GLEN. Thy virtue awes me. First of womankind!
Permit me yet to say, that the fond1 man
Whom love transports beyond strict virtue's
bounds, 220 If he is brought by love to misery, In fortune ruined, as in mind forlorn,
Unpitied cannot be. Pity's the alms
Which on such beggars freely is bestowed:
For mortals know that love is still their lord, 225 And o'er their vain resolves advances still, As fire, when kindled by our shepherds, moves
Through the dry heath before the fanning wind.
LADY R. Reserve these accents for some other ear.
To love's apology I listen not. 230 Mark thou my words; for it is meet thou should'st. His brave deliverer Randolph here retains.
Perhaps his presence may not please thee well:
But, at thy peril, practise aught against him:
Let not thy jealousy attempt to shake 235 And loosen the good root he has in Randolph; Whose favorites I know thou hast supplanted.
Thou look'st at me, as if thou fain would'st pry
Into my heart. 'Tis open as my speech.
I give this early caution, and put on 240 The curb, before thy temper breaks away. The friendless stranger my protection claims:
His friend I am, and be not thou his foe. Exit.
GLEN. Child that I was, to start at my own
And be the shallow fool of coward conscience! 245 I am not what I have been; what I should be. The darts of destiny have almost pierced
My marble heart. Had I one grain of faith
In holy legends, and religious tales,
I should conclude there was an arm above 250 That fought against me, and malignant turned; To catch myself, the subtle snare I set.
Why, rape and murder are not simple means!
Th' imperfect rape to Randolph gave a spouse;
And the intended murder introduced 255 A favorite to hide the sun from me; And, worst of all, a rival. Burning hell!
This were thy center, if I thought she loved him!
'Tis certain she contemns me; nay, commands me,
And waves the flag of her displeasure o'er me, 260 In his behalf. And shall I thus be braved? Curbed, as she calls it, by dame chastity?
Infernal fiends, if any fiends there are
More fierce than hate, ambition, and revenge,
Rise up and fill my bosom with your fires, 265 And policy remorseless! Chance may spoil A single aim; but perseverance must
Prosper at last. For chance and fate are words:
Persistive wisdom is the fate of man.
Darkly a project peers upon my mind, 270 Like the red moon when rising in the east, Crossed and divided by strange-colored clouds.
I'll seek the slave who came with Norval hither,
And for his cowardice was spurned from him.
I've known a follower's rankled bosom breed 275 Venom most fatal to his heedless lord. Exit.
A court, etc., as before.
ANNA. Thy vassals, Grief! great Nature's order
And change the noon-tide to the midnight hour.
Whilst Lady Randolph sleeps, I will walk forth,
And taste the air that breathes on yonder bank.
Sweet may her slumbers be! Ye ministers 5 Of gracious heaven who love the human race, Angels and seraphs who delight in goodness,
Forsake your skies, and to her couch descend!
There from her fancy chase those dismal forms
That haunt her waking; her sad spirit charm 10 With images celestial, such as please The blest above upon their golden beds.
SERV. One of the vile assassins is secured.
We found the villain lurking in the wood:
With dreadful imprecations he denies 15 All knowledge of the crime. But this is not His first essay: these jewels were concealed
In the most secret places of his garment;
Belike the spoils of some that he has murdered.
ANNA. Let me look on them! Ha! here is a heart, 20 The chosen crest of Douglas' valiant name! These are no vulgar2 jewels. -- Guard the wretch.
Enter Servants with a PRISONER.
PRISONER. I know no more than does the child
Of what you charge me with.
FIRST SERV. You say so, sir!
But torture soon shall make you speak the truth. 25 Behold, the lady of Lord Randolph comes: Prepare yourself to meet her just revenge.
Enter LADY RANDOLPH and ANNA.
ANNA. Summon your utmost fortitude, before
You speak with him. Your dignity, your fame,
Are now at stake. Think of the fatal secret, 30