An Arthurian Miscellany at sacred-texts.com
THE BIRTH OF MERLIN
THE CHILDE HATH FOUND HIS FATHER
AURELIUS, KING OF BRITTAIN
VORTIGER, KING OF (WELSH) BRITTAIN
UTER PENDRAGON THE PRINCE, BROTHER TO AURELIUS
DONOBERT, A NOBLEMAN, AND FATHER TO CONSTANTIA AND MODESTIA
THE EARL OF GLOSTER, AND FATHER TO EDWIN
EDOL, EARL OF CHESTER, AND GENERAL TO KING AURELIUS
CADOR, EARL OF CORNWAL, AND SUITOR TO CONSTANTIA
EDWIN, SON TO THE EARL OF GLOSTER, AND SUITOR TO MODESTIA
TOCLIO AND OSWOLD, TWO NOBLEMEN
MERLIN THE PROPHET
ANSELME THE HERMIT, AFTER BISHOP OF WINCHESTER
CLOWN, BROTHER TO JOAN, MOTHER OF MERLIN
SIR NICHODEMUS NOTHING, A COURTIER
THE DEVIL, FATHER OF MERLIN
OSTORIUS, THE SAXON GENERAL
OCTA, A SAXON NOBLEMAN
PROXIMUS, A SAXON MAGICIAN
TWO SAXON LORDS
TWO OF EDOLS CAPTAINS
A LITTLE ANTICK SPIRIT
ARTESIA, SISTER TO OSTORIUS THE SAXON GENERAL
CONSTANTIA AND MODESTIA, DAUGHTERS TO DONOBERT
JOAN GOE-TOO'T, MOTHER OF MERLIN
A WAITING-WOMAN TO ARTESIA
LUCINA, QUEEN OF THE SHADES
THE SCENE: Brittain .
CADOR. You teach me language, sir, as one that knows
The debt of love I owe unto her vertues;
Wherein like a true courtier I have fed
My self with hope of fair success, and now
Attend your wisht consent to my long suit.
DONOBERT. Believe me, youthful lord,
Time could not give an opportunity
More fitting your desires, always provided,
My daughters love be suited with my grant.
CADOR. 'Tis the condition, sir, her promise seal'd.
DONOBERT. Ist so, Constantia?
CONSTANTIA. I was content to give him words for oathes;
He swore so oft he lov'd me--
DONOBERT. That thou believest him?
CONSTANTIA. He is a man, I hope.
DONOBERT. That's in the trial, girl.
CONSTANTIA. However, I am a woman, sir.
DONOBERT. The law's on thy side then: sha't have a husband,
I, and a worthy one. Take her, brave Cornwal,
And make our happiness great as our wishes.
CADOR. Sir, I thank you.
GLOSTER. Double the fortunes of the day, my lord,
And crown my wishes too: I have a son here,
Who in my absence would protest no less
Unto your other daughter.
DONOBERT. Ha, Gloster, is it so? what says Lord Edwin?
Will she protest as much to thee?
EDWIN. Else must she want some of her sisters faith, sir.
MODESTIA. Of her credulity much rather, sir:
My lord, you are a soldier, and methinks
The height of that profession should diminish
All heat of loves desires,
Being so late employ'd in blood and ruine.
EDWIN. The more my conscience tyes me to repair
The worlds losses in a new succession.
MODESTIA. Necessity, it seems, ties your affections then,
And at that rate I would unwillingly
Be thrust upon you; a wife is a dish soon cloys, sir.
EDWIN. Weak and diseased appetites it may.
MODESTIA. Most of your making have dull stomacks, sir.
DONOBERT. If that be all, girl, thou shalt quicken him;
Be kinde to him, Modestia: Noble Edwin,
Let it suffice, what's mine in her speaks yours;
For her consent, let your fair suit go on,
She is a woman, sir, and will be won.
EDWIN. You give me comfort, sir.
Enter Toclio .
DONOBERT. Now, Toclio?
TOCLIO. The king, my honor'd lords, requires your presence,
And calls a councel for return of answer
Unto the parling enemy, whose embassadors
Are on the way to court.
DONOBERT. So suddenly?
Chester, it seems, has ply'd them hard at war,
They sue so fast for peace, which by my advice
They ne're shall have, unless they leave the realm.
Come, noble Gloster, let's attend the king.
It lies, sir, in your son to do me pleasure,
And save the charges of a wedding dinner;
If you'l make haste to end your love affairs,
One cost may give discharge to both my cares.
Exit Donobert, Gloster .
EDWIN. I'le do my best.
CADOR. Now, Toclio, what stirring news at court?
TOCLIO. Oh, my lord, the court's all fill'd with rumor, the city with news, and the country with wonder, and all the bells i'th' kingdom must proclaim it, we have a new holy-day a coming.
CONSTANTIA. A holy-day! for whom? for thee?
TOCLIO. Me, madam! 'sfoot! I'de be loath that any man Should make a holy-day for me yet:
In brief, 'tis thus: there's here arriv'd at court,
Sent by the Earl of Chester to the king,
A man of rare esteem for holyness,
A reverent hermit, that by miracle
Not onely saved our army,
But without aid of man o'rethrew
The pagan host, and with such wonder, sir,
As might confirm a kingdom to his faith.
EDWIN. This is strange news, indeed; where is he?
TOCLIO. In conference with the king, that much respects him.
MODESTIA. Trust me, I long to see him.
TOCLIO. Faith, you will finde no great pleasure in him, for ought that I can see, lady. They say he is half a prophet too: would he could tell me any news of the lost prince; there's twenty talents offer'd to him that finds him.
CADOR. Such news was breeding in the morning.
TOCLIO. And now it has birth and life, sir. If fortune bless me, I'le once more search those woods where then we lost him; I know not yet what fate may follow me. [ Exit .
CADOR. Fortune go with you, sir. Come, fair mistriss,
Your sister and Lord Edwin are in game,
And all their wits at stake to win the set.
CONSTANTIA. My sister has the hand yet; we had best leave them:
She will be out anon as well as I;
He wants but cunning to put in a dye.
Exit Cador, Constantia .
EDWIN. You are a cunning gamester, madam.
MODESTIA. It is a desperate game, indeed, this marriage,
Where there's no winning without loss to either.
EDWIN. Why, what but your perfection, noble lady,
Can bar the worthiness of this my suit?
If so you please I count my happiness
From difficult obtaining, you shall see
My duty and observance.
MODESTIA. There shall be place to neither, noble sir;
I do beseech you, let this mild reply
Give answer to your suit: for here I vow,
If e're I change my virgin name, by you
It gains or looses.
EDWIN. My wishes have their crown.
MODESTIA. Let them confine you then,
As to my promise you give faith and credence.
EDWIN. In your command my willing absence speaks it. [ Exit .
MODESTIA. Noble and vertuous: could I dream of marriage,
I should affect thee, Edwin. Oh, my soul,
Here's something tells me that these best of creatures,
These models of the world, weak man and woman,
Should have their souls, their making, life, and being,
To some more excellent use: if what the sense
Calls pleasure were our ends, we might justly blame
Great natures wisdom, who rear'd a building
Of so much art and beauty to entertain
A guest so far incertain, so imperfect:
If onely speech distinguish us from beasts,
Who know no inequality of birth or place,
But still to fly from goodness: oh, how base
Were life at such a rate! No, no, that power
That gave to man his being, speech and wisdom,
Gave it for thankfulness. To him alone
That made me thus, may I whence truly know,
I'le pay to him, not man, the love I owe. [ Exit .
Flourish cornets. Enter Aurelius King of Brittain, Donobert, Gloster, Cador, Edwin, Toclio, Oswold, and Attendants .
AURELIUS. No tiding of our brother yet? 'Tis strange,
So ne're the court, and in our own land too,
And yet no news of him: oh, this loss
Tempers the sweetness of our happy conquests
With much untimely sorrow.
DONOBERT. Royal sir,
His safety being unquestion'd should to time
Leave the redress of sorrow: were he dead,
Or taken by the foe, our fatal loss
Had wanted no quick herald to disclose it.
AURELIUS. That hope alone sustains me,
Nor will we be so ingrateful unto heaven
To question what we fear with what we enjoy.
Is answer of our message yet return'd
From that religious man, the holy hermit,
Sent by the Earl of Chester to confirm us
In that miraculous act? For 'twas no less:
Our army being in rout, nay, quite o'rethrown,
As Chester writes, even then this holy man,
Arm'd with his cross and staff, went smiling on,
And boldly fronts the foe; at sight of whom
The Saxons stood amaz'd: for, to their seeming,
Above the hermit's head appear'd such brightness,
Such clear and glorious beams, as if our men
March't all in fire; wherewith the pagans fled,
And by our troops were all to death pursu'd.
GLOSTER. 'Tis full of wonder, sir.
Oh, Gloster, he's a jewel worth a kingdom.
Where's Oswold with his answer?
OSWOLD. 'Tis here, my royal lord.
AURELIUS. In writing? will he not sit with us?
OSWOLD. His orizons perform'd, he bad me say,
He would attend with all submission.
AURELIUS. Proceed to councel then; and let some give order,
The embassadors being come to take our answer,
They have admittance. Oswold, Toclio,
Be it your charge!-- [ Exeunt Oswold and Toclio .
And now, my lords, observe
The holy councel of this reverend hermit:
[ Reads .] As you respect your safety, limit not
That onely power that hath protected you;
Trust not an open enemy too far,
He's yet a looser, and knows you have won;
Mischiefs not ended are but then begun .
Anselme the Hermit .
DONOBERT. Powerful and pithie, which my advice confirms:
No man leaves physick when his sickness slakes,
But doubles the receipts: the word of peace
Seems fair to blood-shot eyes, but being appli'd
With such a medicine as blinds all the sight
Argues desire of cure, but not of art.
AURELIUS. You argue from defects; if both the name
And the condition of the peace be one,
It is to be prefer'd, and in the offer,
Made by the Saxon, I see nought repugnant.
GLOSTER. The time of truce requir'd for thirty days
Carries suspicion in it, since half that space
Will serve to strength their weakned regiment.
CADOR. Who in less time will undertake to free
Our country from them?
EDWIN. Leave that unto our fortune.
DONOBERT. Is not our bold and hopeful general
Still master of the field, their legions faln,
The rest intrencht for fear, half starv'd, and wounded,
And shall we now give o're our fair advantage?
'Fore heaven, my lord, the danger is far more
In trusting to their words then to their weapons.
Enter Oswold .
OSWOLD. The embassadors are come, sir.
AURELIUS. Conduct them in.
We are resolv'd, my lords, since policy fail'd
In the beginning, it shall have no hand
In the conclusion.
That heavenly power that hath so well begun
Their fatal overthrow, I know, can end it:
From which fair hope my self will give them answer.
Flourish cornets . Enter Artesia with the Saxon lords .
DONOBERT. What's here? a woman orator?
AURELIUS. Peace, Donobert!--Speak, what are you, lady?
ARTESIA. The sister of the Saxon general,
Warlike Ostorius the East Anglese king;
My name Artesia, who in terms of love
Brings peace and health to great Aurelius,
Wishing she may return as fair a present
As she makes tender of.
AURELIUS. The fairest present e're mine eyes were blest with!--
Command a chair there for this Saxon beauty:--
Sit, lady, we'l confer: your warlike brother
Sues for a peace, you say?
ARTESIA. With endless love unto your state and person.
AURELIUS. Ha's sent a moving orator, believe me.--
What thinkst thou, Donobert?
DONOBERT. Believe me, sir, were I but yong agen,
This gilded pill might take my stomack quickly.
AURELIUS. True, thou art old: how soon we do forget
Our own defects! Fair damsel,--oh, my tongue
Turns traitor, and will betray my heart--sister to
Our enemy:--'sdeath, her beauty mazes me,
I cannot speak if I but look on her.--
What's that we did conclude?
DONOBERT. This, royal lord--
AURELIUS. Pish, thou canst not utter it:--
Fair'st of creatures, tell the king your brother,
That we, in love--ha!--and honor to our country,
Command his armies to depart our realm.
But if you please, fair soul--Lord Donobert,
Deliver you our pleasure.
DONOBERT. I shall, sir:
Lady, return, and certifie your brother--
AURELIUS. Thou art too blunt and rude! return so soon?
Fie, let her stay, and send some messenger
To certifie our pleasure.
DONOBERT. What meanes your grace?
AURELIUS. To give her time of rest to her long journey;
We would not willingly be thought uncivil.
ARTESIA. Great King of Brittain, let it not seem strange,
To embrace the princely offers of a friend,
Whose vertues with thine own, in fairest merit,
Both states in peace and love may now inherit.
AURELIUS. She speakes of love agen:
Sure, 'tis my fear, she knows I do not hate her.
ARTESIA. Be, then, thy self, most great Aurelius,
And let not envy nor a deeper sin
In these thy councellors deprive thy goodness
Of that fair honor we in seeking peace
Give first to thee, who never use to sue
But force our wishes. Yet, if this seem light,
Oh, let my sex, though worthless your respect,
Take the report of thy humanity,
Whose mild and vertuous life loud fame displayes,
As being o'recome by one so worthy praise.
AURELIUS. She has an angels tongue.--Speak still.
DONOBERT. This flattery is gross, sir; hear no more on't.--
Lady, these childish complements are needless;
You have your answer, and believe it, madam,
His grace, though yong, doth wear within his breast
Too grave a councellor to be seduc't
By smoothing flattery or oyly words.
ARTESIA. I come not, sir, to wooe him.
DONOBERT. 'Twere folly, if you should; you must not wed him.
AURELIUS. Shame take thy tongue! Being old and weak thy self,
Thou doat'st, and looking on thine own defects,
Speak'st what thou'dst wish in me. Do I command
The deeds of others, mine own act not free?
Be pleas'd to smile or frown, we respect neither:
My will and rule shall stand and fall together.
Most fair Artesia, see the king descends
To give thee welcome with these warlike Saxons,
And now on equal terms both sues and grants:
Instead of truce, let a perpetual league
Seal our united bloods in holy marriage;
Send the East Angles king this happy news,
That thou with me hast made a league for ever,
And added to his state a friend and brother.
Speak, dearest love, dare you confirm this title?
