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Chastelard, A Tragedy

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And I will sing to you; look in my face
Now, and your mouth must help the song in mine.

Alys la chatelaine
Voit venir de par Seine
Thiebault le capitaine
Qui parle ainsi!

Was that the wind in the casement? nay, no more
But the comb drawn through half my hissing hair
Laid on my arms-yet my flesh moved at it.

Dans ma camaille
Plus de clou qui vaille,
Dans ma cotte-maille
Plus de fer aussi.

Ah, but I wrong the ballad-verse: what's good
In such frayed fringes of old rhymes, to make
Their broken burden lag with us? meseems
I could be sad now if I fell to think
The least sad thing; aye, that sweet lady's fool,
Fool sorrow, would make merry with mine eyes
For a small thing. Nay, but I will keep glad,
Nor shall old sorrow be false friends with me.
But my first wedding was not like to this-
Fair faces then and laughter and sweet game,
And a pale little mouth that clung on mine
When I had kissed him by the faded eyes
And either thin cheek beating with faint blood.
Well, he was sure to die soon; I do think
He would have given his body to be slain,
Having embraced my body. Now, God knows,
I have no man to do as much for me
As give me but a little of his blood
To fill my beauty from, though I go down
Pale to my grave for want-I think not. Pale-
I am too pale purely-Ah!

[See him in the glass, coming forward.]

CHASTELARD.
Be not afraid.

QUEEN.
Saint Mary! what a shaken wit have I!
Nay, is it you? who let you through the doors?
Where be my maidens? which way got you in?
Nay, but stand up, kiss not my hands so hard;
By God's fair body, if you but breathe on them
You are just dead and slain at once. What adder
Has bit you mirthful mad? for by this light
A man to have his head laughed off for mirth
Is no great jest. Lay not your eyes on me;
What, would you not be slain?

CHASTELARD.
I pray you, madam,
Bear with me a brief space and let me speak.
I will not touch your garments even, nor speak
But in soft wise, and look some other way,
If that it like you; for I came not here
For pleasure of the eyes; yet, if you will,
Let me look on you.

QUEEN.
As you will, fair sir.
Give me that coif to gather in my hair-
I thank you-and my girdle-nay, that side.
Speak, if you will; yet if you will be gone,
Why, you shall go, because I hate you not.
You know that I might slay you with my lips,
With calling out? but I will hold my peace.

CHASTELARD.
Yea, do some while. I had a thing to say;
I know not wholly what thing. O my sweet,
I am come here to take farewell of love
That I have served, and life that I have lived
Made up of love, here in the sight of you
That all my life's time I loved more than God,
Who quits me thus with bitter death for it.
For you well know that I must shortly die,
My life being wound about you as it is,
Who love me not; yet do not hate me, sweet,
But tell me wherein I came short of love;
For doubtless I came short of a just love,
And fell in some fool's fault that angered you.
Now that I talk men dig my grave for me
Out in the rain, and in a little while
I shall be thrust in some sad space of earth
Out of your eyes; and you, O you my love,
A newly-wedded lady full of mirth
And a queen girt with all good people's love,
You shall be fair and merry in all your days.
Is this so much for me to have of you?
Do but speak, sweet: I know these are no words
A man should say though he were now to die,
But I am as a child for love, and have
No strength at heart; yea, I am afraid to die,
For the harsh dust will lie upon my face
Too thick to see you past. Look how I love you;
I did so love you always, that your face
Seen through my sleep has wrung mine eyes to tears
For pure delight in you. Why do you thus?
You answer not, but your lips curl in twain
And your face moves; there, I shall make you weep
And be a coward too; it were much best
I should be slain.

QUEEN.
Yea, best such folk were slain;
Why should they live to cozen fools with lies?
You would swear now you have used me faithfully;
Shall I not make you swear? I am ware of you:
You will not do it; nay, for the fear of God
You will not swear. Come, I am merciful;
God made a foolish woman, making me,
And I have loved your mistress with whole heart;
Say you do love her, you shall marry her
And she give thanks: yet I could wish your love
Had not so lightly chosen forth a face;
For your fair sake, because I hate you not.

CHASTELARD.
What is to say? why, you do surely know
That since my days were counted for a man's
I have loved you; yea, how past all help and sense,
Whatever thing was bitter to my love,
I have loved you; how when I rode in war
Your face went floated in among men's helms,
Your voice went through the shriek of slipping swords;
Yea, and I never have loved women well,
Seeing always in my sight I had your lips
Curled over, red and sweet; and the soft space
Of carven brows, and splendor of great throat
Swayed lily-wise; what pleasure should one have
To wind his arms about a lesser love?
I have seen you; why, this were joy enough
For God's eyes up in heaven, only to see
And to come never nearer than I am.
Why, it was in my flesh, my bone and blood,
Bound in my brain, to love you; yea, and writ
All my heart over: if I would lie to you
I doubt I could not lie. Ah, you see now,
You know now well enough; yea, there, sweet love,
Let me kiss there.

QUEEN.
I love you best of them.
Clasp me quite round till your lips cleave on mine,
False mine, that did you wrong. Forgive them dearly
As you are sweet to them; for by love's love
I am not that evil woman in my heart
That laughs at a rent faith. O Chastelard,
Since this was broken to me of your new love
I have not seen the face of a sweet hour.
Nay, if there be no pardon in a man,
What shall a woman have for loving him?
Pardon me, sweet.

CHASTELARD.
Yea, so I pardon you,
And this side now; the first way. Would God please
To slay me so! who knows how he might please?
Now I am thinking, if you know it not,
How I might kill you, kiss your breath clean out,
And take your soul to bring mine through to God,
That our two souls might close and be one twain
Or a twain one, and God himself want skill
To set us either severally apart.
O, you must overlive me many years.
And many years my soul be in waste hell;
But when some time God can no more refrain
To lay death like a kiss across your lips,
And great lords bear you clothed with funeral things,
And your crown girded over deadly brows,
Then after you shall touch me with your eyes,
Remembering love was fellow with my flesh
Here in sweet earth, and make me well of love
And heal my many years with piteousness.

QUEEN.
You talk too sadly and too feignedly.

CHASTELARD.
Too sad, but not too feigned; I am sad
That I shall die here without feigning thus;
And without feigning I were fain to live.

QUEEN.
Alas, you will be taken presently
And then you are but dead. Pray you get hence.

CHASTELARD.
I will not.

QUEEN.
Nay, for God's love be away;
You will be slain and I get shame. God's mercy!
You were stark mad to come here; kiss me, sweet.
Oh, I do love you more than all men! yea,
Take my lips to you, close mine eyes up fast,
So you leave hold a little; there, for pity,
Abide now, and to-morrow come to me.
Nay, lest one see red kisses in my throat-
Dear God! what shall I give you to be gone?

CHASTELARD.
I will not go. Look, here's full night grown up;
Why should I seek to sleep away from here?
The place is soft and the lights burn for sleep;
Be not you moved; I shall lie well enough.

QUEEN.
You are utterly undone. Sweet, by my life,
You shall be saved with taking ship at once.
For if you stay this foolish love's hour out
There is not ten days' likely life in you.
This is no choice.

