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EARL

Good ;—Sir Guy, Sir Walter D'Arlon is your host at Bruges. Adieu, sirs; come to council in the morning You that are of it. Stand aside, Sir Minstrel What, are you blind? Good night, good night, adieu.

SCENE III.-A Chamber in the LORD OF ARLON'S House. ADRIANA

VAN MERESTYN, and three Attendants in the LORD OF Occo's livery.

ADRIANA. Where have ye brought me, Sirs? What house is this? Nay, must I ask for ever? Wilt not speak ? Nor thou, nor thou? If ye are bid be dumb, But say ye are so and I'll ask no more.

FIRST ATTENDANT.

Madam, we are.

ADRIANA.

Who bid you ?-Not a word ?
If you're afraid to tell me, make a sign.
Was it the Lord of Occo ?

[First Attendant shakes his head.

'Twas not be.
Then whosoe'er enjoined it, send him here;
Entreat him were it but for courtesy
To come to me. He that hath tied your tongues
May loose them, or may hold his own unfettered.
I
pray

thee send him; thou art not so rude,
To guess thee by thy mien, as this so slight,
So slender service to deny me-no-
Or else thou wear'st a mask.

[The first Attendant goes out. She turns aside from the others.

Befriend me now, Heart, head, and tongue; be bold, be wise, be ready! Oh for some potion that for one hour's space Should make me twice myself!

Enter VAN AESWYN.

AESWYN (to the Attendants).

Depart the chamber.

[Exeunt the Attendants.

ADRIANA.

Master Van Aeswyn!

A ESWYN.
Madam!

ADRIANA.

It is thou

That thus abusest me!

AESWYN.

I, Madam! No. I have done nothing; if a wrong there be, It lies with others ; I have but obeyed Whom I am bound to serve.

ADRIANA.

Alas! thy guilt
Is but more abject, being ministrant
Unto another's, and thyself no less
Accountable to Heaven. His lust and greed
Whom thou abettest thou dost make thine own,
And nothing gett’st but wages of thy service
To pay thy sin. What! is't not shame on shame!
Thou puttest thine immortal soul to sale
For profit of another, thy reward
Being the sorry guerdon of a squire

With blot and stain of such addition vile
Of countenance and favour, bred of guilt,
As he that uses thee may please to show thee:
Favour, that coming from so soiled a source,
And for such soil of service, if well weighed,
Less of reward than punishment should taste,
And less of honourable show should wear,
Than show of reprehension. Thou to stamp
A gentle name with stigma of such deeds!
Oh curse of bad men's hire !

AESWYN.

Nay, madam, nay;
'Tis not for hire, neither for countenance :
But I have taken service with this lord,
And by the law of arms—

ADRIANA

What law is that? 'Tis not the law of God, nor yet above it.

AESWYN.

An honest squire is bound by plighted faith,
And by the law of arms, to execute
His lord's bebests.

ADRIANA.

Though they be base and foul ? Oh Sin! what thread or filament so fine Of casual consent, of compact void, Slipt in betwixt “God save you' and 'good morrow, That's not a warrant of authority To bind a man to thee! to thee, glib Sin! But Virtue! where is that indissolute chain Which to thy anchored mandaments eterne

I

The floating soul shall grapple! Law of arms !
Grant 'twere that law supernal it is not,
Yet dost thou break it: for all wrongs to women
Stand in its code denounced.

AESWYN.

By all that's just, The deed misliked me from the first; three times I prayed his lordship to bethink himself What quittance he should hazard and what blame, In wronging of so rich and good a lady; But still he said the Earl should bring him through Let come what might; insisting that by law You were in wardship, and His Grace might grant Your hand to whom was fittest.

ADRIANA.

Oh blind craft!
Oh frail inventions of humanity !
Me shall no earthly prince nor potentate
Toss like a morsel of his broken meat
To any supplicant. Be they advised
I am in wardship to the King of Kings ;
God and my heart alone dispose of me.

AESWYN.

Madam, I would it were so.

ADRIANA.

Say besides
The Earl should cast the mantle of his power
Over thy master, what shall cover thee,
That canst not borrow greatness for the cloak
Of evil deeds, from naked, manifest shame?
Lo, here I stand in jeopardy and fear,

Weak, trembling, sick at heart, and wearied so
With perturbation, and with pain so racked,
That I have lost my patience, and for hours
Have pray'd for God's deliverance through death ;
Yet rather would I, yea, far rather, live
A dateless life of anguish such as this ;
Rather live out my reason thus, and twist
For restless years upon a bed-rid couch
With the sole sense of dotage and distress
Than change with thee and take upon my soul
Thy forfeiture, and lodge within my breast
That worm of memory which to-day shall breed,
And which upon thy death-bed shall not die,
But being of the soul, shall be immortal!
Go-God forgive thee! for not mine the heart
That would invoke a curse.

AESWYN.

Lady, I swear
I bore a part not willingly in this ;
And could I, without ruin of my

fortunes, Do aught that should redeem it

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I say, trust them to me; Do to thyself the justice to renounce

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