ARTESIA. I were no woman to deny a good
So high and noble to my fame and country.
AURELIUS. Live, then, a queen in Brittain.
GLOSTER. He meanes to marry her.
DONOBERT. Death! he shall marry the devil first!
Marry a pagan, an idolater?
CADOR. He has won her quickly.
EDWIN. She was woo'd afore she came, sure,
Or came of purpose to conclude the match.
AURELIUS. Who dares oppose our will? My Lord of Gloster,
Be you embassador unto our brother,
The brother of our queen Artesia;
Tell him for such our entertainment looks him,
Our marriage adding to the happiness
Of our intended joys; mans good or ill
In this like waves agree, come double still.
Enter Hermit .
Who's this? the hermit? Welcome, my happiness!
Our countries hope, most reverent holy man,
I wanted but thy blessing to make perfect
The infinite sum of my felicity.
HERMIT. Alack, sweet prince, that happiness is yonder,
Felicity and thou art far asunder;
This world can never give it.
AURELIUS. Thou art deceiv'd: see here what I have found,
Beauty, alliance, peace, and strength of friends,
All in this all exceeding excellence:
The league's confirm'd.
HERMIT. With whom, dear lord?
AURELIUS. With the great brother of this beauteous woman,
The royal Saxon king.
HERMIT. Oh, then I see,
And fear thou art too near thy misery.
What magick could so linck thee to this mischief?
By all the good that thou hast reapt by me,
Stand further from destruction.
AURELIUS. Speak as a man, and I shall hope to obey thee.
HERMIT. Idolaters, get hence! fond king, let go:
Thou hug'st thy ruine and thy countries woe.
DONOBERT. Well spoke, old father; too him, bait him soundly.
Now, by heavens blest Lady, I can scarce keep patience.
1. SAXON LORD. What devil is this?
2. SAXON LORD. That cursed Christian, by whose hellish charmes
Our army was o'rethrown.
HERMIT. Why do you dally, sir? Oh, tempt not heaven;
Warm not a serpent in your naked bosom:
Discharge them from your court.
AURELIUS. Thou speak'st like madness!
Command the frozen shepherd to the shade,
When he sits warm i'th' sun; the fever sick
To add more heat unto his burning pain:
These may obey, 'tis less extremity
Then thou enjoynst to me. Cast but thine eye
Upon this beauty, do it, I'le forgive thee,
Though jealousie in others findes no pardon;
Then say thou dost not love; I shall then swear
Th'art immortal and no earthly man.
Oh, blame then my mortallity, not me.
HERMIT. It is thy weakness brings thy misery,
AURELIUS. Be milder in thy doom.
HERMIT. 'Tis you that must indure heavens doom, which faln
ARTESIA. Thou shalt not live to see it.--How fares my lord?
If my poor presence breed dislike, great prince,
I am no such neglected soul, will seek
To tie you to your word.
AURELIUS. My word, dear love! may my religion,
Crown, state, and kingdom fail, when I fail thee.
Command Earl Chester to break up the camp
Without disturbance to our Saxon friends;
Send every hour swift posts to hasten on
The king her brother, to conclude this league,
This endless happy peace of love and marriage;
Till when provide for revels, and give charge
That nought be wanting which make our triumphs
Sportful and free to all. If such fair blood
Ingender ill, man must not look for good.
Exit all but Hermit . Florish .
Enter Modestia, reading in a book .
MODESTIA. How much the oft report of this blest hermit
Hath won on my desires; I must behold him:
And sure this should be he. Oh, the world's folly,
Proud earth and dust, how low a price bears goodness!
All that should make man absolute shines in him.
Much reverent sir, may I without offence
Give interruption to your holy thoughts?
HERMIT. What would you, lady?
MODESTIA. That which till now ne're found a language in me:
I am in love.
HERMIT. In love? with what?
MODESTIA. With vertue.
HERMIT. There's no blame in that.
MODESTIA. Nay, sir, with you, with your religious life,
Your vertue, goodness, if there be a name
To express affection greater, that,
That would I learn and utter: reverent sir,
If there be any thing to bar my suit,
Be charitable and expose it; your prayers
Are the same orizons which I will number.
Keep not instruction back from willingness,
Possess me of that knowledge leads you on
To this humility; for well I know,
Were greatness good, you would not live so low.
HERMIT. Are you a virgin?
MODESTIA. Yes, sir.
HERMIT. Your name?
HERMIT. Your name and vertues meet, a modest virgin:
Live ever in the sanctimonious way
To heaven and happiness. There's goodness in you,
I must instruct you further. Come, look up,
Behold yon firmament: there sits a power,
Whose foot-stool is this earth. Oh, learn this lesson,
And practise it: he that will climb so high,
Must leave no joy beneath to move his eye. [ Exit .
MODESTIA. I apprehend you, sir: on heaven I fix my love,
Earth gives us grief, our joys are all above;
For this was man in innocence naked born,
To show us wealth hinders our sweet return. [ Exit .
Enter Clown and his sister great with childe .
CLOWN. Away, follow me no further, I am none of thy brother. What, with childe? great with childe, and knows not whose the father on't! I am asham'd to call thee sister.
JOAN. Believe me, brother, he was a gentleman.
CLOWN. Nay, I believe that; he gives arms, and legs too, and has made you the herald to blaze 'em: but, Joan, Joan, sister Joan, can you tell me his name that did it? how shall we call my cousin, your bastard, when we have it?
JOAN. Alas, I know not the gentlemans name, brother.
I met him in these woods the last great hunting;
He was so kinde and proffer'd me so much,
As I had not the heart to ask him more.
CLOWN. Not his name? why, this showes your country breeding now; had you been brought up i'th' city, you'd have got a father first, and the childe afterwards: hast thou no markes to know him by?
JOAN. He had a most rich attire, a fair hat and feather, a gilt sword, and most excellent hangers.
CLOWN. Pox on his hangers, would he had bin gelt for his labor.
JOAN. Had you but heard him swear, you would have thought--
CLOWN. I, as you did; swearing and lying goes together still. Did his oathes get you with childe? we shall have a roaring boy then, yfaith. Well, sister, I must leave you.
JOAN. Dear brother, stay, help me to finde him out,
I'le ask no further.
CLOWN. 'Sfoot, who should I finde? who should I ask for?
JOAN. Alas, I know not, he uses in these woods,
And these are witness of his oathes and promise.
CLOWN. We are like to have a hot suit on't, when our best witness's but a knight a'th' post.
JOAN. Do but enquire this forrest, I'le go with you;
Some happy fate may guide us till we meet him.
CLOWN. Meet him? and what name shall we have for him, when we meet him? 'Sfoot, thou neither knowst him nor canst tell what to call him. Was ever man tyr'd with such a business, to have a sister got with childe, and know not who did it? Well, you shall see him, I'le do my best for you, Ile make proclamation; if these woods and trees, as you say, will bear any witness, let them answer. Oh yes: If there be any man that wants a name will come in for conscience sake, and acknowledge himself to be a whore-master, he shal have that laid to his charge in an hour, he shall not be rid on in an age; if he have lands, he shall have an heir; if he have patience, he shall have a wife; if he have neither lands nor patience, he shall have a whore. So ho, boy, so ho, so, so.
[ Within .] PRINCE UTER. So ho, boy, so ho, illo ho, illo ho.
CLOWN. Hark, hark, sister, there's one hollows to us; what a wicked world's this! a man cannot so soon name a whore, but a knave comes presently: and see where he is; stand close a while, sister.
Enter Prince Uter .
PRINCE. How like a voice that Eccho spake, but oh,
My thoughts are lost for ever in amazement.
Could I but meet a man to tell her beauties,
These trees would bend their tops to kiss the air
That from my lips should give her praises up.
CLOWN. He talks of a woman, sister.
JOAN. This may be he, brother.
CLOWN. View him well; you see, he has a fair sword, but his hangers are faln.
PRINCE. Here did I see her first, here view her beauty:
Oh, had I known her name, I had been happy.
CLOWN. Sister, this is he, sure; he knows not thy name neither. A couple of wise fools yfaith, to get children, and know not one another.
PRINCE. You weeping leaves, upon whose tender cheeks
Doth stand a flood of tears at my complaint,
Who heard my vows and oathes--
CLOWN. Law, Law, he has been a great swearer too; tis he, sister.
PRINCE. For having overtook her;
As I have seen a forward blood-hound strip
The swifter of the cry, ready to seize
His wished hopes, upon the sudden view,
Struck with astonishment, at his arriv'd prey,
Instead of seizure stands at fearful bay;
Or like to Marius soldiers, who, o'retook,
The eye sight killing Gorgon at one look
Made everlasting stand: so fear'd my power,
Whose cloud aspir'd the sun, dissolv'd a shower.
Pigmalion, then I tasted thy sad fate,
Whose ivory picture and my fair were one:
Our dotage past imagination.
I saw and felt desire--
CLOWN. Pox a your fingering! did he feel, sister?
PRINCE. But enjoy'd not.
Oh fate, thou hadst thy days and nights to feed
On calm affection; one poor sight was all,
Converts my pleasure to perpetual thrall:
Imbracing thine, thou lostest breath and desire,
So I, relating mine, will here expire.
For here I vow to you mournful plants,
Who were the first made happy by her fame,
Never to part hence, till I know her name.
CLOWN. Give me thy hand, sister, the childe has found his father . This is he, sure; as I am a man, had I been a woman, these kinde words would have won me, I should have had a great belly too, that's certain. Well, I'le speak to him.--Most honest and fleshly minded gentleman, give me your hand, sir.
PRINCE. Ha, what art thou, that thus rude and boldly darest
Take notice of a wretch so much ally'd
To misery as I am?
CLOWN. Nay, sir, for our aliance, I shall be found to be a poor brother in law of your worships: the gentlewoman you spake on is my sister: you see what a clew she spreads; her name is Joan Go-too't. I am her elder, but she has been at it before me; 'tis a womans fault.--Pox a this bashfulness! come forward, jug, prethee, speak to him.
PRINCE. Have you e're seen me, lady?
CLOWN. Seen ye? ha, ha! It seems she has felt you too: here's a yong Go-too't a coming, sir; she is my sister; we all love to Go-too't, as well as your worship. She's a maid yet, but you may make her a wife, when you please, sir.
PRINCE. I am amaz'd with wonder: tell me, woman,
What sin have you committed worthy this?
JOAN. Do you not know me, sir?
PRINCE. Know thee! as I do thunder, hell, and mischief;
Witch, scullion, hag!
CLOWN. I see he will marry her; he speaks so like a husband.
PRINCE. Death! I will cut their tongues out for this blasphemy.
Strumpet, villain, where have you ever seen me?
CLOWN. Speak for your self, with a pox to ye.
PRINCE. Slaves, Ile make you curse your selves for this temptation.
JOAN. Oh, sir, if ever you did speak to me,
It was in smoother phrase, in fairer language.
PRINCE. Lightning consume me, if I ever saw thee.
My rage o'reflowes my blood, all patience flies me. [ Beats her .
CLOWN. Hold, I beseech you, sir, I have nothing to say to you.
JOAN. Help, help! murder, murder!
Enter Toclio and Oswold .
TOCLIO. Make haste, sir, this way the sound came, it was a wood.
OSWOLD. See where she is, and the prince, the price of all our wishes.
CLOWN. The prince, say ye? ha's made a poor subject of me, I am sure.
TOCLIO. Sweet prince, noble Uter, speak, how fare you, sir?
OSWOLD. Dear sir, recal your self; your fearful absence
Hath won too much already on the grief
Of our sad king, from whom our laboring search
Hath had this fair success in meeting you.
TOCLIO. His silence and his looks argue distraction.
CLOWN. Nay, he's mad, sure, he will not acknowledge my sister, nor the childe neither.
OSWOLD. Let us entreat your grace along with us;
Your sight will bring new life to the king your brother.
TOCLIO. Will you go, sir?
PRINCE. Yes, any whether; guide me, all's hell I see;
Man may change air, but not his misery. [ Exit Prince, Toclio .
JOAN. Lend me one word with you, sir.
CLOWN. Well said, sister, he has a feather, and fair hangers too, this may be he.
OSWOLD. What would you, fair one?
JOAN. Sure, I have seen you in these woods e're this.
OSWOLD. Trust me, never; I never saw this place,
Till at this time my friend conducted me.
JOAN. The more's my sorrow then.
OSWOLD. Would I could comfort you.
I am a bachelor, but it seems you have
A husband, you have been fouly o'reshot else.
CLOWN. A womans fault, we are all subject to go to't, sir.
Enter Toclio .
TOCLIO. Oswold, away; the prince will not stir a foot without you.
OSWOLD. I am coming. Farewel, woman.
TOCLIO. Prithee, make haste. [ Exit Oswold .
JOAN. Good sir, but one word with you, e're you leave us.
TOCLIO. With me, fair soul?
CLOWN. Shee'l have a fling at him too; the childe must have a father.
JOAN. Have you ne'er seen me, sir?
TOCLIO. Seen thee? 'Sfoot, I have seen many fair faces in my time: prithee, look up, and do not weep so. Sure, pretty wanton, I have seen this face before.
JOAN. It is enough, though you ne're see me more. [ Sinks down .
TOCLIO. 'Sfoot, she's faln: this place is inchanted, sure; look to the woman, fellow. [ Exit .
CLOWN. Oh, she's dead, she's dead! As you are a man, stay and help, sir.--Joan, Joan, sister Joan, why, Joan Go-too't, I say; will you cast away your self, and your childe, and me too? what do you mean, sister?
JOAN. Oh, give me pardon, sir; 'twas too much joy
Opprest my loving thoughts; I know you were
Too noble to deny me--ha! Where is he?
CLOWN. Who, the gentleman? he's gone, sister.
JOAN. Oh! I am undone, then! Run, tell him I did
But faint for joy; dear brother, haste; why dost thou stay?
Oh, never cease, till he give answer to thee.
CLOWN. He: which he? what do you call him, tro?
JOAN. Unnatural brother,
Shew me the path he took; why dost thou dally?
Speak, oh, which way went he?
CLOWN. This way, that way, through the bushes there.
JOAN. Were it through fire,
The journey's easie, winged with sweet desire. [ Exit .
