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Mary Stuart

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SCENE I. A common apartment in the Castle of Fotheringay.HANNAH KENNEDY, contending violently with PAULET, who is aboutto break open a closet; DRURY with an iron crown.KENNEDY.How now, sir? what fresh outrage have we here?Back from that cabinet!PAULET.Whence came the jewel?I know 'twas from an upper chamber thrown;And you would bribe the gardener with your trinkets.A curse on woman's wiles! In spite of allMy strict precaution and my active search,Still treasures here, still costly gems concealed!And doubtless there are more where this lay hid.[Advancing towards the cabinet.KENNEDY.Intruder, back! here lie my lady's secrets.PAULET.Exactly what I seek.[Drawing forth papers.KENNEDY.Mere trifling papers;The amusements only of an idle pen,To cheat the dreary tedium of a dungeon.PAULET.In idle hours the evil mind is busy.KENNEDY.Those writings are in French.PAULET.So much the worse!That tongue betokens England's enemy.KENNEDY.Sketches of letters to the Queen of England.PAULET.I'll be their bearer. Ha! what glitters here?[He touches a secret spring, and draws out jewels froma private drawer.A royal diadem enriched with stones,And studded with the fleur-de-lis of France.[He hands it to his assistant.Here, take it, Drury; lay it with the rest.[Exit DRURY.[And ye have found the means to hide from usSuch costly things, and screen them, until now,From our inquiring eyes?]KENNEDY.Oh, insolentAnd tyrant power, to which we must submit.PAULET.She can work ill as long as she hath treasures;For all things turn to weapons in her hands.KENNEDY (supplicating).Oh, sir! be merciful; deprive us notOf the last jewel that adorns our life!'Tis my poor lady's only joy to viewThis symbol of her former majesty;Your hands long since have robbed us of the rest.PAULET.'Tis in safe custody; in proper time'Twill be restored to you with scrupulous care.KENNEDY.Who that beholds these naked walls could sayThat majesty dwelt here? Where is the throne?Where the imperial canopy of state?Must she not set her tender foot, still usedTo softest treading, on the rugged ground?With common pewter, which the lowliest dameWould scorn, they furnish forth her homely table.PAULET.Thus did she treat her spouse at Stirling once;And pledged, the while, her paramour in gold.KENNEDY.Even the mirror's trifling aid withheld.PAULET.The contemplation of her own vain imageIncites to hope, and prompts to daring deeds.KENNEDY.Books are denied her to divert her mind.PAULET.The Bible still is left to mend her heart.KENNEDY.Even of her very lute she is deprived!PAULET.Because she tuned it to her wanton airs.KENNEDY.Is this a fate for her, the gentle born,Who in her very cradle was a queen?Who, reared in Catherine's luxurious court,Enjoyed the fulness of each earthly pleasure?Was't not enough to rob her of her power,Must ye then envy her its paltry tinsel?A noble heart in time resigns itselfTo great calamities with fortitude;But yet it cuts one to the soul to partAt once with all life's little outward trappings...!