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SCENE I.--ALDGATE RICHLY DECORATED.
MARSHALMAN. Stand back, keep a clear lane! When will her Majesty pass, sayst thou? why now, even now; wherefore draw back your heads and your horns before I break them, and make what noise you will with your tongues, so it be not treason. Long live Queen Mary, the lawful and legitimate daughter of Harry the Eighth! Shout, knaves!
CITIZENS. Long live Queen Mary!
FIRST CITIZEN. That's a hard word, legitimate; what does it mean?
SECOND CITIZEN. It means a bastard.
THIRD CITIZEN. Nay, it means true-born.
FIRST CITIZEN. Why, didn't the Parliament make her a bastard?
SECOND CITIZEN. No; it was the Lady Elizabeth.
THIRD CITIZEN. That was after, man; that was after.
FIRST CITIZEN. Then which is the bastard?
SECOND CITIZEN. Troth, they be both bastards by Act of Parliament and Council.
THIRD CITIZEN. Ay, the Parliament can make every true-born man of us a bastard. Old Nokes, can't it make thee a bastard? thou shouldst know, for thou art as white as three Christmasses.
OLD NOKES (dreamily). Who's a-passing? King Edward or King Richard?
THIRD CITIZEN. No, old Nokes.
OLD NOKES. It's Harry!
THIRD CITIZEN. It's Queen Mary.
OLD NOKES. The blessed Mary's a-passing! [Falls on his knees.
NOKES. Let father alone, my masters! he's past your questioning.
THIRD CITIZEN. Answer thou for him, then thou'rt no such cockerel thyself, for thou was born i' the tail end of old Harry the Seventh.
NOKES. Eh! that was afore bastard-making began. I was born true man at five in the forenoon i' the tail of old Harry, and so they can't make me a bastard.
THIRD CITIZEN. But if Parliament can make the Queen a bastard, why, it follows all the more that they can make thee one, who art fray'd i' the knees, and out at elbow, and bald o' the back, and bursten at the toes, and down at heels.
NOKES. I was born of a true man and a ring'd wife, and I can't argue upon it; but I and my old woman 'ud burn upon it, that would we.
MARSHALMAN. What are you cackling of bastardy under the Queen's own nose? I'll have you flogg'd and burnt too, by the Rood I will.
FIRST CITIZEN. He swears by the Rood. Whew!
SECOND CITIZEN. Hark! the trumpets.
[The Procession passes, MARY and ELIZABETH riding side by side, and disappears under the gate.
CITIZENS. Long live Queen Mary! down with all traitors! God save her Grace; and death to Northumberland! [Exeunt.
Manent TWO GENTLEMEN.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. By God's light a noble creature, right royal!
SECOND GENTLEMAN. She looks comelier than ordinary to-day; but to my mind the Lady Elizabeth is the more noble and royal.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. I mean the Lady Elizabeth. Did you hear (I have a daughter in her service who reported it) that she met the Queen at Wanstead with five hundred horse, and the Queen (tho' some say they be much divided) took her hand, call'd her sweet sister, and kiss'd not her alone, but all the ladies of her following.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Ay, that was in her hour of joy; there will be plenty to sunder and unsister them again: this Gardiner for one, who is to be made Lord Chancellor, and will pounce like a wild beast out of his cage to worry Cranmer.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. And furthermore, my daughter said that when there rose a talk of the late rebellion, she spoke even of Northumberland pitifully, and of the good Lady Jane as a poor innocent child who had but obeyed her father; and furthermore, she said that no one in her time should be burnt for heresy.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Well, sir, I look for happy times.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. There is but one thing against them. I know not if you know.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. I suppose you touch upon the rumour that Charles, the master of the world, has offer'd her his son Philip, the Pope and the Devil. I trust it is but a rumour.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. She is going now to the Tower to loose the prisoners there, and among them Courtenay, to be made Earl of Devon, of royal blood, of splendid feature, whom the council and all her people wish her to marry. May it be so, for we are many of us Catholics, but few Papists, and the Hot Gospellers will go mad upon it.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. Was she not betroth'd in her babyhood to the Great Emperor himself?
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Ay, but he's too old.
SECOND GENTLEMAN. And again to her cousin Reginald Pole, now Cardinal; but I hear that he too is full of aches and broken before his day.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. O, the Pope could dispense with his Cardinalate, and his achage, and his breakage, if that were all: will you not follow the procession?
SECOND GENTLEMAN. No; I have seen enough for this day.
FIRST GENTLEMAN. Well, I shall follow; if I can get near enough I shall judge with my own eyes whether her Grace incline to this splendid scion of Plantagenet.
SCENE II.--A ROOM IN LAMBETH PALACE.
