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Title: A Select Collection of Old English Plays

Editor: William Carew Hazlitt

Release date: July 30, 2015 [eBook #49550]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Jonathan Ingram, Carol Brown, and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at


Transcriber’s Note:

This text includes characters that require UTF-8 (Unicode) file encoding. If the œ ligature or characters in Greek do not display properly, or if the apostrophes and quotation marks appear as garbage, make sure your text reader’s “character set” or “file encoding” is set to Unicode (UTF-8). You may also need to change the default font.

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There is no Table of Contents in the original book. For the convenience of readers, links to the plays are provided here:
Damon and Pithias
Appius and Virginia
The Misfortunes of Arthur
The First Part of Jeronimo

Additional notes are at the end of the book.










Illustration: Printer's logo

New York


Since the Preface to this Work appeared, a very important augmentation of the new matter has been decided on, and the following early Dramas, never hitherto reprinted, have already been transcribed for insertion in our series under their respective dates. All are of the greatest rarity; and each, in its own way, seemed to possess literary and illustrative value:

Life and Death of Jack Straw, 1593.
The first dramatisation of the story of Wat Tyler.
Mucedorus, 1598.Look About You, 1600.
The Contention between Liberality and Prodigality, 1602.
The London Chanticleers, 1659.
Lady Alimony; or, The Alimony Lady, 1659.
Both of the two last named are earlier than the period of publication.

On the other hand, new collected editions of Randolph and Suckling have quite recently been announced; and, in consequence, the “Muses’ Looking-Glass,” by the former, and Suckling’s “Goblins,” will be excluded from the present Collection, agreeably to the principle explained in our Preface.

W. C. H.

Kensington, May 1, 1874.



For the titles of the two old copies, see Hazlitt’s “Handbook,” p. 177.


Richard Edwards (the elder), a Somersetshire man, was born about the year 1523, and is said to have received his education at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, whence “in youthful years,” as he himself narrates, in the “Paradise of Dainty Devices,” but not until after August 1544, “his young desires pricked him forth to serve in court, a slender, tall young man.” What his service at court may have been, does not appear, and he relinquished it for a time in 1547, when he was nominated a Senior Student of Christ Church, Oxford, then newly founded by Henry VIII., and created M.A. Here, among other studies, he applied himself to that of music, under George Etheridge, with a view, probably, to further service at court. On his return to London, he entered himself of Lincoln’s Inn, and ultimately was constituted by Queen Elizabeth a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal, and, in 1561, Master of the Children or singing boys of that establishment. Warton, after stating that Edwards “united all those arts and accomplishments which minister to popular pleasantry,” which may be very true, adds what (as Collier points out) is unquestionably a mistake, that the children of the chapel were first formed by him into a company of players; for they had regularly acted plays long before.

In 1566, Edwards attended the Queen in her visit to Oxford, where he composed a play called “Palamen and Arcite,” which was acted before Her Majesty in Christ Church Hall.

Stow, in his “Chronicle,” mentions the name of the play, and adds that “it had such tragical success as was very lamentable; for at that time, by the fall of a wall and a paire of staires & great prese (press) of the multitude, three men were slain.” “At night” (Sept. 2[2]), writes Anthony Wood, “the Queen heard the first part of an English play, named Palamon & Arcyte, made by M. Richard Edwards, a gentleman of her Chapel, acted with very great applause, in Christ Church Hall, at the beginning of which play, there was, by part of the stage which fell, three persons slain, besides five that were hurt. Afterwards the actors performed their parts so well, that the Queen laughed heartily thereat, and gave the author of the play great thanks for his pains” (quoted by Collier, “Annals of the Stage,” i., 191). “Her Majesty also presented eight guineas to one of the young performers who gave her peculiar satisfaction. It is fair to add, in behalf of good Queen Bess, that from Peshall’s ‘History of the University,’ it would seem that the Queen was not present on the occasion of the accident.” He died on the 31st October in the same year, according to Hawkins; and in Turbervile’s Poems, printed in 1567, are two elegiac compositions on his decease, one by Turbervile himself, the other by Thomas Twine, the translator of Virgil.[3]

“Edwards,” writes Collier,[4] “enjoyed a very high reputation as a dramatic poet, but he seems to have owed much of it to the then comparative novelty of his undertakings.” Thomas Twine, in an epitaph upon his death, calls him

“The flower of our realm
And Phœnix of our age,”

and specifically mentions two of his plays, “Damon and Pythias” and “Palamon and Arcyte,” adding, however, that he had written more equally fit for the ears of princes

“Thy tender Tunes and Rimes
Wherein thou woont’st to play,
Eche princely Dame of Court and Towne,
Shall beare in minde alway.
Thy Damon and his Friend,
Arcyte and Palemon,
With moe full fit for princes’ eares,
Though thou from earth art gone,
Shall still remain in fame,” &c.

He is mentioned in Webbe’s “Discourse of English Poetry,” 1586, and Puttenham, in his “Art of English Poesie,” 1589, tells us that the Earl of Oxford (of whose dramatic productions there is no other trace) and Edwards deserve the highest prize for “comedy and interlude; and Lord Buckhurst and Master Edward Ferrys [George Ferrers] for tragedy.” Meres, in his “Palladis Tamia,” 1598, repeats the applause given by Puttenham, with the omission of the word “interlude,” then out of fashion, terming Edwards “one of the best for comedy.”

“The earliest notice we have of Edwards as a dramatic poet,” continues Collier, “occurs in 1564-5, when a tragedy by him, the name of which is not given, was performed by the children of the chapel, under his direction, before the Queen at Richmond. This might possibly be his ‘Damon and Pythias,’ termed by Lord Burghley, in the uncertain phraseology of that time, ‘a tragedy,’ or it might be one of the other dramatic performances of which, according to Twine, Edwards was the author. ‘Damon and Pythias,’ however, is the only extant specimen of his talents in this department of Poetry.” Besides his dramatic productions, Edwards was the author of several poems in “The Paradyse of Daynty Devises” (1576), the sundry pithie and learned inventions of which, indeed, are announced in the title to have been “devised and written for the most part by M. Edwards, sometime of her Majesties Chapel.” Two of these learned inventions are given by Ellis, in his “Specimen of Early English Poets,” vol. ii., and one of them in especial has aroused the enthusiasm of Mr Haslewood by the happiness of the illustration, the facility, elegance, and tenderness of the language, and the exquisite turn of the whole.[5] “When he was in extremitie of his sickness,” writes Wood, narrating our author’s death, “he composed a noted poem, called ‘Edwards’ Soul Knil’ (knell), or the ‘Soul Knil of M. Edwards,’ which was commended for a good piece. In support of this tradition, Anthony quotes Gascoigne, whereas Gascoigne, on the contrary, only refers to the story for the purpose of ridiculing the idea that the ‘Knil’ was written under any such circumstances.”[6]

Among the Cotton MSS. in the British Museum are four poems by Edwards, one of which is addressed to some court beauties of his time;[7] one of these also is given by Mr Ellis in his “Specimens.” A part of his song “In Commendation of Musick,” in the “Paradise of Dainty Devices,” is given by Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet,” act iv., sc. 5: “Where gripyng grief the hart would wound,” &c. Ritson mentions “An Epytaphe of the lord of Pembroke” by Mr Edwards (1569-70); but this is merely said to be written by a Mr Edwardes, and was not, at any rate, from the pen of the author of “Damon and Pithias.”[8]

“Among the books of my friend, the late Mr William Collins, of Chichester, now dispersed,” writes Warton,[9] “was a collection of short comic stories in prose, printed in the black letter, and, in the year 1570, ‘Set forth by Maister Richard Edwardes, Mayster of Her Maiesties Revels.’ There is a mistake in assigning this office to Edwards, for Sir Thomas Cawarden and Sir Thomas Benger were successively Masters of the Revels in our author’s time. However, among these tales was that of the ‘Induction of the Tinker’ in Shakespeare’s ‘Taming of the Shrew;’ and perhaps,” writes Warton, “Edwards’ story book was the immediate source from which Shakespeare, or rather, the author of the old ‘Taming of the Shrew’ drew that diverting apologue.”

The drama here reprinted from the earliest known edition of 1571,[10] collated with that of 1582, may have been the same as the tragedy performed before Queen Elizabeth by the children of the chapel at Christmas, 1564-5. “Although,” writes Collier, “Edwards continued in this play to employ rhymes, he endeavoured to get rid of some part of its monotony, by varying the length of his lines, and by not preserving the cæsura. It was nearly new, at the date when this piece was written, to bring stories from profane history upon the stage. ‘Damon and Phythias’ was one of the earliest attempts of the kind; and at any other period, and without the Queen’s extraordinary commendation, it may at least be doubted whether Edwards would have acquired an equal degree of notoriety.[11]



On every side, whereas I glance my roving eye,
Silence in all ears bent I plainly do espy:
But if your eager looks do long such toys to see,
As heretofore in comical wise were wont abroad to be,
Your lust is lost, and all the pleasures that you sought,
Is frustrate quite of toying plays. A sudden change is wrought:
For lo, our author’s muse, that masked in delight,
Hath forc’d his pen against his kind[12] no more such sports to write.
Muse he that lust (right worshipful), for chance hath made this change,
For that to some he seemed too much in young desires to range:
In which, right glad to please, seeing that he did offend,
Of all he humbly pardon craves: his pen that shall amend.
And yet (worshipful audience) thus much I dare avouch,
In comedies the greatest skill is this, rightly to touch
All things to the quick; and eke to frame each person so,
That by his common talk you may his nature rightly know:
A roister ought not preach, that were too strange to hear,
But as from virtue he doth swerve, so ought his words appear:
The old man is sober, the young man rash, the lover triumphing in joys.
The matron grave, the harlot wild, and full of wanton toys.
Which all in one course they no wise do agree;
So correspondent to their kind their speeches ought to be.
Which speeches well-pronounc’d, with action lively framed,
If this offend the lookers on, let Horace then be blamed,
Which hath our author taught at school, from whom he doth not swerve,
In all such kind of exercise decorum to observe.
Thus much for his defence (he saith), as poets earst have done,
Which heretofore in comedies the self-same race did run.
But now for to be brief, the matter to express,
Which here we shall present, is this: Damon and Pithias.
A rare ensample of friendship true, it is no legend-lie,
But a thing once done indeed, as histories do descry,
Which done of yore in long time past, yet present shall be here.
Even as it were in doing now, so lively it shall appear.
Lo, here in Syracuse th’ ancient town, which once the Romans won,
Here Dionysius palace, within whose court this thing most strange was done.
Which matter mix’d with mirth and care, a just name to apply,
As seems most fit, we have it termed a tragical comedy.
Wherein talking of courtly toys, we do protest this flat,
We talk of Dionysius court, we mean no court but that:
And that we do so mean, who wisely calleth to mind
The time, the place, the author,[13] here most plainly shall it find.
Lo, this I speak[14] for our defence, lest of others we should be shent:
But, worthy audience, we you pray, take things as they be meant;
Whose upright judgment we do crave with heedful ear and eye
To hear the cause and see th’ effect of this new tragical comedy.


Here entereth Aristippus.

Aristippus. Tho’ strange (perhaps) it seems to some,
That I, Aristippus, a courtier am become:
A philosopher of late, not of the meanest name,
But now to the courtly behaviour my life I frame.
Muse he that list, to you of good skill,
I say that I am a philosopher still.
Loving of wisdom is termed philosophy,[16]
Then who is a philosopher so rightly as I?
For in loving of wisdom proof doth this try,
That frustra sapit, qui non sapit sibi.
I am wise for myself: then tell me of troth,
Is not that great wisdom, as the world go’th?
Some philosophers in the street go ragged and torn,
And feed on vile roots, whom boys laugh to scorn:
But I in fine silks haunt Dionysius’ palace,
Wherein with dainty fare myself I do solace.
I can talk of philosophy as well as the best,
But the strait kind of life I leave to the rest.
And I profess now the courtly philosophy,
To crouch, to speak fair, myself I apply,
To feed the king’s humour with pleasant devices,
For which I am called Regius canis.
But wot ye who named me first the king’s dog?
It was the rogue Diogenes, that vile grunting hog.
Let him roll in his tub, to win a vain praise:
In the court pleasantly I will spend all my days;
Wherein what to do I am not to learn,
What will serve mine own turn, I can quickly discern.
All my time at school I have not spent vainly,
I can help one: is not that a good point of philosophy?

Here entereth Carisophus.

Carisophus. I beshrew your fine ears, since you came from school,
In the court you have made many a wise man a fool:
And though you paint out your feigned philosophy,
So God help me, it is but a plain kind of flattery,
Which you use so finely in so pleasant a sort,
That none but Aristippus now makes the king sport.
Ere you came hither, poor I was somebody;
The king delighted in me, now I am but a noddy.
Aristippus. In faith, Carisophus, you know yourself best,
But I will not call you noddy, but only in jest,
And thus I assure you, though I came from school
To serve in this court, I came not yet to be the king’s fool;
Or to fill his ears with servile squirrility.[17]
That office is yours, you know it right perfectly.
Of parasites and sycophants you are a grave[18] bencher,
The king feeds you often from his own trencher,
I envy not your state, nor yet your great favour,
Then grudge not at all, if in my behaviour
I make the king merry with pleasant urbanity,
Whom I never abused to any man’s injury.
Carisophus. By Cock, sir, yet in the court you do[19] best thrive,
For you get more in one day than I do in five.
Aristippus. Why, man, in the court do you not see
Rewards given for virtue to every degree?
To reward the unworthy—that world is done:
The court is changed, a good thread hath been spun
Of dog’s wool heretofore, and why because it was liked,
And not for that it was best trimmed and picked:
But now men’s ears are finer, such gross toys are not set by,
Therefore to a trimmer kind of mirth myself I apply:
Wherein though I please, it cometh not of my desert,
But of the king’s favour.
Carisophus. It may so be; yet in your prosperity
Despise not an old courtier: Carisophus is he,
Which hath long time fed Dionysius’ humour:
Diligently to please still at hand: there was never rumour
Spread in this[20] town of any small thing, but I
Brought it to the king in post by and by.
Yet now I crave your friendship, which if I may attain,
Most sure and unfeigned friendship I promise you again:
So we two link’d in friendship, brother and brother,
Full well in the court may help one another.
Aristippus. By’r Lady, Carisophus, though you know not philosophy,
Yet surely you are a better courtier than I:
And yet I not so evil a courtier, that will seem to despise
Such an old courtier as you, so expert and so wise.
But where as you crave mine, and offer your friendship so willingly,
With heart I give you thanks for this your great courtesy:
Assuring of friendship both with tooth and nail,
Whiles life lasteth, never to fail.
Carisophus. A thousand thanks I give you, O friend Aristippus.
Aristippus. O friend Carisophus.
Carisophus. How joyful am I, sith I have to friend Aristippus now?
Aristippus. None so glad of Carisophus’ friendship as I, I make God a vow,
I speak as I think, believe me.
Carisophus. Sith we are now so friendly joined, it seemeth to me,
That one of us help each other in every degree:
Prefer you my cause, when you are in presence,
To further your matters to the king let me alone in your absence.
Aristippus. Friend Carisophus, this shall be done as you would wish:
But I pray you tell me thus much by the way,
Whither now from this place will you take your journey?
Carisophus. I will not dissemble, that were against friendship,
I go into the city some knaves to nip
For talk, with their goods to increase the king’s treasure,
In such kind of service I set my chief pleasure:
Farewell, friend[21] Aristippus, now for a time.
Aristippus. Adieu, friend Carisophus—In good faith now,
Of force I must laugh at this solemn vow.
Is Aristippus link’d in friendship with Carisophus?
Quid cum tanto asino talis philosophus?
They say, Morum similitudo consuit[22] amicitias;
Then how can this friendship between us two come to pass?
We are as like in condition as Jack Fletcher and his bolt;[23]
I brought up in learning, but he is a very dolt
As touching good letters; but otherwise such a crafty knave,
If you seek a whole region, his like you cannot have:
A villain for his life, a varlet dyed in grain,
You lose money by him, if you sell him for one knave,[24] for he serves for twain:
A flattering parasite, a sycophant also,
A common accuser of men, to the good an open foe.
Of half a word he can make a legend of lies,
Which he will avouch with such tragical cries,
As though all were true that comes out of his mouth.
Whereas indeed, to be hanged by and by,[25]
He cannot tell one tale, but twice he must lie.
He spareth no man’s life to get the king’s favour,
In which kind of service he hath got such a savour,[26]
That he will never leave. Methink then that I
Have done very wisely to join in friendship with him, lest perhaps I
Coming in his way might be nipp’d; for such knaves in presence
We see oft times put honest men to silence:
Yet I have played with his beard in knitting this knot,
I promis’d friendship; but, you love few words—I spake it, but I meant it not.[27]
Who marks this friendship between us two
Shall judge of the worldly friendship without any more ado.
It may be a right pattern[28] thereof; but true friendship indeed
Of nought but of virtue doth truly proceed.
But why do I now enter into philosophy,
Which do profess the fine kind of courtesy?
I will hence to the court with all haste I may;
I think the king be stirring, it is now bright day.
To wait at a pinch still in sight I mean,
For wot ye what? a new broom sweeps clean[29]
As to high honour I mind not to climb,
So I mean in the court to lose no time:
Wherein, happy man be his dole,[30] I trust that I
Shall not speed worst, and that very quickly.

Here entereth Damon and Pithias like mariners.

Damon. O Neptune, immortal be thy praise,
For that so safe from Greece we have pass’d the seas
To this noble city Syracuse, where we
The ancient reign of the Romans may see.
Whose force Greece also heretofore hath known,
Whose virtue the shrill trump of fame so far hath blown.
Pithias. My Damon, of right high praise we ought to give
To Neptune and all the gods, that we safely did arrive:
The seas, I think, with contrary winds never raged so;
I am even yet so seasick, that I faint as I go;
Therefore let us get some lodging quickly.
But where is Stephano?

Here entereth Stephano.

Stephano. Not far hence: a pox take these mariner-knaves,
Not one would help me to carry this stuff, such drunken slaves
I think be accursed of the gods’ own mouths.
Damon. Stephano, leave thy raging, and let us enter Syracuse,
We will provide lodging, and thou shalt be eased of thy burden by and by.
Stephano. Good master, make haste, for I tell you plain,
This heavy burden puts poor Stephano to much pain.
Pithias. Come on thy ways, thou shalt be eased, and that anon.

Here entereth Carisophus.

Carisophus. It is a true saying, that oft hath been spoken,
The pitcher goeth so long to the water, that it[31] cometh home broken.
My own proof this hath taught me, for truly, sith I
In the city have used to walk very slyly,
Not with one can I meet, that will in talk join with me,
And to creep into men’s bosoms,[32] some talk for to snatch,
But which, into one trip or other, I might trimly them catch,
And so accuse them—now, not with one can I meet,
That will join in talk with me, I am shunn’d like a devil in the street.
My credit is crack’d, where I am known; but I hear say,
Certain strangers are arrived: they were a good prey;
If happily I might meet with them, I fear not, I,
But in talk I should trip them, and that very finely.
Which thing, I assure you, I do for mine own gain,
Or else I would not plod thus up and down, I tell you plain.
Well, I will for a while to the court, to see
What Aristippus doth; I would be loth in favour he should overrun me;
He is a subtle child, he flattereth so finely, that I fear me
He will lick the fat from my lips, and so outwear[33] me:
Therefore I will not be long absent, but at hand,
That all his fine drifts I may understand.

Here entereth Will and Jack.

Will. I wonder what my master Aristippus means now-a-days,
That he leaveth philosophy, and seeks[34] to please
King Dionysius with such merry toys:
In Dionysius’ court now he only joys,
As trim a courtier as the best,
Ready to answer, quick in taunts, pleasant to jest;
A lusty companion to devise with fine dames,
Whose humour to feed his wily wit he frames.
Jack. By Cock, as you say, your master is a minion:
A foul coil he keeps in this court; Aristippus alone
Now rules the roost with his pleasant devices,
That I fear he will put out of conceit my master Carisophus.
Will. Fear not that, Jack; for, like brother and brother,
They are knit in true friendship the one with the other;
They are fellows, you know, and honest men both,
Therefore the one to hinder the other they will be loth.
Jack. Yea, but I have heard say there is falsehood in fellowship,
In the court sometimes one gives another finely the slip:
Which when it is spied, it is laugh’d out with a scoff,[35]
And with sporting and playing quickly[36] shaken off:
In which kind of toying thy master hath such a grace,
That he will never blush, he hath a wooden face.
But, Will, my master hath bees in his head,
If he find me here prating, I am but dead:
He is still trotting in the city, there is somewhat in the wind;
His looks bewray his inward troubled mind:
Therefore I will be packing to the court by and by;
If he be once angry, Jack shall cry, woe the pie!
Will. By’r Lady, if I tarry long here, of the same sauce shall I taste,
For my master sent me on an errand, and bad me make haste,
Therefore we will depart together.

Here entereth Stephano.

Stephano. Ofttimes I have heard, before I came hither,
That no man can serve two masters together;
A sentence so true, as most men do take it,
At any time false that no man can make it:
And yet by their leave, that first have it spoken,
How that may prove false, even here I will open:
For I, Stephano, lo, so named by my father,
At this time serve two masters together,
And love them alike: the one and the other
I duly obey, I can do no other.
A bondman I am, so nature hath wrought me,
One Damon of Greece, a gentleman, bought me.
To him I stand bound, yet serve I another,
Whom Damon my master loves as his own brother:
A gentleman too, and Pithias he is named,
Fraught with virtue, whom vice never defamed.
These two, since at school they fell acquainted,
In mutual friendship at no time have fainted.
But loved so kindly and friendly each other,
As though they were brothers by father and mother.
Pythagoras learning these two have embraced,
Which both are in virtue so narrowly laced,
That all their whole doings do fall to this issue,
To have no respect but only to virtue:
All one in effect, all one in their going,
All one in their study, all one in their doing.
These gentlemen both, being of one condition.
Both alike of my service have all the fruition:
Pithias is joyful, if Damon be pleased:
If Pithias is served, then Damon is eased.
Serve one, serve both (so near[37]), who would win them:
I think they have but one heart between them.
In travelling countries we three have contrived[38]
Full many a year, and this day arrived
At Syracuse in Sicilia, that ancient town,
Where my masters are lodged; and I up and down
Go seeking to learn what news here are walking,
To hark of what things the people are talking.
I like not this soil, for as I go plodding,
I mark there two, there three, their heads always nodding,
In close secret wise, still whispering together.
If I ask any question, no man doth answer:
But shaking their heads, they go their ways speaking;
I mark how with tears their wet eyes are leaking:
Some strangeness there is, that breedeth this musing.
Well, I will to my masters, and tell of their using,
That they may learn, and walk wisely together:
I fear we shall curse the time we came hither.

Here entereth Aristippus and Will.

Aristippus. Will, didst thou hear the ladies so talk of me?
What aileth them? from their nips[39] shall I never be free?
Will. Good faith, sir, all the ladies in the court do plainly report,
That without mention of them you can make no sport:
They are your plain-song to sing descant upon;[40]
If they were not, your mirth were gone.
Therefore, master, jest no more with women in any wise,
If you do, by Cock, you are like to know the price.
Aristippus. By’r Lady, Will, this is good counsel: plainly to jest
Of women, proof hath taught me is not the best:
I will change my copy, howbeit I care not a quinch,[41]
I know the gall’d horse will soonest winch:
But learn thou secretly how privily they talk
Of me in the court: among them slyly walk,
And bring me true news thereof.
Will. I will, sir master, thereof have no doubt, for I
Where they talk of you will inform you perfectly.
Aristippus. Do so, my boy: if thou bring it finely to pass,
For thy good service thou shalt go in thine old coat at Christmas.

Enter Damon, Pithias, Stephano.

Damon. Stephano, is all this true that thou hast told me?
Stephano. Sir, for lies hitherto ye never controll’d me.
O, that we had never set foot on this land,
Where Dionysius reigns with so bloody a hand!
Every day he showeth some token of cruelty,
With blood he hath filled all the streets in the city:
I tremble to hear the people’s murmuring,
I lament to see his most cruel dealing:
I think there is no such tyrant under the sun.
O, my dear masters, this morning what hath he done!
Damon. What is that? tell us quickly.
Stephano. As I this morning pass’d in the street,
With a woful man (going to his death) did I meet,
Many people followed, and I of one secretly
Asked the cause, why he was condemned to die?
[Who] whispered in mine ear, nought hath he done but thus,
In his sleep he dreamed he had killed Dionysius:[42]
Which dream told abroad, was brought to the king in post,
By whom, condemned for suspicion, his life he hath lost.
Marcia was his name, as the people said.
Pithias. My dear friend Damon, I blame not Stephano
For wishing we had not come hither, seeing it is so,
That for so small cause such cruel death doth ensue.
Damon. My Pithias, where tyrants reign, such cases are not new,
Which fearing their own state for great cruelty,[43]
To sit fast as they think, do execute speedily
All such as any light suspicion have tainted.
Stephano (Aside). With such quick carvers I list not be acquainted.
Damon. So are they never in quiet, but in suspicion still,
When one is made away, they take occasion another to kill:
Ever in fear, having no trusty friend, void of all peoples’ love,
And in their own conscience a continual hell they prove.
Pithias. As things by their contraries are always best proved,
How happy then are merciful princes, of their people beloved!
Having sure friends everywhere, no fear doth touch them:
They may safely spend the day pleasantly, at night securè dormiunt in utramque aurem,
O my Damon, if choice were offered me, I would choose to be Pithias,
As I am Damon’s friend, rather than to be king Dionysius.
Stephano. And good cause why; for you are entirely beloved of one,
And as far as I hear, Dionysius is beloved of none.
Damon. That state is most miserable; thrice happy are we,
Whom true love hath joined in perfect amity:
Which amity first sprung—without vaunting be it spoken, that is true—
Of likeness of manners, took root by company, and now is conserved by virtue;
Which virtue always though[44] worldly things do not frame,
Yet doth she achieve to her followers immortal fame:
Whereof if men were careful for virtue’s sake only,
They would honour friendship, and not for commodity.
But such as for profit in friendship do link,
When storms come, they slide away sooner than a man will think.
My Pithias, the sum of my talk falls to this issue,
To prove no friendship is sure, but that which is grounded on virtue.
Pithias. My Damon, of this thing there needs no proof to me,
The gods forbid, but that Pithias with Damon in all things should agree.
For why is it said, Amicus alter ipse,
But that true friends should be two in body, but one in mind?
As it were transformed into another, which against kind
Though it seem, yet in good faith, when I am alone,
I forget I am Pithias, methink I am Damon.
Stephano. That could I never do, to forget myself; full well I know,
Wheresoever I go, that I am pauper Stephano:
But I pray you, sir, for all your philosophy,
See that in this court you walk very wisely.
You are but newly come hither; being strangers, ye know,
Many eyes are bent on you, in the streets as ye go:
Many spies are abroad, you can not be too circumspect.
Damon. Stephano, because thou art careful of me, thy master, I do thee praise;
Yet think this for a surety: no state to displease
By talk or otherwise my friend and I intend: we will here,
As men that come to see the soil and manners of all men of every degree.
Pythagoras said, that this world was like a stage,[45]
Whereon many play their parts: the lookers-on, the sage.
Philosophers are, saith he, whose part is to learn
The manners of all nations, and the good from the bad to discern.
Stephano. Good faith, sir, concerning the people they are not gay,
And as far as I see, they be mummers; for nought they say,
For the most part, whatsoever you ask them.
The soil is such, that to live here I cannot like.
Damon. Thou speakest according to thy learning, but I say,
Omne solum forti partia,[46] a wise man may live everywhere;
Therefore, my dear friend Pithias,
Let us view this town in every place,
And then consider the people’s manners also.
Pithias. As you will, my Damon; but how say you, Stephano?
Is it not best, ere we go further, to take some repast?
Stephano. In faith, I like this question, sir: for all your haste,
To eat somewhat I pray you think it no folly;
It is high dinner time, I know by my belly.
Damon. Then let us to our lodging depart: when dinner is done,
We will view this city as we have begun.

Here entereth Carisophus.

Carisophus. Once again in hope of good wind, I hoise up my sail,
I go into the city to find some prey for mine avail:
I hunger while I may see these strangers that lately
Arrived: I were safe, if once I might meet them happily.
Let them bark that lust at this kind of gain,
He is a fool that for his profit will not pain:
Though it be joined with other men’s hurt, I care not at all
For profit I will accuse any man, hap what shall.
But soft, sirs, I pray you hush: what are they that comes here?
By their apparel and countenance some strangers they appear.
I will shroud myself secretly, even here for a while,
To hear all their talk, that I may them beguile.

Here entereth Damon and Stephano.

Stephano. A short horse soon curried[47]; my belly waxeth thinner,
I am as hungry now, as when I went to dinner:
Your philosophical diet is so fine and small,
That you may eat your dinner and supper at once, and not surfeit at all.
Damon. Stephano, much meat breeds heaviness: thin diet makes thee light.
Stephano. I may be lighter thereby, but I shall never run the faster.
Damon. I have had sufficiently discourse of amity,
Which I had at dinner with Pithias; and his pleasant company
Hath fully satisfied me: it doth me good to feed mine eyes on him.
Stephano. Course or discourse, your course is very coarse; for all your talk,
You had but one bare course, and that was pick, rise, and walk:
And surely, for all your talk of philosophy,
I never heard that a man with words could fill his belly.
Feed your eyes, quoth you? the reason from my wisdom swerveth,
I stared on you both, and yet my belly starveth.
Damon. Ah, Stephano, small diet maketh a fine memory.
Stephano. I care not for your crafty sophistry,
You two are fine, let me be fed like a gross knave still;
I pray you licence me for a while to have my will,
At home to tarry, whiles you take view of this city!
To find some odd victuals in a corner I am very witty.
Damon. At your pleasure, sir: I will wait on myself this day;
Yet attend upon Pithias, which for a purpose tarrieth at home:
So doing, you wait upon me also.
Stephano. With wings on my feet I go.
Damon. Not in vain the poet saith, Naturam furcâ expellas, tamen usque recurret;
For train up a bondman never to so good a behaviour,
Yet in some point of servility he will savour:
As this Stephano, trusty to me his master, loving and kind,
Yet touching his belly a very bondman I him find.
He is to be borne withal, being so just and true,
I assure you, I would not change him for no new.
But methinks this is a pleasant city;
The seat is good,[48] and yet not strong; and that is great pity.
Carisophus (Aside). I am safe, he is mine own.
Damon. The air subtle and fine, the people should be witty,
That dwell under this climate in so pure a region:
A trimmer plat I have not seen in my peregrination.
Nothing misliketh me in this country,
But that I heard such muttering of cruelty:
Fame reporteth strange things of Dionysius,
But kings’ matters passing our reach, pertain not to us.
Carisophus. Dionysius, quoth you? since the world began,
In Sicilia never reigned so cruel a man:
A despiteful tyrant to all men; I marvel, I,
That none makes him away, and that suddenly.
Damon. My friend, the gods forbid so cruel a thing
That any man should lift up his sword against the king!
Or seek other means by death him to prevent,
Whom to rule on earth the mighty gods have sent.
But, my friend, leave off this talk of King Dionysius.
Carisophus. Why, sir? he cannot hear us.
Damon. What then? An nescis longas regibus esse manus?
It is no safe talking of them that strikes afar off.
But leaving kings’ matters, I pray you show me this courtesy,
To describe in few words the state of this city.
A traveller I am, desirous to know
The state of each country, wherever I go:
Not to the hurt of any state, but to get experience thereby.
It is not for nought, that the poet doth cry,
Dic mihi musa virum, captæ post tempora Trojæ,
Qui mores hominum multorum vidit et urbes.[49]
In which verses, as some writers do scan,
The poet describeth a perfect wise man:
Even so I, being a stranger, addicted to philosophy,
To see the state of countries myself I apply.
Carisophus. Sir, I like this intent, but may I ask your name without scorn?
Damon. My name is Damon, well known in my country, a gentleman born.
Carisophus. You do wisely to search the state of each country
To bear intelligence thereof, whither you lust. He is a spy,   [Aside.
Sir, I pray you, have patience awhile, for I have to do hereby:
View this weak part of this city as you stand, and I very quickly
Will return to you again, and then will I show
The state of all this country, and of the court also.
Damon. I thank you for your courtesy.
[Exit Caris.]
This chanceth well, that I
Met with this gentleman so happily,
Which, as it seemeth, misliketh something,
Else he would not talk so boldly of the king,
And that to a stranger: but lo, where he comes in haste.

Here entereth Carisophus and Snap.

Carisophus. This is the[50] fellow: Snap, snap him up: away with him.
Snap. Good fellow, thou must go with me to the court.
Damon. To the court, sir? and why?
Carisophus. Well, we will dispute that before the king. Away with him quickly.
Damon. Is this the courtesy you promised me, and that very lately?
Carisophus. Away with him, I say.
Damon. Use no violence, I will go with you quietly.
[Exeunt omnes.

Here entereth Aristippus.

Aristippus. Ah, sirrah, by’r Lady, Aristippus likes Dionysius’ court very well,
Which in passing joys and pleasures doth excel.
Where he hath dapsiles cœnas, geniales lectos, et auro
Fulgentem tyranni zonam.[51]
I have plied the harvest, and stroke when the iron was hot;
When I spied my time, I was not squeamish to crave, God wot!
But with some pleasant toy[52] I crept into the king’s bosom,
For which Dionysius gave me Auri talentum magnum
A large reward for so simple services.
What, then? the king’s praise standeth chiefly in bountifulness:
Which thing though I told the king very pleasantly,
Yet can I prove it by good writers of great antiquity:
But that shall not need at this time, since that I have abundantly:
When I lack hereafter, I will use this point of philosophy:
But now, whereas I have felt the king’s liberality,
As princely as it came, I will spend it as regally:
Money is current, men say, and current comes of Currendo:
Then will I make money run, as his nature requireth, I trow.
For what becomes a philosopher best,
But to despise money above the rest?
And yet not so despise it, but to have in store
Enough to serve his own turn, and somewhat more.
With sundry sports and taunts yesternight I delighted the king,
That with his loud laughter the whole court did ring,
And I thought he laugh’d not merrier than I, when I got this money.
But, mumbudget,[53] for Carisophus I espy
In haste to come hither: I must handle the knave finely.

Here entereth Carisophus.

O Carisophus, my dearest friend, my trusty companion!
What news with you? where have you been so long?
Carisophus. My best beloved friend Aristippus, I am come at last;
I have not spent all my time in waste.
I have got a prey, and that a good one, I trow.
Aristippus. What prey is that? fain would I know.
Carisophus. Such a crafty spy I have caught, I dare say,
As never was in Sicilia before this day;
Such a one as viewed every weak place in the city,
Surviewed the haven and each bulwark in talk very witty:
And yet by some words himself he did bewray.
Aristippus. I think so in good faith, as you did handle him.
Carisophus. I handled him clerkly, I joined in talk with him courteously:
But when we were entered, I let him speak his will, and I
Suck’d out thus much of his words, that I made him say plainly,
He was come hither to know the state of the city;
And not only this, but that he would understand
The state of Dionysius’ court and of the whole land.
Which words when I heard, I desired him to stay,
Till I had done a little business of the way.
Promising him to return again quickly; and so did convey
Myself to the court for Snap the tipstaff, which came and upsnatched him,
Brought him to the court, and in the porter’s lodge dispatched him,
After I ran to Dionysius, as fast as I could,
And bewrayed this matter to him, which I have you told;
Which thing when he heard, being very merry before,
He suddenly fell in dump, and foaming like a boar,
At last he swore in great rage, that he should die
By the sword or the wheel, and that very shortly.
I am too shamefast: for my travail and toil
I crave nothing of Dionysius, but only his spoil:
Little hath he about him, but a few motheaten crowns of gold,
Cha pouch’d them up already, they are sure in hold:
And now I go into the city, to say sooth,
To see what he hath at his lodging to make up my mouth.[54]
Aristippus. My Carisophus, you have done good service, But what is the spy’s name?
Carisophus. He is called Damon, born in Greece, from whence lately he came.
Aristippus. By my troth, I will go see him, and speak with him too, if I may.
Carisophus. Do so, I pray you; but yet by the way,
As occasion serveth, commend my service to the king.
Aristippus. Dictum sapienti sat est: friend Carisophus, shall I forget that thing?
No, I warrant you: though I say little to your face,
I will lay on with my mouth for you to Dionysius,[55] when I am in place.
[Aside] If I speak one word for such a knave, hang me.
Carisophus. Our fine philosopher, our trim learned elf,
Is gone to see as false a spy as himself.
Damon smatters as well as he of crafty philosophy,
And can turn cat in the pan[56] very prettily:
But Carisophus hath given him such a mighty check,
As I think in the end will break his neck.
What care I for that? why would[57] he then pry,
And learn the secret estate of our country and city?
He is but a stranger, by his fall let others be wise,
I care not who fall, so that I may rise.
As for fine Aristippus, I will keep in with him,
He is a shrewd fool to deal withal, he can swim;
And yet by my troth, to speak my conscience plainly,
I will use his friendship to mine own commodity.[58]
While Dionysius favoureth him, Aristippus shall be mine;
But if the king once frown on him, then good night, Tomalin:
He shall be as strange, as though I never saw him before.
But I tarry too long, I will prate no more.
Jack, come away.
Jack. At hand, sir.
Carisophus. At Damon’s lodging, if that you see
Any stir to arise, be still at hand by me:
Rather than I will lose the spoil, I will blade[59] it out.

Here entereth Pithias and Stephano.

Pithias. What strange news are these! ah, my Stephano,
Is my Damon in prison, as the voice doth go?
Stephano. It is true, O cruel hap! he is taken for a spy,
And as they say, by Dionysius’ own mouth condemned to die.
Pithias. To die! Alas! For what cause?
Stephano. A sycophant falsely accused him: other cause there is none.
But, O Jupiter, of all wrongs the revenger,
Seest thou this unjustice, and wilt thou stay any longer
From heaven to send down thy hot consuming fire,
To destroy the workers of wrong, which provoke thy just ire?
Alas! Master Pithias, what shall we do,
Being in a strange country, void of friends and acquaintance too?
Ah, poor Stephano, hast thou lived to see this day,
To see thy true master unjustly made away?
Pithias. Stephano, seeing the matter is come to this extremity,
Let us make virtue our friend of mere necessity.
Run thou to the court, and understand secretly
As much as thou canst of Damon’s cause, and I
Will make some means to entreat Aristippus:
He can do much, as I hear, with King Dionysius.
Stephano. I am gone, sir. Ah, I would to God my travail and pain
Might restore my master to his liberty again!
Pithias. Ah woful Pithias! sith now I am alone,
What way shall I first begin to make my moan?
What words shall I find apt for my complaint?
Damon, my friend, my joy, my life, is in peril. Of force I must now faint.
But, O music, as in joyful times[60] thy merry notes did borrow,
So now lend me thy yearnful tunes to utter my sorrow.

Here Pithias sings and the regals[61] play.

Awake, ye woful wights,
That long have wept in woe:
Resign to me your plaints and tears,
My hapless hap to show.
My woe no tongue can tell,
No pen can well descry:
O, what a death is this to hear,
Damon my friend must die!
The loss of worldly wealth
Man’s wisdom may restore,
And physic hath provided too
A salve for every sore:
But my true friend once lost,
No art can well supply:
Then, what a death is this to hear,
Damon my friend must die!
My mouth, refuse the food,
That should my limbs sustain:
Let sorrow sink into my breast,
And ransack every vein:
Ye Furies, all at once
On me your torments try:
Why should I live, since that I hear[62]
Damon my friend must[63] die!
Gripe me, you greedy grief
And present pangs of death,
You sisters three, with cruel hands
With speed come[64] stop my breath:
Shrine me in clay alive,
Some good man stop mine eye:
O death, come now, seeing I hear
Damon my friend must die.

He speaketh this after the song.

In vain I call for death, which heareth not my complaint:
But what wisdom is this, in such extremity to faint?
Multum juvat in re malâ animus bonus.
I will to the court myself, to make friends, and that presently.
I will never forsake my friend in time of misery—
But do I see Stephano amazed hither to run?

Here entereth Stephano.

Stephano. O Pithias, Pithias, we are all undone!
Mine own ears have sucked in mine own sorrow;
I heard Dionysius swear, that Damon should die to-morrow.
Pithias. How camest thou so near the presence of the king,
That thou mightest hear Dionysius speak this thing?
Stephano. By friendship I gat into the court, where in great audience
I heard Dionysius with his own mouth give this cruel sentence
By these express words: that Damon the Greek, that crafty spy,
Without further judgment to-morrow should die:
Believe me, Pithias, with these ears I heard it myself.
Pithias. Then how near is my death also! Ah, woe is me!
Ah my Damon, another myself, shall I forego thee?
Stephano. Sir, there is no time of lamenting now: it behoveth us
To make means to them which can do much with Dionysius,
That he be not made away, ere his cause be fully heard; for we see
By evil report things be made to princes far worse than they be.
But lo, yonder cometh Aristippus, in great favour with king Dionysius,
Entreat him to speak a good word to the king for us,
And in the mean season I will to your lodging to see all things safe there.
Pithias. To that I agree: but let us slip aside his talk to hear.

Here entereth Aristippus.

Aristippus. Here is a sudden change indeed, a strange metamorphosis,
This court is clean altered: who would have thought this?
Dionysius, of late so pleasant and merry,
Is quite changed now into such melancholy,
That nothing can please him: he walketh up and down,
Fretting and chaffing, on every man he doth frown;
In so much that, when I in pleasant words began to play,
So sternly he frowned on me, and knit me up so short,
I perceive it is no safe playing with lions, but when it please them;
If you claw where it itch not, you shall disease them,
And so perhaps get a clap; mine own proof taught me this,
That it is very good to be merry and wise.
The only cause of this hurly-burly is Carisophus, that wicked man,
Which lately took Damon for a spy, a poor gentleman,
And hath incensed the king against him so despitefully,
That Dionysius hath judged him to-morrow to die.
I have talk’d with Damon, whom though in words I found very witty,
Yet was he more curious than wise in viewing this city:
But truly, for aught I can learn, there is no cause why
So suddenly and cruelly he should be condemned to die:
Howsoever it be, this is the short and long,
I dare not gainsay the king, be it right or wrong:
I am sorry, and that is all I may or can do in this case:
Nought availeth persuasion, where froward opinion taketh place.
Pithias. Sir, if humble suits you would not despise,
Then bow on[65] me your pitiful eyes.
My name is Pithias, in Greece well known,
A perfect friend to that woful Damon,
Which now a poor captive in this court doth lie,
By the king’s own mouth, as I hear, condemned to die;
For whom I crave your mastership’s goodness,
To stand his friend in this his great distress.
Nought hath he done worthy of death; but very fondly,
Being a stranger, he viewed this city:
For no evil practices, but to feed his eyes.
But seeing Dionysius is informed otherwise,
My suit is to you, when you see time and place,
To assuage the king’s anger, and to purchase his grace:
In which doing you shall not do good to one only,
But you shall further two,[66] and that fully.
Aristippus. My friend, in this case I can do you no pleasure.
Pithias. Sir, you serve in the court, as fame doth tell.
Aristippus. I am of the court indeed, but none of the council.
Pithias. As I hear, none is in greater favour with the king, than you at this day.
Aristippus. The more in favour, the less I dare say.
Pithias. It is a courtier’s praise to help strangers in misery.
Aristippus. To help another, and hurt myself, it is an evil point of courtesy.
Pithias. You shall not hurt yourself to speak for the innocent.
Aristippus. He is not innocent, whom the king judgeth nocent.
Pithias. Why, sir, do you think this matter past all remedy?
Aristippus. So far past, that Dionysius hath sworn, Damon to-morrow shall die.
Pithias. This word my trembling heart cutteth in two.
Ah, sir, in this woful case that[67] wist I best to do?
Aristippus. Best to content yourself, when there is no remedy,
He is well relieved that foreknoweth his misery:
Yet, if any comfort be, it resteth in Eubulus,
The chiefest councillor about King Dionysius:
Which pitieth Damon’s case in this great extremity,
Persuading the king from all kind of cruelty.
Pithias. The mighty gods preserve you for this word of comfort.
Taking my leave of your goodness, I will now resort
To Eubulus, that good councillor:
But hark! methink I hear a trumpet blow.
Aristippus. The king is at hand, stand close in the prease.[68] Beware, if he know
You are friend to Damon, he will take you for a spy also.
Farewell, I dare not be seen with you.

Here entereth King Dionysius, Eubulus the
Councillor, and
Gronno the Hangman.

Dionysius. Gronno, do my commandment: strike off Damon’s irons by and by.
Then bring him forth, I myself will see him executed presently.
Gronno. O mighty king, your commandment will I do speedily.
Dionysius. Eubulus, thou hast talked in vain, for sure he shall die.
Shall I suffer my life to stand in peril of every spy?
Eubulus. That he conspired against your person, his accuser cannot say:
He only viewed your city, and will you for that make him away?
Dionysius. What he would have done, the guess is great: he minded me to hurt,
That came so slyly to search out the secret estate of my court.
Shall I still lie in fear? no, no: I will cut off such imps betime,
Lest that to my farther danger too high they climb.
Eubulus. Yet have the mighty gods immortal fame assigned
To all worldly princes, which in mercy be inclined.
Dionysius. Let fame talk what she list, so I may live in safety.
Eubulus. The only mean to that is, to use mercy,
Dionysius. A mild prince the people despiseth.
Eubulus. A cruel king the people hateth.
Dionysius. Let them hate me, so they fear me.
Eubulus. That is not the way to live in safety.
Dionysius. My sword and power shall purchase my quietness.
Eubulus. That is sooner procured by mercy and gentleness.
Dionysius. Dionysius ought to be feared.
Eubulus. Better for him to be well beloved.
Dionysius. Fortune maketh all things subject to my power.
Eubulus. Believe her not, she is a light goddess; she can laugh and low’r.
Dionysius. A king’s praise standeth in the revenging of his enemy.
Eubulus. A greater praise to win him by clemency.
Dionysius. To suffer the wicked to live it is no mercy.
Eubulus. To kill the innocent it is great cruelty.
Dionysius. Is Damon innocent, which so craftily undermined Carisophus,
To understand what he could of king Dionysius?
Which surviewed the haven and each bulwark in the city,
Where battery might be laid, what way best to approach? shall I
Suffer such a one to live, that worketh me such despite?
No, he shall die, then I am safe: a dead dog cannot bite.
Eubulus. But yet, O mighty king,[69] my duty bindeth me
To give such counsel, as with your honour may best agree:
The strongest pillars of princely dignity,
I find, is[70] justice with mercy and prudent liberality:
The one judgeth all things by upright equity,
The other rewardeth the worthy, flying each extremity.
As to spare those which offend maliciously,
It may be called no justice, but extreme injury.
So upon suspicion of each thing not well-proved,
To put to death presently whom envious flattery accused,
It seemeth of tyranny; and upon what fickle ground all tyrants do stand,
Athens and Lacedemon can teach you, if it be rightly scann’d.
And not only these citizens, but who curiously seeks
The whole histories of all the world, not only of Romans and Greeks,
Shall well perceive of all tyrants the ruinous fall,
Their state uncertain, beloved of none, but hated of all.
Of merciful princes to set out the passing felicity
I need not: enough of that even these days do testify.
They live devoid of fear, their sleeps are sound, they dread no enemy,
They are feared and loved, and why? they rule with justice and mercy,
Extending justice to such as wickedly from justice have swerved:
Mercy unto those who in[71] opinion of simpleness have mercy deserved.
Of liberty nought I say, but only this thing,
Liberty upholdeth the state of a king
Whose large bountifulness ought to fall to this issue,
To reward none but such as deserve it for virtue.
Which merciful justice if you would follow, and provident liberality;
Neither the caterpillars of all courts, et fruges consumere nati,
Parasites with wealth puff’d up, should not look so high;
Nor yet for this simple fact poor Damon should die.
Dionysius. With pain mine ears have heard this vain talk of mercy.
I tell thee, fear and terror defendeth kings only:
Till he be gone, whom I suspect, how shall I live quietly,
Whose memory with chilling horror fills my breast day and night violently?
My dreadful dreams of him bereaves my rest; on bed I lie
Shaking and trembling, as one ready to yield his throat to Damon’s sword.
This quaking dread nothing but Damon’s blood can stay:
Better he die, than I to be tormented with fear alway.
He shall die, though Eubulus consent not thereto:
It is lawful, for kings, as they list, all things to do.

Here Gronno [and Snap] bring in Damon, and
Pithias meeteth him by the way.

