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Yet, for all this,
I would you had appear'd among those lords,
And ta'en his favour.
Ha ! till now I thought
My friend had held poor Ludolph's honour dear.
What! would you have me sue before his throne
And kiss the courtier's missal, its silk steps?
Or hug the golden housings of his steed,
Amid a camp, whose steeled swarms I dar'd
But yesterday? And, at the trumpet sound,
Bow like some unknown mercenary's flag,
And lick the soiled grass ? No, no, my friend,
I would not, I, be pardon'd in the heap,
And bless indemnity with all that scum, -
Those men I mean, who on my shoulders propp'd
Their weak rebellion, winning me with lies,
And pitying forsooth my many wrongs;
Poor self-deceived wretches, who must think
Each one himself a king in embryo,
Because some dozen vassals cry'd—my lord !
Cowards, who never knew their little hearts,
Till flurried danger held the mirror up,
And then they own'd themselves without a blush,
Curling, like spaniels, round my father's feet.
Such things deserted me and are forgiven,
While I least guilty, am an outcast still,
And will be, for I love such fair disgrace.
I know the clear truth; so would Otho see,
For he is just and noble. Fain would I
Be pleader for you,
He'll hear none of it ;
You know his temper, hot, proud, obstinate;
Endanger not yourself so uselessly.
I will encounter his thwart spleen myself,
To-day, at the Duke Conrad's, where he keeps
His crowded state after the victory.
There will I be, a most unwelcome guest,
And parley with him, as a son should do,
Who doubly loathes a father's tyranny;
Tell him how feeble is that tyranny;
How the relationship of father and son
Is no more valid than a silken leash
Where lions tug adverse, if love grow not
From interchanged love through many years.
Aye, and those turreted Franconian walls,
Like to a jealous casket, hold my pearl-
My fair Auranthe! Yes, I will be there.
Be not so rash; wait till his wrath shall pass,
Until his royal spirit softly ebbs
Self-influenced ; then, in his morning dreams
He will forgive thee, and awake in grief
To have not thy good morrow.
I must be there, while her young pulses beat
Among the new-plum'd minions of the war.
Have you seen her of late ? No? Auranthe,
Franconia's fair sister, 'tis I mean.
She should be paler for my troublous days-
And there it is—my father's iron lips
Have sworn divorcement 'twixt me and my right.
SIGIFRED (aside). Auranthe! I had hop'd this whim had pass'd.
And, Sigifred, with all his love of justice,
When will he take that grandchild in his arms,
That, by my love I swear, shall soon be his?
This reconcilement is impossible,
For see—but who are these?
They are messengers
From our great emperor ; to you, I doubt not,
For couriers are abroad to seek you out.
Enter THEODORE and GONFRED.
Seeing so many vigilant eyes explore
The province to invite your highness back
To your high dignities, we are too happy.
We have no eloquence to colour justly
The emperor's anxious wishes.
Go. I follow you.
[Exeunt THEODORE and GONFRED. I play the prude : it is but venturing
IZO Why should he be so earnest? Come, my friend, Let us to Friedburg castle.
SCENE I.-An Ante-chamber in the Castle.
Enter LUDOLPH and SIGIFRED.
No more advices, no more cautioning ;
I leave it all to fate-to any thing!
I cannot square my conduct to time, place,
Or circumstance; to me 'tis all a mist!
It seems I am to wait
Here in the ante-room ;—that may be a trifle.
You see now how I dance attendance here,
Without that tyrant temper, you so blame,
Snapping the rein. You have medicin'd me
With good advices; and I here remain,
In this most honourable ante-room,
Your patient scholar.
Do not wrong me, Prince.
By Heavens, I'd rather kiss Duke Conrad's slipper,
When in the morning he doth yawn with pride,
Than see you humbled but a half-degree!
Truth is, the Emperor would fain dismiss
The nobles ere he sees you.
Enter GONFRED, from the Council-room.
Well, sir! what?
Great honour to the Prince! The Emperor,
Hearing that his brave son had re-appeared,
Instant dismiss'd the Council from his sight,
As Jove fans off the clouds. Even now they pass.
Enter the Nobles from the Council-room. They cross the
stage, bowing with respect to LUDOLPH, he frowning on them. CONRAD follows. Exeunt Nobles.
Not the discoloured poisons of a fen,
Which he who breathes feels warning of his death,
Could taste so nauseous to the bodily sense,
As these prodigious sycophants disgust
The soul's fine palate.