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PHILIP VAN ARTEVELDE.
PART THE FIRST.
SCENE I.-A Street in the Suburbs of Ghent.
The LORD OF Occo, meeting Sir Simon BETTE and SIR
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, 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.
Yea, my lord : It looks not well when nobles fall away
One from another. That the small-crafts here
Oh, dear sirs,
Truly, why not?
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
God speed you, sirs. To fair conditions you shall find me friendly.
[Exeunt Sir SIMON BETTE and SIR GUISEBERT GRUTT.
VAN AESWYN comes forward.
My lord, were those that parted from you
here The worshipful negociators ?
Ay! Would they had passed the windmills—how they
crawl !And met no babbling burghers on their way.
I've flung my line, and yonder pair of hooks
"Tis said she is but backwardly inclined Το any
of her swains.
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.
But once to think,
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.
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,