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They must be
Whomso' the Earl may please to name hereafter.
The lists are written out, though not divulged ;
But, what is worthiest note, upon the file
Your name appears not.
By my faith, that's strange! But are these tidings certain ?
How came you by them, if they be so certain ?
They're rumour'd—very confidently rumour'd.
I had them also from my spies at Bruges ;
A most sagacious spy-he saw the lists ;
He never yet deceived me- -there's no doubt.
And what do you advise, if this be truth?
Why, if the town be obstinately bent
On making peace, my counsel to yourself,
Whose life peace places not in jeopardy,
Would be to leave the forward part to us,
Whose only hope of safety is resistance ;
So that, if we should fall, you still
Whatever turn things take. And bear in mind,
If there be danger, and the crafts turn on us,
To throw yourself among the mariners ;
There's none of all the crafts so wholly with us.
With which of us, my lord ?
Aye, say you so ? And my part, as you think,
Is to hold back and see you play the game.
My apprehension of a leader's part
Is different from this. I ask'd your counsel,
And I have not unprofitably heard it :
Now I will give you mine, and be you pleased
To profit in like sort, lest worse befall you.
I too have had my spies upon the watch,
And what they brought me sounded in my ears
A note of warning link'd with names well known,
Now known for traitors' names. I hereupon
Took order for a numerous company,
Selected for their hardihood and faith,
To be for ever close upon the heels
Of these same traitors at all guild-assemblies
And use their weapons on a sign from me.
Which matters recommending to your notice,
My counsel to you is to stay at home.
My lord, Sir Guisebert Grutt is much impatient,
And sends one message on another's heels
To ask why tarry you?
But they are setting forth immediately ;
The market-place is full to overflowing.
Hark ye! he knows it all.
I'm ill at ease; I know not; what think’st thou ?
If he but knew it half an hour too soon,
His knowledge is of small account.
But I am ignorant how long he's known it-
How many he has practised with and gain'd-
How many may have falsely seem'd to swerve
By his direction, only to delude
And so embolden me to my destruction.
I would this hour were past !
Resolve on something; Take one part or the other, lest it pass, And leave you ruin'd both ways.
He told me if I ventured to the meeting
His followers should slay me.
Yours may him; 'Tis a fair challenge, let us fight it out.
Why that is bravely said. Then be it so.
Thou shalt have warranty to fight it out;
And if we're beaten, I shall stand prepared
To fly to Bruges with such as choose to follow.
And hark you! we will not go empty-handed;
We'll take a prize that's worth a good town's ransom,
A damsel whom thou wot'st of. Pick me out
Ten of the sturdiest of my body-guard,
Van Truckler and Van Linden at their head;
Bid them have horses saddled, and a litter.
Shouldst thou be worsted in the market-place
I will be nigh thee to protect thy flight
Till thou mayst reach the gates. God prosper
The dastard ! when the service is of danger
The follower must lead, and venture all
For him that ventures nothing. Are we fools ?
SCENE V.-The House Van Artevelde.-ARTEVELDE in a suit of
armour, reclining in a window-seat. The Page is standing by him.
Not to be fear'd-Give me my sword! Go forth,
And see what folk be these that throng the street.
[Exit the Page.
Not to be fear'd is to be nothing here.
And wherefore have I taken up this office,
If I be nothing in it? There they go.
[Shouts are heard.
Of them that pass my house some shout my name,
But the most part pass silently; and once
I heard the cry of 'Flanders and the Lion.'
The knights that newly have arrived from Bruges Pass down the street, my lord, and many with them.
Give me my cloak and dagger! There, enough-
Thy service is performd. Go to thy sports,
But come not near the market-place to-day.
To be the chief of honourable men
Is honour; and if dangerous, yet faith
Still binds them faster as the danger grows.
To be the head of villains,—what is that
But to be mind to an unwholesome body-
To give away a noble human soul
In sad metempsychosis to the brutes,
Whose carrion, else exanimate, but gains
A moment's life from this, then so infects
That altogether die the death of beasts.
[A pause. These hands are spotless yetYea, white as when in infancy they stray'd Unconscious o'er my mother's face, or closed With that small grasp which mothers love to feel. No stain has come upon them since that timeThey have done nothing violent