CRANMER. To Strasburg, Antwerp, Frankfort, Zurich, Worms, Geneva, Basle--our Bishops from their sees Or fled, they say, or flying--Poinet, Barlow, Bale, Scory, Coverdale; besides the Deans Of Christchurch, Durham, Exeter, and Wells-- Ailmer and Bullingham, and hundreds more; So they report: I shall be left alone. No: Hooper, Ridley, Latimer will not fly.
Enter PETER MARTYR.
PETER MARTYR. Fly, Cranmer! were there nothing else, your name Stands first of those who sign'd the Letters Patent That gave her royal crown to Lady Jane.
CRANMER. Stand first it may, but it was written last: Those that are now her Privy Council, sign'd Before me: nay, the Judges had pronounced That our young Edward might bequeath the crown Of England, putting by his father's will. Yet I stood out, till Edward sent for me. The wan boy-king, with his fast-fading eyes Fixt hard on mine, his frail transparent hand, Damp with the sweat of death, and griping mine, Whisper'd me, if I loved him, not to yield His Church of England to the Papal wolf And Mary; then I could no more--I sign'd. Nay, for bare shame of inconsistency, She cannot pass her traitor council by, To make me headless.
PETER MARTYR. That might be forgiven. I tell you, fly, my Lord. You do not own The bodily presence in the Eucharist, Their wafer and perpetual sacrifice: Your creed will be your death.
CRANMER. Step after step, Thro' many voices crying right and left, Have I climb'd back into the primal church, And stand within the porch, and Christ with me: My flight were such a scandal to the faith, The downfall of so many simple souls, I dare not leave my post.
PETER MARTYR. But you divorced Queen Catharine and her father; hence, her hate Will burn till you are burn'd.
CRANMER. I cannot help it. The Canonists and Schoolmen were with me. 'Thou shalt not wed thy brother's wife.'--'Tis written, 'They shall be childless.' True, Mary was born, But France would not accept her for a bride As being born from incest; and this wrought Upon the king; and child by child, you know, Were momentary sparkles out as quick Almost as kindled; and he brought his doubts And fears to me. Peter, I'll swear for him He did believe the bond incestuous. But wherefore am I trenching on the time That should already have seen your steps a mile From me and Lambeth? God be with you! Go.
PETER MARTYR. Ah, but how fierce a letter you wrote against Their superstition when they slander'd you For setting up a mass at Canterbury To please the Queen.
CRANMER. It was a wheedling monk Set up the mass.
PETER MARTYR. I know it, my good Lord. But you so bubbled over with hot terms Of Satan, liars, blasphemy, Antichrist, She never will forgive you. Fly, my Lord, fly!
CRANMER. I wrote it, and God grant me power to burn!
PETER MARTYR. They have given me a safe conduct: for all that I dare not stay. I fear, I fear, I see you, Dear friend, for the last time; farewell, and fly.
CRANMER. Fly and farewell, and let me die the death. [Exit PETER MARTYR.
Enter OLD SERVANT.
O, kind and gentle master, the Queen's Officers Are here in force to take you to the Tower.
CRANMER. Ay, gentle friend, admit them. I will go. I thank my God it is too late to fly.
SCENE III.--ST. PAUL'S CROSS.
FATHER BOURNE in the pulpit. A CROWD. MARCHIONESS OF EXETER, COURTENAY. The SIEUR DE NOAILLES and his man ROGER in front of the stage. Hubbub.
NOAILLES. Hast thou let fall those papers in the palace?
ROGER. Ay, sir.
NOAILLES. 'There will be no peace for Mary till Elizabeth lose her head.'
ROGER. Ay, sir.
NOAILLES. And the other, 'Long live Elizabeth the Queen!'
ROGER. Ay, sir; she needs must tread upon them.
NOAILLES. Well. These beastly swine make such a grunting here, I cannot catch what Father Bourne is saying.
ROGER. Quiet a moment, my masters; hear what the shaveling has to say for himself.
BOURNE.--and so this unhappy land, long divided in itself, and sever'd from the faith, will return into the one true fold, seeing that our gracious Virgin Queen hath----
CROWD. No pope! no pope!
ROGER (to those about him, mimicking BOURNE).--hath sent for the holy legate of the holy father the Pope, Cardinal Pole, to give us all that holy absolution which----
FIRST CITIZEN. Old Bourne to the life!
SECOND CITIZEN. Holy absolution! holy Inquisition!
THIRD CITIZEN. Down with the Papist! [Hubbub.
BOURNE.--and now that your good bishop, Bonner, who hath lain so long under bonds for the faith-- [Hubbub.
NOAILLES. Friend Roger, steal thou in among the crowd, And get the swine to shout Elizabeth. Yon gray old Gospeller, sour as midwinter, Begin with him.
ROGER (goes). By the mass, old friend, we'll have no pope here while the Lady Elizabeth lives.
