pipes in their mouths, merry faces, and diluted throats, for vocal encouragement of the canaglia below, at bonfires, on usual and unusual occasions. They admitted all strangers that were confidingly introduced; for, it was a main end of their institution to make proselytes, especially of the raw estated youths newly come to town. This copious society were, to the faction in and about London, a sort of executive power, and by correspondence all over England. The resolves of the more retired councils and ministry of the faction, were brought in here, and orally insinuated to the company, whether it were lies, defamations, commendations, projects, &c. and so, like water diffused, spread over all the town; whereby that which was digested at the club over night, was, like nourishment, at every assembly, male and female, the next day. And thus the younglings tasted of political administration, and took themselves for notable counsellors." Examen, p. 572. The place of meeting is altered by Dryden, from the King's-Head, to the Devil-Tavern, either because he thought the name more appropriate, or wished slightly to disguise what he plainly insinuated.

  18. Our author never omits an opportunity of twitting Hunt with his expected preferment of lord chief baron of exchequer in Ireland; L'Estrange, whose ready pen was often drawn for the court, answered Hunt's defence of the charter by a pamphlet entitled "The Lawyer Outlawed," in which he fails not to twit his antagonist with the same disappointment.

  19. The foul practice of taking away lives by false witness, casts an indelible disgrace on this period. Oates, Dugdale, and Turberville, were the perjured evidences of the Popish plot. To meet them with equal arms, counter-plots were sworn against Shaftesbury and others, by Haines, Macnamara, and other Irishmen. But the true Protestant juries would only swallow the perjuries which made for their own opinions; nay, although they believed Dugdale, when he zealously forswore himself for the cause of the Protestant faith, they refused him credit when he bore false witness for the crown. "Thus," says Hume, "the two parties, actuated by mutual rage, but cooped up within the narrow limits of the law, levelled with poisoned daggers the most deadly blows against each other's breast, and buried in their factious divisions all regard to truth, honour, and humanity."—

  20. In the Dramatis Personæ to Shadwell's play of Epsom-Wells, we have Rains, Bevil, Woodly, described as "men of wit and pleasure."

  21. Dryden had already distinguished Shadwell and Settle by those names, which were destined to consign the poor wights to a painful immortality, in the second part of Absalom and Achitophel, published in 1682.

  22. See note on p. 222. Vol. VI. describing this famous procession.

  23. This passage, in Hunt's defence of the charter, obviously alludes to the Duke of York, whom he elsewhere treats with little ceremony, and to the king, whose affection for his brother was not without a mixture of fear, inspired by his more stubborn and resolved temper.

  24. William Viscount Stafford, the last who suffered for the Popish plot, was tried and executed in 1680. It appears, that his life was foully sworn away by Dugdale and Turberville. The manly and patient deportment of the noble sufferer went far to remove the woful delusion which then pervaded the people. It would seem that Hunt had acted as his solicitor.

  25. A quip at his corpulent adversary Shadwell.

  26. The infamous Titus Oates pretended, amongst other more abominable falsehoods, to have taken a doctor's degree at Salamanca. In 1679, there was an attempt to bring him to trial for unnatural practices, but the grand jury threw out the bill. These were frequent subjects of reproach among the tory authors. In the Luttrel Collection, there is "An Address from Salamanca to her unknown offspring Dr T.O. concerning the present state of affairs in England." Also a coarse ballad, entitled, "The Venison Doctor, with his brace of Alderman Stags;"

    Showing how a Doctor had defiled

    Two aldermen, and got them both with child,

    Who longed for venison, but were beguiled.

  27. Our author has elsewhere expressed, in the same terms, his contempt for the satire of "The Rehearsal." "I answered not the Rehearsal, because I knew the author sat to himself when he drew the picture, and was the very Bayes of his own farce." Dedication to Juvenal.—The same idea occurs in a copy of verses on the Duke of Buckingham sometimes ascribed to Dryden:

    But when his poet, John Bayes, did appear,

    'Twas known to more than one-half that were there,

    That the great'st part was his Grace's character;


    For he many years plagued his friends for their crimes,

    Repeating his verses in other men's rhymes,

    To the very same person ten thousand times.

    State Poems, Vol. II, p. 216.

  28. Besides those who were alarmed for civil liberty, and those who dreaded encroachment on their religion, the whig party, like every one which promises to effect a great political change, was embraced by many equally careless of the one motive or the other; but who hoped to indulge their licentious passions, repair their broken fortunes, or gratify their inordinate ambition amidst a revolutionary convulsion.

  29. The motto to Hunt's pamphlet.

  30. Tantivi was a cant phrase for furious tories and high-flyers. In one of College's unlucky strokes of humour, he had invented a print called Mac Ninny, in which the Duke of York was represented half-jesuit half-devil; and a parcel of tories, mounted on the church of England, were driving it at full gallop, tantivy, to Rome. Hickeringill's poem, called "The Mushroom," written against our author's "Hind and Panther," is prefaced by an epistle to the tories and tantivies.

  31. This passage is inaccurately quoted. Mr Hunt wrote, "Such monsters as Theseus and Hercules are, renowned throughout all ages for destroying." The learned gentleman obviously meant that Dryden's heroes (whom he accounted tyrants) resembled not the demi-gods, but the monsters whom they destroyed. But the comma is so unhappily placed after are, as to leave the sense capable of the malicious interpretation which Dryden has put upon it.

  32. Shadwell, as he resembled Ben Jonson in extreme corpulence, and proposed him for the model of dramatic writing, seems to have affected the coarse and inelegant debauchery of his prototype. He lived chiefly in taverns, was a gross sensualist in his habits, and brutal in his conversation. His fine gentlemen all partake of their parent's grossness and vulgarity; they usually open their dialogue, by complaining of the effects of last night's debauch. He is probably the only author, who ever chose for his heroes a set of riotous bloods, or scowerers, as they were then termed, and expected the public should sympathise in their brutal orgies. True it is, that the heroes are whig scowerers; and, whilst breaking windows, stabbing watchmen, and beating passengers, do not fail to express a due zeal for the Protestant religion, and the liberty of the subject. Much of the interest also turns, it must be allowed, upon the Protestant scowerers aforesaid baffling and beating, without the least provocation, a set of inferior scowerers, who were Jacobites at least, if not Papists. Shadwell is thus described in the "Sessions of the Poets:"

    Next into the crowd Tom Shadwell does wallow,

    And swears by his guts, his paunch, and his tallow,

    'Tis he that alone best pleases the age,

    Himself and his wife have supported the stage.

    Apollo, well pleased with so bonny a lad,

    To oblige him, he told him he should be huge glad,

    Had he half so much wit as he fancied he had.

    However, to please so jovial a wit,

    And to keep him in humour, Apollo thought fit

    To bid him drink on, and keep his old trick

    Of railing at poets—

    Those, who consult the full passage, will see good reason to think Dryden's censure on Shadwell's brutality by no means too severe.

  33. In 1444, Ladislaus king of Hungary, in breach of a treaty solemnly sworn upon the gospel, invaded Bulgaria, at the instigation of the Cardinal Legate. He was slain, and his army totally routed in the bloody battle of Warna, where ten thousand Christians fell before the janissaries of Amurath II. It is said, that while the battle remained undecided, the sultan displayed the solemn treaty, and invoked the God of truth, and the blessed name of Jesus, to revenge the impious infidelity of the Hungarian. This battle would have laid Hungary under the Turkish yoke, had it not been for the exploits of John Corvinus Huniades, the white knight of Walachia, and the more dubious prowess of the famous John Castriot, king of Epirus.

  34. In the preface to which the author alleges, that Hunt contributed no small share towards the composition of "Julian the Apostate." See Wood's Ath. Oxon. v. ii. p. 729.

  35. The song against the bishops is probably a ballad, upon their share in throwing out the bill of exclusion, beginning thus:

    The grave house of Commons, by hook, or by crook,

    Resolved to root out both the pope and the duke;

    Let them vote, let them move, let them do what they will;

    The bishops, the bishops, have thrown out the bill.

    It concludes with the following stanza:

    The best of expedients, the law can propose,

    Our church to preserve, and to quiet our foes,

    Is not to let lawn sleeves our parliament fill,

    But throw out the bishops, that threw out the bill.

    State Poems, Vol. III. p. 154.

    The Tunbridge ballad, which our author also ascribes to Shadwell or his assistant, I have not found among the numerous libels of the time.

  36. The "Massacre of Paris" appears to have been written by Lee, during the time of the Popish plot, and if then brought out, the subject might have been extravagantly popular. It would appear it was suppressed at the request of the French ambassador. Several speeches, and even a whole scene seem to have been transplanted to the "Duke of Guise," which were afterwards replaced, when the Revolution rendered the "Massacre of Paris," again a popular topic. There were, among others, the description of the meeting of Alva and the queen mother at Bayonne; the sentiments expressed concerning the assassination of Cæsar, and especially the whole quarrelling scene between Guise and Grillon, which, in the "Massacre of Paris," passes between Guise and the admiral Chastillon. In the preface to the "Princess of Cleves," which was acted in 1689, Lee gives the following account of the transposition of these passages. "The Duke of Guise, who was notorious for a bolder fault, has wrested two whole scenes from the original, (the Massacre just before mentioned,) which, after the vacation, he will be forced to pay. I was, I confess, through indignation, forced to limb my own child, which time, the true cure for all maladies and injustice, has set together again. The play cost me much pains, the story is true, and, I hope, the object will display treachery in its own colours. But this farce, comedy, tragedy, or mere play, was a revenge for the refusal of the other." This last sentence alludes to the suppression of the "Massacre of Paris," which, according to the author's promise, appeared with all its appurtenances restored in 1690, the year following.

  37. When the days of Whiggish prosperity shone forth, Shadwell did his best to retort upon our poet. In the prologue to "Bury Fair," we find the following lines of exultation, on his having regained possession of the stage:

    Those wretched poetitos, who got praise,

    By writing most confounded loyal plays,

    With viler coarser jests, than at Bear-garden,

    And silly Grub-street songs, worse than Tom Farthing;

    If any noble patriot did excel,

    His own and country's rights defending well,

    These yelping curs were straight 'looed on to bark,

    On the deserving man to set a mark;

    Those abject fawning parasites and knaves.

    Since they were such, would have all others slaves.

    'Twas precious loyalty, that was thought fit

    To atone for want of honesty and wit;

    No wonder common sense was all cried down,

    And noise and nonsense swaggered through the town;

    Our author then opprest would have you know it.

    Was silenced for a non-conformist poet;

    Now, sirs, since common sence has won the day,

    Be kind to this as to his last year's play;

    His friends stood firmly to him, when distressed,

    He hopes the number is not now decreast.

    He found esteem from those he valued most;

    Proud of his friends, he of his foes could boast.

  38. "Know then, to prevent the farther shedding of Christian blood, we are all content Ventoso shall be viceroy, upon condition I may be viceroy over him." Tempest, as altered by Dryden, vol. iii. p. 124.

  39. The fable alluded to occurs in the Pia Hilaria of Gazæus, and in Le Grand's Fabliaux; it makes the subject of a humorous tale by Mr Robert Southey.

  40. Alluding to the well-known catastrophe of poor Settle acting in Bartholomew fair:

    "Reduced at last to hiss in his own dragon."

  41. The say, or assay, is the first cut made on the stag when he is killed. The hunter begins at the brisket, and draws the knife downwards. The purpose is, to ascertain how fat he is:

    "At the assay kitle him, that Lends may se

    Anon Fat or lene whether that he be."

    Boke of St Alban's.

    The allusion in the text is to the cruel punishment of high treason by quartering.

  42. "And so thou shalt for me," said James, when he came to the passage; "thou art a biting knave, but a witty one."




Discite justitiam, moniti, et non temnere divos.




This opera, like the play which precedes it, had an avowed political object. It was intended to celebrate the victory of the crown over its opponents, or, as our author would have expressed it, of loyalty over sedition and insurrection. The events, which followed the Restoration, are rapidly, but obviously and distinctly, traced down to the death of Charles, and the quiet accession of his brother, who, after all the storms which had threatened to blast his prospects, found himself enabled to mount the throne, with ease sufficient to encourage him to the measures which precipitated him from that elevation. The leading incidents of the busy and intriguing reign of Charles II. are successively introduced in the following order. The city of London is discovered occupied by the republicans and fanatics, depicted under the allegorical personages Democracy and Zeal. General Monk, as Archon, charms the factions to sleep, and the Restoration is emblematized by the arrival of Charles, and the Duke of York, under the names of Albion and Albanius. The second act opens with a council of the fiends, where the popish plot is hatched, and Democracy and Zeal are dismissed, to propagate it upon earth, with Oates, the famous witness, in their train. The next entry presents Augusta, or London, stung by a snake, to intimate the revival of the popular faction in the metropolis. Democracy and Zeal, under the disguise of Patriotism and Religion, insinuate themselves into the confidence of the city, and are supposed to foment the parliamentary opposition, which, ending on the bill of exclusion, rendered it necessary, that the Duke of York should leave the kingdom. We have then, in allegorical representation, the internal feuds of the parties, which, from different causes, opposed the crown. The adherents of Monmouth, and the favourers of republican tenets, are represented as disputing with each other, until the latter, by the flight of Shaftesbury, 212 obtains a final ascendancy. In the mean while, Charles, or Albion, has recourse to the advice of Proteus; under which emblem an evil minded whig might suppose Halifax, and the party of Trimmers, to be represented; actuated by whose versatile, and time-serving politics, Charles gave way to each wave, but remained buoyant amid the tempest. The Rye-house plot is then presented in allegory,—an unfit subject for exultation, since the dark intrigues of the interior conspirators were made the instruments of the fall of Sidney and Russell. The return of the Duke of York, with his beautiful princess, and the rejoicings which were supposed to take place, in heaven and earth, upon Charles' attaining the pinnacle of uncontrolled power, was originally the intended termination of the opera; which, as first written, consisted of only one act, introductory to the drama of "King Arthur." But the eye and the ear of Charles were never to be regaled by this flattering representation: he died while the opera was in rehearsal. A slight addition, as the author has himself informed us, adapted the conclusion of his piece to this new and unexpected event. The apotheosis of Albion, and the succession of Albanius to the uncontrouled domination of a willing people, debased by circumstances expressing an unworthy triumph over deceased foes, was substituted as the closing scene. Altered as it was, to suit the full-blown fortune of James, an ominous fatality attended these sugared scenes, which were to present the exulting recapitulation of his difficulties and triumph. While the opera was performing, for the sixth time only, news arrived that Monmouth had landed in the west, the audience dispersed, and the players never attempted to revive a play, which seemed to be of evil augury to the crown.

Our author appears to have found it difficult to assign a name for this performance, which was at once to address itself to the eye, the ear, and the understanding. The ballad-opera, since invented, in which part is sung, part acted and spoken, comes nearest to its description. The plot of the piece contains nothing brilliantly ingenious: the deities of Greece and Rome had been long hacknied machines in the masks and operas of the sixteenth century; and it required little invention to paint the duchess of York as Venus, or to represent her husband protected by Neptune, and Charles consulting with Proteus. But though the device be trite, the lyrical diction of the opera is most beautifully sweet and flowing. The reader finds none of these harsh inversions, and awkward constructions, by which ordinary poets are obliged to screw their verses into the fetters of musical time. Notwithstanding the obstacles stated by Dryden himself, every line seems to flow in its natural and most simple order; and where the music required repetition of a line, or a word, the iteration seems to improve the 213 sense and poetical effect. Neither is the piece deficient in the higher requisites of lyric poetry. When music is to be "married to immortal verse," the poet too commonly cares little with how indifferent a yoke-mate he provides her. But Dryden, probably less from a superior degree of care, than from that divine impulse which he could not resist, has hurried along in the full stream of real poetry. The description of the desolation of London, at the opening of the piece, the speech of Augusta, in act second, and many other passages, fully justify this encomium.

The music of the piece was entrusted to Louis Grabut, or Grabu, the master of the king's band, whom Charles, French in his politics, his manners, and his taste, preferred to the celebrated Purcell. "Purcell, however," says an admirable judge, "having infinitely more fancy, and, indeed, harmonical resources, than the Frenchified Tuscan, his predecessor, now offered far greater pleasure and amusement to a liberal lover of music, than can be found, not only in the productions of Cambert and Grabu, whom Charles II., and, to flatter his majesty, Dryden, patronised in preference to Purcell, but in all the noisy monotony of the rhapsodist of Quinault."—Burney's History of Music, Vol. III. p. 500.

It seems to be generally admitted, that the music of "Albion and Albanius" was very indifferent. From the preface, as well as the stage directions, it appears that a vast expence was incurred, in shew, dress, and machinery. Downes informs us, that, owing to the interruption of the run of the piece in the manner already mentioned, the half of the expence was never recovered, and the theatre was involved considerably in debt.—Rosc. Anglic. p. 40. The whigs, against whom the satire was levelled, the rival dramatists of the day, and the favourers of the English school of music, united in triumphing in its downfall[1].

214 Mr Luttrell's manuscript note has fixed the first representation of "Albion and Albanius" to the 3d of June, 1685; and the laudable accuracy of Mr Malone has traced its sixth night to Saturday the 13th of the same month, when an express brought the news 215 of Monmouth's landing. The opera was shortly after published. In 1687 Grabut published the music, with a dedication to James II.[2]


  1. The following verses are rather better worthy of preservation than most which have been written against Dryden.

    From Father Hopkins, whose vein did inspire him,

    Bayes sends this raree-show to public view;

    Prentices, fops, and their footmen admire him,

    Thanks patron, painter, and Monsieur Grabu.

    Each actor on the stage his luck bewailing,

    Finds that his loss is infallibly true;

    Smith, Nokes, and Leigh, in a fever with railing,

    Curse poet, painter, and Monsieur Grabu.

    Betterton, Betterton, thy decorations,

    And the machines, were well written, we knew;

    But, all the words were such stuff, we want patience,

    And little better is Monsieur Grabu.

    Damme, says Underhill, I'm out of two hundred,

    Hoping that rainbows and peacocks would do;

    Who thought infallible Tom[a] could have blundered?

    A plague upon him and Monsieur Grabu!

    Lane, thou hast no applause for thy capers,

    Though all, without thee, would make a man spew;

    And a month hence will not pay for the tapers,

    Spite of Jack Laureat, and Monsieur Grabu.

    Bayes, thou wouldst have thy skill thought universal,

    Though thy dull ear be to music untrue;

    Then, whilst we strive to confute the Rehearsal,

    Prithee leave thrashing of Monsieur Grabu.

    With thy dull prefaces still thou wouldst treat us,

    Striving to make thy dull bauble look fair;

    So the horned herd of the city do cheat us,

    Still most commending the worst of their ware.

    Leave making operas and writing of lyricks,

    Till thou hast ears, and can alter thy strain;

    Stick to thy talent of bold panegyricks,

    And still remember—breathing the vein[b].

    Yet, if thou thinkest the town will extoll them,

    Print thy dull notes; but be thrifty and wise:

    Instead of angels subscribed for the volume,

    Take a round shilling, and thank my advice.

    In imitating thee, this may be charming,

    Gleaning from laureats is no shame at all;

    And let this song be sung next performing,

    Else, ten to one that the prices will fall.


    1. Thomas Betterton.

    2. An expression in Dryden's poem on the death of Cromwell, which his libeller insisted on applying to the death of Charles I.

  2. Langbaine has preserved another jest upon our author's preference of Grabut to the English musicians.

    Grabut, his yokemate, ne'er shall be forgot.

    Whom th' god of tunes upon a muse begot;

    Bayes on a double score to him belongs,

    As well for writing, as for setting songs;

    For some have sworn the intrigue so odd is laid,

    That Bayes and he mistook each other's trade,

    Grabut the lines, and he the music made.



If wit has truly been defined, "a propriety of thoughts and words,[1]" then that definition will extend to all sorts of poetry; and, among the rest, to this present entertainment of an opera. Propriety of thought is that fancy which arises naturally from the subject, or which the poet adapts to it; propriety of words is the clothing of those thoughts with such expressions as are naturally proper to them; and from both these, if they are judiciously performed, the delight of poetry results. An opera is a poetical tale, or fiction, represented by vocal and instrumental music, adorned with scenes, machines, and dancing. The supposed persons of this musical drama are generally supernatural, as gods, and goddesses, and heroes, which at least are descended from them, and are in due time to be adopted into their number. The subject, therefore, being extended beyond the limits of human nature, admits of that sort of marvellous and surprising conduct, which is rejected in other plays. Human 217 impossibilities are to be received as they are in faith; because, where gods are introduced, a supreme power is to be understood, and second causes are out of doors; yet propriety is to be observed even here. The gods are all to manage their peculiar provinces; and what was attributed by the heathens to one power, ought not to be performed by any other. Phœbus must foretel, Mercury must charm with his caduceus, and Juno must reconcile the quarrels of the marriage-bed; to conclude, they must all act according to their distinct and peculiar characters. If the persons represented were to speak upon the stage, it would follow, of necessity, that the expressions should be lofty, figurative, and majestical: but the nature of an opera denies the frequent use of these poetical ornaments; for vocal music, though it often admits a loftiness of sound, yet always exacts an harmonious sweetness; or, to distinguish yet more justly, the recitative part of the opera requires a more masculine beauty of expression and sound. The other, which, for want of a proper English word, I must call the songish part, must abound in the softness and variety of numbers; its principal intention being to please the hearing, rather than to gratify the understanding. It appears, indeed, preposterous at first sight, that rhyme, on any consideration, should take place of reason; but, in order to resolve the problem, this fundamental proposition must be settled, that the first inventors of any art or science, provided they have brought it to perfection, are, in reason, to give laws to it; and, according to their model, all after-undertakers are to build. Thus, in epic poetry, no man ought to dispute the authority of Homer, who gave the first being to that masterpiece of art, and endued it with that form of perfection in all its parts, that nothing was wanting to its excellency. Virgil therefore, and those very few who have succeeded 218 him, endeavoured not to introduce, or innovate, any thing in a design already perfected, but imitated the plan of the inventor; and are only so far true heroic poets, as they have built on the foundations of Homer. Thus, Pindar, the author of those Odes, which are so admirably restored by Mr Cowley in our language, ought for ever to be the standard of them; and we are bound, according to the practice of Horace and Mr Cowley, to copy him. Now, to apply this axiom to our present purpose, whosoever undertakes the writing of an opera, which is a modern invention, though built indeed on the foundation of ethnic worship, is obliged to imitate the design of the Italians, who have not only invented, but brought to perfection, this sort of dramatic musical entertainment. I have not been able, by any search, to get any light, either of the time when it began, or of the first author; but I have probable reasons, which induce me to believe, that some Italians, having curiously observed the gallantries of the Spanish Moors at their zambras, or royal feasts, where music, songs, and dancing, were in perfection, together with their machines, which are usual at their sortija, or running at the ring, and other solemnities, may possibly have refined upon those moresque divertisements, and produced this delightful entertainment, by leaving out the warlike part of the carousals, and forming a poetical design for the use of the machines, the songs, and dances. But however it began, (for this is only conjectural,) we know, that, for some centuries, the knowledge of music has flourished principally in Italy, the mother of learning and of arts[2]; that poetry and painting have been there restored, 219 and so cultivated by Italian masters, that all Europe has been enriched out of their treasury; and the other parts of it, in relation to those delightful arts, are still as much provincial to Italy, as they were in the time of the Roman empire. Their first operas seem to have been intended for the celebration of the marriages of their princes, or for the magnificence of some general time of joy; accordingly, the expences of them were from the purse of the sovereign, or of the republic, as they are still practised at Venice, Rome, and at other places, at their carnivals. Savoy and Florence have often used them in their courts, at the weddings of their dukes; and at Turin particularly, was performed the "Pastor Fido," written by the famous Guarini, which is a pastoral opera made to solemnise the marriage of a Duke of Savoy. The prologue of it has given the design to all the French; which is a compliment to the sovereign power by some god or goddess; so that it looks no less than a kind of embassy from heaven to earth. I said in the beginning of this preface, that the persons represented in operas are generally gods, goddesses, and heroes descended from them, who are supposed to be their peculiar care; which hinders not, but that meaner persons may sometimes gracefully be introduced, especially if they have relation to those first times, which poets call the Golden Age; wherein, by reason of their innocence, those happy mortals were supposed to have had a more familiar intercourse with superior beings; and therefore shepherds might reasonably be admitted, as of all callings the most innocent, the most happy, and who, by reason of the spare time they had, in their almost idle employment, had most leisure to make verses, and to be in love; without somewhat of which passion, no opera can possibly subsist.

It is almost needless to speak any thing of that 220 noble language, in which this musical drama was first invented and performed. All, who are conversant in the Italian, cannot but observe, that it is the softest, the sweetest, the most harmonious, not only of any modern tongue, but even beyond any of the learned. It seems indeed to have been invented for the sake of poetry and music; the vowels are so abounding in all words, especially in terminations of them, that, excepting some few monosyllables, the whole language ends in them. Then the pronunciation is so manly, and so sonorous, that their very speaking has more of music in it than Dutch poetry and song. It has withal derived, so much copiousness and eloquence from the Greek and Latin, in the composition of words, and the formation of them, that if, after all, we must call it barbarous, it is the most beautiful and most learned of any barbarism in modern tongues; and we may, at least, as justly praise it, as Pyrrhus did the Roman discipline and martial order, that it was of barbarians, (for so the Greeks called all other nations,) but had nothing in it of barbarity. This language has in a manner been refined and purified from the Gothic ever since the time of Dante, which is above four hundred years ago; and the French, who now cast a longing eye to their country, are not less ambitious to possess their elegance in poetry and music; in both which they labour at impossibilities. It is true, indeed, they have reformed their tongue, and brought both their prose and poetry to a standard; the sweetness, as well as the purity, is much improved, by throwing off the unnecessary consonants, which made their spelling tedious and their pronunciation harsh: but, after all, as nothing can be improved beyond its own species, or farther than its original nature will allow; as an ill voice, though ever so thoroughly instructed in the rules of music, can never be brought to sing 221 harmoniously, nor many an honest critic ever arrive to be a good poet; so neither can the natural harshness of the French, or their perpetual ill accent, be ever refined into perfect harmony like the Italian. The English has yet more natural disadvantages than the French; our original Teutonic, consisting most in monosyllables, and those incumbered with consonants, cannot possibly be freed from those inconveniencies. The rest of our words, which are derived from the Latin chiefly, and the French, with some small sprinklings of Greek, Italian, and Spanish, are some relief in poetry, and help us to soften our uncouth numbers; which, together with our English genius, incomparably beyond the trifling of the French, in all the nobler parts of verse, will justly give us the pre-eminence. But, on the other hand, the effeminacy of our pronunciation, (a defect common to us and to the Danes,) and our scarcity of female rhymes, have left the advantage of musical composition for songs, though not for recitative, to our neighbours.

Through these difficulties I have made a shift to struggle in my part of the performance of this opera; which, as mean as it is, deserves at least a pardon, because it has attempted a discovery beyond any former undertaker of our nation; only remember, that if there be no north-east passage to be found, the fault is in nature, and not in me; or, as Ben Jonson tells us in "The Alchymist," when projection had failed, and the glasses were all broken, there was enough, however, in the bottoms of them, to cure the itch; so I may thus be positive, that if I have not succeeded as I desire, yet there is somewhat still remaining to satisfy the curiosity, or itch of sight and hearing. Yet I have no great reason to despair; for I may, without vanity, own some advantages, which are not common to every writer; such as are the knowledge of the Italian 222 and French language, and the being conversant with some of their best performances in this kind; which have furnished me with such variety of measures as have given the composer, Monsieur Grabut, what occasions he could wish, to shew his extraordinary talent in diversifying the recitative, the lyrical part, and the chorus; in all which, not to attribute any thing to my own opinion, the best judges and those too of the best quality, who have honoured his rehearsals with their presence, have no less commended the happiness of his genius than his skill. And let me have the liberty to add one thing, that he has so exactly expressed my sense in all places where I intended to move the passions, that he seems to have entered into my thoughts, and to have been the poet as well as the composer. This I say, not to flatter him, but to do him right; because amongst some English musicians, and their scholars, who are sure to judge after them, the imputation of being a Frenchman is enough to make a party, who maliciously endeavour to decry him. But the knowledge of Latin and Italian poets, both which he possesses, besides his skill in music, and his being acquainted with all the performances of the French operas, adding to these the good sense to which he is born, have raised him to a degree above any man, who shall pretend to be his rival on our stage. When any of our countrymen excel him, I shall be glad, for the sake of old England, to be shewn my error; in the mean time, let virtue be commended, though in the person of a stranger[3].

If I thought it convenient, I could here discover some rules which I have given to myself in writing 223 of an opera in general, and of this opera in particular; but I consider, that the effect would only be, to have my own performance measured by the laws I gave; and, consequently, to set up some little judges, who, not understanding thoroughly, would be sure to fall upon the faults, and not to acknowledge any of the beauties; an hard measure, which I have often found from false critics. Here, therefore, if they will criticise, they shall do it out of their own fond; but let them first be assured that their ears are nice; for there is neither writing nor judgment on this subject without that good quality. It is no easy matter, in our language, to make words so smooth, and numbers so harmonious, that they shall almost set themselves. And yet there are rules for this in nature, and as great a certainty of quantity in our syllables, as either in the Greek or Latin: but let poets and judges understand those first, and then let them begin to study English. When they have chewed a while upon these preliminaries, it may be they will scarce adventure to tax me with want of thought and elevation of fancy in this work; for they will soon be satisfied, that those are not of the nature of this sort of writing. The necessity of double rhimes, and ordering of the words and numbers for the sweetness of the voice, are the main hinges on which an opera must move; and both of these are without the compass of any art to teach another to perform, unless nature, in the first place, has done her part, by enduing the poet with that nicety of hearing, that the discord of sounds in words shall as much offend him, as a seventh in music would a good composer. I have therefore no need to make excuses for meanness of thought in many places: the Italians, with all the advantages of their language, are continually forced upon it, or, rather, affect it. The chief secret is the choice of words; 224 and, by this choice, I do not here mean elegancy of expression, but propriety of sound, to be varied according to the nature of the subject. Perhaps a time may come when I may treat of this more largely, out of some observations which I have made from Homer and Virgil, who, amongst all the poets, only understood the art of numbers, and of that which was properly called rhythmus by the ancients.

The same reasons, which depress thought in an opera, have a stronger effect upon the words, especially in our language; for there is no maintaining the purity of English in short measures, where the rhime returns so quick, and is so often female, or double rhime, which is not natural to our tongue, because it consists too much of monosyllables, and those, too, most commonly clogged with consonants; for which reason I am often forced to coin new words, revive some that are antiquated, and botch others; as if I had not served out my time in poetry, but was bound apprentice to some doggrel rhimer, who makes songs to tunes, and sings them for a livelihood. It is true, I have not been often put to this drudgery; but where I have, the words will sufficiently shew, that I was then a slave to the composition, which I will never be again: it is my part to invent, and the musician's to humour that invention. I may be counselled, and will always follow my friend's advice where I find it reasonable, but will never part with the power of the militia[4].

I am now to acquaint my reader with somewhat more particular concerning this opera, after having begged his pardon for so long a preface to so short a work. It was originally intended only for a prologue to a play of the nature of "The Tempest;" 225 which is a tragedy mixed with opera, or a drama, written in blank verse, adorned with scenes, machines, songs, and dances, so that the fable of it is all spoken and acted by the best of the comedians; the other part of the entertainment to be performed by the same singers and dancers who were introduced in this present opera. It cannot properly be called a play, because the action of it is supposed to be conducted sometimes by supernatural means, or magic; nor an opera, because the story of it is not sung.—But more of this at its proper time.—But some intervening accidents having hitherto deferred the performance of the main design, I proposed to the actors, to turn the intended Prologue into an entertainment by itself, as you now see it, by adding two acts more to what I had already written. The subject of it is wholly allegorical; and the allegory itself so very obvious, that it will no sooner be read than understood. It is divided, according to the plain and natural method of every action, into three parts. For even Aristotle himself is contented to say simply, that in all actions there is a beginning, a middle, and an end; after which model all the Spanish plays are built.

The descriptions of the scenes, and other decorations of the stage, I had from Mr Betterton, who has spared neither for industry, nor cost, to make this entertainment perfect, nor for invention of the ornaments to beautify it.

To conclude, though the enemies of the composer are not few, and that there is a party formed against him of his own profession, I hope, and am persuaded, that this prejudice will turn in the end to his advantage. For the greatest part of an audience is always uninterested, though seldom knowing; and if the music be well composed, and well performed, they, who find themselves pleased, will 226 be so wise as not to be imposed upon, and fooled out of their satisfaction. The newness of the undertaking is all the hazard. When operas were first set up in France, they were not followed over eagerly; but they gained daily upon their hearers, till they grew to that height of reputation, which they now enjoy. The English, I confess, are not altogether so musical as the French; and yet they have been pleased already with "The Tempest," and some pieces that followed, which were neither much better written, nor so well composed as this. If it finds encouragement, I dare promise myself to mend my hand, by making a more pleasing fable. In the mean time, every loyal Englishman cannot but be satisfied with the moral of this, which so plainly represents the double restoration of His Sacred Majesty.


This preface being wholly written before the death of my late royal master, (quem semper acerbum, semper honoratum, sic dii voluistis, habebo) I have now lately reviewed it, as supposing I should find many notions in it, that would require correction on cooler thoughts. After four months lying by me, I looked on it as no longer mine, because I had wholly forgotten it; but I confess with some satisfaction, and perhaps a little vanity, that I found myself entertained by it; my own judgment was new to me, and pleased me when I looked on it as another man's. I see no opinion that I would retract or alter, unless it be, that possibly the Italians went not so far as Spain, for the invention of their operas. They might have it in their own country; and that by gathering up the shipwrecks of the 227 Athenian and Roman theatres, which we know were adorned with scenes, music, dances, and machines, especially the Grecian. But of this the learned Monsieur Vossius, who has made our nation his second country, is the best, and perhaps the only judge now living. As for the opera itself, it was all composed, and was just ready to have been performed, when he, in honour of whom it was principally made, was taken from us.

He had been pleased twice or thrice to command, that it should be practised before him, especially the first and third acts of it; and publicly declared more than once, that the composition and choruses were more just, and more beautiful, than any he had heard in England. How nice an ear he had in music, is sufficiently known; his praise therefore has established the reputation of it above censure, and made it in a manner sacred. It is therefore humbly and religiously dedicated to his memory.

It might reasonably have been expected that his death must have changed the whole fabric of the opera, or at least a great part of it. But the design of it originally was so happy, that it needed no alteration, properly so called; for the addition of twenty or thirty lines in the apotheosis of Albion, has made it entirely of a piece, This was the only way which could have been invented, to save it from botched ending; and it fell luckily into my imagination; as if there were a kind of fatality even in the most trivial things concerning the succession: a change was made, and not for the worse, without the least confusion or disturbance; and those very causes, which seemed to threaten us with troubles, conspired to produce our lasting happiness.


  1. This definition occurs in the preface to the "State of Innocence;" but although given by Dryden, and sanctioned by Pope, it has a very limited resemblance to that which is defined. Mr Addison has, however, mistaken Dryden, in supposing that he applied this definition exclusively to what we now properly call wit. From the context it is plain, that he meant to include all poetical composition.—Spectator, No. 62. The word once comprehended human knowledge in general. We still talk of the wit of man, to signify all that man can devise.

  2. The first Italian opera is said to have been that of "Dafne," performed at Florence in 1597.—See Burney's History of Music, Vol. iv. p. 17.

  3. This passage gave great offence, being supposed to contain an oblique reflection on Purcell and the other English composers.

  4. Alluding to the disputes betwixt the King and Parliament, on the important point of the command of the militia.



Full twenty years, and more, our labouring stage

Has lost, on this incorrigible age:

Our poets, the John Ketches of the nation,

Have seemed to lash ye, even to excoriation;

But still no sign remains; which plainly notes,

You bore like heroes, or you bribed like Oates.—

What can we do, when mimicking a fop,

Like beating nut-trees, makes a larger crop?

'Faith, we'll e'en spare our pains! and, to content you,

Will fairly leave you what your Maker meant you.

Satire was once your physic, wit your food;

One nourished not, and t'other drew no blood:

We now prescribe, like doctors in despair,

The diet your weak appetites can bear.

Since hearty beef and mutton will not do,

Here's julep-dance, ptisan of song and show:

Give you strong sense, the liquor is too heady;

You're come to farce,—that's asses milk,—already.

Some hopeful youths there are, of callow wit,

Who one day may be men, if heaven think fit;

Sound may serve such, ere they to sense are grown,

Like leading-strings, till they can walk alone.—

But yet, to keep our friends in countenance, know,

The wise Italians first invented show;

Thence into France the noble pageant past:

'Tis England's credit to be cozened last.

Freedom and zeal have choused you o'er and o'er;

Pray give us leave to bubble you once more;

You never were so cheaply fooled before:

We bring you change, to humour your disease;

Change for the worse has ever used to please:

Then, 'tis the mode of France; without whose rules,

None must presume to set up here for fools.

In France, the oldest man is always young,

Sees operas daily, learns the tunes so long,

Till foot, hand, head, keep time with every song:

229 Each sings his part, echoing from pit and box,

With his hoarse voice, half harmony, half pox[1].

Le plus grand roi du monde is always ringing,

They show themselves good subjects by their singing:

On that condition, set up every throat;

You whigs may sing, for you have changed your note.

Cits and citesses, raise a joyful strain,

'Tis a good omen to begin a reign;

Voices may help your charter to restoring,

And get by singing, what you lost by roaring.



  1. This practice continued at the opera of Paris in the time of Gay. It could hardly have obtained any where else.

    "But, hark! the full orchestra strikes the strings,

    The hero struts, and the whole audience sings;

    My jarring ear harsh grating murmurs wound.

    Hoarse and confused, like Babel's mingled sound.

    Hard chance had placed me near a noisy throat,

    That, in rough quavers, bellowed every note:

    "Pray, Sir," said I, "suspend awhile your song,

    The opera's drowned, your lungs are wondrous strong;

    I wish to hear your Roland's ranting strain,

    When he with rooted forests strews the plain."—

    "Monsieur assurement n'aime pas la musique."

    Then turning round, he joined the ungrateful noise,

    And the loud chorus thundered with his voice."

    Epistle to the Right Hon. William Pulteney.


Names of the Persons,
represented in the same order as they appear first upon the stage.


Augusta. London.



Zelota. Feigned Zeal.

Archon. The General.










Acacia. Innocence.


Asebia. Atheism, or Ungodliness.




A Chorus of Cities.

A Chorus of Rivers.

A Chorus of the People.

A Chorus of Furies.

A Chorus of Nereids and Tritons.

A grand Chorus of Heroes, Loves, and Graces.



The curtain rises, and a new frontispiece is seen, joined to the great pilasters, which are seen on each side of the stage: on the flat of each basis is a shield, adorned with gold; in the middle of the shield, on one side, are two hearts, a small scroll of gold over them, and an imperial crown over the scroll; on the other hand, in the shield, are two quivers full of arrows saltyre, &c.; upon each basis stands a figure bigger than the life; one represents Peace, with a palm in one, and an olive branch in the other hand; the other Plenty, holding a cornucopia, and resting on a pillar. Behind these figures are large columns of the Corinthian order, adorned with fruit and flowers: over one of the figures on the trees is the king's cypher; over the other, the queen's: over the capitals, on the cornice, sits a figure on each side; one represents Poetry, crowned with laurel, holding a scroll in one hand, the other with a pen in it, and resting on a book; the other, Painting, with a pallet and pencils, &c.: on the sweep of the arch lies one of the Muses, playing on a bass-viol; another of the Muses, on the other side, holding a trumpet in one hand, and the other on a harp. Between these figures, in the middle of the sweep of the arch, is a very large pannel in a frame of gold; in this pannel is painted, on one side, a Woman, representing the city of London, 232 leaning her head on her hand in a dejected posture, showing her sorrow and penitence for her offences; the other hand holds the arms of the city, and a mace lying under it: on the other side is a figure of the Thames, with his legs shackled, and leaning on an empty urn: behind these are two imperial figures; one representing his present majesty; and the other the queen: by the king stands Pallas, (or wisdom and valour,) holding a charter for the city, the king extending his hand, as raising her drooping head, and restoring her to her ancient honour and glory: over the city are the envious devouring Harpies flying from the face of his majesty: By the queen stand the Three Graces, holding garlands of flowers, and at her feet Cupids bound, with their bows and arrows broken, the queen pointing with her sceptre to the river, and commanding the Graces to take off their fetters. Over the king, in a scroll, is this verse of Virgil,

Discite justitiam, moniti, et non temnere divos.