CLOWN. Hey day, there's some hope of this yet. Ile follow her for kindreds sake; if she miss of her purpose now, she'l challenge all she findes, I see; for if ever we meet with a two-leg'd creature in the whole kingdom, the childe shall have a father, that's certain. [ Exit .
Loud musick. Enter two with the sword and mace, Cador, Edwin, two Bishops, Aurelius, Ostorius, leading Artesia crown'd, Constancia, Modestia, Octa, Proximus a Magician, Donobert, Gloster, Oswold, Toclio; all pass over the stage. Manet Donobert, Gloster, Edwin, Cador .
DONOBERT. Come, Gloster, I do not like this hasty marriage.
GLOSTER. She was quickly wooed and won: not six days since
Arrived an enemy to sue for peace,
And now crown'd Queen of Brittain; this is strange.
DONOBERT. Her brother too made as quick speed in coming,
Leaving his Saxons and his starved troops,
To take the advantage, whilst 'twas offer'd.
'Fore heaven I fear the king's too credulous;
Our Army is discharg'd too.
GLOSTER. Yes, and our general commanded home.
Son Edwin, have you seen him since?
EDWIN. He's come to court, but will not view the presence,
Nor speak unto the king; he's so discontent
At this so strange aliance with the Saxon,
As nothing can perswade his patience.
CADOR. You know his humor will indure no check,
No, if the king oppose it:
All crosses feeds both his spleen and his impatience;
Those affections are in him like powder,
Apt to inflame with every little spark,
And blow up all his reason.
GLOSTER. Edol of Chester is a noble soldier.
DONOBERT. So is he, by the Rood, ever most faithful
To the king and kingdom, how e're his passions guide him.
Enter Edol with Captains .
CADOR. See where he comes, my lord.
OMNES. Welcome to court, brave earl.
EDOL. Do not deceive me by your flatteries:
Is not the Saxon here? the league confirm'd?
The marriage ratifi'd? the court divided
With pagan infidels, the least part Christians,
At least in their commands? Oh, the gods!
It is a thought that takes away my sleep,
And dulls my senses so I scarcely know you:
Prepare my horses, Ile away to Chester.
CAPTAIN. What shall we do with our companies, my lord?
EDOL. Keep them at home to increase cuckolds,
And get some cases for your captainships;
Smooth up your brows, the wars has spoil'd your faces,
And few will now regard you.
DONOBERT. Preserve your patience, sir.
EDOL. Preserve your honors, lords, your countries safety,
Your lives and lands from strangers. What black devil
Could so bewitch the king, so to discharge
A royal army in the height of conquest,
Nay, even already made victorious,
To give such credit to an enemy,
A starved foe, a stragling fugitive,
Beaten beneath our feet, so low dejected,
So servile, and so base, as hope of life
Had won them all to leave the land for ever?
DONOBERT. It was the kings will.
EDOL. It was your want of wisdom,
that should have laid before his tender youth
The dangers of a state, where forain powers
Bandy for soveraignty with lawful kings;
Who being setled once, to assure themselves,
Will never fail to seek the blood and life
Of all competitors.
DONOBERT. Your words sound well, my lord, and point at safety,
Both for the realm and us; but why did you,
Within whose power it lay, as general,
With full commission to dispose the war,
Lend ear to parly with the weakned foe?
EDOL. Oh the good gods!
CADOR. And on that parly came this embassie.
EDOL. You will hear me?
EDWIN. Your letters did declare it to the king,
Both of the peace, and all conditions
Brought by this Saxon lady, whose fond love
Has thus bewitched him.
EDOL. I will curse you all as black as hell,
Unless you hear me; your gross mistake would make
Wisdom her self run madding through the streets,
And quarrel with her shadow. Death!
Why kill'd ye not that woman?
DONOBERT. GLOSTER. Oh, my lord!
EDOL. The great devil take me quick, had I been by,
And all the women of the world were barren,
She should have died, e're he had married her
On these conditions.
CADOR. It is not reason that directs you thus.
EDOL. Then have I none, for all I have directs me.
Never was man so palpably abus'd,
So basely marted, bought and sold to scorn.
My honor, fame, and hopeful victories,
The loss of time, expences, blood, and fortunes,
All vanisht into nothing.
EDWIN. This rage is vain, my lord:
What the king does nor they nor you can help.
EDOL. My sword must fail me then.
CADOR. 'Gainst whom will you expose it?
EDOL. What's that to you? 'gainst all the devils in hell,
To guard my country.
EDWIN. These are airy words.
EDOL. Sir, you tread too hard upon my patience.
EDWIN. I speak the duty of a subjects faith,
And say agen, had you been here in presence,
What the king did, you had not dar'd to cross it.
EDOL. I will trample on his life and soul that says it.
CADOR. My lord!
EDWIN. Come, come.
EDOL. Now, before heaven--
CADOR. Dear sir!
EDOL. Not dare? thou liest beneath thy lungs.
GLOSTER. No more, son Edwin.
EDWIN. I have done, sir; I take my leave.
EDOL. But thou shalt not, you shall take no leave of me, sir.
DONOBERT. For wisdoms sake, my lord--
EDOL. Sir, I'le leave him, and you, and all of you,
The court and king, and let my sword and friends
Shuffle for Edols safety: stay you here,
And hug the Saxons, till they cut your throats,
Or bring the land to servile slavery.
Such yokes of baseness Chester must not suffer.
Go, and repent betimes these foul misdeeds,
For in this league all our whole kingdom bleeds,
Which Ile prevent, or perish. [ Exit Edol, Captains .
GLOSTER. See how his rage transports him!
CADOR. These passions set apart, a braver soldier
Breathes not i'th' world this day.
DONOBERT. I wish his own worth do not court his ruine.
The king must rule, and we must learn to obay,
True vertue still directs the noble way.
Loud musick. Enter Aurelius, Artesia, Ostorius, Octa, Proximus, Toclio, Oswold, Hermit .
AURELIUS. Why is the court so dull? me thinks, each room
And angle of our palace should appear
Stuck full of objects fit for mirth and triumphs,
To show our high content. Oswold, fill wine!
Must we begin the revels? Be it so, then!
Reach me the cup: Ile now begin a health
To our lov'd queen, the bright Artesia,
The royal Saxon king, our warlike brother.
Go and command all the whole court to pledge it.
Fill to the hermit there! Most reverent Anselme,
Wee'l do thee honor first, to pledge my queen.
HERMIT. I drink no healths, great king, and if I did,
I would be loath to part with health to those
That have no power to give it back agen.
AURELIUS. Mistake not, it is the argument of love
And duty to our queen and us.
ARTESIA. But he ows none, it seems.
HERMIT. I do to vertue, madam: temperate minds
Covets that health to drink, which nature gives
In every spring to man; he that doth hold
His body but a tenement at will,
Bestows no cost, but to repair what's ill:
Yet if your healths or heat of wine, fair princes,
Could this old frame or these cras'd limbes restore,
Or keep out death or sickness, then fill more,
I'le make fresh way for appetite; if no,
On such a prodigal who would wealth bestow?
OSTORIUS. He speaks not like a guest to grace a wedding.
Enter Toclio .
ARTESIA. No, sir, but like an envious imposter.
OCTA. A Christian slave, a cinick.
OSTORIUS. What vertue could decline your kingly spirit
To such respect of him whose magick spells
Met with your vanquisht troops, and turn'd your arms
To that necessity of fight, which, thro dispair
Of any hope to stand but by his charms,
Had been defeated in a bloody conquest?
OCTA. 'Twas magick, hellbred magick did it, sir,
And that's a course, my lord, which we esteem
In all our Saxon wars unto the last
And lowest ebbe of servile treachery.
AURELIUS. Sure, you are deceiv'd, it was the hand of heaven
That in his vertue gave us victory.
Is there a power in man that can strike fear
Thorough a general camp, or create spirits
In recreant bosoms above present sense?
OSTORIUS. To blind the sense there may, with apparition
Of well arm'd troops within themselves are air,
Form'd into humane shapes, and such that day
Were by that sorcerer rais'd to cross our fortunes.
AURELIUS. There is a law tells us that words want force
To make deeds void; examples must be shown
By instances alike, e're I believe it.
OSTORIUS. 'Tis easily perform'd, believe me, sir:
Propose your own desires, and give but way
To what our magick here shall straight perform,
And then let his or our deserts be censur'd.
AURELIUS. We could not wish a greater happiness
Then what this satisfaction brings with it.
Let him proceed, fair brother.
OSTORIUS. He shall, sir.
Come, learned Proximus, this task be thine:
Let thy great charms confound the opinion
This Christian by his spells hath falsly won.
PROXIMUS. Great king, propound your wishes, then:
What persons, of what state, what numbers, or how arm'd,
Please your own thoughts; they shall appear before you.
AURELIUS. Strange art! What thinkst thou, reverent hermit?
HERMIT. Let him go on, sir.
AURELIUS. Wilt thou behold his cunning?
HERMIT. Right gladly, sir; it will be my joy to tell,
That I was here to laugh at him and hell.
AURELIUS. I like thy confidence.
ARTESIA. His sawcy impudence! Proceed to th'trial.
PROXIMUS. Speak your desires, my lord, and be it place't
In any angle underneath the moon,
The center of the earth, the sea, the air,
The region of the fire, nay, hell it self,
And I'le present it.
AURELIUS. Wee'l have no sight so fearful, onely this:
If all thy art can reach it, show me here
The two great champions of the Trojan War,
Achilles and brave Hector, our great ancestor,
Both in their warlike habits, armor, shields,
And weapons then in use for fight.
PROXIMUS. 'Tis done, my lord, command a halt and silence,
As each man will respect his life or danger.
Enter Spirits .
SPIRITS. Quid vis?
PROXIMUS. Attend me.
AURELIUS. The apparition comes; on our displeasure,
Let all keep place and silence. [ Within drums beat marches .
Enter Proximus, bringing in Hector, attir'd and arm'd after the Trojan manner, with target, sword, and battel-ax, a trumpet before him, and a spirit in flame colours with a torch; at the other door Achilles with his spear and falchon, a trumpet, and a spirit in black before him; trumpets sound alarm, and they manage their weapons to begin the fight: and after some charges, the hermit steps between them, at which seeming amaz'd the spirits tremble. Thunder within .
PROXIMUS. What means this stay, bright Armel, Plesgeth?
Why fear you and fall back?
Renew the alarms, and enforce the combat,
Or hell or darkness circles you for ever.
ARMEL. We dare not.
PLESGETH. Our charms are all dissolv'd: Armel, away!
'Tis worse then hell to us, whilest here we stay. [ Exit all .
HERMIT. What! at a non-plus, sir? command them back, for shame.
PROXIMUS. What power o're-aws my spells? Return, you hell-hounds!
Armel, Plesgeth, double damnation seize you!
By all the infernal powers, the prince of devils
Is in this hermits habit: what else could force
My spirits quake or tremble thus?
HERMIT. Weak argument to hide your want of skill:
Does the devil fear the devil, or war with hell?
They have not been acquainted long, it seems.
Know, mis-believing pagan, even that power,
That overthrew your forces, still lets you see,
He onely can controul both hell and thee.
PROXIMUS. Disgrace and mischief! Ile enforce new charms,
New spells, and spirits rais'd from the low abyss
Of hells unbottom'd depths.
AURELIUS. We have enough, sir;
Give o're your charms, wee'l finde some other time
To praise your art. I dare not but acknowledge
That heavenly power my heart stands witness to:
Be not dismaid, my lords, at this disaster,
Nor thou, my fairest queen: we'l change the scene
To some more pleasing sports. Lead to your chamber.
How'ere in this thy pleasures finde a cross,
Our joy's too fixed here to suffer loss.
TOCLIO. Which I shall adde to, sir, with news I bring:
The prince, your brother, lives.
TOCLIO. And comes to grace this high and heaven-knit marriage.
AURELIUS. Why dost thou flatter me, to make me think
Such happiness attends me?
Enter Prince Uter and Oswold .
TOCLIO. His presence speaks my truth, sir.
DONOBERT. Force me, 'tis he: look, Gloster.
GLOSTER. A blessing beyond hope, sir.
AURELIUS. Ha! 'tis he: welcome, my second comfort.
Artesia, dearest love, it is my brother,
My princely brother, all my kingdoms hope:
Oh, give him welcome, as thou lov'st my health.
ARTESIA. You have so free a welcome, sir, from me,
As this your presence has such power, I swear,
O're me, a stranger, that I must forget
My countrey, name, and friends, and count this place
My joy and birth-right.
PRINCE. 'Tis she! 'tis she, I swear! oh, ye good gods, 'tis she!
That face within those woods where first I saw her,
Captived my senses, and thus many moneths
Bar'd me from all society of men.
How came she to this place,
Brother Aurelius? Speak that angels name,
Her heaven-blest name, oh, speak it quickly, sir.
AURELIUS. It is Artesia, the royal Saxon princess.
PRINCE. A woman, and no deity, no feigned shape,
To mock the reason of admiring sense,
On whom a hope as low as mine may live,
Love, and enjoy, dear brother, may it not?
AURELIUS. She is all the good or vertue thou canst name,
My wife, my queen.
PRINCE. Ha! your wife!
ARTESIA. Which you shall finde, sir, if that time and fortune
May make my love but worthy of your tryal.
AURELIUS. What troubles you, dear brother?
Why with so strange and fixt an eye dost thou
Behold my joys?
ARTESIA. You are not well, sir.
PRINCE. Yes, yes.--Oh, you immortal powers,
Why has poor man so many entrances
For sorrow to creep in at, when our sense
Is much too weak to hold his happiness?
Oh, say, I was born deaf: and let your silence
Confirm in me the knowing my defect;
At least be charitable to conceal my sin,
For hearing is no less in me, dear brother.
AURELIUS. No more!
I see thou art a rival in the joys
Of my high bliss. Come, my Artesia;
The day's most prais'd when 'tis ecclipst by night,
Great good must have as great ill opposite.
PRINCE. Stay, hear but a word; yet now I think on't,
This is your wedding-night, and were it mine,
I should be angry with least loss of time.
ARTESIA. Envy speaks no such words, has no such looks.
PRINCE. Sweet rest unto you both.
