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And move him for redress.
[She gives the Paper to Alicia, who opens and seems to read it. Alicia. [Aside.] Now for a wile, To sting my thoughtless rival to the heart; To blast her fatal beauties, and divide her For ever from my perjur'd Hastings' eyes: Their fashions are the same; it cannot fail.
[Pulling out the other Paper. J. Shore. But see, the great Protector comes this way; Give me the paper, friend. Alicia. [Aside.] For love and vengeance!
[She gives her the other Paper.
Enter the Duke Of Gloster, Sir Richard RatCliff, Catesby, Courtiers, and other AtTendants.
J. Shore. [Kneeling.] Oh, noble Gloster, turn thy gracious eye, Incline thy pitying ear to my complaint, A poor, undone, forsaken, helpless woman, Intreats a little bread for charity, To feed her wants, and save her life from perishing. Glo. Arise, fair dame, and dry your wat'ry eyes.
[Receiving the Paper, and raising her. Beshrew me, but 'twere pity of his heart, That could refuse a boon to such a suitress. Ye've got a noble friend to be your advocate; A worthy and right gentle lord he is, And to his trust most true. This present now Some matters of the state detain our leisure; Those once despatch'd, we'll call for you anon, And give your griefs redress. Go to! be comforted. J. Shore. Good Heavens repay your highness for this pity, And show'r down b'cssings on your princely head.
[Exeunt Jane Shore and Alicia,
Glo. Now, by my holidame!
[Seeming to read. Ha ! What is this ? Come nearer, Ratcliff! Catesby! Mark the contents, and then divine the meaning.
Wonder not, princely Gloster, at the notice
Rat. Tis wonderful!
Cat. The means by which it came Yet stranger too!
Glo. You saw it given, but now.
Rat. She could not know the purport.
Glo. No, 'tis plain
She knows it not, it levels at her life;
Should she presume to prate of such high matters,
The meddling harlot, dear should she abide it.
Cat. What hand soe'er it comes from, be assur'd, It means your highness well
Glo. Upon the instant,
He must be mine or nothing But he comes!
Draw nearer this way, and observe me well.
Enter Lord Hastings.
Hast. This foolish woman hangs about my heart, Lingers and wanders in my fancy still; This coyness is put on, 'tis art and cunning,
And worn to urge desire 1 must possess her.
The groom, who lifts his saucy hand against me,
Glo. This do, and wait me ere the council sits,
[Exeunt Ratcliff and Catesby. My lord, you're well encountered ; here has been A fair petitioner this morning with us; Believe me, she has won me much to pity her: Alas! her gentle nature was not made To buffet with adversity. I told her How worthily her cause you had befriended; How much for your good sake we meant to do, That you had spoke, and all things should be well.
Hast. Your highness binds me ever to your service.
Glo. You know your friendship is most potent with
Hast. The resty knaves are over-run with ease,
Because the reins of power are held too slack,
And reverend authority of late
Has worn a face of mercy more than justice.
Glo. Beshrew my heart! but you have well divin'd The source of these disorders. Who can wonder If riot and misrule o'erturn the realm, When the crown sits upon a baby brow i Plainly to speak: hence comes the gen'ral cry. And sum of all complaint: 'twill ne'er be well . With England (thus they talk) while children govern.
Hast. Tis true, the King is young; but what of that? We feel no want of Edward's riper years, While Gloster's valour and most princely wisdom So well supply our infant sov'reign's place, His youth's support, and guardian to his throne.
Glo. The council (much I'm bound to thank them for't) Have plac'd a pageant sceptre in my hand, Barren of power, and subject to control; Scorn'd by my foes, and useless to my friends. O, worthy lord ! were mine the rule indeed, I think I should not suffer rank offence At large to lord it in the commonweal; Nor would the realm be rent by discord thus, Thus fear and doubt betwixt disputed titles.
Hast. Of this I am to learn; as not supposing A doubt like this
Glo. Ay, marry, but there is
And that of much concern. Have you not heard
His jolly match with that same buxom widow,
Bast. Ill befall
Our royal master, Edward, in concurrence
Glo. What if some patriot, for the public good, Should vary from your scheme, new-mould the state?
Hast. Curse on the innovating hand, attempts it! Remember him, the villain, righteous Heav'n, In thy great day of vengeance! Blast the traitor And his pernicious councils; who for wealth, For pow'r, the pride of greatness, or revenge, Would plunge his native land in civil wars!
Glo. You go too far, my lord.
Hast. Your highness'pardon
Have we so soon forgot those days of ruin,