Within its wall of rock
The flower of the brave
Have perished with a constancy unshaken.
From the dungeon to the block,
From the scaffold to the grave,
Is a journey many gallant hearts have taken.
And the wicked flames may hiss
Round the heroes who have fought
For conscience and for home in all its beauty,
But the grim old fortalice
Takes little heed of aught
That comes not in the measure of its duty.
"The screw may twist and the rack may turn,
And men may bleed and men may burn.
O'er London town and its golden hoard
I keep my silent watch and ward ! "
The screw may twist, &c.
[Exeunt all but Phœbe. Enter Sergeant Meryll.
|Phœ.||Father ! Has no reprieve arrived for the poor gentleman?|
|Mer.||No, my lass ; but there's one hope yet. Thy brother Leonard, who, as a reward for his valour in saving his standard and cutting his way through fifty foes who would have hanged him, has been appointed a Yeoman of the Guard, will arrive this morning ; and as he comes straight from Windsor, where the Court is, it may be—it may be—that he will bring the expected reprieve with him.|
|Phœ.||Oh, that he may !|
|Mer.||Amen to that ! For the Colonel twice saved my life, and I'd give the rest of my life to save his ! And wilt thou not be glad to welcome thy brave brother, with the fame of whose exploits all England is a-ringing ?|
|Phœ.||Aye, truly, if he brings the reprieve.|
|Mer.||And not otherwise ?|
|Phœ.||Well, he's a brave fellow indeed, and I love brave men.|
|Mer.||All brave men ?|
|Phœ.||Most of them, I verily believe ! But I hope Leonard will not be too strict with me—they say he is a very dragon of virtue and circumspection ! Now, my dear old father is kindness itself, and——|
|Mer.||And leaves thee pretty well to thine own ways, eh?Well, I've no fears for thee ; thou hast a feather-brain, but thou'rt a good lass.|
|Phœ.||Yes, that's all very well, but if Leonard is going to tell me that I may not do this and I may not do that, and I must not talk to this one, or walk with that one, but go through the world|