Their heads encompassed with crowns, their heels
With fine wings garlanded, shall tread the stars
Beneath their feet, heaven’s pavement, far removed
From damned spirits, and the torturing cries
Of men, his breth’ren, fashion’d of the earth,
As he was, nourish’d with the self-same bread,
Belike his kindred or companions once—
Through everlasting ages now divorced,
In chains and savage torments to repent
Short years of folly on earth. Their groans unheard
In heav’n, the saint nor pity feels, nor care,
For those thus sentenced—pity might disturb
The delicate sense and most divine repose
Of spirits angelical. Blessed be God,
The measure of his judgments is not fix’d
By man’s erroneous standard. He discerns
No such inordinate difference and vast
Betwixt the sinner and the saint, to doom
Such disproportion’d fates. Compared with him,
No man on earth is holy call’d: they best
Stand in his sight approved, who at his feet
Their little crowns of virtue cast, and yield
To him of his own works the praise, his due.
* * * * *
SIR WALTER WOODVIL.
SIMON, }_his sons_.
GRAY, }_Pretended friends of John_.
SANDFORD. Sir Walter’s old steward.
MARGARET. Orphan Ward of Sir Walter.
FOUR GENTLEMEN. John’s riotous companions.
SCENE—for the most part at Sir Walter’s mansion in DEVONSHIRE; at other times in the Forest of SHERWOOD.
TIME—soon after the RESTORATION.
* * * * *
ACT THE FIRST.
SCENE—A Servants’ Apartment in Woodvill Hall. Servants drinking—
TIME, the Morning.
A Song, by DANIEL.
“When the King enjoys his own again.”
Peter. A delicate song. Where didst learn it, fellow?
Dan. Even there, where thou learnest thy oaths and thy politics—at our master’s table.—Where else should a serving-man pick up his poor accomplishments?
Mar. Well spoken, Daniel. O rare Daniel! his oaths and his politics! excellent!
Fran. And where didst pick up thy knavery, Daniel?
Peter. That came to him by inheritance. His family have supplied the shire of Devon, time out of mind, with good thieves and bad serving-men. All of his race have come into the world without their conscience.
Mar. Good thieves, and bad serving-men! Better and better. I marvel what Daniel hath got to say in reply.
Dan. I marvel more when thou wilt say anything to the purpose, thou shallow serving-man, whose swiftest conceit carries thee no higher than to apprehend with difficulty the stale jests of us thy compeers. When was’t ever known to club thy own particular jest among us?