a1r

Earl Goodwin,

An
Historical Play.


By
Ann Yearsley,
Milk-Woman, of Clifton, Near Bristol.

Performed with general applause at the Theatre-Royal, Bristol.

When first the dove forsook the Patriarch’s hand,

She ventur’d far to find some friendly land;

Like her, from frozen regions quickly hurl’d,

My nest shall be—the bosom of the world.

London:
Printed for G. G. J. and J. Robinson, Pater-Noster-Row.
1791M.DCC.XCI.

a1v a2r

To the
Right Honourable and Right Reverend
Frederick,
Earl of Bristol, Bishop of Derry, &c. &c.

My Lord,

Superstitious Zeal having been clad in the external
Loveliness of Truth, I have dared to disrobe the furious, yet
enchanting Hypocrite, whose Votaries are blind, and whose
Joy is Persecution: If I have failed, my Lord, pardon my
erring Judgement, and approve a Wish that exists not but in
the Endeavor to diffuse an Idea of active Virtue! Your
Example gives Force to my Thought; your exalted Sentiments
claim my Imitation.


With endless Gratitude, I am,


My Lord,


Your Lordship’s
Obliged and Obedient Servant,

Ann Yearsley.

a2v a3r

Preface.

Goodwin has been supported the most brilliant
Audiences, yet it is insinuated that “I have departed
from verity of character.”
Where is the proof? We are
assured the characters of individuals have been blackened,
nor those alone, but even the conduct of Kings, by the infernal
spirit of Party. In more early ages, the chain of
Superstition fell heavy on the people of England; learning
was confined within the cloister, among the frozen, yet
ambitious Monks; and the man who dared trust his reason
or his faith beyond priestly rule, was pronounced an alien to
God and Society. The vulgar drank of the cup of Calumny
from the hand of the furious Bigot, and gave the
burning draught to their generations. Such are the streams
which have too copiously flowed down to us. I will not
sand reproved for endeavouring to withdraw a character from
the malignant shade of ancient Malice! a character against which a3v
which no proof exists, except the legendary tales of Monks,
whose artful power Goodwin justly scorned. For his contempt
of absurd austerities and unholy slavery, has the memory
of this noble Earl been branded, himself accused, and the
rustic champion of his virtues illiberally attacked. Such
feeble efforts shall never arrest the generous current of my
thought, when I would defend an injured Reputation.


To the impartial Reader,
I am an obliged
and obedient Servant,

Ann Yearsley.

a4r

Prologue
To the Historical Play of Earl Goodwin.

This night, from nature’s wildest scene, appears

A Muse abash’d, and trembling with her fears:

No pow’r she brings to break your critic laws,

No witless patron thunders in her cause;

Yet truth and nature on their pinions wait,

To guide your judgment, and decide her fate.

’Mid yon deep vale Lactilla rov’d unknown,

With fancy’d joy and real woe her own;

There linger’d oft in the rough path of care,

While torpid anguish bade her soul despair.

Sudden the light’ning of bright fancy came;

The hills, the hoary desarts, seem’d to flame;

The rocks, the vales, old Avon’s restless stream,

Illumin’d, caught the heav’n-directed beam.

But ah! in silence must those raptures die?

Must nature’s child in shades of darkness lie?

No kindred mind to nurse the spark that glows,

Unfed by art, unquench’d by wint’ry snows?

—Perish the thought! Here manly sense shall stand,

Here beauty’s tear obey the heart’s command;

Here public candour, lifting genius high,

Shall prove that Bristol is her friendly sky.

The scenes of Goodwin op’ning on your sight,

Prove active virtue only can be right.

Complainings a4v

Complainings breathe the fearful wretch’s woe,

But godlike spirits in exertion glow.

—And now, ye judges of the tuneful lyre,

Whose smile or frown can joy or fear inspire,

Protect the Muse, who flies the gloomy grove,

To seek the bosom warm’d by social love.

—Hark! on the winds I hear the distant sound—

Go on, Lactilla! tread the etherial round,

Where Shakespeare holds, from his unmeasur’d height,

The talisman of fancy to thy sight.

Ah! ’tis the voice of gentle friendship lures;

That voice, ye patrons of the Muse, is yours:

But if e’en there her airy visions fail,

Her last best refuge is her—milking pail.

br

Exordium.

For the few incidents (except imaginary ones) which compose the
whole of this piece, the Reader must advert to the year 10421042 of English
history, at which period Edward the Confessor was crowned. This king
was blindly zealous, and, if we judge from externals, the dupe of designing
men. The fiery ordeal was enforced in his reign, and queen Emma,
his mother, made the first example.—I cannot find any other woman recorded
for this miraculous proof of virtue; and allow the event to be as
unlikely, vague, and indefinite, as if I had passed the burning ploughshares
myself. But as our good men were as easily convinced in that age as they
are in this, I thought myself privileged in representing the incident to
the immortal glory of Emma. In brief, there are many strokes of designed
irony in the piece. Goodwin is seriously what I wish every man
to be: but the whole is meant to influence the judgement, shield it from
credulity, and teach the mind to act more from reason than superstitious
romance.

And now, Ladies, here is a play without Love. I have neglected the
god, and repented of it. In my next production I will give you a heroine,
who, while she yields to love, is exalted by honour.

b Dramatis bv b2r

Dramatis Personæ.

King Edward.

Robert, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Lodowicke.

Goodwin, Earl of Kent.

Harold,

Tostie,

Girth, Sons to Goodwin.

Swaine,

Leofwine,

Leofricke. General to the King.

Siward.

Alwine, Bisop of Winchester.

Emma, Mother to the King.

Editha, his Wife.

Guards, Officers, &c. &c.

Scene, London and its Environs.
b2v Br

Earl Goodwin,

An
Historical Play.

Act I.

Scene, The Court. Time, Night. Supposed to be the Close of Queen
Emma’s
Trial, by the Peers of England.
Enter Goodwin, Harold, Tostie, Swaine, and Girth.

Goodwin.

The day is spent, and England’s records hold
Its circumstance unparalle’d, when Kings,
Trust e’en a Mother’s virtue to report,
Throwing its essence on the casual act
Of blind purgation: where shall dow’rless maids,
Unjoyful widows, or the faithful wife, B Find Bv 2
Find shelter from detraction?—Furious zeal!
Harold, heard’st thou sad Emma’s trial?

Harold.


No:
The Peers were chiefly Normans, and my soul
Burns with strong fury when I see them wrest
The nation’s statutes with o’er-weening pride,
Daring our hopeless Saxons.

Girth.


I beheld
The dauntless Emma, when she was arraign’d
For guilt with Alwine, Winchester’s good Bishop;
Indignant scorn that labour’d but in silence,
Struck from her eyes on Canterbury’s Lord;
Yet did her looks own a persuasive force
That melted ev’ry heart, but his, to pity;
One murm’ring sigh was heard around, the Queen
Alone was bless’d with fortitude of soul
Which seem’d to check each impious tongue; when summon’d
To answer to the court, she gently smil’d,
And said, bid Edward answer who hath made
Virtue subservient to external proof;
Emma, despises an appeal!—Her words,
Utter’d with sweet tranquillity, amaz’d
Th’attentive Lords; while looks of soften’d awe
Pursu’d her, as she bow’d and slow retired.

Goodwin.


How bore the worthy Alwine such a scene?

Girth.


Alwine, came next; his manly visage flush’d
With rosy hue, as he approach’d the court;
Yet when he gaz’d on Canterbury, words
Can never paint the language of his eyes!
Contempt, and rage, like two opposing pow’rs That B2r 3
That strive for mast’ry, seem’d to share his soul;
The former kept its influence: and he stood
Looking in shameless Canterbury’s face,
While that bold prelate gave his accusation.
Then Alwine, with a steady piercing eye,
(As he would search the vile Archbishop’s soul)
Ask’d him, if he had acted for his God:
In fine, King Edward’s mother was condemn’d
To prove the ordeal-fire: with look compos’d,
Her son confirm’d her shame!

Goodwin.


Well,—’twere a fault
In Edward to oppose the Monks—

Harold

interrupting.

A fault!

Goodwin.


—Their vow is chastity—
Their practice—

Goodwin.


Hush!
Nor whisper forth their frailties,—they are men

Harold.


And must our England, still be made their prey?
No, leave King Edward to their bait; but save!
Oh, Father, save thy country!

Goodwin.


Raving boy!
What hope have I? Reflect what fate awaits
Thy gentle sister, should we wage a war
Against her husband.

Harold.


Her deep wrongs alone
Would nerve my arm; replete with blooming youth
She mourns an exile from King Edward’s arms; B2 Because B2v 4
Because, forsooth, his confessor avows
That love, (tho’ sanctified) dissolves the soul,
And drags her views from heav’n!

Tostie.


Oh, passive dupe!
So blind a bigot shall not reign!—To pray
Is not to rule, or to provide for England.
Awake, my Lord! nor perish ’mid the herd
Of sickly slaves who shake the chain and smile!

Goodwin.


Perish the tongue that dares to threat a father!
Did’st thou e’er find me slumb’ring when the voice
Of injur’d justice pierc’d the ear of honour?

Tostie

aside to Harold.

Harold. Do thou address him.

Harold

aside.

Fear me not—
My Lord, your daughter’s blest—

Goodwin.


Good Harold, no!
Ah, no! I dare not say it—

Harold.


Make her so—

Goodwin.


How?

Harold.


Why—no more than this:—unking her husband.

Goodwin.


My son, we must not yield to private woe.
True, my Editha’s gentleness of soul
Has blunted oft the edge of pointed grief,
And I had hop’d to spend life’s silent eve
Amid the sweets of dear domestic bliss!—
The soft perspective’s vanish’d; but her wrongs, No B3r 5
Nor mine, or thine, shall ever raise my arm
To plunge a guiltless nation deep in blood.
Already do the groans of lab’ring hinds
Make the winds heavy, while their troubles roll
Like billows to the foot of Edward’s throne.
And dashing there, are lost in wide dispersion.

Harold.


How then will noble Goodwin quit himself,
While lost in torpid apathy he sees
His country struggling with her woes? Oh, think!
That pow’r like thine thrown out in action, wrests
The iron sceptre from a tyrant’s hand;
And while it humbles him, preserves a kingdom.

Goodwin.


Only the evening rays of life are mine.

Harold.


Be thy last ray, equal to thy meridian!—
Can inactivity in thee be virtue?

Goodwin.


I know not that, nor can we oft determine
On what is virtue: yet freely I own
That when the poor Plebeans late were tax’d,
And out of means, nearly too scant for nature,
Were forc’d to clothe our troops, my fruitless tear
Dropp’d on the threshold of the wretched cot,
As their pale infants met me.

Harold.


Dare the worst:
Brave Tostie’s fleet is now below the Nore,
Under the colours of rich merchants & troops
Are at this hour in Somerton, disguis’d;
While Mercia, secretly wears arms, the time
Excites ambition, and inspires the soul
With more than martial ardour! Can my father Be B3v 6
Be deaf to gath’ring thunders?—his fond eye
Discerns Editha wretched—

Goodwin.


Painful thought!
What innocence and beauty did I give
To Edward’s bosom, tho’ he lightly wears it!

Girth.


This morn I saw her, ere the sun was ris’n,
In yon brown grove that stands behind the palace;
When, willing to be unobserv’d, I stoop’d
Beneath a thick-set holly.—There I heard
Her soft complaint, she wrung her hands and wept
Successless love, then loudly pray’d to heav’n,
That Edward’s breast might own a mutual flame,
To make them ever blest.—

Harold.


I will not brook it!
Manhood, ambition, justice, glory, all
The brave dare own, conspire to warn us hence:
I’ll to the West. Girth, stride thy swiftest horse,
And hie the unto Coventry’s strong Earl.
Tostie, thy fleet awaits thee. Swaine, no more
We’ll meet, till at thy faction’s head I see
Thy beaver rais’d.

Tostie.


Agreed,—upon thy sword
Swear not to fail; my strong impetuous soul
Eagerly waits revenge. Rise gloomy shades
Of heroes fall’n beneath our Saxon banners!
Here shall dread horror sate you! Come my brothers,
Swear ne’er to lag, or grown, or form excuse
Of pale untowardly humanity.

Harold.


Be calm my brother—valour is not prov’d By B4r 7
By sound, we need not swear, but thou may’st trust
Thy faith with us; mean while restrain thy passion.

Tostie.


So cool!

Harold.


E’en so—

Girth.


Hist,—yonder comes Editha;
Her widow’d bed is lonely, nor invites
To early slumber: restless, see she roves,
While the poor peasant sinks in gentle sleep.—-
Stand by a while, and mark her.

Goodwin

sighs.

Ah, my child! They retire. Enter Editha, reading.

Editha.


Who finds content, tho’ all are on pursuit?
Alas! I know not one : The splendid great,
With awful pomp, glide o’er the checquer’d scene,
Folding their arms athwart a wounded breast,
Still studious to conceal their pangs—Oh pride!
These are thy characters. The lab’ring clown
Nestles in sweet domestic joy; yet want
Oft breaks his downy slumber, ere the dawn
Hath rouz’d the world to gen’ral bus’ness.—-Ha!
My father and my brothers up so late
In private conf’rence,—cease my busy fears! Goodwin, &c; come forward.

Goodwin.


