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Held soul and sense of Anthony. My grief
Outweighing maiden fear, I stooped to kiss
And bid farewell unto my true love's face,
Deeming his dear lips waited for my kiss
And last farewell, but as I bent me down
The blackest of the demons bent him too,
And, snatching at the helpless waiting mouth
By its poor boyish undergrowth of beard,
He flung it in the furnace 'fore mine eyes,
That stared in agony.


Oh, horrible !


And, dearest 'mother, I, who dare not look
Even at the maim'd body of a toad
Crush'd by a cart-wheel, looking, saw all this ;

sc. i.] Anthony Babington. 55

The tenderness I felt for ev'ry shred

That once had seem'd my lover, making fear

My second care my first that he should heed,

All mangled as he was, my last fond words,

And bless me ere he burnt. So lately lived

My Anthony, that all my mind refused

To know him kill'd ; I deem'd but his young life

Dispersed, yet sentient. My Anthony

Nay, twenty Anthonys, dash'd on the ground,

As one might spill red sacramental wine

(Wherein, as Papists deem, God's spirit lives,

Who worship Him in ev'ry crimson stain),

So seem'd these bleeding fragments of poor flesh

My Anthony all marr'd and murder'd thus

Helpless to clasp and kiss, or say farewell,

But still my Anthony still loving me

Not turn'd into a foe.


Most terrible !

And was he dead, his young life shiver'd thus
To twenty atoms ? Rather had it seem'd
To me, as 'twere the sacramental cup,
Dash'd by some angry demon to the ground,
Spilling God's spirit.

56 Anthony Babington. [ACT n.


Aye, far rather this

Than that which is to follow ! Bear with me,
This memory unnerves me.


My poor child,

I marvel not that fear possess thy heart
At so great horror ; most assuredly
The Lord hath spoken to thee in a dream.


The worst's to come. My only abject fear
That I might lose my love, nor let him know
Once more my love of him, I leant across
The altar rails to where the furnace glow'd,
Betwixt the iron bars whereof I saw
My Anthony's poor face, yet unconsumed,
Seeming transparent, as an agate held
This side the light ; but as I form'd my lips
Into a word of tenderness, his own
All suddenly grew to a ghastly grin,
As tho' of dire derision. I beheld,
Glitt'ring, an angry double-row of teeth,
Saw-sharpen'd, with the furnace red behind ;

sc. i.] Anthony Babington. 57

These closed on one another, as he hiss'd

The name of her he lov'd the Queen of Scots ;

Then laugh' d a grating laugh, the which the fiends

Echoed, till all the rafters of the church

Shook with the ghastly chorus, whilst his lips

Burn'd slowly to a cinder, whose last words

Had left me doubly desolate. 'Twas then

I heard these words, deliver* d at the last,

By one whose voice rang louder than the fiends*

Harsh, shrilling laughter : " Traitor unto heav'n I

Traitor unto thy country and thy queen !

Traitor to wife and child, and fond first love !

E'en traitor unto traitors ! " And there fell

A silence, as may be the tomb's, and then

I 'woke to find myself in mine own bed,

In Fleet Street, at my cousin Willoughby's.


Indeed, indeed that were a vision sent
Of heaven as a warning ! Never dream
Boded more evil to young Anthony,
His soul and body both ! 'Twere best to eschew
One so ill starr'd, my Alice ! In the days
When you two, cousin-like, must needs, forsooth,.

58 Anthony Babington. [ACT n.

Play carelessly at being man and wife,
Against my wishes, was there no small voice
That warn'd thee, Alice, that a youth thus fill'd
{Like to the sails of some gay privateer,
Gold-laden from the Indies, under Drake,)
With winds that blow o'er many colour'd capes
And coral-stranded isles, were no fit mate
For one whose life, like thine, has been retired
And hidden 'mongst the folk-forsaken shades
Of this old manor-house ? Ah, 'tis a youth
Headstrong and arrogant, he stands foredoom'd.
Men say his mind is fill'd with foolishness
Since he return'd to England from abroad.
But there are other men as good as he
In England, aye, and better too, my child,
And cousins, too, upon thy father's side,
Worth ten of Anthony for steadfastness ;
Your cousin Willoughby's brave soldier-son,
Your guardian a man of twice your years,
But none the worse for that a steady man,
One in whose care I fain would leave my girl.
True, Anthony is rich but what is wealth
To one attainted ?

sc. i.] Anthony Babington. 59


Nay, that very wealth
AVas what I seem'd to love in him the least.


You are a foolish child ; learn to be wise
Of one who has paid wisdom's bitter price.


