Act the Fourth - Scene VI
Enter the Abbot, Monks, KING EDWARD, the younger SPENSER, and BALDOCK (the three latter disguised).
Abbot. Have you no doubt, my lord; have you no fear:
As silent and as careful we will be
To keep your royal person safe with us,
Free from suspect, and fell invasion
Of such as have your majesty in chase,
Yourself, and those your chosen company,
As danger of this stormy time requires.
K. Edw. Father, thy face should harbour no deceit.
O, hadst thou ever been a king, thy heart,
Pierc'd deeply with sense of my distress,
Could not but take compassion of my state!
Stately and proud in riches and in train,
Whilom I was, powerful and full of pomp:
Have not in life or death made miserable?—
Come, Spenser,—come, Baldock,—come, sit down by me;
Make trial now of that philosophy
That in our famous nurseries of arts
Thou suck'dst from Plato and from Aristotle.—
Father, this life contemplative is heaven:
O, that I might this life in quiet lead!
But we, alas, are chas'd!—and you, my friends,
Your lives and my dishonour they pursue.—
Yet, gentle monks, for treasure, gold, nor fee,
Do you betray us and our company.
First Monk. Your grace may sit secure, if none but we
Do wot of your abode.
Y. Spen. Not one alive: but shrewdly I suspect
A gloomy fellow in a mead below;
'A gave a long look after us, my lord;
And all the land, I know, is up in arms,
Arms that pursue our lives with deadly hate.
Bald. We were embark'd for Ireland; wretched we,
With awkward winds and with sore tempests driven,
To fall on shore, and here to pine in fear
Of Mortimer and his confederates!
K. Edw. Mortimer! who talks of Mortimer?
Who wounds me with the name of Mortimer,
That bloody man?—Good father, on thy lap
Lay I this head, laden with mickle care.
O, might I never ope these eyes again,
Never again lift up this drooping head,
O, never more lift up this dying heart!
Y. Spen. Look up, my lord.—Baldock, this drowsiness
Betides no good; here even we are betray'd.
Enter, with Welsh hooks, RICE AP HOWEL, a Mower, and LEICESTER.
Mow. Upon my life, these be the men ye seek.
Rice. Fellow, enough.—My lord, I pray, be short;
A fair commission warrants what we do.
Leices. The queen's commission, urg'd by Mortimer:
What cannot gallant Mortimer with the queen?—
Alas, see where he sits, and hopes unseen
T'escape their hands that seek to reave his life!
Too true it is, Quem dies vidit veniens superbum,
Hunc dies vidit fugiens jacentem.
But, Leicester, leave to grow so passionate.—
Spenser and Baldock, by no other names,
I arrest you of high treason here.
Stand not on titles, but obey th' arrest:
'Tis in the name of Isabel the queen.—
My lord, why droop you thus?
K. Edw. O day, the last of all my bliss on earth!
Centre of all misfortune! O my stars,
Why do you lour unkindly on a king?
Comes Leicester, then, in Isabella's name,
To take my life, my company from me?
Here, man, rip up this panting breast of mine,
And take my heart in rescue of my friends.
Rice. Away with them!
Y. Spen. It may become thee yet
To let us take our farewell of his grace.
Abbott. My heart with pity earns to see this sight;
A king to bear these words and proud commands! [Aside.
K. Edw. Spenser, ah, sweet Spenser, thus, then, must we part?
Y. Spen. We must, my lord; so will the angry heavens.
K. Edw. Nay, so will hell and cruel Mortimer:
The gentle heavens have not to do in this.
Bald. My lord, it is in vain to grieve or storm.
Here humbly of your grace we take our leaves:
Our lots are cast; I fear me, so is thine.
K. Edw. In heaven we may, in earth ne'er shall we meet:—
And, Leicester, say, what shall become of us?
Leices. Your majesty must go to Killingworth.
K. Edw. Must! it is somewhat hard when kings must go.
Leices. Here is a litter ready for your grace,
That waits your pleasure, and the day grows old.
Rice. As good be gone, as stay and be benighted.
K. Edw. A litter hast thou? lay me in a hearse,
And to the gates of hell convey me hence;
Let Pluto's bells ring out my fatal knell,
And hags howl for my death at Charon's shore;
For friends hath Edward none but these,
And these must die under a tyrant's sword.
Rice. My lord, be going: care not for these;
For we shall see them shorter by the heads.
K. Edw. Well, that shall be shall be: part we must;
Sweet Spenser, gentle Baldock, part we must.—
Hence, feigned weeds! unfeigned are my woes.— [Throwing off his disguise.
Father, farewell.—Leicester, thou stay'st for me;
And go I must.—Life, farewell, with my friends! [Exeunt King Edward and Leicester.
Y. Spen. O, is he gone? is noble Edward gone?
Parted from hence, never to see us more!
Rend, sphere of heaven! and, fire, forsake thy orb!
Earth, melt to air! gone is my sovereign,
Gone, gone, alas, never to make return!
Bald. Spenser, I see our souls are fleeting hence;
We are depriv'd the sunshine of our life.
Make for a new life, man; throw up thy eyes
And heart and hand to heaven's immortal throne;
Pay nature's debt with cheerful countenance;
Reduce we all our lessons unto this,—
To die, sweet Spenser, therefore live we all;
Spenser, all live to die, and rise to fall.
Rice. Come, come, keep these preachments till you come to
the place appointed. You, and such as you are, have
made wise work in England. Will your lordships away?
Mow. Your lordship I trust will remember me?
Rice. Remember thee, fellow! what else? Follow me to
the town. [Exeunt.