GOSPELLER. Art thou of the true faith, fellow, that swearest by the mass?
ROGER. Ay, that am I, new converted, but the old leaven sticks to my tongue yet.
FIRST CITIZEN. He says right; by the mass we'll have no mass here.
VOICES OF THE CROWD. Peace! hear him; let his own words damn the Papist. From thine own mouth I judge thee--tear him down!
BOURNE.--and since our Gracious Queen, let me call her our second Virgin Mary, hath begun to re-edify the true temple----,
FIRST CITIZEN. Virgin Mary! we'll have no virgins here--we'll have the Lady Elizabeth!
[Swords are drawn, a knife is hurled and sticks in the pulpit. The mob throng to the pulpit stairs.
MARCHIONESS OF EXETER. Son Courtenay, wilt thou see the holy father Murdered before thy face? up, son, and save him! They love thee, and thou canst not come to harm.
COURTENAY (in the pulpit). Shame, shame, my masters! are you English-born, And set yourselves by hundreds against one?
CROWD. A Courtenay! a Courtenay!
[A train of Spanish servants crosses at the back of the stage.
NOAILLES. These birds of passage come before their time: Stave off the crowd upon the Spaniard there.
ROGER. My masters, yonder's fatter game for you Than this old gaping gurgoyle: look you there-- The Prince of Spain coming to wed our Queen! After him, boys! and pelt him from the city.
[They seize stones and follow the Spaniards. Exeunt on the other side MARCHIONESS OF EXETER and ATTENDANTS.
NOAILLES (to ROGER). Stand from me. If Elizabeth lose her head-- That makes for France. And if her people, anger'd thereupon, Arise against her and dethrone the Queen-- That makes for France. And if I breed confusion anyway-- That makes for France. Good-day, my Lord of Devon; A bold heart yours to beard that raging mob!
COURTENAY. My mother said, Go up; and up I went. I knew they would not do me any wrong, For I am mighty popular with them, Noailles.
NOAILLES. You look'd a king.
COURTENAY. Why not? I am king's blood.
NOAILLES. And in the whirl of change may come to be one.
NOAILLES. But does your gracious Queen entreat you kinglike?
COURTENAY. 'Fore God, I think she entreats me like a child.
NOAILLES. You've but a dull life in this maiden court, I fear, my Lord?
COURTENAY. A life of nods and yawns.
NOAILLES. So you would honour my poor house to-night, We might enliven you. Divers honest fellows, The Duke of Suffolk lately freed from prison, Sir Peter Carew and Sir Thomas Wyatt, Sir Thomas Stafford, and some more--we play.
COURTENAY. At what?
NOAILLES. The Game of Chess.
COURTENAY. The Game of Chess! I can play well, and I shall beat you there.
NOAILLES. Ay, but we play with Henry, King of France, And certain of his court. His Highness makes his moves across the Channel, We answer him with ours, and there are messengers That go between us.
COURTENAY. Why, such a game, sir, were whole years a playing.
NOAILLES. Nay; not so long I trust. That all depends Upon the skill and swiftness of the players.
COURTENAY. The King is skilful at it?
NOAILLES. Very, my Lord.
COURTENAY. And the stakes high?
NOAILLES. But not beyond your means.
COURTENAY. Well, I'm the first of players, I shall win.
NOAILLES. With our advice and in our company, And so you well attend to the king's moves, I think you may.
COURTENAY. When do you meet?
COURTENAY (aside). I will be there; the fellow's at his tricks-- Deep--I shall fathom him. (Aloud) Good morning, Noailles. [Exit COURTENAY.
NOAILLES. Good-day, my Lord. Strange game of chess! a King That with her own pawns plays against a Queen, Whose play is all to find herself a King. Ay; but this fine blue-blooded Courtenay seems Too princely for a pawn. Call him a Knight, That, with an ass's, not a horse's head, Skips every way, from levity or from fear. Well, we shall use him somehow, so that Gardiner And Simon Renard spy not out our game Too early. Roger, thinkest thou that anyone Suspected thee to be my man?
ROGER. Not one, sir.
NOAILLES. No! the disguise was perfect. Let's away. [Exeunt.
SCENE IV.--LONDON. A ROOM IN THE PALACE. ELIZABETH. Enter COURTENAY.
COURTENAY. So yet am I, Unless my friends and mirrors lie to me, A goodlier-looking fellow than this Philip. Pah! The Queen is ill advised: shall I turn traitor? They've almost talked me into it: yet the word Affrights me somewhat: to be such a one As Harry Bolingbroke hath a lure in it. Good now, my Lady Queen, tho' by your age, And by your looks you are not worth the having, Yet by your crown you are. [Seeing ELIZABETH. The Princess there? If I tried her and la--she's amorous. Have we not heard of her in Edward's time, Her freaks and frolics with the late Lord Admiral? I do believe she'd yield. I should be still A party in the state; and then, who knows--
ELIZABETH. What are you musing on, my Lord of Devon?
