John Dryden (1631–1700). All for Love.
Act the Second
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.
21. Act the Second
Enter Young SPENCER and BALDOCK
Bald.Spencer,Seeing that our lord the Earl of Gloucester’s dead,Which of the nobles dost thou mean to serve?Y. Spen.Not Mortimer, nor any of his side,Because the king and he are enemies.Baldock, learn this of me, a factious lordShall hardly do himself good, much less us;But he that hath the favour of a king,May with one word advance us while we live.The liberal Earl of Cornwall is the manOn whose good fortune Spencer’s hopes depends.Bald.What, mean you then to be his follower?Y. Spen.No, his companion; for he loves me well,And would have once preferr’d me to the king.Bald.But he is banish’d; there’s small hope of him.Y. Spen.Ay, for a while; but, Baldock, mark the end.A friend of mine told me in secrecyThat he’s repeal’d, and sent for back again;And even now a post came from the courtWith letters to our lady from the king;And as she read she smil’d, which makes me thinkIt is about her lover Gaveston.Bald.’Tis like enough; for since he was exil’dShe neither walks abroad, nor comes in sight.But I had thought the match had been broke off,And that his banishment had chang’d her mind.Y. Spen.Our lady’s first love is not wavering;My life for thine, she will have Gaveston.Bald.Then hope I by her means to be preferr’d,Having read unto her since she was a child.Y. Spen.Then, Baldock, you must cast the scholar off,And learn to court it like a gentleman.’Tis not a black coat and a little band,A velvet-cap’d coat, fac’d before with serge,And smelling to a nosegay all the day,Or holding of a napkin in your hand,Or saying a long grace at a table’s end,Or making low legs to a nobleman,Or looking downward with your eyelids close,And saying, “Truly, an’t may please your honour,”Can get you any favour with great men;You must be proud, bold, pleasant, resolute,And now and then stab, as occasion serves.Bald.Spencer, thou know’st I hate such formal toys,And use them but of mere hypocrisy.Mine old lord whiles he liv’d was so precise,That he would take exceptions at my buttons,And being like pin’s heads, blame me for the bigness;Which made me curate-like in mine attire,Though inwardly licentious enoughAnd apt for any kind of villainy.I am none of these common pedants, I,That cannot speak without propterea quod.Y. Spen.But one of those that saith quandoquidem,And hath a special gift to form a verb.Bald.Leave off this jesting, here my lady comes.
Enter the Lady [KING EDWARD’S Niece.]
Niece.The grief for his exile was not so muchAs is the joy of his returning home.This letter came from my sweet Gaveston:—What need’st thou, love, thus to excuse thyself?I know thou could’st not come and visit me.[Reads.] “I will not long be from thee, though I die.”This argues the entire love of my lord;[Reads.] “When I forsake thee, death seize on my heart:”But stay thee here where Gaveston shall sleep.[Puts the letter into her bosom.]Now to the letter of my lord the king.—He wills me to repair unto the court,And meet my Gaveston? Why do I stay,Seeing that he talks thus of my marriage-day?Who’s there? Baldock!See that my coach be ready, I must hence.Bald.It shall be done, madam.Niece.And meet me at the park-pale presently.Exit BALDOCK.Spencer, stay you and bear me company,For I have joyful news to tell thee of.My lord of Cornwall is a-coming over,And will be at the court as soon as we.Y. Spen.I knew the king would have him home again.Niece.If all things sort out as I hope they will,Thy service, Spencer, shall be thought upon.Y. Spen.I humbly thank your ladyship.Niece.Come, lead the way; I long till I am there.Exeunt.