Yet not to warn him if indeed the voice
Of God hath spoken ! I who ne'er can be
His wife, since now another bears his name,
May I not be his guardian, to point,
If not the road to good, at least the road
That leads away from evil, maybe death ?
You would not have me husband so my breath
As that I should not waft him one good word,
But let him go his way ?


How should a maid

Pursue a young man, to unearth the thought
Deep buried in his dark ambitious soul ?
Not meeting him, it were not safe to tnist
Your fears unto a letter in these days,
Since if, indeed (as I have heard surmised),

60 Anthony Babington. [ACT n.

He herd with traitors, to admonish him
Of what might be his danger were to you
A danger likewise. Ah ! I know these days
In which we live, who all my life have dwelt
As spied by Argus eyes ! I scarce dare think !
To know a traitor means to aid a traitor ;
To love a traitor means to be a traitor ;
To be a traitor means it means the block !

ALICE (sadly).

The block is our most merciful escape
From these dark days. I pray I meet no worse,
For 'tis at least an honourable death
(Since those have died on it who did no wrong),
And some say painless.


Those who told thee this
Had ne'er endured such painlessness. But fie
On one of my ripe years to let you speak
Of blocks and traitors ! Out on me, I say,
For an old fool, despite my silver hair.
We scare ourselves until we almost start
At our own shadows !

\Both start, hearing knock at the door.

sc. i.] Anthony Babington. 6 1


Who is it that knocks ?
\Enier GILES, a servant^


The dutiful compliments of Colonel Nicholas Wil-
loughby, but lately returned from the Low Countries,
and might he visit you to-day at noon, after the
dinner hour ? He is halting at the inn at the town.


At dinner, Giles ! at dinner ! Our cousin Wil-
loughby ! No need, in sooth, that he should ask
ere he visit those who will be o'er ready with a
welcome ! Bid him ten thousand times welcome,
and we wait him impatiently ! [To ALICE.] Your
cousin Nicholas, dear child, lately returned from
the Low Countries ! He comes at a happy moment
to banish all our gloomy fears and presages !

I feel in no mood for him. I cannot see him.


Alice ! Your cousin Nicholas ! He who used in
the old time to call you his little wife !

62 Anthony Bdbington. [ACT n.


Aye, granny, I remember it well. His " little wife,"
and I will never be his little wife !


A foolish child alas ! A foolish child ! But girls
ase ever fanciful.


Oh grandmother ! I have yet kept something
back. I did warn Anthony ; I sought him out, yea
even in a common tavern-room, where he and some
companions sat at wine. Old Nancy met him in
Newgate Market she would have known his voice
and noble bearing amongst a thousand ; yet had she
doubted, Mr. Salisbury, who was with him, would
have confirmed her, he being without disguise.
Anthony wore not his own hair, and had a beard.
She saw him enter the tavern of the " Three Tuns,"
whereof she apprised me, and we went there together.

MRS. BELLAMY (reproachfully).

Ah child, child ! If I am to see you link your
fate to a conspirator, I have indeed cumbered too
long the earth ; for I fear me report speaks but too
truly, and that Anthony hath in hand some dark

sc. i.] Anthony Babington. 63

dealings. For what else his false hair and beard ? or
wild Tom Salisbury his companion, whose mother
must rue the day she bore him ? though, what could
be hoped from one in the following of Lord
Leicester ? Ah, well-a-day ! And you, Alice, seeming
like my very own child ! [Exeunt, sighing.

[After a pause, enter COLONEL WILLOUGHBY.]


Here is the dear oak room, and all unchanged

As when, a young man, all aflare with hope

Of glory in God's cause, victorious arms,

Retrieved fortunes, and high honours won,

I join'd to these a dream of home and love,

When that fair slip of maidenhood, my ward,

Then budding into girlhood, grew to be

The woman she is now ! I marvel much

If she fulfil the promises she made

To be a beauty ? Let me think her age

Her age must be by this some twenty years,

Those seven which have snatch'd my last of youth,.

And made of me this rough-hewn soldier-lout,

Have changed her to a woman. [Looks in mirror.

64 Anthony Babington. [ACT n.

Forty years

Mated to twenty summers ! Forty years !
And not so spent in holding dainty skeins
Of lady's silk, in chambers arras-hung,
Rustling with broider'd petticoats, that she,
This gentle child, should deign to view my suit
With eyes of favour. I shall seem to her
Only the rude campaigner that I am,
My fingers all too harsh to wind her skeins,
Too rough to lure sweet music from her lute,
Save at the risk of snapping all its strings
Thro' clumsy handling, and with voice too gruff
To trill a sonnet.