AURELIUS. Lights to our nuptial chamber.
ARTESIA. Could you speak so,
I would not fear how much my grief did grow.
AURELIUS. Lights to our chamber; on, on, set on! [ Exeunt . Manet Prince .
PRINCE. `Could you speak so,
I would not fear how much my griefs did grow.'
Those were her very words; sure, I am waking:
She wrung me by the hand, and spake them to me
With a most passionate affection.
Perhaps she loves, and now repents her choice,
In marriage with my brother. Oh, fond man,
How darest thou trust thy traitors thoughts, thus to
Betray thy self? 'twas but a waking dream
Wherein thou madest thy wishes speak, not her,
In which thy foolish hopes strives to prolong
A wretched being. So sickly children play
With health lov'd toys, which for a time delay,
But do not cure the fit. Be, then, a man,
Meet that destruction which thou canst not flie.
From not to live, make it thy best to die,
And call her now, whom thou didst hope to wed,
Thy brothers wife: thou art too nere a kin,
And such an act above all name's a sin
Not to be blotted out; heaven pardon me!
She's banisht from my bosom now for ever.
To lowest ebbes men justly hope a flood;
When vice grows barren, all desires are good.
Enter Waiting Gentlewoman with a jewel .
GENTLEWOMAN. The noble prince, I take it, sir?
PRINCE. You speak me what I should be, lady.
GENTLEWOMAN. Know, by that name, sir, Queen Artesia greets you.
PRINCE. Alas, good vertue, how is she mistaken!
GENTLEWOMAN. Commending her affection in this jewel, sir.
PRINCE. She binds my service to her: ha! a jewel; 'tis
A fair one, trust me, and methinks, it much
Resembles something I have seen with her.
GENTLEWOMAN. It is an artificial crab, sir.
PRINCE. A creature that goes backward.
GENTLEWOMAN. True, from the way it looks.
PRINCE. There is no moral in it alludes to her self?
GENTLEWOMAN. 'Tis your construction gives you that, sir;
She's a woman.
PRINCE. And, like this, may use her legs and eyes
Two several ways.
GENTLEWOMAN. Just like the sea-crab,
Which on the mussel prayes, whilst he bills at a stone.
PRINCE. Pretty in troth. Prithee, tell me, art thou honest?
GENTLEWOMAN. I hope I seem no other, sir.
PRINCE. And those that seem so are sometimes bad enough.
GENTLEWOMAN. If they will accuse themselves for want of witness,
Let them, I am not so foolish.
PRINCE. I see th'art wise.
Come, speak me truly: what is the greatest sin?
GENTLEWOMAN. That which man never acted; what has been done
Is as the least, common to all as one.
PRINCE. Dost think thy lady is of thy opinion?
GENTLEWOMAN. She's a bad scholar else; I have brought her up,
And she dares owe me still.
PRINCE. I, 'tis a fault in greatness, they dare owe
Many, e're they pay one. But darest thou
Expose thy scholar to my examining?
GENTLEWOMAN. Yes, in good troth, sir, and pray put her to't too;
'Tis a hard lesson, if she answer it not.
PRINCE. Thou know'st the hardest?
GENTLEWOMAN. As far as a woman may, sir.
PRINCE. I commend thy plainness.
When wilt thou bring me to thy lady?
GENTLEWOMAN. Next opportunity I attend you, sir.
PRINCE. Thanks, take this, and commend me to her.
GENTLEWOMAN. Think of your sea-crab, sir, I pray. [ Exit .
PRINCE. Oh, by any means, lady.--
What should all this tend to?
If it be love or lust that thus incites her,
The sin is horrid and incestuous;
If to betray my life, what hopes she by it?
Yes, it may be a practice 'twixt themselves,
To expel the Brittains and ensure the state
Through our destructions; all this may be
Valid, with a deeper reach in villany
Then all my thoughts can guess at;--however,
I will confer with her, and if I finde
Lust hath given life to envy in her minde,
I may prevent the danger: so men wise
By the same step by which they fell, may rise.
Vices are vertues, if so thought and seen,
And trees with foulest roots branch soonest green. [ Exit .
Enter Clown and his sister .
CLOWN. Come, sister, thou that art all fool, all mad-woman.
JOAN. Prithee, have patience, we are now at court.
CLOWN. At court! ha, ha, that proves thy madness: was there ever any woman in thy taking travel'd to court for a husband? 'Slid, 'tis enough for them to get children, and the city to keep 'em, and the countrey to finde nurses: every thing must be done in his due place, sister.
JOAN. Be but content a while; for, sure, I know
This journey will be happy. Oh, dear brother,
This night my sweet friend came to comfort me;
I saw him and embrac't him in mine arms.
CLOWN. Why did you not hold him, and call me to help you?
JOAN. Alas, I thought I had been with him still,
But when I wak't--
CLOWN. Ah! pox of all loger-heads, then you were but in a dream all this while, and we may still go look him. Well, since we are come to court, cast your cats eyes about you, and either finde him out you dreamt on, or some other, for Ile trouble my self no further.
Enter Donobert, Cador, Edwin & Toclio .
See, see, here comes more courtiers; look about you; come, pray, view 'em all well; the old man has none of the marks about him, the other have both swords and feathers: what thinkest thou of that tall yong gentleman?
JOAN. He much resembles him; but, sure, my friend,
Brother, was not so high of stature.
CLOWN. Oh, beast, wast thou got a childe with a short thing too?
DONOBERT. Come, come, Ile hear no more on't: go, lord Edwin,
Tell her, this day her sister shall be married
To Cador, Earl of Cornwal; so shall she
To thee, brave Edwin, if she'l have my blessing.
EDWIN. She is addicted to a single life,
She will not hear of marriage.
DONOBERT. Tush, fear it not: go you from me to her,
Use your best skill, my lord, and if you fail,
I have a trick shall do it: haste, haste about it.
EDWIN. Sir, I am gone;
My hope is in your help more then my own.
DONOBERT. And worthy Toclio, to your care I must
Commend this business
For lights and musick, and what else is needful.
TOCLIO. I shall, my lord.
CLOWN. We would intreat a word, sir. Come forward, sister. [ Exeunt Donobert, Toclio, Cador .
EDWIN. What lackst thou, fellow?
CLOWN. I lack a father for a childe, sir.
EDWIN. How! a God-father?
CLOWN. No, sir, we mean the own father: it may be you, sir, for any thing we know; I think the childe is like you.
EDWIN. Like me! prithee, where is it?
CLOWN. Nay, 'tis not born yet, sir, 'tis forth coming, you see; the childe must have a father: what do you think of my sister?
EDWIN. Why, I think if she ne're had husband, she's a whore, and thou a fool. Farewell. [ Exit .
CLOWN. I thank you, sir. Well, pull up thy heart, sister; if there be any law i'th' court, this fellow shall father it, 'cause he uses me so scurvily. There's a great wedding towards, they say; we'l amongst them for a husband for thee.
Enter Sir Nicodemus with a letter .
If we miss there, Ile have another bout with him that abus'd me. See! look, there comes another hat and feather, this should be a close letcher, he's reading of a love-letter.
SIR NICODEMUS. Earl Cador's marriage, and a masque to grace it.
This night shall make me famous for presentments.--
How now, what are you?
CLOWN. A couple of great Brittains you may see by our bellies, sir.
SIR NICODEMUS. And what of this, sir?
CLOWN. Why, thus the matter stands, sir: there's one of your courtiers hunting nags has made a gap through another mans inclosure. Now, sir, here's the question, who should be at charge of a fur-bush to stop it?
SIR NICODEMUS. Ha, ha, this is out of my element: the law must end it.
CLOWN. Your worship says well; for, surely, I think some lawyer had a hand in the business, we have such a troublesom issue.
SIR NICODEMUS. But what's thy business with me now?
CLOWN. Nay, sir, the business is done already, you may see by my sisters belly.
SIR NICODEMUS. Oh, now I finde thee: this gentlewoman, it seems, has been humbled.
CLOWN. As low as the ground would give her leave, sir, and your worship knows this: though there be many fathers without children, yet to have a childe without a father were most unnatural.
SIR NICODEMUS. That's true, ifaith, I never heard of a childe yet that e're begot his father.
CLOWN. Why, true, you say wisely, sir.
SIR NICODEMUS. And therefore I conclude, that he that got the childe is without all question the father of it.
CLOWN. I, now you come to the matter, sir; and our suit is to your worship for the discovery of this father.
SIR NICODEMUS. Why, lives he in the court here?
JOAN. Yes, sir, and I desire but marriage.
SIR NICODEMUS. And does the knave refuse it? Come, come, be merry, wench; he shall marry thee, and keep the childe too, if my knighthood can do any thing. I am bound by mine orders to help distressed ladies, and can there be a greater injury to a woman with childe, then to lack a father for't? I am asham'd of your simpleness: Come, come, give me a courtiers fee for my pains, and Ile be thy advocate my self, and justice shall be found; nay, Ile sue the law for it; but give me my fee first.
CLOWN. If all the money I have i'th' world will do it, you shall have it, sir.
SIR NICODEMUS. An angel does it.
CLOWN. Nay, there's two, for your better eye sight, sir.
SIR NICODEMUS. Why, well said! Give me thy hand, wench, Ile teach thee a trick for all this, shall get a father for thy childe presently, and this it is, mark now: You meet a man, as you meet me now, thou claimest marriage of me, and layest the childe to my charge; I deny it: push, that's nothing, hold thy claim fast, thy words carries it, and no law can withstand it.
CLOWN. Ist possible?
SIR NICODEMUS. Past all opposition; her own word carries it: let her challenge any man, the childe shall call him father; there's a trick for your money now.
CLOWN. Troth, sir, we thank you, we'l make use of your trick, and go no further to seek the childe a father, for we challenge you, sir: sister, lay it to him, he shall marry thee, I shall have a worshipful old man to my brother.
SIR NICODEMUS. Ha, ha, I like thy pleasantness.
JOAN. Nay, indeed, sir, I do challenge you.
CLOWN. You think we jest, sir?
SIR NICODEMUS. I, by my troth, do I. I like thy wit, yfaith: thou shalt live at court with me; didst never here of Nicodemus Nothing? I am the man.
CLOWN. Nothing? 'slid, we are out agen: thou wast never got with childe with nothing, sure.
JOAN. I know not what to say.
SIR NICODEMUS. Never grieve, wench, show me the man, and process shall fly out.
CLOWN. 'Tis enough for us to finde the children, we look that you should finde the father, and therefore either do us justice, or we'l stand to our first challenge.
SIR NICODEMUS. Would you have justice without an adversary? Unless you can show me the man, I can do you no good in it.
CLOWN. Why, then I hope you'l do us no harm, sir; you'l restore my money.
SIR NICODEMUS. What, my fee? marry, law forbid it!
Finde out the party, and you shall have justice,
Your fault clos'd up, and all shall be amended,
The childe, his father, and the law defended. [ Exit .
CLOWN. Well, he has deserv'd his fee, indeed, for he has brought our suit to a quick end, I promise you, and yet the childe has never a father; nor we have no more mony to seek after him. A shame of all lecherous placcats! now you look like a cat had newly kitten'd; what will you do now, tro? Follow me no further, lest I beat your brains out.
JOAN. Impose upon me any punishment, rather then leave me now.
CLOWN. Well, I think I am bewitcht with thee; I cannot finde in my heart to forsake her. There was never sister would have abus'd a poor brother as thou hast done; I am even pin'd away with fretting, there's nothing but flesh and bones about me. Well, and I had my money agen, it were some comfort. Hark, sister, [ thunder ] does it not thunder?
JOAN. Oh yes, most fearfully: what shall we do, brother?
CLOWN. Marry, e'ene get some shelter, e're the storm catch us: away, let's away, I prithee.
Enter the Devil in mans habit, richly attir'd, his feet and his head horrid .
JOAN. Ha, 'tis he! Stay, brother, dear brother, stay.
CLOWN. What's the matter now?
JOAN. My love, my friend is come; yonder he goes.
CLOWN. Where, where? show me where; I'le stop him, if the devil be not in him.
JOAN. Look there, look yonder!
Oh, dear friend, pity my distress,
For heaven and goodness, do but speak to me.
DEVIL. She calls me, and yet drives me headlong from her.
Poor mortal, thou and I are much uneven,
Thou must not speak of goodness nor of heaven,
If I confer with thee; but be of comfort:
Whilst men do breath, and Brittains name be known,
The fatal fruit thou bear'st within thy womb
Shall here be famous till the day of doom.
CLOWN. 'Slid, who's that talks so? I can see no body.
JOAN. Then art thou blind or mad. See where he goes,
And beckons me to come; oh, lead me forth,
I'le follow thee in spight of fear or death. [ Exit .
CLOWN. Oh brave! she'l run to the devil for a husband; she's stark mad, sure, and talks to a shaddow, for I could see no substance: well, I'le after her; the childe was got by chance, and the father must be found at all adventure. [ Exit .
Enter Hermit, Modestia, and Edwin.
MODESTIA. Oh, reverent sir, by you my heart hath reacht
At the large hopes of holy piety,
And for this I craved your company,
Here in your sight religiously to vow
My chaste thoughts up to heaven, and make you now
The witness of my faith.
HERMIT. Angels assist thy hopes.
EDWIN. What meanes my love? thou art my promis'd wife.
MODESTIA. To part with willingly what friends and life
Can make no good assurance of.
EDWIN. Oh, finde remorse, fair soul, to love and merit,
And yet recant thy vow.
This world and I are parted now for ever.
HERMIT. To finde the way to bliss, oh, happy woman,
Th'ast learn'd the hardest lesson well, I see.
Now show thy fortitude and constancy:
Let these thy friends thy sad departure weep,
Thou shalt but loose the wealth thou could'st not keep.
My contemplation calls me, I must leave ye.
EDWIN. O, reverent sir, perswade not her to leave me.
HERMIT. My lord, I do not, nor to cease to love ye;
I onely pray her faith may fixed stand;
Marriage was blest, I know, with heavens own hand. [ Exit .
EDWIN. You hear him, lady, 'tis not a virgins state,
But sanctity of life, must make you happy.
MODESTIA. Good sir, you say you love me; gentle Edwin,
Even by that love I do beseech you, leave me.
