ePub 版

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;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 gonext; 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,

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*.

Gut. 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;

* 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.

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, beityour care to admit my troops,
At Port St Honorc: [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*.



Enter Malicokn solus.

Mai. Each dismal minute, when I call to mino* 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.

* During the cabals of the Council of Sixteen, the Duke of Auroale approached Paris with five hundred veteran horse, levied in the disaffected province of Picardy. Jean Conti, one of the sheriffs (Echnins) of Paris, was tampered with to admit tlicm 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 Autnale 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. Rut 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. Datila, lib. viii.

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.

Mai. 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.



Enter the Duke of Guise, and Duke of Mayenne.

May. All offices and dignities he gives
To your protest 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 Bayonnc with her,

« 上一頁繼續 »