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To teach poor girls and work within my chamber,
Eliz. But, Lewis, nurse?
He, child ? he is thy knight;
If I love him? What is this love? Why, is he not my brother And I his sister? Till these weary wars, The one of us without the other never Did weep or laugh: what is 't should change us now? You shake your head and smile: Isen.
Go to; the chafe Comes not by wearing chains but feeling them.
Eliz. Alas! here comes a knight across the court; O, hide me, nurse! What ’s here? this door is fast.
Isen. Nay, 'tis a friend: he brought my princess hither,
Eliz. How did my mother die, nurse?
But how? Why turn away?
soul, Each day in every Zingar minster sung.
Eliz. But was she holy ?-Died she in the Lord ?
Isen. (weeps.) Oh, God! my child! And if I told
thee all, How could'st thou mend it ? Eliz.
Mend it?' Oh, my Saviour ! I'd die a saint ! Win heaven for her by prayers, and build great minsters, Chantries, and hospitals for her ; wipe out By mighty deeds our race's guilt and shameBut thus, poor witless orphan! (Weeps.)
Count Walter enters. Wal. Ah! my princess ! accept your liegeman's knee; Down, down, rheumatic flesh! Eliz. Ah! Count Walter! you are too tall to kneel to
little girls. Wal. What? shall two hundred weight of hypocrisy bow down to his four-inch wooden saint, and the same weight of honesty not worship his four-foot live one ? And I have a jest for you, shall make my small queen merry and wise.
Isen. You shall jest long before she 's merry.
-root of all evil. What comes here?
[4 Page enters. A long-winged grasshopper, all gold, green, and gauze ? How these young pea-chicks must needs ape the grown peacock's frippery! Prithee, now, how many such butterflies as you suck here together on the thistle-head of royalty ?
Page. Some twelve gentlemen of us, Sir—apostles of the blind archer, Love-owning no divinity but almighty beauty—no faith, no hope, no charity, but those which are kindled at her eyes.
Wal. Saints ! what's all this?
Page. Ah, Sir! none but countrymen swear by the saints nowadays: no oaths but allegorical ones, Sir, at the high table ; as thus,—“By the sleeve of beauty, Madam ;” or again, “By Love his martyrdoms, Sir Count,” or to a potentate, “ As Jove's imperial mercy shall hear my vows, High Mightiness.”
Wal. Where did the evil one set you on finding all this heathenry ?
Page. Oh! we are all barristers of Love's court, Sir, —we have Ovid’s gay science conned, Sir, ad unguentum, as they say, out of the French book.
Wal. So? There are those come from Rome then will whip you and Ovid out with the same rod which the dandies of Provence felt lately to their sorrow. Oh! what blinkards are we gentlemen, to train any dumb beasts more carefully than we do Christians ;—that a man shall keep his dog-breakers, and his horse-breakers, and his hawk-breakers, and never hire him a boy-breaker or two! that we should live without a qualm at dangling such a flock of mimicking parroquets at our heels awhile, and then when they are well infected, well perfumed with the wind of our vices, dropping them off, as tadpoles do their tails, joint by joint, into the mud ! to strain at such gnats as an ill-mouthed colt or a riotous puppy, and swallow that camel of camels, a page!
Page. Do you call me a camel, Sir ?
Page. Yes ; the Landgravine expects you at high mass ; 'so go in, and mind you clean yourself ; for every one is not as fond as you of beggars' brats, and what their clothes leave behind them. Isen. (Strikes him.) Monkey! To whom are you
speaking ? Eliz. Oh, peace, peace, peace! I'll go with him.
Page. Then be quick, my music-master's waiting. Corpo di Bacco ! as if our elders did not teach us to whom we ought to be rude! [Ex. Eliz. and Page.
Isen. See here, Sir Saxon, how this pearl of price
[A young Knight enters. Knight. Heigh! Count! What? learning to sing
psalms? They are waiting
Tell them I'm busy.