A Room in the Palace.
MARY with PHILIP’S miniature. ALICE.
MARY (kissing the miniature).
Most goodly, King-like and an Emperor’s son,—
A king to be,—is he not noble, girl?
Goodly enough, your Grace, and yet, methinks,
I have seen goodlier.
Ay; some waxen doll
Thy baby eyes have rested on, belike;
All red and white, the fashion of our land.
But my good mother came (God rest her soul)
Of Spain, and I am Spanish in myself,
And in my likings.
By your Grace’s leave
Your royal mother came of Spain, but took
To the English red and white. Your royal father
(For so they say) was all pure lily and rose
In his youth, and like a lady.
O, just God!
Sweet mother, you had time and cause enough
To sicken of his lilies and his roses.
Cast off, betray’d, defamed, divorced, forlorn!
And then the King—that traitor past forgiveness,
The false archbishop fawning on him, married
The mother of Elizabeth—a heretic
Ev’n as she is; but God hath sent me here
To take such order with all heretics
That it shall be, before I die, as tho’
My father and my brother had not lived.
What wast thou saying of this Lady Jane,
Now in the Tower?
Why, Madam, she was passing
Some chapel down in Essex, and with her
Lady Anne Wharton, and the Lady Anne
Bow’d to the Pyx; but Lady Jane stood up
Stiff as the very backbone of heresy.
And wherefore bow ye not, says Lady Anne,
To him within there who made Heaven and Earth?
I cannot, and I dare not, tell your Grace
What Lady Jane replied.
But I will have it.
She said—pray pardon me, and pity her—
She hath harken’d evil counsel—ah! she said,
The baker made him.
She ought to burn. Hence, thou (Exit Alice). No—being traitor
Her head will fall: shall it? she is but a child.
We do not kill the child for doing that
His father whipt him into doing—a head
So full of grace and beauty! would that mine
Were half as gracious! O, my lord to be,
My love, for thy sake only.
I am eleven years older than he is.
But will he care for that?
No, by the holy Virgin, being noble,
But love me only: then the bastard sprout,
My sister, is far fairer than myself.
Will he be drawn to her?
No, being of the true faith with myself.
Paget is for him—for to wed with Spain
Would treble England—Gardiner is against him;
The Council, people, Parliament against him;
But I will have him! My hard father hated me;
My brother rather hated me than loved;
My sister cowers and hates me. Holy Virgin,
Plead with thy blessed Son; grant me my prayer:
Give me my Philip; and we two will lead
The living waters of the Faith again
Back thro’ their widow’d channel here, and watch
The parch’d banks rolling incense, as of old,
To heaven, and kindled with the palms of Christ!
Who waits, sir?
Madam, the Lord Chancellor.
Bid him come in. (Enter GARDINER.)
Good morning, my good Lord.
That every morning of your Majesty
May be most good, is every morning’s prayer
Of your most loyal subject, Stephen Gardiner.
Come you to tell me this, my Lord?
Your people have begun to learn your worth.
Your pious wish to pay King Edward’s debts,
Your lavish household curb’d, and the remission
Of half that subsidy levied on the people,
Make all tongues praise and all hearts beat for you.
I’d have you yet more loved: the realm is poor,
The exchequer at neap-tide: we might withdraw
Part of our garrison at Calais.
Our one point on the main, the gate of France!
I am Queen of England; take mine eyes, mine heart,
But do not lose me Calais.
Do not fear it.
Of that hereafter. I say your Grace is loved.
That I may keep you thus, who am your friend
And ever faithful counsellor, might I speak?
I can forespeak your speaking. Would I marry
Prince Philip, if all England hate him? That is
Your question, and I front it with another:
Is it England, or a party? Now, your answer.