Pithias. O my Damon!
Damon. O my Pithias! seeing death must part us, farewell for ever.
Pithias. O Damon, O my sweet friend!
Snap. Away from the prisoner: what a prease have we here?
Gronno. As you commanded, O mighty king, we have brought Damon.
Dionysius. Then go to: make ready. I will not stir out of this place,
Till I see his head stroken off before my face.
Gronno. It shall be done, sir. [To Damon] Because your eyes have made such a-do.
I will knock down this your lantern, and shut up your shop-window too.
Damon. O mighty king, where as no truth my innocent life can save,
But that so greedily you thirst[72] my guiltless blood to have,
Albeit (even in thought) I had not ought against your person:
Yet now I plead not for life, ne will I crave your pardon.
But seeing in Greece my country, where well I am known,
I have worldly things fit for mine alliance, when I am gone,
To dispose them, ere I die, if I might obtain leisure,
I would account it (O king) for a passing great pleasure:
Not to prolong my life thereby, for which I reckon not this,
But to set my things in a stay: and surely I will not miss,
Upon the faith which all gentlemen ought to embrace,
To return again, at your time to appoint, to yield my body here in this place.
Grant me (O king) such time to despatch this inquiry,[73]
And I will not fail when you appoint, even here my life to pay.[74]
Dionysius. A pleasant request! as though I could trust him absent,
Whom in no wise I cannot trust being present.
And yet though I sware the contrary, do that I require,
Give me a pledge for thy return, and have thine own desire.
He is as near now as he was before.
Damon. There is no surer nor greater pledge than the faith of a gentleman.
Dionysius. It was wont to be, but otherwise now the world doth stand;
Therefore do as I say, else presently yield thy neck to the sword.
If I might with my honour, I would recall my word.
Pithias. Stand to your word, O king, for kings ought nothing say,
But that they would perform in perfect deeds alway.
A pledge you did require, when Damon his suit did meve,
For which with heart and stretched hands most humble thanks I give:
And that you may not say but Damon hath a friend,
That loves him better than his own life, and will do to his end,
Take me, O mighty king: my life I pawn[75] for his:
Strike off my head, if Damon hap at his day to miss.
Dionysius. What art thou, that chargest me with my word so boldly here?
Pithias. I am Pithias, a Greek born, which hold Damon my friend full dear.
Dionysius. Too dear perhaps, to hazard thy life for him: what fondness[76] moveth thee?
Pithias. No fondness at all, but perfect amity.
Dionysius. A mad kind of amity! advise thyself well: if Damon fail at his day,
Which shall be justly appointed, wilt thou die for him, to me his life to pay?
Pithias. Most willingly, O mighty king: if Damon fail, let Pithias die.
Dionysius. Thou seemest to trust his words, that pawnest thy life so frankly.
Pithias. What Damon saith, Pithias believeth assuredly.
Dionysius. Take heed, for [your] life:[77] wordly men break promise in many things.
Pithias. Though wordly men do so, it never haps amongst friends.
Dionysius. What callest thou friends? are they not men, is not this true?
Pithias. Men they be, but such men as love one another only for virtue.
Dionysius. For what virtue dost thou love this spy, this Damon?
Pithias. For that virtue which yet to you is unknown.
Dionysius. Eubulus, what shall I do? I would despatch this Damon fain,
But this foolish fellow so chargeth me, that I may not call back my word again.
Eubulus. The reverent majesty of a king stands chiefly in keeping his promise.
What you have said this whole court beareth witness,
Save your honour, whatsoever you do.
Dionysius. For saving mine honour, I must forbear my will: go to.
Pithias, seeing thou tookest me at my word, take Damon to thee:
For two months he is thine: unbind him, I set him free;
Which time once expired, if he appear not the next day by noon,
Without further delay thou shalt lose thy life, and that full soon.
Whether he die by the way, or lie sick in his bed,
If he return not then, thou shalt either hang or lose thy head.
Pithias. For this, O mighty king, I yield immortal thanks. O joyful day!
Dionysius. Gronno, take him to thee: bind him, see him kept in safety:
If he escape, assure thyself for him thou shalt die.
Eubulus, let us depart, to talk of this strange thing within.
Eubulus. I follow.
Gronno. Damon, thou servest the gods well today; be thou of comfort.
As for you, sir, I think you will be hanged in sport.
You heard what the king said; I must keep you safely:
By Cock, so I will, you shall rather hang than I.
Come on your way.
Pithias. My Damon, farewell; the gods have thee in keeping.
Damon. O my Pithias, my pledge, farewell; I part from thee weeping.
But joyful at my day appointed I will return again,
When I will deliver thee from all trouble and pain,
Stephano will I leave behind me to wait upon thee in prison alone,
And I, whom fortune hath reserved to this misery, will walk home.
Ah my Pithias, my pledge, my life, my friend, farewell.
Pithias. Farewell, my Damon.
Damon. Loth am I to depart. Sith sobs my trembling tongue doth stay,
O music, sound my doleful plaints, when I am gone my way.
[Exit Damon.
Gronno. I am glad he is gone, I had almost wept too. Come, Pithias,
So God help me, I am sorry for thy foolish case
Wilt thou venter thy life for a man so fondly?
Pithias. It is no venter: my friend is just, for whom I desire to die.
Gronno. Here is a madman! I tell thee, I have a wife whom I love well,
And if ich would die for her, chould ich were in hell.
Wilt thou do more for a man than I would for a woman?
Pithias. Yea, that I will.
Gronno. Then come on your ways, you must to prison haste.
I fear you will repent this folly at last.
Pithias. That shalt thou never see. But O music, as my Damon requested thee,
Sound out thy doleful tunes in this time of calamity.
[Exeunt. Here the regals play a mourning song, and Damon cometh in in mariner apparel and Stephano with him.
Damon. Weep no more, Stephano, this is but destiny:
Had not this happ’d, yet I know I am born to die:
Where or in what place, the gods know alone,
To whose judgment myself I commit. Therefore leave off thy moan,
And wait upon Pithias in prison till I return again,
In whom my joy, my care and life doth only remain.
Stephano. O my dear master, let me go with you; for my poor company
Shall be some small comfort in this time of misery.
Damon. O Stephano, hast thou been so long with me,
And yet dost not know the force of true amity?
I tell thee once again, my friend and I are but one:
Wait upon Pithias, and think thou art with Damon.
Whereof I may not now discourse, the time passeth away;
The sooner I am gone, the shorter shall be my journey:
Therefore farewell, Stephano, commend me to my friend Pithias,
Whom I trust to deliver in time out of this woful case.
Stephano. Farewell, my dear master, since your pleasure is so.
O cruel hap! O poor Stephano!
O cursed Carisophus, that first moved this tragedy!—
But what a noise is this? is all well within, trow ye?
I fear all be not well within, I will go see.—
Come out, you weasel: are you seeking eggs in Damon’s chest?
Come out, I say, wilt thou be packing? by Cock, you were best.
Carisophus. How durst thou, villain, to lay hands on me?
Stephano. Out, sir knave, or I will send ye.
Art thou not content to accuse Damon wrongfully,
But wilt thou rob him also, and that openly?
Carisophus. The king gave me the spoil: to take mine own wilt thou let me?[78]
Stephano. Thine own, villain! where is thine authority?
Carisophus. I am authority of myself; dost thou not know?
Stephano. By’r Lady, that is somewhat; but have you no more to show?
Carisophus. What, if I have not?
Stephano. Then for an earnest penny take this blow.
I shall bombast you, you mocking knave; chill put pro in my purse for this time.[79]
Carisophus. Jack, give me my sword and target.
Jack. I cannot come to you, master, this knave doth me let. Hold, master.
Stephano. Away, Jackanapes, else I will col’phise you[80] by and by:
Ye slave, I will have my pennyworths of thee therefore, if I die.
About, villain!
Carisophus. O citizens, help to defend me.
Stephano. Nay, they will rather help to hang thee.
Carisophus. Good fellow, let us reason of the matter quietly: beat me no more.
Stephano. Of this condition I will stay, if thou swear, as thou art an honest man,
Thou wilt say nothing to the king of this when I am gone.
Carisophus. I will say nothing; here is my hand, as I am an honest man.
Stephano. Then say on thy mind: I have taken a wise oath on him, have I not, trow ye?
To trust such a false knave upon his honesty?
As he is an honest man (quoth you?) he may bewray all to the king,
And break his oath for this never a whit—but, my franion,[81] I tell you this one thing:
If you disclose this, I will devise such a way,
That whilst thou livest, thou shalt remember this day.
Carisophus. You need not devise for that, for this day is printed in my memory;
I warrant you, I shall remember this beating till I die:
But seeing of courtesy you have granted that we should talk quietly,
Methinks in calling me knave you do me much injury.
Stephano. Why so, I pray thee heartily?
Carisophus. Because I am the king’s man: keeps the king any knaves?
Stephano. He should not; but what he doth, it is evident by thee,
And as far as I can learn or understand,
There is none better able to keep knaves in all the land.
Carisophus. O sir, I am a courtier: when courtiers shall hear tell,
How you have used me, they will not take it well.
Stephano. Nay, all right courtiers will ken me thank;[82] and wot you why?
Because I handled a counterfeit courtier in his kind so finely.
What, sir? all are not courtiers that have a counterfeit show;
In a troop of honest men some knaves may stand, ye know,
Such as by stealth creep in under the colour of honesty,
Which sort under that cloak do all kinds of villainy,
A right courtier is virtuous, gentle, and full of urbanity,
Hurting no man, good to all, devoid of villainy:
But such as thou art, fountains of squirrility and vain delights;
Though you hang by the court, you are but flatt’ring parasites;
As well deserving the right name of courtesy,
As the coward knight the true praise of chivalry.
I could say more, but I will not, for that I am your well-willer.
In faith, Carisophus, you are no courtier but a caterpillar,
A sycophant, a parasite, a flatterer, and a knave.
Whether I will or no, these names you must have:
How well you deserve this by your deeds it is known,
For that so unjustly thou hast accused poor Damon,
Whose woful case the gods help alone.
Carisophus. Sir, are you his servant, that you pity his case so?
Stephano. No, bum troth, goodman Grumb, his name is Stephano:
I am called Onaphets,[83] if needs you will know.
The knave beginneth to sift me, but I turn my name in and out,
Cretizo cum Cretense,[84] to make him a lout.
Carisophus. What mumble you with yourself, Master Onaphets?
Stephano. I am reckoning with myself how I may pay my debts.
Carisophus. You have paid me more than you did owe me.
Stephano. Nay, upon a farther reckoning, I will pay you more, if I know
Either you talk of that is done, or by your sycophantical envy
You prick forth Dionysius the sooner, that Damon may die:
I will so pay thee, that thy bones shall rattle in thy skin.
Remember what I have said; Onaphets is my name.
Carisophus. The sturdy knave is gone, the devil him take!
He hath made my head, shoulders, arms, sides, and all to ache.
Thou whoreson villain boy, why didst thou wait no better?
As he paid me, so will I not die thy debtor.
[Strikes him.
Jack. Master, why do you fight with me? I am not your match, you see:
You durst not fight with him that is gone, and will you wreak your anger on me?
Carisophus. Thou villain, by thee I have lost mine honour,
Beaten with a cudgel like a slave, a vacabone, or a lazy lubber,
And not given one blow again. Hast thou handled me well?
Jack. Master, I handled you not, but who did handle you very handsomely, you can tell.
Carisophus. Handsomely! thou crack-rope.[85]
Jack. Yea, sir, very handsomely: I hold you a groat,
He handled you so handsomely, that he left not one mote in your coat.
Carisophus. O, I had firk’d him trimly, thou villain, if thou hadst given me my sword.
Jack. It is better as it is, master, believe me, at a word.
If he had seen your weapon, he would have been fiercer,
And so perhaps beat you worse, I speak it with my heart,
You were never at the dealing of fence-blows, but you had four away for your part.
It is but your luck, you are man good enough;
But the Welsh Onaphets was a vengeance-knave, and rough.
Master, you were best go home and rest in your bed,
Methinks your cap waxeth too little for your head.
Carisophus. What! doth my head swell?
Jack. Yea, as big as a codshead, and bleeds too.
Carisophus. I am ashamed to show my face with this hue.
Jack. No shame at all; men have been beaten far better than you.
Carisophus. I must go to the chirurgeon’s; what shall I say, when I am a-dressing?
Jack. You may say truly you met with a knave’s blessing.

Here entereth Aristippus.

Aristippus. By mine own experience I prove true that many men tell,
To live in court not beloved, better be in hell:
What crying out, what cursing, is there within of Carisophus,
Because he accused Damon to King Dionysius!
Even now he came whining and crying into the court for the nonce,
Showing that one Onaphets had broke his knave’s sconce.
Which strange name when they heard every man laugh’d heartily,
And I by myself scann’d his name secretly;
For well I knew it was some mad-headed child
That invented this name, that the log-headed knave might be beguil’d.
In tossing it often with myself to and fro,
I found out that Onaphets backward spelled Stephano.
I smiled in my sleeve, how to see by turning his name he dress’d him,
And how for Damon his master’s sake with a wooden cudgel he bless’d him.
None pitied the knave, no man nor woman; but all laugh’d him to scorn.
To be thus hated of all, better unborn:
Far better Aristippus hath provided, I trow;
For in all the court I am beloved both of high and low.
I offend none, insomuch that women sing this to my great praise,
Omnis Aristippum decuit color, et locus et res.
But in all this jollity one thing ’mazeth me,
The strangest thing that ever was heard or known,
Is now happened in this court by that Damon,
Whom Carisophus accused: Damon is now at liberty,
For whose return Pithias his friend lieth in prison, alas, in great jeopardy.
To-morrow is the day, which day by noon if Damon return not, earnestly
The king hath sworn that Pithias should die;
Whereof Pithias hath intelligence very secretly,
Wishing that Damon may not return, till he hath paid
His life for his friend. Hath it been heretofore ever said,
That any man for his friend would die so willingly?
O noble friendship! O perfect amity!
Thy force is here seen, and that very perfectly.
The king himself museth hereat, yet he is far out of square,
That he trusteth none to come near him: not even his own daughters will he have
Unsearch’d to enter his chamber, while[86] he hath made barbers his beard to shave,
Not with knife or razor, for all edge-tools he fears,
But with hot burning nutshells they singe off his hairs.
Was there ever man that lived in such misery?
Well, I will go in—with a heavy and pensive heart, too,
To think how Pithias, this poor gentleman, to-morrow shall die.

Here entereth Jack and Will.

Jack. Well, by mine honesty, I will mar your monkey’s[87] face, if you so fondly prate.
Will. Jack, by my troth, seeing you are without the court-gate,
If you play Jack-napes, in mocking my master and despising my face,
Even here with a pantable[88] I will you disgrace;
And though you have a far better face than I,
Yet who is better man of us two these fists shall try,
Unless you leave your taunting.
Jack. Thou began’st first; didst thou now not say even now,
That Carisophus my master was no man but a cow,
In taking so many blows, and gave[89] never a blow again?
Will. I said so indeed, he is but a tame ruffian,
That can swear by his flask and twich-box,[90] and God’s precious lady,
And yet will be beaten with a faggot-stick.
These barking whelps were never good biters,
Ne yet great crakers were ever great fighters:
But seeing you egg me so much, I will somewhat more recite;
I say, Carisophus thy master is a flatt’ring parasite;
Gleaning away the sweet from the worthy in all the court.
What tragedy hath he moved of late? the devil take him! he doth much hurt.
Jack. I pray you, what is Aristippus thy master, is not he a parasite too,
That with scoffing and jesting in the court makes so much a-do?
Will. He is no parasite, but a pleasant gentleman full of courtesy.
Thy master is a churlish lout, the heir of a dung-fork; as void of honesty
As thou art of honour.
Jack. Nay, if you will needs be prating of my master still,
In faith I must cool you, my friend, dapper Will:
Take this at the beginning.
[Strikes him.
Will. Praise well your winning, my pantable is as ready as yours.
Jack. By the mass, I will box you.
Will. By Cock, I will fox you.
Jack. Will, was I with you?
Will. Jack, did I fly?
Jack. Alas, pretty cockerel, you are too weak;
Will. In faith, doating dottrel,[91] you will cry creak.

Here entereth Snap.

Snap. Away, you crack-ropes, are you fighting at the court-gate?
And I take you here again, I will swinge you both: what!
Jack. I beshrew Snap the tipstaff, that great knave’s heart, that hither did come,
Had he not been, you had cried ere this, Victus, victa, victum:
But seeing we have breathed ourselves, if ye list,
Let us agree like friends, and shake each other by the fist.
Will. Content am I, for I am not malicious; but on this condition,
That you talk no more so broad of my master as here you have done.
But who have we here? ’tis Coals I spy[92] coming yonder.
Jack. Will, let us slip aside and view him well.

Here entereth Grim the Collier, whistling.

Grim. What devil! ich ween the porters are drunk, will they not dup[93] the gate to-day?
[To] take in coals for the king’s own mouth;[94] will nobody stir, I say?
Ich might have lain tway hours longer in my bed,
Cha tarried so long here, that my teeth chatter in my head.
Jack. Will, after our falling out wilt thou laugh merrily?
Will. Ay, marry, Jack, I pray thee heartily.
Jack. Then follow me, and hem in a word now and then—
What brawling knave is there at the court-gate so early?
Will. It is some brainsick villain, I durst lay a penny.
Jack. Was it you,[95] sir, that cried so loud, I trow,
And bid us take in coals for the king’s mouth even now?
Grim. ’Twas I, indeed.
Jack. Why, sir, how dare you speak such petty treason?
Doth the king eat coals at any season?
Grim. Here is a gay world! boys now sets old men to school.
I said well enough: what, Jack-sauce, think’st cham a fool?
At bakehouse, butt’ry-hatch, kitchen, and cellar,
Do[96] they not say for the king’s mouth?
Will. What, then, goodman collier?
Grim. What, then! seeing without coals thee cannot finely dress the king’s meat,
May I not say, take in coals for the king’s mouth, though coals he do not eat?
Jack. James Christe! came ever from a collier an answer so trim?
You are learned, are you not, father Grim?
Grim. Grim is my name indeed, cham not learned, and yet the king’s collier:
This vorty winter cha been to the king a servitor,
Though I be not learned, yet cha mother-wit enough, whole and some.
Will. So it seems, you have so much mother-wit, that you lack your father’s wisdom.
Grim. Mass, cham well-beset, here’s a trim cast of murlons.[97]
What be you, my pretty cockerels, that ask me these questions?
Jack. Good faith, Master Grim,[98] if such merlins on your pouch may light,
They are so quick of wing, that quickly they can carry it out of your sight;
And though we are cockerels now, we shall have spurs one day,
And shall be able perhaps to make you a capon [to your pay.[99]]
But to tell you the truth, we are the porter’s men, which early and late
Wait on such gentlemen as you, to open the court-gate.
Grim. Are ye servants then?
Will. Yea, sir; are we not pretty men?
Grim. Pretty men, quoth you? nay, you are strong men, else you could not bear these breeches.
Will. Are these such[100] great hose? in faith, goodman collier, you see with your nose:
By mine honesty, I have but one lining in one hose, but seven ells of rug.[101]
Grim. This is but a little, yet it makes thee seem a great bug.
Jack. How say you, goodman collier, can you find any fault here?[102]
Grim. Nay, you should [not] find fau’t, marry, here’s trim gear!
Alas, little knave, dost not sweat? thou goest with great pain,
These are no hose, but water-bougets,[103] I tell thee plain;
Good for none but such as have no buttocks.
Did you ever see two such little Robin ruddocks[104]
So laden with breeches? chill say no more, lest I offend.
Who invented these monsters[105] first, did it to a ghostly end,
To have a mail ready to put in other folks’ stuff,
We see this evident by daily proof.
One preached of late not far hence in no pulpit, but in a wain-cart,
That spake enough of this; but for my part,
Chill say no more: your own necessity
In the end will force you to find some remedy.
Jack. Will,[106] hold this railing knave with a talk, when I am gone:
I will fetch him his filling ale for his good sermon.
Will. Go thy way, Father Grim, gaily well you do say,
It is but young men’s folly, that list to play,
And mask awhile in the net of their own device;
When they come to your age, they will be wise.
Grim. Bum troth, but few such roisters come to my years at this day;
They be cut off betimes, ere they have gone half their journey:
I will not tell why: let them guess that can, I mean somewhat thereby.

Enter Jack with a pot of wine, and a cup to drink on.

Jack. Father Grim, because you are stirring so early,
I have brought you a bowl of wine to make you merry.
Grim. Wine, marry! this is welcome to colliers, chill swap’t off by and by:
Chwas stirring so early, that my very soul is dry.
Jack. This is stoutly done: will you have it warmed, Father Grim?
Grim. No; it is warm enough; it is very lousious[107] and trim.
’Tis musselden,[108] ich ween; of fellowship let me have another spurt,
Ich can drink as easily now, as if I satin my shirt.
Jack. By Cock, and you shall have it; but I will begin, and that anon,
Je bois a vous mon compagnon.[109]
Grim. J’ai vous pleigé, petit Zawne.[110]
Jack. Can you speak French? here is a trim collier, by this day!
Grim. What man! ich learned this, when ich was a soldier;
When ich was a lusty fellow, and could yerk a whip trimly,
Better than these boy-colliers, that come to the court daily:
When there were[111] not so many captious fellows as now,
That would torup[112] men for every trifle, I wot not how:
As there was one Damon, not long since taken for a spy;
How justly I know not, but he was condemned to die.
Will (aside.) This wine hath warmed him, this comes well to pass,
We shall know all now, for in Vino veritas.
Father Grim, who accused this Damon to King Dionysius?
Grim. A vengeance take him! ’twas a gentleman, one Master Crowsphus.
Will. Crowsphus! you clip the king’s language, you would have said Carisophus.
But I perceive now either the wind is at the south,
Or else your tongue cleaveth to the roof of your mouth.
Grim. A murrain take thilk wine, it so intoxicate my brain,
That to be hanged by and by I cannot speak plain.
Jack. You speak knavishly plain, seeing my master you do mock:
In faith, ere you go, I will make you a lobcock.
Father Grim, what say they of this Damon abroad?
Grim. All men are sorry for him, so help me God.
They say a false knave ’cused him to the king wrongfully;
And he is gone, and should be here to-morrow to die,
Or else his fellow, which is in prison, his room shall supply.
Chill not be his half for vorty shillings, I tell you plain,
I think Damon be too wise to return again.
Will. Will no man speak for them in this woful case?
Grim. No, chill warrant you, one Master Stippus is in place,
Where he may do good, but he frames himself so,
Whatsoever Dionysius willeth, to that he will not say no:
’Tis a subtle vox, he will not tread on thorns for none,
A merry harecop[113] ’tis, and a pleasant companion;
A right courtier, and can provide for one.
Jack. Will, how like you this gear? your master Aristippus also
At this collier’s hand hath had a blow!
But in faith, Father Grim, cannot ye colliers
Provide for yourselves far better than courtiers?
Grim. Yes, I trow: black colliers go in threadbare coats,
Yet so provide they, that they have the fair white groats.
Ich may say in counsel, though all day I moil in dirt,
Chill not change lives with any in Dionysius’ court:
For though their apparel be never so fine,
Yet sure their credit is far worse than mine.
And, by Cock, I may say, for all their high looks,
I know some sticks full deep in merchants’ books:
And deeper will fall in, as fame me tells,
As long as instead of money they take up hauks’ hoods and bells:
Whereby they fall into a swelling disease, which colliers do not know;
’T ’ath a mad name: it is called, ich ween, Centum pro cento.
Some other in courts make others laugh merrily,
When they wail and lament their own estate secretly.
Friendship is dead in court, hypocrisy doth reign;
Who is in favour now, to-morrow is out again:
The state is so uncertain that I, by my will,
Will never be courtier, but a collier still.
Will. It seemeth that colliers have a very[114] trim life.
Grim. Colliers get money still: tell me of troth,
Is not that a trim life now, as the world go’th?
All day though I toil with my main and might,
With money in my pouch I come home merry at night,
And sit down in my chair by my wife fair Alison,
And turn a crab in the fire,[115] as merry as Pope John.
Jack. That pope was a merry fellow, of whom folk talk so much.
Grim. H’ad to be merry withal, h’ad gold enough in his hutch.
Jack. Can gold make men merry? they say, who can sing so merry a note,
As he that is not able to change a groat?[116]
Grim. Who sings in that case, sings never in tune. I know for my part,
That a heavy pouch with gold makes a light heart;
Of which I have provided for a dear year good store,
And these benters,[117] I trow, shall anon get me more.
Will. By serving the court with coals, you gain’d all this money.
Grim. By the court only, I assure ye.
Jack. After what sort, I pray thee tell me?
Grim. Nay, there bate an ace (quod Bolton[118]); I can wear a horn and blow it not.
Jack. By ’r Lady, the wiser man.
Grim. Shall I tell you by what sleight I got all this money?
Then ich were a noddy indeed; no, no, I warrant ye.
Yet in few words I tell you this one thing,
He is a very fool that cannot gain by the king.
Will. Well said, Father Grim: you are a wily collier and a brave,
I see now there is no knave like to the old knave.
Grim. Such knaves have money, when courtiers have none.
But tell me, is it true that abroad is blown?
Jack. What is that?
Grim. Hath the king made those fair damsels his daughters,
To become now fine and trim barbers?
Jack. Yea, truly, to his own person.
Grim. Good fellows, believe me, as the case now stands,
I would give one sack of coals to be wash’d at their hands,
If ich came so near them, for my wit chould not give three chips,
If ich could not steal one swap at their lips.
Jack. Will, this knave is drunk, let us dress him.
Let us rifle him so, that he have not one penny to bless him,
And steal away his debenters[119] too.
Will. Content: invent the way, and I am ready,
Jack. Faith, and I will make him a noddy.
Father Grim, if you pray me well,[120] I will wash you and shave you too,
Even after the same fashion as the king’s daughters do:
In all points as they handle Dionysius, I will dress you trim and fine.
Grim. Chuld vain learn that: come on then, chill give thee a whole pint of wine
At tavern for thy labour, when ’cha money for my benters here.
[Here Will fetcheth a barber’s bason, a pot with water,[121] a razor, and cloths, and a pair of spectacles.
Jack. Come, mine own Father Grim, sit down.
Grim. Mass, to begin withal, here is a trim chair.
Jack. What, man, I will use you like a prince. Sir boy, fetch me my gear.
Will. Here, sir.
Jack. Hold up, Father Grim.
Grim. Me-seem my head doth swim.
Jack. My costly perfumes make that. Away with this, sir boy: be quick.
Aloyse, aloyse,[122] how pretty it is! is not here a good face?
A fine owl’s eyes, a mouth like an oven.
Father, you have good butter-teeth full seen.
[Aside] You were weaned, else you would have been a great calf.
Ah trim lips to sweep a manger! here is a chin,
As soft as the hoof of an horse.
Grim. Doth the king’s daughters rub so hard?
Jack. Hold your head straight, man, else all will be marr’d.
By’r Lady, you are of good complexion,
A right Croyden sanguine,[123] beshrew me.
Hold up, Father Grim. Will, can you bestir ye?
Grim. Methinks, after a marvellous fashion you do besmear me.
Jack. It is with unguentum of Daucus Maucus, that is very costly:
I give not this washing-ball to everybody.
After you have been dress’d so finely at my hand,
You may kiss any lady’s lips within this land.
Ah, you are trimly wash’d! how say you, is not this trim water?
Grim. It may be wholesome, but it is vengeance sour.
Jack. It scours the better. Sir boy, give me my razor.
Will. Here at hand, sir.
Grim. God’s arms! ’tis a chopping knife, ’tis no razor.
Jack. It is a razor, and that a very good one;
It came lately from Palermo,[124] it cost me twenty crowns alone.
Your eyes dazzle after your washing, these spectacles put on:
Now view this razor, tell me, is it not a good one?
Grim. They be gay barnacles, yet I see never the better.
Jack. Indeed they be a young sight, and that is the matter;
But I warrant you this razor is very easy.
Grim. Go to, then; since you begun, do as [it] please ye.
Jack. Hold up, Father Grim.
Grim. O, your razor doth hurt my lip.
Jack. No, it scrapeth off a pimple to ease you of the pip.
I have done now, how say you? are you not well?
Grim. Cham lighter than ich was, the truth to tell.
Jack. Will you sing after your shaving?
Grim. Mass, content; but chill be poll’d first, ere I sing.
Jack. Nay, that shall not need; you are poll’d near enough for this time.
Grim. Go to then lustily, I will sing in my man’s voice:
Chave a troubling base buss.
Jack. You are like to bear the bob, for we will give it:
Set out your bussing base, and we will quiddle upon it.
[Grim singeth Buss.
Jack sings. Too nidden and too nidden.
Will sings. Too nidden and toodle toodle doo nidden;
Is not Grim the collier most finely shaven?
Grim. Why, my fellows, think ich am a cow, that you make such toying?
Jack. Nay, by ’r Lady, you are no cow, by your singing;
Yet your wife told me you were an ox.
Grim. Did she so? ’tis a pestens quean,[125] she is full of such mocks.
But go to, let us sing out our song merrily.

The Song at the shaving of the Collier.

Jack. Such barbers God send you at all times of need.
Will. That can dress you [so] finely, and make such quick speed;
Jack. Your face like an inkhorn now shineth so gay—
Will. That I with your nostrils of force must needs play,
With too nidden and too nidden.
Jack. With too nidden and todle todle doo nidden.
Is not Grim the collier most finely shaven?
Will. With shaving you shine like a pestle of pork.[126]
Jack. Here is the trimmest hog’s flesh from London to York.
Will. It would be trim bacon to hang up awhile.
Jack. To play with this hoglin of course I must smile,
With too nidden and too nidden.
Will. With too nidden and todle, &c.
Grim. Your shaving doth please me, I am now your debtor.
Will. Your wife now will buss you, because you are sweeter.
Grim. Near would I be polled, as near as cham shaven.
Will. Then out of your jerkin needs must you be shaken.
With too nidden and too nidden, &c.
Grim. It is a trim thing to be wash’d in the court.
Will. Their hands are so fine, that they never do hurt.
Grim. Me-think ich am lighter than ever ich was.
Will. Our shaving in the court hath brought this to pass.
With too nidden and too nidden.
Jack. With too nidden and todle todle doo nidden.
Is not Grim the collier most finely[127] shaven?
Grim. This is trimly done: now chill pitch my coals not far hence,
And then at the tavern shall bestow whole tway pence.
[Exit Grim.
Jack. Farewell, [by] Cock. Before the collier again do us seek,
Let us into the court to part the spoil, share and share [a]like.
Will. Away then.

Here entereth Grim.

Grim. Out alas, where shall I make my moan?
My pouch, my benters, and all is gone;
Where is that villain that did me shave?
H’ ath robbed me, alas, of all that I have.

Here entereth Snap.

Snap. Who crieth so at the court-gate?
Grim. I, the poor collier, that was robbed of late.
Snap. Who robbed thee?
Grim. Two of the porter’s men that did shave me.
Snap. Why, the porter’s men are no barbers.
Grim. A vengeance take them, they are quick carvers.
Snap. What stature were they of?
Grim. As little dapper knaves, as they trimly could scoff.
Snap. They are lackeys, as near as I can guess them.
Grim. Such lackeys make me lack; an halter beswinge them!
Cham undone, they have my benters too.
Snap. Dost thou know them, if thou seest them?
Grim. Yea, that I do.
Snap. Then come with me, we will find them out, and that quickly.
Grim. I follow, mast tipstaff; they be in the court, it is likely.
Snap. Then cry no more, come away.

Here entereth Carisophus and Aristippus.

Carisophus. If ever you will show your friendship, now is the time,
Seeing the king is displeased with me of my part without any crime.
Aristippus. It should appear, it comes of some evil behaviour,
That you so suddenly are cast out of favour.
Carisophus. Nothing have I done but this; in talk I overthwarted Eubulus,
When he lamented Pithias’ case to King Dionysius.
Which to-morrow shall die, but for that false knave Damon,
He hath left his friend in the briars, and now is gone.
We grew so hot in talk, that Eubulus protested plainly,
Which[128] held his ears open to parasitical flattery.
And now in the king’s ear like a bell he rings,
Crying that flatterers have been the destroyers of kings.
Which talk in Dionysius’ heart hath made so deep impression,
That he trusteth me not, as heretofore, in no condition:
And some words brake from him, as though that he
Began to suspect my truth and honesty,
Which you of friendship I know will defend, how so ever the world goeth:
My friend—for my honesty will you not take an oath?
Aristippus. To swear for your honesty, I should lose mine own.
Carisophus. Should you so, indeed? I would that were known.
Is your void friendship come thus to pass?
Aristippus. I follow the proverb: Amicus usque ad aras.
Carisophus. Where can you say I ever lost mine honesty?
Aristippus. You never lost it, for you never had it, as far as I know.
Carisophus. Say you so, friend Aristippus, whom I trust so well?
Aristippus. Because you trust me, to you the truth I tell.
Carisophus. Will you not stretch one point, to bring me in favour again?
Aristippus. I love no stretching; so I may breed mine own pain.
Carisophus. A friend ought to shun no pain, to stand his friend in stead.
Aristippus. Where true friendship is, it is so in very deed.
Carisophus. Why, sir, hath not the chain of true friendship linked us two together?
Aristippus. The chiefest link lacked thereof, it must needs dissever.
Carisophus. What link is that? fain would I know.
Aristippus. Honesty.
Carisophus. Doth honesty knit the perfect knot in true friendship?
Aristippus. Yea, truly, and that knot so knit will never slip.
Carisophus. Belike, then, there is no friendship but between honest men.
Aristippus. Between the honest only; for, Amicitia inter bonos,[129] saith a learned man.
Carisophus. Yet evil men use friendship in things unhonest, where fancy doth serve.
Aristippus. That is no friendship, but a lewd liking; it lasts but a while.
Carisophus. What is the perfectest friendship among men that ever grew?
Aristippus. Where men love one another, not for profit, but for virtue.
Carisophus. Are such friends both alike in joy and also in smart?
Aristippus. They must needs; for in two bodies they have but one heart.
Carisophus. Friend Aristippus, deceive me not with sophistry:
Is there no perfect friendship, but where is virtue and honesty?
Aristippus. What a devil then meant Carisophus
To join in friendship with fine Aristippus?
In whom is as much virtue, truth and honesty,
As there are true feathers in the three Cranes of the Vintree:[130]
Yet their[131] feathers have the shadow of lively feathers, the truth to scan,
But Carisophus hath not the shadow of an honest man.
To be plain, because I know thy villainy,
In abusing Dionysius to many men’s injury,
Under the cloak of friendship I play’d with his head,
And sought means how thou with thine own fancy might be led.
My friendship thou soughtest for thine own commodity,
As worldly men do, by profit measuring amity:
Which I perceiving, to the like myself I framed,
Wherein I know of the wise I shall not be blamed:
If you ask me; Quare? I answer, Quia prudentis est multum dissimulare.
To speak more plainer, as the proverb doth go,
In faith, Carisophus, cum Cretense cretizo.
Yet a perfect friend I show myself to thee in one thing,
I do not dissemble, now I say I will not speak for thee to the king:
Therefore sink in thy sorrow, I do not deceive thee,
A false knave I found thee, a false knave I leave thee.
Carisophus. He is gone! is this friendship, to leave his friend in the plain field?
Well, I see now I myself have beguiled,
In matching with that false fox in amity,
Which hath me used to his own commodity:
Which seeing me in distress, unfeignedly goes his ways.
Lo, this is the perfect friendship among men now-a-days;
Which kind of friendship toward him I used secretly;
And he with me the like hath requited me craftily,
It is the gods’ judgment, I see it plainly,
For all the world may know, Incidi in foveam quam feci.
Well, I must content myself, none other help I know,
Until a merrier gale of wind may hap to blow.

Enter Eubulus.

Eubulus. Who deals with kings in matters of great weight,
When froward will doth bear the chiefest sway,
Must yield of force; there need no subtle sleight,
No painted[132] speech the matter to convey.
No prayer can move, when kindled is the ire.
The more ye quench, the more increased[133] the fire.
This thing I prove in Pithias’ woful case,
Whose heavy hap with tears I do lament:
The day is come, when he, in Damon’s place,
Must lose his life: the time is fully spent.
Nought can my words now with the king prevail,
Against the wind and striving stream[134] I sail:
For die thou must, alas! thou seely Greek.
Ah Pithias, now come is thy doleful hour:
A perfect friend, one[135] such a world to seek.
Though bitter death shall give thee sauce full sour,
Yet for thy faith enroll’d shall be thy name
Among the gods within the book of fame.
Who knoweth his case, and will not melt in tears?
His guiltless blood shall trickle down anon.

Then the Muses sing.

Alas, what hap hast thou, poor Pithias, now to die!
Woe worth the man which for his death hath given us cause to cry.
Eubulus. Methink I hear, with yellow rented hairs,
The Muses frame their notes, my state to moan:[136]
Among which sort, as one that mourneth with heart,
In doleful times myself will bear a part.
Muses. Woe worth the man which for his death, &c.
Eubulus. With yellow rented hairs, come on, you Muses nine;
Fill now my breast with heavy tunes, to me your plaint resign:
For Pithias I bewail, which presently must die,
Woe worth the man which for his death hath given us cause, &c.
Muses. Woe worth the man which for his, &c.
Eubulus. Was ever such a man, that would die for his friend?
I think even from the heavens above the gods did him down send
To show true friendship’s power, which forc’d thee now to die.
Woe worth the man which for thy death, &c.
Muses. Woe worth the man, &c.
Eubulus. What tiger’s whelp was he, that Damon did accuse?
What faith hast thou, which for thy friend thy death doth not refuse?
O heavy hap hadst thou to play this tragedy!
Woe worth the man which for thy death, &c.
Muses. [Woe] worth the man, &c.
Eubulus. Thou young and worthy Greek, that showeth such perfect love,
The gods receive thy simple ghost into the heavens above:
Thy death we shall lament with many a weeping eye.
Woe worth the man, which for his death, &c.
Muses. Woe worth the man, which for thy death hath given us cause to cry.
Eubulus. Eternal be your fame, ye Muses, for that in misery
Ye did vouchsafe to strain your notes to walk.
My heart is rent in two with this miserable case,
Yet am I charged by Dionysius’ mouth to see this place
At all points ready for the execution of Pithias.
Need hath no law: will[137] I or nil I, it must be done,
But lo, the bloody minister is even here at hand.

Enter Gronno.

Gronno, I came hither now to understand,
If all things are well appointed for the execution of Pithias.
The king himself will see it done here in this place.
Gronno. Sir, all things are ready, here is the place, here is the hand, here is the sword:
Here lacketh none but Pithias, whose head at a word,
If he were present, I could finely strike off—
You may report that all things are ready.
Eubulus. I go with an heavy heart to report it. Ah woful Pithias!
Full near now is thy misery.
Gronno. I marvel very much, under what constellation
All hangmen are born, for they are hated of all, beloved of none:
Which hatred is showed by this point evidently:
The hangman always dwells in the vilest place of the city.
That such spite should be, I know no cause why,
Unless it be for their office’s sake, which is cruel and bloody.
Yet some men must do it to execute laws.
Me-think they hate me without any just cause.
But I must look to my toil; Pithias must lose his head at one blow,
Else the boys will stone me to death in the street, as I go.
But hark, the prisoner cometh, and the king also:
I see there is no help, Pithias his life must forego.

Here entereth Dionysius and Eubulus.

Dionysius. Bring forth Pithias, that pleasant companion,
Which took me at my word, and became pledge for Damon.
It pricketh[138] fast upon noon, I do him no injury,
If now he lose his head, for so he requested me,
If Damon return not, which now in Greece is full merry:
Therefore shall Pithias pay his death, and that by and by.
He thought belike, if Damon were out of the city,
I would not put him to death for some foolish pity:
But seeing it was his request, I will not be mock’d, he shall die;
Bring him forth.

Here entereth Snap.[139]

Snap. Give place; let the prisoner come by; give place.
Dionysius. How say you, sir; where is Damon, your trusty friend?
You have play’d a wise part, I make God a vow:
You know what time a day it is; make you ready.
Pithias. Most ready I am, mighty king, and most ready also
For my true friend Damon this life to forego,
Even at your pleasure.
Dionysius. A true friend! a false traitor, that so breaketh his oath!
Thou shalt lose thy life, though thou be never so loth.
Pithias. I am not loth to do whatsoever I said,
Ne at this present pinch of death am I dismay’d:
The gods now I know have heard my fervent prayer,
That they have reserved me to this passing great honour,
To die for my friend, whose faith even now I do not mistrust;
My friend Damon is no false traitor, he is true and just:
But sith he is no god, but a man, he must do as he may,
The wind may be contrary, sickness may let him,[140] or some misadventure by the way,
Which the eternal gods turn all to my glory,
That fame may resound how Pithias for Damon did die:
He breaketh no oath which doth as much as he can,
His mind is here, he hath some let, he is but a man.
That he might not return of all the gods I did require,
Which now to my joy do[141] grant my desire.
But why do I stay any longer, seeing that one man’s death
May suffice, O king, to pacify thy wrath?
O thou minister of justice, do thine office by and by,
Let not thy hand tremble, for I tremble not to die.
Stephano, the right pattern of true fidelity,
Commend me to thy master, my sweet Damon, and of him crave liberty
When I am dead, in my name; for thy trusty services
Hath well deserved a gift far better than this.
O my Damon, farewell now for ever, a true friend, to me most dear;
Whiles life doth last, my mouth shall still talk of thee,
And when I am dead, my simple ghost, true witness of amity,
Shall hover about the place, wheresoever thou be.
Dionysius. Eubulus, this gear is strange; and yet because
Damon hath fals’d his faith, Pithias shall have the law.
Gronno, despoil him, and eke dispatch him quickly.
Gronno. It shall be done; since you came into this place,
I might have stroken off seven heads in this space.
By’r Lady, here are good garments, these are mine, by the rood!
It is an evil wind that bloweth no man good.
Now, Pithias, kneel down, ask me blessing like a pretty boy,
And with a trice thy head from thy shoulders I will convey.

Here entereth Damon running, and stays the sword.

Damon. Stay, stay, stay! for the king’s advantage, stay!
O mighty king, mine appointed time is not yet fully pass’d;
Within the compass of mine hour, lo, here I come at last.
A life I owe, and a life I will you pay:
O my Pithias, my noble pledge, my constant friend!
Ah! woe is me! for Damon’s sake, how near were thou to thy end!
Give place to me, this room is mine, on this stage must I play.
Damon is the man, none ought but he to Dionysius his blood to pay.
Gronno. Are you come, sir? you might have tarried, if you had been wise:
For your hasty coming you are like to know the price.
Pithias. O thou cruel minister, why didst not thou thine office?
Did I not beg thee make haste in any wise?
Hast thou spared to kill me once, that I may die twice?
Not to die for my friend is present death to me; and alas!
Shall I see my sweet Damon slain before my face?
What double death is this? but, O mighty Dionysius,
Do true justice now: weigh this aright, thou noble Eubulus;
Let me have no wrong, as now stands the case:
Damon ought not to die, but Pithias:
By misadventure, not by his will, his hour is past; therefore I,
Because he came not at his just time, ought justly to die:
So was my promise, so was thy promise, O king,
All this court can bear witness of this thing.
Damon. Not so, O mighty king: to justice it is contrary,
That for another man’s fault the innocent should die:
Ne yet is my time plainly expired, it is not fully noon.
Of this my day appointed, by all the clocks in the town.
Pithias. Believe no clock, the hour is past by the sun.
Damon. Ah my Pithias, shall we now break the bonds of amity?
Will you now overthwart me, which heretofore so well did agree?
Pithias. My Damon, the gods forbid but we should agree;
Therefore agree to this, let me perform the promise made for thee.
Let me die for thee: do me not that injury,
Both to break my promise, and to suffer me to see thee die,
Whom so dearly I love: this small request grant me,
I shall never ask thee more, my desire is but friendly.
Do me this honour, that fame may report triumphantly,
That Pithias for his friend Damon was contented to die.
Damon. That you were contented for me to die, fame cannot deny;
Yet fame shall never touch me with such a villainy,
To report that Damon did suffer his friend Pithias for him guiltless to die;
Therefore content thyself, the gods requite thy constant faith,
None but Damon’s blood can appease Dionysius’ wrath.
And now, O mighty king, to you my talk I convey;
Because you gave me leave my worldly things to stay,
To requite that good turn, ere I die, for your behalf this I say,
Although your regal state dame Fortune decketh so,
That like a king in worldly wealth abundantly ye flow,
Yet fickle is the ground whereon all tyrants tread,
A thousand sundry cares and fears do haunt their restless head:
No trusty band, no faithful friends do guard thy hateful state,
And why? whom men obey for deadly fear, sure them they deadly hate.
That you may safely reign, by love get friends, whose constant faith
Will never fail, this counsel gives poor Damon at his death:
Friends are the surest guard for kings, gold in time does[142] wear away,
And other precious things do fade, friendship will never decay.
Have friends in store therefore, so shall you safely sleep;
Have friends at home, of foreign foes so need you take no keep.
Abandon flatt’ring tongues, whose clacks truth never tell;
Abase the ill, advance the good, in whom dame virtue dwells;
Let them your playfellows be: but O, you earthly kings,
Your sure defence and strongest guard stands chiefly in faithful friends:
Then get you friends by liberal deeds; and here I make an end.
Accept this counsel, mighty king, of Damon, Pithias’ friend.
O my Pithias! now farewell for ever, let me kiss thee, ere I die,
My soul shall honour thee, thy constant faith above the heavens shall fly.
Come, Gronno, do thine office now; why is thy colour so dead?
My neck is so short, that thou wilt never have honesty in striking off this head.[143]
Dionysius. Eubulus, my spirits are suddenly appalled, my limbs wax weak:
This strange friendship amazeth me so, that I can scarce speak.
Pithias. O mighty king, let some pity your noble heart meve;
You require but one man’s death, take Pithias, let Damon live.
Eubulus. O unspeakable friendship!
Damon. Not so, he hath not offended, there is no cause why
My constant friend Pithias for Damon’s sake should die.
Alas, he is but young, he may do good to many.
Thou coward minister, why dost thou not let me die?
Gronno. My hand with sudden fear quivereth.
Pithias. O noble king, show mercy upon Damon, let Pithias die.
Dionysius. Stay, Gronno, my flesh trembleth. Eubulus, what shall I do?
Were there ever such friends on earth as were these two?
What heart is so cruel that would divide them asunder?
O noble friendship, I must yield; at thy force I wonder.
My heart this rare friendship hath pierc’d to the root,
And quenched all my fury: this sight hath brought this about,
Which thy grave counsel, Eubulus, and learned persuasion could never do.
[To Damon and Pithias] O noble gentlemen, the immortal gods above
Hath made you play this tragedy, I think, for my behoof:
Before this day I never knew what perfect friendship meant.
My cruel mind to bloody deeds was full and wholly bent:
My fearful life I thought with terror to defend,
But now I see there is no guard unto a faithful friend,
Which will not spare his life at time of present need:
O happy kings, who in[144] your courts have two such friends indeed!
I honour friendship now, which that you may plainly see,
Damon, have thou thy life, from death I pardon thee;
For which good turn, I crave, this honour do me lend,
O friendly heart, let me link with you, to you[145] make me the third friend.
My court is yours; dwell here with me, by my commission large,
Myself, my realm, my wealth, my health, I commit to your charge:
Make me a third friend, more shall I joy in that thing,
Than to be called, as I am, Dionysius the mighty king.
Damon. O mighty king, first for my life most humble thanks I give,
And next, I praise the immortal gods that did your heart so meve,
That you would have respect to friendship’s heavenly lore,
Foreseeing well he need not fear which hath true friends in store.
For my part, most noble king, as a third friend, welcome to our friendly society;
But you must forget you are a king, for friendship stands in true equality.
Dionysius. Unequal though I be in great possessions,
Yet full equal shall you find me in my changed conditions.
Tyranny, flattery, oppression, lo, here I cast away;
Justice, truth, love, friendship, shall be my joy:
True friendship will I honour unto my life’s end;
My greatest glory shall be to be counted a perfect friend.
Pithias. For this your deed, most noble king, the gods advance your name,
And since to friendship’s lore you list your princely heart to frame,
With joyful heart, O king, most welcome now to me,
With you will I knit the perfect knot of amity:
Wherein I shall instruct you so, and Damon here your friend,
That you may know of amity the mighty force, and eke the joyful end:
And how that kings do stand upon a fickle ground,
Within whose realm at time of need no faithful friends are found.
Dionysius. Your instruction will I follow; to you myself I do commit.
Eubulus, make haste to fet new apparel, fit
For my new friends.
Eubulus. I go with joyful heart. O happy day!
Gronno. I am glad to hear this word. Though their lives they do not lese,
It is no reason[146] the hangman should lose his fees:
These are mine, I am gone with a trice.

Here entereth Eubulus with new garments.

Dionysius. Put on these garments now; go in with me, the jewels of my court.
Damon and Pithias. We go with joyful hearts.
Stephano. O Damon, my dear master, in all this joy remember me.
Dionysius. My friend Damon, he asketh reason.
Damon. Stephano, for thy good service be thou free.
[Exeunt Dion.[147]
Stephano. O most happy, pleasant, joyful, and triumphant day!
Poor Stephano now shall live in continual play:[148]
Vive le roy, with Damon and Pithias, in perfect amity.
Vive tu, Stephano, in thy pleasant liberality:[149]
Wherein I joy as much as he that hath a conquest won,
I am a free man, none so merry as I now under the sun.
Farewell, my lords, now the gods grant you all the sum of perfect amity,
And me long to enjoy my long-desired liberty.

Here entereth Eubulus beating Carisophus.

Away, villain! away, you flatt’ring parasite!
Away, the plague of this court! thy filed tongue, that forged lies,
No more here shall do hurt: away, false sycophant! wilt thou not?
Carisophus. I am gone, sir, seeing it is the king’s pleasure.
Why whip ye me alone? a plague take Damon and Pithias! since they came hither,
I am driven to seek relief abroad, alas! I know not whither.
Yet, Eubulus, though I be gone, here after time shall try,
There shall be found even in this court as great flatterers as I.
Well, for a while I will forego the court, though to my great pain:
I doubt not but to spy a time, when I may creep in again.
Eubulus. The serpent that eats men alive, flattery, with all her brood,
Is whipp’d away in princes’ courts, which yet did never good.
What force, what mighty power true friendship may possess,
To all the world Dionysius’ court now plainly doth express:
Who since to faithful friends he gave his willing ear,
Most safely sitteth on his seat, and sleeps devoid of fear.
Purged is the court of vice, since friendship ent’red in,
Tyranny quails, he studieth now with love each heart to win:
Virtue is had in price, and hath his just reward;
And painted speech, that gloseth for gain, from gifts is quite debarr’d.
One loveth another now for virtue, not for gain;
Where virtue doth not knit the knot, there friendship cannot reign;
Without the which no house, no land, no kingdom can endure,
As necessary for man’s life as water, air, and fire,
Which frameth the mind of man all honest things to do.
Unhonest things friendship ne craveth, ne yet consents thereto.
In wealth a double joy, in woe a present stay,
A sweet companion in each state true friendship is alway:
A sure defence for kings, a perfect trusty band,
A force to assail, a shield to defend the enemies’ cruel hand;
A rare and yet the greatest gift that God can give to man;
So rare, that scarce four couple of faithful friends have been, since the world began.
A gift so strange and of such price, I wish all kings to have;
But chiefly yet, as duty bindeth, I humbly crave,
True friendship and true friends, full fraught with constant faith,
The giver of all friends, the Lord, grant her, most noble Queen Elizabeth.

The Last Song.

The strongest guard that kings can have,
Are constant friends their state to save;
True friends are constant both in word and deed,
True friends are present, and help at each need;
True friends talk truly, they glose for no gain,
When treasure consumeth, true friends will remain;
True friends for their true prince refuseth not their death:
The Lord grant her such friends, most noble Queen Elizabeth.
Long may she govern in honour and wealth,
Void of all sickness, in most perfect health;
Which health to prolong, as true friends require,
God grant she may have her own heart’s desire:
Which friends will defend with most steadfast faith,
The Lord grant her such friends, most noble Queen Elizabeth.


[1] [This preface was found among my father’s dramatic collectanea, formed about 1850, and I have printed it with a few additions.—W.C.H.]

[2] It was acted on the 2d and 3d September 1566.

[3] [Warton’s “H.E.P.,” by Hazlitt, iv., 215-16.]

[4] “Annals of the Stage,” iii., 1.

[5] “British Bibliographer,” Introduction to the “Paradise of Dainty Devices,” p. vi. The reader may also be referred to Brydges’ “Restituta,” i., 367; “Brit. Bibl.” i., 494; “Censura Literaria,” first edit. vii., 350.

[6] [Warton’s “H.E.P.,” by Hazlitt,” iv., 215.]

[7] See “Nugæ Antiquæ,” vol. ii., p. 392, ed. 1804.

[8] [As to the song of the “Willow Garland,” mentioned by Warton as by Edwards, see “H.E.P.” by Hazlitt, iv., 216.]

[9] “History of English Poetry,” by Hazlitt, iv., p. 21. [A writer in the “Shakespeare Society’s Papers,” vol. ii., printed from what he supposed to be a fragment of a later impression of this book the story of the “Waking Man’s Dream,” which is also to be found narrated in Burton’s “Anatomy of Melancholy,” 1621.]

[10] [See Warton’s “H.E.P.” by Hazlitt, iv., 214. Warton is very positive in asserting that the first edition was not in 1571, but in 1570, yet no such edition is at present known. The play, however, having been licensed in 1567 (Collier’s “Extr. from Stat. Reg.” i., 166), it is extremely probable that it was published even before 1570.]

[11] A specimen of the elegy on Edwards by Turbervile printed in the editions of his poems in 1567 and 1570, is here subjoined:

“Epitaph on Maister Edwards, sometime Maister of the Children of the Chappell, and Gentleman of Lyncolnes Inne of Court—

“Ye Learned Muses nine, and sacred Sisters all,
Now lay your cheereful Cithrons downe and to lamenting fall.
Rent off those garlandes greene, doe laurel leaves away,
Remove the myrtill from your browes, and stint on strings to play;
For he that led the daunce, the chiefest of your traine,
I meane the man that Edwards height, by cruell death is slaine.
Ye courtyers chaunge your cheere, lament in wailfull wise,
For now your Orpheus hath resignd, in clay his Carcas lies.
O ruth, he is bereft, that whilst he liued heere,
For Poet’s Pen and passing Wit, could haue no Englishe Peere.
His vaine in Verse was such, so stately eke his stile,
His feate in forging sugred Songs with cleane and curious file;
As all the learned Greekes and Romaines would repine,
If they did live againe, to vewe his Verse with scornefull eine.”

[12] Nature.

[13] Authours, first edition.

[14] Spake, second edition.

[15] Although it is obvious that great pains were taken by Mr Reed and others (to say nothing of Dodsley) in the collation of this dramatic piece, yet they left it in a very imperfect state. In the course of it not less than fifty important variations and errors have been detected, consisting of words omitted, and words accidentally inserted, independently of errors of the press, for which of course an editor was not responsible. It is hoped that it will be now found more uniformly correct, although the editor can scarcely flatter himself that the reprint may not be still found defective.—Collier.

[16] Philosophie, both editions. The alteration by Mr Dodsley. [But Dodsley does not seem to have perceived that by the change he converted the text into nonsense. The original reads—

“Lovers of wisdom are termed philosophie.”

The emendation introduced was suggested by Mr Collier, who remarks:] “In the next line the author expressly speaks of lovyng of wisdom, as if intending to employ the words he had used before.”

[17] [Scurrility.]

[18] Great, second edition.

[19] Omitted in second edition.

[20] The, second edition.

[21] Omitted in second edition.

[22] [The original has consultat.]

[23] A Fletcher is a maker of arrows, from fleche an arrow, Fr. The Fletcher’s Company had several charters granted to them, though at present, I believe, they have only a nominal existence. Aristippus means to say, that he differs as much in disposition from Carisophus, as Jack the arrowsmith varies in quality from a bolt or arrow of his own making.—S.

[24] So, in [Fulwell’s] “Leke [will] to Leke, quoth the Devil to the Collier” [1568]:

“There thou mayst be called a knave in grane,
And where knaves be scant thou mayst go for twayne.”

See a note on “The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” vol. i., edition 1778, p. 176.—S.

[25] i.e., If he were hanged for it, he could not tell one tale without telling two lies. Yet Mr Collier would change where to were he.

[26] This whole line is omitted in the later of the two old copies, and as Mr Reed and his friend remarked in their notes sometimes even the variation of letters, it is singular that they should have passed over this circumstance without observation.—Collier.

[27] Meane, second edition.

[28] Ed. 1571 has patron.

[29] This was proverbial. See [Hazlitt’s] “Collection of Proverbs,” p. 291.

[30] A proverbial expression often found in ancient writers. Heywood has it: “Happy man, happy dole.” See Dyce’s Glossary to his second edition of Shakespeare, p. 201. Dole, Mr Steevens observes (Notes to “The Taming of the Shrew,” act i., sc. 1), is any thing dealt out or distributed, though its original meaning was the provision given away at the doors of great men’s houses. It is generally written be his dole, though Ray, p. 116, gives it as in the second 4to by his dole. Shakespeare also uses the phrase in “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”

Again, in “Hudibras,” p. 1, c. 3, l. 637—

“Let us that are unhurt and whole,
Fall on, and happy man be’s dole.”

[31] He, first edition.

[32] Bosome, second edition.

[33] Original, outwery.

[34] Seeketh, second edition.

[35] Grace, second edition.

[36] Quietly, first edition.

[37] [i.e., So near are they.]

[38] To contrive in this place signifies to wear away, to spend, from contero, Lat. So in Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew,” act i., sc. 2—

“Please you we many contrive this afternoon?”

