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Full Online Book HomePlaysThe Dynasts: An Epic Drama Of The War With Napoleon - Part 2 - Act 6 - Scene 6. London. Carlton House And The Streets Adjoining
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The Dynasts: An Epic Drama Of The War With Napoleon - Part 2 - Act 6 - Scene 6. London. Carlton House And The Streets Adjoining Post by :HarveyGardner Category :Plays Author :Thomas Hardy Date :May 2012 Read :3160

Click below to download : The Dynasts: An Epic Drama Of The War With Napoleon - Part 2 - Act 6 - Scene 6. London. Carlton House And The Streets Adjoining (Format : PDF)

The Dynasts: An Epic Drama Of The War With Napoleon - Part 2 - Act 6 - Scene 6. London. Carlton House And The Streets Adjoining

PART SECOND. ACT SIXTH. SCENE VI.

(It is a cloudless midsummer evening, and as the west fades the stars beam down upon the city, the evening-star hanging like a jonquil blossom. They are dimmed by the unwonted radiance which spreads around and above Carlton House. As viewed from aloft the glare rises through the skylights, floods the forecourt towards Pall Mall, and kindles with a diaphanous glow the huge tents in the gardens that overlook the Mall. The hour has arrived of the Prince Regent's festivity.

A stream of carriages and sedan-chairs, moving slowly, stretches from the building along Pall Mall into Piccadilly and Bond Street, and crowds fill the pavements watching the bejewelled and feathered occupants. In addition to the grand entrance inside the Pall Mall colonnade there is a covert little "chair-door" in Warwick Street for sedans only, by which arrivals are perceived to be slipping in almost unobserved.)


SPIRIT IRONIC

What domiciles are those, of singular expression,
Whence no guest comes to join the gemmed procession;
That, west of Hyde, this, in the Park-side Lane,
Each front beclouded like a mask of pain?


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

Therein the princely host's two spouses dwell;
A wife in each. Let me inspect and tell.

(The walls of the two houses--one in Park Lane, the other at Kensington--become transparent.)

I see within the first his latter wife--
That Caroline of Brunswick whose brave sire
Yielded his breath on Jena's reeking plain,
And of whose kindred other yet may fall
Ere long, if character indeed be fate.--
She idles feasting, and is full of jest
As each gay chariot rumbles to the rout.
"I rank like your Archbishops' wives," laughs she;
"Denied my husband's honours. Funny me!"

(Suddenly a Beau on his way to the Carlton House festival halts at her house, calls, and is shown in.)

He brings her news that a fresh favourite rules
Her husband's ready heart; likewise of those
Obscure and unmissed courtiers late deceased,
Who have in name been bidden to the feast
By blundering scribes.

(The Princess is seen to jump up from table at some words from her visitor, and clap her hands.)

These tidings, juxtaposed,
Have fired her hot with curiosity,
And lit her quick invention with a plan.


PRINCESS OF WALES

Mine God, I'll go disguised--in some dead name
And enter by the leetle, sly, chair-door
Designed for those not welcomed openly.
There unobserved I'll note mine new supplanter!
'Tis indiscreet? Let indiscretion rule,
Since caution pensions me so scurvily!


SPIRIT IRONIC

Good. Now for the other sweet and slighted spouse.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

The second roof shades the Fitzherbert Fair;
Reserved, perverse. As coach and coach roll by
She mopes within her lattice; lampless, lone,
As if she grieved at her ungracious fate,
And yet were loth to kill the sting of it
By frankly forfeiting the Prince and town.
"Bidden," says she, "but as one low of rank,
And go I will not so unworthily,
To sit with common dames!"--A flippant friend
Writes then that a new planet sways to-night
The sense of her erratic lord; whereon
The fair Fitzherbert muses hankeringly.


MRS. FITZHERBERT (soliloquizing)

The guest-card which I publicly refused
Might, as a fancy, privately be used! . . .
Yes--one last look--a wordless, wan farewell
To this false life which glooms me like a knell,
And him, the cause; from some hid nook survey
His new magnificence;--then go for aye!


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

She cloaks and veils, and in her private chair
Passes the Princess also stealing there--
Two honest wives, and yet a differing pair!


SPIRIT IRONIC

With dames of strange repute, who bear a ticket
For screened admission by the private wicket.


CHORUS OF IRONIC SPIRITS (aerial music)

A wife of the body, a wife of the mind,
A wife somewhat frowsy, a wife too refined:
Could the twain but grow one, and no other dames be,
No husband in Europe more steadfast than he!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

Cease fooling on weak waifs who love and wed
But as the unweeting Urger may bestead!--
See them withinside, douce and diamonded.

(The walls of Carlton House open, and the spectator finds himself confronting the revel.)

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