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Read A Select Collection of Old English Plays Volume Viii Part 19

A Select Collection of Old English Plays is a web novel produced by Dodsley and Hazlitt.
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ACT III., SCENE I.

_Enter_ PRINCE JOHN, _and his Lords, with Soldiers_.

JOHN. Now is this comet shot into the sea, Or lies like slime upon the sullen earth.

Come, he is dead, else should we hear of him.

SAL. I know not what to think herein, my lord.

FITZ. Ely is not the man I took him for: I am afraid we shall have worse than he.

JOHN. Why, good Fitzwater, whence doth spring your fear.

FITZ. Him for his pride we justly have suppress’d; But prouder climbers are about to rise.

SAL. Name them, Fitzwater: know you any such?

JOHN. Fitzwater means not anything, I know; For if he did, his tongue would tell his heart.

FITZ. An argument of my free heart, my lord.

That lets the world be witness of my thought.

When I was taught, true dealing kept the school; Deeds were sworn partners with protesting words; We said and did; these say and never mean.

This upstart protestation of no proof– This, “I beseech you, sir, accept my love; Command me, use me; O, you are to blame, That do neglect, my everlasting zeal, My dear, my kind affect;” when (G.o.d can tell) A sudden puff of wind, a lightning flash, A bubble on the stream doth longer ‘dure, Than doth the purpose of their promise bide.

A shame upon this peevish, apish age, These crouching, hypocrite, dissembling times!

Well, well, G.o.d rid the patrons of these crimes Out of this land: I have an inward fear, This ill, well-seeming sin will be bought dear.

SAL. My Lord Fitzwater is inspired, I think.

JOHN. Ay, with some devil: let the old fool dote.

_Enter_ QUEEN MOTHER, CHESTER, SHERIFF _of Kent, Soldiers_.

QU. MO. From the pursuing of the hateful priest And bootless search of Ely are we come.

JOHN. And welcome is your sacred majesty; And, Chester, welcome too against your will.

CHES. Unwilling men come not without constraint; But uncompell’d comes Chester to this place, Telling thee, John, that thou art much to blame, To chase hence Ely, chancellor to the king; To set thy footsteps on the cloth of state, And seat thy body in thy brother’s throne.

SAL. Who should succeed the brother but the brother?

CHES. If one were dead, one should succeed the other.

QU. MO. My son is king, my son then ought to reign.

FITZ. One son is king; the state allows not twain.

SAL. The subjects many years the king have miss’d.

CHES. But subjects must not choose what king they list.

QU. MO. Richard hath conquer’d kingdoms in the east.

FITZ. A sign he will not lose this in the west.

SAL. By Salisbury’s honour, I will follow John.

CHES. So Chester will, to shun commotion.

QU. MO. Why, John shall be but Richard’s deputy.

FITZ. To that Fitzwater gladly doth agree.

And look to’t, lady, mind King Richard’s love; As you will answer’t, do the king no wrong.

QU. MO. Well-said, old Conscience, you keep still one song.

JOHN. In your contentious humours, n.o.ble lords, Peers and upholders of the English state, John silent stood, as one that did await What sentence ye determin’d for my life: But since you are agreed that I shall bear The weighty burthen of this kingdom’s state, Till the return of Richard our dread king, I do accept the charge, and thank ye all, That think me worthy of so great a place.

ALL. We all confirm you Richard’s deputy.

SAL. Now shall I plague proud Chester.

QU. MO. Sit you sure, Fitzwater.

CHES. For peace I yield to wrong.

JOHN. Now, old man, for your daughter.

FITZ. To see wrong rule, my eyes run streams of water.

[_A noise within_.

_Enter_ COLLIERS, _crying, A monster_!

COL. A monster! a monster! bring her out, Robin: a monster! a monster!

SAL. Peace, gaping fellow! know’st thou where thou art?

1ST COL. Why, I am in Kent, within a mile of Dover.

‘Sblood, where I am! peace, and a gaping fellow!

For all your dagger, wert not for your ging,[193]

I would knock my whipstock on your addle-head.

Come, out with the monster, Robin.

WITHIN. I come, I come. Help me, she scratches!

1ST COL. I’ll gee her the lash. Come out, ye bearded witch.

———-

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