Over the queen, this of the same author,

Non ignara mali, miscris succurrere disco.




The Curtain rises, and there appears on either side of the Stage, next to the Frontispiece, a Statue on Horseback of Gold, on Pedestals of Marble, enriched with Gold, and bearing the Imperial Arms of England. One of these Statues is taken from that of the late King at Charing-cross; the other from that figure of his present Majesty (done by that noble Artist, Mr. Gibbons) at Windsor.

The Scene is a Street of Palaces, which lead to the Front of the Royal-Exchange; the great Arch is open, and the view is continued through the open part of the Exchange, to the Arch on the other side, and thence to as much of the Street beyond, as could possibly be taken.


He comes to Augusta and Thamesis. They lie on Couches at a distance from each other in dejected postures; She attended by Cities, He by Rivers.

On the side of Augusta's Couch are painted towers falling, a Scarlet Gown, and a Gold Chain, a Cap of Maintenance thrown down, and a Sword in a Velvet Scabbard thrust through it, the City Arms, a Mace with an old useless Charter, and all in disorder. Before Thamesis are broken Reeds, Bull-rushes, Sedge, &c. with his Urn Reverst.


Mercury Descends.

Mer. Thou glorious fabric! stand, for ever stand:
Well worthy thou to entertain
The God of Traffic, and of Gain,
To draw the concourse of the land,
And wealth of all the main.
But where the shoals of merchants meeting?
Welcome to their friends repeating,
Busy bargains' deafer sound?
Tongue confused of every nation?
Nothing here but desolation,
Mournful silence reigns around.

Aug. O Hermes! pity me!
I was, while heaven did smile,
The queen of all this isle,
Europe's pride,
And Albion's bride;
But gone my plighted lord! ah, gone is he!
235 O Hermes! pity me!

Tham. And I the noble Flood, whose tributary tide
Does on her silver margent smoothly glide;
But heaven grew jealous of our happy state,
And bid revolving fate
Our doom decree;
No more the King of Floods am I,
No more the Queen of Albion, she! [These two Lines are sung by Reprises betwixt Augusta and Thamesis.

Aug. O Hermes! pity me!

Tham. O Hermes! pity me!

Sung by Aug. and Tham. together.

Aug. Behold!

Tham. Behold!

Aug. My turrets on the ground,
That once my temples crowned!

Tham. The sedgy honours of my brows dispersed!
My urn reversed!

Merc. Rise, rise, Augusta, rise!
And wipe thy weeping eyes:
Augusta!—for I call thee so:
'Tis lawful for the gods to know
Thy future name,
And growing fame.
Rise, rise, Augusta, rise.

Aug. O never, never will I rise,
Never will I cease my mourning,
Never wipe my weeping eyes,
Till my plighted lord's returning!
Never, never will I rise!

Merc. What brought thee, wretch, to this despair?
The cause of thy misfortune show.

Aug. It seems the gods take little care
Of human things below,
When even our sufferings here they do not know.

Merc. Not unknowing came I down,
Disloyal town!
236 Speak! didst not thou
Forsake thy faith, and break thy nuptial vow?

Aug. Ah, 'tis too true! too true!
But what could I, unthinking city, do?
Faction swayed me,
Zeal allured me,
Both assured me.
Both betrayed me!

Merc. Suppose me sent
Thy Albion to restore,—
Can'st thou repent?

Aug. My falsehood I deplore!

Tham. Thou seest her mourn, and I
With all my waters will her tears supply.

Merc. Then by some loyal deed regain
Thy long-lost reputation,
To wash away the stain
That blots a noble nation,
And free thy famous town again
From force of usurpation.

Chorus of all. We'll wash away the stain
That blots a noble nation,
And free this famous town again
From force of usurpation.[Dance of the Followers of Mercury.

Aug. Behold Democracy and Zeal appear;
She, that allured my heart away,
And he, that after made a prey.

Merc. Resist, and do not fear!

Chorus of all. Resist, and do not fear!

Enter Democracy and Zeal attended by Archon.

Democ. Nymph of the city! bring thy treasures,
Bring me more
To waste in pleasures.

Aug. Thou hast exhausted all my store,
And I can give no more.

237 Zeal. Thou horny flood, for Zeal provide
A new supply; and swell thy moony tide,
That on thy buxom back the floating gold may glide.

Tham. Not all the gold the southern sun produces,
Or treasures of the famed Levant,
Suffice for pious uses,
To feed the sacred hunger of a saint!

Democ. Woe to the vanquished, woe!
Slave as thou art,
Thy wealth impart,
And me thy victor know!

Zeal. And me thy victor know.
Resistless arms are in my hand,
Thy bars shall burst at my command,
Thy tory head lie low.
Woe to the vanquished, woe!

Aug. Were I not bound by fate
For ever, ever here,
My walls I would translate
To some more happy sphere,
Removed from servile fear.

Tham. Removed from servile fear.
Would I could disappear,
And sink below the main;
For commonwealth's a load,
My old imperial flood
Shall never, never bear again.

A commonwealth's a load,
Our old imperial flood,
Shall never, never, never, bear again.
Thames. and Aug. together.

Dem. Pull down her gates, expose her bare;
I must enjoy the proud disdainful fair.
Haste, Archon, haste
To lay her waste[1]!

238 Zeal. I'll hold her fast
To be embraced!

Dem. And she shall see
A thousand tyrants are in thee,
A thousand thousand more in me!

Archon. to Aug. From the Caledonian shore
Hither am I come to save thee,
Not to force or to enslave thee,
But thy Albion to restore:
Hark! the peals the people ring,
Peace, and freedom, and a king.

Chorus. Hark! the peals the people ring,
Peace, and freedom, and a king.

Aug. and Tham. To arms! to arms!

Archon. I lead the way!

Merc. Cease your alarms!
And stay, brave Archon, stay!
'Tis doomed by fate's decree,
'Tis doomed that Albion's dwelling,
All other isles excelling,
By peace shall happy be.

Archon. What then remains for me?

Merc. Take my caduceus! Take this awful wand,
With this the infernal ghosts I can command,
And strike a terror through the Stygian land.
Commonwealth will want pretences,
Sleep will creep on all his senses;
Zeal that lent him her assistance,
Stand amazed without resistance. [Archon touches Democracy with a Wand.

Dem. I feel a lazy slumber lays me down:
Let Albion, let him take the crown.
239 Happy let him reign,
Till I wake again.[Falls asleep.

Zeal. In vain I rage, in vain
I rouse my powers;
But I shall wake again,
I shall, to better hours.
Even in slumber will I vex him;
Still perplex him,
Still incumber:
Know, you that have adored him,
And sovereign power afford him,
We'll reap the gains
Of all your pains,
And seem to have restored him.[Zeal falls asleep.

Aug. and Tham. A stupifying sadness
Leaves her without motion;
But sleep will cure her madness,
And cool her to devotion.

A double Pedestal rises: on the Front of it is painted, in Stone-colour, two Women; one holding a double-faced Vizor; the other a Book, representing Hypocrisy and Fanaticism; when Archon has charmed Democracy and Zeal with the Caduceus of Mercury, they fall asleep on the Pedestal, and it sinks with them.

Merc. Cease, Augusta! cease thy mourning,
Happy days appear;
God-like Albion is returning
Loyal hearts to chear.
Every grace his youth adorning,
Glorious as the star of morning,
Or the planet of the year.

Chor. Godlike Albion is returning, &c.

Merc. to Arch. Haste away, loyal chief, haste away,
No delay, but obey;
To receive thy loved lord, haste away.[Ex. Arch.

240 Tham. Medway and Isis, you that augment me,
Tides that increase my watery store,
And you that are friends to peace and plenty,
Send my merry boys all ashore;
Seamen skipping,
Mariners leaping,
Shouting, tripping,
Send my merry boys all ashore!

A dance of Watermen in the King's and Duke's Liveries.

The Clouds divide, and Juno appears in a Machine drawn by Peacocks; while a Symphony is playing, it moves gently forward, and as it descends, it opens and discovers the Tail of the Peacock, which is so large, that it almost fills the opening of the Stage between Scene and Scene.

Merc. The clouds divide; what wonders,
What wonders do I see!
The wife of Jove! 'Tis she,
That thunders, more than thundering he!

Juno. No, Hermes, no;
'Tis peace above
As 'tis below;
For Jove has left his wand'ring love.

Tham. Great queen of gathering clouds,
Whose moisture fills our floods,
See, we fall before thee,
Prostrate we adore thee!

Aug. Great queen of nuptial rites,
Whose power the souls unites,
And fills the genial bed with chaste delights,
See, we fall before thee,
Prostrate we adore thee!

Juno. 'Tis ratified above by every god,
241 And Jove has firmed it with an awful nod,
That Albion shall his love renew:
But oh, ungrateful fair,
Repeated crimes beware,
And to his bed be true!

Iris appears on a very large Machine. This was really seen the 18th of March, 1684, by Captain Christopher Gunman, on Board his R.H. Yacht, then in Calais Pierre: He drew it as it then appeared, and gave a Draught of it to us. We have only added the Cloud where the Person of Iris sits.

Juno. Speak, Iris, from Batavia, speak the news!
Has he performed my dread command,
Returning Albion to his longing land,
Or dare the nymph refuse?

Iris. Albion, by the nymph attended,
Was to Neptune recommended;
Peace and Plenty spread the sails,
Venus, in her shell before him,
From the sands in safety bore him,
And supplied Etesian gales.[Retornella.
Archon, on the shore commanding,
Lowly met him at his landing,
Crowds of people swarmed around;
Welcome rang like peals of thunder;
Welcome, rent the skies asunder;
Welcome, heaven and earth resound.

Juno. Why stay we then on earth,
When mortals laugh and love?
'Tis time to mount above,
And send Astræa down,
The ruler of his birth,
And guardian of his crown.
'Tis time to mount above,
And send Astræa down.

Mer. Jun. Ir. 'Tis time to mount above,
242 And send Astræa down.[Mer. Ju. and Ir. ascend.

Aug. and Tham. The royal squadron marches,
Erect triumphal arches,
For Albion and Albanius;
Rejoice at their returning,
The passages adorning:
The royal squadron marches,
Erect triumphal arches
For Albion and Albanius.

Part of the Scene disappears, and the Four Triumphal arches, erected on his Majesty's Coronation, are seen.

Albion appears, Albanius by his Side, preceded by Archon, followed by a Train, &c.

Full Chorus. Hail, royal Albion, Hail!

Aug. Hail, royal Albion, hail to thee,
Thy longing people's expectation!

Tham. Sent from the gods to set us free
From bondage and from usurpation!

Aug. To pardon and to pity me,
And to forgive a guilty nation!

Tham. Behold the differing Climes agree,
Rejoicing in thy restoration.

Entry. Representing the Four Parts of the World, rejoicing at the Restoration of Albion.



The Scene is a Poetical Hell. The Change is total; The Upper Part of the House, as well as the Side-Scenes. There is the Figure of Prometheus chained to a Rock, the Vulture gnawing his Liver; Sisyphus rolling the Stone; the Belides, &c. Beyond, Abundance of Figures in various Torments. Then a great Arch of Fire. Behind this, three Pyramids of Flames in perpetual Agitation. Beyond this, glowing Fire, which terminates the Prospect.

Pluto, and the Furies; with Alecto, Democracy, and Zelota.

Plu. Infernal offspring of the night,
Debarred of heaven your native right,
And from the glorious fields of light,
Condemned in shades to drag the chain,
And fill with groans the gloomy plain;
Since, pleasures here are none below,
Be ill our good, our joy be woe;
Our work to embroil the worlds above,
Disturb their union, disunite their love,
And blast the beauteous frame of our victorious foe.

Dem. and Zel. O thou, for whom those worlds are made,
Thou sire of all things, and their end,
From hence they spring, and when they fade,
In shuffled heaps they hither tend;
Here human souls receive their breath,
And wait for bodies after death.

Dem. Hear our complaint, and grant our prayer.

Plu. Speak what you are,
And whence you fell?

244 Dem. I am thy first-begotten care,
Conceived in heaven, but born in hell.
When thou didst bravely undertake in fight
Yon arbitrary power,
That rules by sovereign might,
To set thy heaven-born fellows free,
And leave no difference in degree,
In that auspicious hour
Was I begot by thee.

Zel. One mother bore us at a birth,
Her name was Zeal before she fell;
No fairer nymph in heaven or earth,
'Till saintship taught her to rebel:
But losing fame,
And changing name,
She's now the Good Old Cause in hell.

Plu. Dear pledges of a flame not yet forgot,
Say, what on earth has been your lot?

Dem. and Zel. The wealth of Albion's isle was ours,
Augusta stooped with all her stately towers.

Dem. Democracy kept nobles under.

Zel. Zeal from the pulpit roared like thunder.

Dem. I trampled on the state.

Zel. I lorded o'er the gown.

Dem. and Zel. We both in triumph sate,
Usurpers of the crown.
But oh, prodigious turn of fate!
Heaven controuling,
Sent us rolling, rolling down.

Plu. I wondered how of late our Acherontic shore
Grew thin, and hell unpeopled of her store;
Charon, for want of use, forgot his oar.
The souls of bodies dead flew all sublime,
And hither none returned to purge a crime:
But now I see, since Albion is restored,
Death has no business, nor the vengeful sword.
'Tis too, too much that here I lie
245 From glorious empire hurled;
By Jove excluded from the sky;
By Albion from the world.

Dem. Were common-wealth restored again,
Thou shouldst have millions of the slain
To fill thy dark abode.

Zel. For he a race of rebels sends,
And Zeal the path of heaven pretends,
But still mistakes the road.

Plu. My labouring thought
At length hath wrought
A bravely bold design,
In which you both shall join.
In borrowed shapes to earth return;
Thou, Common-wealth, a Patriot seem,
Thou, Zeal, like true Religion burn,
To gain the giddy crowd's esteem.—
Alecto, thou to fair Augusta go,
And all thy snakes into her bosom throw.

Dem. Spare some, to fling
Where they may sting
The breast of Albion's king.

Zel. Let jealousies so well be mixed,
That great Albanius be unfixed.

Plu. Forbear your vain attempts, forbear:
Hell can have no admittance there;
The people's fear will serve as well,
Make him suspected, them rebel.

Zel. You've all forgot
To forge a plot,
In seeming care of Albion's life;
Inspire the crowd
With clamours loud,
To involve his brother and his wife.

Alec. Take, of a thousand souls at thy command,
The basest, blackest of the Stygian band,
246 One, that will swear to all they can invent,
So thoroughly damned, that he can ne'er repent:
One, often sent to earth,
And still at every birth
He took a deeper stain:
One, that in Adam's time was Cain;
One, that was burnt in Sodom's flame,
For crimes even here too black to name:
One, who through every form of ill has run:
One, who in Naboth's days was Belial's son;
One, who has gained a body fit for sin;
Where all his crimes
Of former times
Lie crowded in a skin[2].

Plu. Take him,
Make him
What you please;
For he can be
A rogue with ease.
One for mighty mischief born;
He can swear, and be forsworn.

Plu. and Alect. Take him, make him what you please;
For he can be a rogue with ease.

Plu. Let us laugh, let us laugh, let us laugh at our woes,
The wretch that is damned has nothing to lose.—
Ye furies, advance
With the ghosts in a dance.
'Tis a jubilee when the world is in trouble;
247 When people rebel,
We frolic in hell;
But when the king falls, the pleasure is double.
[A single entry of a Devil, followed by an entry of twelve Devils.

Chorus. Let us laugh, let us laugh, let us laugh at our woes,
The wretch that is damned hath nothing to lose.

The Scene changes to a Prospect taken from the middle of the Thames; one side of it begins at York-Stairs, thence to White-Hall, and the Mill-bank, &c. The other from the Saw-mill, thence to the Bishop's Palace, and on as far as can be seen in a clear day.

Enter Augusta: She has a Snake in her Bosom hanging down.

Aug. O jealousy, thou raging ill,
Why hast thou found a room in lovers' hearts,
Afflicting what thou canst not kill,
And poisoning love himself, with his own darts?
I find my Albion's heart is gone,
My first offences yet remain,
Nor can repentance love regain;
One writ in sand, alas, in marble one.
I rave, I rave! my spirits boil
Like flames increased, and mounting high with pouring oil;
Disdain and love succeed by turns;
One freezes me, and t'other burns; it burns.
Away, soft love, thou foe to rest!
Give hate the full possession of my breast.
Hate is the nobler passion far,
When love is ill repaid;
For at one blow it ends the war,
And cures the love-sick maid.

248 Enter Democracy and Zelota; one represents a Patriot, the other, Religion.

Dem. Let not thy generous passion waste its rage,
But once again restore our golden age;
Still to weep and to complain,
Does but more provoke disdain.
Let public good
Inflame thy blood;
With crowds of warlike people thou art stored.
And heaps of gold;
Reject thy old,
And to thy bed receive another lord.

Zel. Religion shall thy bonds release,
For heaven can loose, as well as tie all;
And when 'tis for the nation's peace,
A king is but a king on trial;
When love is lost, let marriage end,
And leave a husband for a friend.

Dem. With jealousy swarming,
The people are arming,
The frights of oppression invade them.

Zel. If they fall to relenting,
For fear of repenting,
Religion shall help to persuade them.

Aug. No more, no more temptations use
To bend my will;
How hard a task 'tis to refuse
A pleasing ill!

Dem. Maintain the seeming duty of a wife,
A modest show with jealous eyes deceive;
Affect a fear for hated Albion's life,
And for imaginary dangers grieve.

Zel. His foes already stand protected,
His friends by public fame suspected,
Albanius must forsake his isle;
A plot, contrived in happy hour,
249 Bereaves him of his royal power,
For heaven to mourn, and hell to smile.

The former Scene continues.

Enter Albion and ALBANIUS with a train.

Alb. Then Zeal and Common-wealth infest
My land again;
The fumes of madness, that possest
The people's giddy brain,
Once more disturb the nation's rest,
And dye rebellion in a deeper stain.


Will they at length awake the sleeping sword,
And force revenge from their offended lord?
How long, ye gods, how long
Can royal patience bear
The insults and wrong
Of madmen's jealousies, and causeless fear?


I thought their love by mildness might be gained,
By peace I was restored, in peace I reigned;
But tumults, seditions,
And haughty petitions,
Are all the effects of a merciful nature;
Forgiving and granting,
Ere mortals are wanting,
But leads to rebelling against their creator.

Mercury descends.

Mer. With pity Jove beholds thy state,
But Jove is circumscribed by fate;
The o'erwhelming tide rolls on so fast,
It gains upon this island's waste;
And is opposed too late! too late!

250 Alb. What then must helpless Albion do?

Mer. Delude the fury of the foe,
And, to preserve Albanius, let him go;
For 'tis decreed,
Thy land must bleed,
For crimes not thine, by wrathful Jove;
A sacred flood
Of royal blood
Cries vengeance, vengeance, loud above.[Mercury ascends.

Alb. Shall I, to assuage
Their brutal rage,
The regal stem destroy?
Or must I lose,
To please my foes,
My sole remaining joy?
Ye gods, what worse,
What greater curse,
Can all your wrath employ!

Alban. Oh Albion! hear the gods and me!
Well am I lost, in saving thee.
Not exile or danger can fright a brave spirit,
With innocence guarded,
With virtue rewarded;
I make of my sufferings a merit.

Alb. Since then the gods and thou will have it so,
Go; (Can I live once more to bid thee?) go,
Where thy misfortunes call thee, and thy fate;
Go, guiltless victim of a guilty state!
In war, my champion to defend,
In peaceful hours, when souls unbend,
My brother, and, what's more, my friend!
Borne where the foamy billows roar,
On seas less dangerous than the shore;
Go, where the gods thy refuge have assigned,
Go from my sight; but never from my mind.

251 Alban. Whatever hospitable ground
Shall be for me, unhappy exile, found,
'Till heaven vouchsafe to smile;
What land soe'er,—
Though none so dear
As this ungrateful isle,—
O think! O think! no distance can remove
My vowed allegiance, and my loyal love.

Alb. and Alban. The rosy-fingered morn appears,
And from her mantle shakes her tears,
In promise of a glorious day;
The sun, returning, mortals chears,
And drives the rising mists away,
In promise of a glorious day.[Ritornelle.

The farther part of the heaven opens, and discovers a Machine; as it moves forward, the clouds which are before it divide, and shew the person of Apollo, holding the Reins in his Hand. As they fall lower, the Horses appear with the Rays, and a great glory about Apollo.

Apol. All hail, ye royal pair,
The Gods' peculiar care!
Fear not the malice of your foes;
Their dark designing,
And combining,
Time and truth shall once expose:
Fear not the malice of your foes.


My sacred oracles assure,
The tempest shall not long endure;
But when the nation's crimes are purged away,
Then shall you both in glory shine;
Propitious both, and both divine;
In lustre equal to the god of day. [Apollo goes forward out of sight.

252 Neptune rises out of the Water, and a Train of Rivers, Tritons, and Sea-Nymphs attend him.

Tham. Old father Ocean calls my tide;
Come away, come away;
The barks upon the billows ride,
The master will not stay;
The merry boatswain from his side
His whistle takes, to check and chide
The lingering lads' delay,
And all the crew aloud have cried,
Come away, come away.

See, the god of seas attends thee,
Nymphs divine, a beauteous train;
All the calmer gales befriend thee,
In thy passage o'er the main;
Every maid her locks is binding,
Every Triton's horn is winding;
Welcome to the watry plain!


Two Nymphs and Tritons sing.

Ye Nymphs, the charge is royal,

Which you must convey;

Your hearts and hands employ all,

Hasten to obey;

253 When earth is grown disloyal,

Shew there's honour in the sea.

The Chacon continues.

The Chorus of Nymphs and Tritons repeat the same Verses.

The Chacon continues.

Two Nymphs and Tritons.

Sports and pleasures shall attend you

Through all the watry plains,

Where Neptune reigns;

Venus ready to defend you,

And her nymphs to ease your pains,

No storm shall offend you,

Passing the main;

Nor billow threat in vain

So sacred a train,

'Till the gods, that defend you,

Restore you again.

The Chacon continues.

The Chorus repeat the same Verses, Sports and Pleasures &c.

The Chacon continues.

The two Nymphs and Tritons sing.

See, at your blest returning,

Rage disappears;

The widowed isle in mourning

Dries up her tears;

With flowers the meads adorning,

Pleasure appears,

And love dispels the nation's causeless fears.

254 The Chacon continues.

The Chorus of Nymphs and Tritons repeat the same Verses, See at your blest returning, &c.

The Chacon continues.

Then the Chorus repeat, See the god of Seas, &c. And this Chorus concludes the Act.


The Scene is a View of Dover, taken from the Sea. A row of Cliffs fill up each Side of the Stage, and the Sea the middle of it, which runs into the Pier; Beyond the Pier, is the town of Dover; On each side of the Town, is seen a very high hill; on one of which is the Castle of Dover; on the other, the great stone which they call the Devil's-Drop. Behind the Town several Hills are seen at a great distance, which finish the View.

Enter Albion bare-headed; Acacia or Innocence with him.

Alb. Behold, ye powers! from whom I own
A birth immortal, and a throne;
See a sacred king uncrowned,
See your offspring, Albion, bound;
The gifts, you gave with lavish hand,
Are all bestowed in vain;
Extended empire on the land,
Unbounded o'er the main.

Aca. Empire o'er the land and main,
Heaven, that gave, can take again;
But a mind, that's truly brave,
255 Stands despising
Storms arising,
And can ne'er be made a slave.

Alb. Unhelped I am, who pitied the distressed,
And, none oppressing, am by all oppressed;
Betrayed, forsaken, and of hope bereft.

Aca. Yet still the gods, and Innocence are left.

Alb. Ah! what canst thou avail,
Against rebellion armed with zeal,
And faced with public good?
O monarchs, see
Your fate in me!
To rule by love,
To shed no blood,
May be extolled above;
But here below,
Let princes know,
'Tis fatal to be good.

Chorus of both. To rule by love, &c.

Aca. Your father Neptune, from the seas,
Has Nereids and blue Tritons sent,
To charm your discontent.

Nereids rise out of the Sea, and sing; Tritons dance.

From the low palace of old father Ocean,
Come we in pity your cares to deplore;
Sea-racing dolphins are trained for our motion,
Moony tides swelling to roll us ashore.


Every nymph of the flood, her tresses rending,
Throws off her armlet of pearl in the main;
Neptune in anguish his charge unattending,
Vessels are foundering, and vows are in vain.

256 Enter Tyranny, Democracy, represented by Men, attended by Asebia and Zelota, Women.

Tyr. Ha, ha! 'tis what so long I wished and vowed:
Our plots and delusions
Have wrought such confusions,
That the monarch's a slave to the crowd.

Dem. A design we fomented,—

Tyr. By hell it was new!

Dem. A false plot invented,—

Tyr. To cover a true.

Dem. First with promised faith we flattered.

Tyr. Then jealousies and fears we scattered.

Aseb. We never valued right and wrong,
But as they served our cause.

Zel. Our business was to please the throng,
And court their wild applause;

Aseb. For this we bribed the lawyer's tongue.
And then destroyed the laws.

Cho. For this, &c.

Tyr. To make him safe, we made his friends our prey;

Dem. To make him great, we scorned his royal sway,—

Tyr. And to confirm his crown, we took his heir away.

Dem. To encrease his store,
We kept him poor;

Tyr. And when to wants we had betrayed him,
To keep him low,
Pronounced a foe,
Whoe'er presumed to aid him.

Aseb. But you forget the noblest part,
And master piece of all your art,—
You told him he was sick at heart.

Zel. And when you could not work belief
In Albion of the imagined grief;
257 Your perjured vouchers, in a breath,
Made oath, that he was sick to death;
And then five hundred quacks of skill
Resolved, 'twas fit he should be ill.

Aseb. Now hey for a common-wealth,
We merrily drink and sing!
'Tis to the nation's health,
For every man's a king.

Zel. Then let the mask begin,
The Saints advance,
To fill the dance,
And the Property Boys come in.

The Boys in white begin a Fantastic Dance[4].

Cho. Let the saints ascend the throne.

Dem. Saints have wives, and wives have preachers,
Gifted men, and able teachers;
These to get, and those to own.

Cho. Let the saints ascend the throne.

Aseb. Freedom is a bait alluring;
Them betraying, us securing,
258 While to sovereign power we soar.

Zel. Old delusions, new repeated,
Shews them born but to be cheated,
As their fathers were before.

Six Sectaries begin a formal affected Dance; the two gravest whisper the other four, and draw them into the Plot; they pull out and deliver Libels to them, which they receive.

Dem. See friendless Albion there alone,
Without defence
But innocence;
Albanius now is gone.

Tyr. Say then, what must be done?

Dem. The gods have put him in our hand[5].

Zel. He must be slain.

Tyr. But who shall then command?

Dem. The people; for the right returns to those.
Who did the trust impose.

Tyr. 'Tis fit another sun should rise,
To cheer the world, and light the skies.

Dem. But when the sun
His race has run,
And neither cheers the world, nor lights the skies,
'Tis fit a common-wealth of stars should rise.

Aseb. Each noble vice
Shall bear a price,
And virtue shall a drug become;
An empty name
Was all her fame,
But now she shall be dumb.

Zel. If open vice be what you drive at,
A name so broad we'll ne'er connive at.
259 Saints love vice, but, more refinedly,
Keep her close, and use her kindly.

Tyr. Fall on.

Dem. Fall on; e'er Albion's death, we'll try,
If one or many shall his room supply.

The White Boys dance about the Saints; the Saints draw out the Association, and offer it to them; they refuse it, and quarrel about it; then the White Boys and Saints fall into a confused dance, imitating fighting. The White Boys, at the end of the dance, being driven out by the Sectaries, with Protestant Flails.[6]

Alb. See the gods my cause defending,
When all human help was past!

Acac. Factions mutually contending,
By each other fall at last.

Alb. But is not yonder Proteus' cave,
Below that steep,
Which rising billows brave?

Acac. It is; and in it lies the god asleep;
And snorting by,
We may descry
The monsters of the deep.

Alb. He knows the past,
And can resolve the future too.

Acac. 'Tis true!
260 But hold him fast,
For he can change his hue.[7]

The Cave of Proteus rises out of the Sea; it consists of several arches of Rock-work adorned with mother-of-pearl, coral, and abundance of shells of various kinds. Through the arches is seen the Sea, and parts of Dover-pier; in the middle of the Cave is Proteus asleep on a rock adorned with shells, &c. like the Cave. Albion and Acacia seize on him; and while a symphony is playing, he sinks as they are bringing him forward, and changes himself into a Lion, a Crocodile, a Dragon, and then to his own shape again; he comes forward to the front of the stage, and sings.


Pro. Albion, loved of gods and men,
Prince of peace, too mildly reigning,
Cease thy sorrow and complaining;
Thou shall be restored again:
Albion, loved of gods and men.


Still thou art the care of heaven,
In thy youth to exile driven;
Heaven thy ruin then prevented,
'Till the guilty land repented.
In thy age, when none could aid thee,
Foes conspired, and friends betrayed thee;
To the brink of danger driven,
Still thou art the care of heaven.

261 Alb. To whom shall I my preservation owe?

Pro. Ask me no more; for 'tis by Neptune's foe.[8]

Proteus descends.

Democracy and Zelota return with their faction.

Dem. Our seeming friends, who joined alone,
To pull down one, and build another throne,
Are all dispersed and gone;
We brave republic souls remain.

Zel. And 'tis by us that Albion must be slain;
Say, whom shall we employ
The tyrant to destroy?

Dem. That Archer is by fate designed,
With one eye clear, and t'other blind.

Zel. He comes inspired to do't.

Omnes. Shoot, holy Cyclop, shoot.

The one-eyed Archer advances, the rest follow. A fire arises betwixt them and Albion.[9]


Dem. Lo! heaven and earth combine
To blast our bold design.
What miracles are shewn!
262 Nature's alarmed,
And fires are armed,
To guard the sacred throne.

Zel. What help, when jarring elements conspire,
To punish our audacious crimes?
Retreat betimes,
To shun the avenging fire.

Chor. To shun the avenging fire.[Ritor.

263 As they are going back, a fire arises from behind; they all sink together.[10]

Alb. Let our tuneful accents upwards move,
Till they reach the vaulted arch of those above;
Let us adore them;
Let us fall before them.

264 Acac. Kings they made, and kings they love.
When they protect a rightful monarch's reign,
The gods in heaven, the gods on earth maintain.

Both. When they protect, &c.

Alb. But see, what glories gild the main!

Acac. Bright Venus brings Albanius back again,
With all the Loves and Graces in her train.

A machine rises out of the sea; it opens, and discovers Venus and Albanius sitting in a great scallop-shell, richly adorned. Venus is attended by the Loves and Graces, Albanius by Heroes; the shell is drawn by dolphins; it moves forward, while a symphony of flutes-doux, &c. is playing, till it lands them on the stage, and then it closes and sinks.

Venus sings.

Albion, hail! the gods present thee
All the richest of their treasures,
Peace and pleasures,
To content thee,
Dancing their eternal measures. [Graces and Loves dance an entry.

Venus. But, above all human blessing,
Take a warlike loyal brother,
Never prince had such another;
Conduct, courage, truth expressing,
All heroic worth possessing. [Here the Heroes' dance is performed.

Chor. of all. But above all, &c.[Ritor.

Whilst a Symphony is playing, a very large, and a very glorious Machine descends; the figure of it oval, all the clouds shining with gold, abundance of Angels and Cherubins flying about them, and playing in them; in the midst of it sits Apollo on a throne of gold; he comes from the machine to Albion.

265 Phœb. From Jove's imperial court,
Where all the gods resort,
In awful counsel met,
Surprising news I bear;
Albion the great
Must change his seat,
For he is adopted there.

Venus. What stars above shall we displace?
Where shall he fill a room divine?

Nept. Descended from the sea-gods' race,
Let him by my Orion shine.

Phœb. No, not by that tempestuous sign;
Betwixt the Balance and the Maid,
The just,
And peaceful shade,
Shall shine in heaven with beams displayed,
While great Albanius is on earth obeyed.

Venus. Albanius, lord of land and main,
Shall with fraternal virtues reign;
And add his own,
To fill the throne;
Adored and feared, and loved no less;
In war victorious, mild in peace,
The joy of man, and Jove's increase.

Acac. O thou! who mountest the æthereal throne,
Be kind and happy to thy own;
Now Albion is come,
The people of the sky
Run gazing, and cry,—Make room,
Make room, make room,
Make room for our new deity!

Here Albion mounts the machine, which moves upward slowly.

A full chorus of all that Acacia sung.

266 Ven. Behold what triumphs are prepared to grace
Thy glorious race,
Where love and honour claim an equal place;
Already they are fixed by fate,
And only ripening ages wait.

The Scene changes to a Walk of very high trees; at the end of the Walk is a view of that part of Windsor, which faces Eton; in the midst of it is a row of small trees, which lead to the Castle-Hill. In the first scene, part of the Town and part of the Hill. In the next, the Terrace Walk, the King's lodgings, and the upper part of St George's chapel, then the keep; and, lastly, that part of the Castle beyond the keep.

In the air is a vision of the Honours of the Garter; the Knights in procession, and the King under a canopy; beyond this, the upper end of St George's hall.

Fame rises out of the middle of the Stage, standing on a Globe, on which is the Arms of England: the Globe rests on a Pedestal; on the front of the Pedestal in drawn a Man with a long, lean, pale face, with fiends' wings, and snakes twisted round his body; he is encompassed by several fanatical rebellious heads, who suck poison from him, which runs out of a tap in his side.[11]

267 Fame. Renown, assume thy trumpet!
From pole to pole resounding
Great Albion's name;
Great Albion's name shall be
The theme of Fame, shall be great Albion's name,
Great Albion's name, great Albion's name.
Record the garter's glory;
A badge for heroes, and for kings to bear;
For kings to bear!
And swell the immortal story,
With songs of Gods, and fit for Gods to hear;
And swell the immortal story,
With songs of Gods, and fit for Gods to hear;
For Gods to hear.

A full Chorus of all the Voices and Instruments; trumpets and hautboys make Ritornello's of all Fame sings; and twenty-four Dancers, all the time in a chorus, and dance to the end of the Opera.


  1. The reader must recollect the orders of the Rump parliament to general Monk, to destroy the gates and portcullises of the city of London; which commission, by the bye, he actually executed, with all the forms of contempt, although, in a day or two after, he took up his quarters in the city, apologized for what had passed, and declared against the parliament.

  2. Dr. Titus Oates, the principal witness to the Popish Plot, was accused of unnatural and infamous crimes. He was certainly a most ineffably impudent, perjured villain.

  3. The Chacon is supposed by Sir John Hawkins to be of Moorish or Saracenic origin. "The characteristic of the Chacone is a bass, or ground, consisting of four measures, wherein three crotchets make the bar, and the repetition thereof with variations in the several parts, from the beginning to the end of the air, which in respect of its length, has no limit but the discretion of the composer. The whole of the twelfth sonata of the second opera of Corelli is a Chacone." Hist. of Music, vol. iv. p. 388. There is also, I am informed, a very celebrated Chacon composed by Jomelli.

  4. By the White Boys or Property Boys, are meant the adherents of the Duke of Monmouth, who affected great zeal for liberty and property, and assumed white badges, as marks of the innocence of their intentions. When the Duke came to the famous Parliament held at Oxford, "he was met by about 100 Batchellors all in white, except black velvet caps, with white wands in their hands, who divided themselves, and marched as a guard to his person." Account of the Life of the Duke of Monmouth, p. 107. In the Duke's tour through the west of England, he was met at Exeter, by "a brave company of brisk stout young men, all cloathed in linen waistcoats and drawers, white and harmless, having not so much as a stick in their hands; they were in number about 900 or 1000." ibid. p. 103. See the notes on Absalom and Achitophel. The saints, on the other hand, mean the ancient republican zealots and fanatics, who, though they would willingly have joined in the destruction of Charles, did not wish that Monmouth should succeed him, but aimed at the restoration of the commonwealth. Hence the following dispute betwixt Tyranny and Democracy.

  5. The atrocious and blasphemous sentiment in the text was actually used by the fanatics who murdered Sharpe, the archbishop of St Andrews. When they unexpectedly met him during their search for another person, they exclaimed, that "the Lord had delivered him into their hands."

  6. It is easy to believe, that, whatever was the, nature of the schemes nourished by Monmouth, Russel, and Essex, they could have no concern with the low and sanguinary cabal of Ramsay, Walcot, and Rumbold, who were all of them old republican officers and commonwealth's men. The flight of Shaftesbury, whose bustling and politic brain had rendered him the sole channel of communication betwixt these parties, as well as the means of uniting them in one common design, threw loose all connection between them; so that each, after his retreat, seems to have acted independantly of, and often in contradiction to the other.

  7. The reader may judge, whether some distant and obscure allusion to the trimming politics of Halifax, to whom the Duke of York, our author's patron, was hostile, may not be here insinuated. During the stormy session of his two last parliaments, Charles was much guided by his temporising and camelion-like policy.

  8. That is by fire. See next note.

  9. The allegory of the one-eyed Archer, and the fire arising betwixt him and Albion, will be made evident by the following extracts from Sprat's history of the Conspiracy. In enumerating the persons engaged in the Rye-house plot, he mentions "Richard Rumbold, maltster, an old army officer, a desperate and bloody Ravaillac." After agitating several schemes for assassinating Charles, the Rye-house was fixed upon as a spot which the king must necessarily pass in his journey trom Newmarket, and which, being a solitary moated house, in the actual occupation of Rumbold, afforded the conspirators facility of previous concealment and subsequent defence. "All other propositions, as subject to far more casualties and hazards, soon gave place to that of the Rye, in Herefordshire, a house then inhabited by the foresaid Richard Rumbold, who proposed that to be the seat of the action, offering himself to command the party, that was to do the work. Him, therefore, as the most daring captain, and by reason of a blemish in one of his eyes, they were afterwards wont, in common discourse, to call Hannibal; often drinking healths to Hannibal and his boys, meaning Rumbold and his hellish crew.

    "Immediately upon the coaches coming within the gates and hedges about the house, the conspirators were to divide into several parties; some before, in the habit of labourers, were to overthrow a cart in the narrowest passage, so as to prevent all possibility of escape: others were to fight the guards, Walcot chusing that part upon a punctilio of honour; others were to shoot at the coachman, postillion, and horses; others to aim only at his Majesty's coach, which party was to be under the particular direction of Rumbold himself; the villain declaring beforehand, that, upon that occasion, he would make use of a very good blunderbuss, which was in West's possession, and blasphemously adding, that Ferguson should first consecrate it." ... "But whilst they were thus wholly intent on this barbarous work, and proceeded securely in its contrivance without any the least doubt of a prosperous success, behold! on a sudden, God miraculously disappointed all their hopes and designs, by the terrible conflagration unexpectedly breaking out at Newmarket. In which extraordinary event there was one remarkable passage, that is not so generally taken notice of, as, for the glory of God, and the confusion of his Majesty's enemies, it ought to be.

    "For, after that the approaching fury of the flames had driven the king out of his own palace, his Majesty, at first, removed into another quarter of the town, remote from the fire, and, as yet, free from any annoyance of smoke and ashes. There his Majesty, finding he might be tolerably well accommodated, had resolved to stay, and continue his recreations as before, till the day first named for his journey back to London. But his Majesty had no sooner made that resolution, when the wind, as conducted by an invisible power from above, presently changed about, and blew the smoke and cinders directly on his new lodging, making them in a moment as untenable as the other. Upon this, his Majesty being put to a new shift, and not finding the like conveniency elsewhere, immediately declared, he would speedily return to Whitehall, as he did; which happening to be several days before the assassins expected him, or their preparations for the Rye were in readiness, it may justly give occasion to all the world to acknowledge, what one of the very conspirators could not but do, that it was a providential fire."—Pages 51 et seq.

    The proprietor of the Rye-house (for Rumbold was but a tenant) shocked at the intended purpose, for which it was to have been used, is said to have fired it with his own hand. This is the subject of a poem, called the Loyal Incendiary, or the generous Boute-feu.