CHASTELARD.
Nay, for I will not go.

QUEEN.
O me! this is that Bayard's blood of yours
That makes you mad; yea, and you shall not stay.
I do not understand. Mind, you must die.
Alas, poor lord, you have no sense of me;
I shall be deadly to you.

CHASTELARD.
Yea, I saw that;
But I saw not that when my death's day came
You could be quite so sweet to me.

QUEEN.
My love!
If I could kiss my heart's root out on you
You would taste love hid at the core of me.

CHASTELARD.
Kiss me twice more. This beautiful bowed head
That has such hair with kissing ripples in
And shivering soft eyelashes and brows
With fluttered blood! but laugh a little, sweetly,
That I may see your sad mouth's laughing look
I have used sweet hours in seeing. O, will you weep?
I pray you do not weep.

QUEEN.
Nay, dear, I have
No tears in me; I never shall weep much,
I think, in all my life; I have wept for wrath
Sometimes and for mere pain, but for love's pity
I cannot weep at all. I would to God
You loved me less; I give you all I can
For all this love of yours, and yet I am sure
I shall live out the sorrow of your death
And be glad afterwards. You know I am sorry.
I should weep now; forgive me for your part,
God made me hard, I think. Alas, you see
I had fain been other than I am.

CHASTELARD.
Yea, love.
Comfort your heart. What way am I do die?

QUEEN.
Ah, will you go yet, sweet?

CHASTELARD.
No, by God's body.
You will not see? how shall I make you see?
Look, it may be love was a sort of curse
Made for my plague and mixed up with my days
Somewise in their beginning; or indeed
A bitter birth begotten of sad stars
At mine own body's birth, that heaven might make
My life taste sharp where other men drank sweet;
But whether in heavy body or broken soul,
I know it must go on to be my death.
There was the matter of my fate in me
When I was fashioned first, and given such life
As goes with a sad end; no fault but God's.
Yea, and for all this I am not penitent:
You see I am perfect in these sins of mine,
I have my sins writ in a book to read;
Now I shall die and be well done with this.
But I am sure you cannot see such things,
God knows I blame you not.

QUEEN.
What shall be said?
You know most well that I am sorrowful.
But you should chide me. Sweet, you have seen fair wars,
Have seen men slain and ridden red in them;
Why will you die a chamberer's death like this?
What, shall no praise be written of my knight,
For my fame's sake?

CHASTELARD.
Nay, no great praise, I think;
I will no more; what should I do with death,
Though I died goodly out of sight of you?
I have gone once: here am I set now, sweet,
Till the end come. That is your husband, hark,
He knocks at the outer door. Kiss me just once.
You know now all you have to say. Nay, love,
Let him come quickly.

[Enter DARNLEY, and afterwards the MARIES.]

DARNLEY.
Yea, what thing is here?
Ay, this was what the doors shut fast upon-
Ay, trust you to be fast at prayer, my sweet?
By God I have a mind-

CHASTELARD.
What mind then, sir?
A liar's lewd mind, to coin sins for jest,
Because you take me in such wise as this?
Look you, I have to die soon, and I swear,
That am no liar but a free knight and lord,
I shall die clear of any sin to you,
Save that I came for no good will of mine;
I am no carle, I play fair games with faith,
And by mine honor for my sake I swear
I say but truth; for no man's sake save mine,
Lest I die shamed. Madam, I pray you say
I am no liar; you know me what I am,
A sinful man and shortly to be slain,
That in a simple insolence of love
Have stained with a fool's eyes your holy hours
And with a fool's words put your pity out;
Nathless you know if I be liar or no,
Wherefore for God's sake give me grace to swear
(Yea, for mine too) how past all praise you are
And stainless of all shame; and how all men
Lie, saying you are not most good and innocent,
Yea, the one thing good as God.

DARNLEY.
O sir, we know
You can swear well, being taken; you fair French
Dare swallow God's name for a lewd love-sake
As it were water. Nay, we know, we know;
Save your sweet breath now lest you lack it soon:
We are simple, we; we have not heard of you.
Madam, by God you are well shamed in him:
Ay, trust you to be fingering in one's face,
Play with one's neck-chain? ah, your maiden's man,
A relic of your people's!

CHASTELARD.
Hold your peace,
Or I will set an edge on your own lie
Shall scar yourself. Madam, have out your guard;
'T is time I were got hence.

QUEEN.
Sweet Hamilton,
Hold you my hand and help me to sit down.
O Henry, I am beaten from my wits-
Let me have time and live; call out my people-
Bring forth some armed guard to lay hold on him:
But see no man be slain.
Sirs, hide your swords;
I will not have men slain.

DARNLEY.
What, is this true?
Call the queen's people-help the queen there, you-
Ho, sirs, come in.

[Enter some with the Guard.]

QUEEN.
Lay hold upon that man;
Bear him away, but see he have no hurt.

CHASTELARD.
Into your hands I render up myself
With a free heart; deal with me how you list,
But courteously, I pray you. Take my sword.
Farewell, great queen; the sweetness in your look
Makes life look bitter on me. Farewell, sirs.

[He is taken out.]

DARNLEY.
Yea, pluck him forth, and have him hanged by dawn;
He shall find bed enow to sleep. God's love!
That such a knave should be a knight like this!

QUEEN.
Sir, peace awhile; this shall be as I please;
Take patience to you. Lords, I pray you see
All be done goodly; look they wrong him not.
Carmichael, you shall sleep with me to-night;
I am sorely shaken, even to the heart. Fair lords,
I thank you for your care. Sweet, stay by me.

END OF THE THIRD ACT.

ACT IV.

MURRAY.

SCENE I.-The Queen's Lodging at St. Andrew's.

The QUEEN and the four MARIES.

QUEEN.
Why will you break my heart with praying to me?
You Seyton, you Carmichael, you have wits,
You are not all run to tears; you do not think
It is my wrath or will that whets this axe
Against his neck?

MARY SEYTON.
Nay, these three weeks agone
I said the queen's wrath was not sharp enough
To shear a neck.

QUEEN.
Sweet, and you did me right,
And look you, what my mercy bears to fruit,
Danger and deadly speech and a fresh fault
Before the first was cool in people's lips;
A goodly mercy: and I wash hands of it.-
Speak you, there; have you ever found me sharp?
You weep and whisper with sloped necks and heads
Like two sick birds; do you think shame of me?
Nay, I thank God none can think shame of me;
But am I bitter, think you, to men's faults?
I think I am too merciful, too meek:
Why if I could I would yet save this man;
'T is just boy's madness; a soft stripe or two
Would do to scourge the fault in his French blood.
I would fain let him go. You, Hamilton,
You have a heart thewed harder than my heart;
When mine would threat it sighs, and wrath in it
Has a bird's flight and station, starves before
It can well feed or fly; my pulse of wrath
Sounds tender as the running down of tears.
You are the hardest woman I have known,
Your blood has frost and cruel gall in it,
You hold men off with bitter lips and eyes-
Such maidens should serve England; now, perfay,
I doubt you would have got him slain at once.
Come, would you not? come, would you let him live?

MARY HAMILTON.
Yes-I think yes; I cannot tell; maybe
I would have seen him punished.