My lov’d Editha, why at this dark hour
So lonely wand’ring? Is it meet for Queens
To tread the court in joyless mood, while night sits B4v 8
Sits on the world, with brooding wing, to nurse
The wretches of the day?—I fear me much
You are not happy.

Editha.


Banish ev’ry fear,
My tender father, that may cause you pain.
Is it for you to mourn a cureless ill,
Whose tongue was ever wont to plead the rule
Of stubborn fortitude? my infant soul
You early taught to regulate her wishes,
And if she must forego them,—yield with calmness.
Alas! I have no stoic virtue left,
But deeply mourn my blessings as they fly—

Harold.


Grieve not, my sister!

Editha.


Brother, sure my state
Is not less sad than Emma’s.

Goodwin.


Grant it worse,—
King Edward is the cause!

Harold.


And Harold wears
A sword——

Editha.


Ha! to whose breast would’st thou direct it?
Beware! nor wound a guiltless man, misled
By information; ’tis his pious zeal,
His love of virtue, that has urg’d him on
Thus, to arraign thy sister’s fame.

Goodwin.


Thy fame!—
Who hath misled him? What bold slave shall breathe
The air with me, who dares polute it thus Cr 9
With his hot slander?—Answer me Editha,
And if thou lov’st thy husband, or thine honour,
Avow thy vile accuser?

Editha.


Wherefore start
With look of wild surprize? Have ye not heard
That Canterb’ry, in private, to the King,
Impeach’d my faith, when Emma was condemn’d?
My Edward is a foe to vicious deeds,
Treats me like what I seem in his pure eye,
And has forbade me his kind look forever!

Goodwin.


O, Nature, I would now be deaf!—and yet,
Shall I bear this?——

Tostie.


No,—for you bear it hardly.—
If you can bite your lip, draw in your wrongs
Upon the suffrage of a patient mind,
I am not for you;—but if my good Lord
Will join his faithful sons, we may yet scourge
This cold, this pious husband.

Editha.


Ah, my brother!
Talk not of vengeance. I may yet convince
My Edward of his error.—Wait the morn
And I will see him:—but I fear the Monks,
By whom he is surrounded; they command
His cool indiff’rence to Editha.

Goodwin.


Haste,
My child, to thy repose.—To-morrow brings
The dreadful punishment of Emma.

Harold.


Girth!
Let us away!—This is the pause of Justice. C Girth Cv 10

Girth.


Tostie!——

Tostie.


Let ruin hold the revel high!
On! on! I’ll follow.—Cheer thee, gentle sister,
Or bid me wear thy tears upon my sword,
Till it dissolve in read destruction.

Editha.


Wild,
And furious are thy looks! Hear Tostie——

Tostie

to his Brothers.

Hence!—
Accept my love Editha.—You, my Lord,
We leave to pallid caution, and the groans
Of poor expiring freedom! Exit the Sons.

Goodwin.


In my breast
What anarchy and dark misrule prevail!
True,—we are slaves:—but liberty’s strong act
Would press out myriads of defenceless souls!. He pauses.

Editha.


Why go they from you, my lov’d father?

Goodwin.


News
Of great importance summon them.

Editha.


Alas!
A most unusual heaviness is on me:
Would I had pass’d to-morrow!

Goodwin.


Why that wish? Editha C2r 11

Editha.


It will be dreadful.

Goodwin.


Right:—but dost thou fear
The burning ploughshares?

Editha.


No,—I only grieve
For Emma.—Ah, my Lord, she deeply feels!
The mind of woman is most finely wrought,
Pure, modest, self-denying; e’en when love
Demands a chaste return, unthinking man
Ne’er comprehend us.—Rudely urg’d are Queens
When vulgar voices may aloud pronounce,
They’re virtuous or dishonour’d.

Goodwin.


Do not mourn!
If Edward was Religion’s honest child,
Know filial piety would have restrain’d him,
Nor Emma e’er a guiltless victim proved
To public shame.

Editha.


He errs but from a sense
Of more than common virtue.

Goodwin

smiles.

Hah!—my child,
I wish thee to retire.

Editha.


Adieu, my Lord.
Soon as the Sun shall gild the eastern hills,
I will attend you. Exit Editha.

Goodwin.


But thou’lt find me not.
I must away to Kent, where Tostie owns C2 A pow’r- C2v 12
A pow’rful party.—-I could rail at Heav’n
That hath prolong’d my sorrows till my head
Would willing kiss the earth!—yet—shall I prove
A pale apostate to my country’s cause?
No, virtuous glory I will still adore!

Exit. Scene changes to the Arch-bishop of Canterbury’s Palace, discovers the Arch-
bishop at a Table perusing a Paper.

Canterbury.


Thus far his Holiness the Pope’s deceived,
Who bade me act with justice; in this Bull
The name of royal Emma meets a blot.
To recommend our sanctity, the King
With furious zeal applauds, and thus exalts
The Church’s sov’reign pow’r.—His grants are large;
His faith most wondrous; which our busy Monks
Convert to proper use. He is our tool,
And, with him, on his Holiness the Pope
We mean to work for benefit.—’Tis morn;
Why comes not Father Lodowicke? I sent
A mournful scroll, pleading for Alwine’s life,
To him, conjuring all the Priests to sign.
Edward denies them nothing: I would gain
The Bishop’s pardon, lest my act should wear
A tint too sanguine for the eye of Mercy. Enter Lodowicke.
Welcome my friend! Well—quickly say, how sped
Thy mild petition?

Lodowicke.


O—as we could wish.
King Edward paus’d, then, turning to the Priests,
Demanded if with Justice he might spare
The life of Alwine? With a piteous groan
They rais’d their eyes to Heav’n, then cross’d themselves,
And faintly sounded “No.” Canterbury C3r 13

Canterbury.


Horror! was this
My wish?—Ye blinding hypocrites, away!
You’ve all conspir’d against me, while I hop’d
To raise your pow’r o’er royalty itself.
But I will to the king, confess myself
Mislead by you, whose craft would foil the devil.
And in return a miracle I’ll teach,
More than ye dare, ye knaves! and that is Truth.
Begone!

Lodowicke.


I will, when I have told my errand;
As yet, I’ve listen’d to thy rage.

Canterbury.


What hope
Can’st thou afford?—Your voices did confirm
The Bishop’s death.

Lodowicke.


When Edward had pronounced
The name of Justice, could a Priest deny it?
That were imprudent honesty. Each smil’d
In secret on the other; waved the claim
Of Justice, and convinc’d the godly King
He could not save, but by the rule of Mercy.

Canterbury.


Convenient shift!—thou hast revived me.—Well,
He did forgive him:—speak——

Lodowicke.


He did: but paused;
While o’er his cheek a blush stole gently—prove,
Said he, that Mercy may acquit a man:
May it not also save a weaker woman?

Canterbury.


To that— Lodowicke. C3v 14

Lodowicke.


We answer’d no: bade him reflect
Thro’ every age it had been our chief care
To rule the thought of Woman: keep her chaste.
To that sole end, gave her no other merit;
But held the threat of Heav’n, the flame of hell,
And the world’s contempt, up to her frighted sense,
If once she dar’d Man’s free example. More
In policy we spake—that kingly leagues,
Order of government, and social ties,
Depend on woman’s faith.—Thus we harangued:
Concluding, that one fair apostate fall’n,
If publicly reprov’d, might save a million.

Canterbury.


If Emma to your monastry be sent,
With all her treasures, it will be enrich’d
With vast endowments, and your order meet
Most superstitious rev’rence from the people.
Editha too, perhaps, may be your guest:
For Edward is so sc*rupulously pious,
That he forsakes her, and in constant pray’r
Spends the long eve.—Some hints I’ve lately giv’n him,
Which have alarm’d his fears. Thou must begone,
Summon thy solemn order, and attend
On Emma’s trial.

Lodowicke.


Where’s the Saxon Earl?

Canterbury.


Goodwin——I know not: we are both at odds.
He checks my glory, and I hate him.—Time
Forbids our further conf’rence.

Lodowicke.


Thro’ the vale
That lies this side our monast’ry, this morn I saw C4r 15
I saw young Harold posting toward the Court,
His horse did champ the bit with wearied jaw,
Nor seem’d to speed with Harold’s wish.

Canterbury.


The King
Hath sent to Goodwin; he, with all his sons,
Must soon attend us:

Lodowicke.


By the hour of twelve,
All may be ready.

Canterbury.


Be thou strictly warn’d,
If near the King, to move with solemn pace;
Say little, keep thy hand upon thy breast,
Thine eye bent to the earth; and should he speak,
Preach thou of purity, of self-denial,
Of patience founded on strong faith, that keeps
Religion’s votaries humble.

Lodowicke.


Fear me not,
Untainted minds thro’ Truth’s fair medium gaze,
Nor aught discern, but loveliness in Nature:
Craft wearing holy semblance must deceive. Exit Lodowicke.

Canterbury.


Now will I sting the soul of Goodwin! tear
His lov’d Editha from his fond affection!
That he is proud, insulting, and e’en honest,
Yields to me much convenience. To what purport
Should Foxes ply their cunning with each other?
No:—trail the Lion, fasten on his firmness,
Straighten his toils, till wearied he give o’er,
And e’en in dying, scorns his wily foe!

Exit.
C4v I6
Scene the Court. Enter Goodwin and Servant.

Goodwin.


Be ev’ry horse prepar’d within the hour;
I go in haste to Kent.

Servant.


They shall my lord. Exit Servant.

Goodwin.


Edward, thou art secure; but I will chase
Sleep from thy pillow, till thou dost confess
How highly thou hast wrong’d this mourning land;
Extortion leaves each subject half a meal,
Shrieking o’er ev’ry roof: the shiv’ring hind,
Pinch’d doubly by the winds and pallid want,
Reluctant feeds the lazy priest. O Heav’n!
Are these man’s righteous dealing? And may kings
Bring thus a boasted off’ring at the cost
Of poor defenceless misery? Enter Harold.
Why my son
Art thou return’d?

Harold.


To guard thee to thy friends:
Swaine brings on Oxford, Somerset, and Berkshire,
The men of Gloster, and of Hereford;
My pow’rs are rais’d in Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk,
In Huntington, and Berkshire; nothing waits
But noble Goodwin.

Goodwin.


Where is Tostie?

Harold.


Safe
On board our fleet. Goodwin.Dr17

Goodwin.


His temper’s fierce, my son:
Look well to his wild fury, lest he force
The rage of war too far: my fellow-subjects
Must be preserv’d, not made our victims.

Harold.


Heav’n!
Deal thou my father’s spirit to my brother,
And he shall never err. My gen’rous sire,
I’ve pleasing news—Young Leofwine, thy son,
From Bristol comes, to clasp thee in his arms.

Goodwin.


My blooming boy! his hardihood shall make
An old man brave: now youthful fire is mine—
And ardour, be it ne’er so transient deem’d
In souls like Goodwin’s, yet illumes the path
Which soon must end.

Harold.


Ah! pause, my much-lov’d father!
Far be that hour!—thy speech to Harold’s ear
Is mingled fame and death——

Goodwin.


So I would have it;
For he who dares divide them, nought deserves
But Proteus-like opinion, when the wind
Of praise sits fair for fools. Then know, my Harold,
The plaudit of the croud I scorn!—my soul
Shall find content in self-applause. Enter Messenger.

Messenger.


My lord,
The king desires your presence. D Goodwin. Dv 18

Goodwin.


Where is the king?

Messenger.


Preparing to attend queen Emma’s trial—
Fix’d on the pavement near the abbey.

Goodwin.


No;
Thy message cannot be for me.

Messenger.


Yourself,
With all your noble sons, are summon’d.

Harold.


Hence,
And say my spurs are dull.

Goodwin.


Or mildly say,
Goodwin is busy playing with his hawk.—
We will not come.

Messenger.


My lords, I may not bear
An answer so irreverent.

Goodwin.


What soft tale
May we place on thy servile lip?—Away!
Our state admits no parley—We will come
As time and humour suit us. Exit Messenger.

Harold.


This will work.
We must away—our challenge soon will sink
Deep in the ear of Edward.

Goodwin.


By yon sun, I will D2r 19
I will not sleep till Edward turn his ear
To the complaint of England. Private woe
Spreads not a gen’ral malady; and we
Must see Editha pine, through lengthen’d hours,
In grief we may not notice; but the wrongs
Of this much-injur’d land shall have redress,
Batt’ring the soul of Edward till her pow’rs
Dissolve ’mis hideous ruin. On my boy!
Thy youth shall see a fair meridian—yet
May Goodwin teach thee how to bravely die.


End of Act I.

D2 D2v 20


Act II.

Scene, a small Distance from the Abbey. Enter King Edward, Archbishop of Canterbury, Monks, &c. &c.

Edward.

My Lord Archbishop, I approve your zeal,
Yet must lament the error of a queen.

The whole of this speech has a sarcastic, not a serious meaning. Edward’s conceptions
of female excellence are narrow and resulting from ignorance; the language is accordingly
adapted to his blind belief, that despotic rule over woman is infallible. How
far the Prince is right, the cunning Prelate seems a proper judge.
O feeble woman! lost when unrestrain’d,
And virtuous but from terror, how may man
Believe you innocent? your ’witching smile
We will suspect, your cheerfulness condemn,
Your friendships taint with calumny, and plead
The friend you dare approve is meant for vice:
Thus shall you live suspected, ev’ry joy,
Tho’ guiltless, be arraign’d by the hot fiend,
Inhuman Jealousy! your sex’s freedom
Be lost, and tyranny alone secure you.

