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I know what I ought to do.” Then said Salisbury, “I pray God it may be good.” Now the knights departing out of the place, and going about to put on their armour, certain came to the archbishop, and said, “My lord, they arm themselves.” “What forceth it,” said he," let them arm themselves."

Now when they were armed, and many other about them, they entered into the archbishop's palace. Those that were about the archbishop cried upon him to flee, but he sat still and would not once remove, till the monks brought him even by force and against his will into the church. The coming of the armed men being known, some of the monks continued singing of even song, and some sought places where to hide themselves, other came to the archbishop, who was loath to have entered into the church, and when he was within, he would not yet suffer them to make fast the doors, so that there was a great stir among them, but chiefly when they perceived that the armed men went about to seek for the archbishop, by mean whereof their even song was left unfinished.

At length the knights with their servants having sought the palace, came rushing into the church by the cloister door with their swords drawn, some of them asking for the traitor, and some of them for the archbishop, who came and met them, saying, “Here am I, no traitor, but the archbishop.” The foremost of the knights said unto him, “Flee, thou art but dead.” To whom the archbishop said, “ I will not flee.” The knight stept to him taking him by the sleeve, and with his sword cast his cap beside his head, and said, “Come hither, for thou art a prisoner." "I will not,” said the archbishop,“ do with me here what thou wilt,” and plucked his sleeve with a mighty strength out of the knight's hand. Wherewith the knight stepped back two or three paces. Then the archbishop turning to one of the knights, said to him, “what meaneth this, Reginald, I have done unto thee many great pleasures, and comest thou now unto me into the church armed ?" Unto whom the knight presently answered and said, “Thou shalt know anon what is meant, thou art but dead; it is not possible for thee any longer to live.” Unto whom the archbishop answered, “I am ready to die for my God, and for the defence of his justice and the liberty of the church ; gladly do I embrace death, so that the church may purchase peace and liberty by the shedding of my blood.” And herewith taking another of the knights by the habergeon, he flung him from him with such violence, that he had almost throwu him down to the ground. This was Sir Will. Tracy, as he after confessed.

Then the archbishop inclined his head after the manner of one that would pray, pronouncing these his last words :-“To God, to St. Mary, and to the saints that are patrons of this church, and to St. Denis, I commend myself and the church's cause.” Therewith Sir Reginald Fitzurse striking a full blow at his head, chanced to light upon the arm of a clerk named Edward of Cambridge, who cast up his arm to save the archbishop; but when he was not able to bear the weight of the blow, he plucked his arm back, and so the stroke staid upon the archbishop's head, in such wise that the blood ran down by his face. Then they stroke at him one after another, and though he fell to the ground at the second blow, yet they left him not till they had cut and pushed out his brains, and dashed them about upon the church pavement. All this being done, they rifled his house, spoiled his goods, and took them to their own uses, supposing it lawful for them being the king's servants so to do.

But doubting how the matter would be taken, after they had wrought their feat, they got them into the bishopric of Durham, there to remain till they might hear how the king would take this their unlawful enterprise ; though (as they alledged) they had lustily defended his cause, and revenged his quarrel as faithful servants ought to do. Howbeit, it chanced otherwise than they looked it should have done ; for king Henry gave them so little thanks for their presumptuous act, sounding to the evil example of other in breach of his laws, that they despairing utterly of pardon, fled one into one place, and another into another, so that within four years they all died an evil death (as it hath been reported).


GEORGE DARLEY. (From Thomas à Becket, a Dramatic Chronicle.)

The Council Room.
Henry, De Lacy, Cornwall, De Eynsford, Archbishop of York ; Bishops of Winchester,

Salisbury, London, Norwich ; Glanville.
Henry. Glanville !—there is a thing I'd say to you
Before we enter on this business.
What was it ? Pshaw! my head is in the mists,
Or they in it !-0! true !—we must not, Glanville,
Let these poor squabbles 'tween that priest and us
Prejudice noble matters. You can guess
What's in my mind.

Glanville. I judge, sir, as you speak
Of nobler matters, you must mean the cause
You've had so much at heart—the restitution,
Betterment, stablishment, and general use
Of that, long fallen into desuetude,
That noblest of all noble things which man
Ever invented for behoof of man,
Trial of all accused, by their sworn peers
Called jurors ; and the name of the said practice,
Which shall go sounding down to latest times
Join'd with your own, as its chief advocate,
Trial by jury.

Henry. Yea, good Ranulph, yea;
But you great lawyers, in your deep research,
And dabbling in a flood of words, oft sink
Out of the common sight, like birds called divers,
Than which you're more long-winded : mend that fault !
You have been pondering o'er the theme, I see,
And that was well. Draw up your thoughts upon it
For my perusal, and in plain short terms;
D'ye hear?
Glanville. They shall be brief, my gracious liege !

Enter De Bohun, Clare and Leicester.
Henry. Ha! whence come ye?

Leicester. From the round church, my liege
Beside us here; where Becket was at mass.

Henry. So! ye look grave : as if he being at prayers,
Did more than merely recommend his soul
To God and ours to Satan. Heard ye aught strange ?

De Bohun. Nought strange in such a darer, though 'twere monstrous
In any other man !

Henry. What was that, ha ?
Clare. Besides his affectation palpable

Save to the mole-eyed people, of distress,
Disaster'd state, rapt piety, resignment,
Sanctified patience, sufferance supreme,
By dress, air, act, long moan, loud sob, large tears,
He ordered as introit to the service,
With blasphemous self-allusion-Princes sat
And spake against me.

Oh! he would set up
As mark'd for martyrdom !—with that angel face
Of his,—the Syrian blackmoor's son !-Himself
Persecutor of his king !

He comes, my liege ;
His meekness comes !