  10. The total ruin of those, who were directly involved in the Rye-house, was little to be regretted, had it not involved the fate of those who were pursuing reform, by means more manly and constitutional,—the fate of Russel, Essex, and Sidney.

    Rumbold, "the one-eyed archer," fled to Holland, and came to Scotland with Argyle, on his ill-concerted expedition. He was singled out and pursued, after the dispersion of his companions in a skirmish. He defended himself with desperate resolution against two armed peasants, till a third, coming behind him with a pitch-fork, turned off his head-piece, when he was cut down and made prisoner, exclaiming, "Cruel countryman, to use me thus, while my face was to mine enemy." He suffered the doom of a traitor at Edinburgh, and maintained on the scaffold, with inflexible firmness, the principles in which he had lived. He could never believe, he said, that the many of human kind came into the world bridled and saddled, and the few with whips and spurs to ride them. "His rooted ingrained opinion, says Fountainhall, was for a republic against monarchy, to pull down which he thought a duty, and no sin." At his death, he declared, that were every hair of his head a man, he would venture them all in the good old cause.

  11. "I must not," says Langbaine, "take the pains to acquaint my reader, that by the man on the pedestal, &c. is meant the late Lord Shaftesbury. I shall not pretend to pass my censure, whether he deserved this usage from our author or no, but leave it to the judgments of statesmen and politicians." Shaftesbury having been overturned in a carriage, received some internal injury which required a constant discharge by an issue in his side. Hence he was ridiculed under the name of Tapski. In a mock account of an apparition, stated to have appeared to Lady Gray, it says, "Bid Lord Shaftesbury have a care to his spigot—if he is tapt, all the plot will run out." Ralph's History, vol. i. p. 562. from a pamphlet in Lord Somers' collection. There are various allusions to this circumstance in the lampoons of the time. A satire called "The Hypocrite," written by Carryl, concludes thus:

    His body thus and soul together vie.

    In vice's empire for the sovereignty;

    In ulcers shut this does abound in sin,

    Lazar without and Lucifer within.

    The silver pipe is no sufficient drain

    For the corruption of this little man;

    Who, though he ulcers have in every part,

    Is no where so corrupt as in his heart.

    At length, in prosecution of this coarse and unhandsome jest, a sort of vessel with a turn-cock was constructed for holding wine, which was called a Shaftesbury, and used in the taverns of the royal party.



After our Æsop's fable shown to-day,

I come to give the moral of the play.

Feigned Zeal, you saw, set out the speedier pace;

But the last heat, Plain Dealing won the race:

Plain Dealing for a jewel has been known;

But ne'er till now the jewel of a crown.

When heaven made man, to show the work divine,

Truth was his image, stamped upon the coin:

And when a king is to a God refined,

On all he says and does he stamps his mind:

This proves a soul without alloy, and pure;

Kings, like their gold, should every touch endure.

To dare in fields is valour; but how few

Dare be so throughly valiant,—to be true!

The name of great, let other kings affect:

He's great indeed, the prince that is direct.

His subjects know him now, and trust him more

Than all their kings, and all their laws before.

What safety could their public acts afford?

Those he can break; but cannot break his word.

So great a trust to him alone was due;

Well have they trusted whom so well they knew.

The saint, who walked on waves, securely trod,

While he believed the beck'ning of his God;

But when his faith no longer bore him out,

Began to sink, as he began to doubt.

Let us our native character maintain;

'Tis of our growth, to be sincerely plain.

To excel in truth we loyally may strive,

Set privilege against prerogative:

He plights his faith, and we believe him just;

His honour is to promise, ours to trust.

269 Thus Britain's basis on a word is laid,

As by a word the world itself was made[1].


  1. From this Epilogue we learn, what is confirmed by many proofs elsewhere, that the attribute for which James desired to be distinguished and praised, was that of openness of purpose, and stern undeviating inflexibility of conduct. He scorned to disguise his designs, either upon the religion or the constitution of his country. He forgot that it was only the temporising concessions of his brother which secured his way to the throne, when his exclusion, or a civil war, seemed the only alternatives. His brother was the reed, which bent before the whirlwind, and recovered its erect posture when it had passed away; and James, the inflexible oak, which the first tempest rooted up for ever.




—Nec tarda senectus
Debilitat vires animi, mutatque vigorem.




The following tragedy is founded upon the adventures supposed to have befallen Sebastian, king of Portugal, after the fatal battle of Alcazar. The reader may be briefly reminded of the memorable expedition of that gallant monarch to Africa, to signalize, against the Moors, his chivalry as a warrior, and his faith as a Christian. The ostensible pretext of invasion was the cause of Muly Mahomet, son of Abdalla, emperor of Morocco; upon whose death, his brother, Muly Moluch, had seized the crown, and driven his nephew into exile. The armies joined battle near Alcazar. The Portuguese, far inferior in number to the Moors, displayed the most desperate valour, and had nearly won the day, when Muly Moluch, who, though almost dying, was present on the field in a litter, fired with shame and indignation, threw himself on horseback, rallied his troops, renewed the combat, and, being carried back to his litter, immediately expired, with his finger placed on his lips, to impress on the chiefs, who surrounded him, the necessity of concealing his death. The Moors, rallied by their sovereign's dying exertion, surrounded, and totally routed, the army of Sebastian. Mahomet, the competitor for the throne of Morocco, was drowned in passing a river in his flight, and Sebastian, as his body was never found, probably perished in the same manner. But where the region of historical certainty ends, that of romantic tradition commences. The Portuguese, to whom the memory of their warlike sovereign was deservedly dear, grasped at the feeble hope which the uncertainty of his fate afforded, and long, with vain fondness, expected the return of Sebastian, to free them from the yoke of Spain. This mysterious termination of a hero's career, as it gave rise to various political intrigues, (for several persons assumed the name and character of Sebastian,) early afforded a subject for exercising the fancy of the dramatist and romance writer. "The Battle of Alcazar[1]" is known to the collectors of old plays; a ballad on the 274 same subject is reprinted in Evans's collection; and our author mentions a French novel on the adventures of Don Sebastian, to which Langbaine also refers.

The situation of Dryden, after the Revolution, was so delicate as to require great caution and attention, both in his choice of a subject, and his mode of treating it. His distressed circumstances and lessened income compelled him to come before the public as an author; while the odium attached to the proselyte of a hated religion, and the partizan of a depressed faction, was likely, upon the slightest pretext, to transfer itself from the person of the poet to the labours on which his support depended. He was, therefore, not only obliged to chuse a theme, which had no offence in it, and to treat it in a manner which could not admit of misconstruction, but also so to exert the full force of his talents, as, by the conspicuous pre-eminence of his genius, to bribe prejudice and silence calumny. An observing reader will accordingly discover, throughout the following tragedy, symptoms of minute finishing, and marks of accurate attention, which, in our author's better days, he deigned not to bestow upon productions, to which his name alone was then sufficient to give weight and privilege. His choice of a subject was singularly happy: the name of Sebastian awaked historical recollections and associations, favourable to the character of his hero; while the dark uncertainty of his fate removed all possibility of shocking the audience by glaring offence against the majesty of historical truth. The subject has, therefore, all the advantages of a historical play, without the detects, which either a rigid coincidence with history, or a violent contradiction of known truth, seldom fail to bring along with them. Dryden appears from his preface to have been fully sensible of this; and he has not lost the advantage of a happy subject by treating it with the carelessness he sometimes allowed himself to indulge.

The characters in "Don Sebastian" are contrasted with singular ability and judgment. Sebastian, high-spirited and fiery; the soul of royal and military honour; the soldier and the king; almost embodies the idea which the reader forms at the first mention of his name. Dorax, to whom he is so admirable a contrast, is one of those characters whom the strong hand of adversity has wrested from their natural bias; and perhaps no equally vivid picture can be found, of a subject so awfully interesting. Born with a strong tendency to all that was honourable and virtuous, the very excess of his virtues became vice, when his own ill fate, and Sebastian's injustice, had driven him into exile. By comparing, as Dryden has requested, the character of Dorax, in the fifth act, with that he maintains in the former part of the play, the difference may be traced betwixt his natural virtues, and the vices engrafted on them by headlong passion and embittering calamity. There is no inconsistence 275 in the change which takes place after his scene with Sebastian; as was objected by those, whom the poet justly terms, "the more ignorant sort of creatures." It is the same picture in a new light; the same ocean in tempest and in calm; the same traveller, whom sunshine has induced to abandon his cloak, which the storm only forced him to wrap more closely around him. The principal failing of Dorax is the excess of pride, which renders each supposed wound to his honour more venomously acute; yet he is not devoid of gentler affections, though even in indulging these the hardness of his character is conspicuous. He loves Violante, but that is a far subordinate feeling to his affection for Sebastian. Indeed, his love appears so inferior to his loyal devotion to his king, that, unless to gratify the taste of the age, I see little reason for its being introduced at all. It is obvious he was much more jealous of the regard of his sovereign, than of his mistress; he never mentions Violante till the scene of explanation with Sebastian; and he appears hardly to have retained a more painful recollection of his disappointment in that particular, than of the general neglect and disgrace he had sustained at the court of Lisbon. The last stage of a virtuous heart, corroded into evil by wounded pride, has been never more forcibly displayed than in the character of Dorax. When once induced to take the fatal step which degraded him in his own eyes, all his good affections seem to be converted into poison. The religion, which displays itself in the fifth act in his arguments against suicide, had, in his efforts to justify his apostacy, or at least to render it a matter of no moment, been exchanged for sentiments approaching, perhaps to atheism, certainly to total scepticism. His passion for Violante is changed into contempt and hatred for her sex, which he expresses in the coarsest terms. His feelings of generosity, and even of humanity, are drowned in the gloomy and stern misanthropy, which has its source in the self-discontent that endeavours to wreak itself upon others. This may be illustrated by his unfeeling behaviour, while Alvarez and Antonio, well known to him in former days, approach, and draw the deadly lot, which ratifies their fate. No yielding of compassion, no recollection of former friendship, has power to alter the cold and sardonic sarcasm with which he sketches their characters, and marks their deportment in that awful moment. Finally, the zealous attachment of Alonzo for his king, which, in its original expression, partakes of absolute devotion, is changed, by the circumstances of Dorax, into an irritated and frantic jealousy, which he mistakes for hatred; and which, in pursuing the destruction of its object, is almost more inveterate than hatred itself. Nothing has survived of the original Alonzo at the opening of the piece, except the gigantic passion which has caused his ruin. This character 276 is drawn on a large scale, and in a heroic proportion; but it is so true to nature, that many readers must have lamented, even within the circle of domestic acquaintance, instances of feelings hardened, and virtues perverted, where a high spirit has sustained severe and unjust neglect and disgrace. The whole demeanour of this exquisite character suits the original sketch. From "the long stride and sullen port," by which Benducar distinguishes him at a distance, to the sullen stubbornness with which he obeys, or the haughty contempt with which he resists, the commands of the peremptory tyrant under whom he had taken service, all announce the untamed pride which had robbed Dorax of virtue, and which yet, when Benducar would seduce him into a conspiracy, and in his conduct towards Sebastian, assumes the port and dignity of virtue herself. In all his conduct and bearing, there is that mixed feeling and impulse, which constitutes the real spring of human action. The true motive of Alonzo in saving Sebastian, is not purely that of honourable hatred, which he proposes to himself; for to himself every man endeavours to appear consistent, and readily find arguments to prove to himself that he is so. Neither is his conduct to be ascribed altogether to the gentler feelings of loyal and friendly affection, relenting at the sight of his sovereign's ruin, and impending death. It is the result of a mixture of these opposite sensations, clashing against each other like two rivers at their conflux, yet urging their united course down the same channel. Actuated by a mixture of these feelings, Dorax meets Sebastian; and the art of the poet is displayed in that admirable scene, by suggesting a natural motive to justify to the injured subject himself the change of the course of his feelings. As his jealousy of Sebastian's favour, and resentment of his unjust neglect, was chiefly founded on the avowed preference which the king had given to Henriquez, the opportune mention of his rival's death, by removing the cause of that jealousy, gives the renegade an apology to his own pride, for throwing himself at the feet of that very sovereign, whom a moment before he was determined to force to combat. They are little acquainted with human passions, at least have only witnessed their operations among men of common minds, who doubt, that at the height of their very spring-tide, they are often most susceptible of sudden changes; revolutions, which seem to those who have not remarked how nearly the most opposite feelings are allied and united, the most extravagant and unaccountable. Muly Moluch is an admirable specimen of that very frequent theatrical character,—a stage tyrant. He is fierce and boisterous enough to be sufficiently terrible and odious, and that without much rant, considering he is an infidel Soldan, who, from the ancient deportment 277 of Mahomed and Termagaunt, as they appeared in the old Mysteries, might claim a prescriptive right to tear a passion to tatters. Besides, the Moorish emperor has fine glances of savage generosity, and that free, unconstrained, and almost noble openness, the only good quality, perhaps, which a consciousness of unbounded power may encourage in a mind so firm as not to be totally depraved by it. The character of Muly Moluch, like that of Morat, in "Aureng-Zebe," to which it bears a strong resemblance, was admirably represented by Kynaston; who had, says Cibber, "a fierce lion-like majesty in his port and utterance, that gave the spectator a kind of trembling admiration." It is enough to say of Benducar, that the cool, fawning, intriguing, and unprincipled statesman, is fully developed in his whole conduct; and of Alvarez, that the little he has to say and do, is so said and done, as not to disgrace his common-place character of the possessor of the secret on which the plot depends; for it may be casually observed, that the depositary of such a clew to the catastrophe, though of the last importance to the plot, is seldom himself of any interest whatever. The haughty and high-spirited Almeyda is designed by the author as the counterpart of Sebastian. She breaks out with the same violence, I had almost said fury, and frequently discovers a sort of kindred sentiment, intended to prepare the reader for the unfortunate discovery, that she is the sister of the Portuguese monarch.

Of the diction, Dr Johnson has said, with meagre commendation, that it has "some sentiments which leave a strong impression," and "others of excellence, universally acknowledged." This, even when the admiration of the scene betwixt Dorax and Sebastian has been sanctioned by that great critic, seems scanty applause for the chef d'œuvre of Dryden's dramatic works. The reader will be disposed to look for more unqualified praise, when such a poet was induced, by every pressing consideration, to combine, in one effort, the powers of his mighty genius, and the fruits of his long theatrical experience: Accordingly, Shakespeare laid aside, it will be perhaps difficult to point out a play containing more animatory incident, impassioned language, and beautiful description, than "Don Sebastian." Of the former, the scene betwixt Dorax and the king, had it been the only one ever Dryden wrote, would have been sufficient to insure his immortality. There is not,—no, perhaps, not even in Shakespeare,—an instance where the chord, which the poet designed should vibrate, is more happily struck; strains there are of a higher mood, but not more correctly true; in evidence of which, we have known those, whom distresses of a gentler nature were unable to move, feel their stubborn feelings roused and melted by the injured pride and deep repentance of Dorax. The burst of anguish with which he answers 278 the stern taunt of Sebastian, is one of those rare, but natural instances, in which high-toned passion assumes a figurative language, because all that is familiar seems inadequate to express its feelings:

Dor. Thou hast dared
To tell me, what I durst not tell myself:
I durst not think that I was spurned, and live;
And live to hear it boasted to my face.
All my long avarice of honour lost,
Heaped up in youth, and hoarded up for age!
Has honour's fountain then sucked back the stream?
He has; and hooting boys may dry-shod pass,
And gather pebbles from the naked ford.
Give me my love, my honour; give them back—
Give me revenge, while I have breath to ask it!

But I will not dwell on the beauties of this scene. If any one is incapable of relishing it, he may safely conclude, that nature has not merely denied him that rare gift, poetical taste, but common powers of comprehending the ordinary feelings of humanity. The love scene, betwixt Sebastian and Almeyda, is more purely conceived, and expressed with more reference to sentiment, than is common with our author. The description which Dorax gives of Sebastian, before his appearance, coming from a mortal enemy, at least from one whose altered love was as envenomed as hatred, is a grand preparation for the appearance of the hero. In many of the slighter descriptive passages, we recognize the poet by those minute touches, which a mind susceptible of poetic feeling is alone capable of bringing out. The approach of the emperor, while the conspirators are caballing, is announced by Orchan, with these picturesque circumstances:

I see the blaze of torches from afar,

And hear the trampling of thick-beating feet—

This way they move.—

The following account, given by the slave sent to observe what passed in the castle of Dorax, believed to be dead, or dying, is equally striking:

Haly. Two hours I warily have watched his palace:
All doors are shut, no servant peeps abroad;
Some officers, with striding haste, past in;
While others outward went on quick dispatch.
Sometimes hushed silence seemed to reign within;
Then cries confused, and a joint clamour followed;
Then lights went gliding by, from room to room,
And shot like thwarting meteors cross the house.
Not daring further to inquire, I came
With speed to bring you this imperfect news.

279 The description of the midnight insurrection of the rabble is not less impressive:

Ham. What you wish:
The streets are thicker in this noon of night,
Than at the mid-day sun: A drouzy horror
Sits on their eyes, like fear, not well awake:
All crowd in heaps, as, at a night alarm,
The bees drive out upon each others backs,
T'imboss their hives in clusters; all ask news:
Their busy captain runs the weary round
To whisper orders; and, commanding silence,
Makes not noise cease, but deafens it to murmurs.

These illustrations are designedly selected from the parts of the lower characters, because they at once evince the diligence and success with which Dryden has laboured even the subordinate points of this tragedy.

"Don Sebastian" has been weighed, with reference to its tragic merits, against "Love for Love;" and one or other is universally allowed to be the first of Dryden's dramatic performances. To the youth of both sexes the latter presents the most pleasing subject of emotion; but to those whom age has rendered incredulous upon the romantic effects of love, and who do not fear to look into the recesses of the human heart, when agitated by darker and more stubborn passions, "Don Sebastian" offers a far superior source of gratification.

To point out the blemishes of so beautiful a tragedy, is a painful, though a necessary, task. The style, here and there, exhibits marks of a reviving taste for those frantic bursts of passion, which our author has himself termed the "Dalilahs of the theatre." The first speech of Sebastian has been often noticed as an extravagant rant, more worthy of Maximin, or Almanzor, than of a character drawn by our author in his advanced years, and chastened taste:

I beg no pity for this mouldering clay;

For if you give it burial, there it takes

Possession of your earth:

If burnt and scatter'd in the air, the winds,

That strew my dust, diffuse my royalty,

And spread me o'er your clime; for where one atom

Of mine shall light, know, there Sebastian reigns.

The reader's discernment will discover some similar extravagancies in the language of Almeyda and the Emperor.

It is a separate objection, that the manners of the age and country are not adhered to. Sebastian, by disposition a crusading knight-errant, devoted to religion and chivalry, becomes, in the hands of Dryden, merely a gallant soldier and high-spirited prince, such as existed in the poet's own days. But, what is worse, the 280 manners of Mahometans are shockingly violated. Who ever heard of human sacrifices, or of any sacrifices, being offered up to Mahomet[2]; and when were his followers able to use the classical and learned allusions which occur throughout the dialogue! On this last topic Addison makes the following observations, in the "Guardian," No. 110.

"I have now Mr Dryden's "Don Sebastian" before me, in which I find frequent allusions to ancient poetry, and the old mythology of the heathens. It is not very natural to suppose a king of Portugal would be borrowing thoughts out of Ovid's "Metamorphoses," when he talked even to those of his own court; but to allude to these Roman fables, when he talks to an emperor of Barbary, seems very extraordinary. But observe how he defies him out of the classics in the following lines:

Why didst not thou engage me man to man,

And try the virtue of that Gorgon face,

To stare me into statue?

"Almeyda, at the same time, is more book-learned than Don Sebastian. She plays an Hydra upon the Emperor, that is full as good as the Gorgon:

O that I had the fruitful heads of Hydra,

That one might bourgeon where another fell!

Still would I give thee work, still, still, thou tyrant,

And hiss thee with the last.

"She afterwards, in allusion to Hercules, bids him 'lay down the lion's skin, and take the distaff;' and, in the following speech, utters her passion still more learnedly:

No; were we joined, even though it were in death,

Our bodies burning in one funeral pile,

The prodigy of Thebes would be renewed,

And my divided flame should break from thine.

"The emperor of Barbary shews himself acquainted with the Roman poets as well as either of his prisoners, and answers the foregoing speech in the same classic strain:

Serpent, I will engender poison with thee:

Our offspring, like the seed of dragon's teeth,

Shall issue armed, and fight themselves to death.

281 "Ovid seems to have been Muley-Moloch's favourite author; witness the lines that follow:

She, still inexorable, still imperious,

And loud, as if, like Bacchus, born in thunder.

"I shall conclude my remarks on his part with that poetical complaint of his being in love; and leave my reader to consider, how prettily it would sound in the mouth of an emperor of Morocco:

The god of love once more has shot his fires

Into my soul, and my whole heart receives him.

"Muley Zeydan is as ingenious a man as his brother Muley Moloch; as where he hints at the story of Castor and Pollux:

May we ne'er meet;

For, like the twins of Leda, when I mount,

He gallops down the skies.

"As for the Mufti, we will suppose that he was bred up a scholar, and not only versed in the law of Mahomet, but acquainted with all kinds of polite learning. For this reason he is not at all surprised when Dorax calls him a Phæton in one place, and in another tells him he is like Archimedes.

"The Mufti afterwards mentions Ximenes, Albornoz, and cardinal Wolsey, by name. The poet seems to think, he may make every person, in his play, know as much as himself, and talk as well as he could have done on the same occasion. At least, I believe, every reader will agree with me, that the above-mentioned sentiments, to which I might have added several others, would have been better suited to the court of Augustus than that of Muley Moloch. I grant they are beautiful in themselves, and much more so in that noble language, which was peculiar to this great poet. I only observe, that they are improper for the persons who make use of them."

The catastrophe of the tragedy may be also censured, not only on the grounds objected to that of "Œdipus," but because it does not naturally flow from the preceding events, and opens, in the fifth act, a new set of persons, and a train of circumstances, unconnected with the preceding action. In the concluding scene, it was remarked, by the critics, that there is a want of pure taste in the lovers dwelling more upon the pleasures than the horrors of their incestuous connection.

Of the lighter scenes, which were intended for comic, Dr Johnson has said, "they are such as that age did not probably commend, and as the present would not endure." Dryden has remarked, with self-complacency, the art with which they are made to 282 depend upon the serious business. This has not, however, the merit of novelty; being not unlike the connection between the tragic and comic scenes of the "Spanish Friar." The persons introduced have also some resemblance; though the gaiety of Antonio is far more gross than that of Lorenzo, and Morayma is a very poor copy of Elvira. It is rather surprising, that when a gay libertine was to be introduced, Dryden did not avail himself of a real character, the English Stukely; a wild gallant, who, after spending a noble fortune, became the leader of a band of Italian Condottieri, engaged in the service of Sebastian, and actually fell in the battle of Alcazar. Collier complains, and with very good reason, that, in the character of the Mufti, Dryden has seized an opportunity to deride and calumniate the priesthood of every religion; an opportunity which, I am sorry to say, he seldom fails to use with unjustifiable inveteracy. The rabble scenes were probably given, as our author himself says of that in Cleomenes, "to gratify the more barbarous part of the audience." Indeed, to judge from the practice of the drama at this time, the representation of a riot upon the stage seems to have had the same charms for the popular part of the English audience, which its reality always possesses in the streets.

Notwithstanding the excellence of this tragedy, it appears to have been endured, rather than applauded, at its first representation; although, being judiciously curtailed, it soon became a great favourite with the public[3]; and, omitting the comic scenes, may be again brought forward with advantage, when the public shall be tired of children and of show. The tragedy of "Don Sebastian" was acted and printed in 1690.


  1. "The Battle of Alcazar, with Captain Stukely's death, acted by the Lord High Admiral's servants, 1594," 4to. Baker thinks Dryden might have taken the hint of "Don Sebastian" from this old play. Shakespeare drew from it some of the bouncing rants of Pistol, as, "Feed, and be fat; my fair Callipolis," &c.

  2. In a Zambra dance, introduced in the "Conquest of Granada," our author had previously introduced the Moors bowing to the image of Jupiter; a gross solecism, hardly more pardonable, as Langbaine remarks, than the introduction of a pistol in the hand of Demetrius, a successor of Alexander the Great, which Dryden has justly censured.

  3. Langbaine says, it was acted "with great applause;" but this must refer to its reception after the first night; for the author's own expressions, that "the audience endured it with much patience, and were weary with much good nature and silence," exclude the idea of a brilliant reception on the first representation. See the beginning of the Preface.



Far be it from me, my most noble lord, to think, that any thing which my meanness can produce, should be worthy to be offered to your patronage; or that aught which I can say of you should recommend you farther to the esteem of good men in this present age, or to the veneration which will 284 certainly be paid you by posterity. On the other side, I must acknowledge it a great presumption in me, to make you this address; and so much the greater, because by the common suffrage even of contrary parties, you have been always regarded as one of the first persons of the age, and yet not one writer has dared to tell you so; whether we have been all conscious to ourselves that it was a needless labour to give this notice to mankind, as all men are ashamed to tell stale news; or that we were justly diffident of our own performances, as even Cicero is observed to be in awe when he writes to Atticus; where, knowing himself over-matched in good sense, and truth of knowledge, he drops the gaudy train of words, and is no longer the vain-glorious orator. From whatever reason it may be, I am the first bold offender of this kind: I have broken down the fence, and ventured into the holy grove. How I may be punished for my profane attempt, I know not; but I wish it may not be of ill omen to your lordship: and that a crowd of bad writers do not rush into the quiet of your recesses after me. Every man in all changes of government, which have been, or may possibly arrive, will agree, that I could not have offered my incense, where it could be so well deserved. For you, my lord, are secure in your own merit; and all parties, as they rise uppermost, are sure to court you in 285 their turns; it is a tribute which has ever been paid your virtue. The leading men still bring their bullion to your mint, to receive the stamp of their intrinsic value, that they may afterwards hope to pass with human kind. They rise and fall in the variety of revolutions, and are sometimes great, and therefore wise in men's opinions, who must court them for their interest. But the reputation of their parts most commonly follows their success; few of them are wise, but as they are in power; because indeed, they have no sphere of their own, but, like the moon in the Copernican system of the world, are whirled about by the motion of a greater planet. This it is to be ever busy; neither to give rest to their fellow-creatures, nor, which is more wretchedly ridiculous, to themselves; though, truly, the latter is a kind of justice, and giving mankind a due revenge, that they will not permit their own hearts to be at quiet, who disturb the repose of all beside them. Ambitious meteors! how willing they are to set themselves upon the wing, and taking every occasion of drawing upward to the sun, not considering that they have no more time allowed them for their mounting, than the short revolution of a day; and that when the light goes from them, they are of necessity to fall. How much happier is he, (and who he is I need not say, for there is but one phœnix in an age) who, centering on himself, remains immoveable, and smiles at the madness of the dance about him? he possesses the midst, which is the portion of safety and content. He will not be higher, because he needs it not; but by the prudence of that choice, he puts it out of fortune's power to throw him down. It is confest, that if he had not so been born, he might have been too high for happiness; but not endeavouring to ascend, he secures the native height of his station 286 from envy, and cannot descend from what he is, because he depends not on another. What a glorious character was this once in Rome! I should say, in Athens; when, in the disturbances of a state as mad as ours, the wise Pomponius transported all the remaining wisdom and virtue of his country into the sanctuary of peace and learning. But I would ask the world, (for you, my lord, are too nearly concerned to judge this cause) whether there may not yet be found a character of a noble Englishman, equally shining with that illustrious Roman? Whether I need to name a second Atticus? or whether the world has not already prevented me, and fixed it there, without my naming? Not a second, with a longo sed proximus intervallo; not a young Marcellus, flattered by a poet into the resemblance of the first, with a frons læta parum, et dejecto lumina vultu, and the rest that follows, si qua fata aspera rumpas, tu Marcellus eris; but a person of the same stamp and magnitude, who owes nothing to the former, besides the word Roman, and the superstition of reverence, devolving on him by the precedency of eighteen hundred years; one who walks by him with equal paces, and shares the eyes of beholders with him; one who had been first, had he first lived; and, in spite of doating veneration, is still his equal: both of them born of noble families, in unhappy ages of change and tumult; both of them retiring from affairs of state; yet not leaving the commonwealth, till it had left itself; but never returning to public business, when they had once quitted it, though courted by the heads of either party. But who would trust the quiet of their lives with the extravagancies of their countrymen, when they are just in the giddiness of their turning; when the ground was tottering under them at every moment; and none could guess 287 whether the next heave of the earthquake would settle them on the first foundation, or swallow it? Both of them knew mankind exactly well, for both of them began that study in themselves, and there they found the best part of human composition; the worst they learned by long experience of the folly, ignorance, and immorality of most beside them. Their philosophy, on both sides, was not wholly speculative, for that is barren, and produces nothing but vain ideas of things which cannot possibly be known, or, if they could, yet would only terminate in the understanding; but it was a noble, vigorous and practical philosophy, which exerted itself in all the offices of pity, to those who were unfortunate, and deserved not so to be. The friend was always more considered by them than the cause; and an Octavius, or an Antony in distress, were relieved by them, as well as a Brutus or a Cassius; for the lowermost party, to a noble mind, is ever the fittest object of good-will. The eldest of them, I will suppose, for his honour, to have been of the academic sect, neither dogmatist nor stoick; if he were not, I am sure he ought, in common justice, to yield the precedency to his younger brother. For stiffness of opinion is the effect of pride, and not of philosophy; it is a miserable presumption of that knowledge which human nature is too narrow to contain; and the ruggedness of a stoick is only a silly affectation of being a god,—to wind himself up by pullies to an insensibility of suffering, and, at the same time, to give the lie to his own experience, by saying he suffers not, what he knows he feels. True philosophy is certainly of a more pliant nature, and more accommodated to human use; Homo sum, humani à me nihil alienum puto. A wise man will never attempt an impossibility; and such it is to strain himself beyond the nature of his being, 288 either to become a deity, by being above suffering, or to debase himself into a stock or stone, by pretending not to feel it. To find in ourselves the weaknesses and imperfections of our wretched kind, is surely the most reasonable step we can make towards the compassion of our fellow-creatures. I could give examples of this kind in the second Atticus. In every turn of state, without meddling on either side, he has always been favourable and assisting to opprest merit. The praises which were given by a great poet to the late queen-mother, on her rebuilding Somerset Palace, one part of which was fronting to the mean houses on the other side of the water, are as justly his:

For the distrest and the afflicted lie

Most in his thoughts, and always in his eye[2].

Neither has he so far forgotten a poor inhabitant of his suburbs, whose best prospect is on the garden of Leicester House, but that more than once he has been offering him his patronage, to reconcile him to 289 a world, of which his misfortunes have made him weary[3]. There is another Sidney still remaining, though there can never be another Spenser to deserve the favour. But one Sidney gave his patronage to the applications of a poet; the other offered it unasked. Thus, whether as a second Atticus, or a second Sir Philip Sidney, the latter in all respects will not have the worse of the comparison; and if he will take up with the second place, the world will not so far flatter his modesty, as to seat him there, unless it be out of a deference of manners, that he may place himself where he pleases at his own table.

I may therefore safely conclude, that he, who, by the consent of all men, bears so eminent a character, will out of his inborn nobleness forgive the presumption of this address. It is an unfinished picture, I confess, but the lines and features are so like, that it cannot be mistaken for any other; and without writing any name under it, every beholder must cry out, at first sight,—this was designed for Atticus; but the bad artist has cast too much of him into shades. But I have this excuse, that even the greatest masters commonly fall short of the best faces. They may flatter an indifferent beauty; but the excellencies of nature can have no right done to them; for there both the pencil and pen are overcome by the dignity of the subject; as our admirable Waller has expressed it,

The heroe's race transcends the poet's thought.

There are few in any age who can bear the load 290 of a dedication; for where praise is undeserved, it is satire; though satire on folly is now no longer a scandal to any one person, where a whole age is dipt together. Yet I had rather undertake a multitude one way, than a single Atticus the other; for it is easier to descend than it is to climb. I should have gone ashamed out of the world, if I had not at least attempted this address, which I have long thought owing: and if I had never attempted, I might have been vain enough to think I might have succeeded in it. Now I have made the experiment, and have failed through my unworthiness, I may rest satisfied, that either the adventure is not to be atchieved, or that it is reserved for some other hand.

Be pleased, therefore, since the family of the Attici is and ought to be above the common forms of concluding letters, that I may take my leave in the words of Cicero to the first of them: Me, O Pomponi, valdè pænitet vivere: tantùm te oro, ut quoniam me ipse semper amàsti, ut eodem amore sis; ego nimirum idem sum. Inimici mei mea mihi non meipsum ademerunt. Cura, Attice, ut valeas.

Dabam. Cal.
Jan. 1690.


  1. In order to escape as far as possible the odium, which after the Revolution was attached to Dryden's politics and religion, he seems occasionally to have sought for patrons amongst those Nobles of opposite principles, whom moderation, or love of literature, rendered superior to the suggestions of party rancour; or, as he himself has expressed it in the Dedication of "Amphitryon," who, though of a contrary opinion themselves, blamed him not for adhering to a lost cause, and judging for himself what he could not chuse but judge. Philip Sidney, the third earl of Leicester, had taken an active part against the king in the civil wars, had been named one of his judges, though he never look his seat among the regicides, and had been one of Cromwell's Council of State. He was brother of the famous Algernon Sidney, and although retired from party strife, during the violent contests betwixt the Whigs and Tories in 1682-3, there can be no doubt which way his inclinations leaned. He died 6th March, 1696-7, aged more than eighty years. Mr Malone has strongly censured the strain of this Dedication, because it represents Leicester as abstracted from parties and public affairs, notwithstanding his active share in the civil wars. Yet Dryden was not obliged to draw the portrait of his patron from his conduct thirty years before; and if Leicester's character was to be taken from the latter part of his life, surely the praise of moderation is due to him, who, during the factious contests of Charles II's. reign, in which his own brother made so conspicuous a figure, maintained the neutrality of Pomponius Atticus.

  2. When Henrietta Maria, widow of Charles I. and queen-dowager of England, visited her son after the Restoration, she chose Somerset-House for her residence, and added all the buildings fronting the river. Cowley, whom she had long patronised, composed a poem on the "Queen's repairing Somerset-House," to which our author refers. Mr Malone's accuracy has detected a slight alteration in the verses, as quoted by Dryden, and as written by Cowley:

    If any prouder virtuoso's sense

    At that part of my prospect take offence,

    By which the meaner cabanes are descried

    Of my imperial river's humbler side;

    If they call that a blemish, let them know,

    God and my godlike mistress think not so;

    For the distressed and the afflicted lie

    Most in their care, and always in their eye.

  3. Our poet's house was in Gerard-Street, looking upon the gardens of Leicester-House.



Whether it happened through a long disuse of writing, that I forgot the usual compass of a play, or that, by crowding it with characters and incidents, I put a necessity upon myself of lengthening the main action, I know not; but the first day's audience sufficiently convinced me of my error, and that the poem was insupportably too long. It is an ill ambition of us poets, to please an audience with more than they can bear; and supposing that we wrote as well as vainly we imagine ourselves to write, yet we ought to consider, that no man can bear to be long tickled. There is a nauseousness in a city-feast, when we are to sit four hours after we are cloyed. I am therefore, in the first place, to acknowledge, with all manner of gratitude, their civility, who were pleased to endure it with so much patience; to be weary with so much good-nature and silence; and not to explode an entertainment which was designed to please them, or discourage an author, whose misfortunes have once 292 more brought him, against his will, upon the stage. While I continue in these bad circumstances, (and, truly, I see very little probability of coming out) I must be obliged to write; and if I may still hope for the same kind usage, I shall the less repent of that hard necessity. I write not this out of any expectation to be pitied, for I have enemies enow to wish me yet in a worse condition; but give me leave to say, that if I can please by writing, as I shall endeavour it, the town may be somewhat obliged to my misfortunes for a part of their diversion. Having been longer acquainted with the stage than any poet now living, and having observed how difficult it was to please; that the humours of comedy were almost spent; that love and honour (the mistaken topics of tragedy) were quite worn out; that the theatres could not support their charges; that the audience forsook them; that young men, without learning, set up for judges, and that they talked loudest, who understood the least; all these discouragements had not only weaned me from the stage, but had also given me a loathing of it. But enough of this: the difficulties continue; they increase; and I am still condemned to dig in those exhausted mines.

Whatever fault I next commit, rest assured it shall not be that of too much length: Above twelve hundred lines have been cut off from this tragedy since it was first delivered to the actors. They were indeed so judiciously lopped by Mr Betterton, to whose care and excellent action I am equally obliged, that the connection of the story was not lost; but, on the other side, it was impossible to prevent some part of the action from being precipitated, and coming on without that due preparation which is required to all great events: as, in particular, that of raising the mobile, in the beginning of the fourth act, which a man of Benducar's cool character 293 could not naturally attempt, without taking all those precautions, which he foresaw would be necessary to render his design successful. On this consideration, I have replaced those lines through the whole poem, and thereby restored it to that clearness of conception, and (if I may dare to say it) that lustre and masculine vigour, in which it was first written. It is obvious to every understanding reader, that the most poetical parts, which are descriptions, images, similitudes, and moral sentences, are those which of necessity were to be pared away, when the body was swollen into too large a bulk for the representation of the stage. But there is a vast difference betwixt a public entertainment on the theatre, and a private reading in the closet: In the first, we are confined to time; and though we talk not by the hour-glass, yet the watch often drawn out of the pocket warns the actors that their audience is weary; in the last, every reader is judge of his own convenience; he can take up the book and lay it down at his pleasure, and find out those beauties of propriety in thought and writing, which escaped him in the tumult and hurry of representing. And I dare boldly promise for this play, that in the roughness of the numbers and cadences, (which I assure was not casual, but so designed) you will see somewhat more masterly arising to your view, than in most, if not any, of my former tragedies. There is a more noble daring in the figures, and more suitable to the loftiness of the subject; and, besides this, some newnesses of English, translated from the beauties of modern tongues, as well as from the elegancies of the Latin; and here and there some old words are sprinkled, which, for their significance and sound, deserved not to be antiquated; such as we often find in Sallust amongst the Roman authors, and in Milton's "Paradise" 294 amongst ours; though perhaps the latter, instead of sprinkling, has dealt them with too free a hand, even sometimes to the obscuring of his sense.

As for the story, or plot, of the tragedy, it is purely fiction; for I take it up where the history has laid it down. We are assured by all writers of those times, that Sebastian, a young prince of great courage and expectation, undertook that war, partly upon a religious account, partly at the solicitation of Muley Mahomet, who had been driven out of his dominions by Abdelmelech, or, as others call him, Muley Moluch, his nigh kinsman, who descended from the same family of Xeriffs, whose fathers, Hamet and Mahomet, had conquered that empire with joint forces, and shared it betwixt them after their victory; that the body of Don Sebastian was never found in the field of battle, which gave occasion for many to believe, that he was not slain[1]; 295 that some years after, when the Spaniards, with a pretended title, by force of arms, had usurped the crown of Portugal from the house of Braganza, a certain person, who called himself Don Sebastian, and had all the marks of his body and features of his face, appeared at Venice, where he was owned by some of his countrymen; but being seized by the Spaniards, was first imprisoned, then sent to the gallies, and at last put to death in private. It is most certain, that the Portuguese expected his return for almost an age together after that battle, which is at least a proof of their extreme love to his memory; and the usage they had from their new conquerors, might possibly make them so extravagant in their hopes and wishes for their old master[2].