QUEEN.
Look you now,
There's maiden mercy; I would have him live-
For all my wifehood maybe I weep too;
Here's a mere maiden falls to slaying at once,
Small shrift for her; God keep us from such hearts!
I am a queen too that would have him live,
But one that has no wrong and is no queen,
She would-What are you saying there, you twain?

MARY CARMICHAEL.
I said a queen's face and so fair an one's
Would lose no grace for giving grace away;
That gift comes back upon the mouth it left
And makes it sweeter, and set fresh red on it.

QUEEN.
This comes of sonnets when the dance draws breath;
These talking times will make a dearth of grace.
But you-what ails you that your lips are shut?
Weep, if you will; here are four friends of yours
To weep as fast for pity of your tears.
Do you desire him dead? nay, but men say
He was your friend, he fought them on your side,
He made you songs-God knows what songs he made!
Speak you for him a little: will you not?

MARY BEATON.
Madam, I have no words.

QUEEN.
No words? no pity-
Have you no mercies for such men? God help!
It seems I am the meekest heart on earth-
Yea, the one tender woman left alive,
And knew it not. I will not let him live,
For all my pity of him.

MARY BEATON.
Nay, but, madam,
For God's love look a little to this thing.
If you do slay him you are but shamed to death;
All men will cry upon you, women weep,
Turning your sweet name bitter with their tears;
Red shame grow up out of your memory
And burn his face that would speak well of you:
You shall have no good word nor pity, none,
Till some such end be fallen upon you: nay,
I am but cold, I knew I had no words,
I will keep silence.

QUEEN.
Yea now, as I live,
I wist not of it: troth, he shall not die.
See you, I am pitiful, compassionate,
I would not have men slain for my love's sake,
But if he live to do me three times wrong,
Why then my shame would grow up green and red
Like any flower. I am not whole at heart;
In faith, I wot not what such things should be;
I doubt it is but dangerous; he must die.

MARY BEATON.
Yea, but you will not slay him.

QUEEN.
Swear me that,
I'll say he shall not die for your oath's sake.
What will you do for grief when he is dead?

MARY BEATON.
Nothing for grief, but hold my peace and die.

QUEEN.
Why, for your sweet sake one might let him live;
But the first fault was a green seed of shame,
And now the flower, and deadly fruit will come
With apple-time in autumn. By my life,
I would they had slain him there in Edinburgh;
But I reprieve him; lo the thank I get,
To set the base folk muttering like smoked bees
Of shame and love, and how love comes to shame,
And the queen loves shame that comes of love;
Yet I say nought and go about my ways,
And this mad fellow that I respited
Being forth and free, lo now the second time
Ye take him by my bed in wait. Now see
If I can get good-will to pardon him;
With what a face may I crave leave of men
To respite him, being young and a good knight
And mad for perfect love? shall I go say,
Dear lords, because ye took him shamefully,
Let him not die; because his fault is foul,
Let him not die; because if he do live
I shall be held a harlot of all men,
I pray you, sweet sirs, that he may not die?

MARY BEATON.
Madam, for me I would not have him live;
Mine own heart's life was ended with my fame,
And my life's breath will shortly follow them;
So that I care not much; for you wot well
I have lost love and shame and fame and all
To no good end; nor while he had his life
Have I got good of him that was my love,
Save that for courtesy (which may God quit)
He kissed me once as one might kiss for love
Out of great pity for me; saving this,
He never did me grace in all his life.
And when you have slain him, madam, it may be
I shall get grace of him in some new way
In a new place, if God have care of us.

QUEEN.
Bid you my brother to me presently.

[Exeunt MARIES.]

And yet the thing is pitiful; I would
There were some way. To send him overseas,
Out past the long firths to the cold keen sea
Where the sharp sound is that one hears up here-
Or hold him in strong prison till he died-
He would die shortly-or to set him free
And use him softly till his brains were healed-
There is no way. Now never while I live
Shall we twain love together any more
Nor sit at rhyme as we were used to do,
Nor each kiss other only with the eyes
A great way off ere hand or lip could reach;
There is no way.

[Enter MURRAY.]

O, you are welcome, sir;
You know what need I have; but I praise heaven,
Having such need, I have such help of you.
I do believe no queen God ever made
Was better holpen than I look to be.
What, if two brethren love not heartily,
Who shall be good to either one of them?

MURRAY.
Madam, I have great joy of your good will.

QUEEN.
I pray you, brother, use no courtesies:
I have some fear you will not suffer me
When I shall speak. Fear is a fool, I think,
Yet hath he wit enow to fool my wits,
Being but a woman's. Do not answer me
Till you shall know; yet if you have a word
I shall be fain to heart it; but I think
There is no word to help me; no man's word:
There be two things yet that should do me good,
A speeding arm and a great heart. My lord,
I am soft-spirited as women are,
And ye wot well I have no harder heart:
Yea, with all my will I would not slay a thing,
But all should live right sweetly if I might;
So that man's blood-spilling lies hard on me.
I have a work yet for mine honor's sake,
A thing to do, God wot I know not how,
Nor how to crave it of you: nay, by heaven,
I will not shame myself to show it you:
I have not heart.

MURRAY.
Why, if it may be done
With any honor, or with good men's excuse,
I shall well do it.

QUEEN.
I would I wist that well.
Sir, do you love me?

MURRAY.
Yea, you know I do.

QUEEN.
In faith, you should well love me, for I love
The least man in your following for your sake
With a whole sister's heart.

MURRAY.
Speak simply, madam;
I must obey you, being your bounden man.

QUEEN.
Sir, so it is you know what things have been,
Even to the endangering of mine innocent name,
And by no fault, but by men's evil will;
If Chastelard have trial openly,
I am but shamed.

MURRAY.
This were a wound indeed,
If your good name should lie upon his lip.

QUEEN.
I will the judges put him not to plead,
For my fame's sake; he shall not answer them.

MURRAY.
What, think you he will speak against your fame?

QUEEN.
I know not; men might feign belief of him
For hate of me; it may be he will speak;
In brief, I will not have him held to proof.

MURRAY.
Well, if this be, what good is to be done?

QUEEN.
Is there no way but he must speak to them,
Being had to trial plainly?

MURRAY.
I think, none.

QUEEN.
Now mark, my lord; I swear he will not speak.

MURRAY.
It were the best if you could make that sure.

QUEEN.
There is one way. Look, sir, he shall not do it:
Shall not, or will not, either is one way;
I speak as I would have you understand.

MURRAY.
Let me not guess at you; speak certainly.

QUEEN.
You will not mind me: let him be removed;
Take means to get me surety; there be means.

MURRAY.
So, in your mind, I have to slay the man?

QUEEN.
Is there a mean for me to save the man?

MURRAY.
Truly I see no mean except your love.

QUEEN.
What love is that, my lord? what think you of,
Talking of love and of love's mean in me
And of your guesses and of slaying him?
Why, I say nought, have nought to say: God help me!
I bid you but take surety of the man,
Get him removed.

MURRAY.
Come, come, be clear with me;
You bid me to despatch him privily.

