by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Scene 2: A Chamber in Whitehall.

Scene 1: The Masque of the Inns of Court

 A PURSUIVANT: Place, for the Marshal of the Masque! 
 FIRST CITIZEN: What thinkest thou of this quaint masque which turns, Like morning from the shadow of the night, The night to day, and London to a place Of peace and joy? 
 SECOND CITIZEN: And Hell to Heaven.  Eight years are gone, And they seem hours, since in this populous street I trod on grass made green by summer's rain, For the red plague kept state within that palace Where now that vanity reigns. In nine years more[1] The roots will be refreshed with civil blood; And thank the mercy of insulted Heaven That sin and wrongs wound, as an orphan's cry, The patience of the great Avenger's ear. 
 A YOUTH: Yet, father, 'tis a happy sight to see,  Beautiful, innocent, and unforbidden By God or man;-'tis like the bright procession Of skiey visions in a solemn dream From which men wake as from a Paradise, And draw new strength to tread the thorns of life.  If God be good, wherefore should this be evil? And if this be not evil, dost thou not draw Unseasonable poison from the flowers Which bloom so rarely in this barren world? Oh, kill these bitter thoughts which make the present  Dark as the future!- 
 When Avarice and Tyranny, vigilant Fear, And open-eyed Conspiracy lie sleeping As on Hell's threshold; and all gentle thoughts Waken to worship Him who giveth joys  With His own gift. 
 SECOND CITIZEN: How young art thou in this old age of time! How green in this gray world? Canst thou discern The signs of seasons, yet perceive no hint Of change in that stage-scene in which thou art  Not a spectator but an actor?[2] or Art thou a puppet moved by [enginery]? The day that dawns in fire will die in storms, Even though the noon be calm. My travel's done,- Before the whirlwind wakes I shall have found  My inn of lasting rest; but thou must still Be journeying on in this inclement air. Wrap thy old cloak about thy back; Nor leave the broad and plain and beaten road, Although no flowers smile on the trodden dust,  For the violet paths of pleasure. This Charles the First Rose like the equinoctial sun,... By vapours, through whose threatening ominous veil Darting his altered influence he has gained This height of noon-from which he must decline  Amid the darkness of conflicting storms, To dank extinction and to latest night... There goes The apostate Strafford; he whose titles whispered aphorisms  From Machiavel and Bacon: and, if Judas Had been as brazen and as bold as he[3]- 
 FIRST CITIZEN: That Is the Archbishop. 
 SECOND CITIZEN: Rather say the Pope: London will be soon his Rome: he walks As if he trod upon the heads of men:  He looks elate, drunken with blood and gold;- Beside him moves the Babylonian woman Invisibly, and with her as with his shadow, Mitred adulterer! he is joined in sin, Which turns Heaven's milk of mercy to revenge.  
 THIRD CITIZEN [LIFTING UP HIS EYES]: Good Lord! rain it down upon him!... Amid her ladies walks the papist queen, As if her nice feet scorned our English earth. The Canaanitish Jezebel! I would be A dog if I might tear her with my teeth!  There's old Sir Henry Vane, the Earl of Pembroke, Lord Essex, and Lord Keeper Coventry, And others who make base their English breed[4] By vile participation of their honours With papists, atheists, tyrants, and apostates.  When lawyers masque 'tis time for honest men To strip the vizor from their purposes. A seasonable time for masquers this! When Englishmen and Protestants should sit dust on their dishonoured heads  To avert the wrath of Him whose scourge is felt For the great sins which have drawn down from Heaven and foreign overthrow. The remnant of the martyred saints in Rochefort Have been abandoned by their faithless allies  To that idolatrous and adulterous torturer Lewis of France,-the Palatinate is lost- [ENTER LEIGHTON (WHO HAS BEEN BRANDED IN THE FACE) AND BASTWICK.] Canst thou be-art thou? 
 LEIGHTON: I WAS Leighton: what I AM thou seest. And yet turn thine eyes, And with thy memory look on thy friend's mind,  Which is unchanged, and where is written deep The sentence of my judge. 
 THIRD CITIZEN: Are these the marks with which Laud thinks to improve the image of his Maker Stamped on the face of man? Curses upon him, The impious tyrant! 