This ground-work the history afforded me, and I desire no better to build a play upon; for where the event of a great action is left doubtful, there the poet is left master. He may raise what he pleases on that foundation, provided he makes it of a 296 piece, and according to the rule of probability. From hence I was only obliged, that Sebastian should return to Portugal no more; but at the same time I had him at my own disposal, whether to bestow him in Afric, or in any other corner of the world, or to have closed the tragedy with his death; and the last of these was certainly the most easy, but for the same reason the least artful; because, as I have somewhere said, the poison and the dagger are still at hand to butcher a hero, when a poet wants the brains to save him. It being therefore only necessary, according to the laws of the drama, that Sebastian should no more be seen upon the throne, I leave it for the world to judge, whether or no I have disposed of him according to art, or have bungled up the conclusion of his adventure. In the drawing of his character, I forgot not piety, which any one may observe to be one principal ingredient of it, even so far as to be a habit in him; though I shew him once to be transported from it by the violence of a sudden passion, to endeavour a self-murder. This being presupposed, that he was religious, the horror of his incest, though innocently committed, was the best reason which the stage could give for hindering his return. It is true, I have no right to blast his memory with such a crime; but declaring it to be fiction, I desire my audience to think it no longer true, than while they are seeing it represented; for that once ended, he may be a saint, for aught I know, and we have reason to presume he is. On this supposition, it was unreasonable to have killed him; for the learned Mr Rymer has well observed, that in all punishments we are to regulate ourselves by poetical justice; and according to those measures, an involuntary sin deserves not death; from whence it follows, 297 that to divorce himself from the beloved object, to retire into a desert, and deprive himself of a throne, was the utmost punishment which a poet could inflict, as it was also the utmost reparation which Sebastian could make. For what relates to Almeyda, her part is wholly fictitious. I know it is the surname of a noble family in Portugal, which was very instrumental in the restoration of Don John de Braganza, father to the most illustrious and most pious princess, our queen-dowager. The French author of a novel, called "Don Sebastian," has given that name to an African lady of his own invention, and makes her sister to Muley Mahomet; but I have wholly changed the accidents, and borrowed nothing but the supposition, that she was beloved by the king of Portugal. Though, if I had taken the whole story, and wrought it up into a play, I might have done it exactly according to the practice of almost all the ancients, who were never accused of being plagiaries for building their tragedies on known fables. Thus, Augustus Cæsar wrote an "Ajax," which was not the less his own, because Euripides had written a play before him on that subject. Thus, of late years, Corneille writ an "Œdipus" after Sophocles; and I have designed one after him, which I wrote with Mr Lee; yet neither the French poet stole from the Greek, nor we from the Frenchman. It is the contrivance, the new turn, and new characters, which alter the property, and make it ours. The materia poetica is as common to all writers, as the materia medica to all physicians. Thus, in our Chronicles, Daniel's history is still his own, though Matthew Paris, Stow, and Hollingshed writ before him; otherwise we must have been content with their dull relations, if a better pen had not been allowed to come after them, 298 and writ his own account after a new and better manner.

I must further declare freely, that I have not exactly kept to the three mechanic rules of unity. I knew them, and had them in my eye, but followed them only at a distance; for the genius of the English cannot bear too regular a play: we are given to variety, even to a debauchery of pleasure. My scenes are therefore sometimes broken, because my underplot required them so to be, though the general scene remains,—of the same castle; and I have taken the time of two days, because the variety of accidents, which are here represented, could not naturally be supposed to arrive in one: but to gain a greater beauty, it is lawful for a poet to supersede a less.

I must likewise own, that I have somewhat deviated from the known history, in the death of Muley Moluch, who, by all relations, died of a fever in the battle, before his army had wholly won the field; but if I have allowed him another day of life, it was because I stood in need of so shining a character of brutality as I have given him; which is indeed the same with that of the present emperor Muley-Ishmael, as some of our English officers, who have been in his court, have credibly informed me.

I have been listening—what objections had been made against the conduct of the play; but found them all so trivial, that if I should name them, a true critic would imagine that I played booty, and only raised up phantoms for myself to conquer. Some are pleased to say—the writing is dull; but, ætatem habet, de se loquatur. Others, that the double poison is unnatural: let the common received opinion, and Ausonius his famous epigram, answer 299 that[3]. Lastly, a more ignorant sort of creatures than either of the former maintain, that the character of Dorax is not only unnatural, but inconsistent with itself: let them read the play, and think again; and if yet they are not satisfied, cast their eyes on that chapter of the wise Montaigne, which is intitled, De l'Inconstance des Actions humaines. A longer reply is what those cavillers deserve not; but I will give them and their fellows to understand, that the earl of Dorset was pleased to read the tragedy twice over before it was acted, and did me the favour to send me word, that I had written beyond any of my former plays, and that he was displeased any thing should be cut away. If I have not reason to prefer his single judgment to a whole faction, let the world be judge; for the opposition is the same with that of Lucan's hero against an army; concurrere bellum, atque virum.

I think I may modestly conclude, that whatever errors there may be, either in the design, or writing of this play, they are not those which have been objected to it. I think also, that I am not yet arrived to the age of doting; and that I have given so much application to this poem, that I could not probably let it run into many gross absurdities; 300 which may caution my enemies from too rash a censure, and may also encourage my friends, who are many more than I could reasonably have expected, to believe their kindness has not been very undeservedly bestowed on me. This is not a play that was huddled up in haste; and, to shew it was not, I will own, that, besides the general moral of it, which is given in the four last lines, there is also another moral, couched under every one of the principal parts and characters, which a judicious critic will observe, though I point not to it in this preface. And there may be also some secret beauties in the decorum of parts, and uniformity of design, which my puny judges will not easily find out: let them consider in the last scene of the fourth act, whether I have not preserved the rule of decency, in giving all the advantage to the royal character, and in making Dorax first submit. Perhaps too they may have thought, that it was through indigence of characters that I have given the same to Sebastian and Almeyda, and consequently made them alike in all things but their sex. But let them look a little deeper into the matter, and they will find, that this identity of character in the greatness of their souls was intended for a preparation of the final discovery, and that the likeness of their nature was a fair hint to the proximity of their blood.

To avoid the imputation of too much vanity, (for all writers, and especially poets, will have some,) I will give but one other instance, in relation to the uniformity of the design. I have observed, that the English will not bear a thorough tragedy; but are pleased, that it should be lightened with underparts of mirth. It had been easy for me to have given my audience a better course of comedy, I mean a more diverting, than that of Antonio and Morayma; but I dare appeal, even to my enemies, 301 if I, or any man, could have invented one, which had been more of a piece, and more depending on the serious part of the design. For what could be more uniform, than to draw from out of the members of a captive court, the subject of a comical entertainment? To prepare this episode, you see Dorax giving the character of Antonio, in the beginning of the play, upon his first sight of him at the lottery; and to make the dependence, Antonio is engaged, in the fourth act, for the deliverance of Almeyda; which is also prepared, by his being first made a slave to the captain of the rabble.

I should beg pardon for these instances; but perhaps they may be of use to future poets, in the conduct of their plays; at least, if I appear too positive, I am growing old, and thereby in possession of some experience, which men in years will always assume for a right of talking. Certainly if a man can ever have reason to set a value on himself, it is when his ungenerous enemies are taking the advantage of the times upon him, to ruin him in his reputation. And therefore, for once, I will make bold to take the counsel of my old master Virgil,

Tu ne cede mails, sed contrà audentior ito.


  1. There was a Portuguese prophecy to this purpose, which they applied to the expected return of Sebastian:

    Vendra et Incubierto,

    Vendra cierto;

    Entrera en el huerto,

    Per el puerto,

    Questa mas a ca del muro;

    Y'lo que paresce escuro,

    Se vra claro e abierto.

    Two false Sebastians, both hermits, laid claim to the throne of Portugal. One was hanged, and the other died in the galleys. Vide Le Quien's Histoire Generale de Portugal.—There are two tracts which appear to regard the last of these impostors, and which may have furnished our author with some slight hints; namely, "The true History of the late and lamentable Adventures of Don Sebastian, King of Portugal, after his imprisonment at Naples until this present day, being now in Spain, at San Lucar de Barrameda.—1602;" and, "A continuation of the lamentable and admirable Adventures of Don Sebastian, King of Portugal, with a Declaration of all his time employed since the Battle in Africk against the Infidels, 1578, until this present year 1603. London, 1603." Both pieces are reprinted in the Harleian Miscellany, Vols IV. and V.

  2. The uncertainty of his fate is alluded to by Fletcher:

    Wittypate. In what service have ye been, sir?

    Ruinous. The first that fleshed me a soldier, sir,
    Was that great battle at Alcazar, in Barbary,
    Where the noble English Stukely fell, and where
    The royal Portugal Sebastian ended
    His untimely days.

    Wittypate. Are you sure Sebastian died there?

    Ruinous. Faith, sir, there was some other rumour hoped
    Amongst us, that he, wounded, escaped, and touched
    On his native shore again, where finding his country at home
    More distressed by the invasion of the Spaniard
    Than his loss abroad, forsook it, still supporting
    A miserable and unfortunate life,
    Which where he ended is yet uncertain.

    Wit at several Weapons.

    I have printed this quotation as I find it in the edition of 1778; though I am unable to discover what pretensions it claims to be arranged as blank verse.

  3. Toxica zelotypo dedit uxor mæcha marito,

    Nec satis ad mortem credidit esse datum.

    Micuit argenti letalia pondera vivi;

    Cogeret ut celerem vis geminata necem.

    Dividat hæc si quis, faciunt discreta venenum:

    Antidotum sumet, qui sociata bibet.

    Ergo inter sese dum noxia pocula certant,

    Cessit letalis noxa salutiferæ.

    Protinus et vacuos alvi petiere recessus

    Lubrica dejectis quà via nota cibis.

    Quàm pia cura déum! prodest crudelior uxor,

    Et quum fata volunt, bina venena juvant.




Bright beauties, who in awful circle sit,

And you, grave synod of the dreadful pit,

And you the upper-tire of pop-gun wit,

Pray ease me of my wonder, if you may;

Is all this crowd barely to see the play;

Or is't the poet's execution-day?

His breath is in your hands I will presume,

But I advise you to defer his doom,

Till you have got a better in his room;

And don't maliciously combine together,

As if in spite and spleen you were come hither;

For he has kept the pen, tho' lost the feather[2].

And, on my honour, ladies, I avow,

This play was writ in charity to you;

For such a dearth of wit who ever knew?

303 Sure 'tis a judgment on this sinful nation,

For the abuse of so great dispensation;

And, therefore, I resolve to change vocation.

For want of petticoat, I've put on buff,

To try what may be got by lying rough:

How think you, sirs? is it not well enough?

Of bully-critics I a troop would lead;

But, one replied,—Thank you, there's no such need,

I at Groom-Porter's, sir, can safer bleed.

Another, who the name of danger loaths,

Vow'd he would go, and swore me forty oaths,

But that his horses were in body-clothes.

A third cried,—Damn my blood, I'll be content

To push my fortune, if the parliament

Would but recal claret from banishment.

A fourth (and I have done) made this excuse—

I'd draw my sword in Ireland, sir, to chuse;

Had not their women gouty legs, and wore no shoes.

Well, I may march, thought I, and fight, and trudge,

But, of these blades, the devil a man will budge;

They there would fight, e'en just as here they judge.

Here they will pay for leave to find a fault;

But, when their honour calls, they can't be bought;

Honour in danger, blood, and wounds is sought.

Lost virtue, whither fled? or where's thy dwelling

Who can reveal? at least, 'tis past my telling,

Unless thou art embarked for Inniskilling.

On carrion-tits those sparks denounce their rage,

In boot of wisp and Leinster frise engage;

What would you do in such an equipage[3]?

304 The siege of Derry does you gallants threaten;

Not out of errant shame of being beaten,

As fear of wanting meat, or being eaten.

Were wit like honour, to be won by fighting,

How few just judges would there be of writing!

Then you would leave this villainous back-biting.

Your talents lie how to express your spite;

But, where is he who knows to praise aright?

You praise like cowards, but like critics fight.

Ladies, be wise, and wean these yearling calves,

Who, in your service too, are meer faux braves;

They judge, and write, and fight, and love—by halves.


  1. The humour of this intended prologue turns upon the unwillingness displayed to attend King William into Ireland by many of the nobility and gentry, who had taken arms at the Revolution. The truth is, that, though invited to go as volunteers, they could not but consider themselves as hostages, of whom William did not chuse to lose sight, lest, while he was conquering Ireland, he might, perchance, lose England, by means of the very men by whom he had won it. The disbanding of the royal regiment had furnished a subject for the satirical wit of Buckingham, at least, such a piece is printed in his Miscellanies; and for that of Shadwell, in his epilogue to Bury-fair. But Shadwell was now poet-laureat, and his satire was privileged, like the wit of the ancient royal jester. Our author was suspected of disaffection, and liable to misconstruction: For which reason, probably, he declined this sarcastic prologue, and substituted that which follows, the tone of which is submissive, and conciliatory towards the government. Contrary to custom, it was spoken by a woman.

  2. In allusion to his being deprived of the office of poet laureat.

  3. The Inniskilling horse, who behaved with great courage against King James, joined Schomberg and King William's forces at Dundalk, in 1689, rather resembled a foreign frey-corps, than regular troops. "They were followed by multitudes of their women; they were uncouth in their appearance; they rode on small horses, called Garrons; their pistols were not fixed in holsters, but dangled about their persons, being slung to their sword-belts; they offered, with spirit, to make always the forlorn of the army; but, upon the first order they received, they cried out, 'They could thrive no longer, since they were now put under orders.'—Memoirs, Vol. II. p. 133. The allusion in the next verse is to the dreadful siege of Londonderry, when the besieged suffered the last extremities of famine. The account of this memorable leaguer, by the author just quoted, is a most spirited piece of historical painting.


The judge removed, though he's no more my lord,

May plead at bar, or at the council-board:

So may cast poets write; there's no pretension

To argue loss of wit, from loss of pension.

Your looks are chearful; and in all this place

I see not one that wears a damning face.

The British nation is too brave, to show

Ignoble vengeance on a vanquished foe.

At last be civil to the wretch imploring;

And lay your paws upon him, without roaring.

Suppose our poet was your foe before,

Yet now, the business of the field is o'er;

'Tis time to let your civil wars alone,

When troops are into winter-quarters gone.

Jove was alike to Latian and to Phrygian;

And you well know, a play's of no religion.

Take good advice, and please yourselves this day;

No matter from what hands you have the play.

305 Among good fellows every health will pass,

That serves to carry round another glass:

When with full bowls of Burgundy you dine,

Though at the mighty monarch you repine,

You grant him still Most Christian in his wine.

Thus far the poet; but his brains grow addle,

And all the rest is purely from this noddle.

You have seen young ladies at the senate-door,

Prefer petitions, and your grace implore;

However grave the legislators were,

Their cause went ne'er the worse for being fair.

Reasons as weak as theirs, perhaps, I bring;

But I could bribe you with as good a thing.

I heard him make advances of good nature;

That he, for once, would sheath his cutting satire.

Sign but his peace, he vows he'll ne'er again

The sacred names of fops and beaus profane.

Strike up the bargain quickly; for I swear,

As times go now, he offers very fair.

Be not too hard on him with statutes neither;

Be kind; and do not set your teeth together,

To stretch the laws, as coblers do their leather

Horses by Papists are not to be ridden,

But sure the muses' horse was ne'er forbidden;

For in no rate-book it was ever found

That Pegasus was valued at five pound[1]:

Fine him to daily drudging and inditing:

And let him pay his taxes out in writing.




  1. Alluding to the act for disarming the Catholics, by which, inter alia, it is enacted, "that no Papist, or reputed Papist, so refusing, or making default, as aforesaid, at any time after the 15th of May, 1689, shall, or may have, and keep in his own possession, or in the possession of any other person for his use, or at his disposition, any horse or horses, which shall be above the value of L.5."—1st William and Mary, c. 15.



Don Sebastian, King of Portugal.

Muley-Moluch, Emperor of Barbary.

Dorax, a noble Portuguese, now a renegade; formerly Don Alonzo de Sylvera, Alcade, or Governor of Alcazar.

Benducar, chief Minister, and favourite to the Emperor.

The Mufti Abdalla.

Muley-Zeydan, brother to the Emperor.

Don Antonio, a young, noble, amorous Portuguese; now a slave.

Don Alvarez, an old counsellor to Don Sebastian; now a slave also.

Mustapha, Captain of the Rabble.

Two Merchants.


A Servant to Benducar.

A Servant to the Mufti.

Almeyda, a captive Queen of Barbary.

Morayma, daughter to the Mufti.

Johayma, chief wife to the Mufti.

SCENE,—In the Castle of Alcazar.




The scene at Alcazar, representing a market-place under the Castle.

Enter Muley-Zeydan and Benducar.

M. Zey. Now Africa's long wars are at an end,
And our parched earth is drenched in Christian blood;
My conquering brother will have slaves enow,
To pay his cruel vows for victory.—
What hear you of Sebastian, king of Portugal?

Bend. He fell among a heap of slaughtered Moors,
Though yet his mangled carcase is not found.
The rival of our threatened empire, Mahomet,
Was hot pursued; and, in the general rout,
Mistook a swelling current for a ford,
And in Mucazar's flood was seen to rise:
Thrice was he seen: At length his courser plunged,
And threw him off; the waves whelmed over him,
And, helpless, in his heavy arms he drowned.

308 M. Zey. Thus, then, a doubtful title is extinguished;
Thus Moluch, still the favourite of fate,
Swims in a sanguine torrent to the throne,
As if our prophet only worked for him:
The heavens, and all the stars, are his hired servants;
As Muley-Zeydan were not worth their care,
And younger brothers but the draff of nature.

Bend. Be still, and learn the soothing arts of court:
Adore his fortune, mix with flattering crowds;
And, when they praise him most, be you the loudest.
Your brother is luxurious, close, and cruel;
Generous by fits, but permanent in mischief.
The shadow of a discontent would ruin us;
We must be safe, before we can be great.
These things observed, leave me to shape the rest.

M. Zey. You have the key; he opens inward to you.

Bend. So often tried, and ever found so true,
Has given me trust; and trust has given me means
Once to be false for all. I trust not him;
For, now his ends are served, and he grown absolute,
How am I sure to stand, who served those ends?
I know your nature open, mild, and grateful:
In such a prince the people may be blest,
And I be safe.

M. Zey. My father![Embracing him.

Bend. My future king, auspicious Muley-Zeydan!
Shall I adore you?—No, the place is public:
I worship you within; the outward act
Shall be reserved till nations follow me,
And heaven shall envy you the kneeling world.—
You know the alcade of Alcazar, Dorax?

M. Zey. The gallant renegade you mean?

Bend. The same.
That gloomy outside, like a rusty chest,
309 Contains the shining treasure, of a soul
Resolved and brave: He has the soldiers' hearts,
And time shall make him ours.

M. Zey. He's just upon us.

Bend. I know him from afar,
By the long stride, and by the sullen port.—
Retire, my lord.
Wait on your brother's triumph; yours is next:
His growth is but a wild and fruitless plant;
I'll cut his barren branches to the stock,
And graft you on to bear.

M. Zey. My oracle![Exit M. Zey.

Bend. Yes, to delude your hopes.—Poor credulous fool!
To think that I would give away the fruit
Of so much toil, such guilt, and such damnation!
If I am damned, it shall be for myself.
This easy fool must be my stale, set up
To catch the people's eyes: He's tame and merciful;
Him I can manage, till I make him odious
By some unpopular act; and then dethrone him.

Enter Dorax.

Now, Dorax.

Dor. Well, Benducar.

Bend. Bare Benducar!

Dor. Thou would'st have titles; take them then,—chief minister,
First hangman of the state.

Bend. Some call me, favourite.

Dor. What's that?—his minion?—
Thou art too old to be a catamite!—
Now pr'ythee tell me, and abate thy pride,
Is not Benducar, bare, a better name
In a friend's mouth, than all those gaudy titles,
Which I disdain to give the man I love?

Bend. But always out of humour,—

310 Dor. I have cause:
Though all mankind is cause enough for satire.

Bend. Why, then, thou hast revenged thee on mankind.
They say, in fight, thou hadst a thirsty sword,
And well 'twas glutted there.

Dor. I spitted frogs; I crushed a heap of emmets;
A hundred of them to a single soul,
And that but scanty weight too. The great devil
Scarce thanked me for my pains; he swallows vulgar
Like whipped cream,—feels them not in going down.

Bend. Brave renegade!—Could'st thou not meet Sebastian?
Thy master had been worthy of thy sword.

Dor. My master!—By what title?
Because I happened to be born where he
Happened to be king?—And yet I served him;
Nay, I was fool enough to love him too.—
You know my story, how I was rewarded
For fifteen hard campaigns, still hooped in iron,
And why I turned Mahometan. I'm grateful;
But whosoever dares to injure me,
Let that man know, I dare to be revenged.

Bend. Still you run off from bias:—Say, what moves
Your present spleen?

Dor. You marked not what I told you.
I killed not one that was his maker's image;
I met with none but vulgar two-legged brutes:
Sebastian was my aim; he was a man:
Nay,—though he hated me, and I hate him,
Yet I must do him right,—he was a man,
Above man's height, even towering to divinity:
Brave, pious, generous, great, and liberal;
Just as the scales of heaven, that weigh the seasons.
He loved his people; him they idolized;
And thence proceeds my mortal hatred to him;
311 That, thus unblameable to all besides,
He erred to me alone:
His goodness was diffused to human kind,
And all his cruelty confined to me.

Bend. You could not meet him then?

Dor. No, though I sought
Where ranks fell thickest.—'Twas indeed the place
To seek Sebastian.—Through a track of death
I followed him, by groans of dying foes;
But still I came too late; for he was flown,
Like lightning, swift before me to new slaughters.
I mowed across, and made irregular harvest,
Defaced the pomp of battle, but in vain;
For he was still supplying death elsewhere.
This mads me, that perhaps ignoble hands
Have overlaid him,—for they could not conquer:
Murdered by multitudes, whom I alone
Had right to slay. I too would have been slain;
That, catching hold upon his flitting ghost,
I might have robbed him of his opening heaven,
And dragged him down with me, spite of predestination.

Bend. 'Tis of as much import as Africk's worth,
To know what came of him, and of Almeyda,
The sister of the vanquished Mahomet,
Whose fatal beauty to her brother drew
The land's third part, as Lucifer did heaven's.

Dor. I hope she died in her own female calling,
Choked up with man, and gorged with circumcision.
As for Sebastian, we must search the field;
And, where we see a mountain of the slain,
Send one to climb, and, looking down below,
There he shall find him at his manly length,
With his face up to heaven, in the red monument,
Which his true sword has digged.

Bend. Yet we may possibly hear farther news;
312 For, while our Africans pursued the chace,
The captain of the rabble issued out,
With a black shirtless train, to spoil the dead,
And seize the living.

Dor. Each of them an host,
A million strong of vermin every villain:
No part of government, but lords of anarchy,
Chaos of power, and privileged destruction.

Bend. Yet I must tell you, friend, the great must use them
Sometimes, as necessary tools of tumult.

Dor. I would use them
Like dogs in times of plague; outlaws of nature,
Fit to be shot and brained, without a process,
To stop infection; that's their proper death.

Bend. No more;—
Behold the emperor coming to survey
The slaves, in order to perform his vow.

Enter Muley-Moluch the Emperor, with Attendants; the Mufti, and Muley-Zeydan.

M. Mol. Our armours now may rust; our idle scymiters
Hang by our sides for ornament, not use:
Children shall beat our atabals and drums,
And all the noisy trades of war no more
Shall wake the peaceful morn; the Xeriff's blood
No longer in divided channels runs,
The younger house took end in Mahomet:
Nor shall Sebastian's formidable name
Be longer used to lull the crying babe.

Muf. For this victorious day, our mighty prophet
Expects your gratitude, the sacrifice
Of Christian slaves, devoted, if you won.

M. Mol. The purple present shall be richly paid;
That vow performed, fasting shall be abolished;
None e'er served heaven well with a starved face:
313 Preach abstinence no more; I tell thee, Mufti,
Good feasting is devout; and thou, our head,
Hast a religious, ruddy countenance.
We will have learned luxury; our lean faith
Gives scandal to the christians; they feed high:
Then look for shoals of converts, when thou hast
Reformed us into feasting.

Muf. Fasting is but the letter of the law,
Yet it shews well to preach it to the vulgar;
Wine is against our law; that's literal too,
But not denied to kings and to their guides;
Wine is a holy liquor for the great.

Dor. [Aside.] This Mufti, in my conscience, is some English renegado, he talks so savourily of toping.

M. Mol. Bring forth the unhappy relicks of the war.

Enter Mustapha, Captain of the Rabble, with his followers of the Black Guard, &c. and other Moors; With them a Company of Portuguese Slaves, without any of the chief Persons.

M. Mol. These are not fit to pay an emperor's vow;
Our bulls and rams had been more noble victims:
These are but garbage, not a sacrifice.

Muf. The prophet must not pick and chuse his offerings;
Now he has given the day, 'tis past recalling,
And he must be content with such as these.

M. Mol. But are these all? Speak you, that are their masters.

Must. All, upon my honour; if you will take them as their fathers got them, so; if not, you must stay till they get a better generation. These christians are mere bunglers; they procreate nothing but out of their own wives, and these have all the looks of eldest sons.

314 M. Mol. Pain of your lives, let none conceal a slave.

Must. Let every man look to his own conscience; I am sure mine shall never hang me.

Bend. Thou speak'st as if thou wert privy to concealments; then thou art an accomplice.

Must. Nay, if accomplices must suffer, it may go hard with me: but here's the devil on't, there's a great man, and a holy man too, concerned with me; now, if I confess, he'll be sure to escape between his greatness and his holiness, and I shall be murdered, because of my poverty and rascality.

Muf. [Winking at him.]
Then, if thy silence save the great and holy,
'Tis sure thou shalt go straight to paradise.

Must. 'Tis a fine place, they say; but, doctor, I am not worthy on't. I am contented with this homely world; 'tis good enough for such a poor, rascally Mussulman, as I am; besides, I have learnt so much good manners, doctor, as to let my betters be served before me.

M. Mol. Thou talk'st as if the Mufti were concerned.

Must. Your majesty may lay your soul on't. But, for my part, though I am a plain fellow, yet I scorn to be tricked into paradise; I would he should know it. The truth on't is, an't like you, his reverence bought of me the flower of all the market: these—these are but dogs-meat to them; and a round price he paid me, too, I'll say that for him; but not enough for me to venture my neck for. If I get paradise when my time comes, I can't help myself; but I'll venture nothing before-hand, upon a blind bargain.

M. Mol. Where are those slaves? produce them.

Muf. They are not what he says.

M. Mol. No more excuses. [One goes out to fetch them.
315 Know, thou may'st better dally
With a dead prophet, than a living king.

Muf. I but reserved them to present thy greatness
An offering worthy thee.

Must. By the same token there was a dainty virgin, (virgin, said I! but I wont be too positive of that, neither) with a roguish leering eye! he paid me down for her upon the nail a thousand golden sultanins, or he had never had her, I can tell him that; now, is it very likely he would pay so dear for such a delicious morsel, and give it away out of his own mouth, when it had such a farewell with it too?

Enter Sebastian, conducted in mean Habit, with Alvarez, Antonio, and Almeyda, her Face veiled with a Barnus.

M. Mol. Ay; these look like the workmanship of heaven;
This is the porcelain clay of human kind,
And therefore cast into these noble moulds.

Dor. By all my wrongs, [Aside, while the Emperor whispers Benducar.
'Tis he! damnation seize me, but 'tis he!
My heart heaves up and swells; he's poison to me;
My injured honour, and my ravished love,
Bleed at their murderer's sight.

Ben. [Aside to Dor.]
The emperor would learn these prisoners' names;
You know them?

Dor. Tell him, no;
And trouble me no more—I will not know them.
Shall I trust heaven, that heaven which I renounced,
With my revenge? Then, where's my satisfaction?
No; It must be my own, I scorn a proxy.[Aside.

M. Mol. 'Tis decreed;
These of a better aspect, with the rest,
316 Shall share one common doom, and lots decide it.
For every numbered captive, put a ball
Into an urn; three only black be there,
The rest, all white, are safe.

Muf. Hold, sir; the woman must not draw.

M. Mol O Mufti,
We know your reason; let her share the danger.

Muf. Our law says plainly, women have no souls.

M, Mol. 'Tis true; their souls are mortal, set her by;
Yet, were Almeyda here, though fame reports her
The fairest of her sex, so much, unseen,
I hate the sister of our rival-house,
Ten thousand such dry notions of our Alcoran
Should not protect her life, if not immortal;
Die as she could, all of a piece, the better
That none of her remain.
[Here an Urn is brought in; the Prisoners approach with great concernment, and among the rest, Sebastian, Alvarez, and Antonio, who come more chearfully.

Dor. Poor abject creatures, how they fear to die!
These never knew one happy hour in life,
Yet shake to lay it down. Is load so pleasant?
Or has heaven hid the happiness of death,
That men may dare to live?—Now for our heroes. [The Three approach.
O, these come up with spirits more resolved.
Old venerable Alvarez;—well I know him,
The favourite once of this Sebastian's father;
Now minister, (too honest for his trade)
Religion bears him out; a thing taught young,
In age ill practised, yet his prop in death.
O, he has drawn a black; and smiles upon't,
As who should say,—My faith and soul are white,
Though my lot swarthy: Now, if there be hereafter,
317 He's blest; if not, well cheated, and dies pleased.

Anton. [Holding his lot in his clenched hand.]
Here I have thee;
Be what thou wilt, I will not look too soon:
Thou hast a colour; if thou prov'st not right,
I have a minute good ere I behold thee.
Now, let me roll and grubble thee:
Blind men say, white feels smooth, and black feels rough;
Thou hast a rugged skin, I do not like thee.

Dor. There's the amorous airy spark, Antonio,
The wittiest woman's toy in Portugal:
Lord, what a loss of treats and serenades!
The whole she-nation will be in mourning for him,

Anton. I've a moist sweaty palm; the more's my sin:
If it be black, yet only dyed, not odious
Damned natural ebony, there's hope, in rubbing,
To wash this Ethiop white.—[Looks.] Pox o'the proverb!
As black as hell;—another lucky saying!
I think the devil's in me;—good again!
I cannot speak one syllable, but tends
To death or to damnation.[Holds up his ball.

Dor. He looks uneasy at his future journey,[Aside.
And wishes his boots off again, for fear
Of a bad road, and a worse inn at night.
Go to bed, fool, and take secure repose,
For thou shalt wake no more.[Sebastian comes up to draw.

M. Mol. [To Ben.] Mark him, who now approaches to the lottery:
He looks secure of death, superior greatness,
Like Jove, when he made Fate, and said, Thou art
The slave of my creation.—I admire him.

Bend. He looks as man was made; with face erect,
318 That scorns his brittle corpse, and seems ashamed
He's not all spirit; his eyes, with a dumb pride,
Accusing fortune that he fell not warm;
Yet now disdains to live.[Sebast. draws a black.

M. Mol. He has his wish;
And I have failed of mine.

Dor. Robbed of my vengeance, by a trivial chance! [Aside.
Fine work above, that their anointed care
Should die such little death! or did his genius
Know mine the stronger dæmon, feared the grapple,
And looking round him, found this nook of fate,
To skulk behind my sword?—Shall I discover him?—
Still he would not die mine; no thanks to my
Revenge; reserved but to more royal shambles.
'Twere base, too, and below those vulgar souls,
That shared his danger, yet not one disclosed him,
But, struck with reverence, kept an awful silence.
I'll see no more of this;—dog of a prophet![Exit Dorax.

M. Mol. One of these three is a whole hecatomb,
And therefore only one of them shall die:
The rest are but mute cattle; and when death
Comes like a rushing lion, couch like spaniels,
With lolling tongues, and tremble at the paw:
Let lots again decide it. [The Three draw again; and the Lot falls on Sebastian.

Sebast. Then there's no more to manage: if I fall,
It shall be like myself; a setting sun
Should leave a track of glory in the skies.—
Behold Sebastian, king of Portugal.

M. Mol. Sebastian! ha! it must be he; no other
Could represent such suffering majesty.
I saw him, as he terms himself, a sun
Struggling in dark eclipse, and shooting day
On either side of the black orb that veiled him.

319 Sebast. Not less even in this despicable now,
Than when my name filled Afric with affright,
And froze your hearts beneath your torrid zone.

Bend. [To M. Mol.]
Extravagantly brave! even to an impudence
Of greatness.

Sebast. Here satiate all your fury:
Let fortune empty her whole quiver on me;
I have a soul, that, like an ample shield,
Can take in all, and verge enough for more.
I would have conquered you; and ventured only
A narrow neck of land for a third world,
To give my loosened subjects room to play.
Fate was not mine,
Nor am I fate's. Now I have pleased my longing,
And trod the ground which I beheld from far,
I beg no pity for this mouldering clay;
For, if you give it burial, there it takes
Possession of your earth;
If burnt and scattered in the air, the winds,
That strow my dust, diffuse my royalty,
And spread me o'er your clime: for where one atom
Of mine shall light, know, there Sebastian reigns.

M. Mol. What shall I do to conquer thee?

Sebast. Impossible!
Souls know no conquerors.

M. Mol. I'll shew thee for a monster through my Afric.

Sebast. No, thou canst only shew me for a man:
Afric is stored with monsters; man's a prodigy,
Thy subjects have not seen.

M. Mol. Thou talk'st as if
Still at the head of battle.

Sebast. Thou mistakest,
For then I would not talk.

Bend. Sure he would sleep.

Sebast. Till doomsday, when the trumpet sounds to rise;
320 For that's a soldier's call.

M. Mol. Thou'rt brave too late;
Thou shouldst have died in battle, like a soldier.

Sebast. I fought and fell like one, but death deceived me;
I wanted weight of feeble Moors upon me,
To crush my soul out.

M. Mol. Still untameable!
In what a ruin has thy head-strong pride,
And boundless thirst of empire, plunged thy people!

Sebast. What sayst thou? ha! no more of that.

M. Mol. Behold,
What carcases of thine thy crimes have strewed,
And left our Afric vultures to devour.

Bend. Those souls were those thy God intrusted with thee,
To cherish, not destroy.

Sebast. Witness, O heaven, how much
This sight concerns me! would I had a soul
For each of these; how gladly would I pay
The ransom down! But since I have but one,
'Tis a king's life, and freely 'tis bestowed.
Not your false prophet, but eternal justice
Has destined me the lot, to die for these:
'Tis fit a sovereign so should pay such subjects;
For subjects such as they are seldom seen,
Who not forsook me at my greatest need;
Nor for base lucre sold their loyalty,
But shared my dangers to the last event,
And fenced them with their own. These thanks I pay you; [Wipes his eyes.
And know, that, when Sebastian weeps, his tears
Come harder than his blood.

M. Mol. They plead too strongly
To be withstood. My clouds are gathering too,
In kindly mixture with his royal shower.
Be safe; and owe thy life, not to my gift,
321 But to the greatness of thy mind, Sebastian.
Thy subjects too shall live; a due reward
For their untainted faith, in thy concealment.

Muf. Remember, sir, your vow.[A general shout.

M. Mol. Do thou remember
Thy function, mercy, and provoke not blood.

Mul. Zeyd. One of his generous fits, too strong to last. [Aside to Benducar.

Bend. The Mufti reddens; mark that holy cheek.[To him.
He frets within, froths treason at his mouth,
And churns it thro' his teeth; leave me to work him.

Seb. A mercy unexpected, undesired,
Surprises more: you've learnt the art to vanquish.
You could not,—give me leave to tell you, sir,—
Have given me life but in my subjects' safety:
Kings, who are fathers, live but in their people.

M. Mol. Still great, and grateful; that's thy character.—
Unveil the woman; I would view the face,
That warmed our Mufti's zeal:
These pious parrots peck the fairest fruit:
Such tasters are for kings. [Officers go to Almeyda to unveil her.

Alm. Stand off, ye slaves! I will not be unveiled.

M. Mol Slave is thy title:—force her.

Sebast. On your lives, approach her not.

M. Mol. How's this!

Sebast. Sir, pardon me,
And hear me speak.—

Aim. Hear me; I will be heard.
I am no slave; the noblest blood of Afric
Runs in my veins; a purer stream than thine:
For, though derived from the same source, thy current
Is puddled and defiled with tyranny.

M. Mol. What female fury have we here!

Aim. I should be one,
322 Because of kin to thee. Wouldst thou be touched
By the presuming hands of saucy grooms?
The same respect, nay more, is due to me:
More for my sex; the same for my descent.
These hands are only fit to draw the curtain.
Now, if thou dar'st, behold Almeyda's face.[Unveils herself.

Bend. Would I had never seen it![Aside.

Alm. She whom thy Mufti taxed to have no soul;
Let Afric now be judge.
Perhaps thou think'st I meanly hope to 'scape,
As did Sebastian, when he owned his greatness.
But to remove that scruple, know, base man,
My murdered father, and my brother's ghost,
Still haunt this breast, and prompt it to revenge.
Think not I could forgive, nor dar'st thou pardon.

M. Mol. Wouldst thou revenge thee, trait'ress, hadst thou power?

Alm. Traitor, I would; the name's more justly thine;
Thy father was not, more than mine, the heir
Of this large empire: but with arms united
They fought their way, and seized the crown by force;
And equal as their danger was their share:
For where was eldership, where none had right
But that which conquest gave? 'Twas thy ambition
Pulled from my peaceful father what his sword
Helped thine to gain; surprised him and his kingdom,
No provocation given, no war declared.

M. Mol. I'll hear no more.

Alm. This is the living coal, that, burning in me,
Would flame to vengeance, could it find a vent;
My brother too, that lies yet scarcely cold
In his deep watery bed;—my wandering mother,
Who in exile died—
O that I had the fruitful heads of Hydra,
323 That one might bourgeon where another fell!
Still would I give thee work; still, still, thou tyrant,
And hiss thee with the last.

M. Mol. Something, I know not what, comes over me:
Whether the toils of battle, unrepaired
With due repose, or other sudden qualm.—
Benducar, do the rest.[Goes off, the court follows him.

Bend. Strange! in full health! this pang is of the soul;
The body's unconcerned: I'll think hereafter.—
Conduct these royal captives to the castle;
Bid Dorax use them well, till further order.[Going off, stops.
The inferior captives their first owners take,
To sell, or to dispose.—You Mustapha,
Set ope the market for the sale of slaves.[Exit Bend.
[The Masters and Slaves come forward, and Buyers of several Qualities come in, and chaffer about the several Owners, who make their slaves do Tricks[1].

Must. My chattels are come into my hands again, and my conscience will serve me to sell them twice 324 over; any price now, before the Mufti come to claim them.

1st Mer. [To Must.] What dost hold that old fellow at?—[Pointing to Alvar.] He's tough, and has no service in his limbs.

Must. I confess he's somewhat tough; but I suppose you would not boil him, I ask for him a thousand crowns.

1st Mer. Thou mean'st a thousand marvedis.

Must. Pr'ythee, friend, give me leave to know my own meaning.

1st Mer. What virtues has he to deserve that price?

Must. Marry come up, sir! virtues, quotha! I took him in the king's company; he's of a great family, and rich; what other virtues wouldst thou have in a nobleman?

1st Mer. I buy him with another man's purse, that's my comfort. My lord Dorax, the governor, will have him at any rate:—There's hansel. Come, old fellow, to the castle.

Alvar. To what is miserable age reserved![Aside.
But oh the king! and oh the fatal secret!
Which I have kept thus long to time it better,
And now I would disclose, 'tis past my power. [Exit with his Master.

Must. Something of a secret, and of the king, I heard him mutter: a pimp, I warrant him, for I am sure he is an old courtier. Now, to put off t'other remnant of my merchandize.—Stir up, sirrah!
[To Ant.

Ant. Dog, what wouldst thou have?

Must. Learn better manners, or I shall serve you a dog-trick; come down upon all-four immediately; I'll make you know your rider.

Ant. Thou wilt not make a horse of me?

325 Must. Horse or ass, that's as thy mother made thee: but take earnest, in the first place, for thy sauciness.—[Lashes him with his Whip.]—Be advised, friend, and buckle to thy geers: Behold my ensign of royalty displayed over thee.

Ant. I hope one day to use thee worse in Portugal.

Must. Ay, and good reason, friend; if thou catchest me a-conquering on thy side of the water, lay on me lustily; I will take it as kindly as thou dost this.—
[Holds up his Whip.

Ant. [Lying down.] Hold, my dear Thrum-cap: I obey thee cheerfully.—I see the doctrine of non-resistance is never practised thoroughly, but when a man can't help himself.

Enter a second Merchant.

2d Mer. You, friend, I would see that fellow do his postures.

Must. [Bridling Ant.] Now, sirrah, follow, for you have rope enough: To your paces, villain, amble trot, and gallop:—Quick about, there.—Yeap! the more money's bidden for you, the more your credit.
[Antonio follows, at the end of the Bridle, on his Hands and Feet, and does all his Postures.

2d Mer. He is well chined, and has a tolerable good back; that is half in half.—[To Must.]—I would see him strip; has he no diseases about him?

