The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 519 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 4.

’Tis a brave youth—­I cannot strike at him.

SIMON Father, why do you cover your face with your hands?  Why do you fetch your breath so hard?  See, villains, his heart is burst!  O villains, he cannot speak.  One of you run for some water:  quickly, ye knaves; will ye have your throats cut? (They both slink off.) How is it with you, Sir Walter?  Look up, Sir, the villains are gone.  He hears me not, and this deep disgrace of treachery in his son hath touched him even to the death.  O most distuned, and distempered world, where sons talk their aged fathers into their graves!  Garrulous and diseased world, and still empty, rotten and hollow talking world, where good men decay, states turn round in an endless mutability, and still for the worse, nothing is at a stay, nothing abides but vanity, chaotic vanity.—­Brother, adieu!

    There lies the parent stock which gave us life,
    Which I will see consign’d with tears to earth. 
    Leave thou the solemn funeral rites to me,
    Grief and a true remorse abide with thee.

(Bears in the body.)

SCENE.—­Another Part of the Forest.

    MARGARET (alone)
    It was an error merely, and no crime,
    An unsuspecting openness in youth,
    That from his lips the fatal secret drew,
    Which should have slept like one of nature’s mysteries,
    Unveil’d by any man. 
    Well, he is dead! 
    And what should Margaret do in the forest? 
    O ill-starr’d John! 
    O Woodvil, man enfeoffed to despair! 
    Take thy farewell of peace. 
    O never look again to see good days,
    Or close thy lids in comfortable nights,
    Or ever think a happy thought again,
    If what I have heard be true.—­
    Forsaken of the world must Woodvil live,
    If he did tell these men. 
    No tongue must speak to him, no tongue of man
    Salute him, when he wakes up in a morning;
    Or bid “good-night” to John.  Who seeks to live
    In amity with thee, must for thy sake
    Abide the world’s reproach.  What then? 
    Shall Margaret join the clamours of the world
    Against her friend?  O undiscerning world,
    That cannot from misfortune separate guilt,
    No, not in thought!  O never, never, John. 
    Prepar’d to share the fortunes of her friend
    For better or for worse thy Margaret comes,
    To pour into thy wounds a healing love,
    And wake the memory of an ancient friendship. 
    And pardon me, thou spirit of Sir Walter,
    Who, in compassion to the wretched living,
    Have but few tears to waste upon the dead.

SCENE.—­Woodvil Hall.


(As from a Journey.)

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The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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