ACT I. SCENE I.
[1st Cut.] [2nd Grooves.]
A Lane near a Village. Afternoon.
Enter ARTHUR WALTON and WILLIAM, R.S.E.
Arthur. Give me your arm, my feet tread heavily;The sameness of this scene doth pierce my heartWith thronging recollections of the past.There is nought chang'd—and what a world of care,Of sorrow, passion, pleasure have I known,Since but a natural part of this was I,Whose voice is now a discord to the soundsOnce daily mellow'd in my youthful being.Methinks I feel like one that long hath readA strange and chequer'd story, and doth rise,With a deep sigh to be himself again.
Will. One would not think, Sir, how much blood had stain'dOld England, since we left her, finding thusAll things so peaceful; but one thing I mark'dAs we did skirt the village.
Arth. What was that?
Will. The king's face was defac'd—the sign o' the innAt jolly Master Gurton's—mind you notHow sad it look'd? Yet 'neath it I've been gay,A time or two; 'tis not my fortune now:Those bright Italian skies have even marr'dMy judgment of clear ale.
Arth. I'faith 'twill need A marvellous scant repair.
Will. One jovial day Of honest mud and wholesome English fog.
Arth. That sign! 'twas once the royal head of James;Some thirsty limner passing made it Charles;I've heard it said 'twas e'en our good Queen Bess,By curious folk that trac'd her high starch'd ruffIn the quaint faded back of antique chair,Her stomacher in Charles's shrivell'd vest—Who in his turn is gone. Well, take this letter,See the old knight; but not a word to him.Stay, I forgot, my little rosy cousinShould be a woman now; thus—full of wiles,Glancing behind the man that trusts her loveTo his best friend, and wanton with the girlsShe troops with, in such trifling, foolish sort,To turn the stomach of initiate man.Fie! I care not to hear of her; yet askIf she be well. Commend me to my brother;Thou wilt not tarry—he will give thee gold,And haste to welcome me—go! At the innWe'll meet some two hours hence.
Will. Hem! I doubt muchAbout this welcoming.—Sad human Nature!This brother was a careful, godly youthThat kept accounts, and smiling pass'd a beggar,Saying, "Good-morrow, friend," yet never gave.Where head doth early ripen, heart comes late—Therefore, I say, I doubt this welcoming. [Exeunt.]SCENE II.
[Last Cut.] [2nd Grooves.]
An Apartment in a Manor House.
Enter BASIL WALTON and FLORENCE, R.
Basil. [following Florence.] I'll break thy haughty spirit!
Flor. Will you, sir?—'Tis base, ungentle, and unmannerly,Because, forsooth, you covet my poor wealth,Which likes me not, as I care not for it,To persecute a helpless girl like me.
Basil. I will protect thee; but accept my love. Nay, do not frown so.
Flor. Love! say'st thou? Profane, Vile misuse of that sacred word. Away! Touch not my hand with your cold fingers—Off!
Basil. Thou foolish child, wouldst throw thyself awayUpon some beggar? were he here, perchanceThy cousin Arthur? Come, our lands unite,Be prudent—