COURTENAY. Has not the Queen--
ELIZABETH. Done what, Sir?
COURTENAY. --made you follow The Lady Suffolk and the Lady Lennox?-- You, The heir presumptive.
ELIZABETH. Why do you ask? you know it.
COURTENAY. You needs must bear it hardly.
ELIZABETH. No, indeed! I am utterly submissive to the Queen.
COURTENAY. Well, I was musing upon that; the Queen Is both my foe and yours: we should be friends.
ELIZABETH. My Lord, the hatred of another to us Is no true bond of friendship.
COURTENAY. Might it not Be the rough preface of some closer bond?
ELIZABETH. My Lord, you late were loosed from out the Tower, Where, like a butterfly in a chrysalis, You spent your life; that broken, out you flutter Thro' the new world, go zigzag, now would settle Upon this flower, now that; but all things here At court are known; you have solicited The Queen, and been rejected.
COURTENAY. Flower, she! Half faded! but you, cousin, are fresh and sweet As the first flower no bee has ever tried.
ELIZABETH. Are you the bee to try me? why, but now I called you butterfly.
COURTENAY. You did me wrong, I love not to be called a butterfly: Why do you call me butterfly?
ELIZABETH. Why do you go so gay then?
COURTENAY. Velvet and gold. This dress was made me as the Earl of Devon To take my seat in; looks it not right royal?
ELIZABETH. So royal that the Queen forbad you wearing it.
COURTENAY. I wear it then to spite her.
ELIZABETH. My Lord, my Lord; I see you in the Tower again. Her Majesty Hears you affect the Prince--prelates kneel to you.--
COURTENAY. I am the noblest blood in Europe, Madam, A Courtenay of Devon, and her cousin.
ELIZABETH. She hears you make your boast that after all She means to wed you. Folly, my good Lord.
COURTENAY. How folly? a great party in the state Wills me to wed her.
ELIZABETH. Failing her, my Lord, Doth not as great a party in the state Will you to wed me?
COURTENAY. Even so, fair lady.
ELIZABETH. You know to flatter ladies.
COURTENAY. Nay, I meant True matters of the heart.
ELIZABETH. My heart, my Lord, Is no great party in the state as yet.
COURTENAY. Great, said you? nay, you shall be great. I love you, Lay my life in your hands. Can you be close?
ELIZABETH. Can you, my Lord?
COURTENAY. Close as a miser's casket. Listen: The King of France, Noailles the Ambassador, The Duke of Suffolk and Sir Peter Carew, Sir Thomas Wyatt, I myself, some others, Have sworn this Spanish marriage shall not be. If Mary will not hear us--well--conjecture-- Were I in Devon with my wedded bride, The people there so worship me--Your ear; You shall be Queen.
ELIZABETH. You speak too low, my Lord; I cannot hear you.
COURTENAY. I'll repeat it.
ELIZABETH. No! Stand further off, or you may lose your head.
COURTENAY. I have a head to lose for your sweet sake.
ELIZABETH. Have you, my Lord? Best keep it for your own. Nay, pout not, cousin. Not many friends are mine, except indeed Among the many. I believe you mine; And so you may continue mine, farewell, And that at once.
Enter MARY, behind.
MARY. Whispering--leagued together To bar me from my Philip.
ELIZABETH (seeing the QUEEN). Well, that's a noble horse of yours, my Lord. I trust that he will carry you well to-day, And heal your headache.
COURTENAY. You are wild; what headache? Heartache, perchance; not headache.
ELIZABETH (aside to COURTENAY). Are you blind?
[COURTENAY sees the QUEEN and exit. Exit MARY.
Enter LORD WILLIAM HOWARD.
HOWARD. Was that my Lord of Devon? do not you Be seen in corners with my Lord of Devon. He hath fallen out of favour with the Queen. She fears the Lords may side with you and him Against her marriage; therefore is he dangerous. And if this Prince of fluff and feather come To woo you, niece, he is dangerous everyway.
ELIZABETH. Not very dangerous that way, my good uncle.
HOWARD. But your own state is full of danger here. The disaffected, heretics, reformers, Look to you as the one to crown their ends. Mix not yourself with any plot I pray you; Nay, if by chance you hear of any such, Speak not thereof--no, not to your best friend, Lest you should be confounded with it. Still-- Perinde ac cadaver--as the priest says, You know your Latin--quiet as a dead body. What was my Lord of Devon telling you?
ELIZABETH. Whether he told me anything or not, I follow your good counsel, gracious uncle. Quiet as a dead body.