Must. He is the best piece of man's flesh in the market, not an eye-sore in his whole body. Feel his legs, master; neither splint, spavin, nor wind-gall.
[Claps him on the Shoulder.

Mer. [Feeling about him, and then putting his Hand on his Side.] Out upon him, how his flank heaves! The whore-son is broken-winded.

326 Must. Thick-breathed a little; nothing but a sorry cold with lying out a-nights in trenches; but sound, wind and limb, I warrant him.—Try him at a loose trot a little.
[Puts the Bridle into his Hand, he strokes him.

Ant. For heaven's sake, owner, spare me: you know I am but new broken.

2d Mer. 'Tis but a washy jade, I see: what do you ask for this bauble?

Must. Bauble, do you call him? he is a substantial true-bred beast; bravely forehanded. Mark but the cleanness of his shapes too: his dam may be a Spanish gennet, but a true barb by the sire, or I have no skill in horseflesh:—Marry, I ask six hundred xeriffs for him.

Enter Mufti.

Mufti. What is that you are asking, sirrah?

Must. Marry, I ask your reverence six hundred pardons; I was doing you a small piece of service here, putting off your cattle for you.

Mufti. And putting the money into your own pocket.

Must. Upon vulgar reputation, no, my lord; it was for your profit and emolument. What! wrong the head of my religion? I was sensible you would have damned me, or any man, that should have injured you in a single farthing; for I knew that was sacrifice.

Mufti. Sacrilege, you mean, sirrah,—and damning shall be the least part of your punishment: I have taken you in the manner, and will have the law upon you.

Must. Good my lord, take pity upon a poor man in this world, and damn me in the next.

Mufti. No, sirrah, so you may repent and escape 327 punishment: Did not you sell this very slave amongst the rest to me, and take money for him?

Must. Right, my lord.

Mufti. And selling him again? take money twice for the same commodity? Oh, villain! but did you not know him to be my slave, sirrah?

Must. Why should I lie to your honour? I did know him; and thereupon, seeing him wander about, took him up for a stray, and impounded him, with intention to restore him to the right owner.

Mufti. And yet at the same time was selling him to another: How rarely the story hangs together!

Must. Patience, my lord. I took him up, as your herriot, with intention to have made the best of him, and then have brought the whole product of him in a purse to you; for I know you would have spent half of it upon your pious pleasures, have hoarded up the other half, and given the remainder in charities to the poor.

Mufti. And what's become of my other slave? Thou hast sold him too, I have a villainous suspicion.

Must. I know you have, my lord; but while I was managing this young robustious fellow, that old spark, who was nothing but skin and bone, and by consequence very nimble, slipt through my fingers like an eel, for there was no hold-fast of him, and ran away to buy himself a new master.

Muft. [To Ant.] Follow me home, sirrah:—[To Must.] I shall remember you some other time.
[Exit Mufti with Ant.

Must. I never doubted your lordship's memory for an ill turn: And I shall remember him too in the next rising of the mobile for this act of resumption; and more especially for the ghostly 328 counsel he gave me before the emperor, to have hanged myself in silence to have saved his reverence. The best on't is, I am beforehand with him for selling one of his slaves twice over; and if he had not come just in the nick, I might have pocketed up the other; for what should a poor man do that gets his living by hard labour, but pray for bad times when he may get it easily? O for some incomparable tumult! Then should I naturally wish that the beaten party might prevail; because we have plundered the other side already, and there is nothing more to get of them.
Both rich and poor for their own interest pray,
'Tis ours to make our fortune while we may;
For kingdoms are not conquered every day.[Exit.

SCENE I.—Supposed to be a Terrace Walk, on the side of the Castle of Alcazar.

Enter Emperor and Benducar.

Emp. And thinkst thou not, it was discovered?

Bend. No:
The thoughts of kings are like religious groves,
The walks of muffled gods: Sacred retreat,
Where none, but whom they please to admit, approach.

Emp. Did not my conscious eye flash out a flame,
To lighten those brown horrors, and disclose
The secret path I trod?

Bend. I could not find it, till you lent a clue
To that close labyrinth; how then should they?

Emp. I would be loth they should: it breeds contempt
For herds to listen, or presume to pry,
329 When the hurt lion groans within his den:
But is't not strange?

Bend. To love? not more than 'tis to live; a tax
Imposed on all by nature, paid in kind,
Familiar as our being.

Emp. Still 'tis strange
To me: I know my soul as wild as winds,
That sweep the desarts of our moving plains;
Love might as well be sowed upon our sands,
As in a breast so barren.
To love an enemy, the only one
Remaining too, whom yester sun beheld
Mustering her charms, and rolling, as she past
By every squadron, her alluring eyes,
To edge her champions' swords, and urge my ruin.
The shouts of soldiers, and the burst of cannon,
Maintain even still a deaf and murmuring noise;
Nor is heaven yet recovered of the sound,
Her battle roused: Yet, spite of me, I love.

Bend. What then controuls you?
Her person is as prostrate as her party.

Emp. A thousand things controul this conqueror:
My native pride to own the unworthy passion,
Hazard of interest, and my people's love.
To what a storm of fate am I exposed!—
What if I had her murdered!—'tis but what
My subjects all expect, and she deserves,—
Would not the impossibility
Of ever, ever seeing, or possessing,
Calm all this rage, this hurricane of soul?

Bend. That ever, ever,
I marked the double,—shows extreme reluctance
To part with her for ever.

Emp. Right, thou hast me.
I would, but cannot kill: I must enjoy her:
I must, and what I must, be sure I will.
What's royalty, but power to please myself?
330 And if I dare not, then am I the slave,
And my own slaves the sovereigns:—'tis resolved.
Weak princes flatter, when they want the power
To curb their people; tender plants must bend:
But when a government is grown to strength,
Like some old oak, rough with its armed bark,
It yields not to the tug, but only nods,
And turns to sullen state.

Bend. Then you resolve
To implore her pity, and to beg relief?

Emp. Death! must I beg the pity of my slave?
Must a king beg?—Yes; love's a greater king;
A tyrant, nay, a devil, that possesses me:
He tunes the organs of my voice, and speaks,
Unknown to me, within me; pushes me,
And drives me on by force.—
Say I should wed her, would not my wise subjects
Take check, and think it strange? perhaps revolt?

Bend. I hope they would not.

Emp. Then thou doubtst they would?

Bend. To whom?

Emp. To her
Perhaps,—or to my brother,—or to thee.

Bend. [in disorder.]
To me! me, did you mention? how I tremble!
The name of treason shakes my honest soul.
If I am doubted, sir,
Secure yourself this moment, take my life.

Emp. No more: If I suspected thee—I would.

Bend. I thank your kindness.—Guilt had almost lost me. [Aside.

Emp. But clear my doubts:—thinkst thou they may rebel?

Bend. This goes as I would wish.—[Aside.
'Tis possible:
A secret party still remains, that lurks
Like embers raked in ashes,—wanting but
331 A breath to blow aside the involving dust,
And then they blaze abroad.

Emp. They must be trampled out.

Bend. But first be known.

Emp. Torture shall force it from them.

Bend. You would not put a nation to the rack?

Emp. Yes, the whole world; so I be safe, I care not.

Bend. Our limbs and lives
Are yours; but mixing friends with foes is hard.

Emp. All may be foes; or how to be distinguished,
If some be friends?

Bend. They may with ease be winnowed.
Suppose some one, who has deserved your trust,
Some one, who knows mankind, should be employed
To mix among them, seem a malcontent,
And dive into their breasts, to try how far
They dare oppose your love?

Emp. I like this well; 'tis wholesome wickedness.

Bend. Whomever he suspects, he fastens there,
And leaves no cranny of his soul unsearched;
Then like a bee bag'd with his honeyed venom,
He brings it to your hive;—if such a man,
So able and so honest, may be found;
If not, my project dies.

Emp. By all my hopes, thou hast described thyself:
Thou, thou alone, art fit to play that engine,
Thou only couldst contrive.

Bend. Sure I could serve you:
I think I could:—but here's the difficulty;
I am so entirely yours,
That I should scurvily dissemble hate;
The cheat would be too gross.

Emp. Art thou a statesman,
And canst not be a hypocrite? Impossible!
332 Do not distrust thy virtues.

Bend. If I must personate this seeming villain,
Remember 'tis to serve you.

Emp. No more words:
Love goads me to Almeyda, all affairs
Are troublesome but that; and yet that most.[Going.
Bid Dorax treat Sebastian like a king;
I had forgot him;—but this love mars all,
And takes up my whole breast.[Exit Emperor.

Bend. [To the Emp.] Be sure I'll tell him—
With all the aggravating circumstances[Alone.
I can, to make him swell at that command.
The tyrant first suspected me;
Then with a sudden gust he whirled about,
And trusted me too far:—Madness of power!
Now, by his own consent, I ruin him.
For, should some feeble soul, for fear or gain.
Bolt out to accuse me, even the king is cozened,
And thinks he's in the secret.
How sweet is treason, when the traitor's safe!

Sees the Mufti and Dorax entering, and seeming to confer.

The Mufti, and with him my sullen Dorax.
That first is mine already:
'Twas easy work to gain a covetous mind,
Whom rage to lose his prisoners had prepared:
Now caught himself,
He would seduce another. I must help him:
For churchmen, though they itch to govern all,
Are silly, woeful, aukward politicians:
They make lame mischief, though they mean it well:
Their interest is not finely drawn, and hid,
But seams are coarsely bungled up, and seen.

Muf. He'll tell you more.

Dor. I have heard enough already,
333 To make me loath thy morals.

Bend. [To Dor.] You seem warm;
The good man's zeal perhaps has gone too far.

Dor. Not very far; not farther than zeal goes;
Of course a small day's journey short of treason.

Muf. By all that's holy, treason was not named:
I spared the emperor's broken vows, to save
The slaves from death, though it was cheating heaven;
But I forgave him that.

Dor. And slighted o'er
The wrongs himself sustained in property;
When his bought slaves were seized by force, no loss
Of his considered, and no cost repaid.[Scornfully.

Muf. Not wholly slighted o'er, not absolutely.—
Some modest hints of private wrongs I urged.

Dor. Two-thirds of all he said: there he began
To shew the fulness of his heart; there ended.
Some short excursions of a broken vow
He made indeed, but flat insipid stuff;
But, when he made his loss the theme, he flourished,
Relieved his fainting rhetoric with new figures,
And thundered at oppressing tyranny.

Muf. Why not, when sacrilegious power would seize
My property? 'tis an affront to heaven,
Whose person, though unworthy, I sustain.

Dor. You've made such strong alliances above,
That 'twere profaneness in us laity
To offer earthly aid.
I tell thee, Mufti, if the world were wise,
They would not wag one finger in your quarrels.
Your heaven you promise, but our earth you covet;
The Phætons of mankind, who fire that world,
Which you were sent by preaching but to warm.

Bend. This goes beyond the mark.

Muf. No, let him rail;
334 His prophet works within him;
He's a rare convert.

Dor. Now his zeal yearns
To see me burned; he damns me from his church,
Because I would restrain him to his duty.—
Is not the care of souls a load sufficient?
Are not your holy stipends paid for this?
Were you not bred apart from worldly noise,
To study souls, their cures and their diseases?
If this be so, we ask you but our own:
Give us your whole employment, all your care.
The province of the soul is large enough
To fill up every cranny of your time,
And leave you much to answer, if one wretch
Be damned by your neglect.

Bend. [To the Mufti.] He speaks but reason.

Dor. Why, then, these foreign thoughts of state-employments,
Abhorrent to your function and your breedings?
Poor droning truants of unpractised cells,
Bred in the fellowship of bearded boys,
What wonder is it if you know not men?
Yet there you live demure, with down-cast eyes,
And humble as your discipline requires;
But, when let loose from thence to live at large,
Your little tincture of devotion dies:
Then luxury succeeds, and, set agog
With a new scene of yet untasted joys,
You fall with greedy hunger to the feast.
Of all your college virtues, nothing now
But your original ignorance remains;
Bloated with pride, ambition, avarice,
You swell to counsel kings, and govern kingdoms.

Muf. He prates as if kings had not consciences,
And none required directors but the crowd.

Dor. As private men they want you, not as kings;
Nor would you care to inspect their public conscience,
335 But that it draws dependencies of power
And earthly interest, which you long to sway;
Content you with monopolizing heaven,
And let this little hanging ball alone:
For, give you but a foot of conscience there,
And you, like Archimedes, toss the globe.
We know your thoughts of us that laymen are,
Lag souls, and rubbish of remaining clay,
Which heaven, grown weary of more perfect work,
Set upright with a little puff of breath,
And bid us pass for men.

Muf. I will not answer,
Base foul-mouthed renegade; but I'll pray for thee,
To shew my charity.[Exit Mufti.

Dor. Do; but forget not him who needs it most:
Allow thyself some share.—He's gone too soon;
I had to tell him of his holy jugglings;
Things that would startle faith, and make us deem
Not this, or that, but all religions false.

Bend. Our holy orator has lost the cause.[Aside.
But I shall yet redeem it.—[To Dorax.] Let him go;
For I have secret orders from the emperor,
Which none but you must hear: I must confess,
I could have wished some other hand had brought them.
When did you see your prisoner, great Sebastian?

Dor. You might as well have asked me, when I saw
A crested dragon, or a basilisk;
Both are less poison to my eyes and nature,
He knows not I am I; nor shall he see me,
Till time has perfected a labouring thought,
That rolls within my breast.

Bend. 'Twas my mistake.
I guessed indeed that time, and his misfortunes,
And your returning duty, had effaced
The memory of past wrongs; they would in me,
336 And I judged you as tame, and as forgiving.

Dor. Forgive him! no: I left my foolish faith,
Because it would oblige me to forgiveness.

Bend. I can't but grieve to find you obstinate,
For you must see him; 'tis our emperor's will,
And strict command.

Dor. I laugh at that command.

Bend. You must do more than see; serve, and respect him.

Dor. See, serve him, and respect! and after all
My yet uncancelled wrongs, I must do this!—
But I forget myself.

Bend. Indeed you do.

Dor. The emperor is a stranger to my wrongs;
I need but tell my story, to revoke
This hard commission.

Bend. Can you call me friend,
And think I could neglect to speak, at full,
The affronts you had from your ungrateful master?

Dor. And yet enjoined my service and attendance!

Bend. And yet enjoined them both: would that were all!
He screwed his face into a hardened smile,
And said, Sebastian knew to govern slaves.

Dor. Slaves are the growth of Africk, not of Europe.—
By heaven! I will not lay down my commission;
Not at his foot, I will not stoop so low:
But if there be a part in all his face
More sacred than the rest, I'll throw it there.

Bend. You may; but then you lose all future means
Of vengeance on Sebastian, when no more
Alcayde of this fort.

Dor. That thought escaped me.

Bend. Keep your command, and be revenged on both:
Nor sooth yourself; you have no power to affront him;
337 The emperor's love protects him from insults;
And he, who spoke that proud, ill-natured word,
Following the bent of his impetuous temper,
May force your reconcilement to Sebastian;
Nay, bid you kneel, and kiss the offending foot,
That kicked you from his presence.—
But think not to divide their punishment;
You cannot touch a hair of loathed Sebastian,
While Muley-Moluch lives.

Dor. What means this riddle?

Bend. 'Tis out;—there needs no Œdipus to solve it.
Our emperor is a tyrant, feared and hated;
I scarce remember, in his reign, one day
Pass guiltless o'er his execrable head.
He thinks the sun is lost, that sees not blood:
When none is shed, we count it holiday.
We, who are most in favour, cannot call
This hour our own.—You know the younger brother,
Mild Muley-Zeydan?

Dor. Hold, and let me think.

Bend. The soldiers idolize you;
He trusts you with the castle,
The key of all his kingdom.

Dor. Well; and he trusts you too.

Bend. Else I were mad,
To hazard such a daring enterprize.

Dor. He trusts us both; mark that!—Shall we betray him;
A master, who reposes life and empire
On our fidelity:—I grant he is a tyrant,
That hated name my nature most abhors:
More,—as you say,—has loaded me with scorn,
Even with the last contempt, to serve Sebastian;
Yet more, I know he vacates my revenge,
Which, but by this revolt, I cannot compass:
338 But, while he trusts me, 'twere so base a part,
To fawn, and yet betray,—I should be hissed,
And whooped in hell for that ingratitude.

Bend. Consider well what I have done for you.

Dor. Consider thou, what thou wouldst have me do.

Bend. You've too much honour for a renegade.

Dor. And thou too little faith to be a favourite.
Is not the bread thou eat'st, the robe thou wear'st,
Thy wealth, and honours, all the pure indulgence
Of him thou would'st destroy?
And would his creature, nay, his friend, betray him?
Why then no bond is left on human kind!
Distrusts, debates, immortal strifes ensue;
Children may murder parents, wives their husbands;
All must be rapine, wars, and desolation,
When trust and gratitude no longer bind.

Bend. Well have you argued in your own defence;
You, who have burst asunder all those bonds,
And turned a rebel to your native prince.

Dor. True, I rebelled: But when did I betray?—
Indignities, which man could not support,
Provoked my vengeance to this noble crime;
But he had stripped me first of my command,
Dismissed my service, and absolved my faith;
And, with disdainful language, dared my worst:
I but accepted war, which he denounced.
Else had you seen, not Dorax, but Alonzo,
With his couched lance, against your foremost Moors;
Perhaps, too, turned the fortune of the day,
Made Africk mourn and Portugal triumph.

Bend. Let me embrace thee!

Dor. Stand off, sycophant,
And keep infection distant.

Bend. Brave and honest!

Dor. In spite of thy temptations.

Bend. Call them, trials;
339 They were no more. Thy faith was held in balance,
And nicely weighed by jealousy of power.
Vast was the trust of such a royal charge:
And our wise emperor might justly fear,
Sebastian might be freed and reconciled,
By new obligements, to thy former love.

Dor. I doubt thee still: Thy reasons were too strong,
And driven too near the head, to be but artifice:
And, after all, I know thou art a statesman,
Where truth is rarely found.

Bend. Behold the emperor:—

Enter Emperor, Sebastian, and Almeyda.

Ask him, I beg thee,—to be justified,—
If he employed me not to ford thy soul,
And try the footing, whether false or firm.

Dor. Death to my eyes, I see Sebastian with him!
Must he be served?—Avoid him: If we meet,
It must be like the crush of heaven and earth,
To involve us both in ruin.[Exit.

Bend. 'Twas a bare saving game I made with Dorax;
But better so than lost. He cannot hurt me;
That I precautioned: I must ruin him.—
But now this love; ay, there's the gathering storm!
The tyrant must not wed Almeyda: No!
That ruins all the fabric I am raising.
Yet, seeming to approve, it gave me time;
And gaining time gains all.[Aside.
[Benducar goes and waits behind the Emperor. The Emperor, Sebastian, and Almeyda, advance to the front of the stage: Guards and Attendants.

Emp. to Seb. I bade them serve you; and, if they obey not,
I keep my lions keen within their dens,
340 To stop their maws with disobedient slaves.

Seb. If I had conquered,
They could not have with more observance waited:
Their eyes, hands, feet,
Are all so quick, they seem to have but one motion,
To catch my flying words. Only the alcayde
Shuns me; and, with a grim civility,
Bows, and declines my walks.

Emp. A renegade:
I know not more of him, but that he's brave,
And hates your Christian sect. If you can frame
A farther wish, give wing to your desires,
And name the thing you want.

Seb. My liberty;
For were even paradise itself my prison,
Still I should long to leap the crystal walls.

Emp. Sure our two souls have somewhere been acquainted
In former beings; or, struck out together,
One spark to Afric flew, and one to Portugal.
Expect a quick deliverance: Here's a third, [Turning to Almeyda.
Of kindred sold to both: pity our stars
Have made us foes! I should not wish her death.

Alm. I ask no pity; if I thought my soul
Of kin to thine, soon would I rend my heart-strings,
And tear out that alliance; but thou, viper,
Hast cancelled kindred, made a rent in nature,
And through her holy bowels gnawed thy way,
Through thy own blood, to empire.

Emp. This again!
And yet she lives, and only lives to upbraid me!

Seb. What honour is there in a woman's death!
Wronged, as she says, but helpless to revenge;
Strong in her passion, impotent of reason,
Too weak to hurt, too fair to be destroyed.
Mark her majestic fabric; she's a temple
341 Sacred by birth, and built by hands divine;
Her souls the deity that lodges there;
Nor is the pile unworthy of the god.

Emp. She's all that thou canst say, or I can think;
But the perverseness of her clamourous tongue
Strikes pity deaf.

Seb. Then only hear her eyes!
Though they are mute, they plead; nay, more, command;
For beauteous eyes have arbitrary power.
All females have prerogative of sex;
The she's even of the savage herd are safe;
And when they snarl or bite, have no return
But courtship from the male.

Emp. Were she not she, and I not Muley-Moluch,
She's mistress of inevitable charms,
For all but me; nor am I so exempt,
But that—I know not what I was to say—
But I am too obnoxious to my friends,
And swayed by your advice.

Seb. Sir, I advised not;
By heaven, I never counselled love, but pity.

Emp. By heaven thou didst; deny it not, thou didst:
For what was all that prodigality
Of praise, but to inflame me?

Seb. Sir—

Emp. No more;
Thou hast convinced me that she's worth my love.

Seb. Was ever man so ruined by himself?[Aside.

Alm. Thy love! That odious mouth was never framed
To speak a word so soft:
Name death again, for that thou canst pronounce
With horrid grace, becoming of a tyrant.
Love is for human hearts, and not for thine,
Where the brute beast extinguishes the man.

342 Emp. Such if I were, yet rugged lions love,
And grapple, and compel their savage dames.—
Mark my Sebastian, how that sullen frown,[She frowns.
Like flashing lightning, opens angry heaven,
And, while it kills, delights!—But yet, insult not
Too soon, proud beauty! I confess no love.

Seb. No, sir; I said so, and I witness for you,
Not love, but noble pity, moved your mind:
Interest might urge you too to save her life;
For those, who wish her party lost, might murmur
At shedding royal blood.

Emp. Right, thou instruct'st me;
Interest of state requires not death, but marriage,
To unite the jarring titles of our line.

Seb. Let me be dumb for ever; all I plead,[Aside.
Like wildfire thrown against the winds, returns
With double force to burn me.

Emp. Could I but bend, to make my beauteous foe
The partner of my throne, and of my bed—

Alm. Still thou dissemblest; but, I read thy heart,
And know the power of my own charms; thou lov'st,
And I am pleased, for my revenge, thou dost.

Emp. And thou hast cause.

Alm. I have, for I have power to make thee wretched.
Be sure I will, and yet despair of freedom.

Emp. Well then, I love;
And 'tis below my greatness to disown it;
Love thee implacably, yet hate thee too;
Would hunt thee barefoot, in the mid-day sun,
Through the parched desarts and the scorching sands,
To enjoy thy love, and, once enjoyed, to kill thee.

Alm. 'Tis a false courage, when thou threaten'st me;
Thou canst not stir a hand to touch my life:
343 Do not I see thee tremble, while thou speak'st?
Lay by the lion's hide, vain conqueror,
And take the distaff; for thy soul's my slave.

Emp. Confusion! How thou view'st my very heart!
I could as soon
Stop a spring-tide, blown in, with my bare hand,
As this impetuous love:—Yes, I will wed thee;
In spite of thee, and of myself, I will.

Alm. For what? to people Africa with monsters,
Which that unnatural mixture must produce?
No, were we joined, even though it were in death,
Our bodies burning in one funeral pile,
The prodigy of Thebes would be renewed,
And my divided flame should break from thine.

Emp. Serpent, I will engender poison with thee;
Join hate with hate, add venom to the birth:
Our offspring, like the seed of dragons' teeth,
Shall issue armed, and fight themselves to death.

Alm. I'm calm again; thou canst not marry me.

Emp. As gleams of sunshine soften storms to showers,
So, if you smile, the loudness of my rage
In gentle whispers shall return but this—
That nothing can divert my love but death.

Alm. See how thou art deceived; I am a Christian:
'Tis true, unpractised in my new belief,
Wrongs I resent, nor pardon yet with ease;
Those fruits come late, and are of slow increase
In haughty hearts, like mine: Now, tell thyself
If this one word destroy not thy designs:
Thy law permits thee not to marry me.

Emp. 'Tis but a specious tale, to blast my hopes,
And baffle my pretensions.—Speak, Sebastian,
And, as a king, speak true.

Seb. Then, thus adjured,
344 On a king's word 'tis truth, but truth ill-timed;
For her dear life is now exposed anew,
Unless you wholly can put on divinity,
And graciously forgive.

Alm. Now learn, by this,
The little value I have left for life,
And trouble me no more.

Emp. I thank thee, woman;
Thou hast restored me to my native rage,
And I will seize my happiness by force.

Seb. Know, Muley Moluch, when thou darest attempt—

Emp. Beware! I would not be provoked to use
A conqueror's right, and therefore charge thy silence.
If thou wouldst merit to be thought my friend,
I leave thee to persuade her to compliance:
If not, there's a new gust in ravishment,
Which I have never tried.

Bend. They must be watched;[Aside.
For something I observed creates a doubt. [Exeunt Emp. and Bend.

Seb. I've been too tame, have basely borne my wrongs,
And not exerted all the king within me:
I heard him, O sweet heavens! he threatened rape;
Nay, insolently urged me to persuade thee,
Even thee, thou idol of my soul and eyes,
For whom I suffer life, and drag this being.

Alm. You turn my prison to a paradise;
But I have turned your empire to a prison:
In all your wars good fortune flew before you;
Sublime you sat in triumph on her wheel,
Till in my fatal cause your sword was drawn;
The weight of my misfortunes dragged you down.

Seb. And is't not strange, that heaven should bless my arms
In common causes, and desert the best?
345 Now in your greatest, last extremity,
When I would aid you most, and most desire it,
I bring but sighs, the succours of a slave.

Alm. Leave then the luggage of your fate behind;
To make your flight more easy leave Almeyda:
Nor think me left a base, ignoble prey,
Exposed to this inhuman tyrant's lust;
My virtue is a guard beyond my strength,
And death, my last defence, within my call.

Seb. Death may be called in vain, and cannot come;
Tyrants can tie him up from your relief;
Nor has a Christian privilege to die.
Alas, thou art too young in thy new faith:
Brutus and Cato might discharge their souls,
And give them furloughs for another world;
But we, like sentries, are obliged to stand
In starless nights, and wait the appointed hour[2].

Alm. If shunning ill be good
To those, who cannot shun it but by death,
Divines but peep on undiscovered worlds,
And draw the distant landscape as they please;
But who has e'er returned from those bright regions,
To tell their manners, and relate their laws?
I'll venture landing on that happy shore
With an unsullied body and white mind;
If I have erred, some kind inhabitant
Will pity a strayed soul, and take me home.

Seb. Beware of death! thou canst not die unperjured,
346 And leave an unaccomplished love behind.
Thy vows are mine; nor will I quit my claim:
The ties of minds are but imperfect bonds,
Unless the bodies join to seal the contract.

Alm. What joys can you possess, or can I give,
Where groans of death succeed the sighs of love?
Our Hymen has not on his saffron robe;
But, muffled up in mourning, downward holds
His drooping torch, extinguished with his tears.

Seb. The God of Love stands ready to revive it,
With his etherial breath.

Alm. 'Tis late to join, when we must part so soon.

Seb. Nay, rather let us haste it, ere we part;
Our souls, for want of that acquaintance here,
May wander in the starry walks above,
And, forced on worse companions, miss ourselves.

Alm. The tyrant will not long be absent hence;
And soon I shall be ravished from your arms.

Seb. Wilt thou thyself become the greater tyrant,
And give not love, while thou hast love to give?
In dangerous days, when riches are a crime,
The wise betimes make over their estates:
Make o'er thy honour, by a deed of trust,
And give me seizure of the mighty wealth.

Alm. What shall I do? O teach me to refuse!
I would,—and yet I tremble at the grant;
For dire presages fright my soul by day,
And boding visions haunt my nightly dreams;
Sometimes, methinks, I hear the groans of ghosts,
Thin, hollow sounds, and lamentable screams;
Then, like a dying echo, from afar,
My mother's voice, that cries,—Wed not, Almeyda!
Forewarned, Almeyda, marriage is thy crime.

Seb. Some envious demon to delude our joys;
Love is not sin, but where 'tis sinful love.

Alm. Mine is a flame so holy and so clear,
That the white taper leaves no soot behind;
347 No smoke of lust; but chaste as sisters' love,
When coldly they return a brother's kiss,
Without the zeal that meets at lovers' mouths[3].

Seb. Laugh then at fond presages. I had some;—
Famed Nostradamus, when he took my horoscope,
Foretold my father, I should wed with incest.
Ere this unhappy war my mother died,
And sisters I had none;—vain augury!
A long religious life, a holy age,
My stars assigned me too;—impossible!
For how can incest suit with holiness,
Or priestly orders with a princely state?

Alm. Old venerable Alvarez—[Sighing.

Seb. But why that sigh in naming that good man?

Alm. Your father's counsellor and confident—

Seb. He was; and, if he lives, my second father.

Alm. Marked our farewell, when, going to the fight,
You gave Almeyda for the word of battle.
'Twas in that fatal moment, he discovered
The love, that long we laboured to conceal.
I know it; though my eyes stood full of tears,
Yet through the mist I saw him stedfast gaze;
Then knocked his aged breast, and inward groaned,
Like some sad prophet, that foresaw the doom
Of those whom best he loved, and could not save.

Seb. It startles me! and brings to my remembrance,
That, when the shock of battle was begun,
He would have much complained (but had not time)
Of our hid passion: then, with lifted hands,
He begged me, by my father's sacred soul,
348 Not to espouse you, if he died in fight;
For, if he lived, and we were conquerors,
He had such things to urge against our marriage,
As, now declared, would blunt my sword in battle,
And dastardize my courage.

Alm. My blood curdles,
And cakes about my heart.

Seb. I'll breathe a sigh so warm into thy bosom,
Shall make it flow again. My love, he knows not
Thou art a Christian: that produced his fear,
Lest thou shouldst sooth my soul with charms so strong,
That heaven might prove too weak.

Alm. There must be more:
This could not blunt your sword.

Seb. Yes, if I drew it, with a curst intent,
To take a misbeliever to my bed:
It must be so.

Alm. Yet—

Seb. No, thou shalt not plead,
With that fair mouth, against the cause of love.
Within this castle is a captive priest,
My holy confessor, whose free access
Not even the barbarous victors have refused;
This hour his hands shall make us one.

Alm. I go, with love and fortune, two blind guides,
To lead my way, half loth, and half consenting.
If, as my soul forebodes, some dire event
Pursue this union, or some crime unknown,
Forgive me, heaven! and, all ye blest above,
Excuse the frailty of unbounded love![Exeunt.


SCENE II.—Supposed a Garden, with lodging rooms behind it, or on the sides.

Enter Mufti, Antonio as a slave, and Johayma the Mufti's wife.

Muf. And how do you like him? look upon him well; he is a personable fellow of a Christian dog. Now, I think you are fitted for a gardener. Ha, what sayest thou, Johayma?

Joh. He may make a shift to sow lettuce, raise melons, and water a garden-plat; but otherwise, a very filthy fellow: how odiously he smells of his country garlick! fugh, how he stinks of Spain.

Muf. Why honey bird, I bought him on purpose for thee: didst thou not say, thou longedst for a Christian slave?

Joh. Ay, but the sight of that loathsome creature has almost cured me; and how can I tell that he is a christian? an he were well searched, he may prove a Jew, for aught I know. And, besides, I have always longed for an eunuch; for they say that's a civil creature, and almost as harmless as yourself, husband.—Speak, fellow, are not you such a kind of peaceable thing?

Ant. I was never taken for one in my own country; and not very peaceable neither, when I am well provoked.

Muf. To your occupation, dog; bind up the jessamines in yonder arbour, and handle your pruning-knife with dexterity: tightly I say, go tightly to your business; you have cost me much, and must earn it in your work. Here's plentiful provision for you, rascal; salading in the garden, and water in the tank, and on holidays the licking of a platter of rice, when you deserve it.

Joh. What have you been bred up to, sirrah? and 350 what can you perform, to recommend you to my service?

Ant. [Making Legs.] Why, madam, I can perform as much as any man, in a fair lady's service. I can play upon the flute, and sing; I can carry your umbrella, and fan your ladyship, and cool you when you are too hot; in fine, no service, either by day or by night, shall come amiss to me; and, besides I am of so quick an apprehension, that you need but wink upon me at any time to make me understand my duty. [She winks at him.]—Very fine, she has tipt the wink already.

Joh. The whelp may come to something in time, when I have entered him into his business.

Muf. A very malapert cur, I can tell him that; I do not like his fawning—You must be taught your distance, sirrah.
[Strikes him.

Joh. Hold, hold. He has deserved it, I confess; but, for once, let his ignorance plead his pardon; we must not discourage a beginner. Your reverence has taught us charity, even to birds and beasts:—here, you filthy brute, you, take this little alms to buy you plasters.
[Gives him a piece of money.

Ant. Money, and a love-pinch in the inside of my palm into the bargain.[Aside.

Enter a Servant.

Serv. Sir, my lord Benducar is coming to wait on you, and is already at the palace gate.

Muf. Come in, Johayma; regulate the rest of my wives and concubines, and leave the fellow to his work.

Joh. How stupidly he stares about him, like a calf new come into the world! I shall teach you, sirrah, to know your business a little better. This 351 way, you awkward rascal; here lies the arbour; must I be shewing you eternally?
[Turning him about.

Muf. Come away, minion; you shall shew him nothing.

Joh. I'll but bring him into the arbour, where a rose-tree and a myrtle-tree are just falling for want of a prop; if they were bound together, they would help to keep up one another. He's a raw gardener, and 'tis but charity to teach him.

Muf. No more deeds of charity to-day; come in, or I shall think you a little better disposed than I could wish you.

Joh. Well, go before, I will follow my pastor.

Muf. So you may cast a sheep's eye behind you? in before me;—and you, sauciness, mind your pruning-knife, or I may chance to use it for you.
[Exeunt Mufti and Johayma.

Ant. [Alone.] Thank you for that, but I am in no such haste to be made a mussulman. For his wedlock, for all her haughtiness, I find her coming. How far a Christian should resist, I partly know; but how far a lewd young Christian can resist, is another question. She's tolerable, and I am a poor stranger, far from better friends, and in a bodily necessity. Now have I a strange temptation to try what other females are belonging to this family: I am not far from the women's apartment, I am sure; and if these birds are within distance, here's that will chuckle them together. [Pulls out his Flute.] If there be variety of Moors' flesh in this holy market, 'twere madness to lay out all my money upon the first bargain. [He plays. A Grate opens, and Morayma, the Mufti's Daughter, appears at it.]—Ay, there's an apparition! This is a morsel worthy of a Mufti; this is the relishing bit in secret; this is 352 the mystery of his Alcoran, that must be reserved from the knowledge of the prophane vulgar; this is his holiday devotion.—See, she beckons too.
[She beckons to him.

Mor. Come a little nearer, and speak softly.

Ant. I come. I come, I warrant thee; the least twinkle had brought me to thee; such another kind syllable or two would turn me to a meteor, and draw me up to thee.

Mor. I dare not speak, for fear of being overheard; but if you think my person worth your hazard, and can deserve my love, the rest this note shall tell you. [Throws down a Handkerchief.] No more, my heart goes with you.
[Exit from the Grate.

Ant. O thou pretty little heart, art thou flown hither? I'll keep it warm, I warrant it, and brood upon it in the new nest.—But now for my treasure trove, that's wrapt up in the handkerchief; no peeping here, though I long to be spelling her Arabic scrawls and pot-hooks. But I must carry off my prize as robbers do, and not think of sharing the booty before I am free from danger, and out of eye-shot from the other windows. If her wit be as poignant as her eyes, I am a double slave. Our northern beauties are mere dough to these; insipid white earth, mere tobacco pipe clay, with no more soul and motion in them than a fly in winter.
Here the warm planet ripens and sublimes
The well-baked beauties of the southern climes.
Our Cupid's but a bungler in his trade;
His keenest arrows are in Africk made.[Exit.


SCENE I.—A Terrace Walk; or some other public place in the castle of Alcazar.

Enter Emperor Muley-Moluch, and Benducar.

Emp. Married! I'll not believe it; 'tis imposture;
Improbable they should presume to attempt,
Impossible they should effect their wish.

Bend. Have patience, till I clear it.

Emp. I have none:
Go bid our moving plains of sand lie still,
And stir not, when the stormy south blows high:
From top to bottom thou hast tossed my soul,
And now 'tis in the madness of the whirl,
Requir'st a sudden stop? unsay thy lie;
That may in time do somewhat.

Bend. I have done:
For, since it pleases you it should be forged,
'Tis fit it should: far be it from your slave
To raise disturbance in your sacred breast.

Emp. Sebastian is my slave as well as thou;
Nor durst offend my love by that presumption.

Bend. Most sure he ought not.

Emp. Then all means were wanting:
No priest, no ceremonies of their sect;
Or, grant we these defects could be supplied,
How could our prophet do an act so base,
So to resume his gifts, and curse my conquests,
By making me unhappy? No, the slave,
That told thee so absurd a story, lied.

Bend. Yet till this moment I have found him faithful:
He said he saw it too.

Emp. Dispatch; what saw he?

354 Bend. Truth is, considering with what earnestness
Sebastian pleaded for Almeyda's life,
Enhanced her beauty, dwelt upon her praise—

Emp. O stupid, and unthinking as I was!
I might have marked it too; 'twas gross and palpable.

Bend. Methought I traced a lover ill disguised,
And sent my spy, a sharp observing slave,
To inform me better, if I guessed aright.
He told me, that he saw Sebastian's page
Run cross the marble square, who soon returned,
And after him there lagged a puffing friar;
Close wrapt he bore some secret instrument
Of Christian superstition in his hand:
My servant followed fast, and through a chink
Perceived the royal captives hand in hand;
And heard the hooded father mumbling charms,
That make those misbelievers man and wife;
Which done, the spouses kissed with such a fervour,
And gave such furious earnest of their flames,
That their eyes sparkled, and their mantling blood
Flew flushing o'er their faces.

Emp. Hell confound them!

Bend. The reverend father, with a holy leer,
Saw he might well be spared, and soon withdrew:
This forced my servant to a quick retreat,
For fear to be discovered.—Guess the rest.

Emp. I do: My fancy is too exquisite,
And tortures me with their imagined bliss.
Some earthquake should have risen and rent the ground,
Have swallowed him, and left the longing bride
In agony of unaccomplished love.[Walks disorderly.

Enter the Mufti.

Bend. In an unlucky hour
355 That fool intrudes, raw in this great affair,
And uninstructed how to stem the tide.—[Aside.
[Coming up the Mufti,—aside.]
The emperor must not marry, nor enjoy:—
Keep to that point: Stand firm, for all's at stake.

Emp. [Seeing him.]
You druggerman[4] of heaven, must I attend
Your droning prayers? Why came ye not before?
Dost thou not know the captive king has dared
To wed Almeyda? Cancel me that marriage,
And make her mine: About the business, quick!—
Expound thy Mahomet; make him speak my sense,
Or he's no prophet here, and thou no Mufti;
Unless thou know'st the trick of thy vocation,
To wrest and rend the law, to please thy prince.

Muf. Why, verily, the law is monstrous plain:
There's not one doubtful text in all the alcoran,
Which can be wrenched in favour to your project.

Emp. Forge one, and foist it into some bye-place
Of some old rotten roll: Do't, I command thee!
Must I teach thee thy trade?

Muf. It cannot be;
For matrimony being the dearest point
Of law, the people have it all by heart:
A cheat on procreation will not pass.
Besides, [In a higher tone.] the offence is so exorbitant,
To mingle with a misbelieving race,
That speedy vengeance would pursue your crime,
And holy Mahomet launch himself from heaven,
Before the unready thunderbolts were formed.
[Emperor, taking him by the throat with one hand, snatches out his sword with the other, and points it to his breast.

356 Emp. Slave, have I raised thee to this pomp and power,
To preach against my will?—Know, I am law;
And thou, not Mahomet's messenger but mine!—
Make it, I charge thee, make my pleasure lawful;
Or, first, I strip thee of thy ghostly greatness,
Then send thee post to tell thy tale above.
And bring thy vain memorials to thy prophet,
Of justice done below for disobedience.

Muf. For heaven's sake hold!—The respite of a moment!—
To think for you—

Emp. And for thyself.