Totum hunc contrivi diem.S. See also the Notes of Dr Warburton and Dr Johnson on the above line in Shakespeare.

[39] Taunts or sarcasms. See Johnson.—N.

[40] Plain-song is planus cantus, uniform modulation. Descant is musical paraphrase. See a Note on “The Midsummer Night’s Dream,” vol. iii., p. 63; and another on “King Richard III.vol. vii., p. 6, edit. 1778.—S.

[41] Spenser has this word which, as Dr Johnson observes, appears to be the same as winch. It should seem to be expressive of some slight degree of pain, and in this instance to mean the same as if the speaker had said, I care not a fillip.—S.

[42] Dionysius the tyrant is said to have punished with death one of his subjects for dreaming he had killed him. This was hardly more iniquitous than the execution of the gentleman, who having a white deer in his park, which was killed by Edward the Fourth, wished the deer, horns and all, in the belly of him that counselled the king to kill it, whereas in truth no man counselled the king to it: or than the attainder and execution of Algernon Sydney, on the evidence of private and unpublished papers, without any proof, or even a suggestion, of their intended publication.”—Principles of Penal Law, c. 11.

[43] With crueltie, second edition.

[44] Through, both editions. The alteration by Mr Dodsley.

[45] Is lyke unto a stage, second edition.

[46] This sentence stands in the old copies, Omnis solum fortis patria.—Collier. [But Mr Collier printed patriæ.

[47] See [Hazlitt’s] “Proverbs,” p. [336.]

[48] The seat means the situation. See, in Dr Johnson’s Dictionary, instances of it from Raleigh, Hayward, Bacon, and B. Jonson.—N.

So Duncan, in “Macbeth,” says—

“This castle hath a pleasant seat.”

[49] This quotation is given as follows in both the old copies—

Dic mihi musa virum captæ post tempora Trojæ,
Multorum homines mores qui vidit et urbes.

Query—Was it meant by the author that Damon should misquote?—Collier. [Surely not.]

[50] This is he, &c., first edition.

[51] i.e., Plentiful suppers, luxurious couches, and the king’s purse full of gold at command. [In the original this is printed so as to be absolute nonsense.]

Aristippus was not intended for a blunderer.—S.

[52] Tyoe, first edition.

[53] A cant term for be silent; mum and budget are the words made use of by Slender and Ann Page in “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”

[54] [To make up his plunder or prize-money. From the old French bouge.]

[55] The first edition reads—

“I wyll lay one mouth for you to Dionysius,” &c.,

which was altered in the second edition as it stands in the text.—Collier.

[56] A proverbial expression, of which it is difficult to give a satisfactory explanation, though the meaning of it is sufficiently obvious. A gentleman, who formerly wrote in The Gentleman’s Magazine under a feigned name, supposes the word cat should be changed to cate; “an old word for a cake or other aumalette, which being usually fried, and consequently turn’d in the pan, does therefore very aptly express the changing of sides in politics or religion, or, as we otherwise say, the turning one’s coat. Gentleman’s Magazine, 1754, p. 66. Another writer, however, gives the following [very absurd] explanation of it:— “Capitan, to turn capitan, from a people called Catipani, in Calabria and Apulia, who got an ill name by reason of their perfidy; very falsely by us called Cat in pan.”—Ibid. p. 172.

[57] Should, second edition.

[58] Commodity is interest. So in the former part of this play, p. 198—

“They would honour friendship, and not for commodity.”

and see “King John,” act ii., sc. 2—

Commodity, the bias of the world.”

[59] [A rare word in this sense; for it appears to stand for blab.]

[60] [Original reads tunes. The emendation was first suggested by Mr Collier.]

[61] Regale sorta di strumento simile all’organo, maminore.—Baretti Dizion. Ital. ed Ing. Bacon distinguishes between the regal and the organ in a manner which shows them to be instruments of the same class. “The sounds that produce tones are ever from such bodies as have their parts and pores equal, as are nightingale pipes of regals or organs.”—Nat. Hist. cent, ii., sec. 102. But, notwithstanding these authorities, the appellative regal has given great trouble to the lexicographer, whose sentiments with regard to its signification are collected and brought into one point of view by Sir John Hawkins, in his “History of Music,” vol. ii., p. 448, from whence this note is extracted. See also a note by the Hon. Daines Barrington to “Hamlet,” act iii., sc. 2, in the edition of Shakspeare, 1773, omitted in that of 1778.

[62] Seeing, second edit.

[63] Should, first edit.

[64] Now, first edit.

[65] Unto, second edit.

[66] [Too, first edit.]

[67] [What, both eds.]

[68] Crowd.

[69]King” is omitted in the first edition, and supplied by the second.—Collier.

[70] This, first edition.

[71] [Old editions have, where opinion simplenesse have, &c. Simpleness, ignorance—i.e., who have deserved mercy, having offended from not knowing better.]

[72] Thrust, first edition.

[73] [Old edit., injurie.]

[74] Yeelde speedily, second edition.

[75] To pawne, second edition.

[76] Folly. Thus Spenser, in his Sonnets,

Fondess it were for any, being free,
To covet fetters, though they golden be.”

[77] Old editions read, Take heede: for life wordly, &c.

[78] Hinder me.

[79] [I do not understand the allusion. The sense seems to be, I will beat you, come what may—I will put prudence in my purse or pocket.]

[80] [Originals have colpheg you.] I believe we should read, colaphize—i.e., box or buffet. Colaphiser, Fr. See Cotgrave’s “Dictionary.”—Steevens.

[81] i.e., Loose companion. So Spenser—

“Might not be found a ranker franion.”


“A faire franion fit for such a pheere.”—S.

Again, in “The First Part of King Edward IV.,” sign. C, p. 5: “Hees a franke franion, a merrie companion, and loves a wench well.”

[82] See Note to “Gammer Gurton’s Needle,” vol. iii., p. 198.

[83] [Stephano spelled backwards.]

[84] Read Κρητιξω. Vide Erasm. Adag. The Cretans were famous for double-dealing. Cretizare, however, is a word employ’d by lexicographers, instead of mentiri.—Steevens.

[85] Crack-rope was a common term of contempt in old plays.

“You codshed, you cracke-rope, you chattering pye.”
Apius and Virginia, sign. B.

Again in that very rare play, “The Two Italian Gentlemen”—

“Then let him be led through every streete in the town,
That every crackrope may fling rotten egs at the clown.”

Collier. [See also Tarlton’s “Jests,” 1611 (“Old English Jest-Books,” ii., p. 211).]

[86] [Old edition, which.]

[87] [Old editions have monckes.]

[88] [Old editions have pantacle.] I suppose he means to say a pantoflei.e., a slipper. Perhaps he begins his attack with a kick.—S. The second edition reads—

“Even heere with a faire pantacle I will you disgrace,”

an epithet not found in the oldest copy, and hardly consistent with the supposition that pantacle means pantofle.—Collier. [Probably, a slap on the face.]

[89] Geve, second edition.

[90] More properly touch-box. While match-locks, instead of fire-locks, to guns were used, the touch-box, at which the match was lighted, was part of the accoutrement of a soldier.

“When she his flask and touch-box set on fire.”

Line of an author, whose name I cannot at this time recollect.—Steevens.

[91] A Dottrel is a silly kind of bird which imitates the actions of the fowler, till at last he is taken. If the fowler stretches out a leg, the bird will do so to. So, in Butler’s “Character of a Fantastic (Remains, vol. ii., p. 132)”: “He alters his gate with the times, and has not a motion of his body that (like a Dottrel) he does not borrow from somebody else.” See also Jonson’s “Devil is an Ass,” iv., 6, and Dyce’s “Beaumont and Fletcher,” iii., 79, and v., 64.

[92] [Original here has Cobex epi. Colliers used to be nick-named Carry-coals. See Hazlitt’s “Proverbs,” p. 98.]

[93] [Do up, open.]

[94] [For the supply of the court, or Bouche de la cour.]

[95] It was you, first edition.

[96] Doth, second edition.

[97] i.e., A cast of that species of hawks that were called Merlins.—Steevens. He calls them [merlins, which he might perhaps have been supposed to pronounce] Murlons on account of their size. Merlins were the smallest species of hawks. Turbervile says, “These merlyns are very much like the haggart falcon in plume, in seare of the foote, in beake and talons. So as there seemeth to be no oddes or difference at al betwixt them save only in the bignesse, for she hath like demeanure, like plume, and very like conditions to the falcon, and in hir kind is of like courage, and therefore must be kept as choycely and as daintly as the falcon.” The merlin was chiefly used to fly at small birds; and Latham says, it was particularly appropriated to the service of ladies.

[98] Father Grimme, second edition.

[99] [Something seems to have dropped out of the text here to this purport.]

[100] Adopted into the original text from the second edition.—Collier.

[101] [A play on the similarity between rug and rogue.]

[102] What fault can you see heere? second edition.

[103] [Small casks, buckets.]

[104] i.e., Robin red breasts. Shakespeare uses ruddock for red breast in “Cymbeline.”—S. Again, in Nash’s “Lenten Stuff,” 1599: “He eft soons defined unto me, that the red herring was this old tickle cob, or magister fac totum, that brought in the red ruddocks, and the grummel seed as thick as oatmeal, and made Yarmouth for Argent to put down the city of Argentine.”

[105] Hose at, second edition.

[106] Well, first edition.

[107] [Luscious.]

[108] An intended mistake for muscadine.S.

[109] Jebit avow mon companion. Both 4tos.S.

[110] Ihar vow pleadge pety Zawne. Both 4tos. [Zawne appears to be a loose application of Zani quasi noodle, though here, perhaps, the meaning is rather mimic.]

[111] Was, second edition.

[112] [Interrupt? See Nares, edition 1859, in v.]

[113] Coppe, in Chaucer, is used for the top of anything, and here seems intended to signify the head, or, as the common phrase is, a hair-brained fellow.

[114] Merie, second edition.

[115] See “Gammer Gurton’s Needle,” vol. iii., p. 189, note.

[116] [See Rimbault’s “Little Book of Songs and Ballads,” 1851, p. 83.]

[117] Benne is the French word for a sack to carry coals. See Cotgrave.

[118] Bate me an ace, quoth Bolton, is among the Proverbs published by Mr Ray. That gentleman adds, “Who this Bolton was I know not, neither is it worth enquiring. One of this name might happen to say, Bate me an ace, and, for the coincidence of the first letters of the two words Bate and Bolton, it grew to be a proverb. We have many of the like original; as v.g. Sup, Simon, &c., Stay, quoth Stringer, &c. There goes a story of Queen Elizabeth, that being presented with a Collection of English Proverbs, and told by the author that it contained all the English Proverbs, nay, replied she, Bate me an ace, quoth Bolton: which Proverb being instantly looked for, happened to be wanting in his Collection.” [See Hazlitt’s] “Proverbs,” p. [80.] This story of Queen Elizabeth forms the point of an epigram by H.P. (probably Henry Parrot) in a collection called “The Mastive,” 1615—

“A pamphlet was of proverbs penn’d by Polton
Wherein he thought all sorts included were;
Until one told him, Bate m’ an ace, quoth Bolton:
Indeed (said he) that proverb is not there.”

[119] [Sacks of coal, more properly, benters, as just above.]

[120] In the former edition, Mr Dodsley had altered this to pay mee wel.

[121] [Urine.]

[122] Aloue, French is to allow, to approve, to praise. I know of no other word that resembles that in the text. Alosed, in Chaucer, is praised.—S. [Possibly, Hallo, hallo! may be the true reading.]

[123] From the manner in which this expression is used by Sir John Harington, in “The Anatomie of the Metamorphosis of Ajax,” 1596, sig. L, 7, it seems as though it was intended for a sallow hue. “Both of a complexion inclining to the oriental colour of a Croyden sanguine.”

[124] The 4tos read Pallarrime. The razors of Palermo were anciently famous. They are mentioned in more than one of our old plays, and particularly in “The Wounds of Civill War,” by Thomas Lodge, 1594, “Neighbour sharpen the edge tole of your wits upon the whetstone of indiscretion, that your wordes may shine like the rasers of Palermo.”—S.

[125] He means a pestilence quean.—S.

[126] A pestle of porkei.e., gammon of bacon.—Minsheu.

[127] Trimly, second edition.

[128] [[i.e., Dionysius, to which Dodsley changed it.]

[129] Bonns, both 4tos.

[130] Sometimes called New Queen Street, where there seems to have been the sign of the three Cranes. Ben Jonson mentions this place in “The Devil is an Ass,” act. i. sc. 1.

“From thence shoot the bridge child, to the Cranes of the Vintry,
And see there the gimblets how they make their entry!”

Stow says it was a place of some account for the Costermongers who had warehouses there; and it appears from Dekker’s “Belman of London,” sig. E 2, that the beggars of his time called one of their places of rendezvous by this name. [See Herbert’s edition of Ames, p. 367-8.]

[131] These, first edition.

[132] Vaunted, second edition.

[133] Increased is, old editions.

[134] Streams, second edition.

[135] [None such, old editions. The meaning seems to be, a perfect friend:—’tis a world to seek one such.]

[136] Both the old copies have it “my state to moan,” which may be right, and the substitution [to thy, which was made in the earlier editions] should not have been made without notice.—Collier.

[137] Whether I will or not. See Note 23 to “Grim the Collier of Croydon.”

[138] i.e., It rideth fast upon noon. The word is used by Spenser and many of our ancient writers.

[139] With Pithias in his custody, and Stephano, as is evident from the rest of the scene.—Collier.

[140] Hinder him.

[141] Doth, both 4tos.

[142] Doo, first edition. The reading of both the old copies in this place is

Golden time doo wear away.”

If it were worth while to remark the difference between doo and doos, it might have been as well not to make the change in the text without notice, although it is probably right.—Collier.

[143] i.e., Thou wilt derive no credit from striking off a head so disadvantageously placed for the purpose of decollation. Honnetete, French, anciently signified fame or reputation in the dexterous execution of any undertaking, whether honourable or the contrary. Honesty seems here to be used with the French meaning.—Steevens. In this instance the author appears to have had before him the speech which Sir Thomas More made at his execution. Hall, in his “Chronicle,” p. 226, says, “Also the hangman kneled doune to him askyng him forgiuenes of his death (as the maner is), to whom he sayd I forgeue thee, but I promise thee that thou shalt neuer haue honestie of the strykyng of my head, my necke is so short.”

[144] The two old copies have it,

“O happie kinges within your courtes,” &c.—Collier.

[145] Two to, second edition.

[146] No reason, first edition.

[147] This direction means that Dionysius, Damon, Pithias, and all others go out, excepting Stephano.—Collier.

[148] [Old copies, joy.]

[149] [Freedom.]


[The reader does not probably require to be told that Chaucer has taken up the story of the “Wicked Judge Appius” in the “Doctor of Physic’s Tale,” and there is a drama by Webster on the same subject, written many years before it was published in 1654, and included in all the editions of that writer’s works.]



The “Tragical Comedy of Appius and Virginia” deserves especial notice, as probably [one of] our earliest extant dramatic productions publicly represented, the plot of which is derived from history. Sackville’s “Ferrex and Porrex” was acted before the Queen at Whitehall, and Edwards’ “Damon and Pithias” also at Court, while the interlude of “Thersites” merely adopts the name of a historical personage as an indication of character, without reference to any events in which he was concerned. “Appius and Virginia” is besides curious as holding a middle station between the old moralities and historical plays [while it still retains the allegorical character in some degree].

The performance was printed in 1575, but acted most likely as early as 1563. The initials R. B. on the title-page would apply to more than one writer about that date. It is a work of great rarity, the only known copy being in the British Museum. It would be singular therefore that it has hitherto almost escaped notice, were it not evident that there are so many plays in the Garrick Collection which have never been read by the editors of Shakespeare. Mr Malone makes one reference to “Appius and Virginia” in a note on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” but he misquotes both the words and the date.

There is internal evidence that it was publicly represented; and with reference to this point, we find in one place a curious instance of the ancient simplicity of the construction of an open stage, and of the directions to the actors: “Here let Virginius go about the scaffold.” This was the “scaffold hie” on which Herod, according to Chaucer [“Miller’s Tale”] was accustomed to rant. Hawkins [Orig. Engl. Dr. I. vii.] tells us that this temporary erection, in Parfre’s “Candlemas Day,” was called “the Stage,” but he erred from misquotation. In the following piece we are expressly informed that Haphazard was the Vice, regarding which character see Douce’s “Illustr. of Shakesp.” ii., 304, &c.[151]

[In the former edition nearly all the corruptions of the old copy, which was edited and printed with the grossest carelessness, were allowed to remain. A few still stand which baffle our ingenuity.]


Qui[152] cupis æthereas et summas scandere sedes,
Vim simul ac fraudem discute, care, tibi.
Fraus hic nulla juvat, non fortia facta juvabunt:
Sola Dei tua te trahet tersa fides.
Qui placet in terris, intactæ paludis instar,
Vivere Virginiam nitore, virgo, sequi:
Quos tulit et luctus, discas [et] gaudia magna,
Vitæ dum Parcæ scindere fila parent.
Huc ades, O virgo pariter moritura, sepulchro;
Sic ait, et facies pallida morte mutat.
Who doth desire the trump of fame to sound unto the skies,
Or else who seeks the holy place where mighty Jove he lies,
He must not by deceitful mind, nor yet by puissant strength,
But by the faith and sacred life he must it win at length,
And what she be that virgin’s life on earth would gladly lead
The floods that Virginia did fall I wish her to read:
Her dolor and her doleful loss, and yet her joys at death:
Come, Virgins pure, to grave with me, quoth she with latest breath.
You Lordlings, all that present be this Tragedy to hear,
Note well what zeal and love herein doth well appear:
And, ladies, you that linked are in wedlock bands for ever,
Do imitate the life you see, whose fame will perish never.
But Virgins you, O Ladies fair, for honour of your name.
Do lead the life apparent here to win immortal fame.
Let not the blinded God of Love, as poets term him so,
Nor Venus with her venery, nor lechers, cause of woe,
Your Virgins’ name to spot or file: dear dames, observe the life[153]
That fair Virginia did observe, who rather wish[ed] the knife
Of father’s hand her life to end, than spot her chastity:
As she did wail, wail you her want, you maids of courtesy.
If any by example here would shun that great annoy.
Our Author would rejoice in heart, and we would leap for joy.
Would gods that our endeavours may as well to please your ears,
As is our author’s meaning here, then were we void of fears.
But patiently we wish you bear with this our first attempt,
Which surely will to do our best, then yield us no contempt:
And as you please in patient wise our first for to receive,
Ere long a better shall you win, if God do grant us leave.


Enter Virginius.

Before the time that fortune’s lot did show each fate his doom,
Or bird or beast, or fish or fowl, on earth had taken room,
The gods they did decree to frame, the thing is ended now,
The heavens and the planets eke, and moist from air to bow.
Then framed they the man from mould and clay, and gave him time to reign,
As seemed best their sacred minds to run and turn again,
They framed also, after this, out of his tender side
A piece of much formosity with him for to abide.
From infancy to lusty youth, and so to reign awhile,
And well to live, till Œtas he unwares do him beguile.
Therewith to see these gifts of them on grounded cave to view,
And daintily to deck them up, which after they may rue.
Therefore I thank the gods above that yield to me such fate
To link to me so just a spouse, and eke so loving mate.
By her I have a virgin pure, an imp of heavenly race
Both sober, meek and modest too, and virtuous in like case:
To temple will I wend therefore to yield the gods their praise,
For that they have thus luckily annexed to my days.
But stay: behold the peerless sparks, whereof my tongue did talk,
Approach in presence of my sight: to church I deem they walk.
But stay I will, and shroud me secretly awhile
To see what wit or counsel grave proceedeth from their style.

Here entereth Mater and Virginia.

The pert and pricking prime of youth ought chastisement to have,
But thou, dear daughter, needest not, thyself doth show thee grave:
To see how Phœbus with his beams hath youth so much infested,[154]
It doth me woe to see them crave the thing should be detested.[155]
I draw to grave and nought can leave of thee to be desired,
As much as duty to thy dear, as reason hath required:
My sovereign[156] lord and friendly pheer[157] Virginius, father thine,
To nurse as doth become a child, when bones are buried mine.
Virginia.[158] Refell your mind of mourning plaints, dear mother, rest your mind,
For though that duty dainty were, dame nature will me bind
So much to do; and further force of Gods that rule the skies,
The Globe,[159] and eke the Element, they would me else despise.
Mater. Then if the gods have granted thee such grace to love thy sire,
When time shall choose thee out a make, be constant, I require:
Love, live, and like him well, before you grant him grace or faith,
So shall your love continue long, experience thus he saith.
Virginia. I grant, dear Dame, I do agree,
When time shall so provide;
But tender youth and infancy
Doth rather wish me bide.
What, should I lose Diana’s gift
And eke the spring to shun,
By which Acteon fatally
His final race did run?
Should I as abject be esteemed
Throughout Parnassus hill,
Or should my virgin’s name be filed,
It were too great a skill.
But yet it is unspotted, lo,
Right well I do conceive,
When wedlock doth require the same,
With parents’ love and leave:
Yet obstinate I will not be,
But willing will me yield,
When you command, and not before,
Then duty shall me shield.
Virginius. Ah gods, that rule and reign in heavens, in seas, in floods, in lands,
Two couples such, I surely deem, you never made with hands.
Ah gods, why do ye not compel each dame the like to show,
And every imp of her again her duty thus to know?
I cannot stay my tongue from talk, I needs must call my dear.
O spouse, well-met, and daughter too, what news? how do you cheer?
Mater. O dear Virginius, joy to me, O peerless spouse and mate,
In health, I praise the gods, I am, and joyful for thy state.
Virginius. Virginia, my daughter dear,
How standeth all with thee?
Virginia. Like happy state, as mother told.
Virginius. Like joyful sight to me.[160]
By the gods, wife, I joy me that have such a treasure,
Such [a] gem and such [a] jewel, surmounting all measure:
Such a happy spouse, such a fortunate dame,
That no blot or stain can impair her fame,
Against such an imp and graff of my tree,
As clear doth surmount all others that be.
Mater. Nay, rather, dear spouse, how much is my case,
To be now advanced by such happy grace,
Doth daily distil: my husband so loving,
Granting and giving to all thing behoving,
Joying in me and in the fruit of my womb:
Who would not requite it, the gods yield their doom,
And if it be I, the gods do destroy me,
Rather than sin so sore should annoy me.
Virginius. O wife, refell thy wishing for woe,
Myself thy fau’t right well do know:
And rather I wish myself to be slain
Than thou or thy daughter ought woe should sustain.
Virginia. O father, my comfort, O mother, my joy,
O dear and O sovereign, do cease to employ
Such dolorous talking, where dangers are none:
Where joys are attendant, what needeth this moan?
You matron, you spouse, you nurse and you wife,
You comfort, you only the sum of his life:
You husband, you [sweet]heart, you joy, and you pleasure,
You king and you kaiser too, her[161] only treasure:
You father, you mother, my life doth sustain,
I your babe, I your bliss, I your health am again.[162]
Forbear then your dolor, let mirth be frequented,
Let sorrow depart, and not be attempted.
Virginius. O wife, O spouse, I am content.
Mater. O husband.
Virginia. O father, we do consent.
[Sing here.

All sing this.

The trustiest treasure in earth,[163] as we see,
Is man, wife, and children in one to agree;
Then friendly and kindly let measure be mixed
With reason in season, where friendship is fixed.

Virginius [sings].

When nature nursed first of all, young Alexander learned,
Of whom the poets mention make, in judgment so discerned,
O, what did want, that love procured, his vital end well near?
This is the hope, where parents love their children, do not fear,

All sing this.

The trustiest treasure in earth, as we see
Is man, wife, and children, &c.

Mater [sings].

What[164] time King Nisus would not let his daughter to be taught,
Of any one correcting hand to virtue[165] to be brought,
She, void of duty, cut his locks and golden tresses clear,
Whereby his realm was overrun, and she was paid her hire.

All sing this.

The trustiest treasure in earth, as we see,
Is man, wife, and children, &c.

Virginia [sings].

When Dædalus from Crete did fly
With Icarus his joy.
He nought regarding father’s words,
Did seek his own annoy:
He mounted up into the skies,
Whereat the gods did frown.
And Phœbus sore his wings did fry,
And headlong flings him down.

All sing this.

The trustiest treasure in earth, as we see,
Is man, wife, and children, &c.

Virginius [sings again].

Then sith that partiality doth partly discord move,
And hatred oftentimes doth creep, where overmuch we love;
And if we love no whit at all, the faming trump will sound,
Come, wife, come, spouse, come, daughter dear, let measure bear the ground.

All sing this.

The trustiest treasure in earth, as we see,
Is man, wife, and children in one to agree;
Then friendly and kindly let measure be mixed
With reason in season, where friendship is fixed.

Here entereth Haphazard the Vice.

Very well, Sir, very well, Sir; it shall be done,
As fast as ever I can prepare:
Who dips[167] with the devil, he had need have a long spoon,
Or else full small will be his fare.
Yet a proper gentleman I am, of truth:
Yea, that may ye see by my long side-gown:
Yea, but what am I? a scholar, or a schoolmaster, or else some youth.
A lawyer, a student, or else a country clown:
A broom-man, a basket-maker, or a baker of pies,
A flesh or a fishmonger, or a sower of lies?
A louse or a louser, a leek or a lark,
A dreamer, a drumble,[168] a fire or a spark?
A caitiff, a cutthroat, a creeper in corners,
A hairbrain, a hangman, or a grafter of horners?
By the gods, I know not how best to devise,
My name or my property well to disguise.
A merchant, a May-pole, a man or a mackerel,
A crab or a crevis, a crane or a cockerel?
Most of all these my nature doth enjoy;
Sometime I advance them, sometime I destroy.
A maid or a mussel-boat, a wife or a wild duck?
As bold as blind bayard, as wise as a wood-cock.
As fine as fi’pence, as proud as a peacock,
As stout as a stockfish, as meek as a meacock.
As big as a beggar, as fat as a fool,
As true as a tinker, as rich as an owl:
With hey-trick, how troll, trey-trip and trey-trace,
Troll-hazard with a vengeance, I beshrew his knave’s face;
For tro and troll-hazard keep such a range,
That poor Haphazard was never so strange:
But yet, Haphazard, be of good cheer,
Go play and repast thee, man, be merry to-yere.[169]
Though victual be dainty and hard for to get,
Yet perhaps a number will die of the sweat:[170]
Though it be in hazard, yet happily I may,
Though money be lacking, yet one day go gay.

Enter Mansipulus.

When, Maud, with a pestilence! what, mak’st thou no haste?
Of barberry[171] incense belike thou wouldest taste!
By the gods, I have stayed a full great while:
My lord he is near at hand by this at the church-stile,
And all for Maud mumble-turd, that mangpodding madge,
By the gods, if she hie not, I’ll give her my badge.

[Enter Mansipula.]

Mansipula. What, drake-nosed drivel, begin you to flont?
I’ll fry you in a faggot-stick, by Cock, goodman lout.
You boaster, you bragger, you brawling knave,
I’ll pay thee thy forty-pence, thou brawling slave
My lady’s great business belike is at end,
When you, goodman dawcock, lust for to wend.
You cod’s-head, you crack-rope, you chattering pie,
Have with ye, have at ye, your manhood to try.
[Beat and hustle him.]
Haphazard. What! hold your hands, masters. What! fie for shame, fie!
What culling, what lulling, what stir have we here?
What tugging, what lugging, what pugging by the ear.
What, part and be friends, and end all this strife.
Mansipulus. Nay, rather I wish her the end of my knife.
Mansipula. Draw it, give me it, I will it receive,
So that for to place it I might have good leave:
By the gods, but for losing my land, life and living,
It should be so placed he should have ill-thriving.
Mansipulus. By the gods, how ungraciously the vixen she chatteth.
Mansipula. And he even as knavishly my answer he patteth.
Haphazard. Here is nought else but railing of words out of reason,
Now tugging, now tattling, now muzzling in season.
For shame! be contented, and leave off this brawling.
Mansipulus. Content, for I shall repent it for this my tongue-wralling.
Mansipula. Thou knave, but for thee, ere this time of day
My lady’s fair pew had been strawed[172] full gay,
With primroses, cowslips, and violets sweet,
With mints and with marigolds, and margoram meet,
Which now lieth uncleanly, and all ’long of thee:
That a shame recompense thee for hindring of me!
Mansipulus. Ah pretty prank-parnel, the cushion and book,
Whereon he should read and kneel are present, here look.
My lord, when he seeth me, he will cast such an eye,
As pinch will my heart near ready to die.
And thus wise and thus wise his hand will be walking,
With thou, precious knave: away; get thee packing.
[Here let him [pretend to] fight.
Haphazard. Nay then, by the mass, it’s time to be knacking:
No words at all, but to me he is pointing.
Nay, have at you again: you shall have your anointing.
Mansipula. Body of me, hold, if ye can!
What, will you kill such a proper man?
Haphazard. Nay, sure I have done, when women do speak.
Why would the knave my patience so break?
Mansipulus. Well, I must be gone, there is no remedy,
For fear my tail makes buttons, by mine honesty.
Haphazard. For reverence on your face, your nose and your chin.
By the gods, have ye heard such an unmannerly villain?
Mansipula. I never heard one so rank of rudeness.
Mansipulus. In faith, it is but for lack of lewdness.[173]
But here I burn day-light, while thus I am talking.
Away, come, Mansipula, let us be walking.
Mansipula. Contented, Mansipulus; have with thee with speed.
Haphazard. Nay, stay yet, my friends, I am not agreed.
Mansipula. We dare not tarry, by God, we swear.
Haphazard. Nay, tarry, take comfort with you for to bear:
It is but in hazard, and if you be miss’d,
And so it may happen you feel not his fist.
Perhaps he is stay’d by talk with some friend:
It is but in hazard: then sing, ere you wend.
Let hope be your helper, your care to defend.
Mansipulus. By hap or by hazard we sing, ere we cry;
Then sing, let us say so, let sorrow go by.
Mansipula. We can be but beaten, that is the worst.

Enter Subservus.

What how, Mansipulus! thou knave, art thou curs’d?
My lord standeth talking, and I gape for thee.
Come away, with a wannion! run, haste and hie.
Mansipulus. Nay, hearken, Subservus, stay, I pray thee:
Let us have a song, and then have with thee.
Subservus. Content, if thou hie thee.

Sing here all.

Hope so, and hap so, in hazard of threat’ning,
The worst that can hap, lo, in end is but beating.

Mansipulus [sings].

What, if my lording do chance for to miss me,
The worst that can happen is, cudgel will kiss me:
In such kind of sweetness, I swear by God’s mother,
It will please me better, it were on some other.
[All.] With thwick thwack, with thump thump,
With bobbing and bum,
Our side-saddle shoulders shall shield that doth come.
Hope so, and hap so, in hazard, &c.

Mansipula [sings].

If[174] case that my lady do threaten my case,
No cause to contrary, but bear her a space,
Until she draw home, lo, where so she will use me,
As Doctors doth doubt it, how I should excuse me.
[All.] With thwick thwack, with thump thump,
With bobbing and bum,
Our side-saddle shoulders shall shield that doth come.
Hope so, and hap so, in hazard, &c.

Subservus [sings].

What, if your company cause me have woe,
I mind not companions so soon to forego.
Let hope hold the helmet, till brunt it be past,
For blows are but buffets and words but a blast.
[All.] With thwick thwack, with thump thump,
With bobbing and bum,
Our side-saddle shoulders shall shield that doth come.
Hope so, and hap so, in hazard, &c.

Haphazard [sings].

Then let us be merry, it is but by hap,
A hazardly chance may harbour a clap:
Bestir ye, be merry, be glad and be joying,
For blows are but buffets and small time annoying.
[All.] With thwick thwack, with thump thump,
With bobbing and bum,
Our side-saddle shoulders shall shield that doth come.
Hope so, and hap so, in hazard, &c.
[The end of the song.

All speaketh this.

Haphazard, farewell: the gods do thank thee.
Haphazard. Farewell, my friends, farewell, go prank ye.
By the gods, Haphazard, these men have tried thee:
Who said thou wast no man, sure they belied thee.
By Jove, master merchant, by sea or by land,
Would get but small argent, if I did not stand
His very good master, I may say to you,
When he hazards in hope what hap will ensue.
In court I am no man:—by Cock, sir, ye lie—
A ploughman, perhaps, or ere that he die,
May hap be a gentleman, a courtier or captain;
And hap may so hazard he may go begging:
Perhaps that a gentleman, heir to great land,
Which selleth his living for money in hand,
In hazard it is the buying of more:
Perhaps he may ride, when spent is his store.
Hap may so hazard, the moon may so change,
That men may be masters, and wives will not range:
But in hazard it is in many a grange,
Lest wives wear the cod-piece, and maidens go strange.[175]
As peacocks sit perking by chance in the plumtree;
So maids would be masters by the guise of this country.
Haphazard each state full well that he marks,
If hap the sky fall, we may hap to have larks.
Well, fare ye well now for better or worse:
Put hands to your pockets, have mind to your purse.

Enter Judge Appius.

The furrowed face of fortune’s force my pinching pain doth move:
I, settled ruler of my realm, enforced am to love.
Judge Appius I, the princeliest judge that reigneth under sun,
And have been so esteemed long, but now my force is none:
I rule no more, but ruled am; I do not judge but am judged;
By beauty of Virginia my wisdom all is trudged.
O peerless dame, O passing piece, O face of such a feature,
That never erst with beauty such matched was by nature.
O fond Apelles, prattling fool, why boasteth thou so much,
The famous’t piece thou mad’st in Greece, whose lineaments were such?
Or why didst thou, deceived man, for beauty of thy work,
In such a sort with fond desire, where no kind life did lurk,
With raging fits, thou fool, run mad, O fond Pigmalion?
Yet sure, if that thou sawest my dear, the like thou could’st make none:
Then what may I? O gods above, bend down to hear my cry,
As once ye[176] did to Salmacis, in pond hard Lycia by.
O, that Virginia were in case as sometime Salmacis,
And in Hermophroditus stead myself might seek my bliss!
Ah gods, would I unfold her arms complecting of my neck?
Or would I hurt her nimble hand, or yield her such a check?
Would I gainsay her tender skin to bathe, where I do wash,
Or else refuse her soft, sweet lips to touch my naked flesh?
Nay! O, the gods do know my mind, I rather would require
To sue, to serve, to crouch, to kneel, to crave for my desire.
But out, ye gods! ye bend your brows, and frown to see me fare;
Ye do not force my fickle fate, ye do not weigh my care.
Unrighteous and unequal gods, unjust and eke unsure,
Woe worth the time ye made me live to see this hapless hour!
Did Iphis hang himself for love of lady not so fair?
Or else did Jove the cloudy mists bend down from lightsome air?
Or as the poets mention make of Inach’s daughter meek,
For love did he, too, make a cow, whom Inach long did seek?
Is love so great to cause the quick to enter into hell,
As stout Orpheus did attempt, as histories do tell?
Then what is it that love cannot? why, love did pierce the skies:
Why, Pheb and famous Mercury with love had blinded eyes.
But I, a judge, of grounded years, shall reap to me such name,
As shall resound dishonour great with trump of careless fame.
O, that my years were youthful yet, or that I were unwedded!

Here entereth Haphazard.

Why, cease, Sir Knight, for why perhaps of you she shall be bedded:
For follow my counsel, so may you me please,
That of careful resurging your heart shall have ease.
Appius. O thundering gods, that threaten ire
And plague for each offence,
Yourselves, I deem, would counsel crave
In this so fit pretence:
And eke your nimble stretched arms
With great rewards would fly,
To purchase fair Virginia,
So dear a wight, to me.
And, friend, I swear by Jupiter,
And eke by Juno’s seat,
And eke by all the mysteries,
Whereon thou canst entreat,
Thou shalt possess and have,
I will thee grant and give,
The greatest part of all my realm,
For aye thee to relieve.
Haphazard. Well then, this is my counsel, thus standeth the case;
Perhaps such a fetch as may please your grace:
There is no more ways,[177] but hap or hap not,
Either hap or else hapless, to knit up the knot:
And if you will hazard to venter what falls,
Perhaps that Haphazard will end all your thralls.
Appius. I mean so, I will so, if thou do persuade me,
To hap or to hazard what thing shall invade me?
I King and I Kaiser, I rule and overwhelm;
I do what it please me within this my realm.
Wherefore in thy judgment see that thou do enter:
Hap life or hap death, I surely will venter.
Haphazard. Then this and in this sort standeth the matter:
What need many words, unless I should flatter?
Full many there be will hazard their life,
Happ’ly to ease your grace of all your strife.
Of this kind of conspiracy now let us common.[178]
Some man Virginius before you must summon,
And say that Virginia is none of his daughter,
But that Virginius by night away caught her:
Then charge you the father his daughter to bring;
Then do you detain her, till proved be the thing:
Which well you may win her, she present in house.
It is but haphazard, a man or a mouse.

Here let him make as though he went out, and let Conscience and Justice come out after[180] him, and let Conscience hold in his hand a lamp burning, and let Justice have a sword, and hold it before Appius’ breast.

Appius. I find it, I mind it, I swear that I will,
Though shame or defame do happen, no skill.[179]
But out, I am wounded: how am I divided!
Two states of my life from me are now glided;
For Conscience he pricketh me contemned,
And Justice saith, judgment would have me condemned:
Conscience saith, cruelty sure will detest me;
And Justice saith, death in th’ end will molest me:
And both in one sudden me-thinks they do cry,
That fire eternal my soul shall destroy.
Haphazard. Why, these are but thoughts, man: why, fie for shame, fie!
For Conscience was careless and sailing by seas,
Was drowned in a basket and had a disease,
Sore moved for pity, when he would grant none,
For being hard-hearted was turned to a stone:
And sailing by Sandwich he sank for his sin.
Then care not for conscience the worth of a pin.
And judgment judge[d] Justice to have a reward
For judging still justly, but all now is marr’d;
For gifts they are given where judgment is none.
Thus judgment and justice a wrong way hath gone.
Then care not for Conscience the worth of a fable;
Justice is no man, nor nought to do able.
Appius. And sayest thou so, my ’sured friend? then hap as hap shall it:
Let Conscience grope and judgment crave, I will not shrink one whit.
I will persever in my thought: I will deflower her youth;
I will not sure reverted be, my heart shall have no ruth.
Come on, proceed, and wait on me, I will, hap woe or wealth:
Hap blunt, hap sharp, hap life, hap death: th[r]ough Haphazard be of health.
Haphazard. At hand (quoth pick-purse) here ready am I.
See well to the cut-purse: be ruled by me.

Enter Conscience.

Conscience. O clear unspotted gifts of Jove,
How haps thou art refused?
O Conscience clear, what cruel mind
Thy truth hath thus misused?
I spotted am by wilful will,
By lawless love and lust,
By dreadful danger of the life,
By faith that is unjust,
Justice. Ah gift of Jove, Ah Fortune’s face,
Ah state of steady life!
I Justice am, and prince of peers,
The end of laws and strife:
A guider of the common weal,
A guardian[181] to the poor;
And yet hath filthy lust suppress’d
My virtues in one hour.
Well, well, this is the most to trust,
In end we shall aspire
To see the end of these our foes
With sword and eke with fire.
Conscience. O help, ye gods, we members require.

Enter Haphazard.

When gain is no grandsire,[182]
And gauds nought set by;
Nor puddings nor pie-meat
Poor knaves will come nigh,
Then hap and Haphazard
Shall have a new coat.
And so it may happen
To cut covetousness’ throat.
Yea, then shall Judge Appius
Virginia obtain,
And geese shall crack mussels
Perhaps in the rain:
Larks shall be leverets,
And skip to and fro;
And churls shall be cods-heads,
Perhaps and also.
But peace, for man’s body!
Haphazard be mum!
Fie, prattling noddy,
Judge Appius is come.

Here entereth Judge Appius and Claudius.

The furies fell of Limbo lake
My princely days do short:
All drown’d in deadly ways I live,
That once did joy in sport.
I live and languish in my life,
As doth the wounded deer.
I thirst, I crave, I call and cry.
And yet am nought the near:[183]
And yet I have that me so match
Within the realm of mine:
But (Tantalus amids my care)
I hunger—starve, and pine.
As Sisyphus, I roll the stone
In vain to top of hill,
That ever more uncertainly
Revolving slideth still.
O, if to her ’twere as to me,[184]
What labours would I fly,
What raging seas would I not plough
To her commodity?
But out alas, I doubt it sore,
Lest drowsy Morpheus[185]
His slumb’ry kingdoms planted hath
With dews unbeauteous.[186]
O gods above that rule the skies:
Ye babes that brag in bliss:
Ye goddesses, ye Graces, you,
What burning brunt is this?
Bend down your ire, destroy me quick.
Or else to grant me grace,
No more, but that my burning breast
Virginia may embrace.[187]
If case your ears be dead and deaf,
The fiend and spirits below,
You careless carls of Limbo lake,
Your forced mights do show.
Thou caitif king of darksome dens,
Thou Pluto, plagued knave,
Send forth thy sacred vengeance straight,
Consume them to the grave,
That will not aid my case—
Claudius. Content, and if it like your grace,
I will attempt the deed:
I summon will Virginius
Before your seat with speed.
Haphazard. Do so, my lord: be you not afraid,
And so you may happen to hazard the maid:
It is but in hazard and may come by hap:
Win her or lose her, try you the trap.
Appius. By the gods, I consent to thee, Claudius, now;
Prepare thee in haste Virginius unto.
Charge him, command him, upon his allegiance,
With all kind of speed to yield his obeisance,
Before my seat in my consistory,
Subpœnâ of land, life and treasury.
No let, no stay, nor ought perturbance
Shall cause me to omit the furtherance
Of this my weighty charge.
[Here let Claudius go out with Haphazard.
Appius. Well, now I range at large my will for to express;
For look, how Tarquin Lucrece fair by force did once oppress,
Even so will I Virginia use.
[Here let Conscience speak within.
Judge Appius, prince, O stay, refuse;
Be ruled by thy friend!
What bloody death with open shame
Did Tarquin gain in end?
Appius. Whence does this pinching sound descend?
Conscience. From contrite Conscience, pricked on
By member of thy life,
Inforced for to cry and call,
And all to end our strife.
Appius. Who art thou then? declare; be brief!
Conscience. Not flesh nor filthy lust I am,
But secret Conscience I,
Compell’d to cry with trembling soul,
At point near-hand to die.
Appius. Why, no disease hath me approach’d, no grief doth make me grudge,
But want of fair Virginia, whose beauty is my judge:
By her I live, by her I die, for her I joy or woe,
For her my soul doth sink or swim, for her I swear I go.
Conscience. Ah gods, what wits doth reign! and yet to you unknowen,
I die the death, and soul doth sink this filthy flesh hath sowen.
Appius. I force it not; I will attempt: I stay for Claudius here;
Yet will I go to meet with him, to know what news and cheer.

Here entereth Haphazard.

Haste for a hangman in hazard of hemp:
Run for a ridduck, there is no such imp.
Claudius is knocking with hammer and stone
At Virginius’ gate, as hard as he can lay on.
By the gods, my masters, Haphazard is hardy,
For he will run rashly, be they never so many:
Yea, he will sing sow’s snout, and snap with the best.
But peace! who comes yonder, that jolly good guest?

Here enter with a song.[188]

When men will seem misdoubtfully
Without an why to call and cry,
And fearing with temerity its jeopardy of liberty,
We wish him to take to cheer his heart Haphazard,
Bold [as] blind bayard.
A fig for his uncourtesy
That seeks to shun good company.
Mansipulus. What if case that cruelty should bustle me and jostle me,
And Holywand should tickle me for keeping of good company,
I’ll follow, by my honesty, hap Haphazard, bold [as] blind bayard.
A fig for his uncourtesy that seeks to shun good company.

All sing this.

When men will seem misdoubtfully
Without an why to call and cry, &c.
Mansipula. Never was that mistress so furious nor curious,
Nor yet her blows so boisterous, nor roisterous, nor dolorous,
But sure I would venture,[189] hap Haphazard, bold [as] blind bayard.
A fig for his uncourtesy that seeks to shun good company.

All sing this.

When men will seem misdoubtfully
Without an why to call and cry, &c.
Haphazard. Then wend ye on and follow me, Mansipula, Mansipula,
Let croping cares be cast away, come follow me, come follow me.
Subservus is a jolly lout, brace Haphazard, bold [as] blind bayard.
A fig for his uncourtesy that seeks to shun good company.

All sing this.

When men will seem misdoubtfully
Without an why to call and cry, &c.
[The end of the song.

Here Haphazard speaketh.

Ay, by the gods, my masters, I told you plain,
Who companies with me will desire me again.
But how did ye speed, I pray ye show me?
Was all well agreed? did nobody blow ye?
Mansipulus. Mass, sir, hap did so happen, that my lord and master
Stayed in beholding and viewing the pasture,
Which when I perceived, what excuse did I make?
I came in the crossway on the nearside the Forlake,
Hard by Hodge’s half acre, at Gaffer Miller’s stile,
The next way round about, by the space of a mile.
And at Simkin’s side-ridge my lord stood talking,
And angerly to me quoth he, Where hast thou been walking?
Without any staggering, I had ready my lie:
Out at bridge-meadow and at Benol’s lease (quoth I).
Your fatlings are feeding well, sir, the gods be praised,
A goodly loume of beef on them is already raised.
Then out steps Francis Fabulator, that was never my friend:
How pass’d you Carter’s hay-rick at Long Meadow end?
There might one (quoth he) within this few days
With a cast-net had given four knaves great essays,
Under the hedge with a pair of new cards both rip and fledge.
Is it true? quoth my Lord: will this gear never be left?
This causes swearing and staring, prowling and theft.
Well (quoth my lord) take heed, lest I find it,
And so pass’d his way, and did no more mind it.
Haphazard. By the gods, that was sport, yea, and sport alone.
Mansipula. Yea; but I was in a worse case, by Saint John.
My lady in church was set full devout,
And hearing my coming she turned about;
But as soon as I heard her snappishly sound,
In this sort I crouched me down to the ground,
And mannerly made,[190] as though I were sad.[191]
As soon as the pew then strawed I had,
She gave me a wink and frowardly frown,
Whereby I do judge she would cudgel my gown.
Then I did devise a pretty fine prank,
A mean whereby to pick me a thank,
Of Margery Mildon, the maid of the milk-house,
And Stainer the stutter,[192] the guid[193] of the storehouse.
Then was my lady’s anger well gone,
And will be so still, and the truth be not known.
Haphazard. By ’r Lady barefoot, this bakes trimly.
Subservus. Nay, but I escaped more finely;
For I under this hedge one while did stay.
Then in this bush, then in that way:
Then slip I behind them among all the rest,
And seemed to commune, too, of things with the best:
But so it did happen, that all things were well,
But hazard it is, lest time will truth tell.
Haphazard. Tut, tut, that was but by hap, and if it be so:
Well, sith it was in hazard, then let it go.
Subservus. Content, by my honesty: then farewell all woe.
Mansipulus. Come out, dog, ye speak happily, of truth, if it be so.
All speak. Now, Master Haphazard, fare you well for a season.
Haphazard. Let my counsel at no time with you lie geason.[194]
All speaketh. No, by the gods, he sure not so.
Haphazard. Well, sith here is no company, have with ye to Jericho.

Enter Virginius.

What! so the gods they have decreed to work and do by me?
I marvel why Judge Appius he such greetings lets me see:
I served have his seat and state, I have maintained his weal,
I have suppress’d the rebels stout, I bear to him such zeal;
And now he sends to me such charge upon my life and lands
Without demur or further pause, or ere ought thing[195] be scann’d,
That I in haste with posting speed to court I do repair,
To answer that alleged is before his judgment-chair.
Some histories they do express, when such mishaps do fall,
They should have taken many a one; I have not one but all.
My jewels sometime precious do fade and bear no hue,
My senses they do shun their course, my lights do burn as blue;
My willing wits[196] are waxed slow, that once were swift in speed;
My heart it throbs in wonderous sort, my nose doth often bleed:
My dreadful dreams do draw my woe, and hateful hazard hale.[197]
These tokens of evil hap, this is the old wive’s tale.
But yet, O thou Virginius, whose hoary hairs are old,
Did’st treason never yet commit, of this thou may’st be bold.
In Mars his games, in martial feats thou wast his only aid.
The huge Charibd his hazards[198] thou for him hast[199] oft assail’d:
Was Scylla’s force by thee oft shunn’d, or yet Lady Circe’s[200] land,
Pasiphae’s[201] child, the[202] Minotaur, did cause thee ever stand?
To pleasure him, to serve thy liege,[203] to keep all things upright,
Thou God above, then what is it that yieldeth me this spite?
Sith nothing needs misdoubted be, where grounded cause is none,
I enter will Judge Appius’ gate, rejecting care and moan.
But stay, Virginius: lo, thy prince doth enter into place,
O sovereign lord and rightful judge, the gods do save thy grace.

Here entereth Judge Appius and Claudius.

With tender heart, Virginius, thou welcome art to me.
I sorry am to utter out the things I hear of thee;
For Claudius, a subject here, a man of mickle fame,
Appealeth thee before my court in deed of open shame.
And though indeed I love thee so as thy deserts desire,
Yet not so but I must judgment give, as justice doth require.
Virginius. My lord, and reason good it is: your servant doth request
No partial hand to aid his cause, no partial mind or breast.
If ought I have offended you, your court or eke your crown,
From lofty top of turret high precipitate me down.
If treason none by me be done, or any fault committed.
Let my accusers bear the blame, and let me be remitted.
Appius. Good reason, too, Virginius. Come, Claudius, show thy mind:
Let justice hear, if judgment may Virginius guilty find.
Claudius. Thou sovereign lord and rightful judge, this[204] standeth now the case.
In tender youth, not long agone, near sixteen years of space,
Virginius a thrall of mine, a child and infant young,
From me did take by subtle means, and keeps by arm full strong:
And here before your grace I crave, that justice be extended,
That I may have my thrall again, and faults may be amended.
Virginius. Ah gods, that guide the globe above, what forged tales I hear!
O Judge Appius, bend your ears, while this my crime I clear.
She is my child, and of my wife her tender corpse did spring:
Let all the country where I dwell bear witness of the thing.
[Appius and Claudius go forth, but Appius speaketh this.
Nay, by the gods, not so, my friend, I do not so decree:
I charge thee here in pain of death thou bring the maid to me.
In chamber close, in prison sound, she secret shall abide,
And no kind of wight shall talk with her, until the truth be tried.
This do I charge, this I command: in pain of death, let see,
Without any let that she be brought as prisoner unto me.
[Here let Virginius go about the scaffold.
Ah fickle fall, unhappy doom, O most uncertain fate,[205]
That ever chance so churlishly, that never stay’d in state.
What judge is this? what cruel wretch? what faith doth Claudius find?
The gods do recompense with shame his false and faithless mind!
Well, home I must, no remedy; where shall my soaking tears.
Augment my woes, decrease my joys, while death do rid my fears.

Here entereth Rumour.

Come, Ventus, come: blow forth thy blast:
Prince Eol, listen well:
The filthiest fact that ever was
I, Rumour, now shall tell.
You gods, bend down to hear my cry,
Revengement duly show,
Thy Rumour craves, bid[206] Claudius stay,[207]
And bring Judge Appius low.
That wicked man, that fleshly judge,
Hath hired Claudius
To claim a child, the only heir
Of old Virginius:
A virgin pure, a queen in life,
Whose state may be deplored;
For why the queen of chaste life
Is like to be deflow’red
By false Judge Appius, cruel wretch,
Who straitly hath commanded,
That she to keeping his be brought:
Prince Pluto this demanded.
To skies I fly, to blaze abroad
The tromp of deep defame.
Revenge, you gods, this Rumour craves,
This blood and bloody shame.
Have through the air! give place, you airs,
This is my duty done.
The gods confound such lecherers!
Lo, Rumour, this I run.
Virginius. O man, O mould, O muck, O clay! O hell, O hellish hound,
O false Judge Appius, rabbling[208] wretch, is this thy treason found?
Woe worth the man that gave the seed, whereby ye first did spring!
Woe worth the womb that bare the babe to mean this bloody thing!
Woe worth the paps that gave thee suck, woe worth the fosters eke:
Woe worth all such as ever did thy health or liking seek!
O, that these gravèd hairs[209] of mine were covered in the clay!

Here entereth Virginia.