Cousin Nicholas,

Ten thousand welcomes ! Aye, and wherefore sue
Of one so proud as I to welcome you ?
Alice and I are all too pleased to bid
You, our dear cousin, to our simple board.


How is my cousin Alice ?

sc. i.] AntJwny Babington. 65


Not o'er well. You will smile, cousin, at so much
zeal in one so young, but I do believe she is vexed
for the safety of the queen's majesty. Strange
rumours reach us from town.


You are hinting at these plots to assassinate the
queen the disaffection among the Papists. Let
my fair cousin rest ; it will pass off mere thunder
showers to herald the brighter morrow. Let them
come down, say I. \Enter ALICE, unperceived^ And
as for the traitors, we shall gibbet them, cousin ; we
shall gibbet them. \Percciving ALICE, and taking her
handJ\ And so, fair cousin, we meet again. After a
rough life in rough places I find myself once more in
my boy haunts ; for this old manor-house was known
to me long ere you came to gladden it. \Asufc\ As
beautiful as one might imagine an angel !


And yet after all, cousin Nicholas, they have done
but little in Flanders for God's cause.


All is as yet in a great uncertainty ; but, as I was

66 Anthony Babington. [ACT n.

saying to my good cousin there, these be but thunder
showers. Events will shuffle themselves right, by
God's grace. The Frenchmen vexed us somewhat
they being but half friends, and more than half foes,
if the apple of discord may thus be split. But we
wait God's good time.


'Twere hazardous dealing with them, without
doubt. For me, true friend or true foe.


Then, cousin, I am for you your true friend.


Be not o'er rash, lest I should prove you, cousin,
in some way you wot not of. You are returning to
town ere long?


Indeed I fear me, fair cousin, my stay must not
extend over to-morrow. Though we are, as it were,
disbanded, I shall not give up the soldier till these
thunder clouds clear somewhat. My services are
still at the disposal of my queen, and I am in this
part on a special mission.

sc. i.] Anthony Babington. 67


Your cousin means by thunder clouds, plots, Alice
plots which have their rise in Spain.


Calm yourself, Alice. Let not these reports distress
you. A cloud of midges in the air they bite, but
rarely draw blood. No names are as yet given (nay,
and if they were, it would ill become me to divulge
them), but from all I hear some dozen foolish boys
are banded together in the interest of the Scottish
queen, who hath in her nature so little prudence and
reserve, as we know of old, that through indiscretion
she will betray even her own friends. But these
conspirators are but like mites in a cheese, which
may help it to seethe and fester, but which change
not its outward form. So silly women and boys can
never alter the form of the State. We want for that
the club of a giant and a master mind.

Alas ! poor misguided young gentlemen !


All we shall know of them in the after years, poor

F 2

68 Anthony Babington. [ACT u.

fools, will be their quarters hoisted to scare their
fellows, and their heads rotting on Tyburn Gate.

[ALICE shudders.

MRS. BELLAMY (turning the subject).
How did you travel from London? Alone?


Alone, save for my body-servant, and ill-mounted
(for my horse cast a shoe on Hounslow Heath, and
went lame from a flint), all through the desolate
country between Bagshot and Blackwater, the wind
wafting to my nostrils, ever and anon, the scent of
the carrion swinging on Hartford Bridge Flats, set
there to frighten other malefactors, who, nevertheless,
still haunt this wild tract; so was I not displeased
to fall in, near Basingstoke, with two gentlemen,
well mounted and armed, attended by six servants,
and with them I made some of my journey, parting
company at Popham Lane, where the gentlemen
were met with fresh horses from Micheldever. "Take
mine," said the elder of the two young gentlemen,
"since I have not far to go, and have saved mine
to keep your pace so that he will easily take me a
short stage further." This offer I gratefully accepted,

sc. i.] Anthony Babington. 69

seeing it was made with so good a grace, and by a
gentleman born and bred, for then it was that I
found him to be Mr. Titchborne, a Catholic gentle-
man of old family, living near Alton ; but as he also
frequents the town, I shall hope to repay his civility.


'Tis a fine old name. I have heard say the
Titchbornes have lived in South Hants and were
of note before ever we were taken by the Normans.


Anyhow, here was I the richer by a stout strawberry
roan, Mr. Titchborne telling me he would care for
my poor nag till my return ; but upon hearing my
destination, says the younger gentleman, " Take heed
that I do not get there before thee ! for I shall be
that way myself in a day or two, and will bring you
your horse, if he be cured, and take charge of my
friend Titchborne's as far as Popham Lane.