My answer is, I wear beneath my dress
A shirt of mail: my house hath been assaulted,
And when I walk abroad, the populace,
With fingers pointed like so many daggers,
Stab me in fancy, hissing Spain and Philip;
And when I sleep, a hundred men-at-arms
Guard my poor dreams for England. Men would murder me,
Because they think me favourer of this marriage.
And that were hard upon you, my Lord Chancellor.
But our young Earl of Devon—
Earl of Devon?
I freed him from the Tower, placed him at Court;
I made him Earl of Devon, and—the fool—
He wrecks his health and wealth on courtesans,
And rolls himself in carrion like a dog.
More like a school-boy that hath broken bounds,
Sickening himself with sweets.
I will not hear of him.
Good, then, they will revolt: but I am Tudor,
And shall control them.
I will help you, Madam,
Even to the utmost. All the church is grateful.
You have ousted the mock priest, repulpited
The shepherd of St. Peter, raised the rood again,
And brought us back the mass. I am all thanks
To God and to your Grace: yet I know well,
Your people, and I go with them so far,
Will brook nor Pope nor Spaniard here to play
The tyrant, or in commonwealth or church.
MARY (showing the picture).
Is this the face of one who plays the tyrant?
Peruse it; is it not goodly, ay, and gentle?
Madam, methinks a cold face and a haughty.
And when your Highness talks of Courtenay—
Ay, true—a goodly one. I would his life
Were half as goodly (aside).
What is that you mutter?
Oh, Madam, take it bluntly; marry Philip,
And be stepmother of a score of sons!
The prince is known in Spain, in Flanders, ha!
You offend us; you may leave us.
You see thro’ warping glasses.
If your Majesty—
I have sworn upon the body and blood of Christ
I’ll none but Philip.
Hath your Grace so sworn?
Ay, Simon Renard knows it.
News to me!
It then remains for your poor Gardiner,
So you still care to trust him somewhat less
Than Simon Renard, to compose the event
In some such form as least may harm your Grace.
I’ll have the scandal sounded to the mud.
I know it a scandal.
All my hope is now
It may be found a scandal.
You offend us.
These princes are like children, must be physick’d,
The bitter in the sweet. I have lost mine office,
It may be, thro’ mine honesty, like a fool.
The Ambassador from France, your Grace.
MARY (sits down).
Bid him come in. Good morning, Sir de Noailles.
A happy morning to your Majesty.
And I should some time have a happy morning;
I have had none yet. What says the King your master?
Madam, my master hears with much alarm,
That you may marry Philip, Prince of Spain—
Foreseeing, with whate’er unwillingness,
That if this Philip be the titular king
Of England, and at war with him, your Grace
And kingdom will be suck’d into the war,
Ay, tho’ you long for peace; wherefore, my master,
If but to prove your Majesty’s goodwill,
Would fain have some fresh treaty drawn between you.
Why some fresh treaty? wherefore should I do it?
Sir, if we marry, we shall still maintain
All former treaties with his Majesty.
Our royal word for that! and your good master,
Pray God he do not be the first to break them,
Must be content with that; and so, farewell.
NOAILLES (going, returns).
I would your answer had been other, Madam,
For I foresee dark days.
And so do I, sir;
Your master works against me in the dark.
I do believe he holp Northumberland
Nay, pure phantasy, your Grace.
Why should he move against you?
Will you hear why?
Mary of Scotland,—for I have not own’d
My sister, and I will not,—after me
Is heir of England; and my royal father,
To make the crown of Scotland one with ours,
Had mark’d her for my brother Edward’s bride;
Ay, but your king stole her a babe from Scotland
In order to betroth her to your Dauphin.
Mary of Scotland, married to your Dauphin,
Would make our England, France;
Mary of England, joining hands with Spain,
Would be too strong for France.
Yea, were there issue born to her, Spain and we,
One crown, might rule the world. There lies your fear.
That is your drift. You play at hide and seek.
Show me your faces!
Madam, I am amazed:
French, I must needs wish all good things for France.