Let patience, dear father mine, your rigour something stay:
Why do you wail in such a sort? why do you weep and moan?
Virginius. O daughter dear and only heir, my life is near begone,
And all for love of thee.
Virginia. Ah, gods, how may this be?
Dear father, do withdraw your dread, and let me know the cause:
Myself will aid with life or death without demur or pause.
Then tender your child that craveth this bound.[210]
Virginius. O, hearken, dear daughter, attend thou my sound.
Judge Appius, prick’d forth with filthy desire,
Thy person as leman doth greatly require;
And no kind of entreaty, no fear, nor no shame,
Will he hear alleged, defending[211] the same.
And straight without staying, in pain of my death,
I must bring thee thither. Wherefore stop my breath.
O sisters; I search, I seek, and I crave
No more at your hands but death for to have,
Rather than see my daughter deflow’red,
Or else in ill sort so wildly devour’d.
Virginia. O father, O friendship, O fatherly favour,
Whose dulcet words so sweetly do savour,
On knees I beseech thee to grant my request,
In all things according as liketh thee best.
Thou knowest, O my father, if I be once spotted,
My name and my kindred then forth will be blotted:
And if thou, my father, should die for my cause,
The world would accompt me guilty in cause.
Then rather, dear father, if it be thy pleasure,
Grant me the death; then keep I my treasure,
My lamp, my light, my life undefiled,
And so may Judge Appius of [my] flesh be beguiled.
This upon my knees with humble behest,
Grant me, O father, my instant request.
Virginius. Then rise up, my daughter: my answer do note
From mouth of thy father, whose eyes do now float.
O daughter, O dear, O darling, O dame,
Dispatch me, I pray thee, regard not my name:
But yet as thou sayest, sith remedy none,
But leman thou must be, if I were gone,
And better it is to die with good fame,
Than longer to live to reap us but shame:
But if thou do die no doubt is at all,
But presently after myself follow shall,
Then end without shame, so let us persever,
With trump of good fame, so die shall we never.
[Virginia here kneeleth.
Then, tender arms, complect the neck: do dry thy father’s tears,
You nimble hands, for woe whereof my loving heart it wears.
Virginia. O father mine, refrain no whit your sharped knife to take
From gilded[212] sheath my shame to end, and body dead to make.
Let not the shameless bloody judge defile my virgin’s life;
Do take my head, and send it him upon your bloody knife:
Bid him imbrue his bloody hands in guiltless blood of me:
I virgin die, he lecher lives; he was my end, you see.
No more delays—lo, kiss me first, then stretch your strongest arm:
Do rid my woe, increase my joy, do ease your child of harm.
Virginius. O weary wits of woe or wealth, O feeble aged man,
How can thy arm give such a blow! thy death I wish thee then!
But sith that shame with endless trump will sound, if case thy joy
By[213] means of false Judge Appius be, myself will thee destroy.
Forgive me, babe, this bloody deed, and meekly take thy end.
[Here let him proffer a blow.
Virginia. The gods forgive thee, father dear! farewell, thy blow do bend.
Yet stay a while, O father dear, for flesh to death is frail:
Let first my wimple bind my eyes, and then thy blow assail.
Now, father, work thy will on me, that life I may enjoy.
[Here tie a handkercher about her eyes, and then strike off her head.
Now stretch thy hand, Virginius, that loth would flesh destroy.
O cruel hands, O[214] bloody knife, O man, what hast thou done?
Thy daughter dear and only heir her vital end hath won.
Come, fatal blade, make like despatch: come, Atropos: come, aid![215]
Strike home, thou careless arm, with speed; of death be not afraid.

Here entereth Comfort.

O noble knight, Virginius, do stay, be not dismay’d:
I, curing Comfort, present am, your dolor [for] to aid.
Virginius. Sith joy is gone, sith life is dead,
What comfort can there be?
No more! there is but deep despair,
And deadly death to me.
Comfort. No more, Sir Knight, but take the head, and wend a while with me:
It shall be sent to court, for that Judge Appius may it see.
In recompense of lecher’s lust this present let him have,
And stay your corpse for certain space in coping from the grave:
So shall you see the end of him and all his whole concent.[216]
This will be comfort to your heart: Virginius, be content.
Virginius. Of truth, even so, for comfort else I know right well is none,
Wherefore I do consent with you: come on, let us be gone.
But messenger myself will be, myself will give the gift.
Come on, good Comfort, wend we then; there is no other shift.

Here entereth Judge Appius.

Well, hap as hap can, hap or no,
In hazard it is, but let that go.
I will, what so happen, pursue on still:
Why, none there is living can let me my will.
I will have Virginia; I will her deflow’r,
Else rigorous sword her heart shall devour.

Here entereth Haphazard.

I came from Caleco even the same hour,
And Hap was hired to hackney in hempstrid:
In hazard he was of riding on beamstrid.
Then, crow crop on tree-top, hoist up the sail,
Then groaned their necks by the weight of their tail:
Then did Carnifex put these three together,
Paid them their passport for clust’ring thither.
Appius. Why, how now, Haphazard, of what dost thou speak?
Methinks in mad sort thy talk thou dost break.
Those three words, chop all in one,
Is Carnifex: that signifieth hangman.
Peace! no such words before me do utter.
Haphazard. Nay, I lie as still as a cat in a gutter.
Go to, Judge Appius; go forward, good prince:
Perhaps ye may have that the which will not blince.
Appius. What is the man that liveth now so near to door of death,
As I for lust of lady fair, whose lack will stop my breath?
But long I shall not want her sight, I stay her coming here.
O lucky light! lo, present here her father doth appear.
O, how I joy! yet brag thou not; dame beauty bides behind.
Virginius, where is the maid? how haps thou break my mind?

Here entereth Virginius [bearing Virginia’s head.]

Ah wicked judge, the virgin chaste
Hath sent her beauteous face,
In recompense of lecher gain,
To thee, so void of grace.
She bids thee imbrue thy bloody hands
And filthy lecherous mind
With Venus’ damsels, void of shame,
Where such thou haps to find.
But thou as with Diana’s imps
Shalt never be acquainted:
They rather wish the naked knife
Than virgin’s life attainted.
And in[217] just proof whereof
Behold Virginia’s head:
She sought her fame, thou sought her shame:
This arm hath smit her dead.
Appius. O curst and cruel cankered churl, O carl unnatural;
Which hast the seed of thine own loin[218] thrust forth to funeral!
Ye gods, bend down your ire, do plague him for his deed,
You sprites below, you hellish hounds, do give him gall for meed.
Myself will see his latter end; I judge him to the death.
Like death that fair Virginia took, the like shall stop his breath;
The flashy[219] fiends of Limbo lake his ghost do so turmoil,
That he have need of Charon’s help for all his filthy toil.
Come, Justice, then; come on, Reward; come, aid me in my need.
Thou wicked knight, shalt slaughtered[220] be with self-same knife with speed.
Virginius. Sith she a virgin pure and chaste in heaven leads her life,
Content I am to die with her, and die upon her knife.
Appius. Come, Justice, then: come on, Reward, when Judgment now doth call.

Here entereth Justice and Reward, and they both speak this.

We both are ready here at hand to work thy fatal fall.
Justice [speaketh]. O gorgon judge, what lawless life hast thou most wicked led!
Thy soaking sin hath sunk thy soul, thy virtues all are fled.
Thou chaste and undefiled life did seek for to have spotted,
And thy reward is ready here, by Justice now allotted.
Reward. Thy just reward is deadly death; wherefore come, wend away:
To death I straight will do thy corpse; then lust shall have his prey.
Virginius, thou woful knight, come near and take thy foe.
In prison [do] thou make him fast: no more let him do so.
Let Claudius for tyranny be hanged on a tree.
Virginius. Ah, right Reward: the gods be bless’d, this day I chance to see!

Enter Haphazard.

Haphazard. Why, how now, my lord Appius, what cheer?
Why, where is my reward for this gear?
Why did I ride, run, and revel,
And for all my jaunting now made a javel?
Why—run, sir knave, call me Claudius?
Then—run with a vengeance, watch Virginius:
Then—ride, sirrah; is Virginia at church?
Then—gallop to see where her father doth lurch.
Then—up, sirrah; now what counsel?
Of dame beauty what news canst thou tell?
Thus in hurly burly, from pillar to post,
Poor Haphazard daily was toss’d;
And now with Virginius he goes sadly walking,
And nothing at all will listen my talking:
But shall I be so used at his hands?
As lief I were near in Limbo bands.
That dronel, that drousy drakenosed drivel,
He never learned his manners in Siville.[221]
A judge may cause a gentleman—a gentleman? nay, a jack-herring,
As honest as he that carries his hose on his neck for fear of wearing.
A caitiff, a cut-throat, a churl worthy blame.
I will serve him no longer, the devil give him shame!
Yet, by the mouse-foot, I am not content,
I will have a reward, sure, else will I repent.
To master Reward I straightways will go:
The worst that can hap is but a no.
But sure I know his honesty is such,
That he will recompense me with little or much:
And well this proverb cometh in my head,
By ’r lady, half a loaf is better than ne’er a whit of bread.
Therefore hap and be happy,[222] hap that hap may,
I will put it in hazard, I[’ll] give it assay.
All hail, Master Reward and righteous Justice:
I beseech you let me be recompensed too, according to my service;
For why all this long time I have lived in hope.
Reward. Then for thy reward, then, here is a rope.
Haphazard. Nay, soft, my masters: by Saint Thomas of Trunions,
I am not disposed to buy of your onions.
A rope? (quoth you) away with that showing!
It would grieve a man having two ploughs going.
Nay, stay, I pray you, and let the cat wink:
It is naught in dry summer for-letting my drink.[223]
Justice. Let or let not, there is no remedy: hanging shall be thy reward verily.
Haphazard. Is there nothing but hanging to my lot doth fall?
Then take you my reward; much good do it you withal.
I am not so hasty, although I be claiming,
But that I can afford you the most of my gaining.
I will set, let, grant, yield, permit and promise
All the revenues to you of my service.
I am friendly, I am kindly, I proffer you fair:
You shall be my full executor and heir.
Reward. Nay, make you ready first to die, by the rood,
Then we will dispose it, as we think good:
Then those that with you to this did consent,
The like reward shall cause them repent.
Justice. Nay, stay a while, Virginius is coming.
Nay, soft, Haphazard, you are not so cunning,
Thus to escape without punishment.
[Haphazard presses to go forth, but is forced to stay.][224]
Reward. No, certes, it is not so expedient.

Here entereth Virginius.

O noble Justice, duty done, behold I come again,
To show you that Appius he himself hath lewdly slain.
As soon as he in prison was enclosed out of sight,
He desperate for bloody deed did sle himself outright;
And Claudius doth mercy crave, who did the deed for fear.
Vouchsafe, O judge, to save his life, though country he forbear.
Justice. We grant him grace at thy request, but banish him the land.
And see that death be done outright on him that here doth stand.
Haphazard. Nay, Master Virginius, [Take him by the hand.[225]] I crave not for service the thing worth ought:
Hanging, quoth you? it is the last end of my thought.
Fie for shame, fie—stay, by my father’s soul,
Why, this is like to Tom Turner’s dole:
Hang one man and save all the rest!
Take part one with another: plain dealing is best.
Reward. This is our dealing; thus deal we with thee.
Take him hence, Virginius; go, truss him to a tree.
Haphazard. Shall ye,[226] in a rope’s name? whither away with me?
Virginius. Come, wend thou in haste thy death for to take,
To the hangman I will lead thee, a quick despatch to make.
Haphazard. Must I needs hang? by the gods, it doth spite me
To think how crabbedly this silk lace will bite me.
Then come, cousin Cutpurse, come, run, haste and follow me:
Haphazard must hang; come, follow the livery.
Justice.. Well, wend we now: the final end of fleshly lust we see.
Reward. Content: Reward is ready bent with Justice to agree.

Here entereth Fame [with Doctrina and Memory bearing a tomb, also Virginius].[227]

O stay, you noble Justice, stay! Reward, do make no haste.
We ladies three have brought the corse, in earth that must be placed.
We have brought back Virginius the funeral to see.
I grant him that the learned pen shall have the aid of me,
To write in learned verse the honour of her name.
Fame. And eke it shall resound by trump of me Dame Fame.
[Here let Memory write on the tomb.
I Memory will mind her life: her death shall ever reign
Within the mouth and mind of man, from age to age again.
Justice. And Justice, sure, will aid all those that imitate her life.
Reward. And I Reward will punish those that move such dames to strife.
Fame. Then sing we round about the tomb, in honour of her name.
Reward. Content we are with willing mind to sing with sound of Fame.


As earthly life is granted none for evermore to reign,
But denting death will cause them all to grant this world as vain;
Right worshipful, sith sure it is that mortal life must vade,
Do practise then to win his love, that all in all hath made.
And by this poet’s feigning here example do you take
Of Virginia’s life of chastity, of duty to thy make;
Of love to wife, of love to spouse, of love to husband dear,
Of bringing up of tender youth: all these are noted here.
I doubt it not, right worshipful, but well you do conceive
The matter that is ended now, and thus I take my leave:
Beseeching God, as duty is, our gracious Queen to save
The nobles and the commons eke, with prosperous life, I crave!


[150] This list is inserted in the centre of the title page of the old copy. [The title runs as follows: “A new Tragicall Comedie of Apius and Virginia. Wherein is liuely expressed a rare example of the vertue of Chastitie by Virginias Constancy in wishing rather to be slaine at her owne Fathers handes, then to be dishonored of the wicked Iudge Apius. By R. B. The players’ names (as above). Imprinted at London by William How for Richard Ihones. 1575.”]

[151] It was well to reprint this singular production, if only to rescue it from the ravages of time. The old copy has received damage, and is fast decaying: the beginnings of the nine following lines have crumbled away, but it has not been difficult to restore the words, or parts of words lost.

[152] [These Latin lines are full of false grammar, sense, and quantities, of which some are beyond conjecture.]

[153] [Old copy has like.]

[154] [Old copy, infected.]

[155] [Old copy, detected.]

[156] [Old copy, Thy sufferent.]

[157] [Old copy, feare.]

[158] The old copy gives this line to Virginius.

[159] [[i.e., The earth. Old copy, Glope.]

[160] [Old copy gives this line to Virginia.]

[161] [Old copy has keyser to, ber.]

[162] [In the old copy this line runs thus—

“I babe, and I blisse, your health am againe.”]

[163] In the old copy the word earth is repeated.

[164] [Old copy, When.]

[165] The old copy reads “to nurtue to be brought,” but it is probably a misprint.

[166] [Old copy, Exit, but all three leave the stage.]

[167] [The ordinary proverb runs, “Who sups,” &c.]

[168] [A sleepy-head or a stupid.]

[169] [For the future.]

[170] This allusion to the sweat, a word anciently used as synonymous with the plague, seems to fix the date, when “Appius and Virginia” was written, in 1563: according to Camden’s Annals, there was then “a raging plague in London.”

[171] [Old copy, Bayberry.]

[172] [Strown.]

[173] [Knowledge, perception.]

[174] [If the case be that.]

[175] [Old copy, coy strange.]

[176] [Old copy, he.]

[177] [Old copy, wages.]

[178] [[i.e., Commune.]

[179] No matter.

[180] [Old copy, of.]

[181] [Old copy, gwerdon.]

[182] [It at first appeared as if gransier, the reading of the old copy, was an error or corruption for gain, sir, but possibly the word is used in the sense of great.]

[183] [The nearer.]

[184] [Old copy, as if to her it were to me.]

[185] [To be pronounced as a trisyllable here.]

[186] [Old copy, Graunted ... With dewes and bewteous. It is conceivable that beauteous may be misprinted for beauty’s use, and the meaning of the passage may then be, that Virginia had forgotten him (Appius), or, in the words of the writer, “That drowsy Morpheus has granted his slumb’ry kingdom to beauty’s use?”]

[187] [Old copy, imbace.]

[188] Mansipulus, Mansipula, and Subservus enter, but their names are omitted.

[189] [Old copy, venterous.]

[190] [Old copy, maude.]

[191] [Serious.]

[192] [Stutterer.]

[193] [Query, guide, carter.]

[194] [Scarce.]

[195] [Old copy, things.]

[196] [Old copy, wights.]

[197] [See Halliwell in v. Hale.]

[198] [The dangers of Charybdis.]

[199] [Old copy, was.]

[200] [Old copy, Adrice.]

[201] [Old copy, Laceface.]

[202] [Old copy, that.]

[203] [Old copy, leach.]

[204] [Thus.]

[205] [Old copy, faul ... rate.]

[206] [Old copy, did.]

[207] [Old copy, lay.]

[208] [Intriguing, insinuating.]

[209] [Vexed or troubled hairs. Old copy, the graued yeares.]

[210] [Boon.]

[211] Opposing, preventing.

[212] [Old copy, giltes.]

[213] [Old copy, thou joy, My meanes.]

[214] [Old copy, or.]

[215] [Old copy, end.]

[216] [Old copy, consent. Concent here must be understood to signify following or adherents.]

[217] [Old copy, In end.]

[218] [Old copy, lym.]

[219] [Old copy, flasky. Perhaps even flashy may not be the true word. See Nares, 1859, in v. Could the author have written dusky?]

[220] [Old copy, shal slaughter.]

[221] [Seville. So for the sake of the jeu de mot.]

[222] [Old copy, happely]

[223] [Old copy, naught ... for letting—the meaning being apparently “It is too bad of you to stop my drink in this dry weather by hanging me.”]

[224] [Old copy, Prece to go foorth.]

[225] The words “take him by the hand” [in the old copy form part of the text].

[226] [Old copy, ye shall.]

[227] [This stage direction, in the old copy, is divided into two portions, but all appear to enter together. The old copy reads also, as if it was Virginius who brought in the tomb; but surely it is Doctrina and Memory who do so.]



A lamentable tragedy mixed ful of pleasant mirth, conteyning the life of Cambises King of Percia, from the beginning of his kingdom vnto his death, his one good deed of execution, after that many wicked deeds and tirannous murders, committed by and through him, and last of all his odious death by Gods Iustice appointed, in such order as followeth. By Thomas Preston.


For one man.

For one man.

For one man.

For one man.

For one man.

For one man.

For one man.

For one man.

[Col.] Imprinted at London by John Allde. 4o. Black letter.

A Lamentable Tragedie, &c. [Col.] Imprinted at London by Edward Allde. 4o. Black letter.


This is the play that Shakespeare is supposed to allude to, when he introduces Falstaff speaking in King Cambyses’ vein, in the “FirstPart of King Henry the Fourth.”[228] It was written early in the reign of Elizabeth (according to some in 1561), by Thomas Preston, M.A., Fellow of King’s College, and afterwards L.D. and Master of Trinity Hall, in Cambridge. He performed so admirably well in the tragedy of Dido, before Queen Elizabeth, when she was entertained in that university in 1564; and did so genteelly and gracefully dispute before her, that she gave him £20 per annum for so doing. See Thomas Hatcher, or his continuator, in the catalogue of provosts, fellows, and scholars of King’s College—MS. under the year 1560 (Oldys’ MSS. Notes on Langbaine).

The play is here given from a black-letter copy in Mr Garrick’s collection, printed by John Allde. [There is a second edition from the press of his son and successor Edward Allde; both are undated.[229]] The prologue and great part of “Cambyses” was written by the author in long Alexandrines, which the narrowness of the page rendered it necessary here to subdivide.

The prevailing turn for drollery and comic humour was at first so strong, that in order to gratify it even in more serious and solemn scenes, it was necessary still to retain the Vice or artful Buffoon, who (like his contemporary the privileged Fool in the courts of princes and castles of great men) was wont to enter into the most stately assemblies and vent his humour without restraint. We have a specimen of this character in the play of “Cambyses,” where Ambidexter, who is expressly called the Vice, enters “with an old capcase for a helmet and a skimmer for his sword,” in order, as the author expresses it, “to make pastime.”[230]

[Besides his play of “Cambyses,” Preston wrote and published two ballads,[231] of which Hazlitt gives the full titles, and perhaps other things lost or unrecovered. The best parts of “Cambyses” are the comic scenes, or those portions of the dialogue which are spoken by Ambidexter; these seem to indicate that Preston would have been more successful if he had avoided the tragic vein altogether; but his language is harsh and unpolished even for the time, as if the play had been written some years before it appeared in type. Yet this is scarcely probable, from the allusion to Bishop Bonner towards the conclusion.

With the admirable comedy of “Ralph Roister Doister” before their eyes, it might seem strange that later writers should have relapsed into comparative barbarism, if we had not abundant evidence of such degeneracy in every period of the history of our dramatic literature, including that which followed the publication of the unrivalled works of Shakespeare himself.]

The Prologue entereth.

Agathon, he whose counsel wise
To princes weal extended,
By good advice unto a prince
Three things he hath commended
First is, that he hath government,
And ruleth over men;
Secondly, to rule with laws,
Eke justice (saith he) then;
Thirdly, that he must well conceive,
He may not always reign:
Lo, thus the rule unto a prince
Agathon squared plain.
Tully the wise, whose sapience
In volumes great doth tell,
Who in wisdom in that time
Did many men excel,
A prince (saith he) is of himself
A plain and speaking law,
The law, a schoolmaster divine,
This by his rule I draw.
The sage and witty Seneca
His words thereto did frame;
The honest exercise of kings,
Men will ensue the same.
But contrary-wise, if that a king
Abuse his kingly seat,
His ignomy and bitter shame
In fine shall be more great.
In Persia there reign’d a king,
Who Cyrus hight by name,
Who did deserve, as I do read,
The lasting blast of fame:
But he, when sisters three had wrought
To shear his vital thread,
As heir due to take the crown,
Cambyses did proceed;
He in his youth was trained up
By trace of virtue’s lore,
Yet (being king) did clean forget
His perfect race before.
Then cleaving more unto his will,
Such vice did imitate,
As one of Icarus his kind,
Forewarning then did hate;
Thinking that none could him dismay
Ne none his facts could see;
Yet at the last a fall he took,
Like Icarus to be.
Else as the fish, which oft had take
The pleasant bait from hook,
In safe did spring, and pierce the streams,
When fisher fast did look,
To hoist up from the wat’ry waves
Unto the dried land,
Then scap’d, at last by subtle bait
Come to the fisher’s hand:
Even so this king Cambyses here,
When he had wrought his will,
Taking delight the innocent
His guiltless blood to spill;
Then mighty Jove would not permit
To prosecute offence,
But what measure the king did meet,
The same did Jove commence.
To bring to end with shame his race,
Two years he did not reign:
His cruelty we will dilate,
And make the matter plain;
Craving that this may suffice now,
Your patience to win:
I take my way; behold, I see
The players coming in.



First enter Cambyses the king, Knight, and Councillor.


My Council grave and sapient,
With lords of legal train,
Attentive ears towards bend,
And mark what shall be sain.
So you likewise, my valiant knight,
Whose manly acts doth fly,
By brute of fame the sounding trump
Doth pierce the azure sky:
My sapient words, I say, perpend,
And so your skill dilate.
You know that Mors vanquished hath
Cyrus that king of state;
And I, by due inheritance,
Possess that princely crown,
Ruling by sword of mighty force
In place of great renown.
You know, and often have heard tell,
My father’s worthy facts;
A manly Mars’ heart he bare,
Appearing by his acts.
And what, shall I to ground let fall
My father’s golden praise?
No, no; I mean for to attempt
This fame more large to raise,
In that that I, his son, succeed
His kingly seat as due:
Extend your counsel unto me
In that I ask of you.
I am the King of Persia,
A large and fertile soil:
The Egyptians against us repugn,
As varlets slave and vile;
Therefore I mean with Mars’ heart,
With wars them to frequent,
Them to subdue as captives mine,
This is my heart’s intent:
So shall I win honour’s delight,
And praise of me shall go.
My Council, speak; and lordings eke,
Is it not best do so?


O puissant king, your blissful words
Deserves abundant praise,
That you in this do go about
Your father’s fame to raise.
O blissful day, that king so young
Such profit should conceive;
His father’s praise and his to win,
From those that would deceive.
Sure, my true and sovereign king,
I fall before you prest,
Answer to give as duty mine,
In that your grace request.
If that your heart addicted be,
The Egyptians to convince,
Through Mars’ aid the conquest won,
Then deed of happy prince
Shall pierce the skies unto the throne
Of the supernal seat,
And merit there a just reward
Of Jupiter the great.
But then your grace must not turn back
From this pretenced will,
For to proceed in virtuous life,
Employ endeavour still;
Extinguish vice, and in that cup
To drink have no delight:
To martial feats and kingly sports
Fix all your whole delight,


My Council grave, a thousand thanks
With heart I do you render.
That you my case so prosperous
Entirely do tender:
I will not swerve from those your steps,
Whereto you would me train.
But now, my lord and valiant knight,
With words give answer plain:
Are you content with me to go
The Mars’ games to try?


Yea, peerless prince, to aid your grace,
Myself will live and die.


And I, for my hability,
For fear will not turn back;
But, as the ship against the rocks,
Sustain and bide the wrack.


O willing hearts, a thousand thanks
I render unto you:
Strike up your drums with courage great;
We will march forth even now.


Permit (O King) few words to hear,
My duty serves no less;
Therefore give leave to Council thine,
His mind for to express.


Speak on, my Council, what it be;
You shall have favour mine.


Then will I speak unto your grace,
As duty doth me bind:
Your grace doth mean for to attempt
Of war the manly art;
Your grace therein may hap receive,
With others, for your part
The dent of death: in those affairs
All persons are alike:
The heart courageous oftentimes
His detriment doth seek;
It’s best therefore for to permit
A ruler of your land
To sit and judge with equity,
When things of right are scann’d.


My grace doth yield to this your talk,
To be thus now it shall:
My Knight, therefore prepare yourself
Sisamnes for to call:
A judge he is of prudent skill,
Even he shall bear the sway,
In absence mine, when from the land
I do depart my way.


Your Knight before your grace even here
Himself hath ready prest,
With willing heart for to fulfil,
As your grace made request.


Pleaseth your grace, I judge of him
To be a man right fit;
For he is learned in the law,
Having the gift of wit:
In your grace’s precinct I do not view
For it a meeter man:
His learning is of good effect,
Bring proof thereof I can.
I do not know what is his life,
His conscience hid from me,
I doubt not but the fear of God
Before his eyes to be.


Report declares, he is a man
That to himself is nigh;
One that favoureth much the world,
And too much sets thereby:
But this I say of certainty,
If he your grace succeed,
In your absence but for a while,
He will be warn’d indeed
No injustice for to frequent,
No partial judge to prove,
But rule all things with equity,
To win your grace’s love.


Of that he shall a warning have
My hests for to obey;
Great punishment for his offence
Against him will I lay.


Behold, I see him now aggress,
And enter into place.


O puissant prince and mighty king,
The gods preserve your grace!
Your grace’s message came to me,
Your will purporting forth:
With grateful mind I it received,
According to mine oath,
Erecting then myself with speed,
Before your grace’s eyes,
The tenor of your princely will
From you for to agnise.


Sisamnes, this the whole effect,
The which for you I sent:
Our mind it is to elevate,
You to great preferment.
My grace, and gracious Council eke,
Hath chose you for this cause:
In judgment you do office bear,
Which have the skill in laws;
We think that you accordingly
By justice rule will deal,
That for offence none shall have cause
Of wrong you to appeal.


Abundant thanks unto your grace
For this benignity:
To you his Council in like case,
With lords of clemency.
What so your grace to me permits,
If I therein offend,
Such execution then commence,
And use it to this end.
That all other (by that my deed)
Example so may take;
To admonish them to flee the same,
By fear it may them make.


Then according to your word,
If you therein offend,
I assure you even from my breast
Correction shall extend.
From Persia I mean to go[232]
Into the Egypt land,
Them to convince by force of arms,
And win the upper hand.
While I therefore absent shall be,
I do you full permit,
As governor in this my right,
In that estate to sit,
For to detect, and eke correct,
Those that abuse my grace:
This is the total of my will;
Give answer in this case.


Unworthy much (O prince) am I,
And for this gift unfit;
But sith that it hath pleased your grace,
That I in it must sit,
I do avouch unto my death,
According to my skill,
With equity for to observe
Your grace’s mind and will;
And nought from it to swerve indeed,
But sincerely to stay:
Else let me taste the penalty,
As I before did say.


Well then of this authority
I give you full possession.


And I will it fulfil also,
As I have made profession.


My Council, then, let us depart,
A small stay to make:
To Egypt land now forth with speed
My voyage I will take.
Strike up your drums us to rejoice,
To hear the warlike sound:
Stay you here, Sisamnes, judge,
And look well to your bound.
[Exeunt King, Lord, and Council.


Even now the king hath me extoll’d,
And set me up aloft;
Now may I wear the brodered guard,
And lay in down-bed soft;
Now may I purchase house and land,
And have all at my will;
Now may I build a princely place,
My mind for to fulfil;
Now may I abrogate the law,
As I shall think it good;
If any one me now offend,
I may demand his blood.
According to the proverb old,
My mouth I will up make;
Now it doth lie all in my hand,
To leave or else to take;
To deal with justice to my bound,
And so to live in hope:
But oftentimes the birds be gone,
While one for nest doth grope.
Do well or ill I dare avouch,
Some evil on me will speak:
No, truly yet I do not mean
The king’s precepts to break;
To place I mean for to return
My duty to fulfil.

Enter the Vice with an old capcase on his head, an old pail about his hips for harness, a scummer and a potlid by his side, and a rake on his shoulder.


Stand away, stand away, for the passion of God;
Harnessed I am, prepared to the field:
I would have been content at home to have bod,
But I am sent forth with my spear and shield.
I am appointed to fight against a snail,[233]
And Wilkin Wren the ancient shall bear;
I doubt not but against him to prevail,
To be a man my deeds shall declare.
If I overcome him, then a butterfly takes his part,
His weapon must be a blue speckled hen:
But you shall see me overthrow him with a fart,
So without conquest he shall go home again.
If I overcome him, I must fight with a fly,
And a black pudding the fly’s weapon must be:
At the first blow on the ground he shall lie,
I will be sure to thrust him through the mouth to the knee.
To conquest these fellows the man I will play,[234]
Ha, ha, ha, now ye will make me to smile,
To see, if I can all men beguile.
Ha, my name? my name would you so fain know?
Yea, i-wis, shall ye, and that with all speed:
I have forgot it, therefore I cannot show;
Ha, ha, now I have it, I have it indeed.
My name is Ambidexter: I signify one
That with both hands finely can play;
Now with king Cambyses, and by and by gone:
Thus do I run this and that way.
For while I mean with a soldier to be,
Then give I a leap to Sisamnes the judge;
I dare avouch, ye shall his destruction see:
To all kind of estates I mean for to trudge.
Ambidexter, nay, he is a fellow if ye knew all:
Cease for awhile; hereafter hear more ye shall.

Enter three Ruffians, Huff, Ruff, and Snuff, singing.


Gog’s flesh and his wounds, these wars rejoice my heart;
By his wounds, I hope to do well, for my part:
By Gog’s heart, the world shall go evil, if I do not shift;
At some old carl’s bouget I mean for to lift.


By his flesh, nose, eyes, and ears,
I will venter void of all cares:
He is not a soldier that doth fear any doubt;
If that he would bring his purpose about.


Fear that fear list, it shall not be I:
By Gog’s wounds, I will make some neck stand awry;
If I lose my share, I swear by Gog’s heart,
Then let another take up my part.


Yet I hope to come the richest soldier away.


If a man ask ye, ye may hap to say nay.


Let all men get what they can, not to lese I hope:
Wheresoever I go in, each corner I will grope.


What, and ye run into the corner of some pretty maid?


To grope there, good fellow, I will not be afraid.


Gog’s wounds, what art thou that with us dost mell?
Thou seemest to be a soldier, the truth to tell;
Thou seemest to be harnessed, I cannot tell how:
I think he came lately from riding some cow;
Such a deformed slave did I never see:
Ruff, dost thou know him? I pray thee, tell me,


No, by my troth, fellow Huff, I never see him before.


As for me I care not, if I never see him more.
Come, let us run his arse against the post.


Ah, ye slaves, I will be with you at the host:
Ah, ye knaves, I will teach ye how ye shall me deride.
[Here let him swinge them about.
Out of my sight; I can ye not abide.
Now, goodman pouchmouth, I am a slave with you!
Now have at ye afresh again even now:
Mine arse against the post you will run?
But I will make ye from that saying to turn.


I beseech ye heartily to be content.


I insure you, by mine honesty, no hurt we meant:
Beside that, again, we do not know what ye are;
Ye know, that soldiers their stoutness will declare.
Therefore, if we have anything offended,
Pardon our rudeness, and it shall be amended.


Yea, God’s pity, begin ye to entreat me?
Have at ye once again! by the mass, I will beat ye.
[Fight again.


Gog’s heart, let us kill him; suffer no longer.
[Draw their swords.


Thou slave, we will see, if thou be the stronger.


Strike off his head at one blow:
That we be soldiers, Gog’s heart, let him know.


O’ the passion of God, I have done, by mine honesty:
I will take your part hereafter verily.


Then, content; let us agree.


Shake hands with me, I shake hands with thee:
Ye are full of courtesy, that is the best;
And you take great pain, ye are a mannerly guest.
Why, masters, do you not know me? the truth to me tell—


No, trust us, not very well.


Why, I am Ambidexter, whom many soldiers do love.


Gog’s heart, to have thy company needs we must prove.
We must play with both hands with our hostess and host,
Play with both hands, and score on the post,
Now and then with our captain for many a delay,
We will not stick with both hands to play.


The honester man ye, ye may me trust.

Enter Meretrix, with a staff on her shoulder.


What, is there no lads here that hath a lust
To have a passing trull to help at their need?


Gog’s heart, she is come indeed.
What, Mistress Meretrix? by his wounds, welcome to me.


What will you give me? I pray you, let me see.


By his heart, she looks for gifts by and by.


What, Master Ruff, I cry you mercy;
The last time I was with you, I got a broken head,
And lay in the street all night for want of a bed.


Gog’s wounds, kiss me, my trull so white.
In thee I swear is all my delight;
If thou shouldest have had a broken head for my sake,
I would have made his head to ache.


What, Master Ambidexter? who looked for you?


Mistress Meretrix, I thought not to see you here now.
There is no remedy; at meeting I must have a kiss.


What, man? I will not stick for that, by Giss.


So now, gramercy, I pray thee be gone.


Nay, soft, my friend; I mean to have one:
Nay, soft; I swear, and if ye were my brother,
Before I let go, I will have another.
[Kiss, kiss, kiss.


Gog’s heart, the whore would not kiss me yet.


If I be a whore, thou art a knave, then it is quit.


But hear’st thou, Meretrix? with who this night wilt thou lie?


With him that giveth the most money.


Gog’s heart, I have no money in purse, ne yet in clout.


Then get thee hence, and pack like a lout.


Adieu, like a whore.
[Exit Huff.


Farewell, like a knave.


Gog’s nails, Mistress Meretrix, now he is gone,
A match ye shall make straight with me;
I will give thee sixpence to lie one night with thee.


Gog’s heart, slave, dost thou think I am a six-penny jug?
No, wis ye, Jack, I look a little more smug.


I will give her eighteenpence to serve me first.


Gramercy, Snuff, thou art not the worst.


By Gog’s heart, she were better be hanged, to forsake me, and take thee.


Were she so? that shall we see.


By Gog’s heart, my dagger into her I will thrust.


Ah, ye boy, ye would do it, and ye durst!


Peace, my masters; ye shall not fight:
He that draws first, I will him smite.


Gog’s wounds, Master Snuff, are ye so lusty?


Gog’s sides, Master Ruff, are ye so crusty?


You may happen to see.


Do what thou darest to me.
[Here draw and fight. Here she must lay on and coil them both, the Vice must run his way for fear, Snuff fling down his sword and buckler, and run his way.


Gog’s sides, knaves, seeing to fight ye be so rough,
Defend yourselves, for I will give ye both enough:
I will teach you how ye shall fall out for me;
Yea, thou slave Snuff, no more blows wilt thou bide?
To take thy heels a time hast thou spied?
Thou villain, seeing Snuff has gone away,
A little better I mean thee to pay.
[He falleth down, she falleth upon him, and beats him, and taketh away his weapon.]


Alas, good Mistress Meretrix, no more;
My legs, sides, and arms with beating be sore.


Thou a soldier, and loose thy weapon!
Go hence, sir boy; say, a woman hath thee beaten.


Good Mistress Meretrix, my weapon let me have;
Take pity on me, mine honesty to save!
If it be known this repulse I sustain,
It will redound to my ignomy and shame.


If thou wilt be my man, and wait upon me,
This sword and buckler I will give thee.


I will do all at your commandment;
As servant to you I will be obedient.


Then let me see how before me ye can go.
When I speak to you, ye shall do so:
Off with your cap at place and at board:
Forsooth, Mistress Meretrix, at every word,
Tut, tut, in the camp such soldiers there be;
One good woman would beat away two or three.
Well, I am sure, customers tarry at home:
Mannerly, before: and let us begone.

Enter Ambidexter.


O’ the passion of God, be they here still or no?
I durst not abide to see her beat them so.
I may say to you I was in such a fright:
Body of me, I see the hair of my head stand upright.
When I saw her so hard upon them lay,
O’ the passion of God, thought I, she will be with me anon.
I made no more ado, but avoided the thrust,
And to my legs began for to trust;
And fell a laughing to myself, when I was once gone:
It is wisdom (quoth I), by the mass, to save one.
Then into this place I intended to trudge,
Thinking to meet Sisamnes the judge.
Behold, where he cometh, I will him meet;
And like a gentleman I mean him to greet.

Enter Sisamnes.


Since that the king’s grace’s majesty in office did me set,
What abundance of wealth to me might I get?
Now and then some vantage I achieve,
Much more yet may I take;
But that I fear unto the king
That some complaint will make.


Jesu, Master Sisamnes, you are unwise.


Why so? I pray ye, let me agnise,
What, Master Ambidexter, is it you?
Now welcome to me, I make God a vow.


Jesu, Master Sisamnes, with me you are well acquainted:
By me rulers may be trimly painted.
Ye are unwise, if ye take not time while ye may:
If ye will not now, when ye would, ye shall have nay.
What is he, that of you dare make exclamation,
Of your wrong-dealings to make explication?
Can you not play with both hands, and turn with the wind?


Believe me, your words draw deep in my mind,
In colour wise unto this day
To bribes I have inclined:
More the same for to frequent
Of truth I am now minded.
Behold, even now unto me suitors do proceed.

Small Hability.

I beseech you here, good master judge,
A poor man’s cause to tender;
Condemn me not in wrongful wise,
That never was offender.
You know right well, my right it is,
I have not for to give!
You take away from me my due,
That should my corpse relieve.
The Commons of you do complain,
From them you devocate;
With anguish great and grievous words
Their hearts do penetrate.
From[235] right you fell unto the wrong,
Your private gain to win;
You violate the simple man,
And count it for no sin.


Hold thy tongue, thou prattling knave,
And give to me reward;
Else in this wise, I tell thee truth,
Thy tale will not be heard.
Ambidexter, let us go hence, and let the knave alone.


Farewell, Small Hability, for help now get ye none.
Bribes hath corrupt him, good laws to pollute.

Small Hability.

A naughty man that will not obey the king’s constitute.
With heavy heart I will return,
Till God redress my pain.

Enter Shame, with a trump black.


From among the grisly ghosts I come,
From tyrant’s testy train;
Unseemly Shame of sooth I am,
Procured to make plain
The odious facts and shameless deeds
That Cambyses king doth use;
All piety and virtuous life
He doth it clean refuse.
Lechery and drunkenness
He doth it much frequent;
The tiger’s kind to imitate
He hath given full consent.
He nought esteems his Council grave,
Ne virtuous bringing up;
But daily still receives the drink
Of damned vice’s cup:
He can bide no instruction,
He takes so great delight
In working of iniquity,
For to frequent his spite:
As fame doth sound the royal trump
Of worthy men and trim,
So shame doth blow with strained blast
The trump of shame on him.

Enter the King, Lord, Praxaspes, and Sisamnes.


My judge, since my departure hence,
Have you used judgment right?
If faithful steward I ye find
The same I will requite.


No doubt, your grace shall not once hear
That I have done amiss.


I much rejoice to hear so good news as this.

Enter Commons’ Cry running in, speak this verse, go out again hastily.

Commons’ Cry.

Alas, alas, how are the Commons oppressed
By that vile judge, Sisamnes by name?
I do not know, how it should be redressed;
To amend his life no whit he doth frame.
We are undone, and thrown out of door,
His damnable dealing doth us so torment:
At his hand we can find no relief nor succour.
God grant him grace for to repent.
[Run away crying.


What doleful cries be these, my lord,
That sound do in my ear?
Intelligence if you can give,
Unto your king declare.
To me it seemeth my Commons all
They do lament and cry
Out at[236] Sisamnes judge most chief,
Even now standing us by.


Even so (O king) it seem’d to me,
As you rehearsal made;
I doubt the judge culpable be
In some respect or trade.


Redoubted king, have no mistrust,
No whit your mind dismay;
There is not one that can me charge,
Or ought against me lay.

Enter Commons’ Complaint, with Proof and Trial.

Commons’ Complaint.

Commons’ Complaint I represent,
With thrall of doleful state,
By urgent cause erected forth
My grief for to dilate.
Unto the king I will prepare
My misery to tell,
To have relief of this my grief,
And fettered feet so fell.
Redoubted prince and mighty king,
Myself I prostrate here;
Vouchsafe (O king) with me to bear
For this that I appear.
With humble suit I pardon crave
Of your most royal grace,
To give me leave my mind to break,
Before you in this place.


Commons’ Complaint, keep nothing back,
Fear not thy tale to tell;
Whate’er he be within this land
That hath not used thee well,
As prince’s mouth shall sentence give,
He shall receive the same;
Unfold the secrets of thy breast,
For I extinguish blame.

Commons’ Complaint.

God preserve your royal grace,
And send you blissful days,
That all your deeds might still accord
To give to[237] God the praise.
My complaint is (O mighty king)
Against that judge you by;
Whose careless deeds, gain to receive,
Hath made the Commons cry:
He, by taking bribes and gifts,
The poor he doth oppress,
Taking relief from infants young,
Widows and fatherless.


Untruthful traitor and corrupt judge,
How likest thou this complaint?
Forewarning I to thee did give,
Of this to make restraint:
And hast thou done this devilish deed,
Mine ire for to augment?
I sentence give, thou Judas judge;
Thou shalt thy deed repent.


O puissant prince, it is not so,
His complaint I deny.

Commons’ Complaint.

If it be not so (most mighty king),
In place then let me die:
Behold that I have brought with me
Both Proof and Trial true,
To stand even here, and sentence give,
What by him did ensue.


I Proof do him in this appeal,
He did the Commons wrong;
Unjustly he with them hath dealt,
His greedy[238] was so strong:
His heart did covet in to get,
He cared not which way;
The poor did lese their due and right,
Because they wont[239] to pay
Unto him for bribes indeed,
This was his wonted use:
Whereas your grace good laws did make,
He did the same abuse.


I Trial here to verify
What Proof doth now unfold,
To stand against him in his wrong,
As now I dare be bold.


How likest thou this, thou caitiff vile?
Canst thou the same deny?


O noble king, forgive my fact:
I yield to thy mercy.


Complaint and Proof, redress will I
All this your misery:
Depart with speed from whence you came,
And straight command by me
The execution-man to come
Before my grace with haste.


For to fulfil this your request,
No time we mean to waste.
[Exeunt they three.


My lord, before my grace go call
Otian, this judge’s son;
And he shall hear, and also see,
What his father hath done.
The father he shall suffer death,
The son his room succeed;
And if that he no better prove,
So likewise shall he speed.


As your grace hath commandment given,
I mean for to fulfil.
[Step aside and fetch him.


Accursed judge, couldst thou consent
To do this cursed ill?
According unto thy demand,
Thou shalt for this thy guilt
Receive thy death before mine eyes:
Thy blood it shall be spilt.


Behold (O king) Sisamnes’ son
Before you doth appear.


Otian, this is my mind,
Therefore to me come near:
Thy father here for judgment wrong
Procured hath his death,
And thou his son shalt him succeed,
When he hath lost his breath;
And if that thou dost once offend,
As thou seest thy father have,
In like wise thou shalt suffer death,
No mercy shall thee save.


O mighty king, vouchsafe your grace
My father to remit;
Forgive his fault, his pardon I
Do ask of you as yet.
Alas, although my father hath
Your princely heart offended,
Amends for miss he will now make,
And faults shall be amended.
Instead of his requested life,
Pleaseth your grace take mine:
This offer I as tender child,
So duty doth me bind.


Do not entreat my grace no more,
For he shall die the death;
Where is the execution-man,
Him to bereave of breath?

Enter Execution.


At hand and, if it like your grace,
My duty to dispatch;
In hope that I, when deed is done,
A good reward shall catch.


Dispatch with sword this judge’s life,
Extinguish fear and cares:
So done, draw thou his cursed skin
Straight over both his ears.
I will see the office done,
And that before mine eyes.


To do the thing my king commands,
I give the enterprise.


Otian, my son, the king to death
By law hath me condemned;
And you in room and office mine
His grace’s will hath placed:
Use justice therefore in this case,
And yield unto no wrong,
Lest thou do purchase the like death,
Ere ever it be long.


O father dear, these words to hear,
That thou must die by force,
Bedews my cheeks with stilled tears;
The king hath no remorse.
The grievous grief and strained sighs
My heart doth break in twain,
And I deplore, most woful child,
That I should see you slain.
O false and fickle frowning dame,
That turneth as the wind,
Is this the joy in father’s age,
Thou me assign’st to find?
O doleful day, unhappy hour,
That loving child should see:
His father dear before his face,
Thus put to death should be.
Yet, father, give me blessing thine,
And let me once embrace
Thy comely corpse in folded arms,
And kiss thy ancient face.


O child, thou makes mine eyes to run,
As rivers do, by stream;
My leave I take of thee, my son,
Beware of this my beam.


Dispatch even now, thou man of death;
No longer seem to stay.


Come, Master Sisamnes, come on your way,
My office I must pay;
Forgive therefore my deed.


I do forgive it thee, my friend;
Dispatch therefore with speed.
[Smite him in the neck with a sword to signify his death.


Behold (O king), how he doth bleed,
Being of life bereft.


In this wise he shall not yet be left.
Pull his skin over his ears,
To make his death more vile:
A wretch he was, a cruel thief,
My Commons to beguile.
[Flays him with a false skin.


What child is he of nature’s mould
Could bide the same to see,
His father flead in this wise?
O, how it grieveth me!


Otian, thou seest thy father dead,
And thou art in his room:
If thou beest proud as he hath been,
Even thereto shalt thou come.


O king, to me this is a glass:
With grief in it I view
Example that unto your grace
I do not prove untrue.


Otian, convey your father hence
To tomb where he shall lie.


And if it please your lordship,
It shall be done by and by.
Good execution-man, for need
Help me with him away.


I will fulfil, as you to me did say.
[They take him away.


My lord, now that my grace hath seen,
That finish’d is this deed,
To question mine give ’tentive ear,
And answer make with speed.
Have not I done a gracious deed,
To redress my Commons’ woe.


Yea, truly, if it please your grace,
Ye have indeed done so:
But now (O king) in friendly wise
I counsel you in this;
Certain vices for to leave,
That in you placed is:
The vice of drunkenness (O king)
Which doth you sore infect,
With other great abuses, which
I wish you to detect.


Peace, my lord; what needeth this?
Of this I will not hear:
To palace now I will return,
And there to make good cheer.
God Bacchus he bestows his gifts,
We have good store of wine;
And also that the ladies be
Both passing brave and fine:
But, stay; I see a lord now come,
And eke a valiant knight.
What news, my lord? to see you here
My heart it doth delight.

Enter Lord and Knight to meet the King.


No news (O king), but of duty come,
To wait upon your grace.


I thank you, my lord and loving knight,
I pray you with me trace.
My lords and knight, I pray ye tell,
I will not be offended:
Am I worthy of any crime
Once to be reprehended?


The Persians much praise your grace,
But one thing discommend,
In that to wine subject you be,
Wherein you do offend.
Sith that the might of wine effect,
Doth oft subdue your brain,
My counsel is, to please their hearts,
From it you would refrain.


No, no, my lord, it is not so;
For this of prince they tell,
For virtuous proof and princely facts
Cyrus he doth excel;
By that his grace by conquest great
The Egyptians did convince;
Of him report abroad doth pass,
To be a worthy prince.


In person of Crœsus I answer make,
We may not his grace compare,
In whole respect for to be like,
Cyrus the king’s father:
In so much your grace hath yet no child,
As Cyrus left behind,
Even you I mean, Cambyses king,
In whom I favour find.


Crœsus said well in saying so:
But, Praxaspes, tell me why,
That to my mouth in such a sort
Thou should avouch a lie,
Of drunkenness me thus to charge:
But thou with speed shalt see,
Whether that I a sober king
Or else a drunkard be.
I know thou hast a blissful babe,
Wherein thou dost delight:
Me to revenge of these thy words,
I will go wreak this spite.
When I the most have tasted wine,
My bow it shall be bent,
At heart of him even then to shoot
Is now my whole intent:
And if that I his heart can hit,
The king no drunkard is;
If heart of his I do not kill,
I yield to thee in this.
Therefore, Praxaspes, fetch to me
Thy youngest son with speed;
There is no way, I tell thee plain,
But I will do this deed.


Redoubted prince, spare my sweet child,
He is mine only joy:
I trust your grace to infant heart
No such thing will employ.
If that his mother hear of this,
She is so nigh her flight,
In clay her corpse will soon be shrin’d
To pass from world’s delight.


No more ado, go fetch me him,
It shall be as I say:
And if that I do speak the word,
How dare ye once say nay?


I will go fetch him to your grace;
But so, I trust, it shall not be.


For fear of my displeasure great,
Go fetch him unto me.
Is he gone? Now, by the gods,
I will do as I say;
My lord, therefore, fill me some wine,
I heartily you pray;
For I must drink to make my brain
Somewhat intoxicate:
When that the wine is in my head,
O, trimly I can prate!


Here is the cup with filled wine,
Thereof to take repast.


Give it me to drink it off,
And see no wine be waste:
Once again enlarge this cup,
For I must it still taste:[240]
By the gods, I think, of pleasant wine
I cannot take my fill.
Now drink is in, give me my bow,
And arrows from sir knight;
At heart of child I mean to shoot,
Hoping to cleave it right.


Behold (O king) where he doth come,
His infant young in hand.


O mighty king, your grace behest
With sorrow I have scann’d,
And brought my child fro mother’s knee,
Before you to appear:
And she thereof no whit doth know,
That he in place is here.


Set him up my mark to be,
I will shoot at his heart.


I beseech your grace not so to do,
Set this pretence[241] apart.
Farewell, my dear and loving babe;
Come, kiss thy father dear;
A grievous sight to me it is,
To see thee slain even here.
Is this the gain now from the king
For giving counsel good,
Before my face with such despite
To spill my son’s heart-blood?
O heavy day to me this is
And mother in like case.

Young Child.

O father, father, wipe your face,
I see the tears run from your eye:
My mother is at home sewing of a band;
Alas, dear father, why do you cry?


Before me as a mark now let him stand;
I will shoot at him my mind to fulfil.

Young Child.

Alas, alas! father, will you me kill?
Good Master King, do not shoot at me,
My mother loves me best of all.


I have despatched him, down he doth fall;
As right as a line his heart I have hit:
Nay, thou shall see, Praxaspes, stranger news yet.
My knight, with speed his heart cut out,
And give it unto me.


It shall be done (O mighty king)
With all celerity.


My lord Praxaspes, this had not been,
But your tongue must be walking;
To the king of correction
You must needs be talking.


No correction (my lord), but counsel for the best.


Here is the heart, according to your grace’s behest.


Behold, Praxaspes, thy son’s own heart:
O, how well the same was hit!
After this wine to do this deed,
I thought it very fit:
Esteem thou may’st right well thereby,
No drunkard is the king,
That in the midst of all his cups
Could do this valiant thing.
My lord and knight, on me attend;
To palace we will go,
And leave him here to take his son,
When we are gone him fro.


With all our hearts we give consent
To wait upon your grace.


A woful man (O lord) am I,
To see him in this case:
My days I deem desires their end,
This deed will help me hence,
To have the blossoms of my field
Destroy’d by violence.

Enter Mother.


Alas, alas! I do hear tell
The king hath kill’d my son:
If it be so, woe worth the deed,
That ever it was done.
It is even so, my lord, I see,
How by him he doth weep:
What meant I, that from hands of him
This child I did not keep?
Alas! husband and lord, what did you mean
To fetch this child away?


O lady wife, I little thought
For to have seen this day.


O blissful babe, O joy of womb,
Heart’s comfort and delight,
For counsel given unto the king,
Is this thy just requite?
O heavy day and doleful time,
These mourning tunes to make!
With blubb’red eyes into my arms
From earth I will thee take,
And wrap thee in mine apron white:
But O my heavy heart?
The spiteful pangs that it sustains
Would make it in two to part:
The death of this my son to see,
O heavy mother now,
That from thy sweet and sug’red joy
To sorrow so shouldst bow.
What grief in womb did I retain,
Before I did thee see?
Yet at the last, when smart was gone,
What joy wert thou to me?
How tender was I of thy food
For to preserve thy state?
How stilled I thy tender heart
At times early and late?
With velvet paps I gave thee suck,
With issue from my breast,
And danced thee upon my knee
To bring thee unto rest.
Is this the joy of thee I reap?
O king of tiger’s brood!
O tiger’s whelp, hadst thou the heart,
To see this child’s heart-blood?
Nature enforceth me, alas!
In this wise to deplore;
To wring my hands, O wel-away,
That I should see this hour!
Thy mother yet will kiss thy lips,
Silk-soft and pleasant white;
With wringing hands lamenting for
To see thee in this plight.
My lording dear, let us go home,
Our mourning to augment.


My lady dear, with heavy heart
To it I do consent:
Between us both the child to bear
Unto our lordly place.

Enter Ambidexter.