Canterbury

smiling.

Aside. The worst security a man may choose.

Edward.


Should this sad punishment now fail our purpose,
How shall we henceforth judge of woman’s faith? D3r 21

Canterbury.


That question kings or bishops ne’er can solve;
For virtue, the divinity within,
Cloath’d in her self-created radiance, smiles
Unseen on human judgement: yet, my liege,
Think woman needs example. Woman falls
If she but doubt our rules are not divine;
Then where’s her basis, if we once permit
Her curious mind to stretch beyond our bound?
It must not be! custom and law are ours;
And when frail woman errs, we must enforce them.

Edward.


The work be thine—I’ll shun the dreadful scene.

Canterbury.


’Twill ill become you to be absent: vice
Will shrink abash’d and glow with treble shame:
Your subjects will applaud a mind so pure,
So prone to justice; while religion shines
With double splendour, nourish’d by a king.
—Ye holy priests, whose piety can charm,
In scenes like this, the soul to resignation!
Haste to the joyless Emma, guide her on,
And sooth the riotous croud.

Ist Priest.


Where may we meet?

Canterbury.


In the outward court, on the wide pavement, there
Lay the red ploughshares. Let the gates be thrown
Back on their hinges, lest the public eye
Meet with obstruction. Exit Priests.

Edward.


O thou awful pow’r!
That know’st the secret workings of my soul, If D3v 22
If this hard chastisement to thee be gracious,
The praise be thine— but, if I err, forgive me.

Canterbury

aside, smiling.

How prudently man bargains for his faults! Bell tolls.

Edward

starting.

Why sounds that doleful bell?

Canterbury.


The church must aid
The sad solemnity—at once she blames
And mourns her erring daughter.

Edward.


Lead the way. Exeunt.Enter Alwine.

Alwine.


Be calm, my injur’d soul! no guilt is thine:
Then firmly stand the shame of public clamour
Immoveable as fate hath fix’d its laws.
Ages roll on of man so independent,
That not one hour, strange circumstance, delight,
Nor even ill, he dare pronounce his own.
One suffers for another’s act: again
He wins upon a brother’s woe. The cause
Of this now-seeming discord is not known;
Yet from these jarring atoms rise a whole
Of harmony complete.——O righteous heav’n!
Strike! strike betwixt vile Canterb’ry and me,
To mock the jear of time; stun loud reproach,
False wit, and laughing insult; or I turn
Bewilder’d from thy justice——Impious thought!
Could man’s weak arm arrest event, and turn
Time from progression, what disjointed rage
Would beat the world’s fair bosom!—No, my soul Shall D4r 23
Shall guiltless bear this trying hour, nor blot
A life well spent, by nourishing revenge.

Exit Alwine.
Scene draws, discovers the King, Canterbury, Alwine, Monks, Officers,
&c. &c. Guards ranged on each side.

Edward.


To what a point of horror I am led!
Here nature shivers, and abjures thy rule,
Unfeeling prelate!

Canterbury.


Punishment refines
The grosser particles of nature, leaves
The spirit justified; so should this act,
That scourges foul corruption, give thee peace. Bell tolls.
Hark! this is the dread moment!—silence all! From the back part of the stage, through an arch, enter Queen Emma
veiled; a Guide attending. The Queen, unconscious of having passed
the burning ploughshares, walks solemnly on.

Emma.


Thou guard of innocence, be near me now,
And point my dang’rous steps!—treat me, just heav’n!
As I deserve, in this imputed guilt. To her Guide.
—Why dost thou pause? I do not ask thy pity;
Then quickly lead me to the fatal irons.

Guide.


They’re past, great queen. Emma faints. Edward supports her.

Edward.


Auspicious, awful moment!
Live, virtuous queen! and be thy name enroll’d Amid D4v 24
Amid the richest annals of the age.

Emma

reviving.

Unjust thy statutes, Edward.

Edward.


Truth like thine
Shall soar beyond the fetters of the law.
Dear art thou to my conscience, dearer still
To my exulting heart. Now who shall dare,
Ye rigid priests, to violate the name
Of Edward’s mother?

Canterbury.


None.

Alwine

to Canterbury.

But I would dare
To prove thee a most reverend traitor.

Emma.


Where
Shall I retire?—Oh, lead me where the gloom
Of night may wrap me in her thickest shade!
Shame sits upon the wind, makes the sun red,
And bursts the voice of echo. Honour, fame,
Are now no more, but as they rest on chance,
That makes or marrs them.—Edward, henceforth close
Thy lips, nor dare to breathe a mother’s name,
Thou parricide of virtue!

Edward.


Hear me yet,
And I will make thee happy.

Emma.


No, fond boy,
The time is past, and thou can’st ne’er recal it.
Go, bring thy ploughshares, hold them to my eyes
Till the dim balls forget thee; bring thy whips,
Thy daggers, poisons fraught with blist’ring death, And Er 25
And I’ll accept of either from thy hand,
Because, thou art——my son!

Edward

aside.

Her words strike deep.

Emma.


Yet let me tell thee, Edward, I defy
Thy keenest torture when oppos’d to virtue,
And scorn thy tutor’d judgement!

Edward.


Pow’r divine!
Acquit my soul, as I design’d it well;
Forget the past, and think thy fame will shine
Thro’ dark futurity—Thy former wealth,
Honour, estates, I here restore thee.

Canterbury

aside.

So—
This shakes my pow’r; but I’ll have full return.

Emma.


Where is the man with whom I was accus’d? To Canterbury.
Have thy deceitful practices ensnar’d him?

Alwine.


Behold him here!

Emma.


Good Alwine, cheer thy thought,
Nor let the malice of thy foes subdue thee.
I judge thy mind’s confusion.

Alwine.


Alwine feels
No anguish for himself; the guiltless cause
He stands of Emma’s suff’rings. I deplore
The future pangs thy gentle mind may feel,
When mem’ry paints this sad disgraceful scene. E Emma. Ev 26

Emma.


How weak the woman who dissolves in tears
At undeserv’d disgrace! Insult, well borne,
Affords a stubborn energy of soul,
When on the wing of purity she soars
Above man’s feeble thought. Beware, good Bishop;
Blush not at false opinion, nor confound
Thy theory. Hast thou not strongly taught
The attentive croud to fix on good alone,
Heedless alike of censure or applause,
Each being indeterminate?—Now prove
Virtue is but dependent on itself.

Alwine.


I feel it is; yet shame oft dyes the cheek
Of the suspected innocent: its pow’r
O’erwhelms too soon the female mind.

Emma.


Not so!
When woman dares perfection, on her breast
She wears an ægis, which no poison’d dart
Of calumny can pierce.

Alwine.


I stand reprov’d.

Emma.


Should’st thou be stagger’d by appearance, where
Shall dawning Virtue fix her timid eye,
Or claim example?

Alwine.


Doubly blest by thine,
Thy sex, undaunted queen, shall bear the wrongs
Inflicted by too haughty man, and smile
With secret scorn on each officious fool,
Who, like poor Canterb’ry, shall toil in vain. Canterbury. E2r 27

Canterbury.


No more! thou may’st repent thy jeer, proud bishop.
I could have ta’en thy life.

Alwine.


Home! home! and bathe
Thy guilt in tears of penitence; thy groan
Of deep contrition yet may sound in heav’n.
But O presume not on its tardy vengeance!
Trifle no more! but leave the horrid path
In which thou’st enter’d, ere thy wand’ring soul
For ever lose her point, and sink beneath
The heavy, heavy cloud of curst despair! Exit Alwine.

Emma.


Slander, more dire than poets ever feign’d
The gloomy Cerberus, may ope her jaws
Upon my fame; no lulling potion’s mine,
Nor will I sooth the tripple-headed fiend,
But proudly dare opinion. Here I stand
Defam’d with Alwine. Fiery trials hold
No proof, though my weak Edward rests upon them.
But as my soul shall fix by her own law,
Nor rise or fall by others, I bequeath
Nine goodly manners unto Winchester.
Its bishop make my confessor: no thought
Shall rankle in my breast, of guilty hue;
But he shall help me to controul. Now learn,
Thou good archbishop, and thou pious king,
To play your superstitious arts on those
Who dare not think like Emma. Exit Emma.

Edward.


With what pow’rs E2IsE2v28
Is Emma form’d! what stubbornness upholds
Her dauntless spirit! am I not too weak?
That she is chaste, I now could wage my crown.
—O Canterbury! I would yet do right,
Tho’ doubts and wild perplexities assil
My yielding mind.

Canterbury.


Have faith, my gracious sire;
Life is a troublous journey; as a king,
Much thou must bear, and much wilt sure obtain.

Edward.


Be it e’en so.

Canterbury.


Earl Goodwin boldy proves
How easily a subject may oppose—— Aside.
The storm shall yet break on his head.

Edward.


Peace! Peace!
We may condemn, not knowing what retards him.
Suspicion makes us cautious; but the breast
Is ne’er at ease in which it dwells. This day
Spend at my palace—much I need thy counsel. Exit Canterbury. Enter Messenger.

Edward.


What answer now from Goodwin and his sons?

Messenger.


My liege, they all refus’d obedience. Exit Messenger.

Edward.


Ha!
Is discontent grown busy? Enter E3r 29 Enter Leofricke.

Leofricke.


Arm, my king!
Earl Godwin is a rebel, and his fleets
Fall upward with the Thames, guided in chief
By furious Tostie: Harold, Swaine, and Girth,
Arrange their troops upon the banks.

Edward.


Their rage
Is vain; crowns are not mortals’ dispensations:
Hath e’er the sun or moon’s unwearied light
Left me but in a sanctity of thought?
Who better claims a crown? What pow’rs are thine?

Leofricke.


Five thousand vet’rans unto these are join’d,
The strength of Siward of Northumberland,
With valiant Rodulph.

Edward.


Fix thy strongest guard
Around our palace—Are the rebel troops
On Lambeth side?

Leofricke.


They are, my liege.

Edward.


Be swift,
And close each entrance to the town—proclaim
Goodwin a traitor.

Leofricke.


Where may we bestow
The queen Editha, trembling with her fears,
Rais’d by the tumult, she awaits?

Edward.


Away! I willE3v30
I will not see her—she is is vile—her father
May prove her best protector.

Leofricke.


On my knee
I beg my gracious king will yet accept
Her soft affections! in her father’s crime
She bears no part—sweet innocence and beauty
Are hers: then deign to see her.

Edward.


Conscious honour
Forbids that to my bosom I should take
A woman fraught with guilt, whose craft conceals
The deep designs of Goodwin, and her brothers:
Much more I’ve cause to doubt; not shall the sun
Sink to the welcome bosom of the west,
E’er frail Editha mourn her shame.——Retire!
Charge Canterbury, with some rev’rend monks,
To usher in the queen. Exit Leofricke.
The time ill suits
To hear a woman’s plea; in some lone cell
She shall abide till we recal her: Vice
Poisons my private peace, and to the winds
Treason spreads wide his banners. Goodwin brings
A most puissant pow’r to seize my crown.
Forgetful of the pledge I hold, it seems
As he would dare my weakness; but I scorn
To bend, or own the snares of love. Enter Editha, Canterbury, Alwine, and Monks.

Editha

taking the hand of Edward.

My lord!
This awful day hangs on the wing of time, Heavy E4r 31
Heavy with anguish: trust me I have shar’d
Each sigh that ’scap’d your heart, when Nature’s voice
Oppos’d the iron rod of Law.

Edward.


What law
Of Edward’s dare Editha deem so hard?

Editha.


A mother’s suff’rings must affect my Edward.
Alas! why sternly thus withdraw your hand
From your Editha? why that frown? my heart
Already beats too heavily—your scorn
Will quickly bid its motion cease for ever!
—Have I deserv’d your hate?

Edward.

sternly

Hast thou a soul
In which sincerity or conscience lives?
If so, throw by dissimulation, charge
Each practis’d poor assistant of thy sex
To sleep awhile; and answer me—how came
That Saxon minion, Nervi, in thy chamber,
Whence, flying thro’ a secret door, he brav’d
Conviction?

Editha.


Where is he that dares avow it?
I fear, my Edward, thou hast much more cause
To summon truth and candour to thy aid,
Than thy much-injur’d wife!

Canterbury

aside.

Now for a cheek,
Of hue unchangeable as death!

Edward

to Editha.

Thou wear’st
A necessary front of steady guilt: But E4v 32
But, to confound thee, know this righteous man
Stands thy accuser.

Editha.


Good Archbishop, say
It is not so.

Canterbury.


I dare not—nor do I
Accuse directly: but that I did see
The Saxon Nervi stealing from your chamber,
I must avow.

Editha.


Where are thy light’nings, Heav’n!
That this too-impious wretch so boldly braves them?
—Oh Edward! shake suspicion from thy soul,
That gnaws the root of happiness. Revenge
Chills not my bosom’s tenderness—I look
With eyes of pity on thee, feel the storm
That ravages thy inward peace:—yet hear
The voice of truth, of innocence and love
In thy Editha; suffer me to heal
The pangs this holy hypocrite hath caus’d.

