John Dryden (1631–1700). All for Love.
Act the Fifth
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.
53. Act the Fifth
Enter MATREVIS and GURNEY [and Soldiers,] with KING EDWARD
Mat.My lord, be not pensive, we are your friends;Men are ordain’d to live in misery,Therefore come,—dalliance dangereth our lives.K. Edw.Friends, whither must unhappy Edward go?Will hateful Mortimer appoint no rest?Must I be vexed like the nightly bird,Whose sight is loathsome to all winged fowls?When will the fury of his mind assuage?When will his heart be satisfied with blood?If mine will serve, unbowel straight this breast,And give my heart to Isabel and him;It is the chiefest mark they level at.Gur.Not so my liege, the queen hath given this chargeTo keep your grace in safety;Your passions make your dolours to increase.K. Edw.This usage makes my misery to increase.But can my air of life continue longWhen all my senses are annoy’d with stench?Within a dungeon England’s king is kept,Where I am starv’d for want of sustenance.My daily diet is heart-breaking sobs,That almost rents the closet of my heart.Thus lives old Edward not reliev’d by any,And so must die, though pitied by many.O, water, gentle friends, to cool my thirst,And clear my body from foul excrements!Mat.Here’s channel water, as our charge is given.Sit down, for we’ll be barbers to your grace.K. Edw.Traitors, away! What, will you murder me,Or choke your sovereign with puddle water?Gur.No; but wash your face, and shave away your beard,Lest you be known and so be rescued.Mat.Why strive you thus? Your labour is in vain!K. Edw.The wren may strive against the lion’s strength,But all in vain: so vainly do I striveTo seek for mercy at a tyrant’s hand.They wash him with puddle water, and shave his beard away.Immortal powers! that knows the painful caresThat wait upon my poor distressed soul,O level all your looks upon these daring men,That wrongs their liege and sovereign, England’s king!O Gaveston, ’tis for thee that I am wrong’d,For me, both thou and both the Spencers died!And for your sakes a thousand wrongs I’ll take.The Spencers’ ghosts, wherever they remain,Wish well to mine; then tush, for them I’ll die.Mat.’Twixt theirs and yours shall be no enmity.Come, come away; now put the torches out,We’ll enter in by darkness to Killingworth.
Gur.How now, who comes there?Mat.Guard the king sure: it is the Earl of Kent.K. Edw.O gentle brother, help to rescue me!Mat.Keep them asunder; thrust in the king.Kent.Soldiers, let me but talk to him one word.Gur.Lay hands upon the earl for his assault.Kent.Lay down your weapons, traitors! Yield the king!Mat.Edmund, yield thou thyself, or thou shalt die.Kent.Base villains, wherefore do you gripe me thus?Gur.Bind him and so convey him to the court.Kent.Where is the court but here? Here is the king;And I will visit him; why stay you me?Mat.The court is where Lord Mortimer remains;Thither shall your honour go; and so farewell.Exeunt MATREVIS and GURNEY, with KING EDWARD.Kent.O miserable is that commonweal,Where lords keep courts, and kings are locked in prison!Sol.Wherefore stay we? On, sirs, to the court!Kent.Ay, lead me whither you will, even to my death,Seeing that my brother cannot be releas’d.Exeunt.