Indeed, as ye say, I have been absent a long space:
But is not my cousin Cutpurse with you in the meantime?
To it, to it, cousin; and do your office fine.
How like you Sisamnes for using of me?
He play’d with both hands, but he sped ill favouredly.
The king himself was godly uptrained;
He professed virtue, but I think it was feigned:
He plays with both hands good deeds and ill;
But it was no good deed Praxaspes’ son for to kill:
As he for the good deed on the judge was commended,
For all his deeds else he is reprehended.
The most evil-disposed person that ever was;
All the state of his life he would not let pass.
Some good deeds he will do, though they be but few:
The like things this tyrant Cambyses doth show.
No goodness from him to none is exhibited;
But still maledictions abroad is distributed.
And yet ye shall see in the rest of his race,
What infamy he will work against his own grace.
Whist, no more words: here comes the king’s brother.

Enter Lord Smirdis, with Attendance and Diligence.


The king’s brother by birth am I,
Issued from Cyrus’ loins:
A grief to me it is to hear
Of this the king’s repines.
I like not well of those his deeds,
That he doth still frequent;
I wish to God, that other ways
His mind he could content:
Young I am, and next to him,
No mo of us there be;
I would be glad a quiet realm
In this his reign to see.


My lord, your good and willing heart
The gods will recompense,
In that your mind so pensive is
For those his great offence.
My lord, his grace shall have a time
To pair and to amend:
Happy is he that can escape,
And not his grace offend.


If that wicked vice he could refrain,
From wasting wine forbear,
A moderate life he would frequent,
Amending this his square.


My lord, and if your honour it shall please,
I can inform you what is best for your ease;
Let him alone, of his deeds do not talk,
Then by his side ye may quietly walk;
After his death you shall be king,
Then may you reform each kind of thing.
In the meantime live quietly, do not with him deal;
So shall it redound much to your weal.


Thou say’st true, my friend, that is the best:
I know not whether he love me, or do me detest.


Learn from his company all that you may;
I faithful Attendance will your honour obey.
If against your honour he take any ire,
His grace is as like to kindle his fire,
To your honour’s destruction as otherwise.


Therefore, my lord, take good advice,
And I Diligence your case will so tender,
That to his grace your honour shall be none offender.


I thank you both, entire friends, with my honour still remain.


Behold, where the king doth come with his train.

Enter King and one Lord.


O lording dear, and brother mine,
I joy your state to see;
Surmising much what is the cause,
You absent thus from me.


Pleaseth your grace, no absence I,
But ready to fulfil
At all assays, my prince and king,
In that your grace me will:
What I can do in true defence,
To you, my prince, aright,
In readiness I always am
To offer forth my might.


And I the like to you again
Do here avouch the same.


For this your good agreement here,
Now praised be God’s name.


But hear ye, noble prince; hark in your ear:
It is best to do as I did declare.


My lord and brother Smirdis now,
This is my mind and will,
That you to court of mine return,
And there to tarry still,
Till my return within short space
Your honour for to greet.


At your behest so will I do,
Till time again we meet:
My leave I take from you (O king);
Even now I do depart.
[Exeunt Smirdis, Attendance, and Diligence.


Farewell lord and brother mine,
Farewell with all my heart.
My lord, my brother Smirdis is
Of youth and manly might;
And in his sweet and pleasant face
My heart doth take delight.


Yea, noble prince, if that your grace
Before his honour die,
He will succeed a virtuous king,
And rule with equity.


As you have said, my lord, he is
Chief heir next my grace:
And if I die to-morrow, next
He shall succeed my place.


And if it please your grace (O king),
I heard him say,
For your death unto the god[s,]
Day and night he did pray:
He would live so virtuously,
And get him such a praise,
That Fame by trump his due deserts
His honour should up-raise.
He said your grace deserved had
The cursing of all men;
That ye should never after him
Get any praise again.


Did he speak thus of my grace,
In such despiteful wise?
Or else dost thou presume to fill
My princely ears with lies?


I cannot think it in my heart,
That he would report so.


How sayst thou? speak the truth,
Was it so or no?


I think so, if it please your grace, but I cannot tell.


Thou play’st with both hands, now I perceive well,
But for to put all doubts aside,
And to make him lese his hope,
He shall die by dent of sword,
Or else by choking rope.
Shall he succeed when I am gone,
To have more praise than I?
Were he father, as brother mine,
I swear that he shall die.
To palace mine I will therefore,
His death for to pursue.


Are ye gone? straightway I will follow you.
How like ye now, my masters? doth not this gear cotton?
The proverb old is verified, soon ripe and soon rotten.
He will not be quiet, till his brother he kill’d:
His delight is wholly to have his blood spill’d.
Marry, sir, I told him a notable lie:
If it were to do again, man, I durst do it, I.
Marry, when I had done, to it I durst not stand:
Thereby you may perceive I use to play with each hand.
But how now, cousin Cutpurse? with whom play you?
Take heed, for his hand is groping even now:
Cousin, take heed, if ye do secretly grope;
If ye be taken, cousin, ye must look through a rope.

Enter Lord Smirdis alone.


I am wand’ring alone, here and there to walk;
The court is so unquiet, in it I take no joy:
Solitary to myself now I may talk;
If I could rule, I wist what to say.

Enter Cruelty and Murder with bloody hands.


My coequal partner Murder, come away;
From me long thou may’st not stay.


Yes, from thee I may stay, but not thou from me:
Therefore I have a prerogative above thee.


But in this case we must together abide:
Come, come; Lord Smirdis I have spied:
Lay hands on him with all festination,
That on him we may work our indignation.


How now, my friends? What have you to do with me?


King Cambyses hath sent us unto thee,
Commanding us straitly without mercy or favour,
Upon thee to bestow our behaviour;
With Cruelty to murder you, and make you away.
[Strike him in divers places.


Yet pardon me, I heartily you pray:
Consider, the king is a tyrant tyrannious;
And all his doings be damnable and pernicious:
Favour me therefore, I did him never offend.


No favour at all; your life is at an end.
Even now I strike his body to wound:
Behold, now his blood springs out on the ground.
[A little bladder of vinegar pricked.


Now he is dead, let us present him to the king.


Lay to your hand, away him to bring.

Enter Ambidexter.


O’ the passion of God, yonder is a heavy court:
Some weeps, some wails, and some make great sport.
Lord Smirdis by Cruelty and Murder is slain;
But, Jesus! for want of him, how some do complain!
If I should have had a thousand pound, I could not forbear weeping.
Now Jesus have his blessed soul in keeping!
Ah good lord to think on him, how it doth me grieve!
I cannot forbear weeping, ye may me believe.
O my heart! how my pulses do beat:
With sorrowful lamentations I am in such a heat.
Ah my heart! how for him it doth sorrow!
Nay, I have done in faith now, and God give you good morrow!
Ha, ha, weep! nay, laugh, with both hands to play;
The king through his cruelty hath made him away.
But hath not he wrought a most wicked deed?
Because king after him he should not proceed,
His own natural brother, and having no more,
To procure his death by violence sore;
In spite because his brother should never be king,
His heart being wicked consented to this thing.
Now he hath no more brothers nor kindred alive:
If the king use this gear still, he cannot long thrive.

Enter Hob and Lob.


God’s hat, neighbours, come away; it’s time to market to go.


God’s vast, neighbour, zay ye zo?
The clock hath stricken vive, ich think, by lakin:[242]
Bum vay,[243] vrom sleep cham not very well waken.
But, neighbour Hob, neighbour Hob, what have ye to zell?


Bum troth, neighbour Lob, to you I chil tell:
Chave two goslings and a chine of good pork;
There is no vatter between this and York.
Chave a pot of strawberries and a calf’s head,
A zennight zince to-morrow it hath been dead.


Chave a score of eggs and of butter a pound:
Yesterday a nest of goodly young rabbits I vound.
Chave forty things mo, of more and of less;
My brain is not very good them to express.
But God’s hat, neighbour, wot’st what?


No, not well, neighbour, what’s that?


Bum vay, neighbour, master king is a zhrode lad;
Zo God help me and holidam, I think the vool be mad:
Zome zay he deal cruelly, his brother he did kill;
And also a goodly young lad’s heart-blood he did spill.


Vorbod of God, neighbour, has he played such a voolish deed?


Goodman Hob and goodman Lob, God be your speed:
As you two towards market did[244] walk,
Of the king’s cruelty I did hear you talk,
I insure you he is a king most vile and pernicious;
His doings and life are odious and vicious.


It were a good deed zomebody would break his head.


Bum vay, neighbour Lob, I chould he were dead.


So would I, Lob and Hob, with all my heart.
Now with both hands will ye see me play my part?
Ah, ye whoreson traitorly knaves;
Hob and Lob, out upon you, slaves!


And thou call’st me knave, thou art another:
My name is Lob, and Hob my next neighbour.


Hob and Lob, ah ye country patches!
Ah ye fools! ye have made wrong matches;
Ye have spoken treason against the king’s grace:
For it I will accuse ye before his face;
Then for the same ye shall be martyr’d:
At the least ye shall be hang’d, drawn, and quartered.


O gentleman, ye shall have two pear-pies, and tell not of me.


By God, a vat goose chill give thee:
I think no hurt, by my vather’s soul I swear.


Chave lived well all my life-time my neighbours among,
And now chould be loth to come to zuch wrong:
To be hanged and quartered the grief would be great.


A foul evil on thee, Hob! who bid thee on it treat?
Vor it was thou that first did him name.


Thou liest like a varlet, and thou zay’st the same;
It was zuch a voolish Lob as thou.


Speak many words, and by Cod’s nails I vow,
Upon thy pate my staff I will lay.


By the mass, I will cause them to make a fray.
Yea, Lob, thou sayest true, all came through him.


Bum vay, thou Hob, a little would make me ye trim;
Give thee a zwap on thy nose, till thy heart ache.


If thou darest, do it; else, man, cry creke:
I trust, before thou hurt me,
With my staff chill make a Lob of thee.
[Here let them fight with their staves, not come near another by three or four yards; the Vice set them on as hard as he can: one of their wives come out, and all to beat the Vice, he run away.

Enter Marian-may-be-good, Hob’s wife, running in with a broom, and part them.


O’ the body of me, husband Hob, what, mean you to fight?
For the passion of God, no more blows smite.
Neighbours and friends so long, and now to fall out!
What, in your age to seem so stout?
If I had not parted ye, one had kill’d another.


I had not cared, I swear by God’s mother.


Shake hands again at the request of me;
As ye have been friends, so friends still be.


Bum troth, cham content, and zay’st word, neighbour Lob?


I am content; agreed, neighbour Hob.
[Shake hands, and laugh heartily one at another.


So, get you to market, no longer stay;
And with yonder knave let me make a fray.


Content, wife Marian, chill do as thou dost say
But buss me, ich pray thee, at going away.
[Exeunt Hob, Lob.


Thou whoreson knave and prickear’d boy,
Why didst thou let them fight?
If one had kill’d another here,
Couldst thou their deaths requite?
It bears a sign by this thy deed,
A cowardly knave thou art;
Else wouldst thou draw that weapon thine,
Like a man them to part.


What, Marian-may-be-good, are you come prattling?
Ye may hap get a box on the ear with your talking:
If they had kill’d one another, I had not cared a pease.
[Here let her swinge him with[245] her broom, she gets him down, and he her down, thus one on the top of another make pastime.


Ah villain, myself on thee I must ease:
Give me a box on the ear? that will I try;
Who shall be master, thou shalt see by and by.


O, no more, no more, I beseech you heartily;
Even now I yield, and give you the mastery.
[Run his way out, whilst she is down.


Ah knave, dost thou throw me down, and run thy way?
If he were here again, O, how I would him pay!
I will after him; and if I can him meet,
With these my nails his face I will greet.

Enter Venus leading out her son Cupid blind: he must have a bow and two shafts, one headed with gold and the other headed with lead.


Come forth, my son, unto my words
Attentive ears resign:
What I pretend, see you frequent,
To force this game of mine.
The king a kinswoman hath,
Adorn’d with beauty store;
And I wish that Diana’s gifts,
They twain shall keep no more;
But use my silver sug’red game
Their joys for to augment.
When I do speak to wound his heart,
Cupid my son, consent:
And shoot at him the shaft of love,
That bears the head of gold,
To wound his heart in lover’s wise,
His grief for to unfold.
Though kin she be unto his grace,
That nature me expel,
Against the course thereof he may,
In my game please me well;
Wherefore, my son, do not forget,
Forthwith pursue the deed.


Mother, I mean for to obey,
As you have whole decreed:
But you must tell me, mother dear,
When I shall arrow draw;
Else your request to be attain’d
Will not be worth a straw:
I am blind and cannot see;
But still do shoot by guess;
The poets well in places store
Of my might do express.


Cupid my son, when time shall serve,
That thou shalt do this deed,
Then warning I to thee will give;
But see thou shoot with speed.

Enter Lord, Lady, Waiting Maid.


Lady dear, to king akin,
Forthwith let us proceed
To trace abroad the beauty fields,
As erst we had decreed:
The blowing buds whose savoury scents
Our sense will much delight.
The sweet smell of musk-white rose,
To please the appetite,
The chirping birds, whose pleasant tunes
Therein shall hear record,
That our great joy we shall it find,
In field to walk abroad.
On lute and cittern there to play
A heavenly harmony,
Our ears shall hear, heart to content,
Our sports to beautify.[246]


Unto your words, most comely lord,
Myself submit do I;
To trace with you in field so green,
I mean not to deny.
[Here trace up and down playing.


And I your waiting maid at hand
With diligence will be
For to fulfil with heart and hand,
When you shall command me.

Enter King, Lord, and Knight.


Come on, my Lord and Knight, abroad
Our mirth let us employ:
Since he is dead, this heart of mine
In corpse I feel it joy.
Should brother mine have reigned king,
When I had yielded breath?
A thousand brothers I rather had,
To put them all to death.
But, O, behold where do I see
A lord and lady fair;
For beauty she most worthy is
To sit in prince’s chair.


Shoot forth, my son, now is the time
That thou must wound his heart.


Content you, mother, I will do my part.
[Shoot there, and go out Venus and Cupid.


Of truth, my lord, in eye of mine
All ladies she doth excel:
Can none report, what dame she is,
And to my grace it tell?


Redoubted prince, pleaseth your grace,
To you she is akin;
Cousin-german nigh of birth,
By mother’s side come in


And that her waiting maiden is,
Attending her upon:
He is a lord of prince’s court,
And will be there anon.
They sport themselves in pleasant field,
To former used use.


My Lord and Knight, of truth I speak,
My heart it cannot choose;
But with my lady I must speak,
And so express my mind.
My lord and ladies, walking there,
If you will favour find,
Present yourselves unto my grace,
And by my side come stand.

First Lord.

We will fulfil, most mighty king,
As your grace doth command.


Lady dear, intelligence
My grace hath got of late;
You issued out of mother’s stock,
And kin unto my state:
According to rule of birth you are
Cousin-german mine;
Yet do I wish that farther off
This kindred I could find:
For Cupid he, that eyeless boy,
My heart hath so inflamed
With beauty you me to content
The like cannot be named;
For since I ent’red in this place,
And on you fix’d mine eyes,
Most burning fits about my heart
In ample wise did rise.
The heat of them such force doth yield,
My corpse they scorch, alas!
And burns the same with wasting heat,
As Titan doth the grass.
And sith this heat is kindled so,
And fresh in heart of me,
There is no way but of the same
The quencher you must be:
My meaning is, that beauty yours
My heart with love doth wound;
To give me love, mind to content
My heart hath you out-found:
And you are she must be my wife,
Else shall I end my days.
Consent to this, and be my queen,
To wear the crown with praise.


If it please your grace (O mighty king)
You shall not this request;
It is a thing that nature’s course
Doth utterly detest:
And high it would the God displease,
Of all that is the worst;
To grant your grace to marry so,
It is not that I durst:
Yet humble thanks I render now
Unto you, mighty king,
That you vouchsafe to great estate,
So gladly would me bring:
Were it not it were offence,
I would it not deny;
But such great honour to achieve
My heart I would apply.
Therefore (O king) with humble heart
In this I pardon crave:
Mine answer is in this request,
Your mind ye may not have.


May I not? nay, then I will,
By all the gods I vow:
And I will marry thee as wife;
This is mine answer now:
Who dare say nay what I pretend:
Who dare the same withstand,
Shall lose his head, and have report
As traitor through my land:
There is no nay, I will you have,
And you my queen shall be.


Then, mighty king, I crave your grace,
To hear the words of me:
Your counsel take of lordings’ wit,
The laws aright peruse;
If I with safe may grant this deed,
I will it not refuse.


No, no; what I have said to you,
I mean to have it so:
For counsel theirs I mean not, I,
In this respect to go.
But to my palace let us go,
The marriage to prepare;
For to avoid my will in this,
I can it not forbear.


O God, forgive me, if I do amiss;
The king by compulsion enforceth me this.


Unto the gods for your estate
I will not cease to pray;
That you may be a happy queen,
And see most joyful day.


Come on, my lords, with gladsome hearts
Let us rejoice with glee:
Your music show to joy this deed
At the request of me.


For to obey your grace’s words
Our honours do agree.

Enter Ambidexter.


O’ the passion of me! marry, as ye say, yonder is a royal court;
There is triumphing, and sport upon sport:
Such loyal lords with such lordly exercise,
Frequenting such pastime as they can devise;
Running at tilt, justing, with running at the ring,
Masquing and mumming, with each kind of thing,
Such dancing, such singing, with musical harmony:
Believe me, I was loth to absent their company.
But will you believe? Jesu! what haste they made, till they were married?
Not for a million of pounds one day longer they would have tarried.
O, there was a banquet royal and superexcellent;
Thousands and thousands at that banquet was spent.
I muse of nothing but how they can be married so soon;
I care not, if I be married before to-morrow at noon,
If marriage be a thing that so may be had:
How say you, maid? to marry me will ye be glad?
Out of doubt, I believe, it is some excellent treasure,
Else to the same belongs abundant pleasure.
Yet with mine ears I have heard some say,—
That ever I was married, now cursed be the day!
Those be they, that with curs’d wives be matched,
That husband for hawks’ meat of them is up snatched,
Head broke with a bedstaff, face be all-to scratched:
Knave, slave and villain! a coil’d coat now and then;
When the wife hath given in, she will say, alas, good-man!
Such were better unmarried, my masters, I trow,
Than all their life after to be matched with a shrow.

Enter Preparation.


With speed I am sent all things to prepare,
My message to do as the king did declare.
His grace doth mean a banquet to make,
Meaning in this place repast for to take.
Well, the cloth shall be laid, and all things in readiness,
To court to return, when done, is my business.


A proper man, and also a fit,
For the king’s estate to prepare a banquet.


What, Ambidexter? thou art not unknown;
A mischief on all good faces, so that I curse not mine own:
Now, in the knave’s name, shake hands with me.


Well said, goodman pouchmouth, your reverence I see,
I will teach ye, if your manners no better be:
Ah, ye slave! the king doth me a gentleman allow:
Therefore I look that to me ye shall bow.


Good Master Ambidexter, pardon my behaviour;
For this your deed ye are a knave for your labour.


Why, ye stale counterly villain, nothing but knave?


I am sorry, your mastership offended I have:
Shake hands, that between us agreement may be;
I was over-shot with myself, I do see.
Let me have your help, this furniture to provide;
The king from this place will not long abide.


[Set the fruit on the board.
Content; it is the thing that I would wish:
I myself will go fetch on dish.
[Let the Vice set a dish of nuts, and let them fall in the bringing of them in.


Cleanly! Master Ambidexter; for fair on the ground they lie.


I will have them up again by and by.


To see all in readiness I will put you in trust:
There is no nay, to the court needs I must.
[Exit Preparation.


Have you no doubt, but all shall be well?
Marry, sir, as you say, this gear doth excel:
All things is in a readiness, when they come hither,
The king’s grace and the queen both together.
I beseech ye, my masters, tell me, is it not best
That I be so bold as to bid a guest?
He is as honest a man as ever spurr’d cow:
My cousin Cutpurse, I mean, I beseech ye, judge you.
Believe me, cousin, if to be the king’s guest ye could be taken,
I trust that offer would not be forsaken.
But, cousin, because to that office ye are not like to come,
Frequent your exercises, a horn on your thumb,
A quick eye, a sharp knife, at hand a receiver:
But then take heed, cousin, ye be a cleanly conveyor;
Content yourself, cousin, for this banquet you are unfit,
When such as I at the same am not worthy to sit.

Enter King, Queen, Lords, &c.


My queen and lords, to take repast
Let us attempt the same;
Here is the place, delay no time,
But to our purpose frame.


With willing hearts your whole behest
We mind for to obey.


And we, the rest of prince’s train,
Will do as you do say.
[Sit at the banquet.


Methink, mine ears doth wish the sound
Of music’s harmony;
Here for to play before my grace,
In place I would them spy.
[Play at the banquet.


They be at hand, sir, with stick and fiddle;
They can play a new dance called Hey-diddle-diddle.


My queen, perpend: what I pronounce
I will not violate;
But one thing which my heart makes glad,
I mind to explicate:
You know, in court uptrained is
A lion very young,
Of one litter two whelps beside,
As yet not very strong;
I did request one whelp to see
And this young lion fight:
But lion did the whelp convince
By strength of force and might
His brother whelp, perceiving that
The lion was too good,
And he by force was like to see
The other whelp his blood,
With force to lion he did run
His brother for to help:
A wonder great it was to see
That friendship in a whelp.
So then the whelps between them both
The lion did convince;
Which thing to see before mine eyes
Did glad the heart of prince.
[At this tale told let the Queen weep.


These words to hear makes stilling tears
Issue from crystal eyes.


What dost thou mean, my spouse, to weep
For loss of any prize?


No, no (O king); but as you see
Friendship in brothers whelp,
When one was like to have repulse,
The other yielded help.
And was this favour show’d in dogs,
To shame of royal king?
Alack, I wish these ears of mine
Had not once heard this thing.
Even so should you (O mighty king)
To brother been a stay;
And not, without offence to you,
In such wise him to slay.
In all assays it was your part
His cause to have defended;
And whosoever had him misused,
To have them reprehended:
But faithful love was more in dog,
Than it was in your grace.


O cursed caitiff, vicious and vile,
I hate thee in this place.
This banquet is at an end,
Take all these things away:
Before my face thou shalt repent
The words that thou dost say.
O wretch most vile, didst thou the cause
Of brother mine so tender?
The loss of him should grieve thy heart,
He being none offender.
It did me good his death to have,
So will it to have thine;
What friendship he had at my hands,
The same even thou shalt find.
I give consent and make a vow,
That thou shalt die the death;
By Cruel’s sword, and Murder fell,
Even thou shalt lose the breath.
Ambidexter, see with speed
To Cruelty ye go;
Cause him hither to approach,
Murder with him also.


I ready am for to fulfil,
If that it be your grace’s will.


Then nought oblight[247] my message given,
Absent thyself away.


[Aside] Then in this place I will no longer stay.
If that I durst, I would mourn your case;
But, alas, I dare not for fear of his grace.
[Exit Ambidexter.


Thou cursed jill, by all the gods
I take an oath and swear,
That flesh of thine these hands of mine
In pieces small could tear;
But thou shalt die by dent of sword,
There is no friend ne fee
Shall find remorse at prince’s hand
To save the life of thee.


O mighty king and husband mine,
Vouchsafe to hear me speak,
And licence give to spouse of thine
Her patient mind to break:
For tender love unto your grace
My words I did so frame,
For pure love doth heart of king
Me violate and blame.
And to your grace is this offence,
That I should purchase death?
Then cursed time that I was queen,
To shorten this my breath!
Your grace doth know by marriage true
I am your wife and spouse,
And one to save another’s health
(At troth-plight) made our vows.
Therefore, O king, let loving queen
At thy hand find remorse,
Let pity be a mean to quench
That cruel raging force:
And pardon plight from prince’s mouth,
Yield grace unto your queen,
That amity with faithful zeal
May ever be us between.


Ah caitiff vile, to pity thee
My heart it is not bent?
Ne yet to pardon your offence
It is not mine intent.

First Lord.

Our mighty prince, with humble suit
Of you this grace I crave,
That this request it may take place,
Your favour for to have.
Let mercy yet abundantly
The life of queen preserve,
Sith she is most obedient wife
Your grace’s will doth serve.
As yet your grace but while with her
Hath had cohabitation;
And sure this is no desert why,
To yield her indignation.
Therefore (O king) her life prolong,
To joy her days in bliss.

Second Lord.

Your grace shall win immortal fame
In granting unto this;
She is a queen whose goodly hue
Excels the royal rose:
For beauty bright Dame Nature she
A large gift did dispose;
For comeliness who may compare?
Of all she bears the bell;
This should give cause to move your grace
To love her very well;
Her silver breasts in those your arms
To sing the songs of love;
Fine qualities most excellent
To be in her you prove;
A precious pearl of price to prince,
A jewel passing all:
Therefore (O king) to beg remorse
On both my knees I fall;
To grant her grace to have her life
With heart I do desire.


You villains twain, with raging force
Ye set my heart on fire:
If I consent that she shall die,
How dare ye crave her life?
You two to ask this at my hand
Doth much enlarge my strife;
Were it not for shame, you two should die,
That for her life do sue:
But favour mine from you is gone,
My lords, I tell you true.
I sent for Cruelty of late;
If he would come away,
I would commit her to his hands
His cruel part to play.
Even now I see where he doth come,
It doth my heart delight.

Enter Cruelty and Murder.


Come, Murder, come; let us go forth with might;
Once again the king’s commandment we must fulfil.


I am contented to do it with a good will.


Murder and Cruelty, for both of you I sent,
With all festination your offices to frequent:
Lay hold on the queen, take her to your power,
And make her away within this hour;
Spare for no fear, I do you full permit:
So I from this place do mean for to flit.


With courageous hearts, O king, we will obey.


Then come, my lords, let us depart away.

Both the Lords.

With heavy hearts we will do all your grace doth say.
[Exeunt King and Lords.


Come, lady and queen, now are you in our handling:
In faith, with you we will use no dandling:


With all expedition, I Murder will take place,
Though thou be a queen, ye be under my grace.


With patience I will you both obey.


No more words, but go with us away.


Yet, before I die, some psalm to God let me sing.


We be content to permit you that thing.


Farewell, you ladies of the court,
With all your masking hue:
I do forsake these broder’d guards,
And all the fashions new,
The court and all the courtly train,
Wherein I had delight;
I banished am from happy sport,
And all by spiteful spite.
Yet with a joyful heart to God
A psalm I mean to sing,
Forgiving all, and the king,
Of each kind of thing.
[Sing and Exeunt.

Enter Ambidexter weeping.


Ah, ah, ah, ah! I cannot choose but weep for the queen:
Nothing but mourning now at the court there is seen.
O, O, my heart, my heart; O, my bum will break:
Very grief so torments me that scarce I can speak.
Who could but weep for the loss of such a lady?
That cannot I do, I swear by mine honesty.
But, Lord! so the ladies mourn crying, alack!
Nothing is worn now but only black;
I believe all [the] cloth in Watling Street to make gowns would not serve:[248]
If I make a lie, the devil let me starve!
All ladies mourn both young and old;
There is not one that weareth a point’s worth of gold.
There is a sort for fear of the king do pray,
That would have him dead, by the mass I dare say.
What a king was he that hath used such tyranny?
He was akin to Bishop Bonner,[249] I think verily;
For both their delights was to shed blood,
But never intended to do any good.
Cambyses put a judge to death; that was a good deed;
But to kill the young child was worse to proceed;
To murder his brother, and then his own wife!
So help me God and halidom, it is pity of his life,
Hear ye? I will lay twenty thousand pound,
That the king himself doth die by some wound;
He hath shed so much blood, that his will be shed:
If it come so to pass, in faith, then he is sped.

Enter the King without a gown, a sword thrust up into his side bleeding.


Out alas? what shall I do? my life is finished;
Wounded I am by sudden chance, my blood is minished:
Gog’s heart, what means might I make my life to preserve?
Is there nought to be my help? nor is there nought to serve?
Out upon the court, and lords that there remain!
To help my grief in this my case will none of them take pain?
Who but I in such a wise his death’s wound could have got?
As I on horse-back up did leap, my sword from scabbard shot,
And run me thus into the side, as you right well may see.
A marvell’s chance unfortunate, that in this wise should be.
I feel myself a-dying now, of life bereft am I:
And death hath caught me with his dart, for want of blood I spy.
Thus gasping here on ground I lie, for nothing I do care;
A just reward for my misdeeds my death doth plain declare.
[Here let him quake and stir.


How now, noble king? pluck up your heart;
What, will you die, and from us depart?
Speak to me, and you be alive:
He cannot speak; but behold now with death he doth strive!
Alas, good king: alas, he is gone!
The devil take me, if for him I make any moan.
I did prognosticate of his end, by the mass;
Like as I did say, so is it come to pass.
I will be gone; if I should be found here,
That I should kill him it would appear:
For fear with his death they do me charge,
Farewell, my masters, I will go take barge:
I mean to be packing, now is the tide:
Farewell, my masters, I will no longer abide.
[Exit Ambidexter.

Enter three Lords.

First Lord.

Behold, my lords, it is even so,
As he to us did tell;
His grace is dead upon the ground,
By dent of sword most fell.

Second Lord.

As he in saddle would have leapt,
His sword from sheath did go,
Goring him up into the side;
His life was ended so.

Third Lord.

His blood so fast did issue out,
That nought could him prolong:
Yet before he yielded up the ghost,
His heart was very strong.

First Lord.

A just reward for his misdeeds
The God above hath wrought;
For certainly the life he led
Was to be counted nought.

Second Lord.

Yet a princely burial he shall have,
According his estate;
And more of him here at his time
We have not to dilate.

Third Lord.

My lords, let us take him up,
To carry him away.


Content we are, with one accord,
To do as you do say.
[Exeunt all.


Right gentle audience, here have you perused
The tragical history of this wicked king;
According to our duty, we have not refused,
But to our best intent express’d everything:
We trust none is offended for this our doing.
Our author craves likewise, if he have squared amiss,
By gentle admonition to know where the fault is.
His good will shall not be neglected to amend the same;
Praying all to bear therefore with his simple deed,
Until the time serve a better he may frame:
Thus yielding you thanks, to end we decreed
That you so gently have suffered us to proceed,
In such patient wise as to hear and see:
We can but thank you therefore, we can do no more, we.
As duty binds us, for our noble queen let us pray,
And for her honourable council, the truth that they may use,
To practise justice, and defend her grace each day;
To maintain God’s word they may not refuse,
To correct all those, that would her grace and grace’s laws abuse;
Beseeching God over us she may reign long,
To be guided by truth, and defended from wrong.

[228] [Like “King Darius’ doleful strain,” in allusion to the old interlude on that subject.]

[229] [The play was licenced to John Allde in 1569-70. See Collier’s “Extracts,” i. 205. As that printer continued in business till 1584, and the earliest dated piece with the younger Allde’s name bears the same date, “Cambyses” may have been republished about 1585; but it does not seem to have been licenced.]

[230] Shakespeare’s Clowns are genuine successors of the old Vice; and, as an editor of that poet has well observed, Punch still exhibits the entire character.

[231] [One of them is printed by Collier.]

[232] [Might not this incident have suggested to Shakespeare the leading one in “Measure for Measure”?]

[233] [This incident was no doubt suggested by a well-known passage in the earlier play of “Thersites.”]

[234] Here is evidently a line omitted, which it is impossible to supply by conjecture.

[235] [Old copy, the.]

[236] [Old copy, of.]

[237] [Old copy, the.]

[238] [Greediness or greed.]

[239] [Old copy, want.]

[240] [Old copy, taste it still.]

[241] [Intention.]

[242] [By our lady.]

[243] [By my faith; and a little further on we have bum troth—by my troth.]

[244] [Old copy, do.]

[245] [Old copy, in.]

[246] [Old copy, beautie.]

[247] [Forget. A very rare word.]

[248] [This reference to Watling Street as an early emporium for cloth is interesting, and does not seem to have been noticed.]

[249] [Here Preston makes Ambidexter refer to Bonner as dead, an event which happened in 1569, and as this play was licenced in 1569-70, it must have been written immediately prior to its entry at Stationers’ Hall.]



Certaine Devises and shewes presented to her Majestie by the Gentlemen of Grayes-Inne, at her Highnesse Court in Greenewich, the twenty eighth day of Februarie in the thirtieth yeare of her Majesties most happy Raigne. At London. Printed by Robert Robinson. 1587. 8o. Black-letter.


It appears that eight persons, members of the Society of Gray’s Inn, were engaged in the production of “The Misfortunes of Arthur,” for the entertainment of Queen Elizabeth, at Greenwich, on the 8th February 1587-8, viz., Thomas Hughes, the author of the whole body of the tragedy; William Fulbecke, who wrote two speeches substituted on the representation and appended to the old printed copy; Nicholas Trotte, who furnished the introduction; Francis Flower, who penned choruses for the first and second acts; Christopher Yelverton, Francis Bacon, and John Lancaster, who devised the dumb-shows, then usually accompanying such performances; and a person of the name of Penruddock, who, assisted by Flower and Lancaster, “directed the proceedings at court.”

Regarding Hughes and Trotte no information has survived. Fulbecke was born in 1566; became, as we are told, an eminent writer on the law, and in the year when this tragedy was brought out, published a work called “Christian Ethics.” The “Maister Francis Bacon,” spoken of at the conclusion of the piece, was, of course, no other than [the great] Bacon; and it is a new feature in his biography, though not perhaps very prominent nor important, that he was so nearly concerned in the preparation of a play at court. In February 1587-8, he had just commenced his twenty-eighth year. Christopher Yelverton, as early as 1566, had written the epilogue to Gascoigne’s “Jocasta,” and on the present occasion was probably resorted to for his experience in such undertakings. Regarding Flower, Lancaster, and Penruddock we have nothing to communicate.

“The Misfortunes of Arthur” is a dramatic composition only known to exist in the Garrick Collection.[250] Judging from internal evidence, it seems to have been printed with unusual care under the superintendence of the principal author. In the course of it, some lines and words were cancelled, and those which were substituted were pasted over the objectionable passages. In the notes we have given both versions, and the whole is reprinted as nearly as possible in its original shape. The mere rarity of this unique drama would not have recommended it to our notice; but it is not likely that such a man as Bacon would have lent his aid to the production of a piece which was not intrinsically good, and unless we much mistake, there is a richer and a nobler vein of poetry running through it than is to be found in any previous work of the kind. The blank verse is generally free and flowing, although now and then deformed by alliteration, and rendered somewhat monotonous by the want of that variety of rhythm, which Marlowe may be said to have introduced, and which Shakespeare scarcely exceeded.

Most of the characters, and particularly those of Arthur and Mordred, are drawn with distinctness and vigour: the fiery and reckless ambition of the son is excellently contrasted with the cool determination and natural affection of the father. As an illustration of the former we may refer to many passages, but especially to several in the third scene of the second act; while the character and disposition of the latter are depicted in a masterly manner both before and after the final battle. This catastrophe, as far as relates to the death of Mordred, is mentioned by Dante in canto xxxii. of his “Inferno”—

“Non quelli a cui fu rotto il petto e l’ombra.
Con esso un colpo per la man d’Artu.”

The substance of the story is to be found in the “Morte Arthur.” The action is one, but the unities of time and place are disregarded; and although the tragedy in many respects is conducted upon the plan of the ancients, there are in it evident approaches to the irregularity of our romantic drama. It forms a sort of connecting link between such pieces of unimpassioned formality as “Ferrex and Porrex,” and rule-rejecting historical plays, as Shakespeare found them and left them.



An introduction, penned by Nicholas Trotte, Gentleman, one of the Society of Gray’s Inn, which was pronounced in manner following:viz., Three Muses came on the stage apparelled accordingly, bringing five Gentlemen Students with them, attired in their usual garments, whom one of the Muses presented to Her Majesty as captives. The cause whereof she delivered by speech as followeth:

Of conquest (gracious queen) the signs and fruits,
Achieved ’gainst such as wrongfully withheld
The service by choice wits to Muses due,
In humblest wise these captives we present.
And lest your highness might suspect the gift,
As spoil of war that justice might impeach,
Hear and discern how just our quarrel was,
Avouched (as you see) by good success.
A dame there is, whom men Astrœa term,
She that pronounceth oracles of laws,
Who to prepare fit servants for her train,
As by commission, takes up flow’ring wits,
Whom first she schooleth to forget and scorn
The noble skills of language and of arts,
The wisdom which discourse of stories teach:
The ornaments which various knowledge yields.
But poesy she hath in most disdain,
And marshals it next Folly’s scorned place.
Then, when she hath these worthy prints defac’d
Out of the minds that can endure her hand.
What doth she then supply instead of these?
Forsooth, some old reports of altered laws,
Clamours of courts, and cavils upon words,
Grounds without ground, supported by conceit,
And reasons of more subtlety than sense.
What shall I say of moot points strange, and doubts
Still argued, but never yet agreed?
And she that doth deride the poet’s law,
Because he must his words in order place,
Forgets her forms of pleading, more precise—
More bound to words than is the poet’s lore:
And for these fine conceits she fitly chose
A tongue that barbarism itself doth use.
We, noting all these wrongs, did long expect
Their hard condition would have made them wise,
To offer us their service, plac’d so ill;
But finding them addicted to their choice,
And specially desirous to present
Your Majesty with fruits of province new,
Now did resolve to double force and skill,
And found and us’d the vantage of the time,
Surpris’d their fort, and took them captives all.
So now submiss, as to their state belongs,
They gladly yield their homage long withdrawn,
And Poetry, which they did most contemn,
They glory now her favours for to wear.
My sisters laugh’d to see them take the pen,
And lose their wits all in unwonted walks:
But to your highness that delight we leave,
To see these poets new their style advance.
Such as they are, or nought or little worth,
Deign to accept, and therewith we beseech,
That novelty give price to worthless things.

Unto this speech one of the Gentlemen answered as followeth:

Good ladies, unacquaint with cunning reach,
And eas’ly led to glory in your pow’r,
Hear now abash’d our late dissembled minds.
Nor now the first time, as yourselves best know,
Ye Muses sought our service to command:
Oft have ye wandered from Parnassus Hill,
And showed yourselves with sweet and tempting grace,
But yet return’d, your train increas’d with few.
This resolution doth continue still:
Unto Astrea’s name we honour bear,
Whose sound perfections we do more admire
Than all the vaunted store of Muses’ gifts,
Let this be one (which last you put in ure
In well depraving that deserveth praise)
No eloquence, disguising reason’s shape,
Nor poetry, each vain affection’s nurse,
No various history, that doth lead the mind
Abroad to ancient tales from instant use,
Nor these, nor other mo, too long to note,
Can win Astrea’s servants to remove
Their service once devote to better things.
They, with attentive minds and serious wits,
Revolve records of deep judicial acts;
They weigh with steady and indifferent hand
Each word of law, each circumstance of right:
They hold the grounds which time and use hath sooth’d,[251]
Though shallow sense conceive them as conceits—
Presumptuous sense, whose ignorance dare judge
Of things remov’d by reason from her reach.
One doubt, in moots by argument increas’d,
Clears many doubts experience doth object.
The language she first chose, and still retains,
Exhibits naked truth in aptest terms.
Our industry maintaineth unimpeach’d:
Prerogative of prince, respect to peers,
The Commons’ liberty and each man’s right;
Suppresseth mutin force and practice fraud,
Things that for worth our studious care deserve:
Yet never did we banish nor reject
Those ornaments of knowledge nor of tongues:
That slander envious ignorance did raise.
With Muses still we intercourse allow,
T’enrich our state with all their foreign freight;
But never homage nor acknowledgment,
Such as of subjects allegiance doth require.
Now hear the cause of your late conquest won.
We had discovered your intent to be
(And, sure, ye ladies are not secret all;
Speech and not silence is the Muse’s grace)
We well perceiv’d (I say) your mind to be
T’ employ such prisoners, as themselves did yield,
To serve a Queen, for whom her purest gold
Nature refin’d, that she might therein set
Both private and imperial virtues all.
Thus (Sovereign Lady of our laws and us)
Zeal may transform us into any shape.
We, which with trembling hand the pen did guide,
Never well pleas’d, all for desire to please;
For still your rare perfections did occur,
Which are admir’d of Muses and of men.
O, with how steady hand and heart assur’d,
Should we take up the warlike lance or sword,
With mind resolv’d to spend our loyal blood
Your least command with speed to execute!
O, that before our time the fleeting ship
Ne’er wandered had in watery wilderness,
That we might first that venture undertake
In strange attempt t’ approve our loyal hearts!
Be it soldiers, seamen, poets, or what else,
In service once enjoin’d, to ready minds
Our want of use should our devoir increase.
Now since instead of art we bring but zeal,
Instead of praise we humbly pardon crave.
The matter which we purpose to present,
Since straights of time our liberty controls,
In tragic notes the plagues of vice recounts.
How suits a tragedy for such a time?
Thus—for that since your sacred Majesty
In gracious hands the regal sceptre held,
All tragedies are fled from State to stage.
Nicholas Trotte.

The misfortunes of Arthur (Uther Pendragon’s son) reduced into tragical notes by Thomas Hughes, one of the society of Gray’s Inn, and here set down as it passed from under his hands, and as it was presented, excepting certain words and lines, where some of the actors either helped their memories by brief omission, or fitted their acting by some alteration; with a note in the end of such speeches as were penned by others, in lieu of some of these hereafter following.

The Argument of the Tragedy.

At a banquet made by Uther Pendragon for the solemnising of his conquest against the Saxons, he fell enamoured of Igerna, wife to Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall who, perceiving the king’s passion, departed with his wife and prepared wars at Cornwall, where also, in a stronghold beyond him, he placed her. Then the king levied an army to suppress him, but waxing impatient of his desire to Igerna, transformed himself, by Merlin his cunning, into the likeness of Gorlois, and after his acceptance with Igerna he returned to his siege, where he slew Gorlois. Igerna was delivered of Arthur and Anne, twins of the same birth. Uther Pendragon, fifteen years after, pursuing the Saxons, was by them poisoned. Arthur delighted in his sister Anne, who made him father of Mordred. Seventeen years after, Lucius Tiberius of Rome demanded a tribute, due by conquest of Cæsar. Arthur gathered his powers of thirteen kings besides his own, and leaving his queen Guenevera in the tuition of Mordred, to whom likewise he committed the kingdom in his absence, arrived at France where, after nine years’ wars, he sent the slain body of Tiberius unto Rome for the tribute. During this absence, Mordred grew ambitious, for th’ effecting whereof he made love to Guenevera, who gave ear unto him. Then by th’ assistance of Gilla, a British lord, he usurped, and for maintenance entertained with large promises the Saxons, Irish, Picts, and Normans. Guenevera hearing that Arthur was already embarked for return, through despair purposing diversely, sometimes to kill her husband, sometimes to kill herself, at last resolved to enter into religion. Arthur at his landing was resisted on the strands of Dover, where he put Mordred to flight. The last field was fought at Cornwall where, after the death of one hundred and twenty thousand, saving on either side twenty, Mordred received his death, and Arthur his deadly wound.

The Argument and Manner of the First Dumb-Show.

Sounding the music, there rose three furies from under the stage, apparelled accordingly with snakes and flames about their black hair and garments. The first with a snake in the right hand, and a cup of wine, with a snake athwart the cup, in the left hand. The second with a firebrand in the right hand, and a Cupid in the left. The third with a whip in the right hand and a Pegasus in the left. While they went masking about the stage, there came from another place three nuns, which walked by themselves. Then after a full sight given to the beholders, they all parted, the furies to Mordred’s house, the nuns to the cloister. By the first fury with the snake and cup was signified the banquet of Uther Pendragon, and afterward his death, which ensued by the poisoned cup. The second fury, with her firebrand and Cupid, represented Uther’s unlawful heat and love conceived at the banquet, which never ceased in his posterity. By the third, with her whip and Pegasus, was prefigured the cruelty and ambition which thence ensued and continued to th’ effecting of this tragedy. By the nuns was signified the remorse and despair of Guenevera that, wanting other hope, took a nunnery for her refuge. After their departure, the four which represented the Chorus took their places.

The Argument of the First Act.

1. In the first scene the spirit of Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, the man first and most wronged in this history, being despoil’d both of wife, dukedom, and life, craveth revenge for these injuries, denouncing the whole misfortune ensuing.

2. In the second scene Guenevera, hearing that Arthur was on the seas returning desperately, menaceth his death, from which intent she is dissuaded by Fronia, a lady of her court, and privy to her secrets.

3. In the third scene Guenevera perplexedly mindeth her own death, whence being dissuaded by her sister, she resolveth to enter into religion.

4. In the fourth scene Mordred goeth about to persuade Guenevera to persist in her love, but misseth thereof; and then is exhorted by Conan (a nobleman of Britain) to reconcile himself to his father at his coming, but refuseth so to do, and resolveth to keep him from landing by battle.




Since thus through channels black of Limbo lake,
And deep infernal flood of Stygian pool,
The ghastly Charon’s boat transported back
Thy ghost from Pluto’s pits and glooming shade
To former light, once lost by dest’ny’s doom,
Where proud Pendragon, broil’d with shameful lust,
Despoil’d thee erst of wife, of land and life,
Now, Gorlois, work thy wish, cast here thy gall:
Glut on revenge! thy wrath abhors delays.
What though (besides Pendragon’s poisoned end)
The vile reproach he wrought thee by thy pheer,[253]
Through deep increase of crimes alike is plagu’d;
And that the shame thou sufered’st for his lusts,
Reboundeth back and stifleth in his stock,
Yet is not mischief’s measure all fulfill’d,
Nor wreak sufficient wrought. Thy murdered corpse
And dukedom reft for heavier vengeance cries.
Come, therefore, blooms of settled mischief’s root:
Come, each thing else what fury can invent,
Wreak all at once! infect the air with plagues,
Till bad to worse, till worse to worse be turn’d!
Let mischiefs know no mean, nor plagues an end!
Let th’ offspring’s sin exceed the former stock!
Let none have time to hate his former fault,
But still with fresh supply let punish’d crime
Increase, till time it make a complete sin!
Go to: some fact, which no age shall allow
Nor yet conceal—some fact must needs be dur’d,
That for the horror great and outrage fell
Thereof may well beseem Pendragon’s brood.
And first, while Arthur’s navies homeward float,
Triumphantly bedeck’d with Roman spoils,
Let Guenevera express what frantic moods
Distract a wife, when wronging wedlock’s rights,
Both fond and fell, she loves and loathes at once.
Let deep despair pursue till, loathing life,
Her hateful head in cowl and cloister lurk.
Let traitorous Mordred keep his sire from shore;
Let Britain rest a prey for foreign powers;
Let sword and fire, still fed with mutual strife,
Turn all the kings to ghosts: let civil wars
And discord swell, till all the realm be torn!
Even in that soil whereof myself was Duke,
Where first my spouse Igerna brake her vow,
Where this ungracious offspring was begot:
In Cornwall—there let Mordred’s death declare,
Let Arthur’s fatal wound bewray, the wrong,
The murder vile, the rape of wife and weal,
Wherewith their sire incens’d both Gods and man.
Thus, thus Pendragon’s seed, so sown and reap’d,
Thus cursed imps, ill-born and worse consum’d,
Shall render just revenge for parents’ crimes,
And penance do, t’ assuage my swelling wrath.
The whiles, O Cassiopœa, gem-bright sign,
Most sacred sight and sweet celestial star,
This climate’s joy, plac’d in imperial throne,
With fragrant olive-branch portending peace;
And whosoe’er besides, ye heavenly powers,
(Her stately train with influence divine,
And mild aspect all prone to Britain’s good)
Foresee what present plagues do threat this isle,
Prevent not this my wreak. For you there rests
A happier age, a thousand years to come;
An age for peace, religion, wealth, and ease,
When all the world shall wonder at your bliss:
That, that is yours! Leave this to Gorlois’ ghost.
And see where comes one engine of my hate,
With moods and manners fit for my revenge.


Guenevera, Fronia.

Guenevera. And dares he after nine years’ space return,
And see her face, whom he so long disdain’d?
Was I then chose and wedded for his stale,
To look and gape for his retireless sails,
Puff’d back and flittering spread to every wind?
O wrong, content with no revenge, seek out
Undared plagues: teach Mordred how to rage:
Attempt some bloody, dreadful, irksome fact,
And such as Mordred would were rather his.
Why stayest? It must he done! let bridle go:
Frame out some trap beyond all vulgar guile,
Beyond Medea’s wiles: attempt some fact,
That any wight unwieldy[254] of herself,
That any spouse unfaithful to her pheer,
Durst e’er attempt in most despair of weal.
Spare no revenge, b’ it poison, knife, or fire!
Fronia. Good madam, temper these outrageous moods,
And let not will usurp, where wit should rule.
Guenevera. The wrath that breatheth blood doth loathe to lurk:
What reason most withholds, rage wrings perforce.
I am disdain’d: so will I not be long.
That very hour that he shall first arrive,
Shall be the last that shall afford him life.
Though neither seas, nor lands, nor wars abroad
Sufficed for thy foil, yet shalt thou find
Far worse at home—thy deep-displeased spouse.
Whate’er thou hast subdu’d in all thy stay
This hand shall now subdue; then stay thy fill.
What’s this? my mind recoils and irks these threats:
Anger delays, my grief gins to assuage,
My fury faints, and sacred wedlock’s faith
Presents itself. Why shunn’st thou fearful wrath?
Add coals afresh: preserve me to this venge,
At least exile thyself to realms unknown,
And steal his wealth to help thy banish’d state;
For flight is best. O base and heartless fear!
Theft? Exile? Flight? all these may fortune send
Unsought; but thee beseems more high revenge.
Come, spiteful fiends, come, heaps of furies fell,
Not one by one, but all at once! my breast
Raves not enough: it likes me to be fill’d
With greater monsters yet. My heart doth throb,
My liver boils: somewhat my mind portends,
Uncertain what; but whatsoever, it’s huge.
So it exceed, be what it will, it’s well.
Omit no plague, and none will be enough:
Wrong cannot be reveng’d but by excess.
Fronia. O, spare this heat! you yield too much to rage:
Y’ are too unjust. Is there no mean in wrong?
Guenevera. Wrong claims a mean, when first you offer wrong:
The mean is vain when wrong is in revenge.
Great harms cannot be hid: the grief is small,
That can receive advice, or rule itself.
Fronia. Hatred conceal’d doth often hap to hurt,
But once profess’d, it oft’ner fails revenge.
How better tho’ wert to repress your ire:
A lady’s best revenge is to forgive.
What mean is in your hate? how much soe’er
You can invent or dare, so much you hate.
Guenevera. And would you know what mean there is in hate?
Call love to mind, and see what mean is there!
My love, redoubled love, and constant faith
Engaged unto Mordred works so deep,
That both my heart and marrow quite be burnt,
And sinews dried with force of wontless flames.
Desire to joy him still torments my mind:
Fear of his want doth add a double grief.
Lo, here the love that stirs this meanless hate!
Fronia. Eschew it far: such love impugns the laws.
Guenevera. Unlawful love doth like, when lawful loathes.
Fronia. And is your love of husband quite extinct?
Guenevera. The greater flame must needs delay the less:
Besides, his sore revenge I greatly fear.
Fronia. How can you then attempt a fresh offence?
Guenevera. Who can appoint a stint to her offence?
Fronia. But here the greatness of the fact should move.
Guenevera. The greater it, the fitter for my grief.
Fronia. To kill your spouse?
Guenevera. A stranger and a foe.
Fronia. Your liege and king.
Guenevera. He wants both realm and crown.
Fronia. Nature affords not to your sex such strength.
Guenevera. Love, anguish, wrath, will soon afford enough.
Fronia. What rage is this?
Guenevera. Such as himself shall rue.
Fronia. Whom Gods do press enough, will you annoy?
Guenevera. Whom Gods do press, they bend; whom man annoys,
He breaks.
Fronia. Your grief is more than his deserts.
Each fault requires an equal hate: be not severe,
Where crimes be light. As you have felt, so grieve.
Guenevera. And seems it light to want him nine year space
Then to be spoil’d of one I hold more dear?
Think all too much, b’it ne’er so just, that feeds
Continual grief: the lasting woe is worst.
Fronia. Yet let your highness shun these desperate moods:
Cast off this rage and fell-disposed mind.
Put not shame quite to flight: have some regard
Both of your sex and future fame of life.
Use no such cruel thoughts, as far exceed
A manly mind, much more a woman’s heart.
Guenevera. Well, shame is not so quite exil’d, but that
I can and will respect your sage advice.
Your counsel I accept: give leave a while,
Till fiery wrath may slake, and rage relent.
[Exit Fronia.


Guenevera, Angharat.

