Con. Thou speakest well—
The knave who serves unto another’s needs
Knows himself abler than the man who needs him;
And she who stoops, will not forget, that stooping
Implies a height to stoop from.
Eliz. Could I see
My Saviour in His poor!
Con. Thou shall hereafter:
But now to wash Christ’s feet were dangerous honour
For weakling grace; would you be humble, daughter,
You must look up, not down, and see yourself
A paltry atom, sap-transmitting vein
Of Christ’s vast vine; the pettiest joint and member
Of His great body; own no strength, no will,
Save that which from the ruling head’s command
Through me, as nerve, derives; let thyself die—
And dying, rise again to fuller life.
To be a whole is to be small and weak—
To be a part is to be great and mighty
In the one spirit of the mighty whole—
The spirit of the martyrs and the saints—
The spirit of the queen, on whose towered neck
We hang, blest ringlets!
Eliz. Why! thine eyes flash fire!
Con. But hush! such words are not for courts
Alone with God and me, thou shalt hear more.
Eliz. As when rich chanting ceases suddenly—
And the rapt sense collapses!—Oh that Lewis
Could feed my soul thus! But to work—to work—
What wilt thou, little maid? Ah, I forgot thee—
Thy mother lies in childbed—Say, in time
I’ll bring the baby to the font myself.
It knits them unto me, and me to them,
That bond of sponsorship—How now, good dame—
Whence then so sad?
Woman. An’t please your nobleness,
My neighbour Gretl is with her husband laid
In burning fever.
Eliz. I will come to them.
Woman. Alack, the place is foul for such as
And fear of plague has cleared the lane of lodgers;
If you could send—
Eliz. What? where I am afraid
To go myself, send others? That’s strange doctrine.
I’ll be with you anon. [Goes up into the Hall.]
[Isentrudis enters with a basket.]
Isen. Why, here’s a weight—these
cordials now, and simples,
Want a stout page to bear them: yet her fancy
Is still to go alone, to help herself.—
Where will ’t all end? In madness, or the grave?
No limbs can stand these drudgeries: no spirit
The fretting harrow which this ruffian priest
Ah! here comes our Count.
[Count Walter enters as from a journey.]
Too late, sir, and too seldom—Where have
These four months past, while we are sold for bond-slaves
Unto a peevish friar?
Wal. Why, my fair rosebud—
A trifle overblown, but not less sweet—
I have been pining for you, till my hair
Is as gray as any badger’s.
Isen. I’ll not jest.
Wal. What? has my wall-eyed Saint shown you his temper?