 SECOND CITIZEN: It is said besides  That lewd and papist drunkards may profane The Sabbath with their And has permitted that most heathenish custom Of dancing round a pole dressed up with wreaths On May-day.  A man who thus twice crucifies his God May well ... his brother.-In my mind, friend, The root of all this ill is prelacy. I would cut up the root. 
 THIRD CITIZEN: And by what means? 
 SECOND CITIZEN: Smiting each Bishop under the fifth rib.  
 THIRD CITIZEN: You seem to know the vulnerable place Of these same crocodiles. 
 SECOND CITIZEN: I learnt it in Egyptian bondage, sir. Your worm of Nile[5] Betrays not with its flattering tears like they; For, when they cannot kill, they whine and weep.  Nor is it half so greedy of men's bodies As they of soul and all; nor does it wallow In slime as they in simony and lies And close lusts of the flesh.[6]
 A MARSHALSMAN: Give place, give place! You torch-bearers, advance to the great gate,  And then attend the Marshal of the Masque Into the Royal presence. 
 A LAW STUDENT: What thinkest thou Of this quaint show of ours, my aged friend? Even now we see the redness of the torches Inflame the night to the eastward, and the clarions  [Gasp?] to us on the wind's wave. It comes! And their sounds, floating hither round the pageant, Rouse up the astonished air.[7]
 FIRST CITIZEN: I will not think but that our country's wounds May yet be healed. The king is just and gracious,  Though wicked counsels now pervert his will: These once cast off- 
 SECOND CITIZEN: As adders cast their skins And keep their venom, so kings often change; Councils and counsellors hang on one another, Hiding the loathsome  Like the base patchwork of a leper's rags. 
 THE YOUTH: Oh, still those dissonant thoughts!-List how the music[8] Grows on the enchanted air! And see, the torches Restlessly flashing, and the crowd divided Like waves before an admiral's prow! 
 A MARSHALSMAN: Give place  To the Marshal of the Masque! 
 A PURSUIVANT: Room for the King![9]
 THE YOUTH: How glorious! See those thronging chariots Rolling, like painted clouds before the wind, Behind their solemn steeds: how some are shaped Like curved sea-shells dyed by the azure depths[10] Of Indian seas; some like the new-born moon; And some like cars in which the Romans climbed (Canopied by Victory's eagle-wings outspread) The Capitolian-See how gloriously The mettled horses in the torchlight stir  Their gallant riders, while they check their pride, Like shapes of some diviner element Than English air, and beings nobler than The envious and admiring multitude. 
 SECOND CITIZEN: Ay, there they are-  Nobles, and sons of nobles, patentees, Monopolists, and stewards of this poor farm, On whose lean sheep sit the prophetic crows, Here is the pomp that strips the houseless orphan, Here is the pride that breaks the desolate heart.  These are the lilies glorious as Solomon, Who toil not, neither do they spin,-unless It be the webs they catch poor rogues withal. Here is the surfeit which to them who earn The niggard wages of the earth, scarce leaves  The tithe that will support them till they crawl Back to her cold hard bosom. Here is health[11] Followed by grim disease, glory by shame, Waste by lame famine, wealth by squalid want, And England's sin by England's punishment.  And, as the effect pursues the cause foregone, Lo, giving substance to my words, behold At once the sign and the thing signified- A troop of cripples, beggars, and lean outcasts, Horsed upon stumbling jades,[12] carted with dung,  Dragged for a day from cellars and low cabins And rotten hiding-holes, to point the moral Of this presentment,[13] and bring up the rear Of painted pomp with misery! 
 THE YOUTH: 'Tis but The anti-masque, and serves as discords do  In sweetest music. Who would love May flowers If they succeeded not to Winter's flaw; Or day unchanged by night; or joy itself Without the touch of sorrow? 
 SECOND CITIZEN: I and thou- 
 A MARSHALSMAN: Place, give place![14]

now that vanity reigns 1870; now reigns vanity 1824.


Canst...enginery 1870; Canst thou not think Of change in that low scene, in which thou art Not a spectator but an actor?... 1824.


Wrap...bold as he 1870; omitted 1824.


make 1824; made 1839.


bondage cj. Forman; bondages 1870.


A seasonable...of the flesh 1870; omitted 1824.


Even now...air 1870; omitted 1824.


how the 1870; loud 1824.


A Pursuivant: Room for the King! 1870; omitted 1824.

Rolling...depths 1870; Rolling like painted clouds before the wind Some are Like curved shells, dyed by the azure depths 1824.

her 1870; its 1824.


jades 1870; shapes 1824.


presentment 1870; presentiment 1824.

[14]! 1870; omitted 1824.