Act the Second - Scene I
Enter the younger SPENSER and BALDOCK.
Seeing that our lord the Earl of Glocester's dead,
Which of the nobles dost thou mean to serve?
Y. Spen. Not Mortimer, nor any of his side,
Because the king and he are enemies.
Baldock, learn this of me: a factious lord
Shall hardly do himself good, much less us;
But he that hath the favour of a king
May with one word advance us while we live.
The liberal Earl of Cornwall is the man
On whose good fortune Spenser's hope depends.
Bald. What, mean you, then, to be his follower?
Y. Spen. No, his companion; for he loves me well,
And would have once preferr'd me to the king.
Bald. But he is banish'd; there's small hope of him.
Y. Spen. Ay, for a while; but, Baldock, mark the end.
A friend of mine told me in secrecy
That he's repeal'd and sent for back again;
And even now a post came from the court
With letters to our lady from the king;
And, as she read, she smil'd; which makes me think
It is about her lover Gaveston.
Bald. 'Tis like enough; for, since he was exil'd,
She neither walks abroad nor comes in sight.
But I had thought the match had been broke off,
And that his banishment had chang'd her mind.
Y. Spen. Our lady's first love is not wavering;
My life for thine, she will have Gaveston.
Bald. Then hope I by her means to be preferr'd,
Having read unto her since she was a child.
Y. Spen. Then, Baldock, you must cast the scholar off,
And learn to court it like a gentleman.
'Tis not a black coat and a little band,
A velvet-cap'd cloak, fac'd before with serge,
And smelling to a nosegay all the day,
Or holding of a napkin in your hand,
Or saying a long grace at a table's end,
Or making low legs to a nobleman,
Or looking downward, with your eye-lids close,
And saying, "Truly, an't may please your honour,"
Can get you any favour with great men:
You must be proud, bold, pleasant, resolute,
And now and then stab, as occasion serves.
Bald. Spenser, thou know'st I hate such formal toys,
And use them but of mere hypocrisy.
Mine old lord, whiles he liv'd, was so precise,
That he would take exceptions at my buttons,
And, being like pins' heads, blame me for the bigness;
Which made me curate-like in mine attire,
Though inwardly licentious enough,
And apt for any kind of villany.
I am none of these common pedants, I,
That cannot speak without propterea quod.
Y. Spen. But one of those that saith quando-quidem,
And hath a special gift to form a verb.
Bald. Leave off this jesting; here my lady comes.
Enter KING EDWARD'S Niece.
Niece. The grief for his exile was not so much
As is the joy of his returning home.
This letter came from my sweet Gaveston:
What need'st thou, love, thus to excuse thyself?
I know thou couldst not come and visit me. [Reads.
I will not long be from thee, though I die;—
This argues the entire love of my lord;— [Reads.
When I forsake thee, death seize on my heart!—
But stay thee here where Gaveston shall sleep. [Puts the letter into her bosom.
Now to the letter of my lord the king:
He wills me to repair unto the court,
And meet my Gaveston: why do I stay,
Seeing that he talks thus of my marriage day?—
Who's there? Baldock!
See that my coach be ready; I must hence.
Bald. It shall be done, madam.
Niece. And meet me at the park-pale presently [Exit Baldock.
Spenser, stay you, and bear me company,
For I have joyful news to tell thee of;
My lord of Cornwall is a-coming over,
And will be at the court as soon as we.
Y. Spen. I knew the king would have him home again.
Niece. If all things sort out, as I hope they will,
Thy service, Spenser, shall be thought upon.
Y. Spen. I humbly thank your ladyship.
Niece. Come, lead the way: I long till I am there. [Exeunt.