British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview
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THE TRAGEDY OF JANE SHORE

WRITTEN IN IMITATION OF
SHAKESPEARE'S STYLE

BY NICHOLAS ROWE

...Conjux ubi pristinus illi Respondet curis. VIRG.1


ACT I

SCENE I

The Tower.

Enter the DUKE OF GLOSTER, SIR RICHARD RATCLIFFE, AND CATESBY.

GLOST. Thus far success attends upon our coun-cils,
And each event has answered to my wish;
The queen2 and all her upstart race are quelled;
Dorset3 is banished, and her brother Rivers4

Ere this lies shorter by the head at Pomfret. 5
The nobles have with joint concurrence named me Protector of the realm. My brother's children,
Young Edward and the little York, are lodged
Here, safe within the Tower. How say you, sirs,
Does not this business wear a lucky face? 10
The scepter and the golden wreath of royalty Seem hung within my reach.

RAT. Then take 'em to you
And wear them long and worthily; you are
The last remaining male of princely York:
(For Edward's boys, the state esteems not of

'em) 15
And therefore on your sovereignty and rule The commonweal does her dependence make,
And leans upon your highness' able hand.

CAT. And yet tomorrow does the council meet

To fix a day for Edward's coronation: 20
Who can expound this riddle?

GLOST. That can I. Those lords are each one my approved, good friends.
Of special trust and nearness to my bosom:
And howsoever busy they may seem,

And diligent to bustle in the state, 25
Their zeal goes on no farther than we lead,

And at our bidding stays.

CAT. Yet there is one,
And he amongst the foremost in his power,
Of whom I wish your highness were assured:

For me -- perhaps it is my nature's fault -- 30
[I] own, I doubt of his inclining, much.

GLOST. I guess the man at whom your words would point:

Hastings --

CAT. The same.

GLOST. He bears me great good will.

CAT. 'Tis true, to you, as to the Lord Protector

And Gloster's duke, he bows with lowly service: 35
But were he bid to cry, ' God save King Richard,' Then tell me in what terms he would reply.
Believe me, I have proved the man and found him
I know he bears a most religious reverence
To his dead master Edward's royal memory, 40
And whither that may lead him is most plain; Yet more -- one of that stubborn sort he is
Who, if they once grow fond of an opinion,
They call it honor, honesty, and faith,
And sooner part with life than let it go. 45

GLOST. And yet, this tough, impracticable heart Is governed by a dainty-fingered girl.
Such flaws are found in the most worthy natures;
A laughing, toying, wheedling, whimpering she

Shall make him amble on a gossip's message, 50
And take the distaff with a hand as patient As e'er did Hercules.

RAT. The fair Alicia,5 Of noble birth and exquisite of feature,
Has held him long a vassal to her beauty.

CAT. I fear he fails in his allegiance there; 55
Or my intelligence is false, or else
The dame has been too lavish of her feast,
And fed him 'till he loathes.

GLOST. NO more; he comes,

Enter LORD HASTING.

L. HAST. Health and the happiness of many days Attend upon your grace.

____________________
1
'Where her former husband responds to her sorrows.'

( Æneid, vi. 473, 474.)

2
Elizabeth Woodville, widow of Edward IV and mother of Edward V.
3
Thomas Gray, Marquis of Dorset, son of Elizabeth Wood-
ville by her first marriage.
4
Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers.
5
There is no historical warrant for this character in the play.

-509-

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