British Dramatists from Dryden to Sheridan

By George Henry Nettleton; Arthur Eillicot Case | Go to book overview

GLEN. Oft has th' unconquered Caledonian sword
Widowed the north. The children of the slain
Come, as I hope, to meet their fathers' fate.
The monster war, with her infernal brood,

Loud yelling fury, and life-ending pain, 310
Are objects suited to Glenalvon's soul. Scorn is more grievous than the pains of death:
Reproach more piercing than the pointed sword.

LADY R. I scorn thee not, but when I ought to scorn;

Nor e'er reproach, but when insulted virtue 315
Against audacious vice asserts herself. I own thy worth, Glenalvon; none more apt
Than I to praise thine eminence in arms,
And be the echo of thy martial fame.
No longer vainly feed a guilty passion: 320
Go and pursue a lawful mistress, Glory. Upon the Danish crests redeem thy fault,
And let thy valor be the shield of Randolph.

GLEN. One instant stay, and hear an altered man.

When beauty pleads for virtue, vice abashed 325
Flies its own colors, and goes o'er to virtue. I am your convert; time will show how truly:
Yet one immediate proof I mean to give.
That youth, for whom your ardent zeal to-day
Somewhat too haughtily defied your slave, 330
Amidst the shock of armies I'll defend, And turn death from him with a guardian arm.
Sedate by use, my bosom maddens not
At the tumultuous uproar of the field.

LADY R. Act thus, Glenalvon, and I am thy

friend: 335
But that's thy least reward. Believe me, sir, The truly generous is the truly wise;
And he who loves not others lives unblest.

Exit LADY RANDOLPH.

GLENALVON solus.

[GLEN.] Amen! and virtue is its own reward! --

I think that I have hit the very tone 340
In which she loves to speak. Honeyed assent, How pleasing art thou to the taste of man,
And woman also! Flattery direct
Rarely disgusts. They little know mankind
Who doubt its operation: 'tis my key, 345
And opes the wicket of the human heart. How far I have succeeded now, I know not:
Yet I incline to think her stormy virtue
Is lulled awhile. 'Tis her alone I fear:
Whilst she and Randolph live, and live in faith 350
And amity, uncertain is my tenure. Fate o'er my head suspends disgrace and death,
By that weak hair, a peevish female's will.
I am not idle: but the ebbs and flows
Of fortune's tide cannot be calculated. 355
That slave of Norval's I have found most apt: I showed him gold, and he has pawned his soul
To say and swear whatever I suggest.
Norval, I'm told, has that alluring look,
'Twixt man and woman, which I have observed 360
To charm the nicer1 and fantastic dames,
Who are, like Lady Randolph, full of virtue.
In raising Randolph's jealousy, I may
But point him to the truth. He seldom errs,
Who thinks the worst he can of womankind. 365

[Exit.]


ACT IV

[A court, etc., as before.]

Flourish of trumpets.

Enter LORD RANDOLPHattended.

LORD R. Summon an hundred horse, by break of day,
To wait our pleasure at the castle gate.

Enter LADY RANDOLPH.

LADY R. Alas! my lord! I've heard unwelcome news;
The Danes are landed.

LORD R. Ay, no inroad this

Of the Northumbrian, bent to take a spoil: 5
No sportive war, no tournament essay Of some young knight resolved to break a spear,
And stain with hostile blood his maiden arms.
The Danes are landed: we must beat them back,
Or live the slaves of Denmark.

LADY R. Dreadful times! 10

LORD R. The fenceless2 villages are all forsaken;
The trembling mothers, and their children, lodged
In wall-girt towers and castles, whilst the men
Retire indignant. Yet, like broken waves,

They but retire more awful to return. 15

LADY R. Immense, as fame reports, the Danish host!

LORD R. Were it as numerous as loud fame reports,
An army knit like ours would pierce it through:
Brothers, that shrink not from each other's side,

And fond companions, fill our warlike files: 20
For his dear offspring, and the wife he loves,
The husband and the fearless father arm.
In vulgar breasts heroic ardor burns,
And the poor peasant mates3 his daring lord.

LADY R. Men's minds are tempered, like their

swords, for war; 25
Lovers of danger, on destruction's brink
They joy to rear erect their daring forms.
Hence, early graves; hence, the lone widow's life;
And the sad mothers' grief-embittered age. --

____________________
342] M pleasant.
ACT IV. 13] LD well-girt. (Here, as elsewhere, D depends on L, not on E.)
1
More fastidious,
2
Defenceless.
3
Rivals, matches.

-663-

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