« 上一頁繼續 »
Per. Could I prescribe, You should yourself be umpire of the terms; For well I know your noble nature such, That int’rest would be made the slave of honour. But to whate'er I urg'd, the king reply'd, Remember Cressy's fight! 10 us as fatal, As that of Cannæ to the Roman state. There fell two mighty kings, three sovereign princes, Full thirty thousand valiant men of arms, With all the flower of French nobility, And of their firm allies; for which, (he cried) What can redeem the glory of my crown, But tu behold those victors in our chains ?It is a bitter potion; but reflect, That royal John is noble, and will treat Such foes with dignity, while fortune pays Less than the stock of fame his father lost.
Prince. Yes, Philip lost the battle with the odds Of three to one. In this, if they'obtain it, They have our numbers more than twelve times told, “ If we can trust report.” And yet, my lord, We'll face those numbers, fight them, bravely fall, Ere stoop to linger loathsome life away -', In infamy and bondage. Sir, I thank youI thank you from my soul, for these-for me“ That we have niet your wish to do us kindness ;' But for the terms our foes demand, we scorn Such vile conditions, and defy their swordsTell them, my lord, their hope's too proudly plun'd; We will be conquer'd ere they call us captives.
Per. Famine or slaughter
Prince. Let them both advance In all their horrid, most tremendous forms! They'll meet, in us, with men, who'll starve, bleed,
die, Ere wrong their country, or their own renown. Sound, there, to arms l_My pious friend, farewell, Disperse, my lords, and spirit up the troops : Divide the last remains of our provisionWe shall require no more; for who survives The fury of this day, will either find Enough from booty-or a slave's allowance.
Per. How much at once I'm melted and amaz'dı Stop, my lords, and give a soul of meekness scope, In minutes of such peril. By the host That circles Heaven's high throne, my bleeding heart Is touch'd with so much tenderness and pity, I cannot yield ye to the dire decision. Let me, once more, with ev'ry moving art, Each soft persuasion, try the Gallic king: Perhaps he may relent-permit the trialI would preserve such worth, Heaven knows I would ! If hazard, labour, life, could buy your safety.
Prince. Lord Cardinal, your kindness quite unmans
My mind was arm'd for every rough encounter;
Here link'd together by the graceful bonds
Per. It is the loveliest mark of royal virtue ;
Prince. Good Heaven repay you, sir :
[Exit Perigort, attended as he came in. Aud. Well, sir, how fare you now?
Prince. Oh, never better ! “ If I have frailty in me, Heaven can tell, “ It is not for myself, but for my friends." I've run no mean, inglorious race ; and now, If it must end, 'tis no unlucky time. As yon great planet, thro' its radiant course, Shoots at his parting the most pleasing rays, So to high characters a gallant death Lends the best lustre, and ennobles all. Aud. Why, there, my prince, you reach even vir
tue's summit; For this I love you with a fonder flame,
Than proud prosperity could e'er inspire.
Prince. And what is death,
War. That secure,
“ Prince. Who can telli “ Has Fortune been so badly entertain'd “ That she should leave us ? No, my noble friends, “ Her smiles and favours never were abus'd; “ Then what we merit we may yet maintain."
Chan. An hundred of us, with your royal person, Deliver'd up their pris'ners at discretion! The French have surely lost all modesty, Or the remembrance of themselves and us.
“ Aud. But here, in my mind's tablet, there remains “ A memorandum that might make them start, • In this career of their presumptuous hope. “ Nine times the seasons scarce have danc'd their
rounds, “ Since the vain father of their present king, “ Philip, who stild himself his country's fortune, “ Gaudy and garnish’d, with a numerous host, “ Met our great Edward in the field of fight.
“ I was one knight in that illustrious service, “ And urge I may, (for 'tis a modest truth) " We made the Frenchmen tremble to behold us : “ Their king himself turn'd pale at our appearance, “ And thought his own trim troops, compar'd with
ours, “ Effeminated cowards--Such they prov'd : “ And since that day, what change in them or us, “ Can ground security on wond’rous odds? “ The same undaunted spirits dare the combat ; “ The same tough sinews and well-temper'd blades “ Again shall mow them down, like autumn corn, “ Another harvest of renown and glory.
" Chan. There the brave monarch of Bohemia
“ In vain, to kindle valour in their hearts : “ He fought, he fell- when our victorious prince “ Seiz'd his gay banner, with yon boast-I SERVE
“[Pointing to the Prince's standard. " Which, now more suited to his princely charge, “ Triumphantly, as conqueror, he wears; “ And, in his honour, England's eldest hope “ Shall ever wear it to the end of time.”
Sal. Now, as I live, I wish we were at work, And almost fear the Nuncio may succeed. Methinks we should not lose the bless'd occasion, Or for surpassing ev'ry former conquest, Or gaining glorious death, immortal fame.
Prince. Then set we here ill-fortune at defiance, “ Secure, at least, of never-fading honour.”