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I passed that canting baby on the stairs ;
Would Heaven that she had tripped and broke her goose-

And left us heirs de facto. So, farewell.

Wal. A very pretty quarrel! matter enough
To spoil a wagon-load of ash-staves on,
And break a dozen fools' backs across their cantlets.
What’s Lewis doing ?

Bewitched with dogs and horses, like an idiot
Clutching his bauble, while a priceless jewel
Sticks at his miry heels.

The boy's no fool,-
As good a heart as her’s, but somewhat given
To hunt the nearest butterfly, and light
The fire of fancy without hanging o'er it
The porridge-pot of practice. He shall hear on 't.

Isen. And quickly, for there's treason in the wind. They 'll keep her dower, and send her home with shame Before the year's out.

Wal. Humph! Some are rogues enough for’t. As it falls out, I ride with him to-day.

Isen. Upon what business ?

Wal. Some shaveling has been telling him that there are heretics on his land; stadings, worshippers of black cats, baby-eaters, and such like. He consulted me; I told him it would be time enough to see to the heretics, when all the good Christians had been well looked after. I suppose the novelty of the thing smit him, for now

nothing will serve but I must ride with him round half a
dozen hamlets, where, with God's help, I will show him
a manstye or two, that shall astonish his delicate chivalry.
Isen. O, here's your time! Speak to him, noble

Stun his dull ears with praises of her grace;
Prick his dull heart with shame at his own coldness.
O, right us, Count.

I will, I will : go in
And dry your eyes.

[Exeunt separately.

SCENE II. A Landscape in Thuringia. LEWIS and Walter riding. Lew. So all these lands are mine ; these yellow

meads-. These village-greens, and forest-fretted hills, With dizzy castles crowned. Mine? Why that word Is rich in promise, in the action bankrupt. What faculty of mine, save dream-fed pride Can these things fatten? Mass! I had forgot: I have a right to bark at trespassers. Rare privilege! While every fowl and bush, According to its destiny and nature, (Which were they truly mine, my power could alter) Will live, and grow, and take no thought of me. Those firs, before whose stealthy-marching ranks The world-old oaks still dwindle and retreat, If I could stay their poisoned frown, which cows The pale, shrunk underwood, and nestled seeds

Into an age of sleep, 'twere something; and those men
O’er whom that one word “ ownership” uprears me-
If I could make them lift a finger up
But of their own free will, I'd own my seisin.
But now—when if I sold them, life and limb,
There's not a sow would litter one pig less
Than when men called her mine.—Possession 's naught;
A parchment ghost; a word I am ashamed
To claim even here, lest all the forest spirits,
And bees who drain unasked the free-born flowers,
Should mock, and cry, “ Vain man, not thine, but ours.”
Wal. Possession 's naught ? Possession 's beef and

aleSoft bed, fair wife, gay horse, good steel.—Are they

Possession means to sit astride of the world,
Instead of having it astride of you ;
Is that naught ? 'Tis the easiest trade of all too ;
For he that's fit for nothing else, is fit
To own good land, and on the slowest dolt
His state sits easiest, while his serfs thrive best.

Lew. How now? What need then of long discipline
Not to mere feats of arms, but feats of soul ;
To courtesies and high self-sacrifice,
To order and obedience, and the grace
Which makes commands, requests, and service, favour?
To faith and prayer, and pure thoughts, ever turned
To that Valhalla, where the virgin saints
And stainless heroes tend the Queen of heaven?

Why these, if I but need, like stalled ox,
To chew the grass cut for me ?

Why? Because
I have trained thee for a knight, boy, not a ruler.
All callings want their proper 'prentice time
But this of ruling; it comes by mother-wit ;
And if the wit be not exceeding great,
'Tis best the wit be most exceeding small ;
And he that holds the reins, should let the horse
Range on, feed where he will, live and let live.
Custom and selfishness will keep all steady
For half a life.—Six months before you die
You may begin to think of interfering. .

Lew. Alas! while each day blackens with fresh clouds,
Complaints of ague, fever, crumbling huts,
Of land thrown out to the forest, game and keepers,
Bailiffs and barons, plundering all alike;
Need, greed, stupidity: To clear such ruin
Would task the rich prime of some noble hero—
But can I nothing do?

Oh! plenty, Sir ;
Which no man yet has done or e'er will do.
It rests with you, whether the priest be honoured ;
It rests with you, whether the knight be knightly ;
It rests with you, whether those fields grow corn ;
It rests with you, whether those toiling peasants
Lift to their masters free and loyal eyes,
Or crawl, like jaded hacks, to welcome graves.
It rests with you—and will rest.

Lew. I'll crowd my court and dais with men of God, As doth my peerless namesake, King of France. Wal. Priests, Sir? The Frenchman keeps two coun

sellors Worth any drove of priests. Lew.

And who are they? Wal. God and his lady-love. (Aside.) He 'll open at

thatLew. I could be that man's squire. Wal.

(Aside.) Again run riotNow for another cast; (Aloud.) If you'd sleep sound,

You ’ll let priests pray for you, but school you never.
Lew. Mass! who more fitted ?

None, if you could trust them; But they are the people's creatures ; poor men give them Their power at the Church, and take it back at the ale

house : Then what's the friar to the starving peasant? Just what the abbot is to the greedy nobleA scarecrow to lear wolves. Go ask the churchplate, Safe in knight's cellars, how these priests are feared. Bruised reeds when you most need them.—No, my Lord; Copy them, trust them never. Lew.

Copy? wherein ? Wal.

In letting every man Do what he likes, and only seeing he does it As you do your work-well. That 's the Church secret For breeding towns, as fast as you breed roe-deer;


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