QUEEN.
God send me sufferance! I bid you, sir?
Nay, do not go; what matter if I did?
Nathless I never bade you; no, by God.
Be not so wroth; you are my brother born;
Why do you dwell upon me with such eyes?
For love of God you should not bear me hard.

MURRAY.
What, are you made of flesh?

QUEEN.
O, now I see
You had rather lose your wits to do me harm
Than keep sound wits to help me.

MURRAY.
It is right strange;
The worst man living hath some fear, some love,
Holds somewhat dear a little for life's sake,
Keeps fast to some compassion; you have none;
You know of nothing that remembrance knows
To make you tender. I must slay the man?
Nay, I will do it.

QUEEN.
Do, if you be not mad.
I am sorry for him; and he must needs die.
I would I were assured you hate me not:
I have no heart to slay him by my will.
I pray you think not bitterly of me.

MURRAY.
Is it your pleasure such a thing were done?

QUEEN.
Yea, by God's body is it, certainly.

MURRAY.
Nay, for your love then, and for honor's sake,
This thing must be.

QUEEN.
Yea, should I set you on?
Even for my love then, I beseech you, sir,
To seek him out, and lest he prate of me
To put your knife into him ere he come forth:
Meseems this were not such wild work to do.

MURRAY.
I'll have him in the prison taken off.

QUEEN.
I am bounden to you, even for my name's sake,
When that is done.

MURRAY.
I pray you fear me not.
Farewell. I would such things were not to do,
Or not for me; yea, not for any man.

[Exit.]

QUEEN.
Alas, what honor have I to give thanks?
I would he had denied me: I had held my peace
Thenceforth forever; but he wrung out the word,
Caught it before my lip, was fain of it-
It was his fault to put it in my mind,
Yea, and to feign a loathing of his fault.
Now is he about devising my love's death,
And nothing loth. Nay, since he must needs die,
Would he were dead and come alive again
And I might keep him safe. He doth live now
And I may do what love I will to him;
But by to-morrow he will be stark dead,
Stark slain and dead; and for no sort of love
Will he so much as kiss me half a kiss.
Were this to do I would not do it again.

[Reenter MURRAY.]

What, have you taken order? is it done?
It were impossible to do so soon.
Nay, answer me.

MURRAY.
Madam, I will not do it.

QUEEN.
How did you say? I pray, sir, speak again:
I know not what you said.

MURRAY.
I say I will not;
I have thought thereof, and have made up my heart
To have no part in this: look you to it.

QUEEN.
O, for God's sake! you will not have me shamed?

MURRAY.
I will not dip my hand into your sin.

QUEEN.
It were a good deed to deliver me;
I am but a woman, of one blood with you,
A feeble woman; put me not to shame;
I pray you of your pity do me right.
Yea, and no fleck of blood shall cleave to you
For a just deed.

MURRAY.
I know not; I will none.

QUEEN.
O, you will never let him speak to them
To put me in such shame? why, I should die
Out of pure shame and mine own burning blood;
Yea, my face feels the shame lay hold on it,
I am half burnt already in my thought;
Take pity of me. Think how shame slays a man;
How shall I live then? would you have me dead?
I pray you for our dead dear father's sake,
Let not men mock at me. Nay, if he speak,
I shall be sung in mine own towns. Have pity.
What, will you let men stone me in the ways?

MURRAY.
Madam, I shall take pains the best I may
To save your honor, and what thing lieth in me
That will I do, but no close manslayings.
I will not have God's judgment gripe my throat
When I am dead, to hale me into hell
For a man's sake slain on this wise. Take heed.
See you to that.

[Exit.]

QUEEN.
One of you maidens there
Bid my lord hither. Now by Mary's soul,
He shall not die and bring me into shame.
There's treason in you like a fever, hot,
My holy-natured brother, cheek and eye;
You look red through with it: sick, honor-sick,
Specked with the blain of treason, leper-like-
A scrupulous fair traitor with clean lips-
If one should sue to hell to do him good
He were as brotherly holpen as I am.
This man must live and say no harm of me;
I may reprieve and cast him forth; yea, so-
This were the best; or if he die midway-
Yea, anything, so that he die not here.

[To the MARIES within.]

Fetch hither Darnley. Nay, ye gape on me-
What, doth he sleep, or feeds, or plays at games?
Why, I would see him; I am weary for his sake;
Bid my lord in.-Nathless he will but chide;
Nay, fleer and laugh: what should one say to him?
There were some word if one could hit on it;
Some way to close with him: I wot not.-Sir,

[Enter DARNLEY.]

Please it your love I have a suit to you.

DARNLEY.
What sort of suit?

QUEEN.
Nay, if you be not friends-
I have no suit towards mine enemies.

DARNLEY.
Eh, do I look now like your enemy?

QUEEN.
You have a way of peering under brow
I do not like. If you see anything
In me that irks you I will painfully
Labor to lose it: do but show me favor,
And as I am your faithful humble wife
This foolishness shall be removed in me.

DARNLEY.
Why do you laugh and mock me with stretched hands?
Faith, I see no such thing.

QUEEN.
That is well seen.
Come, I will take my heart between my lips,
Use it not hardly. Sir, my suit begins;
That you would please to make me that I am,
(In sooth I think I am) mistress and queen
Of mine own people.

DARNLEY.
Why, this is no suit;
This is a simple matter, and your own.

QUEEN.
It was, before God made you king of me.

DARNLEY.
No king, by God's grace; were I such a king
I'd sell my kingdom for six roods of rye.

QUEEN.
You are too sharp upon my words; I would
Have leave of you to free a man condemned.

DARNLEY.
What man is that, sweet?

QUEEN.
Such a mad poor man
As God desires us use not cruelly.

DARNLEY.
Is there no name a man may call him by?

QUEEN.
Nay, my fair master, what fair game is this?
Why, you do know him, it is Chastelard.

DARNLEY.
Ay, is it soothly?

QUEEN.
By my life, it is;
Sweet, as you tender me, so pardon him.

DARNLEY.
As he doth tender you, so pardon me;
For if it were the mean to save my life
He should not live a day.

QUEEN.
Nay, shall not he?

DARNLEY.
Look what an evil wit old Fortune hath:
Why, I came here to get his time cut off.
This second fault is meat for lewd men's mouths;
You were best have him slain at once: 'tis hot.

QUEEN.
Give me the warrant, and sit down, my lord.
Why, I will sign it; what, I understand
How this must be. Should not my name stand here?

DARNLEY.
Yea, there, and here the seal.

QUEEN.
Ay, so you say.
Shall I say too what I am thinking of?

DARNLEY.
Do, if you will.

QUEEN.
I do not like your suit.

DARNLEY.
'Tis of no Frenchman fashion.

QUEEN.
No, God wot;
'Tis nowise great men's fashion in French land
To clap a headsman's taberd on their backs.

DARNLEY.
No, madam?

QUEEN.
No; I never wist of that.
Is it a month gone I did call you lord?
I chose you by no straying stroke of sight,
But with my heart to love you heartily.
Did I wrong then? did mine eye draw my heart?
I know not; sir, it may be I did wrong:
And yet to love you; and would choose again,
Against to choose you.

DARNLEY.
There, I love you too;
Take that for sooth, and let me take this hence.

