What says my lord? how means he?
Vex not thou
Thine old hoar head with care to learn of me
This. Great is time, and what he wills to be
Is here or ever proof may bring it: now,
Now is the future present. If thy vow
Constrain thee not, yet would I know of thee
One thing: this lustrous love-bird, where is she?
What nest is hers on what green flowering bough
Deep in what wild sweet woodland?
Good my lord,
Have I not sinned already—flawed my faith,
To lend such ear even to such royal suit?
Yea, by my kingdom hast thou—by my sword,
Yea. Now speak on.
Yet hope—or honour—saith
I did not ill to trust the blood of Brute
Within thee. Not prince Hector’s sovereign soul,
The light of all thy lineage, more abhorred
Treason than all his days did Brute my lord.
My trust shall rest not in thee less than whole.
Speak, then: too long thou falterest nigh the goal.
There is a bower built fast beside a ford
In Essex, held in sure and secret ward
Of woods and walls and waters, still and sole
As love could choose for harbourage: there the king
Keeps close from all men now these seven years since
The light wherein he lives: and there hath she
Borne him a maiden child more sweet than spring.
A child her daughter? there now hidden?
What ails thee?
Nought. This river’s name?
Nigh Leytonstone in Essex—called of old
By men thine elders Durolitum? There
Are hind and fawn couched close in one green lair?
Speak: hast thou not my faith in pawn, to hold
Fast as my brother’s heart this love, untold
And undivined of all men? must I swear
Twice—I, to thee?
But if thou set no snare,
Why shine thine eyes so sharp? I am overbold:
Sir, pardon me.
My sword shall split thine heart
With pardon if thou palter with me.
There is the place: but though thy brow be grim
As hell—I knew thee not the man thou art—
I will not bring thee to it.
For love of her?
Nay—better shouldst thou know my love of him.