That must be pardon’d me; but I protest
Your Grace’s policy hath a farther flight
Than mine into the future. We but seek
Some settled ground for peace to stand upon.
Well, we will leave all this, sir, to our council.
Have you seen Philip ever?
Is this like Philip?
Ay, but nobler-looking.
Hath he the large ability of the Emperor?
I can make allowance for thee,
Thou speakest of the enemy of thy king.
Make no allowance for the naked truth.
He is every way a lesser man than Charles;
Stone-hard, ice-cold—no dash of daring in him.
If cold, his life is pure.
Why (smiling), no, indeed.
A very wanton life indeed (smiling).
Your audience is concluded, sir.
Learn a man’s nature from his natural foe.
The Ambassador of Spain, your Grace.
Enter SIMON RENARD.
MARY (rising to meet him).
Thou art ever welcome, Simon Renard. Hast thou
Brought me the letter which thine Emperor promised
Long since, a formal offer of the hand Of Philip?
Nay, your Grace, it hath not reach’d me.
I know not wherefore—some mischance of flood,
And broken bridge, or spavin’d horse, or wave
And wind at their old battle: he must have written.
But Philip never writes me one poor word.
Which in his absence had been all my wealth.
Strange in a wooer!
Yet I know the Prince,
So your king-parliament suffer him to land,
Yearns to set foot upon your island shore.
God change the pebble which his kingly foot
First presses into some more costly stone
Than ever blinded eye. I’ll have one mark it
And bring it me. I’ll have it burnish’d firelike;
I’ll set it round with gold, with pearl, with diamond.
Let the great angel of the church come with him;
Stand on the deck and spread his wings for sail!
God lay the waves and strow the storms at sea,
And here at land among the people! O Renard,
I am much beset, I am almost in despair.
Paget is ours. Gardiner perchance is ours;
But for our heretic Parliament—
You fly your thoughts like kites. My master, Charles,
Bad you go softly with your heretics here,
Until your throne had ceased to tremble. Then
Spit them like larks for aught I care. Besides,
When Henry broke the carcase of your church
To pieces, there were many wolves among you
Who dragg’d the scatter’d limbs into their den.
The Pope would have you make them render these;
So would your cousin, Cardinal Pole; ill counsel!
These let them keep at present; stir not yet
This matter of the Church lands. At his coming
Your star will rise.
My star! a baleful one.
I see but the black night, and hear the wolf.
Your star will be your princely son,
Heir of this England and the Netherlands!
And if your wolf the while should howl for more,
We’ll dust him from a bag of Spanish gold.
I do believe, I have dusted some already,
That, soon or late, your Parliament is ours.
Why do they talk so foully of your Prince,
The lot of Princes. To sit high
Is to be lied about.
They call him cold,
Haughty, ay, worse.
Why, doubtless, Philip shows
Some of the bearing of your blue blood—still
All within measure—nay, it well becomes him.
Hath he the large ability of his father?
Nay, some believe that he will go beyond him.
Is this like him?
Ay, somewhat; but your Philip
Is the most princelike Prince beneath the sun.
This is a daub to Philip.
Of a pure life?
As an angel among angels. Yea, by Heaven,
The text—Your Highness knows it, ‘Whosoever
Looketh after a woman,’ would not graze
The Prince of Spain. You are happy in him there,
Chaste as your Grace!
I am happy in him there.
And would be altogether happy, Madam,
So that your sister were but look’d to closer.
You have sent her from the court, but then she goes,
I warrant, not to hear the nightingales,
But hatch you some new treason in the woods.
We have our spies abroad to catch her tripping,
And then if caught, to the Tower.
The Tower! the block!
The word has turn’d your Highness pale; the thing
Was no such scarecrow in your father’s time.
I have heard, the tongue yet quiver’d with the jest
When the head leapt—so common! I do think
To save your crown that it must come to this.
No, Renard; it must never come to this.
