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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.

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

Mai. 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,

0 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?

1 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


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*

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. Sincemore 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.

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, T 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

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. 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.

G ui. 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

VOL. vir. H

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 sus-
pect 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 part

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

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