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So please you, sir, a cast at Van den Bosch
Were not amiss, methinks.
Well shot, Van Ryk ; But yet not quite the bull's eye.
By the mass, He's shot the bull he had his horns of-Ha! What will Dame Oda say to thee?
Come, come! If that's our archery, Frans Fleisch for thee.
My friends, we'll settle all such scores at will.
But is not Ghent more precious than our wives ?
And who debauches her ? When she was fain
To creep into her long-left lord's embrace,
Who came at night and whistled her away?
This is the aggravation that most stirs
The choler of the Earl. The other chiefs,
Men that by accidents and long degrees
Became entangled in rebellion,-them
He can forgive; but he that plunged plump in
And so new troubled what was settling down,
This is the man that he has mark'd for death :
Whoso brings down that head has hit a mark
That's worth five hundred florins. Ha! my friends!
Who strikes a good stroke with his sword for this ?
[A pause. Van Artevelde must die, you understand me.
[A pause again.
Why, if he must, he must, and there's an end.
The Earl must have his life; who hath the guerdon
Is not material save to them that get it;
But truly were the money on my head,
And I as sure to die as Artevelde,
I'd rather that such men as you should have it,
Than see it snatch'd by luck; when die we must,
'Tis better that thereby good men should thrive
Saving your displeasure, sir,
'Tis said good men ne'er thrive but by good deeds.
Now, were it but the slaying Van den Bosch,
Or Peter Nuitre, or Frans Ackerman,
There's husbands, widows, orphans, all through Ghent,
Would say the deed was good : but Artevelde
Has, as it were, a creditable name,
And men would say we struck not for revenge,
But only lucre, which were scandalous ;
And also, sir-
occo (to a Serving-man, who enters).
What, sirrah ?-speak—what now?
[The Serving-man whispers him. Van Artevelde ! he is not coming here? Not now-not now?
Masters, I wish you both good-day-good-day.
God prosper thee, Van Ryk-Van Muck, farewell. Why op'st thou not the door, thou villain groom? Think’st thou the burgesses have time to lose ? Farewell at once, sirs—not to keep you longer When things are all so stirring in the town ; You're needed at your posts, I know; farewell. ·
My lord, as touching these five hundred florins
Just as ye will, sirs—any way ye please ;
I bid God speed you, and so fare you well.
If you would take four hundred from the five,
And set the residue on Van den Bosch,
His head I'd bring you in for that much money,
And Ackerman's for love and pure good-will.
My Lord of Occo, at your pleasure. Ha!
Attended, too, as I could wish to see you ;
I'd not desire to see a friend of mine
Better accompanied,—no, nor a foe
Better encounter'd than by men like these.
Jacob Van Ryk, my father loved you
No man knew better, Jacob, than my father,
Who were the worthiest to be loved and trusted ;
And I, thou seest, have mounted to his seat.
How the old times come back upon me now!
I was a very little prating child
When thou wert wonted to attend
father Home from the Stadt-House : it was always thou Whom he would choose from them that brought him
To ask thy company; and in thine arms
He oft would put me for his more repose,
For I was stillest there. Times change, Van Ryk;
Years shift us up and down; but something sticks;
And for myself, there's nothing as a man
That I love more than what a child I loved.
Honest Van Muck, thy hand-thou look'st abash'd-
Ah, thou bethink'st thee of thy little debt,
that I lent thee for the close.
Why, what of that, man? Didst thou ever hear
An Artevelde would hurt his friend for gold ?
Thy debt is cancell'd—think no more upon it;
Thou shalt look boldly upward in the world
And care for no man. I will settle that
This instant with a writing.
By your leave, The burgesses are tarried for elsewhere; They are incontinently going hence;
You will forgive their haste, they cannot stay;
Open the doors. Good-day, sirs, once again.
Master Van Artevelde, I'm more your debtor
Than ever I was yet. The Lord requite you,
And keep you in your perils near at hand !
Master Van Artevelde, God bless you, sir !
And give you grace to know and to discern,
And read men's hearts,—the gift your father had.
Look for your friends amongst the commons ever ;
An' 'twere not for Lord Occo standing here,
I'd bid you trust in ne'er a Lord of Ghent.
[Exeunt the Craftsmen. ARTEVELDE (after a pause). These are ambiguous knaves.
Ever suspicious of nobility.
That am I not. You had some news to tell,
So your lieutenant said.
Has reach'd me of the terms the Earl will offer:
A guarantee of franchises and rights,
Conditional on some three hundred of us
Being deliver'd over to his mercy.
Of whom then is this number?