QUEEN.
O, do you think I hold you off with words?
Why, take it then; there is my handwriting,
And here the hand that you shall slay him with.
'Tis a fair hand, a maiden-colored one:
I doubt yet it has never slain a man.
You never fought yet save for game, I wis.
Nay, thank me not, but have it from my sight;
Go and make haste for fear he be got forth:
It may be such a man is dangerous;
Who knows what friends he hath? and by my faith
I doubt he hath seen some fighting, I do fear
He hath fought and shed men's blood; ye are wise men
That will not leave such dangerous things alive;
'T were well he died the sooner for your sakes.
Pray you make haste; it is not fit he live.

DARNLEY.
What, will you let him die so easily?

QUEEN.
Why, God have mercy! what way should one take
To please such people? there's some cunning way,
Something I miss, out of my simple soul.
What, must one say "Beseech you do no harm,"
Or "for my love, sweet cousins, be not hard,"
Or "let him live but till the vane come round"-
Will such things please you? well then, have your way;
Sir, I desire you, kneeling down with tears,
With sighs and tears, fair sir, require of you,
Considering of my love I bear this man,
Just for my love's sake let him not be hanged
Before the sundown; do thus much for me,
To have a queen's prayers follow after you.

DARNLEY.
I know no need for you to gibe at me.

QUEEN.
Alack, what heart then shall I have to jest?
There is no woman jests in such a wise-
For the shame's sake I pray you hang him not,
Seeing how I love him, save indeed in silk,
Sweet twisted silk of my sad handiwork.
Nay, and you will not do so much for me;
You vex your lip, biting the blood and all:
Were this so hard, and you compassionate?
I am in sore case then, and will weep indeed.

DARNLEY.
What do you mean to cast such gibes at me?

QUEEN.
Woe's me, and will you turn my tears to thorns?
Nay, set your eyes a little in my face;
See, do I weep? what will you make of me?
Will you not swear I love this prisoner?
Ye are wise, and ye will have it; yet for me
I wist not of it. We are but feeble fools,
And love may catch us when we lie asleep
And yet God knows we know not this a whit.
Come, look on me, swear you believe it not:
It may be I will take your word for that.

DARNLEY.
Do you not love him? nay, but verily?

QUEEN.
Now then, make answer to me verily,
Which of us twain is wiser? for my part
I will not swear I love not, if you will;
Ye be wise men and many men, my lords,
And ye will have me love him, ye will swear
That I do love him; who shall say ye lie?
Look on your paper; maybe I have wept:
Doubtless I love your hanged man in my heart.
What, is the writing smutched or gone awry?
Or blurred-ay, surely so much-with one tear,
One little sharp tear strayed on it by chance?
Come, come, the man is deadly dangerous;
Let him die presently.

DARNLEY.
You do not love him;
Well, yet he need not die; it were right hard
To hang the fool because you love him not.

QUEEN.
You have keen wits and thereto courtesy
To catch me with. No, let this man not die;
It were no such perpetual praise to you
To be his doomsman and in doglike wise
Bite his brief life in twain.

DARNLEY.
Truly it were not.

QUEEN.
Then for your honor and my love of you
(Oh, I do love you! but you know not, sweet,
You shall see how much), think you for their sake
He may go free?

DARNLEY.
How, freely forth of us?
But yet he loves you, and being mad with love
Makes matter for base mouths to chew upon:
'T were best he live not yet.

QUEEN.
Will you say that?

DARNLEY.
Why should he live to breed you bad reports?
Let him die first.

QUEEN.
Sweet, for your sake, not so.

DARNLEY.
Fret not yourself to pity; let him die.

QUEEN.
Come, let him live a little; it shall be
A grace to us.

DARNLEY.
By God he dies at once.

QUEEN.
Now, by God's mother, if I respite him,
Though you were all the race of you in one
And had more tongues than hairs to cry on me
He should not lose a hair.

DARNLEY.
This is mere mercy-
But you thank God you love him not a whit?

QUEEN.
It shall be what it please; and if I please
It shall be anything. Give me the warrant.

DARNLEY.
Nay, for your sake and love of you, not I,
To make it dangerous.

QUEEN.
O, God' pity, sir!
You are tender of me; will you serve me so,
Against mine own will, show me so much love,
Do me good service that I loath being done,
Out of pure pity?

DARNLEY.
Nay, your word shall stand.

QUEEN.
What makes you gape so beastlike after blood?
Were you not bred up on some hangman's hire
And dicted with fleshmeats at his hand
And fed into a fool? Give me that paper.

DARNLEY.
Now for that word I will not.

QUEEN.
Nay, sweet love,
For your own sake be just a little wise;
Come, I beseech you.

DARNLEY.
Pluck not at my hands.

QUEEN.
No, that I will not: I am brain-broken, mad;
Pity my madness for sweet marriage-sake
And my great love's; I love you to say this;
I would not have you cross me, out of love.
But for true love should I not chafe indeed?
And now I do not.

DARNLEY.
Yea, and late you chid,
You chafed and jested and blew soft and hard-
No, for that "fool" you shall not fool me so.

QUEEN.
You are no churl, sweet, will you see me weep?
Look, I weep now; be friends with my poor tears,
Think each of them beseeches you of love
And hath some tongue to cry on you for love
And speak soft things; for that which loves not you
Is none of mine, not though they grow of grief
And grief of you; be not too hard with them.
You would not of your own heart slay a man;
Nay, if you will, in God's name make me weep,
I will not hate you; but at heart, sweet lord,
Be not at heart my sweet heart's enemy.
If I had many mighty men to friend
I would not plead too lovingly with you
To have your love.

DARNLEY.
Why, yet you have my love.

QUEEN.
Alas, what shall mine enemies do to me
If he be used so hardly of my friends?
Come, sir, you hate me; yet for all your hate
You cannot have such heart.

DARNLEY.
What sort of heart?
I have no heart to be used shamefully
If you mean that.

QUEEN.
Would God I loved you not;
You are too hard to be used lovingly.

DARNLEY.
You are moved too much for such a little love
As you bear me.

QUEEN.
God knows you do me wrong;
God knows the heart, sweet, that I love you with.
Hark you, fair sir, I'd have all well with you;
Do you not fear at sick men's time of night
What end may come? are you so sure of heart?
Is not your spirit surprisable in sleep?
Have you no evil dreams? Nay, look you, love,
I will not be flung off you heart and hand,
I am no snake: but tell me for your love
Have you no fancies how these things will end
In the pit's mouth? how all life-deeds will look
At the grave's edge that lets men into hell?
For my part, who am weak and woman-eyed,
It turns my soul tears: I doubt this blood
Fallen on our faces when we twain are dead
Will scar and burn them: yea, for heaven is sweet,
And loves sweet deeds that smell not of split blood.
Let us not kill: God that made mercy first
Pities the pitiful for their deed's sake.

DARNLEY.
Get you some painting; with a cheek like this
You'll find no faith in listeners.

QUEEN.
How, fair lord?

DARNLEY.
I say that looking with this face of yours
None shall believe you holy; what, you talk,
Take mercy in your mouth, eat holiness,
Put God under your tongue and feed on heaven,
With fear and faith and-faith, I know not what-
And look as though you stood and saw men slain
To make you game and laughter; nay, your eyes
Threaten as unto blood. What will you do
To make men take your sweet word? pitiful-
You are pitiful as he that's hired for death
And loves the slaying yet better than the hire.

