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King HENRY the Sccond.
MARGERY, Wife to the Miller.
SCENE, Sherwood Forest.
Time,- That of the representation.
* In Scenes I, V, and VI, Four Courtiers are mentioned, but it appears from Scene VI, that Lord Lurewell is one of them.
K I N G
MILLER OF MANSFIELD.
SCENE I. Sherwood Forest.
Enter several COURTIERS as lost. First Courtier. 'Tis horrid dark! and this Wood, I believe, has neither End nor Side.
Fourth Courtier. You mean to get out at, for we have found one in, you see.
Second Courtier. I wish our good King Harry had kept nearer home to hunt; in my mind, the pretty, tame deer in London make much better sport than the wild ones in Sherwood Forest.
Third Courtier. I can't tell which way his Majesty went, nor whether any body is with him or not; but let us keep together, pray.
Fourth Courtier. Ay, ay, like trne Courtiers, take care of ourselves, whatever becomes at master.
Second Courtier. Well, it's a terrible thing to be lost in the dark.
Fourth Courtier. It is. And yet it's so common a case, that one would not think it should be at all so. Why we are all of us lost in the dark every day of our lives. Knaves keep us in the dark by their cunning, and fools by their ignorance. Divines lose us in dark mysteries; lawyers in dark cases; and statesmen in dark
intrigues. Nay, the Light of Reason, which we much boast of, what is it but a dark lantern,* which just serves to prevent us from running our nose against a post, perhaps; but is no more able to lead us out of the dark mists of error and ignorance, in which we are lost, than an ignis fatuus would be to conduct us out of this wood.
First Courtier. But, my lord, this is no time for preaching, methinks. And, for all your morals, daylight would be much preferable to this darkness I believe.
Thịrd Courtier. Indeed wou'd it. But come, let us go on; we shall find some house or other by and by. Fourth Courtier. Come along.
[Exeunt. Enter the King alone. No, no,
can be no public road, that's certain : I am lost, quite lost indeed. Of what advantage is it now to be a king ? Night shews me no respect : I cannot see hetter, nor walk so well as another man.
What is a king? Is he not wiser than another man? Not without his counsellors, I plainly find. Is he not more powerful? I oft have been told so, indeed; but what now can my power command? Is he not greater, and more magnificent ? When seated on his throne, and surrounded with nobles and flatterers, perhaps he may think so; but, when lost in a wood, alas! what is he but a common man? His wisdom knows not which is North and which is South; his power a beggar's dog would bark at; and his greatness the beggar would not bow to. And yet how oft are we puffed ạp with these false attributes! Well, in losing the monarch, I have found the man.
[The report of a gun is heard. Hark! some villain sure is near! What were it best to do? Will my majesty protect me ? No. Throw majesty aside then, and let manhood do it.
* See p. 125, Note,
+ There are some very excellent reflections upon Royalty in Heary Yth. A. IV. 8. 1.
Enter the MILLER.
Miller. I believe I hear the rogue. Who's there?
Miller. Little better, friend, I believe. Who fir'd that gun?
King. Not I, indeed.
King. Lie! lie! how strange it seems to me to be talked to in this stile. [ Aside.] Upon my word I do not.
Miller. Come, come, sirrah, confess; you have shot one of the king's deer, hav'n't you?
King. No, indeed; I owe the king more respect. I heard a gun go off, indeed, and was afraid some robbers might have been near.
Miller. I'm not bound to believe this, friend. Pray who are you? what's your name?
Miller. Name! yes, name. Why you have a name, hav’n't you? Where do you come from? What is your business here?
King. These are questions I have not been us'd to, honest man.
Miller. May be so; but they are questions no honest man would be afraid to answer, I think. So, if you can give no better account of yourself, I shall make bold to: take you along with me, if you please.
King. With you! what authority have you tom
Miller. The King's authority, if I must give you an account, Sir. I am John Cockle the Miller of Mans. field, one of his Majesty's keepers in this Forest of Sherwood; and I will let no suspected fellow pass this way that cannot give a better account of himself than you have done, I promise you.
King. Í must submit to my own authority. [Aside. Very well, Sir, I am glad to hear the King has so good an officer; and since I find you have his authority, I will give you a better account of myself, if you will do me the favour to hear it.
Miller. It's more than you deserve, I believe; but let's hear what you can say for yourself.
King. I have the honour to belong to the King as well as you, and, perhaps, should be as unwilling to see any wrong done him. I came down with him to hunt in this Forest, and the chace leading us to-day a great way from home, I am benighted in this wood, and have lost my way.
Miller. This does not sound well; if you have been a hunting, pray where is your horse?
King. I have tired my horse so that he lay down under me, and I was obliged to leave him.
Miller. If I thought I might believe this now.
Miller. What! does nobody lie that belongs to the King ? We know little of Courtiers here in the Forest : but I have heard they are a mixed breed, as well as other folks.
King. Be that as it will, I speak truth now, I assure you; and to convince you of it, if you will attend me to Nottingham, if I am near it, or give me a night's lodging in your own house, here is something to pay you for your trouble, and if that is not sufficient, I will satisfy you in the morning to your utmost desire.
Miller. A little bribe for to-day, and a large promise for to-morrow, both in a breath : here, take it again, and take this along with it John Cockle can do what he ought without a bribe.
King. Thou art a very extraordinary man, I must own, and I should be glad, methinks, to be farther acquainted with thee.
Miller, Thee! and thou! prithee don't thee and thou me: I believe I am as good a man as yourself at least.
King. Sir, I beg your pardon.
Miller. Nay, I am not angry, friend; only I don'tlove to be too familiar with any body, before I know whether they deserve it or not.
King. You are in the right. But what am I to do?
Miller. You, may do what you please. You are twelve miles from Nottingham, and all the way thro' this