[Reason asserts that Love is superior to Justice; the Lover asks Reason for proof of this assertion:]
"With pleasure, but Prithee, thy lips meanwhile keep shut. Justice held undivided sway O'er all the earth in Saturn's day. Saturn, whose son, as Ovid sings, Cut off, as they were chitterlings, His father's cullions, and the sea Consigned them to most cruelly, And thence was fair Queen Venus born (Unless old histories be forsworn). If Justice came again on earth, And mankind recognised her worth Once more as in the age of gold, Sweet brotherhood should then infold All sons of men, 'neath Justice' eye, Dwelling together peaceably;
For Love once dead or fled away, Ruthless would be stern Justice' sway. But if mankind were joined in one Great brotherhood of love, then none Would wrong his fellow, and vice sped Were not all call for Justice dead?"
"Past doubt it then were needed nought."
"Well say'st thou, for in Love's school taught All men would live in peaceful rest, Neither by kings nor lords oppressed.
No provostship or bailiehood Would people need if all were good; No judge would then be set above His fellow-man, and therefore Love Should before Justice be preferred, Although 'tis true her voice is heard Restraining evil, which hath been Wellspring of all earth's lords, I ween, In whom is freedom lost. For ne'er, Except for Crime and Sin, vile pair, Had kings been known in any land, Nor Justice shown her iron hand. For judges, even from the first, Bewray themselves as men accurst, But they their own souls should discern, In hope the world's respect to earn As men, fair, careful, and upright, Not giving sentence in despite Of truth; not false, with palms that itch For bribes, alike from poor and rich.
But judgment set they at a price, And ancient usage in a trice Upset to serve their turn; they clip And gather, grasp and pare and snip; And poor and helpless men beguile Of land or chattels; many a while The judge who hangs the thief is he Who ought to deck the gallows tree, If only he were doomed aright For all the crimes his hands have dight."
Learn how Virginius made his plea To Appius, who corruptedly His Fair and well-loved daughter gave To Claudius for his chattel slave.
"A CORD vile Appius merited, When he his felon servant sped As witness false to foully swear Against Virginia, maid most fair, Of brave Virginius daughter dear, As doth in Livy's page appear, Because he could not subjugate Her virtuous mind, nor quell the hate His suit inspired. Vile Claudius cried In open court: `Upon my side, O judge, give sentence, seen I can Prove clearer claim than other man To this fair maid, who is to me The house-bred slave in simple fee, For she beneath my roof was born, And being thence unjustly torn, Was to Virginius' palace led, And therein reared and nourished. Great Appius, sentence give, I pray That, from Virginius reft away, Restored she be to my good care. And if denial he should dare To give my oath, I straight will bring Good witness to affirm the thing.' 'Twas thus this villain servant told His vile and treacherous tale with bold,
Unblushing speech, and ere the word Of brave Virginius could be heard, Vile Appius hasty judgment gave, And the pure virgin, as a slave, Decreed to Claudius. Then her sire, Most noble knight, his soul afire, Beheld how this decree unjust Consigned his loved one to the lust Of Appius, and that all in vain He strove to save his child from stain; So rather than such foul disgrace Should sully her, he set his face To suffer grief, than hell more hot, If Titus Livius japeth not."
This telleth how -- the judgment given -- Virginius unto madness driven, Strake off his well-loved daughter's head, Though to her life his life was wed, Preferring rather that his child Should die unstained than live defiled Then the sad head to Appius sent, Who met his well-earned chastisement.
FOR not in rage, but fondest love, Virginius slew this spotless dove, And then, all gory, at the feet Of Appius cast her visage sweet In open court, before the eyes Of all who stood there, and loud cries
OF horror raised they. History saith That the vile judge ordained the death Of good Virginius, but the crowd, The tale all heard, cried out aloud That such foul treason must not be Wrought, and yet find impunity: But for his treachery, to the jail Straightway the unjust judge they hale, Who there foul expiation made, By his own hand to hell betrayed. And Claudius, witness false and base, Had met the hangman face to face Had not Virginius nobly craved His pardon from the crowd, and saved His pitiful life; agreed he went Thenceforth to outer banishment, While other witnesses forsworn Met death beneath the people's scorn.
Judges, in short, are scoundrels vile List ye what Lucan saith the while In golden verse: `Vain hope! to find Great power with virtuous will combined.' But if with hardened hearts they cling To crime, and strive by pilfering And robbery base to swell their stream Of worldly wealth, the Judge supreme Shall cast them down to hell, and there Bid Satan cords of steel prepare To bind their necks. Except I not Proud kings or prelates, for their lot Is cast with judges, whether they Be shaven pates or people lay.
'Tis not for us these men to crown With state, that they may trample down Suitors, and every cause exploit To fill their purses by adroit Chicanery, and shut their door To claimants cursed in being poor. But theirs in person 'tis to sit Each cause to hear, and judge of it With righteous care, for false or true, With all the points that 'long thereto. Slaves of the populace are they, Who win full foison day by day From mother earth, and not their will It was to let these miscreants fill Their maws by foul despoil. Their time All folk should pass in peace, for crime Judges should punish, and 'tis theirs Themselves to mount the gallows stairs And execution do on thieves, If no man willingly relieves Their hands thereof, for justice they Should do whate'er the price they pay. For since the people 'tis who 'quite The justicers, undoubted right Have they to justice, and a vow These judges made thereto, I trow, On their investment.
Thy request Is now fulfilled, and thou mayst rest Content, since I have given thee proof Of all thou wouldst for thy behoof."