HOWARD. You do right well. I do not care to know; but this I charge you, Tell Courtenay nothing. The Lord Chancellor (I count it as a kind of virtue in him, He hath not many), as a mastiff dog May love a puppy cur for no more reason Than that the twain have been tied up together, Thus Gardiner--for the two were fellow-prisoners So many years in yon accursed Tower-- Hath taken to this Courtenay. Look to it, niece, He hath no fence when Gardiner questions him; All oozes out; yet him--because they know him The last White Rose, the last Plantagenet (Nay, there is Cardinal Pole, too), the people Claim as their natural leader--ay, some say, That you shall marry him, make him King belike.
ELIZABETH. Do they say so, good uncle?
HOWARD. Ay, good niece! You should be plain and open with me, niece. You should not play upon me.
ELIZABETH. No, good uncle.
GARDINER. The Queen would see your Grace upon the moment.
ELIZABETH. Why, my lord Bishop?
GARDINER. I think she means to counsel your withdrawing To Ashridge, or some other country house.
ELIZABETH. Why, my lord Bishop?
GARDINER. I do but bring the message, know no more. Your Grace will hear her reasons from herself.
ELIZABETH. 'Tis mine own wish fulfill'd before the word Was spoken, for in truth I had meant to crave Permission of her Highness to retire To Ashridge, and pursue my studies there.
GARDINER. Madam, to have the wish before the word Is man's good Fairy--and the Queen is yours. I left her with rich jewels in her hand, Whereof 'tis like enough she means to make A farewell present to your Grace.
ELIZABETH. My Lord, I have the jewel of a loyal heart.
GARDINER. I doubt it not, Madam, most loyal. [Bows low and exit.
HOWARD. See, This comes of parleying with my Lord of Devon. Well, well, you must obey; and I myself Believe it will be better for your welfare. Your time will come.
ELIZABETH. I think my time will come. Uncle, I am of sovereign nature, that I know, Not to be quell'd; and I have felt within me Stirrings of some great doom when God's just hour Peals--but this fierce old Gardiner--his big baldness, That irritable forelock which he rubs, His buzzard beak and deep-incavern'd eyes Half fright me.
HOWARD. You've a bold heart; keep it so. He cannot touch you save that you turn traitor; And so take heed I pray you--you are one Who love that men should smile upon you, niece. They'd smile you into treason--some of them.
ELIZABETH. I spy the rock beneath the smiling sea. But if this Philip, the proud Catholic prince, And this bald priest, and she that hates me, seek In that lone house, to practise on my life, By poison, fire, shot, stab--
HOWARD. They will not, niece. Mine is the fleet and all the power at sea-- Or will be in a moment. If they dared To harm you, I would blow this Philip and all Your trouble to the dogstar and the devil.
ELIZABETH. To the Pleiads, uncle; they have lost a sister.
HOWARD. But why say that? what have you done to lose her? Come, come, I will go with you to the Queen.
SCENE V.--A ROOM IN THE PALACE.
MARY with PHILIP'S miniature. ALICE.
MARY (kissing the miniature). Most goodly, King-like and an Emperor's son,-- A king to be,--is he not noble, girl?
ALICE. Goodly enough, your Grace, and yet, methinks, I have seen goodlier.
MARY. Ay; some waxen doll Thy baby eyes have rested on, belike; All red and white, the fashion of our land. But my good mother came (God rest her soul) Of Spain, and I am Spanish in myself, And in my likings.
ALICE. By your Grace's leave Your royal mother came of Spain, but took To the English red and white. Your royal father (For so they say) was all pure lily and rose In his youth, and like a lady.
MARY. O, just God! Sweet mother, you had time and cause enough To sicken of his lilies and his roses. Cast off, betray'd, defamed, divorced, forlorn! And then the King--that traitor past forgiveness, The false archbishop fawning on him, married The mother of Elizabeth--a heretic Ev'n as she is; but God hath sent me here To take such order with all heretics That it shall be, before I die, as tho' My father and my brother had not lived. What wast thou saying of this Lady Jane, Now in the Tower?
ALICE. Why, Madam, she was passing Some chapel down in Essex, and with her Lady Anne Wharton, and the Lady Anne Bow'd to the Pyx; but Lady Jane stood up Stiff as the very backbone of heresy. And wherefore bow ye not, says Lady Anne, To him within there who made Heaven and Earth? I cannot, and I dare not, tell your Grace What Lady Jane replied.
MARY. But I will have it.
ALICE. She said--pray pardon me, and pity her-- She hath harken'd evil counsel--ah! she said, The baker made him.
