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And this I sue for; nor shall frowns and taunts,
Hen. Thy equity is to be ever banish'd
Laf. But you tempt me,
“ At the time of the Duke of Savoy's arrival, Byron is ambassador at the court of the archduke, where attempts are also made to draw him from his allegiance. The character of Byron is conceived with great strength and animation. He is represented as bold in the field, boastful, filled with a proud conceit of his own merits, and weakly addicted to flattery, which his enemies know how to manage. On his embassy, he is approached with
the must profound but artful respect, and is thus ushered in to the sound of music :"
“Byr. What place is this, what air, what region,
66 The duke, however, does not immediately fall into the designs of the enemies of his master, but replies to the incitements of one of their agents”
“ Byr. O 'tis a dangerous and a dreadful thing To steal prey from a lion, or to hide A head distrustful in his open'd jaws; To trust our blood in others' veins, and hang 'Twixt heaven and earth in vapours of their breaths : To leave a sure space on continuate earth, And force a gate in jumps from tower to tower, As they do that aspire from height to height. The bounds of loyalty are made of glass, Soon broke, but can in no date be repair'd; And as the Duke D'Aumall (now here in court) Flying his country, had his statue torn Piecemeal with horses; all his goods confiscate ; His arms of honour kick'd about the streets; His goodly house at Annet razed to th' earth; And, for a strange reproach to his foul treason, His trees about it cut off by their waists ; So, when men fly the natural clime of truth, And turn themselves loose, out of all the bounds Of justice, and the straightway to their ends, Forsaking all the sure force in themselves, To seek, without them, that which is not theirs, The forms of all their comforts are distracted; The riches of their freedoms forfeited ; Their human noblesse shamed; the mansions Of their cold spirits eaten down with cares, And all their ornaments of wit and valour, Learning and judgment, cut from all their fruits.”
“ Lafin, being brought over by the Duke of Savoy, is made the means of seducing Byron. He commences his operations by throwing himself in the duke's way, in a pretended fit of furious indig
nation. Lafin, it will be observed, hints at the skill in magic which he was supposed to possess, and the duke supposed to believe in.”
“ Byr. Here is the man. My honour'd friend, Lafin, Alone and heavy-count'nanced! On what terms Stood th' insultation of the king upon you ?
Laf. Why do you ask ?
Byr. I'll judge betwixt you,
Laf. Alas, my lord, not all your loyalty,
Byr. You much wrong me
Laf. I know not how your so affected zeal
Byr. How strange is this! The shame of his disgrace Hath made him lunatick.
Laf. Since the king hath wrong'd me, He thinks I'll hurt myself: no, no, my lord ; I know that all the kings in Christendom, If they should join in my revenge, would prove Weak foes to him, still having you to friend. If you were gone (I care not if you tell him) I might be tempted then to right myself. [Exit.
Byr. He has a will to me, and dares not shew it: His state decay'd, and he disgraced, distracts him.
Re-enter LAFIN. Laf. Change not my words, my lord. I only said I might be tempted then to right myselfTemptation to treason is no treason; And that word “tempted” was conditional too, If you were gone. I pray inform the truth.
Byr. Stay, injured man, and know I am your friend. Far from these base and mercenary reaches I am, I swear to you.
Laf. You may be so; And yet you'll give me leave to be Lafin, A poor and expuate humour of the court : But what good blood came out with me; what veins And sinews of the triumphs now it makes, I list not vaunt; yet will I now confess, And dare assume it, I have power to add To all his greatness, and make yet more fix'd His bold security. Tell him this, my lord ; And this (if all the spirits of earth and air Be able to enforce) I can make good. If knowledge of the sure events of things, Even from the rise of subjects into kings, And falls of kings to subjects, hold a power Of strength to work it, I can make it good.