QUEEN.
You are wise that live to threat and tell me so;
Do you love life too much?

DARNLEY.
O, now you are sweet,
Right tender now: you love not blood nor death,
You are too tender.

QUEEN.
Yea, too weak, too soft:
Sweet, do not mock me, for my love's sake; see
How soft a thing I am. Will you be hard?
The heart you have, has it no sort of fear?

DARNLEY.
Take off your hand and let me go my way
And do the deed, and when the doing is past
I will come home and teach you tender things
Out of my love till you forget my wrath.
I will be angry when I see good need,
And will grow gentle after, fear not that:
You shall get no wrong of my wrongdoing.
So I take leave.

QUEEN.
Take what you will; take all;
You have taken half my heart away with words:
Take all I have, and take no leave; I have
No leave to give: yea, shortly shall lack leave,
I think, to live; but I crave none of you;
I would have none: yet for the love I have,
If I get ever a man to show it you,
I pray God put you some day in my hand
That you may take that too.

DARNLEY.
Well, as he please;
God keep you in such love; and so farewell.

[Exit.]

QUEEN.
So fare I as your lover, but not well.-
Ah sweet, if God be ever good to me
To put you in my hand! I am come to shame;
Let me think now, and let my wits not go;
God, for dear mercy, let me not forget
Why I should be so angry; the dull blood
Beats at my face and blinds me-I am chafted to death,
And I am shamed; I shall go mad and die.
Truly I think I did kneel down, did pray,
Yea, weep (who knows?) it may be-all for that.
Yea, if I wept not, this was blood brake forth
And burnt mine eyelids; I will have blood back,
And wash them cool in the hottest of his heart,
Or I will slay myself: I cannot tell:
I have given gold for brass, and lo the pay
Cleaves to my fingers: there's no way to mend-
Not while life stays: would God that it were gone!
The fool will feed upon my fame and laugh;
Till one seal up his tongue and lips with blood,
He carries half my honor and good name
Between his teeth. Lord God, mine head will fail!
When have I done thus since I was alive?
And these ill times will deal but ill with me-
My old love slain, and never a new to help,
And my wits gone, and my blithe use of life,
And all the grace was with me. Love-perchance
If I save love I shall well save myself.
I could find heart to bid him take such fellows
And kill them to my hand. I was the fool
To sue to these and shame myself: God knows
I was a queen born, I will hold their heads
Here in my hands for this. Which of you waits?

[Enter MARY BEATON and MARY CARMICHAEL.]

No maiden of them?-what, no more than this?

MARY CARMICHAEL.
Madam, the lady Seyton is gone forth;
She is ill at heart with watching.

QUEEN.
Ay, at heart-
All girls must have such tender sides to the heart
They break for one night's watching, ache to death
For an hour's pity, for a half-hour's love-
Wear out before the watches, die by dawn,
And ride at noon to burial. God's my pity!
Where's Hamilton? doth she ail too? at heart,
I warrant her at heart.

MARY BEATON.
I know not, madam.

QUEEN.
What, sick or dead? I am well holpen of you:
Come hither to me. What pale blood you have-
Is it for fear you turn such cheeks to me?
Why, if I were so loving, by my hand,
I would have set my head upon the chance,
And loosed him though I died. What will you do?
Have you no way?

MARY BEATON.
None but your mercy.

QUEEN.
Ay?
Why then the thing is piteous. Think, for God's sake-
Is there no loving way to fetch him forth?
Nay, what a white thin-blooded thing is love,
To help no more than this doth! Were I in love,
I would unbar the ways to-night and then
Laugh death to death to-morrow, mock him dead;
I think you love well with one half your heart,
And let fear keep the other. Hark you now,
You said there was some friend durst break my bars-
Some Scotch name-faith, as if I wist of it!
Ye have such heavy wits to help one with-
Some man that had some mean to save him by-
Tush, I must be at pains for you!

MARY BEATON.
Nay, madam,
It were no boot; he will not be let forth.

QUEEN.
I say, the name. O, Robert Erskine-yea,
A fellow of some heart: what saith he?

MARY BEATON.
Madam,
The thing was sound all through, yea, all went well,
But for all prayers that we could make to him
He would not fly: we cannot get him forth.

QUEEN.
Great God! that men should have such wits as this!
I have a mind to let him die for that;
And yet I wot not. Said he, he loathed his life?

MARY BEATON.
He says your grace given would scathe yourself,
And little grace for such a grace as that
Be with the little of his life he kept
To cast off some time more unworthily.

QUEEN.
God help me! what should wise folk do with him?
These men be weaker-witted than mere fools
When they fall mad once; yet by Mary's soul
I am sorrier for him than for men right wise.
God wot a fool that were more wise than he
Would love me something worse than Chastelard,
Ay, and his own soul better. Do you think
(There's no such other sort of fool alive)
That he may live?

MARY BEATON.
Yea, by God's mercy, madam,
To your great praise and honor from all men
If you should keep him living.

QUEEN.
By God's light,
I have good will to do it. Are you sure,
If I would pack him with a pardon hence,
He would speak well of me-not hint and halt,
Smile and look back, sigh and say love runs out,
But times have been-with some loose laugh cut short,
Bit off at lip-eh?

MARY BEATON.
No, by heaven he would not.

QUEEN.
You know how quickly one may be belied-
Faith, you should know it-I never thought the worst,
One may touch love and come with clean hands off-
But you should know it. What, he will not fly-
Not though I wink myself asleep, turn blind-
Which that I will I say not?

MARY BEATON.
Nay, not he;
We had good hope to bring him well aboard,
Let him slip safe down by the firths to sea,
Out under Leith by night-setting, and thence
Take ship for France and serve there out of sight
In the new wars.

QUEEN.
Ay, in the new French wars-
You wist thereof too, madam, with good leave-
A goodly bait to catch mine honor with
And let me wake up with my name bit through.
I had been much bounden to you twain, methinks,
But for my knight's sake and his love's; by God,
He shall not die in God's despite nor mine.
Call in our chief lords; bid one see to it:
Ay, and make haste.

[Exeunt MARY BEATON and MARY CARMICHAEL.]

Now shall I try their teeth:
I have done with fear; now nothing but pure love
And power and pity shall have part in me;
I will not throw them such a spirit in flesh
To make their prey on. Though he be mad indeed,
It is the goodliest madness ever smote
Upon man's heart. A kingly knight-in faith,
Meseems my face can yet make faith in men
And break their brains with beauty: for a word,
An eyelid's twitch, an eye's turn, tie them fast
And make their souls cleave to me. God be thanked,
This air has not yet curdled all the blood
That went to make me fair. An hour agone,
I thought I had been forgotten of men's love
More than dead women's faces are forgot
Of after lovers. All men are not of earth:
For all the frost of fools and this cold land
There be some yet catch fever of my face
And burning for mine eyes' sake. I did think
My time was gone when men would dance to death
As to a music, and lie laughing down
In the grave and take their funerals for their feasts,
To get one kiss of me. I have some strength yet,
Though I lack power on men that lack men's blood.
Yea, and God wot I will be merciful;
For all the foolish hardness round my heart
That tender women miss of to their praise,
They shall not say but I had grace to give
Even for love's sake. Why, let them take their way:
What ails it them though I be soft or hard?
Soft hearts would weep and weep and let men die
For very mercy and sweet-heartedness;
I that weep little for my pity's sake,
I have the grace to save men. Let fame go-
I care not much what shall become of fame,
So I save love and do mine own soul right;
I'll have my mercy help me to revenge
On all the crew of them. How will he look,
Having my pardon! I shall have sweet thanks
And love of good men for my mercy's love-
Yea, and be quit of these I hate to death,
With one good deed.

