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Becket and other plays   By: (1809-1892)

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First Page:

BECKET AND OTHER PLAYS

BY

ALFRED LORD TENNYSON, POET LAUREATE

CONTENTS

BECKET THE CUP THE FALCON THE PROMISE OF MAY

BECKET

TO THE LORD CHANCELLOR, THE RIGHT HONOURABLE EARL OF SELBORNE.

MY DEAR SELBORNE,

To you, the honoured Chancellor of our own day, I dedicate this dramatic memorial of your great predecessor; which, altho' not intended in its present form to meet the exigencies of our modern theatre, has nevertheless for so you have assured me won your approbation.

Ever yours ,

TENNYSON.

DRAMATIS PERSONAE .

HENRY II. ( son of the Earl of Anjou ). THOMAS BECKET, Chancellor of England, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury . GILBERT FOLIOT, Bishop of London . ROGER, Archbishop of York . Bishop of Hereford . HILARY, Bishop of Chichester . JOCELYN, Bishop of Salisbury . JOHN OF SALISBURY HERBERT OF BOSHAM friends of Becket . WALTER MAP, reputed author of 'Golias,' Latin poems against the priesthood . KING LOUIS OF FRANCE. GEOFFREY, son of Rosamund and Henry . GRIM, a monk of Cambridge . SIR REGINALD FITZURSE SIR RICHARD DE BRITO the four knights of the King's SIR WILLIAM DE TRACY household, enemies of Becket . SIR HUGH DE MORVILLE DE BROC OF SALTWOOD CASTLE. LORD LEICESTER. PHILIP DE ELEEMOSYNA. TWO KNIGHT TEMPLARS. JOHN OF OXFORD ( called the Swearer ). ELEANOR OF AQUITAINE, Queen of England (divorced from Louis of France) . ROSAMUND DE CLIFFORD. MARGERY.

Knights, Monks, Beggars, etc .

PROLOGUE.

A Castle in Normandy. Interior of the Hall. Roofs of a City seen thro' Windows .

HENRY and BECKET at chess .

HENRY. So then our good Archbishop Theobald Lies dying.

BECKET. I am grieved to know as much.

HENRY. But we must have a mightier man than he For his successor.

BECKET. Have you thought of one?

HENRY. A cleric lately poison'd his own mother, And being brought before the courts of the Church, They but degraded him. I hope they whipt him. I would have hang'd him.

BECKET. It is your move.

HENRY. Well there. [ Moves . The Church in the pell mell of Stephen's time Hath climb'd the throne and almost clutch'd the crown; But by the royal customs of our realm The Church should hold her baronies of me, Like other lords amenable to law. I'll have them written down and made the law.

BECKET. My liege, I move my bishop.

HENRY. And if I live, No man without my leave shall excommunicate My tenants or my household.

BECKET. Look to your king.

HENRY. No man without my leave shall cross the seas To set the Pope against me I pray your pardon.

BECKET. Well will you move?

HENRY. There. [ Moves .

BECKET. Check you move so wildly.

HENRY. There then! [ Moves .

BECKET. Why there then, for you see my bishop Hath brought your king to a standstill. You are beaten.

HENRY ( kicks over the board ). Why, there then down go bishop and king together. I loathe being beaten; had I fixt my fancy Upon the game I should have beaten thee, But that was vagabond.

BECKET. Where, my liege? With Phryne, Or Lais, or thy Rosamund, or another?

HENRY. My Rosamund is no Lais, Thomas Becket; And yet she plagues me too no fault in her But that I fear the Queen would have her life.

BECKET. Put her away, put her away, my liege! Put her away into a nunnery! Safe enough there from her to whom thou art bound By Holy Church. And wherefore should she seek The life of Rosamund de Clifford more Than that of other paramours of thine?

HENRY. How dost thou know I am not wedded to her?

BECKET. How should I know?

HENRY. That is my secret, Thomas.

BECKET. State secrets should be patent to the statesman Who serves and loves his king, and whom the king Loves not as statesman, but true lover and friend... Continue reading book >>




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