Guenevera. The love, that for his rage will not be rul’d,
Must be restrain’d: fame shall receive no foil.
Let Arthur live; whereof to make him sure
Myself will die, and so prevent his harms.
Why stayest thou thus amaz’d, O slothful wrath?
Mischief is meant; despatch it on thyself.
Angharat. Her breast, not yet appeas’d from former rage,
Hath chang’d her wrath which, wanting means to work
Another’s woe (for such is fury’s wont),
Seeks out his own, and raves upon itself.
Assuage (alas) that over fervent ire:
Through too much anger you offend too much.
Thereby the rather you deserve to live
For seeming worthy in yourself to die.
Guenevera. Death is decreed; what kind of death, I doubt:
Whether to drown or stifle[255] up this breath,
Or forcing blood to die with dint of knife.
All hope of prosperous hap is gone. My fame,
My faith, my spouse—no good is left unlost!
Myself am left: there’s left both seas and lands,
And sword, and fire and chains, and choice of harms.
O gnawing, easeless grief! who now can heal
My maimed mind? It must be heal’d by death.
Angharat. No mischief must be done while I be by;
Or, if there must, there must be more than one.
If death it be you seek, I seek it too;
Alone you may not die, with me you may.
Guenevera. They that will drive th’ unwilling to their death,
Or frustrate death in those that fain would die,
Offend alike. They spoil, that bootless spare.
Angharat. But will my tears and mournings move you nought?
Guenevera. Then it is best to die when friends do mourn.
Angharat. Each-where is death! the fates have well ordain’d,
That each man may bereave himself of life,
But none of death: death is so sure a doom,
A thousand ways do guide us to our graves.
Who then can ever come too late to that,
Whence, when he is come, he never can return?
Or what avails to hasten on our ends,
And long for that which destinies have sworn!
Look back in time: too late is to repent,
When furious rage hath once cut off the choice.
Guenevera. Death is an end of pain, no pain itself.
Is’t meet a plague for such excessive wrong
Should be so short? Should one stroke answer all?
[Soliloquizes] And would’st thou die? well, that contents the laws:
What, then, for Arthur’s ire? What for thy fame,
Which thou hast stain’d? What for thy stock thou sham’st?
Not death nor life alone can give a full
Revenge: join both in one—die and yet live.
Where pain may not be oft, let it be long.
Seek out some lingering death, whereby thy corpse
May neither touch the dead nor joy the quick.
Die, but no common death: pass nature’s bounds.
Angharat. Set plaints aside: despair yields no relief;
The more you search a wound the more it stings.
Guenevera. When guilty minds torment themselves, they heal,
Whiles wounds be cur’d, grief is a salve for grief.
Angharat. Grief is no just esteemer of our deeds.
What so hath yet been done, proceeds from chance.
Guenevera. The mind and not the chance doth make th’ unchaste.
Angharat. Then is your fault from fate; you rest excus’d.
None can be deemed faulty for her fate.
Guenevera. No fate, but manners fail, when we offend.
Impute mishaps to fates, to manners faults.
Angharat. Love is an error that may blind the best.
Guenevera. A mighty error oft hath seem’d a sin.
My death is vowed, and death must needs take place.
But such a death as stands with just remorse:
Death to the world and to her slippery joys:
A full divorce from all this courtly pomp,
Where daily penance, done for each offence,
May render due revenge for every wrong.
Which to accomplish, pray my dearest friends,
That they forthwith, attir’d in saddest guise,
Conduct me to the cloister next hereby,
There to profess, and to renounce the world.
Angharat. Alas! what change were that! from kingly roofs
To cloistered cells—to live and die at once!
To want your stately troops, your friends and kin,
To shun the shows and sights of stately court;
To see in sort alive your country’s death.
Yea, whatsoe’er even death itself withdraws
From any else, that life withdraws from you.
Yet since your highness is so fully bent,
I will obey: the whiles assuage your grief.


Mordred, Guenevera, Conan.

Mordred. The hour, which erst I always feared most
The certain ruin of my desperate state,
Is happened now! why turn’st thou (mind) thy back?
Why at the first assault dost thou recoil?
Trust to’t, the angry heavens contrive some spite,
And dreadful doom t’augment thy cursed hap.
Oppose to each revenge thy guilty head,
And shun no pain, nor plague fit for thy fact.
What shouldst thou fear, that see’st not what to hope?[256]
No danger’s left before: all’s at thy back.
He safely stands, that stands beyond his harms.
Thine (death) is all that east and west can see:
For thee we live, our coming is not long:
Spare us but whiles we may prepare our graves.
Though thou wert slow, we hasten of ourselves.
The hour that gave did also take our lives:
No sooner men than mortal were we born.
I see mine end draws on, I feel my plagues.
Guenevera. No plague for one ill-born to die as ill.
Mordred. O Queen! my sweet associate in this plunge
And desperate plight, behold, the time is come,
That either justifies our former faults,
Or shortly sets us free from every fear.
Guenevera. My fear is past, and wedlock love hath won.
Retire we thither yet, whence first we ought
Not to have stirr’d. Call back chaste faith again.
The way that leads to good is ne’er too late:
Who so repents is guiltless of his crimes.
Mordred. What means this course? Is Arthur’s wedlock safe,
Or can he love, that hath just cause to hate?
That nothing else were to be fear’d:
Is most apparent, that he hates at home,
Whate’er he be whose fancy strays abroad.
Think, then, our love is not unknown to him,
Whereof what patience can be safely hop’d?
Nor love nor sovereignty can bear a peer.
Guenevera. Why dost thou still stir up my flames delay’d?
His strays and errors must not move my mind:
A law for private men binds not the king.
What, that I ought not to condemn my liege,
Nor can, thus guilty to mine own offence!
Where both have done amiss, both will relent:
He will forgive that needs must be forgiven.
Mordred. A likely thing, your faults must make you friends;
What sets you both at odds must join you both.
Think well, he casts already for revenge,
And how to plague us both. I know his law;
A judge severe to us, mild to himself.
What then avails you to return too late,
When you have passed too far? You feed vain hopes.
Guenevera. The further past, the more this fault is yours.
It served your turn t’ usurp your father’s crown:
His is the crime, whom crime stands most in stead.
Mordred. They that conspire in faults offend alike:
Crime makes them equal, whom it jointly stains.
If for my sake you then pertook my guilt,
You cannot guiltless seem: the crime was joint.
Guenevera. Well should[257] she seem most guiltless unto thee,
Whate’er she be, that’s guilty for thy sake.
The remnant of that sober mind, which thou
Had’st heretofore ne’er vanquish’d, yet resists.
Suppress, for shame, that impious mouth so taught,
And so much skill’d t’ abuse the wedded bed.
Look back to former fates: Troy still had stood,
Had not her prince made light of wedlock’s lore.
The vice that threw down Troy doth threat thy throne.
Take heed: there Mordred stands, whence Paris fell.
Conan. Since that your highness knows for certain truth,
What power your sire prepares to claim his right.
It nearly now concerns you to resolve
In humblest sort to reconcile yourself
Gainst his return.
Mordred. Will war?
Conan. That lies in chance.
Mordred. I have as great a share in chance as he.
Conan. His ways be blind that maketh chance his guide.
Mordred. Whose refuge lies in chance, what dares he not?
Conan. Wars were a crime far worse than all the rest.
Mordred. The safest passage is from bad to worse.
Conan. That were to pass too far and put no mean.
Mordred. He is a fool that puts a mean in crimes.
Conan. But sword and fire would cause a common wound.
Mordred. So sword and fire will often sear the sore.
Conan. Extremest cures must not be used first.
Mordred. In desperate times the headlong way is best.
Conan. Y’ have many foes.
Mordred. No more than faithful friends.
Conan. Trust t’ it, their faith will faint, where fortune fails.
Where many men pretend a love to one,
Whose power may do what good or harm he will,
’Tis hard to say which be his faithful friends.
Dame Flattery flitteth oft: she loves and hates
With time, a present friend, an absent foe.
Mordred. But yet I’ll hope the best.[258]
Conan. Even then you fear
The worst: fears follow hopes, as fumes do flames.
Mischief is sometimes safe, but ne’er secure.
The wrongful sceptre’s held with trembling hand.
Mordred. Whose rule wants right, his safety’s in his sword;
For sword and sceptre comes to kings at once.
Conan. The kingliest point is to affect but right.
Mordred. Weak is the sceptre’s hold that seeks but right.
The care whereof hath danger’d many crowns.
As much as water differeth from the fire,
So much man’s profit jars from what is just.
A free recourse to wrong doth oft secure
The doubtful seat, and plucks down many a foe
The sword must seldom cease: a sovereign’s hand
Is scantly safe, but whiles it smites. Let him
Usurp no crown that likes a guiltless life:
Aspiring power and justice seld agree.
He always fears that shames to offer wrong.
Conan. What son would use such wrong against his sire?
Mordred. Come, son, come, sire, I first prefer myself;
And since a wrong must be, then it excels
When ’tis to gain a crown. I hate a peer:
I loathe, I irk, I do detest a head.
B’ it nature, be it reason, be it pride,
I love to rule! my mind, nor with, nor by,
Nor after any claims, but chief and first!
Conan. But think what fame and grievous bruits would run
Of such disloyal and unjust attempts.
Mordred. Fame goes not with our ghosts: the senseless soul,
Once gone, neglects what vulgar bruit reports.
She is both light and vain.
Conan. She noteth, though.
Mordred. She feareth states.[259]
Conan. She carpeth, ne’ertheless.
Mordred. She’s soon suppress’d.
Conan. As soon she springs again.
Tongues are untam’d and fame is envy’s dog,
That absent barks, and present fawns as fast.
It fearing dares, and yet hath never done,
But dures: though death redeem us all from foes
Besides, yet death redeems us not from tongues.[260]
Mordred. Ere Arthur land, the sea shall blush with blood,
And all the strands with smoking slaughters reek.
Now (Mars) protect me in my first attempt!
If Mordred scape, this realm shall want no wars.



See here the drifts of Gorlois, Cornish Duke,
And deep desire to shake his sovereign’s throne.
How foul his fall, how bitter his rebuke,
Whiles wife, and weal, and life, and all be gone!
He now in hell tormented wants that good.
Lo, lo, the end of traitorous bones and blood!


Pendragon broil’d with flames of filthy fires,
By Merlin’s mists enjoy’d Igerna’s bed:
Next spoiled Gorlois, doubling his desires;
Then was himself through force of poison sped.
Who sows in sin, in sin shall reap his pain:
The doom is sworn: death guerdons death again.


Whiles Arthur wars abroad and reaps renown,
Guenevera prefers his son’s desire;
And traitorous Mordred still usurps the crown,
Affording fuel to her quenchless fire,
But death’s too good, and life too sweet for these,
That wanting both should taste of neither’s ease.


In Rome the gaping gulf would not decrease,
Till Curtius corse had closed her yearning jaws:
In Thebes the rot and murrain would not cease,
Till Laius brood had paid for breach of laws:
In Britain wars and discord will not stent,
Till Uther’s line and offspring quite be spent.

The Argument of the Second Act.

1. In the first scene a Nuntio declareth the success of Arthur’s wars in France, and Mordred’s foil, that resisted his landing.

2. In the second scene, Mordred enraged at the overthrow voweth a second battle; notwithstanding Conan’s dissuasion to the contrary.

3. In the third scene, Gawin (brother to Mordred by the mother) [comes] with an herald from Arthur to imparley of peace, but after some debate thereof, peace is rejected.

4. In the fourth scene, the King of Ireland and other foreign princes assure Mordred of their assistance against Arthur.

The Argument and Manner of the Second Dumb-Show.

Whiles the music sounded, there came out of Mordred’s house a man stately attired, representing a king who, walking once about the stage, then out of the house appointed for Arthur there came three Nymphs apparelled accordingly, the first holding a Cornucopia in her hand, the second a golden branch of olive, the third a sheaf of corn. These orderly, one after another, offered these presents to the king, who scornfully refused: a second after which there came a man bareheaded, with long black shagged hair down to his shoulders, apparelled with an Irish jacket and shirt, having an Irish dagger by his side, and a dart in his hand. Who first with a threatening countenance looking about, and then spying the king, did furiously chase and drive him into Mordred’s house. The king represented Mordred; the three Nymphs with their proffers the treaty of peace, for the which Arthur sent Gawin with an herald unto Mordred, who rejected it: the Irishman signified Revenge and Fury, which Mordred conceived after his foil on the shores, whereunto Mordred headlong yieldeth himself.



Nuntius. Lo, here at length the stately type of Troy,
And Britain land the promis’d seat of Brute,
Deck’d with so many spoils of conquered kings!
Hail, native soil, these nine years’ space unseen!
To thee hath long-renowned Rome at last
Held up her hands, bereft of former pomp.
But first, inflam’d with wonted valour’s heat,
Amidst our sorest siege and thickest broils
She stoutly fought, and fiercely waged wars.
Tiberius courage gave, upbraiding oft
The Roman force, their wonted luck, and long
Retained rule by wars throughout the world.
What shame it were since such achieved spoils,
And conquests gain’d both far and wide, to want
Of courage then, when most it should be mov’d!
How Britons erst paid tribute for their peace,
But now rebel and dare them at their doors.
For what was France but theirs? Herewith incens’d,
They fiercely rav’d, and bent their force afresh.
Which Arthur spying, cried with thundering voice;
Fie (Britons) fie! what hath bewitch’d you thus?
So many nations foil’d, must Romans foil?
What sloth is this? Have you forgot to war,
Which ne’er knew hour of peace? turn to your foes,
Where you may bathe in blood and fight your fill.
Let courage work! what can he not that dares?
Thus he, [the] puissant guide in doubtful wars,
Asham’d to shun his foes, inflam’d his friends.
Then yielding to his stately steed the reins,
He furious drives the Roman troops about:
He plies each place, lest fates mought alter ought,
Pursuing hap, and urging each success.
He yields in nought, but instantly persists,
In all attempts, wherein whatso withstands
His wish, he joys to work away by wrack;
And matching death to death, no passage seeks
But what destruction works with blade or blood.
He scorns the yielded way; he fiercely raves
To break and bruise the ranks in thickest throngs,
All headlong bent and prone to present spoil.
The foes enforc’d withstand; but much dismay’d
They senseless fight, while millions lose their lives.
At length Tiberius, pierc’d with point of spear,
Doth bleeding fall, engor’d with deadly wound.
Hereat the rest recoil and headlong fly,
Each man to save himself. The battle quails,
And Britons win unto their most renown.
Then Arthur took Tiberius’ breathless corse,
And sent it to the Senators at Rome,
With charge to say: This is the tribute due
Which Arthur ought: as time hereafter serves;
He’ll pay the like again, the while he rests
Your debtor thus. But O! this sweet success,
Pursu’d with greater harms, turn’d soon to sour.
For lo, when foreign soils and seas were past
With safe return, and that the king should land,
Who but his only son (O outrage rare)
With hugy host withstood him on the shore!
There were prepar’d the foreign aids from far:
There were the borrowed powers of divers kings;
There were our parents, brethren, sons and kin,
Their wrath, their ire; there, Mordred, was thy rage.
Where erst we sought abroad for foes to foil,
Behold, our Fates had sent us foes unsought.
When foreign realms supplanted want supply,
O blessed home, that hath such boon in store!
But let this part of Arthur’s prowess lurk,
Nor let it e’er appear by my report,
What monstrous mischiefs rage in civil wars.
O, rather let due tears and wailings want!
Let all in silence sink what hence ensu’d.
What best deserveth mention here is this:
That Mordred vanquish’d trusted to his flight,
That Arthur eachwhere victor is return’d.
And lo, where Mordred comes with heavy head:
He wields no slender weight that wields a crown.


Mordred, Conan.

Mordred. And hath he won? Be strands and shores possessed?
Is Mordred foil’d? the realm is yet unwon,
And Mordred lives, reserv’d for Arthur’s death!
Well, ’twas my first conflict: I knew not yet
What wars requir’d: but now my sword is flesh’d,
And taught to gore and bathe in hottest blood.
Then think not, Arthur, that the crown is won!
Thy first success may rue our next assault;
Even at our next encounter (hap when ’twill)
I vow by heaven, by earth, by hell, by all,
That either thou or I, or both shall die!
Conan. Nought should be rashly vow’d against your sire.
Mordred. Whose breast is free from rage may soon b’ advised.
Conan. The best redress from rage is to relent.
Mordred. ’Tis better for a king to kill his foes.
Conan. So that the subjects also judge them foes.
Mordred. The subjects must not judge their king’s decrees.
Conan. The subjects’ force is great.
Mordred.[261] Greater the king’s.
Conan. The more you may, the more you ought to fear.
Mordred. He is a fool that feareth what he may.
Conan. Not what you may, but what you ought, is just.
Mordred. He that amongst so many so unjust
Seeks to be just, seeks peril to himself.
Conan. A greater peril comes by breach of laws.
Mordred. The laws do licence as the sovereign lists.
Conan. Least ought he list, whom laws do licence most.
Mordred. Imperial power abhors to be restrain’d.
Conan. As much do meaner grooms[262] to be compell’d.
Mordred. The fates have heav’d and rais’d my force on high.
Conan. The gentler should you press those that are low.
Mordred. I would be fear’d.
Conan. The cause why subjects hate.
Mordred. A kingdom’s kept by fear.
Conan. And lost by hate.
He fears as man[y] himself whom many fear.
Mordred. The timorous subject dares attempt no change.
Conan. What dares not desperate dread?
Mordred.[263] What? torture, threats.
Conan. O spare! ’twere safer to be lov’d.
Mordred. As safe to be obey’d.
Conan. Whiles you command but well.
Mordred. Where rulers dare command but what is well,
Pow’r is but prayer, commandment but request.
Conan. If pow’r be join’d with right, men must obey.
Mordred. My will must go for right.
Conan. If they assent.
Mordred. My sword shall force assent.
Conan. No, gods forbid!
Mordred. What! shall I stand, whiles Arthur sheds my blood?
And must I yield my neck unto the axe?
Whom fates constrain, let him forego his bliss;
But he that needless yields unto his bane,
When he may shun, doth well deserve to lose
The good he cannot use. Who would sustain
A baser life, that may maintain the best?
We cannot part the crown: a regal throne
Is not for two: the sceptre fits but one.
But whether is the fitter of us two,
That must our swords discern, and shortly shall.
Conan. How much were you to be renowned more,
If casting off these ruinous attempts,
You would take care how to supply the loss,
Which former wars and foreign broils have wrought;
How to deserve the people’s hearts with peace,
With quiet rest and deep-desired ease
Not to increase the rage that long hath reign’d,
Nor to destroy the realm you seek to rule.
Your father rear’d it up, you pluck it down.
You lose your country, whiles you win it thus:
To make it yours, you strive to make it none.
Where kings impose too much, the commons grudge;[264]
Good-will withdraws; assent becomes but slow.
Mordred. Must I to gain renown incur my plague,
Or hoping praise sustain an exile’s life?
Must I for country’s ease disease myself,
Or for their love despise my own estate?[265]
No. ’Tis my hap that Britain serves my turn;
That fear of me doth make the subjects crouch;
That what they grudge they do constrained yield.
If their assents be slow, my wrath is swift:
When favour fails to bend, let fury break.
If they be yet to learn, let terror teach,
What kings may do, what subjects ought to bear.
Then is a kingdom at a wished stay,
When whatsoever the sovereign wills or nills,
Men be compell’d as well to praise as bear,
And subjects’ wills enforc’d against their wills.
Conan. But whoso seeks true praise and just renown,
Would rather seek their praising hearts than tongues.
Mordred. True praise may happen to the basest groom;
A forced praise to none but to a prince.
I wish that most, that subjects most repine.
Conan. But yet where wars do threaten your estate,
There needeth friends to fortify your crown.
Mordred. Each crown is made of that attractive mould,
That of itself it draws a full defence.
Conan. That is a just and no usurped crown;
And better were an exile’s life, than thus
Disloyally to wrong your sire and liege.
Think not that impious crimes can prosper long:
A time they ’scape, in time they be repaid.
Mordred. The hugest crimes bring best success to some.
Conan. Those some be rare.
Mordred. Why may not I be rare?
Conan. It was their hap.
Mordred. It is my hope.
Conan. But hope may miss, where hap doth hurl.
Mordred. So hap may hit, where hope doth aim.
Conan. But hap is last, and rules the stern.
Mordred. So hope is first, and hoists the sail.
Conan. Yet fear; the first and last do seld agree.
Mordred. Nay, dare; the first and last have many means.
But cease at length; your speech molests me much.
My mind is fix’d: give Mordred leave to do
What Conan neither can allow nor like.
Conan. But lo, an Herald sent from Arthur’s host.
Gods grant his message may portend our good.[266]


Herald, Gawin, Mordred.

Herald. Your sire, O Prince, considering what distress
The realm sustains by both your mutual wars,
Hath sent your brother Gawin, Alban king,
To treat of truce, and to imparle of peace.
Mordred. Speak, brother: what commandment sends our sire?
What message do you bring? My life or death?
Gawin. A message far unmeet, most needful tho’.
The sire commands not where the son rebels:
His love descends too deep to wish your death.
Mordred. And mine ascends too high to wish his life.
Gawin. Yet thus he off’reth. Though your faults be great
And most disloyal, to his deep abuse,
Yet yield yourself, he’ll be as prone to grace,
As you to ruth—an uncle, sire, and liege.
And fitter were your due submission done,
Than wrongful wars to reave his right and realm.
Mordred. It is my fault that he doth want his right:
It is his own to vex the realm with wars.
Gawin. It is his right that he attempts to seek:
It is your wrong that driveth him thereto.
Mordred. ’Tis his insatiate mind, that is not so content,
Which hath so many kingdoms more besides.
Gawin. The more you ought to tremble at his pow’r.
Mordred. The greater is my conquest, if I win.
Gawin. The more your foil, if you should hap to lose:
For Arthur’s fame and valour’s such, as you
Should rather imitate, or at the least
Envy, if hope of better fancies fail’d:
For whereas envy reigns, though it repines,
Yet doth it fear a greater than itself.
Mordred. He that envies the valour of his foe,
Detects a want of valour in himself.
He fondly fights that fights with such a foe,
Where ’twere a shame to lose, no praise to win;
But with a famous foe succeed what will,
To win is great renown, to lose less foil.
His conquests, were they more, dismay me not:
The oft’ner they have been, the more they threat:
No danger can be thought both safe and oft;
And who hath oft’ner waged wars than he?
Escapes secure him not: he owes the price:
Whom chance hath often miss’d, chance hits at length;
Or if that chance have furthered his success,
So may she mine, for chance hath made me king.
Gawin. As chance hath made you king, so chance may change.
Provide for peace: that’s it the highest peers,
No state except, even conquerors, ought to seek.
Remember Arthur’s strength, his conquests late,
His fiery mind, his high-aspiring heart.
Mark then the odds: he expert, you untried;
He ripe, you green. Yield you, whiles yet you may;
He will not yield: he wins his peace with wars.
Mordred. If chance may change, his chance was last to win;
The likelier now to lose. His haughty heart
And mind I know: I feel mine own no less.
As for his strength and skill, I leave to hap:
Where many meet, it lies not all in one.
What though he vanquish’d have the Roman troops,
That boots him not: himself is vanquish’d here.
Then weigh your words again: if conquerors ought
To seek for peace, the conquered must perforce.
But he’ll not yield; he’ll purchase peace with wars.
Well, yield that will; I neither will nor can.
Come peace, come wars, choose him; my danger’s his,
His safety mine: our states do stand alike.
If peace be good, as good for him as me;
If wars be good, as good for me as him.
Gawin. What cursed wars (alas) were those, wherein
Both son and sire should so oppose themselves!
Him whom you now, unhappy man, pursue,
If you should win, yourself would first bewail.
Give him his crown: to keep it peril breeds.
Mordred. The crown I’ll keep myself, ensue what will.
Death must be once; how soon, I least respect.
He best provides that can beware in time,
Not why nor when, but whence and where he falls.
What fool, to live a year or twain in rest,
Would lose the state and honour of a crown?
Gawin. Consider then your father’s grief and want,
Whom you bereave of kingdom, realm, and crown,
Mordred. Trust me, a huge and mighty kingdom ’tis
To bear the want of kingdom, realm, and crown.
Gawin. A common want, which works each worlding’s woe:
That many have too much, but none enough.
It were his praise could he be so content,
Which makes you guilty of the greater wrong.
Wherefore think on the doubtful state of wars.
Where Mars hath sway, he keeps no certain course:
Sometimes he lets the weaker to prevail,
Sometimes the stronger troops: hope, fear, and rage
With eyeless lot rules all uncertain good,
Most certain harms be his assured haps.
No luck can last; now here, now there it lights:
No state alike, chance blindly snatcheth all,
And fortune maketh guilty whom she lists.
Mordred. Since therefore fear and hope, and hap in wars,
Be all obscure, till their success be seen,
Your speech doth rather drive me on to try,
And trust them all, mine only refuge now.
Gawin. And fear you not so strange and uncouth wars?
Mordred. No, were they wars that grew from out the ground!
Gawin. Nor yet your sire so huge, yourself so small?
Mordred. The smallest axe may fell the hugest oak.
Gawin. Nor that, in felling him, yourself may fall?
Mordred. He falleth well, that falling fells his foe.
Gawin. Nor common chance, whereto each man is thrall?
Mordred. Small manhood were to turn my back to chance.
Gawin. Nor that, if chance afflict, kings brook it not?
Mordred. I bear no breast so unprepar’d for harms.
Even that I hold the kingliest point of all,
To brook afflictions well: and by how much
The more his state and tottering empire sags,
To fix so much the faster foot on ground.
No fear but doth forejudge, and many fall
Into their fate, whiles they do fear their fate.
Where courage quails, the fear exceeds the harm:
Yea, worse than war itself is fear of war.[267]
Gawin. War seemeth sweet to such as have not tried;[268]
But wisdom wills we should forecast the worse.
The end allows the act: that plot is wise,
That knows his means, and least relies on chance.
Eschew the course where error lurks; there grows
But grief where pain is spent, no hope to speed.
Strive not above your strength; for where your force
Is overmatch’d with your attempts, it faints,
And fruitless leaves what bootless it began.
Mordred. All things are rul’d in constant course: no fate
But is foreset: the first day leads the last.
No wisdom then, but difference in conceit,
Which works in many men as many minds.
You love the mean, and follow virtue’s race:
I like the top, and aim at greater bliss.
You rest content: my mind aspires to more.
In brief, you fear, I hope; you doubt, I dare.
Since, then, the sagest counsels are but strifes,
Where equal wits may wrest each side alike,
Let counsel go: my purpose must proceed.
Each likes his course, mine own doth like me best.
Wherefore, ere Arthur breathe or gather strength,
Assault we him, lest he assault us first.
He either must destroy, or be destroy’d:
The mischief’s in the midst; catch he that can.
Gawin. But will no reason rule that desperate mind?
Mordred. A fickle mind that every reason rules!
I rest resolv’d, and to my sire say thus:—
If here he stay but three days to an end,
And not forthwith discharge his band and host,
’Tis Mordred’s oath, assure himself to die.
But if he find his courage so to serve,
As for to stand to his defence with force,
In Cornwall, if he dare, I’ll try it out.
Gawin. O strange contempt! like as the craggy rock
Resists the streams and flings the waltering waves
Aloof, so he rejects and scorns my words.


Mordred, Gilla, Gillamor, Cheldrichus, Dux Pictorum, Conan.

Mordred. Lo, where (as they decreed) my faithful friends
Have kept their time. Be all your powers repair’d?
Gilla. They be, and all with ardent minds: to Mars
They cry for wars, and longing for th’ alarm,
Even now they wish t’ encounter with their foes.
Mordred. What could be wish’d for more? puissant king,
For your great help and valiant Irish force,
If I obtain the conquest in these wars,
Whereas my father claims a tribute due
Out of your realm; I here renounce it quite:
And if assistance need in doubtful times,
I will not fail to aid you with the like.
Gilla. It doth suffice me to discharge my realm,
Or at the least to wreak me on my foes.
I rather like to live your friend and peer,
Than rest in Arthur’s homage and disgrace.
Mordred. Right noble duke, through whom the Saxons vow
Their lives with mine, for my defence in wars,
If we prevail and may subdue our foes,
I will, in lieu of your so high desserts,
Give you and yours all British lands that lie
Between the flood of Humber and the Scots:
Besides as much in Kent as Horsa and
Hengistus had, when Vortigern was king.
Cheldrichus. Your gracious proffers I accept with thanks;
Not for the gain, but for the good desire
I have henceforth to be your subject here
May thereby take effect; which I esteem
More than the rule I bear in Saxon soil.
Mordred. Renowned lord, for your right hardy Picts
And chosen warriors to maintain my cause,
If our attempts receive a good success,
The Alban crown I give to you and yours.
Dux Pictorum. Your highness’ bounty in so high degree,
Were cause enough to move me to my best:
But sure yourself, without regard of meed,
Should find both me and mine at your command.
Mordred. Lord Gilla, if my hope may take success,
And that I be thereby undoubted king,
The Cornish dukedom I allot to you.
Gilla. My liege, to further your desir’d attempts,
I joyfully shall spend my dearest blood:
The rather that I found the king your sire
So heavy lord to me and all my stock.
Mordred. Since then our rest is on’t, and we agreed,
To war it out, what resteth now but blows?
Drive dest’nies on with swords, Mars frames the means!
Henceforth what Mordred may, now lies in you.
Ere long, if Mars ensue with good success,
Look, whatso’er it be that Arthur claims
By right or wrong, or conquests gain’d with blood
In Britain or abroad, is mine to give:—
To show, I would have said: I cannot give
What every hand must give unto itself.
Whereof who lists to purchase any share,
Now let him seek and win it with his sword:
The fates have laid it open in the field.
What stars (O heavens) or poles, or powers divine,
Do grant so great rewards for those that win!
Since then our common good, and each man’s care
Requires our joint assistance in these toils,
Shall we not hazard our extremest hap,
And rather spend our fates, than spare our foes?
The cause I care for most is chiefly yours:
This hand and heart shall make mine own secure.
That man shall see me foiled by myself,
Whate’er he be, that sees my foe unfoil’d.
Fear not the field, because of Mordred’s faults,
Nor shrink one jot the more for Arthur’s right.
Full safely fortune guideth many a guilt,
And fates have none but wretches whom they wrench.
Wherefore make speed to cheer your soldiers’ hearts.
That to their fires ye yet may add more flames.
The side that seeks to win in civil wars
Must not content itself with wonted heat.
[Exeunt omnes præter Mordred and Conan.
Conan. Would God your highness had been more advised,
Ere too much will had drawn your wits too far!
Then had no wars endanger’d you nor yours,
Nor Mordred’s cause required foreign care.
Mordred. A troubled head: my mind revolts to fear,
And bears my body back. I inwards feel my fall:
My thoughts misgive me much. Down, terror! I
Perceive mine end, and desperate though I must
Despise despair, and somewhat hopeless hope,
The more I doubt the more I dare: by fear
I find the fact is fittest for my frame.
What though I be a ruin to the realm,
And fall myself therewith? no better end:
His last mishaps do make a man secure.
Such was King Priam’s end who, when he died,
Clos’d and wrapp’d up his kingdom in his death.
A solemn pomp, and fit for Mordred’s mind,
To be a grave and tomb to all his realm.



Ye princely peers, extoll’d to seats of state,
Seek not the fair that soon will turn to foul:
Oft is the fall of high and hovering fate,
And rare the room which time doth not control.
The safest seat is not on highest hill,
Where winds and storms and thunders thump their ill:
Far safer were to follow sound advice,
Than for such pride to pay so dear a price.


The mounting mind that climbs the haughty cliffs,
And soaring seeks the tip of lofty type,
Intoxicates the brain with giddy drifts,
Then rolls and reels and falls at length plum-ripe.
Lo, heaving high is of so small forecast,
To totter first, and tumble down at last.
Yet Pegasus still rears himself on high,
And coltishly doth kick the clouds in sky.


Who saw the grief engraven in a crown,
Or knew the bad and bane, whereto it’s bound,
Would never stick to throw and fling it down,
Nor once vouchsafe to heave it from the ground.
Such is the sweet of this ambitious power,
No sooner had, than turns oftsoons to sour,
Achiev’d with envy, exercis’d with hate,
Guarded with fear, supported with debate.


O restless race of high-aspiring head!
O worthless rule both pitied and envied!
How many millions to their loss you lead,
With love and lure of kingdoms’ bliss untried!
So things untasted cause a quenchless thirst,
Which, were they known, would be refused first:
Yea, oft we see, yet seeing cannot shun
The fact we find as fondly dar’d as done.

The Argument of the Third Act.

1. In the first scene Cador and Howell incite and exhort Arthur unto war: who, moved with fatherly affection towards his son, notwithstanding their persuasions, resolveth upon peace.

2. In the second scene an herald is sent from Mordred to command Arthur to discharge his armies under pain of death, or otherwise, if he dare, to try it by battle.

3. In the third scene Arthur calleth his assistants and soldiers together, whom he exhorteth to pursue their foes.

4. In the fourth scene Arthur, between grief and despair, resolveth to war.

The Argument and Manner of the Third Dumb-Show.

During the music after the second act, there came upon the stage two gentlemen attired in a peaceable manner, which brought with them a table, carpet and cloth: and then having covered the table they furnish it with incense on the one end and banquetting dishes on the other end. Next there came two gentlemen apparelled like soldiers, with two naked swords in their hands, the which they laid across upon the table. Then there came two sumptuously attired and warlike who, spying this preparation, smelled the incense and tasted the banquet. During the which there came a messenger and delivered certain letters to those that fed on the dainties: who, after they had well viewed and perused the letters, furiously flung the banquet under feet, and violently snatching the swords unto them, they hastily went their way. By the two first that brought in the banquet was meant the servants of peace: by the second two were meant the servants of war: by the two last were meant Arthur and Cador. By the Messenger and his letters was meant the defiance from Mordred.


Arthur, Cador, Howell.

Arthur. Is this the welcome that my realm prepares?
Be these the thanks I win for all my wars?
Thus to forbid me land? to slay my friends?
To make their blood distain my country shores?
My son (belike), lest that our force should faint
For want of wars, prepar’d us wars himself.
He thought (perhaps) it mought impair our fame,
If none rebell’d, whose foil might praise our power.
Is this the fruit of Mordred’s forward youth
And tender age, discreet beyond his years?
O false and guileful life! O crafty world!
How cunningly convey’st thou fraud unseen!
Th’ ambitious seemeth meek, the wanton chaste;
Disguised vice for virtue vaunts itself.
Thus (Arthur), thus hath fortune play’d her part,
Blind for thy weal, clear-sighted for thy woe.
Thy kingdom’s gone, thy sphere affords no faith:
Thy son rebels: of all thy wonted pomp
No jot is left, and fortune hides her face.
No place is left for prosperous plight: mishaps
Have room and ways to run and walk at will.
Lo (Cador) both our states, your daughter’s trust,
My son’s respect, our hopes repos’d in both!
Cador. The time, [O] puissant Prince, permits not now
To moan our wrongs, or search each several sore.
Since Arthur thus hath ransack’d all abroad,
What marvel is ’t, if Mordred rave at home?
When far and near your wars had worn the world,
What wars were left for him but civil wars?
All which requires revenge with sword and fire,
And to pursue your foes with present[271] force.
In just attempts Mars gives a rightful doom.
Arthur. Nay, rather (Cador) let them run their race,
And leave the heavens revengers of my wrong.
Since Britain’s prosperous state is thus debas’d
In servile sort to Mordred’s cursed pride,
Let me be thrall, and lead a private life:
None can refuse the yoke his country bears.
But as for wars, in sooth, my flesh abhors
To bid the battle to my proper blood.
Great is the love which nature doth inforce
From kin to kin, but most from sire to son.
Howell. The noble neck disdains the servile yoke:
Where rule hath pleas’d, subjection seemeth strange.
A king ought always to prefer his realm
Before the love he bears to kin or son.
Your realm destroy’d is ne’er restor’d again,
But time may send you kin and sons enough.
Arthur. How hard it is to rule th’ aspiring mind,
And what a kingly point it seems to those,
Whose lordly hands the stately sceptre sways,
Still to pursue the drift they first decreed,
My wonted mind and kingdom lets me know.
Think not but, if you drive this hazard on,
He desperate will resolve to win or die:
Whereof who knows which were the greater guilt,
The sire to slay the son, or son the sire?
Cador. If bloody Mars do so extremely sway,
That either son or sire must needs be slain,
Give law the choice: let him die that deserves.
Each impotent affection notes a want.
No worse a vice than lenity in kings:
Remiss indulgence soon undoes a realm.
He teacheth how to sin that winks at sins,
And bids offend that suffereth an offence.
The only hope of leave increaseth crimes,
And he that pardoneth one, embold’neth all
To break the laws. Each patience fostereth wrong.
But vice severely punish’d faints at foot,
And creeps no further off than where it falls.
One sour example will prevent more vice
Than all the best persuasions in the world.
Rough rigour looks out right, and still prevails:
Smooth mildness looks too many ways to thrive.
Wherefore, since Mordred’s crimes have wrong’d the laws
In so extreme a sort, as is too strange,
Let right and justice rule with rigour’s aid,
And work his wrack at length, although too late;
That damning laws, so damned by the laws,
He may receive his deep deserved doom.
So let it fare with all that dare the like:
Let sword, let fire, let torments be their end.
Severity upholds both realm and rule.
Arthur. Ah too severe! far from a father’s mind.
Compassion is as fit for kings as wrath.
Laws must not low’r; rule oft admitteth ruth.
So hate, as if there were yet cause to love:
Take not their lives as foes which may be friends.
To spoil my son were to despoil myself:
Oft, whiles we seek our foes, we seek our foils.
Let’s rather seek how to allure his mind
With good deserts: deserts may win the worst.
Howell. Where Cato first had saved a thief from death,
And after was himself condemn’d to die,
When else not one would execute the doom,
Who but the thief did undertake the task?
If too much bounty work so bad effects
In thankless friends, what for a ruthless foe?
Let laws have still their course: the ill-dispos’d
Grudge at their lives to whom they owe too much.
Arthur. But yet where men with reconciled minds
Renew their love with recontinued grace,
Atonement frames them friends of former foes,
And makes the moods of swelling wrath to ’suage.
No faster friendship than that grows from grief,
When melting minds with mutual ruth relent.
How close the severed skin unites again,
When salves have smoothly heal’d the former hurts!
Cador. I never yet saw heart so smoothly heal’d,
But that the scar bewray’d the former wound:
Yea, where the salve did soonest close the skin,
The sore was oft’ner covered up than cur’d:
Which festering deep and fill’d within, at last
With sudden breach grew greater than at first.
What then for minds which have revenging moods,
And ne’er forget the cross they forced bear?
Whereto if reconcilement come, it makes
The t’one secure, whiles t’other works his will.
Atonement seld defeats, but oft defers
Revenge: beware a reconciled foe.
Arthur. Well, what avails to linger in this life,
Which fortune but reserves for greater grief?
This breath draws on but matter of mishap:
Death only frees the guiltless from annoys.
Who so hath felt the force of greedy fates,
And ’dur’d the last decree of grisly death,
Shall never yield his captive arms to chains,
Nor drawn in triumph deck the victor’s pomp.
Howell. What mean these words? Is Arthur forc’d to fear?
Is this the fruit of your continual wars,
Even from the first remembrance of your youth?
Arthur. My youth (I grant) and prime of budding years,
Puff’d up with pride and fond desire of praise,
Foreweening nought what perils might ensue,
Adventured all and raught to will the reins:[272]
But now this age requires a sager course,
And will, advis’d by harms, to wisdom yields.
Those swelling spirits, the self-same cause which first
Set them on gog, even fortune’s favours quail’d,
And now mine oft’nest scapes do scare me most.
I fear the trap whereat I oft have tripp’d:
Experience tells me plain that chance is frail,
And oft the better past, the worse to come.
Cador. Resist these doubts: ’tis ill to yield to harms.
’Tis safest then to dare, when most you fear.
Arthur. As safe sometimes to fear, when most we dare:
A causeless courage gives repentance place.
Howell. If fortune fawn.
Arthur. Each way on me she frowns;
For win I, lose I, both procure my grief.
Cador. Put case you win, what grief?
Arthur. Admit I do, what joy?
Cador. Then may you rule.
Arthur. When I may die.
Cador. To rule is much.
Arthur. Small, if we covet nought.
Cador. Who covets not a crown?
Arthur. He that discerns the sword aloft.
Cador. That hangeth fast.
Arthur. But by a hair.
Cador. Right holds it up.
Arthur. Wrong pulls it down.
Cador. The Commons help the king.
Arthur. They sometimes hurt.
Cador. At least the Peers.
Arthur. Seld, if allegiance want.
Cador. Yet sovereignty.
Arthur. Not if subjection[273] fail.
Cador. Doubt not: the realm is yours.
Arthur. ’Twas mine ’till now.
Cador. And shall be still.
Arthur. If Mordred list.
Cador. ’Twere well your crown were won.
Arthur. Perhaps ’tis better lost.
Howell. The name of rule should move a princely mind.
Arthur. Trust me, bad things have often glorious names.
Howell. The greatest food that fortune can afford.
Arthur. A dangerous good, that wisdom would eschew.
Howell. Yet weigh the hearsay of the old renown.
And fame, the wonderer of the former age,
Which still extols the facts of worthiest wights,
Preferring no deserts before your deeds.
Even she exhorts you to this new attempt,
Which left untried your winnings be but loss.
Arthur. Small credit will be given of matters past
To Fame, the flatterer of the former age.
Were all believ’d which antique bruit imports,
Yet wisdom weighs the peril join’d to praise.
Rare is the fame (mark well all ages gone)
Which hath not hurt the house it most enhanc’d.
Besides, fame’s but a blast that sounds awhile,
And quickly stints, and then is quite forgot.
Look, whatsoe’er our virtues have achiev’d,
The chaos vast and greedy time devours.
To-day all Europe rings with Arthur’s praise:
’Twill be as hush’d as if I ne’er had been.
What boots it then to venture life or limb
For that which needs ere long we leave or lose?
Cador. Can blind affection so much blear the wise,
Or love of graceless son so witch the sire,
That what concerns the honour of a prince,
With country’s good and subject’s just request,
Should lightly be contemned by a king?
When Lucius sent but for his tribute due,
You went with thirteen kings to root him out.
Have Romans, for requiring but their own,
Abode your nine years’ brunts? Shall Mordred ’scape,
That wrong’d you thus in honour, queen, and realm?
Were this no cause to stir a king to wrath,
Yet should your conquests, late achiev’d ’gainst Rome,
Inflame your mind with thirst of full revenge.
Arthur. Indeed, continual wars have chaf’d our minds,
And good success hath bred impatient moods.
Rome puffs us up, and makes us too—too fierce.
There, Britons, there we stand, whence Rome did fall.
Thou, Lucius, mak’st me proud, thou heav’st my mind:
But what? shall I esteem a crown ought else
Than as a gorgeous crest of easeless helm,
Or as some brittle mould of glorious pomp,
Or glittering glass which, while it shines, it breaks?
All this a sudden chance may dash, and not
Perhaps with thirteen kings, or in nine years:
All may not find so slow and ling’ring fates.
What that my country cries for due remorse,
And some relief for long-sustained toils?
By seas and lands I daily wrought her wrack,
And spareless spent her life on every foe.
Each where my soldiers perish’d, whilest I won:
Throughout the world my conquest was their spoil.
A fair reward for all their deaths, for all
Their wars abroad, to give them civil wars!
What boots it then, reserv’d from foreign foils,
To die at home? what end of ruthless rage?
At least let age and nature, worn to nought,
Provide at length their graves with wished groans.
Pity their hoary hairs, their feeble fists,
Their withered limbs, their strengths consum’d in camp!
Must they still end their lives amongst the blades?
Rests there no other fate, whilst Arthur reigns?
What deem you me? A fury fed with blood,
Or some Cyclopian, born and bred for brawls?
Think on the mind that Arthur bears to peace:
Can Arthur please you nowhere but in wars?
Be witness, heavens, how far ’tis from my mind
Therewith to spoil or sack my native soil.
I cannot yield; it brooks not in my breast
To seek her ruin whom I erst have rul’d,
What relics now soe’er both civil broils
And foreign wars have left, let those remain:
Th’ are few enough, and Britons fall too fast.


An Herald from Mordred.

Howell. Lo, here an herald sent from Mordred’s camp:
A froward message, if I read aright.
We mought not stir his wrath; perhaps this may:
Persuasions cannot move a Briton’s mood,
And yet none sooner stung with present wrong.
Herald. Hail, peerless prince! whiles fortune would, our king,
Though now bereft of crown and former rule.
Vouchsafe me leave my message to impart,
No jot enforc’d, but as your son affords.
If here you stay but three days to an end,
And not forthwith discharge your bands and host,
’Tis Mordred’s oath: assure yourself to die.
But if you find your courage so to serve,
As for to stand to your defence with force,
In Cornwall (if you dare) he’ll try it out.
Arthur. Is this the choice my son doth send his sire?
And must I die, or try it, if I dare?
To die were ill, thus to be dar’d is worse.
Display my standard forth! let trump and drum
Call soldiers near to hear their sovereign’s hest.


Gawin King of Albany, Aschillus King of Denmark, King of Norway. A number of Soldiers.

Arthur. O friends, and fellows of my weariest toils,
Which have borne out with me so many brunts,
And desperate storms of wars and brainsick Mars!
Lo now the hundreth month, wherein we win!
Hath all the blood we spent in foreign coasts,
The wounds and deaths, and winters bode abroad,
Deserved thus to be disgraced at home?
All Britain rings of wars: no town nor field
But swarms with armed troops: the mustering trains
Stop up the streets: no less a tumult’s rais’d,
Than when Hengistus fell, and Horsa, fierce
With treacherous truce, did overrun the realm.
Each corner threateneth death: both far and near
Is Arthur vex’d. What, if my force had fail’d
And standard fall’n, and ensigns all been torn,
And Roman troops pursu’d me at the heels,
With luckless wars assay’d in foreign soils?
Now that our fortune heaves us up thus high,
And heavens themselves renew our old renown,
Must we be dar’d? Nay, let that princock come,
That knows not yet himself, nor Arthur’s force;
That ne’er yet waged wars; that’s yet to learn
To give the charge: yea, let that princock come,
With sudden soldiers pamper’d up in peace,
And gowned troops and wantons worn with ease;
With sluggish Saxons’ crew and Irish kerns,
And Scottish aid, and false redshanked Picts,
Whose slaughters yet must teach their former foil.
They shall perceive with sorrow, ere they part,
When all their toils be told, that nothing works
So great a waste and ruin in this age,
As do my wars. O Mordred, blessed son!
No doubt these market-mates, so highly hir’d,
Must be the stay of thy usurped state.
And lest my head, inclining now to years,
Should joy the rest, which yet it never reap’d,
The traitor Gilla, train’d in treacherous jars,
Is chief in arms to reave me of my realm.
What corner (ah), for all my wars, shall shroud
My bloodless age? what seat for due deserts?
What town or field for ancient soldiers’ rest?
What house? what roof? what walls for wearied limbs?
Stretch out again, stretch out your conquering hands!
Still we must use the force so often us’d.
To those that will pursue a wrong with wreak
He giveth all, that once denies the right.
Thou soil, which erst Diana did ordain
The certain seat and bow’r of wand’ring Brute:
Thou realm, which aye I reverence as my saint,
Thou stately Britain, th’ ancient type of Troy,
Bear with my forced wrongs! I am not he,
That willing would impeach thy peace with wars!
Lo, here both far and wide I conqueror stand:
Arthur, each where thine own, thy liege, thy king.
Condemn not mine attempts; he, only he,
Is sole in fault that makes me thus thy foe.
Here I renounce all leagues and treats of truce:
Thou, fortune, henceforth art my guard and guide!
Hence, peace! on wars run fates: let Mars be judge;
I erst did trust to right, but now to rage.
Go, tell the boy that Arthur fears no brags:
In vain he seeks to brave it with his sire.
I come (Mordred), I come, but to thy pain.
Yea, tell the boy his angry father comes
To teach a novice both to die and dare.
[Herald exit.
Howell. If we without offence (O greatest guide
Of British name) may pour our just complaints,
We most mislike that your too mild a mood
Hath thus withheld our hands and swords from strokes.
For what? were we behind in any help?
Or without cause did you misdoubt our force,
Or truth so often tried with good success?
Go to: conduct your army to the field;
Place man to man, oppose us to our foes:
As much we need to work, as wish your weal.
Cador. Seems it so sour to win by civil wars?
Were it to gore with pike my father’s breast;
Were it to rive and cleave my brother’s head;
Were it to tear peacemeal my dearest child,
I would enforce my grudging hands to help.
I cannot term that place my native soil,
Whereto your trumpets send their warlike sounds.
If case requir’d to batter down the tow’rs
Of any town that Arthur would destroy,
Yea, were ’t of Britain’s self, which most I reed,
Her bulwarks, fortress, rampiers, walls and fence,
These arms should rear the rams to run them down.
Wherefore, ye princes, and the rest, my mates,
If what I have averr’d in all your names,
Be likewise such as stands to your content,
Let all your yeas avow my premise[274] true.
Soldiers. Yea, yea, &c.
Aschillus. Wherein, renowmed king, myself or mine,
My life, my kingdom, and all Denmark’s pow’r,
May serve your turn: account them all your own.
King of Norway. And whatsoe’er my force, or Norway aid,
May help in your attempts, I vow it here.
Gawin. As heretofore I always serv’d your hest.
So let this day be judge of Gawin’s trust.
Either my brother Mordred dies the death
By mine assault, or I at least by his.
Arthur. Since thus (my faithful mates) with vows alike
And equal love to Arthur’s cause you join
In common care to wreak my private wrongs,
Lift up your ensigns efts, stretch out your strengths;
Pursue your fates; perform your hopes to Mars.
Lo, here the last and outmost work for blades!
This is the time that all our valour craves:
This time by due desert restores again
Our goods, our lands, our lives, our weal and all.
This time declares by fates whose cause is best;
This, this condemns the vanquish’d side of guilt.
Wherefore, if for my sake you scorn yourselves,
And spare no sword nor fire in my defence,
Then, whiles my censure justifies your cause,
Fight, fight amain, and clear your blades from crime:
The judge once chang’d, no wars are free from guilt.
The better cause gives us the greater hope
Of prosperous wars; wherein, if once I hap
To spy the wonted signs, that never fail’d
Their guide—your threatening looks, your fiery eyes,
And bustling bodies prest to present spoil,
The field is won! Even then, methinks, I see
The wonted wastes and scattered heads of foes,
The Irish carcass kick’d, and Picts oppress’d,
And Saxons slain to swim in streams of blood.
I quake with hope. I can assure you all,
We never had a greater match in hand.
March on! Delay no fates, whilst fortune fawns;
The greatest praise of war consists in speed.
[Exeunt Reges et Cohors.


Cador, Arthur.

Cador. Since thus (victorious king) your peers allies,
Your lords, and all your powers be ready prest,
For good, for bad, for whatsoe’er shall hap,
To spend both limb and life in your defence,
Cast off all doubts and rest yourself on Mars:
A hopeless fear forbids a happy fate.
Arthur. In sooth (good Cador), so our fortune fares,
As needs we must return to wonted force.
To wars we must; but such unhappy wars,
As leave no hope for right or wrong to ’scape.
Myself foresees the fate; it cannot fall
Without our dearest blood: much may the mind
Of pensive sire presage, whose son so sins.
All truth, all trust, all blood, all bands be broke!
The seeds are sown that spring to future spoil.
My son, my nephew, yea, each side myself,
Nearer than all (woe’s me), too near, my foe!
Well, ’tis my plague for life so lewdly led.
The price of guilt is still a heavier guilt;
For were it light, that ev’n by birth myself
Was bad, I made my sister bad: nay, were
That also light, I have begot as bad,
Yea, worse, an heir assign’d to all our sins.
Such was his birth: what base, what vulgar vice,
Could once be look’d for of so noble blood?
The deeper guilt descends, the more it roots:
The younger imps effect the huger crimes.



When many men assent to civil wars
And yield a suffrage to enforce the fates,
No man bethinks him of his own mishap,
But turns that luck unto another’s share.
Whereas if fear did first forewarn each foil,
Such love to fight would breed no Briton’s bane.
And better were still to preserve our peace,
Than thus to vent for peace through waging wars.
What folly to forego such certain haps,
And in their stead to feed uncertain hopes!
Such hopes as oft have puff’d up many a realm,
Till cross-success hath press’d it down as deep:
Whiles blind affection, fetch’d from private cause,
Misguiding wit hath mask’d in wisdom’s veil,
Pretending what in purpose it abhorr’d.


Peace hath three foes encamped in our breasts;
Ambition, wrath and envy, which subdu’d,
We should not fail to find eternal peace.
’Tis in our pow’r to joy it all at will,
And few there be, but if they will, they may:
But yet even those, who like the name of peace,
Through fond desire repine at peace itself,
Between the hope whereof and it itself
A thousand things may fall, that further wars.
The very speech sometimes and treats of truce
Is slash’d and cut asunder with the sword.
Nor seld the name of peace doth edge our minds,
And sharpeneth on our fury, till we fight;
So that the mention made of love and rest
Is oft a whetstone to our hate and rage.


Lo, here the end that kingly pomp imparts:
The quiet rest that princely palace plights!
Care upon care, and every day anew
Fresh rising tempest tires the tossed minds.
Who strives to stand in pomp of princely port,
On giddy top and culm of slippery court,
Finds oft a heavy fate; whiles too much known
To all, he falls unknown unto himself.[275]
Let whoso else that list affect the name,
But let me seem a potentate to none:
My slender bark shall creep[276] anenst the shore,
And shun the winds that sweep the waltering waves.
Proud fortune overslips[277] the safest roads,
And seeks amidst the surging seas those keels,
Whose lofty tops and tacklings touch the clouds.


