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While I, abandoned and forlorn,
To dark and dismal deserts borne,
Through lonely wilds have seemed to stray,
A long uncomfortable way.
They're phantoms all; I'll think no more;
My life has endless joys in store,
Farewell sorrow, farewell fear,
They're phantoms all! my Henry's here.
SCENE II-A Postern Gate of the Bower.
GRIDELINE and PAGE.
GRID. My stomach swells with secret spite,
To see my fickle, faithless knight,
With upright gesture, goodly mien,
Face of olive, coat of green,
That charmed the ladies long ago,
So little his own worth to know,
On a mere girl his thoughts to place,
With dimpled cheeks and baby face;
A child! a chit! that was not born
When I did town and court adorn.
PAGE. Can any man prefer fifteen
To venerable Grideline?
GRID. He does, my child: or tell me why
With weeping eyes so oft I spy
His whiskers curled, and shoe-strings tied,
A new Toledo by his side,
In shoulder-belt so trimly placed,
With band so nicely smoothed and laced.
PAGE. If Rosamond his garb has viewed,
The knight is false, the nymph subdued.
GRID. My anxious boding heart divines
His falsehood by a thousand signs:
Oft o'er the lonely rocks he walks,
And to the foolish echo talks;
Oft in the glass he rolls his eye,
But turns and frowns if I am by;
Then my fond easy heart beguiles,
And thinks of Rosamond, and smiles.
PAGE. Well may you feel these soft alarms,
She has a heart-
PAGE. Your fears are too just.
Too plainly I've proved
He loves and is loved.
To be slain
By a barbarous swain,
That laughs at your pain.
GRID. How should I act? canst thou advise ?
PAGE. Open the gate if you are wise;
I, in an unsuspected hour,
May catch them dallying in the bower,
Perhaps their loose amours prevent,
And keep Sir Trusty innocent.
Thou art in truth
A forward youth,
Of wit and parts above thy age;
Thou know'st our sex.
Thou art a page.
PAGE. I'll do what I can
To surprise the false man.
GRID. Of such a faithful spy I've need:1
Go in, and if thy plot succeed,
O merciless fate!
Fair youth, thou may'st depend on this,
I'll pay thy service with a kiss.
GRID. sola. Prithee, Cupid, no more
Hurl thy darts at threescore;
To thy girls and thy boys
Give thy pains and thy joys,
Let Sir Trusty and me
From thy frolics be free.
Oh the soft, delicious view,
Ever charming, ever new!
Greens of various shades arise,
Decked with flowers of various dyes:
Paths by meeting paths are crost,
Alleys in winding alleys lost;
An opening scene discovers another view of the bower.
Fountains playing through the trees,
Give coolness to the passing breeze.
A thousand fairy scenes appear,
Here a grove, a grotto here,
Here a rock, and here a stream,
All a vision, all a dream!
QUEEN and PAGE.
QUEEN. At length the bowery vaults appear!
My bosom heaves, and pants with fear:
A thousand checks my heart control,
A thousand terrors shake my soul.
PAGE. Behold the brazen gate unbarred!
-She's fixt in thought, I am not heard-[Apart. QUEEN. I see, I see my hands embrued
In purple streams of reeking blood:
I see the victim gasp for breath,
And start in agonies of death:
I see my raging, dying lord,
And oh, I see myself abhorred!
PAGE. My eyes o'erflow, my heart is rent
To hear Britannia's queen lament. [Aside.
QUEEN. What shall my trembling soul pursue?
PAGE. Behold, great queen, the place in view!
QUEEN. Ye powers, instruct me what to do!
That bower will show
The guilty foe.
QUEEN. It is decreed-it shall be so; [After a pause.
I cannot see my lord repine,
(Oh that I could call him mine!)
Why have not they most charms to move,
Whose bosoms burn with purest love?
PAGE. Her heart with rage and fondness glows.
O jealousy, thou hell of woes! [Aside.
That conscious scene of love contains
The fatal cause of all your pains;
In yonder flowery vale she lies,
Where those fair-blossomed arbours rise.
Let us haste to destroy
Her guilt and her joy.
Wild and frantic is my grief!
Heaven, in pity send relief!
The pangs of love,
Ye powers, remove,
Love and despair
What heart can bear?
Ease my soul, or strike me dead!
SCENE V.-The Scene changes to the Pavilion as before. ROSAMOND, sola.
Transporting pleasure! who can tell it!
When our longing eyes discover
The kind, the dear approaching lover,
Who can utter or conceal it!
A sudden motion shakes the grove:
I hear the steps of him I love;
Prepare, my soul, to meet thy bliss!
-Death to my eyes; what sight is this?
The queen, the offended
-Open, O earth! and swallow me!
Enter to her the QUEEN, with a Bowl in one hand, and a Dagger in the other.
QUEEN. Thus armed with double death I come :
Behold, vain wretch, behold thy doom!
Thy crimes to their full period tend,
And soon by this, or this, shall end.
ROSA. What shall I say, or how reply
To threats of injured majesty?
QUEEN. 'Tis guilt that does thy tongue control.
Or quickly drain the fatal bowl,
Or this right hand performs its part,
And plants a dagger in thy heart.
ROSA. Can Britain's queen give such commands,
Or dip in blood those sacred hands?
In her shall such revenge be seen
Far be that from Britain's queen!
QUEEN. How black does my design appear!
Was ever mercy so severe ? [Aside.
ROSA. When tides of youthful blood run high,
And scenes of promised joys are nigh,
Oh how dreadful 'tis to die!
QUEEN. To those whom foul dishonours stain,
Life itself should be a pain.
ROSA. Who could resist great Henry's charms,
And drive the hero from her arms?
Think on the soft, the tender fires,
Melting thoughts, and
That in your own warm bosom rise,
When languishing with love-sick eyes
That great, that charming man you see:
Think on yourself, and pity me!
QUEEN. And dost thou thus thy guilt deplore?
[Offering the dagger to her breast.
Presumptuous woman, plead no more!
Rosa. O queen, your lifted arm restrain!
Behold these tears!
They flow in vain.
ROSA. Look with compassion on my fate.
O hear my sighs!
They rise too late.
Hope not a day's, an hour's reprieve.
ROSA. Though I live wretched, let me live.
In some deep dungeon let me lie,
Covered from every human eye,
Banished the day, debarred the light;
Where shades of everlasting night
May this unhappy face disarm,
And cast a veil o'er every charm:
Offended Heaven I'll there adore,
Nor see the sun, nor Henry more.
QUEEN. Moving language, shining tears,
Glowing guilt, and graceful fears,