O lady, have a care
Of these indefinite and spleen-bred resolves.
You know not half the dangers that attend
Upon a life of wand’ring, which your thoughts now,
Feeling the swellings of a lofty anger,
To your abused fancy, as ’tis likely,
Portray without its terrors, painting lies
And representments of fallacious liberty—
You know not what it is to leave the roof that shelters you.
I have thought on every possible event,
The dangers and discouragements you speak of,
Even till my woman’s heart hath ceas’d to fear them,
And cowardice grows enamour’d of rare accidents.
Nor am I so unfurnish’d, as you think,
Of practicable schemes.
Now God forbid; think twice of this, dear lady.
I pray you spare me, Mr. Sandford,
And once for all believe, nothing can shake my purpose.
But what course have you thought on?
To seek Sir Walter in the forest of Sherwood.
I have letters from young Simon,
Acquainting me with all the circumstances
Of their concealment, place, and manner of life,
And the merry hours they spend in the green haunts
Of Sherwood, nigh which place they have ta’en a house
In the town of Nottingham, and pass for foreigners,
Wearing the dress of Frenchmen.—
All which I have perus’d with so attent
And child-like longings, that to my doting ears
Two sounds now seem like one,
One meaning in two words, Sherwood and Liberty.
And, gentle Mr. Sandford,
’Tis you that must provide now
The means of my departure, which for safety
Must be in boy’s apparel.
Since you will have it so
(My careful age trembles at all may happen)
I will engage to furnish you.
I have the keys of the wardrobe, and can fit you
With garments to your size.
I know a suit
Of lively Lincoln Green, that shall much grace you
In the wear, being glossy fresh, and worn but seldom.
Young Stephen Woodvil wore them, while he lived.
I have the keys of all this house and passages,
And ere day-break will rise and let you forth.
What things soe’er you have need of I can furnish you;
And will provide a horse and trusty guide,
To bear you on your way to Nottingham.
MARGARET That once this day and night were fairly past! For then I’ll bid this house and love farewell; Farewell, sweet Devon; farewell, lukewarm John; For with the morning’s light will Margaret be gone. Thanks, courteous Mr. Sandford.— (Exeunt divers ways.)
ACT THE SECOND
SCENE.—An Apartment in Woodvil Hall.