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It be the webs they catch poor rogues withal.
Here is the surfeit which to them who earn
The niggard wages of the earth, scarce leaves
The tithe that will support them till they crawl
Back to its cold hard bosom. Here is health
Followed by grim disease, glory by shame,
Waste by lank famine, wealth by squalid want
And England's sin by England's punishment.
And, as the effect pursues the cause foregone,
Lo, giving substance to my words, behold
At once the sign and the thing signified-
A troop of cripples, beggars, and lean outcasts,
Horsed upon stumbling shapes, carted with dung,
Dragged for a day from cellars and low cabins
And rotten hiding-holes, to point the moral
Of this presentiment, and bring up the rear
Of painted pomp with misery!
'Tis but The anti-masque, and serves as discords do In sweetest music. Who would love May flowers If they succeeded not to Winter's flaw; Or day unchanged by night; or joy itself Without the touch of sorrow ?
Enter the KING, QUEEN, LAUD, WENTWORTH, and ARCHY.
Thanks, gentlemen. I heartily accept
This token of your service: your gay masque
Was performed gallantly.
And, gentlemen, Call your poor Queen your debtor. Your quaint
pageant Rose on me like the figures of past years, Treading their still path back to infancy, More beautiful and mild as they draw nearer The quiet cradle. I could have almost wept To think I was in Paris, where these shows Are well devised—such as I was ere yet My young heart shared with [ ] the task, The careful weight of this great monarchy. There, gentlemen, between the sovereign's pleasure And that which it regards, no clamour lifts Its proud interposition.
I crave permission of your Majesty
To order that this insolent fellow be
Chastised: he mocks the sacred character,
Scoffs at the stake, and-
What, my Archy, He mocks and mimics all he sees and hears, Yet with a quaint and graceful license-Prithee For this once do not as Prynne would, were he Primate of England. He lives in his own world; and, like a parrot, Hung in his gilded prison from the window Of a queen's bower over the public way, Blasphemes with a bird's mind :-his words, like
Which know no aim beyond the archer's wit,
Strike sometimes what eludes philosophy.
Go, sirrah, and repent of your offence
Ten minutes in the rain : be it your penance
To bring news how the world goes there. Poor
He weaves about himself a world of mirth
Out of this wreck of ours.
I take with patience, as my Master did,
All scoffs permitted from above.
Pray overlook these papers. Archy's words
Had wings, but these have talons.
And the lion That wears them must be tamed. My dearest lord, I see the new-born courage in your eye Armed to strike dead the spirit of the time.
Do thou persist: for, faint but in resolve,
And it were better thou hadst still remained
The slave of thine own slaves, who tear like curs
The fugitive, and flee from the pursuer ;
And Opportunity, that empty wolf,
Flies at his throat who falls. Subdue thy actions,
Even to the disposition of thy purpose,
And be that tempered as the Ebro’s steel;
And banish weak-eyed Mercy to the weak,
Whence she will greet thee with a gift of peace,
And not betray thee with a traitor's kiss,
As when she keeps the company of rebels,
Who think that she is fear. This do, lest we
Should fall as from a glorious pinnacle
In a bright dream, and wake as from a dream Out of our worshipped state.
And if this suffice not, Unleash the sword and fire, that in their thirst They may
that scum of schismatics.
I laugh at those weak rebels who, desiring
What we possess, still prate of christian peace,
As if those dreadful messengers of wrath,
Which play the part of God 'twixt right and wrong,
Should be let loose against innocent sleep
Of templed cities and the smiling fields,
For some poor argument of policy
Which touches our own profit or our pride,
Where indeed it were christian charity
To turn the cheek even to the smiter's hand :
And when our great Redeemer, when our God
Is scorned in his immediate ministers,
They talk of peace !
Such peace as Canaan found, let Scotland now.
My beloved lord,
Have not noted that the fool of late
Has lost his careless mirth, and that his words
Sound like the echoes of our saddest fears?
What can it mean? I should be loth to think
Some factious slave had tutored him.