MRS. BELLAMY (to GILES, who enters).
So, if a gentleman should come for Colonel
Willoughby's strawberry roan, you will apprise us of

7O Anthony Babington. [ACT n.

it, so that we may not be wanting in civility to him.
Young gentlemen do not come this way every day,
do they, Alice ?

I care not whether they come or go ! [Exit.


And now, dear cousin, tell me of your son.
Had that strange rumour aught of truth in it
Wafted to me in Flanders, and which said
That he had gone distraught ?


He gone distraught !

A son of mine ! Why, even your whole body,
Brave tho' it be, containeth not the sense
He holds in half his hand ! Yet list to me,
I will not hide from you that he of late
Hath strangely borne him living much apart,
With Father Harington, a Jesuit,
A learned man. And now these two together
Have often left us women to ourselves,
Too busy for the welfare of their souls
To care how their despised bodies fare.
He may be here anon, to eat with us,

sc. i.] Ant/tony Babington. 71

But there are times he flies from us all day.
Yet is this godliness, not folly, cousin ;
And if at times he seems a moody man,
Silent and self-contain'd, ah, blame him not ;
For why, his thoughts are all too high for us.
His lot is hard. And so they said distraught !
Distraught of Jeremy, whose angry face
I would that you could look on when he knows
They said he was distraught !


Nay, pardon me,

I did but ask the truth of these reports.
But what is it that makes his lot so hard ?


Well, look you, it was hard he as a lad
LoVd solitude and pray'r ; and, being born
In that old faith now crumbling, eagerly
Read he of miracles, and martyr'd men
Dying for God. Anon this new reform
Crept o'er the land ; and, finding many of us
Waiting for purer ways of serving God,
Grew like the sweet new ripeness of a fruit
Flushing towards the light. Yet so imbued

72 Anthony Babington. [ACT n.

Was he, my second son, with his beliefs

He would have burnt for them, so kept his faith

Whilst we turn'd Protestant, seeing the day

Veil'd from his eyes. You know he purposed

To take the priestly vow, but then our king

Brake up the monasteries through the land.

Later ensued his elder brother's death,

Leaving us Alice only, and no son.

Then said his father, " Thou must make our house,

Nor shall I will thee aught at my decease

If thou should'st sink thy manhood in the monk ;

But baby Alice shall possess my all,

Yet even she, should she, improvident,

Wed with a Papist, shall be dispossessed.

From this she hath been saved.


How ? Wherefore saved ?


'Tis a long tale to tell and you had heard
Had there been aught in it of real import,
You being left her guardian. Let it pass,
For 'tis not worth the naming. Both were young

sc. i.] Anthony Babington. 73

Their dream is long since over years ago
Only a childish folly.


Only that ?


Aye, truly, cousin, and this in your ear
I think, had Jeremy not been my son
Whom well I know above all base intent,
I had imagin'd that he forced her somewhat
Threw them together dazzled the young man.
This had I thought, had he not been my son
Yet being son of mine, methinks his friends
Plotted thus putting Alice out of chance
Of any stray inheritance.


Well, well,
But she hath truly put all this away ?


I do believe it but you know young maids
Will ofttimes nurse a shadow. 'Tis enough
For them to gaze upon a faded rose

74 Anthony Babington. [ACT n.

Or kiss a tatter'd letter. These suffice

Till some brave gentleman of flesh and blood

Scare off such phantoms.

[Enter ALICE. MRS. BELLAMY goes into another part
of the room, leaving them together^


Cousin Nicholas,

Anon you said that you were my true friend
I ask you a friend's service. * s


Ask not twice
The service is perform'd.


It is a letter
I wish to send under your care to town.


Indeed a paltry boon ! and I that hoped

You wish'd my right hand or my grizzled pate !


Nay, do not jest ; this is no common letter,
Nor must you tell one in the whole of England

sc. i.] Anthony Babington. 75

That I entrusted it to you. 'Tis not yet writ
I ask you first


Nay, twenty thousand letters !
I am your Mercury of the winged heel.


Nor must you let it meet a living eye,
Nor leave it carelessly to soil and fray
Here in your leathern jerkin. Place it there /

[Indicating his heart*

It is for my near kinsman, Mr. Babington
A private matter. Though you know him not,
You know him, doubtless, as my mother's nephew ;
Like you, that makes him cousin ; and he lodges
Right in the way to go from Charing Cross
Over the fields to London.


I obey.

Give me the letter privily and soon,
As I must start to-morrow.