EDWIN. Think of your fathers tears, your weeping friends,
Whom cruel grief makes pale and bloodless for you.
MODESTIA. Would I were dead to all.
EDWIN. Why do you weep?
MODESTIA. Oh, who would live to see
How men with care and cost seek misery?
EDWIN. Why do you seek it then? What joy, what pleasure
Can give you comfort in a single life?
MODESTIA. The contemplation of a happy death,
Which is to me so pleasing that I think
No torture could divert me: What's this world,
Wherein you'd have me walk, but a sad passage
To a dread judgement-seat, from whence even now
We are but bail'd, upon our good abearing,
Till that great sessions come, when Death, the cryer,
Will surely summon us and all to appear,
To plead us guilty or our bail to clear?
What musick's this? [ Soft musick .
Enter two Bishops, Donobert, Gloster, Cador, Constancia, Oswold, Toclio .
EDWIN. Oh, now resolve, and think upon my love!
This sounds the marriage of your beauteous sister,
Vertuous Constancia, with the noble Cador.
Look, and behold this pleasure.
MODESTIA. Cover me with night,
It is a vanity not worth the sight.
DONOBERT. See, see, she's yonder.
Pass on, son Cador, daughter Constancia,
I beseech you all, unless she first move speech,
Salute her not.--Edwin, what good success?
EDWIN. Nothing as yet, unless this object take her.
DONOBERT. See, see, her eye is fixt upon her sister;
Seem careless all, and take no notice of her:--
On afore there; come, my Constancia.
MODESTIA. Not speak to me, nor dain to cast an eye,
To look on my despised poverty?
I must be more charitable;--pray, stay, lady,
Are not you she whom I did once call sister?
CONSTANCIA. I did acknowledge such a name to one,
Whilst she was worthy of it, in whose folly,
Since you neglect your fame and friends together,
In you I drown'd a sisters name for ever.
MODESTIA. Your looks did speak no less.
GLOSTER. It now begins to work, this sight has moved her.
DONOBERT. I knew this trick would take, or nothing.
MODESTIA. Though you disdain in me a sisters name,
Yet charity, me thinks, should be so strong
To instruct e're you reject. I am a wretch.
Even follies instance, who perhaps have er'd,
Not having known the goodness bears so high
And fair a show in you; which being exprest,
I may recant this low despised life,
And please those friends whom I mov'd to grief.
CADOR. She is coming, yfaith; be merry, Edwin.
CONSTANCIA. Since you desire instruction, you shall have it.
What ist should make you thus desire to live
Vow'd to a single life?
MODESTIA. Because I know I cannot flie from death.
Oh, my good sister, I beseech you, hear me:
This world is but a masque, catching weak eyes
With what is not our selves but our disguise,
A vizard that falls off, the dance being done,
And leaves Deaths glass for all to look upon;
Our best happiness here lasts but a night,
Whose burning tapers makes false ware seem right.
Who knows not this, and will not now provide
Some better shift before his shame be spy'd,
And knowing this vain world at last will leave him,
Shake off these robes that help but to deceive him?
CONSTANCIA. Her words are powerful, I am amaz'd to hear her!
DONOBERT. Her soul's inchanted with infected spells.
Leave her, best girl; for now in thee
Ile seek the fruits of age, posterity.--
Out o' my sight! sure, I was half asleep
Or drunk, when I begot thee.
CONSTANCIA. Good sir, forbear. What say you to that, sister?
The joy of children, a blest mothers name!
Oh, who without much grief can loose such fame?
MODESTIA. Who can enjoy it without sorrow rather?
And that most certain where the joy's unsure,
Seeing the fruit that we beget endure
So many miseries, that oft we pray
The heavens to shut up their afflicted day;
At best we do but bring forth heirs to die,
And fill the coffins of our enemy.
CONSTANCIA. Oh, my soul!
DONOBERT. Hear her no more, Constancia,
She's sure bewitcht with error; leave her, girl.
CONSTANCIA. Then must I leave all goodness, sir: away,
Stand off, I say.
DONOBERT. How's this?
CONSTANCIA. I have no father, friend, no husband now;
All are but borrowed robes, in which we masque
To waste and spend the time, when all our life
Is but one good betwixt two ague-days,
Which from the first e're we have time to praise,
A second fever takes us: Oh, my best sister,
My souls eternal friend, forgive the rashness
Of my distemper'd tongue; for how could she,
Knew not her self, know thy felicity,
From which worlds cannot now remove me?
DONOBERT. Art thou mad too, fond woman? what's thy meaning?
CONSTANCIA. To seek eternal happiness in heaven,
Which all this world affords not.
CADOR. Think of thy vow, thou art my promis'd wife.
CONSTANCIA. Pray, trouble me no further.
OMNES. Strange alteration!
CADOR. Why do you stand at gaze, you sacred priests?
You holy men, be equal to the gods,
And consummate my marriage with this woman.
BISHOP. Her self gives barr, my lord, to your desires
And our performance; 'tis against the law
And orders of the Church to force a marriage.
CADOR. How am I wrong'd! Was this your trick, my lord?
DONOBERT. I am abus'd past sufferance;
Grief and amazement strive which sense of mine
Shall loose her being first. Yet let me call thee daughter.
CADOR. Me, wife.
CONSTANCIA. Your words are air, you speak of want to wealth,
And wish her sickness, newly rais'd to health.
DONOBERT. Bewitched girls, tempt not an old mans fury,
That hath no strength to uphold his feeble age,
But what your sights give life to: oh, beware,
And do not make me curse you.
[ Kneel .] MODESTIA. Dear father,
Here at your feet we kneel, grant us but this,
That, in your sight and hearing, the good hermit
May plead our cause; which, if it shall not give
Such satisfaction as your age desires,
We will submit to you.
CONSTANCIA. You gave us life;
Save not our bodies, but our souls, from death.
DONOBERT. This gives some comfort yet: Rise with my blessings.--
Have patience, noble Cador, worthy Edwin;
Send for the hermit that we may confer.
For, sure, religion tyes you not to leave
Your careful father thus; if so it be,
Take you content, and give all grief to me. [ Exeunt .
Thunder and lightning; enter Devil .
DEVIL. Mix light and darkness; earth and heaven dissolve,
Be of one piece agen, and turn to Chaos;
Break all your works, you powers, and spoil the world,
Or, if you will maintain earth still, give way
And life to this abortive birth now coming,
Whose fame shall add unto your oracles.
Lucina Hecate, dreadful Queen of Night,
Bright Proserpine, be pleas'd for Ceres love,
From Stigian darkness summon up the Fates,
And in a moment bring them quickly hither,
Lest death do vent her birth and her together. [ Thunder .
Assist, you spirits of infernal deeps,
Squint ey'd Erictho, midnight incubus,
Rise, rise to aid this birth prodigious.
Enter Lucina and the three Fates .
Thanks, Hecate; hail, sister to the gods!
There lies your way, haste with the Fates, and help,
Give quick dispatch unto her laboring throws,
To bring this mixture of infernal seed
To humane being; [ Exit Fates .
And to beguil her pains, till back you come,
Anticks shall dance and musick fill the room.-- [ Dance .
DEVIL. Thanks, Queen of Shades.
LUCINA. Farewel, great servant to th'infernal king.
In honor of this childe, the Fates shall bring
All their assisting powers of knowledge, arts,
Learning, wisdom, all the hidden parts
Of all-admiring prophecy, to fore-see
The event of times to come: his art shall stand
A wall of brass to guard the Brittain land.
Even from this minute, all his arts appears
Manlike in judgement, person, state, and years.
Upon his brest the Fates have fixt his name,
And since his birth place was this forrest here,
They now have nam'd him Merlin Silvester.
DEVIL. And Merlins name in Brittany shall live,
Whilst men inhabit here or Fates can give
Power to amazing wonder; envy shall weep,
And mischief sit and shake her ebbone wings,
Whilst all the world of Merlins magick sings. [ Exit .
Enter Clown .
CLOWN. Well, I wonder how my poor sister does, after all this thundering; I think she's dead, for I can hear no tidings of her. Those woods yields small comfort for her; I could meet nothing but a swinherds wife, keeping hogs by the forestside, but neither she nor none of her sowes would stir a foot to help us; indeed, I think she durst not trust her self amongst the trees with me, for I must needs confess I offer'd some kindness to her. Well, I would fain know what's become of my sister: if she have brought me a yong cousin, his face may be a picture to finde his father by. So oh! sister Joan, Joan Go-too't, where art thou?
[ Within .] JOAN. Here, here, brother, stay but a while, I come to thee.
CLOWN. O brave! she's alive still, I know her voice; she speaks, and speaks cherfully, methinks. How now, what moon-calf has she got with her?
Enter Joan and Merlin with a book .
JOAN. Come, my dear Merlin, why dost thou fix thine eye
So deeply on that book?
MERLIN. To sound the depth
Of arts, of learning, wisdom, knowledge.
JOAN. Oh, my dear, dear son,
Those studies fits thee when thou art a man.
MERLIN. Why, mother, I can be but half a man at best,
And that is your mortality; the rest
In me is spirit; 'tis not meat, nor time,
That gives this growth and bigness; no, my years
Shall be more strange then yet my birth appears.
Look, mother, there's my uncle.
JOAN. How doest thou know him, son? thou never saw'st him.
MERLIN. Yet I know him, and know the pains he has taken for ye, to finde out my father.--Give me your hand, good uncle.
CLOWN. Ha, ha, I'de laugh at that, yfaith. Do you know me, sir?
MERLIN. Yes, by the same token that even now you kist the swinherds-wife i'th' woods, and would have done more, if she would have let you, uncle.
CLOWN. A witch, a witch, a witch, sister: rid him out of your company, he is either a witch or a conjurer; he could never have known this else.
JOAN. Pray, love him, brother, he is my son.
CLOWN. Ha, ha, this is worse then all the rest, yfaith; by his beard he is more like your husband. Let me see, is your great belly gone?
JOAN. Yes, and this the happy fruit.
CLOWN. What, this hartichoke? A childe born with a beard on his face?
MERLIN. Yes, and strong legs to go, and teeth to eat.
CLOWN. You can nurse up your self, then? There's some charges sav'd for soap and caudle. 'Slid, I have heard of some that has been born with teeth, but never none with such a talking tongue before.
JOAN. Come, come, you must use him kindly, brother;
Did you but know his worth, you would make much of him.
CLOWN. Make much of a moncky? This is worse then Tom Thumb, that let a fart in his mothers belly; a childe to speak, eat, and go the first hour of his birth; nay, such a baby as had need of a barber before he was born too; why, sister, this is monstrous, and shames all our kindred.
JOAN. That thus 'gainst nature and our common births
He comes thus furnisht to salute the world,
Is power of Fates, and gift of his great father.
CLOWN. Why, of what profession is your father, sir?
MERLIN. He keeps a hot-house i'th' Low Countries; will you see him, sir?
CLOWN. See him? why, sister, has the childe found his father?
MERLIN. Yes, and Ile fetch him, uncle. [ Exit .
CLOWN. Do not uncle me, till I know your kindred: for my conscience, some baboon begot thee.--Surely, thou art horribly deceived, sister, this urchin cannot be of thy breeding; I shall be asham'd to call him cousin, though his father be a gentleman.
Enter Merlin and Devil .
MERLIN. Now, my kinde uncle, see: the childe has found his father, this is he.
CLOWN. The devil it is; ha, ha, is this your sweet-heart, sister? have we run through the countrey, haunted the city, and examin'd the court to finde out a gallant with a hat and feather, and a silken sword, and golden hangers, and do you now bring me to a ragamuffin with a face like a frying-pan?
JOAN. Fie, brother, you mistake, behold him better.
CLOWN. How's this? do you juggle with me, or are mine eyes matches? Hat and feather, sword, and hangers, and all! this is a gallant indeed, sister; this has all the marks of him we look for.
DEVIL. And you have found him now, sir:
Give me your hand, I now must call you brother.
CLOWN. Not till you have married my sister, for all this while she's but your whore, sir.
DEVIL. Thou art too plain, Ile satisfie that wrong
To her, and thee, and all, with liberal hand:
Come, why art thou fearful?
CLOWN. Nay, I am not afraid, and you were the devil, sir.
DEVIL. Thou needst not; keep with thy sister still,
And Ile supply your wants, you shall lack nothing
That gold and wealth can purchase.
CLOWN. Thank you, brother: we have gone many a weary step to finde you; you may be a husband for a lady, for you are far fetcht and dear bought, I assure you. Pray, how should I call your son, my cousin here?
DEVIL. His name is Merlin.
CLOWN. Merlin? Your hand, cousin Merlin; for your fathers sake I accept you to my kindred: if you grow in all things as your beard does, you will be talkt on. By your mothers side, cousin, you come of the Go-too'ts, Suffolk bred, but our standing house is at Hocklye i'th' Hole, and Layton-buzzard. For your father, no doubt you may from him claim titles of worship, but I cannot describe it; I think his ancestors came first from Hell-bree in Wales, cousin.
DEVIL. No matter whence we do derive our name:
All Brittany shall ring of Merlin's fame,
And wonder at his acts. Go hence to Wales,
There live a while; there Vortiger the king
Builds castles and strong holds, which cannot stand,
Unless supported by yong Merlins hand.
There shall thy fame begin: wars are a breeding;
The Saxons practise treason, yet unseen,
Which shortly shall break out.--Fair love, farewel;
Dear son and brother, here must I leave you all,
Yet still I will be near at Merlins call. [ Exit .
MERLIN. Will you go, uncle?
CLOWN. Yes, Ile follow you, cousin.-- Well, I do most horribly begin to suspect my kindred; this brother in law of mine is the devil, sure, and though he hide his horns with his hat and feather, I spi'd his cloven foot for all his cunning. [ Exit .
Enter Ostorius, Octa, and Proximus .
OSTORIUS. Come, come, time calls our close complots to action.
Go, Proximus, with winged speed flie hence,
Hye thee to Wales: salute great Vortiger
With these our letters; bid the king to arms,
tell him we have new friends, more forces landed
In Norfolk and Northumberland; bid him
Make haste to meet us; if he keep his word,
Wee'l part the realm between us.