MARY. Monstrous! blasphemous! She ought to burn. Hence, thou (Exit ALICE). No--being traitor Her head will fall: shall it? she is but a child. We do not kill the child for doing that His father whipt him into doing--a head So full of grace and beauty! would that mine Were half as gracious! O, my lord to be, My love, for thy sake only. I am eleven years older than he is. But will he care for that? No, by the holy Virgin, being noble, But love me only: then the bastard sprout, My sister, is far fairer than myself. Will he be drawn to her? No, being of the true faith with myself. Paget is for him--for to wed with Spain Would treble England--Gardiner is against him; The Council, people, Parliament against him; But I will have him! My hard father hated me; My brother rather hated me than loved; My sister cowers and hates me. Holy Virgin, Plead with thy blessed Son; grant me my prayer: Give me my Philip; and we two will lead The living waters of the Faith again Back thro' their widow'd channel here, and watch The parch'd banks rolling incense, as of old, To heaven, and kindled with the palms of Christ!
Who waits, sir?
USHER. Madam, the Lord Chancellor.
MARY. Bid him come in. (Enter GARDINER.) Good morning, my good Lord.
GARDINER. That every morning of your Majesty May be most good, is every morning's prayer Of your most loyal subject, Stephen Gardiner.
MARY. Come you to tell me this, my Lord?
GARDINER. And more. Your people have begun to learn your worth. Your pious wish to pay King Edward's debts, Your lavish household curb'd, and the remission Of half that subsidy levied on the people, Make all tongues praise and all hearts beat for you. I'd have you yet more loved: the realm is poor, The exchequer at neap-tide: we might withdraw Part of our garrison at Calais.
MARY. Calais! Our one point on the main, the gate of France! I am Queen of England; take mine eyes, mine heart, But do not lose me Calais.
GARDINER. Do not fear it. Of that hereafter. I say your Grace is loved. That I may keep you thus, who am your friend And ever faithful counsellor, might I speak?
MARY. I can forespeak your speaking. Would I marry Prince Philip, if all England hate him? That is Your question, and I front it with another: Is it England, or a party? Now, your answer.
GARDINER. My answer is, I wear beneath my dress A shirt of mail: my house hath been assaulted, And when I walk abroad, the populace, With fingers pointed like so many daggers, Stab me in fancy, hissing Spain and Philip; And when I sleep, a hundred men-at-arms Guard my poor dreams for England. Men would murder me, Because they think me favourer of this marriage.
MARY. And that were hard upon you, my Lord Chancellor.
GARDINER. But our young Earl of Devon--
MARY. Earl of Devon? I freed him from the Tower, placed him at Court; I made him Earl of Devon, and--the fool-- He wrecks his health and wealth on courtesans, And rolls himself in carrion like a dog.
GARDINER. More like a school-boy that hath broken bounds, Sickening himself with sweets.
MARY. I will not hear of him. Good, then, they will revolt: but I am Tudor, And shall control them.
GARDINER. I will help you, Madam, Even to the utmost. All the church is grateful. You have ousted the mock priest, repulpited The shepherd of St. Peter, raised the rood again, And brought us back the mass. I am all thanks To God and to your Grace: yet I know well, Your people, and I go with them so far, Will brook nor Pope nor Spaniard here to play The tyrant, or in commonwealth or church.
MARY (showing the picture). Is this the face of one who plays the tyrant? Peruse it; is it not goodly, ay, and gentle?
GARDINER. Madam, methinks a cold face and a haughty. And when your Highness talks of Courtenay-- Ay, true--a goodly one. I would his life Were half as goodly (aside).
MARY. What is that you mutter?
GARDINER. Oh, Madam, take it bluntly; marry Philip, And be stepmother of a score of sons! The prince is known in Spain, in Flanders, ha! For Philip--
MARY. You offend us; you may leave us. You see thro' warping glasses.
GARDINER. If your Majesty--
MARY. I have sworn upon the body and blood of Christ I'll none but Philip.
GARDINER. Hath your Grace so sworn?
MARY. Ay, Simon Renard knows it.
GARDINER. News to me! It then remains for your poor Gardiner, So you still care to trust him somewhat less Than Simon Renard, to compose the event In some such form as least may harm your Grace.
MARY. I'll have the scandal sounded to the mud. I know it a scandal.
GARDINER. All my hope is now It may be found a scandal.
MARY. You offend us.
GARDINER (aside). These princes are like children, must be physick'd, The bitter in the sweet. I have lost mine office, It may be, thro' mine honesty, like a fool. [Exit.
MARY. Who waits?
USHER. The Ambassador from France, your Grace.
MARY (sits down). Bid him come in. Good morning, Sir de Noailles.
NOAILLES (entering). A happy morning to your Majesty.
MARY. And I should some time have a happy morning; I have had none yet. What says the King your master?
NOAILLES. Madam, my master hears with much alarm, That you may marry Philip, Prince of Spain-- Foreseeing, with whate'er unwillingness, That if this Philip be the titular king Of England, and at war with him, your Grace And kingdom will be suck'd into the war, Ay, tho' you long for peace; wherefore, my master, If but to prove your Majesty's goodwill, Would fain have some fresh treaty drawn between you.