Edward

enraged.

Presumptuous woman, hence! stubborn in guilt,
Thou willingly would’st throw thy load of shame
On this most worthy prelate. Edward’s arm
Protects him; nor shall thy rebellious brothers,
Or traitor Goodwin, with infernal rage,
Insult his holy spirit.——Fathers! bear
The queen to Waltham Abbey—bid her fast,
Turn penitent, and pray till passion lose
Its burning empire in her breast—Away! Edward going, Editha holds him, kneeling. Editha. Fr 33

Editha.


Nay, go not yet! ah! hear, my much-lov’d lord—
My husband—king—by ev’ry name that’s dear
To my fond hear! forego this horrid thought!
Give me not up to these unfeeling priests,
Who laugh at woe like mine! I know no crime!
Yet love—

Edward.


She owns it—

Editha.


Can it be a crime
To love my Edward! I will weep and pray
For thy repose; and, when the cares of state
Weigh down thy gentle spirit, I will cheer
The lonely hour——Oh! take me with thee!

Edward.


No;
Thy craft, thy father’s treason, and my scorn,
Plead loud against thy pray’r. Unhand me!—Priests,
Obey my order.

Canterbury

aside.

Thus far all goes right. Edward breaks from Editha, exit with Canterbury. Edith, fainting, is
supported by Alwine.

Alwine.


Thou injur’d, innocent, ill-fated queen!
This vile injurious wretch, cas’d thick in guilt,
Bears much too pow’rful on thy soul and mine——
She lives!—Fathers, to you I must resign her;
Be tender of her, if your hearts are human.
My tears forbid my stay. Exit Alwine.

Editha


Where is my Edward? FPriest.Fv34

Priest.


To Waltham Abbey we must quickly guard
Your sacred person.

Editha.


Turn my ling’ring soul
From life’s vast scene! farewel, my tender father!
In whose warm bosom I was nourish’d long,
Fearless of future ill, till fell ambition,
That bane of soft tranquility, beguil’d
Thy love, and thou didst give thy child to Edward.
O fatal change! O diff’rence most accurst
Betwixt a father’s and a husband’s love!
—Too happy maid, who ’mid the rural throng
May’st chuse the object of his guiltless heart,
Each loving and belov’d; while queens like me
Gaze thro’ the horrid grate, with wishing eye,
To catch the beams of day—Tremendous gloom,
Where souls impatient mourn, but never lose
The image they adore—How shall I hail thee?
How wast that sigh to heav’n which Edward claims?
Yet—lead me on, ye scourges of the world,
Who teach seclusion benefits the soul,
I must obey, tho’ reason scorn your pow’r. Exeunt.


End of Act II.

F2r 35


Act III.

Scene near Lambeth, London. Enter Goodwin, Harold, Girth, Tostie, Swaine, Leofwine, and Soldiers; Drums, &c.

Goodwin.


Strike up the sounds of war, till they awake
The drowsy spirit of the land! Arise,
Great genius of our isle! breathe thy fierce fires
Strongly into our bosoms!—Warm’d by thee,
My sons and fellow-soldiers shall despise
Each hour of vulgar circumstance, their hearts
Pant quick for action, only dar’d by those
Who stretch the thought thro’ endless time. Despair
Bends down our sons of industry, pale want
Robs the young cheek of ruddy hue; while craft,
In venerable trimming, chains our king
To tyrant superstition. Then befriend,
Thou great unknown, our arms, if just; if rage,
Or private grief, malice, or cruel pride,
Be our incentives to this war, O wrest
Each sword from its fast hold, or turn the point
On ev’ry guilty breast. F2 Harold. F2v 36

Harold.


Hear, gracious Heav’n,
And aid our gen’rous cause. What is the word?

Goodwin.


Redress for England—Trumpets sound! strike loud,
Ye soul-reviving drums! till Edward feels
His frozen pow’rs dissolve, and boldy meets
Our army like a king. Drums beat, Soldiers shout, “Redress for England!” As they prepare
to march, Trumpets are heard at a distance.]

Goodwin.


Hark! Edward’s pow’r is near—Now, now, my sons,
May glory lift your souls beyond the stars,
Till you forget mortality! may life
Be deem’d no more than a rich spark, that glows
With brightness and must out. I’ll lead you on
Amid their thickest troops: but—if I drop,
O do not pause, or pay the filial tear,
Till you have time to weep!—Fall on, and strike
For England’s wrongs—for Emma! Think not then
On Goodwin’s lost Editha.

Harold.


We’ll forget,
At that great moment, nature’s soft’ning plea,
Nor list to aught but justice. All going, enter an Officer from the King’s Army.

Officer.


I am sent
As th’ ambassador of peace.

Tostie.


Thy errand
Is now ill tim’d——On!—on— F3r 37

Officer.


Our gen’ral claims
A parley with Earl Goodwin.

Goodwin.


Be it so.

Tostie.


Nay, let it not be so, my noble Lord——
Lead on to vengeance. Goodwin confers with the Officer apart.

Harold.


Tostie, thou art fierce
As the untutor’d Arab—Shall we tear
The father from his child, the blooming youth
From his lamenting mother, forcing them
To bear their bosoms to our swords, if peace
May be obtain’d with honour?

Tostie.


Coward!—

Harold.


How!
Dar’st thou defend that word? if so—but hold—
The hour may come, when thou wilt not condemn
A father thou should’st much revere.

Tostie.


By heav’n!
I will condemn a father if he shake.
But for a dastard brother, who can sit
On the warm lap of time, mouthing event
With poor grimace, then shrink, and mercy beg.
Why, Harold, know, such tremblers ask me nothing,
Such fathers, such loud brothers, throw away
Tostie’s affections for his lasting scorn.

Harold

enraged.

Arrogant vaunter! try—— F3v 38

Goodwin

coming up to them.

What answer, Harold,
To Leofricke?

Harold

aside to Goodwin.

How my heart swells!—We’ll hear him——
Our troops may here be cautiously arrang’d
O’er Lambeth fields, our choicest men drawn out;
Meanwhile the fleet of Tostie shall not move.

Tostie

aside.

Am I thus curb’d?—shall I obey the rein,
Like a reluctant steed that beats the dust,
While kept but in the view of enterprise?

Goodwin

to the Officer.

Thus much to your right valiant gen’ral say,
That hostages on either side be given,
And we will meet him with our force in part
Near Westminster; conditions shall be signed
By England’s king, or he must meet the war.

Officer.


My lord, this message shall in full be given. Exit Officer.

Goodwin.


This slumb’ring monarch is so dead to glory,
So chill’d by pennance and abstemious rule,
That his weak spirit dares not look abroad,
Or soar thro’ wide creation. Could he burst
Beyond those useless forms, shake off the chain
With which these crafty priests have bound his soul,
Like us he’d fear but one immediate cause,
Nor deem a pope more welcome than himself
To bright Omnipotence;—but Edward bends
A people’s blessings to his private good,
Scorning the heav’nly attribute of mercy.

Exeunt.
Scene F4r 39
Scene The Palace. Enter King Edward and Archbishop of Canterbury.

Edward.


Goodwin’s bold daring does not much surprize me;
For he’s of sullen and ungodly spirit:
But that my people in such num’rous throngs
Should join the rebel, grieves me. I have reigned
By thy strict rule—my wealth I do not hold
But to the glory of the church—her wants
I have supply’d with willing hand—her sons
I do esteem my brethren: then will Heav’n
Leave me to my licentious foes?

Canterbury.


Rely
On Heav’n with strongest faith, and murmur not;
For discontent is oft times reprobation. Enter Leofricke.

Leofricke.


My gracious liege, I must attend you where
The Saxon duke with all his daring sons
Await your presence: hostages are given,
Tend’ring your safety.

Edward.


What are their conditions?

Leofricke.


We know not yet.

Edward.


Are all thy pow’rs compleat?

Leofricke.


They are, great Sire—but all your Nobles wish
To spare th’effusion of your subjects blood. F4v 40

Edward.


I yield to Heav’n! and now if horrid war
Sweep off whole millions, I should think it meant
But as a chastisement for our great sins.
The body of my people is too proud,
Voluptuous to excess; nor e’er content
With necessary comfort.

Canterbury.


No—they call
Loudly for liberty: their threats have reach’d
Our pious King; and monarchy now reels.

Leofricke.


May I conduct your Majesty.

Edward.


Lead on.

Exeunt.
Scene, Westminster.
Goodwin, Harold, Tostie, Swaine, Girth, and Leofwine, with Soldiers, on
one Side; Siward, Rodulfe, with the King’s Party, on the other.

Goodwin.


Why stays the King leaving us time to doubt?
—The hour’s expir’d.

Siward.


Not so, brave Earl—for me,
I’d rather join the ring with village maids,
And skip to the wild music of a reed,
Than aid this war:—I would not kill thee, Goodwin,
So much I love thy virtues: but should rage
Bid thee oppose thy sword to Siward’s heart;
Why then, would Nature, in her saving mood,
Rouze Siward’s spirit to that furious charge
Which fools term honour, wise men folly. Goodwin. Gr 41

Goodwin

smiling.

I’ll shun thee in the combat.

Siward.


Then I’ll say,
Goodwin doth from a coward run away.

Goodwin.


Thou art not so, I’ve seen thee fight.

Siward.


I’ve seen
Prodigious and old-fashion’d things: a King
So good his people bless’d him; women wise;
A fop at pray’r; and once I did observe
A courtier ceas’d to fawn; an aged statesman,
With head of silver foliage, spurn’d the block,
Yea threw the ax on his good Prince’s toes;
—Then smil’d at legal murder: Such strange things
Have no accompt, like Siward’s valour.

Harold.


Hold!—— Enter Edward and Canterbury, with Leofricke.

Edward.


Now daring Saxons, why are you aggriev’d?
Speak loud your injuries, if such you feel,
But weigh your clamours against truth.

Goodwin.


I dare,
And truth shall sound my clamours with a voice
That shall apall thee! England speaks by me,
Pleading her public funds are deeply drain’d
To swell the priestly revenue. Her sons
Oppress’d, till they forsake the glebe untill’d,
And stand like statues stiffen’d by despair.

Edward.


And whither tends thy bold harrangue? GGoodwin.Gv42

Goodwin.


Yet hear,——
Relieve thy people’s burthen.—Why affright
The simple mind from honest toil, or charge
The clown with ghostly cumbrance? If thy priests
Act for the Deity, ah, bid them spare,
Like him, a pow’rless race!

Edward.


Thou’rt bold and rash.—
But on,—one remedy may serve for all.

Goodwin.


Thy mother, by the influence of thy monks,
And wily Canterbury, was to shame
A public sacrifice.

Edward.


Why wilt thou err?
—It cleared her from imputed guilt.

Goodwin.


Not so,
The black suspicion still remains! What law,
What vulgar scourge, or burning iron clears
The tainted thought o’ the people?

Edward.


Should a woman,
Once nam’d unchaste, oppose our priest’s example?
That were to give the reign to vice.

Goodwin.


When priests
Can fright a King from her he ought to love,
Their precepts must be holy! Hear me yet,
—The sum of all our troubles shall be brief:
First, thou the heavy tribute shall remit
Of forty thousand pounds, now yearly paid Under G2r 43
Under the term of Dane-gelt, by thy clause
The clergy being exempt. Thou next shalt own
Thy wife Editha as a Queen, and take
The guiltless mourner to thy arms; then curb
The monkish pow’r; vile Canterbury banish;
And we will claim no more.

Edward.


He shall not go!
I will not banish him.——

Goodwin.


Strike up the drum!

Siward.


Stay, noble Goodwin!—be not rash.

Goodwin.


Return
Our hostages, and take your own!

Leofricke.


My Leige,
Why do you pause? The horrors of a war
Are dreadful: join with him, his claims are good;
—He may yet benefit your land.

Edward.


Shall I
Yield to a subject?

Leofricke.


Pow’r so great as his,
May scarcely own subjection.

Canterbury.


Send him hence!
His troops shall scatter, with affrighted thought,
When pure religion o’er the million rears
Her aweful standard. Subjects long inured,
Long check’d by conscience, dare not aid his cause;
My pow’r shall weaken the proud Traytor! G2 Goodwin. G2v 44

Goodwin

enraged.

Fly!
Thy vulture, feeding ’mid a nation’s woe!
Let me not shed the venom of thy heart
On th’ innocent bosom of the earth. My sons,
Here is no hope—we must away.

Tostie.


O shame
On wordy combat!—hence!—aside tauntingly Now, gentle Harold,
May th’ untutor’d Tostie fight?

Goodwin.


Farewel,
Unthinking Edward! Ghastly visag’d war
Shall soon o’erwhelm thy land, and teach thee justice.

Edward

scornfully.

Go, vaunting Saxon! When didst thou subdue
A British King by threats?

Goodwin.


Threats I despise:
Nor would I kindle fury or revenge
Within thy bosom.—Let me then persuade
I am thy subject, love thee as a man;
In gen’ral prize my fellow creature’s lives,
And would increase their earthly joys, nor lead
Their minds from truth. Yet when a num’rous throng
Of wretches groan beneath the scourge of craft,
I dare oppose thy rule, and bid them live.

Edward

Aside.]

Where are my resolutions!

Goodwin.