OCTA. Bend all thine art to quit that late disgrace
The Christian hermit gave thee; make thy revenge
Both sure and home.
PROXIMUS. That thought, sir, spurs me on,
Till I have wrought their swift destruction. [ Exit .
OSTORIUS. Go, then, and prosper. Octa, be vigilant:
Speak, are the forts possest? the guards made sure?
Revolve, I pray, on how large consequence
The bare event and sequel of our hopes
Joyntly consists, that have embark't our lives
Upon the hazzard of the least miscarriage.
OCTA. All's sure: the queen your sister hath contrived
The cunning plot so sure, as at an instant
The brothers shall be both surpriz'd and taken.
OSTORIUS. And both shall die; yet one a while must live,
Till we by him have gather'd strength and power
To meet bold Edol, their stern general,
That now, contrary to the kings command,
Hath re-united all his cashier'd troops,
And this way beats his drums to threaten us.
OCTA. Then our plot's discover'd.
OSTORIUS. Come, th'art a fool, his army and his life
Is given unto us: where is the queen my sister?
OCTA. In conference with the prince.
OSTORIUS. Bring the guards nearer, all is fair and good;
Their conference, I hope, shall end in blood. [ Exeunt .
Enter Prince and Artesia .
ARTESIA. Come, come, you do but flatter;
What you term love is but a dream of blood,
Wakes with enjoying, and with open eyes
Forgot, contemn'd, and lost.
PRINCE. I must be wary, her words are dangerous.--
True, we'l speak of love no more, then.
ARTESIA. Nay, if you will, you may;
'Tis but in jest, and yet so children play
With fiery flames, and covet what is bright,
But, feeling his effects, abhor the light.
Pleasure is like a building, the more high,
The narrower still it grows; cedars do dye
Soonest at top.
PRINCE. How does your instance suit?
ARTESIA. From art and nature to make sure the root,
And lay a fast foundation, e're I try
The incertain changes of a wavering skie.
Make your example thus.--You have a kiss,--
Was it not pleasing?
PRINCE. Above all name to express it.
ARTESIA. Yet now the pleasure's gone,
And you have lost your joys possession.
PRINCE. Yet when you please, this flood may ebb again.
ARTESIA. But where it never ebbs, there runs the main.
PRINCE. Who can attain such hopes?
ARTESIA. Ile show the way to it, give you
A taste once more of what you may enjoy. [ Kiss .
PRINCE. Impudent whore!--
I were more false than atheism can be,
Should I not call this high felicity.
ARTESIA. If I should trust your faith, alas, I fear,
You soon would change belief.
PRINCE. I would covet martyrdom to make't confirm'd.
ARTESIA. Give me your hand on that you'l keep your word?
PRINCE. I will.
ARTESIA. Enough: Help, husband, king Aurelius, help!
Rescue betraid Artesia!
PRINCE. Nay, then 'tis I that am betraid, I see;
Yet with thy blood Ile end thy treachery.
ARTESIA. How now! what troubles you? Is this you, sir,
That but even now would suffer martyrdom
To win your hopes, and is there now such terror
In names of men to fright you? nay, then I see
What mettle you are made on.
PRINCE. Ha! was it but tryal? then I ask your pardon:
What a dull slave was I to be so fearful!--
Ile trust her now no more, yet try the utmost.--
I am resolved, no brother, no man breathing,
Were he my bloods begetter, should withhold
Me from your love; I'd leap into his bosom,
And from his brest pull forth that happiness
Heaven had reserved in you for my enjoying.
ARTESIA. I, now you speak a lover like a prince!--
ARTESIA. Help, Saxon princes: treason!
Enter Ostorius, Octa, etc .
OSTORIUS. Rescue the queen: strike down the villain.
Enter Edol, Aurelius, Donobert, Cador, Edwin, Toclio, Oswold, at the other door .
EDOL. Call in the guards: the prince in danger!
Fall back, dear sir, my brest shall buckler you.
AURELIUS. Beat down their weapons!
EDOL. Slave, wert thou made of brass, my sword shall bite thee.
AURELIUS. Withdraw, on pain of death: where is the traitor?
ARTESIA. Oh, save your life, my lord; let it suffice,
My beauty forc't mine own captivity.
AURELIUS. Who did attempt to wrong thee?
PRINCE. Hear me, sir.
AURELIUS. Oh, my sad soul! was't thou?
ARTESIA. Oh, do not stand to speak; one minutes stay
Prevents a second speech for ever.
AURELIUS. Make our guards strong:
My dear Artesia, let us know thy wrongs
And our own dangers.
ARTESIA. The prince your brother, with these Brittain lords,
Have all agreed to take me hence by force
And marry me to him.
PRINCE. The devil shall wed thee first:
Thy baseness and thy lust confound and rot thee!
ARTESIA. He courted me even now, and in mine ear
Sham'd not to plead his most dishonest love,
And their attempts to seize your sacred person,
Either to shut you up within some prison,
Or, which is worse, I fear, to murther you.
OMNES BRITTAINS. 'Tis all as false as hell.
EDOL. And as foul as she is.
ARTESIA. You know me, sir?
EDOL. Yes, deadly sin, we know you,
And shall discover all your villany.
AURELIUS. Chester, forbear!
OSTORIUS. Their treasons, sir, are plain:
Why are their souldiers lodg'd so near the court?
OCTA. Nay, why came he in arms so suddenly?
EDOL. You fleering anticks, do not wake my fury.
EDOL. Ratsbane, do not urge me.
ARTESIA. Good sir, keep farther from them.
PRINCE. Oh, my sick heart!
She is a witch by nature, devil by art.
AURELIUS. Bite thine own slanderous tongue; 'tis thou art false.
I have observ'd your passions long ere this.
OSTORIUS. Stand on your guard, my lord, we are your friends,
And all our force is yours.
EDOL. To spoil and rob the kingdom.
AURELIUS. Sir, be silent.
EDOL. Silent! how long? till Doomsday? shall I stand by,
And hear mine honor blasted with foul treason,
The state half lost, and your life endanger'd,
Yet be silent?
ARTESIA. Yes, my blunt lord, unless you speak your treasons.
Sir, let your guards, as traitors, seize them all,
And then let tortures and devulsive racks
Force a confession from them.
EDOL. Wilde-fire and brimstone eat thee! Hear me, sir.
AURELIUS. Sir, Ile not hear you.
EDOL. But you shall. Not hear me!
Were the worlds monarch, Cesar, living, he
Should hear me.
I tell you, sir, these serpents have betraid
Your life and kingdom: does not every day
Bring tidings of more swarms of lowsie slaves,
The offal fugitives of barren Germany,
That land upon our coasts, and by our neglect
Settle in Norfolk and Northumberland?
OSTORIUS. They come as aids and safeguards to the king.
OCTA. Has he not need, when Vortiger's in arms,
And you raise powers, 'tis thought, to joyn with him?
EDOL. Peace, you pernicious rat.
DONOBERT. Prithee, forbear.
EDOL. Away! suffer a gilded rascal,
A low-bred despicable creeper, an insulting toad,
To spit his poison'd venome in my face!
OCTA. Sir, sir!
EDOL. Do not reply, you cur; for, by the gods,
Tho' the kings presence guard thee, I shall break all patience,
And, like a lion rous'd to spoil, shall run
Foul-mouth'd upon thee, and devour thee quick.--
Speak, sir: will you forsake these scorpions,
Or stay till they have stung you to the heart?
AURELIUS. Y'are traitors all. This is our wife, our queen:
Brother Ostorius, troop your Saxons up,
We'l hence to Winchester, raise more powers,
To man with strength the Castle Camilot.--
Go hence, false men, joyn you with Vortiger,
The murderer of our brother Constantine:
We'l hunt both him and you with dreadful vengance.
Since Brittain fails, we'l trust to forrain friends,
And guard our person from your traitorous ends. [ Exeunt Aurelius, Ostorius, Octa, Artesia, Toclio, Oswald .
EDWIN. He's sure bewitcht.
GLOSTER. What counsel now for safety?
DONOBERT. Onely this, sir: with all the speed we can,
Preserve the person of the king and kingdom.
CADOR. Which to effect, 'tis best march hence to Wales,
And set on Vortiger before he joyn
His forces with the Saxons.
EDWIN. On, then, with speed for Wales and Vortiger!
That tempest once o'reblown, we come, Ostorius,
To meet thy traiterous Saxons, thee and them,
That with advantage thus have won the king,
To back your factions and to work our ruines.
This, by the gods and my good sword, I'le set
In bloody lines upon thy burgonet. [ Exeunt .
Enter Clown, Merlin, and a little antick Spirit .
MERLIN. How now, uncle? why do you search your pockets so? Do you miss any thing?
CLOWN. Ha! Cousin Merlin, I hope your beard does not overgrow your honesty; I pray, remember, you are made up of sisters thread; I am your mothers brother, whosoever was your father.
MERLIN. Why, wherein can you task my duty, uncle?
CLOWN. Your self or your page it must be, I have kept no other company, since your mother bound your head to my protectorship; I do feel a fault of one side; either it was that sparrowhawk, or a cast of Merlins, for I finde a covy of cardecu's sprung out of my pocket.
MERLIN. Why, do you want any money, uncle? Sirrah, had you any from him?
CLOWN. Deny it not, for my pockets are witness against you.
SPIRIT. Yes, I had, to teach you better wit to look to it.
CLOWN. Pray, use your fingers better, and my wit may serve as it is, sir.
MERLIN. Well, restore it.
SPIRIT. There it is.
CLOWN. I, there's some honesty in this; 'twas a token from your invisible father, cousin, which I would not have to go invisibly from me agen.
MERLIN. Well, you are sure you have it now, uncle?
CLOWN. Yes, and mean to keep it now from your pages filching fingers too.
SPIRIT. If you have it so sure, pray show it me agen.
CLOWN. Yes, my little juggler, I dare show it. Ha, cleanly conveyance agen! ye have no invisible fingers, have ye? 'Tis gone, certainly.
SPIRIT. Why, sir, I toucht you not.
MERLIN. Why, look you, uncle, I have it now: how ill do you look to it! here, keep it safer.
CLOWN. Ha, ha, this is fine, yfaith. I must keep some other company, if you have these slights of hand.
MERLIN. Come, come, uncle, 'tis all my art, which shall not offend you, sir, onely I give you a taste of it to show you sport.
CLOWN. Oh, but 'tis ill jesting with a mans pocket, tho'. But I am glad to see you cunning, cousin, for now will I warrant thee a living till thou diest. You have heard the news in Wales here?
MERLIN. Uncle, let me prevent your care and counsel,
'Twill give you better knowledge of my cunning.
You would prefer me now, in hope of gain,
To Vortiger, King of the Welch Brittains,
To whom are all the artists summon'd now,
That seeks the secrets of futurity:
The bards, the druids, wizards, conjurers,
Not an auraspex with his whisling spells,
No capnomanster with his musty fumes,
No witch or juggler, but is thither sent,
To calculate the strange and fear'd event
Of his prodigious castle, now in building,
Where all the labors of the painful day
Are ruin'd still i'th' night, and to this place
You would have me go.
CLOWN. Well, if thy mother were not my sister, I would say she was a witch that begot thee; but this is thy father, not thy mother wit. Thou hast taken my tale into thy mouth, and spake my thoughts before me; therefore away, shuffle thy self amongst the conjurers, and be a made man before thou comest to age.
MERLIN. Nay, but stay, uncle, you overslip my dangers:
The prophecies and all the cunning wizards
Have certifi'd the king that this his castle
Can never stand, till the foundation's laid
With mortar temper'd with the fatal blood
Of such a childe whose father was no mortal.
CLOWN. What's this to thee? If the devil were thy father, was not thy mother born at Carmarden? Diggon for that, then; and then it must be a childes blood, and who will take thee for a childe with such a beard of thy face? Is there not diggon for that too, cousin?
MERLIN. I must not go: lend me your ear a while,
I'le give you reasons to the contrary.
Enter two Gentlemen .
1 GENTLEMAN. Sure, this is an endless piece of work the king has sent us about!
2 GENTLEMAN. Kings may do it, man; the like has been done to finde out the unicorn.
1 GENTLEMAN. Which will be sooner found, I think, then this fiend begotten childe we seek for.
2 GENTLEMAN. Pox of those conjurers that would speak of such a one, and yet all their cunning could not tell us where to finde him.
1 GENTLEMAN. In Wales they say assuredly he lives; come, let's enquire further.
MERLIN. Uncle, your perswasions must not prevail with me: I know mine enemies better then you do.
CLOWN. I say, th'art a bastard then, if thou disobey thine uncle: was not Joan Go-too't, thy mother, my sister? If the devil were thy father, what kin art thou to any man alive but bailys and brokers? and they are but brothers in law to thee neither.
1 GENTLEMAN. How's this? I think we shall speed here.
2 GENTLEMAN. I, and unlook't for too: go ne're and listen to them.
CLOWN. Hast thou a beard to hide it? wil't thou show thy self a childe? wil't thou have more hair then wit? Wil't thou deny thy mother, because no body knows thy father? Or shall thine uncle be an ass?
1 GENTLEMAN. Bless ye, friend: pray, what call you this small gentlemans name?
CLOWN. Small, sir? a small man may be a great gentleman; his father may be of an ancient house, for ought we know, sir.
2 GENTLEMAN. Why? do you not know his father?
CLOWN. No, nor you neither, I think, unless the devil be in ye.
1 GENTLEMAN. What is his name, sir?
CLOWN. His name is my cousin, sir, his education is my sisters son, but his maners are his own.
MERLIN. Why ask ye, gentlemen? my name is Merlin.
CLOWN. Yes, and a goshawk was his father, for ought we know; for I am sure his mother was a wind-sucker.
2 GENTLEMAN. He has a mother, then?
CLOWN. As sure as I have a sister, sir.
1 GENTLEMAN. But his father you leave doubtful.
CLOWN. Well, sir, as wise men as you doubt whether he had a father or no?
1 GENTLEMAN. Sure, this is he we seek for.
2 GENTLEMAN. I think no less: and, sir, we let you know
The king hath sent for you.
CLOWN. The more childe he; and he had bin rul'd by me,
He should have gone before he was sent for.