MARY. Why some fresh treaty? wherefore should I do it? Sir, if we marry, we shall still maintain All former treaties with his Majesty. Our royal word for that! and your good master, Pray God he do not be the first to break them, Must be content with that; and so, farewell.
NOAILLES (going, returns). I would your answer had been other, Madam, For I foresee dark days.
MARY. And so do I, sir; Your master works against me in the dark. I do believe he holp Northumberland Against me.
NOAILLES. Nay, pure phantasy, your Grace. Why should he move against you?
MARY. Will you hear why? Mary of Scotland,--for I have not own'd My sister, and I will not,--after me Is heir of England; and my royal father, To make the crown of Scotland one with ours, Had mark'd her for my brother Edward's bride; Ay, but your king stole her a babe from Scotland In order to betroth her to your Dauphin. See then: Mary of Scotland, married to your Dauphin, Would make our England, France; Mary of England, joining hands with Spain, Would be too strong for France. Yea, were there issue born to her, Spain and we, One crown, might rule the world. There lies your fear. That is your drift. You play at hide and seek. Show me your faces!
NOAILLES. Madam, I am amazed: French, I must needs wish all good things for France. That must be pardon'd me; but I protest Your Grace's policy hath a farther flight Than mine into the future. We but seek Some settled ground for peace to stand upon.
MARY. Well, we will leave all this, sir, to our council. Have you seen Philip ever?
NOAILLES. Only once.
MARY. Is this like Philip?
NOAILLES. Ay, but nobler-looking.
MARY. Hath he the large ability of the Emperor?
NOAILLES. No, surely.
MARY. I can make allowance for thee, Thou speakest of the enemy of thy king.
NOAILLES. Make no allowance for the naked truth. He is every way a lesser man than Charles; Stone-hard, ice-cold--no dash of daring in him.
MARY. If cold, his life is pure.
NOAILLES. Why (smiling), no, indeed.
MARY. Sayst thou?
NOAILLES. A very wanton life indeed (smiling).
MARY. Your audience is concluded, sir.
You cannot Learn a man's nature from his natural foe.
USHER. The Ambassador of Spain, your Grace. [Exit.
Enter SIMON RENARD.
MARY (rising to meet him). Thou art ever welcome, Simon Renard. Hast thou Brought me the letter which thine Emperor promised Long since, a formal offer of the hand Of Philip?
RENARD. Nay, your Grace, it hath not reach'd me. I know not wherefore--some mischance of flood, And broken bridge, or spavin'd horse, or wave And wind at their old battle: he must have written.
MARY. But Philip never writes me one poor word. Which in his absence had been all my wealth. Strange in a wooer!
RENARD. Yet I know the Prince, So your king-parliament suffer him to land, Yearns to set foot upon your island shore.
MARY. God change the pebble which his kingly foot First presses into some more costly stone Than ever blinded eye. I'll have one mark it And bring it me. I'll have it burnish'd firelike; I'll set it round with gold, with pearl, with diamond. Let the great angel of the church come with him; Stand on the deck and spread his wings for sail! God lay the waves and strow the storms at sea, And here at land among the people! O Renard, I am much beset, I am almost in despair. Paget is ours. Gardiner perchance is ours; But for our heretic Parliament--
RENARD. O Madam, You fly your thoughts like kites. My master, Charles, Bad you go softly with your heretics here, Until your throne had ceased to tremble. Then Spit them like larks for aught I care. Besides, When Henry broke the carcase of your church To pieces, there were many wolves among you Who dragg'd the scatter'd limbs into their den. The Pope would have you make them render these; So would your cousin, Cardinal Pole; ill counsel! These let them keep at present; stir not yet This matter of the Church lands. At his coming Your star will rise.
MARY. My star! a baleful one. I see but the black night, and hear the wolf. What star?
RENARD. Your star will be your princely son, Heir of this England and the Netherlands! And if your wolf the while should howl for more, We'll dust him from a bag of Spanish gold. I do believe, I have dusted some already, That, soon or late, your Parliament is ours.
MARY. Why do they talk so foully of your Prince, Renard?
RENARD. The lot of Princes. To sit high Is to be lied about.
MARY. They call him cold, Haughty, ay, worse.
RENARD. Why, doubtless, Philip shows Some of the bearing of your blue blood--still All within measure--nay, it well becomes him.
MARY. Hath he the large ability of his father?
RENARD. Nay, some believe that he will go beyond him.
MARY. Is this like him?
RENARD. Ay, somewhat; but your Philip Is the most princelike Prince beneath the sun. This is a daub to Philip.
MARY. Of a pure life?
RENARD. As an angel among angels. Yea, by Heaven, The text--Your Highness knows it, 'Whosoever Looketh after a woman,' would not graze The Prince of Spain. You are happy in him there, Chaste as your Grace!
