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Whose honour he attempted yesternight
Beneath

my

roof: and here on her behalf,
And on my own, your highness I entreat
That you give order to have lists prepared,
Where I may meet the miscreant spear to spear,
And do God's will upon him.

EARL.

Soft, my son; I'll have no fighting for a private cause Till Ghent be down. I cannot spare a spear, And this were but a childish cause at best For breaking one. The honest dames of Ghent Have scarce deserved protection at our hands; And when the time shall come, as come it will, That Ghent is storm'd and sack'd, they'll have no more Than their deserts : free quarters shall they give To lusty knight, hot squire, and man at arms. Shall they not, Gilbert ?

GILBERT.

Sir, the dames of Ghent Must look for worse than what your highness hints.

EARL.

Why then my Lord of Occo sinn'd not much
To seize occasion by the forelock,-ha?

GILBERT.

My lord, he did but what was just and right.

D'ARLON.
Peace, Master Gilbert Matthew-stand apart;
I seek an audience direct and free,

No craft of juggling renegade betwixt
To interpose, and toss me to and fro
The words that please him or that please him not.
My lord, you know what service I have done,
And with what voluntary heart, not bound
By duty or allegiance to bear arms,
For in my native land the while was peace.
I scarce am call’d a man, and service yet
I count by years, nor leave a winter out.
I was the nursling of your camp, my lord,
And play'd with weapons, ere my hands had strength
To lift an iron basnet to my head.
The war-horse neigh'd to see me when my legs
His breadth of back bestrided scarce aslope,
And rarely hath it been from that time forth
That I have housed when men at arms were mounted.
This it befits not me to say, my lord,
Save for the just conclusion: I entreat
That if it square not with your purposes
To grant the combat which I claim with Occo,
I then have leave to fold my banner up,
And quit your camp.

EARL.

Come, Walter, come, you're idle; When cause and opportunity are rife For reasonable fighting, we might well Dispense with all knight-errantry. Enough; See the moon out, and if thy humour hold It shall have way; the next that shines, I trust, Shall cast upon the batter'd walls of Ghent A thorough light.

D'ARLON.

And if I live to see it
I'll claim the combat. Fare you well, my lord.

[Exit.

EARL.
Was ever man, with denizens for foes
And foreigners for friends, so plagued as I !
My bravest knight would cast away his life
To do me a disservice, with more zeal
Than he was used to serve me with : denied,
Straight he shall tell me he was born elsewhere
And owes me no allegiance.

GILBERT.

By your leave,
I could not wish your highness better fortune,
Than that the fools you count amongst your

friends Were number'd with your foes,-or with the dead.

Enter Attendant.

ATTENDANT.

According to the summons, please your highness, The Lords are met in council.

EARL.

I shall come. Attend me, Gilbert, when the board breaks up, And thou shalt know the issue. Come to dinner. And sirrah, tell the butler that to-day I shall drink brandy. From all use of wine I'm interdicted by a sacred vow, Till Ghent's submission free me. May't be soon!

ACT IV.

SCENE I.—GHENT.-The platform at the top of the steeple

of St. Nicholas' Church.Time, day-break.

ARTEVELDE.

There lies a sleeping city. God of dreams!
What an unreal and fantastic world
Is going on below!
Within the sweep of yon encircling wall
How many a large creation of the night,
Wide wilderness and mountain, rock and sea,
Peopled with busy transitory groups,
Finds room to rise, and never feels the crowd !
-If when the shows had left the dreamers' eyes
They should float upward visibly to mine,
How thick with apparitions were that void !
But now the blank and blind profundity
Turns my brain giddy with a sick aversion.
-I have not slept. I am to blame for that.
Long vigils, join'd with scant and meagre food,
Must needs impair that promptitude of mind,
And cheerfulness of spirit, which in him
Who leads a multitude, is past all price.
I think I could redeem an hour's repose
Out of the night that I have squander'd, yet.
The breezes, launch'd upon their early voyage,
Play with a pleasing freshness on my face.
I will enfold my cloak about my

limbs

And lie where I shall front them ;-here, I think.

[He lies down. If this were over- -blessed be the calm That comes to me at last! A friend in need Is nature to us, that when all is spent, Brings slumber-bountifully-whereupon We give her sleepy welcome- -if all this Were honourably over- -Adriana

[Falls asleep, but starts up almost instantly. I heard a hoof, a horse's hoof I'll swear, Upon the road from Bruges,—or did I dream ? No! 'tis the gallop of a horse at speed.

VAN DEN BOSCH (without). What ho! Van Artevelde !

ARTEVELDE.

Who calls ?

VAN DEN BOSCH (entering).

'Tis I. Thou art an early riser, like myself ; Or is it that thou hast not been to bed ?

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Nay, what can they be?
A page from pestilence and famine's day-book ;
So many to the pest-house carried in,
So many to the dead-house carried out.
The same dull, dismal, damnable old story.

ARTEVELDE.

Be quiet; listen to the westerly wind,
And tell me if it bring thee nothing new.

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