Muf. For both.

Bend. Disgrace, and death, and avarice, have lost him! [Aside.

Muf. 'Tis true, our law forbids to wed a Christian;
But it forbids you not to ravish her.
You have a conqueror's right upon your slave;
And then the more despite you do a Christian,
You serve the prophet more, who loathes that sect.

Emp. O, now it mends; and you talk reason, Mufti.—
But, stay! I promised freedom to Sebastian;
Now, should I grant it, his revengeful soul
Would ne'er forgive his violated bed.

Muf. Kill him; for then you give him liberty:
His soul is from his earthly prison freed.

Emp. How happy is the prince who has a churchman,
So learned and pliant, to expound his laws!

Bend. Two things I humbly offer to your prudence.

Emp. Be brief, but let not either thwart my love.

Bend. First, since our holy man has made rape lawful,
357 Fright her with that; Proceed not yet to force:
Why should you pluck the green distasteful fruit
From the unwilling bough,
When it may ripen of itself, and fall?

Emp. Grant her a day; though that's too much to give
Out of a life which I devote to love.

Bend. Then, next, to bar
All future hopes of her desired Sebastian,
Let Dorax be enjoined to bring his head.

Emp. [To the Mufti.]
Go, Mufti, call him to receive his orders.—[Exit Mufti.
I taste thy counsel; her desires new roused,
And yet unslaked, will kindle in her fancy,
And make her eager to renew the feast.

Bend. [Aside.] Dorax, I know before, will disobey:
There's a foe's head well cropped.—
But this hot love precipitates my plot,
And brings it to projection ere its time.

Enter Sebastian and Almeyda, hand in hand; upon sight of the Emperor, they separate, and seem disturbed.

Alm. He breaks at unawares upon our walks,
And, like a midnight wolf, invades the fold.
Make speedy preparation of your soul,
And bid it arm apace: He comes for answer,
And brutal mischief sits upon his brow.

Seb. Not the last sounding could surprise me more,
That summons drowsy mortals to their doom,
When called in haste to fumble for their limbs,
And tremble, unprovided for their charge:
My sense has been so deeply plunged in joys,
The soul out-slept her hour; and, scarce awake,
Would think too late, but cannot: But brave minds,
At worst, can dare their fate.[Aside.

358 Emp. [Coming up to them.] Have you performed
Your embassy, and treated with success?

Seb. I had no time.

Emp. No, not for my affairs;
But, for your own, too much.

Seb. You talk in clouds; explain your meaning, sir.

Emp. Explain yours first.—What meant you, hand in hand?
And, when you saw me, with a guilty start,
You loosed your hold, affrighted at my presence.

Seb. Affrighted!

Emp. Yes, astonished and confounded.

Seb. What mak'st thou of thyself, and what of me?
Art thou some ghost, some demon, or some god,
That I should stand astonished at thy sight?
If thou could'st deem so meanly of my courage,
Why didst thou not engage me man for man,
And try the virtue of that Gorgon face,
To stare me into statue?

Emp. Oh, thou art now recovered; but, by heaven,
Thou wert amazed at first, as if surprised
At unexpected baseness brought to light.
For know, ungrateful man, that kings, like gods,
Are every where; walk in the abyss of minds,
And view the dark recesses of the soul.

Seb. Base and ungrateful never was I thought;
Nor, till this turn of fate, durst thou have called me:
But, since thou boast'st the omniscience of a god,
Say in what cranny of Sebastian's soul,
Unknown to me, so loathed a crime is lodged?

Emp. Thou hast not broke my trust, reposed in thee!

Seb. Imposed, but not received.—Take back that falsehood.

Emp. Thou art not married to Almeyda?

359 Seb. Yes.

Emp. And own'st the usurpation of my love?

Seb. I own it, in the face of heaven and thee;
No usurpation, but a lawful claim,
Of which I stand possessed.

Emp. She has chosen well,
Betwixt a captive and a conqueror.

Alm. Betwixt a monster, and the best of men!—
He was the envy of his neighbouring kings;
For him their sighing queens despised their lords;
And virgin daughters blushed when he was named.
To share his noble chains is more to me,
Than all the savage greatness of thy throne.

Seb. Were I to chuse again, and knew my fate,
For such a night I would be what I am.
The joys I have possessed are ever mine;
Out of thy reach; behind eternity;
Hid in the sacred treasure of the past:
But blest remembrance brings them hourly back.

Emp. Hourly indeed, who hast but hours to live.
O, mighty purchase of a boasted bliss!
To dream of what thou hadst one fugitive night,
And never shalt have more!

Seb. Barbarian, thou canst part us but a moment!
We shall be one again in thy despite.
Life is but air,
That yields a passage to the whistling sword,
And closes when 'tis gone.

Alm. How can we better die than close embraced,
Sucking each other's souls while we expire?
Which, so transfused, and mounting both at once,
The saints, deceived, shall, by a sweet mistake,
Hand up thy soul for mine, and mine for thine.

Emp. No, I'll untwist you:
I have occasion for your stay on earth.
Let him mount first, and beat upon the wing,
And wait an age for what I here detain;
360 Or sicken at immortal joys above,
And languish for the heaven he left below.

Alm. Thou wilt not dare to break what heaven has joined?

Emp. Not break the chain; but change a rotten link,
And rivet one to last.
Think'st thou I come to argue right and wrong?—
Why lingers Dorax thus? Where are my guards, [Benducar goes out for the Guards,
and returns.

To drag that slave to death?—
Now storm and rage;[Pointing to Seb.
Call vainly on thy prophet, then defy him
For wanting power to save thee.

Seb. That were to gratify thy pride. I'll shew thee
How a man should, and how a king dare die!
So even, that my soul shall walk with ease
Out of its flesh, and shut out life as calmly
As it does words; without a sign to note
One struggle, in the smooth dissolving frame.

Alm. [To the Emp.]
Expect revenge from heaven, inhuman wretch!
Nor hope to ascend Sebastian's holy bed.
Flames, daggers, poisons, guard the sacred steps:
Those are the promised pleasures of my love.

Emp. And these might fright another, but not me;
Or me, if I designed to give you pleasure.
I seek my own; and while that lasts, you live.—

Enter two of the Guards.

Go, bear the captive to a speedy death,
And set my soul at ease.

Alm. I charge you hold, ye ministers of death!—
Speak my Sebastian;
Plead for thy life; Oh, ask it of the tyrant:
361 'Tis no dishonour; trust me, love, 'tis none.
I would die for thee, but I cannot plead;
My haughty heart disdains it, even for thee.—
Still silent! Will the king of Portugal
Go to his death like a dumb sacrifice?
Beg him to save my life in saving thine.

Seb. Farewell; my life's not worth another word.

Emp. [To the Guards.] Perform your orders.

Alm. Stay, take my farewell too!
Farewell the greatness of Almeyda's soul!—
Look, tyrant, what excess of love can do;
It pulls me down thus low as to thy feet;[Kneels to him.>
Nay, to embrace thy knees with loathing hands,
Which blister when they touch thee: Yet even thus,
Thus far I can, to save Sebastian's life.

Emp. A secret pleasure trickles through my veins:
It works about the inlets of my soul,
To feel thy touch, and pity tempts the pass:
But the tough metal of my heart resists;
'Tis warmed with the soft fire, not melted down.

Alm. A flood of scalding tears will make it run.
Spare him, Oh spare! Can you pretend to love,
And have no pity? Love and that are twins.
Here will I grow;
Thus compass you with these supplanting cords,
And pull so long till the proud fabrick falls.

Emp. Still kneel, and still embrace: 'Tis double pleasure,
So to be hugged, and see Sebastian die.

Alm. Look, tyrant, when thou nam'st Sebastian's death,
Thy very executioners turn pale.
Rough as they are, and hardened in their trade
Of death, they start at an anointed head,
And tremble to approach.—He hears me not,
Nor minds the impression of a god on kings;
362 Because no stamp of heaven was on his soul,
But the resisting mass drove back the seal.—
Say, though thy heart be rock of adamant,
Yet rocks are not impregnable to bribes:
Instruct me how to bribe thee; name thy price;
Lo, I resign my title to the crown;
Send me to exile with the man I love,
And banishment is empire.

Emp. Here's my claim,[Clapping his Hand to his Sword.
And this extinguished thine; thou giv'st me nothing.

Alm. My father's, mother's, brother's death, I pardon;
That's somewhat sure; a mighty sum of murder,
Of innocent and kindred blood struck off.
My prayers and penance shall discount for these,
And beg of heaven to charge the bill on me:
Behold what price I offer, and how dear,
To buy Sebastian's life!

Emp. Let after-reckonings trouble fearful fools;
I'll stand the trial of those trivial crimes:
But, since thou begg'st me to prescribe my terms,
The only I can offer are thy love,
And this one day of respite to resolve.
Grant, or deny; for thy next word is fate,
And fate is deaf to prayer.

Alm. May heaven be so,[Rising up.
At thy last breath, to thine! I curse thee not;
For, who can better curse the plague, or devil,
Than to be what they are? That curse be thine.—
Now, do not speak, Sebastian, for you need not;
But die, for I resign your life.—Look, heaven,
Almeyda dooms her dear Sebastian's death!
But is there heaven? for I begin to doubt;
The skies are hushed, no grumbling thunders roll.—
Now take your swing, ye impious; sin unpunished;
363 Eternal Providence seems overwatched,
And with a slumbering nod assents to murder.

Enter Dorax, attended by three Soldiers.

Emp. Thou mov'st a tortoise-pace to my relief.
Take hence that once a king; that sullen pride,
That swells to dumbness: lay him in the dungeon,
And sink him deep with irons, that, when he would,
He shall not groan to hearing; when I send,
The next commands are death.

Alm. Then prayers are vain as curses.

Emp. Much at one
In a slave's mouth, against a monarch's power.
This day thou hast to think;
At night, if thou wilt curse, thou shalt curse kindly;
Then I'll provoke thy lips, lay siege so close,
That all thy sallying breath shall turn to blessings.—
Make haste, seize, force her, bear her hence.

Alm. Farewell, my last Sebastian!
I do not beg, I challenge justice now.—
O Powers, if kings be your peculiar care,
Why plays this wretch with your prerogative?
Now flash him dead, now crumble him to ashes,
Or henceforth live confined in your own palace;
And look not idly out upon a world,
That is no longer yours.
[She is carried off struggling; Emperor and Benducar follow. Sebastian struggles in his Guards' arms, and shakes off one of them; but two others come in, and hold him; he speaks not all the while.

Dor. I find I'm but a half-strained villain yet;
But mongrel-mischievous; for my blood boiled,
To view this brutal act; and my stern soul
Tugged at my arm, to draw in her defence.[Aside.
364 Down, thou rebelling Christian in my heart!
Redeem thy fame on this Sebastian first;[Walks a turn.
Then think on other wrongs, when thine are righted.
But how to right them? on a slave disarmed,
Defenceless, and submitted to my rage?
A base revenge is vengeance on myself:—[Walks again.
I have it, and I thank thee, honest head,
Thus present to me at my great necessity.— [Comes up to Sebastian.
You know me not?

Seb. I hear men call thee Dorax.

Dor. 'Tis well; you know enough for once:—you speak too;
You were struck mute before.

Seb. Silence became me then.

Dor. Yet we may talk hereafter.

Seb. Hereafter is not mine:
Dispatch thy work, good executioner.

Dor. None of my blood were hangmen; add that falsehood
To a long bill, that yet remains unreckoned.

Seb. A king and thou can never have a reckoning.

Dor. A greater sum, perhaps, than you can pay.
Meantime, I shall make bold to increase your debt; [Gives him his Sword.
Take this, and use it at your greatest need.

Seb. This hand and this have been acquainted well: [Looks on it.
It should have come before into my grasp,
To kill the ravisher.

Dor. Thou heard'st the tyrant's orders; guard thy life
When 'tis attacked, and guard it like a man.

Seb. I'm still without thy meaning, but I thank thee.

365 Dor. Thank me when I ask thanks; thank me with that.

Seb. Such surly kindness did I never see.

Dor. [To the Captain of his Guards.]
Musa, draw out a file; pick man by man.
Such who dare die, and dear will sell their death.
Guard him to the utmost; now conduct him hence,
And treat him as my person.

Seb. Something like
That voice, methinks, I should have somewhere heard;
But floods of woes have hurried it far off,
Beyond my ken of soul. [Exit Sebastian, with the Soldiers.

Dor. But I shall bring him back, ungrateful man!
I shall, and set him full before thy sight,
When I shall front thee, like some staring ghost,
With all my wrongs about me.—What, so soon
Returned? this haste is boding.

Enter to him Emperor, Benducar, and Mufti.

Emp. She's still inexorable, still imperious,
And loud, as if, like Bacchus, born in thunder.
Be quick, ye false physicians of my mind;
Bring speedy death, or cure.

Bend. What can be counselled, while Sebastian lives?
The vine will cling, while the tall poplar stands;
But, that cut down, creeps to the next support,
And twines as closely there.

Emp. That's done with ease; I speak him dead:—proceed.

Muf. Proclaim your marriage with Almeyda next,
That civil wars may cease; this gains the crowd:
Then you may safely force her to your will;
For people side with violence and injustice,
When done for public good.

366 Emp. Preach thou that doctrine.

Bend. The unreasonable fool has broached a truth,
That blasts my hopes; but, since 'tis gone so far,
He shall divulge Almeyda is a Christian;
If that produce no tumult, I despair.[Aside.

Emp Why speaks not Dorax?

Dor. Because my soul abhors to mix with him.
Sir, let me bluntly say, you went too far,
To trust the preaching power on state-affairs
To him, or any heavenly demagogue:
'Tis a limb lopt from your prerogative,
And so much of heaven's image blotted from you.

Muf. Sure thou hast never heard of holy men,
(So Christians call them) famed in state affairs!
Such as in Spain, Ximenes, Albornoz;
In England, Wolsey; match me these with laymen.

Dor. How you triumph in one or two of these,
Born to be statesmen, happening to be churchmen!
Thou call'st them holy; so their function was:
But tell me, Mufti, which of them were saints?—
Next sir, to you: the sum of all is this,—
Since he claims power from heaven, and not from kings,
When 'tis his interest, he can interest heaven
To preach you down; and ages oft depend
On hours, uninterrupted, in the chair.

Emp. I'll trust his preaching, while I rule his pay;
And I dare trust my Africans to hear
Whatever he dare preach.

Dor. You know them not.
The genius of your Moors is mutiny;
They scarcely want a guide to move their madness;
Prompt to rebel on every weak pretence;
Blustering when courted, crouching when opprest;
Wise to themselves, and fools to all the world;
Restless in change, and perjured to a proverb.
They love religion sweetened to the sense;
367 A good, luxurious, palatable faith.
Thus vice and godliness,—preposterous pair!—
Ride cheek by jowl, but churchmen hold the reins:
And whene'er kings would lower clergy-greatness,
They learn too late what power the preachers have,
And whose the subjects are; the Mufti knows it,
Nor dares deny what passed betwixt us two.

Emp. No more; whate'er he said was my command.

Dor. Why, then, no more, since you will hear no more;
Some kings are resolute to their own ruin.

Emp. Without your meddling where you are not asked,
Obey your orders, and dispatch Sebastian.

Dor. Trust my revenge; be sure I wish him dead.

Emp. What mean'st thou? What's thy wishing to my will?
Dispatch him; rid me of the man I loath.

Dor I hear you, sir; I'll take my time, and do't.

Emp. Thy time! What's all thy time? What's thy whole life
To my one hour of ease? No more replies,
But see thou dost it; or—

Dor. Choke in that threat; I can say or as loud.

Emp. 'Tis well; I see my words have no effect,
But I may send a message to dispose you.[Is going off.

Dor. Expect an answer worthy of that message.

Muf. The prophet owed him this;
And, thanked be heaven, he has it.[Aside.

Bend. By holy Alla, I conjure you stay,
And judge not rashly of so brave a man. [Draws the Emperor aside, and whispers him.
I'll give you reasons why he cannot execute
Your orders now, and why he will hereafter.

368 Muf. Benducar is a fool, to bring him off;
I'll work my own revenge, and speedily.[Aside.

Bend. The fort is his, the soldiers' hearts are his;
A thousand Christian slaves are in the castle,
Which he can free to reinforce his power;
Your troops far off, beleaguering Larache,
Yet in the Christians' hands.

Emp. I grant all this;
But grant me he must die.

Bend. He shall, by poison;
'Tis here, the deadly drug, prepared in powder,
Hot as hell fire: Then, to prevent his soldiers
From rising to revenge their general's death,
While he is struggling with his mortal pangs,
The rabble on the sudden may be raised
To seize the castle.

Emp. Do't;—'tis left to thee.

Bend. Yet more;—but clear your brow, for he observes. [They whisper again.

Dor. What, will the favourite prop my falling fortunes?
O prodigy of court![Aside
[Emp. and Bend. return to Dor.

Emp. Your friend has fully cleared your innocence;
I was too hasty to condemn unheard,
And you, perhaps, too prompt in your replies.
As far as fits the majesty of kings,
I ask excuse.

Dor. I'm sure I meant it well.

Emp. I know you did:—This to our love renewed.— [Emp. drinks.
Benducar, fill to Dorax. [Bend. turns, and mixes a Powder in it.

Dor. Let it go round, for all of us have need
To quench our heats: 'Tis the king's health, Benducar, [He drinks.
369 And I would pledge it, though I knew 'twere poison.

Bend. Another bowl; for what the king has touched,
And you have pledged, is sacred to your loves. [Drinks out of another Bowl.

Muf. Since charity becomes my calling, thus
Let me provoke your friendship; and heaven bless it,
As I intend it well.
[Drinks; and, turning aside, pours some drops out of a little vial into the Bowl; then presents it to Dorax.

Dor. Heaven make thee honest;
On that condition we shall soon be friends.[Drinks.

Muf. Yes, at our meeting in another world;
For thou hast drunk thy passport out of this.
Not the Nonacrian font, nor Lethe's lake,
Could sooner numb thy nimble faculties,
Than this, to sleep eternal.[Aside.

Emp. Now farewell, Dorax; this was our first quarrel,
And, I dare prophecy, will prove our last. [Exeunt Emp. Bend. and the Mufti.

Dor. It may be so.—I'm strangely discomposed;
Quick shootings thro' my limbs, and pricking pains,
Qualms at my heart, convulsions in my nerves,
Shiverings of cold, and burnings of my entrails,
Within my little world make medley war,
Lose and regain, beat, and are beaten back,
As momentary victors quit their ground.—
Can it be poison! Poison's of one tenor,
Or hot, or cold; this neither, and yet both.
Some deadly draught, some enemy of life,
Boils in my bowels, and works out my soul.
Ingratitude's the growth of every clime;
Africk, the scene removed, is Portugal.
Of all court service, learn the common lot,—
To-day 'tis done, to-morrow 'tis forgot.
370 Oh, were that all! my honest corpse must lie
Exposed to scorn, and public infamy;
My shameful death will be divulged alone;
The worth and honour of my soul unknown.[Exit.

SCENE II.—A Night-Scene of the Mufti's Garden, where an Arbour is discovered.

Enter Antonio.

Ant. She names herself Morayma; the Mufti's only daughter, and a virgin! This is the time and place that she appointed in her letter, yet she comes not. Why, thou sweet delicious creature, why torture me with thy delay! Dar'st thou be false to thy assignation? What, in the cool and silence of the night, and to a new lover?—Pox on the hypocrite, thy father, for instructing thee so little in the sweetest point of his religion.—Hark, I hear the rustling of her silk mantle. Now she comes, now she comes:—no, hang it, that was but the whistling of the wind through the orange-trees.—Now, again, I hear the pit-a-pat of a pretty foot through the dark alley:—No, 'tis the son of a mare, that's broken loose, and munching upon the melons.—Oh, the misery of an expecting lover! Well, I'll e'en despair, go into my arbour, and try to sleep; in a dream I shall enjoy her, in despite of her.
[Goes into the Arbour, and lies down.

Enter Johayma, wrapt up in a Moorish mantle.

Joh. Thus far my love has carried me, almost without my knowledge whither I was going. Shall I go on? shall I discover myself?—What an injury am I doing to my old husband! Yet what injury, since he's old, and has three wives, and six concubines, 371 besides me! 'tis but stealing my own tithe from him.
[She comes a little nearer the Arbour.

Ant. [Raising himself a little, and looking.] At last 'tis she; this is no illusion, I am sure; 'tis a true she-devil of flesh and blood, and she could never have taken a fitter time to tempt me.

Joh. He's young and handsome—

Ant. Yes, well enough, I thank nature.[Aside.

Joh. And I am yet neither old nor ugly: Sure he will not refuse me.

Ant. No; thou may'st pawn thy maidenhead upon't, he wont.[Aside.

Joh. The Mufti would feast himself upon other women, and keep me fasting.

Ant. O, the holy curmudgeon![Aside.

Joh. Would preach abstinence, and practise luxury! but, I thank my stars, I have edified more by his example than his precept.

Ant. [Aside.] Most divinely argued; she's the best casuist in all Africk. [He rushes out, and embraces her.] I can hold no longer from embracing thee, my dear Morayma; the old unconscionable whoreson, thy father, could he expect cold chastity from a child of his begetting?

Joh. What nonsense do you talk? do you take me for the Mufti's daughter?

Ant. Why, are you not, madam?[Throwing off her barnus.

Joh. I find you had an appointment with Morayma.

Ant. By all that's good, the nauseous wife![Aside.

Joh. What! you are confounded, and stand mute?

Ant. Somewhat nonplust, I confess, to hear you deny your name so positively. Why, are not you Morayma, the Mufti's daughter? Did not I see you with him: did not he present me to you? were you not so charitable as to give me money? ay, and to 372 tread upon my foot, and squeeze my hand too, if I may be so bold to remember you of past favours?

Joh. And you see I am come to make them good; but I am neither Morayma, nor the Mufti's daughter.

Ant. Nay, I know not that: but I am sure he is old enough to be your father; and either father, or reverend father, I heard you call him.

Joh. Once again, how came you to name Morayma?

Ant. Another damned mistake of mine: for, asking one of my fellow-slaves, who were the chief ladies about the house, he answered me, Morayma and Johayma; but she, it seems, is his daughter, with a pox to her, and you are his beloved wife.

Joh. Say your beloved mistress, if you please; for that's the title I desire. This moonshine grows offensive to my eyes; come, shall we walk into the arbour? there we may rectify all mistakes.

Ant. That's close and dark.

Joh. And are those faults to lovers?

Ant. But there I cannot please myself with the sight of your beauty.

Joh. Perhaps you may do better.

Ant. But there's not a breath of air stirring.

Joh. The breath of lovers is the sweetest air; but you are fearful.

Ant. I am considering indeed, that, if I am taken with you—

Joh. The best way to avoid it is to retire, where we may not be discovered.

Ant. Where lodges your husband?

Joh. Just against the face of this open walk.

Ant. Then he has seen us already, for aught I know.

Joh. You make so many difficulties, I fear I am displeasing to you.

373 Ant. [Aside.] If Morayma comes, and takes me in the arbour with her, I have made a fine exchange of that diamond for this pebble.

Joh. You are much fallen off, let me tell you, from the fury of your first embrace.

Ant. I confess I was somewhat too furious at first, but you will forgive the transport of my passion; now I have considered it better, I have a qualm of conscience.

Joh. Of conscience! why, what has conscience to do with two young lovers that have opportunity?

Ant. Why, truly, conscience is something to blame for interposing in our matters: but how can I help it, if I have a scruple to betray my master?

Joh. There must be something more in't; for your conscience was very quiet when you took me for Morayma.

Ant. I grant you, madam, when I took you for his daughter; for then I might have made you an honourable amends by marriage.

Joh. You Christians are such peeking sinners! you tremble at a shadow in the moonshine.

Ant. And you Africans are such termagants, you stop at nothing. I must be plain with you,—you are married, and to a holy man, the head of your religion: go back to your chamber; go back, I say, and consider of it for this night, as I will do on my part: I will be true to you, and invent all the arguments I can to comply with you; and who knows but at our next meeting the sweet devil may have more power over me? I am true flesh and blood, I can tell you that for your comfort.

Joh. Flesh without blood, I think thou art; or, if any, it is as cold as that of fishes. But I'll teach thee, to thy cost, what vengeance is in store for refusing a lady who has offered thee her love.—Help, 374 help, there! will nobody come to my assistance?

Ant. What do you mean, madam? for heaven's sake, peace; your husband will hear you; think of your own danger, if you will not think of mine.

Joh. Ungrateful wretch, thou deservest no pity!—Help, help, husband, or I shall be ravished! the villain will be too strong for me! Help, help, for pity of a poor distressed creature!

Ant. Then I have nothing but impudence to assist me: I must drown her clamour, whatever comes on't.
[He takes out his Flute, and plays as loud as he can possibly, and she continues crying out.

Enter the Mufti, in his Night-gown, and two Servants.

Muf. O thou villain, what horrible impiety art thou committing! what, ravishing the wife of my bosom!—Take him away; ganch him[5], impale him, rid the world of such a monster!
[Servants seize him.

Ant. Mercy, dear master, mercy! hear me first, and after, if I have deserved hanging, spare me not. What have you seen to provoke you to this cruelty?

Muf. I have heard the outcries of my wife; the bleatings of the poor innocent lamb.—Seen nothing, sayst thou? If I see the lamb lie bleeding, and the butcher by her with his knife drawn, and bloody, is not that evidence sufficient of the murder? I come too late, and the execution is already done.

375 Ant. Pray think in reason, sir; is a man to be put to death for a similitude? No violence has been committed; none intended; the lamb's alive: and, if I durst tell you so, no more a lamb than I am a butcher.

Joh. How's that, villain, dar'st thou accuse me?

Ant. Be patient, madam, and speak but truth, and I'll do any thing to serve you: I say again, and swear it too, I'll do any thing to serve you.

Joh. [Aside.] I understand him; but I fear it is now too late to save him:—Pray, hear him speak, husband; perhaps he may say something for himself; I know not.

Muf. Speak thou, has he not violated my bed, and thy honour?

Joh. I forgive him freely, for he has done nothing. What he will do hereafter to make me satisfaction, himself best knows.

Ant. Any thing, any thing, sweet madam: I shall refuse no drudgery.

Muf. But did he mean no mischief? was he endeavouring nothing?

Joh. In my conscience, I begin to doubt he did not.

Muf. It's impossible:—then what meant all those outcries?

Joh. I heard music in the garden, and at an unseasonable time of night; and I stole softly out of my bed, as imagining it might be he.

Muf. How's that, Johayma? imagining it was he, and yet you went?

Joh. Why not, my lord? am not I the mistress of the family? and is it not my place to see good order kept in it? I thought he might have allured some of the she-slaves to him, and was resolved to prevent what might have been betwixt him and 376 them; when, on the sudden, he rushed out upon me, caught me in his arms with such a fury—

Muf. I have heard enough.—Away with him!

Joh. Mistaking me, no doubt, for one of his fellow-slaves: with that, affrighted as I was, I discovered myself, and cried aloud; but as soon as ever he knew me, the villain let me go; and I must needs say, he started back as if I were some serpent; and was more afraid of me than I of him.

Muf. O thou corrupter of my family, that's cause enough of death!—once again, away with him.

Joh. What, for an intended trespass? No harm has been done, whatever may be. He cost you five hundred crowns, I take it.

Muf. Thou say'st true, a very considerable sum: he shall not die, though he had committed folly with a slave; it is too much to lose by him.

Ant. My only fault has ever been to love playing in the dark; and the more she cried, the more I played, that it might be seen I intended nothing to her.

Muf. To your kennel, sirrah; mortify your flesh, and consider in whose family you are.

Joh. And one thing more,—remember from henceforth to obey better.

Muf. [Aside.] For all her smoothness, I am not quite cured of my jealousy; but I have thought of a way that will clear my doubts.
[Exit Muf. with Joh. and Servants.

Ant. I am mortified sufficiently already, without the help of his ghostly counsel. Fear of death has gone farther with me in two minutes, than my conscience would have gone in two months. I find myself in a very dejected condition, all over me; poor sin lies dormant; concupiscence is retired to his winter-quarters; and if Morayma should now 377 appear,—I say no more; but, alas for her and me!
[Morayma comes out of the Arbour, she steals behind him, and claps him on the Back.

Mor. And if Morayma should appear, as she does appear,—alas! you say, for her and you.

Ant. Art thou there, my sweet temptation! my eyes, my life, my soul, my all!

Mor. A mighty compliment! when all these, by your own confession, are just nothing.

Ant. Nothing, till thou camest to new create me; thou dost not know the power of thy own charms: Let me embrace thee, and thou shalt see how quickly I can turn wicked.

Mor. [Stepping back.] Nay, if you are so dangerous, it is best keeping you at a distance, I have no mind to warm a frozen snake in my bosom; he may chance to recover, and sting me for my pains.

Ant. Consider what I have suffered for thy sake already, and make me some amends; two disappointments in a night: O cruel creature!

Mor. And you may thank yourself for both. I came eagerly to the charge before my time, through the back-walk behind the arbour; and you, like a fresh-water soldier, stood guarding the pass before. If you missed the enemy, you may thank your own dulness.

Ant. Nay, if you will be using stratagems, you shall give me leave to make use of my advantages, now I have you in my power: we are fairly met; I'll try it out, and give no quarter.

Mor. By your favour, sir, we meet upon treaty now, and not upon defiance.

Ant. If that be all, you shall have carte blanche immediately; for I long to be ratifying.

Mor. No; now I think on't, you are already 378 entered into articles with my enemy Johayma:—"Any thing to serve you, madam; I shall refuse no drudgery:"—Whose words were those, gentleman? was that like a cavalier of honour?

Ant. Not very heroic; but self-preservation is a point above honour and religion too. Antonio was a rogue, I must confess; but you must give me leave to love him.

Mor. To beg your life so basely, and to present your sword to your enemy; Oh, recreant!

Ant. If I had died honourably, my fame indeed would have sounded loud, but I should never have heard the blast:—Come, don't make yourself worse-natured than you are; to save my life, you would be content I should promise any thing.

Mor. Yes, if I were sure you would perform nothing.

Ant. Can you suspect I would leave you for Johayma?

Mor. No; but I can expect you would have both of us. Love is covetous; I must have all of you; heart for heart is an equal trick. In short, I am younger, I think handsomer, and am sure I love you better. She has been my stepmother these fifteen years: You think that is her face you see, but it is only a daubed vizard; she wears an armour of proof upon it; an inch thick of paint, besides the wash. Her face is so fortified, that you can make no approaches to it without a shovel; but, for her constancy, I can tell you for your comfort, she will love till death, I mean till yours; for when she has worn you out, she will certainly dispatch you to another world, for fear of telling tales, as she has already served three slaves, your predecessors, of happy memory, in her favours. She has made my pious father a three-piled cuckold to my knowledge; and now she would be robbing me of my single sheep too.

379 Ant. Pr'ythee, prevent her then; and at least take the shearing of me first.

Mor. No; I'll have a butcher's pennyworth of you; first secure the carcase, and then take the fleece into the bargain.

Ant. Why, sure, you did not put yourself and me to all this trouble for a dry come-off; by this hand—
[Taking it.

Mor. Which you shall never touch, but upon better assurances than you imagine.
[Pulling her hand away.

Ant. I'll marry thee, and make a Christian of thee, thou pretty damned infidel.

Mor. I mean you shall; but no earnest till the bargain be made before witness: there is love enough to be had, and as much as you can turn you to, never doubt; but all upon honourable terms.

Ant. I vow and swear by Love; and he's a deity in all religions.

Mor. But never to be trusted in any: he has another name too, of a worse sound. Shall I trust an oath, when I see your eyes languishing, your cheeks flushing, and can hear your heart throbbing? No, I'll not come near you: he's a foolish physician, who will feel the pulse of a patient, that has the plague-spots upon him.

Ant. Did one ever hear a little moppet argue so perversely against so good a cause! Come, pr'ythee, let me anticipate a little of my revenue.

Mor. You would fain be fingering your rents before-hand; but that makes a man an ill husband ever after. Consider, marriage is a painful vocation, as you shall prove it; manage your incomes as thriftily as you can, you shall find a hard task on't to make even at the year's end, and yet to live decently.

Ant. I came with a Christian intention to revenge 380 myself upon thy father, for being the head of a false religion.

Mor. And so you shall; I offer you his daughter for your second. But since you are so pressing, meet me under my window to-morrow night, body for body, about this hour; I'll slip down out of my lodging, and bring my father in my hand.

Ant. How, thy father!

Mor. I mean, all that's good of him; his pearls and jewels, his whole contents, his heart and soul; as much as ever I can carry! I'll leave him his Alcoran, that's revenue enough for him; every page of it is gold and diamonds. He has the turn of an eye, a demure smile, and a godly cant, that are worth millions to him. I forgot to tell you, that I will have a slave prepared at the postern gate, with two horses ready saddled.—No more, for I fear I may be missed; and think I hear them calling for me.—If you have constancy and courage—

Ant. Never doubt it; and love in abundance, to wander with thee all the world over.

Mor. The value of twelve hundred thousand crowns in a casket!—

Ant. A heavy burden, heaven knows! but we must pray for patience to support it.

Mor. Besides a willing titt, that will venture her corps with you. Come, I know you long to have a parting blow with me; and therefore, to shew I am in charity—
[He kisses her.

Ant. Once more for pity, that I may keep the flavour upon my lips till we meet again.

Mor. No, frequent charities make bold beggars; and, besides, I have learned of a falconer, never to feed up a hawk when I would have him fly. That's enough; but, if you would be nibbling, here's a hand to stay your stomach.
[Kissing her hand.

381 Ant. Thus conquered infidels, that wars may cease,
Are forced to give their hands, and sign the peace.

Mor. Thus Christians are outwitted by the foe;
You had her in your power, and let her go.
If you release my hand, the fault's not mine;
You should have made me seal, as well as sign.
[She runs off, he follows her to the door; then comes back again, and goes out at the other.

SCENE I.—BENDUCAR'S Palace, in the Castle of Alcazar.

Benducar solus.

Bend. My future fate, the colour of my life,
My all, depends on this important hour:
This hour my lot is weighing in the scales,
And heaven, perhaps, is doubting what to do.
Almeyda and a crown have pushed me forward:
'Tis fixed, the tyrant must not ravish her;
He and Sebastian stand betwixt my hopes;
He most, and therefore first to be dispatched.
These, and a thousand things, are to be done
In the short compass of this rolling night;
And nothing yet performed,
None of my emissaries yet returned.

Enter Haly, first Servant.

Oh Haly, thou hast held me long in pain.
What hast thou learnt of Dorax? is he dead?

Haly. Two hours I warily have watched his palace;
All doors are shut, no servant peeps abroad;
Some officers, with striding haste, passed in,
382 While others outward went on quick dispatch.
Sometimes hushed silence seemed to reign within;
Then cries confused, and a joint clamour, followed;
Then lights went gliding by, from room to room,
And shot, like thwarting meteors, cross the house.
Not daring further to inquire, I came
With speed, to bring you this imperfect news.

Bend. Hence I conclude him either dead, or dying.
His mournful friends, summoned to take their leaves,
Are thronged about his couch, and sit in council.
What those caballing captains may design,
I must prevent, by being first in action.—
To Muley-Zeydan fly with speed, desire him
To take my last instructions; tell the importance,
And haste his presence here.—[Exit Haly.
How has this poison lost its wonted way?
It should have burnt its passage, not have lingered
In the blind labyrinths and crooked turnings
Of human composition; now it moves
Like a slow fire, that works against the wind,
As if his stronger stars had interposed.—

Enter Hamet.

Well, Hamet, are our friends, the rabble, raised?
From Mustapha what message?

Ham. What you wish.
The streets are thicker in this noon of night,
Than at the mid-day sun; a drowsy horror
Sits on their eyes, like fear, not well awake;
All crowd in heaps, as, at a night alarm,
The bees drive out upon each others backs,
To imboss their hives in clusters; all ask news;
Their busy captain runs the weary round,
To whisper orders; and, commanding silence,
Makes not noise cease, but deafens it to murmurs.

Bend. Night wastes apace; when, when will he appear!

383 Ham. He only waits your summons.

Bend. Haste their coming.
Let secrecy and silence be enjoined
In their close march. What news from the lieutenant?

Ham. I left him at the gate, firm to your interest,
To admit the townsmen at their first appearance.

Bend. Thus far 'tis well: Go, hasten Mustapha. [Exit Hamet.

Enter Orchan, the third Servant.

O, Orchan, did I think thy diligence
Would lag behind the rest!—What from the Mufti?

Orc. I sought him round his palace; made inquiry
Of all the slaves; in short, I used your name,
And urged the importance home; but had for answer,
That, since the shut of evening, none had seen him.

Bend. O the curst fate of all conspiracies!
They move on many springs; if one but fail,
The restiff machine stops. In an ill hour he's absent;
'Tis the first time, and sure will be the last,
That e'er a Mufti was not in the way,
When tumults and rebellion should be broached.
Stay by me; thou art resolute and faithful;
I have employment worthy of thy arm.[Walks.

Enter Muley-Zeydan.

Mul. Zeyd. You see me come, impatient of my hopes,
And eager as the courser for the race:
Is all in readiness?

Bend. All but the Mufti.

Mul. Zeyd. We must go on without him.

Bend. True, we must;
For 'tis ill stopping in the full career,
Howe'er the leap be dangerous and wide.

Orc. [Looking out.]
I see the blaze of torches from afar,
384 And hear the trampling of thick-beating feet;
This way they move.

Bend. No doubt, the emperor.
We must not be surprised in conference.
Trust to my management the tyrant's death,
And haste yourself to join with Mustapha.
The officer, who guards the gate, is yours:
When you have gained that pass, divide your force;
Yourself in person head one chosen half,
And march to oppress the faction in consult
With dying Dorax. Fate has driven them all
Into the net; you must be bold and sudden:
Spare none; and if you find him struggling yet
With pangs of death, trust not his rolling eyes
And heaving gasps; for poison may be false,—
The home thrust of a friendly sword is sure.

Mul. Zeyd. Doubt not my conduct; they shall be surprised.
Mercy may wait without the gate one night,
At morn I'll take her in.

Bend. Here lies your way;
You meet your brother there.

Mul. Zeyd. May we ne'er meet!
For, like the twins of Leda, when I mount,
He gallops down the skies.[Exit Mul. Zeyd.

Bend. He comes:—Now, heart,
Be ribbed with iron for this one attempt;
Set ope thy sluices, send the vigorous blood
Through every active limb for my relief;
Then take thy rest within thy quiet cell,
For thou shalt drum no more.

Enter Emperor, and Guards attending him.

Emp. What news of our affairs, and what of Dorax?
Is he no more? say that, and make me happy.

Bend. May all your enemies be like that dog,
385 Whose parting soul is labouring at the lips.

Emp. The people, are they raised?

Bend. And marshalled too;
Just ready for the march.

Emp. Then I'm at ease.

Bend. The night is yours; the glittering host of heaven
Shines but for you; but most the star of love,
That twinkles you to fair Almeyda's bed.
Oh, there's a joy to melt in her embrace,
Dissolve in pleasure,
And make the gods curse immortality,
That so they could not die.
But haste, and make them yours.

Emp. I will; and yet
A kind of weight hangs heavy at my heart;
My flagging soul flies under her own pitch,
Like fowl in air too damp, and lugs along,
As if she were a body in a body,
And not a mounting substance made of fire.
My senses, too, are dull and stupified,
Their edge rebated:—sure some ill approaches,
And some kind sprite knocks softly at my soul,
To tell me, fate's at hand[6].

386 Bend. Mere fancies all.
Your soul has been before-hand with your body,
And drunk so deep a draught of promised bliss,
She slumbers o'er the cup; no danger's near,
But of a surfeit at too full a feast.

Emp. It may be so; it looks so like the dream
That overtook me, at my waking hour,
This morn; and dreams, they say, are then divine,
When all the balmy vapours are exhaled,
And some o'erpowering god continues sleep.
'Twas then, methought, Almeyda, smiling, came,
Attended with a train of all her race,
Whom, in the rage of empire, I had murdered:
But now, no longer foes, they gave me joy
Of my new conquest, and, with helping hands,
Heaved me into our holy prophet's arms,
Who bore me in a purple cloud to heaven[7].

Bend. Good omen, sir; I wish you in that heaven
Your dream portends you,—
Which presages death.[Aside.