O base, yet happy boors! O gifts of gods
Scant yet perceiv’d! when powd’red ermine robes
With secret sighs, mistrusting their extremes,
In baleful breast forecast their foultring[278] fates,
And stir, and strive, and storm, and all in vain;
Behold the peasant poor with tattered coat,
Whose eyes a meaner fortune feeds with sleep,
How safe and sound the careless snudge doth snore.
Low-roofed lurks the house of slender hap,
Costless, not gay without, scant clean within;
Yet safe, and oft’ner shrouds the hoary hairs,
Than haughty turrets, rear’d with curious art,
To harbour heads that wield the golden crest.
With endless cark in glorious courts and towns,
The troubled hopes and trembling fears do dwell.

The Argument of the Fourth Act.

1. In the first scene Gildas and Conan confer of the state of Britain.

2. In the second scene Nuntius maketh report of the whole battle, with the death of Mordred, and Arthur’s and Cador’s deadly wound.

3. In the third scene Gildas and Conan lament the unfortunate state of the country.

The Argument and Manner of the Fourth Dumb Show.

During the music appointed after the third act, there came in a Lady courtly attired with a counterfeit child in her arms, who walked softly on the stage. From another place there came a king crowned, who likewise walked on another part of the stage. From a third place there came four soldiers all armed who, spying this Lady and King, upon a sudden pursued the Lady, from whom they violently took her child, and flung it against the walls; she, in mournful sort wringing her hands, passed her way. Then in like manner they set on the king, tearing his crown from his head, and casting it in pieces under feet, drave him by force away, and so passed themselves over the stage. By this was meant the fruit of war, which spareth neither man, woman, nor child, with the end of Mordred’s usurped crown.


Gildas, Conan.

Gildas. Lord Conan, though I know how hard a thing
It is for minds train’d up in princely thrones,
To hear of ought against their humour’s course,
Yet, sithence who forbiddeth not offence,
If well he may, is cause of such offence,
I could have wish’d (and blame me not, my lord)
Your place and countenance both with son and sire
Had more prevail’d on either side, than thus
T’ have left a crown in danger for a crown
Through civil wars, our country’s wonted woe:
Whereby the kingdom’s wound, still fest’ring deep,
Sucks up the mischievous[279] humour to the heart.
The staggering state of Britain’s troubled brains,
Headsick and sore encumbered in her crown,
With giddy steps runs on a headlong race.
Whereto this tempest tends, or where this storm
Will break, who knows? but gods avert the worst!
Conan. Now surely (Gildas) as my duty stood
Indifferent for the best to son and sire,
So (I protest), since these occasions grew,
That in the depth of my desire to please,
I more esteem’d what honest faith requir’d
In matters meet for their estates and place,
Than how to feed each fond affection, prone
To bad effects, whence their disgrace mought grow.
And as for Mordred’s desperate and disloyal plots,
They had been none, or fewer at the least,
Had I prevail’d, which Arthur knows right well.
But even as counters go sometimes for one,
Sometimes for thousands more, sometimes for none:
So men in greatest countenance with their king
Can work by fit persuasion sometimes much;
But sometimes less, and sometimes nought at all.
Gildas. Well, we that have not spent our time in wars,
But bent our course at peace and country’s weal,
May rather now expect what strange event
And chance ensues of these so rare attempts,
Than enter to discourse upon their cause,
And err as wide in words, as they in deeds.
Conan. And lo, to satisfy your wish therein,
Where comes a soldier sweating from the camp.



Nuncius. Thou echo shrill, that haunt’st the hollow hills,
Leave off, that wont to snatch the latter word.
Howl on a whole discourse of our distress:
Clip off no clause; sound out a perfect sense.
Gildas. What fresh mishap (alas), what new annoy
Removes our pensive minds from wonted woes,
And yet requires a new lamenting mood,
Declare! we joy to handle all our harms:
Our many griefs have taught us still to mourn.
Nuncius. But (ah) my tongue denies my speech his aid:
Great force doth drive it forth; a greater keeps
It in. I rue, surpris’d with wontless woes.
Conan. Speak on what grief soe’er our fates afford.
Nuncius. Small griefs can speak, the great astonish’d stand.[280]
Gildas. What greater sin could hap, than what be pass’d?
What mischiefs could be meant, more than were wrought?
Nuncius. And think you there’s to be an end to sins?
No; crime proceeds: those made but one degree.
What mischiefs erst were done, term sacred deeds:
Call nothing sin but what hath since ensu’d.
A greater grief requires your tears. Behold
These fresh annoys: your last mishaps be stale.
Conan. Tell on (my friend): suspend our minds no more.
Hath Arthur lost? hath Mordred won the field?
Nuncius. O, nothing less! would, gods, it were but so!
Arthur hath won, but we have lost the field.
The field? Nay, all the realm and Britain’s bounds.
Gildas. How so? If Arthur won, what could we lose?
You speak in clouds, and cast perplexed words.
Unfold at large, and sort our sorrows out.
Nuncius. Then list awhile: this instant shall unwrap
Those acts, those wars, those hard events, that all
The future age shall ever have cause to curse—
Now that the time drew on, when both the camps
Should meet in Cornwall fields, th’ appointed place.
The reckless troops, whom fates forbad to live
Till noon or night, did storm and rave for wars.
They swarm’d about their guides, and clust’ring call’d
For signs to fight; and fierce with uproars fell,
They onwards hal’d the hasting hours of death.
A direful frenzy rose: each man his own
And public fates all heedless headlong flung.
On Mordred’s side were sixty thousand men;
Some borrowed powers, some Britons bred at home.
The Saxons, Irish, Normans, Picts and Scots
Were first in place: the Britons followed last.
On Arthur’s side there were as many more:
Islandians, Goths, Norwegians, Albans, Danes,
Were foreign aids which Arthur brought from France;
A trusty troop and tried at many a trench.
That now the day was come, wherein our state
For aye should fall, whenceforth might men inquire
What Britain was, these wars thus near bewray’d.
Nor could the heavens no longer hide these harms,
But by prodigious signs portend our plagues.
For lo, ere both the camps encountering cop’d,
The skies and poles opposed themselves with storms:
Both east and west with tempests dark were dimm’d,
And showers of hail and rain outrageous pour’d.
The heavens were rent, each side the lightnings flash’d,
And clouds with hideous claps did thundering roar.
The armies, all aghast, did senseless stand,
Mistrusting much both force, and foes, and fates;
’Twas hard to say which of the two appall’d
Them most, the monstrous air or too much fear.
When Arthur spied his soldiers thus amaz’d,
And hope extinct, and deadly dread drawn on:
My mates (quoth he) the gods do scour the skies,
The fates contend to work some strange event,
And fortune seeks by storms in heavens and earth,
What pageants[281] she may play for my behoof:
Of whom she knows she then deserves not well,
When (ling’ring ought) she comes not at the first.
Thus said, rejoicing at his dauntless mind,
They all reviv’d and former fear recoil’d,
By that the light of Titan’s troubled beams
Had piercing scattered down the drooping fogs,
And greeted both the camps with mutual view.
Their choler swells, whiles fell-disposed minds
Bounce in their breasts, and stir uncertain storms.
Then paleness wan and stern, with cheerless change,
Possessing bleak their lips and bloodless cheeks,
With troublous trembling, shows their death is near.
When Mordred saw the danger thus approach’d,
And boist’rous throngs of warriors threat’ning blood,
His instant ruin gave a nod at fates,
And mind, though prone to Mars, yet daunted paus’d.
The heart which promis’d erst a sure success,
Now throbs in doubts, nor can his own attempts
Afford him fear, nor Arthur’s yield him hope.
This passion lasts not long: he soon recalls
His ancient guise, and wonted rage returns.
He loathes delays, and scorch’d with sceptre’s lust,
The time and place, wherein he oft had wish’d
To hazard all upon extremest chance,
He offer’d spies, and spied pursues with speed.
Then both the armies met with equal might,
This stirr’d with wrath, that with desire to rule,
And equal prowess was a spur to both.
The Irish king whirl’d out a poisoned dart,
That lighting pierced deep in Howell’s brains,
A peerless prince and near of Arthur’s blood.
Hereat the air with uproar loud resounds,
Which efts on mountains rough rebounding rears.
The trumpets hoarse their trembling tunes do tear,
And thund’ring drums their dreadful larums ring.
The standards broad are blown and ensigns spread,
And every nation bends his wonted wars.
Some near their foes, some further off do wound,
With dart or sword, or shaft, or pike, or spear;
The weapons hide the heavens; a night compos’d
Of warlike engines overshades the field.
From every side these fatal signs are sent,
And boist’rous bangs with thumping thwacks fall thick.
Had both these camps been of usurping kings,
Had every man thereof a Mordred been,
No fiercelier had they fought for all their crowns.
The murthers meanless wax’d, no art in fight,
Nor way to ward nor try each other’s skill.
But thence the blade, and hence the blood ensues.
Conan. But what! did Mordred’s eyes endure this sight?
Nuncius. They did; and he himself, the spur of fiends
And Gorgons all, lest any part of his
Scap’d free from guilt, enflam’d their minds to wrath,
And with a valour, more than virtue yields,
He cheer’d them all, and at their back with long
Outreached spear stirr’d up each ling’ring hand.
All fury-like, frounc’d up with frantic frets,
He bids them leave and shun the meaner sort,
He shows the kings and Britain’s noblest peers.
Gildas. He was not now to seek what blood to draw:
He knew what juice refresh’d his fainting crown,
Too much of Arthur’s heart. O, had he wist,
How great a vice such virtue was as then,
In civil wars, in rooting up his realm!
O frantic fury, far from valour’s praise!
Nuncius. There fell Aschillus stout, of Denmark king;
There valiant Gawin, Arthur’s nephew dear,
And late by Augel’s death made Alban king,
By Mordred’s hand hath lost both life and crown.
There Gilla wounded Cador, Cornish duke,
In hope to win the dukedom for his meed.
The Norway king, the Saxon’s duke, and Picts,
In woeful sort fell grovelling to the ground.
There prince and peasant both lay hurl’d on heaps:
Mars frown’d on Arthur’s mates: the fates wax’d fierce,
And jointly ran this race with Mordred’s rage.
Conan. But with what joy (alas) shall he return,
That thus returns the happier for this field?
Nuncius. These odds endure not long, for Mars retires,
And fortune, pleas’d with Arthur’s moderate fear,
Returns more full, and friendlier than her wont.
For when he saw the powers of fates oppos’d,
And that the dreadful hour was hastened on,
Perplexed much in mind at length resolves,
That fear is covered best by daring most.
Then forth he pitch’d: the Saxon duke withstood,
Whom with one stroke he headless sent to hell.
Not far from thence he spied the Irish king,
Whose life he took as price of broken truce.
Then Cador forward press’d, and haply met
The traitor Gilla, worker of these wars,
Of whom by death he took his due revenge.
The remnant then of both the camps concur,
They Britons all, or most, few foreigns left:
These wage the wars and hence the deaths ensue:
Nor t’ one nor t’ other side that can destroy
Her foes so fast, as ’tis itself destroyed.
The brethren broach their blood; the sire, the son’s,
The son again would prove by too much wrath,
That he, whom thus he slew, was not his sire.
No blood nor kin can ’suage their ireful moods:
No foreign foe they seek, nor care to find:
The Briton’s blood is sought on every side.
A vain discourse it were to paint at large
The several fates and foils of either side;
To tell what groans and sighs the parting ghosts
Sent forth; who dying bare the fellest breast;
Who changed cheer at any Briton’s fall;
Who oft’nest stroke; who best bestow’d his blade;
Who vent’red most; who stood, who fell, who fail’d.
Th’ effect declares it all: thus far the field.
Of both these hosts, so huge and main at first,
There were not left on either side a score,
For son and sire to win and lose the realm.
The which when Mordred saw, and that his sire
’Gainst foes and fates themselves would win the field,
He sigh’d and ’twixt despair and rage he cried:
Here (Arthur), here, and hence the conquest comes:
Whiles Mordred lives, the crown is yet unwon!
Hereat the prince of prowess, much amaz’d,
With thrilling tears and count’nance cast on ground,
Did groaning fetch a deep and earnful sigh.
Anon, they fierce encountering both concurr’d
With grisly looks and faces like their fates;
But dispar minds and inward moods unlike.
The sire with mind to safeguard both, or t’ one;
The son to spoil the t’ one or hazard both.
No fear nor fellness fail’d on either side:
The wager lay on both their lives and bloods.
At length, when Mordred spied his force to faint,
And felt himself oppress’d with Arthur’s strength,
(O hapless lad, a match unmeet for him)
He loathes to live in that afflicted state,
And, valiant with a forced virtue, longs
To die the death: in which perplexed mind,
With grenning teeth and crabbed looks he cries,
I cannot win, yet will I not be won.
What! should we shun our fates, or play with Mars,
Or thus defraud the wars of both our bloods?
Whereto do we reserve ourselves, or why
Be we not sought ere this amongst the dead?
So many thousands murther’d in our cause,
Must we survive, and neither win nor lose?
The fates, that will not smile on either side
May frown on both. So saying, forth he flings,
And desperate runs on point of Arthur’s sword!
(A sword, alas, prepar’d for no such use),
Whereon engor’d he glides till, near approach’d,
With dying hand he hews his father’s head:
So through his own annoy he ’nnoys his liege,
And gains by death access to daunt his sire.
There Mordred fell, but like a prince he fell;
And as a branch of great Pendragon’s graft
His life breathes out: his eyes forsake the sun,
And fatal clouds infer a lasting ’clipse.
There Arthur staggering scant sustain’d himself;
There Cador found a deep and deadly wound;
There ceas’d the wars, and there was Britain lost!
There lay the chosen youths of Mars, there lay
The peerless knights, Bellona’s bravest train,
There lay the mirrors rare of martial praise,
There lay the hope and branch of Brute suppress’d:
There fortune laid the prime of Britain’s pride,
There laid her pomp, all topsy-turvy turn’d.


Gildas, Conan.

Gildas. Come, cruel griefs, spare not to stretch our strengths,
Whiles baleful breasts invite our thumping fists.
Let every sign that mournful passions work,
Express what piteous plights our minds amaze.
This day supplants what no day can supply;
These hands have wrought those wastes, that never age,
Nor all the brood of Brute shall e’er repair:
That future men may joy the surer rest,
These wars prevent their birth and nip their spring.
What nations erst the former age subdu’d
With hourly toils to Britain’s yoke, this day
Hath set at large, and backwards turn’d the fates.
Henceforth the Kerns may safely tread their bogs;
The Scots may now their inroads old renew,
The Saxons well may vow their former claims,
And Danes without their danger drive us out.
These wars found not th’ effect of wonted wars,
Nor doth their weight the like impression work:
There several fates annoy’d but several men;
Here all the realm and people find one fate:
What there did reach but to a soldier’s death,
Contains the death of all a nation here.
These blades have given this isle a greater wound
Than time can heal—the fruit of civil wars:
A kingdom’s hand hath gor’d a kingdom’s heart.
Conan. When fame shall blaze these acts in latter years,
And time to come, so many ages hence,
Shall efts report our toils and British pains;
Or when perhaps our children’s children read
Our woful wars display’d with skilful pen,
They’ll think they hear some sounds of future facts,
And not the ruins old of pomp long past;
’Twill move their minds to rath, and frame afresh
New hopes and fears, and vows, and many a wish,
And Arthur’s cause shall still be favour’d most.
He was the joy and hope, and hap, of all,
The realm’s defence, the sole delay of fates;
He was our wall and fort: twice thirteen years
His shoulders did the Briton state support.
Whiles yet he reign’d, no foreign foes prevail’d,
Nor once could hope to bind the Briton bounds;
But still both far and near were forc’d to fly;
They thrall to us, we to ourselves were free.
But now, and henceforth aye, adieu that hope,
Adieu that pomp, that freedom, rule and all!
Let Saxons now, let Normans, Danes and Scots
Enjoy our meadows, fields, and pleasant plains!
Come, let us fly to mountains, cliffs, and rocks.
A nation hurt, and ne’er in case to heal!
Henceforth, the weight of fates thus fallen aside,
We rest secure from fear of greater foil:
Our leisure serves to think on former times,
And know what erst we were, who now are thus.



O Britain’s prosperous state, were heavenly powers
But half so willing to preserve thy peace,
As they are prone to plague thee for thy wars!
But thus, O gods, yea, thus it likes you still,
When you decree to turn and touse the world,
To make our errors cause of your decrees.
We fretting fume, and burning wax right wood;
We cry for swords and harmful harness crave;
We rashly rave, whiles from our present rage
You frame a cause of long-foredeemed doom.


When Britain so desired her own decay,
That even her native brood would root her up,
Seem’d it so huge a work, O heavens, for you
To tumble down and quite subvert her state,
Unless so many nations came in aid?
What thirst of spoil, O fates! In civil wars
Were you afraid to faint for want of blood?
But yet, O wretched state in Britons fond,
What needed they to stoop to Mordred’s yoke,
Or fear the man themselves so fearful made?
Had they but link’d like friends in Arthur’s bands,
And join’d their force against the foreign foes,
These wars and civil sins had soon surceas’d,
And Mordred, reft of rule, had fear’d his sire.


Would gods these wars had drawn no other blood,
Than such as sprang from breasts of foreign foes!
So that the fountain, fed with changeless course,
Had found no nearer vents for dearer juice.
Or if the fates so thirst for British blood,
And long so deeply for our last decay,
O, that the rest were spar’d and safe reserv’d,
Both Saxons, Danes, and Normans most of all!
Hereof, when civil wars have worn us out,
Must Britain stand, a borrow’d blood for Brute.


When prosperous haps and long-continuing bliss
Have pass’d the ripeness of their budding growth,
They fall and foulter like the mellow fruit,
Surcharg’d with burden of their own excess:
So fortune, wearied with our often wars,
Is forc’d to faint and leave us to our fates.
If men have minds presaging ought their harms,
If ever heavy heart foreween her woe,
What Briton lives so far remov’d from home,
In any air or pole, or coast abroad,
But that even now, through nature’s sole instinct,
He feels the fatal sword imbrue his breast,
Wherewith his native soil for aye is slain!
What hopes and haps lie wasted in these wars!
Who knows the foils he suffered in these fields?

The Argument of the Fifth Act.

1. In the first scene Arthur and Cador returned deadly wounded, and bewailed the misfortunes of themselves and their country, and are likewise bewailed of the Chorus.

2. In the second scene the ghost of Gorlois returneth rejoicing at his revenge, and wishing ever after a happier fate unto Britain; which done, he descendeth where he first rose.

The Argument and Manner of the Fifth and Last Dumb Show.

Sounding the music, four gentlemen all in black, half-armed, half-unarmed, with black scarfs overthwart their shoulders, should come upon the stage. The first bearing aloft in the one hand, on the truncheon of a spear, an helmet, an arming sword, a gauntlet, &c., representing the trophæa: in the other hand a target, depicted with a man’s heart sore-wounded, and the blood gushing out, crowned with a crown imperial and a laurel garland; thus written in the top: En totum quod superest—signifying the King of Norway, which spent himself and all his power for Arthur, and of whom there was left nothing but his heart to enjoy the conquest that ensued. The second bearing, in the one hand, a silver vessel full of gold, pearls, and other jewels, representing the spolia: in the other hand a target, with an elephant and dragon thereon fiercely combating; the dragon under the elephant, and sucking, by his extreme heat, the blood from him, is crushed in pieces with the fall of the elephant, so as both die at last; this written above: Victor an victus? representing the King of Denmark, who fell through Mordred’s wound, having first with his soldiers destroyed the most of Mordred’s army. The third bearing, in the one hand, a Pyramis with a laurel wreath about it, representing Victory; in the other hand a target with this device—a man sleeping, a snake drawing near to sting him, a lizard, preventing the snake by fight: the lizard, being deadly wounded, awaketh the man who, seeing the lizard dying, pursues the snake and kills it; this written above: Tibi morimur, signifying Gawin, king of Albany, slain in Arthur’s defence by Mordred, whom Arthur afterwards slew. The fourth bearing, in the one hand, a broken pillar, at the top thereof the crown and sceptre of the vanquished king, both broken asunder, representing the conquest over usurpation; in the other hand a target, with two cocks painted thereon, the one lying dead, the other with his wings broken, his eyes pecked out, and the blood everywhere gushing forth to the ground; he standing upon the dead cock and crowing over him, with this emblem in the top: Qua vici, perdidi, signifying Cador deadly wounded by Gilla, whom he slew. After these followed a king languishing, in complete harness black, bruised and battered unto him, besprinkled with blood; on his head a laurel garland, leaning on the shoulders of two heralds in mourning gowns and hoods; the one in Mars his coat of arms, the other in Arthur’s, presenting Arthur victorious, but yet deadly wounded. There followed a page with a target, whereon was portraited a pelican pecking her blood out of her breast to feed her young ones, through which wound she dieth; this written in the top: Qua fovi, perii, signifying Arthur’s too much indulgence of Mordred, the cause of his death. All this represented the dismayed and unfortunate victory of Arthur, which is the matter of the Act ensuing.


Arthur, Cador, Chorus.

Arthur. Come, Cador, as our friendship was most firm
Throughout our age, so now let’s link as fast.
Thus did we live in wars, thus let us die
In peace, and arm in arm partake our fates.
Our wounds, our grief, our wish, our hap alike,
Our end so near: all crave each other’s help.
Cador. O king, behold the fruit of all our fame!
Lo, here our pomp, consumed with ourselves:
What all our age with all our wars had won,
Lo, here one day hath lost it all at once!
Well, so it likes the heavens: thus fortune gibes;
She hoisteth up to hurl the deeper down.
First Chorus. O sacred prince! what sight is this we see?
Why have the fates reserved us to these woes?
Our only hope, the stay of all our realm,
The pillar of our state, thus sore oppress’d!
O, would the gods had favour’d us so much,
That as we lived partakers of your pains,
And likewise joy’d the fruit of your exploits,
So having thus bereft our sovereign’s bliss,
They had with more indifferent doom conjoin’d
The subjects’ both and sovereign’s bane in one!
It now (alas) engendereth double grief,
To rue your want and to bewail our woes.
Arthur. Rue not, my Britons, what my rage hath wrought,
But blame your king, that thus hath rent your realm.
My meanless moods have made the fates thus fell,
And too much anger wrought in me too much:
For had impatient ire endured abuse,
And yielded where resistance threat’ned spoil,
I mought have lived in foreign coasts unfoil’d,
And six score thousand men had been unmoan’d!
But wrong, incensing wrath to take revenge,
Preferred chance before a better choice.
Second Chorus. ’Twas Mordred’s wrong and too unjust deserts
That justly mov’d your highness to such wrath:
Your claim requir’d no less than those attempts:
Your cause right good was prais’d and pray’d for most.
Arthur. I claim’d my crown; the cause of claim was good,
The means to claim it in such sort was bad.
Yea, rather than my realm and native soil
Should wounded fall, thus bruised with these wars,
I should have left both realm and right, and all,
Or dur’d the death ordain’d by Mordred’s oath.
Cador. And yet, so far as Mars could bide a mean,
You hateless sought the safeguard of them all:
Whereto the better cause or badder chance
Did draw, you still inclin’d; preferring oft
The weaker side, sometimes for love, sometimes
For right (as fortune sway’d), your son, yourself.
So pity spar’d what reason sought to spoil,
Till all at length with equal spoil was spent.
Third Chorus. Would gods your mind had felt no such remorse,
And that your foes had no such favour found!
So might your friends have had far friendlier fates,
If rebels for their due deserts had died.
The wicked’s death is safety to the just;
To spare the traitors was to spoil the true:
Of force he hurts the good that helps the bad.
In that you sought your country’s gain, ’twas well:
In that you shunned not her loss, ’twas hard.
Good is the friend that seeks to do us good;
A mighty friend that doth prevent our harms.
Arthur. Well, so it was; it cannot be redress’d;
The greater is my grief that sees it so.
My life (I feel) doth fade, and sorrows flow,
The rather that my name is thus extinct;
In this respect, so Mordred did succeed,
O that myself had fall’n and Mordred liv’d!
That having conquer’d all my foes but him,
I mought have left you him, that conquer’d me.
O heavy, wretched lot! to be the last
That falls! to view the burial of my realm!
Where each man else hath felt his several fate,
I only pine, oppress’d with all their fates!
Fourth Chorus. Although your highness do sustain such grief,
As needs enforceth all your realm to rue,
Yet since such ruth affordeth no relief,
Let due discretion ’suage each cureless sore,
And bear the harms that run without redress.
The loss is ours, that lose so rare a prince:
You only win, that see your foe here foil’d.
[The breathless body of Mordred in armour, as he fell, is brought upon the stage.
Arthur. A causeless foe. When wars did call me hence,
He was in years but young, in wit too old.
As virtue shineth most in comeliest wights,
When inward gifts are deck’d with outward grace,
So did his wit and feature feed that hope,
Which falsely train’d me to this woful hap.
His mind transformed thus, I cannot choose
But long to see what change his face sustains.
My blood and kindred, doubled in his birth,
Inspires a mix’d and twice-descending love,
Which drives my dying veins to wish his view.
Unhelm his luckless head, set bare his face,
That face which erst pleas’d me and mine too much.
First Chorus. See (worthiest king) the hope of all your realm,
Had not his lust to rule prevented all.
Arthur. I see (alas), I see (hide, hide again:
O, spare mine eyes!) a witness of my crimes;
A fearful vision of my former guilt;
A dreadful horror of a future doom,
A present gall of mind. O happy they,
Whose spotless lives attain a dreadless death!
And thou, O hapless boy! O spite of fates!
(What mought I term thee—nephew, son, or both?)
Alas! how happy should we both have been,
If no ambitious thought had vex’d thy head,
Nor thou thus striv’d to reave thy father’s rule,
But stay’d thy time, and not forestall’d us both!
Cador. The hot-spurr’d youth, that forc’d the forward steeds,
Whiles needs he would his father’s chariot guide,
Neglecting what his sire had said in charge:
The fires which first he flung about the poles,
Himself at last, most woful wretch, inflam’d.
So too much love to hover in the heavens
Made him to pay the price of rash attempts.
Arthur. What ruth (ah), rent the woful father’s heart,
That saw himself thus made a sonless sire!
Well, since both heavens and hell conspir’d in one
To make our ends a mirror to the world,
Both of incestuous life and wicked birth,
Would gods the fates, that link’d our faults alike,
Had also fram’d our minds of friendlier moulds!
That as our lineage had approach’d too near,
So our affections had not swerv’d too far.
Then mought, I[’ve] liv’d t’ enlarge the Britons’ praise
In rearing efts the first triumphant Troy,
And after thou, succeeding mine attempts,
Have spent thy courage in a juster cause.
But ’twould not be: ambition grew too great;
We could not join our minds—our fates we join’d,
And through thy blood a way was made to mine.
Second Chorus. And must we needs (O worthiest peers) forego
By this untimely fate our greatest hope?
That in your ripest years and likeliest time
Your chiefest force should on this sudden fall?
[Third Chorus.] See, see our idle hopes, our brittle trust,
[Fourth Chorus.] Our vain desires, our over-fickle state
Which, though a while they sail on quiet seas,
Yet sink in surge, ere they arrive to road.
O woful wars! O Mordred’s cursed pride,
That thus hath wrought both king and kingdom’s woe!
Cador. Let plaints and mournings pass; set moans apart.
They made much of themselves, yea, too—too much;
They lov’d to live that, seeing all their realm
Thus topsy-turvy turn, would grudge to die.
Arthur. Yea, sure: since thus (O fates) your censure seems,
That free from force of foreign foes, there rests
That Mordred reap the glory of our deaths,
B’ it so: drive on your doom, work your decree:
We fearless bide what bane soe’er you bid.
And though our ends, thus hastened to your hests,
Abruptly break the course of great attempts,
Yet go we not inglorious to the ground:
Set wish apart, we have perform’d enough.
The Irish king and nation wild we tam’d;
The Scots and Picts, and Orcade Isles, we wan;
The Danes and Goths, and Friesland men, with all
The Isles inserted near those seas; and next
The German king and Saxons we subdu’d.
Not France that could prevail against our force,
Nor lastly Rome, that rues her pride suppress’d.
Each foreign power is parcel of our praise:
No titles want to make our foes afraid.
This only now I crave (O fortune! erst
My faithful friend): let it be soon forgot,
Nor long in mind nor mouth, where Arthur fell:
Yea, though I conqueror die, and full of fame,
Yet let my death and parture rest obscure.
No grave I need (O fates!) nor burial-rights,
Nor stately hearse, nor tomb with haughty top;
But let my carcase lurk; yea, let my death
Be aye unknowen, so that in every coast
I still be fear’d, and look’d for every hour.
[Exeunt Arthur and Cador.



Lo, here the end that fortune sends at last
To him, whom first she heav’d to highest hap!
The flattering look, wherewith he long was led;
The smiling fates, that oft had fed his fame,
The many wars and conquests which he gain’d,
Are dash’d at once: one day infers that foil,
Whereof so many years of yore were free.


O willing world to magnify man’s state!
O most unwilling to maintain the same!
Of all misfortunes and unhappy fates
Th’ unhappiest seems to have been happy once.[282]
’Twas Arthur sole, that never found his joys
Disturb’d with woe, nor woes reliev’d with joy.
In prosperous state all heavenly pow’rs aspir’d;
Now, made a wretch, not one that spares his spoil!


Yea, fortune’s self in this afflicted case
Exacts a pain for long-continued pomp.
She urgeth now the bliss of wonted weal,
And bears him down with weight of former fame.
His praises past be present shame. O fickle trust,
Whiles fortune chops and changeth every chance,
What certain bliss can we enjoy alive,
Unless, whiles yet our bliss endures, we die?


Yea, since before his last and utmost gasp,
None can be deem’d a happy man or bless’d,
Who dares commit himself to prosperous fates,
Whose death prepar’d attends not hard at hand:
That sithence death must once determine all,
His life may sooner fly, than fortune flit.



Gorlois. Now, Gorlois, ’suage thyself. Pride hath his pay,
Murther his price, adult’ry his desert,
Treason his meed, disloyalty his doom,
Wrong hath his wreak, and guilt his guerdon bears!
Not one abuse erst offered by thy foes,
But, since most sternly punish’d, is now purg’d.
Where thou didst fall, ev’n on the self-same soil,
Pendragon, Arthur, Mordred, and their stock
Found all their foils: not one hath ’scaped revenge;
Their line from first to last quite razed out!
Now rest content, and work no further plagues:
Let future age be free from Gorlois’ ghost:
Let Britain henceforth bathe in endless weal.
Let Virgo come from heaven, the glorious star,
The Zodiac’s joy, the planets’ chief delight,
The hope of all the year, the ease of skies,
The air’s relief, the comfort of the earth!
That virtuous Virgo, born for Britain’s bliss;
That peerless branch of Brute; that sweet remain
Of Priam’s state; that hope of springing Troy,
Which, time to come and many ages hence,
Shall of all wars compound eternal peace.
Let her reduce the golden age again,
Religion, ease, and wealth of former world.
Yea, let that Virgo come, and Saturn’s reign,[283]
And years, oft ten times told, expir’d in peace.
A rule that else no realm shall ever find,
A rule most rare, unheard, unseen, unread;
The sole example that the world affords.
That (Britain), that renowm, yea, that is thine.
B’ it so: my wrath is wrought. Ye furies black
And ugly shapes, that howl in holes beneath:
Thou Orcus dark, and deep Avernus nook,
With duskish dens out-gnawn in gulfs below,
Receive your ghastly charge, Duke Gorlois’ ghost!
Make room! I gladly, thus reveng’d, return!
And though your pain surpass, I greet them tho!
He hates each other heaven, that haunteth hell.


See here by this the tickle trust of time:
The false affiance of each mortal force;
The wavering weight of fates: the fickle trace,
That fortune trips; the many mocks of life;
The cheerless change, the easeless brunts and broils,
That man abides, the restless race he runs.
But most of all, see here the peerless pains:
The lasting pangs, the stintless griefs, the tears:
The sighs, the groans, the fears, the hopes, the hates:
The thoughts and cares, that kingly pomp imparts.
What follies, then, bewitch th’ ambitious minds,
That thirst for sceptre’s pomp, the well of woes!
Whereof (alas!) should wretched man be proud,
Whose first conception is but sin, whose birth
But pain, whose life but toil, and needs must die?
See here the store of great Pendragon’s brood,
The t’one quite dead, the t’other hastening on;
As men, the son but green, the sire but ripe,
Yet both forestall’d, ere half their race were run!
As kings, the mightiest monarchs of this age,
Yet both suppressed and vanquished by themselves.
Such is the brittle breath of mortal man,
Whiles human nature works her daily wracks:
Such be the crazed crests of glorious crowns,
Whiles worldly powers like sudden puffs do pass.
And yet for one that goes, another comes;
Some born, some dead: so still the store endures.
So that both fates and common care provide,
That men must needs be born, and some must rule.
Wherefore, ye peers and lordings, lift aloft,
And whosoe’er in thrones that judge your thralls,
Let not your sovereignty heave you too high,
Nor their subjection press them down too low.
It is not pride that can augment your power,
Nor lowly looks that long can keep them safe.
The fates have found a way whereby, ere long,
The proud must leave their hope, the meek their fear.
Whoe’er received such favour from above,
That could assure one day unto himself?
Him whom the morning found both stout and strong,
The evening left all grovelling on the ground.
This breath and heat, wherewith man’s life is fed,
Is but a flash or flame, that shines a while,
And once extinct is, as it ne’er had been.
Corruption hourly frets the body’s frame;
Youth tends to age, and age to death by kind.
Short is the race, prefixed is the end;
Swift is the time, wherein man’s life doth run:
But by his deeds t’extend renowm and fame,
That only virtue works, which never fades.


Thomas Hughes.

Sat citò, si sat benè: utcunque,
Quoad non dat spes, dat optio.

Hereafter follow such
speeches as were penned by others, and pronounced
instead of some of the former speeches
penned by Thomas Hughes.

A speech penned by William
Fulbecke, gentleman, one of the society of Gray’s
Inn, and pronounced instead of Gorlois
his first speech penned by Thomas
Hughes, and set down in the first Scene
of the first Act.

Alecto, thou that hast excluded me
From fields Elysian, where the guiltless souls
Avoid the scourge of Rhadamanthus ire,
Let it be lawful (sith I am removed
From blessed islands to this cursed shore,
This loathed earth, where Arthur’s table stands,
With ordure foul of Harpies’ fierce distained)
The fates and hidden secrets to disclose
Of black Cocytus and of Acheron,
The floods of death, the lakes of burning souls,
Where hellish frogs do prophesy revenge;
Where Tartar sprites with careful heed attend
The dismal summons of Alecto’s mouth.
Myself by precept of Proserpina
Commanded was in presence to appear
Before the synod of the damned sprites.
In fearful mood I did perform their hest,
And, at my entrance in, th’ enchanted snakes,
Which wrap themselves about the furies’ necks,
Did hiss for joy: and from the dreadful bench[284]
The supreme fury thus assign’d her charge.
Gorlois, quoth she, thou thither must ascend,
Whence, through the rancour of malicious foes,
Wearied with wounds thou didst descend to us.
Make Britain now the mark of thy revenge:
On ruthless Britons and Pendragon’s race
Disburse the treasure of thy hellish plagues.
Let blood contend with blood, father with son,
Subject with prince, and let confusion reign.
She therewithal enjoin’d the dusky clouds,
Which with their darkness turn’d the earth to hell,
Convert to blood, and pour down streams of blood.
Cornwall shall groan, and Arthur’s soul shall sigh:
Before the conscience of Guenevera
The map of hell shall hang, and fiends shall rage;
And Gorlois’ ghost exacting punishment
With dreams, with horrors, and with deadly trance,
Shall gripe their hearts: the vision of his corse
Shall be to them, as was the terror vile
Of flaming whips to Agamemnon’s son.
And when the trumpet calls them from their rest,
Aurora shall with wat’ry cheeks behold
Their slaughtered bodies prostrate to her beams:
And on the banks of Camela shall lie
The bones of Arthur and of Arthur’s knights,
Whose fleet is now triumphing on the seas,
But shall be welcom’d with a tragedy.
Thy native soil shall be thy fatal gulf,
Arthur: thy place of birth thy place of death.
Mordred shall be the hammer of my hate
To beat the bones of Cornish lords to dust.
Ye ravening birds under Celœno’s power,
I do adjure you, in Alecto’s name,
Follow the sword of Mordred where he goes;
Follow the sword of Mordred for your food.
Aspiring Mordred, thou must also die,
And on the altar of Proserpina
Thy vital blood unto my ghost shall fume.
Heaven, earth, and hell concur to plague the man,
That is the plague of heaven, earth, and hell!
Thou bidd’st, Alecto: I pursue my charge.
Let thy Cerastæ whistle in mine ears,
And let the bells of Pluto ring revenge!

One other speech penned
by the same gentleman, and pronounced instead
of Gorlois his last speech penned by Thomas
Hughes, and set down in the second
Scene of the fifth and last Act.

Death hath his conquest, hell hath had his wish,
Gorlois his vow, Alecto her desire;
Sin hath his pay, and blood is quit with blood:
Revenge in triumph bears the struggling hearts!
Now, Gorlois, pierce the craggy rocks of hell,
Through chinks whereof infernal sprites do glance,
Return this answer to the furies’ court:
That Cornwall trembles with the thought of war,
And Tamar’s flood with drooping pace doth flow,
For fear of touching Camel’s bloody stream.
Britain, remember; write it on thy walls,
Which neither time nor tyranny may raze,
That rebels, traitors, and conspirators,
The seminary of lewd Catiline,
The bastard covey of Italian birds,
Shall feel the flames of ever-flaming fire,
Which are not quenched with a sea of tears.
And since in thee some glorious star must shine,
When many years and ages are expir’d,
Whose beams shall clear the mist of miscontent,
And make the damp of Pluto’s pit retire,
Gorlois will never fray the Britons more:
For Britain then becomes an angel’s land.
Both devils and sprites must yield to angels’ power,
Unto the goddess of the angels’ land.
Vaunt, Britain, vaunt of her renowmed reign,
Whose face deters the hags of hell from thee,
Whose virtues hold the plagues of heaven from thee;
Whose presence makes the earth fruitful to thee;
And with foresight of her thrice-happy days,
Britain, I leave thee to an endless praise.

Besides these speeches there was also penned a Chorus for the first act, and another for the second act, by Master Francis Flower, which were pronounced accordingly. The dumb shows were partly devised by Master Christopher Yelverton, Master Francis Bacon, Master John Lancaster and others, partly by the said Master Flower, who with Master Penruddock and the said Master Lancaster, directed these proceedings at Court.

[250] [A copy is in the library of the Duke of Devonshire; it was formerly Kemble’s.]

[251] Shown to be true: the author has converted the substantive sooth into a verb.

[252] Ben Jonson opens his “Catiline” with the ghost of Sylla “ranging for revenge,” and he was only thirteen years old, when “The Misfortunes of Arthur” was performed at Greenwich before the Queen. Hughes, doubtless, had the commencement of Seneca’s “Thyestes” in his mind, and throughout he has been indebted more or less to that and other classical authorities. The ghost of Polydorus opens the “Hecuba” of Euripides. The ghost of Gorlois in this instance speaks the prologue to the tragedy.

[253] Pheer is companion, and is most ordinarily applied to the male sex: Gorlois, however, refers to the infidelity of his wife.

[254] Unwieldy or unmanageable of herself—not having any control over her actions. The sense is a little constrained.

[255] These lines as they stand in the original are nonsense—

“Whether to dround or stifll up his breath,
On sorcing blood to dye with dint of knife.”

[256] Milton has this thought, almost in the same words, allowing for the difference of an interrogation.

“For where no hope is left, is left no fear.”
Par. Reg. III. 206.

[257] The word should is accidentally repeated in this line in the old copy.

[258] “But yet I’ll hope the best” is by mistake given to Conan in the old copy.

[259] In the old copy Mordred’s reply is made a part of Conan’s observation.

[260] By an apparent error in the original the five preceding lines are given to Mordred.

[261] Arthur’s name is misprinted for that of Mordred in this place in the original.

[262] It stands rooms in the old copy, but to make sense of the line we must read grooms. [Grooms is here and afterwards used in the sense of man.]

[263] This reply, which belongs to Mordred, is given to Conan in the old copy.

[264] Instead of the words “commons grudge,” “realm envies” has been substituted and wafered over the text. The alteration, like some others, seems to have been originally pasted upon the objectionable passage.

[265] The following were substituted for the four preceding lines.

“The first art in a kingdom is to scorn
The envy of the realm. He cannot rule
That fears to be envi’d. What can divorce
Envy from sovereignty? Must my deserts!”

[266] It does not appear whether Conan goes out, or stands by, listening to the dialogue between Mordred and Gawin in the following scene.


Pejor est bello timor ipse belli
Seneca, Thyestes, A. III. Chor.

Jasper Heywood (“Thyestes Faithfully Englished.” 1560) thus translates this passage

“Worse is then warre it selfe the feare of fyght.”

[268] [Dulce bellum inexpertis.]

[269] i.e., Gawin: the Herald went out before.

[270] It had been originally printed Second, but corrected by pasting First over it.

[271] Old copy, presence.

[272] i.e., Reach’d or gave the reins to will.

[273] The word subjection in this place has been pasted over “allegiance.”

[274] [Old copy, promise.]


“Illi mors gravis incubat,
Qui notus nimis omnibus,
Ignotus moritur sibi.”
Sen. Thyestes, act ii. Chor.

[276] In the original misprinted ceeepe.

[277] Overhippes in the original.

[278] [In the Chorus to the third scene, the word foulter is used in the undoubted sense of falter—

“They fall and foulter like the mellow fruit.”

But see Nares, edit. 1859, v. fouldring.]

[279] [Old copy, mischiefes.]

[280] Curæ leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent.

“The grief that does not speak,
Whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.”
Macbeth, act iv., sc. 3.

[281] [Old copy, pagions.]

[282] “In omni adversitate fortunæ infelicissimum genus infortunii est fuisse felicem.”—Boet: De Consol Philos. L. II.

Dante translates the passage thus—

“Nessun maggior dolore,
Che ricordarsi del tempo felice
Nella miseria.”
Inferno, c. v.

Fortiguerri follows him in these lines—

“E perchè rimembrare il ben perduto
Fa piu meschino lo stato presente.”
Ricciardetto, c. xi., st. 81.

[283] [The writer seems to have had in his memory the fourth eclogue of Virgil.]

[284] Printed benthe.





The First Part of Ieronimo. With the Warres of Portugall, and the Life and Death of Don Andræa. Printed at London, for Thomas Pauyer, and are to be solde at his shop, at the entrance into the Exchange. 1605. 4to. Black letter.


From Heywood’s[286] “Apology for Actors,” it appears that Thomas Kyd was the author of the “Spanish Tragedy, or Hieronimo is Mad again.” But whether he likewise wrote this “First Part of Jeronimo” does not appear.

This “First Part of Jeronimo” is so scarce that many have doubted whether it ever existed; and Mr Coxeter and the author of the “Playhouse Dictionary” were of opinion, that what is called the “Spanish Tragedy, or Hieronimo is Mad again,” was only the old play altered and new-named. Ben Jonson has a passage in the induction to “Cynthia’s Revels,” 1600, that seems to favour that opinion: “Another swears down all that sit about him, that the old Hieronimo, as it was first acted, was the only best and judiciously pen’d play of Europe.”

They were, however, two distinct plays, as appears from this copy of the first part, which is printed from one in the valuable collection of David Garrick, Esq.

From another passage in the induction to “Cynthia’s Revels,” acted in 1600, it may be conjectured, that “Jeronimo” first appeared on the stage about the year 1588.[287] “They say (says one of the children of the Queen’s Chapel) the ghosts of some three or four plays, departed a dozen years since, have been seen walking on your stage here.”


[Sound a Signet,[288] and pass over the Stage. Enter at one door the King of Spain, Duke of Castile, Duke Medina, Lorenzo, and Rogero; at another door, Andrea, Horatio, and Jeronimo. Jeronimo kneels down, and the King creates him Marshal of Spain; Lorenzo puts on his Spurs,[289] and Andrea his sword. The King goes along with Jeronimo to his House; after a long Signet is sounded, enter all the Nobles, with covered dishes, to the Banquet. Exeunt omnes. That done, enter all again as before.]

Spain. Frolic, Jeronimo! thou art now confirmed
Marshal of Spain by all the dues
And customary rights unto thy office.
Jer. My knee sings thanks unto your highness’ bounty.—
Come hither, boy Horatio; fold thy joints;
Kneel by thy father’s loins, and thank my liege,
By honouring me, thy mother, and thyself,
With this high staff of office.
Hor. O my liege,
I have a heart thrice stronger than my years,
And that shall answer gratefully for me.
Let not my youthful blush impair my valour:
If ever you have foes, or red field-scars,
I’ll empty all my veins to serve your wars;
I’ll bleed for you; and more, what speech affords,
I’ll speak in drops, when I do fail in words.
Jer. Well spoke, my boy; and on thy father’s side.—
My liege, how like you Don Horatio’s spirit?
What! doth it promise fair?
Spain. Ay,
And no doubt his merit will purchase more.
Knight Marshal, rise, and still rise
Higher and greater in thy sovereign’s eyes.
Jer. O fortunate hour! bless’d minute! happy day!
Able to ravish even my sense away!
Now I remember too—O sweet remembrance!—
This day my years strike fifty, and in Rome
They call the fifty year the year of jubilee,
The merry year, the peaceful year, [the] jocund year,
A year of joy, of pleasure and delight;
This shall be my year of jubilee, for ’tis my fifty.
Age ushers honour; ’tis no shame; confess:
Beard, thou art fifty full, not a hair less.

Enter an Embassador.

Spain. How now? what news for[290] Spain? tribute returned?
Emb. Tribute in words, my liege, but not in coin.
Spain. Ha! dare he still procrastinate with Spain?
Not tribute paid! not three years paid!
’Tis not at his coin,
But his slack homage, that we most repine.
Jer. My liege, if my opinion might stand firm
Within your highness’ thoughts——
Spain. Marshal,
Our kingdom calls thee father; therefore speak free.
Thy counsel I’ll embrace, as I do thee.
Jer. I thank your highness. Then, my gracious liege,
I hold it meet, by way of embassage,
To demand his mind, and the neglect of tribute.
But, my liege,
Here must be kind words, which doth oft besiege
The ears of rough-hewn tyrants more than blows;
O, a politic speech beguiles the ears of foes.
Marry, my liege, mistake me not, I pray;
If friendly phrases, honey’d speech, bewitching accent,
Well-tuned melody, and all sweet gifts
Of nature, cannot avail or win him to it,
Then let him raise his gall up to his tongue,
And be as bitter as physicians’ drugs,
Stretch his mouth wider with big swoll’n phrases.
O, here’s a lad of mettle, stout Don Andrea,
Mettle to the crown,
Would shake the king’s high court three handfuls down.
Spain. And well picked out, Knight Marshal; speech well-strung;
I’d rather choose Horatio, were he not so young.
Hor. I humbly thank your highness,
In placing me next unto his royal bosom.
Spain. How stand ye, lords, to this election?
Omnes. Right pleasing, our dread sovereign.
Med. Only, with pardon, mighty sovereign——
Cast. I should have chosen Don Lorenzo.
Med. I, Don Rogero.
Rog. O no; not me, my lords,
I am war’s champion, and my fees are swords.
Pray, king, pray, peers, let it be Don Andrea;
He is a worthy limb,
Loves wars and soldiers; therefore I love him.
Jer. And I love him and thee, valiant Rogero.
Noble spirits, gallant bloods;
You are no wise, insinuating lords,
You ha’ no tricks, you ha’ none of all their sleights.
Lor. So, so, Andrea must be sent embassador;
Lorenzo is not thought upon: good!
I’ll wake the court, or startle out some blood.
Spain. How stand you, lords, to this election?
Omnes. Right pleasing, our dread sovereign.
Spain. Then, Don Andrea——
And. My approved liege.
Spain. We make thee our lord high embassador.
And. Your highness circles me with honour’s bounds;
I shall discharge the weight of your command
With best respect: if friendly-tempered phrase
Cannot affect the virtue of your charge,
I will be hard like thunder, and as rough
As northern tempests, or the vexed bowels
Of too insulting waves, who at one blow
Five merchants’ wealths into the deep doth throw.
I’ll threaten crimson wars——
Rog. Aye, aye, that’s good;
Let them keep coin, pay tribute with their blood.
Spain. Farewell, then, Don Andrea; to thy charge.
Lords, let us in; joy shall be now our guest:
Let’s in to celebrate our second feast.
[Exeunt omnes, manet Lorenzo solus.
Lor. Andrea’s gone embassador;
Lorenzo is not dreamt on in this age.
Hard fate,
When villains sit not in the highest state!
Ambition’s plumes, that flourished in our court,
Severe authority has dashed with justice;
And policy and pride walk like two exiles,
Giving attendance, that were once attended;
And we rejected, that were once high-honoured.
I hate Andrea; ’cause he aims at honour,
When my purest thoughts work in a pitchy vale,
Which are as different as heaven and hell.
One peers for day, the other gapes for night.
That yawning beldam, with her jetty skin—
’Tis she I hug as mine effeminate bride,
For such complexions best appease my pride.
I have a lad in pickle of this stamp,
A melancholy, discontented courtier,
Whose famished jaws look like the chap of death;
Upon whose eyebrows hangs damnation;
Whose hands are washed in rape and murders bold:
Him with a golden bait will I allure
(For courtiers will do anything for gold),
To be Andrea’s death at his return.
He loves my sister, that shall cost his life;
So she a husband, he shall lose a wife.
O sweet, sweet policy, I hug thee! good;
Andrea’s Hymen’s-draught shall be in blood.

Enter Horatio at one door, Andrea at another.

Hor. Whither in such haste, my second self?
And. I’faith, my dear bosom, to take solemn leave
Of a most weeping creature.
Hor. That’s a woman.

Enter Bell’-Imperia.

And. That’s Bell’-Imperia.
Hor. See, see, she meets you here:
And what is it to love, and be lov’d dear!
Bel. I have heard of your honour, gentle breast,
I do not like it now so well, methinks.
And. What! not to have honour bestowed on me?
Bel. O, yes; but not a wandering honour, dear;
I could afford well, diddest thou stay here.
Could honour melt itself into thy veins,
And thou the fountain, I could wish it so,
If thou wouldst remain here with me, and not go.
And. ’Tis but to Portugal.
Hor. But to demand the tribute, lady.
Bel. Tribute! alas, that Spain cannot of peace
Forbear a little coin, the Indies being so near.
And yet this is not all: I know you are too hot,
Too full of spleen for an embassador,
And will lean much to honour.
And. Pish![291]
Bel. Nay, hear me, dear! I know you will be rough
And violent; and Portugal hath a tempestuous son,
Stamp’d with the mark of fury, and you too.
And. Sweet Bell’-Imperia!
Bel. You’ll[292] meet like thunder, each imperious
Over other’s spleen; you have both proud spirits,
And both will strive to aspire. When
Two vexed clouds justle, they strike out fire:
And you, I fear me, war, which peace forefend.
O dear Andrea, pray, let’s have no wars!
First let them pay the soldiers that were maimed
In the last battle, ere more wretches fall,
Or walk on stilts to timeless funeral.
And. Respective dear! O my life’s happiness!
The joy of all my being! do not shape
Frightful conceit beyond the intent of act!
I know thy love is vigilant o’er my blood,
And fears ill-fate which heaven hath yet withstood.
But be of comfort; sweet Horatio knows
I go to knit friends, not to kindle foes.
Hor. True, madam Bell’-Imperia, that’s his task:
The phrase he useth must be gently styled,
The king hath warned him to be smooth and mild.
Bel. But will you, indeed, Andrea?
And. By this.
Bel. By this lip-blushing kiss.
Hor. O, you swear sweetly.
Bel. I’ll keep your oath for you, till you return,
Then I’ll be sure you shall not be forsworn.

Enter Pedringano.

And. Ho, Pedringano!
Ped. Signior?
And. Are all things aboard?
Ped. They are, my good lord.
And. Then. Bell’-Imperia, I take leave; Horatio
Be, in my absence, my dear self, chaste self.—
What! playing the woman, Bell’-Imperia?
Nay, then you love me not; or, at the least,
You drown my honours in those flowing waters.
Believe it, Bell’-Imperia, ’tis as common
To weep at parting, as to be a woman.
Love me more valiant; play not this moist prize;
Be woman in all parts save in thy eyes.
And so I leave thee.
Bel. Farewell, my lord:
Be mindful of my love and of your word.
And. ’Tis fixed upon my heart; adieu, soul’s friend!
Hor. All honour on Andrea’s steps attend.
Bel. Yet he is in sight, and yet but now he’s vanished.
[Exit Andrea.
Hor. Nay, lady, if you stoop so much to passion,
I’ll call him back again.
Bel. O good Horatio, no; it is for honour.
Pr’y-thee, let him go.
Hor. Then, madam, be composed, as you were wont,
To music and delight; the time being comic, will
Seem short and pleasant, till his return
From Portugal. And, madam, in this circle
Let your heart move;
Honoured promotion is the sap of love.

