Cas. (letting fall his sword and recoiling
to the extremity of the
Hold off—thy sacred hand!—avaunt, I say!
Avaunt—I will not fight thee—indeed I dare not.
Pol. Thou wilt not fight with
me didst say, Sir Count?
Shall I be baffled thus?—now this is well;
Didst say thou darest not? Ha!
Cas. I dare not—dare
Hold off thy hand—with that beloved name
So fresh upon thy lips I will not fight thee—
I cannot—dare not.
Pol. Now, by my halidom,
I do believe thee!—coward, I do believe thee!
may not be!
(clutches his sword and staggers towards Politian, but his purpose is
changed before reaching him, and he falls upon hia knee at the feet of
Alas! my lord,
It is—it is—most true. In such a cause
I am the veriest coward. Oh, pity me!
Pol. (greatly softened). Alas!—I do—indeed I pity thee.
Cas. And Lalage—
Pol. Scoundrel!—arise and die!
Cas. It needeth not be—thus—thus—Oh,
let me die
Thus on my bended knee. It were most fitting
That in this deep humiliation I perish.
For in the fight I will not raise a hand
Against thee, Earl of Leicester. Strike thou home—
(baring his bosom.)
Here is no let or hindrance to thy weapon—
Strike home. I will not fight thee.
Pol. Now’s Death and
Am I not—am I not sorely—grievously tempted
To take thee at thy word? But mark me, sir:
Think not to fly me thus. Do thou prepare
For public insult in the streets—before
The eyes of the citizens. I’ll follow thee—
Like an avenging spirit I’ll follow thee
Even unto death. Before those whom thou lovest—
Before all Rome I’ll taunt thee, villain,—I’ll taunt
Dost hear? with cowardice—thou wilt not fight me?
Thou liest! thou shalt!
Cas. Now this indeed is just!
Most righteous, and most just, avenging Heaven!
[Footnote 1: By Sir Thomas Wyatt.—Ed.]
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