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Strike impotent the faith of thousands ; Joseph,
But you have bought the son; heap'd favours on him!
Trash! favours past, that's nothing. In his hours
Yes : a colonel's rank,
And letters of nobility.
What, Huguet! (Here Huguet enters, as to address the cardinal, who does
not perceive him.)
My own name, soft-(glides behind the screen.)
Colonel and nobleman! My bashful Huguet, that can never be! We have him not the less; we'll promise it ! And see the king withholds! Ah, kings are oft A great convenience to a minister! No wrong to Huguet either! Moralists Say, hope is sweeter than po ession! Yes, We'll count on Huguet! Favours past do gorge Our dogs ; leave service drowsy ; dull the scent, Slacken the speed ; favours to come, my Joseph, Produce a lusty, hungry gratitude, A ravenous zeal, that of the commonest cur Would make a Cerberus. You are right, this treason Assumes a fearful aspect: but, once crushid, Its very ashes shall manure the soil Of power; and ripen such full sheaves of greatness, That all the summer of my fate shall seem Fruitless beside the autumn! (Huguet holds up his hand menacingly, and creeps out.)
The saints grant it!
RICHELIEU (solemnly). Yes, for sweet France, Heaven grant it! Oh my country, For thee, thee only, though men deem it not, Are toil and terror my familiars! I Have made thee great and fair; upon thy brows Wreath'd the old Roman laurel : at thy feet Bow'd nations down. No pulse in my ambition Whose beatings were not measured from thy heart! [In the old times before us, patriots lived* And died for liberty
As you would live And die for despotry
False monk, not so;
* That in brackets omitted in representation.
+ Richelieu did in fact so thoroughly associate himself with the state, that, in cases where the extreme penalty of the law had been incurred, Le Clerc justly observes that he was more inexorable to those he had favoured, even to his own connexions, than to other and more indifferent offenders. It must be remembered, as some excuse for his unrelenting sternness, that, before his time, the great had been accustomed to commit any disorder with impunity-even the crime of treason, " auparavant on ne faisoit poser les armes aux rebelles qu'en leur accordant quelque récompense.” On entering into the administration, he therefore laid it down as a maxim necessary to the existence of the state, that “no crime should be committed with impunity." To carry out this maxim, the long-established license to crime made even justice seem cruel. But the victims most commiserated from their birth or accomplishments, as Montmorenci or Cinq Mars, were traitors in actual conspiracy against their country, and would have forfeited life in any land where the punishment of death existed, and the lawgiver was strong enough to vindicate the law. Richelieu was, in fact, a patriot unsoftened by philanthropy. As in Venice (where the favourite aphorism was, Venice first,* Christianity next), so with Richelieu the primary
* “ Pria Veneziana, poi Christiane."
As the calm crafts of Tuscan sages teach Those who would make their country great. Beyond The map of France, my heart can travel not, But fills that limit to its farthest verge; And while I live, Richelieu and France are one.) We priests, to whom the church forbids in youth The plighted one, to manhood's toil denies The soother helpmate; from our wither'd age Shuts the sweet blossoms of the second spring That smiles in the name of father. We are yet Not holier than humanity, and must Fulfil humanity's condition. Love! Debarr'd the actual, we but breathe a life To the chill marble of the ideal. Thus, In thy unseen and abstract majesty, My France, my country, I have bodied forth A thing to love. What are these robes of state, This pomp, this palace ? perishable bawbles ! In this world two things only are immortalFame and a people!
My lord cardinal, Your eminence bade me seek you at this hour. consideration was, “what will be best for the country?" He had no abstract principle, whether as a politician or a priest, when applied to the world that lay beyond the boundaries of France. Thus he whose object was to found in France a splendid and imperious despotism, assisted the Parliamentary party in England, and signed a treaty of alliance and subsidies with the Catalan rebels for the establishment of a republic in Barcelona ; to convulse other monarchies was to consolidate the growing monarchy of France, So he who completely crushed the Protestant party at home, braved all the wrath of the Vatican, and even the resentment of the king, in giving the most essential aid to the Protestants abroad. There was, in. deed, a largeness of view in his hostility to French Huguenots, which must be carefully distinguished from the intolerance of the mere priest. He opposed them, not as a Catholic, but as a statesman. The Huguenots were strong republicans, and had formed plans for dividing France into provincial commonwealths; and the existence of Rochelle was absolutely incompatible with the integrity of the French monarchy. It was a second capital held by the Huguenots, claiming independent authority and the right to treat with foreign powers. Richelieu's final conquest was marked by a humanity that had nothing of the bigot. The Huguenots obtained a complete amnesty, and had only to regret the loss of privileges and fortifications which could not have existed with any security to the rest of France.
RICHELIEU. Did I? True, Huguet. So-you overheard Strange talk among these gallants ? Snares and traps For Richelieu ? Well, we'll balk them; let me thinkThe men at arms you head-how many ?
Yes, for ordinary Occasions ; if for great ones, I would change Three fourths at least.
Great bribes !
RICHELIEU (to Joseph).
Good lack, he knows some paragons Superior to great bribes !
True gentlemen Who have transgress'd the laws, and value life, And lack not gold; your eminence alone Can grant them pardon. Ergo, you can trust them!
RICHELIEU. Logic! So be it; let this honest twenty Be arm'd and mounted: (aside) so they meet at midnight, The attempt on me to-morrow. Ho! we'll strike 'Twixt wind and water. (Aloud) Does it need much time To find these ornaments to human nature ?
* The guard attached to Richelieu's person was in the first instance fifty arquebusiers, afterward increased to two companies of cavalry and two hundred musketeers. Huguet is, therefere, to be considered merely as the lieutenant of a small detachment of this little army. In point of fact, the subdivisions of the guard took it in turns to serve.
My lord, the trustiest of them are not birds
Ere the dawn be gray, All could be arm'd, asseinbled, and at Ruelle In my old hall ?
By one hour after midnight.
The castle's strong. You know its outlets, Huguet ? Would twenty men, well posted, keep such guard That not one step (and murther's step is stealthy, Could glide within, unseen?
A triple wall,
They do not strike till morning,
You leave me dumb with gratitude, my lord;