Not yet; but your old Traitors of the Tower—
Why, when you put Northumberland to death,
The sentence having past upon them all,
Spared you the Duke of Suffolk, Guildford Dudley,
Ev’n that young girl who dared to wear your crown?
Dared? nay, not so; the child obey’d her father.
Spite of her tears her father forced it on her.
Good Madam, when the Roman wish’d to reign,
He slew not him alone who wore the purple,
But his assessor in the throne, perchance
A child more innocent than Lady Jane.
I am English Queen, not Roman Emperor.
Yet too much mercy is a want of mercy,
And wastes more life. Stamp out the fire, or this
Will smoulder and re-flame, and burn the throne
Where you should sit with Philip: he will not come
Till she be gone.
Indeed, if that were true—
For Philip comes, one hand in mine, and one
Steadying the tremulous pillars of the Church—
But no, no, no. Farewell. I am somewhat faint
With our long talk. Tho’ Queen, I am not Queen
Of mine own heart, which every now and then
Beats me half dead: yet stay, this golden chain—
My father on a birthday gave it me,
And I have broken with my father—take
And wear it as memorial of a morning
Which found me full of foolish doubts, and leaves me
Whew—the folly of all follies
Is to be love-sick for a shadow. (Aloud) Madam,
This chains me to your service, not with gold,
But dearest links of love. Farewell, and trust me,
Philip is yours.
Mine—but not yet all mine.
Your Council is in Session, please your Majesty.
Sir, let them sit. I must have time to breathe.
No, say I come. (Exit Usher.) I won by boldness once.
The Emperor counsell’d me to fly to Flanders.
I would not; but a hundred miles I rode,
Sent out my letters, call’d my friends together,
Struck home and won.
And when the Council would not crown me—thought
To bind me first by oaths I could not keep,
And keep with Christ and conscience—was it boldness
Or weakness that won there? when I, their Queen,
Cast myself down upon my knees before them,
And those hard men brake into woman tears,
Ev’n Gardiner, all amazed, and in that passion
Gave me my Crown.
Girl; hast thou ever heard
Slanders against Prince Philip in our Court?
What slanders? I, your Grace; no, never.
Never, your Grace.
See that you neither hear them nor repeat!
Good Lord! but I have heard a thousand such.
Ay, and repeated them as often—mum!
Why comes that old fox-Fleming back again?
Madam, I scarce had left your Grace’s presence
Before I chanced upon the messenger
Who brings that letter which we waited for—
The formal offer of Prince Philip’s hand.
It craves an instant answer, Ay or No.
An instant Ay or No! the Council sits.
Give it me quick.
ALICE (stepping before her).
Your Highness is all trembling.
Make way. [Exit into the Council Chamber.
O, Master Renard, Master Renard,
If you have falsely painted your fine Prince;
Praised, where you should have blamed him, I pray God
No woman ever love you, Master Renard.
It breaks my heart to hear her moan at night
As tho’ the nightmare never left her bed.
My pretty maiden, tell me, did you ever
Sigh for a beard?
That’s not a pretty question.
Not prettily put? I mean, my pretty maiden,
A pretty man for such a pretty maiden.
My Lord of Devon is a pretty man.
I hate him. Well, but if I have, what then?
Then, pretty maiden, you should know that whether
A wind be warm or cold, it serves to fan
A kindled fire.
According to the song.
His friends would praise him, I believed ’em,|
His foes would blame him, and I scorn’d ’em,
His friends—as Angels I received ’em,
His foes—the Devil had suborn’d ’em.
Peace, pretty maiden.
I hear them stirring in the Council Chamber.
Lord Paget’s ‘Ay’ is sure—who else? and yet,
They are all too much at odds to close at once
In one full-throated No! Her Highness comes.
ALICE.[Bringing one to the QUEEN.
How deathly pale!—a chair, your Highness
Ay! My Philip is all mine.
[Sinks into chair, half fainting.