MARY. I am happy in him there.
RENARD. And would be altogether happy, Madam, So that your sister were but look'd to closer. You have sent her from the court, but then she goes, I warrant, not to hear the nightingales, But hatch you some new treason in the woods.
MARY. We have our spies abroad to catch her tripping, And then if caught, to the Tower.
RENARD. The Tower! the block! The word has turn'd your Highness pale; the thing Was no such scarecrow in your father's time. I have heard, the tongue yet quiver'd with the jest When the head leapt--so common! I do think To save your crown that it must come to this.
MARY. No, Renard; it must never come to this.
RENARD. Not yet; but your old Traitors of the Tower-- Why, when you put Northumberland to death, The sentence having past upon them all, Spared you the Duke of Suffolk, Guildford Dudley, Ev'n that young girl who dared to wear your crown?
MARY. Dared? nay, not so; the child obey'd her father. Spite of her tears her father forced it on her.
RENARD. Good Madam, when the Roman wish'd to reign, He slew not him alone who wore the purple, But his assessor in the throne, perchance A child more innocent than Lady Jane.
MARY. I am English Queen, not Roman Emperor.
RENARD. Yet too much mercy is a want of mercy, And wastes more life. Stamp out the fire, or this Will smoulder and re-flame, and burn the throne Where you should sit with Philip: he will not come Till she be gone.
MARY. Indeed, if that were true-- For Philip comes, one hand in mine, and one Steadying the tremulous pillars of the Church-- But no, no, no. Farewell. I am somewhat faint With our long talk. Tho' Queen, I am not Queen Of mine own heart, which every now and then Beats me half dead: yet stay, this golden chain-- My father on a birthday gave it me, And I have broken with my father--take And wear it as memorial of a morning Which found me full of foolish doubts, and leaves me As hopeful.
RENARD (aside). Whew--the folly of all follies Is to be love-sick for a shadow. (Aloud) Madam, This chains me to your service, not with gold, But dearest links of love. Farewell, and trust me, Philip is yours. [Exit.
MARY. Mine--but not yet all mine.
USHER. Your Council is in Session, please your Majesty.
MARY. Sir, let them sit. I must have time to breathe. No, say I come. (Exit USHER.) I won by boldness once. The Emperor counsell'd me to fly to Flanders. I would not; but a hundred miles I rode, Sent out my letters, call'd my friends together, Struck home and won. And when the Council would not crown me--thought To bind me first by oaths I could not keep, And keep with Christ and conscience--was it boldness Or weakness that won there? when I, their Queen, Cast myself down upon my knees before them, And those hard men brake into woman tears, Ev'n Gardiner, all amazed, and in that passion Gave me my Crown.
Girl; hast thou ever heard Slanders against Prince Philip in our Court?
ALICE. What slanders? I, your Grace; no, never.
ALICE. Never, your Grace.
MARY. See that you neither hear them nor repeat!
ALICE (aside). Good Lord! but I have heard a thousand such. Ay, and repeated them as often--mum! Why comes that old fox-Fleming back again?
RENARD. Madam, I scarce had left your Grace's presence Before I chanced upon the messenger Who brings that letter which we waited for-- The formal offer of Prince Philip's hand. It craves an instant answer, Ay or No.
MARY. An instant Ay or No! the Council sits. Give it me quick.
ALICE (stepping before her). Your Highness is all trembling.
MARY. Make way. [Exit into the Council Chamber.
ALICE. O, Master Renard, Master Renard, If you have falsely painted your fine Prince; Praised, where you should have blamed him, I pray God No woman ever love you, Master Renard. It breaks my heart to hear her moan at night As tho' the nightmare never left her bed.
RENARD. My pretty maiden, tell me, did you ever Sigh for a beard?
ALICE. That's not a pretty question.
RENARD. Not prettily put? I mean, my pretty maiden, A pretty man for such a pretty maiden.
ALICE. My Lord of Devon is a pretty man. I hate him. Well, but if I have, what then?
RENARD. Then, pretty maiden, you should know that whether A wind be warm or cold, it serves to fan A kindled fire.
ALICE. According to the song.
His friends would praise him, I believed 'em, His foes would blame him, and I scorn'd 'em, His friends--as Angels I received 'em, His foes--the Devil had suborn'd 'em.
RENARD. Peace, pretty maiden. I hear them stirring in the Council Chamber. Lord Paget's 'Ay' is sure--who else? and yet, They are all too much at odds to close at once In one full-throated No! Her Highness comes.
ALICE. How deathly pale!--a chair, your Highness [Bringing one to the QUEEN.
RENARD. Madam, The Council?
MARY. Ay! My Philip is all mine.
[Sinks into chair, half fainting.
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