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PHILIP VAN ARTEVELDE.

PART THE FIRST.

ACT I.

SCENE I.- A Street in the Suburbs of Ghent.

The LORD OF Occo, meeting SIR SIMON BETTE and SIR

GUISEBERT GRUTT.

OCCO.

Sir Guisebert Grutt, and, by my faith, I think
Sir Simon Bette too! Pray you pardon me;
I thought that you were sped upon your mission
To treat for peace at Bruges ?

SIR SIMON.

Sir, in good time. We'd have a word with you before we go. You are a noble born, my Lord of Occo ; And let me tell you, many marvel much To find a gentleman of so great worth A flatterer of the Commons.

SIR GUISEBERT.

Yea, my

lord :

It looks not well when nobles fall away

One from another. That the small-crafts here
Should lift their hands against their natural lord
Is but the plague and sorrow of the time,
Which we, that are of credit, must abide :
But ne'er till now a gentleman of name
Was found amongst their leaders.

OCCO.

Oh, dear sirs,
I could remind you how your sometime selves
Bore less goodwill toward the Earl's affairs
Than spurs your errand now; and if to you
Pardon be promised, I would fain be told
Why not to me as well.

SIR GUISEBERT.

Truly, why not? To whoso merits it 'twill freely fall; So give us leave to make a good report Of how you stand affected. 'Twere your wisdom.

OCCO.

Kind sirs, I thank you ; you shall say, so please you,
That I am not of them that evermore
Cry out for war, and having not a hope
Of the Earl's mercy, act as desperate men;
For were I sure the multitude met pity,
It would not then behove me to stand out
For my particular ransom,—though, to say truth,
The Earl should do himself but little service
Were he to deal too hardly with us all.

SIR SIMON.

'Tis fairly spoken, sir. When we come back, Bringing conditions with us as we trust, We'll look for aid from you amongst the Commons.

For truly there are here a sort of crafts
So factious still for war and obstinate,
That we shall be endanger'd. Suing for peace
Is ever treason to the White-Hoods. Well,
We'll look for your support.

OCCO.

God speed you, sirs. To fair conditions you shall find me friendly.

[Exeunt Sir SIMON BETTE and SIR GUISEBERT GRUTT.

VAN AESWYN comes forward.

AESWYN.

My lord, were those that parted from you

here The worshipful negociators ?

OCCO.

Ay! Would they had passed the windmills—how they

crawl !And met no babbling burghers on their way.

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I've flung my line, and yonder pair of hooks
Are aptly baited to ensure me one ;
But compromised I am not, no, nor will be,
Till it be seen if yet my

suit
may

thrive
With yon fair frozen dew-drop: all that's left
To represent Van Merestyn's hot blood.

A ESWYN.

"Tis said she is but backwardly inclined Το any

of her swains.

OCCO.

Such wealth as hers
Makes a maid whimsical and hard to please.
She that can have her will, be what it may,
Is much to seek to settle what it shall be.
The damsel must be tried; for if she yield,
The charier must I be, whilst times permit,
Of the good town's goodwill. Her lands lie all
Within the Franc of Ghent. Send Berckel to her,
And bid him

say
I wait
upon

her leisure.

SCENE II.-The House Van Merestyn.

ADRIANA VAN MERESTYN, and CLARA VAN ARTEVELDE.

CLARA,

I do not bid thee take him or refuse him ;
I only say, think twice.

ADRIANA.

But once to think, When the heart knows itself, is once too much.

CLARA.

Well; answer what you will ; no, yes—yes, no ;
Either or both; I would the chance were mine ;
I say no more ; I would it were my lot
To have a lover.

ADRIANA.

Yours? why there's Sir Walter.

CLARA.

Sir Walter? very good; but he's at Bruges.
I want one here.

ADRIANA.

On days of truce he comes.

CLARA,

I want one every day. Besides, the war
Will never slacken now; a truce to truces.
And though on moonless, cloud-encompass'd nights,
He will, in his discretion, truce or none,
Hazard a trip, yet should he be discover'd,
Mild Van den Bosch would pat him on the head,
And then he'd come no more. But ponder well
What

you
shall

say ; for if it must be 'no' In substance, you shall hardly find that form Which shall convey it pleasantly.

ADRIANA.

In truth, To mould denial to a pleasing shape In all things, and most specially in love, Is a hard task; alas ! I have not wit From such a sharp and waspish word as 'no' To pluck the sting. What think you I should say ?

CLARA.

A colourable thing or two; as thus :
My lord, we women swim not with our hearts,
Nor yet our judgments, but the world's opinions ;
And though I prize you dearly in my soul
And think you of all excellence compounded,
Yet 'tis a serious and unhappy thing
To hear you spoken of: for men protest
That you are cruel, cowardly, and cold,
Boastful, malicious ; envious, spiteful, false,

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