[Enter the MARIES.]

MARY BEATON.
Madam, the lords are here.

QUEEN.
Stand you about me, I will speak to them.
I would the whole world stood up in my face
And heard what I shall say. Bid them come in.

[Enter MURRAY, RANDOLPH, MORTON, LINDSAY,
and other LORDS.]

Hear you, fair lords, I have a word to you;
There is one thing I would fain understand-
If I be queen or no; for by my life
Methinks I am growing unqueenly. No man speak?
Pray you take note, sweet lord ambassador,
I am no queen: I never was born queen;
Alack, that one should fool us in this wise!
Take up my crown, sir, I will none of it
Till it hath bells on as a fool's cap hath.
Nay, who will have it? no man take it up?
Was there none worthy to be shamed but I?
Here are enow good faces, good to crown;
Will you be king, fair brother? or you, my lord?
Give me a spinner's curch, a wisp of reed,
Any mean thing; but, God's love, no more gold,
And no more shame: let boys throw dice for it,
Or cast it to the grooms for tennis-play,
For I will none.

MURRAY.
What would your highness have?

QUEEN.
Yea, yea, I said I was no majesty;
I shall be shortly fallen out of grace.
What would I have? I would have leave to live;
Perchance I shall not shortly: nay, for me
That have no leave to respite other lives
To keep mine own life were small praise enow.

MURRAY.
Your majesty hath power to respite men,
As we well wot; no man saith otherwise.

QUEEN.
What, is this true? 't is a thing wonderful-
So great I cannot be well sure of it.
Strange that a queen should find such grace as this
At such lords' hands as ye be, such great lords:
I pray you let me get assured again,
Lest I take jest for truth and shame myself
And make you mirth: to make your mirth of me,
God wot it were small pains to you, my lords,
But much less honor. I may send reprieve-
With your sweet leaves I may?

MURRAY.
Assuredly.

QUEEN.
Lo, now, what grace is this I have of you!
I had a will to respite Chastelard,
And would not do it for very fear of you:
Look you, I wist not ye were merciful.

MORTON.
Madam-

QUEEN.
My lord, you have a word to me?
Doth it displease you such a man should live?

MORTON.
'T were a mad mercy in your majesty
To lay no hand upon his second fault
And let him thrice offend you.

QUEEN.
Ay, my lord?

MORTON.
It were well done to muffle lewd men's mouths
By casting of his head into their laps:
It were much best.

QUEEN.
Yea, truly were it so?
But if I will not, yet I will not, sir,
For all the mouths in Scotland. Now, by heaven,
As I am pleased he shall not die but live,
So shall ye be. There is no man shall die,
Except it please me; and no man shall say,
Except it please me, if I do ill or well.
Which of you now will set his will to mine?
Not you, nor you I think, nor none of you,
Nor no man living that loves living well.
Let one stand forth and smite me with his hand,
Wring my crown off and cast it underfoot,
And he shall get my respite back of me,
And no man else: he shall bid live or die,
And no man else; and he shall be my lord,
And no man else. What, will not one be king?
Will not one here lay hold upon my state?
I am queen of you for all things come and gone.
Nay, my chief lady, and no meaner one,
The chiefest of my maidens, shall bear this
And give it to my prisoner for a grace;
Who shall deny me? who shall do me wrong?
Bear greeting to the lord of Chastelard,
And this withal for respite of his life,
For by my head he shall die no such way:
Nay, sweet, no words, but hence and back again.

[Exit MARY BEATON.]

Farewell, dear lords; ye have shown grace to me,
And some time I will thank you as I may;
Till when think well of me and what is done.

END OF THE FOURTH ACT.

ACT V.

CHASTELARD.

SCENE I.-Before Holyrood. A crowd of people;
among them Soldiers, Burgesses, a Preacher, &c.

1ST CITIZEN.
They are not out yet. Have you seen the man?
What manner of man?

2D CITIZEN.
Shall he be hanged or no?
There was a fellow hanged some three days gone
Wept the whole way: think you this man shall die
In better sort, now?

1ST CITIZEN.
Eh, these shawm-players
That walk before strange women and make songs!
How should they die well?

3D CITIZEN.
Is it sooth men say
Our dame was wont to kiss him on the face
In lewd folk's sight?

1ST CITIZEN.
Yea, saith one, all day long
He used to sit and jangle words in rhyme
To suit with shakes of faint adulterous sound
Some French lust in men's ears; she made songs too,
Soft things to feed sin's amorous mouth upon-
Delicate sounds for dancing at in hell.

4TH CITIZEN.
Is it priest Black that he shall have by him
When they do come?

3D CITIZEN.
Ah! by God's leave, not so;
If the knave show us his peeled onion's head
And that damned flagging jowl of his-

2D CITIZEN.
Nay, sirs,
Take heed of words; moreover, please it you,
This man hath no pope's part in him.

3D CITIZEN.
I say
That if priest whore's friend with the lewd thief's cheek
Show his foul blinking face to shame all ours,
It goes back fouler; well, one day hell's fire
Will burn him black indeed.

A WOMAN.
What kind of man?
'T is yet great pity of him if he be
Goodly enow for this queen's paramour.
A French lord overseas? what doth he here,
With Scotch folk here?

1ST CITIZEN.
Fair mistress, I think well
He doth so at some times that I were fain
To do as well.

THE WOMAN.
Nay, then he will not die.

1ST CITIZEN.
Why, see you, if one eat a piece of bread
Baked as it were a certain prophet's way,
Not upon coals, now-you shall apprehend-
If defiled bread be given a man to eat,
Being thrust into his mouth, why he shall eat,
And with good hap shall eat; but if now, say,
One steal this, bread and beastliness and all,
When scarcely for pure hunger flesh and bone
Cleave one to other-why, if he steal to eat,
Be it even the filthiest feeding-though the man
Be famine-flayed of flesh and skin, I say
He shall be hanged.

3D CITIZEN.
Nay, stolen said you, sir?
See, God bade eat abominable bread,
And freely was it eaten-for a sign
This, for a sign-and doubtless as did God,
So may the devil; bid one eat freely and live,
Not for a sign.

2D CITIZEN.
Will you think thus of her?
But wherefore should they get this fellow slain
If he be clear toward her?

3D CITIZEN.
Sir, one must see
The day comes when a woman sheds her sin
As a bird moults; and she being shifted so,
The old mate of her old feather pecks at her
To get the right bird back; then she being stronger
Picks out his eyes-eh?

