Wal. What’s your business?
Page. My errand is to the Princess here.
Eliz. To me?
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
Is faring in your hands! The peerless image,
To whom this court is but the tawdry frame,—
The speck of light amid its murky baseness,—
The salt which keeps it all from rotting,—cast
To be the common fool,—the laughing stock
For every beardless knave to whet his wit on!
Tar-blooded Germans!—Here’s another of them.
[A young Knight enters.]
Knight. Heigh! Count! What? learning to sing psalms? They are waiting For you in the manage-school, to give your judgment On that new Norman mare.
Wal. Tell them I’m busy.
Knight. Busy? St. Martin! Knitting
To clothe the poor withal? Is that your business?
I passed that canting baby on the stairs;
Would heaven that she had tripped, and broke her goose-neck,
And left us heirs de facto. So, farewell. [Exit.]
Wal. A very pretty quarrel! matter enough
To spoil a waggon-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.
Wal. The boy’s no fool,—
As good a heart as hers, 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 or—
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 mansty or two, that shall astonish his delicate chivalry.
Isen. Oh, here’s your time! Speak
to him, noble Walter.
Stun his dull ears with praises of her grace;
Prick his dull heart with shame at his own coldness.
Oh right us, Count.