1 GENTLEMAN. May we not see his mother?
CLOWN. Yes, and feel her too, if you anger her; a devilish thing, I can tell ye, she has been. Ile go fetch her to ye. [ Exit .
2 GENTLEMAN. Sir, it were fit you did resolve for speed,
You must unto the king.
MERLIN. My service, sir,
Shall need no strict command, it shall obey
Most peaceably; but needless 'tis to fetch
What is brought home: my journey may be staid,
The king is coming hither
With the same quest you bore before him; hark,
This drum will tell ye. [ Within drums beat a low march .
1 GENTLEMAN. This is some cunning indeed, sir.
Florish . Enter Vortiger, reading a letter, Proximus, with drum and Soldiers, etc .
VORTIGER. Still in our eye your message, Proximus,
We keep to spur our speed:
Ostorius and Octa we shall salute
With succor against Prince Uter and Aurelius,
Whom now we hear incamps at Winchester.
There's nothing interrupts our way so much
As doth the erection of this fatal castle,
That spite of all our art and daily labor,
The night still ruines.
PROXIMUS. As erst I did affirm, still I maintain,
The fiend begotten childe must be found out,
Whose blood gives strength to the foundation;
It cannot stand else.
Enter Clown and Joan, Merlin .
VORTIGER. Ha! Is't so?
Then, Proximus, by this intelligence
He should be found: speak, is this he you tell of?
CLOWN. Yes, sir, and I his uncle, and she his mother.
VORTIGER. And who is his father?
CLOWN. Why, she, his mother, can best tell you that, and yet I think the childe be wise enough, for he has found his father.
VORTIGER. Woman, is this thy son?
JOAN. It is, my lord.
VORTIGER. What was his father? Or where lives he?
MERLIN. Mother, speak freely and unastonisht;
That which you dar'd to act, dread not to name.
JOAN. In which I shall betray my sin and shame.
But since it must be so, then know, great king,
All that my self yet knows of him is this:
In pride of blood and beauty I did live,
My glass the altar was, my face the idol;
Such was my peevish love unto my self,
That I did hate all other; such disdain
Was in my scornful eye that I suppos'd
No mortal creature worthy to enjoy me.
Thus with the peacock I beheld my train,
But never saw the blackness of my feet;
Oft have I chid the winds for breathing on me,
And curst the sun, fearing to blast my beauty.
In midst of this most leaprous disease,
A seeming fair yong man appear'd unto me,
In all things suiting my aspiring pride,
And with him brought along a conquering power,
To which my frailty yielded; from whose embraces
This issue came; what more he is, I know not.
VORTIGER. Some incubus or spirit of the night
Begot him then, for, sure, no mortal did it.
MERLIN. No matter who, my lord; leave further quest,
Since 'tis as hurtful as unnecessary
More to enquire: go to the cause, my lord,
Why you have sought me thus?
VORTIGER. I doubt not but thou knowst; yet, to be plain,
I sought thee for thy blood.
MERLIN. By whose direction?
PROXIMUS. By mine;
My art infalable instructed me,
Upon thy blood must the foundation rise
Of the kings building; it cannot stand else.
MERLIN. Hast thou such leisure to enquire my fate,
And let thine own hang careless over thee?
Knowst thou what pendelous mischief roofs thy head,
How fatal, and how sudden?
Bearded abortive, thou foretel my danger!
My lord, He trifles to delay his own.
MERLIN. No, I yield my self: and here before the king
Make good thine augury, as I shall mine.
If thy fate fall not, thou hast spoke all truth,
And let my blood satisfie the kings desires:
If thou thy self wilt write thine epitaph,
Dispatch it quickly, there's not a minutes time
'Twixt thee and thy death.
PROXIMUS. Ha, ha, ha! [ A stone falls and kills Proximus .
MERLIN. I, so thou mayest die laughing.
VORTIGER. Ha! This is above admiration: look, is he dead?
CLOWN. Yes, sir, here's brains to make morter on, if you'l use them. Cousin Merlin, there's no more of this stone fruit ready to fall, is there? I pray, give your uncle a little fair warning.
MERLIN. Remove that shape of death. And now, my lord,
For clear satisfaction of your doubts,
Merlin will show the fatal cause that keeps
Your castle down and hinders your proceedings.
Stand there, and by an apparition see
The labor and end of all your destiny.
Mother and uncle, you must be absent.
CLOWN. Is your father coming, cousin?
MERLIN. Nay, you must be gone.
JOAN. Come, you'l offend him, brother.
CLOWN. I would fain see my brother i'law; if you were married, I might lawfully call him so.
Merlin strikes his wand . Thunder and lightning; two dragons appear, a white and a red; they fight a while, and pause .
VORTIGER. What means this stay?
MERLIN. Be not amaz'd, my lord, for on the victory,
Of loss or gain, as these two champions ends,
Your fate, your life, and kingdom all depends;
Therefore observe it well.
VORTIGER. I shall: heaven be auspicious to us.
Thunder: the two dragons fight agen, and the white dragon drives off the red .
VORTIGER. The conquest is on the white dragons part.
Now, Merlin, faithfully expound the meaning.
MERLIN. Your grace must then not be offended with me.
VORTIGER. It is the weakest part I found in thee,
To doubt of me so slightly. Shall I blame
My prophet that foretells me of my dangers?
Thy cunning I approve most excellent.
MERLIN. Then know, my lord, there is a dampish cave,
The nightly habitation of these dragons,
Vaulted beneath where you would build your castle,
Whose enmity and nightly combats there
Maintain a constant ruine of your labors.
To make it more plain, the dragons, then,
Your self betoken and the Saxon king;
The vanquisht red is, sir, your dreadful emblem.
VORTIGER. Oh, my fate!
MERLIN. Nay, you must hear with patience, royal sir.
You slew the lawful king Constantius:
'Twas a red deed, your crown his blood did cement.
The English Saxon, first brought in by you
For aid against Constantius brethren,
Is the white horror who now, knit together,
Have driven and shut you up in these wilde mountains;
And though they now seek to unite with friendship,
It is to wound your bosom, not embrace it,
And with an utter extirpation
To rout the Brittains out, and plant the English.
Seek for your safety, sir, and spend no time
To build the airy castles; for Prince Uter,
Armed with vengeance for his brothers blood,
Is hard upon you. If you mistrust me,
And to my words crave witness, sir, then know,
Here comes a messenger to tell you so. [ Exit Merlin .
Enter Messenger .
MESSENGER. My lord! Prince Uter!
VORTIGER. And who else, sir?
MESSENGER. Edol, the great general.
VORTIGER. The great devil! they are coming to meet us?
MESSENGER. With a full power, my lord.
VORTIGER. With a full vengeance,
They mean to meet us; so! we are ready
To their confront. At full march, double footing,
We'l loose no ground, nor shall their numbers fright us:
If it be fate, it cannot be withstood;
We got our crown so, be it lost in blood. [ Exeunt .
Enter Prince Uter, Edol, Cador, Edwin, Toclio, with drum and Soldiers .
PRINCE. Stay, and advice; hold, drum!
EDOL. Beat, slave! why do you pause?
Why make a stand? where are our enemies?
Or do you mean we fight amongst our selves?
PRINCE. Nay, noble Edol,
Let us here take counsel, it cannot hurt,
It is the surest garison to safety.
EDOL. Fie on such slow delays! so fearful men,
That are to pass over a flowing river,
Stand on the bank to parly of the danger,
Till the tide rise, and then be swallowed.
Is not the king in field?
CADOR. Proud Vortiger, the trator, is in field.
EDWIN. The murderer and usurper.
EDOL. Let him be the devil, so I may fight with him.
For heavens love, sir, march on! Oh, my patience!
Will you delay, untill the Saxons come
To aid his party? [ A tucket .
PRINCE. There's no such fear: prithee, be calm a while.
Hark! it seems by this, he comes or sends to us.
EDOL. If it be for parly, I will drown the summons,
If all our drums and hoarseness choke me not.
Enter Captain .
PRINCE. Nay, prithee, hear.--From whence art thou?
CAPTAIN. From the King Vortiger.
EDOL. Traitor, there's none such: alarum, drum; strike, slave,
Or, by mine honor, I will break thy head,
And beat thy drums heads both about thine ears.
PRINCE. Hold, noble Edol,
Let's hear what articles he can inforce.
EDOL. What articles or what conditions
Can you expect to value half your wrong,
Unless he kill himself by thousand tortures,
And send his carcase to appease your vengeance
For the foul murder of Constantius,
And that's not a tenth part neither.
PRINCE. 'Tis true,
My brothers blood is crying to me now;
I do applaud thy counsel: hence, be gone!-- [ Exit Captain .
We'l hear no parly now but by our swords.
EDOL. And those shall speak home in death killing words:
Alarum to the fight; sound, sound the alarum. [ Exeunt .
Alarum . Enter Edol, driving all Vortigers force before him, then Exit . Enter Prince Uter pursuing Vortiger .
VORTIGER. Dost follow me?
PRINCE. Yes, to thy death I will.
VORTIGER. Stay, be advis'd;
I would not be the onely fall of princes,
I slew thy brother.
PRINCE. Thou didst, black traitor,
And in that vengeance I pursue thee.
VORTIGER. Take mercy for thy self, and flie my sword,
Save thine own life as satisfaction,
Which here I give thee for thy brothers death.
PRINCE. Give what's thine own: a traitors heart and head,
That's all thou art right lord of. The kingdom
Which thou usurp'st, thou most unhappy tyrant,
Is leaving thee; the Saxons which thou broughtst
To back thy usurpations, are grown great,
And where they seat themselves, do hourly seek
To blot the records of old Brute and Brittains
From memory of men, calling themselves
Hingest-men, and Hingest-land, that no more
The Brittain name be known: all this by thee,
Thou base destroyer of thy native countrey.
Enter Edol .
EDOL. What, stand you talking? [ Fight .
PRINCE. Hold, Edol.
EDOL. Hold out, my sword,
And listen not to king or princes word;
There's work enough abroad, this task is mine. [ Alarum .
PRINCE. Prosper thy valour, as thy vertues shine. [ Exeunt .
Enter Cador and Edwin .
CADOR. Bright victory her self fights on our part,
And, buckled in a golden beaver, rides
Triumphantly before us.
EDWIN. Justice is with her,
Who ever takes the true and rightful cause.
Let us not lag behinde them.
Enter Prince .
CADOR. Here comes the prince. How goes our fortunes, sir?
PRINCE. Hopeful and fair, brave Cador.
Proud Vortiger, beat down by Edols sword,
Was rescu'd by the following multitudes,
And now for safety's fled unto a castle
Here standing on the hill: but I have sent
A cry of hounds as violent as hunger,
To break his stony walls; or, if they fail,
We'l send in wilde fire to dislodge him thence,
Or burn them all with flaming violence. [ Exeunt .
Blazing star appears .
Florish tromp . Enter Prince Uter, Edol, Cador, Edwin, Toclio, with drum and Soldiers .
PRINCE. Look, Edol:
Still this fiery exalation shoots
His frightful horrors on th'amazed world;
See, in the beam that's 'bout his flaming ring,
A dragons head appears, from our whose mouth
Two flaming flakes of fire stretch east and west.
EDOL. And see, from forth the body of the star
Seven smaller blazing streams directly point
On this affrighted kingdom.
CADOR. 'Tis a dreadful meteor.
EDWIN. And doth portend strange fears.
PRINCE. This is no crown of peace; this angry fire
Hath something more to burn then Vortiger;
If it alone were pointed at his fall,
It would pull in his blasing piramids
And be appeas'd, for Vortiger is dead.
EDOL. These never come without their large effects.
PRINCE. The will of heaven be done! our sorrow's this,
We want a mistick Pithon to expound
This fiery oracle.
CADOR. Oh no, my lord,
You have the best that ever Brittain bred;
And durst I prophecy of your prophet, sir,
None like him shall succeed him.
PRINCE. You mean Merlin?
CADOR. True, sir, wonderous Merlin;
He met us in the way, and did foretell
The fortunes of this day successful to us.
EDWIN. He's sure about the camp; send for him, sir.
CADOR. He told the bloody Vortiger his fate,
And truely too, and if I could give faith
To any wizards skill, it should be Merlin.
Enter Merlin and Clown .
CADOR. And see, my lord, as if to satisfie
Your highness pleasure, Merlin is come.
The comet's in his eye, disturb him not.
EDOL. With what a piercing judgement he beholds it!
MERLIN. Whither will heaven and fate translate this kingdom?
What revolutions, rise and fall of nations
Is figur'd yonder in that star, that sings
The change of Brittians state and death of kings?
Ha! He's dead already; how swiftly mischief creeps!
Thy fatal end, sweet prince, even Merlin weeps.
PRINCE. He does foresee some evil, his action shows it,
For, e're he does expound, he weeps the story.
EDOL. There's another weeps too. Sirrah, dost thou understand what thou lamentst for?
CLOWN. No, sir, I am his uncle, and weep because my cousin weeps; flesh and blood cannot forbear.
PRINCE. Gentle Merlin, speak thy prophetick knowledge
In explanation of this fiery horror,
From which we gather from thy mounful tears
Much sorrow and disaster in it.
MERLIN. 'Tis true,
Fair prince, but you must hear the rest with patience.
PRINCE. I vow I will, tho' it portend my ruine.
MERLIN. There's no such fear.
This brought the fiery fall of Vortiger,
And yet not him alone: this day is faln
A king more good, the glory of our land,
The milde and gentle, sweet Aurelius.
PRINCE. Our brother!
EDWIN. Forefend it heaven!
MERLIN. He at his palace royal, sir,
At Winchester, this day is dead and poison'd.
CADOR. By whom? Or what means, Merlin?
MERLIN. By the traiterous Saxons.
EDOL. I ever fear'd as much: that devil Ostorius
And the damn'd witch Artesia, sure, has done it.
PRINCE. Poison'd! oh, look further, gentle Merlin,
Behold the star agen, and do but finde
Revenge for me, though it cost thousand lives,
And mine the foremost.
MERLIN. Comfort your self, the heavens have given it fully:
All the portentious ills to you is told.
Now hear a happy story, sir, from me
To you and to your fair posterity.