2D CITIZEN.
Like enough to be;
But if it be-Is not one preaching there
With certain folk about him?

1ST CITIZEN.
Yea, the same
Who preached a month since from Ezekiel
Concerning these twain-this our queen that is
And her that was, and is not now so much
As queen over hell's worm.

3D CITIZEN.
Ay, said he not,
This was Aholah, the first one of these,
Called sisters only for a type-being twain,
Twain Maries, no whit Nazarine? the first
Bred out of Egypt like the water-worm
With sides in wet green places baked with slime
And festered flesh that steams against the sun;
A plague among all people, and a type
Set as a flake upon a leper's fell.

1ST CITIZEN.
Yea, said he, and unto her the men went in,
The men of Pharaoh's, beautiful with red
And with red gold, fair foreign-footed men,
The bountiful fair men, the courteous men,
The delicate men with delicate feet, that went
Curling their small beards Agag-fashion, yea
Pruning their mouths to nibble words behind
With pecking at God's skirts-small broken oaths
Fretted to shreds between most dainty lips,
And underbreath some praise of Ashtaroth
Sighed laughingly.

2D CITIZEN.
Was he not under guard
For the good word?

1ST CITIZEN.
Yea, but now forth again.-
And of the latter said he-there being two,
The first Aholah, which interpreted-

3D CITIZEN.
But, of this latter?

1ST CITIZEN.
Well, of her he said
How she made letters for Chaldean folk
And men that came forth of the wilderness
And all her sister's chosen men; yea, she
Kept not her lip from any sin of hers
But multiplied in whoredoms toward all these
That hate God mightily; for these, he saith,
These are the fair French people, and these her kin
Sought out of England with her love-letters
To bring them to her kiss of love; and thus
With a prayer made that God would break such love
Ended some while; then crying out for strong wrath
Spake with a great voice after: This is she,
Yea the lewd woman, yea the same woman
That gat bruised breasts in Egypt, when strange men
Swart from great suns, foot-burnt with angry soils
And strewn with sand of gaunt Chaldean miles,
Poured all their love upon her: she shall drink
The Lord's cup of derision that is filled
With drunkenness and sorrow, great of sides
And deep to drink in till the dreg drips out:
Yea, and herself with the twain shards thereof
Pluck off her breasts; so said he.

4TH CITIZEN.
See that stir-
Are not they come?

3D CITIZEN.
There wants an hour of them.
Draw near and let us hearken; he will speak
Surely some word of this.

2D CITIZEN.
What saith he now?

THE PREACHER.
The mercy of a harlot is a sword;
And her mouth sharper than a flame of fire.

SCENE II.-In Prison.

CHASTELARD.
So here my time shuts up; and the last light
Has made the last shade in the world for me.
The sunbeam that was narrow like a leaf
Has turned a hand, and the hand stretched to an arm,
And the arm has reached the dust on the floor, and made
A maze of motes with paddling fingers. Well,
I knew now that a man so sure to die
Could care so little; a bride-night's lustiness
Leaps in my veins as light fire under a wind:
As if I felt a kindling beyond death
Of some new joys far outside of me yet;
Sweet sound, sweet smell and touch of things far out
Sure to come soon. I wonder will death be
Even all it seems now? or the talk of hell
And wretched changes of the worn-out soul
Nailed to decaying flesh, shall that be true?
Or is this like the forethought of deep sleep
Felt by a tired man? Sleep were good enough-
Shall sleep be all? But I shall not forget
For any sleep this love bound upon me-
For any sleep or quiet ways of death.
Ah, in my weary dusty space of sight
Her face will float with heavy scents of hair
And fire of subtle amorous eyes, and lips
More hot than wine, full of sweet wicked words
Babbled against mine own lips, and long hands
Spread out, and pale bright throat and pale bright breasts,
Fit to make all men mad. I do believe
This fire shall never quite burn out to the ash
And leave no heat and flame upon my dust
For witness where a man's heart was burnt up.
For all Christ's work this Venus is not quelled,
But reddens at the mouth with blood of men,
Sucking between small teeth the sap o' the veins,
Dabbling with death her little tender lips-
A bitter beauty, poisonous-pearled mouth.
I am not fit to live but for love's sake,
So I were best die shortly. Ah, fair love,
Fair fearful Venus made of deadly foam,
I shall escape you somehow with my death-
Your splendid supple body and mouth on fire
And Paphian breath that bites the lips with heat.
I had best die.

[Enter MARY BEATON.]

What, is my death's time come,
And you the friend to make death kind to me?
'T is sweetly done; for I was sick for this.

MARY BEATON.
Nay, but see here; nay, for you shall not die:
She has reprieved you; look, her name to that,
A present respite; I was sure of her:
You are quite safe: here, take it in your hands:
I am faint with the end of pain. Read there.

CHASTELARD.
Reprieve?
Wherefore reprieve? Who has done this to me?

MARY BEATON.
I never feared but God would have you live,
Or I knew well God must have punished me;
But I feared nothing, had no sort of fear.
What makes you stare upon the seal so hard?
Will you not read now?

CHASTELARD.
A reprieve of life-
Reprieving me from living. Nay, by God,
I count one death a bitter thing enough.

MARY BEATON.
See what she writes; you love; for love of you;
Out of her love; a word to save your life:
But I knew this too though you love me not:
She is your love; I knew that: yea, by heaven.

CHASTELARD.
You knew I had to live and be reprieved:
Say I were bent to die now?

MARY BEATON.
Do not die,
For her sweet love's sake; not for pity of me,
You would not bear with life for me one hour;
But for hers only.

CHASTELARD.
Nay, I love you well,
I would not hurt you for more lives than one.
But for this fair-faced paper of reprieve,
We'll have no riddling to make death shift sides:
Look, here ends one of us.

[Tearing it.]

For her I love,
She will not anger heaven with slaying me;
For me, I am well quit of loving her;
For you, I pray you be well comforted,
Seeing in my life no man gat good by me
And by my death no hurt is any man's.

MARY BEATON.
And I that loved you? nay, I loved you; nay,
Why should your like be pitied when they love?
Her hard heart is not yet so hard as yours,
Nor God's hard heart. I care not if you die.
These bitter madmen are not fit to live.
I will not have you touch me, speak to me,
Nor take farewell of you. See you die well,
Or death will play with shame for you, and win,
And laugh you out of life. I am right glad
I never am to see you any more,
For I should come to hate you easily;
I would not have you live.

[Exit.]

CHASTELARD.
She has cause enow.
I would this wretched waiting had an end,
For I wax feebler than I was: God knows
I had a mind once to have saved this flesh
And made life one with shame. It marvels me
This girl that loves me should desire so much
To have me sleep with shame for bedfellow
A whole life's space; she would be glad to die
To escape such life. It may be too her love
Is but an amorous quarrel with herself,
Not love of me but her own wilful soul;
Then she will live and be more glad of this
Than girls of their own will and their heart's love
Before love mars them: so God go with her!
For mine own love-I wonder will she come
Sad at her mouth a little, with drawn cheeks
And eyelids wrinkled up? or hot and quick
To lean her head on mine and leave her lips
Deep in my neck? For surely she must come;
And I should fare the better to be sure

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