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It was indeed. But whatsoe'er had been his former pride, He seem'd a humbled and heart-broken man. He thank'd me much for what I said was sent; But I knew well his thanks were for my tears. He look'd again upon the children's couch, And said, low down, they wanted nothing now. So, to turn off his eyes, I drew the small survivor of the three Before him, and he snatched it up, and soon Seemed quite forgetful and absorbed. With that
I stole away.
There is a man by fate
With Father John; but here he comes himself, Doubtless to bring you tidings of the sick.
Enter FATHER JOHN OF HEDA.
What cheer, good father?
Heavy is my cheer; What else but heavy, when from day to day I see still more of suffering sinking men Pass to the chok'd church-yard.
Truly the sight
[Exit Steward. And so the sickness spreads?
It spreads apace. Since Egypt's plagues did never rage disease So sore, and so invincible by art, So varied in its forms, and in its signs So unintelligibly strange : in some The fever keeps its course from first to last ; In others intermits: here suddenly The patient's head is seized with racking pains; Then shift they to his chest, with change as quick, Then to his loins, and strangury succeeds, With clammy sweat, hard breathing, and hot thirst; The intervals of pain, if such there be, Afford him no repose, but he is still Dejected, restless, of a hopeless mind, Indifferent to all incidents and objects, Or in his understanding too confused To see or apprehend them : first the face Is red and flush'd, with large and fiery eyes ; Then is it dropsical and deathy pale. Sometimes such shudderings seize upon the frame
That the bed shakes beneath it, and with that
It is a dismal malady, and this,
Henry, what news?
The man from Bruges, escorted by Van Muck,
Van Muck is right.
But oh! you never saw such wrathful men!
Have no fear. Van Muck will make his way. Aye, here they come.
Enter Van Muck and VAN AESWYN. What! this the messenger ? now by the rood ! Either mine eyes are treacherous as himself, Or else I see a follower of that false Dishonour'd knight, and perjured knave, Van Occo. How is it, if he dares send thee here, That thou hast dared to come ?
The Lord of Occo
Grant me but a day
his recreant neck ! What dost thou here?
And stamp my
I come not here from him, For since he made his war upon a damsel, I have renounced his service; more than that, I to the Lord of Arlon did that errand Which wrought to her deliverance.
Aha! I crave your pardon.
I had heard 'twas you, Though it escaped me. Tell your tale; but first What tidings of that lady?
She remains By her own will, sir, in the knightly hands Of my good Lord of Arlon.
Say no more; Elsewhere I would not wish her.
[The tumult increases without, and ARTEVELDE's name is called repeatedly.
Let me now Dismiss this noisy and impatient herd That throng my doors, and then-ho! hark ye, steward, Conduct Van Aeswyn to my private chamber.
(Exeunt all but ARTEVELDE and CLARA. My Clara, we have here a busy day; Perhaps I shall not see thee, love, again Till after night-fall; but I will not lose Thy good-night kiss, so give it to me now.
CLARA. Philip, there's something in your thoughts ... but noI will not tease you—there-good night-Adieu.
[Exit Clara. The clamour without increases. ARTEVELDE passes
into an external gallery, which overlooks the street, and is heard addressing the people.
Hence to the Stadt-house, friends; I'll meet you there,
[The people disperse.