How ist with Titus Lartius?
Marcius. As with a man busied about decrees,
Condemning some to death and some to exile,
Ransoming him or pitying, threatening the other.
The captive Abbots features and manners exhibited a whimsical mixture of offended pride, and deranged foppery, and bodily terror.
Why, how now, my masters? said he, with a voice in which all three emotions were blended. What order is this among ye? Be ye Turks or Christians, that handle a churchman?Know ye what it is manus imponere in servos Domini? Ye have plundered my mailstorn my cope of curious cut lace, which might have served a cardinal! Another in my place would have been at his excommunicabo vos but I am placable, and if ye order forth my pallreys, release my brethren, and restore my mails, tell down with all speed a hundred crowns to be expended in masses at the high altar of Jorvaulx Abbey, and make your vow to eat no venison until next Pentecost, it may be you shall hear little more of this made frolic.
Holy father, said the chief Outlaw, it grieves me to think that you have met with such usage from any of my followers, as calls for your fatherly reprehension.
Usage! echoed the priest, encouraged by the mild tone of the silvan leader; it were usage fit for no hound of good racemuch less for a Christianfar less for a priestand least of all for the Prior of the holy community of Jorvaulx. Here is a profane and drunken minstrel, called Allan-a-Dalenebulo quidamwho has menaced me with corporal punishmentnay, with death itself, an I pay not down four hundred crowns of ransom, to the boot of all the treasure he hath already robbed me ofgold chains and gymmal rings to an unknown value; besides what is broken and spoiled among their rude hands, such as my pouncet-box and silver crisping-tongs.
It is impossible that Allan-a-Dale can have thus treated a man of your reverend bearing, replied the Captain.
It is true as the gospel of St. Nicodemus, said the Prior; he swore, with many a cruel north-country oath, that he would hang me up on the highest tree in the greenwood.
Did he so in very deed? Nay, then, reverend father, I think you had better comply with his demandsfor Allan-a-Dale is the very man to abide by his word when he has so pledged it.1
You do but jest with me, said the astounded Prior, with a forced laugh; and I love a good jest with all my heart. But, ha! ha! ha! when the mirth has lasted the livelong night, it is time to be grave in the morning.
And I am as grave as a father confessor, replied the Outlaw; you must pay a round ransom, Sir Prior, or your convent is likely to be called to a new election; for your place will know you no more.
Are ye Christians, said the Prior, and hold this language to a churchman?
Christians! ay, marry are we, and have divinity among us to boot, answered the Outlaw. Let our buxom chaplain stand forth, and expound to this reverend father the texts which concern this matter.
The Friar, half drunk, half sober, had huddled a friars frock over his green cassock, and now summoning together whatever scraps of learning he had acquired by rote in former days, Holy father, said he, Deus faciat salvam benignitatem vestramYou are welcome to the greenwood.
What profane mummery is this? said the Prior. Friend, it thou best indeed of the Church, it were a better deed to show me how I may escape from these mens hands, than to stand ducking and grinning here like a morris-dancer.
Truly, reverend father, said the Friar, I know but one mode in which thou mayest escape. This is St. Andrews day with us, we are taking out ithes.
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