Own, my son,
The godlike pow’r of blessing; millions trust
To thee, and thy award despotic stands, Tho’ G3r 45
Tho’ thousands in a long succession fall
From thy dread laws effect: soft peace is thine
And on her lap thy poorest slave may rest.
Plenty is thine; nor should her fruitful store
Be thus divided by a Sovereign’s hand
Among the lazy few. Oh, Edward, think
A King is of dire import to the world
When he unjustly, or unwisely acts. Enter the Pope’s Legate, with pomp. Edward, confused, bows abjectly.

Legate.


Why do the cries of mis’ry break the air,
Sounding most loudly from the lowly cell
Where lank obscurity would freeze the heart?
The laws of England cool the peasant’s hearth,
Whilst in the cradle his weak offspring dies!
What may we call thee, Edward? dar’st thou stand
’Gainst pow’r infallible, and shake the charm
Of holy vassalage from thy weak soul?
Know, King, within that charm lies hidden strength.
“How comes it then”, his Holiness demands,
“That his most just observances are strain’d
To general torture?”
When he bade thee use
The ordeal fire, he meant not that the heat
Should reach a Queen.

Goodwin.


Beware, most rev’rend Legate.—

Edward.


The oath of Canterbury solv’d my doubt,
Nor did he teach the diff’rence. Goodwin. G3v 46

Goodwin.


He was right.
Dare Queen’s plead a prerogative to sin?
Or Princes give their precedent to break
Statutes they have (howe’er unwisely) form’d?
The ordeal law swells with contagion,—ills,
Minute as particles of poison, grow
To instantaneous magnitude within it:
But if enforced by Edward’s sov’reign hand,
Let Queen and Cottager yield to the plague.

Legate.


Be calm, good Earl, my errand is to thee,
And England’s King.—Our Bulls have been misused
To sanctify false deeds: deeply profan’d
Are our indulgences and absolutions:
While to this Prelate, ripe in dark misdoing,
We trust the guidance of this pious Monarch.
Therefore his Holiness by me presents,
Unwillingly, this list of many errors
Committed by weak Canterbury. Presents a paper. King reads.

Edward.


Shame
Await the haughty Monarch who shall turn
From sounds of Truth? Conviction struggles here
And long-establish’d confidence is fled.
O Canterbury! had’st thou ever borne
The weight of empire, thou had’st ne’er aspir’d
Beyond the sweet serenity that dwells
Within the cloyster. Contemplation there
Bears the kind spirit o’er a toiling world,
While from the speculative draught she throws
Benevolence and pity on the wretched. But G4r 47
But me!—thou hast deceiv’d! Me, thou hast led
From pale affliction’s plaintive voice! Oh pomp!
What hast thou in exchange for one man’s truth?
—How shall I act?—

Goodwin.


Reflect one moment, Edward!
Avow strong virtue thine. Open thine arms,
And take thy honest subjects to thy heart.

Legate.


First take this man that pleads not for himself.

Edward

embracing Goodwin.

It must, it shall be so, O father! friend!
Trembling confusion crubs my tongue; yet take
My soul in silent transport! Henceforth prove
The guide of Edward; to thy prudent hand
I trust the wide direction of my realm.

Canterbury

aside.

My sun of glory rushes from his sphere
Nor takes a slow decline:—why what a gloom
Doth nature in one moment seem to wear!

Goodwin.


Blest hour that seals mine and my country’s peace,
Crushing fell discord, e’er her venomn’d sting
Could strike our hardy Britons! Harold, haste
With Tostie, and our party thro’ the gates:
Without the town I’ll meet you, first this peace
We’ll ratify by oath.—For You Arch-Bishop,
No more we’ll meet within this sea-girt isle;
Thou art a deep-disease, a growing-evil,
Which must be cut from out the heart o’ the King,
Who else might perish with thee.

Canterbury.


Haughty Duke!
Tempt not my vengeance! here I stand the mark G4v 48
Of laughing-insult: so disgrac’d and fall’n,
That the loud-many hooting as I pass,
Shall cause more pennance to my wounded soul
Than might obtain a heav’n! yet do I scorn
Thy settled malice.

Edward.


Then hear my command:
Which is, that singly thou dost leave this town.
If thou’rt disguis’d thy person may be safe.
This paper holds a list of thy extortions
From the poor peasantry, throughout my realm,
And many clamours from my people rise
Respecting thy misdeeds. If true religion
Be thine, it may support thee:—man’s short life
Is but a sojourn, change of place ensues,
And no one spot without its sorrows. Thought
Hangs back upon the past, bringing the shades
Of those lov’d objects we must clasp no more;
Awhile they rend the soul, but lenient-time
Steals gently o’er the ravages they make,
Till ev’ry storm is lull’d to calm content.

Canterbury.


Mistake me not, good King, firm, undismay’d
I leave thy kingdom: Canterbury’s soul
Can ne’er, by man, be humbled; distance, time,
Heav’n’s promised bliss or threaten’d pangs of hell,
Shall never make me aught but Goodwin’s foe. Exit Canterbury.

Edward.


What pride supports him!—Leofricke, our troops
May haste unto their sev’ral homes, and taste
Soft comfort lately left: my rev’rend friend,
With this good Earl, his sons and valiant Siward,
Some few hours hence will at our palace meet. Goodwin. Hr 49

Goodwin.


Harold and Tostie, join our troops; while Girth
Brings on the rearward; near the close of eve
I will attend you. Exit all but Harold and Tostie.
As Harold is following the Party.

Tostie.


Harold!

Harold.


Speak thy wish.—

Tostie.


I wish thee instantly to prove thy right
Of acting proud dictator; checking me,
And jeering my opinion. Were my troops
With vast expence brough thither for thy mirth?
—This suits not Tostie.—

Harold.


Did it suit thee well,
When I but calmly spake, to term me coward?

Tostie.


I nam’d thee justly:—go—bring on our army
To seal a vile inglorious peace: no tongue
But thine, whose soul is chill’d by sudden fear,
Would dare to move upon so vile a subject.

Harold.


Farewel, thou valiant but ferocious Saxon!

Tostie.


Nay stay! tho’ Tostie’s rage should from his cheek
Throw one deep blush on ocean’s gen’ral bosom,
He could not change the colour of thy lip.
Snow-drops look whiter as the welkin rears
Unnotic’d; while the spirits of the air
Imbrown with freezing blast the infant spring. H O thou Hv 50
O thou art cold as winter, pale as light,
And dastardly as woman!

Harold.


Must I act
Beneath humanity, tho’ thou art mad?
Tostie, thou art of fierce and cruel nature,
And pleas’d with horror: in thy youthful hours
I’ve seen thee pluck the feathers of a dove,
While she was rich with life. Ah, Tostie, learn
Barbarity is cowardice!

Tostie

draws.

Then dare it.

Harold.


Thou art my brother!

Tostie.


No, thy mother wrong’d me.
Thou canst not be the son of noble Goodwin!

Harold

draws.

Irrev’rend traytor! Mother stretch thine eye
Down from thy seat of bliss; while, for thy sake,
I do chastise thy wild degen’rate boy.

Tostie.


Perdition seize thee, lazy trifler! Fly!
Or guard thyself.

Harold.


Most willingly to guard
A mother’s fame, and Goodwin. They fight, Tostie is disarm’d by Harold

Tostie.


Cursed chance!

Harold.


I will not take thy life, but for thy sword
I’ll keep it till thou hast more cause to pierce
A brother’s breast. Exit Harold. H2v 51

Tostie.


Rise dæmons of despair!
Ye, who are wont to sting the suff’ring soul!
Chiding fair patience till her heav’nly breath
Cools not the burning agony.—Oh shame,
Surround me with thy bluest sulphur!—Life!
What are thy charms weigh’d now with endless sleep?
I will not hold thee in! Do I not blaze
In hottest infamy? Perish ye ties
Of nature: father! brother! I renounce
All pleas but those of firm and lasting rage.
Tostie shall with an hideous ruin fall!

Exeunt.
Scene the Outside of the Archbishop of Canterburys Palace. Enter Canterbury disguised as a Monk.

Canterbury.


An exile!—banish’d! my astonish’d soul
Dwells on the sound, as if it held a depth
Of horror still unknown! Banish’d! it strikes
Most forcibly.—O Goodwin, thou hast lash’d
Thy steeds of glory, till thou hast o’er-reach’d me;
And now I fall more helpless than the babe.
Revenge, where art thou? on the pow’rful arm
Thou own’st success, while I am driv’n forth
Thro’ woods and dreary deserts to lament
My fate without thee! Could my dagger’s point
But meet the throat of Goodwin ere I go,
My soul would still retain her pride. O Heav’n!
Add a few hours unto my bounded time
Of tarrying here, and welcome may’st thou cut
Double the number off my brittle life,
And this world’s reck’ning! Time thou art the steed H2 H2v 52
On which fools ever sleep laden with schemes,
Dull fears, and lazy wishes.—To the wise,
Thou art the light’ning of o’ertaken-thought,
Embodying and throwing into act
The mind’s more cool and latent meaning.—I
Have giv’n a loose far on, yet might I hold
One chance; upon it would I darkly force
Such circumstance as would avenge my wrongs. Enter Lodowicke passing hastily.
Hoa! Lodowicke!

Lodowicke.


That voice I sure have heard.
What would’st thou stranger?

Canterbury.


Quarrel with disguise
That hides lost Canterbury from thy view.
But time suits not, I must be brief: thou’rt come
To take a long farewel.

Lodowicke.


Of whom, my lord?

Canterbury.


Of me: thou hast not fail’d in secret furth’rance.
But we’ve a foe.

Lodowicke.


What foe?

Canterbury.


Earl Goodwin.

Lodowicke.


There
We’ve ever felt a curb: but why disguis’d?

Canterbury.


Goodwin’s opinions flash on Edward’s mind.
Teach him to doubt; while doubting, lead him on
To seek the grand original of things. Rome’s H3v 53
Rome’s powerful legate seals my deep disgrace,
While for eternal banishment I yield
To this proud Earl my honours.

Lodowicke.


Banishment!
Thou dost confound my sense—How may I prove
My friendship for thee?

Canterbury.


Friendship knows no law,
No bound in nature; ’tis the soul’s fierce flame,
That in itself absorbs a deed, and turns,
By its dissolvent principle, the essence
Of vice to mildest virtue.

Lodowicke.


Why so cool?
Hast thou a doubt?

Canterbury.


I have.—Granting I had not,
What would’st thou do to prove thy boasted friendship?

Lodowicke.


Occasion is a loit’rer to my will,
Nor can my knowledge serve: instruct me—

Canterbury.


Swear!

Lodowicke.


Ye pow’rs of justice! if——

Canterbury

hastily interrupting.

Hah! saving clause
Of mungrel villany! What simple wretch
Would meekly bear pride’s wounding insult, if
He dar’d avenge himself? What lovely maid
Would virtue fix on self-denial, if
She dar’d be less severe? What hungry knave
Would thriveless spread the snare of cunning, if H3v 54
He boldly dar’d to give a master-stroke,
And foil by craft, rogues richer than himself?
—Go, thou art timid to a fault.

Lodowicke.


Thou’rt wrong;
I yet would serve thee.

Canterbury.


Swear thou wilt obey
My deep instruction, should’st thou be absolv’d
From guilt.

Lodowicke.


What may I swear by?

Canterbury.


By that pow’r
Thou hast most cause to fear.

Lodowicke.


By that sole cause
Who sits decisive as the judge of man.

Canterbury.


Goodwin must die!

Lodowicke.


Hah! murder?

Canterbury.


Wilt thou start
At one convenient act?—Remember, Monk,
The blooming Arthur, rich in ev’ry claim
Of interceding youth, did’st thou not wrest
His spirit from her mansion? Did’st thou not
(I privy to the guilt) accuse this Earl,
And poison his fair character, full charg’d
With the young prince’s murder? Why did we
Dare thus the troubled sea of damning pride,
If not resolv’d to reach the glitt’ring shore?
What’s life without pre-eminence? What slave, H4r 55
Doom’d to throw pebbles at the changeful moon
(For such is man’s great farce) would ceaseless drudge,
Could he lure fool-created Edward on,
And scourge him to the office? I am hurl’d
From heights on which my firmest virtues broke:
But with me thou shalt perish——Farewel priest. Exit Canterbury.

Lodowicke.


O guilt! till now I never felt thy snares.
Retreat is death—He’s gone!—Where may we pause,
When once launch’d forth in evil? Should the king
Have knowledge of our crimes, his doom is seal’d,
Mine yet to come with full exposure. Shame!
Thou limping substitute of the soul’s worth,
Thou com’st not but in secret to our aid,
Nor aid’st us till we’re lost!—I must obey. Exit after Canterbury. Enter Alwine and Attendants.

Alwine.


Here stands the unhappy Canterbury’s palace,
Within whose walls sat purple-vested Guile,
Planning her persecutions. All is still:
No more the doors turn swiftly to receive
The might minister of England’s ruin;
No more shall Wisdom’s unsupported son
Here seek preferment with an honest blush,
That spake his soul invaluable, and sham’d
The haughty donor. See, my friends, how soon
Fade life’s external beauties.

Attendant.


We are late:
I fear, my lord, the roads to Winchester
Are filled with riotous troops. Alwine.H4v56

Alwine.