CLOWN. Me thinks, I see something like a peel'd onion; it makes me weep agen.
MERLIN. Be silent, uncle, you'l be forc't else.
CLOWN. Can you not finde in the star, cousin, whether I can hold my tongue or no?
EDOL. Yes, I must cut it out.
CLOWN. Phu, you speak without book, sir, my cousin Merlin knows.
MERLIN. True, I must tie it up. Now speak your pleasure, uncle.
CLOWN. Hum, hum, hum, hum.
MERLIN. So, so.--
Now observe, my lord, and there behold,
Above yon flame-hair'd beam that upward shoots,
Appears a dragons head, out of whose mouth
Two streaming lights point their flame-feather'd darts
Contrary ways, yet both shall have their aims:
Again behold, from the ignifirent body
Seven splendant and illustrious rays are spred,
All speaking heralds to this Brittain isle,
And thus they are expounded: The dragons head
Is the herogliphick that figures out
Your princely self, that here must reign a king;
Those by-form'd fires that from the dragons mouth
Shoot east and west, emblem two royal babes,
Which shall proceed from you, a son and daughter.
Her pointed constellation, northwest bending,
Crowns her a queen in Ireland, of whom first springs
That kingdoms title to the Brittain kings.
CLOWN. Hum, hum, hum.
MERLIN. But of your son thus fate and Merlin tells:
All after times shall fill their chronicles
With fame of his renown, whose warlike sword
Shall pass through fertile France and Germany;
Nor shall his conquering foot be forc't to stand,
Till Romes imperial wreath hath crown'd his fame
With monarch of the west, from whose seven hills,
With conquest and contributory kings,
He back returns to inlarge the Brittain bounds,
His heraldry adorn'd with thirteen crowns.
CLOWN. Hum, hum, hum.
MERLIN. He to the world shall add another Worthy,
And, as a loadstone, for his prowess draw
A train of marshal lovers to his court:
It shall be then the best of knight-hoods honor,
At Winchester to fill his castle hall,
And at his royal table sit and feast
In warlike orders, all their arms round hurl'd,
As if they meant to circumscribe the world. [ He touches the Clowns mouth with his wand .
CLOWN. Hum, hum, hum: oh, that I could speak a little!
MERLIN. I know your mind, uncle; agen be silent. [ Strikes agen .
PRINCE. Thou speakst of wonders, Merlin; prithee, go on,
Declare at full this constellation.
MERLIN. Those seven beams pointing downward, sir, betoken
The troubles of this land, which then shall meet
With other fate: war and dissension strives
To make division, till seven kings agree
To draw this kingdom to a hepterchy.
PRINCE. Thine art hath made such proof that we believe
Thy words authentical: be ever neer us,
My prophet and the guide of all my actions.
MERLIN. My service shall be faithful to your person,
And all my studies for my countries safety.
CLOWN. Hum, hum, hum.
MERLIN. Come, you are releast, sir.
CLOWN. Cousin, pray, help me to my tongue agen; you do not mean I shall be dumb still, I hope?
MERLIN. Why, hast thou not thy tongue?
CLOWN. Ha! yes, I feel it now, I was so long dumb, I could not well tell whether I spake or no.
PRINCE. Is't thy advice we presently pursue
The bloody Saxons, that have slain my brother?
MERLIN. With your best speed, my lord;
Prosperity will keep you company.
CADOR. Take, then, your title with you, royal prince,
'Twill adde unto our strength: long live King Uter!
EDOL. Put the addition to't that heaven hath given you:
The dragon is your emblem, bear it bravely,
And so live long and ever happy, styl'd
Uter-Pendragon, lawful king of Brittain.
PRINCE. Thanks, Edol, we imbrace the name and title,
And in our sheild and standard shall the figure
Of a red dragon still be born before us,
To fright the bloody Saxons. Oh, my Aurelius,
Sweet rest thy soul; let thy disturbed spirit
Expect revenge; think what it would, it hath:
The dragon's coming in his fiery wrath. [ Exeunt .
Thunder, then musick .
Enter Joan fearfully, the Devil following her .
JOAN. Hence, thou black horror! is thy lustful fire
Kindled agen? Not thy loud throated thunder
Nor thy adulterate infernal musick
Shall e're bewitch me more: oh, too too much
Is past already.
DEVIL. Why dost thou fly me?
I come a lover to thee, to imbrace
And gently twine thy body in mine arms.
JOAN. Out, thou hell-hound!
DEVIL. What hound so e're I be,
Fawning and sporting as I would with thee,
Why should I not be stroakt and plaid withal?
Will't thou not thank the lion might devour thee,
If he shall let thee pass?
JOAN. Yes, thou art he;
Free me, and Ile thank thee.
DEVIL. Why, whither wouldst?
I am at home with thee, thou art mine own,
Have we not charge of family together?
Where is your son?
JOAN. Oh, darkness cover me!
DEVIL. There is a pride which thou hast won by me,
The mother of a fame, shall never die.
Kings shall have need of written chronicles
To keep their names alive, but Merlin none;
Ages to ages shall like sabalists
Report the wonders of his name and glory,
While there are tongues and times to tell his story.
JOAN. Oh, rot my memory before my flesh,
Let him be called some hell or earth-bred monster,
That ne're had hapless woman for a mother!
Sweet death, deliver me! Hence from my sight:
Why shouldst thou now appear? I had no pride
Nor lustful thought about me, to conjure
And call thee to my ruine, when as at first
Thy cursed person became visible.
DEVIL. I am the same I was.
JOAN. But I am chang'd.
DEVIL. Agen Ile change thee to the same thou wert,
To quench my lust.--Come forth, by thunder led,
My coajutors in the spoils of mortals. [ Thunder .
Enter Spirit .
Claspe in your ebon arms that prize of mine,
Mount her as high as palled Hecate;
And on this rock Ile stand to cast up fumes
And darkness o're the blew fac'd firmament:
From Brittain and from Merlin Ile remove her.
They ne're shall meet agen.
JOAN. Help me some saving hand,
If not too late, I cry: let mercy come!
Enter Merlin .
MERLIN. Stay, you black slaves of night, let loose your hold,
Set her down safe, or by th'infernal Stix,
Ile binde you up with exorcisms so strong,
That all the black pentagoron of hell
Shall ne're release you. Save your selves and vanish! [ Exit Spirit .
DEVIL. Ha! What's he?
MERLIN. The childe has found his father. Do you not know me?
JOAN. Oh, help me, gentle son.
MERLIN. Fear not, they shall not hurt you.
DEVIL. Relievest thou her to disobey thy father?
MERLIN. Obedience is no lesson in your school;
Nature and kind to her commands my duty;
The part that you begot was against kinde,
So all I ow to you is to be unkind.
DEVIL. Ile blast thee, slave, to death, and on this rock
Stick thee an eternal monument.
MERLIN. Ha, ha, thy powers too weak; what art thou, Devil,
But an inferior lustful incubus,
Taking advantage of the wanton flesh,
Wherewith thou dost beguile the ignorant?
Put off the form of thy humanity,
And cral upon thy speckled belly, serpent,
Or Ile unclasp the jaws of Achoron,
And fix thee ever in the local fire.
DEVIL. Traitor to hell! curse that I e're begot thee!
MERLIN. Thou didst beget thy scourge: storm not, nor stir;
The power of Merlins art is all confirm'd
In the Fates decretals. Ile ransack hell,
And make thy masters bow unto my spells.
Thou first shall taste it.-- [ Thunder and lightning in the rock .
Tenibrarum princeps, devitiarum & infirorum deus, hunc incubum in ignis eterni abisum accipite, aut in hoc carcere tenebroso in sempeternum astringere mando.
[ The rock incloses him .
So! there beget earthquakes or some noisom damps,
For never shalt thou touch a woman more.--
How chear you, mother?
JOAN. Oh, now my son is my deliverer,
Yet I must name him with my deepest sorrow. [ Alarum afar off .
MERLIN. Take comfort now: past times are ne're recal'd;
I did foresee your mischief, and prevent it.
Hark, how the sounds of war now call me hence
To aid Pendragon that in battail stands
Against the Saxons, from whose aid
Merlin must not be absent. Leave this soyl,
And Ile conduct you to a place retir'd,
Which I by art have rais'd, call'd Merlins Bower.
There shall you dwell with solitary sighs,
With grones and passions your companions,
To weep away this flesh you have offended with,
And leave all bare unto your aierial soul:
And when you die, I will erect a monument
Upon the verdant plains of Salisbury,
No king shall have so high a sepulchre,
With pendulous stones that I wil hang by art,
Where neither lime nor morter shalbe us'd,
A dark enigma to the memory,
For none shall have the power to number them,--
A place that I will hollow for your rest,
Where no night-hag shall walk, nor ware-wolf tread,
Where Merlins mother shall be sepulcher'd. [ Exeunt .
Enter Donobert, Gloster, and Hermit .
DONOBERT. Sincerely, Gloster, I have told you all:
My daughters are both vow'd to single life,
And this day gone unto the nunnery,
Though I begot them to another end,
And fairly promis'd them in marriage,
One to Earl Cador, t'other to your son,
My worthy friend, the Earl of Gloster.
Those lost, I am lost: they are lost, all's lost.
Answer me this, then: Ist a sin to marry?
HERMIT. Oh no, my lord.
DONOBERT. Go to, then, Ile go no further with you;
I perswade you to no ill; perswade you, then,
That I perswade you well.
GLOSTER. 'Twill be a good office in you, sir.
Enter Cador and Edwin .
DONOBERT. Which since they thus neglect,
My memory shall lose them now for ever.--
See, see, the noble lords, their promis'd husbands!
Had fate so pleas'd, you might have call'd me father.
EDWIN. Those hopes are past, my lord; for even this minute
We saw them both enter the monastery,
Secluded from the world and men for ever.
CADOR. 'Tis both our griefs we cannot, sir:
But from the king take you the times joy from us:
The Saxon king Ostorius slain and Octa fled,
That woman-fury, Queen Artesia,
Is fast in hold, and forc't to re-deliver
London and Winchester (which she had fortifi'd)
To princely Uter, lately styl'd Pendragon,
Who now triumphantly is marching hither
To be invested with the Brittain crown.
DONOBERT. The joy of this shall banish from my breast
All thought that I was father to two children,
Two stubborn daughters, that have left me thus.
Let my old arms embrace, and call you sons,
For, by the honor of my fathers house,
I'le part my estate most equally betwixt you.
EDWIN, CADOR. Sir, y'are most noble!
Florish . Trompet . Enter Edol with drum and colours, Oswold bearing the standard, Toclio the sheild, with the red dragon pictur'd in'em, two Bishops with the crown, Prince Uter, Merlin, Artesia bound, Guard, and Clown .
PRINCE. Set up our sheild and standard, noble soldiers.
We have firm hope that, tho' our dragon sleep,
Merlin will us and our fair kingdom keep.
CLOWN. As his uncle lives, I warrant you.
GLOSTER. Happy restorer of the Brittains fame,
Uprising sun, let us salute thy glory:
Ride in a day perpetual about us,
And no night be in thy thrones zodiack.
Why do we stay to binde those princely browes
With this imperial honor?
PRINCE. Stay, noble Gloster:
That monster first must be expel'd our eye,
Or we shall take no joy in it.
DONOBERT. If that be hindrance, give her quick judgement,
And send her hence to death; she has long deserv'd it.
EDOL. Let my sentence stand for all: take her hence,
And stake her carcase in the burning sun,
Till it be parcht and dry, and then fley off
Her wicked skin, and stuff the pelt with straw
To be shown up and down at fairs and markets:
Two pence a piece to see so foul a monster
Will be a fair monopoly, and worth the begging.
ARTESIA. Ha, ha, ha!
EDOL. Dost laugh, Erictho?
ARTESIA. Yes, at thy poor invention.
Is there no better torture-monger?
DONOBERT. Burn her to dust.
ARTESIA. That's a phoenix death, and glorious.
EDOL. I, that's to good for her.
PRINCE. Alive she shall be buried, circled in a wall.
Thou murdress of a king, there starve to death.
ARTESIA. Then Ile starve death when he comes for his prey,
And i'th' mean time Ile live upon your curses.
EDOL. I, 'tis diet good enough; away with her.
ARTESIA. With joy, my best of wishes is before;
Thy brother's poison'd, but I wanted more. [ Exit .
PRINCE. Why does our prophet Merlin stand apart,
Sadly observing these our ceremonies,
And not applaud our joys with thy hid knowledge?
Let thy divining art now satisfie
Some part of my desires; for well I know,
'Tis in thy power to show the full event,
That shall both end our reign and chronicle.
Speak, learned Merlin, and resolve my fears,
Whether by war we shal expel the Saxons,
Or govern what we hold with beauteous peace
In Wales and Brittain?
MERLIN. Long happiness attend Pendragons reign!
What heaven decrees, fate hath no power to alter:
The Saxons, sir, will keep the ground they have,
And by supplying numbers still increase,
Till Brittain be no more. So please your grace,
I will in visible apparitions
Present you prophecies which shall concern
Succeeding princes which my art shall raise,
Till men shall call these times the latter days.
PRINCE. Do it, my Merlin,
And crown me with much joy and wonder.
Merlin strikes . Hoeboys . Enter a king in armour, his sheild quarter'd with thirteen crowns . At the other door enter divers princes who present their crowns to him at his feet, and do him homage; then enters Death and strikes him; he, growing sick, crowns Constantine . Exeunt .
MERLIN. This king, my lord, presents your royal son,
Who in his prime of years shall be so fortunate,
That thirteen several princes shall present
Their several crowns unto him, and all kings else
Shall so admire his fame and victories,
That they shall all be glad,
Either through fear or love, to do him homage;
But death (who neither favors the weak nor valliant)
In the middest of all his glories soon shall seize him,
Scarcely permitting him to appoint one
In all his purchased kingdoms to succeed him.
PRINCE. Thanks to our prophet
For this so wish'd for satisfaction;
And hereby now we learn that always fate
Must be observ'd, what ever that decree:
All future times shall still record this story,
Of Merlin's learned worth and Arthur's glory. [ Exeunt Omnes .
Next: The Bridal of Triermain, by Sir Walter Scott