Enter Lorenzo and Lazarotto, a discontented Courtier.

Lor. Come, my soul’s spaniel, my life’s jetty substance,
What’s thy name?
Laz. My name ’s an honest name, a courtier’s name:
’Tis Lazarotto.
Lor. What, Lazarotto!
Laz. Or rather rotting in this lazy age
That yields me no employments: I have mischief
Within my breast, more than my bulk[293] can hold:
I want a midwife to deliver it.
Lor. I’ll be the he-one then, and rid thee soon
Of this dull, leaden, and tormenting elf.
Thou know’st the love betwixt
Bell’-Imperia and Andrea’s bosom?
Laz. Aye, I do.
Lor. How might I cross it, my sweet mischief?
Honey-damnation, how?
Laz. Well:
As many ways as there are paths to hell,
And that’s enou’, i’ faith. From usurer’s door—
There goes one path: from friars that nurse whores—
There goes another path: from brokers’ stalls,
From rich that die and build no hospitals—
Two other paths: from farmers that crack barns
With stuffing corn, yet starve the needy swarms—
Another path: from drinking-schools one—
From dicing-houses—but from the court, none, none.
Lor. Here is a slave just of the stamp I wish;
Whose ink-soul’s blacker than his name,
Though it stand printed with a raven’s quill.
But, Lazarotto, cross my sister’s love,
And I’ll rain showers of ducats in thy palm.
Laz. O duckets, dainty ducks; forgive me, duckets,
I’ll fetch you duck enough for gold; and chink
Makes the punk wanton and the bawd to wink.
Lor. Discharge, discharge, good Lazarotto,
How we may cross my sister’s loving hopes.
Laz. Nay, now I’ll tell you.
Lor. Thou knowest Andrea’s gone embassador.
Laz. The better; there is opportunity:
Now list to me.

Enter Jeronimo and Horatio, and overhear their talk.

Alcario, the Duke Medina’s son,
Doats on your sister Bell’-Imperia:
Him in her private gallery you shall place
To court her; let his protestations be
Fashioned with rich jewels,[294] for in love
Great gifts and gold have the best tongue to move.
Let him not spare an oath without a jewel
To bind it fast: O, I know women’s hearts,
What stuff they are made of, my lord: gifts and giving
Will melt the chastest-seeming female living.
Lor. Indeed Andrea is but poor, though honourable;
His bounty among soldiers soaks him dry,
And their o’er-great gifts may bewitch her eye.
Jer. Here’s no fine villainy, no damned brother!
Lor. But say she should deny his gifts, be all
Composed of hate, as my mind gives me that
She will: what then?
Laz. Then thus: at his return
To Spain, I’ll murder Don Andrea.
Lor. Dar’st thou, spirit?
Laz. What dares not he do, that ne’er hopes t’inherit?
Hor. He dares be damn’d like thee.
Laz. Dare I? Ha, ha!
I have no hope of everlasting height,
My soul’s a Moor, you know, salvation’s white.
What dare I not enact then? Tush, he dies;
I will make way to Bell’-Imperia’s eyes.
Lor. To weep, I fear, but not to tender love.
Laz. Why, is she not a woman? she must weep
Awhile, as widows use, till their first sleep;
Who in the morrow following will be sold
To new, before the first are throughly cold.
So Bell’-Imperia; for this is common;
The more she weeps, the more she plays the woman.
Lor. Come then, howe’er it hap, Andrea shall be cross’d.
Laz. Let me alone, I’ll turn him to a ghost.
[Exeunt Lorenzo and Lazarotto.
Manent Jeronimo and Horatio.[295]
Jer. Farewell, true brace of villains;
Come hither, boy Horatio, didst thou hear them?
Hor. O my true-breasted father, my ears
Have suck’d in poison, deadly poison:
Murder Andrea! O inhuman practice!
Had not your reverend years been present here,
I should have poniarded the villain’s bowels,
And shoved his soul out to damnation.
Murder Andrea! honest lord! impious villains!
Jer. I like thy true heart, boy; thou lov’st thy friend:
It is the greatest argument and sign,
That I begot thee, for it shows thou ’rt mine.
Hor. O father, ’tis a charitable deed
To prevent those that would make virtue bleed!
I’ll despatch letters to Don Andrea;
Unfold their hellish practice, damn’d intent,
Against the virtuous rivers of his life.
Murder Andrea!

Enter Isabella.

Jer. Peace: who comes here? news, news, Isabella.
Isa. What news, Jeronimo?
Jer. Strange news:
Lorenzo is become an honest man.
Isa. Is this your wondrous news?
Jer. Is it not wondrous
To have honesty in hell? go, tell it abroad now;
But see you put no new additions to it,
As thus—shall I tell you, gossip? Lorenzo is
Become an honest man:—beware, beware; for honesty,
Spoken in derision, points out knavery.
O, then, take heed; that jest would not be trim,
He’s a great man, therefore we must not knave him.
In, gentle soul; I’ll not be long away,
As short my body, short shall be my stay.[296]
[Exit Isabella.
Hor. Murder Andrea! what blood-sucking slave
Could choke bright honour in a scabbard grave!
Jer. What, harping still upon Andrea’s death?
Have courage, boy: I shall prevent their plots,
And make them both stand like two politic sots.
Hor. Lorenzo has a reach as far as hell
To hook the devil from his flaming cell:
O sprightly father, he’ll outreach you then;
Knaves longer reaches have than honest men.
Jer. But, boy, fear not, I will outstretch them all,
My mind’s a giant, though my bulk be small.[297]

Enter the King of Portugal, Balthezar, Alexandro, Don Vollupo, and others: a Peal of Ordnance; within, a great shout of People.

King. What is the meaning of this loud report?
Alex. An embassy, my lord, is new arrived from Spain.
King. Son Balthezar, we pray, do you go meet him,
And do him all the honour that belongs him.
Bal. Father, my best endeavour shall obey you:
Welcome, worthy lord, Spain’s choice embassador,
Brave, stout Andrea; for so I guess thee.

Enter Andrea.

And. Portugal’s heir, I thank thee,
Thou seems no less than what thou art, a prince
And an heroic spirit: Portugal’s king,
I kiss my hand, and tender on thy throne
My master’s love, peace and affection.
King. And we receive them and thee, worthy Andrea;
Thy master’s high-prized love unto our heart,
Is welcome to his friend, thou to our court.
And. Thanks, Portugal. My lords, I had in charge,
At my depart from Spain, this embassage,
To put your breast in mind of tribute due
Unto our master’s kingdom, these three years
Detained and kept back; and I am sent to know
Whether neglect or will detains it so.
King. Thus much return unto thy king, Andrea;
We have with best advice thought of our state,
And find it much dishonoured by base homage:
I not deny, but tribute hath been due
To Spain by our forefathers’ base captivity,
Yet cannot rase out their successors’ merit.
’Tis said, we shall not answer at next birth
Our fathers’ faults in heaven; why then on earth?
Which proves and shows, that which they lost
By base captivity,
We may redeem with honoured valiancy.
We borrow nought: our kingdom is our own:
He’s a base king that pays rent for his throne.
And. Is this thy answer, Portugal?
Bal. Ay, Spain;
A royal answer too, which I’ll maintain.
Omnes. And all the peers of Portugal the like.
And. Then thus all Spain, which but three minutes ago
Was thy full friend, is now returned thy foe.
Bal. An excellent foe; we shall have scuffling good.
And. Thou shalt pay tribute, Portugal, with blood.
Bal. Tribute for tribute, then, and foes for foes.
And. I bid you sudden wars.
Bal. I, sudden blows, and that’s as good as wars.
Don, I’ll not bate
An inch of courage nor a hair of fate:
Pay tribute I with strokes.
And. Aye, with strokes you shall;
Alas, that Spain should correct Portugal!
Bal. Correct!
O, in that one word such torments do I feel,
That I could lash thy ribs with valiant steel.
And. Prince Balthezar, shall’s meet?
Bal. Meet, Don Andrea? yes, in the battle’s bowels;
Here is my gage, a never-failing pawn;
’Twill keep his day, his hour, nay minute, ’twill.
And. Then thine and this, possess one quality.
Bal. O, let them kiss!
Did I not understand thee noble, valiant,
And worthy my sword’s society with thee,
For all Spain’s wealth, I’d not grasp hands.
Meet Don Andrea? I tell thee, noble spirit,
I’d wade up to the knees in blood, I’d make
A bridge of Spanish carcases, to single thee
Out of the gasping army.
And. Woot thou, prince?
Why even for that I love [thee.]
Bal. Tut, love me, man, when we have drunk
Hot blood together; wounds will tie
An everlasting settled amity,
And so shall thine.
And. And thine.
Bal. What! give no place?
And. To whom?
Bal. To me.
And. To thee?
Why should my face, that’s placed above my mind,
Fall under it?
Bal. I’ll make thee yield.
And. Aye, when you get me down;
But I stand even yet—jump crown to crown.
Bal. Dar’st thou?
And. I dare.
Bal. I am all vex’d.
And. I care not.
Bal. I shall forget the law.
And. Do, do.
Bal. Shall I?
And. Spare not.
Bal. But thou wilt yield first.
And. No.
Bal. O, I hug thee for’t!
The valiant’st spirit e’er trod the Spanish court:
Here let the rising of our hot blood set.
Alex. My liege, two nobler spirits never met.
Bal. Until we meet in purple, when our swords
And. Agreed, right valiant prince:—
Then, Portugal, this is thy resolute answer?
King. So, return, it’s so: we have bethought us,
What tribute is; how poor that monarch shows,
Who for his throne a yearly pension owes:
And what our predecessors lost to Spain,
We have fresh spirits that can renew’t again.
And. Then I unclasp the purple leaves of war:
Many a new wound must gasp through an old scar.
So, Portugal, I leave thee.
King. Ourself in person
Will see thee safe aboard: come, son, come, lords,
Instead of tribute we must pay our swords.
Bal. Remember, Don Andrea, that we meet.
And. Up hither sailing in a crimson fleet.

Enter Lorenzo and Alcario.

Lor. Do you affect my sister?
Alca. Affect! above affection, for
Her breast is my life’s treasure; O, entire
Is the condition of my hot desire!
Lor. Then this must be your plot.
You know Andrea’s gone embassador,
On whom my sister Bell’-Imperia
Casts her affection?
You are in stature like him, speech alike,
And had you but his vestment on your back,
There’s no one living but would swear ’twere he:
Therefore sly policy must be your guide.
I have a suit just of Andrea’s colours,
Proportioned in all parts:—nay, ’twas his own—
This suit within my closet shall you wear,
And so disguis’d woo, sue, and then at last—
Alca. What?
Lor. Obtain thy love.
Alca. This falls out rare; in this disguise I may both
Wed, bed, and board her.
Lor. You may, you may:
Besides, within these few days he’ll return.
Alca. Till this be acted, I in passion burn.
Lor. All falls out for the purpose: all hits jump;[298]
The date of his embassage, nigh expired,
Gives strength unto our plot.
Alca. True, true; all to the purpose.
Lor. Moreover, I will buzz Andrea’s landing
Which, once but crept into the vulgar mouths,
Is hurried here and there, and sworn for troth:
Think, ’tis your love makes me create this guise,
And willing hope to see your virtue rise.
Alca. Lorenzo’s bounty I do more enfold
Than the great’st mine of India’s brightest gold.
Lor. Come, let us in; the next time you shall show
All Don Andrea, not Alcario.

Enter Jeronimo trussing of his points; Horatio with pen and ink.

Jer. Come, pull the table this way: so, ’tis well.
Come write, Horatio, write;
This speedy letter must away to-night.

[Horatio folds the paper the contrary way.

What! fold paper that way to a nobleman?
To Don Andrea, Spain’s embassador!
Fie! I am ashamed to see it: hast thou worn
Gowns in the university, toss’d[299] logic, suck’d
Philosophy, ate cues, drunk cees,[300] and cannot give
A letter the right courtier’s crest?
O, there’s a kind of state
In everything, save in a cuckold’s pate!
Fie, fie, Horatio! what, is your pen foul?
Hor. No, father, cleaner than Lorenzo’s soul;
That’s dipp’d in ink made of an envious gall,
Else had my pen no cause to write at all.
Jer. Signior Andrea, say.
Hor. Signior Andrea——
Jer. ’Tis a villainous age this.
Hor. ’Tis a villainous age this——
Jer. That a nobleman should be a knave as
Well as an ostler.
Hor. That a nobleman should be a knave as
Well as an ostler——
Jer. Or a serjeant.
Hor. Or a serjeant——
Jer. Or a broker.
Hor. Or a broker——
Jer. Yet I speak not this of Lorenzo,
For he’s an honest lord.
Hor. ’S foot, father, I’ll not write him honest lord.
Jer. Take up thy pen, or I’ll take up thee.
Hor. What! write him honest lord? I’ll not agree.
Jer. You’ll take it up, sir?
Hor. Well, well.
Jer. What went before? thou hast put me out: beshrew
Thy impudence or insolence!
Hor. Lorenzo’s an honest lord——
Jer. Well, sir; and has hired one to murder you.
Hor. O, I cry you mercy, father, meant you so?
Jer. Art thou a scholar, Don Horatio,
And canst not aim at figurative speech?
Hor. I pray you, pardon me; ’twas but youth’s
Hasty error.
Jer. Come, read then.
Hor. And has hired one to murder you——
Jer. He means to send you to heaven, when
You return from Portugal.
Hor. From Portugal——
Jer. Yet he’s an honest duke’s son.
Hor. Yet he’s an——
Jer. But not the honest son of a duke.
Hor. But not the honest——
Jer. O that villainy should be found in the great chamber!
Hor. O that villainy——
Jer. And honesty in the bottom of a cellar.
Hor. And honesty——
Jer. If you’ll be murdered, you may.
Hor. If you’ll be——
Jer. If you be not, thank God and Jeronimo.
Hor. If you be not——
Jer. If you be, thank the devil and Lorenzo.
Hor. If you be, thank——-
Jer. Thus hoping you will not be murdered, and you can choose.
Hor. Thus hoping you will——-
Jer. Especially being warned beforehand.
Hor. Especially——
Jer. I take my leave, boy; Horatio, write leave
Bending in the hams like an old courtier:—
Thy assured friend, say, ’gainst Lorenzo and
The devil,—little Jeronimo Marshal.
Hor. Jeronimo Marshal.
Jer. So, now read it o’er.
Hor. Signior Andrea, ’tis a villainous age this,
That a nobleman should be a knave as well
As an ostler, or a serjeant, or a broker; yet
I speak not this of Lorenzo: he’s an
Honest lord, and has hired one to murder you,
When you return from Portugal: yet
He’s an honest duke’s son, but not the
Honest son of a duke. O that villainy
Should be found in the great chamber, and honesty
In the bottom of the cellar!
Jer. True, boy: there’s a moral in that; as much
To say, knavery in the court, and honesty in a
Hor. If you’ll be murdered, you may: if you be
Not, thank God and Jeronimo: if you be,
Thank the devil and Lorenzo. Thus hoping
You will not be murdered, and you can choose;
Especially being warned beforehand, I take my leave.
Jer. Horatio, hast thou written leave, bending in the
Hams enough, like a gentleman-usher? ’Sfoot,
No, Horatio; thou hast made him straddle too much
Like a Frenchman: for shame, put his legs closer,
Though it be painful.
Hor. So, ’tis done, ’tis done.—
Thy assured friend ’gainst Lorenzo and the devil;
Little Jeronimo Marshal.

Enter Lorenzo and Isabella.

Isa. Yonder he is, my lord; pray you speak to him.
Jer. Wax, wax, Horatio: I had need wax too,
Our foes will stride else over me and you.
Isa. He’s writing a love-letter to some Spanish lady,
And now he calls for wax to seal it.
Lor. God save you, good knight Marshal.
Jer. Who’s this? my lord Lorenzo? welcome, welcome;
You’re the last man I thought on, save the devil:
Much doth your presence grace our homely roof.
Lor. O Jeronimo,
Your wife condemns you of an uncourtesy
And over-passing wrong; and, more, she names
Love-letters which you send to Spanish dames.
Jer. Do you accuse me so, kind Isabella?
Isa. Unkind Jeronimo!
Lor. And, for my instance, this in your hand is one.
Jer. In sooth, my lord, there is no written name
Of any lady, nor[301] no Spanish dame.
Lor. If it were not so, you would not be afeard
To read or show the waxed letter:
Pray you, let me behold it.
Jer. I pray you pardon me.
I must confess, my lord, it treats of love,
Love to Andrea, ay, even to his very bosom.
Lor. What news, my lord, hear you from Portugal?
Jer. Who, I? before your grace it must not be;
The badger feeds not, till the lion’s served:
Nor fits it news so soon kiss subjects’ ears,[302]
As the fair cheek of high authority.
Jeronimo lives much absent from the court,
And, being absent there, lives from report.
Lor. Farewell, Jeronimo.
Isa. Welcome, my lord Lorenzo.
[Exeunt Lorenzo and Isabella.
Jer. Boy,
Thy mother’s jealous of my love to her.
Hor. O, she play’d us a wise part; now ten to one
He had not overheard the letter read,
Just as he enter’d.
Jer. Though it had happen’d evil,
He should have heard his name yoked with the devil.
Here, seal the letter with a loving knot:
Send it with speed; Horatio, linger not;
That Don Andrea may prevent his death,
And know his enemy by his envious breath.

Enter Lorenzo, and Alcario disguised like Andrea.

Lor. Now, by the honour of Castile’s true house,
You are as like Andrea, part for part,
As he is like himself: did I not know you,
By my cross I swear, I could not think you but
Andrea’s self, so legg’d, so faced, so speech’d,
So all in all; methinks I should salute
Your quick return and speedy haste from Portugal:
Welcome, fair lord, worthy ambassador,
Brave Don Andrea! O, I laugh to see
How we shall jest at her mistaking thee!
Alc. What, have you given it out Andrea is return’d?
Lor. ’Tis all about the court in every ear,
And my invention brought to me for news
Last night at supper; and which the more to cover,
I took a bowl, and quaff’d a health to him,
When it would scarce go down for extreme laughter,
To think how soon report had scatter’d it.
Alc. But is the villain Lazarotto
Acquainted with our drift?
Lor. Not for Spain’s wealth;
Though he be secret, yet suspects the worst,
For confidence confounds the stratagem.
The fewer in a plot of jealousy
Build a foundation surest, when multitudes
Make it confused, ere it come to head.
Be secret then; trust not the open air,
For air is breath, and breath-blown words raise care—
This is the gallery, where she most frequents.
Alc. Within this walk have I beheld her dally
With my shape’s substance. O immortal powers!
Lend your assistance; clap a silver tongue
Within this palate that, when I approach
Within the presence of this demi-goddess,
I may possess an adamantic power,
And so bewitch her with my honey’d speech,
Have every syllable a music-stop,
That, when I pause, the melody may move,
And hem persuasion ’tween her snowy paps,
That her heart hearing may relent and yield!
Lor. Break off, my lord: see where she makes approach.

Enter Bell’-Imperia.

Alc. Then fall into your former vein of terms.
Lor. Welcome, my lord, welcome, brave Don Andrea,
Spain’s best of spirit! what news
From Portugal? tribute or war?
But see, my sister Bell’-Imperia comes:
I will defer it to some other time,
For company hinders love’s conference.
[Exit Lorenzo.
Bel. Welcome, my life’s self-form, dear Don Andrea.
Alc. My words iterated give thee as much:
Welcome, my self of self.
Bel. What news, Andrea? treats it peace or war?
Alc. At first they cried all war, as men resolved
To lose both life and honour at one cast:
At which I thunder’d words all clad in proof,
Which struck amazement to their palled speech,
And tribute presently was yielded up.
But, madam Bell’-Imperia, leave we this,
And talk of former suits and quests of love.

They whisper. Enter Lazarotto.

Laz. ’Tis all about the court Andrea’s come:
Would I might greet him! and I wonder much,
My lord Lorenzo is so slack in murder,
Not to afford me notice all this while.
Gold, I am true;
I had my hire, and thou shalt have thy due:
Was’t possible to miss him so? soft! soft!
This gallery leads to Bell’-Imperia’s lodging;
There he is, sure, or will be, sure. I’ll stay:
The evening too begins to slubber day:[303]
Sweet, opportuneful season; here I’ll lean,
Like a court-hound, that licks fat trenchers clean.
Bel. But has the king partook your embassy?
Alc. That till to-morrow shall be now deferr’d.
Bel. Nay, then you love me not:
Let that be first despatch’d; till when receive this token.
[She kisses him. Exit Bell’-Imperia.
Alc. I to the king with this unfaithful heart!
It must not be: I play too false a part.
Laz. Up, Lazarotto; yonder comes thy prize;
Now lives Andrea, now Andrea dies.
[Lazarotto kills him.
Alc. That villain Lazarotto has kill’d me,
Instead of Andrea.

Enter Andrea and Rogero, and Others.

Rog. Welcome home, lord embassador.
Alc. O, O, O.
And. Whose groan was that? what frightful villain’s this,
His sword unsheathed? whom hast thou murdered, slave?
Laz. Why, Don, Don Andrea.
And. No, counterfeiting villain.
He says, my lord, that he hath murdered me.
Laz. Aye, Don Andrea, or else Don the devil.
And. Lay hands on him; some rear up
The bleeding body to the light.
Rog. My lord, I think ’tis you: were you not here,
A man might swear ’twere you.
And. His garments, ha! like mine, his face made like!
An ominous horror all my veins doth strike.
Sure, this portends my death; this misery
Aims at some fatal pointed tragedy.

Enter Jeronimo and Horatio.

Jer. Son Horatio, see Andrea slain!
Hor. Andrea slain! then, weapon, cling[304] my breast.
And. Live, truest friend, for ever lov’d and bless’d.
Hor. Lives Don Andrea?
And. Aye, but slain in thought,
To see so strange a likeness forged and wrought.
Lords, cannot you yet descry,
Who is the owner of this red melting body?
Rog. My lord, it is Alcario, duke Medina’s son;
I know him by this mole upon his breast.
Laz. Alcario slain! hast thou beguiled me, sword?
Arm, hast thou slain thy bountiful kind lord?
Why then rot off and drop upon the ground,
Strow all the galleries with gobbets round.

Enter Lorenzo.

Lor. Who names Alcario slain? it is Alcario!
O cursed deed!
Couldst thou not see, but make the wrong man bleed?
Laz. ’Sfoot, ’twas your fault, my lord; you brought no word.
Lor. Peace; no words: I’ll get thy pardon:
Why, mum, then.

Enter Bell’-Imperia.

Bel. Who names Andrea slain? O, ’tis Andrea!
O, I swoon, I die:
Lor. Look to my sister Bell’-Imperia!
And. Raise up, my dear love, Bell’-Imperia!
O, be of comfort, sweet: call in thy spirits;
Andrea lives: O, let not death beguile thee!
Bel. Are you Andrea?
And. Do not forget;
That was Alcario, my shape’s counterfeit.
Lor. Why speaks not this accurs’d, damn’d villain?
Laz. O good words, my lords; for those are courtiers’ vails:
The king must hear; why should I make two tales?
For to be found in two, before the king
I will resolve you all this strange strange thing:
I hit, yet miss’d; ’twas I mistook my part.
Hor. Aye, villain; for thou aim’st at this true heart.
Jer. Horatio, ’twas well, as fortune stands,
This letter came not to Andrea’s hands.
Hor. ’Twas happiness indeed.
Bel. Was it not you, Andrea, questioned me
’Bout love?
And. No, Bell’-Imperia.
Belike, ’twas false Andrea; for the first
Object mine eyes met was that most accurst,
Which, I much fear me, by all signs portends
Most doubtful wars and dangerous pointed ends
To light upon my blood.
Bel. Angels of heaven, forefend it!
And. Some take up the body; others take charge
Of that accursed villain.
Lor. My lord, leave that to me; I’ll look to him.
Jer. Mark, mark, Horatio: a villain guard a villain.
And. The king may think my news is a bad guest,
When the first object is a bleeding breast.

Enter King of Spain, Castile, Medina, Rogero, and Others; a Dead March within.

King. My lords,
What heavy sounds are these?—nearer and nearer! ha!
Andrea the forerunner of these news?
Nay, then I fear Spain’s inevitable ill.
Ha! Andrea, speak! what news from Portugal?
What, is [the] tribute paid? Or peace or wars?
And. Wars, my dread liege.
King. Why then
That bleeding object doth presage what shall
Hereafter follow. What’s he that lies there slain,
Or hurt, or both? Speak.
And. My liege, Alcario, duke Medina’s son;
And by that slave this purple act was done.
Med. Who names Alcario slain? ah me, ’tis he:
Art thou that villain?
Laz. How didst thou know my name?
I see an excellent villain hath his fame,
As well as a great courtier.
Med. Speak, villain: wherefore didst thou this accursed deed?
Laz. Because I was an ass, a villainous ass;
For had I hit it right, Andrea had lain there;
He walk’d upright: this ominous mistake,
This damned error,
Breedeth in my soul an everlasting terror.
King. Say, slave, how came this accurs’d evil?
Laz. Faith, by myself, my short sword, and the devil.
To tell you all without a tedious tongue,
I’ll cut them down, my words shall not hang[305] long.
That hapless bleeding lord Alcario,
Which this hand slew, pox on’t, was a huge doater
On Bell’-Imperia’s beauty, who replied
In scorn, and his hot suit denied;
For her affections were all firmly planted
In Don Andrea’s bosom; yet, unwise,
He still pursued it with blind lover’s eyes.
Then hired he me with gold—O fate, thou elf!
To kill Andrea, which here killed himself;
For, not content to stay the time of murder,
He took Andrea’s shape unknown to me,
And in all parts disguised, as there you see,
Intending, as it seemed by that sly shift,
To steal away her troth; short tale to tell,
I took him for Andrea—down he fell.
King. O impious deed,
To make the heir of honour melt and bleed!
Bear him away to execution.
Laz. Nay, lord Lorenzo, where’s the pardon? ’sfoot,
I’ll peach else.
Lor. Peace, Lazarotto, I’ll get it of the king.
Laz. Do it quickly then, or I’ll spread villainy.
Lor. My lord, he is the most notorious rogue,
That ever breath’d,
[In his ear.
King. Away with him.
Lor. Your highness may do well to bar his speech,
’Tis able to infect a virtuous ear.
King. Away with him, I will not hear him speak.
Laz. My lord Lorenzo is a——
[They stop his mouth, and bear him in.
Jer. Is not this a monstrous courtier?
Hor. He is the court-toad, father.
King. Tribute denied us? ha!
And. It is, my liege, and that with no mean words:
He will redeem his honour lost with swords.
King. So daring! ha! so peremptory!
Can you remember the words he spake?
And. Word for word, my gracious sovereign,
And these they were—thus much—return to Spain:
Say, that our settled judgment hath advised us
What tribute is, how poor that monarch shows
Who for his throne a yearly pension owes;
And what our predecessors lost to Spain,
We have fresh spirits that can renew it again.
King. Ha! so peremptory, daring, stout!
And. Then, my liege,
According to your gracious dread command,
I bad defiance with a vengeful hand.
Spain. He entertained it?
And. Aye, and returned it with menacing brows;
Prince Balthezar his son
Grew violent, and wish’d the fight begun.

Enter Lorenzo.

Lor. So, so, I have sent my slave to hell;
Though he blab there, the devils will not tell.

A Tucket within.[306]

Spain. How now! what means this trumpet’s sound?

Enter a Messenger.

Mes. My liege, the Portugals
Are up in arms, glittering in steel.
Spain. Where’s our lord general, Lorenzo, stout Andrea,
With whom I rank sprightly Horatio?
What! for shame, shall the Portugals
Trample the fields before you?
Gen. No, my liege, there’s time enough
To let out blood enough: tribute shall flow
Out of their bowels, and be tendered so.
Spain. Farewell, brave lords; my wishes are bequeath’d,
A nobler rank of spirits never breath’d.
[Exeunt King and Nobles.
Jer. O my sweet boy, heaven shield thee still from care!
O, be as fortunate as thou art fair!
Hor. And heaven bless you, my father, in this fight,
That I may see your grey head crown’d in white!

Enter Andrea and Bell’-Imperia.

Bel. You came but now, [and] must you part again?
You told me that your spirit
Should put on peace; but, see, war follows war.
And. Nay, sweet love, cease;
To be denied our honour: why, ’twere base
To breathe and live; and war[307] in such a case
Is even as necessary as our blood.
Swords are in season then when right’s withstood:
Deny us tribute, that so many years
We have in peace told out? why, it would raise
Spleen in the host of angels! ’twere enough
To make our tranquil saints of angry stuff.
Bel. You have o’erwrought the chiding of my breast;
And by that argument you firmly prove
Honour to soar above the pitch of love.
Lend me thy loving and thy warlike arm,
On which I knit this soft and silken charm,
Tied with an amorous knot: O, may it prove
Enchanted armour, being charm’d by love;
That when it mounts up to thy warlike crest,
It may put by the sword, and so be blest.
And. O, what divinity proceeds from love!
What happier fortune than myself can move!—
Hark! the drum beckons me; sweet dear, fare well!
This scarf shall be my charm ’gainst foes and hell.
Bel. O, let me kiss thee first.
And. The drum again!
Bel. Hath that more power than I?
And. Do’t quickly then: farewell!
[Exit Andrea.
Bel. Farewell! O cruel part!
Andrea’s bosom bears away my heart.
[Exit Bell’-Imperia.

Enter Balthezar, Alexandro, Vollupo, Don Pedro, with Soldiers, Drum, and Colours.

Bal. Come, valiant spirits, you peers of Portugal,
That owe your lives, your faiths, and services,
To set you free from base captivity.
O, let our fathers’ scandal ne’er be seen
As a base blush upon our free-born cheeks;
Let all the tribute that proud Spain received
Of those all captive Portugals deceased,
Turn into chafe, and choke their insolence.
Methinks, no moiety, not one little thought
Of them whose servile acts live in their graves,
But should raise spleens big as a cannon-bullet
Within your bosoms: O, for honour,
Your country’s reputation, your lives’ freedom,
Indeed your all, that may be termed revenge,
Now let your bloods be liberal as the sea;
And all those wounds that you receiv[’d] of Spain,
Let theirs be equal to quit yours again.
Speak, Portugals! are you resolved as I,
To live like captives, or as free-born die?
Vol. Prince Balthezar, as you say, so say we;
To die with honour, scorn captivity.
Alex. Why, spoke like true Portugals indeed;
I am assured of your forwardness.
Now, Spain, sit firm, I’ll make thy towers shake,
And all that gold thou hadst from Portugal,
Which makes thy court melt in luxuriousness,
I vow to have it treble at thy hands.
Hark, Portugals! I hear their Spanish drum:
March on, and meet them; this must be the day,
That all they have received they back must pay.
[The Portugals march about.

Enter Jeronimo, Andrea, Horatio, Lorenzo, Lord General, Rogero, and Attendants, with Drum and Colours.

Jer. What, are you braving us before we come!
We’ll be as shrill as you: strike ’larum, drum.
[They sound a flourish on both sides.
Bal. Thou inch of Spain!
Thou man, from thy hose downward scarce so much!
Thou very little longer than thy beard!
Speak not such big words; they’ll throw thee down,
Little Jeronimo! words greater than thyself!
It must not [be].
Jer. And thou long thing of Portugal, why not?
Thou, that art full as tall
As an English gallows, upper beam and all,
Devourer of apparel, thou huge swallower,
My hose will scarce make thee a standing collar.
What! have I almost quited you?
And. Have done, impatient marshal.
Bal. Spanish combatants,
What! do you set a little pigmy marshal
To question with a prince?
And. No, prince Balthezar;
I have desired him peace, that we might war:
What! is the tribute-money tendered yet?
Bal. Tribute? ha, ha!
What else: Wherefore meet our drums,
But to tender and receive the sums
Of many a bleeding heart which, ere sun fall,
Shall pay dear tribute, even their lives and all.
And. Prince Balthezar, I know your valiant spirit;
I know your courage to be tried and good,
And yet, O prince, be not confirmed in blood:
Not that I taste of fear or cowardice,
But of religion, piety, and love
To many bosoms, that yet firmly move
Without disturbed spleens. O, in thy heart
Weigh the dear drops of many a purple part,
That must be acted on the field’s green stage,
Before the evening dews quench the sun’s rage.
Let tribute be appeased and so stayed,
And let not wonted fealty be denayed
To our desertful kingdom. Portugals,
Keep your forefathers’ oaths; that virtue craves;
Let them not lie foresworn now in their graves,
To make their ashes perjured and unjust,
For heaven can be revenged on their dust.
They swore to Spain, both for themselves and you;
And will posterity prove their sires untrue?
This should not be ’mong men of virtuous sp’rit:
Pay tribute thou, and receive peace and writ.
Bal. O virtuous coward!
Hor. O ignoble spirit!
To term him coward for his virtuous merit!
And. Coward! nay, then, relentless rib of steel,
What virtue cannot, thou shalt make him feel.
Lor. Proud Alexandro, thou art mine.
Alex. Agreed.
Rog. And thou, Vollupo, mine.
Vol. I’ll make thee bleed.
Hor. And thou, Don Pedro, mine.
Don Ped. I care not whose; or thine, or thine, or all at once.
Bal. I bind thee, Don Andrea, by thy honour,
Thy valiancy, and all that thou hold’st great,
To meet me single in the battle’s heat;
Where I’ll set down, in characters on thy flesh,
Four precious lines, spoke by our father’s mouth,
When first thou cam’st embassador; these they are:
’Tis said we shall not answer, at next birth,
Our fathers’ faults in heaven, why then on earth?
Which proves and shows,
That what they lost by base captivity,
We may redeem with wonted valiancy:
And to this crimson end our colours spread;
Our courages are new-born, our valours bred
Therefore, Andrea, as thou tenderest fame,
Wars, reputation, and a soldier’s name,
Meet me.
And. I will.
Bal. Single me out.
And. I shall.
Alex. Do you the like.
Lor. And you all, and we.
And. Can we be foes, and all so well agreed?
Bal. Why, man, in war there’s bleeding amity;
And he this day gives me the deepest wound,
I’ll call him brother.
And. Then, prince, call me so;
To gain that name, I’ll give the deepest blow.
Jer. Nay. then, if brotherhood by strokes come due,
I hope, boy, thou wilt gain a brother too.
Hor. Father, doubt it not.
And. Lord general,
Breathe, like your name, a general defiance
’Gainst Portugal.
Gen. Defiance to the Portugals!
Bal. The like
Breathe our lord general against the Spaniards.
Gen. Defiance to the Spaniards!
And. Now cease, words:
I long to hear the music of clashed swords.
Bal. Why, thou shalt hear it presently.
[They offer to fight.
And. Quickly then.
Bal. Why now.
Gen. O stay, my lords,
This will but breed a mutiny in the camp.
Bal. I am all fire, Andrea.
And. Art thou? good:
Why, then, I’ll quench thee, prince, with thine own blood.
Bal. Adieu!
And. Adieu!
Bal. Let’s meet.
And. ’Tis meet we did.
[Exeunt Portugals.
Lor. Alexandro.
Alex. Lorenzo.
Rog. Vollupo.
Vol. Rogero.
Hor. Don Pedro.
Don Ped. Horatio.
Jer. Aye, aye, Don Pedro, my boy shall meet thee.
Come, valiant spirits of Spain;
Valiant Andrea, fortunate Lorenzo,
Worthy Rogero, sprightly Horatio;
O, let me dwell a little on that name!
Be all as fortunate as heaven’s bless’d host,
But, blame me not, I’d have Horatio most;
Ride all conquerors, when the fight is done,
Especially ride thee home so, my son.
So now kiss and embrace. Come, come,
I am war’s tutor: strike alarum, drum.
[After a long alarum, the Portugals and Spaniards meet. The Portugals are put to the worst.

Enter Jeronimo solus.

Jer. O valiant boy! struck with a giant’s arm;
His sword so falls upon the Portugals,
As he[308] would slice them out like oranges,
And squeeze their bloods out; O abundant joy!
Never had father a more happier boy.
[Exit Jeronimo.

Enter Balthezar and a Soldier.

Bal. Can you not find Don Andrea forth?
O, for a voice shriller than all the trumpets,
To pierce Andrea’s ears through the hot army!
Go, search again; bring him, or ne’er return.
[Exit Soldier.
Valiant Andrea, by thy worthy blood,
Thy honoured faith, which thou pawn’st to mine,
By all that thou hold’st dear upon this earth,
Sweat now to find me in the height of blood!
Now death doth heap his goods up all at once,
And crams his storehouse to the top with blood;
Might I now and Andrea in one fight
Make up thy wardrobe richer by a knight!

Enter Rogero.

Rog. Ha, Vollupo!
Bal. No; but a better.
Rog. Pox on ’t.
Bal. Pies on ’t!
What luck is this? But, sir, you part not so;
Whate’er you be, I’ll have a bout with you.
Rog. Content; this is joy mixed with spite,
To miss a lord, and meet a prince in fight.
Bal. Come, meet me, sir.
Rog. Just half-way; I’ll meet it with my sword.
[They fight. Balthezar beats in Rogero.

Enter Andrea with a Captain.

And. Where might I find this valorous Balthezar,
This fierce, courageous prince; a noble worthy,
Made of the ribs of Mars and fortitude?
He promised to meet fair, and single me
Out o’ the misty battle. Did you search
The left wing for him? speak.
Capt. We did, my lord.
And. And could he not be found?
Capt. Not in that wing, my lord.
And. Why, this would vex the resolution
Of a suffering spleen! Prince Balthezar!
Portugal’s valiant heir!
The glory of our foe, the heart of courage,
The very soul of true nobility,
I call thee by thy right name, answer me!
Go, captain, pass the left wing squadron; hie!
Mingle yourself again amidst the army;
Pray, sweat to find him out.—
[Exit Captain.
This place I’ll keep;
Now wounds are wide, and blood is very deep.
’Tis now about the heavy tread[309] of battle,
Soldiers drop down as thick, as if death mowed them;
As scythe-men trim the long-haired ruffian fields,
So fast they fall, so fast to fate life yields.

Enter Balthezar.

Bal. I have sweat much, and cannot find him—Andrea!
And. Prince Balthezar! O lucky minute!
Bal. O long-wished-for hour!
Are you remembered, Don,
Of a daring message and a proud attempt?
You braved me, Don, within my father’s court!
And. I think I did.
Bal. This sword shall lash you for it.
And. Alas!
War knows I am too proud a scholar grown
Now to be lashed with steel; had I not known
My strength and courage, it had been easy then
To have me borne upon the backs of men.
But now I’m sorry, prince, you come too late;
That were proud steel, i’ faith, that should do that.
Bal. I can hold no longer!
Come, let’s see which of our strengths is stronger.
And. Mine, for a wager.
Bal. Thine! what wager, say?
And. I hold three wounds to one.
Bal. Content, I lay; but you shall keep stakes then.
And. Nay, I’ll trust you.
For you’re a prince; I know you’ll pay your due.
Bal. I’ll pay you soundly.
And. Prince, you might have paid
Tribute as well, then battles had been stay’d.
Bal. Here’s tribute for you.
And. I’ll receive it of you,
And give you acquittance with a wound or two.
[They fight. Balthezar hath Andrea down.

Enter Jeronimo and Horatio. Horatio beats away Balthezar.

And. Thou art a wondrous friend, a happy spirit;
I owe thee now my life. Couldst thou inherit
Within my bosom, all I have is thine,
For by this act I hold thy arm divine.
Hor. Are you not wounded? let me search and see.
And. No, my dear self! for I was blest by thee.
Else his unpitying sword had cleft my heart,
Had not Horatio played some angel’s part.
Come, happy mortal, let me rank by thee,
Then am I sure no star will threaten me.
Hor. Let’s to the battle once more; we may meet
This haughty prince, and wound him at our feet.

Enter Rogero and Alexandro in their Shirts, with Poleaxes.[310]

Rog. Art thou true valiant? hast thou no coat of proof
Girt to thy loins? art thou true loyal?
Alex. Why, look;
Witness the naked truth upon my breast.
Come, let’s meet, let’s meet,
And break our haughty skulls down to our feet.
[They fight. Alexandro beats in Rogero.

Enter Lorenzo and Don Pedro at one Door, and Alexandro and Rogero at another Door. Lorenzo kills Don Pedro, and Alexandro kills Rogero. Enter at one Door Andrea, at another Door Balthezar.

And. O me ill-sted! valiant Rogero slain!
Bal. O my sad fates! Don Pedro weltering in his gore!
O, could I meet Andrea, now my blood’s
A-tiptoe, this hand and sword should melt him:
Valiant Don Pedro!
And. Worthy Rogero, sure ’twas multitudes,
That made thee stoop to death; one Portugal
Could ne’er o’erwhelm thee in such crimson streams,
And no mean blood shall quit it, Balthezar,
Prince Balthezar!
Bal. Andrea, we meet in blood now.
And. Aye, in valiant blood of Don Rogero’s shedding,
And each drop is worth a thousand Portugals.
Bal. I’ll top thy head for that ambitious word.
And. You cannot, prince: see a revengeful sword
Waves o’er my head.
Bal. Another over mine;
Let them both meet, in crimson tinctures shine.
[They fight; and Andrea hath Balthezar down.

Enter Portugals, and relieve Balthezar, and kill Andrea.

And. O, I am slain! help me, Horatio!
My foes are base, and slay me cowardly.
Farewell, dear, dearest Bell’-Imperia!
Yet herein joy is mingled with sad breath:
I keep her favour longer than my breath.
[He dies. Sound alarum. Andrea slain, and Prince Balthezar vaunting on him.

Enter Jeronimo, Horatio, and Lord General.

Hor. My other soul, my bosom, my heart’s friend,
O my Andrea, slain! I[’ll] have the price of him
In princely blood.
Prince Balthezar, my sword shall strike true strains,
And fetch Andrea’s ransom forth thy veins.—
Lord General, drive them hence, while I make war.
Bal. Hath war made thee so impudent and young?
My sword shall give correction to thy tongue.
Jer. Correct thy rascals, prince; thou correct him!
Lug with him, boy: honours in blood best swim.
[They fight, and breathe afresh.
Bal. So young and valorous! This arm ne’er met
So strong a courage in so green a set.
Hor. If thou be’st valiant, cease these idle words,
And let revenge hang on our glittering swords,
With this proud prince, the haughty Balthezar.
[Horatio has Prince Balthezar down; then enter Lorenzo and seizes his weapon.
Hor. Hand off, Lorenzo; touch not my prisoner.
Lor. He’s my prisoner;
I seized his weapons first.
Hor.     O base renown!
’Tis easy to seize those whom force laid down.[311]
Lor. My lance first threw him from his warlike steed.
Jer. Thy lance, Lorenzo! now, by my beard, you lie.
Hor. Well, my lord,
To you a while I tender my whole prisoner.
Lor. Horatio,
You tender me part of mine own, you know.
Hor. Well, peace; with my blood dispense,
Until my liege shall end the difference.
Jer. Lorenzo, thou dost boast of base renown;
Why, I could whip all these, were their hose down.
Hor. Speak, prince, to whether dost thou yield?
Bal. The vanquished yields to both, to you [the] first.
Hor. O abject prince! what, dost thou yield to two?
Jer. Content thee, boy; thou shalt sustain no wrong.
I’ll to the king before, and let him know
The sum of victory and his overthrow.
[Exit Jeronimo.
Lor. Andrea slain! thanks to the stars above.
I’ll choose my sister out her second love.
[Exeunt Lorenzo and Balthezar.
Hor. Come, noble rib of honour, valiant carcase!
I loved thee so entirely, when thou breathedst,
That I could die, were’t but to bleed with thee,
And wish me wounds even for society.
Heaven and this arm once say’d thee from thy foe,
When his all-wrathful sword did basely point
At the rich circle of thy labouring heart,
Thou grovelling under indignation
Of sword and ruth. O, then stepp’d heaven and I
Between the stroke, but now alack must die.
Since so the powers above have writ it down
In marble leaves, that death is mortal crown,
Come then, my friend, in purple I will bear
Thee to my private tent, and then prepare
An[312] honour’d funeral for thy melting corse.
[He takes his scarf and ties it about his arm.
This scarf I’ll wear in memory of our souls
And of our mutual loves; here, here, I’ll wind it;
And full as often as I think on thee,
I’ll kiss this little ensign, this soft banner,
Smear’d with foes’ blood, all for the master’s honour.
Alas! I pity Bell’-Imperia’s eyes,
Just at this instant, her heart sinks and dies.
[Exit Horatio carrying Andrea on his back.

Enter Jeronimo solus.

Jer. My boy adds treble comfort to my age;
His share is greatest in the victory.
The Portugals are slain, and put to flight
By Spaniards’ force, most by Horatio’s might.
I’ll to the Spanish tents to see my son,
Give him my blessing, and then all is done.

Enter two dragging of ensigns; then the funeral of Andrea: next Horatio and Lorenzo, leading Prince Balthezar captive; then the Lord General, with others, mourning. A great cry within, Charon, a boat, a boat! Then enter Charon and the ghost of Andrea.

Hor. O my lords,
See, Don Andrea’s ghost salutes me! see, embraces me!
Lor. It is your love that shapes this apprehension.
Hor. Do you not see him plainly, lords?
Now he would kiss my cheek: O my pale friend,
Wert thou anything but a ghost, I could love thee.
See, he points at his own hearse—mark all—
As if he did rejoice at funeral.
And. Revenge, give tongue[313] freedom to paint her part,
To thank Horatio, and commend his heart.
Revenge. No, you’ll blab secrets then?
And. By Charon’s boat, I will not.
Revenge. Nay, you shall not; therefore pass;
Secrets in hell are lock’d with doors of brass:
Use action if you will, but not in voice,
Your friend conceives in signs how you rejoice.
Hor. See, see, he points to have us[314] forward on:
I pr’ythee, rest; it shall be done, sweet Don.
O, now he’s vanished.
[Sound Trumpets, and a peal of Ordnance.
And. I am a happy ghost;
Revenge, my passage now cannot be cross’d.
Come, Charon; come, hell’s sculler, waft me o’er
Your sable streams, which look like molten pitch;
My funeral rites are made, my hearse hung rich.
[Exeunt Ghost and Revenge. A great noise within.
Within. Charon, a boat! Charon, Charon!
Charon. Who calls so loud on Charon?
Indeed ’tis such a time, the truth to tell,
I never want a fare to pass to hell.

Sound a Flourish. Enter marching Horatio and Lorenzo, leading Prince Balthezar; Lord General, Villuppo, and Cassimero, with followers.

Hor. These honoured rites and worthy duties spent
Upon the funeral of Andrea’s dust—
Those once his valiant ashes: march we now
Homeward with victory to crown Spain’s brow.
Gen. The day is ours, and joy yields happy treasure;
Set on to Spain in most triumphant measure.

Enter Jeronimo solus.

Jer. Fore God! I have just miss’d them.—Ha!
Soft, Jeronimo! thou hast more friends
To take thy leave of; look well about thee,
Embrace them, and take friendly leave.
My arms are of the shortest;
Let your loves piece them out.
You’re welcome all, as I am a gentleman:
For my son’s sake, grant me a man at least—
At least I am. So good-night, kind gentles,[315]
For I hope there’s never a Jew among you all;
And so I leave you.

[285] [In “Ancient British Drama,” 1810.]

[286] Heywood’s words are these: “Therefore Mr Kyd, in the ‘Spanish Tragedy,’ upon occasion presenting itself, thus writes:—

“‘Why. Nero thought it no disparagement,
And kings and emperors have tane delight
To make experience of their wits in playes.’

These three lines are to be found towards the commencement of act v. of the ‘Spanish Tragedy.’”—Collier.

[287] It appears from Philip Henslowe’s papers, lately [1825] discovered at Dulwich College, that the “Comedy of Hieronimo” was played by the Lord Strange’s men the 10th April 1591.—Gilchrist.

[288] This word, which is variously spelt, as senet, cynet, sennet, sinet, signate, synnet, signet, &c., I believe to be no more than a corruption of sonata, Ital. See a note on “Julius Cæsar,” vol. viii. p. 9, and another on “King Henry VII.,” vol. vii. p. 236.—Steevens.

[289] This ceremony is still retained in the creation of a Knight of the Bath, and is generally performed by some person of eminence. See Anstis, “Historical Essay upon the Knighthood of the Bath,” 4to, 1725, and “Lord Herbert of Cherbury’s Life,” p. 54.

[290] [Old copy, from.] This passage ought either to be, “What news for Spain?” or we must suppose Spain misprinted for Portugal. The substitution would destroy the measure.—Collier.

[291] [Old copy, Push.]

[292] [Old copy, We’ll.]

[293] One of the significations affixed to this word by Skinner, in his “Etymologicon,” is “Venter, hinc Hisp., Buche, Ventriculus animalis, Belg., Bulcke, Thorax.”

So in “The Nice Valour,” by Beaumont and Fletcher, [Works, by Dyce, x. 142—

“My maintenance, rascals!
My bulk, my exhibition!”

Where Mr Dyce explains bulk simply by body.]

[294] The same sentiment is both in Shakespeare and Beaumont and Fletcher. Thus in the “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” act 3, sc. 2:—

“Win her with gifts, if she respects not words;
Dumb jewels often in their silent kind,
More than quick words, do move a woman’s mind;”

and in “The Woman-Hater,” act 4, sc. 2:—

“Your offers must
Be full of bounty; velvets to furnish a gown, silks
For petticoats and foreparts, shag for lining;
Forget not some pretty jewel to fasten, after
Some little compliment! If she deny this courtesy,
Double your bounties; be not wanting in abundance:
Fulness of gifts, link’d with a pleasing tongue,
Will win an anchorite.”

[295] [Mr Collier’s correction, the former editions reading, Exeunt Lorenzo and Lazarotto and Horatio. Manet Jeronimo.]

[296] It seems probable, from this and several other passages in the play, that the part of Jeronimo was performed by an actor of low stature. Decker, in two distinct scenes of his “Satiromastix,” says that Ben Jonson had supported the character of Jeronimo; but this assertion most likely applies to the “Spanish Tragedy, or the Second Part of Jeronimo,” from which he introduces a quotation.—Collier.

[297] [Old copy] reads full.

[298] Exactly. So, in “Hamlet:” “jump at this dead hour.”—Steevens. Again, in “The Two Noble Kinsmen,” act i. sc. 2 [edit. by Dyce, xi. 342]:—

“Where every seeming good’s
A certain evil; where not to be even jump
As they are here were to be strangers, and
Such things to be mere monsters.”

And in “Othello,” act ii. sc. 3:—

“Myself the while will draw the Moor apart,
And bring him jump where he may Cassio find.”

[299] The quarto reads lost.

[300] Terms current in the universities for different portions of bread and beer.—Steevens. In the character of an old college butler by Dr Earle (Microcosmographie, 1628), it is said: “He domineers over freshmen, when they first come to the hatch, and puzzles them with strange language of cues and cees, and some broken Latin, which he has learnt at his term.”—Note in edit. 1825.

[301] [Old copy, then.]

[302] [The old copy omits ears, which was suggested, in order to complete the sense, by Steevens.]

[303] To obscure day. So in “Othello,” act i. sc. 3: “You must therefore be content to slubber the gloss of your new fortunes.” And again in Howard’s “Defensative against the Poyson of supposed Prophecies,” fol. 1620, p. 117: “Surely, for the most part so they are, as may be gathered ‘either by the colours or the garments, or the slubbering of set purpose to bestow some greater grace and colour of antiquity.’”

[304] The word cling is so variously used in different authors, that it is difficult to affix any precise meaning to it. Several instances are quoted by Mr Steevens, in his Note on “Macbeth,” act v. sc. 5. I imagine Horatio means, that his weapon shall cling to him, or not leave him, until he had gratified his revenge for his friend’s murder.

[305] This word is not in the quarto.

[306] In “All’s Well that ends Well,” act iii. sc. 5, one of the stage-directions is a Tucket afar off; and in “Henry V.,” act iv. sc. 2, the constable says—

“Then let the trumpets sound
The tucket-sonance, and the note to mount.”

A Tucket is, therefore, probably a trumpet. [A certain set of notes on the trumpet.—Dyce.]

[307] The [old copy] reads wars.

[308] [Old copy, As if he.]

[309] [Old copy, dread.]

[310] Poles headed by axes; contus securi munitus.—Skinner.

[311] [Old copy, forced laid down.]

[312] [Old copy, for.]

[313] [Old copy, my tongue.]

[314] The quarto reads his [go.]

[315] A play upon words was the failing of almost every writer of the times. The quibble here upon gentles and Jew is also in Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice,” act ii. sc. 7. See the notes on that passage, by Dr Johnson, Mr Steevens, and Dr Farmer, vol. iii., edit. 1778, p. 173. To the instances there quoted may be added the following from “Euphues,” 1581, p. 65: “Consider with thyselfe that thou art a gentleman, yea, and a Gentile; and, if thou neglect thy calling, thou art worse than a Jewe.”


Transcriber’s Note

Footnotes were renumbered sequentially and moved to the end of the play in which the related anchor appears. The players names, which appear in small caps in the original, are displayed as bold in handheld devices.

Missing end periods and end brackets were added, where needed. The following were adjusted: