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Before the council. Hold thyself prepared
To tell thy story there.
I think my royal cousin, though he's young,
Bears yet a mind too mettlesome to brook
Such wrongs as these. Your Majesty has heard :
The Flemish hordes lift plunder in your realm,
Driving your subjects from their peaceful homes,
Burning, destroying, wheresoe'er they reach,
And ever on nobility they fall
With sharpest tooth : let this have leave to grow,
And French insurgents shall from Flemish learn
The tricks of treason,-German boors from both;
Till kings and princes, potentates and peers,
Landgraves, electors, palatines, and prelates,
Dukes, earls, and kņights, shall be no more accounted
Than as the noblest and the loftiest trees,
Which the woodwarden as he walks the forest
Marks for the axe. Our warlike cousin king
When once he takes the field shall make brief work
With the base Flemings, and with one sharp blow
Cut short by the head some twenty thousand treasons
Hatch'd lately, so to say, beneath the wings
Of this Van Artevelde, which chipp'd the shell
Two months agone when Paris grew too hot
To hold us, and that now are fledged and enter'd.
I would your Majesty were now in arms,
Leading your gallant troops.
To-morrow, uncle ! We will be arm'd and lead our troops to-morrow. We'll ride the chestnut with the bells at his heels. Let it be done to-morrow.
Should the council
Declare for war, your force can not so soon
Be drawn together as your highness thinks,
Though it lies mainly hereabouts.
Speak boldly to the council as to us,
And if you'd presently be in the field
Be diligent to learn your speech—come in-
Both that you have and something I'll put to it
Touching this yeoman's grief-come in with me-
Ho! take away this hawk—and you shall have it.
[Exeunt DUKE OF BURGUNDY and the King.
My brother, Fleureant, is all too hot
In this affair; he's ever taking starts,
And leaving them that he should carry with him.
He'll fright the council from their calmer sense,
And drive them to some rash resolve.
My lord, You shall perceive to-morrow at the board How vast and voluble a thing is wit, And what a sway a little of it hath With councillors of state. My lord of Burgundy Will blaze and thunder through a three hours' speech, And stamp and strike his fist upon the board, Whilst casements rattling and a fall of soot Shall threaten direful war.
The Earls of Ewe, and Blois, St. Poule, and Laval,
Guesclin, St. Just, the Seneschal of Rieux,
Raoul of Raneval,—all these and more,
Are to my certain knowledge clean against him.
They deem a mission should be sent to Flanders
Before the sword be drawn, and with my
will Nought else shall come to pass.
Though obstinate at times, is politic too,
And lacks not understanding; he'll not brave
The wrath of France if he be well entreated.
I spake with one last night who came from Bruges, And on his
had sojourn'd in the camp At Oudenarde, where, when the turbulent towns Behind his back can spare him from their broils, Van Artevelde o'ersees the leaguering force. There was a market in the camp, he said, And all things plentiful,-fruit, cheese, and wine, All kinds of mercery, cloth, furs, and silks, With trinketry, the plunder daily brought By Van den Bosch's marauders. Went and came All men that chose from Brabant, Hainault, Liege, And Germany; but Frenchmen were forbidden. Van Artevelde, he said, in all things apes The state and bearing of a sovereign prince; Has bailiffs, masters of the horse, receivers, A chamber of accompt, a hall of audience, Off gold and silver eats, is clad in robes Of scarlet furr'd with minever, gives feasts
With minstrelsy and dancing night and day
To damsels and to ladies, whom amongst
Pre-eminent is that Italian minx
Late domiciled with me, the girl Elena.
To Bruges in company with me she came,
Where waiting till on my return from Liege
I could rejoin her, to the conqueror's hands
She fell when Bruges was taken.
That lady hath a hook that twitches still.
If what I heard in Gascony be true
You claim'd her from Van Artevelde in vain,
Who answer'd not your missives.
True it is ; And he shall answer for so answering not, If any voice of potency be mine Touching this war. But he may yet take thought And make amends ; I'll send him once again A message,
and I know not who's so fit To take it as thyself.
My lord, my tongue Can utter nought with so'much grace by half As what you bid it speak; I'll bear your message.
Not that for foolishness and woman's love
I would do this or that, but you shall note
My honour is impawn'd. Some half-hour hence
Come to my chamber, where in privacy
We'll further speak of this; and bring thou there
The yeoman of Tournesis; he must learn
How to demean himself before the Council.
He has been tamper'd with, I nothing doubt,
And what he's tutor'd to must we unteach.
Things run too fast to seed.
What soldier's heart
By dotage such as his was e’er possess'd
Upon a paramour! To win her back
Peace, war, or anything to him were good,
Nought evil but what works contrariwise.
And still his love goes muffled up for shame,
And masks itself with show of careless slights,
And giving her ill names of jade and minx,
Gipsy and slut.-The world's a masquerade,
And he whose wisdom is to pay it court
Should mask his own unpopular penetration,
And seem to think its several seemings real.
SCENE II.--The Flemish Camp before Oudenarde. A Platform
in front of Van ARTEVELDE's Tent.
Enter VAN ARTEVELDE and Van Ryk.
Look to that horse ; he coughs—I think I am ;
The sun was hot for such a long day's ride.
What is the hour ?