Lead thro’ the woods;
Confusion roars but round the city. Blest
Is the poor villager, now toiling far
In the deep bosom of some flow’ry vale;
His brow wears sweet content, his guileless heart
Beats true to nature’s transport; while his hearth
Surrounded by his happy offspring, shines
More enviable than Edward’s throne. Haste on,
For I am out of humour with the day,
That yields no vict’ry but to horrid guilt.

Exeunt.
Scene, at a trifling Distance from the Palace of Canterbury.
Lodowicke and Canterbury.

Lodowicke.


I would ’twere done! it lies oppressive here, Laying his hand on his bosom.
Tho’ wrapp’d in thin design. How are we form’d,
That, while we start, e’en at the horrid purpose,
We do the deed accurst?

Canterbury.


Mere fancy all:
Men are machines, nor act by nice precision;
Necessity of circumstances bind
The will upon the act, or we should sleep
Dispirited life away—Unruly passions,
Dissolving wishes, appetites, and wants,
Are springs that move stupendous order.

Lodowicke

holding a paper.

Go!
And leave me to fulfil this dreadful oath.

Canterbury.


Give me that paper—my revengeful soul Shall Ir 57
Shall feed on its contents: this oath will sooth
My unappeased spirit as I move
Insulted thro’ the world. Retire with me,
And I’ll absolve thee from the sin, but leave
Thee pow’r to execute. O sell despair!
When innocence is lost, we fly to thee.

Exeunt.


End of Act III.

I2r 58


Act IV.

Scene, The Palace, Throne, Chair of State, &c. Enter King Edward and Queen Emma.

Emma.

Thy zeal, my son, is as a guideless flame,
Whose infant spark was only meant for comfort.
False are the shades of sickly fancy, ting’d
With hot enthusiasm. Thou oft dost mew
Thyself within thy closet; while thy people
Complain aloud of public ill, thine ear
Is never tun’d to their complaint: the Monks
Confine thee to themselves, nor give thee time
For even moral action.

Edward.


Can’st thou place
An isthmus in the soul, divide her joys,
Reduce her highest hope to poor convenience,
And teach the spirit’s extacy to move
Mechanically to the times?—O no!
External good is nought, for Edward scorns
The transient joys of life; beyond the grave
His views dare reach; there is his lasting good. I2 I2r 59

Emma.


Like some rapt visionary, thou dost plead,
Who hopes to gain a distant scene of bliss,
Forgetful of the means. What hast thou done,
With means so amply given? What mourner, rais’d
From mis’ry’s flinty bed? What son of woe,
Led from the dreary prison, and wip’d off
Its damps from his pale forehead? Thou can’st pray,
And pray most loudly; but an act like this
Shall blazon in the eye of Heav’n, whilst thou
Shalt whine unnoticed.

Edward.


Dost thou scorn devotion!

Emma.


No, but I scorn the form without the essence.
Serve, love thy people; bid thy Monks kneel down
To pray for thee: then, should their voices fail,
Remember the lone widow’s blessing—smiles
Of grateful orphans and of trembling age
Shall plead for Edward. Enter Lodowicke, with a Paper.

Edward

reads.

Thou art commended here, as one of worth,
To be my ghostly confessor: be it so,
Now Canterbury’s gone, who seem’d to me
The spirit of faith. Did I not weep and kneel
Observant to his rule, till this frail flesh
Seem’d lost to all its purposes? Bright visions
To my strong fancy stood reveal’d; while scenes
More bright than Mahomet hath form’d his bow’rs,
Struck on my ravish’d sense.

Lodowicke.


Ha! this works well. Aside.MyI2v60
My liege, this righteous man must yield; his foes
Strike hard for this world’s ’vantage; let them take it,
He waits a better state—Ah! how unlike
The stubborn Alwine!

Emma.


Holy raven, peace!
Thou that can’st croak and flutter round the church,
Scaring the vulgar with they direful sound,
Till their thick fancies dress the midnight shade
In images of horror, death, and woe.
The soul of Alwine sits upon his tongue,
And his pure practice holds a mirror, where
The semblance of his virtues shine too bright
For eyes like thine to fix on.—So the sun
In his meridian glory dares mankind,
Who close the lid on his effulgence. Weak
And false is thy corrupted judgment. Errors,
Unnumber’d as the atoms which compose thee,
Rise to obstruct thy mental optics: these
Thou dost mistake for blemishes and spots,
Fix’d ’mid expressless glory. Clear thy soul
From mists of pois’nous quality, or turn
Thine eye from Alwine. Exit Emma.

Edward

to Lodowicke.

Grieve not, gentle priest;
Queen Emma may be rash, yet is her mind
Endu’d with strength more firm than manly wisdom.
Retire! this is the hour when dove-ey’d peace
Shall spread her shining pinions o’er the land. Exit Lodowicke. Enter Siward with a Paper—He presents it to the King, who sits. Edward. I3r 61

Edward.


These are our terms of peace—Where is the Earl?

Siward.


Adjusting his white locks, my liege. He swears
The world was never honest till this hour.
No knave, he says, can taste our English air;
But, like a frog in Ireland, he expires.
No husband murmurs at a wife that’s old,
No minister loves pelf.

Edward.


His anxious heart,
By thy description, is releas’d from care. Enter Goodwin, Swaine, Leofwine, and Leofricke. Edward gives the Paper to Goodwin.

Edward.


May this our league for ever last! nor grief
Corrosive prey upon my people. Say,
Earl Goodwin, if yet any act remains,
Whereby King Edward may relieve his subjects.

Goodwin.


Where is Queen Emma, and my dear Editha?
Goodwin, without their presence, is unjoyful.
My child, I think, is tardy.

Edward.


If thy daughter
Receive thee not, the fault is hers.

Goodwin.


By heav’n,
She ne’er was guilty of a fault like this!
And if she now assume a stubborn spirit,
It cannot be her own; for she is mild As I3v 62
As Zephyr, when he dances on the leaf
With scarce discerned motion. Much I fear
Thou dost mistake Editha.

Edward.


She was sent
This morn to Waltham Abbey.

Swaine.


Wherefore, King?

Leofwine.


My sister’s wrong’d! King Edward, prove my fears
Are false, or our conditions may not stand.

Goodwin

to Leofwine.

Whom would’st thou teach? Be calm!—Thy sister’s wrongs,
If wrong’d she be, shall claim as good a sword
As thine, tho’ passion ne’er directs its point.
Hence, boys, to Waltham Abbey; bring her to me,
That I may hold her to my bosom——Why
Was she sent thither?

Edward.


Goodwin, search no more
The wounds my fond credulity hath made.
Young Leofwine and Swaine, conduct her hither,
And gay festivity shall crown the night. Exit Swaine and Leofwine.

Goodwin.


Now, chearful Siward, am I proud to meet thee
Where the hoarse growl of discontent is lull’d,
And peace and social friendship warm the heart.
Had war’s impetuous fury rais’d our swords
Against each other’s breast, one must have fallen.

Siward.


And that odd one been luckless Siward. Enter I4r 63 Enter Harold hastily.

Harold.


War!

Goodwin.


How? War! Who leads it at this ill-tim’d hour,
When ev’ry wound is healing?

Harold.


Tostie.

Goodwin.


No!
Thou art affrighted, Harold.

Harold.


He hath slain
My servants, and hath sent the gory head
Of my old faithful steward, with this message,
That Harold’s head shall fit his steward’s shoulders.

Goodwin.


What cause hath he?

Harold.


Wild with reproachful rage,
He swears himself dishonour’d by our peace.

Edward.


Ungen’rous youth! Where are his forces, Harold?
In single combat will I meet his shock,
And save my people. Goodwin, if I stand
The mark of treason, and thou think’st my death
Will prove a blessing to the realm, strike here;
But lure me not with prostituted friendship.

Siward.


Goodwin is no assassin, I’ll be sworn.
Nature, when blind and drowsy, made him honest;
Nor can he do the drudgery of treason——
O! he is idle in vile matters. Harold. I4v 64

Harold.


Girth
Bars Tostie’s passage towards the palace——

Goodwin.


Hence!
Fly, Leofricke, to arms! Strangely severe
Seems Justice, when she bids a father throw
The gauntlet to his child.—Ah, weary age!
—Come on, brave Siward.

Siward.


Trust me, I’ll not fly
Till heav’n shall deem my spirit worth acceptance.

Goodwin

to Edward.

Then follow me——Risk not thy valu’d life,
But trust this guideless tumult to thy friends;
Once quell’d, the charm of confidence shall bind
The ardent soul of Goodwin to his King.

Exeunt.
Scene changes to a Wood. Enter Canterbury.

Canterbury.


Thro’ these lone woods I singly take my way;
Nor dare I at yon distant village rest—
So much I fear the fierce plebeian throng:
Their threats have pierc’d my ear—But gaudy pow’r
Secur’d me long from vengeance; that I’ve lost—
All pow’r disowns me now, save what this arm,
And this poor dagger can afford. May war,
Loud uproar, and wild anarchy, conspire
With ev’ry dreadful engine to destroy
The peace of Goodwin.—Who comes here?—His face, Who Kr 65
Who comes in furious sort, I’ve somewhere seen.
I’ll hide me in the covert of this wood. Enter Tostie and Soldiers.

Tostie.


Curse on your dastard souls! you want my wrongs
To nerve your arms. Did I not see you shrink
From furious Harold?—Sound a swift retreat,
And with your terrors aid the blast. My troops,
Placed on the summit of yon hill, remain
Unbroken. Bid them quickly fill my ships,
Whose helms are turn’d for France——Away! Exit Soldiers.
This land
Shall on her breast feel iron-footed war,
Till with the horrid pressure she atone
For Tostie’s injuries. Triumphant Harold,
Most bitter art thou to my soul. Revenge
For my insulted honour shall bring back
Thy foe to England; if I conquer, then
My only meed shall be the crown of Edward.

Exit. Tostie goes off near the Place of Canterbury’s Concealment.
Scene changes to a farther Part. Enter Alwine and Attendants, on their way to Winchester.

Alwine.


How chearfully the birds from ev’ry bough
Chaunt down the sober evening in her course.
These scenes seem hallow’d to fair contemplation;
For here the soul may sit upon her wing,
And, like the dauntless gazer of the f*un, K Behold Kv 66
Behold the tumults of a world below.
Yet we have stray’d too far into this wood:
More to the left lies our true path. A Groan is heard behind.
Good Heav’n,
Defend us!—Whence that deathful groan? Attendants go to the Entrance of the Wood.

Attendant.


My lord,
Return!—Here bleeds a man.—Take either path—
We may be murder’d here.

Alwine.


Quick bring me to him:
Thou merciless and cold as poor self-love
Can make a human heart.
Canterbury led on mortally wounded, a Shepherd supporting him: he sinks
down.

Canterbury.


Here let me rest.
Life flutters in my veins. My frighted soul
Seems busy, like a prodigal, too late.—— Faints.

Alwine.


Quick raise him up.—Ah, life declines too fast!—
What, wretched Canterbury! Where could Heav’n
Strike with more dreadful justice? Yet its law
We must not question. Partial is vain man;
Too blind to judge event.——He breathes!—Revive,
Thou helpless suff’rer! and we’ll bear thee on
To some near cottage.

Canterbury.


Agony like this KIsK2r67
Is truly dying. Then what’s death? What sleep
Shall heavily hold down the spirit?—Death,
Art thou but lasting slumber, and no more?
If so, I long to be at rest. Good friends,
Ye do o’erstrain the knotty thread of life,
Adding to ling’ring woe.

Alwine.


Be of good cheer;
Thy wounds may not be mortal. Lay thy head
Against my bosom. We’ll convey thee hence,
O Canterbury!

Canterbury.


Ha! who names him?

Alwine.


One
That fain would bid thee live, ease all thy care,
And crown thy age with comfort, could’st thou own it.

Canterbury.


Weep not for me—I am not worth thy tear.
Yet let me view thee.—Take me, Death! thy sting
Can never wound like Alwine.—’Tis my soul
He tortures!—Hence! and let me die in peace.

Alwine.


Be calm, nor heed the past. Thy wounds bleed fresh
From these fierce conflicts of the mind.

Canterbury.


Cease! cease!
I cannot live!—Thy sight is painful.—Hence!
Mem’ry is yet too strong——Oh Alwine! fly,
Save Goodwin’s life, nor swell my load of guilt!
By Tostie’s hand I die!—Save, save his father,
Whose life is in the pow’r of———Oh!—— Dies. Alwine. K2v 68

Alwine.


He’s gone,
Severely conquer’d by triumphant Death—
Dread proof of human glory!—Viewing thee,
Thou pale archbishop, on thy bed of turf,
What heart would not be soften’d? Gaudy pomp
Would here resign her col’ring, while thy cheek
Disputed lasting victory. Thou art fled.
May Alwine’s friendly pray’r assist thy soul,
When she would plead for bliss. Had’st thou not rov’d
Too far from rectitude, thy mind’s bright pow’rs
Might have illum’d the ignorant, nor sunk
Thus terribly in woe.—Say, honest friend, To the Shepherd.
Wert thou a witness to this dreadful scene?

Shepherd.


Only the cares of rural life are mine,
Nor till this hour have my sad eyes beheld
A fellow-creature’s murder. Thro’ these woods
This rev’rend father sighing won his way,
And, whilst to heav’n he cast a joyless look,
My heart to him grew pitiful—in vain;
For suddenly a youthful warrior came,
Gaz’d on his face, started, and term’d him villain!
His aged spirit blaz’d, boldly he drew
A dagger from his bosom, with intent
To stab the furious soldier—effort weak!
The soldier bid him think of wrong’d Editha,
Goodwin, and Emma—wrench’d the dagger from him,
And in his bosom hid the sanguine steel.

Alwine.


Take up the body. A few paces hence
A venerable convent stands. Fear not; I will K3r 69
I will direct you in your pious deed.
This done, I haste to London. On my ear
Yet hangs the eager accent broke by death,
“Save Goodwin’s life!” I shudder! for to me
The pow’r of saving him is yet unknown.
May Heav’n direct us thro’ its wond’rous path,
Open a scene of rapture to our view,
And save him whom a dying foe could pity.

Exeunt.
Scene London, after the Flight of Tostie. Enter Goodwin and Harold.

Goodwin.


Harold, thy brother’s treachery deeply strikes
My wounded heart, chilling its strongest force.
Unnatural boy! how hast thou soil’d my fame,
My age of hard-earn’d virtue! but for thee,
Had Goodwin’s name to after ages borne
Sweet music to the ear.

Harold.


Forget his fault;
Tostie may yet subdue himself, and bless
The evening of thy life with peace.

Goodwin.


O Harold!
I am not used to mourn o’er sudden ills,
Or give a loose to private sorrow. Tears,
When unavailing, same the eye.—Yet think
How we have struggl’d, triumph’d, sav’d our country,
Pluck’d off the galling chain of proud oppression,
And bade the bending wretch look up to freedom;
While glory, sitting in the nearest heav’n, Smil’d K3v 70
Smil’d on our labours. Now our foes will hold
The fault of Tostie to the eye of Fame,
When she would wrest our actions from oblivion.

Harold.


’Twill keep our foes from idleness, my lord.
Things grow by opposites. If future ages,
Thro’ narrow ignorance, zeal, or party rage,
Convert the glorious deed to shame, while truth
Scorns the black record, shall we tremble now,
And shrink from virtue’s standard? I confess
We do not hold th’ advantage. Our good swords
Were never meant, like monkish pens, to cut
Deep channels for a lie.

Goodwin.


It must be so,
Within our bosoms must we find reward,
Nor dream of future commendation. Priests
Will damn Earl Goodwin, while they saint, King Edward;
And the weak million yield their reason.

Harold.


Where
Can be th’ essential odds my lord?—In title?
Why let them saint King Edward, swear he sprang,
Like Romulus, in a light mood, to heav’n;
No matter, we may take a better road.

Goodwin.


Thy wit is lively; but we’ll to the king.
My heavy heart forebodes some unknown ill:
I’ll not indulge it; ’tis the spirit’s doubt,
Oft too creative when her bliss or woe
Suspended lingers for the future hour.

Exeunt.
Scene, K4r 71
Scene, The Palace. Enter King Edward, Emma, and Lodowicke.

Edward.


Good father, let Te Deum sound in the morn
Thro’ all our churches: my internal peace
Is wrought to strong perfection. We must wait
The coming of our friends; well do they claim
Our grateful salutation. But be near,
Soon to retire with me. Thy fervent pray’r
Shall give new vigour to my humble thanks.

Lodowicke

designingly.

My king shall be attended. I have heard
Our holy priests complain with gentle sighs,
As tardily they walk’d, of fees unpaid,
Of this world’s lux’ry, tythes too low in Kent,
Of Goodwin’s wide possessions, which the earl
Would never yield to our church strictures: true,
We ever were a most abstemious tribe.

Edward.


Be’t thine to silence their complaints.

Emma.


Beware
How thou dost charge thy people.

Lodowicke.


Gracious queen,
The people are voluptuous, high in spirit,
No rule subdues their passions, they do loathe
The day set by for fasting.

Emma.


We judge
From thy fresh countenance, officious priest,
Thou dost choose wisely more substantial blessings. Enter Lr 72 Enter Editha, Swaine and Leofwine.
Welcome, Editha! Love and lasting joy
Shall bless each time-born hour; thy tears no more
Wash the cold pavement of a cloister. Truth
Plants bright conviction in thy Edward’s heart,
Bidding the chain of superstition fall.

Editha.


In Edward’s love centers my ev’ry wish;
But he contemns my tender lost affections.
Edward, thy looks congeal me. Goodwin’s eye
Will shine with fondness on his lov’d Editha.
Brothers, away! my dignity of soul
Shall ne’er be lost. I willingly exchange
Edward for such a father.

Edward.


Talk not thus;
I do confess me late the prey of art,
And sudden dark suspicion. We’ll forget it,
Our days to love and piety devote;
Nor will I leave thee but when duty bends
My knee with Lodowicke.

Leofwine.


Where is my father?
Troops of warm soldiers passing on, was heard
Discoursing loudly of my brother Tostie.

Edward.


Brave Goodwin, and his sons, Harold and Girth,
Will soon be here: Tostie is fled to France,
Having assaulted Harold, and condemned
Thy father’s league with us.

Swaine.


His restless spirit L Lr 73
My father never could subdue or sooth
To manly pity.

Editha


Youth has many pleas
To kind indulgence in a brother’s heart.
I must deplore Tostie’s ungovern’d temper.
Yet do I hope it is not so debas’d,
As to grow hard and stubborn with his years.

Swaine.


I am not his accuser.

Edward.


Tostie’s warmth
Luxurious France may soften. Mirth this night
Shall here take boundless pleasure, bright-ey’d joy
Snatch of the reign of care, and lull the soul
With nature’s truest melody.

Editha.


My mind
Seems lost in an unusual transport. Heaven,
Thy wise decrees mortals should never scan,
Since thy rich compensations truly prove,
Each woe a blessing, born of endless love.

Exeunt.


End of Act IV.

Lv 74


Act V.

Scene, The Palace. Enter King Edward and Lodowicke.

Edward.

Think’st thou the men of Kent will raise their tythe?

Lodowicke.


My gentle liege, your subjects are enrag’d,
Profaning all our laws, swearing ’tis craft
To level tribute with a holy leer
Upon the sweating husbandman.

Edward.


There’s wealth
Sufficient yet in Kent; ten thousand marks
We need. This country, own’d by Goodwin, thrives
With affluence, weigh’d with royalty itself.
What’er his friendship, he may not refuse
His native county should obey our laws.

Lodowicke.


That he’ll refuse, I’ll fearless wage my head.
But there are means to make him silent.

Edward.


How? LLodowicke.L2r75

Lodowicke.


Suppose we excommunicate him?

Edward.


That
He ever laugh’d at.

Lodowicke.


Then suppose him dead:
May there not be in Goodwin’s death, effects
So liberally extensive in their course,
That they may throw into the world’s great scale
Such quantity of matter, that the good
To man may more than balance with the ill,
Which is but partial unto him?—I speak
Purely on supposition.

Edward.


Yet thy words
Steal with a force most subtle to the thought,
Raising conjecture of a motley hue.
What man e’er dy’d by a king’s wish?

Lodowicke.


A few
Have thus obey’d?

Edward.

aside.

What means this priest?

Lodowicke.


When kings
Must dread a subject, why the choice remains
Which of the two may die.

Edward.


I am convinc’d Aside.
Abate thy zeal for me. Earl Goodwin’s truth
I ever will revere. What! tho’ we jarr
In nice opinion, he despising form,
And I most strenuously adhering to it, Yet L2v 76
Yet would I wage my soul in dreadful lay
Against the heav’n I hope for, that he’d scorn
To take the life of Edward.

Lodowicke.


So would I,
And yet for different reasons Aside. But forgive
My love too ill advis’d; I meant not aught
Seriously striking at the life of Goodwin.
Alas, my king! how could thy justice quit
Thy servant Lodowicke, when join’d in pray’r
With those who sigh for mercy—he being full
Of guile and cruelty?

Edward.


I should abhor thee. Enter Goodwin and Harold.
Welcome, my friends! again we meet in peace;
No doubt shall henceforth rise, but Edward’s act
Find aid from Goodwin’s counsel, and the cares
Of royalty be eas’d by gentle friendship.

Goodwin.


Tostie’s wild conduct wounds me: yet my sword
Shall still be thine—Goodwin will ne’er indulge
Affection at the cost of virtue. Harold,
I charge thee, when death seals my weary eyes,
To love thy king; his spirit is too mild
For rough exertion. In the field protect him;
Lead on his armies; chase the insect train;
Who sting while they are buzzing in the ear
Of unsuspecting royalty. Be just,
Sincere, and candid in thy friendship to him,
Nor trifle with his real good.

Harold.


May Heav’n
Renounce me if I swerve from truth! Edward. L3r 77

Edward.


Enough!
My brother Harold ever shall be near
My heart; his confidence I will deserve,
By taking it in pure exchange for mine.

Goodwin.


Where is Editha?

Edward.


Waiting thy return
With fond impatience.

Goodwin.


Bring me to her straight. Enter Editha, Swaine, and Leofwine.

Editha.


My father!

Goodwin.


Do I hold thee?—Oh, Editha!

Lodowicke.


Curse on this soft’ning scene! they drag my soul
Back from the horrid act I must perform. Exit Lodowicke.

Goodwin.


From this blest æra thou shalt date thy bliss,
And in thy Edward’s love be happy. Time
Will but improve his gentleness to thee
Be ever, ever blest. Enter Emma.

Emma.


Are ye not slow,
My noble lords? the banquet waits; our friends,
The valiant Leofricke, Siward, and Girth,
With Rodulfe, have too long expected you: The L3v 78
The witty Siward rallies Lodowicke,
Swearing with very fasting he looks pale.

Edward.


Siward is of most light and chearful nature;
Sorrow ne’er low’ring sits on his smooth brow.
Good mother, we’ll attend you. Come, my love.

Goodwin.


Go on, my sons, I’ll follow.—Stay, Editha. Exit all but Goodwin and Editha.
I feel a strange oppression here; my heart
Would share those sorrows it can ne’er throw off
With thee. I know not why, yet busy thought
Brings on thy mother’s image: sweetness, truth,
Thy ev’ry charm was her’s. Fain would I chase
The beauteous shadow from my pensive mind,
That vainly follows me thro’ this poor world.
Soon, very soon, if spirits may exist,
I sure shall meet her.

Editha.


Cease! I pray you, cease!
Why dwell on scenes that never can return,
Checking the present hour’s best joy? Could man
Be wisely cautious how he rang’d the past,
Would he not shun the path mark’d out by woe,
Nor drag the spectre from the shades of time?

Goodwin.


Thy voice like melody prevails, and charms
The mind to sweet forgetfulness.—Yet hear,
I’m swiftly leaving the strong heights of fate,
And in the deep descent, e’en you, Editha,
Are less’ning to my view. It must be so!
When I am gone, be sure thou keep thy hold
Of sacred virtue; let not insult, scorn,
Slighted affection, or, what’s worse, the sting Of L4r 79
Of black ingratitude from those thou lov’st,
Rob thee of self-applause. Repentance comes
A late and painful comforter. ’Tis brave
To give our wishes up when they are snares;
But we are slaves when error claims atonement.

Editha.


Your precepts and example shall inspire me.
Only this night be happy; crown the joy
Of those who love you.

Goodwin.


Mem’ry’s outstretch’d wing
Spreads o’er my life, takes in my infant hours
Youth’s ardent scene, ripe manhood’s fearless stage,
So soon ran o’er, and all is vision.

Editha.


Mirth,
Friendship, and filial love, shall cheer your mind,
When you behold your children blest. To you
We’ll turn amid our highest joy; on you
We’ll gaze, while grateful tears in silence speak
How much we love you; and your gen’rous heart
Shall share the transport you bestow.

Goodwin.


Thy hand,
My lov’d Editha; lead me to the king. Exeunt. Enter Lodowicke with a Phial.

Lodowicke.


Not yet! not yet! O pity! fly my soul,
Nor shriek at my resolve!—Once done, I’ll hear thee.
In this small phial lies eternal sleep
For him who tastes;—for me it holds ambition. L4v 80
Wealth, world-subduing sway, and sov’reign rule.
Goodwin remov’d, the bigot Edward yields
To my conducting.——Why this doubtful pause?
This strong reluctance?—Ye who dare deny
The spirit’s working in this solid flesh,
Assist me!—Come, ye sophists who are wont
To plead that neither good or ill can rest
On mortal act, and laugh me to the work!
I need internal strength—What pow’r shall give it?
Who gives it is the cause, and I’m approv’d.

Exit.
Scene changes—Draws and discovers King Edward, Emma, Editha,
Goodwin, Harold, Swaine, Girth, Leofwine, Rodulfe, Leofricke, Lodowicke,
and Siward, at a Banquet.

Emma

to Goodwin.

Do you not like our wine, my lord?

Goodwin.


Fair queen,
It is too harsh, and my full spirits soar
Already in strange extacy. The wine
I drank with pious Lodowicke, awhile
Was nectar to my taste. The rigid priest
Gave out, he would not pay the rosy God
Fit adoration; and, my thirst allayed,
I left it, hoping here to find as good.

Emma.


We’ll send for what remains.

Harold

to an Attendant.

