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Ld. Eust. Well, my dear Frampton, have you secured the letters ?

Fram. Yes, my lord, for their rightful owners.

Ld. Eust. As to the matter of property, Frampton, we will not dispute much about that. Necessity, you know, may sometimes render a trespass excusable.

Fram. I am not casuist sufficient to answer you upon that subject; but this I know, that you have already trespassed against the laws of hospitality and honour, in your conduct toward sir William Evans and his daughter; and, as your friend and counsellor both, I would advise you to think seriously of repairing the injuries you have committed, and not increase your offence by a farther violation.

Ld. Eust. It is actually a pity you were not bred to the bar, Ned; but I have only a moment to stay, and am all impatience to know if there be a letter from Langwood, and what he says.

Fram. I shall never be able to afford you the least information upon that subject, my lord.

Ld. Eust. Surely I do not understand you. You said you had secured the letters—Have you not read them ?

Fram. You have a right, and none but yon, to ask me such a question. My weak compliance with your first proposal relative to these letters warrants your thinking so meanly of me.

But know, my lord, that though my personal affection for you, joined to my unhappy circumstances, may have betrayed me to actions unworthy of myself, I never can forget, that there is a barrier fixed before the extreme of baseness, which honour will not let me pass.

Ld. Eust. You will give me leave to tell you, Mr. Frampton, that where I lead, I think you need not halt.

Fram. You will pardon me, my lord; the consciousness of another man's errors can never be a justification for our own; and poor indeed must that wretch be, who can be satisfied with the negative merit of not being the worst man he knows.

Ld. Eust. If this discourse were uttered in a conventicle, it might have its effect, by setting the congregation to sleep.

Fram. It is rather meant to rouse than lull your lordship.

Ld. Eust. No matter what it is meant for; give me the letters, Mr. Frampton.

Fram. Yet excuse me. I could as soon think of arming a madman's hand against his own life, as suffer you to be guilty of a crime, that will for ever wound your honour.

Ld. Eust. I shall not come to you to heal the wound: your medicines are too rough and coarse for me.

Fram. The soft poison of flattery might, perhaps, please you better.

Ld. Eust. Your conscience may, probably, have as much need of palliatives as mine, Mr. Frampton; as I am pretty well convinced, that your course of life has not been more regular than my own.

Fram. With true contrition, my lord, I confess part of your sarcasm to be just. Pleasure was the object of my pursuit: and pleasure I obtained, at the expense both of health and fortune; but yet, my lord, I broke not in upon the

peace of others; the laws of hospitality I never violated ; nor did I ever seek to injure or seduce the wife or daughter of my

friend. Ld. Eust. I care not what you did ; give me the letters.

Fram. I have no right to keep, and therefore shall surrender them, though with the utmost reluctance ; but, by our former friendship, I entreat you not to open them.

Ld. Eust. That you have forfeited.

Fram. Since it is not in my power to prevent your committing an error, which you ought for ever to repent of, I will not be a witness of it. There are the letters.

Ld. Eust. You may, perhaps, have cause to repent your present conduct, Mr. Frampton, as much as I do our past attachment.

Fram. Rather than hold your friendship upon such terms, I resign it for ever. Farewell, my lord.

Re-enter FRAMPTON. Fram. Ill-treated as I have been, my lord, I find it impossible to leave you surrounded by difficulties.

Ld. Eus. That sentiment should have operated sooner, Mr. Frampton. Recollection is seldom of use to our friends, though it may sometimes be serviceable to ourselves.

Fram. Take advantage of your own expressions, my lord, and recollect yourself. Born and educated, as I have been, a gentleman, how have you injured both yourself and me, by admitting and uniting, in the same confidence, your rascally servant !

Ld. Eust. The exigency of my situation is a sufficient excuse to myself, and ought to have been so to the man who called himself my friend.

Fram. Have a care, my lord, of uttering the least doubt upon that subject ; for could I think you once mean enough to suspect the sincerity of my attachment to you, it must vanish at that instant.

Ld. Eust. The proofs of your regard have been rather painful of late, Mr. Frampton. Fram. When I see my friend


the verge of a precipice, is that a time for compliment? Shall I not rudely rush forward and drag him from it? Just in that state you are at present, and I will strive to save you. Virtue

may languish in a noble heart, and suffer her rival, Vice, to usurp her power; but Baseness must not enter, or she flies for ever.

The man who has forfeited his own esteem thinks all the world has the same consciousness, and therefore is, what he deserves to be, a wretch.

Ld. Eust. Oh, Framptom! you have lodged a dagger in my heart !

Fram. No, my dear Eustace, I have saved you from one, from your own reproaches, by preventing your being guilty of a meanness, which you could never have forgiven yourself.

Ld. Eust. Can you forgive me, and be still my friend?

Fram. As firmly as I have ever been, my lord. --But let us, at present, haste to get rid of the mean business we are engaged in, and forward the letters we have no right to detain.




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Duke. Now, my co-mates, and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we but the penalty of Adam,
The season's difference; as the icy fang,
And churlish chiding of the winter's wind;
Which, when it bites and blows upon my body,
Ev'n till I shrink with cold, I smile, and say,
This is no flatt’ry; these are counsellors,
That feelingly persuade me what I am.
Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head :
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in ev'rything.
-Come, shall we go, and kill us venison ?
And yet it irks me, the poor dappled fools,
Being native burghers of this desert city,
Should in their own confines, with forked heads,
Have their round haunches gor’d.

Lord. Indeed, my lord,
The melancholy Jaques grieves much at that,
And in that kind swears you do more usurp,
Than doth your brother that hath banish'd you.
To day my lord of Amiens and myself
Did steal behind him as he lay along
Under an oak, whose antique root peeps out
Upon the brook that brawls along this wood :
To the which place a poor sequester'd stag,
That from the hunter's aim had ta’en a hurt,
Did come to languish ; and, indeed, my lord,
The wretched animal heav'd forth such groans,
That their discharge did stretch his leathern coat
Almost to bursting ; and the big round tears
Cours'd one another down his innocent nose

In piteous chase ; and thus the hairy fool,
Much marked of the melancholy Jaques,
Stood on the extremest verge of the swift brook,
Augmenting it with tears.

Duke. But what said Jaques ?
Did he not moralize this spectacle?

Lord. O yes, into a thousand similies.
First, for his weeping in the needless stream;
Poor Deer, quoth he, thou mak’st a testament
As worldlings do, giving thy sum of more
To that which had too much. Then being alone,
Left and abandon'd of his velvet friends;
'Tis right, quoth he, thus misery doth part
The flux of company. Anon a careless herd,
Full of the pasture, jumps along by him,
And never stays to greet him ; Ay, quoth Jaques,
Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens,
'Tis just the fashion : wherefore do you

Upon that poor and broken bankrupt there?
Thus most invectively he pierceth through
The body of the country, city, court,
Yea, and of this our life, swearing that we
Are mere usurpers, tyrants, and what's worse,
To fright the animals, and to kill them up
In their assign'd and native dwelling place.

Duke. And did you leave him in this contemplation?

Lord. We did, my lord, weeping and commenting
Upon the sobbing deer.

Duke. Show me the place;
I love to cape him in these sullen fits,
For then he's full of matter.
Lord. I'll bring you to him straight.



DUKE AND JAQUES. Duke. Why, how now, Monsieur, what a life is this, That your poor friends must woo your company ? What! you look merrily.

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