Emp. Thou too wert there;
387 And thou, methought, didst push me from below,
With thy full force, to Paradise.

Bend. Yet better.

Emp. Ha! what's that grizly fellow, that attends thee?

Bend. Why ask you, sir?

Emp. For he was in my dream,
And helped to heave me up.

Bend. With prayers and wishes;
For I dare swear him honest.

Emp. That may be;
But yet he looks damnation.

Bend. You forget
The face would please you better. Do you love,
And can you thus forbear?

Emp. I'll head my people,
Then think of dalliance when the danger's o'er.
My warlike spirits work now another way,
And my soul's tuned to trumpets.

Bend. You debase yourself,
To think of mixing with the ignoble herd;
Let such perform the servile work of war,
Such who have no Almeyda to enjoy.
What, shall the people know their god-like prince
Skulked in a nightly skirmish? Stole a conquest,
Headed a rabble, and profaned his person,
Shouldered with filth, borne in a tide of ordure,
And stifled with their rank offensive sweat?

Emp. I am off again; I will not prostitute
The regal dignity so far, to head them.

Bend. There spoke a king.
Dismiss your guards, to be employed elsewhere
In ruder combats; you will want no seconds
In those alarms you seek.

Emp. Go, join the crowd;—[To the Guards.
Benducar, thou shalt lead them in my place.[Exeunt Guards.
388 The God of Love once more has shot his fires
Into my soul, and my whole heart receives him.
Almeyda now returns with all her charms;
I feel her as she glides along my veins,
And dances in my blood. So when our prophet
Had long been hammering, in his lonely cell,
Some dull, insipid, tedious Paradise,
A brisk Arabian girl came tripping by;
Passing she cast at him a side-long glance,
And looked behind, in hopes to be pursued:
He took the hint, embraced the flying fair,
And, having found his heaven, he fixed it there.[Exit Emperor.

Bend. That Paradise thou never shalt possess.
His death is easy now, his guards are gone,
And I can sin but once to seize the throne;
All after-acts are sanctified by power.

Orc. Command my sword and life.

Bend. I thank thee, Orchan,
And shall reward thy faith. This master-key
Frees every lock, and leads us to his person;
And, should we miss our blow,—as heaven forbid!—
Secures retreat. Leave open all behind us;
And first set wide the Mufti's garden gate,
Which is his private passage to the palace;
For there our mutineers appoint to meet,
And thence we may have aid.—Now sleep, ye stars,
That silently o'erwatch the fate of kings!
Be all propitious influences barred,
And none but murderous planets mount the guard. [Exit with Orchan.


SCENE II.—A Night-Scene of the Mufti's Garden.

Enter the Mufti alone, in a Slave's Habit, like that of Antonio.

Muf. This it is to have a sound head-piece; by this I have got to be chief of my religion; that is, honestly speaking, to teach others what I neither know nor believe myself. For what's Mahomet to me, but that I get by him? Now for my policy of this night: I have mewed up my suspected spouse in her chamber;—no more embassies to that lusty young stallion of a gardener. Next, my habit of a slave; I have made myself as like him as I can, all but his youth and vigour; which when I had, I passed my time as well as any of my holy predecessors. Now, walking under the windows of my seraglio, if Johayma look out, she will certainly take me for Antonio, and call to me; and by that I shall know what concupiscence is working in her. She cannot come down to commit iniquity, there's my safety; but if she peep, if she put her nose abroad, there's demonstration of her pious will; and I'll not make the first precedent for a churchman to forgive injuries.

Enter Morayma, running to him with a Casket in her hand, and embracing him.

Mor. Now I can embrace you with a good conscience; here are the pearls and jewels, here's my father.

Muf. I am indeed thy father; but how the devil didst thou know me in this disguise? and what pearls and jewels dost thou mean?

Mor. [Going back.] What have I done, and what will now become of me!

Muf. Art thou mad, Morayma?

390 Mor. I think you'll make me so.

Muf. Why, what have I done to thee? Recollect thyself, and speak sense to me.

Mor. Then give me leave to tell you, you are the worst of fathers.

Muf. Did I think I had begotten such a monster!—Proceed, my dutiful child, proceed, proceed.

Mor. You have been raking together a mass of wealth, by indirect and wicked means: the spoils of orphans are in these jewels, and the tears of widows in these pearls.

Muf. Thou amazest me!

Mor. I would do so. This casket is loaded with your sins; 'tis the cargo of rapines, simony, and extortions; the iniquity of thirty years muftiship converted into diamonds.

Muf. Would some rich railing rogue would say as much to me, that I might squeeze his purse for scandal!

Mor. No, sir, you get more by pious fools than railers, when you insinuate into their families, manage their fortunes while they live, and beggar their heirs, by getting legacies, when they die. And do you think I'll be the receiver of your theft? I discharge my conscience of it: Here, take again your filthy mammon, and restore it, you had best, to the true owners.

Muf. I am finely documented by my own daughter!

Mor. And a great credit for me to be so: Do but think how decent a habit you have on, and how becoming your function to be disguised like a slave, and eaves-dropping under the women's windows, to be saluted, as you deserve it richly, with a piss-pot. If I had not known you casually by your shambling gait, and a certain reverend awkwardness that is natural to all of your function, 391 here you had been exposed to the laughter of your own servants; who have been in search of you through the whole seraglio, peeping under every petticoat to find you.

Muf. Pr'ythee, child, reproach me no more of human failings; they are but a little of the pitch and spots of the world, that are still sticking on me; but I hope to scour them out in time. I am better at bottom than thou thinkest; I am not the man thou takest me for.

Mor. No, to my sorrow, sir, you are not.

Muf. It was a very odd beginning though, methought, to see thee come running in upon me with such a warm embrace; pr'ythee, what was the meaning of that violent hot hug?

Mor. I am sure I meant nothing by it, but the zeal and affection which I bear to the man of the world, whom I may love lawfully.

Muf. But thou wilt not teach me, at this age, the nature of a close embrace?

Mor. No, indeed; for my mother-in-law complains, that you are past teaching: But if you mistook my innocent embrace for sin, I wish heartily it had been given where it would have been more acceptable.

Muf. Why this is as it should be now; take the treasure again, it can never be put into better hands.

Mor. Yes, to my knowledge, but it might. I have confessed my soul to you, if you can understand me rightly. I never disobeyed you till this night; and now, since, through the violence of my passion, I have been so unfortunate, I humbly beg your pardon, your blessing, and your leave, that, upon the first opportunity, I may go for ever from your sight; for heaven knows, I never desire to see you more.

392 Muf. [Wiping his eyes.] Thou makest me weep at thy unkindness; indeed, dear daughter, we will not part.

Mor. Indeed, dear daddy, but we will.

Muf. Why, if I have been a little pilfering, or so, I take it bitterly of thee to tell me of it, since it was to make thee rich; and I hope a man may make bold with his own soul, without offence to his own child. Here, take the jewels again; take them, I charge thee, upon thy obedience.

Mor. Well then, in virtue of obedience, I will take them; but, on my soul, I had rather they were in a better hand.

Muf. Meaning mine, I know it.

Mor. Meaning his, whom I love better than my life.

Muf. That's me again.

Mor. I would have you think so.

Muf. How thy good nature works upon me! Well, I can do no less than venture damning for thee; and I may put fair for it, if the rabble be ordered to rise to-night.

Enter Antonio, in a rich African habit.

Ant. What do you mean, my dear, to stand talking in this suspicious place, just underneath Johayma's window?—[To the Mufti.] You are well met, comrade; I know you are the friend of our flight: are the horses ready at the postern gate?

Muf. Antonio, and in disguise! now I begin to smell a rat.

Ant. And I another, that out-stinks it. False Morayma, hast thou thus betrayed me to thy father!

Mor. Alas! I was betrayed myself. He came disguised like you, and I, poor innocent, ran into his hands.

393 Muf. In good time you did so; I laid a trap for a bitch-fox, and a worse vermin has caught himself in it. You would fain break loose now, though you left a limb behind you; but I am yet in my own territories, and in call of company; that's my comfort.

Ant. [Taking him by the throat.] No; I have a trick left to put thee past thy squeaking. I have given thee the quinsy; that ungracious tongue shall preach no more false doctrine.

Mor. What do you mean? you will not throttle him? consider he's my father.

Ant. Pr'ythee, let us provide first for our own safety; if I do not consider him, he will consider us, with a vengeance, afterwards.

Mor. You may threaten him for crying out; but, for my sake, give him back a little cranny of his windpipe, and some part of speech.

Ant. Not so much as one single interjection.—Come away, father-in-law, this is no place for dialogues; when you are in the mosque, you talk by hours, and there no man must interrupt you. This is but like for like, good father-in-law; now I am in the pulpit, it is your turn to hold your tongue. [He struggles.] Nay, if you will be hanging back, I shall take care you shall hang forward.
[Pulls him along the Stage, with his Sword at his Reins.

Mor. The other way to the arbour with him; and make haste, before we are discovered.

Ant. If I only bind and gag him there, he may commend me hereafter for civil usage; he deserves not so much favour by any action of his life.

Mor. Yes, pray bate him one,—for begetting your mistress.

Ant. I would, if he had not thought more of thy 394 mother than of thee. Once more, come along in silence, my Pythagorean father-in-law.

Joh. [At the Balcony.] A bird in a cage may peep, at least, though she must not fly.—What bustle's there beneath my window? Antonio, by all my hopes! I know him by his habit. But what makes that woman with him, and a friend, a sword drawn, and hasting hence? This is no time for silence:—Who's within? call there, where are the servants? why, Omar, Abedin, Hassan, and the rest, make haste, and run into the garden; there are thieves and villains; arm all the family, and stop them.

Ant. [Turning back.] O that screech owl at the window! we shall be pursued immediately; which way shall we take?

Mor. [Giving him the Casket.] 'Tis impossible to escape them; for the way to our horses lies back again by the house, and then we shall meet them full in the teeth. Here, take these jewels; thou mayst leap the walls, and get away.

Ant. And what will become of thee, then, poor kind soul?

Mor. I must take my fortune. When you are got safe into your own country, I hope you will bestow a sigh on the memory of her who loved you.

Ant. It makes me mad to think, how many a good night will be lost betwixt us! Take back thy jewels; 'tis an empty casket without thee: besides, I should never leap well with the weight of all thy father's sins about me; thou and they had been a bargain.

Mor. Pr'ythee take them, 'twill help me to be revenged on him.

Ant. No, they'll serve to make thy peace with him.

395 Mor. I hear them coming; shift for yourself at least; remember I am yours for ever.
[Servants crying, "this way, this way," behind the Scenes.

Ant. And I but the empty shadow of myself without thee!—Farewell, father-in-law, that should have been, if I had not been curst in my mother's belly.—Now, which way, Fortune?
[Runs amazedly backwards and forwards. Servants within, "Follow, follow; yonder are the villains."

O, here's a gate open; but it leads into the castle; yet I must venture it.
[A shout behind the Scenes, where Antonio is going out.

There's the rabble in a mutiny; what, is the devil up at midnight! However, 'tis good herding in a crowd.
[Runs out. Mufti runs to Morayma, and lays hold on her, then snatches away the Casket.

Muf. Now, to do things in order, first I seize upon the bag, and then upon the baggage; for thou art but my flesh and blood, but these are my life and soul.

Mor. Then let me follow my flesh and blood, and keep to yourself your life and soul.

Muf. Both, or none; come away to durance.

Mor. Well, if it must be so, agreed; for I have another trick to play you, and thank yourself for what shall follow.

Enter Servants.

Joh. [From above.] One of them took through the private way into the castle; follow him, be sure, for these are yours already.

Mor. Help here quickly, Omar, Abedin! I have hold on the villain that stole my jewels; but 'tis a 396 lusty rogue, and he will prove too strong for me. What! help, I say; do you not know your master's daughter?

Muf. Now, if I cry out, they will know my voice, and then I am disgraced for ever. O thou art a venomous cockatrice!

Mor. Of your own begetting.[The Servants seize him.

1 Serv. What a glorious deliverance have you had, madam, from this bloody-minded Christian!

Mor. Give me back my jewels, and carry this notorious malefactor to be punished by my father.—I'll hunt the other dry-foot.
[Takes the jewels, and runs out after Antonio at the same passage.

1 Serv. I long to be hanselling his hide, before we bring him to my master.

2 Serv. Hang him, for an old covetous hypocrite; he deserves a worse punishment himself, for keeping us so hardly.

1 Serv. Ay, would he were in this villain's place! thus I would lay him on, and thus.[Beats him.

2 Serv. And thus would I revenge myself of my last beating.[He beats him too, and then the rest.

Muf. Oh, ho, ho!

1 Serv. Now, supposing you were the Mufti, sir.— [Beats him again.

Muf. The devil's in that supposing rascal!—I can bear no more; and I am the Mufti. Now suppose yourselves my servants, and hold your hands: an anointed halter take you all!

1 Serv. My master!—You will pardon the excess of our zeal for you, sir: Indeed we all took you for a villain, and so we used you.

Muf. Ay, so I feel you did; my back and sides are abundant testimonies of your zeal.—Run, rogues, 397 and bring me back my jewels, and my fugitive daughter; run, I say.
[They run to the gate, and the first Servant runs back again.

1 Serv. Sir, the castle is in a most terrible combustion; you may hear them hither.

Muf. 'Tis a laudable commotion; the voice of the mobile is the voice of heaven.—I must retire a little, to strip me of the slave, and to assume the Mufti, and then I will return; for the piety of the people must be encouraged, that they may help me to recover my jewels, and my daughter.
[Exeunt Mufti and Servants.

SCENE III.—Changes to the Castle Yard,

And discovers Antonio, Mustapha, and the Rabble shouting. They come forward.

Ant. And so at length, as I informed you, I escaped out of his covetous clutches; and now fly to your illustrious feet for my protection.

Must. Thou shalt have it, and now defy the Mufti. 'Tis the first petition that has been made to me since my exaltation to tumult, in this second night of the month Abib, and in the year of the Hegira,—the Lord knows what year; but 'tis no matter; for when I am settled, the learned are bound to find it out for me; for I am resolved to date my authority over the rabble, like other monarchs.

Ant. I have always had a longing to be yours again, though I could not compass it before; and had designed you a casket of my master's jewels too; for I knew the custom, and would not have appeared before a great person, as you are, without a present: But he has defrauded my good intentions, and basely robbed you of them; 'tis a prize worthy 398 a million of crowns, and you carry your letters of marque about you.

Must. I shall make bold with his treasure, for the support of my new government.—[The people gather about him.]—What do these vile raggamuffins so near our person? your savour is offensive to us; bear back there, and make room for honest men to approach us: These fools and knaves are always impudently crowding next to princes, and keeping off the more deserving: Bear back, I say.—[They make a wider circle.]—That's dutifully done! Now shout, to shew your loyalty. [A great shout.]—Hear'st thou that, slave Antonio? These obstreperous villains shout, and know not for what they make a noise. You shall see me manage them, that you may judge what ignorant beasts they are.—For whom do you shout now? Who's to live and reign; tell me that, the wisest of you?

1 Rabble. Even who you please, captain.

Must. La, you there! I told you so.

2 Rabble. We are not bound to know, who is to live and reign; our business is only to rise upon command, and plunder.

3 Rabble. Ay, the richest of both parties; for they are our enemies.

Must. This last fellow is a little more sensible than the rest; he has entered somewhat into the merits of the cause.

1 Rabble. If a poor man may speak his mind. I think, captain, that yourself are the fittest to live and reign; I mean not over, but next, and immediately under, the people; and thereupon I say, A Mustapha, a Muatapha!

Omnes. A Mustapha, a Mustapha!

Must. I must confess the sound is pleasing, and tickles the ears of my ambition; but alas, good people, it must not be! I am contented to be a poor 399 simple viceroy. But prince Muley-Zeydan is to be the man: I shall take care to instruct him in the arts of government, and in his duty to us all; and, therefore, mark my cry, A Muley-Zeydan, a Muley-Zeydan!

Omnes. A Muley-Zeydan, a Muley-Zeydan!

Must. You see, slave Antonio, what I might have been?

Ant. I observe your modesty.

Must. But for a foolish promise, I made once to my lord Benducar, to set up any one he pleased.—

Re-enter the Mufti, with his Servants.

Ant. Here's the old hypocrite again.—Now stand your ground and bate him not an inch. Remember the jewels, the rich and glorious jewels; they are designed to be yours, by virtue of prerogative.

Must. Let me alone to pick a quarrel; I have an old grudge to him upon thy account.

Muf. [Making up to the Mobile.] Good people, here you are met together.

1 Rabble. Ay, we know that without your telling: But why are we met together, doctor? for that's it which no body here can tell.

2 Rabble. Why, to see one another in the dark; and to make holiday at midnight.

Muf. You are met, as becomes good Mussulmen, to settle the nation; for I must tell you, that, though your tyrant is a lawful emperor, yet your lawful emperor is but a tyrant.

Ant. What stuff he talks!

Must. 'Tis excellent fine matter, indeed, slave Antonio! He has a rare tongue! Oh, he would move a rock, or elephant!

Ant. What a block have I to work upon! [Aside.]—But still, remember the jewels, sir; the jewels.

Must. Nay, that's true, on the other side; the 400 jewels must be mine. But he has a pure fine way of talking; my conscience goes along with him, but the jewels have set my heart against him.

Muf. That your emperor is a tyrant, is most manifest; for you were born to be Turks, but he has played the Turk with you, and is taking your religion away.

2 Rabble. We find that in our decay of trade. I have seen, for these hundred years, that religion and trade always go together.

Muf. He is now upon the point of marrying himself, without your sovereign consent: And what are the effects of marriage?

3 Rabble. A scolding domineering wife, if she prove honest; and, if a whore, a fine gaudy minx, that robs our counters every night, and then goes out, and spends it upon our cuckold-makers.

Muf. No; the natural effects of marriage are children: Now, on whom would he beget these children? Even upon a Christian! O, horrible! how can you believe me, though I am ready to swear it upon the Alcoran! Yes, true believers, you may believe, that he is going to beget a race of misbelievers.

Must. That's fine, in earnest; I cannot forbear hearkening to his enchanting tongue.

Ant. But yet remember—

Must. Ay, ay, the jewels! Now again I hate him; but yet my conscience makes me listen to him.

Muf. Therefore, to conclude all, believers, pluck up your hearts, and pluck down the tyrant. Remember the courage of your ancestors; remember the majesty of the people; remember yourselves, your wives, and children; and, lastly, above all, remember your religion, and our holy Mahomet. All these require your timeous assistance;—shall I say, they beg it? No; they claim it of you, by all the 401 nearest and dearest ties of these three P's, self-preservation, our property, and our prophet.—Now answer me with an unanimous cheerful cry, and follow me, who am your leader, to a glorious deliverance.

Omnes. A Mufti, a Mufti![Following him off the stage.

Ant. Now you see what comes of your foolish qualms of conscience; the jewels are lost, and they are all leaving you.

Must. What, am I forsaken of my subjects? Would the rogue purloin my liege people from me!—I charge you, in my own name, come back, ye deserters, and hear me speak.

1 Rabble. What, will he come with his balderdash, after the Mufti's eloquent oration?

2 Rabble. He's our captain, lawfully picked up, and elected upon a stall; we will hear him.

Omnes. Speak, captain, for we will hear you.

Must. Do you remember the glorious rapines and robberies you have committed? Your breaking open and gutting of houses, your rummaging of cellars, your demolishing of Christian temples, and bearing off, in triumph, the superstitious plate and pictures, the ornaments of their wicked altars, when all rich moveables were sentenced for idolatrous, and all that was idolatrous was seized? Answer first, for your remembrance of all these sweetnesses of mutiny; for upon those grounds I shall proceed.

Omnes. Yes, we do remember, we do remember.

Must. Then make much of your retentive faculties.—And who led you to those honey-combs? Your Mufti? No, believers; he only preached you up to it, but durst not lead you: He was but your counsellor, but I was your captain; he only looed you, but, 'twas I that led you.

Omnes. That's true, that's true.

402 Ant. There you were with him for his figures.

Must. I think I was, slave Antonio. Alas, I was ignorant of my own talent!—Say then, believers, will you have a captain for your Mufti, or a Mufti for your captain? And, further, to instruct you how to cry, will you have A mufti, or No mufti?

Omnes. No Mufti, no Mufti!

Must. That I laid in for them, slave Antonio—Do I then spit upon your faces? Do I discourage rebellion, mutiny, rapine, and plundering? You may think I do, believers; but, heaven forbid! No, I encourage you to all these laudable undertakings; you shall plunder, you shall pull down the government; but you shall do this upon my authority, and not by his wicked instigation.

3 Rabble. Nay, when his turn is served, he may preach up loyalty again, and restitution, that he might have another snack among us.

1 Rabble. He may indeed; for it is but his saying it is sin, and then we must restore; and therefore I would have a new religion, where half the commandments should be taken away, the rest mollified, and there should be little or no sin remaining.

Omnes. Another religion, a new religion, another religion!

Must. And that may easily be done, with the help of a little inspiration; for I must tell you, I have a pigeon at home, of Mahomet's own breed; and when I have learnt her to pick pease out of my ear, rest satisfied till then, and you shall have another. But, now I think on't, I am inspired already, that 'tis no sin to depose the Mufti.

Ant. And good reason; for when kings and queens are to be discarded, what should knaves do any longer in the pack?

Omnes. He is deposed, he is deposed, he is deposed!

403 Must. Nay, if he and his clergy will needs be preaching up rebellion, and giving us their blessing, 'tis but justice they should have the first-fruits of it.—Slave Antonio, take him into custody; and dost thou hear, boy, be sure to secure the little transitory box of jewels. If he be obstinate, put a civil question to him upon the rack, and he squeaks, I warrant him.

Ant. [Seizing the Mufti.] Come, my quondam master, you and I must change qualities.

Muf. I hope you will not be so barbarous to torture me: we may preach suffering to others, but, alas! holy flesh is too well pampered to endure martyrdom.

Must. Now, late Mufti, not forgetting my first quarrel to you, we will enter ourselves with the plunder of your palace: 'tis good to sanctify a work, and begin a God's name.

1 Rabble. Our prophet let the devil alone with the last mob.

Mob. But he takes care of this himself.

As they are going out, enter Benducar, leading Almeyda: he with a sword in one hand; Benducar's Slave follows, with Muley-Moluch's head upon a spear.

Must. Not so much haste, masters; comeback again; you are so bent upon mischief, that you take a man upon the first word of plunder. Here is a sight for you; the emperor is come upon his head to visit you. [Bowing.] Most noble emperor, now I hope you will not hit us in the teeth, that we have pulled you down; for we can tell you to your face, that we have exalted you.
[They all shout.

Bend. Think what I am, and what yourself may be, [To Almeyda apart.
404 In being mine: refuse not proffered love,
That brings a crown.

Alm. [To him.] I have resolved,
And these shall know my thoughts.

Bend. [To her.] On that I build.— [He comes up to the Rabble.
Joy to the people for the tyrant's death!
Oppression, rapine, banishment, and blood,
Are now no more; but speechless as that tongue,
That lies for ever still.
How is my grief divided with my joy,
When I must own I killed him! Bid me speak;
For not to bid me, is to disallow
What for your sakes is done.

Must. In the name of the people, we command you speak: but that pretty lady shall speak first; for we have taken somewhat of a liking to her person.—Be not afraid, lady, to speak to these rude raggamuffians; there is nothing shall offend you, unless it be their stink, an't please you.
[Making a leg.

Alm. Why should I fear to speak, who am your queen?
My peaceful father swayed the sceptre long,
And you enjoyed the blessings of his reign,
While you deserved the name of Africans.
Then, not commanded, but commanding you,
Fearless I speak: know me for what I am.

Bend. How she assumes! I like not this beginning. [Aside.

Alm. I was not born so base to flatter crowds,
And move your pity by a whining tale.
Your tyrant would have forced me to his bed;
But in the attempt of that foul brutal act,
These loyal slaves secured me by his death. [Pointing to Benducar.

405 Bend. Makes she no more of me than of a slave?—[Aside.
Madam, I thought I had instructed you[To Almeyda.
To frame a speech more suiting to the times:
The circumstances of that dire design,
Your own despair, my unexpected aid,
My life endangered by his bold defence,
And, after all, his death, and your deliverance,
Were themes that ought not to be slighted o'er.

Must. She might have passed over all your petty businesses, and no great matter; but the raising of my rabble is an exploit of consequence, and not to be mumbled up in silence, for all her pertness.

Alm. When force invades the gift of nature, life,
The eldest law of nature bids defend;
And if in that defence a tyrant fall,
His death's his crime, not ours,
Suffice it, that he's dead; all wrongs die with him;
When he can wrong no more, I pardon him:
Thus I absolve myself, and him excuse,
Who saved my life and honour, but praise neither.

Bend. 'Tis cheap to pardon, whom you would not pay.
But what speak I of payment and reward!
Ungrateful woman, you are yet no queen,
Nor more than a proud haughty christian slave:
As such I seize my right.[Going to lay hold of her.

Alm. [Drawing a Dagger.] Dare not to approach me!—
Now, Africans,
He shows himself to you; to me he stood
Confessed before, and owned his insolence
To espouse my person, and assume the crown,
Claimed in my right; for this, he slew your tyrant;
Oh no! he only changed him for a worse;
Embased your slavery by his own vileness,
406 And loaded you with more ignoble bonds.
Then think me not ungrateful, not to share
The imperial crown with a presuming traitor.
He says, I am a Christian; true, I am,
But yet no slave: If Christians can be thought
Unfit to govern those of other faith,
'Tis left for you to judge.

Bend. I have not patience; she consumes the time
In idle talk, and owns her false belief:
Seize her by force, and bear her thence unheard.

Alm. [To the People.]
No, let me rather die your sacrifice,
Than live his triumph.
I throw myself into my people's arms;
As you are men, compassionate my wrongs,
And, as good men, protect me.

Ant. Something must be done to save her. [Aside to Must.] This is all addressed to you, sir: she singled you out with her eye, as commander in chief of the mobility.

Must. Think'st thou so, slave Antonio?

Ant. Most certainly, sir; and you cannot, in honour, but protect her: now look to your hits, and make your fortune.

Must. Methought, indeed, she cast a kind leer towards me. Our prophet was but just such another scoundrel as I am, till he raised himself to power, and consequently to holiness, by marrying his master's widow. I am resolved I'll put forward for myself; for why should I be my lord Benducar's fool and slave, when I may be my own fool and his master?

Bend. Take her into possession, Mustapha.

Must. That's better counsel than you meant it: Yes, I do take her into possession, and into protection too. What say you, masters, will you stand by me?

407 Omnes. One and all, one and all.

Bend. Hast thou betrayed me, traitor?—Mufti, speak, and mind them of religion.
[Mufti shakes his head.

Must. Alas! the poor gentleman has gotten a cold with a sermon of two hours long, and a prayer of fear; and, besides, if he durst speak, mankind is grown wiser at this time of day than to cut one another's throats about religion. Our Mufti's is a green coat, and the Christian's is a black coat; and we must wisely go together by the ears, whether green or black shall sweep our spoils.
[Drums within, and shouts.

Bend. Now we shall see whose numbers will prevail:
The conquering troops of Muley-Zeydan come,
To crush rebellion, and espouse my cause.

Must. We will have a fair trial of skill for it, I can tell him that. When we have dispatched with Muley-Zeydan, your lordship shall march, in equal proportions of your body, to the four gates of the city, and every tower shall have a quarter of you.
[Antonio draws them up, and takes Alm. by the hand. Shouts again, and Drums.

Enter Dorax and Sebastian, attended by African Soldiers and Portugueses. Almeyda and Sebastian run into each others arms, and both speak together.

Seb. and Alm. My Sebastian! my Almeyda!

Alm. Do you then live?

Seb. And live to love thee ever.

Bend. How! Dorax and Sebastian still alive!
The Moors and Christians joined!—I thank thee, prophet.

Dor. The citadel is ours; and Muley-Zeydan
Safe under guard, but as becomes a prince.
408 Lay down your arms; such base plebeian blood
Would only stain the brightness of my sword,
And blunt it for some nobler work behind.

Must. I suppose you may put it up without offence to any man here present. For my part, I have been loyal to my sovereign lady, though that villain Benducar, and that hypocrite the Mufti, would have corrupted me; but if those two escape public justice, then I and all my late honest subjects here deserve hanging.

Bend. [To Dor.] I'm sure I did my part to poison thee,
What saint soe'er has soldered thee again:
A dose less hot had burst through ribs of iron.

Muf. Not knowing that, I poisoned him once more,
And drenched him with a draught so deadly cold,
That, hadst not thou prevented, had congealed
The channel of his blood, and froze him dry.

Bend. Thou interposing fool, to mangle mischief,
And think to mend the perfect work of hell!

Dor. Thus, when heaven pleases, double poisons cure[8].
I will not tax thee of ingratitude
To me, thy friend, who hast betrayed thy prince:
Death he deserved indeed, but not from thee.
But fate, it seems, reserved the worst of men
To end the worst of tyrants.—
Go, bear him to his fate,
And send him to attend his master's ghost.
Let some secure my other poisoning friend,
Whose double diligence preserved my life.

Ant. You are fallen into good hands, father-in-law; your sparkling jewels, and Morayma's eyes, 409 may prove a better bail than you deserve.

Muf. The best that can come of me, in this condition, is, to have my life begged first, and then to be begged for a fool afterwards[9].
[Exeunt Antonio, with the Mufti; and, at the same time, Benducar is carried off.

Dor. [To Must.]
You, and your hungry herd, depart untouched;
For justice cannot stoop so low, to reach
The groveling sin of crowds: but curst be they,
Who trust revenge with such mad instruments,
Whose blindfold business is but to destroy;
And, like the fire, commissioned by the winds,
Begins on sheds, but, rolling in a round,
On palaces returns. Away, ye scum,
That still rise upmost when the nation boils;
Ye mongrel work of heaven, with human shapes,
Not to be damned or saved, but breathe and perish,
That have but just enough of sense, to know
The master's voice, when rated, to depart. [Exeunt Mustapha and Rabble.

Alm. With gratitude as low as knees can pay [Kneeling to him.
To those blest holy fires, our guardian angels,
Receive these thanks, till altars can be raised.

Dor. Arise, fair excellence, and pay no thanks, [Raising her up.
Till time discover what I have deserved.

Seb. More than reward can answer.
If Portugal and Spain were joined to Africa,
410 And the main ocean crusted into land,
If universal monarchy were mine,
Here should the gift be placed.

Dor. And from some hands I should refuse that gift.
Be not too prodigal of promises;
But stint your bounty to one only grant,
Which I can ask with honour.

Seb. What I am
Is but thy gift; make what thou canst of me,
Secure of no repulse.

Dor. [To Seb.] Dismiss your train.—
[To Alm.] You, madam, please one moment to retire.
[Sebastian signs to the Portugueses to go off; Almeyda, bowing to him, gives off also. The Africans follow her.

Dor. [To the Captain of the Guard.]
With you one word in private.[Goes out with the Captain.

Seb. [Solus.] Reserved behaviour, open nobleness,
A long mysterious track of stern bounty:
But now the hand of fate is on the curtain,
And draws the scene to sight.

Re-enter Dorax, having taken off his Turban, and put on a Peruke, Hat, and Cravat.

Dor. Now, do you know me?

Seb. Thou shouldst be Alonzo.

Dor. So you should be Sebastian:
But when Sebastian ceased to be himself,
I ceased to be Alonzo.

Seb. As in a dream,
I see thee here, and scarce believe mine eyes.

Dor. Is it so strange to find me, where my wrongs,
And your inhuman tyranny, have sent me?
Think not you dream; or, if you did, my injuries
411 Shall call so loud, that lethargy should wake,
And death should give you back to answer me.
A thousand nights have brushed their balmy wings
Over these eyes; but ever when they closed,
Your tyrant image forced them ope again,
And dried the dews they brought:
The long expected hour is come at length,
By manly vengeance to redeem my fame;
And, that once cleared, eternal sleep is welcome.

Seb. I have not yet forgot I am a king,
Whose royal office is redress of wrongs:
If I have wronged thee, charge me face to face;—
I have not yet forgot I am a soldier.

Dor. 'Tis the first justice thou hast ever done me.
Then, though I loath this woman's war of tongues,
Yet shall my cause of vengeance first be clear;
And, honour, be thou judge.

Seb. Honour befriend us both.—
Beware I warn thee yet, to tell thy griefs
In terms becoming majesty to hear:
I warn thee thus, because I know thy temper
Is insolent, and haughty to superiors.
How often hast thou braved my peaceful court,
Filled it with noisy brawls, and windy boasts;
And with past service, nauseously repeated,
Reproached even me, thy prince?

Dor. And well I might, when you forgot reward,
The part of heaven in kings; for punishment
Is hangman's work, and drudgery for devils.—
I must, and will reproach thee with my service,
Tyrant!—It irks me so to call my prince;
But just resentment, and hard usage, coined
The unwilling word; and, grating as it is,
Take it, for 'tis thy due.

Seb. How, tyrant?

Dor. Tyrant.

412 Seb. Traitor!—that name thou canst not echo back;
That robe of infamy, that circumcision
Ill hid beneath that robe, proclaim thee traitor;
And, if a name
More foul than traitor be, 'tis renegade.

Dor. If I'm a traitor, think,—and blush, thou tyrant,—
Whose injuries betrayed me into treason,
Effaced my loyalty, unhinged my faith,
And hurried me, from hopes of heaven, to hell.
All these, and all my yet unfinished crimes,
When I shall rise to plead before the saints,
I charge on thee, to make thy damning sure.

Seb. Thy old presumptuous arrogance again,
That bred my first dislike, and then my loathing.—
Once more be warned, and know me for thy king.

Dor. Too well I know thee, but for king no more.
This is not Lisbon; nor the circle this,
Where, like a statue, thou hast stood besieged
By sycophants and fools, the growth of courts;
Where thy gulled eyes, in all the gaudy round,
Met nothing but a lie in every face,
And the gross flattery of a gaping crowd,
Envious who first should catch, and first applaud,
The stuff of royal nonsense: When I spoke,
My honest homely words were carped and censured
For want of courtly style; related actions,
Though modestly reported, passed for boasts;
Secure of merit if I asked reward,
Thy hungry minions thought their rights invaded,
And the bread snatched from pimps and parasites.
Henriquez answered, with a ready lie,
To save his king's,—the boon was begged before!

Seb. What say'st thou of Henriquez? Now, by heaven,
Thou mov'st me more by barely naming him,
413 Than all thy foul unmannered scurril taunts.

Dor. And therefore 'twas, to gall thee, that I named him.
That thing, that nothing, but a cringe and smile;
That woman, but more daubed; or, if a man,
Corrupted to a woman; thy man-mistress.

Seb. All false as hell, or thou.

Dor. Yes; full as false
As that I served thee fifteen hard campaigns,
And pitched thy standard in these foreign fields:
By me thy greatness grew, thy years grew with it,
But thy ingratitude outgrew them both.

Seb. I see to what thou tend'st: but, tell me first,
If those great acts were done alone for me?
If love produced not some, and pride the rest?

Dor. Why, love does all that's noble here below;
But all the advantage of that love was thine.
For, coming fraughted back, in either hand
With palm and olive, victory and peace,
I was indeed prepared to ask my own,
(For Violante's vows were mine before:)
Thy malice had prevention, ere I spoke;
And asked me Violante for Henriquez.

Seb. I meant thee a reward of greater worth.

Dor. Where justice wanted, could reward be hoped?
Could the robbed passenger expect a bounty
From those rapacious hands, who stripped him first?

Seb. He had my promise, ere I knew thy love.

Dor. My services deserved thou shouldst revoke it.

Seb. Thy insolence had cancelled all thy service:
To violate my laws, even in my court,
Sacred to peace, and safe from all affronts;
Even to my face, and done in my despite,
Under the wing of awful majesty,
To strike the man I loved!

414 Dor. Even in the face of heaven, a place more sacred,
Would I have struck the man, who, prompt by power,
Would seize my right, and rob me of my love:
But, for a blow provoked by thy injustice,
The hasty product of a just despair,
When he refused to meet me in the field,
That thou shouldst make a coward's cause thy own!

Seb. He durst; nay more, desired, and begged with tears,
To meet thy challenge fairly: 'Twas thy fault
To make it public; but my duty, then,
To interpose, on pain of my displeasure,
Betwixt your swords.

Dor. On pain of infamy,
He should have disobeyed.

Seb. The indignity, thou didst, was meant to me:
Thy gloomy eyes were cast on me with scorn,
As who should say,—the blow was there intended:
But that thou didst not dare to lift thy hands
Against anointed power. So was I forced
To do a sovereign justice to myself,
And spurn thee from my presence.

Dor. Thou hast dared
To tell me, what I durst not tell myself:
I durst not think that I was spurned, and live;
And live to hear it boasted to my face.
All my long avarice of honour lost,
Heaped up in youth, and hoarded up for age!
Has honour's fountain then sucked back the stream?
He has; and hooting boys may dry-shod pass,
And gather pebbles from the naked ford.—
Give me my love, my honour; give them back—
Give me revenge, while I have breath to ask it!

Seb. Now, by this honoured order which I wear,
More gladly would I give, than thou dar'st ask it;
Nor shall the sacred character of king
415 Be urged, to shield me from thy bold appeal.
If I have injured thee, that makes us equal;
The wrong, if done, debased me down to thee.
But thou hast charged me with ingratitude;
Hast thou not charged me? speak!

Dor. Thou know'st I have:
If thou disown'st that imputation, draw,
And prove my charge a lie.

Seb. No; to disprove that lie, I must not draw.
Be conscious to thy worth, and tell thy soul,
What thou hast done this day in my defence.
To fight thee after this, what were it else
Than owning that ingratitude thou urgest?
That isthmus stands between two rushing seas;
Which, mounting, view each other from afar,
And strive in vain to meet.

Dor. I'll cut that isthmus.
Thou know'st I meant not to preserve thy life,
But to reprieve it, for my own revenge.
I saved thee out of honourable malice:
Now, draw;—I should be loth to think thou dar'st not:
Beware of such another vile excuse.

Seb. O patience, heaven!

Dor. Beware of patience, too;
That's a suspicious word. It had been proper,
Before thy foot had spurned me; now 'tis base:
Yet, to disarm thee of thy last defence,
I have thy oath for my security.
The only boon I begged was this fair combat:
Fight, or be perjured now; that's all thy choice.

Seb. Now can I thank thee as thou would'st be thanked. [Drawing.
Never was vow of honour better paid,
If my true sword but hold, than this shall be.
The sprightly bridegroom, on his wedding night,
More gladly enters not the lists of love:
416 Why, 'tis enjoyment to be summoned thus.
Go, bear my message to Henriquez ghost;
And say, his master and his friend revenged him.

Dor. His ghost! then is my hated rival dead?

Seb. The question is beside our present purpose:
Thou seest me ready; we delay too long.

Dor. A minute is not much in either's life,
When there's but one betwixt us; throw it in,
And give it him of us who is to fail.

Seb. He's dead; make haste, and thou may'st yet o'ertake him.

Dor. When I was hasty, thou delayed'st me longer—
I pr'ythee let me hedge one moment more
Into thy promise: For thy life preserved,
Be kind; and tell me how that rival died,
Whose death, next thine, I wished.

Seb. If it would please thee, thou shouldst never know;
But thou, like jealousy, enquir'st a truth,
Which, found, will torture thee.—He died in fight;
Fought next my person; as in concert fought;
Kept pace for pace, and blow for every blow;
Save when he heaved his shield in my defence,
And on his naked side received my wound.
Then, when he could no more, he fell at once;
But rolled his falling body cross their way,
And made a bulwark of it for his prince.

Dor. I never can forgive him such a death!

Seb. I prophesied thy proud soul could not bear it.—
Now, judge thyself, who best deserved my love?
I knew you both; and (durst I say) as heaven
Foreknew, among the shining angel host,
Who would stand firm, who fall.

Dor. Had he been tempted so, so had he fallen;
And so had I been favoured, had I stood.

417 Seb. What had been, is unknown; what is, appears.
Confess, he justly was preferred to thee.

Dor. Had I been born with his indulgent stars,
My fortune had been his, and his been mine.—
O worse than hell! what glory have I lost,
And what has he acquired, by such a death!
I should have fallen by Sebastian's side,
My corps had been the bulwark of my king.
His glorious end was a patched work of fate,
Ill sorted with a soft effeminate life;
It suited better with my life than his,
So to have died: Mine had been of a piece,
Spent in your service, dying at your feet.