My father’s cup
Stands on the marble of the antichamber.
Go fetch it to him. Exit Attendant. Goodwin. Mr 81

Goodwin.


I have drank enough.
Praise to our gracious Emma, who regales
Her friends luxuriously. To the Attendant, who returns with the Cup.
Nay, set it down;
I’ll not be free to wide excess. Attendant sets down the cup at a Distance.

Emma.


Brave Siward,
Your wit is out.

Siward.


Great lady, by the mass,
My wit is in, and I do lack a stroke
Most masterly to fetch it out.

Edward.


What mark
Stands best for narrow-pointed wit? Be free,
Good Siward; we dispense with form, and speech
Shall have full licenc*e for this night: Then say,
What mark suits wit?

Siward.


True merit.

Edward.


O! how keen,
How deeply poison’d, is the dart that wounds it!

Siward.


Wit needs nice prey, my liege, and ever turns
From full-siz’d ignorance; envy is its nurse;
Contumely feeds it; pride from her soul string
Shoots the hot arrow of insulting wit.
O, wit is the rank scorpion of the world,
Batt’ning on its sweet kernel, leaving man M The Mv 82
The part which merit loathes. Thus merit starves,
My liege, in these our days.—Lords, dare ye own her?
No, merit ne’er appears i’ the court.

Goodwin.


If wit
Be her sole enemy, here were much room;
E’en Siward must give way.

Siward.


When Goodwin gives
His merit to corruption, I shall lose
My object and turn fool.

Goodwin.


Now should’st thou swear
Flatt’ry is merit, if thou dar’st avow
Thou hast her in possession.

Siward.


Hail me, lords!
As I wear truth and honesty at court,
To prove myself a miracle. Lords drink.

All.


Hail, Siward!

Siward.


Hail, our most gracious king! hail, every friend,
That dare support him and his country’s freedom!
But we are dull; here’s music in the palace,
And I’ve some lines for Lodowicke.

Lodowicke.


For me!
I’ll not be charg’d with them.

Siward.


I’ll charge thee not
With any thing that’s good. Why what is life, ButM2r83
But an odd scene of many colour’d hours;
Wherein the good, the ill, the sad, the chearful,
Are blended with promiscuous throw so fully,
That each man chooses what he may. How vain
Is then thy cold austerity?

Goodwin

to Lodowicke.

Thy looks
Are full of anguish, Lodowicke; thou art ill.
Why dost thou tremble? Thy inconstant cheek
Wears now the lily, and anon the rose.
Such tokens speak an agitated soul.

Lodowicke

confused.

I do not tremble, earl; I do not wear
The changeable hue of guilt.

Goodwin.


Nay, more and more
Thou dost yield to some secret shock of health.
Retire, good Lodowicke; thou art not well.

Lodowicke.


I——I——shall soon be well.

Siward.


Shall soon be well!
A priest is never well but while he sleeps.

Edward.


Siward, thy lines.

Siward.


Great king, my senses reel
Already o’er the world: but was I sunk
To the antipodes, I would stand up,
And thro’ each cranny of this earthly globe
My voice shall sound, live Edward!—Come, strike loud,
Ye sons of harmony! strain high your strings,
Left Siward’s song o’ermatch ye in your doing.

M2 Song. M2v 84


Song.

A Monk he took his lanthorn up,

And bade his King trudge on;

His Majesty ne’er stay’d to sup,

But follow’d godly John.

John having fasted long, kneel’d down,

To feed beside a brook;

But round his lanthorn wrap’d his gown,

The King his path mistook.

Into the brook, from th’ other side,

His Majesty did fall:

I surely shall be drown’d, he cry’d,

And loud for John did bawl.

Have faith, cry’d John; then thro’ the wood

Ran swift thro’ thick and thin,

Leaving the King fast in the mud,

To get out as he got in.
This song was left out after the first representation. The objection was, that it departed
from the dignity of Tragedy. I have never studied mode or dignity; they are
sciences I shall never attain: but if any critic, who is a lover of nature, will give me his
criterion dignity, I will promise to be actuated by that criterion as far as my dignified ideas
can rise.—Why do Death and Jollity shake hands so often through Shakespeare’s productions?
because they often meet in the great drama of the universe.

Goodwin.


Give me thy hand, for thou hast boldly chid
The blinding spirit of delusive craft.
Had John but reach’d his king a friendly hand,
We would have bless’d him.

Edward

smiling.

Much my promise serves
The gallant Siward. Goodwin leans upon his Hand, silently putting his Handkerchief to his Face. Siward. M3r 85

Siward.


Lodowicke!

Lodowicke.


My lord?

Siward.


Thou shall be king, I will be pope, and Goodwin
Shall be—shall be—a sober, lifeless——Lodowicke,
Can’st thou tell fortunes?

Lodowicke.


No.

Siward.


Then thou’rt no priest.

Goodwin.

looking up calmly, after having endeavoured to conceal an apparent Emotion.
Tremendous pow’r! is this the awful moment,
When time shall with my weary’d soul be o’er?
If so, O mitigate these inward pangs!
And give me fortitude to throw off life
With manly seeming! Goodwin again resumes his silent Attitude. Lords all rise.

Editha.


Why that sigh?—Ah! speak,
My much-lov’d lord!

Goodwin.


Be seated——O my daughter!
Give me thy hand; for thee I yet would live,
Thou treasure of my soul! My veins are scorch’d.
Ah! whence these dreadful burnings?

Editha

kneeling.

Power supreme!
If thou hast but one single joy in store
For poor Editha, that one joy withhold
From her, and grant it to her tender father! M3v 86
Give me a life of wretchedness and pain,
So thou but bless his hours of drooping age
With mercy’s gentle ray! Hear, righteous Heav’n!
Let him sink down with less than mortal anguish,
Whose life was worth thy care! Spare, spare him yet!
Or bid Editha follow!

Goodwin.


Lay me down,
Editha——Hark! thy mother calls.——I come,
Thou long-departed spirit! long forgot
’Mid life’s too active scene. Now we shall meet;
Now floating thro’ the paths of light, enjoy
The hour eternal. Editha faints.

Edward.


Bear Editha off.
Queen Emma, leave this dreadful scene.

Emma.


I go
With heart most heavy. This good duke is wrong’d.
Ah, Edward! where wilt thou find tears to wash
The ’graven tablets of thy mem’ry?—Time
Shall deeper cut this monument of woe,
Recording with one busy hand the acts
Of faithful Goodwin; while the other points
To the black volume, fill’d but with his murder. Goodwin endeavours to hold Editha—is too weak. She is borne off. Exit Emma.

Goodwin.


Soft I would stay her but a few short moments;
For all will soon be still.——O freezing death!
Thou wilt be victor. Feeble arm, thy sword
Were useless now.—They bear her from me!—Hold, Ungentle M4r 87
Ungentle maid!—She’s gone! for ever gone!—
Then farewel life! thy ev’ry charm is fled. Lodowicke having stood for some time unnoticed, rushes forward.

Lodowicke.


Away! away!—He shall not die!——Oh, Goodwin!
Live! live a few short moments to forgive me!
I soon must follow—soon shall meet thy shade
Beyond the vale of perishable being.

Goodwin.


What would’st thou?

Lodowicke.


I have poison’d thee!

Goodwin.


What cause
Thou had’st I know not. We’ve but little time
For reconcilement.—On thy wretched bosom
Permit a dying friend to breath his last. Goodwin lays his Head on the Bosom of Lodowicke.

Lodowicke.


Oh agony!—Could I recal thy life!—
But we shall meet—— Enter Alwine.
Where is earl Goodwin?—Ha!
I am too late. Read that, my king. Alwine gives a Paper to Edward, who reads.

Edward.


O Harold!
Read here—and drag that villain from my sight;
He hath o’erwhelm’d my soul!—Farewel, my father!
For thee thy king shall ever ever mourn,
Tho’ Goodwin’s injur’d spirit strike my thought
With everlasting horror. Exit Edward wildly. Lodowicke. M4v 88

Lodowicke.


Kings have lost
Their pow’r o’er me—I wish for death.

Goodwin.


Adieu,
My children! Weep not, friends!—Thou pitying judge,
In whose fix’d eye each particle of life
Holds equal estimation, unto thee
My spirit comes. Forgive my murd’rer! Take
My humble soul, free as thy will hath made her,
And bless—Oh bless Editha! Dies.

Harold.


In that sigh
Flew a pure spirit from a treach’rous world.
Ah Lodowicke! what hast thou done? This oath
Seals up thy dread account. Reads aloud
“By heav’n I swear,
To end the life of Goodwin!—Safe and quick
Is poison, and most secret.
Signed Lodowicke.”

Good Alwine, whence this dreadful proof of guilt?

Alwine.


Hast’ning to Winchester, within a wood
We found the wretched Canterbury, stabb’d
By Tostie. There he died; and to the village
That nearest lay the body was conveyed.
From his cold bosom dropp’d that fatal paper.
We came too late.

Lodowicke.


What would ye more? Behold
A man so wretched that he scorns your rage.
One act remains of dark unfinish’d horror, Nr 89
More vile than Goodwin’s murder. Life I hate;
And to avoid your flames justly deserv’d,
This dagger would befriend me. Draws a Dagger from his Bosom.
But to fly,
From man’s weak wrath as an affrighted coward,
Yet dare my God as a vindictive bravo,
Is e’en too much for Lodowicke. How poor,
How inconsistent, and how meanly proud,
Is the self-murd’er! Throws away the Dagger.

Harold.


In his final pray’r
My father begg’d forgiveness for thee. Live!
Live, and repent!

Alwine.


Harold, he does repent:
No keener torment man should wish for man,
Than that the soul be stung by her own guilt.
Here may fell Guilt her hideous portrait view,
Start from her colouring, and bright Truth pursue.
Truth, lovely fugitive, awhile may fly,
Raise ev’ry pow’r, and all our ardour try;
’Mid life’s dark windings sometimes leave our sight,
And seem to lessen in her distant flight:
But he that loves her will her footsteps trace,
Nor yield the prize, tho’ panting in the chace;
Thro’ all her secret haunts will boldly dare,
And, clasping Truth, possess the Good and Fair.

End of the Play.

N I know Nv 90


I know not whether I am right or wrong in saving the life of Lodowicke. I own that
such are my feelings towards my fellow creatures, that I think remorse worse than death:
it is to the criminal a torture all his own, while it leaves no blemish on society. Mankind
depend on mercy:—were we emulous in gaining its first gradation, would 72,000
souls have been executed in the reign of Henry VIII.? or would twenty men be suspended
of a morning, on a spot of some few yards wide, in London, and under the cognizance of
our Most Gracious Sovereign George III.?

N2r [91]


Epilogue


To the Historical Play of Earl Goodwin.


Written by Mr. Meyler.—spoken by Mrs. Smith.

Priestcraft, avaunt! avaunt, rebellion, too!

We’ve done, thank Heav’n, at present, Sirs, with you;

And, by permission of the good folk here,

Thalia’s smile shall chase her sister’s tear.

What a weak head this pious Edward had!

A monarch, made by priests and friars mad.

What! let an aged mother shoeless trot,

To try her virtues over ploughshares hot!

Hoodwink’d, no friendly hand to lead the way,

Expos’d to crowds amidst the buz of day!

Ladies! I’m sure, were we poor modern wives

To prove our chastity o’er burning knives,

’Tis ten to one but many a dame discreet

Would have most woeful blisters on her feet.

But, thank my stars, that Superstition’s train

O’er all the globe is in a rapid wane.

Lo! the poor Frenchman, long our nation’s jest,

Feels a new passion throbbing in his breast;

From slavish, tyrant, priestly fetters free,

For “Vive Le Roi”, cries “Vive La Liberte”!

And, daring now to act, as well as feel,

Crushes the convent and the dread Bastile!
These six lines were omitted by command of the Lord Chamberlain.

But from the play awhile we turn our eyes,

To where the humble, trembling author lies.

Ye wits! whose best diversion is to tear

Writers or actors when they first appear,

Shall I anticipate the cruel sport,

Which you’ll enjoy this ev’ning o’er your port?

“I’ve N2v [92]

“I’ve been”, says Jack, “to Orchard-street to-night,

To see what play this Milky Dame could write.”

Well, and how was it?—“Oh! but so so stuff,”

“Yet for a Milk-Maid, ’faith ’twas good enough.”

“Her tragic cows, cries old Sir Peevish Pest,

Give milk that curdles vilely in the breast;”

Whilst Biely Simper calls the play—a Quoz!

And swears “’tis merely milk and water-poz!”

Then Cantab, with Stentorian effort, roars,

How he historic tragedy adores!

That for her play she chose a glorious theme;

Had skimm’d the milk, but thrown away the cream.

To you, ye worthy friends, whose noble minds

No rigour sways, no prepossession blinds;

And gave the frequent tribute of your praise;

Her thanks are due; your candour she implor’d,

As she no learning deep had early stor’d,

No rule she knew by Grecian critic taught,

Nor skill could boast, but was from nature caught;

Doom’d, while she wrote, to rear an infant brood,

Attend their cries, and labour for their food;

Thro’ toilsome day no leisure she possest,

The Muses snatched the moments stolen from rest;

She fear’d this aim had prov’d above her flight,

But your applause turns tremor to delight;

Secure of that, no frowns can now avail,

Nor wanton critic overturn her pail.

Finis.

[93]