Enter Becket, arrayed in purple and pall, with his Crosier elevated, and a proud

Henry. Heyday! the Pope of Canterbury !
Or Babylonian Lady all a-flame
For hot contest !—What think ye, cousins, are we
To have our heads broke with the pastoral cross ?

Becket. I bear it for my sole protection !

What dread'st thou ? else than paying thy just debts
To me and to the state? Dost need protection
Against thy creditors, like a prodigal ?
Glanville, that scroll !

Item ; three hundred pounds,
Which thou didst levy upon Eye and Berkham,
Lately thy honours ; Item ; five hundred marks,
I lent thee at Toulouse ; Item ; five hundred, -
For which I stood thy surety to a Jew,
Whom thou dealt'st much with, till thy credit broke,
What time thou wallowedst in the wanton streams
Of luxury most dissolute; besides
An item, which to small rogues we set
Plain theft, but to thy grace embezzlement -
Forty-four thousand marks, the balance due
From rents, proceeds, and profits of all prelacies,
Abbeys, and baronies, by thee administer'd
When Chancellor. Item

Becket. My liege ! my liege ! my liege !

Henry. Oh ! I am then thy sovereign yet, it seems!
Most affable subject, still to call me liege ! -
(To himself) I've snapt that nerve which keeps up most men's pride,
The purse-strings !

Becket. I did never lack allegiance, -
But for my lavishness as Chancellor,
Call it more loose than his who lets the wealth
Of Tagus' bed roll down by golden shoals
Into the wasteful ocean,—'twas a thing
Praised as magnificence in the minister

Which made for the more glory of the master,
Whose humour now condemns it was he, sire,
Who had been found a fraudful Chancellor
Deem'd fit to be a Primate ?

'Tis not what
He had been deem’d, but what we've proved him since.

Becket. Crying injustice ! able to bring down
Those spheres in molten fragments on mankind,
But that 'twould crush the guiltless with the guilty !

Henry. Thank heaven we have one milk-white soul among us !
Thou scarlet sinner !-why-my gorge is swoln
With names, not huge enough for thy vast insolence !
Tell me this—thou—who claim'st the saintship next
Vacant i' the calendar,—this, immaculate !-
Thou didst subscribe in these law-guarded terms
• Legally, with good faith, and without fraud,
Without reserve,'—to certain constitutions,
Which thou abjur'st now: does such perjury
Merit no lapidation from the spheres
If they did hurl their hissing firestones at us ?

Becket. There was no perjury !

Hear this ! hear this!
Sun-dwelling truth, hast thou not one bright dart
To strike him through the brain with 1-ye, grave Suffragans !

[To the Bishops. Did your supreme here (give me your corporate voice), Swear to our constitutions, rea or no ?

Bishops. Yea!

Becket. Foolish children that would judge their father :
I kept to what I swore, those constitutions,
While they were such : but when a power beyond
Thine to epact, annull’d them, how could I
Observe non-entities ?

Fraud within fraud !
In this same wise you may play fast and loose
With any oath ; may be, for aught I know
My very true, sworn subject, on proviso,
Till you're absolved by bull into a traitor!

Becket. His Holiness can ne'er absolve, except
To save or serve the church.

Yes, you may load
The winds with loyal oaths, to piace your heart
Between mine and all stabbers, yet, even now,
Bear in one sleeve a permit to kill kings,
And in the other a poniard ?

My dear liege !
This is uncharitable,

Henry. To save the church !
To save the church, man !-Did the Romish altar
Burn for thy sovereign, as a sacrifice,
Thou'rt bound to slaughter him !-0 Thomas ! Thomas !
Could I e'er think that thou would'st pierce the heart

Of thy kind, loving, generous, royal master ?

Becket. Not generous now to say I'd pierce thy heart !

Henry. Thou hast done so !—if not with knife or brand,
With keen-cold weapon of ingratitude,
More poignant still !—But 'tis no matter : go !
There is a gulf as wide as heaven from hell
Between us, across which 'tis vain to think
Of ever shaking hands !—I am thy enemy,
To thy perdition or my own!

I know it.
So would betake me into banishment,
And save a sacrilege unto thy soul.

Henry. Good man!—Thou would'st betake thyself to Louis,
To the French court, which breeds intriguants,
Fast as Latetian filth breeds vermin vile,
Against my kingdom.—Twice thou had

fled thither,
But that the roaring winds, our rough allies,
Forbade thy ship to fetch and carry treason !
My very seas rose up, upon my side,
Against thy steps !-Stay, and be baited here,
Till thy proud dewlaps drop with sweat and foam !-
As a first humblement, thy goods and chattels
Be all confiscate for contempt of court
And breach of fealty, in not attending
Our summons, when John Mareschal appeal'd thee
About the manour of Pagebain.

On that summons
I, being sick, sent four good household knights
To plead for me. Was this contempt ? Was this
Devoir left unperform’d ?—Yea, when the cause
Itself, was weigh'd at mine own spiritual court
In scales which might have dropp'd from Libra stars,
As nice as conscience trims with trembling hand. —

Henry. Ha ! ha!

Becket. Sir! sir ! 'tis truth; and he who here
By royal subornation brings that cause,
Would blush for it,—but before this grave council,

Like it iniquitous ! [The Barons start up, and Becket's train advance. Becket raises his Crosier and Henry his Sceptre between them. Henry.

These sacred wands,
Not unanointed swords, decide the fray!
Archbishop, from thy last words, if no more,
I see thou art a self-devoted man
Unto destruction imminent !—Take your way.

Winchester. My liege, accept two thousand marks from bim,
In lieu of all demands.

Henry. I will not, Winchester !
But thou another froward priest, de Blois,
Whose mitre coped thy brother Stephen's crown,
Shalt pronounce sentence for the full amount.

[They retire some paces

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