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Will ye bestow this power on me? if so,
Shout Artevelde,' and ye may add to that,
Captain of Ghent,'—if not, go straightway home.

[All shout' Artevelde, Captain of Ghent!'

ARTEVELDE.

So be it.
Now listen to your Captain's first command.
It has been heretofore the use of some
On each cross accident, here or without,
To

cry aloud for peace. This is most hurtful.
It much unsettles brave men's minds, disturbs
The counsels of the wise, and daunts the weak.
Wherefore my pleasure is and I decree
That whoso shall but talk of terms of peace
From this time forth, save in my private ear,
Be deem'd a traitor to the town of Ghent
And me its Captain; and a traitor's death
Shall that man die.

BURGESSES.

He shall, he shall, he shall. We'll kill the slave outright.

ARTEVELDE.

No: mark me further. If any citizen shall slay another Without my warranty by word or sign, Although that slayer be as true as steel, This other treacherous as Iscariot's self, The punishment is death.

[A pause.

Ye speak no word. What do we fight for, friends ? for liberty? What is that liberty for which we fight?

Is it the liberty to slay each other?
Then better were it we had back again
Roger d'Auterne, the bailiff. No, my friends,
It is the liberty to choose our chief
And bow to none beside. Now

ye

choose me,
And in that choice let each man be assured
That none but I alone shall dare to judge him.
Whoso spills blood without my warranty,
High man or low, rich man or poor, shall die.

BURGESSES.

The man shall die; he shall deserve to die;
We'll kill him on the spot, and that is law.

ARTEVELDE.

Hold, hold, my friends! ye are too hasty here.
You shall not kill him ; 'tis the headsman's part,
Who first must have my warrant for his death.

BURGESSES.

Kill him who likes, the man shall die ; that's law.

ARTEVELDE.

What further knowledge of my rules ye need
Ye peradventure may obtain, my friends,
More aptly from my practice than my speech.
Now to the Stadt-House-bring the litter, fellows—
And there the deans of crafts shall do me homage.

VAN DEN BOSCH.

Ho! stand apart. Bring in the litter, varlets.
Now sirs, let's hear your voices as you go.

[Exeunt, with shouts of Artevelde!' SCENE III.The House Van Merestyn.

SIR WALTER D’ARLON and CLARA VAN ARTEVELDE. She is

engaged in binding up his arm, which is wounded.

CLARA.

False knight, thou com'st to see thy ladye love
And canst not stay thy stomach for an hour
But thou must fight i' the street. Thy hungry sword-
Could it keep lent no longer? By my faith,
Thou shall do penance at thy lady's feet
The live-long night for this.

D'ARLON.

God's mercy ! lady!
'Twere a sharp trial, one man to keep lent
Whilst all around kept carnival ; the sin
Was in the stomachs of your

citizens : But I will do the penance not the less.

CLARA.

Come, come ! confess thyself; make a clean breast.
Thou’dst vow'd a vow to some fair dame at Bruges
To kill for her dear love a score of burghers.
Nay, it is certain—never cross thyself—
Hold

up

this arm-alas! there was a time When knights were true and constant to their loves And had but one a-piece—an honest time; Knights were knights then; God mend the age, say I ! True as the steel

upon

their backs were they And their one lady's word was gospel law. Would I had lived a hundred years ago !

D'ARLON.
Could you live backward for a hundred years,

F

And then live on a hundred years to come,
You'd not find one to love

you

truelier Than I have loved.

CLARA.

What, what! no truer knight?
A seemly word forsooth! Hast many more such ?
No truer knight ?- 'Tis thus you great lords live
With flatterers round you all your golden youth,
And know yourselves as much as I know Puck-
Your heads so many bee-hives ; honey'd words
Swarm in your ears,

and other from your mouth
Go buzzing out to ply for sweets abroad;
And so your summer wastes, till some cold night
The cunning husbandman comes stealthily
And there is fire and brimstone for

my

lords ! Hold up this arm—let go my hand, I sayAm I to tie thy bandage with my teeth ?

Enter ADRIANA.

ADRIANA. My lord-good heaven !

Your arm

-I fear you're hurt.

CLARA.

Hold, hush! I'll answer for thee. Merely a scratch ;
A scratch, fair lady,—that, and nothing more ;
It gives us no concern ; 'twas thus we got it:
Riding along the streets of this good town,
A score of burghers met us, peaceful drones-
Saying their prayers, belike; howe'er that be,
The senseless men were rapt in such abstraction
They heeded not our lordship; whereat we,
Unused to such demeanour, shook ourselves,
And prick'd them with our lance; a fray ensued,

And lo! as we were slaying some fourteen
That stay'd our passage, it pleased Providence,
Of whom the meanest may be instruments,
Thus gently to chastise us on the arm,
Doubtless for some good cause, tho’ what, we know not.

ADRIANA.

My lord, you know her; she is ever thus,
Still driving things against you to your face,
And when you're gone, if I should chance let fall
A word, or but a hint of censure, as-
My Lord of Arlon is too rash, too hot,
Too anything-

CLARA.

She sighs and says, too true.

ADRIANA

No verily. But why, my lord, come here
At all this hazard only to be rail'd at?

CLARA.

Yes, tell us why.

D'ARLON.
Behold the very cause.

Enter ARTEVELDE.

ARTEVELDE (as he enters). Let my guard wait without.

CLARA.

His guard! What's this?

ARTEVELDE.

My Lord of Arlon, God be with your lordship!
And guide you upon less adventurous tracks
Than this you tread. I'll speak with you anon:

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