Seb. The more effeminate and soft his life,
The more his fame, to struggle to the field,
And meet his glorious fate. Confess, proud spirit,
(For I will have it from thy very mouth)
That better he deserved my love than thou?

Dor. O, whither would you drive me? I must grant,—
Yes, I must grant, but with a swelling soul,—
Henriquez had your love with more desert.
For you he fought, and died: I fought against you;
Through all the mazes of the bloody field,
Hunted your sacred life; which that I missed
Was the propitious error of my fate,
Not of my soul: My soul's a regicide.

Seb. [More calmly.]
Thou might'st have given it a more gentle name.
Thou meant'st to kill a tyrant, not a king:
Speak, didst thou not, Alonzo?

Dor. Can I speak!
Alas, I cannot answer to Alonzo!—
No, Dorax cannot answer to Alonzo;
Alonzo was too kind a name for me.
Then, when I fought and conquered with your arms,
418 In that blest age, I was the man you named:
Till rage and pride debased me into Dorax,
And lost, like Lucifer, my name above.

Seb. Yet twice this day I owed my life to Dorax.

Dor. I saved you but to kill you: There's my grief.

Seb. Nay, if thou can'st be grieved, thou can'st repent;
Thou could'st not be a villain, though thou would'st:
Thou own'st too much, in owning thou hast erred;
And I too little, who provoked thy crime.

Dor. O stop this headlong torrent of your goodness!
It comes too fast upon a feeble soul,
Half drowned in tears before: Spare my confusion;
For pity spare; and say not first, you erred;
For yet I have not dared, through guilt and shame,
To throw myself beneath your royal feet.—[Falls at his feet.
Now spurn this rebel, this proud renegade;
'Tis just you should, nor will I more complain.

Seb. Indeed thou should'st not ask forgiveness first;
But thou prevent'st me still, in all that's noble. [Taking him up.
Yes, I will raise thee up with better news.
Thy Violante's heart was ever thine;
Compelled to wed, because she was my ward,
Her soul was absent when she gave her hand;
Nor could my threats, or his pursuing courtship,
Effect the consummation of his love:
So, still indulging tears, she pines for thee,
A widow, and a maid.

Dor. Have I been cursing heaven, while heaven blest me?
I shall run mad with extacy of joy:
What! in one moment, to be reconciled
419 To heaven, and to my king, and to my love!—
But pity is my friend, and stops me short,
For my unhappy rival:—Poor Henriquez!

Seb. Art thou so generous, too, to pity him?
Nay, then, I was unjust to love him better.
Here let me ever hold thee in my arms;[Embracing him.
And all our quarrels be but such as these,
Who shall love best, and closest shall embrace.
Be what Henriquez was,—be my Alonzo.

Dor. What, my Alonzo, said you? my Alonzo!
Let my tears thank you, for I cannot speak;
And, if I could,
Words were not made to vent such thoughts as mine.

Seb. Some strange reverse of fate must sure attend
This vast profusion, this extravagance
Of heaven, to bless me thus. 'Tis gold so pure,
It cannot bear the stamp, without alloy.—
Be kind, ye powers! and take but half away:
With ease the gifts of fortune I resign;
But let my love and friend be ever mine.[Exeunt.

The Scene is, a Room of State.

Enter Dorax and Antonio.

Dor. Joy is on every face, without a cloud;
As, in the scene of opening paradise,
The whole creation danced at their new being,
Pleased to be what they were, pleased with each other,
Such joy have I, both in myself and friends;
And double joy that I have made them happy.

Ant. Pleasure has been the business of my life;
And every change of fortune easy to me,
420 Because I still was easy to myself.
The loss of her I loved would touch me nearest;
Yet, if I found her, I might love too much,
And that's uneasy pleasure.

Dor. If she be fated
To be your wife, your fate will find her for you:
Predestinated ills are never lost.

Ant. I had forgot
To inquire before, but long to be informed,
How, poisoned and betrayed, and round beset,
You could unwind yourself from all these dangers,
And move so speedily to our relief?

Dor. The double poisons, after a short combat,
Expelled each other in their civil war,
By nature's benefit, and roused my thoughts
To guard that life which now I found attacked.
I summoned all my officers in haste,
On whose experienced faith I might rely;
All came resolved to die in my defence,
Save that one villain who betrayed the gate.
Our diligence prevented the surprise
We justly feared: So Muley-Zeydan found us
Drawn up in battle, to receive the charge.

Ant. But how the Moors and Christian slaves were joined,
You have not yet unfolded.

Dor. That remains.
We knew their interest was the same with ours:
And, though I hated more than death Sebastian,
I could not see him die by vulgar hands;
But, prompted by my angel, or by his,
Freed all the slaves, and placed him next myself,
Because I would not have his person known.
I need not tell the rest, the event declares it.

Ant. Your conquests came of course; their men were raw,
And yours were disciplined.—One doubt remains,
421 Why you industriously concealed the king,
Who, known, had added courage to his men?

Dor. I would not hazard civil broils betwixt
His friends and mine; which might prevent our combat.
Yet, had he fallen, I had dismissed his troops;
Or, if victorious, ordered his escape.—
But I forgot a new increase of joy
To feast him with surprise; I must about it:
Expect my swift return.[Exit.

Enter a Servant.

Serv. Here's a lady at the door, that bids me tell you, she is come to make an end of the game, that was broken off betwixt you.

Ant. What manner of woman is she? Does she not want two of the four elements? has she any thing about her but air and fire?

Serv. Truly, she flies about the room as if she had wings instead of legs; I believe she's just turning into a bird:—A house bird I warrant her:—And so hasty to fly to you, that, rather than fail of entrance, she would come tumbling down the chimney, like a swallow.

Enter Morayma.

Ant. [Running to her, and embracing her.] Look, if she be not here already!—What, no denial it seems will serve your turn? Why, thou little dun, is thy debt so pressing?

Mor. Little devil, if you please: Your lease is out, good master conjurer, and I am come to fetch your soul and body; not an hour of lewdness longer in this world for you.

Ant. Where the devil hast thou been? and how the devil didst thou find me here?

Mor. I followed you into the castle-yard, but 422 there was nothing but tumult and confusion: and I was bodily afraid of being picked up by some of the rabble; considering I had a double charge about me,—my jewels, and my maidenhead.

Ant. Both of them intended for my worship's sole use and property.

Mor. And what was poor little I among them all?

Ant. Not a mouthful a-piece: 'Twas too much odds, in conscience!

Mor. So, seeking for shelter, I naturally ran to the old place of assignation, the garden-house; where, for the want of instinct, you did not follow me.

Ant. Well, for thy comfort, I have secured thy father; and I hope thou hast secured his effects for us.

Mor. Yes, truly, I had the prudent foresight to consider, that, when we grow old, and weary of solacing one another, we might have, at least, wherewithal to make merry with the world; and take up with a worse pleasure of eating and drinking, when we were disabled for a better.

Ant. Thy fortune will be even too good for thee; for thou art going into the country of serenades and gallantries, where thy street will be haunted every night with thy foolish lovers, and my rivals, who will be sighing and singing, under thy inexorable windows, lamentable ditties, and call thee cruel, and goddess, and moon, and stars, and all the poetical names of wicked rhime; while thou and I are minding our business, and jogging on, and laughing at them, at leisure minutes, which will be very few; take that by way of threatening.

Mor. I am afraid you are not very valiant, that you huff so much beforehand. But, they say, your 423 churches are fine places for love-devotion; many a she-saint is there worshipped.

Ant. Temples are there, as they are in all other countries, good conveniences for dumb interviews. I hear the protestants are not much reformed in that point neither; for their sectaries call their churches by the natural name of meeting-houses. Therefore I warn thee in good time, not more of devotion than needs must, good future spouse, and always in a veil; for those eyes of thine are damned enemies to mortification.

Mor. The best thing I have heard of Christendom is, that we women are allowed the privilege of having souls; and I assure you, I shall make bold to bestow mine upon some lover, whenever you begin to go astray; and, if I find no convenience in a church, a private chamber will serve the turn.

Ant. When that day comes, I must take my revenge, and turn gardener again; for I find I am much given to planting.

Mor. But take heed, in the mean time, that some young Antonio does not spring up in your own family; as false as his father, though of another man's planting.

Re-enter Dorax, with Sebastian and Almeyda, Sebastian enters speaking to Dorax, while in the mean time Antonio presents Morayma to Almeyda.

Seb. How fares our royal prisoner, Muley-Zeydan?

Dor. Disposed to grant whatever I desire,
To gain a crown, and freedom. Well I know him,
Of easy temper, naturally good,
And faithful to his word.

Seb. Yet one thing wants,
To fill the measure of my happiness;
424 I'm still in pain for poor Alvarez' life.

Dor. Release that fear, the good old man is safe;
I paid his ransom,
And have already ordered his attendance.

Seb. O bid him enter, for I long to see him.

Enter Alvarez with a Servant, who departs when Alvarez is entered.

Alv. Now by my soul, and by these hoary hairs, [Falling down, and embracing the King's knees.
I'm so o'erwhelmed with pleasure, that I feel
A latter spring within my withering limbs,
That shoots me out again.

Seb. Thou good old man,[Raising him.
Thou hast deceived me into more, more joys,
Who stood brim-full before.

Alv. O my dear child,—
I love thee so, I cannot call thee king,—
Whom I so oft have dandled in these arms!
What, when I gave thee lost, to find thee living!
'Tis like a father, who himself had 'scaped
A falling house, and, after anxious search,
Hears from afar his only son within;
And digs through rubbish, till he drags him out,
To see the friendly light.
Such is my haste, so trembling is my joy,
To draw thee forth from underneath thy fate.

Seb. The tempest is o'erblown, the skies are clear,
And the sea charmed into a calm so still,
That not a wrinkle ruffles her smooth face.

Alv. Just such she shows before a rising storm;
And therefore am I come with timely speed,
To warn you into port.

Alm. My soul forebodes
Some dire event involved in those dark words,
And just disclosing in a birth of fate.[Aside.

Alv. Is there not yet an heir of this vast empire,
425 Who still survives, of Muley-Moluch's branch?

Dor. Yes, such a one there is a captive here,
And brother to the dead.

Alv. The powers above
Be praised for that! My prayers for my good master,
I hope, are heard.

Seb. Thou hast a right in heaven.
But why these prayers for me?

Alv. A door is open yet for your deliverance.—
Now you, my countrymen, and you, Almeyda,
Now all of us, and you, my all in one,
May yet be happy in that captive's life.

Seb. We have him here an honourable hostage
For terms of peace; what more he can contribute
To make me blest, I know not.

Ah. Vastly more;
Almeyda may be settled in the throne,
And you review your native clime with fame.
A firm alliance and eternal peace,
The glorious crown of honourable war,
Are all included in that prince's life.
Let this fair queen be given to Muley-Zeydan,
And make her love the sanction of your league.

Seb. No more of that; his life's in my dispose,
And prisoners are not to insist on terms;
Or, if they were, yet he demands not these.

Alv. You should exact them.

Alm. Better may be made,
These cannot: I abhor the tyrant's race,—
My parents' murderers, my throne's usurpers.
But, at one blow, to cut off all dispute,
Know this, thou busy, old, officious man,—
I am a Christian; now be wise no more;
Or, if thou wouldst be still thought wise, be silent.

Alv. O, I perceive you think your interest touched:
'Tis what before the battle I observed;
But I must speak, and will.

426 Seb. I pr'ythee, peace;
Perhaps she thinks they are too near of blood.

Alv. I wish she may not wed to blood more near.

Seb. What if I make her mine?

Alv. Now heaven forbid!

Seb. Wish rather heaven may grant;
For, if I could deserve, I have deserved her:
My toils, my hazards, and my subjects' lives,
Provided she consent, may claim her love;
And, that once granted, I appeal to these,
If better I could chuse a beauteous bride.

Ant. The fairest of her sex.

Mor. The pride of nature.

Dor. He only merits her, she only him;
So paired, so suited in their minds and persons,
That they were framed the tallies for each other.
If any alien love had interposed,
It must have been an eye-sore to beholders,
And to themselves a curse.

Alv. And to themselves
The greatest curse that can be, were to join.

Seb. Did not I love thee past a change to hate,
That word had been thy ruin; but no more,
I charge thee, on thy life, perverse old man!

Alv. Know, sir, I would be silent if I durst:
But if, on shipboard, I should see my friend
Grown frantic in a raging calenture,
And he, imagining vain flowery fields,
Would headlong plunge himself into the deep,—
Should I not hold him from that mad attempt,
Till his sick fancy were by reason cured?

Seb. I pardon thee the effects of doting age,
Vain doubts, and idle cares, and over-caution;
The second nonage of a soul more wise,
But now decayed, and sunk into the socket;
Peeping by fits, and giving feeble light.

Alv. Have you forgot?

427 Seb. Thou mean'st my father's will,
In bar of marriage to Almeyda's bed.
Thou seest my faculties are still entire,
Though thine are much impaired. I weighed that will,
And found 'twas grounded on our different faiths;
But, had he lived to see her happy change,
He would have cancelled that harsh interdict,
And joined our hands himself.

Alv. Still had he lived and seen this change,
He still had been the same.

Seb. I have a dark remembrance of my father:
His reasonings and his actions both were just;
And, granting that, he must have changed his measures.

Alv. Yes, he was just, and therefore could not change.

Seb. 'Tis a base wrong thou offer'st to the dead.

Alv. Now heaven forbid,
That I should blast his pious memory!
No, I am tender of his holy fame;
For, dying, he bequeathed it to my charge.
Believe, I am; and seek to know no more,
But pay a blind obedience to his will;
For, to preserve his fame, I would be silent.

Seb. Crazed fool, who would'st be thought an oracle,
Come down from off the tripos, and speak plain.
My father shall be justified, he shall:
'Tis a son's part to rise in his defence,
And to confound thy malice, or thy dotage.

Alv. It does not grieve me, that you hold me crazed;
But, to be cleared at my dead master's cost,
O there's the wound! but let me first adjure you,
By all you owe that dear departed soul,
No more to think of marriage with Almeyda.

428 Seb. Not heaven and earth combined can hinder it.

Alv. Then witness heaven and earth, how loth I am
To say, you must not, nay, you cannot, wed:
And since not only a dead father's fame,
But more, a lady's honour, must be touched,
Which, nice as ermines, will not bear a soil,
Let all retire, that you alone may hear
What even in whispers I would tell your ear. [All are going out.

Alm. Not one of you depart; I charge you, stay!
And were my voice a trumpet loud as fame,
To reach the round of heaven, and earth, and sea,
All nations should be summoned to this place,
So little do I fear that fellow's charge:
So should my honour, like a rising swan,
Brush with her wings the falling drops away,
And proudly plough the waves.

Seb. This noble pride becomes thy innocence;
And I dare trust my father's memory,
To stand the charge of that foul forging tongue.

Alv. It will be soon discovered if I forge.
Have you not heard your father in his youth,
When newly married, travelled into Spain,
And made a long abode in Philip's court?

Seb. Why so remote a question, which thyself
Can answer to thyself? for thou wert with him,
His favourite, as I oft have heard thee boast,
And nearest to his soul.

Alv. Too near, indeed; forgive me, gracious heaven,
That ever I should boast I was so near,
The confident of all his young amours!—
And have not you, unhappy beauty, heard,[To Alm.
Have you not often heard, your exiled parents
Were refuged in that court, and at that time?

Alm. 'Tis true; and often since my mother owned,
How kind that prince was to espouse her cause;
429 She counselled, nay enjoined me on her blessing,
To seek the sanctuary of your court;
Which gave me first encouragement to come,
And, with my brother, beg Sebastian's aid.

Seb. Thou helpst me well to justify my war:
[To Alm.] My dying father swore me, then a boy,
And made me kiss the cross upon his sword,
Never to sheath it, till that exiled queen
Were by my arms restored.

Alm. And can you find
No mystery couched in this excess of kindness?
Were kings e'er known, in this degenerate age,
So passionately fond of noble acts,
Where interest shared not more than half with honour?

Seb. Base grovelling soul, who know'st not honour's worth,
But weigh'st it out in mercenary scales!
The secret pleasure of a generous act
Is the great mind's great bribe.

Alv. Show me that king, and I'll believe the Phœnix.
But knock at your own breast, and ask your soul,
If those fair fatal eyes edged not your sword
More than your father's charge, and all your vows?
If so,—and so your silence grants it is,—
Know king, your father had, like you, a soul,
And love is your inheritance from him.
Almeyda's mother, too, had eyes, like her,
And not less charming; and were charmed no less
Than yours are now with her, and hers with you.

Alm. Thou liest, impostor! perjured fiend, thou liest!

Seb. Was't not enough to brand my father's fame,
But thou must load a lady's memory?
O infamous! O base, beyond repair!
And to what end this ill-concerted lie,
Which palpable and gross, yet granted true,
430 It bars not my inviolable vows?

Alv. Take heed, and double not your father's crimes;
To his adultery do not add your incest.
Know, she's the product of unlawful love,
And 'tis your carnal sister you would wed.

Seb. Thou shalt not say thou wer't condemned unheard;
Else, by my soul, this moment were thy last.

Alm. But think not oaths shall justify thy charge,
Nor imprecations on thy cursed head;
For who dares lie to heaven, thinks heaven a jest.
Thou hast confessed thyself the conscious pandar
Of that pretended passion;
A single witness infamously known,
Against two persons of unquestioned fame.

Alv. What interest can I have, or what delight,
To blaze their shame, or to divulge my own?
If proved, you hate me; if unproved, condemn.
Not racks or tortures could have forced this secret,
But too much care to save you from a crime,
Which would have sunk you both. For, let me say,
Almeyda's beauty well deserves your love.

Alm. Out, base impostor! I abhor thy praise.

Dor. It looks not like imposture; but a truth,
On utmost need revealed.

Seb. Did I expect from Dorax this return?
Is this the love renewed?

Dor. Sir, I am silent;
Pray heaven my fears prove false!

Seb. Away! you all combine to make me wretched.

Alv. But hear the story of that fatal love,
Where every circumstance shall prove another;
And truth so shine by her own native light,
That, if a lie were mixt, it must be seen.

Seb. No; all may still be forged, and of a piece.
No; I can credit nothing thou canst say.

Alv. One proof remains, and that's your father's hand,
431 Firmed with his signet; both so fully known,
That plainer evidence can hardly be,
Unless his soul would want her heaven awhile,
And come on earth to swear.

Seb. Produce that writing.

Alv. [To Dorax.] Alonzo has it in his custody;
The same, which, when his nobleness redeemed me,
And in a friendly visit owned himself
For what he is, I then deposited,
And had his faith to give it to the king.

Dor. Untouched, and sealed, as when intrusted with me, [Giving a sealed Paper to the King.
Such I restore it with a trembling hand,
Lest aught within disturb your peace of soul.

Seb. Draw near, Almeyda; thou art most concerned,
For I am most in thee.—[Tearing open the Seals.
Alonzo, mark the characters;
Thou know'st my father's hand, observe it well;
And if the impostor's pen have made one slip
That shews it counterfeit, mark that, and save me.

Dor. It looks indeed too like my master's hand:
So does the signet: more I cannot say;
But wish 'twere not so like.

Seb. Methinks it owns
The black adultery, and Almeyda's birth;
But such a mist of grief comes o'er my eyes,
I cannot, or I would not, read it plain.

Alm. Heaven cannot be more true, than this is false.

Seb. O couldst thou prove it with the same assurance!
Speak, hast thou ever seen my father's hand?

Alm. No; but my mother's honour has been read
By me, and by the world, in all her acts,
In characters more plain and legible
Than this dumb evidence, this blotted lie.—
432 Oh that I were a man, as my soul's one,
To prove thee traitor, and assassinate
Of her fame! thus moved, I'd tear thee thus,— [Tearing the Paper.
And scatter o'er the field thy coward limbs,
Like this foul offspring of thy forging brain. [Scattering the Paper.

Alv. Just so shalt thou be torn from all thy hopes;
For know, proud woman, know, in thy despite,
The most authentic proof is still behind,—
Thou wear'st it on thy finger: 'Tis that ring,
Which, matched to that on his, shall clear the doubt.
'Tis no dumb forgery, for that shall speak,
And sound a rattling peal to either's conscience.

Seb. This ring, indeed, my father, with a cold
And shaking hand, just in the pangs of death,
Put on my finger, with a parting sigh;
And would have, spoke, but faultered in his speech,
With undistinguished sound.

Alv. I know it well,
For I was present.—Now, Almeyda, speak,
And truly tell us how you came by yours.

Alm. My mother, when I parted from her sight
To go to Portugal, bequeathed it to me,
Presaging she should never see me more.
She pulled it from her finger, shed some tears,
Kissed it, and told me 'twas a pledge of love,
And hid a mystery of great importance,
Relating to my fortunes.

Alv. Mark me now,
While I disclose that fatal mystery:—
Those rings, when you were born and thought another's,
Your parents, glowing yet in sinful love,
Bid me bespeak: a curious artist wrought them.
With joints so close, as not to be perceived,
Yet are they both each other's counterpart;
433 Her part had Juan inscribed, and his had Zayda,
(You know those names are theirs,) and in the midst
A heart divided in two halves was placed.
Now, if the rivets of those rings inclosed
Fit not each other, I have forged this lie;
But, if they join, you must for ever part.
[Sebastian pulling off his Ring, Almeyda does the same, and gives it to Alvarez, who unscrews both the Rings, and fits one half to the other[10].

Seb. Now life, or death.

Alm. And either thine, or ours.—
I'm lost for ever.
[Swoons. The Women and Morayma take her up, and carry her off. Sebastian here stands amazed without motion, his eyes fixed upward.

Seb. Look to the queen, my wife; for I am past
All power of aid to her, or to myself.

Alv. His wife! said he, his wife! O fatal sound!
For, had I known it, this unwelcome news
434 Had never reached their ears:
So they had still been blest in ignorance,
And I alone unhappy.

Dor. I knew it, but too late, and durst not speak.

Seb. [Starting out of his amazement.]
I will not live, no not a moment more;
I will not add one moment more to incest;
I'll cut it off, and end a wretched being:
For, should I live, my soul's so little mine,
And so much hers, that I should still enjoy.—
Ye cruel powers,
Take me, as you have made me, miserable;
You cannot make me guilty; 'twas my fate,
And you made that, not I. [Draws his Sword. Antonio and Alvarez lay hold on him, and Dorax wrests the Sword out of his hand.

Ant. For heaven's sake hold, and recollect your mind!

Alv. Consider whom you punish, and for what;
Yourself unjustly; you have charged the fault
On heaven, that best may bear it.
Though incest is indeed a deadly crime,
You are not guilty, since unknown 'twas done,
And, known, had been abhorred.

Seb. By heaven, you're traitors all, that hold my hands.
If death be but cessation of our thought,
Then let me die, for I would think no more.
I'll boast my innocence above,
And let them see a soul they could not sully,
I shall be there before my father's ghost,
That yet must languish long in frosts and fires,
For making me unhappy by his crime.—
Stand oft, and let me take my fill of death;[Struggling again.
For I can hold my breath in your despite,
435 And swell my heaving soul out when I please.

Alv. Heaven comfort you!

Seb. What, art thou giving comfort!
Wouldst thou give comfort, who hast given despair?
Thou seest Alonzo silent; he's a man.
He knows, that men, abandoned of their hopes,
Should ask no leave, nor stay for sueing out
A tedious writ of ease from lingering heaven,
But help themselves as timely as they could,
And teach the Fates their duty.

Dor. [To Alv. and Ant.] Let him go;
He is our king, and he shall be obeyed.

Alv. What, to destroy himself? O parricide!

Dor. Be not injurious in your foolish zeal,
But leave him free; or, by my sword, I swear
To hew that arm away, that stops the passage
To his eternal rest.

Ant. [Letting go his hold.] Let him be guilty of his own death, if he pleases; for I'll not be guilty of mine, by holding him.
[The King shakes off Alv.

Alv. [To Dor.] Infernal fiend,
Is this a subject's part?

Dor. 'Tis a friend's office.
He has convinced me, that he ought to die;
And, rather than he should not, here's my sword,
To help him on his journey.

Seb. My last, my only friend, how kind art thou,
And how inhuman these!

Dor. To make the trifle, death, a thing of moment!

Seb. And not to weigh the important cause I had
To rid myself of life!

Dor. True; for a crime
So horrid, in the face of men and angels,
As wilful incest is!

Seb. Not wilful, neither.

Dor. Yes, if you lived, and with repeated acts
436 Refreshed your sin, and loaded crimes with crimes,
To swell your scores of guilt.

Seb. True; if I lived.

Dor. I said so, if you lived.

Seb. For hitherto was fatal ignorance,
And no intended crime.

Dor. That you best know;
But the malicious world will judge the worst.

Alv. O what a sophister has hell procured,
To argue for damnation!

Dor. Peace, old dotard.
Mankind, that always judge of kings with malice,
Will think he knew this incest, and pursued it.
His only way to rectify mistakes,
And to redeem her honour, is to die.

Seb. Thou hast it right, my dear, my best Alonzo!
And that, but petty reparation too;
But all I have to give.

Dor. Your, pardon, sir;
You may do more, and ought.

Seb. What, more than death?

Dor. Death! why, that's children's sport; a stage-play death;
We act it every night we go to bed.
Death, to a man in misery, is sleep.
Would you,—who perpetrated such a crime,
As frightened nature, made the saints above
Shake heavens eternal pavement with their trembling
To view that act,—would you but barely die?
But stretch your limbs, and turn on t'other side.
To lengthen out a black voluptuous slumber,
And dream you had your sister in your arms?

Seb. To expiate this, can I do more than die?

Dor. O yes, you must do more, you must be damned;
You must be damned to all eternity;
And sure self-murder is the readiest way.

437 Seb. How, damned?

Dor. Why, is that news?

Alv. O horror, horror!

Dor. What, thou a statesman,
And make a business of damnation
In such a world as this! why, 'tis a trade;
The scrivener, usurer, lawyer, shopkeeper,
And soldier, cannot live but by damnation.
The politician does it by advance,
And gives all gone beforehand.

Seb. O thou hast given me such a glimpse of hell,
So pushed me forward, even to the brink
Of that irremeable burning gulph,
That, looking in the abyss, I dare not leap.
And now I see what good thou mean'st my soul,
And thank thy pious fraud; thou hast indeed
Appeared a devil, but didst an angel's work.

Dor. 'Twas the last remedy, to give you leisure;
For, if you could but think, I knew you safe.

Seb. I thank thee, my Alonzo; I will live,
But never more to Portugal return;
For, to go back and reign, that were to show
Triumphant incest, and pollute the throne.

Alv. Since ignorance—

Seb. O, palliate not my wound;
When you have argued all you can, 'tis incest.
No, 'tis resolved: I charge you plead no more;
I cannot live without Almeyda's sight,
Nor can I see Almeyda, but I sin.
Heaven has inspired me with a sacred thought,
To live alone to heaven, and die to her.

Dor. Mean you to turn an anchorite?

Seb. What else?
The world was once too narrow for my mind,
But one poor little nook will serve me now,
To hide me from the rest of human kind.
Africk has deserts wide enough to hold
438 Millions of monsters; and I am, sure, the greatest.

Alv. You may repent, and wish your crown too late.

Seb. O never, never; I am past a boy:
A sceptre's but a plaything, and a globe
A bigger bounding stone. He, who can leave
Almeyda, may renounce the rest with ease.

Dor. O truly great!
A soul fixed high, and capable of heaven.
Old as he is, your uncle cardinal
Is not so far enamoured of a cloister,
But he will thank you for the crown you leave him.

Seb. To please him more, let him believe me dead,
That he may never dream I may return.
Alonzo, I am now no more thy king,
But still thy friend; and by that holy name
Adjure thee, to perform my last request;—
Make our conditions with yon captive king;
Secure me but my solitary cell;
'Tis all I ask him for a crown restored.

Dor. I will do more:
But fear not Muley-Zeydan; his soft metal
Melts down with easy warmth, runs in the mould,
And needs no further forge.[Exit Dorax.

Re-enter Almeyda led by Morayma, and followed by her Attendants.

Seb. See where she comes again!
By heaven, when I behold those beauteous eyes,
Repentance lags, and sin comes hurrying on.

Alm. This is too cruel!

Seb. Speak'st thou of love, of fortune, or of death,
Or double death? for we must part, Almeyda.

Alm. I speak of all,
For all things that belong to us are cruel;
But, what's most cruel, we must love no more.
O 'tis too much that I must never see you,
But not to love you is impossible.
439 No, I must love you; heaven may bate me that,
And charge that sinful sympathy of souls
Upon our parents, when they loved too well.

Seb. Good heaven, thou speak'st my thoughts, and I speak thine!
Nay, then there's incest in our very souls,
For we were formed too like.

Alm. Too like indeed,
And yet not for each other.
Sure when we part, (for I resolved it too,
Though you proposed it first,) however distant,
We shall be ever thinking of each other,
And the same moment for each other pray.

Seb. But if a wish should come athwart our prayers!

Alm. It would do well to curb it, if we could.

Seb. We cannot look upon each other's face,
But, when we read our love, we read our guilt:
And yet, methinks, I cannot chuse but love.

Aim. I would have asked you, if I durst for shame,
If still you loved? you gave it air before me.
Ah, why were we not born both of a sex?
For then we might have loved without a crime.
Why was not I your brother? though that wish
Involved our parents' guilt, we had not parted;
We had been friends, and friendship is no incest.

Seb. Alas, I know not by what name to call thee!
Sister and wife are the two dearest names,
And I would call thee both, and both are sin.
Unhappy we! that still we must confound
The dearest names into a common curse.

Alm. To love, and be beloved, and yet be wretched!

Seb. To have but one poor night of all our lives;
It was indeed a glorious, guilty night;
So happy, that—forgive me, heaven!—I wish,
With all its guilt, it were to come again.
Why did we know so soon, or why at all,
That sin could be concealed in such a bliss?

440 Alm. Men have a larger privilege of words,
Else I should speak; but we must part, Sebastian,—
That's all the name that I have left to call thee;—
I must not call thee by the name I would;
But when I say Sebastian, dear Sebastian,
I kiss the name I speak.

Seb. We must make haste, or we shall never part.
I would say something that's as dear as this;
Nay, would do more than say: One moment longer,
And I should break through laws divine and human,
And think them cobwebs spread for little man,
Which all the bulky herd of nature breaks.
The vigorous young world was ignorant
Of these restrictions; 'tis decrepit now;
Not more devout, but more decayed, and cold.—
All this is impious, therefore we must part;
For, gazing thus, I kindle at thy sight,
And, once burnt down to tinder, light again
Much sooner than before.

Re-enter Dorax.

Alm. Here comes the sad denouncer of my fate,
To toll the mournful knell of separation;
While I, as on my deathbed, hear the sound,
That warns me hence for ever.

Seb. [To Dor.] Now be brief,
And I will try to listen,
And share the minute, that remains, betwixt
The care I owe my subjects, and my love.

Dor. Your fate has gratified you all she can;
Gives easy misery, and makes exile pleasing.
I trusted Muley-Zeydan as a friend,
But swore him first to secrecy: He wept
Your fortune, and with tears not squeezed by art,
But shed from nature, like a kindly shower:
In short, he proffered more than I demanded;
A safe retreat, a gentle solitude,
441 Unvexed with noise, and undisturbed with fears.
I chose you one—

Alm. O do not tell me where;
For, if I knew the place of his abode,
I should be tempted to pursue his steps,
And then we both were lost.

Seb. Even past redemption;
For, if I knew thou wert on that design,
(As I must know, because our souls are one,)
I should not wander, but by sure instinct
Should meet thee just half-way in pilgrimage,
And close for ever; for I know my love
More strong than thine, and I more frail than thou.

Alm. Tell me not that; for I must boast my crime,
And cannot bear that thou should'st better love.

Dor. I may inform you both; for you must go,
Where seas, and winds, and deserts will divide you.
Under the ledge of Atlas lies a cave,
Cut in the living rock by Nature's hands,
The venerable seat of holy hermits;
Who there, secure in separated cells,
Sacred even to the Moors, enjoy devotion;
And from the purling streams, and savage fruits.
Have wholesome beverage, and unbloody feasts.

Seb. 'Tis penance too voluptuous for my crime[11].

Dor. Your subjects, conscious of your life, are few;
But all desirous to partake your exile,
And to do office to your sacred person.
The rest, who think you dead, shall be dismissed.
Under safe convoy, till they reach your fleet.

442 Alm. But how am wretched I to be disposed?—
A vain enquiry, since I leave my lord;
For all the world beside is banishment.

Dor. I have a sister, abbess in Terceras,
Who lost her lover on her bridal day.

Alm. There fate provided me a fellow-turtle,
To mingle sighs with sighs, and tears with tears.

Dor. Last, for myself, if I have well fulfilled
My sad commission, let me beg the boon,
To share the sorrows of your last recess,
And mourn the common losses of our loves.

Alv. And what becomes of me? must I be left,
As age and time had worn me out of use?
These sinews are not yet so much unstrung,
To fail me when my master should be served;
And when they are, then will I steal to death,
Silent and unobserved, to save his tears.

Seb. I've heard you both;—Alvarez, have thy wish;—
But thine, Alonzo, thine is too unjust.
I charge thee with my last commands, return,
And bless thy Violante with thy vows.—
Antonio, be thou happy too in thine.
Last, let me swear you all to secrecy;
And, to conceal my shame, conceal my life.

Dor. Ant. Mor. We swear to keep it secret.

Alm. Now I would speak the last farewell, I cannot.
It would be still farewell a thousand times;
And, multiplied in echoes, still farewell.
I will not speak, but think a thousand thousand.
And be thou silent too, my last Sebastian;
So let us part in the dumb pomp of grief.
My heart's too great, or I would die this moment;
But death, I thank him, in an hour, has made
A mighty journey, and I haste to meet him. [She staggers, and her Women hold her up.

Seb. Help to support this feeble drooping flower.
This tender sweet, so shaken by the storm;
443 For these fond arms must thus be stretched in vain,
And never, never must embrace her more.
'Tis past:—my soul goes in that word—farewell.
[Alvarez goes with Sebastian to one end of the Stage; Women, with Almeyda, to the other: Dorax coming up to Antonio and Morayma, who stand on the middle of the Stage.

Dor. Haste to attend Almeyda:—For your sake
Your father is forgiven; but to Antonio
He forfeits half his wealth. Be happy both;
And let Sebastian and Almeyda's fate
This dreadful sentence to the world relate,—
That unrepented crimes, of parents dead,
Are justly punished on their children's head.


  1. This whimsical account of the Slave-market is probably taken from the following passage in the "Captivity and escape of Adam Elliot, M.A."—"By sun-rising next morning, we were all of us, who came last to Sallee, driven to market, where, the Moors sitting taylor-wise on stalls round about, we were severally run up and down by persons who proclaimed our qualities or trades, and what might best recommend us to the buyer. I had a great black who was appointed to sell me; this fellow, holding me by the hand, coursed me up and down from one person to another, who called upon me at pleasure to examine what trade I was of, and to see what labour my hands had been accustomed to. All the seamen were soon bought up, but it was mid-day ere I could meet with a purchaser."—See A modest Vindication of Titus Oates, London, 1682.

  2. The knight much wondered at his sudden wit;

    And said, The term of life is limited,

    Ne may a man prolong nor shorten it;

    The soldier may not move from watchful sted,

    Nor leave his stand until his captain bed.

    Fairy Queen, Book i. Canto 9.

  3. The same artifice is used in "Œdipus," vol. vi. p. 149. to impress, by a description of the feelings of the unfortunate pair towards each other, a presentiment of their fatal relationship. The prophecy of Nostradamus is also obviously imitated from the response of the Delphic Pythoness to Œdipus.—Ibid. See p. 156.

  4. For, interpreter; more usually spelled dragoman.

  5. A horrid Moorish punishment. The criminal was precipitated from a high tower upon iron scythes and hooks, which projected from its side. This scene Settle introduces in one of his tragedies.

  6. These presages of misfortune may remind the reader of the ominous feelings of the Duke of Guise, in the scene preceding his murder. The superstitious belief, that dejection of spirits, without cause, announces an impending violent death, is simply but well expressed in an old ballad called the "Warning to all Murderers:"

    And after this most bad pretence,

    The gentleman each day

    Still felt his heart to throb and faint,

    And sad he was alway.

    His sleep was full of dreadful dreams,

    In bed where he did lie;

    His heart was heavy in the day,

    Yet knew no reason why.

    And oft as he did sit at meat,

    His nose most suddenly

    Would spring and gush out crimson blood,

    And straight it would be dry.

  7. There is great art in rendering the interpretation of this ominous dream so ingeniously doubtful. The latter circumstance, where the Emperor recognises his murderer as a personage in his vision, seems to be borrowed from the story of one of the caliphs, who, before his death, dreamed, that a sable hand and arm shook over his head a handful of red earth, and denounced, that such was the colour of the earth on which he should die. When taken ill on an expedition, he desired to know the colour of the earth on which his tent was pitched. A negro slave presented him with a specimen; and in the black's outstretched arm, bared, from respect, to the elbow, as well as in the colour of the earth, the caliph acknowledged the apparition he had seen in his sleep, and prepared for immediate death.

  8. Et quum fata volunt, bina venena juvant.Ausonius.

  9. Idiots were anciently wards of the crown; and the custody of their person, and charge of their estate, was often granted to the suit of some favourite, where the extent of the latter rendered it an object of plunder. Hence the common phrase of being begged for a fool.

  10. This incident seems to be taken from the following passage in the Continuation of the Adventures of Don Sebastian.

    "In Moran, an island some half league from Venice, there is an abbot called Capelo, a gentleman of Venice, a grave personage, and of great authority, hearing that the king laid wait for certain jewels that he had lost, (hoping thereby to recover some of them,) having a diamond in his keeping with the arms of Portugal, came to the town to the conventicles of St Francis, called Frari, where the king lay concealed, for that he was pursued by some that meant him no good, who no sooner beheld the ring, but he said, 'Verily this is mine, and I either lost the same in Flanders, or else it was stolen from me.' And when the king had put it upon his finger, it appeared otherwise engraven than before. The abbot enquiring of him that brought him the ring, how he came by it? he answered, it is true that the king hath said. Hence arose a strange rumour of a ring, that, by turning the stone, you might discern three great letters engraven, S.R.P. as much as to say, Sebastianus Rex Portugallix."—Harl. Mis. vol. v. p. 462.

  11. It is said, in the pamphlets alluded to, that Don Sebastian, out of grief and shame for having fought against the advice of his generals, and lost the flower of his army, took the resolution of never returning to his country, but of burying himself in a hermitage; and that he resided for three years as an anchorite, on the top of a mountain in Dalmatia.



Mor. I quaked at heart, for fear the royal fashion
Should have seduced us two to separation:
To be drawn in, against our own desire,
Poor I to be a nun, poor you, a friar.

Ant. I trembled, when the old man's hand was in,
He would have proved we were too near of kin:
Discovering old intrigues of love, like t'other,
Betwixt my father and thy sinful mother;
To make us sister Turk and Christian brother.


Mor. Excuse me there; that league should have been rather
Betwixt your mother and my Mufti father;
'Tis for my own and my relations' credit,
Your friends should bear the bastard, mine should get it.

Ant. Suppose us two, Almeyda and Sebastian,
With incest proved upon us—

Mor. Without question,
Their conscience was too queazy of digestion.

Ant. Thou wouldst have kept the counsel of thy brother,
And sinned, till we repented of each other.

Mor. Beast as you are, on Nature's laws to trample!
'Twere fitter that we followed their example.
And, since all marriage in repentance ends,
'Tis good for us to part when we are friends.
To save a maid's remorses and confusions,
E'en leave me now before we try conclusions.

Ant. To copy their example, first make certain
Of one good hour, like theirs, before our parting;
Make a debauch, o'er night, of love and madness;
And marry, when we wake, in sober sadness.

Mor. I'll follow no new sects of your inventing.
One night might cost me nine long months repenting;
445 First wed, and, if you find that life a fetter,
Die when you please; the sooner, sir, the better.
My wealth would get me love ere I could ask it:
Oh! there's a strange temptation in the casket.
All these young sharpers would my grace importune,
And make me thundering votes of lives and fortune[1].


  1. Alluding to the addresses upon the Revolution.


Printed by James Ballantyne & Co.

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