They are late
Your uncle and the Father. Sure to-day

j6 Anthony Babingtou. [ACT u.

They will not shun our company. Good cousin,
With your permission, we will seek the terrace,
Where, should they come home by their common way,
We needs must meet them.

[Exeunt into the garden.

[Enter JEROME BELLAMY by another door, accompanied


Aha ! a few moments alone to consider ere we are
plagued with the fat heretic ! and pen and ink to
scratch a word to that die-away wench, Alice. [Takes
up pen and writes. .] See, this will do. The most
foolish of women can hoodwink a man, so you may
trust her to lie to the trooper. [Reads.~\ " Anthony
Babington will be here in less than an hour. There
are reasons for deeming it expedient that he should
not be known as such. He hath met Willoughby
before, who yet was ignorant of his name. See that
your grandmother and the servants speak of him
as Mr. Bellingham, and thus take some trouble off
the hands of him that houses you out of charity."
Giles ! [Calling servant. Enter GILES.

sc. i.] Anthony Babington. jf

This message to Mistress Alice. She is in the
garden. Give it her at once, and await her orders.

[Exit GILES with letter.


Mr. Babington hath a brave countenance and a
most courteous bearing.


He fatteneth on his one idea, which is to him like
good roast meat after kickshaws.

Which of the gentlemen is to kill the queen ?


There are six told off to do it, but Babington hath
the ordering of them all. Abington, Titchborne,
Barnwell, Tilney, and others. Some of them feel
anxious for the end, but it is too late to cry off
now. Tilney is for the queen being set upon in
her coach. Mr. Titchborne wishes God could be
served without killing her.

Yet he said all was progressing happily ?

78 Anthony Babington. [ACT n.


So happily that the end is almost sure. The Prince
of Parma is holding himself in readiness. Our long
service has not been without plentiful fruition.

" God prosper the harvest ! " [Exeunt.

SCENE II. A garden. Moonlight. COLONEL


Ah, this is such an often-fancied scene
Of perfect home contentment, that I doubt
These very eyes that look on it, and deem
The whole some fleeting vision !


None the less

Yours is true sight, since I with mine own eyes
See this same peaceful scene, and thank God for it.


Then you, sweet cousin, are content with this
These long, white, moonlit alleys, and these bars

sc. ii.] Anthony Babington. 79

Of close-cropp'd cypress ? Far beyond their shade
Know you there lies a wondrous outer world
Of toil and turmoil ? As the nestling, warm
From her soft breast that shelter'd it from ill,
Strains o'er the edge of home and longs for wings,
Have you, dear cousin, dream'd no dream of life
Far from these flat park lands ?


Yes, oftentimes,

And yet, as often have I pray'd to heav'n,
To keep me from the taint of outer life.


Yet outer life not always needs corrupt.
Rather, methinks, after our first hot blood,
We who have donn'd the wand'rer's sandalled shoon,
See in our sweetest dreams green waving fields,
Or some such scene as this, with one hard by
Seeming as fair as now you seem to me
The airy shape my spirit hath adored,
Transform'd into a woman !


I have heard
That soldiers see in ev'ry passing form

80 Anthony Babington. [ACT n.

Some such divinity. But it is late

My grandmother has left us ;. come, good cousin,

Surely my uncle has return'd by no\v.

MRS. BELLAMY (approaching).
I dream of my young days. How fair the night !
Take care of Alice, cousin, whilst once more
I pace the ivy terrace.


Listen, Alice,

Leave me not now, whilst my unutter'd words
Are rising nigh to choke me ! For this hour
I've seen foreshadow'd in my soldier's life,
Seeming a ray from some superior world,
Of utmost light and beauty ! Know of me
That tho' I speak the language of rude camps,
Mine ne'er hath been the knee, till now, to bend,
As you would deem, to any passing form ;
Nor have I knelt to one in woman's shape,
As now I kneel to you, sweet cousin Alice !

[ Makes as though he would kneel.


What would you with me that you kneel to me ?
Rise, you abash me.

sc. ii.] Anthony Babington. 81


I am all unused
To fine set-phrases ; will you be my wife ?


Oh ! cousin, can I be no other thing,
And so the better serve you ? since my heart
Is that one only gift I must withhold.


Then, Alice, let me never see you more !
Too much has hung upon too slight a thread,
I was a fool to dream that one like you
Could stoop to love me. Let us say farewell.


Ah ! cousin, are we women good for naught
Saving for wives or lovers ? and of us
Can it be never said, as of you men,
" They two are friends, they two bear right good will

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