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SIR GUISEBERT.

Sir, you're free to try;
And if our friends should still be uppermost
You will risk nothing. Should the faction reign,
You shall do well to keep your secret close
And make your best speed back.

D'ARLON.

Leave that to me.

ACT II.

SCENE 1.—GHENT. The House Van Artevelde.

VAN ARTEVELDE and VAN DEN BOSCH.

VAN DEN BOSCH.

When they were brought together in the Square,
I spake. I told them that they lack'd a chief;
For though they saw that dangers compass'd them,
Amongst their captains there was none could win
The love of all, but still some guild or craft
Would stone him if they might. I bade them think
How Jacques Artevelde from humblest state
Had borne this city up to sovereign sway,
And how his son had lived aloof from strife,
To none bore malice, and wish'd well to all.
With that they caught thy name and shouted much;
And some old men swore they remember'd well
In the good times of Jacques Artevelde,
When they were young, that all the world went right,

old ;

And after he was dead, that they grew
And wenches who were there, said Artevelde
Was a sweet name and musical to hear.
In brief, for these and other weighty reasons
They were resolved to choose thee for their chief.
But • Soft ! my friends,' quoth I; 'ye know not yet
How he inclines to that you'd put upon him ;
He hath no friends and favourites to reward ;
He hath no adverse faction to repress;
Of what avail to him were power and office ?
But nathless we'll entreat him.' Bring him here,'
Was then the cry. “More meet it were, my friends,'
Quoth I, that we go seek this noble youth ;
On such high worth we humbly should attend,
And not expect such worth should wait on us.'
To this they gave assent, and will be here
So soon as the outlying crafts are muster'd.

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ARTEVELDE.

Good! When they come I'll speak to them.

VAN DEN BOSCH.

'Twere well. Thou canst not miss to please them in this mood. The trial will be after, when they flag And want a long spur-rowel in their bellies. Thou lack'st experience to deal with men ; Thou must take counsel.

ARTEVELDE.

I will hear it always. But yet my task methinks were easy learnt.

VAN DEN BOSCH.

Canst learn to bear thee high amongst the commons ?

Canst thou be cruel ? To be esteem'd of them,
Thou must not set more store by lives of men
Than lives of larks in season.

ARTEVELDE.

Be it so.
I can do what is needful. Where, I pray you,
Abide the messengers of peace from Bruges ?

VAN DEN BOSCH.

They lodg'd last night i' the Clothiers' Square. God's

blood ! They thought their houses not so safe, belike.

ARTEVELDE.

Why thought they that ?

VAN DEN BOSCH.

They enter'd by that quarter ; And near Sir Simon's, which they reach'd the first, I had provided some pick'd men to meet them ; But, spite my cautions, they brake forth too soon, And that with howls that Bruges itself might hear.

ARTEVELDE.

So the knights took the warning ?

VAN DEN BOSCH.

They drew back
And gallop'd to the Square, the while their train
Stood fast and fought; and it is worthy note
That one amongst them shouted in the fray
The D'Arlons' war-cry, whence he may be known
Of that lord's following, and wherefore here
We well may guess.

ARTEVELDE.

Had he been slain 'twere well : Had others been 'twere not. If I rule Ghent, No man shall charge me that his life or goods Are less secure than mine, so he but keep The laws that I have made. Believe me, Peter, Thy scheme of rule is too disorderly. Thy force still spends and not augments itself. To make the needy and the desperate thine, Thou gav'st them up the plunder of the rich ; Now these, grown desperate and needy too, Raise up a host against thee ;-whereupon, No spoil remaining, thy good friends depart.

VAN DEN BOSCH.

God's curse go with them!

ARTEVELDE.

Like enough it may.
They've carried it about these five long years ;
They took it with them to the peasant's hut,
They took it with them to the burgher's stall,
A roving curse it followed at their heels,
And like enough it will abide amongst them.

VAN DEN BOSCH.

Hark! here they come.

[Shouts of “ Artevelde !' are heard from without.

Out, out! and show thyself.

SCENE II.-- The Street in front of Van Artevelde's House.

VAN ARTEVELDE and VAN DEN BOSCH.

The Multitude below.

ARTEVELDE.

My friends, I thank you for the good respect
In which

you
hold me; sirs, I thank

you

all.
You
say
that for the love

you
bore
my

father,
You and your predecessors, you'd have me
What he was once,—your captain. Verily
I think

you

do not well remember, sirs, The end of all the love

ye

bore my father.
He was the noblest and the wisest man
That ever ruled in Ghent; yet sirs, ye slew him ;
By his own door, here where I stand, ye slew him ;
What then am I to look for from your loves ?
If the like trust ye should repose in me,
And then in like wise cancel it,-my friends,
That were an ill reward.

SEVERAL BURGESSES.

Nay, Master Philip!

ARTEVELDE.

Oh sirs ! I know ye look not to such end,
Nor may it be yourselves that bring it round;
But he who rules must still displeasure some,
And he should have protection from the many
So long as he shall serve the many

well.
Sirs, to that end his power must be maintain'd;
The
power

and war, of life and death, He must have absolute. How say ye, sirs ?

of peace

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